Friday, March 31, 2006

Can Money Buy Happiness?

1. What's the last thing you bought, not because you needed it, but
to make you happy?
2. Did it work?

1. a hot Italian sandwich with fresh tomato, cheese, capers, anchovies and basil
2. god yes, especially the anchovies, and especially since i enjoyed it twice, half in the restaurant yesterday, the other half just now for breakfast

1. martinis at top of the mark? well, I did buy a great coat from Zosaku on 4th St. in Berkeley. it's lime green with black trim
2. and it does make me happy when people tell me how beautiful it is

1. Recently, I bought a painted ceramic tile with a scene of three baby birds in their nest with their parents watching over them. It was done by Marible, a developmentally disabled person who sells her work through Creativity Explored in San Francisco, and the feeling she put into it moves me every time I look at it.
2. This wonderful work of art cost me $15 and has brought so much happiness into our kitchen!

1. A Paul McCartney 2002 USA Tour DVD
2. Yes-it made me very happy-because I gifted it to a couple that took very good care of me while lecturing in Georgia at SCAD.

1. Trip to egypt, turkey, and wherever else I end up.
2. I'll let you know in June. But I'm thinking it's GOTTA be better than working.

1. After many years of wants and needs, to decrease any guilt related to products I have bought, I have refined a system for justifying every purchase so that it is a need, not just a want. For instance, I wanted to increase my iTunes play list to include more Cajun in the spirit of defying my hermetic tendencies, we threw a Fat Tuesday party - hence requiring background music for atmosphere. Hence my want became a need (for one does need good music for a successful shindig).
2. It did and does work. I am very happy and guiltless.

1. I just came back from the GAP and bought a black pair of capris I really did not need!
2. I thought if I would buy something I would not eat, but I was so hungry after trying on all these clothes that I ran across the street and had falafels and hummus. I'll always be fat..
Does that answer your questions?

1. A meyer lemon tree to plant in my yard.
2. I'm happy about it because I don't have to spend money on lemons anymore ...
it's happiness on a small scale.

1. a large order of garlic fries from Burgermeister
2. definitely

1. well, the first thing that came to mind was a whole bunch of plastic boxes I bought to organize stuff in my camper. I didn't need them...I could have just put stuff on the shelf...I bought them at DollarTree...
2. they DID make me happy. Thrilled in fact, because it's in my genes for plastic boxes to make me really happy. I also get giddy over little notepads, neato pens and pencils, and stamps that have my name on them....

1. then, I thought, that's not the last thing I bought just because I wanted to and I didn't need it. I guess my lunch today was the LAST thing I bought that would fall in that category. It was fajitas.
2. They made me happy too because I sneaked away from work to eat them with a friend from work who also sneaked it was extra guilt at all.

Hmmmm.... well, I've been thinking about these issues a LOT for the past couple of months...

First, I'd have to separate need, from want, and I don't think that's possible. I could want a hamburger, but I don't need one. I do need food, but how to decide?

I don't need a computer, but I wanted one, bought one, and it makes me happy. It's my longest lasting happy purchase. However, I'm on my third one.

I finally found the most perfect red paint, and bought it. But I wasn't as thrilled with the purchase, as I was looking at the red living room walls. Go figure. No thrill from the paint purchase! No paint, no red walls, what a disconnect!

To sum it up, I buy everything to make me happy, and it does. For varying lengths of time. Even as short a time as it takes me to "consume" the item, and to hate myself for the consumption. I can't imagine EVER making a purchase that's not about satisfying my ego.

And nothing I've ever bought makes me happy. There's always a better one. Where do I put this? Why did I buy this? I can't afford it. My credit card never gets paid down to zero.

The only purchases I haven't made on behalf of my "happiness," are things I'm constantly being forced to purchase. Like rent, parking tickets, car insurance (why can't this be a gas tax, so you pay as you go?) etc... When I buy these things, I'm temporarily relieved of the burden of having to make this purchase, but it mostly pisses me off.

