Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Talk



If you ask me, there's been a little too much discord out there lately. I’ve gotten into a few too many ideological debates on Facebook (okay, even one is too many for me, really, gives me such a headache). I’ve recently received two "chain" e-mails on subjects that raise my hackles, from people who either don’t know me very well or don’t care if it raises my hackles. In the news today, there was yet another story of suicide bombers killing American soldiers, another billboard somewhere comparing Obama to Stalin and Hitler, and oh my gosh, don’t forget the oil spill in the Gulf. On top of that, it was 103 degrees in Burbank today as I ran my usual errands. And that got me to thinking.

How do we not go crazy train these days?

So here's what I did. In a fit of defiance against the barrage of bad stuff, I started thinking about the little things that make my life happy. And it’s my blog so I’m writing it all down and perhaps you, dear reader, will start to think about the good things in your life. And so, in no particular order, these are some things that make me happy:

  Morning coffee from my French press. I’m serious, it’s the best way to make coffee. You should get one.

  Playing peek-a-boo with other people’s babies in stores and restaurants. Especially if the parents aren’t looking. I have no qualms about making goofy faces in public, as long as it makes a baby smile.

  Watching Dan fall asleep on the couch while we’re watching television. He’s just so darn cute. And then he wakes up with a start and says, “I’m a little tired!” like this is news. So darn cute.

  Listening to the Classic Rewind channel on Sirius radio in my car (channel 15). I'm listening to David Lee Roth do that wild shriek in “Running With The Devil”, which transports me in time to the back of the bus in high school, where that cute but slightly dangerous senior blasted it from a tape deck. Oh, heavens, he looked just like that stoner dude Dawson from Dazed and Confused (green shirt, below). He never knew I had a crush on him. Since now I can’t even remember his name, I guess he never will.


 All right, check ya later!


  Related: Dazed and Confused. And Grosse Pointe Blank, and The Big Lebowski, and Raising Arizona. Among some others. I like the funny movies.

  Picking up my daughters from camp or school and Claire leaps into my arms, not caring that I now have a 48-year-old lower back. And I don’t care either. (Until later.)

  The hummingbirds at the feeder outside my kitchen window.

  A cool California evening spent on the back porch with the fountain on, sharing a glass of good red wine with my neighbor Irene. Or maybe one of her killer raspberry martinis. (But only one.)

  Spending time with my new friends in the We Don’t Suck writing group. Because they are smart and talented and they think I am too. Which is awesome.

  Sweet potato fries. Dipped in ranch dressing.

  Reconnecting with a couple of old friends on Facebook. Especially Karen, who sent me some Skyline Chili. If you are not from Cincinnati, I’m sorry, you will not get what a big deal that is.
 
  Speaking of Cincinnati: oh, how happy I am when the Bengals win! This, of course, is tempered by the frequency of their losses. But that’s another blog post.

  Related: I love football. American football.

  Related: Dhani Tackles the Globe on the Travel Channel. Best show on television. (That's super hunky Dhani over there.)
 
  AirTalk with Larry Mantle on KPCC. Especially FilmWeek on Fridays at 11 a.m. He is the smartest guy on the radio and he talks about everything and has fascinating guests. And it’s usually not politics, but if it is, he is Switzerland, if you know what I mean. You can listen online at kpcc.org or on iTunes radio.

  Sedona, Arizona. My favorite place. Especially hiking the Red Rocks with Dan.

  Related: Dry saunas.

  Volunteering in the girls’ classrooms, teaching them art through the Meet the Masters program. At the end of this past year, I received a big thank you note signed by the second graders. Kate wrote: I like you a lot. Seriously, does it get any better than that?

  Shopping at Von’s and having my stuff rung up by Aaron, who babysits my kids. He is working his way through UCLA – working his ass off – and he is smart and kind and hard-working. Basically, the kind of young person who gives me hope for the future. So it’s always nice to see him. He always asks me how the kids are doing.

  I love it when my son Charlie, who is 13 and pretty much wants nothing to do with me, comes out of his cave to tell me something funny that happened. He has a great smile, that kid.

  I also love hearing him play the piano. And watching him. Makes my heart want to burst.

  Okay, I’ll say it: I love it when the kids are with their dad for a whole week in the summer, so I can be totally self-absorbed and go shopping, and then do the annual clean-and-purge in the girls’ room. (Yes, seriously, I look forward to that. Go figure.) They have gotten into the habit of asking me, before they go to their dad’s, “what are you going to do to our room?” because one time I painted in there, one wall in bright turquoise, moved the furniture and replaced the nasty carpet, all in one week. Mostly, though, I just throw stuff out, which they don’t notice.

