A mason jar of happiness

 

Last December or January, I saw (probably on Twitter) someone who was either starting or finishing a year of a “jar of happiness.” I’m not sure exactly what it was called and I could only guess at the details of how he or she implemented it, but I decided to adopt it for 2014. Because the details were fuzzy, I just went ahead and made up my own rules.

My jar is a mason jar, without lid, that I keep above the refrigerator. Throughout the year, if something particularly good, happy, or nice occurs, I write it down on the fridge’s notepad and stuff it in the jar. It is almost like the opposite of a swear jar. It’s so easy to focus on the bad news and events in the world. Contributing to the jar was a little tough at times, but it helped me focus on the good in my life.

jar-1

 

jar-2
2014’s happiness

I thought I would share a few of my notes-to-future-self with you. I grouped them together by subject.

 

Winter

Last winter, I got a lot of relaxation during the December 2013 break. December 2013 is technically the year before the time the jar is supposed to cover, but I think I just wanted to prime it with something so it didn’t look so empty. On January 1st, Kim and I went to a local park and played on the playground equipment.

New_Years_Day
The swings, teeter-totter, and merry-go-round @ the park on New Year’s Day 
sleeping_in
I got to sleep in like crazy in December 2013.

I don’t know if these snow day notes are about the same day or even the same storm. (I’m guessing they’re probably related due to the tear pattern.)

Snow day!
Snow day!
Snow day on the sun porch with laptop, book, drink.
Snow day on the sun porch with laptop, book, drink.

Life

I took a “yoga massage” series of classes at Yoga Union in 2014. It was one day a week for four weeks and ended up being amazing. I had actually wanted to take it when I first heard about it, a couple of years previous. Unfortunately, it was offered at a bad time back then (a weekday lunch, as I recall). It hadn’t been offered since, and the new series was on Saturdays, so I jumped on it.

Yoga massage!
Yoga massage!

Kim and I went to Faerieworlds this year. We were there as vendors, which had both plusses and minuses. It was a great adventure.

Faerieworlds (and its wishing tree)
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I finally shipped the iPad version of Puzzle Sidekick last April after wanting and intending to for at least a year. Unfortunately, I’ve hardly touched it since then (despite a glaring iPad-specific bug that I’m aware of). Soon.

_Finally_ finishing the iPad version of Puzzle Sidekick
_Finally_ finishing the iPad version of Puzzle Sidekick

During one of our Puzzled Pint bar scouting expeditions, we tried out (the now closed) Produce Row. It was way too busy on a Tuesday night for us to use. The visit, though, introduced the Ipso Facto cocktail to my life. This is an amazing summertime drink. I figured out rough proportions and reproduced my recipe below.

The Ipso Facto cocktail
The Ipso Facto cocktail
  • 1oz gin
  • 1oz green chartreuse
  • ½oz celery juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • soda water
  • large chunk of ice

Coincidently, Ipso Facto was one of my favorite goth/industrial clothing shops in Orange County, about 15 years ago.

Figuring out the Ipso Facto propelled me into something I’d wanted to do for a long time: beakers and graduated cylinders in the kitchen. Celery juice is strong. A little goes a long way. My cocktail jiggers were not up to the task of accurately measuring [much less than] 2oz.

Labware in the kitchen
Labware in the kitchen

Kim and I went to see Gravity on the IMAX screen at OMSI. This is a film that had me literally holding my breath, made even more amazing on that screen. Coincidently, we unexpectedly ran into a friend there.

Gravity on Imax
Gravity on Imax

Cats

Yep. Lots of cat stuff this past year. Ebenezer passed away the previous December. To help though this, I received an unexpected Amazon gift from some internet friends.

Surprise Edward Gorey book from Jack/Stimps and Brad.
Surprise Edward Gorey book from Jack/Stimps and Brad.

In springtime, I visited a house full of sphynx kittens and cats, looking for a new naked-cat friend. A month or two later I returned — this time, with Kim. We hung out with cats for a couple of hours, then brought Cornelius home with us.

Visiting the house of naked cats
Visiting the house of naked cats
Visiting naked kittens
Visiting naked kittens
Cornelius comes home
Cornelius comes home

He doesn’t do it much anymore, but Cornelius would frequently perch on the dormant Roomba. Every once in a while, he’d butt-dial the start button. This is always funny when you’re around to catch it.

Cornelius butt-dialing the Roomba
Cornelius butt-dialing the Roomba

Cornelius can be a pretty floppy cat. He enjoys being draped over my shoulder.

Cornelius draped over my shoulder
Cornelius draped over my shoulder

Norman, our indoor/outdoor cat, giving Cornelius hunting lessons.

Cornelius giving his rabbit-fur mouse to Norman. Norman then played with it and showed Cornelius how to be a good mouser.
Cornelius giving his rabbit-fur mouse to Norman. Norman then played with it and showed Cornelius how to be a good mouser.
Cornelius carrying a toy mouse by its tail
Cornelius carrying a toy mouse by its tail
Cornelius (again, still)
Cornelius (again, still)

And the Rest

There are a several more, but I am not at the liberty to share. Some are related to work. Others are related to family or close personal friends. It is not my place to share these details.

The Burn

There’s that whole thing about writing wishes on a piece of paper and burning it. Also: fire is fun. It would feel a little anti-climactic to just dump these scraps into the recycling bin, so I set them ablaze.

Ipso Facto, on fire
Ipso Facto, on fire
Ipso Facto on fire
Ipso Facto on fire
More notes
More notes
Ashes
Ashes

And the kitchen barware/labware comes into play at the end.

Labware, again
Labware, revisited

I’m looking forward to the jar-filling adventures and happiness of 2015!

Posted in: Dear Diary

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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