LESLEY’S FRIDAY LIST: Six Little Smile-Inducing Wonders

Pens and notebooks! Sunshine! A YouTube video that made me cry! I'm secretly 12 years old on the inside!

Mar 23, 2012 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

What’s making you happy this week? It’s always little things, with me. Well, mostly little things and one really big thing. Let’s get into it.
 
1. LAMY Safari Fountain Pen. I am not really a pen nerd, not like some folks I know. But I recently decided to give this bargain LAMY pen a shot and WOW you guys, it blew all of my expectations out of the water. 
 
I’ve resisted fountain pens in the past because they are often a bit expensive, or at least a bit expensive for something I am likely to lose or leave behind somewhere within a few months, as happens to most of my pens. The Safari is an inexpensive option (roughly $35) with a sturdy plastic body and a range of vivid colors, but it is also a joy to use.
 
It is said that the use of a good pen can both relieve physical fatigue of writing and improve one’s script, and as a person with truly awful handwriting (in elementary school I was consistently a straight-A student in EVERY SUBJECT except handwriting, where I squeaked by with C’s -- WHY THE HELL ARE WE BEING GRADED ON THAT ANYWAY?) I have to say in my case this is absolutely true. Other people can read my handwriting with this pen, which is miraculous in the extreme. 
 
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2. Limited Edition LEGO Moleskine. OKAY, so this is really just the Moleskine people (makers of pricey hardcover notebooks, for those unawares) capitalizing on a brand name with a lot of goodwill attached to it. I admit there’s nothing all that different about these notebooks aside from having LEGO stuff on them.
 
But... THEY HAVE LEGO STUFF ON THEM. I spent my formative years as a confirmed LEGO Maniac  and while I no longer have the time or inclination to build them big or build them small, at least my notebooks -- of which I have many, many many, many notebooks, everywhere -- can harken back to childhood afternoons designing elaborate fantasies with little plastic bricks.
 
3. Dresses with pockets. Enough said. Substitute “skirts with pockets” if needed.
 
4. Sunshine. Is it sunny where you are? It’s sunny here, and today I met a friend for lunch on the beach where I live, and doing this in March is a wonderful surprise. 
 
Although our New England winter has been incredibly mild, it’s still restorative to be reminded that spring is coming. As I’ve often mentioned, I grew up in South Florida, where we don’t really have seasons -- “winter” is usually a weeklong cold snap in January. 
 
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And while I’ve lived in New England for seventeen years now -- almost as long as I lived in Florida! -- the changing seasons are stil novel and magical to me, the way the air itself starts to feel and smell different, and how dormant plants and trees spring back to life. I guess if you grew up with this cycle, as most of you no doubt have, it’s probably no big deal, but spring fever is REAL and it’s coming for me. I’m already starting my container garden planning! 
 
Sure, this unseasonable weather may be a sign of the imminent endtimes via cataclysmic climate change, but at least we'll be warm and sufficiently loaded up with vitamin D for the apocalypse. And if there's one thing you don't want, it's to face the end of civilization with a vitamin deficiency.
 
5. Books. I know, they’re on every list I make. But when books stop making me happy I intend to just give up living.
 
My recently documented YA-reading struggles notwithstanding, for the holidays this year my father bought me the two-volume hardcover set of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and I’m still slowly working my way through it. I pretty much never use cookbooks for cooking, as I am more of a wing-it kind of cook; I just like to read them. I guess that’s weird, but whatever, I own that.
 
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The other book factoring heavily in my life right now is my own, which will be published on April 10, less than three weeks from today! I am excited and terrified! It’s called Two Whole Cakes (more info, including event dates for NY and Boston, at that link), and it’s sort of a memoir-manifesto (memoirfesto?) for giving up body hatred, and you can preorder it lots of places if you’re interested. 
 
6. The Most Astounding Fact According to Neil deGrasse Tyson. This last item basically makes everything above look like nothing at all.
 
In 2008, our coolest living astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, was asked by an interviewer for Time magazine: “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” Earlier this month, videographer Max Schlickenmeyer made a gorgeous short video illustrating the answer. 
 
It made me smile, and it also made me cry, but I’m a nerd. In this case, even just for three minutes, I hope you’re a nerd too.