Friday, September 30, 2011

#92: Sound of Rain Dripping Through Leaves

Reason to Be Happy #92:

The Sound of Rain Dripping Down through Leaves

"She loved the air after a hard rain, and the way a forest of dripping leaves fills itself with a sibilant percussion that empties your head of words."
—Barbara Kingsolver,
Prodigal Summer

photo by Maxim Sidorski

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#91: Baby Mini Pony

Reason to Be Happy #91:

Meeting a Baby Mini Pony

Ponies are already cute, as are most small versions of beautiful things. Miniature ponies are therefore that much more adorable than ponies. But a baby mini pony? Is the human heart meant to endure anything so cute?

I got to meet this handsome fellow—named Zamling (aka Zam Zam, or Zammy)—when he was only 8 hours old. He likes to climb into laps. He's a lap pony. And his size makes that an okay thing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#90: Ironweed

Reason to Be Happy #90:

It's the purple plant in the photos. It blooms in the Midwest about this time of year and is currently flourishing in my garden. I love it. I love it so much, I risked a zombie attack and suffered a major case of poison ivy just to get some in my garden. What? You don't know that story? Read my old post,
Zombies Cause Poison Ivy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#89: Smiling Dogs

Reason to Be Happy #89:

Smiling Dogs

I love when dogs look like they're smiling. It's impossible not to smile right back.

"The dog is the god of frolic." —Henry Ward Beecher

This lovely model is Booker T. He is also featured in my novel The Blessings of the Animals. I didn't even change his name! (My human characters are never based on real people, but the animals are often stolen straight from my life).

Monday, September 26, 2011

#88: Taking Naps

Reason to Be Happy #88:


Especially taking naps just because you can, not because you need to.

Napping is an art. Just ask Joey.

Remember resisting naptime as a kid? If only they'd re-institute it in high school...and keep it through the rest of adult life!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

#87: Smelling Baby Heads

Reason to Be Happy #87:
Smelling Baby Heads

Ever held a baby? Ever notice how their tiny little heads smell soooo sweet? There's nothing to even compare it to—they don't smell "like" anything else, except maybe innocence and promise.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

#86: Caprese Salad

Reason to Be Happy #86:

Caprese Salad with Tomatoes and Basil From the Garden

One of my favorite meals. Slice some good, warm bread and who needs anything else?

Friday, September 23, 2011

#85: Tomatoes lined up in the window

Reason to Be Happy #85:

The Sight of Tomatoes Lined Up in the Window of my favorite sights during this season. Look—there are even more tomatoes on the table outside! :-) I love to photograph produce, as any of my traveling companions can tell you. Stay tuned, there will be more produce—some international, even—in the posts ahead.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

#84: The smell of autumn

Reason to Be Happy #84:

That First Morning You Wake Up and Can Smell the Aroma of Autumn in the Air

Something crisp and spicy about it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#83: Slinkies

Reason to Be Happy #83:


Just like crayons (#82), a Slinky is a guaranteed stress-reliever and mood-brightener. This is a perfect care package gift if you know someone having a rough time.

(But can I just say, you get some mighty weird results when you Google "Slinky images." Just saying.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#82: Crayons!

Reason to Be Happy #82:


The smell alone makes me happy. They're lots cheaper than therapy, but highly effective at relieving stress. Did anyone else ever melt them on purpose? I loved to do that as a kid. As an adult, I have treated myself to the giant boxes, with the sharpener built in. Ah, heaven...

(Thanks to Jackie Mercurio for bumping this up higher on my list!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

#81: Junior Mints

Reason to Be Happy #81:

Junior Mints at the Movies

Okay, okay, I'll stop going on about the movies, I promise, but a nice big box of Junior Mints makes me so happy at the movies. Even the sound of them sliding out of the box makes me smile. Remember the Seinfeld Junior Mint episode? "They're very refreshing."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

#80: Movie Popcorn

Reason to Be Happy #80:

Movie Popcorn

Sure, it's overpriced, greasy and full of calories, but it tastes so good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#79: A Whole Box of Reasons to Be Happy

Reason to Be Happy #79:


Yesterday, my "author copies" arrived for my new book. As a writer, this is a big ol' whopping reason to be happy. Most publishing contracts include these standard 25 complimentary copies of your book, and they typically arrive a couple weeks before the publication date. A couple weeks before the publication date?! Gulp... That's right, REASONS TO BE HAPPY releases officially on October 4. Click here for blurbs, description, and an excerpt.

Friday, September 16, 2011

#78: Previews at the Movies

Reason to be Happy #78:

Previews at the Movies

I hate to be late to the movies. Hate. It. I won't go in if the movie's already started. I like the extra 10-20 minutes of trailers. I feel giddy each time another trailer pops up before the feature. I always thought it would be the best job in the world to get to watch movies and then decide how to put together the trailer. There's something so satisfying about finally seeing a trailer for a movie you're greatly anticipating. I'm that way about The Hunger Games, but so far we have just a "first glimpse" trailer that shows us very little action other than Katniss running through the woods.

Here are some trailers for movies I can't wait to see:

The Ides of March

We Need to Talk About Kevin
This book blew me away! Cannot wait to see the adaption.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Thursday, September 15, 2011

#77: Going to the Movies

Reason to Be Happy #77:


I adore going to movies. I much prefer to see them on the big screen, in the company of big crowds, with previews and all that hoopla, rather than at home. Obviously, I love stories, and movies are as high on my list as books are. It's a great, great pleasure to go watch a story unfold before your eyes.

