Category: happiness (page 1 of 6)

Crazy-Amazing

Some days you want to forget, you hear me? And then there are days like yesterday.

I never want to forget yesterday.

Because Amazing, is why.

So I got called down to the principal’s office, which is usually a good thing, but somehow it still has the power to make me a little nervous. (Full disclosure – is was the Assistant Principal of Academics and Whatnot, who is thirty-seven percent more intimidating than the main principal.) As we sat down, he told me he had good news. I happen to love good news, and said so. He told me that a businessman in town approached the administration with the desire and ability to support academic achievement at our high school. He told me a bit about this local businessman, about his reasons for generosity, about his work, about where he’d like his support to go. That he’d like me to be point-guy for the process.

My grin was genuine. It was all Very Good News Indeed. Remembering that I live in a very small town, I asked, “Do I know him? What is his name?”

When he told me the businessman’s name I pretty much said, “STOP.” Because it’s the same name as a very dear friend from college. And not a particularly common name. We identified that it was, in fact, the same friend. (One of my first thoughts was, “Hey, wait. I thought this ‘local businessman’ would be a grownup,” and then I remembered that I’m 41.) I laughed, probably loudly, when I said that he and I had been great friends in college, that we’d met early in our first year and had been very close. That I’d introduced him to my sister and they’d dated during a crucial time of his growing-up life.

Then I started two-minding. People say you can’t do this, but you can. You can give one of your minds – the whole, entire main one – to the conversation at hand while outlining thoughts to think about later with your “behind-mind.”

My main mind was engaged in a gratitude-and-wonder conversation with the administration. With discussion of ideas, vision, and plans.

My behind mind was making lists. Places I’d gone with this friend. (He was with me the first time I met Idaho, which you know [if you’ve met Idaho] is something you’d like to remember forever.) Late night conversations. So much laughing. Brick Oven pizzas (mine with cheese, his without). Football games. Studying. Playing. Walking. Me, doubting that his name was really his name. Him, doubting that I really had a step-twin. So much talking. The night we spent in the hospital with our mutual friend who thankfully failed in his attempt to end his own life. Disasters large and small. Successes large and small. A dozen-dozen memories.

And now, after twenty years, he walked back into my world. Or I into his, or something. The worlds, they collided, is what I’m saying. And when, by chance, he showed up at school again in the afternoon, the principal brought him to my classroom. And I laughed and hugged him and was unsurprised that his startling blue eyes and sincere smile haven’t changed. I told him I was thrilled and excited to see him and to be able to work with him. I think I forgot to say what was huge in my heart – the Thank You part – but I’ll be sure to lead with that at our next meeting.

When you think of old friends, don’t you sometimes throw out a prayer that they’re well? That they’re good and happy and fine? One of those prayers was answered yesterday. And I’d like to remember it.

Wrapping

(As in Wrapping up the Year. I’m not still doing presents the Day After.)

Christmas was lovely and precious and fun and very nearly perfect. After a very not white November and December, we got inches of powdery snow for Christmas morning. Couldn’t have been more pretty. We did happy presents – lots of the Joy of Giving (which translates to lots of the Joy of Getting, too, but the real excitement came for everyone in the presenting of the presents).

The husband and the boy got up early in the dark hours this morning to try the new game: Skiing. The boy’s amazing grandma got him the fifth grade ski passport, which allows him to ski at every Utah resort three times. (!) His dad’s pretty excited to get back in the saddle. (I am pretty sure nobody uses a saddle to ski, but then they might; I’m absolutely not an expert on anything related to skiing.)

I’m writing words (lots of words) (for me), and lying around a great deal, and reading books. I am excited about the books. Unbroken. S. Death Comes to Pemberly. On Writing. Bird by Bird.  So many good words.

Refocusing the Energies

There are times when I find it very easy to huddle on the floor in fetal position feeling overwhelmed by Life.

Today I started behaving myself like a grownup. (I’m sure you’re clapping for me. We’re all so proud, you’re saying.)

I’ve taken the month of July off – no schedule, no appointments, no plans. And it’s working, if fetal huddling is the kind of work I was hoping for. (Spoiler: Not exactly.)

So I went to my second day of Yoga this morning, where I totally did a tripod for the first time since maybe seventh grade. And it all (except for maybe the skull-crushing tripod part) felt awesome. Then I came home and went for a 5-mile walk. Then I worked on Things. And I’ve gotten through quite a few good things before 11:00 in the morning.

And I guess what I’m saying is that taking time off from schedules and appointments and business doesn’t absolutely need to translate into huddles. (But it totally can when I want it to.) It can also be gently triumphant moments throughout the day. Accomplishment doesn’t have to be large to be happy-making.

Here’s to an upright day off.

Look! IT WORKS.

