I thought it would be fun to share a few things that are delighting us right now. And if not actually delighting, then at least finding useful. I love getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. How they live, what they read, how they cook, what they enjoy, what do they do better than other people. Low stakes, right?!
So here is my list of five things that I’m loving right now.
- One hour timer for social media. The iPhone has a setting that grays out your social media icons after whatever time limit you set (there is a similar setting for Android). I currently have it set for one hour. Since I do social media as part of my job, so my “fun time” on social is actually less than that. One hour is plenty of time for me to check in on things in the morning and evening, but when I catch myself using it as a transition or procrastination device, I remind myself that the clock is ticking! When you hit your limit for the day, it gives you a couple choices–you can just say OK, and it logs you out. Or, you can choose to “Ignore Limit” (ouch!) and then you can ignore it for 1 minute or 15 minutes or for the rest of the day. I’ve used the one minute a few times. (Just let me finish what I’m reading!) I’ve hit the 15-minute option only once since the beginning of the year. It has definitely helped me with my intention of not wasting time. It’s a little digital accountability partner!
- Having a schedule to see friends. I know that seeing friends makes me happy. It was a skill that a lot of us lost during lockdown, and it has been a little slow for me to re-establish. It’s so easy to say, “We should get coffee/lunch/dinner!” and then never really follow up on it. To combat this, I’ve created a bit of a rotating schedule of socializing with friends. I set aside Friday afternoons as a time that I’m free to meet friends for coffee. As you know, I have a friend that is moving out of state and when we realized that our time together was limited, we got serious about an every-other-week Friday coffee date. We sometimes (often, even) need to move it, but the fact that it is a recurring event on my calendar means that it happens! So, I’ve now got my pub knitting date with Pam on the first Thursday evening of every month, and a reminder for another friend on the first of every month to text her to schedule something. As it turns out, having things on the calendar really increases the chance that they will happen! And getting out of the house to see friends makes such a big difference in my mental health and level of happiness! Since I work from home and have many cozy hobbies, it’s so easy to just hole up here and never leave. But it’s so important!
- Tackling a large declutter/reorganization project. Gary and I are coming to the end of decluttering and reorganizing our garage, and I love the psychological lift I get every time I go out there! It’s not a Pinterest-worthy garage by any stretch, but we got rid of a lot of stuff (not quite to the level of “would I pack this if we were moving across the country”, but close), installed hanging shelves that got things off the floor and found new homes for things we don’t need (I love the Buy Nothing and local Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook). I’m enjoying heading into this year with the extra space and, maybe more importantly, being rid of the weight of having unwanted possessions.
- Harney & Sons Black Currant tea. This is an easy one! Chloe bought me this tea for Christmas, and it immediately became my new favorite! So much so that I blew right through the whole tin of tea bags in less than a month and then immediately bought a full pound of the loose-leaf type. A cup of Black Currant tea with a splash of milk is my new go-to pick-me-up each afternoon.
- Moosewood Cooks at Home cookbook. This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks from when I was first married. I loved every recipe that I tried, and it took me about six months to realize that it was a vegetarian cookbook! Gary once asked me, “What cookbook is the black bean soup recipe in? If you get hit by a bus, I’m still going to want to make that soup.” Now that we aren’t cooking for two 6′ 4″ meat-eating boys anymore, I’m happy to rediscover some of the vegetarian favorites that we abandoned when we started feeding picky children. I’m looking forward to discovering new favorites as we try to eat a little less meat.
I’m looking forward to reading your list, and I hope that our readers will add their own lists in the comments!
It’s so easy to focus on the things we’re not loving and to forget the good things that are going on, isn’t it? Especially in the middle of a gray and gloomy winter like the one we’re having here in central NC (not that I complain about the weather). I’ve enjoyed thinking about what’s bringing in the light right now. I need to do this exercise more often!
Okay, so here’s my list of current loves:
- Working on Jack’s quilt. Sometimes, when I’ve been away from it for a while, I forget how much I love quiltmaking–the entire process, from rolling a rotary cutter across freshly pressed fabric all the way to hand stitching the binding (that’s right, I’m one of the rare quilters who doesn’t hate binding a quilt!). I love sitting at my Bernina 1230 and putting the pedal to the metal. Most of all, I love watching a quilt top slowly bloom on my design wall. This quilt has come together fairly quickly (for me), which is a nice change from the last quilt I made, the Clemson quilt for Will that took over a year to get from start to finish.
- The Quiltfiction Club on Facebook. When I started this group in 2018, it was to give people listening to Friendship Album, 1933, on the Quilt Fiction podcast a place to gather and discuss the story. Over the years, the QFC has become a real community. We have book club on Mondays, share our WIPS on Wednesday, celebrate small victories, send postcards and Christmas cards. I tell people that it’s the nicest place on Facebook, and it really is.
- Letters. Speaking of postcards and such, I am very much loving writing letters–and receiving letters in return!. When I was in my teens and twenties, I kept up an enormous correspondence. Letters came from friends every week, and on Sunday nights I’d sit on my bed and write back. Email killed that, of course. For many years, I’ve sent postcards to friends, just because I love postcards and I think people enjoy receiving them. (Plus, I don’t have any expectation when I pop one in the mailbox that its recipient will reply.) Somewhat to my surprise, over the last year I’ve found myself writing real letters again and getting real replies! I correspond regularly with a young family friend, 12-year-old Abigail, who wants to be a writer when she grows up, as well as with one of my best friends from college, Caroline. Caroline and I had gotten into the habit some years ago of including letters to each other in our Christmas cards, and then last summer, I wrote her on a whim after seeing an actress that reminded me of her on TV, and she wrote back, and I wrote back … it’s been so much fun!
- The Decluttering Project. I haven’t gotten as far into the Big Attic Declutter (BAD) as I’d like, in part because it’s been a busy 2023 (in spite of my insistence that 2023 would not be as busy as 2022), and in part because I need to do the Jack and Will declutter first. I have a ton of clothes and books to get out of the house in order to create space to bring junk out of the attic to sort. The good news is I’m making steady progress, which is energizing me to make even more progress. I want everything gone! I want wide open spaces wherever I look.
- Watching “Jeopardy” every night with Clifton. We record it and often don’t sit down to watch until 10:30 or so. Some nights watching “Jeopardy” is just one long exercise in knowing that I know the answer but am unable to pull it out of the recesses of my brain. Clifton has the same problem, so we sit there going, “I know this, I know this … I knew that!” It’s a great bonding exercise: two fairly intelligent and well-educated English majors who for some reason can’t come up with “Who is William Butler Yeats?”
You know what’s nice? I could come up with at least five more things that I’m loving. For example, I’m loving Breyers low-carb ice cream, listening to Bach’s Art of the Fugue while I’m writing, the Iris cologne that Clifton got me last year that I didn’t think was my thing but is (I tend to like floral notes, and Iris is kind of spicy), rewatching Ken Burns’ “Country Music doc, and my Hoka hiking boots that I got in August. Could I come up with a list of five things I’m most definitely not enjoying? Oh, yes indeedy! But this kind of list is much more enjoyable. Let’s do it again soon!
P.S. Readers, we’d love to hear about what you’re loving right now!