Random things that make me happy, pt. 2

1. Hearing a favorite song on the radio.

In a digital age when anything and everything is available with the click of a mouse or the smack of a button on our iPods, how much fun is it to randomly turn the radio dial and hear a favorite tune pour through the speakers? My current joy comes from Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind, Part II,” and I love that song so much that I refuse to download it. Why? Just for that moment of pure euphoria when the opening bars begin as I’m driving home from work, sailing down a dark road, and I sing along and shimmy alone in my car, happy to be happy.

2. Polka dots.

They’re retro. They’re fun. They look good on clothes and jewelry, and I’m obsessed with them as button earrings. In fact, I may or may not order a dress just so I can wear the navy-and-white polka dot earrings with it and look like the 1950s teenybopper I am in my fantasties. Classy never goes out of style!

3. Highlighters.

I’m a listmaker — and I like to highlight things. Back in college, my textbooks and novels would look like colorful charts to unknown worlds — everything was organized and, to me, a graphic representation of everything I needed to cram in my brain. Seeing streaks of green, pink and yellow through my history book was a way for me to organize knowledge . . . and there’s nothing I like more than organizing. Or, based on this list, is there?

4. Hot chocolate.

Is there anything better on a cold winter day following a marathon snow-shoveling session in the driveway? Or as an evening treat before settling in with a good book or a few episodes of a great show to watch on DVR or TiVo? Or, you know, whenever?

Hot chocolate is just delicious and an instant cup of happy. Even when I make it with water — which purists will, I know, find disgusting — I just can’t get enough of it. Weird miniature marshmellows are a plus — as is a healthy dollop (or four) of whipped cream.

5. Wall calendars.

I’m ridiculously obsessive-compulsive about calendars — having enough of them; making sure they’re cute, fun and/or useful; strategically hanging them at eye-level around my desk for maximum enjoyment. In 2010, John Mayer is perched above my keyboard — as are scenes of Great Britain. Y’all know I’m not going to go an entire year without some piece of England around to sate my Anglophilia!

6. Laughing until my stomach hurts.

When did I stop getting so many bellyaches from giggling? My gasping-for-breath, oh-my-God-that-is-so-hilarious moments typically come from spending time with my sister and friends, new and old, or quite possibly with my coworkers — particularly when Brandon announces, not for the first time, that he is “going out in his chair!” (I know you can’t see me right now, but trust me — I’m convulsing with laughter. And someday I’ll write a blog post about why that’s so funny, but for now? Keeping you in suspense.)

7. My golden retriever, Rudy.

He’s cute. He’s cuddly. He lumbers around and acts like a human, sniffing the air constantly to see if anyone just happens to, you know, have a dog treat we won’t be needing in the near future. Or something. He knows when I’m sad and doesn’t bombard me with questions about why; he just lets me be.

He’s silly and crazy, and I don’t know what my life would be like without him in it. I live for hearing his puppy paws on the wood floors when I come in the door. Even though he’ll be six (or seven?) this spring, I can still picture him as the nervous, underfed young dog he was when we picked him up from a rescue shelter in 2004. You’ve come a long way, baby!

8. Putting loose change in a piggy bank.

Okay, so my “piggy bank” isn’t technically a pig. It may actually be a plastic red double-decker bus I bought in London’s Heathrow airport mere minutes before hopping a jet plane to return to Baltimore. And by “may actually,” I mean definitely is. And I love it. I keep it on my desk at work, just to the right of my computer monitor, and I look at it lovingly as I drop my loose pennies in the “roof.” Because what am I supposed to do with all these pennies? They make my purse heavier than it already is, and trust me — I don’t need any help adding heft to my bag. So the metallic ting! of sliding my pennies into the London bus sets my little Anglophile heart a’ fluttering.

9. Food photography.

When out to lunch with my ex-boyfriend P., a frequent argument could be heard at our tiny cafe tables. Just as our food or drinks would be set down, I’d scrounge in my (heavy) purse to find my digital camera. I’d stick out a hand to cover P.’s drink before he could take a sip, which would prompt the inevitable eye-rolling as he leaned back and said, “You’re not going to take a picture of that, are you?”

Why yes, P. Yes, I am going to photograph your latte. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

My obsession with food and drink photography is potent — and I celebrate it with separate albums on Flickr that rapidly expand with each passing day. Why am I so addicted to documenting what I consume? The world may never know. But I’ll tell you what I am on a hunt for: a man who won’t get snarky when I take pictures of his supper. Because like death and taxes, folks, it’s inevitable.

10. Love notes.

Even though they’re hard to read after the fact, love notes are a quick way to get in good with yours truly. I’ve probably saved almost every letter from every boyfriend I’ve ever had — all carefully stashed away — and I flip through them from time to time, mostly just when I’m feeling nostalgic. (Or depressed and eager to cry my little heart out. Whichever.) Even though they were written in a very different place, it makes me happy to remember the good times — and even to see their scratchy handwriting again. Like a wave of cologne, those notes are a quick way to transport me to another time entirely.

I guess at some point, I’ll have to get rid of them . . . or purge them, at least, saving only the Very Big, Important Ones. But sometimes the little notes left from boys — like “hope you’re having a great day” or “miss you” on my windshield, say — were just as meaningful as the Important Ones in which their eternal love for me was pledged. And who knows which I will choose to remember most fondly in the future? For now, they all stay in the cool, dark recesses of my under-the-bed “boyfriend box,” a dusty capsule of love lost.

14 thoughts on “Random things that make me happy, pt. 2

  1. everyone’s doing these ‘happy’ lists and they make me happy!

    i was a total list maker in college too, so i understand the weird ocd highlighter thing. i just loved seeing all the colors and bullet points.

    polka-dots + food photography are big ones for me too. i hate it when people eat their food before i can take a picture of it!!


  2. I totally agree a song you love always sounds better on the radio, even when I have it on iTunes and could listen to it whenever I want.
    I like hot chocolate but I love a good cup of tea, preferably properly brewed in a tea pot. As for getting a fix of Britain…I can just look out the window its a snowy winter land at the moment.
    Great list!


  3. i LOVE polka dots!!
    i just bought a bookcover fm hideabook on etsy with gold and pink ones!! 🙂
    i also agree with everything else on your list…especially hot chocolate! i even got a hot chocolate maker for christmas fm my future sis-in-law 🙂


  4. I agree with number 1,2 and 6! There’s that special joy of hearing favorite songs old and new on the radio whenever it’s played.

    I love polka dots too! It’s cool and retro and outstanding. It’s attractive too.

    I am with you girl with number 6 – laughing. I love love love laughing. Smiling and laughing is a free face lift plus it’s healthy.


  5. I adore this post…I feel like I’ve done a post like this in the past on my other blog, and I may need to revisit that idea. Just reading this blog post made me happy!

    Love notes? Hmm, I don’t get many of those. Let’s just say my exboyfriend wasn’t as sensitive and cute as yours probably were. I do have an ex box though and I keep thinking of throwing it away but I don’t know if I can.

    Just listened to your favorite song…I didn’t even know there was a part 2! Love it.

    Polka dots ❤


  6. Yay, someone else who loves highlighters! Although I’m glad to be done school, I’m sad I no longer have use for my many highlighters.

    Love this post, looking forward to part 3 🙂

    I’m off to have some hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.


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