Money CAN buy you happiness, especially of there's a lot of it lying around that you don't personally have to be in charge of, except as a citizen. Like, the State of California, tax money from corporations etc. If I/we had access to that money, we could buy a lot of "happiness" (or at least stress relief) in the form of universal healthcare, affordable housing, and education. I will personally never make enough money to access that kind of "happiness."

At least I can look up disease treatments on my computer, and watch the lucky few receive unbelievable amounts of health care by watching "The Miracle Workers" (Ugh!) on TV

Oh darn! I'm starting to feel all crappy. Better run to the store (any store!) and buy something, quick!

Our Franklin
1. A PowerBall ticket (three drawings with "Power Play" option) purchased with the $6 I won today in last night's drawing (I guessed the PowerBall number).
2. Did it make me happy? As of yet, no, but it went a long way toward satisfying my compulsion.

1. A second wireless mouse. I have one but wanted another because I like it so much.
2. Haven't opened it yet but I like knowing it's available when I need it. Oops. I just said 'need'? Ok maybe I was just being prudent then? Now I am confused?

Actually the more I think about it, my desires are usually in line with practical things so I end up making it part of what I use or need so maybe that is better then just splurging? But I do plan on buying a flat panel TV only because I want one. I have another 10 year old TV that still works but I'd rather have a flat panel because 1. It's cool and 2. It takes up less space in my work area (So I guess that is the practical part?)

1. How long do you have to be happy after buying
something for it to qualify? Does it count if you are
happy for 15 minutes? An hour? A day?

Is it worth buying something you don't need for only 5
minutes of "happiness?" Perhaps. If it's a gelato in
Florence, probably. If you are spending your rent
money on an ipod, probably not.

2. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. And we
are right back where we started.

1. I will be buying a ticket to Burning Man soon and that is happiness guaranteed.
but I don't think that answers the question....
a ticket to see V for Vendetta
2. yes it helped and it was good.

Everything I buy, I need. I live a frugal life style. Money has not made me happy, so I've taken time off work, started a family, and never been happier. I do buy chocolate for myself, and yes, it satisfies me, but I wouldn't say it makes me happy. I'd say true love makes me happy. For me, true love has never included money. I don't know why. For others, it might include money though.
When I did have money, I did take a trip to Japan, and it did cost a lot of money, and it did make me happy and still does. But I think the good memories are strongly linked to meeting my relatives and ansestors for the first time. So even though it took money to get there, it was the connection and how it added to my character that made it such a happy memory.

1. well, i went shopping for clothes!!!! shopping, shopping, shopping!!! two sweaters (v-necks, one dusty pink, one powder blue, very soft) and earrings (gold hoops) for me!!. underwear, sox, and a casual shirt for john.
2. does or did this make me happy!!!???? you betcha!!!!!

1. john and i took the boys to walgreens, so they could buy some toys (walgreens has a great toy section!!!). the boys picked out several items!!! ry picked out a ball, and a remote control car (motorized with batteries), cameron, a speedway with car, and a shooter with foam discs.
2. made john and me feel really good, because the boys had so much fun looking and choosing!!!

Maizy returns
1. Why do you think we use the term "disposable income"? Is it because of all the garbage we buy? We are all of us constantly turning all our money into crap, and paying WAY TOO MUCH for necessities.
2. Again, money CAN buy us happiness, but buying stuff is pretty limited.

Linda H.
1. For me, I bought a book a couple of days ago (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert) on a whim, encouraged by a couple of snippets read by the author on NPR.
2. I certainly didn't NEED it (the stack by the bed is already very deep), but—granted, only 10 pages in to it—I'm enjoying the heck out of it and find it entertaining and thoughtprovoking at once.

my sister Aggles
1. Money can buy happiness if you know where and how to shop. Last thing I bought to make me happy was a funny book (To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.)
2. Since it makes me snicker and snortle while I read it I guess it is making me happy.

