My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy 101 Award

I'm very tardy with this particular post due to my mad desire to finish my vacation posts, as well as a series of unfortunate events beyond my control. So, without further delay, here's my very first blog award, generously presented to me by my wonderful blogging buddy Rose...

Accompanying this award is the suggestion to share a list of ten things that make me happy. Ironic and challenging, given all the unhappy things that have been happening to us lately, but a really good exercise that came along with perfect timing. (In fact, much as I struggled to come up with 10 things at first, by the end the struggle was with limiting myself to 10 things!)

So in utterly random order, here's my list...

1. Critters - whether wild or tame; furred, feathered, finned or scaly; family, friends, or those I've never met. Of course my precious furbabies, with whom I spend the majority of my time and with whom I have the closest bond, make me happiest of all. (By the way, though not officially a furbaby, BW counts as a critter too! So, for that matter, do each of you!) :-)

2. Natural Beauty - just frinstance; wildflowers, rainbows, trees, starry skies, sunshine, birdsong, fluffy, sparkly diamond snow, sunrises and sunsets, interesting clouds, rain, mountains, lakes and streams and waterfalls and ocean surf, Autumn colors...

3. Being vegan - we celebrated our 10th vegan anniversary in August. Though awareness of the tremendous suffering that billions of land and sea animals endure every minute of every day the world over is very painful, becoming vegan is the best thing we ever did and we are forever grateful for gaining the knowledge we needed to adopt this way of life. Becoming vegan was easy for us, and being vegan definitely adds great joy and deep meaning to our lives. It's also introduced us to some awesome people and fantastic food!

4. Others being and becoming vegan - Bonus happy points if I've helped someone with their transition to the vegan lifestyle, since others helped me with mine!

5. Good books - I remember being read to by my maternal grandparents when I was very little (The Wind in the Willows was my favorite, and my copy illustrated by Tasha Tudor is still a prized possession as well as a favorite book), and read my first book all by myself when I was four (Here, Kitty - which I also still have). I love all sorts of books, and though it's the stories, learning and/or entertainment I mostly enjoy, just holding a book in my hands and soaking in the words while my imagination provides the pictures makes me happy too. (Books on tape are great, but give me a book to hold and read any day!) I particularly enjoy reading while sitting in warm sunshine, or curled up on a blustery, rainy or snowy day with a mug of herbal tea. :-)

6. Synchronicity - You know, those magical "coincidences" that show up from time to time (or maybe all the time, if we're paying close enough attention!) To me, they've always represented a clear message from the Universe (which is good, because I often have to be hit over the head repeatedly before something becomes clear, which hurts!) I used to experience synchronicity often, but it's been elusive in recent times and I'd love for it to return. It makes me feel less alone, for one thing... (By the way, peace & quiet and simplicity vied for this spot in my list, though frankly, the whole trifecta makes me happy!)

7. Seasons - I don't think I could live where the weather is basically the same all the time. A friend used to crack me up with the story of her mom - who was from New Jersey and loved to do crafts - throwing open the drapes of their Hawaii home every morning of the four years they lived there and greeting the relentless morning sunshine with a heavy sign and the disgusted lament, "Well, looks like another shitty day in Paradise!" She wanted occasional wind, cold, rain, snow... anything but balmy sunshine every day! I am the same. I love the sunshine, but I also love the different seasons and the transitions between them.

8. A clean house - not the cleaning part necessarily, just the having a clean house part. ;-) Oh, on cozy days I don't mind cleaning so much... I play some fun, lively music - there's another thing that makes me happy - and when I'm done, I light candles and my little lamps and fairy lights and switch to restful music, and feel such a sense of accomplishment and comfort! And then I usually bake muffins. :-)

9. Travel - I love exploring new places (and revisiting old ones). There is little more inspiring, refreshing and invigorating to me than a change in scenery and routine. Rather like #8, most of the time it's the being there, not the getting there, that I enjoy, especially when it comes to air travel! I usually do enjoy a road trip, and though I've not done it for years I always loved riding trains. But when it comes to flying the "friendly" skies, I'd rather just flip my I Dream of Jeannie ponytail and be at my destination. (Only I don't have an I Dream of Jeannie ponytail, and if I did you can bet it would be on this list!)

