Happiness is Reading a New Book

I’ve been doing a lot of re-reading for comfort lately, but I’ve also read two new books this week, and it’s so good to find brand new stuff that’s really good. One was Susan Eliabeth Phillips new one, Simply the Best, which was simply great. The other was a manuscript from Anne Stuart,Return to Mariposa, which I would talk about but you can’t get it, she’s still rewriting, but once it’s done, you’re gonna want to read it. New books that are good: that’s happiness.

So what made you happy this week?

82 thoughts on “Happiness is Reading a New Book

  1. Happy having attended “The Show” by Niall Horan, night one in Dublin.
    Fantastic concert, great atmosphere, nice crowd.
    Smashing to experience an artist in front of his home crowd, at the (roughly) start of a looong tour.
    Also our first time in Ireland (dd & me).

    Also incredibly nice people here, such a contrast to home.

    1. I’m too old to be his target demographic but I also really enjoy his music. I have all his albums which is rare for me.

      1. Deb, I’m not quite the target demo, but there were many moms with daughters of ANY age.
        The atmosphere was lovely and not tooo young!

  2. I’ve been feeling happy that the friend who lost the house she’d been buying since August because the vendor changed her mind had her offer accepted on another in a nearby town (near a canal, for lovely walks). But then she rang yesterday to say there’s a house come up on my street that she wants to look at. So my happiness is in suspense.

    Three other things in the past couple of days: started watching The Young Montalbano again (I recorded series 2 a few years ago); made a start on my big sort-out of the last 5 years of digital photography; and am reading the new edition of Alexis Hall’s Waiting for the Flood, which is a favourite comfort read.

  3. Having SIMPLY THE BEST chatted up here led to my acquiring the audiobook from audible and listening to it for two days. Loved it, I did. Happy.

    Eldest grandson assisted me in relocating my gardens from the short book cases to rolling wire shelves. The advantage of the rolling units is that I can much more easily reach the ripe tomatoes and peppers in the back (because it isn’t exactly the back anymore.) There are pictures. This also made me happy.

      1. EGS and I found two Poblano peppers. Harvested one which went into my latest batch-o-chili (it wasn’t alone) and left the other to grow… until today. I haven’t decided where it will garnish yet.

  4. The wedding is over. It went well. My car is full of decor to get back to the bride after her honeymoon. I’m glad it’s done and that she was happy with the results.

    Now it is time to start picking up the pieces of normal life again that I have let drop. Laundry, taxes, ugh.

    1. So you were helping to put on a wedding event for someone else, not being the bride yourself? I think we were confused out here in reading-things land.

      1. Sorry! I was a bridesmaid for a friend’s DIY wedding. I feel like I have been whining about it for months.

        My own wedding was a visit to the JP a couple of years ago.

          1. Definitely. I worked in the wedding industry for a while and that really took the shine out of a large event for me. And neither I nor my significant other are particularly comfortable with attention.

            If I were to do it again, we would just go to the courthouse by ourselves, or a bizarre destination, again just us. And I would go a little crazy on the dress. But I was very happy with my shoes 🙂

  5. I’m heading to Vegas this morning for a conference with my business partner. The conference will be grinding so that’s not the happiness part. But I’m going shopping at my favourite outlet mall on the entire planet as soon as we arrive today – so happiness!

      1. New pair of trainers but that was it. Plus a white t-shirt. Very boring. Although I did get a yummy little casual black dress that I’m looking forward to trying out over here.

  6. I attended a zoom meeting that could have been tedious but was fun and productive. I was concerned that I talked too much because opinionated/ not shy/wanting to move things along, but was reassured that it was fine.

    On my last 6 days of extreme eating virtue. I am 4 pounds behind where I expected to be, but pants fit better and I am going to declare it good enough. Dreaming of peanut butter toast and such things.

    So far 2024 has been very good for getting tasks done. Not thrilled that there are so MANY tasks in so many areas of my life, but celebrating progress.

  7. Happiness is that my husband — who has been feeling punky sort of sick for weeks, who is hating this boring winter, but who hates to plan trips ahead of time — sat down with the trip plan I’ve made for Sicily in May and loves it. Now he’s healthier and cheerfullier. The only problem is that he’s ready to eat as if on the trip. I, on the other hand, want to lose weight before the trip.

