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10 Things That Make Me Happy

It’s Labor Day, so I’m kind of resting up and doing an easy post based on a Facebook post from the other day. The challenge was to come up with 10 things that make you inexplicably happy. I ended up with 10 and realized I left off two of my favorite things.

#9 Friday night dinner

1. Having tween kids.

My kids are tweens (9 and 12) although the older one will enter his teens in a couple of months. That’s okay. I love teens too. There is something about this age. I loved being a grade school kid. It’s that short period of time when you’re a sentient being who’s encouraged to play with toys and use their imagination. It’s the age where you’re practically bribed to read. Oh, to be nine again!

2. My cherry pie warm from the oven with ice cream and a latte

Do I even need to explain this one?

3. Being called Mrs. Engel

This probably makes me sound either like an old lady or a snob, but to me it signifies respect. After the football game, I was congratulating one of my son’s teammates and he called me “Mrs. Engel.” All I could think is this boy is being raised well. By the same token, I don’t hold it against my kids’ friends who call me “Gretchen”.

4. Lush bath bombs

Something else that is self-explanatory if you’ve ever experienced one. I recently received a dragon egg bath bomb as a gift. Perfect timing. I soaked in bubbly bliss after the half-marathon. Oh yes, this might have to be a regular splurge.


5. Freshly laundered sheets

Oh that beautiful clean scent!


6. Great conversations with friends and/or family.

Bonus if I learn cool new stuff or get to geek out. I love hanging out with my friends especially if there’s great conversation. I find that my favorite times are in groups of about 2-4 people. All get to participate in the conversation and there aren’t usually two going on at the same time, which distracts me.


7. Looking through old pictures

The best gift I received was the collection of pictures from my life that Dad compiled for me for my 40th birthday. I use them a lot for posting to social media and just going through to remember.

8. My favorite clothes

Call me a white-girl cliche, but I love fall clothes, boots, funky socks, skinny jeans, and sweaters. I also love wearing jeans shorts, geeky t-shirts, funky socks (see the theme), and Converse in warm weather.


9. Making Blue Apron dinners on Fridays

We recently signed up for Blue Apron. I’m sure Gobble, Hello Fresh, etc. are great too. Ours comes Friday and we do the two-meal plan. Preparing the meal is my wind-down after the work week and relaxes me. It’s fun, and I enjoy the reactions (most have been positive) from the family.


10. Greek yogurt with dill

This is evidently a hit with the fourth graders too. I am a huge fan of Greek yogurt and adding some dill makes the best dip. I like traditional (full fat) plain yogurt. Greek Gods and Fage are my favorites.

Bonus Two Favorites

B1 Driving a stick shift convertible with the top down

The first brand new car I bought was a 2002 VW Cabrio. It’s name was Omega because it was the last model year. I searched forever for a manual transmission and purchased one of the last three available in the western U.S. It was a dark metallic blue (that looked purplish in some light) with a beige vinyl top. When we moved to northeastern Arizona I sold it to my parents. Mom drives it now and I go joy riding in it when I visit.

B2 Downhill skiing

Downhill skiing is my favorite activity. We live within an hour of a small ski area. Our kids get free season passes (this is our son’s last year to qualify), so we usually go 2-4 times per season. My husband and I sometimes night ski as a date although the kids love it so much, we’ve been going as a family. The past couple of years we’ve taken MLK Day off to ski. It’s a perfect kind of “locals only” day to ski. President’s Day has been on our list but two years ago the snow didn’t cooperate, and this year we had colds and opted for a family movie instead.

What are things that make you inexplicably happy?

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About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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