   Wimbledon. I love to watch good-looking men in tennis whites. (Or even out of their tennis whites. Oh, Rafa...) So sue me.

  Office supplies make me happy. That’s weird. Also school supplies and new candles.

  Wedding shows on TV. I want to work at Kleinfeld’s with Randy Fenoli. Or be David Tutera’s assistant.

  Getting an idea for something I want to write about, then rushing home to write it, sitting on the couch with little dog Clem curled up next to me. Like right now.

I could keep going, but I only gave myself one hour to write down as many happy things as I could (and a little more time to find some pictures of the really hot ones). (Sorry, I didn't have a photo of Dan falling asleep.) Now it's your turn to write your own list. Better still, share with me in the comments section below. Please?

It will make me so happy if you do.


9 comments:

  1. How can I resist? :-)

    1. Sushi - I don't just "like" it... it makes me HAPPY. It is something Tim introduced me to and we make all kinds of crazy noises as we eat it because, well, it makes us happy.

    2. Sharing - Mitzvahs - having something I can give away to make the world a better place or cause someone to smile.

    3. Facebook. I love stretching my brain with some of the smartest, wittiest, most passionate people I know... whether we are agreeing on a point, or not. I'm happy seeing my old friends every day. I love hearing about their kids, jobs, vacations, loves, and seeing the people they have become... the really good people. It would have made my momma proud that I picked such good people to be my friends all those years ago.

    4. Scrapbooking makes me happy Everything about it... preserving the memories, playing with paper and glue, writing, staring at pictures of the people I love and then turning a simple photograph into something my family thinks is art.

    5. The lady at the McDonald's drive-thru who I see every M-F when I get my "large, unsweetened iced tea with four packets of Splenda." She is 80 years old and every day says, "See ya tomorrow!" as I start to drive away.

    6. I can't have a list of things that make me happy without my kids on it. Caitlin the serious beauty and Johanna, who always has a party going on in her head. It makes my heart soar when either of them call me "momma."

    There are lots and lots more things, but I feel like a hijacker, so I'm going to stop. :-) Thanks for making me think happy thoughts tonight, Leanne. I love, love, LOVE your list.

    Karen (who can't remember her Google ID)

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  2. Hi Leanne! I didn't know you had a blog - boo me - but now I do - so yay me!
    1)Sleeping in & the sun sparkling through the breeze-touched leaves outside my bedroom window (doesn't happen til about 10ish, so I have to sleep in to see it!).
    2)Dying commercial yarn or spinning my own yarn on my spinning wheel.
    3)Ditto on office/school supplies
    4)Being silly and laughing with my kids
    5)The popping sound of canning jars sealing.
    6)Making visible progress on a project
    7)My dogs greeting me with full-body wags when I return home after ANY period of time - even getting the mail.
    8)The sound of baby/toddler laughter
    9)Being with friends old and new with whom I can just be myself
    There's lots more - and I really needed this exercise - thanks. And now that I know you are here - I'll check back more regularly! Tammy

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  3. Happiness is:

    the time of day when the sun is low and shines sideways across everything and is bright but mellow at the same time.

    meat charring on the grill while I sit in my chair in the backyard with my iPod and my timer.

    the La Crescenta wild parrots flying across the sky, calling raucously to their flock at sundown.

    Bir-bir asking if the bacon is good, right before I give him a piece.

    8th Sin Espresso Dante - first thing in the morning.

    discovering a new cooking skill.

    tooling around in my old Acura Integra stick-shift, with old tunes blasting from my iPod, remembering better times...

    oh yeah, and raspberry martinis :-)

    'nuff said.

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  4. Wandering around the Williams-Sonoma store (I don't even have to buy anything)

    Starbucks Dark Chocolate Cherry Mocha with Soy, no whip

    The sound of pugs snoring

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  5. Things that make me happy:
    * Starting off my day by reading my friend's blog posting and thinking happy thoughts myself...and a good cup of coffee.
    * Quiet.
    * Related: Taking my kayak out (early, before it gets too hot), drifting close to the osprey, heron, and bald eagle nests in June Creek and hopefully catching a glimpse. I'm happy EVERY time I see a Great Blue Heron.
    * Related: Spotting wildlife. And watching the excitement in my kids when they see something first.
    * Family Game Night. Even when I lose.
    * Related: Watching my kids enjoying being together; that really warms my heart.
    * Trying new recipes that my family likes. Extra happiness if someone else cleans up the kitchen.
    * Manners. When the man at the post office held the door for me, even though my box was teeny weeny, it gave me hope for humanity. I don't even mind being called "ma'am".
    * Waterfalls, and the hike to discover a new one.
    * Related: Sharing new adventures and discoveries with my family.
    * Related: Road Trips.

