The 2020 Happiness Project

2 Jan

Not too long ago, I found what I considered to be a “rock star” parking spot on Boylston Street, just a few feet away from the Copley subway station. It was a Sunday afternoon, and since there’s no charge for parking then, I simply got out of my car and walked away, off to go about my business.

More than an hour later, as I was walking back to my car, I saw a pink something or other on my front window, tucked under the windshield wiper. It looked like a parking ticket. What the hell! Wasn’t parking free today?

Turns out, it wasn’t a parking ticket, but a list of 21 behaviors that would apparently help me find “The Way to Happiness.” I laughed. The source of the information — the L. Ron Hubbard Library — was a bit dubious, but I had to admit, the list had merit: Take care of yourself. Honor and help your parents. Do not steal. Be industrious. Try not to do things to others that you would not like them to do to you. Fulfill your obligations. Do not murder. And so on. You get the idea.

I’m surprised one of the items on the list wasn’t “Show gratitude.” After all, according to Harvard Medical School, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

As you might assume, I was grateful the flyer wasn’t a parking ticket, as I originally thought it was. And I was thankful for the folks who put it on my car, because the realization and the flyer itself both made me smile.

Corny as it may sound, I’ve learned in recent years that the secret to living a happy life is to appreciate things like that, and to document them. To that end, I started my annual “Happiness Project” in 2015 with that very simple premise: At the end of every day, you should write down one thing that made you happy, whether it’s something you did, something you ate, something somebody said, a TV show you watched or movie you saw, a tweet, or something else. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just something that made you smile. (And yes, the name is a nod to Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project,” which started as an experiment and became a best-selling book, and movement.)

Five years later, I can say it works. At the end of every day, in one long, running blog post for the year, I note something happy that happened. It’s not an intentional thing; I’m not trying to be happy. After all, as Niall Williams recently wrote in the New York Times, happiness is “a thing that [can] not be pursued, only realized and chosen.” I’m recognizing that, even on the seemingly bad days, there’s always something worth remembering that made me smile, no matter how small and inconsequential it may have been. In essence, I’m expressing gratitude every single day.

I’ve now done this exercise for four of the last five years. The one year I didn’t do it — 2016 — well, it wasn’t a good year. Sure, there are multiple reasons for considering 2016 to be a bad year, but since self-care has become even more important in these troubled times, and there was a lot of negativity to off-set that year, I have to believe there’s a connection between my not doing the Project and the fact that I now look back on 2016 with less than fond memories.

I don’t know what will happen over these next 12 months, but as I write this intro at the start of January, given everything that’s already going on, I’m not optimistic. I know the year won’t be free of negativity, but I want to be able to look back on these 365 days in a positive way, just like I do the other four years when I did my Project.

I’ve resolved to make 2020 another good year. So let’s get to it. Here’s what made me happy every day this year.

December 31
I mean, today is obvious, right? Today I’m happy that 2020 is finally over and that we can look forward to a better year in 2021. Happy New Year!

December 30
Quinn and her boyfriend never came home last night, so it was nice to wake up this morning and know they weren’t up there, and that I’d been able to fall asleep at an earlier hour because it was quiet.

December 29
Received a nice holiday gift from Glenda today. That was fun.

December 28
Tried a little cooking experiment tonight for dinner, and am happy to report that my chicken alfredo pasta turned out well. Yum!

December 27
Glad I decided to watch One Night in Miami tonight. It was really good!

December 26
Because I was looking at Twitter at the right time this afternoon, I was directed to the excellent package of opinion pieces in tomorrow’s New York Times, called “Let’s Start Over.” I read the majority of them, queueing up a bunch for sharing over the next couple days. Good stuff.

December 25
Today I was happy (again) that I figured out how to pair my earbuds with my TV, because it made my double feature of Wonder Woman and Soul so much better. And I was super happy about how good Soul is!

December 24
Met up with Farrah, Barry, and the kids today for lunch (outside) because they wanted to celebrate my new job with cupcakes. It was nice to hang out with people in person, and to have friends so insistent on celebrating my good news. The cupcakes (from Party Favors) were yummy, too!

December 23
Finished my freelance work for the week today, so now I can take tomorrow off.

December 22
My late-afternoon drive down to Wegmans in Westwood today was worth it, because I found the cinnamon brioche bread I wanted (in the bakery section — not the bread aisle, which is where the app said it would be). So now, I’m going to have a very merry Christmas morning eating delicious French toast.

December 21
Reheated leftover deep-dish pizza from Four Corners … Still yummy!

December 20
Rex Chapman shared a video today of kids laughing at someone farting during a Zoom class, and it was legit funny. Apparently, it was the teacher, pulling a prank!

December 19
Today I was happy that I had made my purchase at Target online, in advance, so all I had to do was walk in and pick it up. Because the store was crowded! (No surprise, given what day it was. But still.)

December 18
I finished watching season one of Ted Lasso tonight. What a great show that is. I really really enjoyed these episodes, and I’m glad I didn’t speed-watch them, because the experience lasted longer this way.

December 17
Tonight was the eighth night of Hanukkah, and it made me happy that I was able to light my menorah all eight nights this year, for the first time in a very long time.

December 16
It’s honestly very exciting that doctor friends and family members are starting to get the COVID vaccine, like Andrew did today, and to know that Jason will be getting his next week.

December 15
Today, the Lone Bellow posted a previously unreleased Christmas EP exclusively for their Patreon subscribers, and announced a special (livestream) holiday show for next week. Cool!

December 14
I got a real kick today from the video of Smokey Robinson wishing someone a happy “chanooka,” and saying he didn’t know what that was. Ha!

December 13
Figured out tonight that I could pair my wireless earbuds with my new TV, which is exactly what I need to watch TV and movies with better sound quality and at a louder volume (so I don’t disturb my neighbors), and so I can tune out noise from outside and upstairs. This is a game changer. Yay!

December 12
It was great to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing live tonight on Saturday Night Live.

December 11
Today was a very good day: I finished my work for the week early in the day, so I decided to take advantage of the Cheesecake Factory’s $15-for-a-lunch-entree-and-cheesecake-slice offer. Then I went to buy my new TV, and was able to set it up very easily. Then the Supreme Court delivered another blow to DJT’s effort to throw out the election results. Then the FDA approved the first COVID vaccine. And then I watched The Prom, which was a giant crowd pleaser. All good. Happy Friday.

December 10
Today, Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff shared a really wonderful video of them talking (without a script!) about what Hanukkah means to them. It was genuine, authentic, and just so nice and refreshing to hear the VP(-elect) of the United States talking about the holiday I celebrate, for a change, because she and her husband celebrate it, too.

December 9
At the end of a productive day, I decided to “reward” myself by ordering takeout from Crazy Dough’s. Tasty dinner. And I didn’t have to cook.

December 8
Offer, accepted.

December 7
Happy I decided to go to Wegmans after dinner tonight because it was very quiet then, and almost empty.

December 6
Started to watch Ted Lasso tonight, and after only three episodes, I am already in love with this show. Not sure why it took me so long to start watching it.

December 5
Today was the 10th anniversary (!!) of the night when I met JB Smoove in Park City at MPEIS, and I got a photo with him, but Jordan never got the photo he took with him earlier in the day. So I tweeted something about it to tease Jordan, and JB retweeted it, even tagging Jordan! LOL … Too funny.

December 4
Submitted another batch of work to Erica today, and it always feels good to do that at the end of a week.

December 3
So fun to hear one of the characters on A Million Little Things casually mention Cabot’s during tonight’s episode. Such a great local reference.

December 2
I enjoyed receiving the surprise gift of a Friends advent calendar today from Melanie (who sent it to me anonymously, until Amazon foiled that plan), and getting the suggestion from Berk to open three numbers every night of Hanukkah instead of one every day.

