Five Things That Make Me Happy, and Two Things That Piss Me Off

by Katy on October 29, 2010 · 36 comments

I have written past columns about five things that make me happy. I like these mini-posts because they’re very to the point and keep the long winded side of me in check. It’s good to remind myself of the happy things, as life can get a bit zooey around here at casa Wolk-Stanley.

But today’s five things that make me happy list doesn’t seem complete without a chaser of two things that piss me off. It somehow balances the treacle-like quality of the cult of happiness. So, here goes . . .

Five Things That Make Me Happy, and Two Things That Piss Me Off

  1. Having get togethers with friends to look forward to. (Grown up play dates?)
  2. Finding out that a task I’ve been avoiding took care of itself.
  3. Discovering cool free entertainment for my family.
  4. Knowing that my neighbors do not judge me for storing our Halloween candy at their house until 5:00 P.M. on October 31st. (And it’s more to keep myself out of the Snickers bars than the kids.)
  5. Being able to walk almost all my errands in my urban neighborhood.
  1. Finding out that the child I put to bed an hour ago is not only out of bed, but is out of his pajamas and now wearing jeans and a long sleeve T-shirt.
  2. Getting to the end of a library audio book and discovering that the very end of the very last disc is scratched.

Okay folks, what are your seven things? Please share your lists in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg October 29, 2010 at 5:16 am

I feel you on the library audio book thing! I was listening to a suspense-type book this week, and it kept skipping at inopportune moments… so frustrating!

To offset that, here are a couple things that make me happy:
-almond milk in my morning coffee
-that libraries have books on CD to make my commute fly by
-how much easier it is to track your spending on days you don’t spend
-finding the perfect experience-not-thing Christmas gift for my mom for $4


Jessica Wolk-Stanley October 29, 2010 at 5:32 am

Jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt? That’s a new one! I love it.


Maureen October 29, 2010 at 5:39 am

Right now:

1. Vacation begins this afternoon
2. Seeing hard working hubby on vacation relaxing
3. Being able to work on my scrapbook
4. Knowing that I’m using/finishing crafts that I’ve had for a few years for Christmas presents this year. Getting rid of clutter and not spending a lot!
5. Starting a new job when I get back from vacation

1. Seeing the dog eat something or do something (like run away) when he’s not supposed to.
2. Seeing my husband angry about his work — and it’s very rare that he gets angry and last night it hit the boiling point. Can’t wait to get him away for a week!


Maarten October 29, 2010 at 5:48 am

1. Rowing, even when it is on a dark, rainy and bittercold early Saturday morning (Or is it the hot Shower, hot Coffee and Apple Pie afterwards?)
2. Children playing (until now our nieces and nephews, but hopefully also our own kids soon).
3. Listening to Classical music (preferably Medieval or Renaissance music).
4. Silence.
5. Bicycling, running and walking (doing errands, walking in the park, long distance running/cycling and backpacking in the mountains)

1. Unnecessary noise (noisy neighbours, music from other peoples iPods or MP3-players, music in shops everywhere, the heavy traffic in front of our house, church bells ringing 15 times a day etc..)
2. Rude behavior, people can be so rude and Anti-social. That is why I love to read your website/blog, it inspires me every day and lifts my mood up in an instance).


Nancy from Mass October 29, 2010 at 5:56 am

Five things that make me happy:

1. watching my son at karate and knowing that even though it’s a little expensive, what he is getting out of it is SO worth it. Plus, he’s a natural at it. (he’s going for his 2nd of 3 Black Belt Tests tomorrow – he scored a perfect 100 on the first test!)
2. Making my dad’s zucchini bread recipe. just the smell of it brings him back.
3. being able to quilt, crochet and knit. I can make/give so many things by my own hands.
4. Having a good job, with a good company, with great benefits. knowing that makes the fact that hubby has been laid off for far too long a little easier for me to sleep at night.
5. Having a large family I am close to. (even though we are 1-2 hours away from each other, we still talk alot) that family includes aunts, uncles and cousins.

Two things that piss me off:

1. Telling my SIL that “No, we can’t afford to go to Disney Thanksgiving week to celebrate IL’s 50th anniversary since hubby has been laid off.” and she plans it anyway for herself and her kids with them and keeps asking us “So, what ARE you doing for them?”. (btw: hubby is the one that told her, not me). we don’t need to spend thousands to celebrate it.
2. the deer in the neighborhood eating most of my fenced-in garden…year after year. Seriously, my son told me to stop growing corn because I was just teasing him into thinking we would actually get to EAT it! 31 tomato plants and I picked maybe 20 tomatoes all summer! aughhhhhh.


Jeanine October 29, 2010 at 7:58 am

I live in a rural area, and this has worked for decades.

Since your garden is fenced in, take some thing (plastic bags, strips of cloth(cloth that has some type of human scent works the best)) that will move with the slightest breeze and tie it to the links or strings in your fence.

