Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Makes Me Happy

So, I've been tagged by two super awesome people--Curly Su and TriTeacher--and out of my respect for them both, I don't want to ignore their tag. Two seriously creative and inspiring people, they how on earth am I going to do this tag justice?

I'll try.

Here goes.

I'm supposed to give 6 things that make me happy.

1. Michael Jackson

No, not 2008 Michael Jackson. I'm talking Michael Jackson circa 1984. The red jacket, sparkly-gloved Michael Jackson. Would you believe he's still on my iPod, and when he comes on I just can't help but shake what my momma gave me? Even if it's on the treadmill, like it was yesterday. Wedged between Pantera's "F-ing Hostile" and System of a Down's "Chop Suey" came "Billie Jean." Yes, I ran on the treadmill mouthing the words the whole time and even thought about pausing the run just so I could dance. I didn't. But let's just say that I might have before.

Hearing old school Michael Jackson reminds me of being about seven years old, living in our little bungalow on Osborn Road, and dancing. I'm reminded of my childhood and innocence, which is ironic considering the subject of said reminder. But I smile when I remember asking my mom, what does he mean that 'the kid is not my son?' and, to Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach," what does she mean 'she's in trouble deep but she made up her mind and she's keeping her baby," to which my mom's reply was THERE WILL BE NO MORE MTV IN THIS HOUSE EVER.

2. Mugsy the Pug

I pretty much have wanted a dog since I could talk. We never had one, and I made up my mind that the second I could get a dog, I would. Well, after college I had an apartment for four years with a no dog clause. Arg. Finally, in 2004 I got married and we got a house. And you know what? I got my dog.

He's the most loyal, loveable, mischevious, stinky-breathed, hyperactive, twirling, produce-loving, snoring, best friend a girl could have. I am not sure how I made it 27 years without him.

3. Having a job that I love and I know makes a difference

I know in today's often cut-throat, market-driven world, this is hard to come by. Some days are hard, and I'm not going to lie about it. But most of the time, my day flies by because I love what I do. And two or three times a year I even get a note or an expression of thanks that makes it worthwhile. Those little teeny notes of thanks are enough to keep me going. At that age of student I work with, a note of thanks means a lot and goes VERY far. Some of my former students are missionaries, members of Doctors Without Borders, and teachers themselves. It makes me truly happy to know I've had a chance--even just a small chance--to help them grow into themselves and try to make the world a better place.

4. Making a good meal to share

I don't like to bake, because I don't like to measure. I cook much like my Dad--a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and little to no recipe. I think good cooking comes with taking a bit of risks and trying to find things that complement each other, and I love to make a really good meal to share with Matt or with friends. I love how good food brings people together.

5. Water

I don't think I'd ever be able to live too far from a large body of water. Not that I even have a boat or anything. I just love to walk up to the Lake with Bug and Matt and Mugsy almost every night in the summer and relax. I love living so close to my open water training. It was one of the things I didn't like about Cincinnati--even though the Ohio River was there. It wasn't big enough for me. There's just something about watching the sunset over the water and listening to the waves crash. Even in the winter, I love to walk up at the Lake and watch the waves.

6. My son and husband

Okay, I realize I should probably split these into two reasons, but I can't. Someday, when I look back on my life, I'll realize even more than I do now how these chapters unfolded and changed me for the better. There really was my life before Matt, and my life since. And me before the day Jackson arrived, and me since. The same person, but an entirely new, bliss-filled level of happiness. My very definition of love changed; of happy changed. Of all the hard work that relationships and children can be, the happiness we share in our home is worth more than I can explain in words.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a life filled with joy and happiness!


Carolina John said...

That's a pretty good list. i'm totally with you on the michael jackson thing. Takes me right back to 1986. merry christmas!

Erica Ortiz said...

My mom was HORRIFIED when I started singing along to Papa Don't Preach in the car when I was like 4. Until she heard my lyrics....

"Coppertone Beach... la-la-la-la"

As in the suntan lotion with the little girl and the dog.

Yea. And I blame my deafness on racecars.

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice list! MJ 1984 rocks.

Merry Christmas!!

Robin said...

That's a great list (well, maybe excepting Michael Jackson) My best friend has a pug and they are just the greatest.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

coachh said...

good read!!

Triteacher said...

Aw man, #6 is so sweet. You are a rockin' mom & wife...

Rockin' to that MJ beat! I am so with you on that.

Oh - and the teaching thing - I'm with you on that too. We're so fortunate.

Happy holidays,TST!

Michelle said...

Oh, you should have stopped the treadmill and danced; what a great visual image!

triguyjt said...

give me the Lake any day of the week... of course...the bride is number one however....

and yes..mikey circa 84 was amazing

happy new year!!