Happiness is Finding Out That Romance Novels Are Good For You

Okay, it’s actually that reading fiction is great exercise for your memory. Also, everybody here already knew that romance novels were good for us, but it’s always happy-making to get confirmation.

Dr.Richard Restak, quoted in an NYT essay by Hope Reese, said:

“One early indicator of memory issues, according to Dr. Restak, is giving up on fiction. “People, when they begin to have memory difficulties, tend to switch to reading nonfiction,” he said.

Over his decades of treating patients, Dr. Restak has noticed that fiction requires active engagement with the text, starting at the beginning and working through to the end. “You have to remember what the character did on Page 3 by the time you get to Page 11,” he said.

So there you go, fiction is good for your memory.

What do you remember about being happy this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, May 11, 2023

My book perusal this week is about what to move and what to pitch. I need all my books on magic because of the Rocky Start trilogy (sleight of hand magic, not casting spells). I need all my books on butterflies and ghosts because of the Alice book. All my books on art crime because of the Nadine book. All my Michael Gilberts and Emma Lathens. because some of those aren’t digital. All my books on herbs and poisonous plants because of You Again. All my demon books because of Nita. (I really need to finish some solo books and get rid of the research stuff.). So mostly my book interaction is triage: what to keep and what to let go.

What did you keep reading this week?

Happiness is a New Possible Self

In an NYT essay, “Want to Make a Change? Conjure Your ‘Possible Selves,” Joanne Lipman argues for the power of positive imaging of a future you, building a bridge from “the now self to the possible self.” Building that bridge, Lipman suggests, means taking active beginning steps, finding a support person/”expert companion”, sharing your goals with others, and reach out to people who aren’t close to you.

I am clearly at a place where I need to change my life, so I am looking at all of those things, the big thing being, what do I want my possible self to be? I’m still not sure, but imagining different possible selves, doorways to the future, is making me happy this week.

What possibilities (and anything else) made you happy this week?

Happiness is a Tribe

So Friday was a nightmare, five guys and a truck and house full of stuff to go through. I had a panic attack in the middle of the night, followed by an allergy attack, followed by no sleep, and the the truck came . . .

But before the truck got there, Krissie was there, and then Mollie came, and then Jamie was there, and put chairs out in front and made me sit there with them, and we laughed a lot and I just sat there amazed: people were taking care of me. My best friend, my daughter, my therapist, all showed up to surround me and make me feel secure and loved in spite of what a mess I am.

I think a lot of us just take care of people, it’s what we do, so when the world flips around, we get dizzy with emotional vertigo, and we have to let others step up, and it can be terrifying. Unless you have a tribe. Then you just laugh and eat breakfast at noon and hug each other. That was the other thing: They all like each other a lot, they all have friendships and respect for each other, and I’d be lost without them.

So this is to thank Mollie and Krissie and Jamie for being the best of all possible tribes and for getting me through Friday. You are the best, and I’m the luckiest damn woman I know. And this is also to ask a comment request: If you have a tribe, who’s in it? How do you support each other? What makes you laugh together and hold onto each other and show up for each other?

And finally, how did you find happiness this week, with a tribe or solo?

This is a Good Book Thursday, May 4, 2023

I’m swamped this week–houseguest coming today, Junk Doctors coming tomorrow, nervous breakdown coming Saturday–so I haven’t been reading anything but Bob’s e-mails on the collaboration–he asked if the bears are helping with the clean-out–and the contracts on the new place in PA. And pieces of Murderbot whenever I start to scream. Things will be back to almost normal next week. Probably. Argh.

What did you read this week?

Working Wednesday, May 3, 2023

It’s May. I mean I’m grateful for spring, but that was fast. And now I’m spring cleaning, although it really more death cleaning, cleaning to move, so it’s radical. Not just washing sheets, throwing sheets out. I have my tribe coming on Friday–best friend, daughter, therapist (she volunteered) to help Junk Doctors fill a big truck and leave me lighter and freer. It’s terrifying.

What terrifying work are you doing this week?

Happiness is a Cat Who Cuddles

Two years ago, I adopted a feral, three-pawed cat that was living in my garage. I put food inside the door into the house, and when the cat came in to eat–it was very thin–I pulled the door shut and trapped it. It was not happy, but there was a lot of designer cat food and clean water and an electric heating pad to sleep on and nobody hassled it–the dogs kind of shrugged and gave it space and I petted it whenever it came near but otherwise, the cat stayed in the back of the house and we lived in the front–so it just settled in. Then it started coming to the door of the bedroom where we were hanging out–me typing, dogs sleeping–and watching us, ignoring me when I patted the bed for it to join us, chowing down on all that cat food and bulking up (it’s a Maine Coon and they are not small by nature). And then one day, it jumped on the bed, curled up beside me, and purred. I called it Emily William, since I had no idea what sex it was, and Emily W. moved into the front bedroom with us and never left.

Emily turned out to be a cuddler. She likes sitting in the bay window during the day, examining the landscape for whatever, but at night she’s right by my side, bumping her forehead into my arm to get an ear scratch, putting her head on my pillow to touch her nose to mine, squirming her way between me and Veronica as we sleep. I’m used to dogs being cuddlers, but a cat cuddler is a new experience for me, a big warm thank you and a soft demand for me to pay attention to this relationship. Happiness is Emily William settling in for the night, and settling me in, too.

What made you happy settling in this week?