Things I’ve learned about happiness

Lately I have been feeling happy.

At the start of the year I was decidedly unhappy, what with stresses of house moving/failing to sell, sister moving overseas, etc. I’ve really enjoyed realising that I am happy again and it has inspired me to think about how I managed it. I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned I can inspire more happiness in the people around me.

Step one for me was listening to a podcast about happiness by Gala Darling, article and download here. Her messages are simple, common sense things but I’ve noticed that common sense doesn’t necessarily occur to me unless someone points it out. It might be the same for you?

So, taking stock of I really want from life and making steps towards making it happen. I’m hugely jealous of Amphigori right now who has finished her job at Trade Me as of yesterday and is going to do painting and sewing and making steampunk accessories until the next job comes along. Sounds like bliss to me. Of course my dream, you all know, is to make a living from writing and I have managed so many giant steps in that process by thinking small and just doing a bit at a time. What you want you can get, eventually, by working towards it. Well, unless you want to fly to the moon on the back of a sparrow. That might be a bit difficult.

Being in the moment has also helped me, there are heaps of cool articles on The positivity blog, the one that really helped me I linked to some time back was the one about questions to ask yourself. “Why am I feeling angry right now?” also, letting myself feel that emotion, just giving into the anger for a half minute or so often seems to bring the real reason to mind, which means I can solve it and get over it.

Gala Darling also taught me the benefit of being grateful. I don’t just do Things I Love Thursday because I am a pink fluffy bunny who wants to sprinkle the world with glitter (although I am and I do) it’s kind of like therapy. I was skeptical when Gala talked about the benefits of practicing being grateful, but once I’d given it a go I really noticed a difference. I guess it’s to do with making yourself think about things that you genuinely like, love or enjoy. You can’t help but feel a bit better about the world afterwards. I can recommend starting a Things I Love Thursday list enough, it doesn’t have to be online or anything, just start keeping a list for yourself in a notebook or on post its.

Asking for help and being honest about what you want to other people. This is two different things but I think they go hand in hand. In kiwi culture it’s not really done to ask for what you want. I’m not too sure why this is impolite, but I know that when I talked frankly to my new boss about how working at Trade Me isn’t my life’s goal and that I wanted more time to write my heart was beating in a panic rhythm and I was frightened that she would yell at me or tell me I was being stupid, or conceited or something.

I have found that if people like you then they generally want to help you. (Again, this seems obvious but I’m not sure that knowing this and actively using it are the same thing.) As kiwis we are not supposed to ask for what we want and there’s a huge pressure stopping us ask others for help. Which is stupid. If you want help and there is someone who can help you who wants to help then why the hell wouldn’t you ask them?

The converse is also awesome for making yourself happy. Helping people achieve is karmically good for you. And yes, I just made up a word. Karmically.

Other things that I have found give me happiness: dancing, learning new things, indulging whims by having baths, watching silly movies or reading ‘comfort food’ books. Eating well, a salad a day really does keep me healthy! Achieving goals, spending time with people I like who are not negative, making other people happy even in small ways.

Please feel free to add things that have helped you get happy in the comments. As with anything I write on here, this is all based on my own experience, so you might have a totally different view on how to achieve happiness.

PoF: It’s freaking cold and I am an icicle
CO: Inspiration

Things I Love Thursday

Getting things in the mail from my Giffy, who has sent me a pen from Harrods! Plus a postcard from Jj whom I never hear from. And I also posted off something awesome for her which I am really looking forward to her receiving.

Removing international fraudsters from the dating site. I now have a sixth sense for which photos are scammers.

Being excited about doing new things (selling surgerised tshirts on Trade Me) and for the possibility of people buying my quilts, even if it doesn’t work out.

Warmth. I was so cold last night that I went to sleep with the duvet over my head.

Disovering that wacky cake cupcakes taste good with balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar, although I did add a lot of chocolate and vanilla which may have helped them turn out so rich and delicious. Happy birthday Elric!

I think I have mentioned previously how much I enjoy two things I already liked coming together. Behold: Neil Gaiman + cute baby animals!

cute Neil stuff.
The film festival is all full of neat things, I am working out my schedule tonight now that I have forced Lee to choose what he wants to see.

