happy things

when i was 14, i started a happy things list. simple pleasures; tender mercies; bits of life that make me feel ridiculously merry, or peaceful and content, or pleasantly delighted, or just a little twinge of bliss. the list has grown and grown and grown and now is about 75 typed pages long. i like to add to it when i am feeling glad and read it when i am feeling blue.

this week has brought some definite glad additions and also some definite blue reading. for some reason or another, lately my heart has felt sometimes somber and melancholy and sometimes overwhelmed and worried. i am frustrated about the job search and also, bah!, about boys.

yet, i somehow weirdly love those less than exuberant feelings because they are part of the mortal experience. they help me to be human. they make me greater in dimension and broader in being alive. and they make all those listed happy things seem bedazzled and spectacular.

this week's additions to the long, long list include:

-rainy, thoughtful days
-inspiration and empowerment to be better that just keeps coming; learning the same lessons over and over, but learning them just the same
-san francisco's hills and houses
-herbal tea or chilli to warm up
-feeling like my heart is ready after months of finding it impossible to believe that i could feel shades of true love again (woah, that sounds intense - not sure how else to describe it)
-the view of the city from market street
-feelings of triumph after starting a new life

-free concerts
-twangy bluegrass music
-being friends with people that i just, dang, really really like

roomie emily at a free bluegrass concert at some dim, b.o. smelling
(but curiously endearing) bar in the mission.

-a lifetime and very, very best friend
-christmas tree lighting ceremonies
-being in the middle of a bustling city as the sun sets and the indigo sky of night says hello and the buildings light up and people rush home
-christmas carols
-singers who just belt it out with all they've got

jane and i headed to 555 california street for the lighting of their huge, red holiday tree. we met up with some friends and listened to some local crooners and natasha beddingfield sing carols as the city lit up with christmas cheer.

-owl city's "christmas song"
-dave matthew's "christmas song"
-sissel and motab's "in the bleak midwinter"
-mariah carey's "all i want for christmas is you"

-spontaneous splurges at fancy restaurants
-dinner conversation that leaves you laughing to tears
-engagement stories
-amazingly tasty food and all the arrays of flavours

friends at the melting pot in marin - nikki had a gift certificate that was about to expire
so we rashly decided to take a drive over the ggb and just enjoy some fabulous fondue.

-the glowing, sweet atmosphere at small christmas parties
-new friends that are kindred spirits
-diverse cultural traditions
-eating something you have baked and sharing it with others
i went to a dutch-themed "sinterklaus" party and it was perfect.

-girls' nights in
-cafe rio pork salads
-friends from your hometown when not in your home town
-again, dinner conversation that leaves you laughing to tears

jane hosted a little g.n.i. for a bunch of s.f. girls from s.l.c. (acronym overload!)
the city glittered out the windows and we loooved chatting and jane's cafe rio recreations.

-castro theater and its old-fashioned charm
-going to an event you've been anxiously looking forward to
-when said event far exceeds your expectations
-a gathering of people for a common purpose that is purely fun
-musicals and singing along

yes, a sound of music sing-a-long. yes, we belted it out. yes, that little old man at the organ played the
whole score before the movie started. yes, there were gay men in lederhosen. yes, it was face-hurts-from-smiling-good. yes, we went to get chocolate treats after at the legendary square.

-the tiny lightbulbs in the arched ghiradelli square signs
-sharing a milkshake
-celebrating a friend's birthday

-san francisco's classical music radio station (i love it!)
-not having a lot of things (the woman i work for keeps everything and it is so complicated)
-the water pressure in my shower that is so strong it feels like it is peeling my skin off sometimes
-the bright yellow vinyl couch in my living room

-checking things off my life goals list
-mountain towns nuzzled in the trees
-december saturday mornings
-the great blessing of great roommates
-christmastime (that one is repeated about 100 times on the list, but it deserves to be)
-hot apple cider
-santa clauses that look really authentic
-the smell of christmas trees

life goal: chop down my own christmas tree: check! roomies and i went down to the santa cruz
mountains to a magical little christmas tree farm and brought home a winner.

-seeing your own christmas tree sparkling in the window
-saturday cleaning with the roommates
-the satisfaction of wiping gross grime off surfaces that maybe haven't been cleaned in years
-decorating the house for christmas
-old fashioned christmas carols

-the temple
-the tinkling sound that the chandelier in the oakland temple's celestial room makes
-remembering sacred days in my life
-the security and power of having made covenants with god
-the thrill of bearing my testimony on fast sunday
-knowing that that babe in bethlehem is the saviour of the world

-discussing random, funny memories with old friends
-car trips with good conversation
-feeling the real, real, authentic, genuine, real spirit of christmas deep in my bones
-being a mormon
-the christmas creche exhibit in palo alto
i went with my old friend missy and it absolutely blew me away - creches from all over the world,
classy set-up, beautiful music, and that wonder of the story of the baby jesus.

-free first tuesdays at san francisco museums
-modern artists' brilliant ideas
-looking at pretty things and admiring creativity
-meandering through a museum with music in my ears
-the view from the tower at the de young

i took the day off to celebrate free first tuesday, and loved sharing my
time at the de young with jane.

-the perks of not having a full-time job
-the peculiar feeling i get while wandering around the sfmoma (wildly empowering, ennobling)
-museum shops

-paper chain countdowns to christmas
-successful and fun ward activities
-book club, good books, good ideas, smart friends
-josephine's charming house in alameda
-peppermint bark
-having a crush
-the funny thrill of using public transportation
-having space that's my own and feeling homey there
-moments when i remember i live here and i have to pinch myself
-fantastic late night chats with my roommates
-the sensation of feeling melancholy and blue
-having so many things to be happy about


  1. YOU and one of the things that make dad and I happy!

    Love your indefagable spirit!

  2. Charity! I am jealous of all these fun outings! And I just feel your blog title is so appropriate for you. Okay...Dec 19th, gno!

  3. that tinkling chandelier in the oakland temple too. Thanks for sharing!

  4. That is the most amazing "thankful list I have ever seen! EVER!

  5. I love, love, love lists. And this is a great one.