Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy, Happy

Awhile back, I was out walking with my umbrella.
Fall colors were beautiful, even in the rain.
I had my camera, so I snapped some pictures with one hand
while holding the umbrella with the other.
Hence, the wonky photos
and the visible edge of the umbrella at the top of the photo.

In the spirit of JayJay, my now 5-year-old grandson:

When my one-year-old grandson Jayden enjoys something, however mundane and ordinary, he does a little dance and chants in sing-song, "Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy..." His cheerful enjoyment of the simplest things is an admirable trait, so I will follow suit and make a point to notice and exude "happy, happy, happiness" about simple, daily, easily overlooked things.
(From my High Desert Home Blog, when JayJay was littler.)

1. Blustery, blustery day. Inside out umbrella day. Warm and wet. I love this weather. It reminds me of my childhood, growing up on the coast, with wild winter winds and rains and everything cosy in my family’s home with the woodstove going. I grew up with a mother who loves a raging storm—the more raging, the better—and on the coast there are usually a number of them every winter. If the power went off during one of those storms, my mom made a party of it. With the wood stove we were never cold, and we could always make hot chocolate! And we did. We lived by candlelight when there was no electricity, which is magical to a child. My mother’s exuberance about rainstorms rubbed off on all of her children. To this day, not much seems cosier to me than being inside while the wind howls and rain lashes at the windows. Or even when it’s just grey and blustery and a little bit wet like today.

2. Second cup of coffee. When it’s grey and windy outside, and it’s so dark inside that you need to turn on the lights, and it’s time to sit and study and write, a second cup of coffee is just the thing. Really lovely.

3. The writing of cookbook author Elizabeth David. I’ll take her over MFK Fisher! There’s something warm, clear, good, and unpretentious about David, and the way she writes about Mediterranean cooking inspires me.

Okay, not the greatest photo (!), but oh well.
Elizabeth David and The Olive and the Caper on top.

4. More cuisine. I like basic Greek food. I eat very simply and frugally, but I make sure to eat certain things daily or routinely. Yogurt with applesauce (usually fresh-made raw) or honey and cinnamon, dark greens, yellow/orange vegetables, legumes, etc., and I realized that some of the things I cook are traditional Greek dishes. So I pulled out my old cookbook, The Olive and the Caper, and I’ve really been enjoying reading through it and modifying recipes. Last night I made horta from the book and ate it with my sweet potato puree. It was super delicious together—the edgy dark greens with salty kalamata and tangy lemon juice with garlicky sweet potato puree.

5. This just goes right along with my Mediterranean/Greek kick. I love this article in the New York Times. The diet stuff is really interesting, but it’s the lifestyle I love most. Their values are mine. As much as possible, I avoid being tyrannized by clock time, and I refuse to rush and get busy. See how they value true community (and not simply networks or gathering at scheduled times with groups we are part of) much, much more than any other part of life? This is so very important!

6. Dark chocolate. I don’t always have it around, but today there’s Green & Black’s 85%. If I buy it that dark, I’m not tempted to eat more than I should all at once.

Just a random picture since I mentioned "students" in item #7.
I had to walk through this building the other day
to get to a vantage point to take a photo for a class.
(This was not the photo I took. I just liked the view so snapped it.)
I like this place. It has interesting light and architecture.
It's the physics building.

7. Some of the young students I know. They are just really sweet, quality kids. There’s an awful lot of silliness at the university—students, teachers, courses, homework—but there is the other side, too, with all of those elements. Some students amaze me with their maturity and kindness, their openness and friendliness, and their really fascinating interests and hobbies. I seem to connect with the ones who love nature and the outdoors. I just adore some of these kids.

8. Music coming through my wall. A grad student lives next door, and her boyfriend is a violist. He practices at her apartment sometimes, and his music is soooo beautiful. I just sit here at the table beside our common wall, stop typing, and just listen and enjoy.

Just sticking this in here to show you
what Michelle made for Liya.
Sweet quilt, sweet girl, sweet Mama!

9. My mother. She’s awesome. She never fails to make the cut. November 13th ould have been the 58th wedding anniversary of my mom and dad, but four years ago (at the end of November), my dad died unexpectedly. It’s still hard. I wrote something recently about my mom and dad and their relationship. I think I will post it here soon, but I am trying to get a little video of them (when they were first married) set up to add to the post (they were adorable!) first. Praying for my mom today and during all of these now-bittersweet end of the year celebrations and milestones.