I also love Doogie Howser, and funny things, so this ad he did for Old Spice makes me happy.
click I should really track down his new show and watch it. I *heart* him.

I also like having Wednesdays off where I get stuff done. I got stuff done this week despite having a nap and a bath.

Swing dancing was cool. It’s good to feel like you know what you’re doing and to learn more about leading and following and then to have the female teacher from the last block comes up to us at the end of the class and tells us that we’re doing well and we should participate in the novice dance competition at the yearly Windy Lindy ball. Hee. Also that on the day before the Windy Lindy ball there is a charm school for girls where they will teach us style and glamour and how to do our hair. Squeeeeee! Lee’s sister and me are totally going to do it.

PoF: warm
CO: slow cooker burritos.


Roleplaying humour can be found here in this short film about Old Skool Dungeons and Dragons in French, with English subtitles. Verily, it is hilarious.

This is a serious game.

We had another episode of The Other Side (PTA) last night where I managed to tap into the stuff I want to have happen with Sam the emo boy/girl. Steve’s do gooder troll is caught up with the mafia and had some real tear jerker moments. Plus the characters are starting to come together now and we should all have met each other after the next episode.

I have decided not to do Kiwinowrimo, lots of good points were made in regards to not putting something down to start another thing and also how I’ve been doing well making myself write so I shouldn’t need the community in the same way I did last year.

Best of luck to Matt and Sok who are going to do it though. Do your best!
I gave Kiki to my Mother in law to read and she’s sent me a very gushy positive review. It’s nice to have cheerleaders.

PoF: warm
CO: new ventures

Wishy washy wishy washy

Kiwinowrimo, or the Kiwi Novel Writing Month starts on June 25th, info here. I am severely wishy washy about whether or not to enter.

You see, I really like the idea of sitting down and making myself write so much and the support and competition of the community is very good for spurring me on.

On the other hand I am over halfway through the manuscript for What’s the Worst that Could Happen? and I would feel weird putting it down.

On the other other hand I have put WtWtCH ‘down’ before to do the final draft of Kiki and picked it up again with no real difficulty.

I could use the Kiwinowrimo to write the sequel to Kiki which I have ideas for. I could spend some time planning the issues, themes and basic plot and then write like crazy for it.

But I feel like I will have the first draft of WtWtCH done in a couple of weeks if I can keep up my current momentum. (10 pages per sitting, even if I have to force myself.)

But if Kiki does get picked up by a publisher, they might want a sequel sooner rather than when I get around to it. And if I can get more published sooner then I can really try to make writing my life.
So…..what do you think? Can I get some input about what you think I should do? Kiwinowrimo, yes or no?

PoF: trackies are so warm and comfy
CO: writing is fun

ETA: I have filled up my latest notebook(which says ‘be of better cheer, everything will be fine’ on it with WtWtCH. It is full. Now I can move on to the ‘where did you get that beautiful bag?’ notebook I bought last Wednesday. Kick ass.

Shrewsburies. (Entry 1200)

Lee said that when he was a little kid he thought shrewsburies were a real berry and that’s what the jam in the biscuits was made of. My sister liked shrewsburies more than me so I was always slightly resentful when we got them because it meant she was getting her way.

I was generally disappointed that you can’t pull the biscuits apart and lick at the jam in the middle. What is it about that jam? It’s like sugary red glue. I just tried to pull one apart and you still can’t do it, the biscuit just crumbles.

Saturday was awesome fun with craft day and Rock Band. I didn’t manage to get any writing done in the morning like I meant to, but I did clean the house and do washing so it’s all good. I also was made to watch some Top Gear and it was actually pretty interesting. (Highlights from the one where they drive across America in cars costing less than a thousand dollars.)

I’m steadily getting better at drumming on the hard level although some songs are yet beyond me.
Today it is very cold outside but I had a beignet and got a stack of books out from the library so it’s not too bad. I managed to write six new pages today and I intend to write some more after this break.

PoF: warm
CO: printing photos using snapfish. So cheap.

