Month: April 2014

I Am Genuinely Happy for You. I Really Am!

Happy Faces

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

It’s possible that I have the worst memory of anyone I know. I don’t remember dates, people, places, memories, moments – none of it. It’s as if my brain has reached its storage capacity and all memories stored here need to be purged and saved to an external brain storage device before anything new can be uploaded. It’s terrible. And I think it’s the reason why I feel the need to write so often now. It’s easier to remember when you have the story to remind you.

If you were to run a movie directly from the memories stored in my brain, it would undoubtedly play out like a disturbing mystery. Fleeting moments, nameless people, strange places and puzzling emotions. I imagine it would have a dizzying effect on anyone trying to watch. But the moments of clarity – those random vivid memories – would keep viewers fascinated…or at least I like to think they would.

Two of my most vivid memories happened years apart but were oddly similar.  One involved my mom, the other involved my sisters.  In both memories, I recall staring at both my mother and my sister in awe.

The memory of my mom started out on the back lawn of my cousin’s new home.  It was a magnificent home out on Long Island;  Southampton to be exact.  My cousin was hosting a dual celebration:  his 40th birthday and his retirement from the working world.  Yep, you heard right – he was retiring at the ripe old age of 40.  Go ahead, say it – what the f….?

The memory of my sisters started out inside the new home of one of them.  My sister had just purchased her first home and was beyond thrilled.  The other was in the midst of a terrible divorce.  It was a difficult time for her.  The disparities in their lives at the time were enough to make you stop and think what the f….?

What makes these memories similar in my mind?  Both my mom and my sister found themselves caught in the happiness of others.  They had two choices:  they could smile and offer congratulations and then immediately begrudge that happiness, offering a multitude of reasons why they didn’t deserve it or how they had done nothing to earn it.  Or they could bask in the happiness that had been earned and truly was deserved.

Both of them chose to bask.

I love those two memories.  The memory of my mother sitting back on a lawn chair in my cousin’s yard, looking around at the success that she didn’t fully recognize was his until that moment.  She was glowing.  She was so proud.  She was so genuinely happy for him and she wished over and over that her own father could be there to bask in that happiness.  My sister, too, was so proud and so genuinely happy to share in our other sister’s happiness.  I think those memories have stuck with me because the pure goodness of what they felt is so unusual.

We humans seem to have a general distaste for the happiness of other humans – don’t you think?  It’s somewhat fascinating to think that social media sites, like Facebook, are so popular.  Why are we hooked on them when we experience a collective eye roll whenever anyone posts anything positive about their life, their marriage, their kids?  Would we prefer to hear about each others’ misery?

I, for one, prefer to catch the glowing outer edges of other people’s happiness.  It brings a little bit more happiness into my own life and – if memory serves me right – its worked well for my mom and my sister.

 

 

 

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My Husband, The Legend

My husband wandered through the kitchen tonight at the exact moment I was testing my daughter on her geography term, legend.

“I’m a legend,” he proclaimed and then disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

I couldn’t contain my laughter in that moment and it only took a few seconds for the irony of his statement to kick in.  He is a bit of a legendary creature in our lives.  My uncles enjoy referring to him as the ghostly creature because they rarely get to see him.  They never miss an opportunity to razz him about it – that’s been going on since the day after our wedding.  Of course, I rarely see my uncles so, in reality, we are all somewhat ghostly figures in each other’s lives.

Hmmm.  Interesting.  I never thought about it that way.

Anyway…. like most homes, ours has a rhythm to it.  We understand each other’s moods, we’ve developed a system around our quirks and we respect the routine that is our life.  A new pattern is added to our rhythm on days when my husband is home from work.  Things move differently when he is here – as if we add cymbals to our drum set once a week.

Is that a good analogy?  I’m not sure, but I think you understand what I mean.

This week has been an unusual week.  We’ve kept our cymbals on our drum set for several days in a row now and I like this new rhythm!  Translation?  My husband has been home for several days and I like having him here. 

