Numbers 61-70 of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy

October 13, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve added to my list of  “100+ Things That Make Me Happy“.  Over the past several weeks I have spent a lot of time appreciating my daily life, but a lot of the daily pleasures are things in the earlier numbers.

61. Wearing jewelry

Jeweled diadem
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gauis Caecilius

The thing I love about wearing jewelry is the memory that it brings back into my life.  My engagement and wedding rings of course remind me of my husband, our relationship, the day he proposed, our wedding, times since.  Other jewelry I wear brings similar moments to me during an otherwise ho-hum day too.  There is the pink bauble my stepson chose for my birthday a few years ago – surprisingly elegant for something so pink, and it was highly remarkable in that it’s one of the first gifts for other people that he ever selected.  I feel honored when I wear it, and it reminds me how important making efforts for a good relationship with him is – and then it reminds me of my own most-excellent teacher in how to be a good step-parent, my dear stepmom, who has consistently demonstrated nothing but love for over 25 years – after several bad step-parents had convinced me that wasn’t possible.  Things I bought for myself also bring me back to the time and place and what was going on in my life – and have made me become more and more selective in what I choose.

62. Lemon verbena

In France one of the favorite scents for soaps and such is “verveine” which what we call “lemon verbena.”  For me it’s a smell that is clean and fresh and cool and exotic.   I love the lightness and depth at the same time.  We grow some in our back yard, and I dry it at home and put it in jars and use all year as an herbal tea.  I sometimes cook with it, but never as well as the good Asian restaurants do.  In summer every year I buy a big bottle of L’Occitane en Provence’s verveine bath gel – and we put it away come cool weather, because it’s such a nice scent on a hot summer day I want to keep it seasonal.

63. Learning something

I’ve been really busy at work these past few months, but one good thing that’s come out of it is that I’ve had lots of new things to learn.  I’ve not wanted to learn all of them, but even the stuff that interests me less or is kind of a drag has a big upside when I’m learning something new.  A lot of the learning has been technical, quite a bit is very specific to my company and job, but just the act of stretching the brain in new directions is fun – and something I hadn’t realized I’d been missing for a while.

64. Going to the outdoor markets & being treated as a special customer

I live in Paris, France and although Modern Life is everywhere, there are still some holdouts to Simpler Times that exist.  One of those holdouts is the neighborhood market (kind of like an American farmer’s market, except a lot of the stands aren’t the actual farmers).  The atmosphere is great – lively, bustling, friendly, and overflowing with feasts for the eyes and nose to tempt all towards the great French goal : the stomach.  The cheese stand.  The bread stand.  Mushroom stand.  Flowers.  Several fishmongers, a butcher and my main stop at the heart of it all, the organic produce stand.
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I’ve loved going to outdoor markets like this since before I ever lived in Europe and one of the best things about where we live is that we’re just across the street from a pretty big market that runs 3 days a week – including Sundays.  I used to roll my eyes when I read stories about finally breaking into the inner circle with the vendors – it seemed ridiculous to me.  But now, hardened by almost 8 years of living in France coupled with learning to accept Parisian snootiness and bad service, I’m starting to see the difference.  Sure, the poultry guy still loves to make the chickens dance for me (head and feet included to gross me out) but he puts an organic chicken aside for me if I’m not there by 11am on Sunday.  The organic fellows fight over who will serve me, and point me to the most flavorful things before I start on my list.  Phenomenal strawberries in October – who’d have thought?  The cheese family put aside the order of some of the desserts when they come in because they know I ask for a certain number of them – and don’t want to run out, so other clients get told they’re sold out, but there are some for me.  Greek yogurt man (a different cheese stand) runs and hides from me in an exaggerated pantomime when he’s out of stock – because he frequently is.  Short-dated stock gets passed to me two-for-one, and once when I was out of cash I actually was extended credit.  My husband hates going to the market with me now, because it takes me a good hour to visit all my stands – but I love it and would absolutely hate to go back to predictable supermarket life.

65. Old people full of vigor

maraton437
Creative Commons License photo credit: sirmortimer

I love seeing old people full of vigor.  I love seeing them accepting who they are and embracing their wackier sides, letting the warts show, going full-on eccentric.  I travel a lot and often see groups of older people traveling and I’m often really impressed at how much fun people seem to be having in their later years.

66.  A subtle candle burning in a corner

I’m pretty amazed I didn’t get candles into my list earlier – an easy way to immediately change a room, a scent, a mood.  We have a lot (read: too many) in our house – and it’s one of my “quick soothers” that I try to turn to.

67.  The Chillout Song (and story)

I had a different music-related item planned, but I just recently found this Chillout Song by Ze Frank and I’m listening to it day and night, and made it my ringtone for my morning wake up alarm.  I sing it over and over and over and over.   Read the Story first, then listen to the Song.

You can listen for free on the internet (I did about a zillion times) but he only wants a buck for it, and I spend more on lots of stuff that touches my heart less.

I know some of you are going through hard times right now – learn this song as a mantra: you’ll be fine, just breathe.

68.  A walk around town or in a park

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As I mentioned above I live in Paris and there is no shortage of cool places to explore.  I love pointing myself in a direction and heading out for an exploring walk.  Or planning one in when I’m out running errands – especially in an area of town I don’t get to so often.  Still, the energy of a city can be more stimulation than I want, so sometimes I head to a park and walk around beautiful flowers, trees and lakes.   Sometimes I even get to listen to music or catch sight of dancing!

69.  A nice, feminine, subtle perfume

Department store cosmetic sections can make me gag and I often have to leave duty free shopping areas because of all the perfume in the air, but I still like a little very light scent.  I have two (French) standards that get almost all of my love although I have several other bottles in my bathroom.  More days than not I go without, but on some days that little spritz adds a little more sashay to my walk…

70. My new cashmere bathrobe

I’m easily cold and our house is drafty and when I work from home I’m often chilled.  Having something that is both warm and elegant isn’t easy – and while I’m American enough to be pretty happy in yoga pants and a fleece, the horror on people’s faces if I run out on an errand in such a getup is a giveaway that I’m a Foreigner.   Over the summer I bought a full length black cashmere bathrobe.  As I add items to my list of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy I try to keep food and money in the background (neither one actually makes me happy – although chocolate comes damn close).  But this was money well spent, making me feel like a leading lady in some classic cinema (even if I have yoga pants on underneath).  In the past I’ve had warm and fluffy bathrobes (ugly) and pretty bathrobes (cold) but this is the first one I’ve ever had that puts two together (it’s more a dressing gown than a robe I guess, since you’d never wear it to dry off…)

I notice I’m getting more verbose with these listings – I’ll try to pare it back in the next edition.

Do you have a list of the things that make you happy?

It’s a great stress-reducer to know the things that you appreciate. The first 30 or 40 are pretty easy – the higher numbers get more challenging – if you make a list let me know, I’ll link to you.

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