The 2021 Happiness Project

4 Jan
2021 ice sculpture

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. 

Eating a slice of good chocolate cake or a warm chocolate chip cookie. Hearing a catchy pop tune. Receiving a phone call from a friend. Enjoying warm weather in the middle of the winter. Experiencing good customer service. All of these are simple pleasures that make me a smile.

Some people think happiness is something you have to seek out, or that it results from big events. Those people need to stop and appreciate the little things more often.

That’s the gist, essentially, of my annual Happiness Project. Part online diary, part gratitude journal, and part mindfulness exercise, my Happiness Project is where I document something every day that made me happy. And it’s really just that simple: At the end of every day, I write down one thing that made me feel good, whether it was something I did, something I ate, something somebody said, a TV show I watched or movie I saw, a tweet, or something else. It doesn’t have to be something big or important; just something that made me 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, before becoming a broader movement.)

Documenting a “happy thing” every day — and doing it publicly — helps to promote the idea that no day is all bad. It also helps with self-care.

I did my first Happiness Project in 2015, and I’ve repeated the exercise every year since 2017. (For some reason, I took 2016 off.) So, what follows below is my sixth Happiness Project. (Wow!)

I’m hopeful that 2021 will be a good year — or, at the very least, that it will be a better year than 2020 was. Who knows what will actually happen over these 12 months, especially given the pandemic and political discord we’re all living through as I write this intro in January. But if you read through this blog post (from the bottom to the top), you’ll probably walk away with the impression that I’m having a good year, anyway, in spite of any challenges or bad events happening around me. 

That would make me happy, too.

And with that all said … Here’s what made me happy every day this year.

September 21
TBD

September 20
Not a huge deal, but I’m always happy when a brand replies and interacts with customers on Twitter, in a human way, as J.P. Licks did to/with me today (multiple times).

September 19
The French toast I made for brunch today using the leftover Butchery challah did not disappoint. Yum.

September 18
Finally started to watch Succession today. Didn’t like it much when the first episode first aired years ago, but really enjoyed it now. Easily made it through six episodes in one day.

September 17
Needed a change of scenery, so I’m glad I went to Comella’s in Wellesley tonight and ate dinner outside there.

September 16
I’m sorry the series ended, but tonight’s finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was so great. Lots of laughs and fun nods to previous episodes. I’m gonna miss this show.

September 15
The challah I got from the Butchery for dinner tonight was so yummy! Hopefully it will stay fresh for a couple days so I can eat it again after the holiday.

September 14
Today we finally finalized a planner document that I’d been working on for weeks, that was really kinda stressing me out. I was so happy to finally put that in the rear-view mirror. Finally.

September 13
It was nice to have plans tonight after work with another live human being — Al, visiting from San Antonio — and I was glad that we were able to get a table outside at Joe’s on Newbury Street with no wait, and that the weather was so perfect.

September 12
I enjoyed the interaction at Michael’s Deli today when the owner, wearing Miami Dolphins gear, gave me a hard time because of my Patriots t-shirt. (If only the Pats had won the game later in the day, but oh well.)

September 11
Very much enjoyed watching Come from Away tonight on AppleTV+. I’d never seen the show, but now I see why so many other people rave about it. And it was a well done recording.

September 10
I was relieved today when, after many of our files were mistakenly deleted off Sharepoint and I feared having to repeat a lot of work I didn’t enjoy doing in the first place, we were able to restore all of them — including the work I’d done this morning that I really didn’t want to re-do.

September 9
Today, new carpeting was installed in my condo building. After 13+ years of that old, discolored, gross green carpet, the change is nice.

September 8
I hit some traffic on the Merritt, but I’m glad I was able to leave Mitzi’s house early enough today so I didn’t get backed up in Hartford or encounter any other rush hour delays on my way home.

September 7
It was nice to be able to attend Rosh Hashanah services in person again today in White Plains.

September 6
Happy to get a haircut today at the same time as Marc and Ian. I needed one, and probably shouldn’t have planned to wait another week.

September 5
This morning I finally got to to to Brownstone Pancake Factory. I maybe went too big with my order, but it was yummy.

September 4
I’m glad the timing worked out today so I could get lunch from Rosenfeld’s and flowers from Winston’s, and still make it to Mitzi’s house ahead of schedule.

September 3
Happy today for the end of the workweek and the beginning of an extra-long weekend.

September 2
What We Do in the Shadows and A.P. Bio both returned today (yay!), and new episodes of The Other Two and Brooklyn 99 also aired, and I still have an episode of Only Murders in the Building to catch up on. All of a sudden, there’s too much good TV to watch! Can’t do it all in one night. But I like it.

September 1
A little random, but I was happy to receive a $59.52 rebate from Harvard Pilgrim today, thanks to the “medical loss ratio” law.

August 31
Tonight I was happy that, when I got to White Mountain Creamery, the place wasn’t overwhelmed with BC students, so I could easily get some of their delicious Oreo soft-serve. Mmmmm …

August 30
I was happy — or rather, relieved — this morning when, after learning Dad had fallen, I learned he probably hadn’t broken his hip, as was initially suspected.

August 29
Quinn is back. She got home on Friday night at 12:30am and then was awake till 5:30 in the morning. This morning, she woke up at 4:30am. So today I was happy simply because I had those two-plus months when she (and her boyfriend) wasn’t here and it was so quiet upstairs and I could sleep soundly through the night. And that it appears her boyfriend didn’t come back to Boston with her this weekend.

August 28
After missing out last week, I’m glad I timed things well so that I could eat lunch at Johnny’s today.

August 27
It was nice to finally meet a bunch of my coworkers in person today at an offsite for Boston-area folks.

August 26
Today was a productive workday, and I am happy about that.

