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Ten Things that Make Me Happy

So, did you catch all 20 song titles in that last, Waldo-esque post? Today, it’s ten up-front things that make me happy (looks like we’re working in multiples of ten on DDD these days. Ah, if only that applied to the last 10 pounds I want to lose.*sigh*).

Last week, I was honored with a “Happy 101” award from Johanna over at Green Gourmet Giraffe.  Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while will know that I love memes and awards, and used to participate enthusiastically–and immediately–in the early days of this blog. 

More recently, well, not so much. It’s not that I don’t still want to participate; it’s just that life is a bit more chaotic these days (so if you gave me an award in the past and I haven’t yet gotten to it. . . I sincerely apologize). This time, I decided I’d better get on this right away before the opportunity passed by.

Johanna listed her items each with a corresponding photo; I decided to emulate her approach.  I also loved that the award asks you to list ten things that make you happy.  I mean, really, how many of us should be focusing more on that? 

Ten Things that Make Me Happy

1) This face:

I love this face.  Elsie is one of the sweetest, quietest, calmest and most docile dogs you’ll find (well, except when she meets a previously unknown, white fluffy dog–then she’s the Tasmanian Devil).  She is all-around lovable and I adore her. ‘Nuff said.

2) This face:

This face makes me laugh, even when I don’t feel like it.  Chaser is a clown and a scamp, and an extremely affectionate girl.  Cutie!

3) This face:

[Is it significant that the HH’s face comes after Elsie and Chaser’s?  Naw.] Okay, so my Human Honey is too shy to have his face plastered on my blog. But trust me on this one: despite the thinning hair, despite the lines etching their way into his brow, despite the sarcastic jokes about vegan food, I still love that face.  Maybe it’s because we met later in life, but I feel a comforting sense of “home” with this guy. I’ve never been anything but 100% myself with him–and he has always thought that was okay.  He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met and simultaneously the silliest.  Happy.

4) Making Things with My Hands

[Detail from a sweater I knit for the HH]

This one’s a bit of a cheat, as it’s a huge category that encompasses cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, drawing, pottery, even gardening. But there’s something supremely gratifying about creating an item that didn’t exist before by combining your own efforts and raw materials.  Don’t you all feel that way about creativity in the kitchen? 

5) Wacky earrings.

[An 80s-era selection of my no-longer-worn favorites, clockwise from 12:00:  gaudy plastic white loops (my mum would be proud); papier mâché jewel (for those Stone-Age glam parties); geometric wire (or, as a colleague once called them, “gerbil wheels”); pearls from my wedding to the Starter Husband (never worn since);  fishies (the only pair I still like); “The Viking Shield”; paper accordion; and hot pink beaded.]

More than shoes, which were never my thing; more than clothes, which sometimes fit and sometimes don’t, I love earrings.  Earrings are never too small (and, as you’ll see, many are now too big) to fit; they brighten up an outfit without breaking the bank; and you can collect lots of them, which enables you to wear something different every day.  My mum used to don really gaudy earrings even into her 50s, and I see I’m following in her earlobes. 

6) Lifelong friends and friends that are dear to me.

[A sketch I did of Georgia O’Keefe]

As it turns out, my dear friends Gemini I and Gemini II have known me since we were about 4 years old–that is, before my younger sister was born (eat your hearts out, Oprah and Gayle!).  Of course I love friends who may not have been in my life more than 4 decades (!), too, but a shared history that extends through most of one’s life is something that truly makes me marvel and feel joyful.  And the best part is that, even if I met them for the first time today, I’d still like them. 

7) Writing.

I’m one of those people who’s more comfortable writing than speaking when I need to communicate with someone else.  I can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing, from comic books on paper towels as a child (paper towels were much sturdier when I was a kid) to short stories to articles to books in my more recent past. In fact, I’ve often joked that I’m better on paper than in person! When everything clicks and the words emerge the way I envision; when I’ve spent a couple of hours writing and it feels as if maybe 10 minutes have elapsed; when the language seems to sing of its own accord, and I’m merely a conduit for that melody–well, then, I sit back, re-read, and feel awash with happiness. (And getting paid for my writing?  Bonus.)

