Editor’s Note: When I began the advicesisters.com “Things to Be Happy” series I just wanted to share ideas with my readers and followers about things that help me to stay positive during this challenging time. However, for #7 in this series, I’ve asked some special friends from my personal and professional life to share something that they are happy about. I hope these posts give you inspiration! Comments and suggestions are most welcome! Stay well and be happy.
Lora Wiley-Lennartz, Television Executive Producer, Writer, Media Coach, and Food Blogger
My husband and I were lucky enough to be in our weekend house in the country when the Stay at Home order was issued. Our weekends here are usually whirlwind. Both of us work on various projects and there is non stop hosting and visiting our wonderful neighbors and friends. People often drop by unannounced for an espresso, piece of cake, or glass of wine. In addition to our flood of human guests, the usual country critters roam our property. There are wild turkey, deer, the occasional fox, and what seems to be hundreds of varieties of birds including pheasants and a blue heron.
On spring weekends, in between our frenzy of activity we are especially on the lookout for the bears emerging from their hibernation, often with more than one bear cub in tow. Normally, our weekly two days here reduces our chances of spotting them. This year we found ourselves here indefinitely. Consequently, and to our delight, never have we had so much quality time observing the bears.
A few weeks ago a young female emerged with a single tiny cub. Every day for several days she sat on the embankment across the creek from our deck and watched us as we watched her. She seemed as fascinated with us as we were enthralled by her and her little one.
While the news about the virus and the state of the economy became increasingly dire, my morning coffee with the bears was my new ritual and sanctuary. I relished watching her serenely sitting across from us, nursing her little one or observing her foraging for food, the cub tumbling and running after her.
Taking care not to get too close to upset the mama, my husband took several videos of the pair. I shared them online and the joy it gave other people to watch them virtually compounded my happiness exponentially. As humans, we often look to nature for peace and refuge. In this pandemic, the opportunity to spend quality time with our bear residents became a symbol of hope, happiness, and beautiful distraction.
Frank Doris, Publicist & Musician & Editor:
Music has always made me happy since I was a toddler listening to the tube radio in my parents’ Brooklyn apartment. I’ve been playing guitar for more than 50 years, including professionally, but with the stay-at-home restrictions, I’ve been re-focusing my efforts to rediscovering my guitars, effects pedals, and amps, and learning some new jazz chords.
Although I’ve been playing the guitar for more than 51 years, there’s no such thing as knowing all there is to know. In fact, I think exploring a musical instrument is infinite.
I work from home so my day-to-day work routine hasn’t been disrupted all that much. However, with the inability to go out or play gigs I’m playing at home a lot more which is making me practice more, play along with guitar jam tracks on YouTube and things like that.
I hope to come out of all this a better, and a different, player. I’ve also been listening to a lot of new music on hi-res streaming, which is one of the greatest inventions in audio history.
Gerrie Summers Lifestyle & Travel writer/Style Editor, New York Lifestyles Magazine:
“Feliz año nuevo,” I say rather tentatively to the woman standing behind me on line at Metropolitan Market. She’s one of the cashiers, whom I’d see there after my swimming and yoga classes at the Y. “Right?” I wonder. I can’t tell from her expression, whether the words I spoke were correct. She smiles and pats me on my shoulder. I think she’s amused. “Feliz año nuevo,” she responds. It sounds different when she says it, of course. Happy New Year.
2020 had just begun. A couple of personal goals for the year were to learn how to swim and how to speak Spanish. Swimming is out, temporarily, (and this scaredy-cat isn’t too unhappy about that), but Spanish is va bien.
I had been eavesdropping on conversations at Metropolitan Market trying to catch words here and there, building up to the one day I could actually understand and carry out a conversation. Plus, after my contacts at Spain Tourism found out I was trying to learn Spanish, I started getting communications in Spanish and successfully (with a little help from Google) answered them in español.
To learn a few words and phrases before taking an actual in-person class, I started taking Spanish with Duolingo. It was hit or miss. I kept losing my daily “streak,” really frustrating if you care about those things. Now with beauty and travel press events canceled, and a mandate for sheltering in place, my streak is building. I don’t mind admitting that seeing the number rise gives me a bit of satisfaction. What’s actually more satisfying is that I’m beginning to be able to read words in Spanish.
I’m watching shows on Netflix, first in English with Spanish sub-headings and then in Spanish. I am trying to train my ears to catch words that are lightning-fast, and attempting to read anything that comes in the mail with a Spanish translation, before checking what I think I’ve read in English.
Frankly I’m enjoying this Quality-Time Quarantine. I’m taking time for self-care and learning new things. Estoy disfrutando este pequeño descanso y las pequeñas cosas de la vida. I am enjoying this little break and the little things in life. (I think.)
Connect with Gerrie: GerrieSummers.com IG @gerriesummersink
Candice Sabatini – Beauty Director, Beauty News NYC
K.T. Harrison Writer/Editor:
Home The Final Frontier
The adventure these days is in the great indoors. However, now that my little family is together nearly all the time, our house is our starship. And I’m exploring new worlds inside.
Our starship is cozy and cheerful despite the bleak news. By day, all window shades are open, inviting sunlight to dance on the walls. By night, soft light and candles glow. Music plays. Fuzzy lap blankets beckon. An aromatherapy diffuser imparts sweet herbal aromas. Forsythia branches from the yard exult in tall vases, eyed by the cats. The place is spotless. The house feels like we’re expecting party guests.
My husband and I toast to our continuing good health over nightly, ever-changing cocktails. I make bourbon-topped hot cider, gin and tonics with mint and lime, rum or vanilla vodka with pineapple juice, Mayan margaritas (with a dash of anisette), chocolatinis (milk, cocoa, sugar, brandy or bourbon), iced hibiscus tea with any booze handy.
After feeding the cats, who must dine first, I serve a from-scratch dinner. Stuff that husbands like: peanut soup (Skippy, coconut milk, curry, hot peppers); chili; meatloaf; shepherd’s pie; spaghetti and meatballs; quiche with onions, bacon, and home fries inside. For dessert: if-I-can-bake-so-can-you carrot cake. (I’m keto, but I deal.)
Oh. And I dress for dinner. True to his breed, the husband won’t. But there’s a lot to celebrate, even now.
If you have read this far and you like this series, would you share a comment and let us know? Be a part of this ‘Things to be Happy About” series, and send me a paragraph about something that makes you happy. Comment, or tweet @advicesisters (https://twitter.com/advicesisters) #TTBHA. If you want to comment or participate but not on a public forum, contact the advice sisters by email.