December 1
Watched an advance stream of Promising Young Woman tonight. While the movie overall doesn’t pay off how I wanted it to, what I really enjoyed (surprisingly) was its use of Paris Hilton’s song “Stars Are Blind.” LOL … Too funny.

November 30
I’m happy there was nothing on TV tonight, so I had nothing to distract me from finishing up an assignment for one of the jobs I’ve been interviewing for. Glad that’s done.

November 29
Elizabeth called me today to discuss something she saw in my Thanksgiving blog post, so that was cool. It was nice to know my friends actually read it and wanted to follow up.

November 28
Happy I signed up for DoorDash today because it allowed me to support Johnny’s Luncheonette on Small Business Saturday, since I was still quarantining.

November 27
Noticed today that the state finally paid me some unemployment money, and did it in one lump sum to make up for the weeks I was owed. So that was nice.

November 26
It was a less than ideal Thanksgiving today, but I’m glad I had turkey and sweet potatoes and green beans, and cake for dessert — and friends and family to chat with via text, Twitter, and on FaceTime.

November 25
I enjoyed watching Stephen Colbert’s interview with Barack Obama today. It was good fun — especially their game of wastepaper basketball.

November 24
Used Instacart today for the first time (since I’m in state-mandated quarantine), so now I have mashed sweet potatoes to eat (among other things) for Thanksgiving on Thursday. Yum.

November 23
Tonight, the GSA finally announced that the transition to the Biden administration can officially begin. Finally. Thank God.

November 22
I’m glad I got some good photos with Mom, Dad, and Abby today. Not sure when the next time I’ll see any of them will be, so it’s nice to have these.

November 21
It wasn’t ideal, or what was intended, but given everything else going on, I’m glad that Mom, Dad, and I could all be in New York today for Abby’s Bat Mitzvah, and be a part of the service, and that we didn’t have to watch remotely via livestream from Florida and Boston. Something to be really grateful for.

November 20
I was really kind of impressed that Bill Maher included a segment in his season finale tonight about how his team came together to keep the show going during the pandemic, and how appreciative he was about his audience sticking with him. That was really nice, and a bit surprising.

November 19
Not gonna lie: It’s so nice to be in a quiet hotel room tonight with no one making noise above me.

November 18
Received my COVID-19 test result tonight, only about 26 hours after I was tested, and learned I was negative. I wasn’t too worried, but still … phew.

November 17
This morning, I was happy that my 12pm meeting was canceled, so I could run to Natick to buy bagels while Creuza was here, and not have to rush back for that meeting.

November 16
Today was a good, productive day, thankfully. All things considered, I got a lot done. Phew.

November 15
Gotta say: Watching John Oliver tell 2020 to “get fucked”, and then blowing it up in epic fashion, was immensely satisfying tonight.

November 14
I think today I’ll say that I was happy I went out to pick up dinner, because if it wasn’t for that, I’d have been indoors all day, kinda bored.

November 13
I’m really happy I set a series recording for The Beat with Ari Melber a couple weeks ago. Tonight’s show was typical: He had historian Michael Beschloss, conservative writer Bill Kristol, rapper Fat Joe, and Carole King on to discuss the election and its aftermath. Quoting of rap and song lyrics ensued, including this instant classic moment.

November 12
Had fun chatting with Amy today in my interview; it would be fun to work with her. And I’m happy to already know I’ll be advancing to the next round.

November 11
The first three of the four Criterion Blu-rays I bought in the 50% off sale Barnes & Noble was having last week arrived today. Looking forward to watching them!

November 10
After missing my chance yesterday, I was happy that I decided to go for a quick walk outside today before lunch, when it was still warm and sunny out.

November 9
Received my first payment from one of my clients today, so that was good.

November 8
It was nice to not be glued to my TV all day today, waiting for breaking news, and instead to hang out with Ken for a bit while he played music in Newton Centre (because the weather was so warm again!).

November 7
What a great day! First, it was finally — finally — projected that Joe Biden would win the election. (Yay!) Then, the weather was so nice and warm, and I went downtown to walk around and be part of the celebration that Joe won. Then there was an amazing sunset, and I took some excellent photos at Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Then the acceptance speeches Joe and Kamala Harris gave were fantastic. Then SNL with Dave Chappelle and Foo Fighters … Great day.

November 6
Had a good lesson with Georgia this afternoon, and did better with my Torah portion than I had all week. So, maybe this will be alright, after all.

November 5
It was a perfect fall-weather day, so I’m glad Andreina and I went for a walk around lunchtime today.

November 4
I became increasingly happy today when it became increasingly clear that Joe Biden is likely going to win the election. Count all the votes!

November 3
On a discouraging Election Night, I was glad I switched over from CNN to MSNBC, because MSNBC’s coverage was a bit calmer in tone than CNN’s and less hyperactive and overwhelming. Much appreciated. MSNBC also was projecting states sooner than CNN.

November 2
Heard back from Animoto customer service today, and they were very helpful, so I was able to figure out the music for Abby’s bat mitzvah video. And now I’ll know how to combine music tracks in the future, too.

November 1
Finished one of my projects for Abby’s bat mitzvah today and was happy that I could order it and have it arrive before I go to New York. Phew!

October 31
I’m actually happy that things at Wegmans were so busy when I tried to go this afternoon, because going after dinner, on a Saturday night, instead was actually great. The place was very quiet, the shelves had been restocked, and I even bumped into a former coworker. So, that was fun.

October 30
Last night I submitted my first assignment for PwC, and today I was told it was good to go and I should submit my invoice. That was quick!

October 29
The adhesive nose bridge strips I bought on Amazon arrived today, and when I attached one to a face mask, it prevented some of the fogging up of my glasses that was happening in recent days. So that made this $5 purchase instantly worth it.

October 28
I discovered that My Cousin Vinny was on IFC tonight, right as it was starting, and decided to watch that instead of CNN or whatever else. Good choice.

October 27
How nice to have a free dinner tonight, because I took advantage of an Uber Eats offer, and had Uber credits in my account. The food itself was just alright (maybe I should have ordered from somewhere other than Bertucci’s), but hey, it was free!

October 26
Today I finally cleaned out the drawer that was overstuffed with 12+ years of statements from Morgan Stanley and other places, and that had my initial mortgage info and other old stuff in it. This was long overdue.

October 25
Today I was happy that the New Balance hoodie I bought yesterday for just $11.99 fit so comfortably. That really was a great deal.

October 24
Slept till almost 10:30 this morning. So, that was nice.

October 23
When your freelance client says, “We have a lot of money to spend,” that’s a good thing.

October 22
The laptop I was expecting from one of my freelance clients finally arrived today. So now, after more than two months of ramping up (sigh), it appears I can finally start doing work for them.

October 21
Twice today I answered the phone, even though no name showed up on the Caller ID and I thought they were political calls. And it’s a good thing, because both times, it was a company calling to tell me I was moving on in the hiring process and then trying to schedule an interview.

October 20
I voted today. I wish that meant the election was over, but I was happy to have at least done my part and to know this process is coming to an end. Also: No line meant I was done with the whole thing quickly.

October 19
Really enjoyed watching the Bruce Springsteen interview with Zane Lowe and James Corden’s interview on Tell Me More tonight (and the clips from the Jennifer Garner episode of TMM, which I’ll watch in full tomorrow). Great conversations.

October 18
Got to Michael’s Deli right before it closed today, and was happy they had three Auntie Bev’s Noodle Kugels left.

October 17
Did a belated purge today of some old magazines I’d been saving but will probably never read. Felt good to reduce the clutter in my apartment.

October 16
Really enjoyed watching the West Wing special tonight, including the performance by The Avett Brothers at the end. It was really great to see all those actors, including many in smaller roles, slip so easily back into their parts, and reciting the great Aaron Sorkin dialogue.

October 15
The new Bruce Springsteen album doesn’t drop for another week, but it’s already leaked, and today Deb sent me a link to where I could download it. Yay!