8) Chocolate.

I couldn’t very well write about things that make me happy without this one, could I?  Chocolate was my first true love, before the HH.  Unlike the HH, however, my relationship with chocolate has remained tumultuous.  As I remain on the ACD and discover that yes, a healthy lifestyle can be sweet (and include the occasional cacao-based treat), well, maybe the serotonin-based happiness will last longer than it takes to melt a square of Lindt 70% on the tongue. 

9)  Walking under, beside, or near trees. 

[Leaf detail on a handmade vase]

Some people are ocean people; others are forest people.  I’m in the second camp (even though, oddly, I don’t like camping).  Taking the dogs for a long walk through the foresty trails near our house; walking along the woodsy areas up north when the HH and I take off for a summer weekend; exploring the green spaces scattered across Toronto; all bring a smile to my face.   

10)  Comments on my blog and the readers who leave them.

Yes, it’s cliché to mention this, but I will reiterate anyway: you, dear readers, bring untold happiness into my life.  I am eternally startled and delighted to find that anyone reads my blog at all; but spying a new comment on my blog really makes my day shine and my countenance brighten.  I love hearing from you and knowing that you’re out there reading.  Thank you! (And all you lurkers out there–and you know who you are!–now’s your chance. Leave a comment and make me really happy!)

Okay, now the fun part. Here are the rules:

1. Copy the award image into a post
2. Then list 10 things that make you happy
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
4. Put in a link to their blogs
5. Notify the award receivers
6. Award recipients must link back to sender’s blogI’m supposed to pass this along to 10 bloggers.  Let me begin by saying that there are WAY more than 10 other blogs I’d like to include in this list, so know that every blog I read is one I love and one that makes me happy

In order to restrict the list to only ten, I decided to choose blogs I’ve not mentioned before, or those I’ve just recently discovered (with one exception).

My Ten Happy Blogs:

1) Green Gourmet Giraffe.  It makes sense that I love Johanna’s blog, too; I’ve been reading her blog as long as I’ve been writing my own.  I’m delighted whenever I see a new post from her in my Google Reader, as I know I’ll be treated to her detailed descriptions, engaging prose, and entertaining anecdotes. Johanna is also daring in her approach to cooking and baking (check out her novelty cakes) and is always willing to try something new.  With a new baby on board, she still manages to blog regularly. And she hails from Melbourne, a happy-making fact for this Antipodes-loving gal.

2) Oh She Glows: I found Angela’s blog after she linked to a recipe on mine–and was so happy she did! Angela’s boundless energy and optimism are infectious.  Her upbeat, entertaining posts chronicle her quest for health and fitness and her trials and victories running a new bakery.  She also includes lots of quick and easy recipes. It’s easy to see why hers is such a popular blog! 

3) Affairs of Living: I was thrilled to find Kim’ s blog when I first started the ACD (misery loves company, I suppose!).  In addition to her anti-candida regime, Kim was also recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, so her diet poses specific challenges.  And yet she manages to create delicious, innovative foods, many of them vegan, that appeal to everyone.  All this, and she does it with good humor and vitality (and just the occasional resemblance to Mary Tyler Moore).

4) Vegan Epicurean: Alicia’s blog is one of my favorite new finds this year.  I have no idea how she manages to run a household and spend time with family AND post as often as she does, but somehow, the posts keep coming!  Her recipes are amazingly creative yet leave you with the sense that they are also eminently doable.  This woman knows her way around a kitchen and whips up a bunch of interesting dishes Every. Single. Day.

5) Happyveganface: The name says it all.  Read Jessy’s blog, and you’ll be happyfaced, too. In addition to killer recipes (all of them gluten-free in recent days), the most amazing burgers, reports on running and CSAs, and her own quirky vocabulary, Jessy’s writing is upbeat, positive and all-around adorable.

