Monday, October 31, 2011

#123: Trick-or-Treating

Reason to Be Happy #123:


A magical night that brings out the little kid in us all.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

#122: Wearing a Costume

Reason to Be Happy #122:

Wearing a Costume

There's something so liberating about being in costume, whether it's for a play or for a Halloween party. It's like permission to be someone else for a bit. This costume is from Les Liaisons Dangereuses at The Dayton Theatre Guild, and is by far my favorite costume from any production I've ever been in.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

#121: Gerbera Daisies

Reason to Be Happy #121:

Gerbera Daisies

Perhaps one of the cheeriest flowers out there.

Friday, October 28, 2011

#120: Playing in Big Piles of Leaves

Reason to Be Happy #120:

Playing in Big Piles of Leaves

Thursday, October 27, 2011

#119: Getting Yourself All Freaked Out After a Scary Movie

Reason to Be Happy #119:
Getting Yourself All Freaked Out After A Scary Movie

It's just like riding a roller coaster. You know you're safe, so it's fun to give in and let yourself be terrified. It's so fun to be all silly and jumpy with friends after seeing a scary movie, startling each other, asking "what was that?" or getting someone to scream.

My Favorite Scary Movies
Scare Factor Based On:
1. Did it temporarily or permanently change my behavior? (for example: how I shower or how I approach topiary?)
2. Did I dream about it?
3. Did it make my pulse race during and after?

From My Youth to Present
(Do not hold the horrible sequels against any of these classic originals)
The Omen
When a Stranger Calls
The Shining
The Exorcist
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Nightmare on Elm Street
In Dreams
The Silence of the Lambs
The Sixth Sense
28 Days Later
Let the Right One In

What are your favorites?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#118: Ghost Stories

Reason to Be Happy #118:


Remember slumber parties? Or camp? Terrifying each other with creepy, scary stories until no one could sleep? Until every little noise made you jump? But deep down inside you knew you were safe and could just give in to the sensation. I adore a good ghost story.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

#117: Halloween Decorations

Reason to Be Happy #117:

Halloween Decorations

My mom used to be a preschool teacher, so she goes all out decorating for the holidays, and Halloween is one of her favorites. I love it when people decorate their houses and yards for the trick-or-treaters.

Monday, October 24, 2011

#116: Vampires

Reason to Be Happy #116:

I've had a thing for vampires ever since reading Stephen King's Salem's Lot at far too young an age. I knew immediately that if such creatures existed, I wanted to meet one…heck, maybe even be one.
I love the old school vampires, and the way Anne Rice built on the vampire mythology that already existed (sticking to the fact, for instance, that, ahem, vampires can not go out in the sun no matter how overcast it is).
Did you know that every culture has vampire lore? Including the Inuits?

So why did I want to be a vampire? What was the appeal? Living forever. Even at the age of twelve, I knew that this world was a pretty cool place, that I pretty much adored life, and that I had no hope of squeezing every single amazing thing I wanted to do, learn, see, and experience on this earth into one measly human lifetime. The idea of getting to stick around forever was attractive. Obviously, I hadn't thought it through—you know, the idea that everyone you know will eventually age and die unless you turn them into vampires, too. The whole you-can-only-go-out-after-dark thing. The whole humans-want-to-kill you aspect. Oh, and the drinking of blood (handily taken care of by the synthetic Japanese True Blood drink). But for all those cons, you have to admit the pro is a fairly big pro.

Perhaps you'll get a kick out of some correspondence with a friend who shall remain nameless here (please note my restraint). At a party, we got into the discussion of "which would you rather be, a zombie or a vampire?" He started it. My answer was immediate and (to me) obvious: vampire. Yes, I love zombie stories. But I do not love zombies. Nor do I want to be one. We actually "discussed" this for about 20 minutes (no lie) much to the amusement and bewilderment of other party goers.

The next morning, the friend sent this message, and the following correspondence ensued. (Yes, we are dorks):

Zombies vs. Vampires, The case for Zombies.
While vampires are an obvious favorite, I think there are some strong arguments for wanting to be a zombie.

1. Zombies live free of pain, crime, war, religion and politics. This John Lennon-inspired life offers no stress and utopia where all zombies get along and work together for one common goal: to eat the warm flesh of those rascally vermin, the living. (Who brought us noting but pain, pestilence, and Justin Bieber) The zombie life is a Zen-like utopia where you wonder around with people of the same mind-set looking for sustenance and nothing else. (Very John Kerouac - think moving commune) . There is no financial strain and materialistic pressure.

2. Going to the beach. Zombies get to hang out at the beach and swim all day long. While vampires must sleep the day away, zombies are able to enjoy the surf and the sun. (Which helps slow the rotting flesh issue.) Zombies are the majority in every scenario, not the minority. Zombies get to walk down the street loud and proud and don"t have to hide a thing. Living in the shadows is not for the zombie. Zombies do what they want, when they want.