    When I’m feeling funky, I think that dieting is like cancer — it’s forever and ends in death. When I’m feeling cheerful, I think dieting is like life — it’s there to enjoy in good health. Funny how the end is the same either way.

  8. The sun is out, even though it is still quite cold.

    I also read a great new book, Katherine Center’s new one–Hello, Stranger. Absolutely delightful.

    Happy that I’m making some progress on revisions and house cleaning. Wish it was more, but I’ll take what I can get. Happy that today my Ludite bestie is coming over so I can help her set up a new tablet, and then we’re going to see Argyle, which looks like light silly fun.

  9. Happiness is my dishwasher finally dying, after making a Horrible Noise for months. Reporting it before this would have gotten a refusal from the home warranty company that I pay money to every month to repair things. “Making a horrible noise” is not grounds for sending a repair person, evidently. But now it is leaking all over my kitchen and down into the basement, so on Monday, I will hear about when they can come fix it. Of course, this happened on a weekend. My son came over and bailed all the water out of the bottom of the dishwasher, but there must be a lot more up in the door, as it is still leaking. Every ratty old towel I own is wet, now. I will be hanging them outside to dry. There is a container under the leak to catch it.

    In the meantime, the dishes are piling up in the sink. Washing dishes is my least favorite thing to do. I had planned to cook a big pot of Greek Lentil soup today, but nuking frozen dinners seems more practical, right now. I will have to wash the cat dishes, eventually.

    I am invited to dinner at my son’s tonight, a temporary respite. 😀

    1. I had a dishwasher that leaked when my sink was turned on, because of a connecting hose. If you are still getting water, watch when you run the sink and see if the leaking gets worse.

  10. I’m beyond happy that the very dead external hard drive that contained the only remaining copies (don’t ask) of all my photography from 2020-2023 was revived for long enough for me to make a duplicate before it died for good. Such a relief! Because of my past laziness in keywording photographs (or rather NOT keywording,) what was retrieved is a mess and I must re-sort many thousands of digital photographs. BUT what would previously have been considered a most unwelcome and tedious chore is now — because I almost lost it all — something to look forward to!

  11. I’m happy that I finished writing a fairy tale and am now on to revising a stalled romance.

    I’m also happy re-reading Heyer’s A Blunt Instrument, in which Neville Fletcher is an absolutely delightful character. I wish he could slide his way into one of my stories. I’m also happy that I don’t remember whodunit, so I’ll be surprised once again.

  12. I’m happy that my strained ankle seems to be healing okay. It’s much less iffy even on stairs.  I still plan to keep using the brace for another week or so to make sure it heals completely. 

    I’m on balance happy about Jinx’s recommendation of online jigsaw puzzles, which I had not known were even a thing.  “On balance” because I got so much into them that they not only nearly filled recreation time but sucked up some of what should have been chore time.  I figured that was just an initial burst of enthusiasm that would taper off with time, and that does seem to be happening, but I’m still facing a lot of chores.  To be fair, some, like shopping and even ones at home involving much standing and walking, were also postponed because of the ankle.  But I’m plenty behind on sit-down chores.

    Jessie recommended Phrazle.  I’ve marked the site, but I don’t dare try that out until I get jigsaws under better control.

    1. Oh lord, I’m sorry to have led someone into anything addictive!! What size puzzles are you used to trying? If you change the number of pieces to something smaller, you can have the good experience of seeing the final image come together, without the time sink of putting tiny pieces next to other tiny pieces, and doing that multiple times until one fits in….

      Or maybe you could take up baking! Or parcheesi! Or learning Croatian or something?

      Guiltily signing off,

  13. For me, happiness has been finding the linen closet. I am cat sitting in the suburbs and the first night I was here the wind was screaming through the cracks around the outside door in the guest room. I wore 2 heavy sweaters, socks and slipper socks to bed and I was still so cold I couldn’t sleep. The next day I got smart and went in search of the linen closet. Jessie showed me where it was before my first gig here, but that was 4 years ago and I had completely forgotten about it. I found it last night and the addition of another blanket made all the difference. I’m still 1 night short on sleep, but i am happy to begin to catch up.

