Happiness is Lunch with a Pal

I spend a chunk of my morning arguing with Bob in e-mail about the first act (he won because he was right) and was just trying to convince myself to get out of bed when the doorbell rang. I am not used to doorbells ringing. Or doorbells, for that matter. So I put on my jeans and went to the door and there was Pat Gaffney and Louise, her beautiful mixed-breed dog who looks like a boxer to me but Pat says no. Pat then said, “Lunch,” and I said, “Absolutely,” and we walked one block to the grill and had a wonderful time discussing absolutely nothing of value but all of great interest, and I gave Louise some of my bacon when Pat wasn’t looking. Then we said good-bye and she walked back home to do things, and I came back home to look at Act One again and fell asleep instead.

In other words, a perfect day so far.

Happiness is a friend who rings your doorbell with a dog and says, “Lunch?”

So who rang your doorbell and made you happy this week? (“Doorbell” is metaphorical here, but keep it clean.)

79 thoughts on “Happiness is Lunch with a Pal

  1. This week coming my friend Connie arrives from Oz with her husband and 2 boys (one of whom is taller than she is – and I have never met her children, because Australia). But when Connie and I lived in the same city (Edinburgh, Scotland) she once phoned me in the early evening, after I had had one of those days and decided I had had enough and put my pj’s on, and said “wanna go out?”. And before I could say anything “and just so you know I am sitting in the car outside your place”. So I said “No, but you can come up and I will cook”. She agreed and it was a fun night.

    Which is why I missed her so much when she moved back to Australia after being here for 10 years and why I am so glad to be meeting her (and her family) for dinner tomorrow.

    It was not this week but does that count?

  2. I spent Friday with a friend who is in the midst of buying an island home where she’ll spend 3 to 4 months a year. We’d met weekly during the pandemic, discussing deep medieval topics, drinking gallons of wine, and staying up to the wee hours. After the world reopened, we’ve only grabbed an afternoon here or there. Although this week’s get together will be the last one for some months, it was fabulous. We spent hours walking around the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, MA. The paintings made a nice background for all our chatting.

  3. My best friend insisted that we join her family for the holiday Friday night because our kids live far away. Our plans had been to eat takeout in front of the tv, so it was a lot of fun to be part of her family for 6 hours. We ate and drank like Henry VIII, although only the baby threw food on the floor. There’s nothing quite like a real friend.

  4. I just got off work. I took some vacay so I don’t go back until Friday night. Happy.

    We are going to the Dali museum Thursday. Happy.

    I finished a collage poem. Happy.

    And believe it or not – shoes. I don’t normally care about shoes but I’m going to put a link in reply to a pair that are adorable.

      1. Thank you, Debbie, for putting the link to the whole site. The musical staff ones! The piano ones! The spider ones! I dare not go on to the next page. If I thought my bad foot and its insert would be happy wearing these I would be saving up….

  5. Earlier this week, I discovered there’s an online community – Ravelry.com – for knitters, crochetters, loom-knitters(!) and all other types of crafty people, and I joined. That’s happy stuff, right? 🙂 It turns out they’re doing all kinds of craft-alongs every month/year/season as well, which is neat because then you can learn new stuff and get help if you’re stuck. The people in the Loom-knitters group are very friendly and welcoming, and I’m trying to battle the old patterns in me that say “THEY’LL THINK YOU’RE ANNOYING! STOP WRITING SO MUCH! STOP ASKING QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME! SHUT UP!”. It’s tough, but it’s also fun to hang out with people doing the same type of craft as you, so you can ask for tips and tricks and advice. Thus, I’m trying to ignore my brain and just roll with it.
    I also joined the loom-along for September/October: A spiral hat. Crafting = Joy! But, here’s where I discovered that the round loom-kit I have is too big! … so either I have to make a huge chunky hat with really thick yarn, or I’ll have to go loom-shopping. The former is a pain because I don’t have the yarn and the latter is a pain because The Netherlands doesn’t seem to care about loom-knitting much, so the selection is very small. Sigh. Guess I’ll have to go Amazon-shopping and hope the import-fees won’t go through the roof.
    Happy is also seeing Jenny and Bob still working and bickering, even if I still haven’t read Lavenders or the others (still keeping fingers crossed for audio…!). And everyone here still talking and cheering each other on and being lovely wonderful people. Keep being you, y’all. <3 I'm in an exhausted-to-the-bone-period again it seems, which is why I'm so silent and abscent.