The animals will see it (and maybe smell it) and will not approach. It’s not 100%, especially for squirrels, racoons, but it works well for deer.


Nancy from Mass October 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Ooo, I’ll definetly try this for next year! Thanks for the info.


Sarah October 29, 2010 at 6:25 am

Uh oh, I hope that means he was not trying to sneak out!!


Katy October 29, 2010 at 6:33 am

No, he just liked the outfit.



Anna J October 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm

When my 5 year old did this I thought it was hilarious. He thought it was morning and proceeded to make his bed and got dressed. We both cried – me because I was laughing so hard, him because he was still ultra-tired and now confused.


Cindy C. October 29, 2010 at 6:50 am


1. A good glass of red wine.

2. Sharing an evening with my kids and husband just hanging out.

3. Cooking what my heart desires.

4. An unexpected phone call…..with everything being electronic…it’s nice to hear a voice.

5. The lake/water refreshes my soul.


1. Clutter.

2. People whose glass is ALWAYS half empty!


Lisa October 29, 2010 at 7:07 am

Happy…1. Pets 2. Prayer and Meditation 3. Cooking from scratch. 4. Sewing and crafting 5. Having a wooded camp to get away to whenever I want.

Unhappy… 1. Negativity 2. Being bombarded from every direction with political ads.


Mary October 29, 2010 at 9:37 am

Lisa, you stole my list! : )


602Laura October 29, 2010 at 7:29 am

five things that make me happy:

1. letters & cards in the mail

2. pumpkins

3. the smell of cupcakes baking

4. the voices of kids playing outside

5. church bells on a breezy autumn afternoon

two things that suck:

1. flakey people who don’t keep their word

2. the smell of burnt eggs in a frying pan


Jenny, Plain and Simple October 29, 2010 at 8:47 am

1. Greek Gods Honey yogurt with frozen raspberries and granola for breakfast
2. Snuggling in P.J.s with my kid and/or hubby to watch the Muppet Show
3. Fresh eggs straight from the coop
4. Taking photos of pretty farms
5. Winning at backgammon

1. Little doodads that are everywhere that the kids can’t part with
2. Losing at backgammon


Judy October 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

Happiness=time with my grandkids, a cup of tea & a good book; crocheting; sunny days, beautiful sunsets, a rainbow over the mountains.

People talking loudly on cell phones in public places and political calls or phone surveys interrupting me especially at dinner time or in the middle of something really pisses me off.

Jeans and long sleeve t-shirt to save time getting dressed in the AM?


Jenny October 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

1. My children choosing healthy snacks over junk.
2. Being caught up on laundry.
3. Finally getting my requested library books/dvds .
4. Eating leftovers before they rot.
5. Free kid entertainment like tonight’s Trunk Or Treat.

1. Finding expired coupons for items that I intended to buy.
2. Having to rewash dishes because the dishwasher didn’t get them clean.


Susan October 29, 2010 at 10:58 am

What a great idea!

1) The kids laughing together. Like sweet music to my ears.
2) The automatic coffee machine. Need I say more?!
3) Snuggling with a good book and Rex, the cat (a.k.a. cat brick)
4) Hearing impossibly gorgeous music for the first time
5) Spending time with family and friends. Running. Eating great food.

Okay, that was too many. I couldn’t cut it down


Susan October 29, 2010 at 11:04 am

And because my phone hates me here are my dislikes:

1) Giving to one charity and suddenly they’re *all* calling you, each vehemently denying they bought or sold your number.

2) Having a known skill set you’re willing to use and ideas to get things done but you are ignored and passed over.


fairydust October 29, 2010 at 11:29 am

1) looking around our house now that the painting’s done and new floors are in.
2) cuddling with my DH/cats (truly, it’s a toss-up, but don’t tell DH)
3) sleeping in on the weekend
4) chocolate
5) unexpected coupon overage

1) blowing money because I didn’t think things through
2) people who don’t pay attention to what they’re supposed to do thus causing me more work


Cyndel October 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm

5 things I love:

1) I might see 4 friends from college tomorrow.
2) I just bought a butterfly costume for Halloween.
3) I’m going to a Haunted trail tonight with my boyfriend and two close friends.
4) My boss gave me 10 pounds of candy as a Halloween Bonus to hand out to trick-or-treaters. This saved me a ton of money.
5)I had today off from work

2 things that piss me off:
1) High Blood Pressure
2) I can’t think of anything else, but it pisses my boyfriend off when I buy costumes with glitter on them because he can’t stand having the glitter everywhere.


Angela@MyYearWithoutSpending October 29, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Okay, I wish I had time to make my list, but since I don’t I just had to say I LOVE this- especially the “treacle-like quality of the cult of happiness” and #1 on the “things that pissed me off.”

So awesome. So funny.


