Saturday Question: What Are Small Things That Brighten Your Life?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

I haven’t published anything in this series in a while. Then I thought that these times called for any positivism that we could master, and I started writing this post, but was either too busy or too tired to finish it a couple of days ago. So, I decided to combine it with the weekly Saturday Question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #9:

What Are Small Things That Brighten Your Life?

Off the kitchen in our townhouse there is a tiny patio. When the house was on the market, the previous owner put there a small round iron cast table and a couple of chairs: those of the type that look great on pictures as an idea of sitting outside with a cup of … something, but in reality are not comfortable to actually do that.

After we moved in, we never furnished that patio and allowed a bush that grew in the corner to fully overtake it. We liked it even more like that.

About a month ago, one morning having looked out of the window, we noticed that a hummingbird had built a nest on the branch of the bush.

 

Hummingbird in the Nest

 

Since then, once or twice during the day we would be carefully looking out from the window to see how she was doing. We were being very careful trying not to open blinds too wide not to disturb her. Most of the time the hummingbird was sitting in the nest leaving it just for a short while, probably to find food. Then one day, while the nest looked empty, I noticed some movement there… and then several days later we spotted two beaks.

For the next week or so the bird was absent most of the time: I suspect, it wasn’t easy to feed two growing nestlings. Also, I’m not sure all three of them would still fit into the nest. But it was joyful to see those two little birds growing.

Short before two young hummingbirds left the nest, Rusty had finally realized that something was going on there. When he peaked out of the patio door, the mother bird started flying angrily in front of the screen door, making threatening sounds and looking very resolved. I hurried to distract Rusty with a treat in another room.

Now the nest is empty, so we’re free again to open the blinds and the door to let light and fresh air in, and Rusty is free to sit in front of the screen door and enjoy sun. But, as I read, hummingbirds might return to their nests in future, if those survive. So, we’ll be very careful pruning the bush, and hopefully our hummingbird will return the next spring: seeing her every day provided some normality into the current strange and slightly unrealistic situation.

 

Hummingbird in the Nest

 

How about you? Please share anything nice that helps you these days, be that nature outside, beloved pets, comforting perfumes, interesting books, movies or sites, favorite (or new?) recipes, supportive exercise or self-help videos or anything else. Feel free to post any links.

 

What Are Small Things That Brighten Your Life?

 

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61 thoughts on “Saturday Question: What Are Small Things That Brighten Your Life?

  1. That hummingbird would brighten my days. Lovely that you got a great pic of it for us.

    I’ve been spending time in my parents’ garden and nature has been a real joy in these strange times. Looking at the bushy yellow acer, smelling the rosemary bush and watching the birds.

    I’m not normally one for films but I’ve been finding one most nights to watch with mum and she’s enjoying it so much that it makes me happy.

    I hadn’t being wearing perfume since the lockdown thinking I needed to keep things quiet for my nerves. But a little package from Neela Verneire has made me appreciate how much it can be a mood lifter.

    When the focus of life becomes so narrow it is the little things that make all the difference.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Are you taking any pictures in the garden? Since you’re confined to a small area for the next couple of months, you could find a spot from where to take a picture every several days (or maybe every day) to see how it progresses into summer.

      I was on a perfume kick recently and added a couple of bottles to my collection (I plan to write about them eventually). It lifted my spirits.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love looking out my big windows at nature and walking my dog in the park. It’s reassuring to see that life goes on. I’m also happy to be able to keep attending my yoga classes online, I desperately need the exercise and it feels good to see familiar faces who care. And of course perfume blogs like yours. :-)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Is the class you’re taking from the US or Canadian studio?

      Mila should be a major mood lifter :) Are you into crafts at all? If yes, you could try a project of making a sweater or some other garment for her – for when it’s cold again next fall.