    1. Oh, Ravelry is wonderful. I used to be on there every day and then life and depression got to me, but just having all my projects and notes on there, let alone my stash, is a lifesaver. So glad you found it. Also, try Wool Warehouse, which is in England, I think, but they’re a great resource for yarn and they have this:
      Not sure if that’s what you’re looking for.

      And we’re working on the audio but we’re waiting on Brilliance to make up its mind, and they’re taking forever.

      1. I hope the Wellbutrin works well for you! Listen to multiple friends about your mental state, they will often catch on well before you do about when you need your medication adjusted. I have had multiple good friends help with multiple good medications (in succession, not all at once). Good Luck! Taf

    2. Oh Shass I hope you feel better soon. I was wondering how you were doing.

      A huge chunky hat might be funky if you had soft wool.

    3. I don’t know if it helps, but the ones people tend to like most aren’t people who help them, but the people that they themselves get to help. So by commenting and asking questions and allowing people to help you, you’re actually letting them feel magnanimous and helpful, which will make them feel more kindly towards you! At least this is what they psychological research said back when I was in college 10 years ago lol

      1. Zoe, that is great research and so good to know. I think there are a lot of us who hate to ask for help _ I shall rename it as allowing people to feel magnanimous!

    4. Shass, with the added import tax from outside the EU as well as UPS shipping costs, getting things from the USA or the UK can come with unexpected extra costs. A pair of cross-stitch kits from the USA ended up costing me 3x as much in total as the price of the kits themselves.

      I’ve found it’s worth searching on Amazon.de to find sources without import tax, and with cheaper shipping, if neither Bol.com nor Amazon.nl has them.
      My German is minimal, but searching “knitting loom amazon.de” gave this result; two round knitting looms, one straight one, and some related items.
      One of the good results gave all the right names to look for in German, so you can search further with those words.

  6. My sister is in from California and thinking of retiring to my area, so we’re going to be apartment shopping tomorrow (four to see). I’ve driven her around the town – she’s slightly familiar with it from previous visits – and I’m trying to pin her down to timing so it’s still all up in the air. Had a few good meals (lasagna baked by my daughter on Friday and sister took us out to dinner at a local diner-type restaurant last night). With two smallish children in the group, diner style made more sense. Have had a lovely visit so far. She’s off to Europe for three weeks, leaving on Tuesday morning.

  7. I need to lose weight. All previous diets have failed at some point. As much as I enjoy cooking, I do not enjoy the limitations of my “kitchen.” If I operate two appliances at the same time, I trip the breaker. Any meal I plan must be entirely in either the 2-quart slow cooker, the toaster oven, the 700 watt microwave, the hotplate, or the fryer. OR the meal has to be prepared in stages.

    As an alternative, I’ve picked up the equivalent of MREs – “Meals Ready to Eat.” MREs feature in much milfic (military fiction) and are almost uniformly and universally denigrated. My first try was Hormel Compleats found on my grocery store shelves. I found them… tolerable. Preparation is making a slit on the tray cover and microwaving 1 minute (1 minute 37 seconds in my 700 watt unit.)

    The selection at Food Lion was limited, so I looked for others at Amazon. I discovered a whole ‘nother brand – HMR. HMR isn’t just more MREs, it’s a diet plan like Jenny Craig or Nutrasystem or Weight Watchers. I’m not going to join (yet), but I did pick up a dozen different MREs.

    Breakfast was Sausage and Potato in Gravy with Peppers and Onions, 220 calories. Preparation was the same as the Compleats. Taste was no worse. Side beverage was a caf-free Diet Coke, because I didn’t feel like making coffee. (You know the lazies have hit when you don’t feel like making instant coffee.)

    Please do not try to help or make suggestions. I know the problem. I know the solutions. It all comes down to willpower.

    1. Actually, the discovery of how ozempic works shows us it’s not just about will power. You might want to read up about it and discuss with your doctor. There seem to be a bunch of related medicines available and your insurance might cover it.

