Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happiness is...a moment of peace.

I can't believe that April is already over. There are so many things I didn't get done and things I didn't blog about.  Easter came and went with barely a notice and I failed to mention National Poetry Month. But today I finally had a little bit of time to myself and was able to re-group a bit and relax and I wanted to do a re-cap of some of the goings on and things that have helped me find some happiness among the chaos this month.
  • Allergy meds.  I'm serious. I never had allergies until I moved to Virginia.  And even then I didn't have them for the first 2 years.  But once they hit they decided to make up for all those years I spent allergy-free and they knock me out every Spring. Itchy, watery, red crusty eyes. Seven million sneezes an hour. Headaches and runny noses. If it weren't for the miracle of modern drugs I wouldn't be able to surface until June.
  • Gratitude for somehow being on the periphery of all the extreme weather lately.  We had severe storm warnings all winter but never got a snowstorm (we more than paid our dues last year) and we've missed the worst of the flooding and rains and tornadoes this Spring. We've had some wacky temperatures but so far that's it. 
  • Spring flowers. We have had quite a bit of rain this Spring and that has made for some absolutely incredible floral fantasies in each and every yard. I spent part of the afternoon today wandering through the National Arboretum ogling all the azaleas. The hillsides are literally covered in mounds of flamboyant blooms in coral, fuchsia, violet, white, red and more.  Take a gander. 

An azalea flower close-up

NOT an azalea but isn't it lovely?  And the red background flowers are all azaleas

  • The royal wedding.  I realize it doesn't have anything to do with us here in America and won't even really politically affect Great Britain for years if at all, but there's something charming about all the pomp and circumstance and romance of a fairy tale come to life.  I gathered with a bunch of friends Friday night to re-live (at a more reasonable hour) the event.  We were dressed in our finest with hats and the whole shebang and for those few short hours I envied the stodgy, romantically-challenged Brits all their traditions and proper protocols. We could do with just a bit more formal celebrations in our neck of the woods.  (And who wouldn't kill for that exquisite dress, eh?)
  • Packing boxes. I'm in the process of moving apartments and I've had several people donate boxes to the cause.  It's made the crazy stress of it all just a tiny bit easier to handle with one less thing to have to worry about. Now all I have to do is fill them, transport them, unpack them, organize all their contents... *sigh*
  • Easter. I love Easter and Spring and the correlation between the re-birth of our world after the harsh winter and the gift of the resurrection.  There are no words to describe my gratitude for the Atonement and sacrifice and suffering that Jesus endured for each of us so that we can repent and find peace and return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father after our time on this earth is finished. Here are some fantastic messages and testimonies of Christ and His mission from His modern-day apostles. 
  • Easter candy!  Easter has the best candy of any holiday, hands-down.  My absolute favorite of all is (are?) Peeps!. I think as I've gotten older my taste for them has waned a bit (though the chocolate mousse flavored ones are pretty yummy) but I will forever love the idea of them (and will still eat them, don't get me wrong, just not as many as I used to!)  They're cute and cuddly-looking, soft and squishy in a rainbow of sugar-shimmery pastel colors that can't help but scream a silent squeal of springtime. The Washington Post also hosts a Peeps diorama contest every year that turns out some pretty hysterical results like this scene from The King's Speech and this rendition of The Muppet Show. What do you think?
  • Buying tickets for Summer excursions.  I don't get to take a vacation until late August this year.  I worked Easter weekend and I'm scheduled to work Memorial Day weekend and the 4th of July weekend too so I don't even get a day off or 3-day weekend until September.  So I decided I needed to book me some mini stay-cation type activities between now and then.  Here's what's on the docket so far.  First up is Wicked at the Kennedy Center.  And later on is a performance of Sweeney Todd under the stars at Wolf Trap. And of course, this epic midnight (is there any other way?!) experience coming to a theater near you! 
     It's not much and they all happen in July so I need to get some June activities in the works but it's a good start at least.  Anyone have any other suggestions of things to keep me busy this summer?

And last but not least, a poem to finish out the month dedicated to poetry. This is one of my favorites and very appropriate for spring.
I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Here's to you all and the promises of happiness possibilities in the coming month. Hope it's as full and rich as the last one has been.

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