September 17, 2008|Posted in: Uncategorized

Saturday I was minding my own bidness, falling alseep, when I heard a mosquito in the bedroom. I thoght I had it outsmarted by pulling the sheet over my head but HA! The mosquito won this round.

It bit me in the right eyelid and forehead, so I looked like a prizefighter who lost his (her) crown. I took a Benedryl and used an ice pack but Sunday was a misery, squinting, dopey from the drug and both itchy and sore. Yuk. Monday morning I figured I’d be fine, but no — still dopey from the Benadryl and still squinty. I stayed home from work and my women’s group. How annoying.

Today, Tuesday, I looked and felt better, but my eye is still a bit puffy. Like I’m about to wink at you. Which I might, in fact, be doing. *wink*

Some friends on the Compact list have been discussing what (simple) things make them happy, and I figured it had been awhile, and I know one certain reader is dying to know what else I’ve been up to. Here it is, my darling. Sorry to keep you waiting.

…Now that I can see out of my right eye again, I can write my list of what-makes-me-happy. (in no particular order)

1. Seeing out of both eyes.
2. Cat asleep on my lap or curled next to me
3. Chocolate — esp See’s Bridge Mix…or the occasional Whitman’s Sampler with the names of the chocs in the lid, or Violet Crumble on a rare day
4. Writing blogs and books
5. Reading devastatingly wonderful novels that suck me out of time and I raise my eyes 4 hours later and don’t even realize that much time has passed
6. Walking on the beach, even a rocky, windy, chilly, sometimes-stinky (low tide smell) like ours
7. Teaching poetry to kids
8. Reading aloud to each of my kids until they were too old for it (weep!)
9. Baking, sewing, makin’ stuff, gardening
10. Puttering
11. Clean sheets
12. Half & half in my coffee
13. Hanging out laundry on the line.
14. Toast with homemade jam.
15. Being a Martha Stewart/Little House type before it was cool and kinda obnoxiously hip.
16. Saving the planet, one tiny scrap of paper or plastic at a time.
17. Riding my super cool Cruiser bike. (18. Reading The Sun and New Yorker magazines — esp when culled for free.
19. Getting cool, usable, keepable stuff for free.
20. Getting rid of stuff via Freecycle, and knowing I made someone’s day with the “gift”

Huh. I could go on. Lots of things make me happy. Mr Husband and all the kids and my health and my job. Butter. Sushi. My tattoo. My wedding ring. I just figured I’d stop at 20.

What makes YOU happy?

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.


  1. noreply@blogger.com'

    September 17, 2008

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    Oh, Julia… I’m almost afraid that I’ve forgotten how to be happy. This is a great exercise… I’m going to swipe it (and probably a huge percentage of the items on it, too!). Glad to hear life’s treating you well (except for the bugs… but a good autumn chill will take care of them for the year). So good to hear from you! Keep on keepin’ on, woman.

  2. noreply@blogger.com'

    September 18, 2008

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    I have only one: being on this side of the grass! Means I can experience everything I may choose.


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