      Like

  3. Since I am working from home, I am as crazy busy as usual. Nothing has changed in terms of having some extra time to enjoy many things that I would love to. However, I have been trying new recipes during the weekends and therefore cooking and baking have been very productive lately. I have also been watching online “The Shows Must Go On” with free Broadway musicals that start every Friday afternoon and are only available for 48 hours. I have also been watching all the available Cirque du Soleil shows that are free online now.
    I have attended most of the Broadway shows at the theaters here in NY, the same with the Cirque du Soleil performances. I usually have no time to watch tv or read books, but any little time available at the end of the day these days I try to spend it watching something light and cheerful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ooh, I love Cirque du Soleil and didn’t know there are free shows online! Thank you! We have been to some of the touring shows, and on my one and only ever trip to Las Vegas, we saw Beatles Love and Zarkana. If I ever return to Las Vegas, it will be to see Love again, it was wonderful.

      Like

    • I have only seen one of Cirque du Soleil’s touring shows, it was fantastic. I’ll have a look online for their shows. I see our national opera and ballet house here in Oslo has put online a few ballets and operas, so will watch even if it is not by Kylian, which was something I had planned to buy tickets for this spring. The Oslo Philharmonic has some material posted online, but if I understood correctly they now plan for paid performances online since the situation with no big groups will continue at least until September.

      Like

    • I watched Phantom of the Opera last week, from the Albert Hall in London. Spectacular. It’s a great idea to screen them.

      Like

  4. Those hummingbird pictures are priceless! Enjoying my morning coffee on the front porch watching cardinals, catbirds, wrens, & warblers at the feeder. Also a doe is hiding her new fawn under the oak trees while she browses on leaves. So lucky to live in the woods. Stay safe all.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hello everybody,
    This is my first time writing in blog, but I do follow some, including yours. Thanks for sharing your perfume love and Rusty :).
    Yesterday, we have bought a nedt of Bumblebee >°< watching them getting used to the garden and already start to carry pollen. Loved it!
    Also, I have bought too many perfumes lately, I don't know, maybe thinking like life is short (can be shorter) so get what you want while you can…
    Greetings, Fragile

    Liked by 2 people

    • Welcome to the blog, Fragile. I hope you’ll stick around.

      What was the best buy lately? (whatever you consider – the price, rarity, being on your “to buy” list the longest/shortest, you like it the most, etc.)

      I went on a perfume buying spree recently as well: there were a couple of deals that I just couldn’t pass (I’ll write about them sooner or later). Now, let’s hope we all live long enough to enjoy our favorite perfumes.

      Like

  6. My goodness, I love your hummingbird story and photos! What a treat, to see them up close like that. What is brightening my days is mostly garden-related. We’ve had really good garden weather this spring; plenty of sunshine, but also cool enough that the flowers have lasted well and enough rain to keep them happy. My roses are flourishing so far; some that I planted two years ago have suddenly taken off, as they do, and are blooming heavily. I’m enjoying my new vegetable garden too. I’m still working fulltime, though remotely, so I’m making an effort to get out for a daily walk around my pretty neighborhood, which I’m really enjoying. I’m also able to eat lunch most days with my husband and/or son, so nice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m working full time (and more :) ) as well, but trying to do at least something beyond what I normally do – cooking something more elaborate, cleaning (better than my cleaning lady usually does) or sorting out things I planned t do for a while.

      Your roses are wonderful! They are so beautiful, I admire your undertaking both with flowers and vegetables. With my brown thumb (and an extremely poor soil in our larger patio, the one off the living room), I manage to kill almost anything I plant.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear that. I know that the lockdown affects some people more than others (I would have been much worse if it weren’t for an extremely busy schedule at work: during the day I don’t have time to even notice that something is out of ordinary).
      Are you doing anything new/different to keep you occupied?

      Like

  7. Sweet bird!
    In the first few weeks of working from home, I had gradually forgotten about music (normally I listen through headphones while working in the office). When I realized that was what was missing, playing music again cheered me up. I’ve also started learning the ukulele again, which inspired my other half to start jamming on his neglected guitar as well. Cacophony, but it brightens the day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wonder: how did you come to the idea to start playing ukulele? I mean, you clearly liked it well enough to buy one and to give an idea to whoever gave the other one to you as a gift (if I haven’t mixed up something from your posts). I mean, it’s not the most obvious choice of musical instrument.

