Monday, April 30

Day 121: Clam Day

Today was such a "horrible" day. I had to really "struggle" to just get through it and the weather couldn't have been "worse". Perhaps you've picked up on my sarcasm? Well... the day was actually fabulous. The only struggle today was which route to take on my bike ride to my hair cut appointment. And let me tell you, that was "tough". As for the weather, it has been an absolutely glorious, amazing day.

I had the day off today (a proven happy booster) because my boss decided that we should have today off. Let me clarify a bit so that you aren't left thinking that I have the world's best boss who thinks we should just get random days off. (Speaking of random, don't let me forget to discuss tomorrow's random drawing that is going to happen right here. On THIS blog). But anyway, the day off. Tomorrow is a red day (röd dag in Swedish) which means that it is a national holiday. That makes today a "squeeze day" (klämdag in Swedish). Meaning it is a day that is squeezed, or sandwiched, in between a weekend day and a holiday. Some companies give their employees the klämdag off as an added bonus. I just happened to get lucky with having today off, as not everyone gets the "clam" days (as I like to call them) off as paid holidays.

That being said, it was not very difficult to find happy today. I got a haircut, had lunch at one of my new favorite places (Vigårda), and did a little shopping for Mother's Day. Don't forget to do something nice for your mother on Mother's Day, which by the way is May thirteenth this year. I also did a little shopping for for my Random Drawing tomorrow and that was great fun! I put together a small package of happy to send to a random commenter on tomorrow's post. Tomorrow I will officially be one third of the way to my year's goal of writing something happy or positive every day and so I am celebrating this milestone by sharing my happy with one of you lucky readers. I am rather excited about it as I love to give presents.

So please be sure to check back tomorrow and leave a comment. All commenters will be placed in a random drawing for the happy prize, which will be shipped to whoever wins the drawing, wherever you may live. Be happy!

Sunday, April 29

Day 120: I Love to Ride My Bicycle

"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!"

I thought of this song today while my husband and I were out riding our bikes on this lovely, lovely spring day. This song by Queen is such a happy, upbeat song. It makes me want to ride really, really fast with the wind blowing in my hair and the sun beating down on my face. Today it was close to 15 degrees Celsius (almost 60 degrees Fahrenheit), which for Sweden is actually quite warm when the sun is shining. At one point during our ride I even took my jacket off and road just in my long-sleeved, t-shirt and polar-fleece vest. My ears were a tiny bit cold but I managed. It was just so nice to finally be able to shuck the jacket. 

We left our apartment for our first ride since we washed our bikes and replaced the winter tires with summer tires and headed south on Timmermansgatan. When the road ended we headed east and eventually road over the very, tall bridge connecting Södermalm to Årstaberg. No cars travel across this bridge, only trains and pedestrians. The last time we road across this bridge it was during the height of winter when everything was covered with snow. We road with our snow tires and insulated pants and as we looked out over the bridge to the water below we saw people ice fishing and walking on the ice. My husband suggested that we ride across the frozen water on the way back but I said no. I may have told him he was crazy as well but I don't remember. 

Anyway, today when we looked out over the bridge we saw boats in the water. No ice to be seen. That alone was enough to make me happy but with the sun shining down on us and a soft, gentle breeze blowing I was truly in heaven. On the way home I suggested that we stop by the ice cream shop by our apartment for an ice cream. I saw two guys walking out of the shop with cones and it looked very enticing.  At first my husband said no but when I suggested just one little scoop he gave in. It was a hard sell. In the end however we decided to keep that treat for another day when it is warm enough to actually need an ice cream cone, not just want one. I'll be sure to let you know when that day has arrived. 

Saturday, April 28

Day 119: A Thankful and Joyful Heart

I had lunch with a friend the other day who congratulated me on my new sense of job satisfaction. She had read my post and was genuinely happy for me. Then she asked if I thought maybe it was due to the fact that spring is here, days are longer and it is warming up outside. I had to stop and think. I don't think it is actually due to spring's arrival but I am sure that aspect certainly helps. I told her that I would get back to her in the middle of the next winter with my verdict.

Am I happier overall? It does feel like my (blog) project is starting to pay off. I have more days now where I change my thought pattern, almost automatically, and try to see things in a more positive light when I find myself starting to think the worst about something. Granted it isn't every time. I still have bad days. Difficult days. Days of feeling an immense sadness that I cannot seem to get pregnant, but they are fewer and farther between.

I read something that someone quoted from Beyonce recently where Beyonce mentions that life with a child isn't necessarily a better life, it is just a different life. Another life. It isn't a good or bad thing, or a negative or positive thing, to have or not have children. And in all honesty there are a lot worse things in life that not being able to have a baby.

When I was in the beginning of my Swedish studies, there was a woman in my class who had moved to Sweden, not by choice, but because her country was at war. She was a refugee. Completely displaced in another culture. Another world from what she knew. She had not seen or spoken to her parents in over five years. I had a friend a few years ago who, at age forty-one, died of cancer. She had breast cancer that had metastasized into her brain. At the end she was wheelchair-bound, had lost much of her sight and was in pain most of the time.

Life does not owe us anything. Life is a gift that we are given to make the best of. Another friend of mine wrote me an email one day in response to my sadness and struggles with not being able to get pregnant. She said that she does not know why some people get to have children while others do not. Sometimes it seems incomprehensible but some of us just may have a different calling in life. We may not ever consciously be aware of that calling but we may be affecting someone's life in a positive way without even knowing it. The most important thing is to take each day and make it the best day that we possibly can. Live each day with a thankful and joyful heart that we got to experience life and touch the lives of those around us.

Happy today was in the form of a very small girl that I was privileged to watch walk around her yard, singing, talking to herself and interacting with her mother. Enjoying and witnessing the love between a mother and daughter filled my own heart with joy. I am thankful.

Friday, April 27

Day 118: Going With the Flow

Do you ever go shopping to buy presents for friends or family and suddenly find all sorts of things for yourself? Then on the days you go shopping just for yourself you never find a thing. Sigh. Sometimes you just have to give in and go with the flow. So I did. After work today I headed over to the Galleria to pick up a couple of gifts. I bought orange jeans, grey pants and a cream-colored, spring sweater for myself. Hey! I was going with the flow. I also picked up a couple of gifts. (One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me...)