October 14
It was very cool today when Steven Page replied to me on Twitter twice!

October 13
I enjoyed this tweet by the Carolina Panthers today. Ha!

October 12
I finished watching Schitt’s Creek tonight. What a sweet, happy ending. That show made me smile pretty much from the very first episode to the last one.

October 11
I’m kinda happy I got my car washed today, because the last time it was washed was before the quarantine, so it was long overdue.

October 10
Today was a perfect day for a walk in the woods in the middle of Connecticut, so I’m glad that’s exactly what Mitzi, Jason, the kids, and I did.

October 9
It was a lot of fun to hang out as friends with Melanie and Isadora tonight, and to vent and gossip and laugh. I’m glad we did this.

October 8
I heard from Liam today because he had a lead for a new job and wanted to submit me for it. Not sure it’ll be a perfect fit, but it’s nice to have another possible option in the works.

October 7
A fly landed on Mike Pence’s head during the VP debate tonight, and it was easily the highlight of the night, instantly launching all kinds of jokes and memes.

October 6
It’s become harder to find some things in recent weeks, so I was relieved today to (finally) find daily shower cleaner spray at Target in Watertown. Now I’ll be set with that for a good while.

October 5
Today I realized the new show Song Exploder had been added to Netflix on Friday, so I watched two episodes and really enjoyed them.

October 4
Homemade chocolate chip waffles are a good way to begin the day.

October 3
Opened my box of Mickey Mouse ice cream bars tonight, and not surprisingly, the one I had was yummy. It brought me right back to eating one last summer at Disneyland.

October 2
Happy I wrote two blog posts for Erica today, so now I can do some other writing this weekend, and start on a new project for a new client on Monday.

October 1
Had the first Zoom call to plan our 25-year reunion for next June tonight. It was fun to see friends and to now have something good to look forward to.

September 30
Glad I remembered that the South Park Pandemic Special was on tonight, because it was pretty funny.

September 29
Finally heard back from a couple additional freelance clients today, so I’m happy those processes and projects are moving forward.

September 28
It was awfully humid when I went out today, and I thought I felt a couple raindrops, but it never did rain, so I was able to get in a good walk, and didn’t have to spend my entire Yom Kippur indoors.

September 27
Thanks to Schitt’s Creek, I was inspired to listen to James Morrison today, and it reminded me of just how much I like his music.

September 26
When Quinn and her boyfriend went to bed “early” last night, I feared it was because they needed to be up early to go somewhere. So I was pleasantly surprised, but happy, when I was able to sleep till 9:30 this morning undisturbed, and Quinn and her boyfriend (amazingly) slept till after 1:30 p.m.

September 25
Melanie texted me today and let me know she had a lead on some (more) freelance work for me. Very cool.

September 24
New episodes of The Chef Show dropped on Netflix today. I really enjoyed the one featuring Milk Bar (shocker!), where Christina Tosi showed how she made her cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookies and chocolate birthday cake (truffles, too) and grasshopper pie. Yum!

September 23
After a few days of chilly weather, today was about 10 degrees warmer and it was perfect windows-open and pre-dinner-walk weather. So I did both.

September 22
Decided to go out to Brooklyn Water Bagels (or whatever it’s called now) today while Creuza was here, and loved how doughy the bagels they gave me were. Yum.

September 21
I enjoy when a day is “even Steven”: This morning, I learned a job I’d been interviewing for was probably not going to work out. But tonight, I heard from a recruiter at another company that she wanted to talk to me about a job there. Just another example of when one door closes, another one opens.

September 20
The Emmys tonight were actually kinda cool, and it was fun to see Schitt’s Creek win so many awards given that I’ve just started watching it and am now on season two.

September 19
Happy today that the challah I bought at the Butcherie on Thursday was so good. It was good with honey tonight, and I’m sure it’ll make for yummy French toast tomorrow morning.

September 18
Thankful tonight for friends like Farrah and Barry, who hosted a very nice, socially distanced Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner in their backyard tonight, complete with individual homemade challahs (yum!). Also, just for the record (because it made me unhappy), RIP RBG.

September 17
Was surprised to find a warm, apparently fresh-from-the-oven challah at the Butcherie today, so I bought it, thus saving myself a trip to Cheryl Ann’s tomorrow morning.

September 16
Found a motherlode of Clorox Cleanup at Target today, so I bought two bottles of it.

September 15
I was happy this morning when I learned I could just walk over to the UPS Store on the corner to print a couple pages, so I didn’t have to go all the way to the FedEx Office store on Route 9.

September 14
I’m always happy when I’m able to publish a blog post, as I did today with my review of The Way I See It.

September 13
Met up with Katie today for a walk, in the Arnold Arboretum (somewhere I don’t think I’d ever been before), and saw a fantastic view of the Boston skyline from the top of Peters Hill. I love great views like that. I’ll have to go back there sometime soon.

September 12
The weather has cooled down a bit in recent days, and with temps now in the high 60s or low 70s, it’s been a perfect time to open my windows and air out my apartment, as I did today.

September 11
Finally heard back from Erica today about the last two posts I worked on, and all was well, so now I can get paid for what I did for her. Not only that, but she gave me more work to do. So all that was good.

September 10
Kinda glad it rained today, so my late-afternoon walk with Katie had to be postponed, because it meant I would be home in time to watch the B.C. first-year convocation live, and to see the Q&A with Bruce Springsteen. It was a bit too scripted, but very cool nevertheless.

September 9
Today it was leaked that a new Bruce Springsteen album — with the E Street Band — is coming on October 23. Yay!

September 8
Glad I decided to space out how quickly I watched season three of A.P. Bio, so it lasted longer. Finished the last two episodes tonight. Hopefully there will be more next year.

September 7
Still not exactly sure how it happened, but tonight I randomly figured out how to rearrange the apps on my AppleTV screen. Finally. So now they’re finally appearing, generally, in order of how often I use them.

September 6
Couldn’t get any cider donuts, and the sunflower field was largely unimpressive, but I’m still glad I went out to Wards Berry Farm today because I bought some delicious, fresh sweet corn and a bag of French toast bagels.

September 5
The first hour of Class Action Park is so crazy, so ridiculous, so amazing, so hysterical, and so true, that I was kinda happy I was born about five years too late to ever go to Action Park. Ha! But I laughed pretty hard while watching the documentary.

September 4
Glad the programming was running late, so I could go for a longer than expected walk, then order and go pick up dinner, without missing any of the Bruce Springsteen concert being broadcast as part of the Live on My Green festival tonight — even if said concert was the Live in Dublin show with the Sessions Band.

September 3
Today I was so happy that A.P. Bio dropped its new episodes on Peacock. I love that show. Also making me happy: Lynette is back for season three!

September 2
This video really made me smile today. #saucynugs

September 1
Andreina and I went for a walk today, and she showed me a path around a much smaller and much less crowded reservoir, one that I never knew existed. So now I have somewhere “new” to go walking.

August 31
One really nice thing about these last two weeks is how many old friends and former coworkers have reached out to try and help me with my job search. It’s been great to catch up with them. For example, today I really enjoyed chatting with Jen and Shelley.

August 30
Thankful today that there was minimal traffic getting from Wildwood Crest back to Mitzi’s house, and then none from there back to my place in Boston, so I could get home at an early enough hour to have dinner and a relaxing evening.

August 29
It was a lot of fun having a splash fight with Marc in the ocean today — especially since the rainy, cloudy weather kept people away and it was less crowded at the beach than it had been all week.

August 28
Very much enjoyed the relative peace, quiet, and tranquility of kayaking this morning.

August 27
It was good to get half of my freelance work for this week done this morning so I could take a break and enjoy the afternoon at the beach.

August 26
I’m glad we got to the pool early enough today and that it wasn’t as crowded as the day before, so I could go for a quick swim (and go down the slide!) before it filled up with families.