      Like

      • A long time ago I tried to learn the guitar with one I borrowed, but didn’t get very far. Buying a ukulele was a spontaneous decision when I saw some cheap ones in a big box store—it’s small and portable, so not a big commitment, and could just as easily be decorative. Not sure how I managed to “forget” about them for so long, but recently I felt that I should do something different on the creative side, so I finally got the nice one (the gift) out again, and still kind of wish I’d done so earlier.
        What would be an “obvious” choice of musical instrument? (I played the recorder as a child, and tried the harmonica as a teenager but also didn’t get very far.)

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        • I think, I wouldn’t have batted an eye had you said that you had started learning guitar, piano or, maybe, drums. Everything else seems unusual if it’s not a return to something that one did as a child or has some other connection, e.g., learning to play bandoneon/concertina because one enjoys Argentinian tango.
          But I hope that you’ll stick to your lessons even after the lockdown is over.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Opposite end of the world here so just watching the leaves change color and enjoying the mellow autumn sunshine with a bit of wistfulness that autumn usually brings. But also enjoying the excuse to curl up in bed or on the sofa to dream and read, podcasts and cooking and my online fitness. Havent reached for perfume much but I know it ebbs and flows.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t know how about you, but my favorite perfumes are those for colder weather. So, usually I look forward to wearing them when the season turns.
      Any especially interesting podcast to share?

      Like

      • I tend to get back to perfumes in the colder weather as well you’re right! Im loving the current Esther Perel series where she counsels couples in lockdown. I also am a longtime fan of the High Low, The Lively Show and Spanish Duolingo one.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Getting out for long walks, smelling the flowering trees. Opening a new 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle – and then finishing it. I thought dropping in on the preschool zoom classes to do a few songs would be uplifting but instead it mostly just brings me down so I’m just trying to get outside afterwards. Picking a perfume everyday – I have more time to do so and I’m enjoying wearing way too many sprays.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you done murder mystery puzzles? The one where you do not have a picture to go by, and after you assemble the puzzle, you read a story, look at it and try to find clues to solve the murder?

      Like

  10. Love the hummingbird story. We have a pair of cardinals who built a nest last year in a camellia bush right outside our window. One baby survived and they are back this year refurbishing the same nest. I’m looking forward to seeing the new babies this year. I love watching the cooperation between the bird pair. The father bird feeds the babies as well as the mother and he watches over the nest from a nearby branch while the mom is out looking for food

    I have also been wearing massive doses of my perfumes to lift my spirits and I’m burning Diptyque candles. I scour eBay every day looking for bargains on these candles. There aren’t many bargains any more as I think many more people are buying scented candles, aromatherapy items and room sprays these days.

    Finally, I listen to classical music for hours each day. I’m really missing live performances of my local city symphony. I try to get in the spirit of live performances by watching youtube videos of the world’s great orchestras playing various orchestral pieces. Cooking helps, too.

    Like

    • I had a couple of Diptyque’s mini candles and remember being underwhelmed by the throw. Either my candle was too small, or the space was too large, I suppose :) I think, I prefer burning incense: they usually give enough “oomph.”

      I think hummingbird father wasn’t a part of these nestlings’ care – but I might be mistaken: they all look the same to me :)

      Like

      • Undina, I think it depends on the ‘flavor’ of the Diptyque candle. The centifolia rose and tuberose candles both have serious ‘throw.’ If I’m sitting too near them it’s downright overwhelming. Of course I am super sensitive to scent, so maybe it just smells ‘more’ to me. My husband has some smelling sense loss due to his COPD and he can hardly smell them at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I love hummingbirds. I have my feeders out but haven’t seen any. Since I am laid off work, I am not up that early when I used to see them and also it has been very cold here. My small joys: my fairy garden, reading a book, spending time outside in the fresh air and sun with my horse, streaming movies with friends overseas, sleeping in with no alarm, staying up as late as I darn well please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to get a feeder! I want our patch to be even more attractive to hummingbirds – so that they would return.

