Taking Seven: Guinea Hens, Shallow Thoughts on Happiness, and Other Even Less Related Things

18 October 2013

Joining Jen today in the Friday ritual. And what a Friday it is.

It has already been the loveliest day. I'm feeling so much better with only remnants of drainage and facial pain that serve to remind me of just how much better. Birds are singing, my new batch of yogurt is straining, and the sun is peeking in and out of the clouds on the serenest of October days. We just got back from a lovely walk where we met some very friendly horses who sniffed Jake's head, and it was like a Disney movie or something.

Commence photo dump of recent visit to the guineas with Nana Suz.

"I'm just a guinea in the coop. My name's Grey Guinea White Guinea" - Sure, kid.

Sorry if you're not sunshiny today because all is rays at The Rhodes Log.

Let's record all the happy things shall we?

- 1 -
A few minutes ago my brother brought my son into the kitchen. Jake was holding a wrench and asked if he could go help Uncle Robert work on his truck. Twist my arm, kid. I looked up at my brother who said, "Is that OK?"

And I thought: OK?? You obviously don't speak "Mom."

So the little man is workin' on a truck outside, and I'm currently enjoying a second cup of tea and feeling only a little on top of the world.

- 2 -
My sister is coming home for the weekend!!! Huzzah! I should probably go put all her shoes back in her closet...

We didn't grow up sharing clothes because she was eight years younger than me. But in our more adult lives we've done all kinds of adolescent indulging in each other's closets. The shoes are contentious because my feet are a smidge bigger than hers and I kinda maybe stretch them out a little bit...but ever since she took my favorite shirt to study abroad for a semester and I spent six weeks looking for it, all bets are off.

If you know me, you know that I go shopping about once every...eight months...and at any given time I'm rotating about three outfits and otherwise living in cut offs. I don't love this about myself. So yeah...If I had all the money in the world I would probably be wise to get a personal shopper.

- 3 -
Have you ever asked yourself what you'd pay for or how you'd live differently if money really were no concern? I posed that question to Jacob on a date recently after I'd read Laura Vanderkam's All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Wealth

I didn't love the book, and I didn't agree with everything, but she did have some interesting points.
She attacked the penny pinching attitude and brought up, what I will call, The Latte Question. Have you noticed that as soon as you start talking budgets everyone talks about buying a daily coffee? The Latte has become the go to metaphor people use in America for wasted money. "Think of the money you could save just by routinely skipping the $4 latte."

Vanderkam falls in the camp that encourages you to figure out a way to sustain the latte habit, some new means of cash flow, because, she argues, that the daily sacrifice can take a significant toll on your overall happiness.

I'm probably not representing her point very well, but I didn't agree with it. I suppose because the Latte becomes valuable to me only when it is scarce. I suppose it's the Catholic in me, but I love sacrifices. I love them for themselves, and I especially love how they season the Feast.

How would you live your daily life differently if money were no concern?

I value frugal living so highly it's actually really hard for me to answer that question. But I would probably have local organic produce delivered to my house instead of having to fetch it myself. I would also get semi regular manicures and massages. A lot of massages.

- 4 -
One very interesting statistic that Vanderkam cites, however, is that happiness only corresponds to how much money you make up until an annual household income of $70,000. That is, people's recorded happiness levels tended to go up with their income until they hit seventy grand at which point the graph didn't stay true. More money didn't necessarily make people happier.

Such an interesting statistic.

[Insert Moral or Some Such.]

- 5 -
Tonight we're taking Jake to a high school football game to watch my cousin play. Jake's love affair with balls has quelled somewhat and been replaced by an obsession with heavy machinery, but I think he's going to have a blast.

- 6 -
As of last night I am officially more pregnant than I've ever been. Jake was born at 39 weeks 3 days and I'm sitting on 39w4d right now.

Snug as a bug and always a little to the right. 
Already a family record breaker. I wonder if she'll be as miserably competitive as I am.

Perhaps being massively pregnant isn't the most comfortable of states...but I'm SO GRATEFUL that I've avoided labor through this illness, and that Jacob's been able to get some really good work in at his new job in Houston before taking a break to father a toddler and a newborn. I'm hoping little lady waits till her due date which is Tuesday.

I was born on my due date, and we could be like twinsies.

I'd also like at least a few more days so we can do a better job on the name game. Jacob went soft on my #1 pick and since then we've been bickering at the drawing board.

- 7 -
I sort of apologize for the randomness and general lack of substance that is this post. Or not really. I have to rush and make sure my grandmother's dog isn't eating one of the guinea hens. We'll see how well a 9mo pregger breaks up a spat on the farm.

See Jen for more of the day's takes.


  1. You're 39 weeks and 4 days. You deserve all the sunshine you can get. Furthermore, regarding how to spend the money I don't have -- exactly what you said.

  2. I can't even handle how much Jake looks like a real kid in those photos (aka, not even a little bit of a baby!). Amazing.

    As for the money question, I think about that one a lot too and can't think of many things I'd be interested in buying. I'd probably make a greater effort to make my shopping match my values (like, all organic/local foodstuffs and replacing sweatshop-made clearance rack purchases with more ethically made/higher quality stuff). I'd definitely spend more money on food (both dining out and grocery shopping), travel, and maybe private yoga classes.

    1. Agreed. I do love a good deal but I also love "supporting" certain kinds of vendors when I shop and I don't often have that opportunity.

      And Jake is totally turning into a little kid...It is very very strange (and I'll confess, MUCH more fun for me then when he was a baby. Hopefully your little lady and his sister won't be half as fussy.)

  3. Oh I'm jealous looking at your to-the-right-belly! Sometimes I wish I was there again (40 weeks) and other times I'm cringe at the thought...but today I'm wishing!
    Best of luck with the little lady....Olivia is a nice name! x

    1. The pregnant belly jealousy is such a funny thing. I would get jealous of baby bumps sometimes and I'm VERY VOCAL about how much pregnancy was NOT my favorite.

      And it's funny you say it because my favorite name, that is apparently getting vetoed, is "Olive." Maybe I should rally my blog-readers in support?

  4. I love the question about wealth and happiness! The line of $70,000 seemed somewhat arbitrary, but I could definitely see the point. I think people below that level (especially WAY below) would struggle financially, which would lead to some unhappiness or stress. Above that level and you can live pretty well pretty much anywhere. I know we've been on both sides of the fence and there is something to be said about living frugally because you CHOOSE to do so and living frugally because you HAVE to do it in order to survive. Having that little bit of wiggle room makes things much less stressful. Were we to be at a point where we didn't have to budget or pay attention, I think I would be less penny pinching about the groceries I buy, and things I buy for the house. I can't see myself spending loads of money on clothing items - that seems wasteful to me even if I could afford it. I would definitely be right next to you at the spa, though!

  5. Would your husband be more open to Olivia than Olive? That might work!

    That book sounds fascinating. I've read about the $70k threshold before—it's such a surprising statistic, but makes a certain kind of sense. I might have to check that book out of the library soon!


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