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Pink of Perfection, belatedly

December 23, 2008

So I missed this great Pink of Perfection project way back in July:  a happiness list.   (You can check out the  round-up for more information).  I’m not a cheerful person by nature, and although I love cutie-pie stuff, I am myself as far from cute as it is possible for one person who is not, say, Judith Anderson, to be.  If my life were a horror movie (stop laughing!), I’d be the one muttering, “I told you we shouldn’t have come here, but no-one ever listens to me,” just before the monster du jour ate me.   And recently, the world has met and exceeded my expectations of ill–and yours, too, I bet. 

Suddenly a happiness list seems less chirpy and more, well, intelligently self-protective.  Ideally, it could work like Q’s laboratory works for James Bond, right?  For every potential threat, a slightly more powerful item to counterbalance.  That’s what I’m aiming for, anyway.  Every time some fresh horror breaks upon me, I’m putting something that still has the power to make me happy in front of it.  It helps.

So, obviously, the Japanese Garden is on my list.  It’s been way, way too long since I’ve been there, but my pictures just remind me how much I love it.  As long as it is in the world, things can’t be entirely bad.

Coffee.  Every morning I love coffee all over again.  Oh, I love coffee so much:  I like the WinCo Rocket Java that I drink each day, I like almost any espresso roast (although not really Starbucks), and I loved the Idle Truck coffee Andi sent us.  Just plain drip coffee, black and hot. 

My health insurance.  Seriously.   Our household includes a teen-aged girl with bad knees, an accident-prone nine-year-old boy, and a grown up living with a chronic and debilitating illness that requires a lot of medication.  Our insurance makes all of that manageable.  It makes me very happy.

Knitting.  The capacity to make things that are both beautiful and useful, using a technique that is meditative, calming, and highly metaphoric–and which frees the mind by tying the body to precise and measured repetitive movement is the most magnificently compact set of pleasures I can think of.  Well, except for one–and that’s another thing . . .

Reading aloud.  We are a reading aloud family–I courted Joan by reading to her (and cooking for her)–and for a while I always had three books going:  one for Tuxedo Boy, one for Little Sunshine, and one for Joan.  I’m down to two now–at the moment that would be The Fellowship of the Rings for Tuxedo Boy, and Miss Marjoribanks for Joan.  Both great books, and great fun to read out loud; qualities not always found together.

That moment when I’m finished cleaning the house and folding the last of the laundry and everything smells sweetly and is balanced, just for a moment, in order and cleanliness and proper array.  It never lasts, but then again, I can always get it back.  And thermodynamics being what they apparently are, that’s pretty good.

The really posh latex washing-up gloves I got last week for $2.99.  They’re part of another thing that makes me happy:  $5 fun money.  This was Joan’s stroke of genius:  on pay day, each of us gets $5 to spend on whatever our hearts desire.  No interference (except on grounds of personal safety or general house rules) is permitted, so if you want to blow your cash on a jumbo bag of Chee-tos and eat them all by yourself, you may.   Black nail polish?  Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi?  Three Bakugan? Five songs on I-Tunes?  All the Stilton you can get for $5? A set of diamond-spangled false eyelashes?  You’d be absolutely astonished at how much fun can be had contemplating your outlay, refreshing and revising your plan, wavering and then plunking down the cash, and finally displaying the booty, relishing the perfection of the purchase.  There’s even been a certain amount of spontaneous sharing:  Tuxedo Boy was positively knightly in the distribution of Chee-to largesse.

The country ham and pepper jelly currently sitting in my refrigerator, courtesy of Joan’s recent trip home.  Country ham, my friends, is the prosciutto of the American South.  You flash fry it and eat it with biscuits if you know what’s good for you.  And the pepper jelly is homemade, with crisp slivers of jalapeno and a vinegary edge.  Perfect on a Ritz cracker spread with a little cream cheese and eaten over the sink in the middle of the night.

Lolcats.  Because they make my children laugh great loud completely unselfconscious laughs like they had when they were babies–a pure expression of amazement and joy.  I’d also add Trailer Park Boys, which has the same effect on Joan. 

So that’s a start, any way.  The more I think about it, the more I find.  Which is in itself pretty fine.

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