I’ve had ever so many great ideas of blog posts in the past 3 weeks. And I’ve had an interface problem for each one of them. Boo. But there’s this principle that we mention a whole lot at our house: “Ask for what you want and you might get what you want.” I asked for help, and look. It’s a BLOG. I know, right?

Life is good. Family is great. We had a lovely Christmas break. It was practically perfect. Work is good. It’s been a little snowy. Also, I’ve been writing a little bit every day on THIS:

It’s a 1935 Underwood, which just happens to be JUST LIKE the one my Grandmother-the-published-authoress used many years ago (and she died years before I was born, but I love that we have this thing in common). It’s clacky and noisy and sometimes I pound the keys hard enough to make holes in the “O” letters. There’s no #1. You use the “L”. And the apostrophe is above the 8 key. It’s so cool. I’m truly loving it. My husband gives really good Christmas gifts, you know.

MOVIES. I’ve seen two. I’ll give them their own posts, because I have thoughts.

BOOKS. I’ve ordered a few. And I’m re-reading POISONWOOD BIBLE because it’s been years. I can take as much time as I want to. I can ingest it sips at a time. It’s a beautiful piece of writing.

CLASSES. I finished the English ones I needed to get through this first year of teaching. I got a 96% on my last final. Nailed it. I remembered that I love Miss Emily Dickinson. And discovered Amy Lowell. Lady Poetesses. They’re the Goods.

INCHES of GRADING to ACCOMPLISH. There are about 12. Inches. Of grading to do. This week. All of which I totally asked for. I’m eager to read their journals and book reports (I have the students read a book [generally a novel, but I can be flexible] of their choice and write me a response paper to it. Honors kids have to do that plus another one for a classic, also of their choice [including modern classics]). They impress me, in general. Some of them try to Make Idiotic Choices (like copying paragraphs directly from SparkNotes, when hello? I introduced you to SparkNotes, you silly sophomore), but I try to talk them out of those particular choices.

TRAVEL PLANS. I’m making them. For a city place. And an international place. And I’m excited.

BOOK WRITING. I’m working on it. I’m glad to be doing so.

So I hope I can show up here now and then, and maybe even have something to say once in a while. It may take some work to get back into the groove, but I’m a girl who can do some work.

My Boy

The sunlight slides down-and-across the wall.
Partly reclined, I sit propped against four pillows
(one too hard, one too soft, one flat as paper,
and one Just Right)
writing notes on Whitman and Miss Emily Dickinson.

He comes in, grinning and waving,
and crawls in beside me,
bed-warm toes against my leg,
reading the words appearing on the screen.
Pointing out my typing errors.
Patiently waiting to tell me about building rockets in fourth grade.

When did I slip my left arm around him?
When did I let go the keypad?
Did I give him all my attention without even
paying
attention?

He stays. I type one-fingered.
It takes longer, we both notice.

So he places his left hand on the left-side keys,
fingers curved in perfect form,
and taps out the As, the Ts, the Es in each word
as I handle all the right-side rest.

This moment, with my boy in my arm and our
tousled morning-heads touching, our
hands neighborly on the keypad,
laughing at our spelling errors and our fumbled
attempts
at written communication …
this moment is one I want to hold

Forever.

Happy Making

Here are things that make me happy.

My Husband, he whom I adore, has decided he will love 30 Rock. Oh, the joy. “I want to go to there.”

My Kid 1 came home for hours and hours on Saturday. We loved all over her.

I bought a pair of pants. Stretchy, skinny ones. They are black, and Kid 3 thinks I look “sick” which is, as you undoubtedly know, a very good thing.

For two days in a row, we ate our dinner meal before 2:00 pm. Where in the world could I live where that could be standard? I want to go to there.

Curel hand lotion. It’s fixing the nasties on my poor itchy fingers. “Ultra Healing” is where-it’s-at, yo.

School. I like it. Students are clever and bright and lovely. Work is happening.

Online university English class. I try to like it, even when I have 100-page reading assignments per assignment (which I really want to get to daily, but NO CHANCE), but what’s happy-making is that I am learning fine things (skewed toward revisionist historical theorizing, but fine anyway). I love the learning business.

Fall. Autumn. Leaves are spectacular in my little valley right now. Frosty mornings and sunny afternoons, and a little snow that melted by afternoon. Apple pie made from apples growing right outside my garage door.

What’s happy-making for you these days?

Shall We Discuss Virginia Woolf?

Oh, Virginia. I tried to love you, back in my younger days. I read something of yours that someone suggested and I didn’t get it and I moved away, like you were some strange spicy curry that my thoughts weren’t ready to taste and enjoy. But today, today you have filled my whole soul up with thoughts to think, and I believe I may love you for the rest of my life.