      Are you riding your horse?

      I’m sorry about your job and hope you’ll be able to get it back once thing start normalizing. Meanwhile, get all the beauty sleep you can get: for better or for worse, you might not get that chance again in many years to come ;)

      Like

  12. Thank you for posting this. What small things have I been enjoying? Well this is the third winter I’ve fed a small stray orange cat. He’s gorgeous, and will not come near me. I don’t want to tame him-I’d love to give him flea medication but that’s not how our relationship goes.

    He brought another stray with him-a calico girl with extra toes on each paw and only a third of a tail. Suspect both of them will go to the field over the spring-fall, to hunt on their own.

    And my super furry cat Marmalade, who is even furrier than Rusty, had a spell of ill health that lasted 4 days. I could barely get him to drink any water. He’s feeling better, and I’m so thankful. Marmalade is the world’s most loving cat and I was not looking forward to a life without him.

    Thanks for thinking of a post like this-I hope you and your family are well.

    Best regards,

    Carole

    Like

    • Hi Carole! It’s good to see you again.

      I remember Marmalade, and I’m glad that he’s feeling better. We’re watching Rusty carefully. Our vet (mobile vet) had announced that since her husband was in a higher risk group, she had to suspend any visits until this all blows over. So, I really hope not to have to take Rusty to an unknown place.

      It’s wonderful that you befriended those cats: you’re increasing the amount of kindness in the Universe.

      Like

  13. I love seeing nature change into full spring and hearing the birds sing again, and I have a balcony I can use. Otherwise I have hardly been outside, except for the days spent at my father’s house during Easter, it was so good having a garden.

    I live near a big shopping street, and even if fewer people go shopping now, it can still be difficult to practice social distancing in my area. We have a park/garden between the houses here, but last time I looked it was just too crowded for my liking. Still, passing blooming bushes (broom, I think) and flowers (daffodils and soon tulips) on the way to or from the building when I venture out is very nice.

    I have rented films online and enjoyed some cinema films I missed out on the last 4-5 years. I find it is a good way for me to relax. So far I have not paid for Netflix, Tonight I watched Western Stars (the Springsteen movie) and enjoyed it a lot. I already have the music, but had not played it very often. Watched the Downton Abbey movie the other night and some French films this month.

    I have finally found some quality videos of seated workouts I can do to get my pulse up. Some of the videos posted are so boring or slow that I don’t know how people can stick with the exercises for any longer period of time. So happy to find programs which work for me and don’t bore me silly.

    Like

    • If you’re not going outside, how do you get food and other supplies? Do you order online? Or is somebody helping you?

      Unless I’m mistaken, Netflix has a 30-days trial, so you could do it and then cancel the subscription.
      Also, I’m not sure if https://tubitv.com/ is available where you live, but it has a number of shows to stream for free.

      I plan to find some easy yoga – but keep procrastinating :)

      Like

      • I have been ordering groceries online from one of the large supermarket chains since 2016 when I had my first ankle surgery.I’m still too dependent on my crouches to be without them for more than a few minutes, so getting more than a few items at a supermarket would be difficult. I also get some help from my sister and her husband. It can be difficult to plan for up to ten days,especially fresh products. Now with this partial lockdown the demand for home delivery seems to have more than doubled, so for a while it was difficult to find a delivery slot, I had to wait for over a week. I think the same has been the case in the UK.

        Like

        • Yeah, here we also have a shortage of delivery slots. I think that those companies and stores that had these services from before C-19 should give preference to people who used the services longer, to older people or to people with disabilities. It’s unfair that people who supported those businesses now have to “compete” for slots with newcomers who will, most likely, go away once life returns to normal.