I suppose legendary creatures have that effect.

 

 

 

 

Procrastination is my Super Power

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had an incredibly productive weekend.

I feel as though I’m lying to you and yet, I’m not.  I really did have a productive weekend, but that was only because I had to have a productive weekend.  Procrastination has that affect on me.

What’s that saying?  “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”

I’m embarrassed to admit that I do, occasionally, live by those words.  I always have the best intentions and I always have such wonderful plans…and then life gets in the way.  Most of the time I’m simply trying to keep up with my day-to-day.  Add a special occasion to the mix and…. well, let’s just say I am quite skilled at pulling off some pretty amazing things on a moments’ notice.

I like to think of it as my super power….second only to my happiness power 🙂

The S.S. Minnow

SS MinnowSo I just  sat down to write.  I had a thought and a plan and I knew what I wanted to say.  It promised to be a really great post – I think.  Quite honestly, I can’t remember what it was that I wanted to write about anymore.  You see, I sat down in front of the TV to try and write.

Bad idea.

Now I’m entrenched in a TV Land episode of Gilligan’s Island and, truthfully, I’m happy about that!

It’s the episode when Maryanne hits her head and wakes up believing that she’s Ginger.  The Professor, in his very professor-like tone, declares that every girl longs to be a movie star at some point in life.  Really?  I don’t remember ever wanting to be a movie star.  If I were to be a movie star, it would definitely be one with really great legs.

I’m thinking out loud again.

Actually, now that I think about it, I did want to be Peter Pan when I was a kid.  I wanted to fly.  That was the first Broadway show that I’d ever seen;  obviously it had an impact.  I was Peter Pan for Halloween that year.

Anyway…. I’m writing in fragments because I’m fixated on this show.  There’s just nothing like this on TV anymore.

I think my mother just came out of my mouth.  Ouch.

I’m guessing this is not my greatest post.  I apologize for that.  But, you should tune in to TV Land…. I promise it’ll make you happy!

 

Yes! Yes! Yes!

This is not the infamous Yes, yes, yes! of When Harry Met Sally.  That was a great movie and a really great Meg Ryan moment, but this is a completely different Yes! moment.

This is the Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking – I’m so glad somebody else gets it kind of yes.

I was talking with a friend this afternoon.  We don’t know each other well and my guess is that, as a follower of my blog, she has fallen hook, line and sinker for the belief that my life is perfectly happy every single day.  That makes me cringe.  Not because I don’t want a perfectly happy life – we all want a perfectly happy life – but that’s just not realistic.  There are moments in life that are happy.  There are moments in each day that are happy.  But a lifetime of pure happiness is simply unrealistic.  If every moment of every day of every year were perfect, we would never truly appreciate that perfection.  We would never truly know happiness.

At least that’s what I believe.

There are roadblocks, there are pitfalls, there are challenges.  There is anger, there is sadness, there is resentment.  There are twists and turns on everyone’s journey….including mine.  In one single day, those twists and turns have occasionally given me whiplash.

That’s life.

I didn’t challenge myself to write a blog about a full year of happiness because I thought it would be easy.  God knows there are days when it is really, really hard.  It’s called a challenge because that’s exactly what it is.  A dare of sorts.  A dare to find happiness in at least one moment of every single day for a full year.

I can’t tell you how happy I am for accepting the challenge.

All of these thoughts were bouncing around in my head all day long.  I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t know how.  I didn’t know how to explain that my life isn’t pure happiness while also pointing out that there is pure happiness in life.

You had to read that last sentence over again, didn’t you?  Now you know exactly how my brain was feeling all day long!

It wasn’t until late this evening, when I finally sat down to write, that I noticed a message from another friend.  It was as if she had been reading my mind;  as if she knew that I needed someone or something to help me find the right words, the right thought.  That’s when the Yes! Yes! Yes! moment happened.  Here’s part of what she sent:

We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.