6) Manifest: Vegan:  I’ve only recently started reading Allyson’s blog, and already am in awe of her gorgeous photography and creative ingredient combinations.  This is a great blog for drool-worthy photos and recipes.

7) Veganize it. . . Don’t Criticize It!: Jenn’s skill at veganizing typical omni fare is unparalleled.  Looking at her photos, you’ll think you’re reading a menu at some upscale restaurant in LA or New York or London–and you’ll want to order it all!  She’s been cooking up a storm in anticipation of her upcoming wedding. And she’s mighty amusing, too. 

8 ) Voracious Vegan: Tasha’s passion for baking, cooking, and her life on a US compound in Saudi Arabia comes through in every post she writes. I’ve learned a lot about the customs and culture over there (as well as her pack of dogs and her horses) through her posts–and picked up some great recipes, along the way, of course.  She also runs her own bakery!

9) Cooking Candida-Free Leah is another candida-survivor who makes the most of the “permitted” ingredients on the ACD , with creative takes on conventional recipes and original experiments as well. Although we cook with different ingredients (she’s an omnivore), many of her dishes are easily adaptable to my diet (such as a recent cornbread, for instance–yum!).

10) Making Love in the Kitchen: A fellow holistic nutritionist with a passion for helping people get healthy, Megan’s blog is fun to read–period.  Another blogger recently referred to her as “the cutest nutritionist ever,” and one read of her playful, upbeat blog, and you’ll see why.  Oh, and she posts recipes for healthy cookies! 

I hope the bloggers I mention here don’t feel compelled to participate, as I know how hectic life can be!  But I do hope you check out some of these on the list and bring a little extra happiness to your own life today.

And speaking of Happy. . . Happy No Rooz (Persian New Year) to those who celebrate! 🙂

I’d love to know what makes you happy–please feel free to share in the comments!

Mum, thanks for saying we make you happy.  You can make us happy, too, and it’s so easy.  Treats. Frisbee.  And treats.”

Last Year at this Time: Maple Mania: Marvelous Maple-Flax Cookies

Two Years Ago: Spiced Cauliflower Soup


27 comments to Ten Things that Make Me Happy

  • Oh, the chocolate reminds me that I thought of you last time I was at my food co-op, because all of the Cocoa Camino stuff was 20% off!
    I love your “making things with my hands” item on the list. That’s a beautiful piece of knitting you shared there. I’m a knitter too, as well as a spinner, and I have a weaving loom sadly sitting neglected… I totally agree with you about creativity in the kitchen. I rarely follow a recipe as written (except when I’m testing!), I always have to make it my own, or try something different – that’s a huge part of the fun of cooking and baking for me!


  • your post makes me happy! and that sketch of yours is amazing.


  • You’re so sweet to tag me! I’ll get on this when I finish my weekend chores (yuck).

    Thanks for the lovely pictures and for sharing a bit of non-food-related passions. I didn’t know you were a knitter! I’ve always wished I was.


  • I love your happy things 🙂 Your earring collection is fantastic!! I need to check out your happy blogs now too!


  • Loved your list! And seeing dogs being doted upon in happy homes makes me happy.


  • Awww Ricki thank you so much, I appreciate your kind words so much!

    Okay, also, this list is straight from my brain. My first answers would always be my dingos and my sweet hubby. I feel ‘at home’ with him too, and I knew he was the one because I was incapable of being anything other than my goofy, loudmouth self when I am around him!

    Writing, of course! Your talent is amazing and I’m so glad you share it with us! (And I didn’t know you were such a phenomenal artist! WOW!)

    Chocolate – yes yes YES! I would need to mention that one a few times at least.

    Walking by or sitting next to or looking at trees. Boy, I feel that for sure. Trees are magical to me, they each have their own personality and soul, I really believe that. I could watch them for days!

