The Happiness Meme

I’ve been tagged with the Happiness Meme by my friend Andrew, who keeps a fascinating personal blog at

You're probably thinking what I thought, which was, "OK. What does that mean?"

The rules are simple, Andrew wrote. Just create a post about any number of things that have made you happy recently. Then tag any number of people and have them post this meme on their blogs.

I thought about it and decided to pick ten MUSICAL things that make me happy. They are, in no particular order:

1. Anticipation. The guitarist tuning her strings . . . the strings answering the oboe. . . the singer removing his chewing gum . . .

2. Mahalia Jackson singing “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”

3. Singing with my parents.

4. While singing with my parents, realizing that the conductor kinda looks like Gaius Baltar, the brilliant but unstable scientist on TV's Battlestar Galatica.

5. The opening bars of Maurice Durufle’s “Requiem” when the organ swims in like a school of fish.

6. Randomly overhearing music. Walking down a hallway of practice rooms . . . the tenor behind the door . . . the dudes with d’jembes on the beach . . .

7. The very first sound on the Sufjan Stevens album, “Illinois,” which is the brief squeak of the piano damper pedal. Most musicians would edit this out.

8. The fourth movement (Intermezzo interrotto: Allegretto) of Bela Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. A funky parody, it climbs, cascades, and ends in a puff of smoke.

9. “Mercury” from The Planets by Gustav Holst. The opening idea bounces around, dancing from section to section until another theme comes along and sweeps it offstage. At the end, it springs back into view, an imp of motion, light, and joy. I also love the fact that somebody decided to complete the suite by composing a movement for the planet Pluto (unknown in the composer’s lifetime) a few short months before Pluto lost its Certified Planet Card. For Mark Elder and the Halle Orchestra, who recorded the amended suite, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

10. Anything by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

With that, I tag my fellow WXXI bloggers, Julie, Ruth, Mark, and David.

I also tag my painter friend Nicole Maynard, whose kindness, dedication, and Self Portrait with Biscuit (above) also make me happy.



Happiness Meme

Random things that make me happy, no order
1. making lists
2. attempting a new recipe
3. Alexander McCall Smith books
4. mail
5. an incredible bargain
6. get my hair blown dry at the salon
7. listening to records
8. Stephen King's back page articles in Entertainment Weekly

4th floor tagged: Joy, Andy, Tim, Shelley, Suzie, Carol and Dinh.


Alright, Brenda, here's 10 back at you:

1. family, especially my husband and son
2. friends, hanging out without caring about dust bunnies
3. painting - the viscosity of the paint, the drag and slide on the support
4. dogs - sniffs, squeezes, tail wagging, constant devotion
5. chocolate (that should have made your list)
6. jazzercise - especially the top of the green songs (the heart-pounding, maybe I'm overdoing it, but no, I can push more songs) + winning T-shirt contests
7. color, everywhere, all the time, even in grungy places
8. public radio - brain food, beautiful music, and favorite hosts like yourself and especially Mordecai (he always makes the music feel more a part of home; he is so warm)
9. baking (esp. wheat bread, health cookies, and vegan cupcakes)
10. doing something new