August 25
I was happy today to get my first “bite” from one of the companies where I’ve applied for a job, and to set up an initial phone screen for tomorrow.

August 24
It felt great to be in the water, letting the waves hit me, and soaking up the sunshine today. Much better than spending yet another day in my condo.

August 23
Already feeling happy I decided to accept the invite to join Mitzi, Jason, and the kids on vacation to the Jersey Shore. Standing in the water on the beach tonight and watching the sunset was just what I needed.

August 22
Really enjoyed hanging out on Mitzi’s deck tonight with her and Jason and the kids, eating dinner, making s’mores, and just talking.

August 21
It’s goofy (appropriately so, since it was recorded for a children’s album), but I really dig Anderson East’s new song, “I Ain’t No Zebra, I’m a Bumblebee.”

August 20
It was nice to catch up with Erica today and talk about some possible freelance work.

August 19
It was very cool to participate in a private virtual concert with Zach Williams via Zoom tonight. Loved hearing those songs in such an “intimate” setting. Always makes me feel so good to see and hear Zach (and the band) perform live.

August 18
For a change, Quinn and her boyfriend went to bed at a decent hour last night and woke up at a normal time this morning. So I was able to get a good night’s sleep, and didn’t have to wake up too early.

August 17
Today was a good day, actually. It was really nice to hear from so many people after posting about looking for a new job on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook — many of whom shared opportunities and some very kind words. Made me feel very optimistic.

August 16
It was fun to meet up with Mitzi, Jason, and the kids today in Connecticut, and to hang out for a couple hours. I wish the weather had cooperated so we could have done it for longer, but I’m glad we didn’t let the rain stop us from meeting up in the first place.

August 15
The weather cooled down a bit today, so it was nice to open my windows and air out my condo a bit.

August 14
The word of the day was relieved. After two weeks of stress and uncertainty, today I was relieved by what happened. And I was happy about the surprisingly generous severance package I received. Onward!

August 13
Happy I decided to put honey on my chicken filets tonight instead of BBQ sauce.

August 12
Turns out, I was on Food Paradise tonight! The episode I was interviewed for nearly two years ago finally aired, and it was pretty funny. But very cool to see myself on the show, and so often!

August 11
Happy today that my stitches were finally removed, and that Kamala Harris was announced as Joe Biden’s running mate.

August 10
Heard from Melanie tonight, and we had a good conversation (via text) that made me feel encouraged.

August 9
So, today was a pretty good day. Among the highlights: I got a good haircut, I’ve managed to keep off the weight I lost in recent weeks, and it seems like the college football season will be canceled.

August 8
Honestly, watching a bunch of old episodes of Felicity tonight was just the kind of “comfort food” I needed today.

August 7
Today was a productive day, work-wise and in terms of getting my ducks in a row, just in case. So that made me happy.

August 6
FWIW, I was happy today when I finished the initial draft of a blog post for Kasper and sent it along to him. Glad to have that off my plate (for now). Also good was receiving a quick response that he liked it.

August 5
Happy that I was able to find some old(er) work I did at IBM tonight, both in my Gmail Sent items folder and on the IBM website, so I could have those PDFs on hand as work samples and upload a couple of them to my (now updated) LinkedIn profile. Not all were still online, but I can track those down relatively easily.

August 4
Glad I decided to go to CVS this afternoon to quickly pick up my rinse refill instead of doing it at the end of the day, because I was able to go and get home safely before the storm hit us.

August 3
One nice thing about there being not much on TV right now is that I don’t have to stay up later to watch anything, and can go to bed early if I feel like it. As I did tonight.

August 2
Warm, humid weather aside, I’m glad I decided to walk down to Newton Centre today, because it gave me the chance to finish listening to Michele Obama’s podcast interview with Barack. What an uplifting, hopeful, optimistic conversation that was.

August 1
Today I was happy that Ken gave me a heads up that he’d be playing music in Newton Centre. It was really great to see and hear him play, and to hang out for a bit. It felt normal.

July 31
Had some good garlic bread from 4 Corners Pizza tonight. Yum.

July 30
I went to bed last night before 10:00, so when I woke up this morning, I was happy to have slept through most of the night with little disturbance. Felt good to get so much rest.

July 29
The Lone Bellow announced their rescheduled tour dates today, and while we don’t know that these shows will actually happen or be safe enough to attend, it’s nice to have something to look forward to in 2021 now. Only question is: Do I take a chance on seeing them at the Ryman in Nashville in April? Hmmmm …

July 28
I thought she’d take out my stitches today, but I was happy enough that the periodontist removed the gum dressing from my mouth today. Man, was that annoying to have in for the last two weeks. Better yet, she said I was free to eat normally again. Yay!

July 27
After what felt like a blah, unproductive week last week, today felt more productive and upbeat. So I was grateful for that.

July 26
Watched a few more old clips from when Regis Philbin appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman today. Damn, are those funny.

July 25
When I went to the Urgent Care today for my COVID test, I totally forgot to put money in the parking meter. So I was happy it was so quick, and that when I came out there wasn’t a ticket on my car.

July 24
It’s been nice recently to get on the scale in the morning and see my weight be under 200 pounds for the first time in a while. Just one benefit of recovering from my oral surgery, and my eating options being limited.

July 23
I never thought we’d see any games this year, and who knows how many there will actually be, but regardless, I was happy that the baseball season started tonight.

July 22
It was nice to be on a video call today with folks from work who I haven’t seen or spoken with since early March.

July 21
Tonight, thanks at least partly to a typically robust sneeze, a significant piece of the gum dressing on the roof of my mouth broke off. So that makes my mouth feel a little bit more “normal” now.

July 20
So glad I saw a tweet today about the Happy Endings reunion episode and Q&A tonight. The special episode was fun; even better was finding the older episodes on Hulu and re-watching the first five.

July 19
For the first time in my three (or is it four?) years of being a judge for the Content Marketing Awards, I did all my work with nearly a week to spare. Felt good to wrap that up today.

July 18
I’m glad I had my gum graft done during a time when things were already low key and I couldn’t do much, because it meant that today, when I woke up feeling tired and blah, I didn’t feel guilty or frustrated by a day spent largely at home by myself.

July 17
Today I was happy I had chocolate “sundae syrup” in my fridge because the Friendly’s fudge swirl ice cream I bought was decidedly lacking in swirls of fudge.

July 16
Learned today that I like cinnamon applesauce. Yum!

July 15
I was very happy today that my gum graft procedure was as painless and easy as it was (relatively speaking). It was a pleasant surprise that, in the end, I didn’t really feel any of the grafting that was going on. That was some effective local anesthesia!

July 14
The @WaitWait Twitter handle today tweeted a Hamilton reference, and the puns that followed were spot on. LOL

July 13
Ran out to Wegmans tonight to buy more cool, soft foods for later this week, and enjoyed seeing how empty it was. Maybe, in the future, I should do all my grocery shopping on Monday night.

July 12
Today, I changed the photos in the frames in my bathroom. Which gives the room a slightly different look. Finally. Only took me 12 years.

July 11
Really enjoyed Palm Springs tonight — and I’m glad it’s on Hulu (and only 90 minutes long) so I can watch it again and again any time I want, without having to pay $20 every time.

July 10
Had a pretty vivid dream this morning that I was hanging out with members of the Lone Bellow, enjoying an exclusive concert and getting some inside scoop. Felt like we were actual friends. So that gave me a cool feeling when I woke up.

July 9
Tonight I heard from In a Pickle that the episode of Food Paradise that I was interviewed for in 2018 will finally be broadcast on August 12. I hope I made the cut!

July 8
Not only was I happy today that Laurie submitted her blog post a day ahead of schedule, I was also happy that Rebecca got me feedback on another post less than two hours after I sent it to her.

July 7
Glad I bought some lettuce and carrots (and dressing) this weekend, so that today, when I needed a quick late lunch, all I had to do was make a small salad.