    1. If any wind is coming in from bottom of the door, roll another blanket and place as a draft stopper. Might help too. Knowing where the extra blankets are is always excellent.

  14. I’m ecstatic to have finished the second draft of the book due in June (really July, but I’m aiming for a month early because reasons), AND it’s even finished a week ahead of schedule, AND even though the last two scenes need to be rewritten, which is normal for me, I at least figured out what’s missing from them, so I’ll be able to rewrite them when I get back to it in April.

    In more low-key happies, I’m pleased that a friend I’m helping get organized was able, with me body-doubling yesterday to make sure it got done, to find all but two documents (not her fault on those two — sent to wrong address) that she needs to do her taxes. And actually, one of them may not even exist, so it’s more impressive than it sounds. There were a LOT of documents to find.

    And finally, in a surprise this morning, the person who was supposed to take away a pile of scrap metal for more than six months actually took it away yesterday while I was at my friend’s house body-doubling. So both my house and my friend’s house got decluttered simultaneously!

    1. I have found body-doubling very helpful. A friend and I do it on video-chat and not in person, but it is great for keeping butt-in-chair.

      1. It’s having someone with you (either physically or virtually) that helps motivate you to get a task done. They don’t help but provide moral support I guess. It’s very helpful for those of us living with ADHD, autism etc.

    2. Congratulations on the drafting. It’s always a good feeling to see the story shaping up into something close to what you envisioned when you started. (I’m doing final edits…my brain is fried, so I hope this congratulatory note makes sense.)

  15. I’m happy that another Sunday has come with a Happiness post. This means that Jenny is still around and Argh is still around and both of those things make me happy.
    Charity-stream yesterday went okay, I think. The kid that is the face of the crowdfunding was here at our place too and played with Sven during the stream, so they both got to eat snacks with super-icky dips and drink two turbo-icky shots as donation milestones. Everyone seemed to have fun, both streamers and viewers and also the dip&shot-mixologist = me. I think the total amount raised during the 12 hours yesterday was something like €1630, of which around €450 came from our 4 hours chunk of the stream. Think they are still far from the end goal they need to start the research, but at least we did our best to help.
    Matcha has turned into a brush-junkie, which makes me laugh a lot. Both kitts used to hate being brushed, but I found Chili’s (my cat that lives with my mum in Sweden) old brush earlier this week and tried it on Matcha and now she LOVES it. Trip thinks it’s fine, but Matcha gets extatic. She follows me around like I’ve turned magnetic and rolls on the floor at my feet and brushes up against my legs until I give in. Then she purrs like a happy truck while I brush her and occasionally bites the brush. She’s so cute.
    Tomorrow I’m taking them to the vet to trim the nails. That’s NOT gonna be a happy day, except I’m gonna be happy when it’s over. This February, they’re also offering a free dental check for all cats, so I’m taking the chance to have their mouths looked at too.

    1. It’s funny how idiosyncratic cats are in their brushing (and patting) preferences. I have one 6 yo cat, who until about a year ago didn’t like top-of-the-head rubs, but now she would happily kill her siblings to get a head rub. (Of course, as a cat, she would happily kill almost anything for almost any reason, but still.) She is also passionately in love with the excess-fur-removing glove (with little nubs that massage her while grabbing stray fur), and would happily kill almost anyone (other than the person who’s wearing the glove) to be patted with it. And yet the other cats in the house (her two siblings plus an older cat) have feelings about the glove that range from meh to “why are you torturing me with this thing and do you really want to try it again or would you like to see how you feel if I brush you with my claws?”

      1. Yeah, I was so excited when Kolsch and Amber let me scratch behind their ears yesterday because usually they don’t loosen up that much until day 4 or later. Today, however , I’m back to being the servant who fills the food and water bowls.

        1. We lived for four months with a cat who wouldn’t let us get near him. The next summer we were watching the house and feeding the cats for 3 weeks for our friends and there was a Derecho that brought down really big trees all around the house. When we came to visit he wanted to be held for ages. The only sign we ever saw of emotional attachment to or comfort from humans.