Anyway, on my commute to work this morning I had an epiphany. I suddenly realized that the flow of commuters traveling by subway is like the mad, thrashing flow of a rushing river. The current is strong and sometimes wild. If you try to fight it, you get beaten up by obstacles along the way. If you let go and go with the flow however, everything moves along with ease, like a well-oiled machine.

It barely even requires your attention. You can use your peripheral vision and walk along while checking Facebook or email on your smart phone and flow right with the mad, rush of commuters. It is almost as good as listening to music to drown out the "noise". I started my day out going with the flow and ended my day going with the flow. It makes things feel more calm and simple. I will admit however that my going with the flow after work was much more enjoyable. Think I'll "go with the flow" some more this weekend (wink, wink).

Thursday, April 26

Day 117: Booby Prize

I used my "get out of cooking dinner pass" tonight. Lucky for my husband I bought a pre-made salad last night so all he really needed to do was toss the salad, bake some fake, sesame, chicken wings in the oven and mix everything together. Voila, instant dinner. And with very little effort.  It was heavenly to not have to cook or come up with an idea that included something green in it. It was heavenly to sit lazily on the couch and read my book, mumbling an occasional "umhm" when asked a question. Yes, heavenly to just walk into the kitchen, sit down and eat.

My day began with a walk to SÖS, short for Söderssjukhuset (hospital), for a routine mammogram. Now, from personal experience I know that mammograms can be unpleasant, but downright painful? That was not retained in my memory. The nurse had my boob squished in the torture device and then told me to relax my free arm, scoot my left hip in closer, but not that much, ok, good, now look up to the ceiling and freeze. I looked up but I don't remember seeing anything. All I could think about was the machine releasing its grip on me. After the torture was over and I was on my way out I remembered that I was supposed to take a look at the lights in the ceiling, as they are from the lighting company I work for. I did remember to look at them before I walked out of the mammography unit. They were very nice but I think a poster with a smiley face or kitten would have made me feel better. 

As I walked into the hospital and I was leaving the hospital, there was the warm, enticing, scent of freshly, baked kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) wafting out into the lobby. I looked up and saw the Pressbyrå convenience store. Everywhere you go in Sweden, if there is a Pressbyrå around, there is also the scent of freshly, baked kanelbullar. I think they must have a pipe that goes directly from the oven to the stores exterior and they continually pump the steaming scent out and onto unsuspecting saps like me. You seriously cannot escape it. You may think you've gotten away but next thing you know you are standing in a bakery ordering a kanelbulle to go. 

I was headed to the bus stop on my way to work and could not stop thinking about how lovely a kanelbulle would be. It was now pumping through my veins like a drug. I had to have more. I was forced to stop by the bakery, which happens to be right across the street from my bus stop, where I "picked up" a kardemombulle to go. It is almost exactly like a kanelbulle but made with an insane amount of cardamom (and butter) and pretty much causes a spontaneous food-gasm as you take the first bite. I needed the cardamom. I deserved the cardamom. After getting pancake boobs, I needed a treat, a (booby) prize if you will. I probably should have bought one for each boob. I just might have to swing by the bakery again tomorrow for retribution. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 25

Day 116: Job Satisfaction

"Did one always take for granted what came easily and long for what was impossible?" - This quote was taken from a book I am reading called One Amazing Thing, by Chita Banerjee Divakaruni. Asked in the past tense, this question seems to assume that this person is looking back on life, on decisions made, thoughts set in motion, or perhaps merely a reflection on human nature. I thought it would be a good follow up to my post yesterday about the gift of being able to walk and my own determination to not take that gift for granted. But I think that I have taken for granted certain other things in my life. One of those things is my job. 

Here in Sweden I work in a completely different field that I have ever worked before and it is probably a field I would never have even considered at all had it not been for the job listing and my determination to find a job, any job, in a foreign country. I work for a lighting design company. The company, based in Germany, designs and creates lights for a somewhat, exclusive niche and we sell those lights here in Sweden. The group in which I work is small with me being the fourth employee added. 

Because my position was not filled due to a vacancy but a brand new position, I have had quite a bit of freedom to shape the position into my own, with the guidance and assistance of my boss and fellow employees. Partly due to the language barrier (I am learning Swedish and getting better day by day) I have been given new responsibilities slowly over the time that I have been there. There are days when I have not had much actual work to do and I have longed for something more, dreamed of a job utilizing my creativity and exciting me to get up every morning. 

In my longing for something more however, I have taken for granted the wonderful opportunity that I have to create the job as I would like it to be, as well as the excellent benefits that we receive. One particularly awesome benefit is that during the summer, which is defined as being from May to August, our office closes early on Fridays, at two p.m. Yes, Friday at two p.m. I can get on my bicycle and ride home, or wherever I want to go. In addition, I have had the opportunity to travel to Germany for work three times in the last year or so. I have made new friends and met some wonderful colleagues that work in Germany, in the U.K., in the U.S. and even in Scotland. 

So what is my happy for today? I have discovered a renewed excitement for my job and a renewed sense of appreciation for the opportunities that I have in my position. The past three days have been very busy and I have found that I do enjoy the work I do and the people that I work with. I guess you could say that I have found job satisfaction in my unlikely job at the lighting design company. Finding happy every day includes finding it in the places that I put aside or compartmentalize.

Tuesday, April 24

Day 115: The Gift of Walking

As I was cresting the top of Västerbron (the bridge between the islands of Kungsholmen and Södermalm) today on my way home from work, a man in a wheelchair flew past me heading downhill. Wow. I had just been thinking about how nice it was to walk home and enjoy the sunshine and seeing this man, who had obviously wheeled himself up the first half of the bridge by hand, pass me in his wheelchair, made me appreciate the gift of walking even more. The determination in this man to take his wheelchair across Västerbron, just as I did, greatly inspired me. Seeing others who do not have the option to walk makes me want to walk everywhere I go and fills me with gratitude to have this gift.

I noticed several people out and about in wheelchairs during the day. Seeing them reaffirms my gratefulness for my life and the many blessings I have. Perhaps that was another factor in my choice to walk home. That and the lovely sunshine and 50 degree temperatures. Practically swimming weather! There were so many people walking and riding their bikes across Västerbron, along with the inspiring man in the wheelchair, that there was nearly a traffic jam of pedestrians. I love that about Stockholm. Everyone loves to be outdoors. Everyone walks, rides their bike, or takes their wheelchair. 