PS. Giffy, and anyone who is interested, I have uploaded photos of my IKEA-ised wardrobes and a pic of the way my wardrobe’s rail looks. You can see ’em here.

Things I Love Thursday

I’m feeling happy like you wouldn’t believe. I am a big cuddly bundle of grateful , so this is going to be a long one.

The little film we made over the weekend won the competition! Yep, that’s me on the page, yelling at my dice. I think being the only entrants kind of uhm, biased the judging in our direction somewhat but hey, a win is a win is a win. Plus it was awesome fun to make.

The film festival brochures are out tomorrow. So excited. Given my current money levels I’m not sure I’ll actually get to all that much but I can try! I know there’s a shark film I want to see.

Swing dance class last night was cool fun. It’s nice to feel like you know what you are doing as opposed to being a raw beginner and Lee felt like he got a handle on something he’s not doing right. (Taking small steps, not throwing his partner so far out that both arms are locked straight.) It was also awesome that some of the taxi dancers missed me and were happy to have me back. Makes me feel like I might be a good dancer!

I am not working Friday nights any more! My awesome new boss of awesomeness has worked it out for me and I can now work 8-5 on Friday, same as the rest of the week. I am a tiny bit sad I can’t have a sleep in three days in a row, but I can’t have my sleep in and go to work too so never mind. Finishing work at 5 will make it all worthwhile.

These classic photos recreated with lego pictures are quite lovely. I especially love the Star Wars ones.

Photos my friends upload to facebook, especially when they add funny comments of awesome like Morgue did with the photos from his flatwarmERing.

Gmail advertising matched to the content of your emails, I know it’s kind of weird but I’ve found some very cool websites through there, including this delightful source of Moleskines notemaker which actually came up because of Jackie’s comment on my previous post where I said I couldn’t find Moleskines. Love it.

Honourable mentions: LOLcats

Re-reading the Alanna books: it’s like going home to a warm comfy bed, reading wise.
I’ve never really been a shoe fetishist, but these shoes bought by Gala Darling gave me a moment of shoe lust.

Looking forward to craft day Saturday when I can reconnect to ancient traditions of women getting together to sew and knit and gossip.

Knowing I have something awesome to send to Giffy and looking forward to reading her post about when she receives it.

Our Rock Band rock band, Darth Fancy was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame, that’s how amazing we are.

My Lee, who is a honey although he is currently suffering from Man Flu.

The teaser trailer for the Dead Like me movie.

PoF: blankie
CO: I feel good.

Organisey Jenni strikes again

Courtesy of sister in law, I have some new items from IKEA to make my house more organised. I got a little hanging shoe holder and a large hanging shelf unit made of fabric that accordions down to flat. The large holder also has two drawers that fit into it for extra storage joy.

The problem that I didn’t anticipate is that these delightfully functional items become rather less functional for me. This is because they are designed to attach by tying or looping over the rail in your wardrobe, but our wardrobe rails are attached on one side and U shaped, the coat hangers just kind of sit in them.

So…how to attach my hangy joy organisers? Well the shoe holder’s ties were nice and long so I bull dog clipped them to the rail lip and went ahead and stacked shoes all up in there. It looks neat. I will take flickr photos later when I can be bothered.

The larger one is a much bigger pain, because it has two big strong riveted flaps to velcro together over the wardrobe rod. I have managed to stick it up there with a combination of stick on velcro and command adhesive strips. I am unsure how load bearing this will turn out to be but it seems like it’s holding for how and I’ve put in one drawer filled with wigs and stacked up my leftover batting and a couple of small quilts in there and it seems to be doing fine so far.

Fingers crossed!

The stick on velcro strips are stronger than I thought they’d be. I might have to buy some more.

This afternoon has been good, I have done writing (7 new pages, more to come), hung the hangy drawers, spent some vouchers on Veronica Mars on DVD and bought a couple of new notebooks for writing in from Fancy World. The bad thing is that one of my new notebooks turns out to be filled with plain newsprint. I don’t know if I can stand to write on it…..I really want new Moleskines, but they were sold out at Borders and Kirk’s last time I was down that end, so it’s too hard. Plus, Fancy World books are cheaper and longer.