          Like

  14. I’m enjoying the abundance of bees in my garden. Sitting outside yesterday there seemed to be a bee superhighway just over my head. One of the trees is literally humming with them. And the bumbles seem to be really fat and healthy. I’m enjoying being able to sleep late which is good. The fact that I’m sleeping at all is a total turnaround. Had a family quiz on zoom last night and it was great fun. It’s our turn to set the questions next week. We’re still restricted to staying at home unless for food shopping or work. The current restrictions apply until 5th May and we’ll see what happens after that. I cannot see me returning to work until Autumn. It’s a whole other reality for me to be at home so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love bees! That sounds fantastic. One of my best travel memories is of being in a lavender field in Washington State listening to the bees humming. It was truly the music of the universe, and the smell, glorious!!!
      We have lots of beekeepers in my area and I love the honey they harvest from the bees every year.

      Like

      • Ah it’s simple really, and just for a bit of fun. It does get quite competitive though. We do six rounds of 10 questions. General knowledge, tv and film, history, geography, local area news, music, place names made with emojis, anything and everything. Write your answers and send a pic of them on WhatsApp to the person asking the questions. We’re using zoom but it also works on WhatsApp video or Houseparty. Gives the grey matter a bit of a workout, too. Much needed in my case.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I love seeing that hummingbird in its thimble sized nest! Such a treat. Like you, the natural world gives me moments of happiness. Here in Australia we have very little land around the house, almost like a town home set up, so each bit of dirt is precious, but I’ve managed to plant a few herbs. Last night’s dinner was pesto pasta, made with the basil outside my front door, and the salad included flat leaf parsley, which I had never eaten that much of, but it grows so well that I have developed a real taste for it. (Don’t ask me about trying to grow cilantro—grrrr!) There is something so pleasing about harvesting at least a small portion of dinner. And I agree with those that mentioned bumblebees. They zoom around our lemon tree and give me inordinate joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have almost no land, and the patch that we have gets not enough sun to even try to grow anything there. But from my childhood I remember that everything that my grandparents grew in their garden was much better tasting than store or even farmers market bought.

      Like

  16. Hi Undina and crew,
    WOW! A hummingbird. We don’t have them in Australia so it’s doubly amazing to see them nesting in your backyard.
    So many little things bring me joy. One of the nest is receiving postcards. To have someone bother to buy the card and stamp, put pen to paper and send it off is next level fabulous for me. Finding a picture of something and a hello from, someone brightens a bill laden postbox immeasurably.
    Our apartment is another thing that brings me joy. It’s been created with the two of us in mind. Is almost perfect in every way. Obviously you can’t have EVERYTHING perfect. Even when I do my weekly clean I stop and enjoy our space and the things we’ve accumulated. It is our cave, cocoon and retreat but also a wonderful space for entertaining and having guests. It wasn’t expensive, isn’t enormous or in the best part of Sydney and probably wouldn’t suit anyone else so well but for us it is a very good, loved home.
    Also, my perfume collection brings hours and hours of joy every week.
    Please give Rusty a pat and treat from us.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rusty probably enjoys the situation the most: he gets a lot of attention from us and more treats than he usually did before all that started.

      I like the house where we live but because of the workload we cannot spend enough time cleaning it ourselves, and our cleaning lady cannot come in. But other than that, I enjoy our space, so I understand the sentiment.

      Like

    • Wow Portia, I had to look that up as I didn’t know we had no hummingbirds. Last year in my neighbours garden I saw a fat little bird with a long beak eating nectar from a flower, with its wings moving so fast as it hovered you could barely see them. I assumed this was a hummingbird! I had never seen one before. I wonder what it was?

      Like

  17. Wow, a hummingbird! I have never seen one of those so that would be exciting, and life-brightening. I am similarly interested in birds, as they are so much more visible these days. And am trying (and failing!) to identify their calls.

    Otherwise, the restoration of our green waste bin collection was a major cause for celebration, and today I have been back to the osteopath, who opened yesterday with safeguarding measures. Weeks of bad posture and ill-advised exercise to correct. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It looks like wildlife reclaimed some of the territories once humans retreated indoor. I heard of mountain lions walking downtown streets of small towns nearby.
      I wish we had one of those green baskets! Unfortunately, we just do not have any place to put them. That was partially responsible for the size of the bush in question.

      Like

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