I like all kinds of movies—independent, documentaries, big silly blockbusters, romantic comedies, zombie and vampire stories, you name it. Some people are surprised to learn I'm especially a sucker for the superheroes and a good heist movie.

*Pictured here are two of my favorite independent movie houses in the Dayton area: The Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs, and The Neon Movies in Dayton (that's an old pic of the Neon, sorry! It's now all jazzed up in a bunch of funky colors!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#76: Dancing Like an Idiot

Reason to be Happy #76:

Dancing Like an Idiot
When No One is Watching

It is a mercy there is no photo of this. :-)
If you haven't done it in a while, make it your goal today!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

#75: Summer Thunderstorms

Reason to Be Happy #75:

Summer Thunderstorms

Today's reason (although shared by me—bigtime!) is courtesy of Carrie Thurston and Kathy Frazier, who both listed it as their summer-specific reason to be happy entry in a recent book giveaway on my Facebook fan page. I love summer storms, although we certainly got more than our share of them in Ohio this year! I love them for the drama—hail, wind, warm rain, the lightning shows. Mother Nature showing off.

Monday, September 12, 2011

#74: Sleeping With the Windows Open

Today's Reason comes to us courtesy of "Kel Bel" from Amherst, Ohio. She was the winner of a galley copy of Reasons to Be Happy on my Facebook fan page. Thanks to everyone who entered by offering their own summer-specific reason to be happy.

Reason to Be Happy #74:

"Sleeping with the windows open, hearing the 'night-time' sounds as I'm falling asleep."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

#73: True Courage

Reason to Be Happy #73:

True Courage

Real heroes have it. Those who help others even at risk to their own safety. Those who are unselfish even in chaotic crisis. Those who will do what's right.

Remember them.
If they're still with us, thank them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

#72: Dayton's Greek Festival

Reason to Be Happy # 72:

Dayton's Greek Festival

Sooo much fun! Dancing, baklava, dancing, wine, dancing, gyros, dancing, moussaka, dancing, souvlaki, church tours, dancing until you're soaked and exhausted. It's this weekend. Get over there!

Friday, September 9, 2011

#71: Cat Purr Vibrating Through Your Skin

Reason to Be Happy #71:

Cat Purr Vibrating Through Your Skin

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#70: Popping Bubble Wrap

Reason to Be Happy #70:


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#69: The Dip in a Country Road that Makes Your Stomach Flip

Today's reason to be happy comes to us courtesy of Annette Markarian, whose reason won her a galley copy of my forthcoming novel Reasons To Be Happy on the great blog site,
Robolobolyn's Universe of Books.

Reason to Be Happy #69:

"Driving along an old two lane country road and going over a little bump/dip in the road that gives you that whoop-dee-doo feeling in the pit of your stomach."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#68: The First Day of School

Reason to Be Happy #68:

The First Day of School

I always adored school. The first day was so full of hope, anticipation and possibility. A fresh clean start. Meeting new people. Learning new things. Knowing you'd be a very different person by the start of the next school year. For all those reasons, September always feels more like "the new year" to me than January.

Monday, September 5, 2011

#67: The thick syrup at the bottom of a Sno-Cone

Reason to Be Happy #67:

That thick syrup at the bottom of a Sno-Cone.

That's better than the whole rest of the Sno-Cone combined! Also perfect on a hot day at the fair—you can rip open the bottom of the cone with your teeth and suck out that syrup. Mmmm.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

#66: The 4-H Kids & Their Animals at the County Fair

Reason to Be Happy #66:
The 4-H Kids & Their Animals at the County Fair

See posts #62-65 for other county fair reasons to be happy.

One of my favorite things to do at the fair is wander through the livestock barns. There's such a beautiful relationship between kids and animals. I don't even like to watch them show the animals—I much prefer the scenes of "hanging out" outside the show ring.

An escape artist goat, a little lamb in a sheet to keep him clean, a cow enjoying a personalized fan (that her boy kept spritzing water into to give her a cooling mist), and a girl singing to her pony...lovely things to observe.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

#65: Lemon Shake Ups

Reason to Be Happy #65:

Lemon Shake Ups

Another joy of the county fair (see posts #62-#64 as well). Not just lemonade, but the perfect mix of tart, pulpy lemon and thick, sugary syrup. A perfect refreshment during a hot, humid day tromping around at the fair.

Friday, September 2, 2011

#64: Cotton Candy

Reason to Be Happy #64:

Cotton Candy

Nothing but pure sugar. Continuing my love fest for all things county fair, today I honor cotton candy. I only like the pink (even though I think every color tastes exactly the same!) and I much prefer it on a stick rather than in a bag. Did you do any of these things as a kid?—lick the candy to watch it begin to melt and "weep" dark pink tears? or take a big wad of candy and mash it into a thick sugar cube, then let that dissolve on your tongue? Mmm... If you get it wet, it will slowly dissolve and disappear.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

#63: Funnel Cake

Reason to Be Happy #63:

Funnel Cake

This and the next few posts will be dedicated to all things county fair. What's yummier than a greasy, doughy funnel cake that soaks through a paper plate and leaves powdered sugar on your nose, shirt, and hands? Thank goodness they're only offered in limited engagements. They always give me a belly ache later, but it's so, so worth it!