A Followup to “Happiness”

So, have you read or listened to Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After? C’mon–you need to! But in case you’re just not up for a whole book right now, here are two short web posts for you to try, one a formal book review on NPR and the other an interview with the author Heather Harpham on Gretchen Rubin’s website. I especially like the title of this second post: “”Habits of the Mind Far Outweigh Habits of the Body.”

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History Is People–One by One.

I meant to write about the film “Dunkirk” last week but it never happened. There are still plenty of showings in my area, so I think it’ll be going for awhile yet. We went weekend before last and didn’t realize until we were told the price of our tickets that we had chosen an IMAX showing, but I think in this instance it was well worth the money. This is a movie about a huge subject, so a huge screen seems appropriate. Even if you don’t normally shell out for movie tickets, preferring to wait until you can

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The Joy of Competence

If I were to tell you about all the missteps we’ve had in our very simple renovation/remodel, this would be a very long post. Something seems to go wrong at every step of the way, whether it’s a mistake we make or one that a contractor makes. But we’re soldiering on. Today we finally get a working kitchen, as the (seemingly very competent) plumber is hooking up the faucet, garbage disposal and dishwasher. The countertops came in on Monday, and even though they didn’t give us as much 

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Human Relationships Are Complicated!

This morning I feel so full up of things to say that it’s hard for me to focus on one, but I’ll try. What with the looming crisis with North Korea, the Charlottesville tragedy, and my own media intake via audiobook and film, there’s just a lot of ground to cover.

I’ll start with the audiobook, because it focuses on the “Jerusalem” of human experience: those who are closest to us. (If you’re not familiar with the reference, it comes from the books of Acts in the Christian New Testament, in which the disciples are told to be witnesses of the Gospel “in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” So it’s a set of concentric circles, starting with where they are and moving out. I’ve heard many a sermon emphasizing that we need to build relationships and witness with our nearest and dearest first. If we haven’t done that, we have no business saying that we’re going out to the “uttermost parts.”) 

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Clean Up Your Side of the Street!

We continue to make our way through the chaos at our new home. Last night Jim started putting up the beautiful new sliding panel blinds on the patio door. I couldn’t begin to tell you how much time we spent agonizing over how we wanted to have those done.

I went in and spent at least an hour with this nice woman in the window treatments department at Lowe’s. Then Jim and I went in. Then we went back home and re-measured. Then we went in yet again

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In Which I Once Again Shamelessly Borrow from the “Happier” Podcast

How I love Wednesdays, because that’s the day when the “Happier” podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft drops. (Podcasts “drop”–did you know that?) Anyway, every week the two sisters spend a little over half an hour talking about all kinds of things that may sound superficial but really aren’t.

(You may remember that I got into the podcast universe by listening to Season 1 of “Serial”–that one dropped on Thursday

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How Did It All Go Down?

I ran out of books to read while we were on vacation, and since I didn’t have a phone or a laptop I had to make do with, like, actual printed books. We visited a great bookstore in Durham, NC, on our final weekend of the trip and this book was available at a reduced price. I’d seen references to it before and thought it would be an informative read, so I went ahead and grabbed it.

You might think that a book about the leadup to 9/11 would be a little stale and irrelevant, but you’d be wrong. I think of myself as being fairly well-informed about actual Islamic terrorism and its roots, values, and goals, but this book clarified those aspects of this threat. In addition, the book makes the main players so fascinating and human that you come away with a new understanding of how this whole horrible tragedy was brought about, both by its planners and executors and also by the failure of many in various law enforcement agencies to follow some obvious clues.

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Does the Present Moment Really Exist?

I’m always hearing snatches on the radio that intrigue me; sometimes I even follow up on them. One of my favorite sources for these snatches is “The TED Radio Hour” on NPR. As you may know, and as I’ve written before, TED Talks are a great source of short talks on a wide range of subjects. “TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” but you can shoehorn almost any topic into those three areas.

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Vacation Wrapup

I almost always worry that we won’t have enough to do on our trips, a worry that Jim reminds me of when we arrive home after having crammed each day to the fullest. This trip was no different.

Somewhere I read a study on memory that asked, “Would you go on vacation if after it was all over your memories of the trip were erased from your mind?” Would all the money and effort be worth it if you had no memory of what you did? I honestly don’t know. It seems to me that there would be a happy “residue” left in your mind even if specific items were gone. 

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