10. And last but not least... your fun, friendly, interesting, inquisitive, informative, observant, witty, funny, and of course complimentary blog comments! :-)

Passing this award on to 10 of the blogs that make me happy is also part of the Happy 101 Award tradition. So I hereby present it to the following blogs, in no particular order and whether or not they've gotten it before, because it's a nice way to acknowledge some of the many blogs I enjoy and give you a chance to become acquainted with them as well (if you aren't already). What you ten happiness-spreading bloggers do or don't do with this award is entirely up to you. I just wanted you to know that I think you and your blog deserve it! (And passing it along also makes me happy!) :-)

1. Dandelion - what do you get when you mix a sense of fun and curiosity, gentle wisdom, adorable critters, beautiful flowers, scrumptious food and glorious photos? Rose's beautiful blog Dandelion, one of my favorite places to spend time!

2. It's a Vegan Dog's Life - Molly's recipes for healthy dog treats are my girls' favorite feature, her fantastic photos of her adorable furry girls (two dogs, Emma and Rowan, and two cats, Crystal and Sophie) are mine, but her product and merchant reviews, critter-care advice, travel adventures and more make It's a Vegan Dog's Life a great blog to visit often! (Your dog or cat will book mark it if you don't!) ;-)

3. Gilding Lilies - with brief posts of simple yet exquisite beauty, Jennifer's blog is unique, creative and restful. Even if you only have a moment, this is a beautiful place to spend it!

5. Static8 Journal - rift's blog is a cornucopia of books, crafts, thoughts, gardening, philosophy, critters... I enjoy its random riffs (haha, an almost-pun!) on a variety of topics. And it was rift who got me blogging, by urging me to participate in the 2007 Blogathon! (What a way to get your feet wet! LOL)

5. Happy No Ears - a new-ish blog of an "old" friend, Sue has become an amazing photographer, and her blog is full of wonderful daily photos, most featuring the beautiful coast of Maine where she lives.

6. Vegan Backpacker - great food-related travel tips for vegans, great vicarious travel blog for everyone! Featuring plenty of her own far-flung adventures as well as those of fellow vegan world-travelers. (Not only are we vegans everywhere, we get around! And we know all the good, affordable places to eat, thanks to blogs like Vegan Backpacker!)

7. FatFree Vegan Kitchen - as fat-free vegans ourselves, this is my go-to recipe site! I've barely scratched the surface of her vast volume of vegan recipes (and she shares lots of vegan cooking and baking tips), but I'm working on it! So far, everything of Susan's we've made has been a hit. She's amazingly gifted and generous.

8. among the trees... a very recent find via Rose, I've really been enjoying looking at Lucy's photos from the enchanted north of Scotland where she and her family live.

9. My Milk Toof - the adorable adventures (and misadventures) of Lardee & ickle. This is one of the cutest and most creative blogs I've ever seen. But don't just listen to me - nearly 4,500 followers can't be wrong!

10. Bizarro - I agree with his philosophies (which he sometimes shares) and really enjoy his sense of humor (which he always shares!) A fun glimpse into the crazy world of a talented cartoonist.

Honorable Mention: Gaia's Vegan Blog - I just found this one, which is fairly new, but what a treat! Gaia and her husband run a beautiful vegan B&B in Provence, France. It is, as you might imagine, a lovely as well as thoughtful blog (and the B&B web site is gorgeous too!)

This would have completed this post, except that the ever-generous Rose just bestowed another award upon me and it's accompanied by a very fun assignment... so guess what's coming up next? ;-)


  1. Hey Laurie,

    I think the awards are a good way to spread the word about some of the many wonderful blogs out there. Some of the one's you listed are some of my favs too. My Milk Toof is one, as is Molly's blog, among the trees, and Susan's. I really like the Vegan Backpacker too. I'm going to have to check out and spend some time on the other blogs you've mentioned.

    And you're list is great! I really enjoyed reading it while I munched on a peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich. :)

    I thought it was difficult to think of things at fist too, but this was a good exercise I think. It certainly made me stop and think of all the nice things that life can bring.

