Happiness List

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Oof. We’ve had a fair number of stress factors going on lately (including the horrifying discovery yesterday that our washing machine had been leaking under the floor for the last month with scary results – auggggggh)…

…So between one thing and another, by this weekend it began to feel really important – life-saving, really – to ask myself, in the midst of stressful worries and Serious, Important Productivity goals, etc: What really makes me happy right now? Because I really need to focus on those points of happiness instead of just getting absorbed by all the stressful stuff.

So here’s today’s happiness list:


1. Knitting! I hadn’t knitted for months, but now that we’ve moved house, I’ve started going to a biweekly knitting/chatting/cake-eating group hosted by a friend at a local cake shop. I hadn’t knitted for months beforehand, but I brought along my favorite fingerless gloves pattern to the first meeting, just so I could knit to be social…but when I accidentally left that knitting project in a good friend’s car, I realized I couldn’t wait until I saw that friend again (and picked up the bag of knitting) to keep going!

So I treated myself this weekend to four new balls of Rowan Tweed felted wool (in 4 different complementary colors) and a nice new pair of circular needles, and started making myself a new shawl. It is the easiest possible pattern – it’s a type called a “prayer shawl” because the act is supposed to be meditative, a way to shut off your brain with a nice repetitive action, without any need to count off stitches or think at all about the pattern as you do it – and ohhhhhh am I happy to be making it. Every time I start vibrating with anxiety, I pick up my needles, knit a few more rows, and feel like I’ve just had a long, cool drink.


2. I took my seven-year-old to the new Jungle Book film last night for his sake, feeling mildly sulky as we walked in because I really wanted to be watching Captain America: Civil War in the theater next door…but then, only minutes into my job as a dutiful parental chaperone, I found myself breathless with genuine wonder, blown away (and honestly shocked) by just how gorgeous a film it really was, and how emotionally heartfelt it was, too. I absolutely love the changes they’ve made from the original Disney film. They did an amazing job of bringing in the almost mystical feel of the original book while taking away most of the problematic issues from both the book and that first film.

Idris Elba was amazing as a truly terrifying Shere Khan, and Lupita Nyongo’s Raksha (Mowgli’s wolf mother) may have been my favorite character in the film. I was really glad to see her character made so much more of in this film – the first time I ever re-watched the old Jungle Book as an adult (and a mom myself), I thought: Wait, what about his mom who raised him? How does she feel about all of this? And – as the mom of a little boy who’s about the same age that Mowgli looked in the film – I have to admit, I sobbed during their goodbye scene early in this film. But I also loved how powerful her character was as a wolf alpha by the end, not just as a protective mother. And without any spoilers, the ending made me very, very happy.

And I could gush a lot more…but I won’t. ;) I’ll just say: it’s not a flawless film, but I truly loved watching it, and I pre-ordered the DVD the moment we got home.


3. Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic

I really liked Book 1 in this series, so I was curious about Book 2…and oh, I loved this one! I inhaled it in one afternoon, laughing out loud again and again, and then I read it to my seven-year-old, who loved it SO MUCH that he immediately demanded we re-read Book 1, and needless to say, we’ve pre-ordered Book 3 as well and are counting down the days until it’s published. Of Mice and Magic is an utterly hilarious and subversive retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses which adds a huge dose of empowerment and snark to the original fairy tale. LOVE. You can read my whole Goodreads review here.


4. These doodles made by a 7-year-old boy in medieval Novgorod will be immediately familiar to everyone who has ever had a seven-year-old and anyone who has ever been seven themselves, and I love the whole write-up about them. I had a huge grin on my face by the end of it! Definitely worth reading all the way through.


In Alabama

In Wales

In Wales

In New York

In New York

5. I am loving all the pictures people have sent me so far of Masks and Shadows in the wild. Thank you guys SO MUCH! Every single one brightens my day when I see it.

Seriously, thank you guys so much for the support and enthusiasm I’ve gotten in the first few weeks of Masks and Shadows‘s publication. Everyone who’s bought it, read it, reviewed it, talked about it online in or in person…I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes. I am so grateful for every bit of it. Thank you!

What about you guys? What’s on your happiness list this week?


  1. Happiness lists are a must, especially on a Monday! Like you, I’m anxious to see the new Captain America film – so that’s on the list for the end of the week. :) Glad your new home is coming together nicely; anywhere there’s a local cake shop nearby? A win. Cake whilst knitting? SUPER-win.

  2. Awww glad you enjoyed the Jungle Book, and yay knitting patterns (considering whether to start knitting, actually, as I need a hobby to keep a little relaxed).
    Today’s happiness: the snakelet sneaked into my room. When I asked him what he wanted to do, he pointed to the cream I’ve been using to soothe my (distended) 8-month-belly and said “put belly”. He then proceeded to rub cream on my belly, it was so cute °_°

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