Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Time Flies

Yesterday was my birthday. I had a lovely day of doing what I do everyday. I did prep work for a new painting, I worked on Surlies, I finished up some custom orders, worked on my website and I went to the gym. It was just another day in the world of Amy, except for the fact that there was also cupcakes and I got to have sake with Time Flieslunch! A girl has gotta celebrate a little right!

The point is, I don’t usually make a big deal out of my birthday. But one almost can’t help themselves from reflecting on the accomplishments from the past year(s) when a birthday rolls around. Try as I might, I felt compelled to analyze the past. Did I work hard enough? Could I have produced more art? Was I kind enough to my friends and family? Did I help the skeptical movement? Did I make my tiny little world a better place? Did I try hard enough? Was it all just a waste of time? It was a bit overwhelming and I couldn’t decide if I had done enough. It is difficult to quantify the accomplishments of an entire year or a lifetime in one day. After all, we are often our own worst critics.

So I decided I would take a cue from Richard Wiseman and his Happiness Experiment that was conducted a few months back. One thing that was recommended, that stuck with me was an exercise where you name something positive that happened to you in the past 24 hours. Could be as simple as your pet welcoming you home or a delicious sandwich you had for lunch. It made me feel a lot better to take it one day at a time. It is after all the little things that really matter and a birthday is just another day in a trip around the sun.

Yesterday, I had a chocolate cupcake and sake with lunch. Life is grand!

What simple thing did you experience in the past 24 hours that is a happy memory?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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  1. I walked in from my therapeutic massage and the house just smelled like the chicken stew I’ve got perking in the crock pot. Nice smell to come home to…

  2. Did my taxes and found that being on unemployment for 3-4 months barely diminished my refund. Decided to go for the upgraded Mac Mini.

    @madfishmonger: oh man, cats are so adorable when they are on cat drugs.

  3. When very young, my nieces and nephews used to mispronounce Cs as Ts, and occasionally my husband and I talk that way, too, when they’re not around. And today on the grocery list, he’s written “Tookies N Tream.” I giggle every time I read the list.

  4. Last night, 10-day-old Spencer and I sat for a good 5 minutes making hardcore eye-contact as she studied my face. At the end of it she gave me a huge, gummy smile. This kid makes me melt.

  5. Fried chicken for dinner last night :-) With gravy that must be made with crack, it’s so addictive.

    And Sheldon on Big Bang Theory shouting “Bazinga!” in the ballpit… and my friend and I falling over each other laughing at it.

    I know that’s two… I could use a bit extra this week!

  6. Telling a bedtime story to my daughter. She loves to hear the little details of my life, so last night’s installment was Eli the Little Black Pet Mouse Who Went to College With Me.

  7. A week ago, I bought the last remnants of a closed bookstore. 50 boxes that had been stored in a warehouse for years. I got them for a decent price but didn’t really know what was in there.

    There’s been a lot of junk. 6 boxes of diabetics paperbacks, worthless Hollywood biographies, stuff that doesn’t sell.

    But yesterday, I opened the biggest box of the bunch and it was filled with collectible pop-up books! All of them new with just the slightest wear from storage.

    I love pop-ups, paper dolls and other forms of paper art, such a fragile but versatile medium. These books are fine examples. I spent a very happy hour sorting and gently playing with them.

    And then, at the bottom of the box, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, found a gorgeous, new ‘Dwindling Party’ by Edward Gorey. Not the most expensive book in the bunch, but a personal favorite.

    Perfect, just absolutely perfect.

  8. My cat found a big plastic bag which he uses as a nest. This morning he was sleeping inside of it with just his head sticking out, and it was so cute.

    Also, last night I remembered to put the bag in a closet before I went to bed, so I didn’t have to do it at 1 a.m. when he usually wakes me up with the noise of crinkling plastic.

  9. Since I started working full time I don’t get much time to draw and paint for myself. So, it’s always a great feeling when the hour or two I manage to steal for painting actually produces good results, as it did last night. Now, if only I didn’t need to eat and pay rent I might actually finish the damn thing sometime this century.

  10. I booked a new venue for Skepchicamp. Last week the crew was in a panic over the time slot screw up.

    Me? I did not freak out. And I got that shit done.

    And now we have a new venue. And it’s costing us over $200 less than the original.

    Go me! I kinda kick ass!

  11. I registered with skepchick and posted my first comment.

    (Well, ok, technically I am doing this now, but by the time you read it it will have made me happy :-) )

  12. I’m not sure if I heard this from Wiseman specifically, but a few months ago I heard about this idea of thinking about good things that happened, so I actually do this every day. Every night before I fall asleep, I think of at least three things that I’m glad about that happened during the day.

