Earlier this week, a startling thought occurred to me. “I haven’t been smiling much lately.”
Perhaps the thought shouldn’t have surprised me. Times have been tough. One friend’s son was killed in an accident. Another friend is getting divorced. I am swamped with assignments at school. I am not sleeping enough or well. My body hurts from the stress and the lack of sleep. I have a headache nearly every day.
As I drove home from school that day, I decided that it was time to rest my eyebrow-furrowing muscles and exercise my mouth-smiling muscles. I decided to be on the lookout for, and make note of, things that would make me smile during the rest of the week.
I won’t lie. It wasn’t easy. I was edgy and tired all week. But, I did seek out smile opportunities. And I want to share them with you.
1) Vappous My friend Mandi, a fellow writer and editor, sent me a link this week. “A little distraction” is what she called it. If she meant it would drive me to distraction, she was right! On Tuesday night, I couldn’t sleep. So, as I often do, I got on the internet to kill some time. I thought I would check the link she sent me to get my brain off words. It didn’t work—because the link was for savethewords.org
The site is sponsored by Oxford. Yes, the dictionary people. The site features words that are almost extinct in English. The idea is to share those words with word nerds like me, to get us to save the words from dying by adopting them. When you adopt a word, you agree to use it so that it will catch on again. I spent hours on the site. I enjoyed looking at new words and reading what they mean. It made me smile—often.
I decided to adopt a word. I searched for an adjective—my favorite kind of word because it allows me to describe things—my favorite task to do with words. Among all the adjectives I could save, I chose “vappous” (“vap”/“us”). It means flat or bland. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that word was an appropriate adoption choice. Because “vappousness” was what I’d been feeling when it had dawned on me that I wasn’t smiling enough.
Can you use “vappous” today?
2) Afternoon Sunlight On Wednesday, I found another reason to smile. I was driving home from a class just after five p.m. Suddenly, I realized that not only was it not dark like it had been when I left the same class back in January, but it was a bright-sunshine-and-clear-blue-sky afternoon. I smiled. I felt lighter. I cranked up “Dancing Queen” on the radio. I sang loud and strong. I felt great. Thank you, Daylight Savings Time. (For my usual feelings about DST, see last week’s post: https://andersoninedmonton.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/sunday-11-march-11-2012-sleep-cravings-and-daylight-savings/)
3) Grass No, not that kind. Though people do say it will make you smile. I mean grass as in lawn, that stuff on the ground. I smiled each day this week when I noticed that the grass to snow ratio was moving to a little more grass and a little less snow each day. I am not a fan of this “ugly spring” we get in Edmonton, with its slush and mush, with its dust and dirt. I do, however, love that ugly spring in March brings us a step closer to pretty spring in May. So, yay grass! (For more about ugly spring and pretty spring, see this post: https://andersoninedmonton.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/the-six-seasons-of-canada/)
4) Art that sticks Way back in January, what seems like a lifetime ago, I interviewed Alexandra Bischoff, a MacEwan art student, about an art project. I then wrote an article for MacEwan University about her, the project and its community impact. The article was published this week on the MacEwan website. Seeing my name in print in a new place it has never appeared before, especially online with its potentially large audience, made me smile too. (To read the article, click here: http://www.macewan.ca/wcm/MacEwanNews/ART_STICKS_STUDENT_RESEARCH) If you like it, pass it on.
5) Seeing See’s and Shoes Earlier this month, I took a chance and ordered some shoes online. My favorite shoe company is Aerosoles, but Edmonton no longer has a store. I love Aerosoles because they are attractive and comfortable—which many women will tell you is an uncommon combination. For the first time, I took a chance and ordered shoes online. I’d been looking for a pair of brown, close-toed dress shoes with a high (but not too high) heel for ages and had never found any here that I liked. I decided to try Aerosoles online.
The shoes arrived this week—via my brother Darren in San Francisco because the company doesn’t ship to Canada. I was thrilled to get my new shoes—and the special, unexpected treat he tucked inside. Six dark chocolate caramels from See’s Candies, another favorite which has no store in Edmonton. I was so delighted by such a small thing. I not only smiled, I skipped a little. Thank you, Darren.
6) Bailey Last, but most instead of least, is my dog Bailey. He makes me smile—and laugh out loud—a hundred times each day. I smile when he begs for cookies. I smile when he pushes the sofa pillows into just the right place. I smile when he sleeps on my pyjamas when I go to school. I smile when he enjoys being scratched so much that he sounds like he’s purring. I smile when…. well, I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that Bailey is a great smile generator.
Those are the things that made me smile this week. What will make me smile next week?