August 25
It was very cool today to be offered a free pass to next month’s CMWorld so I could watch some of the sessions virtually (since I’m not actually going to Cleveland).

August 24
It was hot and humid out, but I’m glad Andreina suggested we go for a walk today “after work.”

August 23
Not gonna lie: I was happy to have my dryer vent cleaned out today, finally, after, like 9 years. And I was also happy we decided not to go to the JRAD show tonight.

August 22
I’m glad Hurricane/Tropical Storm Henri turned out to be a bit of a bust and that it didn’t really affect the Greater Boston area all that much today.

August 21
It was a bummer that the We Love NYC concert was called off in the middle tonight due to bad weather — while Barry Manilow was on stage, and before the Killers and Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello and Paul Simon and Cynthia Erivo and others could perform — but Anderson Cooper’s time-filling during the delay (before the show was fully canceled) was awesome TV. Hearing and seeing Barry and the Killers perform live on the spot from backstage, and watching Anderson geek out during a chat with Elvis and laugh with Stephen Colbert, was super fun. And how cool to learn that Elvis and Burt Bacharach are going to record some new music together next month!

August 20
Had a yummy ice cream sundae from J.P. Licks tonight. It was a nice night to stand outside in Newton Centre eating it, and chat with Ken, who was just hanging out there, too.

August 19
FaceTiming with Ian is always fun. I’ve been enjoying getting quick answers about his summer this week when I ask him my Question of the Day.

August 18
I really dig the french fries at Baramor in Newton Centre. Glad I was able to enjoy them again tonight.

August 17
After weeks of not seeing Toasted Marshmallow–flavored Milanos in any of the stores I visited, and assuming the season for them was over, tonight I found a bunch of them at Wegmans. And the dates on the packages were in late December, so I bought two of them.

August 16
Today I was happy to be told the work I spent much of the weekend working on was good, and I’m even happier that I don’t have to redo it now.

August 15
This cover of “New York State of Mind” by a bunch of Broadway stars and other folks is so great.

August 14
So so happy I watched CODA tonight. What a wonderful movie that is.

August 13
After struggling (and procrastinating) with writing the RAIN Mails, I finally got into a groove today and got a bunch of them done.

August 12
Today I was happy that Ryan scheduled the call time for tomorrow’s video shoot for 9:30am instead of the usual 7:30am. I’m glad I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow.

August 11
I learned today (because, apparently, I missed it yesterday) that A.P. Bio is coming back for season four on September 2. Yay!

August 10
After multiple (way too many!) attempts/fails, I was happy when I finally recorded a good, short clip for Mo’s farewell video today.

August 9
I enjoyed catching up with Rebecca this morning when she called me.

August 8
I don’t quite believe it, but according to my scale when I checked this morning, I’ve now lost five pounds since my bone graft on Tuesday. Not bad!

August 7
I really needed a lazy Saturday morning, so I’m glad I could have one today.

August 6
Finally! Nine years after an incredible Bruce Springsteen show at Fenway Park, he has released it as an official live recording. And it sounds great!

August 5
Temperatures were in the high 60s today, so it was nice to sit right in front of an open window, on my couch, today and work.

August 4
Well, if I have to eat smooth ice cream again for a couple weeks or so, at least I made a better choice of brand this year than I did last year. The Turkey Hill chocolate/vanilla is more enjoyable than the ice cream I had last summer after my surgery.

August 3
Well, today I was happy that, when my “easy” gum graft became a bone graft, the area of my mouth was numb enough for me to not feel much, and I had a good playlist of music to listen to so I was properly distracted. Wasn’t my favorite day ever, but it could have been worse.

August 2
It was fun tonight to see a movie (Free Guy) in a theater and then hang around to discuss it outside with some other critic folks.

August 1
Today, for what I think was the first time ever, I timed the wait at J&M Diner exactly right. I added myself to the wait list on Yelp just before I got a haircut, and when I walked into the restaurant an hour or so later, a seat was ready for me. I can’t recall that ever happening so perfectly before.

July 31
Today I was happy to have easily found a parking spot on Boylston Street when I was meeting Mitzi and Jason for brunch. And I was even happier when I returned to my car 15 minutes after the time had expired and I didn’t have a ticket on my windshield.

July 30
I’m glad Mitzi and Jason came to town today … so I had an excuse to stop working early, so I could join them for a long walk around the city, so I could go back to the North End for a delicious dinner after 2.5 years, and just because it’s nice to see them.

July 29
I got enough work done today that it should make tomorrow an easier day. Good.

July 28
I think I’m happy I caught up on the two most recent episodes of Gossip Girl tonight. Yeah, let’s go with that today.

July 27
I learned a new term today: Restrictive covenant. Hopefully that will be the key to finally getting rid of Quinn, et al, and making this building a quieter, more peaceful place to live.

July 26
Enjoyed a good dinner tonight at Cheesecake Factory as a “reward” for having a lighter, and less stressful, work day.

July 25
I would much rather have been there in person, but how cool that I could watch the Lone Bellow live in concert at Red Rocks in Colorado, via live-stream on my TV at home in Boston tonight.

July 24
Nice to go for a walk down to Newton Centre and sit outside for dinner tonight, then walk back.

July 23
It was good to get out of the house today and be at a video shoot all day. Change of scenery was appreciated.

July 22
Glad I went out for dinner tonight because I was feeling cooped up in my apartment all week and needed a break from working and being home.

July 21
After getting shut-out yesterday during the pre-sale for night one, I was excited that I was able to much more easily score tickets today to John Mayer’s second show in Boston next year. Very much looking forward to it.

July 20
It was pretty cool today to learn that Jamie is joining the RAIN team (as a contractor for now, anyway), and that my referral worked out.

