Happiness as Anarchy #366: Finishing a project

A year ago I decided to write a daily blog dedicated to things that make me happy. Being a leap year, today – 366 – marks the end. I usually write at the end of the day and it has become a lovely daily habit to find something that makes me smile before slipping into bed. I’ve found it fascinating to watch the process develop – finding photos and ideas and sentences that I like, and to now look back at the hundreds of things that have made me happy over the past year. Thank you for coming along this little journey with me, thank you for reading and commenting, and I hope it’s made you smile on more than one occasion. I will keep writing, but I’m thinking weekly rather than daily. A few ideas are bubbling about what the topic will be and I hope to have decided this week so I can start the new project next week.
Lots of love, Amie xxx

Happiness as Anarchy #364: Art museums

I do love wandering around art museums and soaking up centuries of artistic endeavour. While Covid19 has made this impossible for the time being, the wonderful result is the many virtual tours of the world’s biggest galleries. I just popped into the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid and wandered around its pink hallways and rooms looking at religious icons, 17th century portraits, avant-garde paintings and post-impressionist works. Then I realised that the Garden of Earthly Delights, Bosch’s masterpiece, is in the Prado, so ducked over there to have a look. I think I’ll have a coffee with Heironymus in the morning before I start work – a little inspiration to get me through the rather grey tasks on my list.

Happiness as Anarchy #363: Walking & talking

Walking is a wonderful way to sort out ideas. I have solved many more problems while walking than I have sitting at my desk. In fact, most of the tricky bits in my PhD were nutted out that way. The walking phase is now embedded into my intellectual process and, although I may appear to be mad, I find talking out loud while I walk is the most effective way. Today’s walk attracted a few bewildered looks from strangers in the street, as I talked and gesticulated, but was fabulously productive in figuring out this weekend’s research idea.

Happiness as Anarchy #362: Books

Books have been a constant joy in my life. From the moment I could turn pages they fascinated me and by the time I could transform squiggles on the page into words and sentences and stories, books had become a non-negotiable part of my life. I have many, many of books in my house and seeing them on the shelf, in piles around the house, on my bedside table (currently 12 sitting there) gives me a sense of reassurance, adventure and delightful anticipation of what lies on the next page. What might I learn? Where might I get swept away to? Who might I meet?

Happiness as Anarchy #361: Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves will make me happy year upon year until I die. The variety of colours, all hanging on the same tree, or piling up below, contrasting with the green grass, never fail to catch my eye. My favourite days of the year are possibly the crisp autumn ones with bright blue skies, coloured leaves and golden clouds. I’m sure they are sweeter for knowing that all too soon the chill of winter will descend, leaving the trees bare and sending us to hibernate inside.

Happiness as Anarchy #360: Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson is one of my all time favourite piano players – class, elegance, groove, heart – everything you could possibly want to hear from a piano. I was just looking for different versions of C-Jam Blues (an Ellington tune written in 1942) and came across this fabulous version of Oscar Peterson playing it live in 1964 with Ray Brown (one of my favourite bass players) and Ed Thigpen (I don’t really have a favourite drummer, but he’s played on many of my favourite recordings). My new mission is to learn to play that intro.

Happiness as Anarchy #359: Rain on a tin roof

My parents built a log cabin kit home the year I was born. I grew up listening to the rain on the tin roof and finding faces in the knots in the wood panelled ceiling. I haven’t lived under a tin roof since I moved out of home when I was 17, until I moved last year. Last night’s storms woke me up and I lay there listening to the rain lashing the tin roof. I guess it’s something I’ll love forever – being tucked up warm and snug while the storm beats down on the tin.
Turns out other people like it too – I just found a ten hour clip on youtube!

Happiness as Anarchy #358: Pineapples

The pineapple made quite an impression when it arrived in Europe in the 17th century. Such an exotic fruit with its extraordinary appearance and delicious flavour, it was an object of luxury for more than a century until greenhouses were invented and cultivation in Europe became possible. You could hire a one for your party to show off your wealth and the fruit would do the rounds of all the fashionable houses until it rotted. My pineapple and fleur-de-lys stencils (for a project) arrived in the post today, so I tried it out on my kitchen cupboards.

Happiness as Anarchy #357: Puttin’ on the Ritz

Would you rather be at the Ritz in Paris or London than in lockdown at home? I certainly would, even if my budget could never, would never, extend that far. I decided that the next best thing is to pour a glass of wine and sing a song about it. I’ve been meaning to learn Irving Berlin’s Puttin’ on the Ritz for many years, and am finally doing it for an online gig at the end of May for Ballarat Heritage Weekend. May your shoes be shiny, your hat high, and your stripes and spots resplendent!
Here’s a slightly weird and moderne version of this song written in 1929.