  8. It sounds stupid to say I got to stay home a lot because I was sick as a happy, but really, in many ways it all turned out for the best and as far as I know, I did not infect anyone except my spouse, so thankful and rested.

    After not going anywhere since last October, I have two trips next month, both of which should be fun. Starting to think about food for the vacation and clothes for both, which led me to get out my Halloween things. Wearing my “hello pumpkin” shirt and spouse of 45 years told me how cute I am. Never gets old

  9. I was gifted a big bucket of sunflowers from the farm this week – last of the season. I have 3 big vases of them around the house. Flowers are my equivalent of lunch.

    My nephew called me, which was a pleasant surprise. As always, we had a nice chat. Of my brother’s 3 kids, I’m closest to him. Not just because he’s the only one in Canada and lives 2hours away but also because we have similar interests. Plus, he’s always willing to take extra veggies from my garden.

    My dog snuggled up against me last night. She usually prefers DH so waking up and discovering her curled against my leg was a lovely treat. Petting her always helps me fall back asleep.

  10. A long-time friend moved back to town last April after being in North Carolina for over 7 years. Since he got back, and is now retired, he comes over almost every weekend for a dinner (usually but not always takeout, which he picks up on his way over) and either a movie or TV. He turned me on to Ted Lasso, which we binged. Last night was the first Kevin Brannaugh (sp?) Hercule Poirot movie, in preparation to going out to the new one. He’s seen both the previous, but I hadn’t.

    So that was a happy. Also, he bought brownies.

    I went into town yesterday morning to the farmer’s market for some things I didn’t have in my garden. Came home with some beautiful apples, long Japanese eggplant, purple watercress (my newest addiction), a few onions, and the impulse buy of a lovely bouquet of bright cheerful flowers. Lovely.

  11. I had the best talk with a friend yesterday. It was the kind of talk where I just said things and then she said things, and by the end, we had a few things figured out. It was a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, but with my life. That was fabulous! Glad you had a great lunch. Those shoes are divine! I want the absinthe ones.

  12. I met with my old manager yesterday afternoon (we worked in the same store over ten years ago, and meet up a couple of times a year for outings and book chat). We had a lovely time in the seaside town of Exmouth, then visited a National Trust property called A La Ronde, which I’d never heard of before. It was FASCINATING. It’s a sixteen-sided property that was built over two hundred years ago and designed/owned by two female cousins, who based it on a basilica they’d seen on their Grand Tour around Europe. It’s beautiful, quirky, filled with their artwork and there’s a Shell Gallery on the top floor where the walls and ceiling are entirely covered in shells. It’s too fragile to go up and see in person, but you can see it at the bottom of the staircase, and through judicious use of mirrors on the ground floor. The cousins stipulated that the house could only be owned by unmarried women, which nearly persisted until it was sold to the National Trust in 1991 (just one male relative owned it during that time). I’d never heard of it prior to yesterday, but to anyone who finds themselves vaguely nearby, well worth the visit.

    And, this time next week I’ll be landing in Toronto to visit my cousin and her family. Any bookstore recommendations will be gratefully received!

    1. There is a Patrick Gale book, The Facts of Life which has a place called the Round house which is based on A la Ronde. Good book too.

  13. The only doorbells I get are from awkward kids in bright yellow-green vests, holding clipboards. I do not answer. I think they always start with our neighborhood, because we get a lot of these in the summer.

    On my walk, I saw a friend out sweeping tree stuff off the street in front of this house. We had a nice chat. It was so good to reconnect. I walk by that house nearly every day and think of him and his partner, and wonder how they are.

    I think I am over this whole thing! The headache is finally gone, after nine weeks!! I am still following the ENT’s instructions, but thinking I may taper off, if I continue to feel well. Yay!!!! Happy, happy!!

  14. I have a story about someone who didn’t ring the doorbell. Last week I got spooked out by seeing possible people in my back yard at night but when I turned the lights on I didn’t see anyone so I concluded it was a reflection from an iPad my husband had left the ball game on. When he came home he saw on his phone that our backyard motion detector cameras ( $50 —we see all kinds of wonderful nightlife) had picked up a young man from the waist down.
    So I asked on the neighbor list serve whether anyone’s teen had been looking in our yard for a lost item (thinking ball or frisbee or such) and in the future to please ring my doorbell and let me know.