  13. I have two cats, one of which is a major fur ball. My vacuum broke before my move last October, and I haven’t had the extra $30 (!) to replace the brush (or rather, I have found other things to spend $30 on lol). I realllly need to vacuum.

    It was happppy time last night when my friend loaned me his extra vacuum indefinitely :)

    Haven’t had time to use it yet, but tomorrow I plan on vacuuming like crazy and it will be awesome.

    Also, I watched the Surrogates, which is a cheesetastic action movie last night. But it has Bruce Willis in it and I love me some Bruce Willis. I also love cheesetastic action movies.

  14. @Nicole: That was perhaps the funniest episode in recent memory. I REALLY love when episodes focus on Penny and Sheldon — they have fantastic chemistry (in the sense that you can feeeel the “I love you but kind of hate you” tension), and great comedic timing.

    But seriously, “Bazinga!” had me rolllllling.

    I love Sheldon.

  15. My daughter came home from symphony practice last night bouncing up and down with excitement. She’s learned that her high school chamber ensemble won regional’s and is going to the state wide competition. She also told me she came in third in the individual violin competition. This was a complete win for her because the first and second place players are seniors and phenomenal violin players. She’s worked really hard and I could not be prouder of her accomplishments.

    And happy day late birthday to the Tardis maker and welcome ianf !!

  16. Inspired by this post, comments, and @ianf, I (finally) registered with skepchick… and alas, a comment. To answer the awesome question poised, last night I played drums very loudly. Afterwards, I asked my partner if it drives her crazy. It does not. Pure joy.

    Happy belated, Amy. Here’s a little song I wrote (it’s true):

  17. @kara e. sherman: My girlfriend and I moved out of the house we rented and into an apartment and I knew it was a good sign when she was kind of sad that she wouldn’t get to hear my band practice anymore. Me banging out rhythms on kitchenware/my legs/the cats doesn’t seem to fill the void.

  18. My final child moved out yesterday so I officially live alone (Yay x 100) for the moment. I’ve already shopped for new kitchen stuff and discovered this morning I’ll need new bathroom accessories too.

  19. I’ve just spent the last 2 days visiting with my sister before leaving the country for a year so that is all happy times that are bittersweet times as well.

  20. I budgeted things so well for this week time wise that I actually had extra time enough to calm down a cousin AND take a bath last night while still being on task.

  21. Got an email from my aunt. She shared a journal entry from when she first met me, I was three. “He’s not that ugly. As a matter of fact, he’s kinda cute. He’s also smart. I took him to church, and he was good.”

    My Aunt Lorrie is a small beacon of happy in my gloomy world.

  22. @Amy- My pleasure! Thank you for the welcome!

    @Elyse- Wow, thanks! This seems like a super-kind group… had to break the seal! :D

    @mikerattlesnake- Check this out: Yamaha YDD-60 Electronic Drum. You can use it with headphones! or a keyboard amp. That’s what I was playing. It’s quite fun- you can use it with midi and have any kit you want.

  23. @kara e. sherman: I had a cheap electronic kit a while back. A better one would probably be a worthwhile investment, but one band I play with has a practice space right down the street and two of the folks in the other band (a couple) bought a house where we practice. I should be running through rudiments at home, but I already practice, record, or play shows 3-5 nights a week.

  24. @mikerattlesnake Sweeeeet… sounds like you’ve definitely got it covered (couldn’t help but geek out on music toys). May I ask what band? I check ya’ out.

  25. Sex, well even better than sex….connecting with another human being. Damn, I am happy about that.

    @ Surly Amy: Happy, Happy Cupcake Day! And I might be in love with that painting. Fantastic.

  26. Apparently, sometime late last night, my son got out of bed, used the toilet on his own, and then went back to bed. He informed me this morning.

    It seems like a small thing, but this is huge for us. We’ve been trying to get him potty trained since he first started showing interest about a year and a half ago (he turns 4 next week). We now believe he has some mild developmental issues that are making things more difficult for him, and we’re seeking help.

  27. I called my kids to say good night to them as I was working late and then I walked the 8.8 km (5.46 miles) home when I was finished working.

  28. In the last 24 hours, I’ve done nothing but watch tv, but I’ve had a few good things in the last week. Filed my taxes, and found out that I’m getting the biggest refund I’ve ever gotten, which is good since I’m unemployed. Made ravioli from scratch for the first time, and served it with my homemade bolognese sauce, and it turned out damned good. And I heard news that the restaurant I was cooking at that shut down may be reopening soon, so I may be employed again in a couple months.

  29. I thought of a way of getting some friends back for accidentally playing a practical joke on me instead of my hubby. All in good fun, of course.


  30. Listened to some old time New Orleans jazz on Pandora and was transported back to my youth sitting in my buddies attic listening to scratchy old 78s. Happiest times ever.