When I read “The Mark on the Wall” I felt like I was sitting on the floor beside your comfortable chair, wrapped in a blanket, listening to you jabber. Because JABBERING IS BETWEEN FRIENDS, and I think we could be friends. You would find me provincial and charming, and I would be happy to get up off the floor and look at any manner of spots on the wall. But not until you finished thinking about them, talking about their possibilities, examining the ideas behind the spots.

You end paragraphs with phrases such as this: “–proving I really don’t know what.” And I grin, and my heart beats in time with the dripping of the ink from your pen. And then you say things like this: “And what is knowledge? What are our learned men save the descendants of witches and hermits who crouched in caves and in woods brewing herbs, interrogating shrew-mice and writing down the language of the stars?” And you talk about the tree, the tree that feels that “close dry sensation of being wood” and “the delicious ooze of sap;” and June and winter and then, even after it falls, “life isn’t done with; there are a million patient, watchful lives still for a tree, all over the world, in bedrooms, in ships, on the pavement, living rooms, where men and women sit after tea.”

And then. “Professions for Women,” delivered to the Women’s Service League in 1942. I think I may have never marked up a textbook like I did when I read this today. Blue ink everywhere. Stars. Margin notes. Virginia, you said (in more numerous and more poetic words) that our hobby of writing is acceptable and inoffensive to our society and our men because IT IS CHEAP. It doesn’t cost anybody much of anything. Virginia, can you see me? Do you know me? You are so, so right. Whether this is a horrible travesty or a shrug-worthy fact of our lives, it is a fact that we share, you and I.

I love that you bought a cat with your first royalty check. I mean, in theory. I’m not really into cats as facts or as statements, but as IDEALS, as rebellions against butter and stockings, I am in favor. (But then, I have no shortage of either butter or stockings, because I am not living in England in the forties.)

My first royalty check bought us some leather furniture. Every time I sit in that red leather chair, I remember that I AM A WRITER. Just like every time you pick Persian cat hair out of your tea things, you remember the same.

And you strangled The Angel in the House. You throttled her, and you said what you wanted to say, heedless of propriety, of offense, of possible Gasps. You murdered her so she couldn’t “pluck the heart out of [your] writing.” The Angel told you to flatter, to be sweet, to be tender and sympathetic. “Never,” your Angel told you, “let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own.” Thank you for ignoring (over and over, again and again) the Angel in your House and letting us see the workings of your mind. It was a pleasure to spend the day with you, Virginia. Let’s do it again, and soon.

[If you click on the links, and if you read, and if you have thoughts to think, holler. Because I am taking this lit class all by myself online, and there’s not all that much stimulating back-and-forth conversation about it INSIDE MY HEAD. So, comments welcome, as always. Or email me. Or, you know, send a telepathic message and stuff. Because CONVERSATION.]

Satisfaction

I’m going to tell you this thing that’s true right now, but isn’t always. But right now it’s true (like I may have mentioned) and so I will share it, because it’s good to be true.

I am satisfied.

I like my life.

I enjoy the people with whom I share my days and nights, I like my house (mostly), I like my neighborhood, my town, these mountains. I crawl along at All The Things, and all is well.

That’s not to imply that I don’t have my dreams — big ones and little ones and ones that change my whole world. Because of course I do. The thing is, instead of my big dreams making my reality feel small, my gentle reality makes my dreams seem HUGE.

Maybe that doesn’t make any sense. But inside this head, it does. So here. A gift, a gift of understanding. If you want to know what it feels like to be me, right this minute, click the link right down there to watch a short video. (It’s from Sesame Street. I love me the Street.)

<I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon>

Since we’re all friends here, and we all know my tech-inability to imbed videos, I’m giving you the lyrics here. But I suggest you take a couple of minutes and just LOVE ERNIE. Because Ernie.

Well, I’d like to visit the moon on a rocketship high in the air.
Yes, I’d like to visit the moon, but I don’t think I’d like to live there.
Though I’d like to look down on the earth from above,
I would miss all the places and people I love.
So although I might like it for one afternoon, I don’t want to live on the moon.

I’d like to travel under the sea. I could meet all the fish everywhere.
Yes, I’d travel under the sea, but I don’t think I’d like to live there.
I might stay for a day there if I had my wish,
But there’s not much to do when your friends are all fish,
And an oyster and clam aren’t real family, so I don’t want to live in the sea.

I’d like to visit the jungle, hear the lions roar,
Go back in time and meet a dinosaur.
There’s so many strange places I’d like to be…
But none of them permanently.

So if I should visit the moon, well, I’ll dance on a moonbeam, and then
I will make a wish on a star, and I’d wish I was home once again.
Though I’d like to look down on the earth from above,
I would miss all the places and people I love.
So although I may go, I’ll be coming home soon
‘Cause I don’t want to live on the moon.
No. I don’t want to live on the moon.