    To my amused embarrassment it was my good friend who at our invitation (which I had forgotten) had brought a potential guest speaker on frogs for the local garden club to look in our back yard to see if he could find any so that he could plan on showing live frogs during his speech. He didn’t find any so on the day he used stuffed animals. He gave a fabulous talk and clearly adores frogs (he did a post college fellowship studying them.) He identified a picture of a frog my husband found in our back yard as the only frog that can survive in the Arctic circle because it has some kind of antifreeze in its blood.

    His parents were two vets who did an exotic animal practice and would bring their patients home so he would find a swan in the bathtub, or there would be a boa constrictor, or a raptor. It sounded much like Jean Craighead George— you may know her as the author of Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain but she also wrote two nonfiction books for kids “ The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets” and “ There’s an Owl in the Shower”.

    Her brothers studied grizzly bears in Yellowstone and my parents took four month old me on one of their bear trapping trips and took a picture of my head next to (and the size of) the bear’s paws.

    There is also a picture of the researchers running like hell when she woke up earlier than expected. But no one was hurt.

    You can find videos of their work on YouTube and there was a National Geographic special on them (but not with me as far as I know).

    I also met with a friend and former colleague for dinner last night—hadn’t seen her in years but we got together to catch up and to mourn the death of our mutual colleague and of another mutual colleague who died 13 years ago —both deaths far too early, entirely preventable, and after lives where, we felt, their families were emotionally abusive. Seeing my friend was wonderful even though we talked about sad stuff.

  15. Yesterday was a stay in the house day. We semi-prepared for a hurricane but really only got the wind which was much like a nor-easter. Moved furniture out of the way, brought in supplies, and prepped the generator. The storm blew by us and landed up in Nova Scotia according to this morning’s news. I did see pictures of surfers out on the ocean and people watching from land and taking pictures. There was a “Karen” in one of the neighboring homes that called the police, not about the surfers but about the people watchers. And then complained to have the watchers moved along even though they had resident stickers. To be fair a rogue wave can be pretty dangerous. One thing I noticed in the last month is a new sign posted with evacuation route written on them and placed throughout the main street in town.

    Other than that, today is great although someone is going have to go out in the yard for poop patrol before the lawn is mowed. Not me I’ll be doing the mowing.

    Here’s hoping you have a restful special day with lots of naps.

  16. DH has been sick this week and tested positive for Covid on Thursday. He is on the mend. I have felt Not Well but not Actively Ill; my symptoms may be a mild infection of the Covid type but I’m *not* having the flu-like symptoms and not getting worse (fingers crossed). Happy about that.

    Yesterday morning I had to do a half hour of yardkeeping (or, more accurately, vine-taming) but otherwise decided to conserve energy and let the weeds be, a decision validated this morning by more rain. Happy about that.

    Upon return from provisioning yesterday, I a) concocted something savory & nutritious in the big copper stockpot and b) laboriously fixed up the text for my novel ‘Face the Music’ and got it launched wide. Happy about both those things.

    Last night I treated myself to a re-watch of ‘Red White & Royal Blue’ and ‘Bros.’ Both make me happy.

    Today, free of obligations, I have another novel and a novella to prep on D2D, then a read-through of the last New Cover Project title, and will probably watch ‘Theater Camp’ on Hulu tonight.

    1. I didn’t love the film version of Red, White and Royally Blue whereas I loved Bros. What did you like about the former?

      1. I thought RWRB was a great adaptation, intelligently trimmed for movie-length presentation. Yes, some characters & subplots had to go, but honestly for me, in the book, politics outweighed the romance. And I was there for the romance. 🙂 As far as filmmaking, there were a lot of really beautifully composed & photographed scenes, which is frankly unusual in a rom-com, which often look like they were shot on an old-fashioned three-camera sitcom set. This was my 3rd time watching; I find it funny, touching, and – as a romance – very satisfying.

        “Bros” is also really satisfying, mostly on the basis of sharp writing and a load of committed performances. Having Bobby make that whole speech in Provincetown about people telling him to tone it down, and then having Aaron turn around and do the same thing, was an organic, truly personal conflict, also frankly unusual in a rom-com. I find it funny, incisive, uncompromising, and significant (have seen it 3 times now as well).