3. The ability to eventually rot away. Being able to eventually rot away in a painless fashion is a ideal. Immortality equals constant boredom. How many times can you read the same book? (Or worse, a different book that is the same story) Seeing friends die, seeing the same trends over and over; all of this becomes a form of torture. However, the zombie eventually just rots away in a painless fashion after a life of hanging at the beach and eating to your hearts content. No fear of old age, no need for healthcare - no having the see the remake of "Footloose" - all of these are good things.

4. You are not hunted. Vampires are constantly being hunted. Were-wolves, vampire-killers, whatever Wesley Snipes is; all these creatures are interested in destroying you. Zombies? In general, people are constantly trying to get away from you. Sure it makes eating a little harder, but I would take that over free of the hunt.

There are likely numerous other issues, but the kids need fed.


Zombies vs. Vampires, The Case for Vampires

1. Zombies lack cognition of all things but the need to feed, but vampires still maintain their logic, intellect, and even emotions. Vampires retain verbal skills, and their long life spans usually equate to well-developed vocabularies. Vampires are therefore able to truly commune and communicate, have witty dinner conversation with friends, flirt, woo, argue, debate, and discuss...all things which make life, especially eternal life, have spice and interest.

2. Vampires are undead, which is technically different from dead (which zombies are). Being undead means their physical forms are "frozen" at the age and state of health in which they were turned vampire. This means their bodies will never decay, rot, or smell. This makes vampires much better smelling and hygienic than zombies. Vampires are able to be attractive and well-dressed, if they so choose.

3. If a vampire is injured, their vampire blood (known as V in some human circles, where it is highly coveted) allows them super healing powers. So, for instance, if they suffer a gunshot wound, knife slash, or even an amputation, they are able to heal themselves, rather than fall prey to rot, gangrene, and decay like a zombie. A vampire will never be forced to exist with missing limbs.

4. Vampires are able to "pass" as humans, and their smaller numbers means they are able to go unnoticed among humans if they wish. Zombies are unable to "blend" due to their appearance and strong odor.

5. Vampires can have sex. It is true their only bodily fluid is blood, so...they cry tears of blood, get the idea. But THEY CAN HAVE SEX and can enjoy sex. (Zombies, I repeat, have no cognition of anything but the need to feed).

6. Being immortal is not for sissies, but requires a proper attitude of mental challenge. There are always more books to read (or be written), languages to learn, places to visit, instruments and crafts to master, endless avenues of self improvement and discovery. (Not all vampires, after all, choose to repeat high school...which would, indeed, be a form of torture).

I did mention sex, right? And dinner parties? Speech?

There are likely numerous other issues, but I must do some writing that actually pays my bills....



Zombies vs. Vampires, Response

BORING!!!! Typical answers on the supposed superiority of vampires. :) Zombies have cognition, but not in the typical sense. Zombies communicate, albeit in a rudimentary fashion. Give me the zombie all day long. Sex with no fluid except for blood. Creepy! Take care and get to work.


Boring? Whatevs, dude. Boring is stumbling around drooling and moaning... :-) You go rot on the beach. I'll be exploring the Louvre after midnight. No hard feelings.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

#115: Carving Jack-o-lanterns

Reason to Be Happy #115:

Carving Jack-o-lanterns

There's something so fun about actually digging out the oozy insides and getting pumpkin goo up to your elbows. And wielding big carving knives is always fun, too…especially around Halloween.

You can draw on one with markers, but it's never the same as the glow from a candle inside a carved out pumpkin (and then, there's the bonus of toasting the pumpkin seeds, and, of course, baking an honest-to-goodness pumpkin pie).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

#114: Walking in Old Cemeteries

Reason to Be Happy #114:

Walking in Old Cemeteries

I have a thing for cemeteries. I think they're full of stories. I love to run in them (great scenery, no traffic, good hills) and even just to stroll in them. I like looking at the interesting and unusual items people leave on the graves. I've taken more than one character's name from gravestones. I find them interesting, full places. One set of my grandparents lived next to a cemetery, and my cousins and I used to play there, so maybe that's where my interest started.

Three of my favorite Ohio cemeteries:

1.) Woodland (Dayton): where you can find the graves of the Wright brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Erma Bombeck. There's a statue of a dog and a boy that is usually heaped with interesting trinkets, gifts, candy, and flowers.

2.) Cavalry Cemetery (Dayton): the best cemetery hills for a runner! I almost always encounter deer, and I often see a family of red fox. Both Woodland and Cavalry have great views of the city.

3.) the unmarked graves of the former patients at the abandoned asylum up on The Ridges of Athens, Ohio, now part of Ohio University. Supposed to be very, very haunted.

