Twenty more things that make me happy

By Caitlin Kelly

Last-minute $20 fifth-row tickets to one of my favorite bands ever, Johnny Clegg


Seat-dancing like a fiend to his music and singing at the top of my lungs to old favorites like “Scatterlings of Africa”; he’s on tour in North America right now. Go!

Coming home after the concert to a midnight supper of soup and sandwiches

Treating myself to a beautiful DVF skirt on sale

The fresh-earth smell of spring



Forsythia in every vase in every room

Re-finding a very good pair of earrings I’d thought I’d lost years ago

The magnolia tree that blossoms — so briefly! — and smells so delicious on our building’s property


Listening to Yann Tiersen’s haunting, lovely music for La Valse des Monstres

After a long, cold, bitter, icy winter, finally walking along the reservoir with warm sunshine on my shoulders

Pretty new curtains — shower curtains re-purposed! — for a grand total of $50


Finding a very good new-to-me Manhattan restaurant whose desserts are $6 — not the usual $10-12

Receiving an email this week — three years after the publication of my last book, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” — which began with the words: “It was a great book. I was captivated from the start, interested in your fellow employees and appreciated the research and insight you provided.” It’s so satisfying to keep finding appreciative readers.

My husband’s surprise gift to me — deep purple suede loafers with bright orange soles


An out-of-the-blue email apologizing for a decades-old shattered friendship from someone I miss

A hand-written thank-you note from a client

Two offers of paid work in one day, both arriving unsolicited

This amazing goat cheese, super-creamy.


The medicinal smell, translucent brown and lush lather of Pears soap, a brand founded in 1807

Daffodils! Everywhere!


A stack of unread library books: (I watch GOT on HBO and follow fellow Canadian and very cool astronaut Chris Hadfield on Twitter)


What’s making you smile recently?


51 thoughts on “Twenty more things that make me happy

  1. steve

    I couldn’t come up with twenty (apparently I’m not as happy as you) but I did come up with ten.
    – my grandson falling asleep on my chest
    – my wife having my favorite drink ready for me when I walk into the kitchen after a long hard day of work
    – the smell of my yard after a spring rain shower
    -an unexpected phone call from one of my boys just to say hi and tell me about his day
    – the news that two of my daughter in laws are pregnant again and I will soon have two more grand children. Maybe one of them will actually be female. ( there isn’t much estrogen around this household)
    – warm and sunny weather that I can pul my 1967 Camaro out of the garage and take her for a spin
    -creamed dried chipped beef over mashed potatoes for dinner
    – sitting out on my rear deck and watching the meteors fall on a moonless coal black night
    – having saw dust stuck to my sweat soaked skin while working outside in the sun
    – sitting beside a swift moving river with my line in the water

    I’m glad you can find joy up there in the big city. I’m just as glad to be here where I am. Kinda funny how different people find the joy that makes their lives worth living. God made each one of us unique.

    1. Heyyyyy! You’re back.

      Love this list — and thanks for making time to share. Congrats on the new babies-to-be. A little more estrogen might be a good thing. 🙂

      Don’t forget — I’m not right in NYC but in a small (pop.10K) town north of there. Makes life easier.

  2. Well, a couple of things. The semester si almost over, I’m making progress on my final projects and papers, and soon I’ll be going off to Europe. Plus traffic on my blog is up lately, and my third book drops in less than two months. I’d say I’m doing very well.

  3. Excellent shoes!! A very fine list–so glad you are feeling happy. I have not had the best Saturday but I can generalize for now…: Writing and reading, nature, walking, music, photography. Friends, my adult kids/grandkids. Drawing/painting and much of other people’s art. My two older sisters and, generally, my sibs. Hiking, being on or near water and mountains–oh, I already said nature and you can just add activites galore. Zumba and dancing around my living room especially to Latin music.Praying and feeling God like a powerful chord in my core. I guess my day has been fairly decent, afterall–I get to share all that as well as enjoy your post. Thanks. (Maybe I will try this for a post if you don’t mind when I have much more clarity and gratitude.)

    1. Aren’t they? Love that color…

      Sounds like lots of good things — and of course, post it. I had a major disappointment this week (did not get the fellowship I hoped for), so it’s nice to have good stuff to balance it out.