July 6
It wasn’t a terribly productive day overall, but I was still happy that today was Monday and not a weekend day.

July 5
Made my first corn on the cob of the season with my dinner tonight. Yum!

July 4
Today I was glad I decided to walk to Newton Centre to grab lunch, instead of drive, because Dan met me there and we went for a walk around the area. And then, on my way back home, I veered off course and decided to explore the Webster Conservation Area for the first time, which extended the walk in a new way. It made for a more interesting afternoon, and helped me spend more time outside than if I had driven.

July 3
Glad I was able to watch all of Hamilton today before I went to Marblehead to hang out with Mary and Judy, because it was really fantastic. In many ways, it was like I was seeing it for the very first time. Can’t wait to watch again.

July 2
Happy that today I was able to find a writer available to do some work for me, and that I could connect her with our internal SME. In a typical year, folks probably would not have been working much today.

July 1
Tonight I was relieved that I finished season two of The Politician because in spite of my watching all 15 available episodes of the show, and finding it entertaining enough, it’s really not that good.

June 30
In spite of everything, it’s nice to have Creuza back and cleaning my apartment again every two weeks, as she did today.

June 29
Tonight I fell down a rabbit-hole of La La Land clips on YouTube and was reminded of how much I love that movie.

June 28
Was skimming through the latest issue of Boston magazine today when I noticed I was in it! A tweet of mine was featured on the online page. So, that was amusing.

June 27
Very happy that, when I went to Cafe Fresh Bagels today at lunch time, not only were there so many egg bagels available that I could buy a baker’s dozen, but they were still warm (which made my car smell like egg bagels all day long — no complaints). And, I was the only customer in the place (unlike the last time I was there).

June 26
It was really nice tonight to go for a long walk with Andreina, and to get to know each other better (after living in the same building for the last 12+ years), and gossip about our noisy neighbors. I hope we do it again soon.

June 25
Today I was happy I finally brought in my car to the Honda dealership to have them fix the air conditioning. Cool air blowing out of the vents on my way home was very nice.

June 24
It was good to see Andrew Cuomo back on Chris Cuomo’s show tonight, and I was thankful that, given everything going on right now, it was a more serious interview than others had been in the past.

June 23
I appreciated receiving a shoutout from Pablo at AB InBev, who shared the eBook I wrote on LinkedIn tonight.

June 22
I’m very happy with the new fan I bought tonight for my bedroom. It’s taller and quieter and more powerful than the one I’d been using for a few years now — and it even has a remote control, so I can adjust the breeze from my bed without having to get up. Score!

June 21
Happy I decided to go over to the Target at Fenway today because they had the sloth pool float that was sold out at every other Target store in the area. Now, to figure out how I’m going to get it to Ian.

June 20
Today was the 10th anniversary of one of my favorite Abby videos of all time. Rewatching that a few times made me smile.

June 19
I’m proud that we decided to close our company down today in observance/celebration/honor of Juneteenth. (And that the company allowed us to put on our OOO auto-replies.) It was the right thing to do.

June 18
Fun Zoom chat with Andrew and Robin tonight — and Tali, too, for a little while. I’m glad we’re doing these regularly.

June 17
Tonight, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra streamed a show it did with the Lone Bellow in 2016. I saw the notification on Facebook just in time. So good — and it was a real treat to hear “Lovely in Blue,” “Diners,” and “Purple Rain.” And the finale of “Then Came the Morning” with the orchestra was good too, of course.

June 16
So, this happened. Ha!

June 15
I watched the majority of season two of Dating Around tonight. Another enjoyable collection of episodes — especially the Heather one.

June 14
Got a haircut today, and while it’s not as short as I wanted it to be, after more than three months of having to let my hair grow out, it looks and feels good to have it not be so bushy.

June 13
I went over to Barry and Farrah’s house tonight to have a socially distanced, belated birthday dinner with them and the kids in the backyard — complete with homemade funfetti cake. Yum. But more important, it was my first time hanging out in any significant way with friends offline since March, and it was real nice.

June 12
Today someone told me (via Slack) that “We should rename the blog channel the Martin channel. Once he started writing for it we started winning revenue from it!” So that was cool.

June 11
Today I was very happy that our BLM roundup post came in on time, that it was good and didn’t need much work, and that I could turn it around and publish it in the early afternoon.

June 10
Turning off the ice maker in my freezer appears to have been a good decision, because it’s less noisy now.

June 9
After a Twitter user complained to outspoken Rage Against the Machine front man Tom Morello today about his supposedly recent habit of sharing political views, this reply made me laugh pretty hard. LOL

RATM Twitter reply

June 8
It was nice to go to Wegmans in the middle of the day today, when there was no line to get in and fewer customers inside than on a weekend.

June 7
Well, this wasn’t my favorite birthday. But I was nice to hear from many people today via phone call, text, and FaceTime, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Slack. In truth, though, I’m just kinda happy the day is over.

June 6
Finally watched the Bluebird documentary tonight. It was really great, and not surprisingly, it made me want to go back to Nashville as soon as possible.

June 5
Today was my first day off since starting my new job in December (not counting the day of Aunt Leslie’s funeral). And while I didn’t do much with the day, and I actually did do a smidge of work, it was still good to take it easy and not be staring at the computer all day.

June 4
Because I went to Star Market last night, I could eat something other than a peanut butter sandwich for lunch today. Tuna fish hasn’t tasted this good in a long time.

June 3
It was so good to hear Barack Obama speak today in a virtual town hall. His intelligence and compassion and leadership has been sorely missed.

June 2
Kind of a big day today: I had my apartment cleaned by Crueza for the first time since early March, and my new refrigerator was delivered and set up, and I watched my first new movie in a long time (The King of Staten Island) via an advance screener link.

June 1
I was happy today all the hours I didn’t have my TV on and wasn’t staring at Twitter to see what was happening and reading all the “takes” on the weekend’s ugliness.

May 31
Tonight, the Lone Bellow did the first of what is, apparently, going to be a series of weekly livestream performances. Even better, they were all performing in the same room together. It was great. “For What It’s Worth” was much needed after the last three days, and “May You Be Well” was especially transcendent.

May 30
Grabbed lunch from Johnny’s today (grilled cheese and fresh potato chips, mmmmm) and sat on a bench in Newton Centre eating it. Really enjoyed that.

May 29
I’m not a huge Dropkick Murphys fan, but it was pretty cool to watch a concert streaming live from Fenway Park tonight, and to see Bruce Springsteen playing two songs “with” them (live from his home in New Jersey).

May 28
Tonight I figured out I can order online from Crazy Dough’s, which is super convenient.

May 27
After less successful results last night, I was happy — and relieved — that today I was able to buy a new refrigerator (via Best Buy) and have a delivery scheduled within a week.

May 26
The good news today was that, after more than a day of it being stuffed up, and me using my plunger many many times, this afternoon I was finally able to unclog my toilet. That was a giant relief.

May 25
Spent a lot of my day today back in 1995 and 1996, watching my camcorder footage from senior year of college. It was a much more enjoyable use of my time than I expected it to be.

May 24
It was nice to get out today and see somewhere I’ve never seen before: the Wachusett Dam, in Clinton, which was a nice, green, picturesque area, and not overly crowded this afternoon.

May 23
I’d already gone to Newton Highlands and Needham to get my car inspected and grab some good, fresh, doughy egg bagels from Cafe Fresh, so I decided to continue on to Westwood and go to Target and the much bigger Wegmans there, and I’m glad I did because I found hand sanitizer, marble cake mix, and a bunch of other things, and now I don’t have to go to the smaller Wegmans in Chestnut Hill this weekend — or order those things on Amazon.

Stay safe, Silly Guy!