July 19
I guess I was happy I had a dentist appointment this morning, because it gave me a reason to leave the house and go somewhere today.

July 18
What a difference a day made: The weather was so much better today — bright and clear and warm, with a perfect blue sky. And thankfully, after brunch, Robin agreed to indulge me and climb to the top of the Vessel at Hudson Yards. So cool. So worth it.

Bruce Springsteen arriving at St. James Theater

July 17
Great evening: Got to the theater in time to see Bruce Springsteen arrive, and snap some excellent pics of him. Had just enough time to run to Junior’s for dinner before the show, and there were seats available at the bar so I could eat quickly. The Brownie Explosion Cheesecake, which I had for dessert, was delicious. And then the show itself: Amazing. Even the second time, it was such an incredible experience to watch Bruce in this setting. One I won’t soon forget. Oh, and then, on the way back to my hotel, I was able to get a warm glazed doughnut at Krispy Kreme — and it was free because I showed my vaccine card.

July 16
Today was another good work day, at the end of a productive work week. I feel like I’ve earned a break and a good weekend.

July 15
It made me smile tonight when I heard that Marc and Ian are having a great time at camp this summer — and that a card I sent Marc was a big hit.

July 14
Today I was happy when I made my lunch, and after two days, still had enough turkey left for a third sandwich tomorrow or Friday.

July 13
Today I accepted payment from a company for adding a link within a month-old blog post to their website. Perhaps the easiest $70 I’ve ever made.

July 12
Today was a productive day. Which is good, because it needed to be.

July 11
It was exciting today to pick out one of my Martin’s Bar-B-Que tshirts from the pile and put it on after what must have been two years, and have it still fit comfortably.

July 10
I was happy when validated parking at the Fenway movie theater today only cost me $5 and not $10 or more. That garage sucks.

July 9
Smart decision to go for a walk after dinner tonight.

July 8
I was happy that I contacted my doctor today about the fact that I still had the symptoms of a cold, and that he prescribed me an antibiotic. Hopefully by Monday, I’ll be much better.

July 7
Smart move on my part to turn on the oven towards the beginning of our 5:30pm company meeting tonight, so it’d be ready for me to put my food in when the meeting ended, and so I could eat dinner at a decent hour.

July 6
Despite their bedroom lights being on, it appears that Quinn and her boyfriend are not, in fact, here. Still. So I was happy about that today. And amused. And relieved.

July 5
I was so happy the weather didn’t interfere with my flight plans tonight, so we were able to take off on time and land back in Boston a little early. And surprisingly, the Fort Lauderdale airport wasn’t all that crowded, either (relatively speaking).

July 4
It was fun to hang out this morning with Rachel and the kids at the pool, before joining Ezra for brunch.

July 3
After a week of not being able to sleep well, I think I’ve “broken” what was preventing me from falling asleep, and figured out how to sleep again. Yay!

July 2
Glad we were able to move our reservation for Capital Grill from last night to tonight, and that I was able to eat my entire meal, because it was delicious!

July 1
Thankfully, I was able to fly down to Florida today without coughing, sneezing, or needing to blow my nose a lot. Didn’t want to be that guy on the plane.

June 30
After being inside all day and feeling sorta lousy, I was happy when I went outside to pick up dinner tonight and the fresh air made me feel better. I felt even better when I went for a longer walk after dinner.

June 29
I was happy this morning when the cleaners notified me my clothes were ready for pickup. It gave me somewhere to go out to while Creuza was cleaning my place.

June 28
After three nights of heavy eating, it was nice to eat a smaller, healthier meal at home tonight.

June 27
Today I discovered parts 1, 2, and 3 (part 4 is still to come, apparently) of an unofficial, fan-made, but impressively high quality live album and concert film from John Mayer’s 2019 world tour. And all the tracks are totally free to download. So cool!!

June 26
Great night with Dan and Cecille tonight at Del Frisco’s in the Seaport. Good meal, sure. And outdoor seating was fantastic. But it was just a lot of fun to be with them for the three-plus hours (!!) we were there.

June 25
After being inside all day, it was nice to sit outside at Johnny’s and have dinner tonight.

June 24
Even though the episode itself wasn’t great, I was happy that The Good Fight returned for season five today.

June 23
Redeemed my free (birthday) ice cream from J.P. Licks tonight, and tried both the Batter Up and Cookie3 flavors. Couldn’t decide, so I got them both! Yum.

June 22
This headline in today’s New York Times was just genius: When an Eel Climbs a Ramp to Eat Squid From a Clamp, That’s a Moray

June 21
Yes! I love that Paul Rudd showed up on Conan O’Brien’s show tonight (first show of his last week), and, after a long setup with Bill Hader, he threw to a clip — the clip. LOL … Awesome. And I’m glad I stayed up to watch it live.

June 20
I’d forgotten just how good the French toast at Zaftig’s is, so I was happy the wait at J&M Diner was so long, because it gave me the opportunity to go to Zaftig’s right up the street as my plan B.

June 19
I’m glad the rain held off and didn’t start coming down while I was eating outside at the Trident Cafe tonight (first time since before the pandemic). And I’m glad their mac and cheese was still tasty.

June 18
This felt like a productive week. I got most of what I said I was going to get done done. So that made me happy.

June 17
I’m happy I opened and scrolled through the email from Peacock today, otherwise I wouldn’t have known that there is now an app for Samsung Smart TVs. Finally!

June 16
I’m glad there was finally some resolution today about where Bex has been on the Matty in the Morning show. It’s a little bit fishy, but at least we now know the answer. Or an answer, at least.

June 15
I made dinner for myself at home tonight (not leftovers) for what felt like the first time in two weeks. Good for me.

