Wednesday, August 31, 2011

#62: Fairs

Reason to Be Happy # 62:

I adore county fairs. I adore state fairs. Maybe it's a midwestern/heartland thing. Maybe it's a just a fondness from childhood memories. Whatever the reason, I'm a sucker for the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the fair, no matter how clich├ęd, sentimental, or deep fried. The next few posts will be devoted to county fair reasons to be happy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#61: Marking Items Off a List

Reason to Be Happy #61:
Marking Items Off a List

Ahh...the ultimate feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
(Again, I must note that this is not one of my own lists. On my own lists, each item is broken into several parts, just so I have the satisfaction of marking more things as "done.")

Did you read this list, though? It's pretty funny...

Monday, August 29, 2011

#60: Making Lists

Reason to Be Happy #60:
Making Lists

Are you a listmaker? I love making lists. I'm a little neurotic about it. So much so that I had to pull images of lists from the internet rather than photographing any of my own—I didn't want anyone to see just how detailed and kind of crazy mine are! Lists make everything seem manageable and in control. Seem is the key word—we all know life really isn't anything we can control. But a little illusion sometimes gets ya through your day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

#59: Watermelon

Reason to Be Happy #59:

What's better on a hot, summer day than to eat a big bite of red, sloppy watermelon, the juice oozing down your chin and elbows. And then you have to spit the seeds off the porch, right?
Right? of the tastes of summertime.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

#58: Ferris Wheels

Reason to Be Happy #58:
Ferris Wheels

Friday, August 26, 2011

#57: Finishing Something Difficult

Reason to Be Happy #57:

Finishing Something Difficult

You know what this "means" for you. It could be accomplishing a goal, finishing a marathon, doing something that scares you. Pushing through something difficult, whether it's difficult physically or emotionally (or both!) is something to be proud of...and getting to the finish line is a BIG DEAL.

Today is my LAST of 35 radiation treatments for cancer.
(Caught early, not invasive, excellent prognosis).
That's a mighty big reason to be happy. :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

#56: Zombie Apocalypse Stories

Reason to be Happy #56:


Many people are surprised to learn I have a real soft spot in my heart for zombie stories. I love them. I love all apocalyptic stories, but especially those that start with a good "zombie virus."

I think I'd be a pretty darn good person to have on your team in a zombie apocalypse. If you've seen my garden posts, you know I could be in charge of Post Apocalyptic Food Production. You know, the two main keys to surviving the ZA will be guns and seeds. You're gonna need both.

For other good "rules" about the ZA, be sure to check out the fun comedy Zombieland. Yes, there are zombie comedies. Great ones, like Shaun of the Dead!

Featured here are some of my favorite zombie books, movies, and television shows. Can't wait for the return of The Walking Dead series this fall. Check out the full length trailer for it featured at the San Diego Comic-Con.

And then, there are these fantastic people. People who feel just like I do about zombies. So much so that their engagement photos featured a zombie attack! Another reason to be happy is that such fun, smart people exist. You know they're a blast. I wish I knew them. I'd invite them to a dinner party!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#55: The Sound of an Ice Cream Truck

Reason to Be Happy #55:

The Sound of an Ice Cream Truck

One of the quintessential sounds of summer. Sure, some people find it annoying, but it always brings a smile to my face. Just thinking of the sound conjures up a hot, summer day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

#54: That Spot on a Horse Muzzle That Feels Like Velvet

Reason to Be Happy #54: That Spot on a Horse Muzzle that Feels Like Velvet

You know, that slightly indented spot right above their nostrils? It feels like old, worn velvet.
One of the softest things to touch in this world.

Monday, August 22, 2011

#53: Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Reason to Be Happy #53:
Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Made all the better by being delivered to my home by my good friend, Debra.
This ice cream was nearly a religious experience.
Made with fresh, in season peaches, of course. Yummmmm.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

#52: The word feckless

Reason to Be Happy #52: The word Feckless

A perfect word that's too little used for my liking.
Make it your goal to use it once this week.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

#51: Garden Harvest

Reason to Be Happy #51:
Garden Harvest

At this time of year, I go outside to wander the garden and gather up bounty on a daily basis. There's something so satisfying about it. I love heading out to "pick what's for dinner." Veggie pizzas, caprese salad, salads of all kind, gazpacho, cucumber soup, salsas, roasted red peppers...

Friday, August 19, 2011

#50: When My Cat Sucks on Blankets

Reason to Be Happy #50:
When My Cat Sucks on Blankets

I know. That's very odd. Joey is very odd in many ways.
He was abandoned before he was weaned, and this habit is common in cats with that history. If he's sitting on my lap falling asleep, he often sucks on my sleeve. If I'm sleeveless, he sucks the inside of my elbow.

