Thursday, May 31, 2012

#336: High-Fiving Little Kids

Reason to Be Happy #336:

It's hard to know who has more fun.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

#335: Flower Markets on City Street Corners

 Reason to Be Happy #335:
Flower Markets on City Street Corners
 Park Slope, Brooklyn

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

#334: When Horses Curl Up Their Lips

 Reason to Be Happy #334:
When Horses Curl Up Their Lips
 That first wonderful photo? That's by amazing photographer Arno Enzerink at

Horses do this at odd smells or tastes. As a kid, I used to tickle an old pony's lip until he did this, just because it made me giggle. Rusty was very patient with me.

Monday, May 28, 2012

#333: The Amazing Volunteers of Our Armed Forces

Reason to Be Happy #333:
That Our Country's Armed Forces are Volunteer
That There are Amazing, Brave Men and Women Who Volunteer For Them

Remember, Memorial Day isn't just a day off.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

#332: The Cool Side of the Pillow

Reason to Be Happy #332:
The Cool Side of the Pillow

You know what I'm talking about. Feels so good when you turn it over. Ahh...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

#331: Solitude

Reason to Be Happy #331:

"Language... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone." 
—Paul Tillich

Ahh... I require great big swaths of solitude to be a healthy, happy, mentally stable person. I feel bad for people who aren't comfortable with their own company. A day spent from morning to night with no commitments to anyone else is like opening a gift from the universe. It re-fuels me unbelievably.

Friday, May 25, 2012

#330: Dogs Riding In Cars

 Reason to Be Happy #330:
Dogs Riding in Cars
 I think riding in cars might be near the top of most canine's lists of reasons to be happy! Such joy. Such exuberance. Such pleasure.
 Someone once said that because dogs have such a heightened sense of smell, that taking them for a walk and letting them snuffle around is, for them, like reading the newspaper...which means having their heads out a car window must be like being on the internet!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

#329: Eating Cake for Breakfast

 Reason to Be Happy #329:
Eating Cake for Breakfast
Isn't that one of the supreme pleasures of being an adult? We can eat what we want when we want it? Chocolate cake with a cup of strong coffee truly is the Breakfast of Champions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

#328: Really Great Teachers

Reason to Be Happy #328:
Really Great Teachers

As most school years are wrapping up, and teachers and students alike are counting down the final days, it’s time to honor really great teachers. One of the most difficult, rewarding, and important jobs in the worlds, teachers are underpaid and too often under appreciated. If you’ve ever had an amazing teacher, you know what I mean when I say they make all the difference. Whether it be through an encouraging word, a not-letting-you-off-the-hook, a challenge to do more, or a million other miracles teachers work on a daily basis, a good teacher can change your life.

My life has been rich and blessed with amazing teachers throughout. My first grade teacher enriched my day with individualized plans because she knew I was bored. My elementary art teacher chose me for a special project. Ms. Andes told me I was a writer in 7th grade. Ms. Hennessy pushed me to be a better writer and get out of my lazy habits. Mrs. Norvell was a kickass, strong, intrepid traveler of a woman—with high high standards—who made me aware of the rest of this vast, amazing world. In college, they are too numerous to single out...Dr. Bartlett and Dr. Crowl pushed me to the point of breakdown with their Honors Tutorial Program...and the disciplined habits necessary to survive that rigorous program serve me daily as a novelist.

Teaching (any level) is a hard job. It’s endless. The lack of respect (because our culture only seems to respect the wealthy) takes an accumulative toll. So if you’ve had a teacher who changed things for you, who made you a better person, helped you through a rough patch, helped you understand something, opened your mind, or inspired you, PLEASE TELL THEM.

Write them a note. Tell them what they’ve done. Because, as corny as it sounds, teachers may not make much, but they DO make a difference. But they don’t know they have until you tell them!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

#327: Prairie Dogs

 Reason to Be Happy #327: 
Prairie Dogs
 They are so fun to watch (and, granted, I don't live anywhere near where they do, so I don't have to worry about them destroying my fields and pastures). When someone approaches, the sentinel lets out this funny little, "Yip!" and raises his hands. It's an adorable gesture—they look somewhat like cheerleaders when they do this.
 They also often perform a gesture that looks remarkably like a kiss. They hold each others faces and appear to even "make out" for long minutes. How cute is that? Lots of zoos have special viewing colonies set up where you can look into their complicated tunnel villages and see how they interact. But I once spent a very happy day observing them in their natural habitat in South Dakota.

Monday, May 21, 2012

#326: The Scent of Sunscreen

Reason to Be Happy #326:
The Scent of Sunscreen

Always a little tropical, always a lot of coconut, always conjures up summer.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#325: The Sound of the Ocean

Reason to Be Happy #325:
The Sound of the Ocean

Saturday, May 19, 2012

#324: Catching Up With a Good Friend You Haven't Talked To For Far Too Long


With really great friends, it doesn't matter how much time has passed or what the "reasons" are for not staying in touch—you pick up the conversation as if you left off only yesterday. No apologies, no excuses needed. Whether it's on the phone or in person, it's a wonderful thing.