Everyone I ask gives an emphatic "no" to the question can money buy happiness. Now I know that this is outside the scope of your survey but me being me just had to take it one step further in a slightly different direction. It appears that people consider the pursuit of happiness as a pursuit of a permanent state of being. Which of course money cannot buy. I, on the other hand, pretty much view happiness as a "this too shall pass" kinda thing. I mean really, you don't eat a scrumptious meal and think you'll never be hungry again! Good grief! Plus, people don't appear to do "cost / benefit" analysis on things that might make them happy so there appears to be some kind of idea that happiness is a "right now" kinda thing instead of a "I could make this work in the future by doing this and this" kinda thing. This probably does not make sense 'cuz I am gosh dog tired.

1. The very last thing was the Wallace and Grommit DVD.
2. It made me very happy and I have all of Grommit’s lines memorized now.

Further survey comments:
Su also gave a resounding “no.”

We had a rather lengthy discussion of this over Margaritas but she wouldn’t relent from her erroneous views.

However, Su did manage to talk our waitress into giving us “go cups” so we could finish our 2nd round of adult beverages at my place. (In Louisiana it’s not illegal to drink and drive – just illegal to be drunk and driving.)

1. I bought some tulips for my sister in law last night.
2. I think she liked them.

1. I bought a repro WW2 British General Service cap. Kind of a olive green wool beret. It looks kind of like the hat the director wore in the Truman Show.
2. Indeed it did/does make me happy. Our cottage has only had half functioning heat this winter, and it's warm, plus I have a certain savoir faire when I wear it around the house.

1. Linda linda linda---my buying habits don't work like this....
2. happiness is a whole and other story.

Maizy adds
More on buying "happiness" aka the huge cesspool of materialism, consumerism and commercialization:
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs (Paperback)
The president of Borders, when asked whether the bookstore chain could pay its clerks a "living wage," wrote that "while the concept is romantically appealing, it ignores the practicalities and realities of our business environment."

Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (Paperback)
From Publishers Weekly
According to consumerism and economics expert Schor (The Overspent American), the average 10-year-old has memorized about 400 brands, the average kindergartner can identify some 300 logos and from as early as age two kids are "bonded to brands." Some may call it brainwashing, others say it's genius; regardless of how you see it, the approach is the same: target young kids directly and consistently, appeal to them and not the adults in their lives and get your product name in their heads from as early an age as possible. From TV shows and toys to video games, snacks and clothing, kids today, according to Schor, know too much yet understand too little, sopping up subliminal and not-so-subliminal messages of "buy, buy, buy." Drawing on a significant body of research, including interviews with everyone from advertising executives to the kids themselves, Schor exposes what she believes to be a huge cesspool of materialism, consumerism and commercialization that could be, and perhaps already is, leading to a generation of kids with no concept of what is important and truly necessary in life. By offering up her own ideas of what can be done by parents, educators, advertisers and others to lessen these problems, Schor goes beyond uncovering the problem and into the realm of concrete solutions.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


1. Yesterday when I returned home from work, I was happy to find a CD I had ordered through, "The Ballad of the Broken Seas" by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan.
2. I've listened to it one time completely through, and it does make me happy because listening to music makes me happy. However, I do experience a strange phenomenon: As soon as I've acquired something -- a CD, a book, a magazine received through the mail -- I'm more interested in something else (the CD not yet purchased, a book on the shelf in the library, the magazine from the newsstand). I can't tell you the number of books I've purchased that just sit on my shelf for months until I crack them open (please, do NOT tell Oprah -- she'll rip me a new one like she did James Frey!). I don't know if this is a particularly American trait, or the by-product of our advertising culture (which tells us that a detergent is "better" -- does this mean that the old one sucked?), but it's really something that characterizes me as I get older...but "better"!!

1. My admission ticket of $10 into the club I went dancing in last night.
2. It sure did! I had a fabulous time! How could anyone have a bad time dancing to "Get Your Booty on the Bus"!

1. Today I bought the game "Apples to Apples" at the Goodwill.
2. I was happy that I found it for only a few bucks, and I am happy in anticipation of playing it with some people, but also mixed in there is a little sadness at the knowledge that I have so many games and not enough friends to play them with.

1. African monkey mask.
2. It gives me pleasure every time I look at it.
Money can only buy durable goods. Happiness is not durable.