Friday, October 21, 2011

#113: A dear friend's long-deployed husband returning from Afghanistan today!

Reason to Be Happy #113:

A dear friend's long-deployed husband (and father of her 5 year old son) returning from Afghanistan TODAY!

Woo hoo! Joyous reunion to Erin, Jeff & Evan!
Thank you for your service, Jeff!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

#112: Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins

Reason to Be Happy #112:

Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins

These are my kryptonite. They are way better than the regular Reese's cups—more peanut butter. Someone told me the seasonal shapes are fresher, too, (whereas the regular cups can sit on the shelves for a looong time) but I have no idea if that's actually true. I don't really need a rational. The Easter eggs are a close second, the Christmas trees just "meh" in my opinion...but the pumpkin is perfection.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#111: Warm, fluffy towels straight out of the dryer

Reason to Be Happy #111:

Warm, fluffy towels straight out of the dryer

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#110: The Scent of Campfire in Your Hair

Reason to Be Happy #110:

The way the scent of campfire lingers in your hair and clothes.

Ahh...the scent of autumn...

Monday, October 17, 2011

#109: S'mores

Reason to Be Happy #109:


Turns out, s'mores are very difficult to photograph. No way to truly capture their oozy, messy, sweet goodness. Or the way you inevitably end up with marshmallow melt on your chin, or in your hair. But there are far worse fates... They're kind of labor intensive, but well worth the hassle!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

#108: Roasting Marshmallows

Reason to Be Happy #108:

Roasting Marshmallows over a Fire

Everyone has different techniques: some like to toast it thoroughly, taking a careful, long time about it. Others (like me) plunge it into the fire to get that crackly black outer coating and the gooey center. Whatever your style, it's all good.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

#107: Hot Cocoa with Little Marshmallows

Reason to Be Happy #107:

Hot Cocoa with Little Marshmallows

Friday, October 14, 2011

#106: Visiting a Pumpkin Patch

Reason to Be Happy #106:

Visiting a Pumpkin Patch

There's something so fun about selecting the "right" pumpkin. Watching people look, consider, and choose is very entertaining.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

#105: That Piercing Blue of Autumn Sky

Reason to Be Happy #105:

That Piercing Blue of Autumn Sky

It's not our imaginations. The sky really is more vibrant blue in autumn. There's a scientific explanation for it. Not that I can re-create it here, of course, but look it up. Or better yet, just look up and savor.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#104: Crunching Through Leaves on an Autumn Stroll

Reason to Be Happy #104:

Crunching Through Leaves on an Autumn Stroll

Whether on foot, or horseback, autumn is my favorite season for walking in the woods. The weather is still warm, but no pesky bugs! That rhythmic glorious crunching sound of all the fallen leaves underfoot is meditative. Add some leaves falling down on you like confetti, and...sigh...heaven.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

#103: Caramel Apples

Reason to Be Happy #103:


Fun to make. Even more fun to eat. And, sure, you can dip apple slices in caramel sauce, but it's not nearly the same as gnawing a caramel apple off a stick.

Monday, October 10, 2011

#102: Autumn leaves changing color

Reason to Be Happy #102:

Autumn Leaves Changing Color

It happens almost overnight: the trees are all in their varying shades of green, and then one day they all tart up in their brilliant scarlets, neon oranges and Day-Glo yellows, dressing up in garish party clothes.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

#101: Random Acts of Kindness

Reason to Be Happy #101:


The other day, I dashed into the grocery store to buy cream for my coffee. I approached the checkout lanes carrying my one item, and a woman with a full cart waved me ahead of her. I wasn't even in a hurry and told her so, but she insisted. It was so nice, it made my day. So, next time I was doing a real grocery trip, I did the same thing to a frazzled woman buying only a box of diapers. The look of gratitude on her face made me feel fantastic—far better than when receiving the act of kindness myself.

Today, make it your goal to be nice whenever you can. Wave someone waiting to turn into the traffic lane ahead of you. Hold a door for someone. Smile and say hello to a stranger. Pick up something someone drops. Whatever. Look for opportunities. Report them here!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

#100: Barn Cats

Reason to Be Happy #100:

I love cats in general, but a barn cat is a special breed. Not feral, by any means, but not domestic, either. They are excellent mousers, scrappy survivors, and usually terrorize the farm's dogs.
I've seen them have remarkable relationships with horses—tough guy George (on his back, looking adorable in the second photo above—don't scratch that belly! It's a trap!) was best buds with a thoroughbred named Degas. When Degas was sick with Cushing's Disease, George hung out with Degas while he was isolated in a dry lot. He slept in Degas' feed box. And curled up back to back with Degas when he slept in his stall.
A barn cat is nearly always very interesting character. Earning any cat's love is always a tougher feat that earning a dog's love, but when you're "in" and beloved of a barn cat, that's a real accomplishment!