Walking is an amazing gift that should never be taken for granted. It is not just a great form of exercise but it is the perfect medium for allowing us to explore the world. Walking as a form of transportation allows me to take in so much more of the world around me than when I take the bus and certainly when I take the subway. I am a great admirer of old architecture and with living in a city such as Stockholm, walking to and from places is like being in a wondrous, outdoor museum. Taking a walk always clears my mind and helps me feel more connected with nature. And it makes me happy.

Monday, April 23

Day 114: Spring Holiday Happiness

I love spring for so many reasons. I love to see the transformation as fresh, green leaves sprout on the winter branches that have stood shivering and bare for so many months, flowers blooming brightly, and grass becoming a more vibrant shade of green as each day moves us closer to summer. I love hearing the cheerful sounds of birds chirping and watching them soar through the air. I can even feel the smiles in their songs.

But spring in Sweden also means holidays and celebrations and renewed vacation time. Yes, I now officially have a lovely, five weeks of vacation at my disposal to use and enjoy. Then come next April it will renew again. The plan this year is to not use it all up before the darkest days of winter so that we have some days to spare between January and March, when SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) sets in.

Spring holidays are also a specific perk that I relish and look forward to and the first set of holidays is fast approaching. May first (only a week away!) is a holiday here and because it falls on a Tuesday, my boss decided that we should have Monday, April thirtieth, off as well. So I have a fantastic, long weekend to look forward to at the end of this week.

Then, just a few weeks into the month we get another long weekend for Kristi Himmelsfärd Dag, or The Ascension Day in English. This holiday weekend begins on Thursday, May seventeenth. Sigh. After that there is June the sixth. And later in the month, Midsummer's eve, not to mention that we have some friends coming to visit the first couple of weeks of June and we will take vacation for most of the time that they are here.

Just thinking about and knowing that these holidays are approaching makes me tremble with joy. And the best news of all is that after these holidays have come and gone, summer will be here. Ice cream, kayaking, bicycling and swimming season. It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, April 22

Day 113: Rainy Day Shopping

I completely regret saying, in my joy to be home on Friday, that I even looked forward to the cat waking me up early in the morning. Was I momentarily insane? I must have been because she did wake us up early Saturday morning (ugh) and just to round things off she woke us up repeatedly this morning as well, beginning probably around four a.m. (double ugh). Kitty! Please don't do that tomorrow morning. I really need to get a good night's sleep.

That being said, I did not have a headache this morning and despite the on and off rain it's been a nice day. My parents-in-law are here visiting us from Gothenburg and we are having a great time. This afternoon we took a stroll down Hornsgatan, the street where we live on Södermalm. Apparently according to most Swedes it is the busiest street in Stockholm, which we cannot quite fathom as many other streets seem much busier and have more accidents. Anyway, we walked along lazily and visited a few shops, specifically two of our favorite ceramic shops. One of these stops made our walk become very expensive.

When we first moved here we hoped to find some cool,  handmade, ceramic mugs for drinking tea and hot chocolate but as much as we looked, we never really found anything that stood out to us. Until today. The nice part is that both my husband and I were instantly drawn to the same items. We selected a small vase first. It was the perfect size for a small bouquet and we had also been on the look out for something like this. There were so many beautiful things to look at in the store that it took a few minutes before we noticed the matching mugs. After some debating I finally agreed to get rid of some Crate and Barrel mugs so that we could make room for these. We bought four.

I cannot wait to drink my first cup of tea from one of them. I am still feeling a bit shaky about getting rid of the Crate and Barrel mugs. They are a good size for tea and virtually unbreakable. I may have to hide them somewhere. I can probably find a place in the bottom of one of my drawers. Is that bad?

Saturday, April 21

Day 112: Dance Happy

When I see an amazing art exhibit or an incredible performance it makes me feel two things: a strong yearning to perform again and a deep satisfaction and sense of awe to watch others who continue to share their talents with the world. I really love art and I feel an affinity to those who create from their souls. Not every art work or performance moves me in the same way but I can appreciate the inspiration that moved the artist to create it.

Tonight I saw a circus performance called Cirkus Cirkor, which was comprised of a cast of the most unlikely group of performers, both women and men. It was an unbelievable display of strength and control, as well commitment to character, as the performers swung and spun on a trapeze bar, stealthily climbed up a pole as if they were merely walking down the street, or juggled chairs or ping pong balls. I left the performance feeling uplifted. Part of me wanted to run out and sign up for a circus class immediately while the other part of me, the rational part, was satisfied to walk away, merely daydreaming of being able to do the things I saw.

I grew up training as a dancer. I barely remember a time in my earlier life that I was not wearing dance shoes and running from school to classes, or from work to auditions or rehearsals. Dancing made me happy. It fulfilled a part of me that needed a creative outlet. I still feel that need to be creative and express myself but I have discovered other outlets to express this need and watching dance performances, or in tonight's case a circus performance, fulfills a tiny part of that need and makes me happy. I find happy moments throughout my day but tonights performance reminded me of my dancing days and brought back memories and feelings that filled me with joy.

Wear it Like a Crown

Friday, April 20

Day 111: Home Sweet Home

There is nothing quite as comforting after a business trip as going home. The trip was good. Mostly work and very little play, though I did get to do some playing in the city one evening with a friend of mine who lives and works there. We had a fabulous dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant and afterward walked around the city looking at an outdoor light exhibit called Luminale. It was displayed throughout the city at various locations by many different lighting designers. A very cool idea.

Now, I am ready to sleep in my own bed and get back to my normal routine. Whatever normal really is. I even look forward to being woken up early in the morning by my kitty. That's when you really know you are ready to be home.

I love to travel, even for work, but I often forget how straining it is to deal with all of the "different" smells I encounter. Scents of perfumed soaps in hotels and public bathrooms, clouds of smoke from smokers congregating right in front of the doors to buildings and public places, specifically the trade fair grounds, and all of the cologned and perfumed people I encounter. All of these smells just about do me in.

That is one of the happiest things about coming home - getting away from all of the scents and smells. The happiest thing about today was sitting down on the airplane, knowing that in just a few hours I would be in the comfort of my apartment - my own little world - away from all of the unpleasant smells, sleeping in my own bed and best of all, looking forward to a good cup of coffee in the morning.

Thursday, April 19

Day 110: Rhubarb Soda

I discovered yesterday that wearing my "rediscovered", mid-season boots (with heels) is not such a good idea on the first day of a trade fair. Regardless of how cute they are. In fact, I'd venture to say that it's a very, very bad idea. Because despite having a cute, comfy pair of shoes to wear the next day, the damage has already been done and nothing really helps except sitting for long intervals throughout the day.

