Monday, November 3, 2008

10 Happy Things About Today...

1. My daughter, Melissa. She will be moving away for good this weekend, and I will miss her. I am determined to consciously enjoy every minute of this entire last week with Melissa at home. We're eating whatever she wants to eat. And we're doing whatever we feel like doing, as long as it doesn't cost much!

2. Books and papers scattered everywhere. I got up from the table this morning, and when I came back I had to laugh at the mess of stuff I had littered all around that table. But it was a big, happy mess. And every single thing was there for a reason: the book I pulled down to look up nutritional yeast; the diary sorts of books I read daily; two cookbooks to compare recipes for authentic Chai (Lissy wants some); the recipe box that contains the recipe for Bangladeshi catfish curry (it was supposed to be for dinner tonight); my Bible and journal (for obvious reasons); my coffee mug because I was drinking my morning coffee; my reading journal for copying passages from books; old magazines that are fun to browse; my store list; a cookbook I like because it's pretty; car keys for going to town.

3. Puttering. I cheerfully puttered all morning long. Puttering can mean you get a lot done, but you do it in a relaxed manner, in whatever order you want. It means you will stop to flip through a magazine if you run across one with something interesting. Or puttering can be used as an excuse for getting nothing done that needs to be done, which was the case with me this morning. But I had fun researching a few things, making a grocery list, writing passages in my reading journal, flipping through some magazines...

4. Which is another happy thing about today. Lately, I've been picking up some magazines from the very early 1960's in an antique store-- Good Housekeeping and Glamour. What fun it is to flip through these! I was a very, very young girl when these magazines came out, but I remember some of the fashions and appliances and products and other things. When Mom was here, she and Melissa and I had a lot of fun talking about the food, the hairstyles, the decorating, the clothes, makeup and beauty tips, and the ads in the magazines. (This can actually get philosophical...) Some of those clothes are adorable for now! I like reading some of the articles. They were much more based on common sense than what is read now. The December issues actually urge readers not to get caught up in the speed and consumerism that can frazzle the holidays and to remember what Christmas is about-- Jesus, our Saviour. Even Glamour magazine featured this kind of article. Oh, this could be a whole other post, and maybe it will... (So, can you blame me for my distraction and aimless puttering this morning?!)

5. When Melissa and I were in town we went to a used bookstore. It was a rainy/stormy afternoon, and we both said how cosy it feels to be in a used bookstore (or the library) on a stormy day. We love going to the bookstore anyway, and the rainy weather makes it doubly nice. Melissa said she actually wrote in her journal about this the other day. We browsed the shelves of the bookstore for quite awhile. Lissy came out with one book, and I packed out two.

6. Then we went to the store to pick up the items we needed so we could make Bangladeshi catfish curry tonight. Problem was, the only catfish we could buy was frozen. So we decided to go out to eat Thai food, and we'll let the catfish thaw for curry tomorrow night. Great idea-- we love spicy Thai food! It was late afternoon, so we sat in the weather-darkened restaurant all alone. It was fun eating prawn red curry with jasmine rice and hearing the personnel laugh and chat in Thai. There was one particular phrase that kept getting thrown into the conversation, and I think if we ate there every day, I'd be speaking Thai by now. The depressing New Age music playing in the restaurant did almost make us crazy, but mostly we could drown it out with our conversation.

7. After the Thai restaurant, Lissy said that all we needed now was chocolate, and maybe we should go around the corner to the natural foods store for some Coconut Bliss ice cream. Yes, great idea! And, finally, after three months of waiting, they had cacao nibs on the shelf, too. And since our favorite way to eat the Dark Chocolate Coconut Bliss ice cream is topped with cacoa nibs, this was surely serendipitous. Meant to be!

8. We came home. After being out and about for the entire afternoon, home is a very happy place. I took care of the dogs and hauled some wood to the deck. Melissa settled in with her new Elizabeth Peters book and a bowl of ice cream. I started a fire in the woodstove because it's cold and rainy. And I had a little bowl of ice cream, too. No cooking. No dishes.

9. The fact that it's cold and rainy is a happy thing all by itself. We love a good rainstorm because of our years living on the Oregon coast. Anyone who lives right on a coastline somewhere knows how intense a rainstorm can be, how drenched a person can get if he goes out in it, and how cosy (very) it can feel in a warm house while the elements assail the outside. Especially if there is a fire in a woodstove or a fireplace. And one is holding a hot drink and reading a book. I love those who love the rain, so I love my family (my own little family and my big, extended one).

Who loves the rain,
And loves his home,
And looks on life with quiet eyes,
Him will I follow through the storm,
And at his hearth-fire keep me warm;
Nor hell nor heaven shall that soul surprise
Who loves the rain
And loves his home,
And looks on life with quiet eyes.

~Frances Shaw

10. Happy home sounds like crackling fires and spinning washing machines and tumbling dryers and howling wind (and a lot of thumping and banging outside against the house?). Yes, that prodigiously large mound of laundry is being conquered this evening. I may have puttered rapturously and aimlessly this morning, but boy, am I getting stuff done tonight! :-)


If I were making a list of 11 Happy Things About Today, I'd have one more to add. Our first snow of the year (it's come very late this year). It's colder now, so the rain has turned to snow. When I took the dog outside for the last time before locking up the house and shutting off the porch light, I had to bundle up in a parka and gloves. We shivered under the tree, the dog and I, while the wind howled and the snow blew straight sideways, doing a little swirly, twirly dance here and there, just for fun. I came back inside and put another log on the fire-- brrrr!-- and put on the kettle for a late-night cup of herbal tea and watched the welcome snow through the window.

Good night.