        1. All articulately said and accurate. The only thing about RWRB was that they took the com out of romcom. I really missed that. Whereas Bros was hysterical, as well as tender.

          1. I don’t remember finding RWRB The Book to be hilarious, so the not-LOL level of the movie didn’t trip me. The stakes were really high, after all. I think the funniest thing was SS catching them in the red room. 🙂

          2. I missed the President’s PowerPoint presentation. And I missed their emails and texts – they were so sweet and so funny.

        2. I love that book, I’ve reread it over and over, and when I read they’d cut subplots, I was out.
          I understand that the script has to be an adaptation, that it’s translating it into another language, but the subtext in the book was really rich, so I’m sticking with that.

  17. Had a great week in Scotland with my friends. The weather was pretty good, and we got to several gardens, a stone circle, various beaches & promontories – some with views to the Isle of Man & Ireland. Also visited Wigtown and its bookshops, and saw where Wimsey & Bunter stayed in Kirkcudbright. Plus my friend put me straight about what my priority should be this year: writing. Which is making me really happy. Ready to start my year of creativity.

      1. And: I found a DVD of the original Star Wars in a car boot sale in Kirkcudbright, and am about to have a film night to show it to Pam (who’s never seen it, so needs educating) and Yvonne (with whom I went to see it in London when it was released, as her chosen 21st treat – she hasn’t seen it since).

  18. Many G-rated happiness doorbells were rung this week, mostly of the renovating/cleaning variety. As seen on Instagram, the hideous fireplace is out and yesterday Paul took it to the dump. I’m currently sitting on the loveseat diagonal across the gap and enjoying the extra space. We are considering how to rearrange the space to be more useful. As I was writing that, I had an idea about how to rearrange some furniture that I think will work.

    I think I mentioned that Paul decided to hire a handyman to work on the drywall/fix the ceiling and that’s a very big happy. I’ll come home from work next Saturday and progress will have been made without me. Whoo-freaking-hoo because I don’t have to crawl through the attic space and insulation.

    I have only one more shift at the drugstore this month which is good because I am waaay over my people-ing limit. Canadians, don’t forget the 30th is the new federal stat!

    The scrappers are at my parents’ farm this week hauling away a bunch of metal. I think they have hauled in the neighbourhood of 90 tons and there’s at least one more load to go. I’m very happy about this because my parents need the money and the farm will be much safer and cleaner (since the fire destroyed so many sheds there have been lots of nails and wire and piles of melted crap all over the place), but my sister and I won’t have to deal with it in the future. As for the weight, my father ran heavy equipment and cleared land for many years so there were multiple bulldozers in various states and different cutting and pushing blades for them, and burned farm equipment and old vehicles. It’s a big happy all over.

    The biggest unhappiness is that I have what I think is a ganglion cyst at the base of my thumb on my wrist and it’s impacting my ability to use my right hand in many ways. If I grip anything too tightly or for too long my arm goes kind of numb up to the elbow and bending my hand causes a lot of pain. I feel a little like a baseball pitcher on the IL because of a blister; it seems stupid but it’s really a big problem.

    1. It is not stupid to have it checked out right away because the longer something presses on the nerve, the greater the opportunity for permanent nerve damage. My sister put off her hand surgery for insurance reasons and now has unpredictable trouble gripping things. I often find broken pieces of glass or crockery when I really dig into the corners while sweeping her kitchen floor.

    2. Avoiding crawling through insulation is a great plan, fiberglass fragments can get under your skin and itch like crazy until you shed a few layers of skin.
      It is also great that you can have scrappers haul away so much metal litter, a safer and cleaner living space will be great for your parents!
      I hope you get prompt effective treatment for the cyst, those side effects are a big problem. Taf

  19. Happiness is curated spaces. One of my favorite things about the Renaissance Fair is all the little themed shops. I love the witch shop with a mature live tree growing up the middle, the cute little tea shop, the honey and bee themed one and the garden one. They are all such lovely individual spaces in unique permanent structures. And being around all that fun stuff, small business and handicraft gets my brain going. I would love to run a little shop like that…

    That was yesterday. Today I am grieving going back to work. I don’t want to. I really don’t. But I did bake peach crisp with the last of the summer peaches that I had let get too rip and I started my fire cider, which I am planning on giving away as Christmas gifts so I feel rather accomplished. Now I have to decide what to do next. The house always needs cleaning, I have a commission that I am avoiding, I should start my Christmas crafts… I don’t know. The list goes on.