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  6. What a lovely post! My list would have quite a lot of overlap with your list. No wonder you were my favorite in that class! Cheers! (Clinking with a glass of red.)

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  7. What a nice compliment, thank you Leanne!

    It always nice to stop and think about the things you like about the world around you.

    Here are some of mine-

    -The feeling of a cool movie theatre.

    -The vanilla body spray stuff that girls wear.

    -Sitting underneath a waterfall.

    -Sleeping with a fan blowing on you.

    -Yelling at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

    -Children laughing.

    -Sitting in the freezer at Vons.

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  8. Attempt #2

    Leanne, your blog has had me thinking for the past few days of all the things that make me happy. What a great way to fill your thoughts, right! Since I don’t have any children, I really enjoy the pictures, stories, and videos you post about your beautiful and amazing kids. Please post more, if you can. (This goes for you, too, Bob and Dan!) I hate that you’re all so far away.

    But this is about ‘happy talk’ so here are a few things that make me happy:

    Since it’s on now, Brian Williams. I heart Brian Williams and his baby blues and the nightly news (thanks, Shane!).

    The zoo that is my house. Three cats, two dogs, one husband, a yard full of birds at the birdfeeder and birdbath, and lizards on the sidewalk.

    The full body tail wag that is my dog smiling. OMG! We have the best dogs. And I want more.

    Sitting on a plane, preferably, on a clear day and at a window seat. I could look out the window for hours and hours while everyone else is sleeping. (How can they NOT look out the window?!) I can pick out so many cities and landmarks from the air now… it’s the real map and I LOVE maps.

    Related: Visiting San Francisco on a boondoggle from work in Fresno and catching up with my good friend, Tony. He has impeccable taste and tells me where to eat and drink in multiple cities, not just San Francisco.


    Dottie’s True Blue Café for breakfast or lunch is totally worth the 55 minute wait in the rain with the homeless. I have not been able to re-create the incredible and delicious “lemon-thyme martini” I had at Bourbon and Branch (across the street) with Tony. This “anti-saloon” requires you to make a reservation and know the password in order to get in the door.


    Related: Visiting NYC, even if it is for work. Bleeker Street for Porto Rico Coffee Company coffee (thanks Amy!). Cornelian Street Café (dinner with Dad and where Lady Gaga once worked). Pegu Club for a French Pearl cocktail (thanks again, Tony!). Mexican Radio for sum yummy Mexican (thanks Paul!). Oooh, and getting to 30 Rock on a Monday morning to be on the Today show (wink wink Christian Slater and Billy Bush!) then running back to the hotel to change into a suit and begin a workday. Whew! That was fun!!!

    Related: Visiting Chicago, also for work. I love the big silver bean and the museums. I recently reconnected with my high school bf Joey there. Bonus! (thanks facebook!)

    Related: Visiting Santa Monica, Cheyenne, and Tulsa for work but also allows me to visit my siblings and their families in their nearby cities.

    Related: Going to a new city and liking it so much I researched home sales in the area. Then, days later, learning that it is #3 on CNN’s list of 100 best places to live.

    Learning that I once lived in the #1 best place to live.

    Similar to Dan writing good code, I like fantastic excel spreadsheet functions. (Too many people to thank for that.) They make my life so easy.

    And some of the simpler things:
    Seinfeld repeat episodes every night.
    Air conditioning in Florida.
    A good central Florida afternoon thunderstorm.
    Sushi (Seito sushi in Baldwin Park passed Tony’s “exceptional sushi” test. Dan liked it, too!)
    Peanut butter (I am so sorry for anyone allergic to it.)
    Strong delicious coffee in the morning.
    Our new fantastic gas grill!
    Reconnecting with old friends on facebook
    Falling asleep in the la-z-boy recliner, aka the palm of God.
    Pineapples growing in my back yard
    A shower after working out (how can one know pleasure if one does not know pain?)
    Knowing that Creed went to school with country music star, Steve Azar (Moo La Moo, I Don’t Have to Be Me ‘Till Monday). They used to jam together.


    Honestly, having more money at the end of the month. And saving as much as possible.
    No car payments since I can’t remember when.
    Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks films. Even though I don’t have kids, I still love them and cry when I watch them. (like any human)

    (my pictures of Dotties, Bourbon and Branch, and Steve Azar did not copy over...)

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  9. If I had money or a partner earning it, I think I would enjoy many of the things mentioned here. In lieu of that I will say that remembering my childhood and a simpler time (for me anyway) makes me happy. A walk in the woods. Playing music with friends. Getting to sleep until I wake up without an alarm. Thinking of the day my kid moves away. And of course, finally meeting "the" one for me - she makes me very happy and content.
    Thanks for the positive spin today Lean.

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