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Happiness Is

[Requisite Pacific Ocean shot, January 2008.]

There’s been some happiness talk going round lately, which in turn makes me happy, because I love thinking about good things. It’s like when you cook something you’ve never made before, and it turns out to be some kind of wondrous (for me, the first time I made roast cauliflower) — totally unexpectedly. You can ride that high for days. And sometimes when I take a moment to really think about the things for which I’m grateful, or happy about, it gives me a little zing of goodness — a sort of good-feelings shot. And who wouldn’t want that, hm?

Today I’m jetlagged to hell and back; my super-secret mission involved a quick trip to DC this weekend for the bridal shower/bachelorette party of one of my best friends — I wanted to surprise her, and I did. (She cried. I almost did. Then we ate a lot of pretty mini cupcakes and played funny games). I got to see some of my much-missed pals and had fabulous late-night chats, cookies, and the L-Word viewings with my very favorite cartographer (I don’t think we stopped talking from the minute she picked me up on Friday night until she dropped me off at the airport Monday afternoon; and yet, there’s still more to say). There was a lot of snuggling my favorite doggies. There was a little bit of red wine.

I bring up the happiness thing today because I’m sleepy from a flight delay, and wishing almost more than anything I could be tucked up in bed, hiding out from the rain and obligations. I need a little shot of goodness, to be sure. So I’m going to give myself one, in hopes it helps me perk up a little bit.

Things I Never Get Tired Of/Am Happy About/Grateful For (order is unimportant)

The drive along Highway One from Sebastopol to Inverness
My Dream of You, by Nuala O’Faolain
The Pacific Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean off of certain islands
Backpacking in the mountains
The smell of clean laundry (and, of course, the very fact of its cleanliness)
Opening a new cookbook, and being excited and inspired
The New York Times Sunday delivery
Yosemite Valley, and the back country
Runner’s World magazine
New shoes
Giving presents; and, cooking birthday dinners
Reconnecting with old friends
(All my friends, really)
Thinking about my brother building wooden boats in Maine
Getting so involved in conversation you don’t notice the time, nor do you care
Warm sweaters
Planning dinner parties
The sound of wind in the trees from high up in the mountains, or on a hill; that stillness
Swimming in a natural body of water
A good run
Unexpected emails
Coming home to California after a trip
Roasted cauliflower
Having dinner made for me
New books
Old books
Time off
Time off and money to travel
The memory of places
A new recipe that immediately becomes a favorite

OK … that’s mostly helped, though I still feel a bit dazed and confused. Now, what to make for dinner? I’ll probably go the easy route, but a small part of me wants to give it more thought than just roasting a cauliflower and some potatoes; I feel like trying something new. I’ll have to see how I feel at the end of the day …

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