May 22
It was a good day for the mail today. First, I got a package from Tali and Gabriel (and Andrew) with a note telling me to “Stay safe, Silly Guy!” and some homemade face masks, and then I got a package from Nina with some delicious homemade salted-caramel pretzel blondies. Yay!

May 21
I love how deep the rabbit hole on YouTube goes. It’s endless hours of entertainment, especially on a slow night of TV.

May 20
It was fun to finally watch the “Bombshell” concert and Smash cast reunion tonight. The concert was recorded five years ago and had never been officially broadcast before.

May 19
I like when I get into a writing groove and can knock out a long thing I’ve been procrastinating about. Made some good progress on one of those things today — and tonight.

May 18
The nice thing about being busy some days is that those days fly by. Like today did.

May 17
Made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast today. Yum!

May 16
When I got to Wegmans this afternoon, there was no line to get in, and the store was less crowded overall than usual. Weird, but no complaints about that.

May 15
Tonight I was happy Bill Maher’s show took the week off. I haven’t been enjoying it much recently.

May 14
Managed to make breaded chicken breast for dinner tonight without the breading sticking to the baking pan. And it was yummy.

May 13
Today, it made me very happy when I got an email telling me my 8 a.m. meeting tomorrow morning had been canceled. Yay!

May 12
It was announced today that the filmed version of Hamilton, starring the entire original cast, would be released on Disney+ on July 3, nearly 15 months before it was scheduled to hit the big screen. So that was exciting, and now it’s something good to look forward to.

May 11
It was very cool to see Pohly Company chum Erinn Powers on Live with Kelly & Ryan today, talking about her Front Porch Project work, and the money she’s raised from that effort.

May 10
Felt good to do a little housecleaning today.

May 9
Couldn’t find my car registration today when I went to get an inspection, and wasn’t sure how long it had been “missing,” so I was happy I discovered this on my own, and not because I’d been pulled over by a cop or something. I mean, it was up to date and all, but still … Phew!

May 8
A man goes to the zoo. There’s only one animal there: A dog. It was a shih tzu. LOL … That joke during this week’s episode of The Good Fight made my day. Ha ha ha ha ha …

May 7
In a conversation today, the topic of Nashville came up. Thinking about the city and my trip there a couple years ago made me smile.

May 6
Had a great interview with a client today; she gave me exactly the kind of answers I was hoping for, to use in an upcoming article. Love it when that happens.

May 5
It was fun to have dinner “with” Judy tonight (via Zoom), and to catch up for a couple hours.

May 4
Twelve years ago today, I became an uncle, which means it was Abby’s 12th birthday, and that was certainly a very happy occasion.

May 3
Today was the first 70-plus degree day of the year, so it was nice to put on a pair of shorts and go on a longer walk outside. Then come home and open my windows.

May 2
Today was a nicer day than it had been lately, and I needed to get “away” from the same places I’d been going recently, so I drove out to Dedham for a change to go to shopping at Stop & Shop.

May 1
I kinda hit a wall today, so I was happy it was Friday and that I have two days “off” coming up.

April 30
The Parks and Recreation reunion special tonight was really quite wonderful. Really glad they did that, and got everyone involved.

April 29
I enjoy that I share some interests with my nine-year-old nephews, because it means we can have some engaging conversations from time to time. Like when Marc and I discuss The Flash, as we did tonight.

April 28
It’s nice to have lunch “with” Brooke Baldwin. Regardless, I’m just happy she’s feeling better and back on CNN.

April 27
I didn’t watch the president*’s daily press briefing today, and no surprise, I felt happier tonight.

April 26
This morning I was thankful to still own a waffle iron, because I used it to make waffles for the first time in years and they were yummy.

April 25
It was good to have a productive day today, between my writing of a blog post, and my stops at the gas station, CVS, Wegmans, Star Market, and Comellas. It felt almost normal!

April 24
Had a good, long conversation with Rebecca tonight. Fun to catch up.

April 23
Found more face masks on Amazon tonight, so I ordered a box, and I’m actually expecting them to arrive as early as Monday. Which is good, because the masks I’d already ordered on Amazon weeks ago, which I had expected to arrive sometime within the last week, are still MIA.

April 22
I’m sorry that these were the circumstances, but it was good to see Bruce Springsteen perform again tonight (two songs, with Patti) during the Jersey 4 Jersey benefit telethon.

April 21
I was interviewed by The Boston Globe on Sunday for an article about living alone right now. Tonight, the reporter showed me the section of the article about me, and it was kind of a bummer. So I was happy that, when I wrote her back and asked for some changes to be made, she said she could do it. She made me sound less lame and a less sad than the original wording did. Phew!

April 20
Today was Patriots Day, and while there was no Marathon or Red Sox game, WBZ showed the documentary Boston at night, about the history of the Marathon. The section of it that I watched was really great, and was just the kind of spirited entertainment I needed today. Now I’m looking forward to watching the rest of it.

April 19
Successfully made an omelette today without it falling apart. FTW!

April 18
Watched all eight episodes of Too Hot to Handle on Netflix today. A not-very-good show, but very entertaining. And timely, too.

April 17
Tonight I was happy I had a frozen shrimp scampi still in my freezer, so I could make it for dinner. It’s tasty.

April 16
Today I participated in the recording of an episode of Validity’s Gone Remote video show and podcast, with Monina and a couple other folks, and I think it went well (or at least, Monina told me I sounded good when we debriefed afterwards). Looking forward to seeing the edited version tomorrow or next week.

April 15
The second-season premiere (two episodes!) of What We Do in the Shadows tonight was hysterical. Especially the cold-open of the first episode. So glad this show is back.

April 14
Today I made the (smart) decision to throw out the seven-layer cake that I’m pretty sure was the source of my upset stomach the past two nights. And sure enough, not eating it tonight meant I felt just fine.

April 13
Was surprised to learn today that I had earned and was receiving a bonus for the second half of 2019, even though I’d only just started working at the company in December. No complaints!

April 12
It wasn’t easy, and it took a while, but those are just two reasons I’m happy I decided to shave my beard completely today, instead of later in the week.

April 11
The entire program was hit and miss, but hearing Cynthia Erivo and Shoshana Bean’s amazing performance of “When You Believe” during the Saturday Night Seder tonight was worth it. So was the finale, a reinterpretation of the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem.” Mazel tov to the entire creative team!

April 10
I tend to see the same people day after day, so it was nice today when I had a Zoom call with Ana, who I hadn’t seen or spoken with in a month or so.

April 9
You know? The chocolate roll I bought for dessert this week is really quite good. Doesn’t even taste like a Kosher for Passover cake.

April 8
Chris and Andrew Cuomo did a pretty funny interview tonight. Made me laugh pretty hard.

April 7
After a bit of a stressful trip to Wegmans last night, I was happy my trip to Star Market tonight was worthwhile, because I found a bunch of stuff for Passover that I didn’t see last night. And wearing a face mask instead of a scarf made me feel a little more comfortable, too.

April 6
I mean, having the original cast of Hamilton performing via Zoom on the latest episode of John Krasinski’s Some Good News was pretty awesome. But seeing Robert De Niro giving a brief weather report made me laugh really hard.

USY on Wheels reunion

April 5
How cool to have 25 or so folks from our USY on Wheels bus get on a Zoom call today for a 30-year reunion. So much more fun than I ever expected it to be.

April 4
It’s been fun seeing Gabe from Comella’s when he’s delivered food to me these past two Saturday nights. It’s like a small slice of normal.

April 3
Given some issues from a couple weeks ago, I was relieved today when I went to change the company’s Twitter handle and it went through no problem. Phew.

April 2
I was amused today when multiple people replied to a tweet of mine from yesterday (ahem), in which I shared a news story and referenced a video it contained, even though I didn’t mention that said video link went not to what it said it did but to a Rick Astley video. LOL … These people had never heard of Rick-Rolling! LOL

April 1
When I woke up today, I had slept so well the night before and was feeling very good. After a few nights of being up multiple times for multiple reasons, that made me very happy.

