Monday, May 21, 2012

Tuning in to Happiness

Would you say we pretty much know what makes us happy? I love beach houses in summer. The smell of lilacs lifts my spirits. Three-day weekends are the best. We sure are quick to say what we don't like: I despise the taste of cilantro. My allergies are killing me. Why can I never get a dinner reservation at Frances? What we like, what we don't like. It's easy to label these things. Especially the "likes" (notice that Facebook doesn't have a "don't like" option?). Why even go there? Why drown in the dislikes when we're drawn to what makes us happy?

Lately, I've been noticing things that make me unexpectedly happy. The first thing that comes to mind is the radio. Specially, the World Famous KFOG - San Francisco's classic radio station (turn your dial to 104.5 or listen on the web). I really only have two radio personalities: serious and not serious. Serious being NPR and not serious being Top-40 hits. The only time I really listen to KFOG (and it's rare) is on Sundays when they play "Acoustic Sunrise" in the morning and "Acoustic Sunset" in the evening. Other than that, I don't often tune in.

So when I heard about their A-Z countdown, I wasn't that interested. Beginning last Monday, they started playing hits from the music library, starting with A and ending with Z.  I could take it or leave it...or so I thought. I started listening last Thursday night (they were on the H's) and the first song I heard was "Help!" by the Beatles. Classic. Then, "Help me, Rhonda" by the Beach Boys. I had forgotten how GOOD that song was and that pretty much sums up my past 4 days. One hit after another, reminder after reminder of the songs I've heard and the songs I've loved. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers, "Learning to Fly" by Pink Floyd, "Midnight City" by M83, "My Moon My Man" by Feist, "Nick of Time" by Bonnie Raitt, "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by Neil Young. Such classics!

They're only on the O's so there's still time to listen! In honor of the things that make us happy, here are a few reminders for me (and it should come as no surprise):

BBQ's in the park - with a beautiful friend at the grill.

Saturday brunch at the brew-pub - I can always count on Magnolia for a Grateful Dead kind of morning.

Dinner al fresco after a long, almost-Summer day - thanks to Pizza del Popolo and Bar Agricole.

Crazy colored pasta at Toby's - because why not?

Beautifully weird earrings I found at Zuma - "weird" in this case of course meaning "full of spiritual energy."

A morning bun from Bovine Bakery - but really it's the center part, the soft roll of cinnamon.

90's Mary Chapin Carpenter - "Why Walk When You Can Fly" could and should be anyone's anthem.

The perfect place settings - I think everything here was a gift. Aw, gifts...

Crab mac 'n' cheese from Nick's Cove - "sinfully good" says the server.

An empty bottle of Rosé - the sign of a good night. Good nights, good days. Good times. 

What surprises you in bringing joyful delight???


  1. I have had that crab mac and cheese. It is so good! Yay for weekends...

  2. such a good post, meggie! lately i've been really happy about the summer. i feel like the past few years i've been more of a fall kind of girl, but this year i'm unexpectedly happy about spending all my free time outdoors or at the beach. a good tan makes me happy. hot summer nights with a bottle of champagne or rose' makes me happy.


    oh and can we PLEASE get a ressy at frances when i'm there in june?

  3. i need a glass of rose!! Also, I love the proclaimers. thanks for reminding me!

  4. It's all primordial feelings, the senses our brain receives notifying us that we are alive.

    "Primordial feelings reflect the current state of the body along varied dimensions, for example, along the scale that ranges from pleasure to pain, and they originate at the level of the brain stem rather than the cerebral cortex. All feelings of emotion are complex musical variations on primordial feelings."

    -Antonio Damasio, author of Self Comes to Mind, Constructing the Conscious Brain

  5. Such a joyful post! Spending time by the sea, my pug Thea, coffee, flowers, nature and of course - vintage makes me happy! And my discovery that I actually likes oysters made me unexpectedly happy.

  6. Wow, I love all of this. The radio count down sounds great, I know I would love it. And all the other pleasures you have described, yes they would all make me very happy!

  7. It all looks wonderful, and right now to find a pair of cute sandals like any of the pairs in your first photo would make me feel very joyful!