It was a posting from 100HappyDays.com – a site challenging people to join in on an ‘experiment’ of sorts.  It’s a simple concept.  Every day, submit a picture (no words needed) of something that made you happy during your day.  That’s it.  So simple, but so many people gave up.  So many people couldn’t commit themselves to 100 days of snapping a picture.  So many people chose to ignore just a little bit of happiness.  I wanted to scream!

This entire blog is dedicated to that same experiment.  I have rotten days just like everybody else, but this is not the space for that.  This is a space to focus on the positive – to find some happiness – even if it is a fleeting moment of happiness buried in the middle of a really bad day.  And that makes all the difference.  It makes a rotten day a little less rotten, and it makes a happy day even happier.  It’s a feeling I want to share with every single person I know, but I can’t.  It’s a feeling that you can only get by consciously committing yourself to finding one moment of happiness in each day….. and let me tell you, it is sooooo worth the effort!

Join #100HappyDays PLEASE.  I promise – you’ll be happy you did.

Happy Hour and Some Other Stuff

20140425-210227.jpgRemember the days of Friday night happy hours that started promptly at 5pm?

Me neither.

These days, happy hour is defined as the 60 minutes between when my girls shut their eyes and fall asleep and when my eyes can’t stay open a minute longer.  I’m about 30 minutes into my happy hour, so I’ll make this brief.

There are so many things that I want to write about tonight;  so much positive energy (is that too crunchy granola/zen to admit?) floating around.  Lots of great things happening for lots of good people around me.  That alone makes me happy.

Some other stuff made me happy today too.20140425-222532.jpg

Look at this picture.  This is an impromptu human tunnel of college girls cheering on my 7 year old and her lacrosse team.  I’m a sap – this made me teary eyed…. happy teary-eyed, but teary-eyed all the same.

My daughter and her team got to show off a little bit during half-time at the ‘big’ girls’ game.  They looked so little when they took the field.  It was absolutely adorable.  One of those moments that, as a parent, you file in your memory bank and know that you’ll never forget.

I like memorable days…. they make me happy.

 

 

Ginormous Tomatoes

tomatoesMy life happened in segments today.  I suppose it always does, but today seemed particularly segmented – almost as if there were several days packed into one.  There was the work segment, the me segment, the hubby segment, the kid segment and finally, the middle school orientation segment.  Eeek!

The nice thing?  With the exception of a little middle school angst (mine, not my daughter’s), every segment was surprisingly pleasant today.  That may have had something to do with the benefits of being married to a chef.

You will likely – no, you will definitely – witness my ongoing internal battle with the benefits and drawbacks of being married to a chef.  It’s a tough business for a chef…..and for his family.  But, there are definitely some pretty awesome benefits.  Like today, for example, my husband was home on a random Thursday and he cooked.

Wait, wait… that doesn’t really sound like anything special.  Let me try again.

My hubby spent a random weekday at home with me today.  Most days, I work from home and I’m used to having the house to myself.  Sharing my ‘work’ space with my husband or with my kids unexpectedly is not always a welcome development.  It can be distracting – to say the least.  Today, though, was pretty awesome.

Midway through my day, stomach growling, my husband asked, “Do you want me to make you something?”  I eyed his plate, not knowing exactly what was on it.  I could see french bread, balsamic vinegar and these ginormous red, juicy tomatoes.  Ummm. Yes, please!  Delish.

Normally my lunch consists of a container of yogurt and, if I’m feeling crazy, I might add a little granola to the mix.  Yep, I’m nutty like that.  Dinner doesn’t stray much from my pathetic lunchtime menu, but my girls seem to enjoy it.  I think.  But, occasionally we don’t mind a little variety in our life, so we enjoy having a chef in the house on a random Thursday.

He made dinner too.  I’m giggling.  It was really good.  I am really happy.