March 31
Had a fun video chat with Andrew and Robin tonight. Great to catch up and just talk for a while.

March 30
This morning I was happy I’m working at home right now because I had a bad night and wasn’t feeling well, and being home meant I could take it easy today.

March 29
Today I was happy I decided to go through my underwear and undershirt and PJ bottoms drawers and get rid of some of my older clothes. Productive use of time.

March 28
When I woke up this morning, the heat in my condo appeared to not be working. So I was happy when, a couple hours later, it came on again.

March 27
Last night, Zach Williams of the Lone Bellow did a solo acoustic live stream show on Instagram, and I missed most of it. So I was happy it was still available to watch today. Good stuff.

March 26
Today was supposed to be MLB Opening Day, and that was a bummer. But MLB broadcast a lot of classic games on Twitter — including game four of the 2004 ALCS, and that was fun to watch again.

March 25
My only meeting today was canceled shortly before it started, so I was expecting no human contact today (other than emails and texts and Twitter). But then Farrah and the kids FaceTimed me to have lunch together, and all was well. Perfect timing.

March 24
I’m happy I decided to bake a cake on Saturday because, on days like today, it gives me something to look forward to after dinner, when there’s nothing on TV and not much to do.

March 23
Tonight I finished watching Fleabag. Damn, was that a great show. Not sure why it took me so long to watch it, but it was worth the wait.

March 22
It was nice to go for a walk around some quiet streets today with Farrah and the kids — albeit at a safe distance. Actual offline human interaction was much appreciated.

March 21
I was happy today that when I went to Star Market, not only did they have the ice cream I wanted, but it was actually on sale. Made the stop there worth it.

March 20
Tonight I enjoyed watching Jennifer Garner talking with Jimmy Fallon on his at-home version of The Tonight Show.

March 19
Received my first Amazon Fresh delivery tonight (because my Whole Foods order from Monday was canceled on me). Quickly wiped down my surfaces and doorknobs and drawer nobs and electronic devices with disinfectant spray. Glad to have more cleaning supplies at my disposal now.

March 18
Today I finally got out of the apartment — and out of the building — for the first time since Saturday afternoon. Felt good to breathe some fresh air and go for a walk again to get some exercise.

March 17
Thank God for technology. Today I had lunch “with” Farrah, thanks to FaceTime. And then, later in the day, my teammates and I had a virtual happy hour via Zoom.

March 16
I was very happy today when I found a couple containers of disinfectant wipes on Whole Foods/Amazon, and learned that I could have them delivered tomorrow morning. Thankful I don’t have to run to the supermarket now.

March 15
Today I was happy when I heard dad changed his mind and would be working from home tomorrow (and hopefully, for the foreseeable future).

March 14
One nice thing about this social distancing thing, and having no plans, and things around me generally being quieter right now, is that it means I can get a good, long night’s sleep. For example, when I woke up this morning, I’d slept for about 10 or 11 hours. Felt good!

March 13
With things at work, and in the world, being as crazy and confusing (and frustrating) as they have been this week, it was nice to get an encouraging and supportive call from Melanie this afternoon telling me I’m doing a good job, and coaching me on how I can see the current situation as an opportunity.

March 12
Today was not a good day. But one thing that was good was that, because I worked from home, I was able to make myself a good, healthier, home-cooked meal for dinner.

March 11
There were some seats at the bar at Back Bay Social when I walked by tonight, so I sidled up and had myself some chicken and waffles for dinner. Delicious! And not drowning in maple syrup and BBQ sauce, as is usually the case (both came on the side, without me asking), so … even better.

March 10
Today, Massachusetts declared a state of emergency about the coronavirus, which made things a bit more real for me and others. So I was happy that I decided to go to Star Market tonight to pick up some things so I could be prepared just in case, and that the store wasn’t crazy busy.

March 9
I really dig The Shop on HBO, and I’m glad I have a series recording set up for it, because it always seems to air randomly, and now I won’t miss any episodes. The latest episode was on Saturday night, and I watched it tonight.

March 8
Went to the Station Diner for brunch today and was happy to see Nicole working behind the bar. Felt like I hadn’t seen her in a while. She takes good care of me.

March 7
Today I was thankful for YouTube, because when I had nothing to do this afternoon, it kept me busy for a couple hours.

March 6
Gotta say, even though I was looking forward to certain aspects of the trip, I was so relieved today when it was decided that we would postpone next week’s event in New York City. A lot less work on my plate right now.

March 5
Glad I made it to the Bostonian Barbershop in time to get a haircut tonight. Really needed that.

March 4
When a movie screens for members of the media a day or two before it opens to the general public, that’s never a good sign. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Ben Affleck’s latest, The Way Back, tonight.

March 3
I woke up earlier this morning because I was expecting a lot of social media activity resulting from the study results that were released overnight. And yet … the world was not on fire. Which was a relief. I think. Anyway, it made for a less crazy morning, and that was good.

March 2
I was happy tonight when, after working in the office till almost 8:45, the train I needed arrived at the Arlington station minutes after I got to the platform, so I didn’t have to wait too long to go home.

March 1
I assumed that when I went to the Roots store at the Natick Mall today, that I would walk out empty handed. But alas, I was told that if I spent $150, I could get $30 off. So … I took advantage of that 20% off deal. No regrets.

February 29
This afternoon, I was happy I timed things well so I could make it on time to the new Majestic 7 theater in Watertown for a movie. Excellent new place to see films.

February 28
Today I was happy I stayed in the office till 6:30pm working so I could get some things off my to-do list and not have to worry about them over the weekend.

February 27
Finally got to ride one of the brand new Green Line trains home tonight. It was definitely more spacious, and a little more comfortable, than the older ones are.

February 26
Today I was happy I was able to transfer my Marriott Bonvoy account to a new email address, even though I no longer have access to my old work email address (which I used to create the Bonvoy account in first place). Now I can keep the points I earned last year and earn even more after an upcoming stay. Thank you to the helpful customer service person who allowed me to do this via the phone.

February 25
Andreina and I heard back from the building manager today that the condo board has voted to impose a monthly levy on Quinn (and her parents) — a $500 fine, retroactive to May 2019, that will continue until she becomes a graduate student or moves, whichever come first. Hopefully this means she’ll be moving out. Soon.

February 24
Apparently, the temperature outside hit 63 degrees today. On February 24. In Boston. If this is global warming, I’m not complaining.

February 23
Today, I was happy my car mount arrived from Amazon, and that not only was it easy to set up but it actually worked, so I could use my phone hands-free on the first day that a new law was in effect. (Also, that it only cost me $10.)

February 22
After finding the Yankee Candle store at Legacy Place closed today, I was happy that I decided to check at Bed Bath and Beyond, because they had the fragrance spheres I wanted there, and they were on sale.

February 21
The first music video from the new Broadway adaptation of Sing Street debuted today, and it’s making me more confident in the show, and more excited to see it in June.

February 20
Not sure I agree with the strategy behind it, but I’m happy that today it was decided that we postpone distributing a big report that I’d have spent a large part of this upcoming weekend writing. So that’s one thing off my to-do list (for now), and it means I can do other things I want to do this weekend.

February 19
Today I was happy for the other options in our office kitchen so I could grab a bagel and cream cheese for lunch instead of settling for the less appealing (free) Haitian food that was brought in.

February 18
It was so nice tonight to listen to Pete Buttigieg during his CNN Town Hall. I’m still not 100% sure I’ll be voting for him, but with everything else going on, Pete’s calm, intelligent, sensible demeanor is much appreciated.

February 17
We went to In a Pickle for brunch today (I love that the kids love it here), and I had the S’mores French Toast Tower for the first time in a long while. Yum! Still so good.

February 16
“It’s so peaceful here.” That was a direct quote from Marc this morning, explaining how he was able to sleep at my place last night. It also was an accurate reflection of how the three kids and I spent the morning until Mitzi and Jason got here.

