Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#153: Horses Fuzzy with Winter Coats

Reason to Be Happy #153:

I'm especially partial to those long chin whiskers they get. In the winter, even the most elegant thoroughbred looks like a yak and I find the look adorable.

These great photos are from the blog Desert Horses.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#152: Cousins

Reasons to Be Happy #152:

Cousins are some of our first playmates in childhood. I'm lucky to have amazing cousins on both sides of the family. When I think of cousins, I think of the kids' table, I think of sneaking desserts before the dinner is served, I think of doing theatrical productions in the basement, I think of playing ghost-in-the-graveyard literally in the graveyard, I think of slumber parties with us all lined up wall-to-wall in sleeping bags. My cousins have all grown up to be wonderful, remarkable people I'm so grateful to know. Was especially happy to get to reunite with many of them last weekend!

Monday, November 28, 2011

#151: Reading in the Bathtub

Reason to Be Happy #151:
Reading in the Bathtub

Do you know how hard it is to take a photo of reading in the bathtub? Who knew? This is one of my favorite pleasures in fall and winter.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

#150: When Something Turns Out Easier Than You Expected


When Something Turns Out Easier Than You Expected

Saturday, November 26, 2011

#149: Thanksgiving Leftovers

Reason to Be Happy #149:

There's something very satisfying and cozy about opening a fridge full of leftovers. It aids and abets the lovely laziness that should be part of the post-Thanksgiving days. It fills me with gratitude for the abundance in my life, and the fact that I've never truly known hunger. I love to put cranberry relish on my grilled turkey sandwiches. I love to fork the stuffing into my mashed sage sweet potatoes...and pour gravy over the concoction. I love to eat the caramelized Brussels sprouts cold. I love to put the whipping cream in my coffee. And, of course, it should go without saying that the pumpkin pie is for breakfast.

What are your leftover delicacies?

Friday, November 25, 2011

#148: Licking the Beater when Mashing Potatos

Reason to Be Happy #148:

Licking the Beater When Mashing Potatoes

Thursday, November 24, 2011

#147: Thanksgiving

Reason to Be Happy #147:

My very favorite holiday! What's not to like? It's all about gathering and eating good food. No pressure of gifts.
Every family has its own traditions. When celebrating with the Strange side of the family (that's not a joke!), it sometimes includes a fierce coloring competition (note that the adults take it far more seriously than the kids), a Thanksgiving game of Twister, and the annual piling-of-the-stuffed-toys on my dad (who is known to my cousins' kids as Uncle Crazy).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#146: Steaming up the windows from cooking

Reason to Be Happy #146:
Steaming Up the Windows From Cooking All Day

In preparation for Thanksgiving, the stovetop is busy all day long. All that bubbling heat steams up the windows and is the coziest, happiest feeling. There's not much I love more than cooking with/for friends and family.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#145: Real Whipping Cream

Reason to Be Happy #145:

WAY better than Cool Whip, real whipping cream is well worth the teensy bit of extra effort. And can I just say that some people are far too conservative when putting whipping cream on their pumpkin pie? Pie should be piled with it, as in the photo above!

Monday, November 21, 2011

#144: Pumpkin Pie

Reason to Be Happy #144:

Pie is my dessert of choice always. Pumpkin pie might be my very favorite (well…tied closely with my mother's amazing cherry pie, which will be its own reason to be happy before this experiment is over). This is the season of pumpkin pie, so I'm giddy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

#143: Flannel sheets

Reason to Be Happy #143:


I adore my flannel sheets, and savor getting them out of the closet come chilly weather. Turns out it's really tough to find a photo that does justice to flannel sheets, so I hope you'll enjoy this one borrowed from the fun website Too Many Cats.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

#142: Hitting All Green Lights

Reason to Be Happy #142:
Hitting All Green Lights

(especially when you're running late)

Friday, November 18, 2011

#141: Full Body Massages

Reason to Be Happy #141:
Full Body Massages

If you've never had one, do yourself a giant favor and put it at the top of your to-do list. It's soooo good and soooo good for you. My massage therapist is Laurie Trick and she's fantastic. She makes me drool. The health benefits go far beyond easing sore muscles. The mental adjustment lasts for days. The world would be a more peaceful place if everyone routinely received body work!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

#140: Bunny Slippers

Reason to Be Happy #140:
Bunny Slippers

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#139: When the Waiter Knows You Well Enough to Personalize Your Food

Reason to Be Happy #139:
When the Waiter Knows You Well Enough to Personalize Your Food

This is a continuation of the grilled cheese from yesterday. Because nothing is lovelier than a grilled cheese sandwich with the tomato bisque at CoCo's Bistro in Dayton...or so I thought. It can be made lovelier when the best waiter in Dayton sets down that tomato bisque with your own initials in it. Thanks, Ash!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

#138: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Reason to Be Happy #138:
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

There are days that simply feel like grilled cheese sandwich sort of days. You know the ones—usually chilly, perhaps raining or snowing…often days requiring some soothing. A grilled cheese sandwich is the epitome of comfort food.