    I think I share most of your happy list things...esp. the critters (I'm happy to be counted as a critter), natural beauty, and being vegan; they both make life more meaningful don't they? Wind in the Willows is one of my fav books of all time too, and I love your mention of the seasons. I really love weather to be a bit mercurial too...and autumn and spring are two of the most glorious times of the year.

    I'm with you on the I Dream of Jeannie thing too!

    This was so much fun. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this, Laurie, and love most of the things you listed, too! The only exception, really, is the seasons. They each have their perks, but as you know, I much prefer a certain kind of weather. :) I totally agree about the being there vs. getting there is the good part about travel. I've never flown (and never intend to), but our road trips can sometimes get too much on the way there! Thank you so much for including me in this award and I'm going to have to check out the blogs you listed that I've never visited before. They all sound great!

  3. I promise I'll make my way back to your last two vaction blogs but this one was just too perfect for a nice lunch break on a Friday. Plus it's nice to add the 3rd comment instead of the last one on the bottom like I usually end up doing.

    I totally enjoyed it. I would have predicted some of your choices, was surprised by others and laughed when you managed to get at least 15 things in your top ten list by cleverly inserting them inside the top ten! Very clever - I would have done the same thing.

    I was of course not surprised by the critters or the being vegan or the travel. The one that did surprise me was the clean house. Having visited, I knew you took pride in your immaculate home but it was fun to know that you also take great pleasure in it. Though you and my husband have little in common, in that area, you are kindred spirits!!!

    The travel is the biggest area where we overlap and I hope we have several more trips in our future - I do love travelling with you and being Vegan during that time - you make it so easy when I'm with you (and then I'm helping you with #4).

    I love books too and it was interesting that holding the book was such a pleasure for you. I in fact find the "reading" part not all that pleasurable - give me a good book on tape any day. But despite the different way we go about it - I agree with the joy of creating the images in my head - so much better than TV where nothing is left to the imagination!

    Thanks for a great lunchtime break!

  4. Rose ~ I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, it wouldn't exist if not for you! Thanks again for giving me that award!

    I found Milk Toof through your blog (along with among the trees and a few others I enjoy), so I'm glad you found a few favorites through mine, too. I agree that the awards are a great way to highlight and share some favorite blogs with others!

    A peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich?? Never heard of that combo before! Growing up I always preferred pb and mayo (a fav of my mom's), and later pb and Vegenaise. I haven't had pb and anything in a long time, but I think it will be an even longer time before I'll be trying pb and dp! LOL

    I'm not surprised you share most of my list... I shared most of yours, too! I'm glad you're happy to be counted as a critter... many might not recognize it for the compliment it is! :-) Yes, natural beauty (all beauty, really) and being vegan do make life more meaningful. I need to read "Wind in the Willows" again this winter, it's been too long. It's so charming! (Still need to read "Frogmorton" again, too!)

    Wouldn't an I Dream of Jeannie magical transporting ponytail be great? I'd even settle for Samantha's magical nose-wiggle! :-)

    Will email you soon! Thanks again for the award and for your fun comment! Happy Friday! xoxo

  5. Molly ~ I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this post too, Molly! I can't wait to read your list, and check out some of your favorite blogs too! You are very welcome for the award ~ your blog is absolutely a favorite of mine and more than deserving! :-)

    I completely understand why changing seasons (and weather) is not on your Top 10 list, and wish I could wave a magic wand (or flip a magic ponytail) and make the reason for it go away! When I was in my 20s and lived in New Mexico, I thought the climate was ideal. Dry, high enough altitude it never got too hot (like it can in places like Phoenix), and I could sunbathe by my apartment pool on Thanksgiving and then drive 15 minutes up into the mountains and go tubing in the snow. It's great when you not only have different seasons, but can CHOOSE between them every 15 minutes if you want to! :-)

    I know what you mean about road trips sometimes getting to be too much. Your last one to Boulder was a road trip from hell! There are a few variables that can make them really fun adventures, or really bad "wish I'd had a staycation instead" experiences!

    Thank you also for your fun comment, Molly! I'll email you shortly too! Happy Friday and xoxo to you as well!

