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My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.

-Cary Grant


this morning i rolled out of bed and weighed 2 lbs more than yesterday. i threw on jeans and a sweatshirt, and rode with my husband 30 miles south to my place of work. having miscalculated the weather, i wore sandals, and my toes were cold. upon arrival i walked to my office and fired up my computer getting my tasks for the day in order. about 15 minuets later, my husband dropped by with a single tall non-fat latte, and i felt instantly better.

as i stop to ponder what makes a morning “good” and what can make it awful, i’ve come to the conclusion that it is really little things that make my good mornings good. as a little girl, a good morning was sitting on my father’s lap saturday mornings, watching cartoons and eating m&ms out of my hello kitty teapot. in college, a good morning was one where i could roll out of bed and on to my computer to chat, check email, and catch up with far-flung friends. what makes a morning good is having the time to do the things you need to do to set the tone for your day.

in terms of an ideal day, i am meaning, a normal day. an ideal day could be a day spent on the french riviera, or perhaps spending time with a far-away best friend. an ideal day might be a pivotal day in your past, or your first date with your partner. but i mean an ordinary day, with ordinary obligations and responsibilities. what can make an ordinary day into a great day? i think everyone knows that missing a bus, running out of the house late, skipping breakfast, or a sudden downpour of rain with no umbrella can turn an ordinary day into a less than ideal day. but then equaly mundane and little details should be able to craft an ordinary day into a perfect one.


my ideal day starts with, as i suspect it would for many people, having the right amount of sleep. for me this means neither too much, nor too little. and having the proper motivation to get out of bed. i then have plenty of time to go through my various morning rituals: facial care, checking the weather, selecting an outfit, packing my bag for the day, making sure my various electronics are charged and ready to go. i even have time to boil water in my whistling tea kettle for a first cup of tea, which i have time to drink in my home, out of my favorite mug.

ideal days for me include days that my husband and i have business in the same area of town, so we can go together. i love commuting to work by train, and we both bring a book to read as we speed through the valley and on to work, while nestled in ordinary luxery. when we climb off the train, we have time to stop in a cafe for a latte and breakfast. my favorite morning breakfast is a crossant and a single-tall non-fat latte. my husband prefers breakfast sandwiches. after luxeriating over our simple breakfast, we would hop on the tram, which delivers us to our respective places of work: the university and the court house.

i love what i do so even an ideal day would include spending some time at work, but it would be one of those days when everything clicks into place, and i feel useful and productive, and appreciated! after working a few hours, my husband and i would go to lunch at the farmer’s market that is set up each thursday a few blocks from my office. we would sit near the fountain and listen to the local music while feasting on delicious food from the vendors there…anything from crepes, tamales, and open-faced gourmet sandwiches: crusty freshly baked bread with lox, chevre, and chives. after eating, we would have enough time to pick through the farmer’s stands to buy materials to make dinner later on.


even though i love my work, an ideal day would involve leaving early. so my husband and i would take the early train home, weding our way back through the valley to the bay, and return home with enough time to do the things we’d like. my ideal day includes recieving emails and notes from friends and family, which i take some time to answer, and watching cooking shows on PBS while taking a little afternoon break with a cool glass of minted sun tea. we would walk down into town and run a few errands, or meet our friends for an early happy hour and catch up.

eventually we would return home in time to make our dinner with the yields of our market trip, and enjoy a glass of wine. perhaps we would spend some time reading, or watching a film, before beginning on our nightly rituals: a relaxed hot shower, changing into our pajamas, having a cup of chamomile tea, neatening up our home, before laying in bed for a little bit reading a favorite book, and finally turning off our bedside lamps and feeling tired, but in a good, cozy, and accomplished way. 2-6-08bedsidewhen i stop to think about it, the littlest things make a difference between a great and bad day, and these things are mostly in my control. as i go through each day i am reminded again and again that taking the time to live the tiny details you can delight in come together to make a wonderful life. today is friday, and i am expecting it to be a perfect day!

what turns your ordinary day into a great day?