Melissa, over at Smitten by Britain has nominated me to do a list of ten things that make me happy. There's obviously been some sort of whispering campaign going on to get me to stop bitching and moaning and she drew the short straw of having to come up with something. (I know that sounds very arrogant - like I think you're all talking about me. Blogetic licence, that's all.)
Anyhoo, despite the fact that I always have something to "address", there are in fact things that make me happy, and it's good to stop for a moment and reflect on them. "Ooh, she's sounding very American" I hear you saying.
So here are the first five, because unlike some bloggers, I can't seem to stick to a few sentences:
1. Warm Weather. Living in Chicago, where we spend at least three months below freezing, it's amazing how happy and cheerful everyone is as soon as the temp starts increasing. I could live in a warm climate all year round and not miss the seasons. (Oh dear, I managed to turn that into a whine about Chicago winters didn't I?)
2. Music. I sing a lot in the shower but don't play music nearly as much as I should. We have a very complicated sound system which usually ends up with me in a bad mood (I know that sounds uncharacteristic). However, the three kids all play instruments and I love hearing a guitar every now and again (before I suggest the headphones) or the little guy banging out Eine Kleine Nacht Musik on the ole' joanna. Note to self - must conquer the sound system.
3. Solitude. If you knew me you'd probably find this surprising as I'm not exactly shy and retiring. However, when I did the Myers Briggs Personality test, I came out as an INTJ and the I stands for Introverted. There are usually snorts of disbelief at that revelation, but all it means is that you prefer to work alone. And I do. After sixteen years of having one or more small children in the house, last September finally saw me with three kids in school ALL day - and I love it. Sometimes I don't talk to a single person until I pick them up again. Bliss. I realise there's a real danger of me becoming one of those scary recluses (without the gobs of money) but for now, I love the solitude. In fact, I think that's why I don't play music like I used to.
4. Blogging. I like blogging and don't do it with any particular aim or agenda. I have always liked to write whether for readers or for myself. I bang off letters to local politicians, charitites, news rooms, newspapers etc every time something catches my attention. Blogging, I like to think, keeps the old quill sharpened, although it's a different form of writing from the longer form that is needed for articles and books. With blogging, you don't need to worry so much about grammar. Not that you can get away with sloppy stuff, but the punctutation is different. Sometimes. To make a point. I just need to learn that less is more. Sometimes.
5. Debates/discussions. At University I was the President of the Debating Society and loved it. I can't believe I used to do this, but I would debate in front of 500+ audiences, often knowing little or nothing about the topic. The art was in listening to your opponent and picking that argument apart really. These days I like a good, informed discussion, but that seems to be less and less common. Americans don't really like confrontation and any form of debate seems too much to them. Hence you find yourself holding back, or not even bothering to comment in the first place, for fear of making people uncomfortable. Then there's the newspaper comment boxes and a growing number of blogs, where a forthright statement is simply shouted down by anyone who doesn't agree with it. There seems to be no room for different opinions, but I for one, will remain upright on my virtual soapbox, sharing my views when and where I can. Everyone needs honest and respectful discussion .
OK. That'll do for now.