Rhubarb soda helps too. Our booth at the fair is serving it and I just tasted it for the first time today. The flavor is just sweet enough and just tangy enough to be perfectly refreshing. It reminds me of a perfect summer afternoon at the summer house. Just after we've gone for a swim, taken warm showers and we are now sitting outside enjoying the afternoon sun and a cold rhubarb soda. Heavenly.

I'll just daydream with this image in mind to get my feet through the rest of the day. I'll figure out how to find rhubarb soda in Stockholm another day. For now, I will just relish drinking it at the trade fair on one of my long intervals of resting.

Wednesday, April 18

Day 109: Coffee

Most days I love coffee. I love it's rich, earthy smell, it's smokey, robust flavor with a heavy swirl of cream added to soften the blow. Just the thought of my morning mug of happy juice is enough to get me excited about starting each day. I'm not a morning person but coffee sure helps.

This morning I especially loved my morning coffee. With my trip to Frankfurt, Germany for a work, trade fair, I had to get up at four a.m. in order to get to the airport for my six a.m. flight. That's pretty much the crack of dawn, ugh, and really just too early. It was even too early for kitty, who usually loves to get up and hop around, frolicking in the wee morning hours. She remained on her sleep blanket this morning however, waiting for us to turn off the lights and come back to bed. That is, until she realized it was more than just an early morning bathroom visit. Still, the spring in her step was more of a slow shuffle. I could relate.

Lucky for me, my husband went down to the kitchen to make coffee for me while I showered and began my morning ritual. Kitty followed him. She wanted her coffee too. Her coffee is not actually coffee but wet, cat food but I can tell you that she loves it as much as I love my coffee.

Tuesday, April 17

Day 108: Simple Joys

Today I found my happy in the small things. A lunchtime visit to a new favorite cafe to pick up sandwiches for myself and a colleague, then having fika (Swedish coffee break) at the office with freshly, baked, almond rolls, cardamom rolls and pistachio, cream rolls that another colleague picked up in the morning, and finally, rediscovering a pair of mid-season boots that I'd packed away for winter. This is not even including my soft and silky, love muffin of a kitty and my wonderful, loving, awesome husband. Life is good. Actually, life is awesome.

Some days it's just the simple joys that make me smile and feel inspired. Some days seeing a daddy taking his child to daycare in the morning and watching their smiling, laughing exchange brightens my day and sometimes takes nothing more than a sunny day to bring happiness and cheer my way.

What are the things that bring you happiness? What are your simple joys? If you have a moment to drop me a line I'd love to hear about the things that make your days brighter and add cheer to your world. Until tomorrow... I'm wishing you a happy, joyful day! Give yourself a compliment and don't forget to smile!

Monday, April 16

Day 107: Svart Vinbär Saft

Svart vinbär (pronounced sv + "art" and "veen-bear"), or black currant in English, is one of my favorite flavors that Sweden has introduced to my palate. It reminds me of the summers here, picking fresh berries right off the bush and stuffing them into my mouth. Of baking sweet, tart, summery pies with mounds of them piled into the center... then eaten with vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce, another specialty that I've discovered in Sweden. You don't even have to make the vanilla sauce, as it comes ready-made in these cute, little cartons in the refrigerated section and it truly tastes as good or better than homemade so what's the point?

We actually have a small amount of svart vinbär waiting patiently in our freezer to be baked into a delicious pie, or some other wonderful treat. This week may be the week that a pie comes to fruition. I can feel it in my bones. But more than a feeling in my bones is the lovely taste on my tongue right now of svart vinbär saft (fruit syrup) mixed with sparkling water. Refreshing and heavenly are the two words that come to mind. While grocery shopping the other day I decided that we needed something tasty to drink that was not soda or juice or alcohol but something festive and fun. And going along with my summer-fever I thought maybe some bottled saft would do the trick.

Many people who harvest an abundance of svart vinbär, as well as other summer fruits, often cook them down into saft and bottle them to store and enjoy through the winter. It is a days work and it requires a rather large abundance of berries. I only know this because some friends of ours were in the process of making saft last summer during one of our visits and I learned the secrets of making this delectable dew of the Swedish gods. Well, we didn't have an [over] abundance of svart vinbär so unfortunately we could not  make saft ourselves. Lucky for us several nice companies make it and sell it in the grocery store.

If one were to judge how long it would last in our household by how quickly the first bottle disappeared, we would have had to make tons of barrels of the stuff to last through the winter, let alone the entire year. I will say however that it does help with summer fever. And since summer is still a few months away, I will have to appease my fever with store, bought saft. I'm even thinking of writing to the company to tell them they should rename the svart vinbär saft: Love Potion. It is simple and to the point. I think it works. What do you think?

Sunday, April 15

Day 106: Swedish Toast

The good news is that I can get into all of my pants and skirts. The bad news is that most of them are too tight to leave the house in. It's that winter hibernation thing. Plus with eating lots of fresh bread from the bakeries around here. Yeah... and then there is the Easter candy staring me in the face every day. I'll just say one thing - Thank God for stretch denim. No matter if I am five pounds up or down the stretchy jeans always "fit" and I can still breathe when I sit down in them. Exercise? Yes, I am exercising but there are the occasional set back between that lovely time of the month, having a spell of headaches and some weird popping noise that my shoulder made the last time I swam. I have been forced to take a pause this week.

Diet? Salad just doesn't sound good lately. I need comfort food and especially with the recent return of winter. Well, yesterday anyway. (Oh yeah and those pancakes... oops). Today however, was a lovely spring day. Everyone was out and about enjoying some natural vitamin D. Even kitty was stretched out in front of one of the living room windows enjoying some sunshine. You know it is a particularly beautiful day when you head to your favorite cafe for a toast (grilled cheese sandwich) and there are actually seats available when you walk in. The cafe is usually so packed that it is standing room only and we have to circle like vultures waiting for someone to vacate their seat. The chanterelle mushroom and Västerbotten cheese toast is especially delicious and actually worth standing around waiting for even when it's completely packed. I must warn you that it is also extremely addictive. Especially when you add one of their lattes into the mix.

