In Celebration of My Birthday

Here’s a list of 27 little things that bring me joy:

  1. Ice-cold drinking water.  One of the most trying experiences of my life thus far was when I was in rural Kenya for five weeks doing research and had no access to refrigeration at all.  At ALL.  All of our drinking water was irradiated, so it was actually a little warmer than body temperature coming out of the tap, and then my water bottles would spend all day at the bottom of my pack in the sun, in the land rover, walking around the bush…ugh.  I like water straight from a fridge that’s set quite cold, or even better, cold from the tap but with half a dozen ice cubes in my trusty 1-liter Nalgene.
  2. The elephant bookends on my desk.  I love elephants, and I love books, and soapstone sculptures, so really it was a match made in heaven.
  3. Damages.  Seriously, why did nobody tell me about this series?  I’m only halfway through the first season, but I love it so much.  I love Glenn Close, and I love procedural legal dramas, and I love workplace dramas where the situation may not be what it seems.
  4. “Talking” to the chickens.  Whenever I end up outside during the day, I greet our little flock, just like I have since they were baby chicks in a brooder in my bathroom.  And they say, in their big-girl voices now, “bwwwwaccck-BWACK-a-buc-buc-buc!”, by which I’m sure they mean “You’re out here to bring us more melon, right?”
  5. That first stretch when I wake up in the morning.  Feels good, and does my body good.  I love how feline it can be, too.
  6. The sound of rain.  But who doesn’t like that, right?
  7. My antique sewing machine.  It was on the sidewalk with a “free” sign, and now it’s an essential part of my studio.  It was never a fancy machine, but it has gorgeous detailing, it sews a straight line, and I can maintain all the parts myself.
  8. The way a new batch of filled and processed canning jars looks on my counter.  It’s a mix of pride in my accomplishment and a genuine pleasure in the promise of future enjoyment, I think–  there’s just something about it.
  9. Birth art depicting hair.  Not just pubic hair, although I love seeing that recognition of the primacy and inherent mammalian power in birth, but that little swirl of baby scalp hair, too.
  10. Númenor’s insistence that any word he doesn’t understand is French.  Sometimes when I say no, that’s not a French word, he goes on to ask if it’s Spanish.
  11. Snuggling with Ithilien when he’s up late.  So he doesn’t go to sleep with the reliability I’d prefer.   When he’s up late, he’s all snuggles and owlish blinking and spiky hair sticking up out of the blanket, and that’s beautiful, too.
  12. My “Sick Day” Routine.  That’s its own post, though.
  13. Chocolate.  Sometimes I go slumming– in a pinch, chocolate is chocolate– but we also live 60 miles from Moonstruck world headquarters, and you know that doesn’t hurt.
  14. The smell of autumn.  I don’t really know if it’s caused by leafmold or frost or both, but there’s something about that crisp, cool-air scent that makes me feel like kicking up my feet.
  15. Thoughtful films about Asian ghosts.  I don’t go for ultra-gore and I can rarely stand American re-makes, but give me creepy story with an equal mix of jump scare and peripeteia and throw in some clever mechanics and that special effect where the ghost is always preceded by her hair?  Yes, please!
  16. Baking bread.  The smell of a fresh-baked loaf, the catharsis of kneading the dough, the unexpected beauty of the oven-sprung crust, and the certainty that my smalls will eat what I made for dinner– a true bargain for a few minutes of my time.
  17. My new upcycled skirt.  I made it by whip-stitching the waistband of an old pair of yoga pants onto what used to be a bed sheet, and the resulting flowy, soft, comfortable, dramatic full-length piece makes me smile every time I put it on.
  18. The way babies of a certain age do spastic little jackknife crunches to express excitement.  Some people like the smell of babies or how they make the little-old-man look *work* or the implicit trust they offer their proportionally monstrous parents, but I love the jackknives.
  19. My yarn stash.  Not only do I love to sit and look at the colors and touch the lovely wools and other fibers, but a good-sized stash represents a pleasing future of industry for my hands and warmth for my loved ones.
  20. Fictional kids who act like real kids.  On TV, in movies, in books– they bring a smile to my face even (or perhaps especially) when they’re causing trouble.
  21. Shopping for buttons.  Now, as a rule, I buy just one kind of button: the various sizes of unfinished wood buttons at Casey’s.  That’s not the kind of shopping I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the occasions where I feel my button jar is looking a bit sad and monochromatic and I buy up someone’s unsorted bag or box or tin or jar of vintage buttons inherited from some grandmother or aunt or family friend.  There’s nothing akin to the thrill of pouring out a new find of buttons and sorting through them, wondering over kinds and colors, exclaiming at what was once fashionable, finding the ubiquitous things-that-aren’t-buttons that got shoved in by accident, and finally pouring the haul into my jar.
  22. Extended family meals.  I call them “craptaculars”, but really, I have a soft spot for the times all four generations of us are together and laughing and strengthening our connections and hopefully making the memories that the youngest generation will nostalgically attempt to re-create when they’re grown.
  23. The singing of hymns.  I was raised by two members of the Methodist clergy, so it’s not surprising that both shared meals and lusty and correct hymn singing are things that bring me joy.  I am not personally Christian, and haven’t been since I outgrew my child faith, but I still go to church on Christmas Eve because that’s the one time each year that it’s almost guaranteed that I will like every song and everyone will know the words.
  24. Anything written by Terry Pratchett, but especially Discworld.  Every time he publishes a new Discworld novel I re-read them from the beginning, and every time I discover something new.  (On the negative side, I haven’t gotten to Raising Steam yet, so no spoilers!  I just got it for Mother’s Day and I am only as far as Going Postal in this re-read.)
  25. A good argument.  I don’t mean a this-is-your-fault fight, I mean I enjoy a good argument in the rhetorical sense.  Banter, verbal sparring, debate…adopt a position and argue it well and I will dog you with my rebuttals for hours, smiling all the time.
  26. Firefly, The Black Donnellys, Invader Zim, Lie to Me, and other imaginative and gritty shows that were cancelled too soon.  It’s a bittersweet thing, so I won’t dwell too much on it, but watching what few episodes of these jewels exist is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening.
  27. Eating produce that’s exceptionally fresh.  The snap of the green bean, the sunny sweet-and-acid taste of the tomato, the crunch of the radish, the subtle sweetness of the carrot, the refreshing bitter bite of cabbage and chard– I love them all.  This is a big part of why we get our produce through a CSA; we tried it one year and now I’m addicted to that straight-from-the-field taste.



I’m taking the weekend off for my birthday and I will be back next week for WIP Wednesday.

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