10. Homemade Gravenstein applesauce on plain yogurt. Oh, my goodness. This is so delicious. My really long-time, special friend, Laurie, makes the best applesauce in the world. It is perfection. (Everything she makes is perfection, actually.) I served yogurt with this applesauce to my grandkids last Saturday, and it’s all they wanted to eat for the rest of the day. Roman told me, “Grandma Susy, tell your friend that her applesauce is soooooo good! I love it.”

Liya draws. They all love to draw.

Jayden drew me this lion and tiger when he was here.
they are hanging on my fridge.
Love them!

Jayjay eats. They all love to eat.

Roman in his "Oregon"clothes.
Too bad about Saturday's game.
No longer #1 in the nation.

11. Holidays! Yippee! Last class is over tomorrow at 3:20, and then I’m headed north to Michelle’s and Monty’s, where our family will gather for Thanksgiving. Four or five days with my children and grandchildren, and my wonderful sons-in-law! (Too bad I have to write a paper and study for a big exam, too. . . )

Thankful! God is good!
And now back to writing my paper that is due tomorrow. . . 


  1. Loving what is making you happy! I'm happy happy about all these posts from you. I love storms too. We just had a super stormy day that I spent at an outdoor wedding and it was amazing. We were all drenched, bride and groom drenched as they washed each others feet, took communion and exchanged vows. And they're all hippies so it was especially fitting. Have a beautiful thanksgiving.

    1. And I am happy, happy to hear from you, Amy! That is funny about your soaking wet hippie wedding--fun! :-) Thanksgiving blessings to you and your precious family.

  2. Ohhh...that lion drawing melts me. (!)

    1. Me, too! Me, too! I look at that mane on that smiling lion face, and I just want to hug Jayden again!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful family!

  3. I really enjoyed that article, too! I don't think my corner of the Mediterranean is quite like that, and it's not so simple, but it does have good food!

    Love Jayden's drawings! You can tell he relishes drawing a good tail (and mane).

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving with your family! Studying during Thanksgiving break, while not ideal, is at least a long-standing student tradition. And you really do seem to find the best in everyone you encounter at school, don't you?

    1. Laura, I think that kind of semi-isolated place away from consumerism and the fast pace of almost every western society is an anomaly, and a lot can be learned from how they live their lives. I think Schumacher and Berry might be pleased. :-) I love those drawings, too! I do have a lot of studying to do this break, but I also intend to enjoy my family! And, finally, I do hope I find the best in everyone I encounter--*most* people are doing the best they can. :-) And a lovely Thanksgiving to you and your really awesome family, Laura. We miss you all!

  4. I love stormy days too (from inside :-)

    Your photos of the trees are so pretty. I appreciate the glimpses into your life. And the interesting bits of recipes, memories, colors, kiddos. It all adds up to an uplifting message.

    Light, life, wisdom and thankfulness are found between each line. Thanks for taking the time to share them with us, your readers.

    (gosh, this is a little wordy -- must be my 2nd cup of coffee I just finished :-)

    1. Thank you, Susan! You are truly sweet. I don't know your plans for this week, but a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours whether its something you'll celebrate or not!

  5. I read your post while having my second cup of coffee; and I smiled. As usual, it was heartwarming and uplifting. Have a wonderfully happy Thanksgiving with your children and grandchildren.
    Many blessings,

    1. Hi Allison--it was nice to have a cup of coffee with you! I'm glad you commented, and I hope your Thanksgiving will be sweet, too!

  6. I can definitely relate to your mom's penchant for storms! And the picture of the physics building drew me right in as my son is majoring in physics.Oh how he would love to study in such a place! Unfortunately, the physics building at his school is much, much less interesting. Oh well, maybe one day he'll go to a graduate school where someone with a little more creativity will have designed his special building. And, I love the kids' drawings! My kids were drawers too and I have many of their drawings filed away for later viewing. I haven't gotten the courage yet to delve into them knowing the bittersweet feelings that are sure to distract me for hours! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your precious family, Susan!

    1. Silvana, I always love reading your comments! The physics building here really is a cool place with some amazing and interesting elements to it. Love that your son is a physics major!I know what you mean about the kids' drawings and the bittersweet feelings. It brings back the best memories, makes me so thankful, and makes me miss them like crazy, too! Happy Thanksgiving back to you. Enjoy your family time.