February 15
I’d been wanting to try the steak tips at Joe’s, so I was happy that Mitzi, Jason, the kids, and I ended up having dinner there tonight. They (the tips) were yummy.

February 14
Despite being tired, I was happy I stayed up to watch all of Real Time with Bill Maher tonight instead of going to bed and saving the rest to watch in the morning. A minor victory, but a victory nevertheless.

February 13
We had delicious cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes in the office today. Mmmm … the vanilla cake with chocolate frosting is so good.

February 12
Fun time this evening out with a group from work to celebrate some birthdays.

February 11
Tonight I was happy about the steak sauce at the Met Bar. Decided to stop there for dinner on the way home and have the steak tips. Yum.

February 10
Tonight I was happy to find Pret a Manger open (till 9pm!) so I could have a different and slightly healthier dinner before my movie than if I had gone to Panera.

February 9
A very entertaining Oscars show ended with a big Best Picture win for Parasite over 1917. Woo hoo!! Also: two awards for Ford v Ferrari. Yay!

February 8
I’m excited to be making summer plans, including a trip to Chicago.

February 7
The Lone Bellow’s new album dropped today, and like an idiot, I forgot my earbuds at home. So I was happy the album was up on YouTube and that I had headphones at work, so I could still listen to it during the day.

February 6
Brooklyn Nine-Nine came back tonight. Yay!

February 5
Saw a movie at the ArcLight Boston for the first time tonight, and wow … I feel spoiled. I mean, the movie itself (Birds of Prey) was no classic, but the theater itself was fantastic.

February 4
After presenting during the all-company, global town-hall meeting today, I got multiple shoutouts for my work. That was cool.

February 3
Tonight I was happy that, when I walked into the Pour House after work, there were plenty of seats at the bar. So I was able to have dinner somewhere different, for a change.

February 2
I love the Subaru “Smaht Pahk” Super Bowl commercial, but this morning, Jeep shared its big-game ad and it was so great. My second-favorite of the night.

February 1
Today I was happy HBO released its Sunday-night shows a day early via HBO Go, so I could watch Curb Your Enthusiasm tonight, and not worry about doing so after the Super Bowl.

January 31
After a few days of writer’s block, I finally had a breakthrough and was able to finish a blog post for work. Phew! Just in time for the weekend.

January 30
The The Good Place series finale tonight was perfect. A wonderful hour-plus of television. Makes me want to rewatch the entire series.

January 29
It was announced today that Wes Anderson’s new film, The French Dispatch, will be released on July 24. Yay!

January 28
Received the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl programs in the mail today, from Cat. It’s nice to know that, even though she and I haven’t seen each other or spoken in years, that I’m still on the list to receive those.

January 27
I left the office around 6:30 tonight, so in hindsight, I was glad I decided to go to Finagle a Bagel today and that I sat there and ate my lunch — instead of getting something quick somewhere else and bringing it back to eat at my desk.

January 26
The temperature hit 50 degrees today, and it was sunny, so that was nice for a late-January day.

January 25
Panera was packed when I got there today, so it made me happy when folks who were finished got up to give me their table. And that, coincidentally, the place became less crowded while I was eating, so I could sit and read the new EW without feeling like I needed to give up my own table quickly.

January 24
You know what? This was a good week at work. A very good week. Things I did were well received, and I received a lot of kudos. It was really nice.

January 23
Tonight on The Good Place, the characters arrived in the actual Good Place, and it was the Getty Center! Perfect.

January 22
Planter’s announced today that Mr. Peanut had died, and that led to a few good laughs in the office today, and a fun tweet from our corporate handle sharing our sympathies.

January 21
I didn’t get much sleep last night (damned Quinn, who kept me up till after 3am), so tonight I was just happy to be home and able to go to bed early.

January 20
I’m happy Maureen and Melissa were both working in the office today, because I had the day off and it was fun to meet up for lunch and catch up with them. Also, some of the things I heard about how things had changed (and how some things had not changed) in the past couple months made me happy I wasn’t there anymore, and reminded me I made the right choice to leave.

January 19
Glad I went out to Natick today, because I was (finally) able to get the zipper in my Roots vest fixed.

January 18
Used my new Keurig K-Mini machine for the first time today, and I’ve gotta say: I really enjoyed waking up on a Saturday morning to a mug of hot cocoa.

January 17
Really appreciated all the kudos I received today, and the past couple days, on the Global Trends report I produced, that’s going into market on Tuesday. Happy it turned out so well and that people like it as much as they do. It’s always nice to come out of the gate for the first time with good work.

January 16
Maybe it’s the novelty, I don’t know. But I’ve actually enjoyed the late, very busy days of work this week. It’s nice to like what I do again.

January 15
The guy at Pret a Manger gave me a free croissant this morning because someone had just bought the last one, and I had to wait five minutes for fresh ones to come out of the oven. It was worth the wait.

January 14
Another night, another catch up sesh: Tonight it was Melanie. Good times.

January 13
Great to catch up with Stephani tonight. And at the Daily Catch. Yum!

January 12
The temperature today hit 73 degrees. Amazing. No complaints.

January 11
The 2019 year-in-review book I made on Shutterfly arrived in the mail today. It came out really well, and is a great compilation of what a fun 12 months I had.

January 10
For the first time all week, a B train wasn’t pulling out of the Arlington station right as I got there at the end of the day. The train I wanted was still two minutes away. Phew!

January 9
It was a busy day today, so I was excited when I checked Facebook at the end of the day and learned the Lone Bellow had released another (great) new song, “Good Times.”

January 8
Pret a Manger was out of croissants when I stopped in this morning, so I was happy to get to the office and find fresh bagels in the kitchen. And then I forgot it was Wednesday, so we had lunch brought in (which means I could save the lunch I brought with me today for tomorrow). And then there was a sheet cake birthday cake (apparently, something we do every quarter for those celebrating). So … a good food day in the office today.

January 7
Damn, the Dave Chapelle Mark Twain Prize special tonight was good.

January 6
Today I brought some old-school PB&J for lunch, on delicious, fresh bread. With Bugles, natch. No regrets. Yum.

January 5
Of all the Golden Globes winners tonight, the one that legit made me happiest (other than Laura Dern over J.Lo) was Awkwafina, whose movie The Farewell is so special and so good, and one of my favorites of 2019.

January 4
This morning, I cleaned out my pantry and all the non-food crap I’d been storing/dumping in there the last few years. Found some unused gift cards, stuff from jobs I left five and eight years ago and haven’t looked at since, Time magazine issues from Barack Obama’s first inauguration, a lot of empty eyeglass cases (and a lot of old glasses, too), and lots and lots of stuff I didn’t need to save for this long, if at all. Suffice it to say, I threw out a lot, and now it’s nice to see the floor, and have my pantry organized, again.

January 3
I was moved to a new desk at work today — my third in a month — but this one has walls. It’s been almost five years since I’ve had a cubicle with walls. Suffice it to say, I’m very happy about this. Really.

January 2
A lot of people went back to work today, so this morning I was happy to get the seat I wanted on the T, so I didn’t have to worry about how crowded the train was.

January 1
Woke up this morning at 9:30 a.m. well rested, thanks to my unexpected crashing at 11 p.m. last night, and my upstairs neighbor not making a ton of noise when she and her friend went to bed, and them sleeping late today. Did I really get close to 10 hours of sleep? Yay!

7 Responses to “The 2020 Happiness Project”

  1. Roberta Messuri January 2, 2020 at 2:55 pm #

    Hey Martin, Happy New Year. And thanks for this post. It really hit home for me. I decided to also write down, every day in 2020, one thing that makes me smile. I’m so many ways I value knowing you.

    • Martin Lieberman January 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm #

      That’s awesome! Glad to be an inspiration for your own Project. Happy 2020! 🙂


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