    And how can you NOT wear those earrings anymore! I love them and think they are all fabulous!


  • Ricki, this is beautiful =D. I love every one of them! It’s always fascinating to learn more about great bloggers like you, and this was a treat!


  • Ricki,

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. You made my day. I am so glad you enjoy what I write. Like you I love every comment I receive but kinds words outside my blog are definitely better! 🙂

    BTW, those fish earrings are adorable. I have many big 80’s earrings too. Thankfully most of the pictures of me wearing them with my big hair have disappeared long ago. How did we survive the 80’s with our dignity intact?

    thanks again,


  • Very uplifting. And where have you been hiding those knitting skills?! I’m impressed!


  • I am so amazed by your artistic talent! I never knew; though should have guessed by your creative recipes.


  • K

    Um, can I hate you a little bit because of this post? Seriously, writing, photography, cooking, knitting, and drawing, what aren’t you good at!? Care to pass some of that talent over yonder? I promise I will take good care of it. 😉
    Your list of blogs contains some new to me names; I am excited to check them out (not that I need any other things to distract me from life…)


  • Kim

    Wow, Ricki, thank you for putting me on your happy blog list! I’m so honored and flattered! I believe now more than ever that you and I are kindred spirits, because my list is nearly identical to yours, from writing to handiwork to drawing to chocolate. AND I used to own those exact fish earrings (mine were more fluorescent, but still). I am a total jewelry freak, and earrings are my absolute favorite! I especially like large crazy ones that no one else will touch. I just found $.99 wooden toucan earrings at a thrift store that I can’t bare to take off at the end of the day. I am totally going to participate in this award and list. Thank you for the award and for sharing these great things about yourself, I admire you so much and am so pleased to know you! you are also on my happy list 🙂 xoxo Kim


  • love the post…and of course, your optimism. your posts always make me smile.


  • your love of writing and the written word most certainly comes through in your blog – I just loved how you did this and was really thrilled to be given the award and such lovely words about my blog – the photos are wonderful – I am in awe of your sketching and love the personality of the girls in their photos and your generosity in your list – as well as your list of more bloggers that I must explore!


  • Wow, Ricki, you have some really awesome drawing skills!


  • Thanks for making me smile. Lovely, lovely post.


  • this is such a great post!!!


  • Ricki…thank you so much! I am seriously honored to have this award bestowed upon my blog. I’m so glad you like it.
    Your art is amazing, btw 🙂 I wish I could do with a pen and paper what I can do with a saute pan.


  • What cheerful and inspiring lists, both of happy things and happy blogs! 🙂


  • what a wonderful post, Ricki! i loved reading about all that makes you most happyfaced! thanks for the kind words about the blog, too – you are the best, my friend! i communicate better in writing as well. ever since i was little i was writing, and while i may not write well, i do love it and i feel as though i express myself better through it. we buy the non-bleached recycled paper towels and i find them to be stiffer and more like the paper towel i remember from when i was wee. paper towels and toilet paper are mighty soft these days, although i can’t say it’s my fav. i’m kinda old school, i guess. ah ha ha! chocolate (and avocadoes, actually) make me most happy, and so dos our dog julie. dogs = the best, and spouses. they all know how to make us smile. how lucky we are, fo ‘sho! i like your take on being a tree/forest kinda person or an ocean/beach kinda person – once again we’re two peas in a pod. while dan looooves the beach, i much prefer the woods and hiking and such. i grew up playing in the woods and down at the pond, and my heart is still there, indeed. thanks again for a wonderful read. Ricki. superw00t!


