This is my symphony

What I read & what I lived …

(noun): a high degree of gratification or pleasure; extreme satisfaction

Merriam Webster

This year I’ve got my eye on delight. It seems like a perfect fit for where I am now. Happiness carries a little too much emotional weight for me, and joy is ever-present. It’s the extra-in-the-ordinary that gives me pleasure. So delight it will be for 2023.

This month I found a quick way to use vintage hankies for a window valance and it makes me smile every time I walk into my kitchen. That’s delight. The extra-in-the-ordinary. And I repurposed the old high chair I brought over from Mom’s after she died, having no clue what I’d use it for. (Pinterest for the win!) A couple weeks ago my son and I resumed our Sunday walks–in the sun, mind you! And last Saturday we made our annual trek with the Littles to Frederik Meijer Gardens Animal Adventure event where I pet a silky soft chinchilla. (And a snake, but that’s another story.) Last week I started Ann Wood’s 100 Day Stitch Challenge and although I’m already behind, I have page one almost finished. And both of my eight-year-old grandchildren are writing books. Does it get much better than that?

I’m also starting to reclaim some of what I lost in the past several years. I figure I can continue to live the narrow life I became accustomed to–or I can recover a life that looks outward. So for a birthday gift to myself I bought a ticket to Mozart’s Requiem in March. I also got tickets for Broadway Grand Rapids’ My Fair Lady and Frozen. (Frozen will be my granddaughter’s birthday gift and a My Fair Lady is a friend date.) Going out and about used to be such a big part of my life when I was first married–and I don’t think I fully realized how much I missed it. My day-to-day finances are strong and sound and I can surely manage an event every now and then.

It’s no secret that one of my greatest delights is the stack of books I have waiting for me. I’ve had the Thursday Murder Club books by Richard Osman pop up in my Amazon feed, but the blurb sounded a little trite: a group of old folks meet weekly in their retirement village to discuss unsolved crimes. Too treacly, I thought. (The books are set in the English countryside, so treacly is perfect here, Reader!) But when Bookmarks magazine gave the third novel in the series a strong review, it was time to rethink my snub. And am I ever glad I did. Despite reading good things about The Bullet That Missed (#3), I began at the beginning with The Thursday Murder Club where four friends–Joyce, Elizabeth, Ibrahim, and Ron–pore over cold case files on Thursday afternoons. Oh, what one does for fun when you’re seventy-five and bored. Their retirement home, Coopers Chase, has been billed as “Britain’s first Luxury Retirement Village” and we’re not talking smelly boiled cabbage and gray linoleum floors here, folks. Coopers Chase was built on the grounds of an old convent in the Kentish Weald and it’s a wonderland of rolling hills, beautiful landscaping, orchards, a pool complex, bowling green, and oh-so-comfortable apartments. These residents are sharp as a tack and active–so it’s no surprise that they find themselves in the middle not one, but two (or is it three?!) real life murder cases. Osman’s characters are witty and engaging, but he doesn’t shy away from showing the losses and poignancy of aging.

Another series to add to my TBR pile and another delicious serving of delight for me.

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