We passed by the cafe later in the afternoon when we were on our way home after running our errands and my husband asked, "Wanna go to Kaffe for a toast?" He was kidding but it was tempting. Some days it is the simple things, like a gourmet, grilled cheese sandwich, that put a smile on my face. Did I mention that they saute the chanterelles with garlic and a little cream before mixing them with the Västerbotten cheese and slathering them between the slices of bread and toasting them? Sigh. Probably not necessary to say it but it was a good day. I was even able to ditch my winter coat and wear my spring, wool jacket instead. Maybe this coat switch is for good? I can hope anyway. If not I can always head back down for a Swedish toast to "drown my sorrows".

Saturday, April 14

Day 105: Stacks of Joy

All winter long I longed for snowy, wintry days like today. I figure, if I am going to live in Sweden I might as well have the full, Swedish, winter experience, right? Right. Wrong. We've had an uncharacteristically warm winter this year with very little snow compared to the last two years and then just a few weeks ago we had some of the loveliest, warm weather for what we all thought was the start of an early spring. Apparently it was just a teaser, as it has become colder again and today we were graced with a mini blizzard. Okay, I'll admit that I may be exaggerating slightly but when I woke up this morning and looked out the window, every roof as far as the eye could see was white. It was not just a light dusting of snow either and it was still snowing. So hard in fact that you could barely see anything in the distance. At least my winter coat is getting a run for its money.

My husband had to go to his office today and I had plans to meet some of the women from my book club for brunch at cafe sirap. I considered riding my bike there until I woke up this morning and saw the weather outside. Even seeing it from my window I was not prepared. I stepped out onto a sidewalk full of several inches of slush and snow. The problem was that it was cold enough to snow but not cold enough to maintain it so it was turning into a delightful mess on the sidewalks and streets, and I say "delightful" with my teeth clenched together. I wanted to run back inside and crawl into bed.

But the pancakes were calling my name so I forged on. The cafe where we were meeting is known for serving American pancakes and it is crazy popular. We were able to book at table since we were a party of six. Otherwise we would have had to arrive right when they open to hopefully get a table, or be prepared to wait. You would think on a day like today that maybe it would not be as crowded but when I arrived right at eleven a.m. there were already around eight people waiting outside for the doors to open and as soon as the doors opened, the cafe pretty much filled up.

I had been there once before but I went for lunch so I skipped the pancakes that time. Surprisingly however many people were eating breakfast for lunch that day. And the pancakes looked so tasty I nearly ordered one for dessert. Stacks of thick, fluffy, pancakes topped with an assortment of options such as blueberries, bananas, pecans, chocolate, apples, cinnamon and several variations of these. Can you say yum?

It was the thought of these lovely, stacks of joy that kept me moving to the bus stop. I had my mind set on a stack of blues and once the mind is set on pancakes... well, there is no turning back. It was definitely worth the effort of trudging through the slush. My pancakes had just the right amount of sweetness and were nice and crunchy around the edges. And it is really hard to stay grumpy at the weather when my belly is full of scrumptious, blueberry pancakes. Eating yummy, delicious food is like taking a happy pill. When yummy, delicious food is involved, the happy barometer bell rings every time.

Friday, April 13

Day 104: Crazy, Mad Sale

One of my favorite clothing boutiques in Stockholm recently remodeled their flagship store. Today was their grand re-opening with a special appearance by the store's owner herself, Gudrun Sjöden. There would be prize giveaways, special discounts, live music and snacks. How could I resist? Even in the middle of a work day. I went on my lunch break. I'm not sure if I have ever walked so fast. I think I arrived there in under fifteen minutes.

The store was already swarmed with women and a long line waiting to get in. I was handed a flyer as I walked through the door. ALL scarves were fifty Swedish kronors. That is about eight U.S. dollars. Sweet. Every woman in that boutique was storming the scarf baskets. I was one of them. I ran around the store like every other crazy, mad woman in there grabbing every scarf I could get my hands on. I think I left with a total of six. And I nearly grabbed another one while I was in the line waiting to check out. Yes, I know. Six scarves is a bit overkill but the price was the same as if I had bought one full-priced. It was an incredibly, amazing deal. Who could resist that? Apparently not me. Some of today's bounty would make nice gifts as well so I don't feel so bad about my purchases.

I absolutely love a good sale. And by good sale I mean one that I discover before it has been picked over and all that's left are wrong sizes or neon colors. I was trained well by my mother and my aunt as a little girl. I know precisely how to shop sales and I am quite efficient at it when I need to be. But ask most people who shop with me, or have shopped with me, and if I am not on a time crunch like today I am probably the slowest shopper around. Today however, I was a speed, sale shopper.

Shopping sales provides great therapy as well. Even on days when I don't particularly need any retail therapy. Maybe even especially on days when I don't need any retail therapy. It is usually those days when I find such fabulous deals. All I can say post sale is that even with the cold, rainy weather today, there is a lovely bag of sunshine sitting here next to me (with six scarves in it!).

Thursday, April 12

Day 103: Fertilizer

An interesting thing I've notice in the park by my office is that when it starts to get cold in November and December, nearly all of the greenery dies leaving sad, brown patches all around. Then in the spring new green sprouts come up among the old, dead, brown ones and once the new plants and flowers are in full force, the dead leftovers from winter disappear, having been incorporated into the new plants like a fertilizer. It's as if they just vanish. I am pretty sure that no one comes and weeds out the old, dead parts. They are merely absorbed into the new growth.

I think we could benefit from studying how nature works. Just imagine if we allowed the "dead" or old parts of us, our disappointments, sadnesses, even happinesses, to become fertilizer for the next seasons growth. Allow our memories to settle in through the winter and then be reborn as new, fresh thoughts and memories surface in the spring, like fresh, green sprouts.

We could just perform a ritualistic composting of our old feelings and thought patterns and allow new thoughts and feelings to be nurtured by the fertilization process so that each year we truly do begin anew in the spring, just like the changing seasons. Nature doesn't even think about this process. It just happens. Year in and Year out.

I like the thought of becoming our own fertilizer and nurturing ourselves through our emotional, physical and spiritual changes. When you consider how natural the process really is it seems simple, doesn't it? I think it is a happy thought none-the-less. And kinda funny and appropriate when you think about how stinky fertilizer can be before the plants grow beautiful flowers. Growth can be stinky and messy too.

Chuckle to self.

Wednesday, April 11

Day 102: Everything is a Miracle

I love quotes. When I was young I collected them. Wrote them in my journals, copied them into cards I would mail to friends and family, sometimes even scribbled them onto sticky notes and stuck them on my mirror or refrigerator to remind me of their wisdom. There was something about reading a short, inspiring phrase that made me feel more connected to life. I feel that the quote below, written by Albert Einstein, is brilliant. Of course, he was a brilliant man so there you go.