June 14
Quinn and her boyfriend have gone away. I don’t know where or for how long, but they left Saturday, and are still gone, and I am really enjoying the quiet. (Especially because the guy in Apartment 1 appears to be away right now, too.)

June 13
Decided to go to In a Pickle for brunch today for the first time in forever, and have the cookie dough pancakes. It’s not that I had forgotten how good those are, but damn, I kind of did forget just how good those are. Yum!

June 12
The turnout was disappointing, but it was fun to see some of my Brandeis classmates at our virtual 25-year reunion today. Looking forward to seeing many more of them in person on campus next June.

June 11
After a couple weeks of very high temperatures, it was so nice today that things cooled down outside, and I could open my windows again to air out my place while I worked.

June 10
Today, after more than 50 minutes in the online queue (not including the 35 minutes I logged on early before the official on-sale started), and with two computers running (plus my cell phone), I got through to buy Springsteen on Broadway tickets on the night I wanted to see it, and was able to score a pretty good one at face value (less than $500). So now I’m going to a live show, a Bruce Springsteen show, on Broadway, next month. Amazing!

June 9
It was so good! so good! so good! to be back at Fenway Park tonight. Decided pretty close to the last minute to go to the game, and was still able to get a great seat right behind home plate. It was David Ortiz bobblehead night (postponed from April 7, 2020), so that was cool. And, how fun that I was able to buy an Opening Day 2020 t-shirt (for only $15)! If only the Sox had won … but it was still great to be there.

June 8
I saw In the Heights tonight, and Dios mio, was that a fantastic movie. Some of those scenes were just breathtakingly beautiful (the pool scene!) and it sounded so good in the Dolby auditorium at AMC Boston Common. Looking forward to seeing it again.

June 7
It was a very good birthday today, between all the messages and calls I received, the news that Bruce Springsteen would be bringing his show back to Broadway this summer, the first eight minutes of In the Heights dropping on YouTube, John Mayer performing on Kimmel, the Red Sox winning again, dinner outside at Cheesecake Factory, and more. The celebration continues, but for now, what a difference a year makes.

June 6
Today I “branched out” and went somewhere for brunch other than Johnny’s or Jamie’s on Union. I enjoyed sitting outside eating my fresh bagel from Cafe Fresh in Needham.

June 5
After spending an enjoyable first half of the day in Connecticut with Mitzi, Jason, and the kids, I was happy to receive — and accept — a last-minute invite from Melanie to join her, Martha, and another friend of theirs at LaughBoston to see Rachel Feinstein, who was very funny. How great is it that such a thing is possible again?

June 4
It was fun today to do a quick shoot of some b-roll footage for work inside In a Pickle. I’m glad that worked out.

June 3
I was happy the rain held off tonight so Elizabeth and I could meet up and eat dinner at Bianca outside.

June 2
After keeping me up till 4am the night before, I was happy that Quinn and her boyfriend went to bed at a normal time last night so I could wake up this morning having slept the whole night.

June 1
I was happy today to learn that John Mayer is coming out with a new album next month, and a new single this Friday.

May 31
After two days of lousy weather, I managed to salvage the long weekend today with a reasonably full day of activity, including my first time eating inside Johnny’s in more than a year, some shopping, a home-cooked dinner, and more.

May 30
The weather sucked today, so I was happy I didn’t go to Assembly Place to kill some time in the cold and rain, and instead killed time at home doing a little work and watching TV.

May 29
It’s always so great when I follow through on an idea, as I did today when I wrote a blog post for later in the week.

May 28
It was so fun to have dinner with Farrah, Barry, Gabby, and Kaleb tonight, inside their house for the first time in more than a year. I love things getting back to normal.

May 27
The Friends reunion special was so much fun! Particularly enjoyed seeing the behind-the-scenes clip of how hard the cast laughed while filming the “Pivot!” scene.

May 26
I’m glad I worked late tonight and got some work done (or rather, got started getting work done) that I’d been procrastinating on.

May 25
I woke up this morning after one of the most restful nights of sleep I’ve had in a long time. And some vivid dreams, too, about meeting and taking photos with Wonder Woman and Kamala Harris (separately), and then going to a special promotional event for Cruella.

May 24
Fourteen and a half months after the last time I saw a movie in a theater, tonight I got to see A Quiet Place Part II at the AMC Boston Common, in the Dolby auditorium, and it was great. The movie, the theater, the folks who also came out to see it … everything. I loved being back.

May 23
It aired last night, but I re-watched Cecily Strong’s Jeanine Pirro bit multiple times today, and it made me laugh every time. Especially watching Colin Jost’s reactions.

May 22
It made me very happy today to learn that on Thursday, some of Dad’s coworkers took him (and Mom) out for dinner to celebrate his retirement and say thank you. So glad they did that. And that Mom didn’t ruin the surprise.

May 21
It was great to meet up with Melanie D. at Time Out Market tonight, and to hang out, eat, wander around the neighborhood, and just soak up a beautiful night in Boston.

May 20
Went for a walk after dinner tonight, and at the end of it, I was happy that White Mountain Creamery had Nirvana Hi-Way on special, because I’d been wanting to try it.

May 19
Today was the 25th anniversary of my graduation from Brandeis. To celebrate, I took myself out to the Cheesecake Factory and sat outside there. It’s so nice to feel comfortable doing stuff like that again.

May 18
This video made me smile today.

May 17
Received my “Wicked Hungry” t-shirt today (finally!), and the cookies Shane sent me (tasty!). So, a good day for the mail.

May 16
Went back to Jamie’s this morning for brunch because Nicole was working. It’s been fun going back to my “comfort food” favorites this weekend and actually eating there (Johnny’s, too), and seeing the waitstaffs again.

