What Makes Me Happy or makes me cry tears of joy

Tillie
Tillie

These are some of the things that makes me happy in life (in no particular order):

Brett’s laugh
Playing ball in the pool with Shakes and Tillie
Pepsi over crushed ice
A great mix of music that I have created
Knowing that I have just captured a great shot with my camera
Sharpies in new bright colors
A really great thunderstorm when the lights go out and the lightning is wild
The feel of Eamonn’s hair
When our bed turns into the family bed again because everyone piles onto it at once
The smell of Corey’s skin when he is wearing my favorite cologne
Pictures of my dad
Finishing the last twenty pages of a book without anyone interrupting me
Finding a new author to add to my collection
Discovering a new brand of ink pen that writes smoothly and isn’t too thin
Pepperidge Farm Chess Men cookies
When Corey wears jeans and a long-sleeved white shirt with the sleeves rolled up
Watching Tillie have a tantrum when she wants to get away with something
Floating in the pool and listening to the birds sing
The smell of fresh cut lilacs and gardenias
Waking up without too much pain
Getting a card for no reason at all
Having a good hair day
Finding the perfect pair of black boots
Watching The Lord of the Rings (again) with one of my sons
Taking Alexis shopping and being able to buy her anything she wants
Fresh peaches with just the right amount of juice running down my chin
Rolling over in the middle of the night and finding Corey’s arm
The feel of clean sheets on freshly shaved legs
Listening to Corey sing “I Cross My Heart” to me when we go to sing karaoke
The smell of fall
Seeing a perfect sunset over aqua blue water
Looking at old pictures and reliving good times
Looking at Alexis’s beautiful eyes
Thinking about Caitlin before the hospital
Writing a poem that I really like
Watching a movie that actually holds together and I that I wasn’t able to predict the ending of
Hearing from old friends and knowing that they really still love me in spite of time and distance
Seeing my exhusband and knowing that I don’t hate him, that I’ve made peace
A good vanilla bean milkshake
The fact that W will soon be out of the White House
The smell of 4711 and everything that it evokes
Wrapping Christmas presents and getting the house ready for the holidays
Going on a cruise with my husband and discovering new places
Feeling safe
Learning new things
Watching my dogs sleep, even if they do hog all of the space on the bed
Being outside in the mountains at night with nothing else around except the stars and the sky
My beautiful computer screen and its uber high resolution
Listening to the bird song just before dawn
Knowing that even though we have our rough patches, my family is what saves me
Ice cream
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Reading a book that is so good that it leaves me gasping when I’ve turned the last page
Looking at all of the beautiful gardens that Corey has created around our house
Slow dancing with Corey
Having Corey wash my hair
Getting my nails done with Alexis and stopping for slurpees on the way
Having long talks with either one of my sons
Sweater weather
Knowing that I’ve nailed it when I sing “The Georgia Rain”
Driving over a bridge and seeing the water when it’s particularly beautiful
Taking a long bath with all of the candles lit
Painting my toenails
Finding pictures of old doors or arches
Making love in front of the fireplace
Getting a foot massage
Corey’s tequila salmon over rice
Memories of my mom and dad getting dressed up to go out to the club in London
Memories of dancing on the table at the Christmas party when the Beach Boys played
Finding seashells on the beach after a storm
Watching the sun go down from the pier with Corey’s arm around me
A big kiss on the cheek from one of the dogs
A big hug from Brett when he knows that I need one
Listening to Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”
and finally, for now, faith, hope, and belief when I need it most.

Coffee, cigarettes, and more bad habits

I drink too much coffee, even in the summer. My best friend Mari turned me on to iced coffee many years ago, so if I’ve brewed too much in the morning, I just make iced coffee in the afternoon. Now I know better because coffee is a migraine trigger, but when I try to wean myself from this, one of my only vices, it gives me a headache, so I justify it by saying ‘hey, there are worse things that I could be doing.’

When I go to see the doctor, and the questions about drinking and smoking come up, as they inevitably do, I can answer smugly, hardly ever and no. But in the last month, my relatives from Germany have been visiting, and we have used this excuse to have a couple of big get togethers, and I have used this excuse to do something that I rarely do any more: drink alcohol. You see, whenever we go out, as in my husband and I, I am the designated driver, so I will probably have one drink very early in the evening, and then hot tea and water for the following four hours, and I really don’t have a problem with that. But these parties have been at my sister-in-law’s house, which is about four blocks from my house, which means . . . no designated driver status for me. And so, I drank. Now you can probably guess my tolerance level since I rarely drink: it’s non-existent, and I was drinking lots of fruity, slushy things and shooters. No, I did not get sick, just incredibly silly (and there are pictures).

Anyway, at the latest party, I took it a step further and did something else that I haven’t done for years–I smoked cigarettes. I’m surprised that my body didn’t go into full body shock. This is a bad habit that I gave up years ago and never really had as a full-blown habit. I was one of those casual smokers, during times of stress, exams, and at bars, and then sometimes at the weirdest times I would have a craving. But I haven’t had a full-blown craving until the other night, and I blame it totally on my sister-in-law, who is the person with whom I would always smoke the most. Guilt by association. I also happened to be very pissed, so it was a good time to throw all good restraint out the window and let Lola loose, and boy did I ever.

I got into a political argument with my nephew, poor boy, and I even considered jumping into the pool with my clothes on, but I was having a very good hair day and didn’t want to ruin that. I ended the evening sans shoes, but special drinking glass in hand. I awoke without a hangover, still pissed, craving coffee.

So mea culpa and all of that. But if I confine myself to this exhuberance once every five or ten years, I suppose I can survive. After all, the night began as a celebration for me. I had gotten very good news about a lump in my breast. Being the half-empty kind of person that I am, I was convinced of the worst-case scenario, but it turned out to be the best-case scenario, so I was feeling very good about things: life in general, my life in particular, our life as a couple and the future and where we were going. The future was full of possibilities and I was feeling them spread before me, in spite of the fact that my wallet was empty and the money fairy was not due to visit any time soon. I felt a tiny inkling of that elusive thing called hope. Maybe, just maybe things would start to get better.

So you’ll have to pardon me if I just couldn’t understand why someone close to me chose that particular day, moment in time, to take a stand in his freedom of expression on one particular issue that weighs heavily on my heart, even though I have said that I will try to stay out of this issue. The timing was selfish and ill-considered. Perhaps I am being selfish for wanting to have joy and hope unsullied. Sometimes I don’t know if my expectations in life are too high, truly. After all, I am no peach in the best of times, admittedly. I don’t know. I’ll never know. And that, friends, is the heart of the matter: we never really know, do we?