    And don’t forget:

    Time flies like an arrow;
    Fruit flies like bananas.

  31. @catgirl: Good call! I forget to put cat stuff away before bed all the time…

    Invited friends over for a homecooked meal, wine, Star Trek TNG, and Mario Bros Wii last night, all completed in time for them to still get home and get some homework done. Sometimes I feel bad when we keep the grad students out too late… :-P So last night was awesome.

  32. @SJBG: Good call! I forget to put cat stuff away before bed all the time…

    Everything, EVERYTHING, is a cat toy. I starting leaving more of their stuff out. If they got bored they’d start playing with my toes or styling my mustache or resetting the alarm or… Rustling is easier to sleep through.

  33. A past soccer coach just sent me a dvd of my team playing our final game from high school. He had meant to send the dvds out to us when we graduated but they got misplaced and he only just now found them. It made me happy to see my old friends playing and remember how fun it was.
    Also, I technically didn’t do this 24 hrs ago but I very recently decided to register with Skepchick. Definitely a choice I’m happy about. Seems like a lot of people are doing that as well. Yay :)

  34. Last night at my martial arts class, we got to spend 2 hours training with my favourite weapon – the staff. I am missing some skin on my palms and have some new bruises, but still happy.

  35. @davew: Mine has a new game, now that she’s the jealous older-sibling to a human. She’s declawed but never lost the desire to rub her mits on everything. She waits until Spencer is asleep in her Pack-n-Play (travel-crib) and then she fake-picks on the mesh sides, instantly waking the youngling.

    I’ve also added to my bedtime routine the checking of doors and disposal of crunchy-sounding materials. If only I could keep her out of the laundry, I could finally rid our home of the sound of her teeth biting into my husband’s socks.

  36. On the way into work I got to chat with a nice friendly skeptical primary school teacher. How I do enjoy random conversations with people on public transport.

    Also gotta say that that is an awesome painting.

  37. I “watched” Lost with a friend and my sister who both live three hours north of me in Pennsylvania – we passed comments back and forth through Facebook.

    And happy birthday, Amy.

  38. @marilove: I agree. Of course, I’m secretly in love with Penny, but the chemistry between her and Sheldon is great. One of my favorite lines is from the show where Sheldon tries to make ‘friends’ and asks Penny and she says, “Have you tried just being pleasant?”, and Sheldon says, “Don’t be absurd.” Plus, my dad’s name is Sheldon, so there’s that.

    Okay, my happy day was Monday, since Chuck and Big Bang Theory are now on at separate times so I could watch them both. Yes! But, last night was the premier of Lost’s final season, so that was pretty cool, too.

    @James Fox: I know exactly how your daughter feels. I played cello for 15 years and things like that were few and far between for our little group. Good times…good times.

    Amy: Happy B-day! Cupcakes and sake for all.

  39. My happy moment was this morning while I was doing situps* on the living room floor. One of the cats decided that I needed cuddles right that minute. It was like she hadn’t seen me in days. She writhed all over me, purring and making her little “murp” noises, and letting me rub her adorable hairless belly (the hair never grew back there after her spaying surgery, so she’s got a bare patch that feels velvety-soft and strange to my fingers.) I felt very loved:)

    Also, it’s blood orange season. The one I had for breakfast made my mouth very happy.

    And I’m off work until next Monday, and I’m going to a relaxacon in Minnesota for the weekend–I’m going to sit in the hot tub until I turn into a raisin.

    *I’m doing the 200 Situps Challenge. That right there is making me happy, because it’s getting me back in the habit of exercise after a looo0ng sluggish period.

  40. Some of my students saying they want to buy me a birthday-present. I’m a bit ambivalent about actually receiving a present, but the thought is what matters to me, and the chance they’ll actually get me one is fortunately slim.

  41. @bookitty: There’s nothing like simple pleasures. :-D

    @iamf: Welcome!

    I had our new cat, Sunny, and our alpha Sheltie, Beagin, both come up and settle on my lap at the same time last night for no good reason. That’s never happened before…It was nice and peaceful to have a lapful of dozing pets.

  42. Thanks for the birthday shout outs and welcome to ALL the new community members! This was fun! Next time life gets a little overwhelming just try to find one little tiny piece of happy and focus on it for a spell. Seems if you can do that on a regular basis overall you feel happier. And we all could use a little more happiness in our worlds! Cheers!

  43. All the comments on this post made me so happy, I rushed out and registered so I could join in the general happiness.

    Yesterday I watched Rebecca on Car Pool and that made me very happy. It also explains how I arrived here. Thank you.

  44. @Gazman:

    Yesterday I watched Rebecca on Car Pool and that made me very happy. It also explains how I arrived here. Thank you.

    You carpooled?

    There’s faster ways to get to, you know.

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