    1. I have not been to a Ren Faire in years, a couple of decades ago there was a great Northern California permanent site (I can’t even remember the nearby town), and the Southern site was in Agoura (sp?) (north of LA) formerly known as Paramount Ranch. The turkey legs were great, the lemon sorbet in 1/2 lemon was refreshing, you could get good beer and there was even a kissing booth (Soak a Bloke and Drench a Wench) alternated taking duty shifts. If you were so inclined, you aimed a sideways bow loaded with a wet sponge at the target of your choice.
      There were also many craft booths with garb, pottery, peacock feathers, metalwork (mugs, daggers, swords, flasks…) not to mention stages spaced far enough apart so each performance was well heard. Taf

  20. Something Rotten is still going well, and I got into Oklahoma this week. I did not get considered at all for the minor part I was going for….I suppose that’s typical. Oh well, I guess.

    Had a cast party last night, love those. I have Monday off from work, which is nice ’cause I’m tired.

  21. The groomers made me happy because they have defurred Pixie. She’s still shedding but much of was left at the groomers and not on my floors.

    A week of meetings is over. Only one this week and it starts with a potluck to welcome new members. This is the progressive political group so fun and work.

    I rang some doorbells at my local municipal meeting by standing up and saying that the new police officers and their families were allowed to speak Spanish in the parking lot. Yes, someone objected to that. Really looking forward to that potluck. I need my tribe.

    And Vermillion, must order Vermillion.

  22. Sounds wonderful to live near a good friend!

    I saw a photo of crocheted cat paw chair leg socks that looked silly and fun. Made me laugh, which is happy.

    1. Cat paw chair socks sound like a great way to protect your floors! Much more entertaining than felt glides which sometimes glide right out of position on the bottom of the chair leg-grrr. Taf

  23. So many happinesses this week. I have now ordered all three of the books in paperback and received the first two. I heal a little more each day. The big happiness today is my first journey out was to see Peter Pan goes wrong at the Ahmanson theater. I went with my sister and my son, Christopher. His sons had to go to a birthday party and Melanie his wife sacrificed and took them both. So my friends, Arlene and her daughter Ali took the other two seats. It was the most hilarious play I’ve ever seen. The guest narrator.(the plate always has a guest narrator.) was Neil, Patrick Harris, and everyone was so funny. I can’t believe the physical comedy and the pratfalls. When I got home. I looked it up on Google hoping to find a preview to put a link to it. What I found was the entire play is available on YouTube with the original London cast. Which is who I saw here and Neil Patrick Harris. But here’s a link to the preview.https://youtu.be/HEDJ9iFlRhw?si=j_vcZlSwZMwrWlpC

    1. Susan, I’ve watched the online version several times, and laugh just as hard each time. That’s with David Suchet as narrator, and he was utterly brilliant. I am so envious that you saw it live.

  24. I drove my niece to the airport, and was reminded yet again when we said goodbye that she is a top-notch hugger. Some people are just brilliant at it, and she is one of them. So lovely, a good warm hug.

  25. Watched darling granddaughter ride at Thunderbird horse show today. 3rd day. Her age/class is done. Great facilities. Then celebrated bff’s birthday after the horse show. Yummy carrot cupcakes for dessert. And gluten free cake. Yes I had a slice of cake and a cupcake. Has a fun day manning the Pulp Literature table at Vancouver Word yesterday.

  26. I was looking up Pat Gaffney on Wikipedia, and found that she seems to have gone to my Maryland high school. Made me proud to think what a good friend that school helped to create. 🙂

    1. She wrote amazing books, too. My fave romance of hers is Outlaw in Paradise. Her women’s fiction is all wonderful, too.

      1. Oh my favorite is Crooked Hearts.
        She’s one of those authors where every plot and characters are different . She never repeats herself

        1. Oh Crooked Hearts is wonderful. That’s the one where they meet in a stagecoach and she’s wearing a nun’s habit, right?
          Patricia Gaffneyis a wonderful writer.

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