Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happiness is...a cute, cuddly owl!

I have this fetish for birds right now. And owls in particular.  I'm sure it's partly because they are the current crafty trend and you can find them all over the place.  But I like to think I liked them before it was cool to do so.  Anyway, I've made a few purchases recently solely because an ornithological image was involved. I have this darling owl ring and a charming bird pendant that make me smile.  And I've even tried my hand at craftiness, making a fun wall-hanging with a bird-in-a-cage silhouette, a fun little owl stamp and some felt to make a stuffed owl as soon as I find access to a sewing machine.

But my friend called me the other day to make sure I was 'her friend who likes owls', to which I responded 'whoooo me?' (I know, sometimes I'm so clever it kills me!) And last night when I met her for dinner she handed me a gift sack with the most darlingest (yes, I believe that was my exact wording) little owl I've ever seen!  Look how cute this little fella is!

You can only appreciate about 1/3 of his charm because you can't cuddle him or pet him.  He is soft and squishy and floppy in all the right places...I love him!!  He completely made my week (well, him and his generous and lovely purchaser of course.  'P', you know who you you too!)

He doesn't have a name yet.  Any suggestions? 

Here's to life starting to look up again.  And if it doesn't, well, I have this little guy to hug and keep me company.  I think I can handle that!   :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happiness is...the temple.

I have just finished one of the longest, ugliest, blackest weeks I've had in I don't know how long.   Everything seemed to go wrong.  My emotions were completely out of whack and the flu from last week somehow migrated up to my chest and sinuses.  Between feeling sick and feeling sorry for myself I spent a good portion of my days as a sobbing, snotty, soggy mess.  It was not pretty in any way, trust me.

So, after spending the entire morning hacking my lungs out and trying to figure out what to do with my life I had used up an entire box of tissues and not come up with any conclusions so I decided I'd better do something a bit more productive than playing solitaire on the computer.  The only thing I could come up with (that didn't involve chocolate -cuz I've eaten all of the chocolate) was to go to the temple.

In the LDS church, worthy members can gain recommends to enter temples throughout the world. (Go here for more information.) Like the temples of the Old Testament, sacred ordinances are performed inside.  And because of their sacred nature, the Spirit is stronger there than most any other place.  Each time I go I spend time in prayer and am able to receive comfort and peace.

Washington DC temple (no this wasn't today, I couldn't figure out how to get the picture off of my phone and onto my computer so you have to deal with a photo from last summer.)

It's a testament to the utter blackness of my mood that after several hours at the temple the strongest word I can claim is 'neutral'.  It's not any where near 'happy' but it's definitely several steps up from where I've been all week.  Sad, but I'll take it.

So, dear reader, tell me...please!!  What is your remedy for getting out of a funk?  When your head hurts from crying, when the chocolate and ice cream are all gone and the funny movies no longer amuse, what do you do to make yourself feel better?  I'm hoping for something great here so don't let me down :)  Next week has got to be better than this one.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happiness is...a road trip and a fabulous concert!

After my thoroughly wasted week spent entirely in my apartment and alternating between the uber exciting venues of my bed and the couch I was ready for an adventure. The spirit was willing even if the flesh was weak, and it was VERY weak.  I hadn't eaten anything resembling a meal since Monday (no, saltines and Ginger Ale do not resemble a meal!) and though I was feeling much improved I was very, very tired.  But there was no way I was going to miss out on the one thing I had planned for the entire year (I really need to get on the ball here, I know!)  So, I loaded my sorry self into the car with a few friends and we took off for the exotic locale of...wait for it...Pittsburgh, PA.  That's right, home of the not-so-victorious Super Bowl participants of the past weekend and, well, not much else.  But there was method in our madness.  You see, we had purchased some much looked forward to concert tickets a few months back and it was time to use them.  But more on that in a minute.

After 4 hours of driving (ie, trying to sleep in the car) we made it to town and stopped at the #1 tourist attraction, the Duquesne Incline! (**insert slightly sarcastic voice here**) Originally used as transportation for the many workers in the vast steel production facilities, there are actually several inclines (or 'funiculars' if you'd rather) throughout the area, but the Duqesne (pronounced doo-kayne) provides the best view.

As seen here

and here

Quite a charming place from this angle.  There's just something about bridges that add to the likability of a place and I love that they've painted all of theirs a nice, cheery yellow.  Good call, Pittsburgh!

So, you pay your money to ride the little tram up the hill and, if you are like us, you have been lead to believe that there are shops and restaurants and things to help you pass the time.  Not so. We were disappointed in the lack of anything really at the top so we took a few chilly photos and then went back down to the parking lot.  Not quite what we'd hoped, but it was kind of cute.