May 15
It was great to have dinner tonight with Scott, Michelle, and Ilana here in Boston.

May 14
Tonight was a good night: For the first time in more than a year, I brought a magazine with me and sat (outside) at a restaurant (Jamie’s on Union), eating and reading. Then I went to J.P. Licks for the first time in more than a year, too. A good night, indeed.

May 13
It was an abrupt change, and it raised some questions, but the CDC’s announcement today that vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks or social distance in most situations felt like the true beginning of the end of the pandemic.

May 12
Since I worked till 10pm yesterday, I decided to stop earlier tonight and catch up on TV shows that were backing up on my DVR. Needed this night “off.”

May 11
Glad I went for a walk late in the day today because I’d forgotten to wash my clothes and this gave me a chance to run the washer while I was out of the house.

May 10
It was very exciting today to receive my first invite for an advance movie screening in a theater in more than a year. Looking forward to it.

May 9
It was so nice to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day in New York with mom and dad, Mitzi, Jason, and the kids, and the other Davi, in person today.

May 8
Really enjoyed how excited Ian was to have a sleepover with me tonight in the hotel.

May 7
Thank God (again) for Waze, which somehow knew how to route me through all kinds of residential backroads when the Merritt Parkway was backed up today.

May 6
I had no scheduled Zoom meetings today, and I have to say: it was actually kind of nice.

May 5
It was nice to travel and get out of Dodge for a couple days, but this morning, I really enjoyed waking up in my own bed after a very good night’s sleep.

May 4
Made really great time driving home tonight. It made a good (work) trip even better.

May 3
I really dig a deck overlooking the beach, with Adirondack chairs, and Mike’s house in Maine has one.

May 2
Glad I decided to stop in Portsmouth today to hang out with Jenny, on my way up to Maine.

May 1
It was episode three, not episode one, but I was still glad an episode of CNN’s new series The Story of Late Night was available On Demand tonight, in advance of the premiere tomorrow.

April 30
Today, I was happy Dad came home from the hospital, and that his A-Fib seemingly fixed itself before he had the procedure where his heart was shocked.

April 29
It was fun to catch up with Jamie tonight by phone, and to chat with her for the first time since I left IBM.

April 28
Gotta say: The Wegmans frozen BBQ pulled chicken meal is quite tasty. And super convenient.

April 27
After a walk with Andreina at the end of the day, I was glad the weather was warm enough for me to go over to Shake Shack for dinner (and Oddfellows for dessert) and eat it outside right there. Haven’t eaten food from there in a very long time.

April 26
I’m happy I decided to go for a short walk outside tonight after my meeting ended at 5:30.

April 25
It was weird at times, and a little boring at others, but I was just happy that the Oscars tonight were a legit awards show, with people in the room (mostly) and nobody on Zoom, and some surprising winners, and some ambition and style. And Glenn Close doin’ Da Butt!

April 24
Today was the best day I’ve had in 14 months. Pretty much everything made me happy: 70-degree and sunny weather. Lunch from Rosenfeld’s, and the fact that, while they were out of nearly every kind of bagel, they had some egg bagels left, so I was able to have a bagel with lox, and a fresh chocolate chip cookie, and then eat it outside in the al fresco area of Newton Centre. Hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range at Leo J. Martin, and doing pretty well (all things considered). Walking around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir for the first time in forever. Good parking karma on Newbury Street. Dinner with Judy and Mary outside at Abe & Louie’s, talking and laughing, and hugging, and laughing some more, and not being rushed by the waiter to finish in 90 minutes, and the fact that we saved $120 because I had two Open Table gift cards, and the fact that the weather cooperated. Being around other people and not being self-conscious or worried. And then going with Judy to Del Frisco’s for butter cake after, and sitting at the bar inside talking, without our masks on. I’ve really missed days like this. I’m so so happy I’m vaccinated. Welcome to the new new normal.

April 23
I was happy today when my new periodontist told me I don’t have to have gum graft surgery on my bottom front teeth, which my former periodontist had recommended. Also: Today is two weeks since my second vaccine shot, and that made me very happy.

April 22
I’m happy I finally got my old TV out of my car today and dropped it off at the Resource Recovery Recycling Center. And that the screen didn’t break after all those months in my trunk.

April 21
Following our reunion committee meeting today, I went down a rabbit hole, collecting photos for our class photo album and adding to a list of trivia questions to be used at the event. A lot of fun.

April 20
The trailer for season two of Ted Lasso was released today. It’s great, but … LOL … The NY Jets joke at the end is <chefs kiss>.

April 19
Today I was happy that the 6:30pm meeting I got invited to this afternoon was postponed.

April 18
The guy whose truck is parked in spot #8 completely blocked my from getting to my car today, or getting from my car back into the building, so I was happy first when someone from building 29 left, so I could get to my car, and then later, that I figured out an alternate way to get back in the building after I returned my car to its spot. Still, very annoying.

April 17
Even though I did go to Star Market today just for some milk, I was happy I didn’t have anything else on my shopping list this weekend, and therefore, I didn’t have to go to Wegmans.

April 16
Today was the anniversary of the famous pizza throwing incident at Fenway Park. That clip always makes me smile. “Here comes the pizza!” “Highly unnecessary!” LOL

April 15
I was happy tonight when I realized it was the 15th of the month, which means I got paid today.

April 14
I did a Zoom call with Sandy’s college-sophomore son tonight to help him with some career guidance. Yesterday I did a reference call for Melanie for a new job she’s hoping to get. It’s cool that the relationships I created with those two have lasted, even though the jobs where I met them didn’t ultimately work out.

April 13
Until tonight, I had never seen Captain America: The First Avenger from start to finish. Glad I finally ticked that off my to-do list.