  16. We’re off to Madrid for a few days tomorrow, to see what is supposed to be an excellent Picasso exhibit, eat good food, and shop at Costco (there is no Costco in Portugal). This is after a quick trip to Paris two weeks ago to see an excellent Rothko exhibit and, well, eat good food. I ran into a friend on my walk this morning, and when I told her about the upcoming trip, she said, “Don’t you ever stay home?” which made me laugh, because it’s close to what a friend of mine said often during my senior year of high school (“Carol, don’t you ever go to class?”), so I got to feel 17 and invincible for a moment there.

    1. I’m a SMIDGE jealous of your travel. Portugal has been on my bucket list for years. I have been to Barcelona…not Madrid…and it was lovely.

      I’m actually traveling to Mexico soon. It’s been decades since I’ve been out of the country. I haven’t traveled outside the U.S. since the time of traveler’s checks. Do people still use those?

      1. No. I just take my debit card and withdraw cash at the airport when I arrive but mostly pay for things with my credit card or debit card.
        Check which international systems your debit card and credit card is with and what exchange rate you get. You used to get the bank rate which was great but banks are moving away from it.
        Do figure out how you want to handle international calls on your cell phone . My husband buys a SIM card when he gets there; I mostly use wifi and have an add on with my usual carrier that charges me a flat fee for any 24 hours that I use the phone .
        You can also buy virtual and real SIM cards before you go—some phones have space to put in two SIM cards.

  17. Back home from a great week in Mexico. Beach was lovely – very little seaweed – and I walked several km everyday. We did a sea turtle snorkeling trip and swam in 2 undrrground cave centres. Second trip was to a Mayan ruin and cultural centre. Also swam in a cenote – less cave and more deep open hole in the ground. My SIL and I worked on our traveller’s notebooks (like a scrapbook but smaller and less formal). She had a mini printer so we could print photos. We had 2 close up visits with Raoul, the make monkey who hangs out at the resort.

    Long chat with DS this am about what he’s up to and his plans for his upcoming break week. FT call with BFF who said she would like to come and visit at the end of March. She’s also close to DH and we’re thrilled with her plans.

  18. The weather is holding. I organized my new fabric closet. I have around 250 pieces of yardage, not including scraps, fat quarters and the such.

    We are off to see Diana Krall as a late Valentine’s date.

  19. DH & I went to the Natural History Museum today, our first such outing in Los Angeles since pre-lockdown. With the cross-country move looming, I think we must try to visit (or revisit) as many places as possible. We have Done LA in many wonderful ways over the years, but a refresher can only be good.

    1. What a wonderful way to prepare for a move. I’m sure it will be a nice break from the packing.

  20. I filed my taxes! And my financial ethics form (required when serving on public boards). So ‘paperwork’ done.

    Tomorrow I have the last meeting of two weeks of various meetings. Since I’m off the election board, I am returning to more involvement with the Democrats and other pro-democracy groups. I get a week to ten days off before the monthly round starts again.

    I have happily moved on to a reread of Rest in Pink.

  21. I went home to check my mail and found a letter telling me that they are raising my food stamps on March 1st. I had such a good time calling my sister and telling her that she will get more help feeding her bottomless of a grandson. This was especially good news because last year they cut them a lot. I always feel guilty because if I screw up the application, it is their food budget that gets cut. But this time we didn’t have to pay for the raise in our Social Security with a cut in our food stamps.

  22. Today was the 2024 independent spirit awards. The show I was in Jury Duty one for best ensemble. I have an award for time travel, but this is my first award for acting and it was a beautiful event. It was an a tent in Santa Monica Beach I got a picture with Natalie Portman. There were so many lovely people there and I love walking around and just looking at the clothes. I have posts on Facebook, TikTok and Instagram but I have no idea on how to share them. It was such a happy event. It definitely has a big place in my heart memory .

  23. Happiness on Sunday night is always a given because I don’t work Mon, Tue & Wed.

    I am happy that I started walking again. I feel so much better. And it’s amazing how one short walk a day increases your overall energy. I am getting things done that I usually procrastinate forever about.

    Happy that I wrote a poem I love and a blogpost I love.

    Happy that I have a couple of events and some possible traveling to look forward to.
    My daughter has a painting in an art show. And, we are going to the Dali Museum in April. The museum is close by where we live. They have an exhibit right now that has 22 paintings from impressionists that they don’t normally have: Matisse, Cezanne, Monet, etc. I am eagerly anticipating both events!