Monday, November 14, 2011

#137: Great Independent Bookstores

Reason to Be Happy #137:
Great Independent Bookstores

Are you lucky enough to live in a town with at least one independent book store? If you are, count your blessings and please please patronize them so they stick around! Keep your favorite indie book store in mind as you do your holiday shopping. Really good independent bookstores are a thing of joy and beauty. One of my very favorite independent bookstores is Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, MI. Love. That. Place. Last year I got to visit them for the third time on tour for The Blessings of the Animals. Here's a blog I wrote about that visit (with a blog within a blog, as it includes a blog I was asked to write for the site Too Fond of Books in which I was invited to write about my favorite book store).

Did you know you can search for the closest indie to you? Check out Indie Bound.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

#136: Serendipity

Reason to Be Happy #136:

I love the word, but I also love the definition and when it happens in life.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

#135: Dolphins

Reason to Be Happy #135:


Friday, November 11, 2011

#134: Stirring Stew on a Chilly Day

Reason to Be Happy #134:

Stirring A Big Pot o' Stew on a Chilly Day

One of my favorite activities when the temperatures drop. There's something so satisfying about chopping everything, then stirring and stirring. This is a perfect activity to prompt story ideas, unlock a stalled scene, consider the next plot point. In the summer, this is all accomplished for me by pruning and weeding in the garden. Now that it's colder, I turn to chopping and stirring. And, hey, there's the lovely byproduct of a great meal at the end of it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

#133: Interspecies Friendships

Reason to Be Happy #133:
Interspecies Friendships

I'm a sucker for these. Here are a few of my favorites:

Video of Owen the hippo and Mzee the tortoise

or listen to Owen & Mzee's story on NPR

Video of Bella and Tara, the elephant and the dog

Story and optional video of Fum the cat and Gebra the barn owl

Just a cute news story mix of several strange animal couples

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#132: Raw Cookie Dough

Reason to Be Happy #132:
Raw Cookie Dough

I love to bake cookies...but honestly only to eat the dough. Once the cookies are baked, I have a very easy time resisting them. There's no resisting the dough, though. Chocolate chip is my favorite. I don't like oatmeal cookies, but oatmeal cookie dough is pretty spectacular! Same goes for sugar cookies—I like the dough much more than the baked final good.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

#131: The Right to Vote

Reason to Be Happy #131:
The Right to Vote

In other countries, people stand in long lines for the privilege of casting their vote. In some countries, people risk their lives (literally) for the privilege. So, why, in the US, where we all have this right, so many take it for granted and don't bother to vote??? That right was fought for and hard won. Don't squander the efforts of those who obtained it for us.

"Policy is made by those who show up."
—Martin Sheen (as President Bartlett on The West Wing)


Sunday, November 6, 2011

#129: An Extra Hour

Reason to Be Happy #129:

An "Extra" Hour

Personally, I hate the whole idea of Daylight Savings Time. I'd much rather have it be light longer in the evening than earlier in the morning. Wintertime can be bleak enough, but when it starts getting dark at 5:00 PM, it's depressing. But, that said, I love being "given" and "extra" hour in a day. What a lovely gift! The idea of it makes me happy, even if the practice of it not so much.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

#128: Holiday Cups at Starbucks

Reason to Be Happy #128:
When the Holiday Cups Come out at Starbucks

There's just something kinda lovely about them. And Starbucks appropriately waits until after Halloween.

Friday, November 4, 2011

#127: Crossed Cat Paws

Reason to Be Happy #127:

Crossed Cat Paws

I love it when my cat crosses his paws. I'm a sucker for it, in fact. It will always make me smile.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#126: Books So Good They Make You Weep In Public Places

Reason to Be Happy #126:

Books So Good They Make You Weep In Public Places

The latest culprit? The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Wow. It had me crying, sniffling, back-shaking, blowing my nose in the Philedelphia Airport last weekend. What took me so long to read this book? Loved it. I hardly remember even being on the plane, so lost was I in the story!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#125: The Way Frosted Grass Crunches Under Your Feet

Reason to Be Happy #125:

The Way Frosted Grass Crunches Under Your Feet

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#124: An Empty Seat Next to You on a Plane

Reason to Be Happy #124:
An Empty Seat Next to You on a Plane

Added bonus? An empty seat next to you in an exit row.

It's the little things, right? These days air travel is only marginally above being on a bus, as far as the glamor factor goes.