His quote states that there are two ways to live your life. The first way seems a bit boring after reading the second way. I mean, who really wants to live their life as if nothing is a miracle? It seems sort of sad and definitely uninventive. If given the choice I would definitely choose the second way.

I love the notion of living as if everything is a miracle. It feels hopeful and positive and happy. It is difficult to think of everything as a miracle and not feel a spark of positivity. Perhaps not everything seems to be a miracle when you consider things like cancer and horrible incidents that appear to happen unfairly, but I'm pretty sure that in nearly every situation I find myself in I can find some miracle in that situation.

Everything can be a miracle if we choose to see things that way. To me this is another way of looking for the positive in all situations. I realize that not everyone believes in God or a higher power, though I hope that they do, but I feel that trusting in what you believe is the same as believing that everything is a miracle.

I choose to live as though everything is a miracle. It feels right and it feels happy and it allows wiggle room for the imperfect things that we encounter. Nothing is perfect but if we choose to see these imperfections as part of the miracle, it opens the doors for more miracles.

Choose miracles. And keep your eyes open. You just might catch one in progress.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, April 10

Day 101: Five Things and Five Minutes

The good news is that nothing is really ever as it seems. Sometimes I look at a person's life, be it a friend, relative or just someone I admire, and I think that they have it all. Their life is perfect. Perfectly packaged with all of the things I think I want or am envious of. They have a great job, they are physically fit and make it seem effortless, they seem to have everything within their grasp.

But then if I were to take a deeper look into their life I might see a person who has grown estranged from their family, a person who has a difficult time enjoying an evening of eating pizza and ice cream because they are so obsessed with having the perfect body that they cannot let loose for one evening, or a person whose perfect life is merely the life that they think will win them approval and not the life that makes them happy.

Who cares if I cannot fit into my skinny pants? What are skinny pants anyway? Skinny pants for me are just fat pants for someone else. It is all a matter of circumstance. If it were the end of the world I would survive longer with my extra "energy" reserves. Ha. Who am I kidding? But seriously, skinny pants, the right job, or choosing pizza or salad for dinner are not life altering issues. Having a close relationship to my family and being able to relax and enjoy myself are life altering issues.

Just because your neighbor appears to have it all doesn't mean that they do. Take a few minutes to write down five things that would do in the next week if you could just choose things that make you happy. Here are my five:

Eat chocolate cake
Get a job in a flower shop
Play hooky from work one day and just go window shopping
Spend an entire evening reading a book and eat cereal for dinner instead of cooking
Walk to work in the mornings, even if it means arriving late

Take another five minutes to be thankful for all of the small things that give your life joy and meaning. And yes, your electric toothbrush counts.

Monday, April 9

Day 100: Milestones

On "Day 1" of my blog, January 1, 2012 to be exact, "Day 100" seemed very far away. Today "Day 365" still seems pretty far off but reaching "Day 100" is certainly a milestone that makes me feel I've accomplished something. I am not even a third of the way to my goal but the thought and acknowledgment that I have stuck to my commitment to write about something happy or positive every day for one hundred days demonstrates to me the gifts of perseverance.

When I started my blog I was inspired and fired up with creative energy and excitement. It was fairly easy to find something happy or positive to write about. But then time continued to move forward and my days of writing started to become more of a challenge. There were days when I asked myself, "How am I going to find something positive or happy to write about today?" It wasn't so much that I was not happy and that I could not think of one positive thing about the day but more that I was in a sour mood and really kind of wanted to stay in my sour mood. Right. I can honestly say however that after sitting down and writing my daily post the fog of my sour mood had lifted, even if just the slightest bit, and I went to sleep that night with a sense of accomplishing exactly what I had set out to do. I had, in fact, achieved a personal milestone of reaching beyond that part of me that struggles to take over, my little black rain cloud if you will.

Here I am now on "Day 100". I feel like celebrating but I know that there will be other black, rain clouds attempting to rain on my parade. This milestone however is worthy of celebration and worthy of shouting a little cheer of happiness. I can also happily say that I am slowly starting to see a more positive world without having to consciously think of it. It is with baby steps that I strive forward because it still is not every day that the world looks rosie. Today I celebrate with a quiet smile and an inward knowing that I will continue along my path. I will persevere and succeed in my goal. As they say in Sweden when toasting, "Skål!" (Cheers!)

Sunday, April 8

Day 99: Forest Skipping

In our Easter egg coma this morning we packed up some sandwiches and bottles of water and headed to Tyresta national park and nature reserve for a day hike and picnic. We had no idea what to expect other than the fact that I had read that the park was one of Sweden's largest untouched forest areas outside of the mountain region. We took the subway train and then switched to a bus at a station just south of the city. While on the bus my husband realized that his very, old, hiking boots, which had lived in the garage through triple-digit summers for many years back in Texas, were starting to come apart. The rubber inside the heal on both shoes was disintegrating and crumbling out. Holy cow.

We discussed turning around and heading back home but we were nearly there at this point so we decided to just take it step by step, literally. The hiking trails were amazing. We hiked over trails largely comprised of criss-crossing tree roots, areas of flat rock, up and down rolling hills as well as parts of the trail completely covered in snow. The forest floor was covered in vibrant, green moss in many parts and if you stopped and stood still, there wasn't a sound to be heard, other than the creaking of trees rubbing together when the wind blew or the soft murmuring of water beginning to flow through the streams.

The shoes were "holding up". Let's just say he was not yet walking in his socks but as I watched him walking ahead of me I could see his poor, little ankles pronating inwardly because there was no support left in the inner heal of the shoes. I kept asking if he wanted to turn around and head back but he wanted to push on. What a trooper. I can understand why he wanted to continue on. Being in the forest was like getting a natural, energy boost. Smelling the fresh air, crunching across pine needles and ice and just communing with nature in general is something that cannot be replaced when you live in a hustling and bustling city, filled with all of the smells and sounds associated with city living. No, this was a healing experience as well as an adventure.

At one point in the hike when we'd come to a particularly beautiful area, my husband said,"I really want to skip but I'm scared to." Afraid his shoes would be completely toasted if he did so. The image made me smile all the way to my core and I said, "I'll skip for you!" And I skipped ahead.