  • Now this is what sharing is all about. Your post was an engaging glimpse into your happy and multi-talented life, and I love the way you illustrated your happiness. I had to smile at the earrings – I think I could match you on that score! 🙂


  • Josiane,
    Yay for CC on sale! I’m amazed that you have a weaving loom–something I’ve always wanted to try! I do love knitting, but haven’t done much in recent years. . . must get back to it! Looks like kitchen creativity will have to do for now. 😉

    I could say the same for your blog! And thanks re: the sketch. 🙂

    My pleasure 🙂 And believe me, if I could learn to knit, anyone can! It’s very relaxing to do while you’re watching TV 😉

    Thanks so much for commenting–yay!!! 😀 Glad you liked the earrings. 😉 I’m thinking maybe it’s time to pull out a few of those old pairs. . . heh heh!

    Doesn’t surprise me that dog-doting makes you happy! 🙂 (And believe me, it makes me happy, too–I feel The Girls have probably brought much more to my life than I’ve brought to theirs).

    Voracious Vegan,
    How cool that we share so many items on the list! Thanks for the kind words re: writing and art, etc. 🙂 I do think that trees are kind of magical, too. And as for the earrings–well, now I’m thinking maybe I SHOULD be wearing them again (who cares about stares from strangers, hm?) 😉

    Thanks so much! We can’t write about food ALL the time, can we–? 😉

    Vegan Epicurean,
    Thanks so much! I do love all your amazing recipes 🙂 . I must say I never managed the big hair as I just didn’t have enough of it. . . but I’ll put on the old earrings if you will! 😉

    Thanks so much! I really love knitting and find it very calming, somehow, but just haven’t had as much time in recent years as I did when I was younger. Must get back to it, as I think it’s really therapeutic!

    Aw, thanks so much! I wish I had more time for drawing and painting these days. . . another thing I have to get back to!

    Um, thanks? 😉 And believe me, the list of “I can’t do it at all” is much longer (my sister once asked me to lip synch a song instead of sing aloud because my voice is that bad. And, excuse me, but ballet? Amazing. I can only wish!). Glad there are a few new blogs on the list for you to check out, too!

    See, now we have to meet in person, just so we can both wear our fish earrings! Thanks for the kind words–it definitely goes both ways. 🙂

    Well, making you smile has added another happy item to my list!

    Thanks again for sending me this award–it was so much fun to do! And great to be thinking about the things that make me happy (which made me happy!). Glad to hear the Girls’ personalities are evident in the photos. We think they’re so distinct in person, but I’m never sure if this comes across. 🙂

    Aw, thanks so much! Wish I had more time to persue it these days. 🙂

    Glad it brought a smile–that’s the goal of thinking about happy things, for sure!

    Happy Herbivore,
    Thanks so much! It was fun to do, too. 🙂

    My pleasure! Your culinary skills are amazing. And thanks so much for the compliment! 🙂

    Thanks! It actually made me feel a little happy just writing it. 😉

    Yay, thanks so much! Hmm, maybe I should be buying the non-bleached paper towels (she said, blushing because she doesn’t)–I bet I’d get back into doing the comics on them! Nice to know you’re a foresty person, too–I think the HH is more of a swimming pool person than an ocean person! 😉

    Thanks so much! And clearly, your comment must prompt a challenge: let’s see YOUR earrings next! 😉


  • I’m inspired! Look to my blog soon for the my top ten list. Perhaps that will be my next post. I will start working on it next.

    I must say that even though I did not expect it, I was hoping to make your top ten blogs. Being that new blogger that was inspired and coached by you! Ah but alas.

    Just joking. I am inspired. I’m amused by your dogs and I need to get to your neck of the woods soon so that I can get the full view of HH again!


  • You’re so talented! That drawing is amazing- I had no idea you were such an artiste! And the knitting…you are indeed a renaissance woman, Ricki!
    One of the many things that makes me happy is *you*! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us, you’re really an inspiration.


  • What a happiness-inducing post!


  • Thank you so much! You are so sweet and generous with your words (and awards!). I guess I should thank Alisa too. I want an award that says that!


  • I loved reading through your list. =) And wow are you talented! Not only creating amazing recipes and writing a cookbook but also a skilled knitter (I’m jealous!) and an artist.


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