Simple Things That Make Me Happy

I feel like my posts tend to alternate between longing (teetering on whiney) and dorky ideas.  I don’t do this on purpose, but maybe writing down things that bother me are effective enough that the following day I can look past them, at least temporarily, to see the beauty and pleasure in other things.

I sat here smiling as my pug and my husband snore next to me; (I mean, no honey, you don’t snore). I thought about how lucky I am to find joy in simple things. In no particular order, these are things that make me happy.  I welcome what simple things make you happy; there is always room to add to the list.

  • Tea, in a teacup with saucer and perfectly sweetened.  On a regular day, I drink tea unsweetened at work, just throwing a tea bag into the cleanest mug I have within reach.  (It just feels that way, don’t worry, I wash them.)  I’ve tried to perfect a perfect pot of tea; I can’t seem to do it like my Mom does, and so I make mine by the cup.  I go in phases with what type I’m in the mood for and lately rooibos wins.  Still, I wish I gave myself a moment to sit down and absorb just a moment of sunlight and a few minutes to drink tea each morning.  At the very least, I take a moment to think about the little sayings on my tea bags.  I started to save them at my desk because they are generally uplifting and every corporate cubicle can use random positivity.  Geez, now I sound like a hoarding Pollyanna.
  • Hot buttered toast and dipping it in hot chocolate.  Mmm.  I think I’m hungry.  Maybe I’m missing my Mom.  She’d make this for me when I was little, because her Mom did the same.  It came up in conversation before she passed that my Great-Grandmom used to get this when she was a kid from her Mom too.  I suppose it’s a traditional treat then.  The hot chocolate must be hot and so must the bread, and it should be white bread.  If you’re going to do this, you might as well go all out and use the soft white bread.  One day without wheat bread won’t kill you, but it might be the real butter that I suggest you use.  I know I’ve missed the boat to suggest this part, but it is particularly good on a colder morning. We still have some of these left.

Early morning. Though I have my favorites, Oscar prefers oatmeal.

  • Hanging clothes on the line.  Laundry chores are annoying but necessary.  I think this makes me happy because it has to be a beautiful day for this chore to be feasible, and that itself is a reason to smile. There is just something calming about pinning sheets up in a gentle breeze on a warm and sunny day.  Just don’t step in dog poo while you trek through the yard, it certainly takes away from the calming experience. Continue reading

Little Old Soul or Burden to Elderly Society?

I thought I was a pretty normal kid.  I was the first of my generation on my Mom’s side.  I was the only kid for the first six years across the board.  I also grew up without many kids around in my neighborhood and by the time they were there, I was still the only girl.  I’d like to think I’m an old soul, well, because I feel like I am.  Part of me also wonders if it’s because my favorite people and maybe my best friends during those years, were my Mom and my Grandmoms.  I had three of the later, “two regulars and a great” I’d always say.

I never lacked a childhood.  I played games, had toys and knew the basics, Sesame Street and Smurfs.  It might be kind of odd that a lot of my favorite toys can be found at antique stores, but they were obviously both amusing and made well, so who am I to question that.  Mister Rogers was one of my icons, still is, and I get teased for wearing a Mr. Rogers sweater on occasion to this day.  They are so versatile.  But honestly, I’m not weird.  It’s not like I go to a public park bench and start singing while I change my shoes or anything.

It has recently come to my attention however, that some of my regular childhood memories are not so regular for children of the 80’s.  Well, maybe child-like people IN their 80’s, but I was born in the early 1980’s.  Apparently there’s a difference?  Here is a sampling.

  • Lunch dates at Wanamaker’s with patent leather purses and hats
  • Bingo with the Widow/Widowers at the Senior Center
  • Lawrence Welk sing-a-longs with Gram (The real show, not the SNL parodies – which are excellent by the way)
  • Carol Burnett repeats on PBS
  • Anne of Green Gables and/or Romance Novels (Yes, I realize this was quite varied)
  • Senior citizen bus trips to anywhere and everywhere
  • Sewing and crocheting lessons during 2nd grade summer

Ok, so either I was ancient, or I was often taken to places I wasn’t supposed to be.  Making this list makes me wonder if I was ever a burden to elderly population, but I made such good friends with every old lady I met that I was always invited back.  There was one lady named Dolly, I thought she was the greatest because well, her name was Dolly.

Anyway, there is something proper about a little girl with her tea cup and saucer, legs crossed while she listens to her elders talk.  I don’t remember ever feeling like a kid.  Maybe it’s because no one spoke to me like I was one, but in fact they treated me like a little lady.

Tea Time Vs. Coffee Dash

Courtesy of AboutChamomile.com

The Boston Tea Party was a little different from the one I had this afternoon with my Aunt.  Tea Rooms celebrate a time long gone and tend to shy away from encouraging any hostility towards the British.  As a matter of fact, English Breakfast tea remains one of the most popular black tea options on any tea menu, no matter where you are seeking your (insert overcompensating English accent here) “spot o’ tea”.  These establishments are typically Victorian in nature and somewhat gaudy, but in a way that isn’t worthy of an eye roll, but instead a “This is adorable” response.

Tea really could have been an American thing too.  We could have stopped work at 3pm in the afternoon and enjoyed a little tea time ourselves, had American Colonists remained satisfied with bowing down and paying taxes to British Royalty.  Instead, we began to import coffee.  In our American live to work society today, coffee time could be considered the mad rush to wait in line or drive-thru at a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts to get a cream and sugar coffee concoction and guzzle on the way to the office.  Not quite a break at all, now is it?

Americans spend somewhere around 18 million dollars in coffee sales each year, as opposed to the approximately 7 million we spend on tea.  We do enjoy our caffeine, but both of these also present health benefits if, like everything else, used in moderation.

The list of tea’s health benefits seem to grow regularly and include the following:

  • Aid in a healthier immune system
  • Fights free radicals with antioxidants
  • Assists in fresher breath and cleaner teeth
  • Calorie-free (until you add your sugar, cream and/or honey of course)
  • Herbal varieties tout specific health benefits from stomach issues to lower cholesterol
    • Example: peppermint tea for an upset stomach
  • Less caffeine than coffee but its theanine increases mental alertness
  • Flavonoids protect the heart and may reduce certain cancers

Coffee is not without its own health benefits, though the news makes it difficult to maintain a good read on whether or not it does more harm or good.  Either way, this is what coffee is said to be responsible for the possible prevention of:

  • Type 2 diabetes (Found in both regular and decaf varieties)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Certain Cancers
  • Heart problems
  • Strokes
  • Liver disease

Whatever option you choose, recycle your Styrofoam cup and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy an elegant cup of something to warm yourself this winter.  After all, the relaxation alone could lead to the biggest health benefit you could use right about now, mental stability.

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