Yes, I have cat hickies.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#49: The Brooklyn Bridge

Reason to Be Happy #49:
The Brooklyn Bridge

Be sure to walk the bridge at many different times of day for different vibes.
I highly recommend walking it under a full moon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

#48: Manatees

Reason to Be Happy #48:

I absolutely love them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Reason to Be Happy #47:

Really. Need I say more?

Monday, August 15, 2011

#46: Riding the Front Car of a Rollercoaster

Reason to Be Happy #46:
Riding the Front Car of a Rollercoaster

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#45: Living in the Age of Modern Medicine

Reason to Be Happy #45:
Living in the Age of Modern Medicine

Think about it. No leeches or blood-letting for us. Whew...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

#44: In-N-Out Burger in LA

Reason to Be Happy #44:
In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles, CA

This is an experience, especially when consumed with fun, talented friends.
Don't forget to order a shake!

Friday, August 12, 2011

#43: Books

Reason to be Happy #43:

Obviously, this list is in no particular order.
Because imagining a life without books feels like having a limb amputated.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

#42: Key Lime Pie

Reason to Be Happy #42: Key Lime Pie

Especially when it's real key lime pie, and it's the right color—yellow, not that fake antifreeze green. Apparently, there is much debate among purists as to what makes a "real" key lime pie. I say, if you make it with key limes, you're in. Oh, and put it in the freezer for a real treat!

Here's the recipe I like:
(from Carol Rini's "Cooking Today" in The Dayton Daily News, July 14, 2008)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Dash of ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
7 to 8 tablespoons melted butter

2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
dash of salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup key lime juice
Dash of vanilla
1 3/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add melted butter until mixture binds together. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, slat, sugar, key lime juice, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with a hand mixer until they thicken and form soft peaks. Slowly fold the egg whites into the condensed milk mixture. Pour the combined mixture into the pie shell and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Let pie cool completely before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and lime if desired.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

#41: Forgotten Money Found in Your Pocket

Reason to Be Happy #41:
Forgotten Money Found in Your Pocket

Whether it's just $1 change you shoved in a pocket and forgot, or a $20 in a purse you rarely use, it's always such a joy to "discover" money you forgot you had.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Reason to Be Happy #40: POPSICLES

(especially on a hot summer day)

Monday, August 8, 2011

#39: The Aroma of Coffee

Reason to Be Happy #39:
The Aroma of Coffee

Even if you don't like the taste, the aroma of coffee is a heavenly thing. In the beautiful play Our Town, dead Emily lovingly says goodbye to all the simple pleasures on earth she will never savor again—and it's worth noting "the smell of coffee" makes her list.*

*Okay, I just looked up Emily's "Goodbye, world" speech. She says goodbye to coffee. Just coffee in general. But I like to believe it's the aroma she's thinking of when she says it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#38: Being Safe

Reason to Be Happy #38:
Being Safe

I don't mean acting in a safe matter, but the state of being safe. I know that nothing is certain in life and that anything is possible, but I also know that I have lived every day of my life with a very low statistical chance that I will be killed by a stray bullet, a bomb, marauding bands of rebels, or a neighbor with a machete. Really, when you think about it, that's a pretty darn good reason to be happy.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

#37: Lazy Weekend Mornings

Reason to Be Happy #37:
Lazy Weekend Mornings

The perfect lazy weekend morning includes most, if not all, of the following:

1. Waking on your own, not to an alarm
2. Good coffee
3. A pastry you had the foresight to buy the day before
4. Time to finish the crossword
5. Time to do the Jumble
6. Time to truly read the paper (not just skim)
7. No commitments until at least 2:00 PM
8. Never having to look at a watch, phone, or clock because there's nothing scheduled
9. Staying in pajamas until noon or later
10. NPR (especially Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and This American Life)

Friday, August 5, 2011

#36: Road Trips to IKEA

Reason to Be Happy #36: Road Trips to IKEA

My friend Lauren and I want to make a reality TV show about people living in an IKEA, cooking in their kitchens, sleeping in their bedrooms, working at their desks...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#35: Dark Chocolate

Reason to Be Happy #35:
Dark Chocolate

"There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate."
—Linda Grayson

"Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power. It is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits."
—Baron Justus von Liebig

"Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies."
—John Q. Tullius

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#34: The Smell of Band-Aids

Reason to Be Happy #34:
The Smell of Band-Aids

Is that too weird? It's a nice, comforting smell. I swear.
You've probably just never noticed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

#33: Butterflies

Reason to Be Happy #33:

A perfect meditation is to stand still and watch them for a few minutes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

#32: Fresh Strawberries

Reason to Be Happy #32:
Fresh Strawberries Picked From the Garden

(made all the sweeter by getting them before the squirrels and raccoons do)