April 12
Today I finally — finally! — sent back my PwC laptop. So, I guess that now officially ends my brief freelance gig for them, and one of the most unnecessary laptop loaners ever.

April 11
Drove downtown and walked around Boylston and Newbury Streets today for the first time in a while. That was fun.

April 10
Temperatures were in the 70s, and I wasn’t experiencing any post-vaccine side effects, and my pinkie toes are mostly healed, and I wanted to listen to the final episode of the Barack Obama–Bruce Springsteen podcast, so it was a perfect night to walk down Comm Ave to Johnny’s, and eat dinner outside on a picnic table in Newton Centre. So that’s what I did. And it was worth it.

April 9
Received my second vaccine shot today. Yay! It was another beautiful, blue-sky day. Perfect metaphor. And I felt good all day; no apparent side effects — other than being happy, excited, and grateful, of course. Woo hoo!

April 8
I know I said I wouldn’t make any specific plans until after my second vaccine shot, but it felt really good to call different restaurants this afternoon while I went for a walk, and ask them about outdoor seating options. Very much looking forward to my steak dinner with Judy in a couple weeks.

April 7
I like the days like today when I’m not in any rush to finish something before a meeting, so I can take the time to do it right. Or at least, do it better. Makes me feel good about what I’ve worked on.

April 6
After waffling a little bit because a meeting was postponed, I’m glad I ultimately decided to go to the cleaners this morning while Creuza was here, because it was a reason to leave the house and get some fresh air for a little while.

April 5
No regrets about ordering deep-dish pizza for dinner tonight, and having it delivered, in honor of National Deep Dish Pizza Day.

April 4
When Easter and the last day of Passover coincide, as they did today, it means nearly all Italian restaurants are closed. So I was thankful that Cheesecake Factory was open, and that they have the Classic Italian Trio on their menu now. It wasn’t the best food I’ve had, but after eight days of no carbs, it was just what I needed.

April 3
Stopped by Old Navy on the way home this afternoon and made out pretty well — picked up a bunch of shirts and some other random stuff, and between clearance and sale prices, and a $10 reward, it only cost me $30. Not bad!

April 2
It was nice to work out of the house today, at another video shoot.

April 1
Really enjoyed the first episode of The Challenge: All-Stars tonight. It was like watching “recess at the old-folks’ home.” Ha ha ha ha …

March 31
I was disappointed by the movie itself, but I enjoyed that Ian really wanted me to watch Godzilla vs Kong, and do so ASAP, so he could discuss it with me.

March 30
Today I was happy I no longer have an 8:45 meeting every morning, because I didn’t sleep well last night and needed to hit snooze an extra time before getting up.

March 29
The new issue of Boston magazine arrived today. I look forward to reading the cover package, called What Happens Next. It’s nice to see forward-looking content, and to feel like there’s a post-pandemic future that’s not so far away.

March 28
Today I was actually happy the weather was bad and that we didn’t do a second-night seder, because I had a bit of work to do and it took me longer than I expected. So I needed the time without the interruption.

March 27
It was very nice to be a part of Farrah and Barry’s seder tonight — outdoors, on the deck (even if it was a bit chilly). Glad to be celebrating the first night of the holiday with other people this year.

March 26
I really liked today’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It was very funny, but also really thought provoking. Great writing. And a fantastic drumline version of “Star Spangled Man,” too.

March 25
I’m glad I finally wrote up my submission for our 25-year reunion class yearbook. I put it off until tonight, the night before the deadline, but I still think it came out pretty well.

March 24
Went out for a nice, nearly 90-minute walk with Andreina today. Always fun. Glad I had the time to do it.

March 23
Today I was happy that Farrah asked me to pick up some stuff for her at the Butcherie because it gave me a reason to leave the house and get some fresh air during the time when Creuza was here.

March 22
It kinda derailed the end of my day, but I was much happier to catch up with Rebecca for an hour at 6pm than I would have been to keep working. So I’m glad she called.

March 21
It’s exciting to see more and more friends getting vaccinated. Like Mo, who got her first shot today. And Judy, who got her second. And in related news, I really enjoyed this.

March 20
It was a nice Spring-like day so I’m glad Ken tweeted out a heads up that he’d be playing the keys in Newton Centre this afternoon. Always good to hang out and listen to him jam.

March 19
It feels so good to make plans. With other people. Late April can’t get here soon enough.

March 18
Didn’t have a 5:00 meeting today for the first time all week, so that was good. I was able to work this afternoon without having to cram for anything.

March 17
The food itself was meh, but I’m still happy I decided to order delivery for dinner tonight instead of cooking for myself.

March 16
I got sucked into a bit of a Dua Lipa rabbit hole today. But no regrets. Her music makes me happy.

March 15
This photo of Chicago that Barry Butler shared today is super cool.

March 14
I wasn’t going to watch the Grammy Awards tonight, but I’m actually really glad I did. It was a fantastic show, surprisingly enough.

March 13
For a change, I made all the lights between Johnny’s and home when I was driving back tonight after picking up dinner. That almost never happens, and it meant my hot food wasn’t sitting in the car any longer than it had to.

March 12
On what was basically the one-year anniversary of my first working from home day, the same day when movies were all postponed and Broadway shuttered and sports seasons were put on hold and schools and colleges went all-virtual and everything was closed or canceled or postponed, and life basically stopped, today I got my first COVID vaccine shot — a miracle in itself. It was another beautiful, Spring-like, blue-sky day, and that served as nice symbolism for the promise and possibility I felt about actually being able to do things again, with people, often without masks, in about a month and a half (after I get my second shot). What a difference a year makes.

March 11
It was a beautiful day today, so I’m glad I made an effort to get outside — even for just a few minutes — and that I worked all afternoon with my windows open.