Is there somebody you need to call?

Friday, May 18, 2012

#323: Baby Belly Laughs

Reason to Be Happy #323:

One of the happiest sounds on the planet.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

#322: Klondike Bars

 Reason to Be Happy #322:
 So many to choose from now. I like the original...but in dark chocolate. The Heath Bar Klondike is no joke, either. And on a hot summer day I might just choose the mint one. Mmm. I have been known to eat more than two in one sitting...
What would YOU do???

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#321: Great Leftovers for Lunch

Reason to Be Happy #321:
When You Make a Great Meal for Dinner and Have Leftovers for a Fantastic Lunch the Next Day

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

#320: Peonies

 Reason to Be Happy #320:
 Perhaps my favorite spring flower, I love them for their brief blossoming time—it makes them all the more special and rare. I love the various shades of pink to red they adorn themselves in. I love the way ants crawl on the buds, helping them to open. I love how just one peony blossom in a small bowl is a perfect, elegant centerpiece. I have added a peony bush for every year I've had my current house. And I plan to keep doing it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

#319: Lemonade Stands

Reason to Be Happy #319:
Lemonade Stands

It's kind of an unwritten karmic rule that you must stop and purchase a glass when you see kids selling lemonade. Their excitement that you stopped actually makes the lemonade taste better than any other lemonade you can get.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

#318: Mothers

Reason to Be Happy #318:

It's the most important job in the world (tied only with fathers).
Here's to all the good people out there—my mama, my sister, my aunts, cousins, and amazing friends who are responsible for human beings coming into this world and being loved, taught compassion, taught their own self-worth and power, and raised to be the best human beings they can possibly be.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

#317: The Way Llamas Look Like They're Smiling

 Reason to Be Happy #317:
The Way Llamas Always Look Like They're Smiling

Friday, May 11, 2012

#316: Strawberry Shortcake

Reason to Be Happy #316:
Strawberry Shortcake

With real whipping cream, of course!
The perfect springtime dessert. Mmm.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

#315: Hammocks

 Reason to Be Happy #315:
 Reading or napping (or alternately both) in a hammock is a loveliest of things.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

#314: When My Cat Attacks My Foot

 Reason to Be Happy #314:
When My Cat Attacks My Foot

I'll be innocently reading or writing when, out of the blue, Joey pounces on my foot and attacks it ferociously. It never fails to make me laugh out loud at his silliness. And anything that makes you laugh out loud is a reason to be happy! (And, okay, to get this photo I had to sort of entrap him...)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

#313: Wishing on a Shooting Star

Reason to Be Happy #313:
Wishing on a Shooting Star

Making wishes in general, really.
There's birthday candles.
Birthday cakes.
When it's 11:11.
When you pass a white horse in a field.

What other things can you make a wish on?

Monday, May 7, 2012

#312: The smell of freshly mown grass

Reason to Be Happy #312:
The Smell of Freshly Mown Grass

Sunday, May 6, 2012

#311: Jumping on a trampoline in the rain

Reason to Be Happy #311:
Jumping on a trampoline in the rain

Saturday, May 5, 2012

#310: Jumping on a trampoline

 Reason to Be Happy #310:
Jumping on a Trampoline!
 If you really want a reason to be happy, look up that video of the two red foxes playing on a trampoline. Priceless. But so is this pig:
Who doesn't love a trampoline?

Friday, May 4, 2012

#309: The Avengers

 Reason to Be Happy #309:
I grew up on Avengers stories. I loved comic books as a kid and I have fond memories of going to the Bookery in Fairborn and Dark Star in Yellow Springs to look at and buy comics. I was Marvel all the way…except for Batman. (Everybody loves Batman, right?) My favorite Avengers were Thor and the Hulk. I have a special spot in my heart for the poor misunderstood Hulk and the burden Bruce Banner bears. (I love these stories and fall into geekdom almost immediately when discussing them). I never read IronMan's individual stories until much later (his story lines were awfully adult). Loved me some Black Widow! I find the Avengers to be almost Shakespearean in their scope and story lines. So much fun. And I've been waiting for this movie ever since Agent Coulson showed up in the first IronMan movie and mentioned S.H.I.E.L.D. I remember sitting up straighter in my theatre seat, thinking, "Did he really just say S.H.I.E.L.D? Are they really going to go there? Nah, they can't possibly pull that off… can they?" And then when Tony Stark walked into the after-credits scene in The Incredible Hulk, I started to get giddy. When they started putting in all the Easter eggs, all the hints, in IronMan 2, in Thor, in Captain America, I started to get hopeful. But I never really "believed" until Marvel announced that Joss Whedon would write and direct the first assembly of The Avengers. I am in Comic Geek Nirvana!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

#308: Getting a really good fortune in a fortune cookie

Reason to Be Happy #308:
Getting a really good fortune in a fortune cookie

Remember that Seinfeld game where you add "in bed" to the end of your fortune? :-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

#307: The Sound of Ice Crackling

 Reason to Be Happy #307:
The Sound of Ice Crackling When You Pour a Drink Over It

On a really hot day, it's a fantastic sound. It sounds like it's alive.