What’s making me happy right now

Did you know that yesterday was The United Nations International Day of Happiness? I didn’t either until I got to work yesterday. My office building was celebrating with smiley face balloons and cupcakes in the lobby.

I really love smiley faces. I was the girl who dotted the Is in her name with smiley faces from ages 10 to 12-ish. I still sign cards with my name and a little smiley underneath. When I add Flora’s name, I do a little flower for her. (I still haven’t figured out a symbol for Sean, which feels like unintentional exclusion.)

In honour of yesterday’s International Day of Happiness, here is a list of things that make me happy right now.

  1. Picking up Flora from school.
    When I get to Flora’s school, I can look in a large window and see the kids in the after school supervision room. I love finding Flora in the window and watching her go about her business. It’s gratifying to see who she is when I am not hovering over her. I also love the huge tackle-hugs I usually get when I get to the classroom door. They make me feel loved. (I’ve written about this before. The card I mentioned in that post? Still on my cubicle wall.)
  2. The snow is melting.
    I just wish it would stop snowing so that there was no more snow that needed to melt. This winter has been hard and like most of my North American pals, I’m more than ready for it to be over.
  3. The jeans I’m wearing right now.
    Sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I like the colour, the fit, and the feel of them.
  4. Seeing older couples being affectionate together.
    When I see older couples holding hands, or one half holding the other’s arm for balance, or generally being affectionate, I think “I want that”. I want to part of that couple who sits in their matching rocking chairs cracking jokes with each other. I want to have my hand held when I’m 90. I’ve let Sean know this, and I hope we pull it off.
  5. Seeing the lake on my way home from work.
    My GO train station is near the lake and we pass through parkland and nature right before we stop. When I sit on the south side of the train, I can look out the window and gaze into Lake Ontario. It makes me feel centered and calm. Now that the days are getting longer, I get a better view of the water. It’s a nice way to end off my train ride and move into my evening.

I am grateful for these and so many other little – and big! – things that make me happy. What making you happy these days?

On Not Writing

I spent a lot of time Not Writing this year and I am disappointed in myself.

The year started off strong and I even signed up for a month-long online writing course. (Alice Bradley’s The Practice of Writing, which appears to be offline for updating so I’ve linked to her blog’s homepage.) I really enjoyed the course, but struggled to find the time to do the daily exercises. When I got really behind I would go through rapid-fire catchup sessions while Sean would get Flora ready for bed. Then, when my colleague went on a two-week vacation, I was doing a lot more at work and was just too burned out to write at night. Truthfully, there were probably only a few tough days at work, but once you start on a Not Writing cycle, it’s hard to get back to Writing. I acknowledged that I didn’t give the class the attention that it deserved – or that I wanted to give it. I have the PDF of all the class notes in my email, and I haven’t had the guts to even look at it yet. The course ended more than six months ago. I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t just keep up and keep going.

I still feel ashamed, and I’ve wondered many times over the last few months if I should just give up writing and blogging altogether. I’m still here so I haven’t given up yet. but I haven’t figured out how to shut the negative voices up and just write anyway.

I’ve written a few blog posts and percolated ideas since then. I know logically that writing leads to more writing, which leads to better writing. I know I need to kick my own ass to actually make the time. I’m hoping the dark and bleakness of winter will encourage me to write. If not that, football season and Sean’s new Xbox will keep me away from the TV so that’s one distraction gone.

So many people/magazine articles/advice givers/general know-it-alls say ‘get up an hour earlier’. I already leave my house by 6:30am on weekday mornings. In a perfect world, I’d be leaving at 6:15 and getting out of bed at 5:45am at the latest. I just can’t get up any earlier. I stay up after Flora goes to bed so that I can have time to myself. Sometimes I even spend it with my husband. (Blasphemous, I know.) I’m usually in bed by 10pm, and I need that sleep. I need that time with my husband. I need that time with myself. I want to use more of that time to write, but lately, I’m just so burnt that I can’t do more than read or play The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Those hobbies are valuable to me too. (I started playing Tapped Out because Sean was playing it and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Now it’s one of the few video games we’ve ever played together, which is a nice bonding experience.)

I’m writing now, so I’m hoping that will open the floodgates a bit. Maybe that will lead to some actual Writing. Or just plain old ordinary writing. I’m willing to start small.

Buckley

Buckley, Buckwheat, Mr Bucklesworth, Bucky, Wheat, Buck. It’s amazing how many names one cat gets.

Back in July, we lost Buckley, our beloved family cat. At nearly 15 years old, he had had a long life, but a sudden illness paralyzed the back end of his body and we had a difficult decision to make.

Buckley was a crabby little kitten, and was actually returned to the pet store by a woman who said he didn’t get along with the cats she already had. Sean overheard her and thought “That’s the cat for me!” and promptly brought him home. When someone picked him up, he’d take a flying leap out of their arms. He eventually settled down but I’d say he adored Sean and tolerated the rest of us.

When Sean and I lived in a first-floor apartment many years ago, we came home one night to see a little black cat wandering around.

“Aww. That cat looks like Buckley.”

“That cat is Buckley.”

And the chase was on to get our indoor cat back inside before he got lost or was run over. When he escaped the house, he liked to hide just far enough under cars so that we couldn’t reach him.

Buckley generally avoided Flora. Like many older cats who suddenly have to share their home with a baby human, I think he was horrified by all the new noises and activity. Flora was taught to be gentle with Buckley from a young age and remarkably, she didn’t chase after him too much. I caught him sleeping on her bed when she was away on at least two different occasions. I like to think he loved her from a distance. I know Flora loved him too.

We all loved him. He was a good cat and an important member of our family. We miss him.

What I did on my vacation

May they always look at each other like this
The crowd I spent my vacation with.

Team Mitchell was on vacation last week. We laid low at home and it was wonderful.

Highlights of the week include:

Sean’s birthday. We picked up dinner and had our neighbours over for dinner. I made a cherry cheesecake and it was pretty good for someone who doesn’t bake. I made it from a box, but still, I made cake! I should have made him wear the Dora party hat we have in the cupboard from Flora’s 2nd birthday.

Our ninth wedding anniversary. We didn’t do much to celebrate it, but we did acknowledge it.

I read six novels.ย  I have completed my challenge for 2013 to read 35 books. Now I need to up the number since there’s a lot of 2013 left. Some novels were trashy, but that’s what summer reading is all about.

I played with Instagram video. I’m not sure if I love it yet, but it is fun.

Embedly Powered

Embedly Powered

I took Flora to the ROM. The train trips to and from were big adventures, but an unexpected highlight of our trip was the bat cave. I was convinced she would be terrified of it, but we walked through that thing at least six times in a row.

Train ride
Pink Teddy enjoyed the trip too.

Lots of time spent outside. We went to the park, the splash pad and spent lots of time in the backyard. My favourite afternoon was spent in the backyard just enjoying my family, talking, hanging out and playing.

We’re back to our regular routine today – Sean and I at work and Flora at her school for summer camp. I think our return to routine was almost welcome, but I’ll still look forward to the next backyard party this weekend.

Hamster wheel

I’m writing this post on my phone while lying in bed. I didn’t want to have another month with no blog posts in it.

Isn’t technology grand?

I should really be asleep but I just got out of the shower and my hair always looks ridiculous after sleeping on it wet I need what little down time I can get.

If I write anymore, this is going to devolve into a “why I haven’t posted lately” post. We’re all busy so I won’t bore you with the details. I’m just hamster wheeling hard on the work-eat-parent-sleep cycle and trying to have some fun while running on that wheel.

How are you?

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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