Archive for the ‘happiness’ Category

Recently I had a conversation with someone I have not known long, and after mentioning some of the activities I had planned for the weekend, they replied, “How do you do all that?” I  made an offhand remark about making time by eliminating chores like laundry and dishes from my daily routine. (If only that were a joke…) I thought about what she said though, and why these varied activities are a part of my life. The reason is, they make me happy. In fact, one my earliest posts on this blog was about the capacity for happiness. We all have things we do because they enhance our lives – and if you don’t have these things, I’m willing to bet you’re not a very happy person.

Une petit prince: Adding what is needed; taking away what is not.

That’s not to say that activities equal happiness. There is a yin to this yang – Antoine du Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince) wrote, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Part of happiness is balance of doing and not doing. The list of things I don’t do is much longer than this humble list, in no particular order, of things that make me happy. (more…)


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All the seasons prove

I can only love you more

Year upon year, sir.

What I was doing on May 24, 2009!


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A few weeks ago I posted a picture of a little owl pendant from an Etsy shop. Today, said owl pendant arrived in the mail, with no clue how it came to me! I smile – someone sent me a surprise! Speak up, you giver of gifts. 🙂

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Window shopping has a different meaning than it used to. Today, it means there’s a browser window open to etsy.com, and I thought I’d share some things from my Favorites with you. Would you like to window shop with me? (These links are all set to open in a new window, in the spirit of the thing.)

From Everyday Adornments, a pendant that makes me happy:

I think owls are mysterious, cheery and aloof.


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Have you ever been commended for kissing?

The world really loves PDAs when they’re done right. Nearly every morning, bleary-eyed and coffee perked, the Monkey and I leave the house and walk together. He, to the metro and I to my office at a charter school. When we reach the corner where we part ways, we always embrace and kiss. And nearly every time that happens, the kiss becomes one of those long sweet kisses that cause you to forget you’re in public, you’re freezing, you’re late… no external reality intrudes on the senses of the moment because this kiss is all-comsuming. Then we give a couple more quick pecks and rush off in different directions.

Fine PDAs of Western civilzation. One day, a couple weeks ago, a co-worker “caught” us kissing, and told me later, “You two looked like a movie.”

Another day, after that, a different co-worker told me, “I was at my window the other morning and saw you and and your husband kissing goodbye. That just made my day. I thought, that’s the way it ought to be.” (more…)

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Happy Chocolate!

Aphrodisiac, antioxidant, stimulant, and food art form, chocolate is perhaps, the most luxurious food on the planet. I’m not a huge chocoholic, but I do appreciate a delicious chocolate treat from time to time.

A study reported by the BBC indicated that melting chocolate in one’s mouth produced an increase in brain activity and heart rate that was more intense than that associated with passionate kissing, and also lasted four times as long after the activity had ended.

So I was very happy when this weeks vegetable delivery from South Mountain Veggies included a little bag of Valentines Day nonpareils. So I photographed them as I was eating them.

Happy Valentines Day!

Then I thought, why not also photograph my two tasty chocolate bars in the fridge, which I nibble a square at a time on nights I have a few calories to spare. They’re a great “designer chocolate” brand I pick up at D’Vines, my local wine shop. The Vosges creator has a fun blog, Peace, Love & Chocolate.

Note the little pictures on the squares!

What’s your favorite chocolate, and why?

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Please come in.

I love sharing my home. More importantly, I love being in my home.

I remember my first house – a small remodeled trailer with a living room addition built on the back. I had a big kitchen with a sliding door out onto a large deck. I had a dining room, and a living room with a wood burning stove that I learned to keep going all night – a worthy skill. Two bedrooms, a bathroom and a washer and dryer in the back hall (something I would later look back on and realize I was rich). I paid $250/month for this palace, because it was in rural Virginia and I rented it from my best friend’s father.

My next house was 30 miles away, closer to where I worked. It was a beautiful two story townhouse. The first floor had huge windows on three sides because it was an end unit, and comprised living room, small dining room and kitchen with a huge pantry. I cajoled my mother out of her pretty red chintz loveseat, thus beginning my love affair with red in the living room. I cooked meals here that I shared with another best friend (the one who would later introduce me to an old friend of hers, the Monkey I’d later move in with and marry).  This home had a backyard area, and I bought a firebowl and had late night parties all summer long with friends and wine.

After a stay in my grandmother’s home, while I attended photography school, I moved into the home of my friend, where we were happy roommates till that previously-mentioned introduction that led to me moving to DC to live with the Monkey. I did rent an apartment, but so much of my time was spent at his that home migrated, and ultimately officially blended into his. Home, during that period, was a kind of limbo where the Monkey and I negotiated taste, habits, space, arrangement and the amount of art any given wall should support while also negotiating the thrills and agonies of true love.

We moved from the first apartment we shared in Alexandria, to a basement apartment in Adams Morgan – a home we try to forget because the landlord living above us was a weeknight party animal with no discernible humanity – but a home we also remember as a place we struggled through a miserable winter together, watching entire seasons of The Office, playing Fable, and hiding out at Tryst when the house got too dark and small. It’s also the home where the Monkey and I got engaged – well, the park at the end the street is the actual spot, on a cold, snowy winter solstice night.

We fled that place to the home we share now, our first married home, a 10th floor apartment . The logistics were complicated – we had lived together in about 1100 square feet of space. For the first move we condensed to 800, and for the second, to 695. But that 695 is not counting the balcony we got out of the deal, a large outdoor space all our own overlooking Mt. Pleasant, Rock Creek Park, and a view of the National Cathedral. After our Memorial Day wedding, we spent the summer recovering our sanity on that balcony, drinking wine and watching the sunsets.

In the fall, I realized our house was a giant pile of crap. Not the apartment, but the inside of it – piles and piles of our crap covering up what was supposed to be a really nice place. Something had to be done! I cannot overstate the saving graces of ApartmentTherapy.com, the book Apartment Therapy (by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan), and the Fall Cure – an online-supported 8 week “course” in saving the life of your home.

Since a picture is worth at least several hundred words, I post a few pictures for your viewing pleasure – a full set of before and after pics are here. The upshot of this all is that I am proud of my home and we’ve worked hard together to make it ours. So, please come in.

Office space, just past the front door.

Kitchen cart, welcoming you.

Freshly painted bedroom.

Orchid on my bedroom dresser.

Living room, sofa.

View from our balcony.

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