December, January, and February are very terrible months. I thought that writing this list might help.
50 Things That Make Me Happy
1. Throwing a baseball with my sons, the afternoon sun blinding me for a moment
2. Shoveling snow, pushing the planes of whiteness ahead of me like surf
3. Finding a hidden pane of winter ice in a wheelbarrow and pressing it with my hand until it cracks and the cold water floods out onto the surface
4. Snipping scallions
5. The accidental tangle of my five-year-old's hand in my hair and his gentle efforts to pull it free
6. Writing a paragraph that I never saw coming
7. Writing an entire book that I never saw coming, either
8. Birds wheeling in symphony over the buildings
9. Early crocuses, confused by temperature changes but startled up alive nonetheless
10. I have recently noted that my Christmas lights, still hung, look rather like droopy breasts
11. The scent of lavender
12. Thinking of packing for summer camp. Which happens in July.
13. My child threw a gobbet of bubbles at me from his bath and it stuck in my eyebrow.
14. That same child needed help with his undies because his skin was "sticky."
15. He also said he had to "port-a-potty" his troops ("fortify") during a game of Risk.
16. There is a small leaf-shaped birthmark on my right calf; it is something constant and unchanging. How many times have I changed over, like water, and still that birthmark remains?
17. Green olives with pimentos inside them
18. The same olives inside a chilled martini
19. The taste of a grapefruit, cut into slices
20. Kneesocks that don't fall down
21. The softest blanket in the world ( I OWN it!)
22. A fresh shipment of The Hundred to my doorstep, to be sold and given as gifts
23. The cashiers at the Larchmont Trader Joe's, ever cheerful
24. Capture the Flag with my boys, the territories Upstairs and Downstairs in the house. Front and back stairs neutral ground. High stakes!
25. Very, very small turtles—especially peevish ones!
26. Uni, especially at Hajime in Harrison, NY
27. The Hundred: Book Two (Working title: The Vision and the Clock). Every word I write is a surprise to me.
28. Playing "Karma Police" on the antique Chickering Baby Grand piano. And then playing "Gavotte." And then maybe "Minuet in G" followed by "Jet Plane."
29. Extreme weather events. Provided no one gets hurt.
30. Hot showers in my 54-degree FREEZING FUCKING COLD SIEVE of a house
31. This. Note the date, people. JANUARY.
32. I'm having a hard time getting to 50 things on my list. Did I mention that it was January, and people generally just keel over and die with despair during this most awful of months? Okay...thinking hard...how about lemons? They are fine. And they are yellow. They smell nice. Fuckeroo. I am getting desperate.
33. This morning's poo was well-formed and attractive. (It was not my poo, it was my son's. But I was pleased to find it floating in the toilet exhibiting gleaming evidence of good health on its pelt.)
34. I only hyperventilate in certain places. I totally stop hyperventilating as soon as I go to the Caribbean.
35. When I went to make my tea this morning the teabag stayed intact.
36. Cheese is nice.
37. Somewhere in this world, a child may be having a birthday party right now. With ponies! And atop the ponies are clowns. But I dislike clowns. Now I am having a panic attack. This 50 Things list sucks.
38. I have two kneecaps.
39. I have never been to Abu Ghraib.
40. My middle name is not "Marmaduke," "Ton-o-Lovin'," or "Pol Pot."
41. I don't own anything that poos on the ground. Mwa-ha, poo scoopers!
42. The mosquitos are all absent. But there are crickets in my basement during the winter! Bad bad bad.
43. I didn't accidentally hammer any nails into my duodenum today.
44. Butter atop a slab of lobster
45. I did not name any of my children "Oofhy," "Unmentionable," or "Tudleriffic." Including middle names.
46. Tiny....turtles? No, I already mentioned them, the lil' fuckers. How about tiny OWLS! No bigger than a thumbprint. Or tiny cattle? Bonsai cattle? Or tiny goats!
47. I have not started any fires nor burnt myself on an errant grilled cheese sandwich today.
48. Beans cause gas.
49. Little shirts and suits for tiny turtles. Sewn by arctic maidens wearing lovely wool sweaters and playing zithers.
50. I am still alive. I am waiting for the thaw, and I will never, ever give up.