1. A grey-blue jacket made out of that wonderful new material–faux suede–that washes and doesn't have to be ironed. When it's wrong-side-out, it feels like satin.
2. I hung it on the back of a chair in the ping pong room. I forgot about it. When I went back to retrieve it, it was gone! No one ever turned it in, and I never found it. There were no more at the store. A friend realized how upset I was, and gave me an off-white jacket out of the same material that she had bought the same day I bought mine. But it's not the same perfect color and cut. The jacket brought me much happiness, then sadness.

Ken (the Doctor)
1. Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heathbar crunch ice cream.
2. Yes, it always works...

The last thing I bought that brought me happiness - hmmm - I guess I would say that it was this house! Otherwise it would be trips to see people that I want to see and of the two, I would say that seeing people is more meaningful than having a home in a place that I like. My last trip was to see Thomas Berry. It was more than worth the cost.

1. My answer is "buying plants for the yard @ Popes & local nurseries" so I asked Elaine and she 2sayed plants , we have just been married 2long
2. Yes

I think the last time I bought something to make me REALLY happy was about seven years ago. It was a very large antique Persian rug. And yes, it made me very happy. One could argue that, at the time, I also had a great new job, and a great new boyfriend who later became my husband. After a few years, the feeling faded somewhat (about the rug). It doesn't look as great in my current house as it did before. Plus, I don't think my husband likes it much.

Being surrounded by beautiful things definitely contributes to my sense of internal order and peace. But I try to stay out of stores to avoid this temptation. I can't believe all the stuff that goes to Goodwill that I just had to have.

It also makes me happy sometimes when I buy something for my son that he REALLY wants, although it, too, fades when I see the excitement fade for him.

Something in the Air

Maizy, Hair Mistress
at the Den of Exotic Beauty, writes:

Something must be in the air. I bought these a few weeks ago at a feed store
in Eugene, Oregon. I had to 'cause I had no farm shoes, and the folks in Cottage Grove laughed at my footwear. Well now they laugh harder, but I don't have to get horse shit on my city shoes.

It's plain to see why they were on the sale table. What the hell was the buyer thinking? Do these look like Oregon cowboy boots? They are sort of cowboy meets gay disco meets hip-hop meets Doc Martin's.

to Maizy
Have you ever sung "These boots are made for walking" when you wear your boots? Be honest.
Did buying them make you happy?

from Maizy
I was singing "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "I Will Survive", and "Anarchy In the U.K."! I didn't want to sing a hip-hop song.

People were kinda snickering and I felt proud to have goofy looking gay purple hip-hop cowboy boots. They were warm.
I don't ever plan to wear them in my city life. They are to be used strictly for mucking about on my friends farm in Oregon.

Last time I was having a beauty treatment at the D. of E. B., I asked Maizy where I could buy girls' shoes in San Francisco. She looked at me like I was an idiot and shouted, "You can't buy GIRLS' SHOES in SAN FRANCISCO! You have to go to NEW YORK to buy GIRLS' shoes!" Then she ran out of the den and down the hall. She burst back in with an armload of shoes from her last trip to New York. Skinny straps, 5-inch heels, shiny orange soles...

Deadline Day

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Moment of Truth

I've told 4 people about my blog. Two of them have said that from the bits they can see, our house looks really fun.

It's light and colorful now; and it feels like my home. My husband is a great designer.

Here's a photo of what it was like for a year and a half after we first moved in. We actually lived here that whole time, and cooked in this kitchen. Imagine the other rooms. We didn't have the heart to photograph them!

The outside was worse. After 5 years, the outside now looks like a normal person's house, and I love this house and our neighborhood.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Cinderella Snow Dome

my beachcombing find-of-the-day

There isn't much room for coffee on our coffee table. (Beach glass from our walks on Ocean Beach.)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Good Mood Glass

Every evening I have a glass of red wine. Why red? Because if you have type-A blood, which I do, red wine is on the beneficial foods list, and I try to be conscious of my health in the evenings. Also red because our wine aficionado friend Scott informed me that all wine would be red if it could.

But back to the issue at hand: which is, if I'm in a good mood, I'll drink out of the glass on the left. If I'm not in such a good mood, I'll drink out of the type of glass on the right. The glass on the left came from my Grandmother's house.