March 10
Very much enjoyed reading this cover story about Jennifer Garner in The Hollywood Reporter today.

March 9
Felt good about some work I did today, so I’m looking forward to reviewing it with Mike tomorrow.

March 8
Today I was happy I decided to take a break from Pringles and instead revert back to eating Pipsnacks’ Corn Dippers with my lunch. Mmmmm …

March 7
I’m so happy I pre-treated my orange and blue rugby shirt before I put it in the washing machine today, because it appears to have done the trick. The shirt is much cleaner now than it was.

March 6
Today I was happy there are as many Democrats in the Senate as there are, so the COVID relief bill was able to be passed (since it was a vote along party lines).

March 5
The excellent final episode of WandaVision dropped today, and while I’m bummed the series is over, I really was happy with the way the experience of watching it (especially those weeks when I woke up early to do so) and talking about it and simply digesting each episode felt so communal. After a year of isolation and social distancing, and very few pop culture “events,” this was very much appreciated.

March 4
Mayor Fuller sent out her weekly update tonight, and in it, in addition to the news that, for the first time since just before Thanksgiving, there have been fewer than 100 new people who tested positive in Newton during a single week, there was the update that the Boston College community accounted for just 24% of the positive COVID-19 cases in Newton over the past two-week reporting period, a decline from the 40% over the previous two weeks. So, things are getting better in my neck of the woods.

March 3
Today I saw that Deborah was finally able to secure a vaccine appointment for her mother in Chicago, after weeks of trying. So I was happy for her.

March 2
A very good day today: First, I received a dozen cupcakes from Skyword, somewhat randomly. But then, Lisa gave me a tip on how I could schedule a COVID vaccine appointment. So I did, and it was surprisingly easy. Almost too easy. Yay!

March 1
Last night’s episode of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy (which I watched tonight) was so good. I really love this show.

February 28
Golden Globes night was tonight, so I was happy to continue my annual tradition of having a slide of Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.

February 27
I was glad it was rainy today because my car need a “natural car wash” kinda badly.

February 26
It was crazy how things went with our lunch order today, but it meant I was able to take home a garden salad with steak tips and eat it for dinner. Pretty sure it was the first steak I’d eaten in about a year, and even if it wasn’t the best meat, it was still tasty.

February 25
Today, the Lone Bellow released “Dried Up River,” the first new track from the deluxe edition of Half Moon Light. Yay!

February 24
After realizing I drove all the way to Waltham today without my wallet (whoops!), I was glad to know I could pay for parking using an app on my phone. And then I was glad I got all the way home tonight without being stopped by the police. Phew!

February 23
Today was a very productive day. And that’s a good thing, because it needed to be.

February 22
Today, Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama launched their new podcast on Spotify. Can’t wait to listen! But in the meantime, I was happy Mitzi gave me a heads up about it.

February 21
Today was Dad’s 75th birthday, so I was glad we were finally able to share the Keith Hernandez Cameo video with him, and that he enjoyed it.

February 20
I was very impressed today when AOC announced that her fundraising effort for the people of Texas has raised $4 million so far. I’m proud to be a part of that total.

February 19
It’s been Agatha all along!

February 18
Honestly, after staring at my computer and struggling with my work for much of the day, I was happy tonight when I finally said I had kinda done the best I could, gave up, and called it a day. Sometimes, you just have to do that.

February 17
I was tired when I finally started watching The Challenge at 9:45 tonight, so I’m happy I was able to stay awake long enough to watch the whole episode before going to bed.

February 16
My winter allergies were acting up, so this morning I decided to squirt some Flonase, and it made a noticeable difference.

February 15
Today I was happy that Wegmans has a live webcam showing how many people are waiting in line to go in. When I checked this afternoon, there was no one in line, so I was able to go and do my grocery shopping then — instead of after dinner, like I was planning to do.

February 14
I’m happy the weather was warm-ish today (relatively speaking, of course). It made spending two and a half hours outside, sitting around a fire pit, with Farrah, Barry, and the kids, that much more enjoyable.

February 13
Tonight, when my TV wasn’t working properly, I was glad I decided to simply unplug it. That worked; everything was working again when I plugged it back in. Easy peasy.

February 12
I was happy I woke up an hour earlier than usual today to watch the new episode of WandaVision, before it was spoiled on Twitter.

February 11
Dr. Fauci today said it was going to be “open season” in April, in terms of people being able to get the COVID vaccine, and then Joe Biden said we should be able to have 300 million people vaccinated by the end of July, a month earlier than expected. Good, promising news.

February 10
I was happy Creuza came to clean my place today, instead of yesterday (because of the snow), because I had no meetings this morning, so she could be here and I could do my work, and no one was in anyone’s way. Yesterday, I had a call during the time she was supposed to be here.

February 9
I enjoyed hanging out with some Brandeis friends today, virtually, on our 25-year reunion planning call.

February 8
The Lone Bellow announced on Patreon tonight that (despite it being just a couple days longer than a year since they released their last album, and despite not being able to fully tour to support it, and despite solo projects from two of the members — one of which that hasn’t even been released yet) they were already working on a new album of new music. Yay!

February 7
The game was a blowout, but Tom Brady won his seventh (!!) Super Bowl championship and there were some great commercials (Cheetos, Springsteen, Bud Light, Sam Adams). So, a good night overall.

February 6
I was skeptical, but today I finally bought the Zeiss Fog Defender spray for my glasses, and it actually worked. Game changer, better late than never.

February 5
You know what? The red velvet cookies from Comella’s are quite good. Yum.

February 4
Today I was happy I made tuna fish yesterday for lunch, and had some left over, so that when I finally took a late lunch today, I had something more substantial to eat than PB&J.

