what's making me happy this week 11.18.14: what we have in our pockets, a new spell and quiet time

011714sweater

011714Etgar

photos:
1) a gift of daffodils in january
2) my new sweater
3) writer etgar keret, illusration by erhan cihangiroğlu from the etgar keret facebook page
(can you tell i’m lacking photos this week?)

Two cold nights ago I was leaving the grocery store, after a frenetic day of work. I saw a man sitting alone in his car, talking on his phone, in a vacant part of the shopping center parking lot. I instantly thought, “I wish that was me.”

The thought seemed at once weird and kind of startling to me, especially since the man did not look particularly comfortable. He seemed too large for his overcoat, and for his car. But his car looked warm and he wasn’t rushing around in the dark. He was just sitting, doing one thing. Talking on the phone.

I’m in a bit of a funk. I can’t get on top of life. I’m usually pretty good at shaking off such a mood, but not so much the past couple of weeks. Maybe reviewing the bright spots in the week will help.

So here’s what made me happy this week.

1. The short story, “What Do We Have in our Pockets?” by Etgar Keret
This is a quick read, and even quicker listen (less than 7 minutes).
I heard it on the Selected Shorts podcast read, perfectly, by the late David Rakoff. You can listen here. It starts at the very end of the podcast, around -06:43
You can also read it here or see a short film based on this story and entered into 2013 Sundance film festival here.

But please listen to David Rakoff first. He’s better. The best.

2. Music from the film Walking and Talking. (I liked, but did not love this Nicole Holofcener film, maybe because I had just watched Frances Ha the day before. Basically the same film. Also liked, but did not love Frances Ha.)

Anyway, the music made me happy particularly the opening song, Billy Bragg’s She’s Got a New Spell.

3. Meloncholy music…it makes me happy to have such unhappy music when I need it. Two songs I heard for the first time this week, and really like, are Låpsley’s, “Station”, btw she is both the high and low voices and Iron & Wine‬‪ – The Trapeze Swinger‬. (NPR’s music editor Stephen Thompson has mentioned this song over and over on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He weeps every time he hears it. So finally I looked it up. No weeping for me, but I do love it.)

4. My new Air-o-Swiss humidifier. (I’m not getting compensated to advertise for this or any product). I love it for it’s clean lines and functional design and because, now that I have it running in my office, I no longer feel like I’m turing to dust.

5. A pot of daffodils I received on a gloomy day. Sitting in my office window, still in bloom. If you are living in a cold grey climate, please go get yourself or someone else a pot of daffodils. They make me hopeful, and happy, every time I see them.

6. My daughter was giddy on her first day of her cadaver dissection class this week. I talked to her after class and asked her how it went. She gushed, “It was amazing! I was up to my elbow in leg!” Yesterday I picked her up on campus after a study session for another class. She sat down in the car with a blissfull look on her face, leaned her head against the window and sighed, “I’m in love.” I said, “With?” She sighed again, “Organic chemistry.” It’s a pretty amazing to see your kid find a passion. I don’t think it happens to everyone. I’m still working out mine…

7. This sweater, in emerald green, I bought on sale from Boden. (Though it is already pilling which makes me unhappy.)

8. Getting up on this Saturday morning before everyone else. I suspect it is better than sitting in a car, in the dark, by myself in a grocery store parking lot. A cup of coffee, melancholy music and a quiet house all to myself to plan out my busy day: it may be all I need to hit the reset button on this mood.

Hoping you have found some happiness and a quiet place to think this week.

040513olddogs2
040513cactusblossoms
Whats making me happy this week 04.05.13: boy shorts, dad guitars, and fluorescent adolescence

photos:
1. old dogs, as good as they get
2. cowboy songs
3. singer, from tom huffey’s “mirror” series

I sure would like to know what’s making you happy this week!

In the meantime, here’s what’s making me happy this week:

1. Mani/pedi AND I used a LivingSocial coupon. Happy!

2. NPRs Story Corps podcast. If you ever need your faith in humanity restored, listen. They are short, too short, but I am so moved by these I cry at…every…single…story. Does that make me happy? Yes, it does.

3. Body by Gap boy short undies that came in the mail this week. Yes indeed, new pretty underwear makes me happy! TMI? I know it makes other women happy. Does new underwear ever make men happy?

4. Cowboy songs by the Cactus Blossoms. I volunteered at the Ark this week and had no idea who the performers were. These fresh-faced brothers were the warm-up band. They had me at the first few notes of their sweet cowboy harmonies.

5. Not sure if Tom Hussey’s “Mirror” series makes me happy, but they make me something…introspective? This is how I see myself when I look in the mirror, so much younger than what the world sees. In my mirror, I’m still wearing braces.

6. My son reminded me of the Dad guitar scene from Flight of the Conchords. If you haven’t seen Flight of the Conchords, you will likely not find this funny…But you should get the FotC DVDs…really.

7. I’m finally reading George Saunders. Not “Tenth of December,” according to the New York Times, “the best book you’ll read this year” -which I think was last year. Instead I’m reading “Civilwarland in Bad Decline,” as recommended by Glen Weldon from Pop Culture Happy Hour. I’m happy that I am finally reading the celebrated Saunders. My name finally came up on the library wait list. Is the book making me happy? No. I do get why Saunders is so fêted, but his satire is so close to the edge in my mind, that to me, the stories are equal parts funny, smart and terrifying.

8. I watched Skyfall and Casino Royale with my boy (and wrote about it).

9. My boy and spouse are spending the week in DC and are having a great time! I’m smiling right now just thinking about it. And very soon I will be hitting the road to visit my dear daughter for the weekend, also making happy!

10. The Humans of New York FB feed always makes me happy, but it’s this poem by a student, Fluorescent Adolescence, I found on HONY this week that I thought was pretty fantastic. I wish I had the author’s name.
Sometimes youth is not wasted on the young.