Skipping in the forest is something I highly recommend if you have not experienced it before. Skipping, contrary to popular belief, is not just for kids. Or rather, it is for kids of all ages and especially for those in their forties. We had our picnic, had a good laugh about his "hiking flip-flops", as the entire back end on both shoes was now flapping as he walked, and then started making our way back to our starting point. Need-less-to-say, we did manage to make it home with shoes on the bottom of his feet, but just barely. It was a lovely afternoon and I can honestly say that I know someone who deserves a foot rub.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7

Day 98: All About Eggs

What do French toast, Easter eggs, sunshine and lazy Saturdays all have in common? The ingredients for a glorious Easter's eve celebration. Plus, I love every single one of them. Oh, don't forget maple syrup to go on the French toast. That is an absolute must. I could bathe in the stuff, or at the very least, drink it.

I love the idea of French toast because I really hate to throw bread away. We seldom plan well when it comes to eating even a half loaf of bread and we often wait until it is rock hard and nothing can be done but toss it out. That or use it to build something. Today however, it became French toast. It is win-win -  we salvage the bread and have a delicious breakfast. Besides the fact that today is all about eggs and eggs are part of the recipe for French toast. So make that a triple win.

The sun was shining beautifully this afternoon, though there was a nip in the air that reminded me that spring is still a dangling carrot. We took the subway into town earlier to pick up some fresh shrimp and a few other items at the indoor market, Hötorgshallen. This market is always a fun adventure. We stopped by the cheese shop after purchasing our shrimp and bought some delicious, creamy brie and aged gruyere to have this evening. Then we swung by the vegetable stand and bought some asparagus and fresh potatoes. After that we parted our separate ways to do some private errands for the Easter bunny. Wink-wink.

This evening we will be celebrating with peel-and-eat shrimp, shrimp-deviled eggs, asparagus quiche (more eggs), and later on, chocolate eggs. I am egg-static about all of the egg eating we will be doing. Especially the chocolate version. Wishing you all a lovely, lazy Saturday.

Friday, April 6

Day 97: Breakfast in Bed

There is still so much of the day left today but I really feel satisfied that I have already found my happy today. Of course kitty started hopping around 4:30am this morning but after a few behind-the-ear scratches and hellos she went  on her way and I fell back into my sleeping rhythm... all the way until seven a.m.! It has been a long time since I slept in until seven. It seems that way anyway with our early, morning kitty.

The first thing I usually do upon waking up is glance over at the clock. Then I turn my attention to the window. It was softly raining out, just as promised by the weather forecast. Though bizarrely, the forecast was that it was supposed to get colder as the morning progressed and start snowing. Well, it lived up to its forecast.

By the time I had gone downstairs to put together a surprise breakfast of scones and coffee it was snowing like crazy. Big, beautiful, fluffy, white balls of cotton falling from the sky. Kitty loves to sit in the window and watch them swirl around in the air. I love to do that as well. The apartment was so quiet and the snow falls so peacefully and softly it is like witnessing a piece of heaven.

There is something very comforting and cozy about eating breakfast in bed. And it doesn't hurt to have freshly-baked, right-out-of-the-oven, grapefruit, honey, yogurt scones with dewberry jam either. Complete it with toasty cup of coffee and you have happiness on a tray. Maybe it was not the most beautiful start to a four day weekend with freezing temperatures and snow but I have high hopes for the rest of the weekend. And if it is more of the same we'll just have breakfast in bed every morning.

Thursday, April 5

Day 96: Walking

Something very easily taken for granted is the ability to walk. For most of us it is something that we don't even think twice about. And yet for some it is a dream or desire never to be realized, or an ability snatched away in a flash after a horrible accident, an illness or just the natural process of aging.

My father has suffered from osteoarthritis since he was in his forties, which is my age now. He has had six hip-replacement operations over the years and, at eighty years old today, he still suffers from pain and has a difficult time walking and getting around. Sometimes I feel sad for him but then I see a person who is wheelchair bound and I think perhaps he is lucky that he can still get around on his own however difficult or slow going it is.

It is all in ones perspective. My dad is a pretty, positive person. He doesn't let anything stop him if he can help it. He and my mother came to Stockholm to visit last summer and we took them around by bus, subway and even a bit of walking. I think he probably experienced some pain though he did not let it stop him. He must have enjoyed the experience despite the discomfort because we offered to get a taxi several times and he refused it. It can be fun to get around on foot and via public transportation.

Walking is more than a mode of transportation, however. I like to walk sometimes just to clear my head and I have heard it said that angels speak to a person when they are out walking. I think it is true. I often return home after a long walk feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. We started watching a new TV series recently that is set in the fifties and in one of the episodes a new neighbor, who happens to be a divorced woman with two children, is seen out walking and all of the other women think it is strange. When given the opportunity they ask her where she is walking to and she replies that she is just out walking. She is probably listening for angels.

Me, I love to walk. It is a wonderful thing too since I live in a walking city. When we first moved to Stockholm I walked around quite a bit, exploring new neighborhoods or areas each day. I became acquainted with the streets this way and discovered some lovely, hidden treasures that tucked away in areas we never would have found otherwise. And many of these found treasures are now some of our favorite haunts.

Walking is one of the best gifts I have. I feel very thankful and blessed to be able to walk and experience my world on foot. Some days when I see an adult or a child in a wheelchair, I thank God that I can walk and I remember that is is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. I challenge all of my readers to do a little extra walking today in honor of someone who cannot.

Wednesday, April 4

Day 95: Inspiration

Listening to a podcast today on my way to work I heard a gentleman being interviewed about a book he'd written. The book being discussed was a collection of micro, short stories, each composed of merely four hundred and twenty characters, or less. This included spaces and punctuation. Amazing really. The author found his inspiration through Facebook, where a users status updates are limited to four hundred and twenty characters including spaces. He discussed how he had become tired of the seemingly, meaningless, status updates and thought he'd try something new. I think it was a fantastic idea. Why didn't I think of it? The author then read a few of his stories aloud.

I was intrigued and amazed. The creativity and imagination that went into not only the idea for the short stories but the stories themselves greatly inspired me. I love creative genius at work. And I love inspiration. Sometimes inspiration is all I need to lift myself out of a funk. These days finding inspiration seems to be rather easy, with the internet containing such a wealth of information. One of my particularly favorite places for inspiration is Pintrest, the online social media site where one can create bulletin boards and post or pin things that interest or inspire them. Anytime I need a pick-me-up I can easily open the site and glance at my favorite boards. I have found numerous recipes that I want to make, art projects worth a try, photographs of ridiculously, beautiful places or objects, or lovely quotes that move me.

