Thursday, June 16, 2011

Does Your Gratitude Adjustment Include Leprechauns and Red Leotards?

Last week, Andy’s back went to spasms so I had to drive him to a massage appointment one evening. Bored and with nothing to do in the waiting room, I began leafing through a small book on the coffee table titled 14,000 Things to Be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer.

The author kept a list for 20-something years and then threw it all together for a book. (What can’t be published these days?)

Some things that made Barbara Ann happy were:

  • Absurd – leprechauns, red leotards, Sun-In hair lightener , the TV show “Dallas”

  • Admirable – world peace, love, justice

  • Redundant – happy times

  • Obvious – wine with a friend, fresh flowers, D.H. Lawrence, wedding cake

  • Inspired – smell of Play-doh, X-acto knives, little boxes of breakfast cereal
Reviews on are mixed. Seems readers took issue with items they refused to believe made Barbara Ann (or anyone) happy. They really didn’t *get* it. The book is about using our own imagination; remembering all those things that make us happy that may or may not make sense to others.

The little book was a much needed gratitude adjustment for me. I’ve started my own list. It may not be publishable but it’s a great reminder that we’re all so very different – and that’s a little fantastic (to borrow a phrase from the Fantastic Mr. Fox).

Here’s something from my list: seeing a car go by with a dog sitting in the passenger seat like a person.

Won’t you share one thing that makes you happy?


  1. That moment when I'm playing my guitar, and the feedback starts to creep in... and as I start shaking the note I'm playing, the feedback gets just a little louder, and louder, and louder... And I take a step to the left and the feedback changes pitch simply because I moved...
    That feels about as good as seeing that the bowling ball I just threw is about to give me a strike...
    Which is almost as good as that first moment when I hear the coffee pot finish its gurgling and I know the coffee's ready...

  2. I have a couple ....

    * Seeing a lone bird perched on top of a building or telephone pole and just chirping as loud as it can.

    * Being able to see the planes ascending and descending at Reagan airport from my Bethesda apartment. As someone with a former fear of flying, there's something calming about watching planes come and go all day without incident.

    * Watching respectable men in expensive business suits sprint for the metro with briefcases flailing, even though another train will come in three minutes.

  3. Cleaning out a closet (or even a drawer), and taking what I don't need to the local thrift shop that benefits our women and children's shelter. So satisfying!

  4. The sound and vibration of a cat purring makes me really happy! So does the smell of freshly brewed coffee. And the feeling I get playing the really low notes on my bass guitar. So many things make me happy, including spending time with friends like you, Mandy!