  24. Well, this was an anxious week waiting to see what big “good news” that would be an alternative to hiring a personal assistant mom was going to tell us on the Sunday family call. Sure enough she got her license back. And insisted on telling us all at once because she wanted to gloat. I’m not sure what fantasies she has of us admitting we were wrong and she is safe to drive . But we were appalled. Her ability to stay focused for a 20 minute driving test doesn’t mean she will be safe driving around town especially when she insists on putting her dog uncrated in the front seat and getting distracted by him.

    We are terrified she will kill someone. For those who don’t know we got her license suspended a year ago when she drove into her house putting a 9 inch hole into it that you could see through. And that was after two years of documenting her dangerous driving.
    In the last year there was exactly one thing she didn’t do because she couldn’t drive —get fresh corn from a stand —and that was because she was too cheap to pay for a ride. (It’s a choice —I manage her money and she absolutely can afford to pay for rides anywhere she wants to go—she saves a third of her income every year.)

    Her selfishness and priorities for her convenience and lack of concern for others has us all deeply distraught and her treatment of us in how she told us was ugly. We basically all told her how appalled we were for 20 minutes and then hung up on her. I don’t know when any of us will be able to talk to her again. One sister is concerned that if we stop talking to her she will just do more secretive and dangerous things and that is a risk. But driving is the one thing that she can do that puts others at risk. So I am not sure I care. Obviously we are all still processing.

    So not a happy week overall.

    Small happies include the snowdrops and daffodils, the fact that Trump now has 27 days to put up $450 million to appeal his business fraud law suit on top of I think 10 days to put up $83 million plus anticipated interest to appeal Jean Carroll’s second lawsuit victory against him, and reading about the octopus that escaped from its tank and made it back to the ocean.

    Big happy is my son being very supportive and comforting over mom. Will talk to daughter today —5 hour time difference prevented that yesterday.

    1. Ugh, what awful news. I’m so sorry. As if things weren’t stressful enough around your mother already, now this. We’ve been in a similar situation with Sven’s grandad and his driver’s license, so I can imagine a little bit how troubling it is. And then all the rest on top of that.
      Happy to hear you have a supportive family around you to help you carry some of the load and hear you out when you need to vent. <3 Hope you've found some sleeping-aid as well so you at least get some rest. Jenny's books help me a lot when my brain is in shambles, so if it's been a while since you reread last, can definitely recommend.
      Sending huge bunches of hugs.

      1. Thank you!
        The thing that is cheering me a bit today is learning while discussing this with my son that he will now engage the cousin chat on this. I didn’t know my two and their seven cousins have a group chat —that makes me happy.

  25. This week’s happiness; art outing! Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies is a metal sculpture installation of wild horses galloping on a hillside which we got out to walk up and appreciate on our way to see a glass blowing demonstration. Glass artists used their forge and blowing tools to make beautiful glass apples, it was really amazing to see the process from start to finish. Also terrifying, that’s a dangerous art form.

    While there we discovered that they will use pet cremated remains to turn ashes into glass art which I had no idea was a thing but we all agreed that’s how we want to memorialize Periwinkle. (We lost Peri over a year ago and have just had the ashes in the container from the vet while we tried to figure out what to do.) I know that maybe doesn’t seem like happiness, but we finally know the right thing to do and that is a happy feeling.

  26. Happiness is convincing groups of people to do new york times connections puzzles. I like solving them individually as well but, unlike wordle, connections makes for a fantastic group activity.

  27. My happy for the week is that I saw the Dr today and the X-ray shows my wrist is healed. No more brace!

  28. I’m rereading THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK and finishing edits due tomorrow. (No reading yesterday, actually. At my desk from 9:30 am to 12:03 am. Long slog. Still not quite done.)

    I love rereading good books. It feels indulgent when there are so many new books I “should” be reading, but I’m at my home in Maine right now, it’s winter, and I’m loving the cold weather, sweaters, pellet stove, extra blankets on the bed.

    Returning to San Diego next week after a brief visit with my daughter in Atlanta. By then I’ll be ready for palm trees again. For now I’m embracing the winter!

    1. When you’re in Atlanta, it will either be 72 or 28. We are having quite the spring swing these days!

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