Many times I look at my boards or boards of people that I follow and feel inspired even if I didn't need a pick-me-up. It feels great to be energized with the excitement of a new recipe to try or a project (sock bunny!) to tackle. And it takes my mind off of any small or large worries I may happen to have, so that is a plus.

(If you are interested in the book mentioned you can find it here on Amazon: 420 Characters)

Tuesday, April 3

Day 94: April Fool's Surprises

Do you know what happens every year in Stockholm on the first of April? It is a most exciting thing. So exciting that I forgot about it's coming until April first arrived. We were sitting around the apartment and I was thinking about how fun it will be to go for long, lovely, bike rides soon and it hit me. The Stockholm City Bikes are put out in their racks for bicycling season on the first of April. I was so excited to realize this, I did a little happy dance. Okay, maybe it was a big, happy dance. I was almost so excited that I wanted to run out and get on a bike right away but it was a bit chilly outside and the warm, cozy apartment won out.

We actually have our own, personal bicycles but we usually purchase a season Stockholm City Bike card and link it to our SL cards (city transportation card for the subway, buses, etc.) so that when we are out and about in the city and we just decide, "Hey, let's grab a bike," we can just swipe our card in front of the card reader at any bike stand and go for a bike ride spontaneously. There is also a rack near my office so if the weather is yucky in the morning but clears up by lunch time I can grab a bike then and take it for a spin. It is fun to pick up food along my way and have a picnic in a nearby park before heading back to the office.

Just the thought of these coming days and memories of bike rides and picnics from past summers puts a big smile on my face (and makes me even more antsy for summer!). It was not really an April Fool's surprise in the traditional sense but a wonderful surprise that just happened to fall on April 1st. I did not personally receive a traditional April Fool's Day surprise but I pulled a fabulous prank on my husband. I just had to. As he sat in his bean bag chair relaxing and reading his iPad, I replaced what was left of his cheese doodles with styrofoam peanuts. It is nearly the same texture and weight. It was perfect, actually. I then casually sauntered into the living room with the bag and asked him if he wanted some cheese doodles, while I was crunching on one myself. Of course he did. I sat on the couch and waited. He finally picked up the bag and shook some into his hand. I nearly pee'd myself laughing. He did not think it was so funny but he did smile. He'd been had and I sat howling like a ten year old.

By the way, in Sweden you say "april! april!" instead of "April Fool's" when you play a joke on someone. But it is pronounced, "a preel! a preel!" with the accent on the second syllable instead of the first.

Monday, April 2

Day 93: Give Yourself a Compliment

Some days I wake up and think, "This is not how I want to start my day". I woke up at four a.m. with a pounding headache. My kitty however was snuggled up next to me under the covers and I didn't want to move for fear that she would leave so I laid there hoping the pain would subside. She doesn't usually sleep with us so it warmed my heart to discover her there. I must have fallen back to sleep easily because the next thing I remember was hearing the alarm and then kitty playing with my hair. No kitty, I want to sleep some more.

Despite my wishes to rewind to the night before, my day started. I knew the routine. If I continued to lay there, kitty would start biting on my glasses or playing with my iPad charging cable. Whatever it took to get me out of bed. I relented early and kitty and I stumbled down to the kitchen to get her breakfast. She usually gobbles down her wet food like its her last supper. While I was making coffee I turned to check on her expecting to see her licking the last bits of wet food off the plate but she was not there. Both wet and dry food were mostly untouched. I peeked into the living room and saw her sitting on the window sill, intently watching a seagull circling in the sky. Intentionally or not, the bird was taunting her. Food was far from her mind.

I wished I could find something to taunt me into forgetting about my headache. Instead I took a steaming, hot shower, allowing the water massage my head and neck and feeling the steam open up my nasal passages. Things were looking up. I got dressed and headed out the door. Brrrr. It was cold. Apparently Jack Frost was making a return visit to Stockholm. Where did my early spring go? I sighed and headed to the subway.

Days like this it is difficult to think positively. Making my way through the subway system with all of its various smells did not sound the slightest bit appealing. I just wanted to stay home with an ice pack on my head and pet my kitty. Where could I find the positive in my headache? Perhaps a different perspective would help. I was listening to NPR and almost to my office when I heard one of the broadcasters say, "Give your enemy a compliment." Sometimes I feel like I am my own enemy so I thought, why not give myself a compliment? So I said, "You are doing a good job." I said it again. I repeated it over and over until I had gotten all the way up the hill. It doesn't have to be some flowery, over-the-top compliment. Just something simple and sincere.

I don't always give myself credit for the fact that I have moved to a new country, learned a new language and started a job in a field I know nothing about. I am doing a good job. So I pat myself on the back. Pat yourself on the back today too. Give yourself a compliment and open up to a new perspective.

Sunday, April 1

Day 92: Completion

Today was a day of finishing projects and relaxing around the house. We opted to do that instead of go on an adventure today since the weather recently turned colder again, hovering around freezing with snow flurries here and there. I don't know about you but staying inside on a day like that suits me just fine. Besides the fact that completing a project that has been in limbo for a while really makes me happy. I can finally wash my hands of it and move on to something new.

So, the project. A few weeks ago I started making a sock bunny. I sewed it together and then it sat on my desk waiting to be stuffed. Until today, that is. I had thought that I would cut open one of the fat, guest-room pillows, that none of our guests actually like to use because it is so fat. But then I thought I would just go out and buy some stuffing at a fabric store. Well, three weeks later, that idea having not materialized, I finally went back to my first line of thinking and cut open fatty. I pulled out just enough of the polyester fiber-fill to stuff Mrs. Bunny and you honestly cannot even tell I took any of the filling out.

Once the bunny was stuffed I started to sew up the opening and my cat became very interested. She sat half on my desk and half in my lap watching intently, occasionally reaching out to try and eat the thread. It's too bad that I did not get a photo, it was quite cute. By the time Mrs. B was completed with eyes, nose and mouth, kitty had lost interest and was taking her afternoon nap on the couch. So Mrs. B joined her.

In the meantime my husband completed putting the shelves up in our downstairs bathroom so we both achieved a sense of satisfaction today. Everyone happy and now we get to celebrate with homemade pizza.

Happy April Fool's Day! If you have not played a joke on someone yet, it is not too late.