I’ve been accused recently of needing to expand what makes me happy. The accuser in question denies that it was meant in a general way, but rather specifically in reference to a comment I made about the weather. But it did get me to thinking about other times I’ve been called out for what’s perceived as negativity, when really I’m just being sarcastic in the hopes that it will add levity to whatever proceedings I’m part of. I’m not a negative person, I’m really not. And I’m not a cynic either – well, not about most things. In fact, I’m an eternal optimist – optimistic to a fault at times. And so, herewith, a list of 50 things that make me happy, in no particular order except (obviously) the first few:
1). Daniel. My son, my world – really, you can’t know how he’s turned my world around and made me a better person. A work in progress, yes, but still – I don’t take lightly the fact that I’ve been entrusted with the care and feeding of such a remarkable human being.
2). My family. Parents, sisters, brothers in law – all of them geeks, all of them a bit weird in a really good way. What’s amazing is how well the brothers in law fit in with all the McEwen weirdness. I love this time of year in particular because I get to have them all in one room for several hours at least twice. Sometimes I wish I had a tape recorder so I could just record the geeky fun. You know that cheesey saying about love feeling like a warm blanket? That’s what it’s like to be part of my family.
3). My friends. Seriously, there are times when I have these really dark moments (fewer and farther between lately, but they still sneak up on me when I least expect them) where I wonder why anyone finds me worthy of their friendship, especially given the lengths to which some of my friends go – childbirth classes, Daniel’s birthday parties, any events that involve spending time in a room with Hal, my birthday parties -- commendable to say the least. Special shout outs to Kresta, Robin, Beth, Sandy, Heather, Julene, Maureen, Missa, both Kates, Abigail, and Suzanne. You all just touch my life with goodness beyond measure.
4). U2. Please – if you know me at all, you knew that was coming in the top 10. See my post from earlier this year about U2 being better than a man. It’s all true.
5). Scrapbooking. How could it not make me happy? It combines photos with decorating, and an element of control over what I’m doing which often seems missing from the larger picture that is my life.
6). Harry Potter. Mainly the books, but also the whole weird geek world that’s sprung up around the books – the web forums, the kick ass people I’ve met just from being an HP fanatic (shout outs must go to Missa, Ashers, Elisha, and the always MacCheesey Dolor and her two fantastic cats), the toys, the Halloween costumes… At the very least, it gives me something to occupy my mind. This is a little (big??) secret I haven’t told very many people but I’m going to share today: After I left Hal, all I did for about 8 months was read the Harry Potter books over and over and over. It kept me sane. I know some might argue that it was actually insane, but it wasn’t – it was the only way I could stay focused when I was alone. Otherwise, I would’ve sat around going to pieces all the time. And I was not about to go to pieces. I finally snapped out of it sort of out of the blue one day, and haven’t gone there since, but I do have to credit JK Rowling with assisting me through a very, very difficult time.
7). Star Wars. I won’t get into too many details; it’s not like this one is a big shocker to anyone.
8). Losing myself in a really amazing book.
9). Ditto a really amazing movie.
10). Sitting in the room with the Christmas tree with nothing but the tree lights on, listening to George Winston’s Winter album.
11). Chicken tikka masala from India Oven. Somedays, I would even claim it’s better than sex. Not every day, but some.
12). Writing my novel. Fuck it, I’m never going to finish it, am I?? But it sure is fun to work on every now and then.
13). A clean house.
14). Eolian pipes. A bit more refined than the bagpipe, but mournfully lovely in the same way.
15). Daniel’s laugh.
16). Diet Pepsi. I used to be a diet Coke woman, for many years, but had to switch owing to a bad experience when I was pregnant. I’m more addicted to diet Pepsi than I ever was to diet Coke. I seriously think they put something in it to addict people.
17). Office supplies. This hearkens back to the days of getting new school supplies, or being taken to my dad’s office to spend the day; it mainly involved drawing paper dolls on spare computer paper and drafting floor plans on spare graph paper. Sometimes he’d find me an old, out of date journal to write in, and it was like heaven, and I thought grown ups were crazy to waste a really good journal like that. Now I waste my own dated journals. It’s crazy.
18). The Academy Awards. I’m in for the entire three and a half hours. No magazine or website can ever rehash the show enough for my taste. Please don’t call me on Oscar night. Ever. Unless someone’s injured or dying.