So if you ever come over, and I'm drinking out of the glass on the right, you'll know that you probably won't want to hang around long.

Did you notice that the glass on the right is half empty? The glass on the left is half full.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Art Acquisition

Last week my friend Cheryl from NY took Janet and me to an opening at Creativity Explored. Feeling flush with car insurance money, having decided never to own a car again, I purchased this piece of art. Exquisite, is it not? I hate to divulge the cost. Well, OK, if you insist. It was $15.00. It came framed and ready to hang. I took it out of the frame to scan it, and couldn't get over the luscious, fat paper, the beautifully twisted red wire, the clean thick glass–not a smudge on either side.

P.S. After the opening we ate at Picaro, a Spanish tapas place, also in the Mission. I'm usually not crazy about small plates restaurants because I will order 30 plates, and leave starving and irritated, having paid an arm and a leg for each tiny bite on each tiny plate. This was a great exception to that rule. Huge small plates. Heavenly roasted potatoes with an incredible garlic sauce. Sangria loaded with apples, oranges, lemons and limes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Drawing A Man Test

This says it all.
(my man, age 6)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Strong and Silent Boots

to Katy:
This is all your fault. I was trying to buy GIRLS' shoes.
Do you sing "These boots are made for walking"
when you're wearing your boots?
I do.

from Katy:
they look like girl boots to me.
I don't sing anything when wearing my boots.
they're strong and silent boots.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

My Friend Barbara

This is my friend Barbara. When I told her about my new boots, she had to send me this photo of her boots. She bought them in Holland. She has a brown pair as well:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Katy started it.

I have a friend named Katy, and whatever she does, I try to copy. She bought a little pocket camera, and I had to buy a little pocket camera of the same model. She read all of Walker Percy's books, so I had to read all of Walker Percy's books. She makes martinis, so I had to learn how to make martinis. Here's her email to me about the $3.00 pair of boots she bought, purchased, oddly, just a few days before I bought mine:

Magic Boots
The $3 cowboy boots I found at a good samaritan thrift store today may have inspired me. After I bought them and wore them (I changed into them in the truck before driving home) and did some yard work (in a different pair of boots) I was able to go out and buy the compact refrigerator I wanted. Why compact? Because I don't know where I want the kitchen and I want to be able to move the midge fridge around.
The woman at the thrift store said she'd just put the boots out. I said it was meant to be. They're in good shape and even fit. My first pair of cowboy boots ever.
I'm just back from the grocery store with a few items for my frigidaire. The ice tray that came with it (12 little cubes) was already frozen by the time I got home. Now I'm really living. My first refrigerator ever. I didn't even have to click my heels three times. I wore them to the grocery of course.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My First Pair of Cowboy Boots

My sister looks cranky and bored, but not me.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Cars & Negligee

Deb, how are you & Eric?
We are fine, and happy to have too much work.
Only this awful thing happened last week:

Tom was driving, and he is fine. I was at home. I'm actually OK with not having a car--the only bad thing is: for being 13 years old, my car was in great shape. . . and I'll probably only get $500 for it because it's so old. I thought I could take some of the money and spend it on girls' shoes, so I went to Nordstrom Rack yesterday and here's what I ended up with:

Tom took this picture by mistake when we were trying to preview the boots on the camera. It's funny because I was telling my therapist that I wanted more closeness between Tom and me. He asked (in a very gentle way) (after spending a year or so on this topic) if I would ever consider wearing something, you know, beautiful to sleep in. I don't know why he would suggest such a thing; how could anybody resist me in my slinky negligee? (below)

A nice email from my agent:

Ouch! I feel for you-but am glad Tom is alive to tell the story.
Enjoy yr beautiful boots. May they last past 13 years and get really broken in.
And may a Land Rover never crash into them!

A frank email from Cheryl:
Girl...we gotta get you to Victoria's Secret!

Saturday, March 11, 2006


This is my first blog.

These are my first gingerbread cookies. I made the fish for Chef John next door, who works at the seafood counter.