  4. The nice thing is that it doesn’t take much to make us happy really. If you have got your rickets to Johnny Clegg I hope you have a fantastic time. He’s sure to have dancers on stage. Please tap your feet twice as hard to cover my share too .
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    1. I saw him a few weeks ago — he’s now heading up to Canada, so maybe some blog readers will go get tix. It was a fantastic show. I was so thrilled to see him in person for the first time.

  5. Love these posts. During our move I found an earring I thought I’d lost as well and it made my week. Let me know what you think about Gone Girl, I thought it was “nicely” twisty.

    1. Thanks! (Johnston & Murphy, in their catalog…which is where I spotted them.)

      The apology stunned me. It had hurt me so deeply to lose that friend and her reason for doing so was unknown to me, and unconnected to me.

      I enjoy the exercise of looking about and saying — even in a shitty week (this wasn’t a great one) — that there’s lots of nice stuff anyway.

      1. No, still in Korea for now.

        Yes it is a tragedy, but increasingly a scandal as to the way it happened. There is a lot of anger and frustration, and rightly so. Personally, I can’t even bring myself to look at the news. I hear updates but that is all I want. It’s a bloody mess, and on top of current concerns I think a lot of people are worried that it will do nothing to change things. This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened.

      2. It is a seriously shocking story. It also raises some questions about “honor” — the captain who fled (!?) and the vice-principal who chose to hang himself in shame.

      3. Well we could be talking about this for a long time. Korea does have a serious and much talked about suicide problem as it is. There were many problems and these were just two talking points.

      4. Indeed. Is there a news source you can recommend from there — in English — for better details or analysis?

        Any interest? ((maybe not) in doing a guest post for here about it? You would have insights few others are offering right now.

  6. I love this post! This post is something that makes me happy! I decided to post something everyday on my blog site to make me (and you) smile! It’s all about spreading positive energy. Thank you for sharing this…per usual, I love reading what you write!

  7. Hi Broadside,
    One of things that delighted me today was when my husband tried to make the coffee for breakfast. (he couldn’t find the coffee but at least he tried) Also my older daughter came to hear me reform at the Easter Mass.

  8. Love this list ~ I felt so much happiness just reading it. I LOVE the new shoes – your husband has a great eye.
    Most recent happiness inducing moment – being told by my co-teacher’s that I don’t need to teach English with them this week and can take a rest. Nothing like being at work and not working – not as great as sleeping in, but still very happiness inducing all the same. 🙂

  9. Your blog is my favourite and I know you’re not new to blogging but I’ve nominated you for the Liebster award! If you are interested please check it out at

  10. By the way, did oyu enjoy Gone Girl?…I didn’t think I would but it sure made an imporession on me! Andother interesting novel for entertainment’s sake is Alice LaPlante’s A Circle of Wives. But a favorite the last few months is Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child.

  11. Great list, and thanks for the reminder of the little things that mean so much! Let’s see, I have been juggling in a crazy way lately and wish to be writing but dealing w/my new paid work these last few weeks. In the meantime, taking a cue from you, I’ll be happy with the fact I WILL write something soon. And I’m surviving some parenting challenges, work, keeping up w/exercise, volunteering and a whole mess of other things ( I do feel the need for more wine though…). It was 70 degrees yesterday and marsh marigolds are out and soon ramps and morels will be growing in the woods and outside time always makes me happy. Reading a good new book–by Julia Glass. Oh, and I’m not sure I ever mentioned it but did read Malled last fall and really enjoyed your perspective on that subject as well…glad you are still getting positive feedback from it :). Waking up early and reading your posts always give me something interesting to think about for the day ahead as well, so thank you…today, find the positive little things in life to keep us going…great advice.

    1. Thanks for this…I walked through our woods yesterday and love seeing all the seasonal changes as well: turtles and bluebells and daffodils and robins and a white swan on the reservoir.

      Glad you read Malled…much appreciate that.

      You sound busy, in a good way.

  12. Pingback: The One with the Happy Spring | Jackie Cangro

  13. I am a fellow seat dancer. I particularly like to do this in carpool line to embarrass my teen when he’s been obnoxious:). Fellow lover of forsythia also. As for the purple loafers, green with envy. Fab. Rock those and enjoy . . . and as for what’s making me happy–a weekend to read and clear out some clutter, a couple of new spring sweaters and The Buddha Walks Into a Bar awaiting me in my book basket.

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