"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: simple pleasures

happiness is a choice . . .

I almost put an exclamation point on the title of this post today. My college alumnae quarterly had just arrived the other day. In it was a highlight about Lois Markle, an actress for 60 years and quoted her comments about contentment:

“Finding contentment: I was not a happy young woman.
But when I realized that happiness is a choice you can make,
that’s when my life turned around. The older I get, the more
I cherish everything.”

Those of us who might be apprehensive about growing old can rest assured that this kind of wisdom falls into our laps sooner or later. Each day is filled with promise for simple pleasures and the choice we have to be happy. We may not know that the choice is ours. But when we realize that it is, the dark before the dawn disappears. . . forever.

no matter what . . .

I hope that I am not boring you with themes and ideas that I pick up from reading the New York Times. Today, there is a beautiful article about creating gardens in very small spaces. It came along at just the right time because I looked around our place early this morning and thought to myself that there’s just too much to take care of. But after I cleaned off the kitchen countertop and put away the stacks of books and other reading material that seems to accumulate overnight while I am asleep, I thought it over again.

While I pondered whether or not to look for a canary to keep company with the lone singer that I have left and after watering the money plant and the gardenia tree next to it, plucking the spent blossoms, I watered the orchids on the shelf beside my computer set-up and marveled once again at the longevity of these flowers. Take a look here at the white orchid, for example–which has been gracing this space for seven months!

On another note, there are boxes of old photographs that need to be consolidated together, a task that I have been avoiding because we all looked so happy and well at the time before misfortune ran into us later on. But I think every family has this up-and-down phenomenon in their midst, don’t you? The thing is to put them in their proper place (the past) and take some photos in the present. The cast of characters sometimes changes and all that we know is that while we don’t know what the future will bring that we will persevere and enjoy our lives.

To quote the aforementioned NYTimes article, the urban gardener says,

“I think two people can live well no matter what and no matter where. . . the idea is to take pleasure in life, and be willing to be pleased.”

simple pleasures . . .

Here are some simple pleasures that I thought about this morning:

a. getting a good night’s sleep in spite of the current heat wave

b. listening to my canary sing while I am checking email

c. making a breakfast smoothie that tastes like a milk shake because of the frozen fruit: fresh banana, frozen peaches, frozen blueberries, almond-coconut milk, pure synergy powder, handfuls of fresh spinach

d. reading the New York Times newspaper

e. knitting a sweater for myself from sumptuous Noro Hitsuji multicolored yarn emulating the design of a sweater I could have purchased but decided to knit instead.

f. coming upon a deep brown Lopi pullover vest that I had knit and forgotten about while I was looking for larger size needles to make the sweater described above.

g. cooking rose-colored chioggi beets that I bought at the farmers market in Northampton yesterday which are hard to find with their striated pink flesh and delicious sweet flavor

h. making an open-faced fresh peach pie, gathering up the sides of the pastry like an European tart and sprinkling with cinnamon, nutmeg and coarse sugar

i. looking for a red agate canary to join the part goldfinch canary and finding a few possibilities within an hour’s drive from where we live

j. taking a whiff of the blooming gardenias on the small tree that is flourishing despite the heat

k. watering the gigantic “money plant” that is pushing up against the ceiling and now has decided to thicken its trunk and limbs instead

l. brushing my hair, liking the color and being glad I am growing it out (the length, not the color!)

m. watering the garden

n. looking forward to talking with my daughter to see how she did on her chemistry test

o. wondering how my other daughter is doing with my granddaughter on their daytrip to Versailles

p. glad that Jeremy Lin is going to Texas where he’ll get a shot at realizing his destiny rather than being put on an expensive shelf with the Knicks who treated him badly last season

q. making Lapsang Souchang tea in the morning so it’ll be iced for dinner

r. finding a patchwork design jacket on Etsy for little money that reminds me of my youth that I can wear next week to have sushi on Newbury Street with a new acquaintance

s. a perfectly cooked soft shell crab tempura at the Osaka Restaurant in Northampton yesterday

t. corn on the cob from the farmstand for dinner last night that had good flavor and was also tender

u. yellow-red rainier cherries in season and available at $3.99 a pound at Market Basket in Oxford

v. finding a Shell station in Northampton and getting 30 cents a gallon off gas by using my Stop and Shop card

w. watching reruns of “House” on TV in the middle of the afternoon while I knit

x. glad the power is still on and the air conditioning works

y. picking flowers from the garden and enjoying them indoors as well as out

z. knowing that I am in the right place at the right time.