I'm currently struggling with stress headaches caused by my accidentally pinching a nerve in my neck or head — which, according to my doctor, are alleviated daily by taking Advil, and will go away on their own in about three weeks. The headaches (sans the painkiller) are bad enough that they wake me in the middle of the night, so I'm being religious about the Advil, and working hard to surround myself with things that make me happy, as I really don't like being either a downer or unpleasant to the people around me. To that end, here are a few things that make me really happy:

Flowers! As a teen I lived in Texas with my family on a 7+ acre plot of land, which bloomed each year with daffodils, apple trees, a plum tree, one of the last virgin groves of pecans in the state, myriad colors of iris, an easter lily, a rose bush, one red tulip, and more that I'm probably forgetting. Flowers make me ridiculously happy, and I'm always delighted to see them blooming now as I walk Goldie. Here are a few from our walk: bird of paradise flowers

bird of paradise flower

bird of paradise flower

I don't know what these (below) are, but they're a lovely cream, gold, and pastel purple. Anyone know their name? Later edit: turns out these are industrial irises — thanks, Shannon & John!

Industrial iris

Industrial iris

…and here's one of my favorite flowers — for their beautiful golden sunshiny glow: daffo-down-dillies! ;)

daffodilly sunshine

daffodilly sunshine

Also happy-making, even though taken last year: pale gold little apples on our apple tree:

Apples on our tree

Apples on our tree

Finally: I don't know what this succulent is either, though I love the richness of its deep purples. Later edit: my florist friend thinks this is echeveria — thanks, Shannon!

Echeveria Succulent

Echeveria Succulent?

Let's see, what else makes me happy… ah! Well organized kitties that know Mandelbrot comes before Tesseract in the alphabet! ;)

Shelved & organized kitties

Shelved & organized kitties

…and seeing deer along our road! Last year there was a doe with twin fawns that hung around on the hillside behind our house. We saw her and the fawns repeatedly during the summer — I'm a sucker for those lovely, awkward, leggy, spotty little fawns! They remind me of how adorably surprised by life foals are. I'm hoping to see more fawns this year, in fact. I'll probably see the twins as well, though I don't know how to recognize them now they're adults and likely wandered off from their mother.

Deer nibbler

Deer nibbler

Best of all: tired happy Goldie in the shade, flopped out after running her li'l paws off chasing her (disgustingly dirty!) favorite squeaky-ball! ;)

Tired happy Goldie!

Tired happy Goldie!

Oh, that reminds me! Goldie has helped me figure out the source of Celtic knotwork! If you don't know what that is, here's an example:

Knotted Celtic hounds

Knotted Celtic hounds

See how the three hounds are all intertwined, with their legs all tangled with each other, and their tails in the mouth of the following hound? When I was in the SCA I used to tease my friends with Celtic personas that their artwork was a sign of the doubtless disturbed minds of Celtic seamstresses. :) But Goldie has taught me otherwise, which the following photos demonstrate — though I must apologize for how dark they are. Her sleeping cushion is under my desk, which means I had to adjust the brightness and contrast for clarity:

Modern Celtic knotwork 01

Modern Celtic knotwork 01

Modern Celtic knotwork 02

Modern Celtic knotwork 02

I don't even know how she can tangle her paws like that, and still sleep so peacefully! So yeah… to all my Celtic SCA friends of that time: I was wrong — sorry! :)

Let's see, what else makes me happy… shared dinners with people I love! Went to Red Lobster with my housemates the other day and had an amazingly delicious dinner! Mmmm… their cheesy rolls are a guilty pleasure of mine — SO yum! Also, I'd forgotten how long it had been since I'd had really good mussels, shrimp, scallops, and lobster tail — and this plate had it all. Reminded me nostalgically of my Mom's absolutely amazing paella when we lived in Spain — wow, I would so love to have that again! Barring importing my Mom here for a meal, this plate was a lovely substitute.

Delish Red Lobster dish

Delish Red Lobster dish

Oh! We also ordered the shrimp cocktail, which I absolutely love and which was served as usual on the edge of a sturdy glass of ice. I had to laugh because some time ago when we ordered the shrimp cocktail we got this… marvelously suggestive creation!

Naughty shrimp

Naughty shrimp

I suspect my amusement, along with that of many other patrons, is part of the reason they went back to serving the shrimp on a glass again. :)

One last thing to share that makes me smile: we've added solar lights to the entryway to our house! Ever since seeing something similar on another house I've really wanted something like that… and now we have them! They're a lovely, not too glaring, icy blue in the darkness when it's just them, as you can see here:

Iceblue solar faerie lights

Iceblue solar faerie lights

…but when you add the regular light outside the house, the effect becomes a beautiful warm gold which I find very inviting.

Golden runway faerie lights

Golden runway faerie lights

One of the housemates refers to them as the solar fairy-landing-lights strip, which makes me laugh as well.

So happy about how nicely our house is coming along! Now, just got to keep that in mind for the next week… and then hopefully the nerve pinch headaches will have resolved themselves. Wish me luck with that!

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