But then it was on to the real reason for our adventure...Jon Bon Jovi!!!  Let me just preface all of this with the fact that I was practically comatose with exhaustion at this point and yet he did not fail to impress or get (and keep) me up on my feet for a good portion of the 3 hours. I credit his 'bad medicine' for the miraculous change (sorry, couldn't help it!)

Seriously though, I would kill for a teeny, tiny bit of his energy, much less his talent.  The man sashayed and kicked and high-stepped and jumped and bounded and punched and wiggled his spirit fingers/jazz hands all while crooning and wowing us.  He was an aerobic video gone wild! We all decided he should release a work-out DVD.  Come on, you know you'd buy it!  :)

You can't tell from the pictures here.  My little camera can't begin to do it all justice and I had to shoot him in his more subdued moments to make them come out not-so-fuzzy.  But, you can see a bit of the beauty that is him.  He has aged very nicely, and I attribute it all to his nightly aerobics sessions!

There's something inspiring about seeing someone in their element with such power and control over  not only their gifts but a sold-out audience of thousands.  Even to be in that audience has its power.  Joining your voice with the voices of those around you to shout out at the top of your lungs words that you all know in a spirit of pure enjoyment is an amazingly magical experience.

Here's just a tiny taste of what it was like...sort of!

And the front man always seems to get the most attention, but major props to Richie Sambora.  He is a guitar genius!

Any live performances in your near future?  Any favorite concert memories from years past?  The weekend is over but here's hoping you find a bit of musical or entertainment happiness in the days to come. (Maybe from the Grammy's that I'm not watching right now...anyone care to catch me up?)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happiness is...great roommates.

So, I spent the day yesterday puking my guts out (I'm really tired of being sick by the way, I've been sick way more than my share this winter, what's up with that?!)  But I was well taken care of.  One roommate brought me the required bowl and glass of water and checked up on me throughout the day.  The other brought me Coke and saltines and a stack of movies to keep me company.

I complain a lot that I miss living on my own.  It was so great to have my own space with control over everything from the mess to the entire fridge, the decorating and the closet space.  I loved living by myself!  But I have been very blessed with a succession of wonderful roommates while I've been here in Virginia.  Starting with my sister and on throughout the various and sundry people over the years I've had great friends, been taught many things, and been given many wonderful opportunities...and been doctored and pampered!

A big shout-out to the many amazing roommates I've had over the years and especially to the ones I have now.  Thanks for the memories and thanks for the love (and thanks for the bowl!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happiness is...mail from my nephew!

Okay, so it was actually from my sister-in-law and it was really just his darling little birth announcement, but still. His name was on the top line of the return address and it made me smile!  Three cute little photos framed in stars and rocket ships; a smile, a peaceful sleeper and a face all scrunched up in a baby cry that just makes you wanna kiss him and make it better.  It doesn't get any sweeter than that!

Carl Sandburg once said that, "A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."  I couldn't agree more.  You just can't help but feel hopeful and full of love when you hold a tiny baby in your arms.  No matter what else is going on in the world, what tragedies are being screamed about in the headlines, or how terrible your day might be going a baby makes everything better.  The soft, clean scent of baby skin, the tight grasp of a hand around your finger, the happy gurgles and coos and contented sighs.  Pure bliss.

So, go find yourself a baby.  Listen to it, hug it, sniff it, hold it...find a bit of happiness and renew your faith in the world!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happiness is...a new pair of shoes!

A.K.A. "Target is My Favorite Store", or "I Heart Sales!"

So, I have an absolutely fabulous cousin who is one of my very bestest friends....EVER!  She has kept me (relatively) sane throughout college and on into my not-so-college years, is always sending me little packages to brighten my day, and makes me laugh like no one can.  I don't know where I'd be without her.

While I was home for Christmas she bestowed upon me the perfect gift, a Target gift card.  It's portable and packable, completely customizable and transferable to the most-needed date.  This week was a bit crazy and I decided it was time to cash in so I ran over to Tar-jay Wednesday morning on my way to work and picked up these lovelies...

along with a terrifically cheesy chick flick (Letters to Juliet), some shiny teal nail polish and a package of Dove dark chocolate hearts.  A very successful, very girly outing if I do say so myself.  And I do!  Not a bad haul for a $20 gift card, eh?

Long live gift cards!  Long live Target!  Long live sales!  Long live chocolate!  (I just had to throw that one in there.)

Reader, what has been your most recent successful purchase?  Are you a bargain shopper or an impulse buyer? Where is your favorite place to practice retail therapy? Here's wishing you some shopping bliss this weekend, even if it's only splurging for your favorite candy bar.  Purchase, savor and enjoy!