Link love

Rainy June Day Link Love

June 14, 2024

Day 2

This week I went to the beach for a couple of days to visit some family members who had rented a condo there. And guess what? When I got there, it rained. All day. After months of drought. Oh, well. That’s what books, games, movies, and the Internet are for. (And the sun came out the second day—yay!)

If you’re stuck inside because it’s too hot, too wet, or otherwise too unpleasant to be outside, here are a few links for you to check out.

Need ideas for your Summer Fun List? Gretchen Rubin’s Happier app has a new “Spin the Wheel” option which “will suggest something to add to your summer bucket list, an idea to spark a new tradition, or an activity that will help the season feel distinct.” As she writes, “If every month is exactly like the month before, time speeds up and blurs—so by doing lots of summery activities, we’ll make that part of the year stand out.”  

I love this—a baguette-scented, scratch-and-sniff stamp!  

Sometimes I feel more tired than I think I have any reason to be—maybe it’s because I’m doing some of these things

A Sunday reset that could be just the thing we need to get our weeks off to a peaceful start. 

Style blogger Alison Gary writes about the disturbing way Google has been leaning into AI to provide answers to search questions. How does this affect you? This practice influences traffic to websites and blogs like Gary’s, which impacts revenue for those bloggers, which means they struggle to bring in enough money to continue their work. It also helps determine the information you find when you have a question—and sometimes that information is flat-out wrong.

Gary suggests several ways to help any sites you care about (like Catching Happiness, perhaps?), including sharing articles on Facebook, Reddit, Threads, and/or Pinterest; following creators on our social platforms; subscribing to our newsletters, opening them and clicking on links; and leaving comments.

On a happier note, check out “The Vorfreude Secret: 30 Zero-effort Ways to Fill YourLife with Joy.”  

This song is just sassy and fun: 

Have a fantastic weekend!



Summer fun list 2024

Striving for Summer Fun Instead of Summer Funk

June 07, 2024

Photo by john labelette on Unsplash

Many people love summer and look forward to its simple pleasures and everyday adventures. 

Not me

Florida’s summers are a special kind of hell and my goal every year is to survive the summer without 1) Heat stroke 2) A full-blown depression and 3) Hurricane damage.

I’m only half kidding.

I know you’re probably sick of my complaints about this—trust me, I’m sick of me, too. I’m trying to have a positive attitude, but we’ve already had multiple days in the upper 90s and, oh yeah, it technically isn’t even summer yet. I shudder to think what August will bring.

Since summer in Florida is Not My Favorite, in recent years I’ve been taking a cue from author Laura Vanderkam and creating a Summer Fun List. Having something to look forward to is a component of happiness that I fully believe in. So here goes…

Summer fun list 2024

Rewatch the movie Clue. I enjoyed the stage production so much, I want to rewatch the movie. 

Beach weekend getaway with my husband.

Playdates with friends—as many can I manage! Whether it’s lunch, coffee, floating in the pool, or a trip to iSmash (see below), I plan to spend some quality time with friends this summer.

Ride “Dougie” (fellow boarder’s horse I’ve been given permission to ride) while Tank enjoys his well-deserved retirement.

Go to the movies—if I can find something I want to see. With my husband, with a friend, or even by myself.

Complete at least one jigsaw puzzle.

Watch the Summer Olympics being held in Paris (ah, Paris!) on TV.

Make key lime ice cream.

Go to iSmash—I have some frustrations I’d like to work out! 

Watch Black Cake on Hulu. I loved the book. 

Read by the pool. One way to enjoy the outdoors in a Florida summer is to get yourself wet. An afternoon spent reading and then dipping into the pool when I get hot sounds appealing. I usually prefer to skip the “wet” and “outside” parts of a reading afternoon, but I’m trying to shake up my routine a bit.

Create and read from a summer reading list (see below).

I don’t feel like these are very exciting, or even very different from past summers, but maybe “excitement” isn’t what I need during the summer. I think I need to chill…in more ways than one!

Summer reading

Summer is prime reading time since I’ll be trying to stay cool. Here are some possibilities for my summer reading. Even though I’m a fast reader, there’s no way I’ll get to all of them. The ones with an * are priorities:

Library books:

The Lost Bookshop, Evie Woods (already on hold) 

The Husbands, Holly Gramazio (already on hold) 

*My Murder, Katie Williams 

*In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honore 

Laziness Does Not Exist, Devon Price 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler 

Enchantment, Katherine May 

*Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser. The Project Gutenberg e-book version is here

*Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan, Elaine M. Hayes 

TBR shelf:

*Au Revoir, Mary Moody 

*The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, Rumer Godden 

Touch Not the Cat, Mary Stewart 

Traveling While Married, Mary-Lou Weisman 

*Draft No. 4, John McPhee 

Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art, Jennifer New 

I’ll also continue my Agatha in Order project. Begun in 2020, I’m still reading Agatha in order. As of this writing, I have 21 books left. I won’t finish in 2024, but will definitely get there in 2025. 

Do you make a Summer Fun List? What are your plans for fun this summer?

Daily Delight Project

Finding Delight Is Harder Than I Thought

May 31, 2024

Gelato is delightful

Looking for delight is harder than you might think.

