Daffodils take me back to my five-year-old self, when I picked the flowers for my kindergarten teacher from my Mom’s carefully tended beds, wrapped the stalks with a dripping wet paper towel, then crumpled aluminum foil around the stalks as a makeshift vase til I could get them to school and proudly thrust them at my teacher.
Mom loved her beds of bright yellow daffodils and deep purple hyacinths. I loved watching the plants sprout through layers of pine needles, sometimes through remains of snow, and made bets with myself guessing how long it would be before the buds blossomed. I never was right, though I told myself I was.
I love that daffodils have such a scant smell. A sweet one, though. One of memories. One of winter ending and spring just arriving. One of happiness and joy to come.
The skies are blue, the days are sunny. The wind blows fiercely, which I love, whipping my hair across my face, blowing away all my cares.
She invited me to join her in her morning plunge, a dip in the tidal pool at the shore. She warned it would be cold, and that for maximum benefit we needed to stay in the water at least 12 minutes. Uh, no.
This is not something I would normally do. I prefer not to rise early. I don’t particularly care for icy water. I said yes.
I waded in tentatively. It was cold, but not numbingly so. Fish swam around my ankles. I walked quickly deeper, then slowly. It was time. I started swimming to the outer wall, loving the buoyancy, loving the warmth of my muscles cutting through the chill of the water. We swam, we talked, we floated, we marveled at the beauty surrounding us.
One of the things that I’ve loved about this pandemic is porch surprises – both given and received. It’s a delight to drop something off on someone’s porch and text them, “Surprise waiting for you on the bench outside your door next to your rain boots!” or “Enjoy what’s in the brown paper bag on your porch!” And equally delightful to receive a similar message. I received a message saying there was a piece of funfetti cake on my porch (and who doesn’t love brightly colored cake with sprinkles?!?) and was delighted to be able to talk to the givers from a distance, because I immediately ran out to fetch the said slice of cake.
I’m taking a class on the science of well being. One of the ways to increase happiness is to interrupt it, so that you don’t get used to it (hedonistic adaptation), and then you can have multiple instances of happiness. I thought about this when I took a first bite of the cake. It was so good! I can’t remember when I last had cake. Gosh. The sweetness. The sugaryness. The crunch of the colorful sprinkles on the icing. I thought about the principles I had learned about happiness. I told myself I’d have just one more bite, then save the rest for later. And I had one more bite. And one more. And one more. And then I ate the whole thing. And I was pretty darn happy.
My team at work is simultaneously enamored and repulsed by my love of Peeps. There’s something about them – the soft marshmallow, the neon colored sugar, the two-bite size – they’re really the perfect food.
I wasn’t feeling great last week. Super tired, coughy, achy, run-down, and simply no energy at all. To lift my spirits, my team sent a Peeps-a-licious! cookbook (who knew there was such a thing!) as well as four packages of Peeps – traditional yellow, pink, purple, and blue. I was delighted and amazed. The next day, I got another box. I opened it, and inside were six individual packages of Peeps:
Pancakes & Syrup
(I know! I was astounded, too, that there were so many flavors I never knew about!)
The way I’ve listed them above is the order I prepared to eat them, from the flavor I thought I’d love the most to the flavor I thought I’d love the least. Because even a not-my-favorite flavor of Peep is still a Peep and I knew I’d enjoy it. And here’s what I discovered. I’m now on Fruit Punch and I love each new flavor of Peeps even more than the previous!!!
There’s probably a life lesson in there somewhere. I’m just not quite sure what it is. Be open to new possibilities? Past performance is not indicative of future results? You only think you know what you want? Eat more Peeps?
Whatever it is, I’m grateful for my team, and I’m grateful for a stockpile of Peeps. And I’m definitely feeling better.
I’ve found it easy to get frustrated with life in San Francisco recently. The city is more expensive than it ever has been (how did I just spend $52 on a small bag of groceries?), there’s construction going on on both streets that border my corner building (who wouldn’t think 7 am is a great time to start jack hammering?), and it’s been a while since the last rain, so the smells of the city can be overwhelming. So tonight I decided I would be intentional on my walk. I’d only focus on what I’m grateful for in the city.
I’m grateful that I can walk two blocks and eavesdrop on conversations in four different languages.
I’m grateful that there are still so many mom and pop businesses in my neighborhood that are thriving, and that we’re on a first name basis.
I’m grateful for hills that get my heart rate rising.
I’m grateful for sidewalks and for cars that yield to pedestrians.
I’m grateful for living in a city for so long that virtually every corner I turn I have a fond memory (the building I lived in when I first got divorced and the pancakes we made on New Year’s Day, the bar where we saw a friend’s band play and drunk them out of Jack Daniel’s, the now vacant lot where I got my first Christmas tree in San Francisco).
I’m grateful for the water that surrounds this city, offering calm and peacefulness.
And I’m grateful for living on the west coast, and watching the sun set at the end of the day.