Here are some things that make me feel really good, joyful even.
1. Danica checks out funny-looking hippy granny crafting books from the library. Macramé owl lampshades and crocheted sweaters with collars bigger than your head. She drinks tea and pores over these books sitting cross-legged on the couch, Mustafa at her side, John Denver on the record player.
2. The phrase "There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year." I can't help but smile real big when I hear it said, which is not often. But there's a Mountain Goats song where he sings it, so if I need to be cheered up I can listen to that.
3. Seventies soft-rock. Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, Dan Fogelberg, Mac Davis, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Lobo, Bread, the Carpenters, the Doobie Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Jim Croce, etc. That stuff makes me come alive. When I get better at playing the mandolin I want to start a seventies soft-rock cover band with eastern European influences.
4. A good loaf of ciabatta made with a really wet dough so that it has big holes inside. Fervère in Kansas City makes the best ciabatta I've ever had, except for my own, of course. I rock that shit. [In related news, I broke the new baking stone I got for my birthday in half by spilling melted cheese on it when it was heated up to about 550 degrees in an attempt to make STG-standard neapolitan pizza (nothing other than flour, water, salt, yeast in the dough, no toppings other than buffalo mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and basil.). I made a huge mess, broke the stone, filled the apartment with smoke, etc., but that pizza tasted like heaven as I let the dough ferment in the fridge overnight.]
5. Good pizza. So hard to come by. By good pizza I mean STG-standard Neapolitan pizza, not that bullshit American kitchen-sink pizza. I want pizza made with care, which means fermenting the dough slowly, stretching it out nice and thin, and baking at high temperatures (about 800+ degrees) so that the dough does not get dried out. Crispy on the outside but soft inside. Word.
6. Being drunk on wine. Such a nice feeling. With beer I feel like a genius and I can't stop spouting bullshit and I always feel like standing on the table and reading Ben Jonson to everyone. With liquor I feel invincible and want to do manly physical things like get into a fist fight with a good friend. But wine is perfect. I don't get all sappy when I drink wine, as I do with beer and whiskey, though I still feel lots of love for everyone. Wine drunkenness is the best of both worlds without going to the extremes. You feel warm but not numb, talkative but not overly so. And wine doesn't make me gassy like beer does.
7. Getting really stoned and riding on the metro. I find it so weird being stuck in a tiny moving room with complete strangers for a minute at a time. I never look at people in the metro unless I'm stoned.
8. Movies by Yasujiro Ozu. They make me feel a mixture of sadness and joyfulness. So beautiful.