For one thing, I had to decide what a delight actually was. The dictionary defines it as an extreme pleasure or satisfaction, a joy. In my mind, it’s different from a simple pleasure—it has to cause a certain type of feeling, a sudden lifting of my spirits. Honestly, this doesn’t happen every day. Even though I tried to look for delights every day, I didn’t actually succeed in finding them as often as I’d hoped or expected to.

There are likely several reasons for this. Awareness is one of them—in the bustling round of daily life, far too often I operate on auto-pilot, not noticing all the delights around me, just trying to get through the day’s to-do list. I also think that the dumpster fire of the past few years has had a numbing effect on my ability to notice joyful things. I’ve developed a shield to protect my emotions from being triggered. While that’s helped me cope through stress and sadness, it’s also numbed my ability to feel delight.

I chose to take pictures of my daily delights, and that added another level of difficulty. A couple of times, I wasn’t able to snap a photo of things that delighted me (a tiny green frog in our mailbox, a cardinal taking a bath in the birdbath).

What I did find and post about (full posts on Instagram and Facebook):

  • The sweet ritual I have with my dog when I come home
  • The growth of a pineapple on our lanai
  • Choosing a new novel to read
  • Watching Tank run around like a youngster after his bath
  • Rewatching a favorite TV show (Brooklyn 99)
  • Our gardenia bush blooming
  • Picking up library holds
  • Eating at a fancy steakhouse, using a gift card from our son
  • A backyard full of butterflies
  • Beating the squirrels to ripe tomatoes
  • Eating dessert first
  • The gift of a framed cross stitch project

I’m going to continue to look for delight. Ross Gay, the inspiration for the Daily Delight Project, wrote mini essays about his delights, so I think I might try that instead. Hopefully, as I keep practicing, finding delight will become easier and more frequent. Practice makes perfect!

What delight have you discovered lately?


Feeling Anxious? Tips for Fighting Fear-Mongering

May 24, 2024

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

No doubt the world can be a scary place. There are legitimate dangers out there, threats to life, health, and sanity.


Every day I see headlines that use fear in order to get me to read on. Even perfectly innocuous information gets presented as if Something Very Bad is going to happen if I don’t read and heed. Nuance is lost. This barrage of fear-mongering produces in me a near-constant, low-level anxiety. I’ve noticed that I often feel physical symptoms of anxiety, like the clenching of my stomach muscles, a feeling of heaviness, even a tingly adrenaline reaction. I also often have a mental feeling of dread.

What I’m talking about here is not the very real and serious actual news regarding human beings who are living through war, natural disasters, or other terrible circumstances. What I’m talking about is the use of fear to attract attention to everyday matters. We are being made to be afraid of things we don’t need to be afraid of.

Why so much fear-mongering?

There’s a saying in journalism, “If it bleeds, it leads.” In other words, the more sensational (and scary) a story, the more prominent its place. Today we also have “click bait”—outrageous headlines intended to collect as many mouse clicks as possible. Add to that the algorithms of social media and other websites that continually offer up similar content to what we’ve already clicked on, distorting the reality of a situation or topic.

You could be excused for believing the world is simply horrible in every way.

One reason fear-mongering is so common is the sheer amount of content we see every day. Without fear, a topic/brand/story could get lost in the noise. Scary headlines say, “Hey, look at me!”  or, more commonly, “Hey, buy my products!”

We can fall for this tactic because we want to be in the know. We want to do what’s “right,” or we want to be “better safe than sorry.”

Antidotes to anxiety

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of feeling anxious all the time. Here are some things I do to protect my mental state. (This is what I do; I’m not saying it’s right, or even right for anyone else.)

My first step is to reduce and curate my consumption of content, news, and headlines. This includes my phone’s news feed and my Instagram account. I read one local newspaper, subscribe to a news aggregator email (which gives me the option to skim headlines or dig deeper), and avoid news on TV. I also try to avoid the most sensational headlines and stories, and choose a few trusted sources of information to check in with.

Get offline and be with real people. Talk to them about their lives and activities. I am an introvert, so too much “people-ing” stresses me out, but I’ve found that having a conversation with a friend, or even just chatting with a random stranger often soothes my fears about how awful everything is. People are interesting, and at least 99 percent of the people I interact with are decent, not jerks.

Reframe a seemingly bad situation in a positive way. This is my super power and something I naturally do. I always try to focus on the best parts of a bad situation.

Stay in the present moment, rather than worry about what might happen. Truly pay attention, using all my senses.

Think over and record things that happen or things I notice, whether through journaling, or my Daily Delight Project. This helps remind me of the variety of human experience. A bonus is looking back over past journal entries—I’ve survived all the ups and downs of my life so far! 

Allow feelings to come and go without attaching to them. Rather than try to avoid fear and anxiety altogether, if I start to feel these feelings, I allow them in, notice them, and allow them to dissipate.

(Try to) freely admit that I don’t always fully understand something. I feel like this is true about more and more subjects all the time, and that concerns me. Until I remember that I don’t have to understand everything to behave according to two of my core values: kindness and curiosity. This relieves the pressure and anxiety of having to be “right.”

(Click here for additional ways to reduce anxiety and worry.) 

One of the challenges of 21st century living is sifting through the huge amount of information thrust at us every day, much of it screaming in our faces. I hope these suggestions help you take control of the noise. Let me know in the comments what strategies you use to reduce fear and anxiety in your life.

Edith Wharton

How to Remain Alive

May 17, 2024

“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

—Edith Wharton