19). My iPod. I can’t believe this didn’t somehow weasel its way in before my family and friends. I’ve had this thing for just less than a year, and I can’t remember how I ever existed without it. I can carry my ENTIRE cd collection with me everywhere I go! No, no one NEEDS to do that, but it’s not about needing.
20). Rock bands who use pianos like they’re guitars. Coldplay, U2, Keane, etc.
21). Bret Saunders, morning DJ on KBCO in Boulder, CO.
22). Lost (the tv show). I can never figure out how seriously I’m supposed to take it. Now that’s good television.
23). Books. I just like having them around, reading them, looking at them, whatever. I just like books.
24). Venice. The real one.
25). Diamonds. Guess what I’m buying myself for my birthday this year?? It’s high time I had good diamonds.
26). Guilty pleasures on television. Stuff like The OC, Laguna Beach, The Real World – anything on MTV, really – Degrassi. Stuff I know I shouldn’t be watching because it will just kill perfectly good brain cells, but I can’t seem to manage to change the channel or turn it off.
27). Outer Space. Must be all those visits to the planetarium as a child. I’m actually kind of disappointed to know my son doesn’t have an astronaut’s temperament, because I could totally get on board with having an astronaut in the family.
28). Stuffed animals. I know I have way too many; I’ve tried to grow up and get rid of some, but I can never rid myself of my little stuffed friends completely.
29). Lord of the Rings. I would name a kid after a character in Lord of the Rings if I ever had another one. Aragorn for a boy, Eowyn for a girl. And the sad thing is, I’m not HALF as geeky about Lord of the Rings as some people I know. Not by a long shot.
Okay, NO, I wouldn’t really name a son of mine Aragorn.
30). Creepy crime thrillers by Jonathan Kellerman and Faye Kellerman. Except they should stick to their own characters and not ever try to write a book together again. That whole thing sucked.
31). Pirates. At first, I thought it was really my son’s interest in pirates that got me hooked, but then I thought about it and realized that I’ve always been interested in pirates, ever since Pippi Longstocking.
32). Maps. Yeah, that’s right – maps. I can sit for hours looking at maps, atlases, Google Maps, etc. My favorite homework in Jefferson County Public Schools was always the mapmaking assignments – for some reason, there were loads of them, and I can assure you I was very, very good at them.
33). Sarcasm. I love it. A well-time sarcastic comment makes my day. Bring them on. It’s especially good from someone you least expect it from, like this woman Julie in my office – she doesn’t LOOK like a sarcastic person, but she’ll just pop out with something outstanding, and I’ll crack up for hours.
34). Cherry sours. The little round gummy things that you can really only find decent versions of right around Valentine’s Day. Sometimes the Mountain Man people sell them, but not always. I got some really foul ones at a gas station the other day, and it was SUCH a buzzkill.
35). Shoes. I drool over shoes in catalogs and magazines, and have a tendency to buy too many when shopping. There are too many styles these days that I can’t stand up in, but I sure do like to ogle them.
36). Clothes. I’m no fashionista, but I do like to own several good outfits.
37). On the same subject, my leather jacket from Florence, Italy. It has sentimental value in addition to being cool.
38). Road trips. Even a quick, two-hour road trip rocks. It’s enough time to eat some junk food and listen to at least 50 good songs.
39). Organizing stuff. You’d never guess this by my desk at work, though, and that really bothers me.
41). I got this weird-looking fairy-monkey hand puppet thing at the Renaissance Festival this summer and it has these amazing blue eyes made out of some sort of stone – I have no idea what. But looking at this creature makes me happy.
42). Presents. I’ll admit it. I don’t trust people who say they aren’t into getting a present every now and then.
43). Spending the day at the zoo with my son.
44). Trips to Canada.
45). Sex. (I thought I would sneak this one in when most readers have long since lost interest in this whole list.)
46). Getting my hair done. Specifically, getting my hair done by Ric, who has been my hair guy since I was in the 9th grade. Ric rocks.
47). Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Tea.
49). Green apples.
There’s 50. It was really kind of hard to confine it to just 50 things. So there! Plenty of things make me happy! Take that, Mr. You Need to Expand What Makes You Happy!