February 3
Finished a project today, so rather than keep on doing stuff for work into the evening, as I had been doing in recent weeks, I was able to stop working earlier in the evening and enjoy more downtime tonight.

February 2
Really enjoyed the documentary film Fake Famous on HBO tonight. Nothing too surprising, but it was well made and entertaining.

February 1
Received my Super Bowl program today. Even though I haven’t seen or spoken with Cat in a very long time, it’s nice that she’s kept me on her distribution list all these years later as a way of staying in touch.

January 31
Kinda surprised that I’m enjoying season two of Batwoman as much as I am.

January 30
Needed to touch up one of my window sills, so today I was happy that I could buy a small sample size container of paint and small brush at Home Depot for less than $3, and that the window sill looks much better now.

January 29
I woke up this morning to the clip of Brian Williams sharing “exclusive video” of the former president’s meeting from yesterday. Suffice it to say, I watched it multiple times today. “Someone’s going to be in big trouble.” LOL

January 28
Today felt like one of the more productive days I’ve had recently, so that was a good thing.

January 27
Tonight I think I was happy that I resisted the temptation to take advantage of an offer from Uber Eats, and instead decided to cook dinner for myself. I probably had a healthier dinner because of it.

January 26
Today I was happy that Mom and Dad got their second COVID vaccine shots and that Marc and Ian had what looked like a fun 10th birthday. A good day, for sure.

January 25
I always enjoy going through old photos and blog posts from when Marc and Ian (and Abby) were born, and were younger.

January 24
I’m happy Brian Stelter’s email newsletter arrived in my inbox early enough tonight for me to read before I went to bed, so I didn’t have to read it in the morning and could start my work sooner instead.

January 23
Today I listened to a really fun interview Matt Siegel conducted with Robin Williams 10 or 20 years ago. So funny.

January 22
It was fun to chat with Elizabeth today over Zoom about my job search and what I learned (for her website), mostly because we haven’t seen each other since summer 2019, even though it doesn’t really feel that way.

January 21
My new hanging-out-at-home onesie arrived today, a week ahead of schedule, and it’s just as warm, comfy, and cozy as my other one from this company. Glad I bought another.

January 20
What can I say about today? It was just a great day. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as President and Vice President, it was a beautiful day weather-wise, and everything went smoothly without disruption, and the former Prez and his family left town before I’d even begun my day and they were basically an afterthought, and it all was just so great, so life affirming, so positive, so optimistic, so intoxicating. Let’s hope this high lasts for the next four years.

January 19
Hated to do it to him (again), but I got a big kick today out of giving Marc a hard time about his birthday gift using GIFs via text message, and having him do the same right back to me. It may have been cruel, but it was fun.

January 18
Today I was happy that the webcam I bought over the weekend worked well, so I don’t have to buy a different one.

January 17
Coincidentally, Andreina and I went out to dump our trash at the same time tonight. It was good to catch up and chat, and spend more time outside than planned.

January 16
When I ordered my dinner tonight, I was told it would be ready in 20–25 minutes. So I was happy when I walked in after only 10 minutes and it had just come out, so I could take it home before it just sat on the counter there, getting cold.

January 15
Today I received my last freelance payment and my first new-job paycheck, so it was a good day for my bank account.

January 14
After a couple days of procrastination, which led to later working hours, today I finished my work for the day around 6pm, so I could enjoy more of my evening.

January 13
It was nice to catch up with Jim tonight, even if it took me way too long to call him, and a fatal diagnosis for me to do it. Glad to hear he’s in good spirits, all things considered.

January 12
I was happy I had a dentist appointment this afternoon, if only because it gave me a chance to listen to some of the Matty in the Morning 40th anniversary show from this morning.

January 11
I opened up my package of “Brookie-O” Oreos tonight, and no surprise, they were yummy. Good flavor.

January 10
Today I was thankful I ordered ahead from NY Bagel Factory before I drove out to Natick, because I was able to get what I wanted and it wasn’t a waste of a trip.

January 9
Glad I decided to watch the first episode of Pretend It’s a City on Netflix tonight, because it was great. I’m also glad it’s a series, and not a special, because it means there’s more to watch in the (near) future.

January 8
This morning when I woke up, I’d slept through the night uninterrupted for the first time in three or four weeks. So I was well rested, for a change, and feeling good.

January 7
Four years ago today, I was hanging out with friends and having a good time in Austin, Texas. Memories of that trip made me happy today.

January 6
I was so happy to wake up today and learn that Raphael Warnock had won his election in Georgia, and then to hear in mid-afternoon that the same was true of Jon Ossoff. Woo hoo!!

January 5
Heard some news today about the other company I was interviewing with last month, and that made me even happier with my decision than I already was. Everything definitely worked out for the best.

January 4
My work laptop arrived this morning, on the first day of my new job, which meant I could set it up and didn’t have to put work stuff on my personal laptop.

January 3
I was happy to wake up this morning to the news that mom and dad secured an appointment to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and will be getting it on Tuesday. Phew!

January 2
I kind of did it as a goof, but the flannel onesie I bought to hang out in at home arrived this morning. Tonight I had zero regrets; it’s super warm and comfy. And not as unattractive as I thought it’d be.

January 1
After weeks of waffling, I finally bought myself a new printer today. And thank you to the salesguy at Staples, who suggested I buy a laser printer instead of an inkjet one. That was smart.

One Response to “The 2021 Happiness Project”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Today Is My Birthday, and I Am Reclaiming My Time | Martin's Musings - June 7, 2021

    […] again, so I’m going to do that. I’m going to focus more on what brings me joy and what makes me happy. In some cases, it’s going to take some effort, but it’s going to be worth it. […]

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