Words that make me happy

Words that make me happy
Copyright Lincoln Park Zoo.

With thanks to my friends and Chicago Now colleagues, Judy Marcus at Opinionated Woman and H. Van Howe at Pizza for Breakfast, I hereby present my own version of their lists of things that make them happy. (Their lists are linked to their blog titles.) True to the focus of this blog, I have selected words or phrases.

Fragile -- a lifetime favorite. I love beautiful glass, china, crystal and porcelain, all of which give me a good case of "How did they DO that?"

Creativity -- "something for, or out of, nothing." I'm working on my novel in ever-larger pieces, trying to make all the little ideas hang together into one big idea. How? Sometimes I have to make up the methods before I use them. (Thanks, Rachel.)

Inspiring -- Literally, breathing into. I started drafting this essay on a Tuesday. Sometimes, anyone asking me about the music I heard at church on Sunday is going to have some waiting to do by Tuesday. Now it's Thursday, and there's a piece of it I still can't get out of my head. I love that feeling. That's breathed into me, inspired me.

Tidying -- It's a lot of what I do, not just housework. But beyond cleaning up, there's clearing out (since I live in a studio), organizing, checking, finding, displaying... and then there's editing. Several chapters of my novel have to get tidied up, and the pages on which I drafted one (yes, on paper) are sticking up out of the master chapter-by-chapter notebook (see, that's tidy) waiting to get tidied into the notebook for actual notes. (Once, just once, I got stupid and tidied away the rough-draft pages, i.e., I threw them away. Sigh.)

And for favorite phrases, who can beat these?

The elevator is fixed. Then it's up to me whether I want to knock myself out, er, exercise on the stairs.

I'll be there. And I'll see you there.

I'm going to the zoo. Black bears, pictured, make me happy. So do big cats. So do penguins. So does Lincoln Park Zoo in general.

A new book by (insert favorite author's name). Here's another favorite, only to be knocked off the list when I can put my own name in it.

I'll look it up. Sure, it can cost me a few hours looking at reference books or my notes -- both much easier to depend on than Google, which can bring up results from who-knows-where -- but it's fun. Even as a kid, I used to read a newspaper columnist, Sidney J. Harris, who occasionally put snippets together into columns he began with words that could use defending: "Things I learned en route to looking up other things." I still love that feeling.

The Stanley Cup. I remember all three times "my" Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. With the finals on the brink of starting again, I'm thinking of happy memories and wonderful games for a lot more than 17 seconds a day. Even the words "the Stanley Cup" still make me happy. Even though the final games the Hawks won were all in June, they still provide cooling thoughts. (But let's not have another rainstorm like the 2015 win for a while yet.)

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  • Where I used to live, Radio Canada (CBC) had le coupe Stanley on la soiree du hockey.

  • In reply to jack:

    I would have enjoyed where you lived, Jack -- n'importe quel langue (no matter what language). I remember when the Hawks played Montreal more often (without talking about certain Cup Finals), when I'd be able to get a bit of French practice in listening to the calls about "punitions" (penalties) and goals "avec l'aide de" (with an assist from) and be able to test myself about numbers because the Montreal announcers would use the French numbers before the names. As long as I keep it to regular-season games, those were happy memories.
    P.S. For anglophone readers, Jack means "the Stanley Cup" on "Hockey Night."

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    No you wouldn't. And the cable company quit importing Canadian signals about 35 years ago.

    The other confusing thing was that when they had Expos baseball (which also dates it), both a strike and a hit were a coup.

    Having Television Radio Canada for a while did get me into picking up other languages on TV, which is of some use on Univision (60.1 and 66.1) and Korean (as I mentioned). Also, when once visiting Montreal, again during separatist times, I figured that the best way to communicate with some of the locals was to use the most complex English term, such as commencement instead of begin. Communication for food wasn't that bad, as I could figure out Boef Fumee (maybe not viande fumee) and Mets Chinoise.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks for the extra details, but I still think I might enjoy it.

  • 'Decorum" is one of my favorites. Wish we had more in the Beltway.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Yes, that's a great word -- and a beautiful thought. Thank you.

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