The other thing I found at Fancy World was Katy, so I brought her home for a cup of tea and a catch up and that was awesome. I hadn’t seen her in forever.
Now, to the writing couch! Oh wait, I’m already there.

PoF: very dark colours.

Well, OK then.

So, I may well be the only person in the world who enjoyed The Happening so…just bear that in mind. The reviewers on rotten tomatoes hates it good (19% overall at the moment) and every personal blog review of it I’ve seen has been poor. *shrug*

I have to wonder though, everyone’s got a lot of vitriol for this movie, calling it
tripe and all, but I suppose it’s because everyone loved Sixth Sense so very much. People don’t get all bitter about the latest Scary Movie or whatever, because they were never any good. I guess people just got disappointed?

Whatever, I still liked it.

In other, less roundly hated movie news, check out Rolling thunder the incredibly geeky roleplaying movie I was filmed for on Saturday. It’s pretty darn hilarious…although maybe not so much if you have no familiarity with gaming at all.

Work was crazy amounts of busy today with a bunch of people off sick, so I got pretty stressed answering the phones more or less constantly. I had a bath when I got home though and that seems to have chilled me out sufficiently.

I am reading Alanna: the first adventure again for the first time in years and years. Man it’s good. It’s like the world’s best comfort food. I am a little cringey at the quality of the writing (so first novel-y!) but I love it all the same. Now, how to get myself a jewelled wizard’s rod like the one Roger waves in Alanna’s face in that one scene?

PoF: Word to your Mogwai
CO: I can smell delicious lasagne. I want to eat it.


I’ve used soapnuts twice now.

The first time I just used them on their own, straight up. The clothes came out clean but smelling….sort of like nothing and sort of weird.

This morning I bought some essential oils from Trade Aid and added a couple of drops of lavender oil to the washbag the soapnuts live in. My washing came out smelling nice like lavender. The clothes are clean and soft and smell good.

Soapnuts are good. The trial pack I got for five dollars contains about enough nuts for twenty washes so they’re cheap as well. Biodegradable and eco friendly. Pretty much awesome all round.
I haven’t yet worn any clothes washed in them, but they’re meant to be hypoallergenic so that shouldn’t be an issue.

On an unrelated note, there’s an actual urban legend being circulated at the moment. Two unrelated people have told me variations on this penguin abduction story, but happening at Kelly Tarlton’s. I love this story so much, I just love the idea of this kid having the World’s Best Visit to Kelly Tarlton’s. I mean, who gets to come home with a penguin?

PoF: trackies
CO: milky way bars

Saturday’s a good day

Saturday is everyone’s favourite day of the week, am I right? If you don’t have to work it’s a day for catching up with your loved one(s), running errands, sleeping in, chilling out and doing whatever you like.
Yesterday was a good example of a perfect Saturday for me: Got up lateish and skype chatted with overseas Giffy. Picked up Margie for a road trip up the coast, breakfast from Nada bakery (delish garlic and cheese roll, Patrick from Spongebob gingerbread man), chatting about the 48.

Arrive at Matt and Debbies and get into some hectic but low key pressure wise filming of silly cheesey movie about gamers and dice. I got to be a person who treats their dice mean to make them roll better, an OTT vampire LARper (is there any other kind?) and a sexy lady who is attracted to men with dice. I also got to wield the camera for a few shots, which made me happy and increased my desire for my own wee video camera.

After the filming we headed back in to Wellington to visit with my brother, sister in law and niece. It was really nice to catch up with them and play some Boom Blox on the wii. Yummy vege lasagne and salad (good for me, given what I’d had for breakfast) and ground almond chocolate cake.

We spent the evening just chatting about books, TV, movies, random stuff. It was neat. Got home late, read for a while and then zonked out sleep.

Now to the shower, for our weekly brunch outing! Oh but first, check out this neat collection of the rooms famous authors work in:

Writer’s rooms. It makes me happy.

PoF: Onesie, slipper boots, hooded robe, duvet. I am teh warmzors.
CO: The movie we made yesterday will be online tonight!