  6. Jo - I'm glad this post was perfect for enjoying with your Friday lunch! I really loved reading your comment, and won't hold it against you that you jumped to the head of the line so you could be one of the first commenters on this post. ;-)

    I knew some of the items on my list wouldn't surprise you (we've known each other too long and too well!), but am gratified to hear I can still be a smidge unpredictable! Was it really 15 I snuck in there? I knew I managed 13 or 14, but thought I was being so subtle, no one would notice. Figures I'd have at least one pedantic reader who would count them and bust me! LOL

    Ha, my house isn't immaculate these days! Jim would be cross with me - I've got a bunch of paperwork strewn across my kitchen counter and a trim-painting project going in the living room (saw horses and plastic drop clothes lend SUCH a homey touch! I learned that from Martha Stewart. Or was it Norm Abram?) ;-)

    Oh, I agree that books are way better than television or movies. I much prefer letting my own imagination paint the pictures than have some casting and film director do it for me. Which isn't to say I don't love good films, too (as you well know!), but I always prefer to read the book first, then - maybe - see the movie. And if I had your schedule (and commute), I'd probably prefer audio books too! We'll see if you change your mind about that though, when you're spending winters snowed in at snuggly Cranberry Lodge someday. ;-)

    One's traveling companion (or host/ess) can sure make a trip fun - or not! You are such a blast to travel with (and to visit), and I really appreciate your happily accommodating or joining in with my veganness. :-) I have ALWAYS loved our trips, and wish we could take one together at least once a year! (Boise or Bust for the next one, I'm still thinkin'!) :-)

    Talk to you in about an hour! Thanks again for spending your lunch break with Mehitable! (She always enjoys your company!) :-)

  7. What? You've never heard of PBDBs? We grew up eating them...but then again, we grew up eating some PB variation almost every day: pb & lettuce (which is good too), pb & banana, pb & honey...never pb & mayo...sounds really interesting. If you try the pb & pickle...I'll try the pb & vegenaise.

    Hubby bought me the annotated version of Wind in the Willows for my b-day, it's in my reading queue.

    I think I like Samantha's cute nose wiggle, but Jeannie's head nod looks a lot easier to wangle...if only it would work!

  8. Correction:
    That should be's actually kind of hard to say much less type correcly. :)

  9. Rose ~ I knew what you meant! :-) And agree that PBDP is hard to say as well as hard to type correctly!

    PB and Lettuce is also a new one on me! I'd heard of the other combos, plus PB and that icky Marshmallow Fluff stuff. Okay, you try the PB and Vegenaise combo, and I'll try the PBDP combo. You go first! :-)~

    Sweet birthday present your husband gave you!!

    Samantha could pull off the nose-wiggle, but I'd just look like I had a nervous twitch or a pending sneeze or something! Though it would probably be easier on my neck than the Jeannie maneuver! :-)

  10. Thanks for an interesting read. Good day for me to drop by and discover your blog!

  11. Thank you so much Laurie, what a sweet thing to say about my blog. I love it when you come to visit.

  12. Maria Rose ~ Thanks for stopping by! It's always nice (and all too rare) to "meet" a fellow vegan in Wyoming! I've been enjoying your photos, and I love your name (and the way it's pronounced), though I had to do a double take, as I have a friend and follower named Marla Rose!

    I'm glad you enjoyed your discovery and first visit today, and hope to see you again!

    Gilding Lilies ~ (I'm detecting a floral theme here!) ;-) You're most welcome. Your blog is very sweet, so it inspires sweet words to describe it! I really enjoy my visits, so I'm glad you enjoy them too! Thank you!

  13. {{{Hugs}}}
    Finally getting around to my own post: S8 Happy

    (and now I have all kinds of PB sandwiches to try!)

    love you, LaLooFah! and Thank You.

  14. rift - Nifty rifty! Radiant rift! {{{{Hugs}}}} back to ya! :-)

    Your Happy post is great, and I love your list! All those things make me happy too, except of course for singing frogs (because we have no frogs here, singing or otherwise), and hugs from your significant other, because I've never had one. LOL But hugs from BW (and from friends) make me happy too!

    And so does getting one of your postcards, which I did today! Beautiful flowers... are they asters? Thank you!!

    More from me soon! Love you too, rfit, and you're very welcome! :-)

  15. P.S. rift ~ tried Rose's PBDP combo yet?! ;-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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