Practical Parsimony October 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm

1–My chocolate pound cake with my lemon curd on it. Okay, anything chocolate.
2–Talking with my children and grandchildren on the phone.
3–Sitting in my swing and staring at the green of the yard while the hens putter about, digging up things I really like.
4–Having a young man from a church nearby come to my door, offering to take care of my yard tomorrow and once a month since I am a senior with less and less ability to care for it–well, the really hard stuff like hacking down tiny volunteer trees that are now largish.
5–Sewing and reading

Piss me off–

1–Grocery clerks or anyone who acts dumb/clueless so they can avoid doing their job…yeah, the 20ish young woman who looked bewildered and swore she did not know what a camisole was. I asked her where they were. Now, if she is dumb, she can stand still for the rest of the night. Otherwise, she might be forced to walk and show me.

2–The raccoon who murdered one of my chickens and the three I had to have removed from my house, the ones that ate a hole in the ceiling above me AND the one remaining upstairs in the attic–I hate raccoons.


Katy (another Katy in Portland) October 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Try calling your homeowners insurance – I had raccoons in the crawl space and they took care of everything and it was several thousand.


Practical Parsimony October 30, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Thanks Katy,
I was unaware of that.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary October 29, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I *love* this idea. Loved it so much I wrote my own blog post on the topic, with photos to illustrate. 🙂


Christopher October 29, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Believe it or not, I recently made a list of the things that I like about my commute! The list includes: old fashioned crop dusting airplanes, orchards in bloom/stark in the winter, hot air balloons against the coast range, mustard grass blooming, the 3-D rolling landscape that changes from bright green to golden brown, and that the sun is at my back in both directions; also that it’s not LA (and that it’s just the right length to do some CD listening and decompress from my stressful job). What I hate? Texting drivers; dangerous clueless idiots, who are going to kill someone (probably me) someday.


Marianne October 30, 2010 at 5:20 am

1. My dogs waking me up with a kiss
2. Going out to eat with hubby so i dont have to cook
3. Dunkin donuts
4. Going to bed with a clean house and laundry done.
5. Spending an hour talking to my mom

1. Incorrect traffic reports (these can make or break your day!!!)
2. My family being selfish ( its so hard to love them sometimes!!!)


Trish [ modern thrifter ] October 30, 2010 at 10:02 pm

1. Waking up to the smell of coffee
2. Kissing my kids on the forehead after they’ve fallen asleep
3. Listening to Christmas music on Vinyl
4. Seeing a prayer answered
5. Being debt free

1. When people say “funner” in a sentence
2. Folded laundry piles that get knocked over by my kids


Jenn October 31, 2010 at 7:36 am

1. Having a job that I love.
2. Having a healthy family.
3. Scented fall candles.
4. Running.
5. New homemade soap someone just gave me for a gift.

1. Super Negative/Judgie People
2. People who don’t know grocery line etiquette


Ellen October 31, 2010 at 12:39 pm

1. Sharing a flat with my great love.
2. The cats and kittens that live in the house we live.
3. Drawing.
4. Clementines.
5. The books I thrifted today.

1. My own mood swings.
2. Constantly being broke. (Well, I’m a student…)


glenn November 1, 2010 at 4:51 am

Happy 5:

1. The half-smile my newborn son has on his face while sleeping.
2. The crepuscular glow of sunset on the fiery spectrum of fall foliage blanketing the mountains around my house.
3. The way that dogs cock their heads to the side when they are confused.
4. When an experimental dinner turns out even better than expected.
5. When some serendipitous twist exposes just how connected everything really is.

Pissed off 2:

1. When people treat others in a way that they wouldn’t want to be treated themselves.
2. Kidney stones. I really hate kidney stones.


Lisa S. November 1, 2010 at 6:27 am

1. The warm hugs I get out of nowhere from my kids.
2. A husband who gets equally excited as I do about cooking & music.
3. A good party both with and without kids.
4. A conversation with my Mom who lives across the country from me.
5. An excellent soy latte.

1. Having too much stuff.
2. Making decisions about said stuff for my whole family. Drives me b-a-n-a-n-a-s.


Tracy Balazy November 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

1. Watching the birds at the feeder outside my kitchen window.
2. Enjoying a glass of the red wine my husband makes while we sit on our front porch at sunset.
3. My cats and dogs and their unconditional love.
4. Going to the library and finding a book I’ve been wanting to read.
5. Riding my bike, anywhere, any time.

1. Rude drivers.
2. People who buy pets from breeders and at pet stores on impulse, instead of trying a shelter/rescue first, and choose a dog or cat for its looks, not its personality and how it’s going to fit into their lifestyle.


Kimberly November 4, 2010 at 3:29 am

having a night where we don’t have to be somewhere
dinner as a family around the kitchen table
jeans day at work
discovering that I used up something in the fridge before it’s expiration date
unexpected hugs from my teenage son

Not so happy:
insomnia 3 nights in a row
potential dates who lie about their marital status


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