Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Guest Blogger: Michelle Buonfiglio

Get Your Happy On

A couple months ago, my husband hooked me up with Sirius radio in my car. I don’t get to drive sans kidlets too often, but when I do, you’d recognize me as the middle-aged chick driving with the roof yawning and the Pulse blasting.

The Pulse, is Sirius’ “90s and Today” channel. My kids love the 80s channel, but I have too many nasty flashbacks of my Flashdance/Madonna wannabee period and can’t listen for fear I’ll drive (or swerve the car purposely) off the road.

Anyways, today I’m listening and this song comes on (“Accidentally in Love” from “Shrek 2”) and absolutely tosses me headfirst into a Big ol’ Happy.

You know the Big ol’ Happy? It’s when a song or something strikes your fancy and revs up your spirit. Suddenly, you’re smiling and feeling pretty much like you can do anything, even get those 10,000 pages read and 10,000 words written in the month of September that you set as your goal in the Unleash Your Story (UYS) Read-and-Write-a-Thon for Cystic Fibrosis.

See, over at RBTB, we’re making up a team (TEAM RBTB) to participate in UYS, and I figured, heck, since I write everyday anyway – and read as part of my gig – I might as well set a decent goal. Please check out TEAM RBTB’s UYS page, and decide how you might help, too.

Now, 10k words is pretty easy with my job reqs. But 10k pages? Depending on length, that’s around 30-35 books. Read. In a month.

Well, it’s a rough job, but somebody’s gotta, etc., etc. The job, I mean, of getting paid to read romance novels. Actually, it’s kinda blissful, and I was reminded of that today when I was describing to someone what I do for a living. She said, “I can feel the passion you have for your work, for the books and the community of women.”

And I realized that, yeah, I really am passionate about it, even after three years. But sometimes, with job stress and petulant technology and kids who want to eat every day, damn them, I forget how happy I feel when I crack open a really great romance.

Tooling down an Illinois highway today, with Counting Crows cranked and the big, Midwestern sky overhead, I remembered how happy – and lucky – I am to do what I do, live as I do, love as I do. And if that ain’t enough to get my happy on, I don’t know what is.

What gets your happy on?


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, Everybody! Looking forward to hanging with you today and finding out how you get your happy on!

Portia Da Costa said...

What gets my happy on?

Well, I love music, and watching the telly always brightens me up too... but my biggest cheerer-upper of all is my cats!

I can be feeling despondent and unhappy, and all I have to do is look at one of my darling kitteh's and I start smiling again. There's something so adorable about them... I can't quite explain it, but they're wonderful therapy! :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Portia! I sometimes think of cats as little "stress sponges." Not my cat, especially, but other peoples' cats and some I've had in the past. God forbid my cat should make me happy.

Do you find your kitties seem to know when you need them to cheer you up?

MaryKate said...

Snort. Good sex? Oh wait. You meant a DIFFERENT kind of happy.

Yeah, music does it for me. Like Portia, my puppy dog and kitty will do it for me. I love my nieces and nephews - they're smart and inquisitive and precocious and I delight in spending time with them.

But no, the thing most likely to alter my mood immediately is reading or watching a funny show. I own every episode of FRIENDS, and I find that it will pick me up almost immediately if I'm in a mood. There are a couple of books that will immediately sweep me away and make me forget whatever issues I'm having. Pretty much anything by Lisa Kleypas will do it. Or, ehem, this little book called The Windflower? It'll do it for me too. :wink:

Morgan O'Reilly said...

My son usually helps me find the happy in my life. At 17, he's more man than boy, but there are times when that little smiling imp comes through. This week he had to write an essay on an artifact that was special to him. I was surprised when he picked his old favorite blanket. And then draped it over himself while writing the essay! Yeah, that one made me grin!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Your nieces/nephews' parents probably get their happies on when you take their kids for the day, too, MK. But, tell me: What is this Windflower of which you speak? Is it a botanical guide?

Hi, Morgan! Thanks for having me. What a lovely story. I can't imagine a son that age. Mine is 11, and he's growing so fast. If he had that assignment, what would I do if he chose me as the artifact? I love that he chose the blanket. I LOVED my blanket as a kid. But [cue sobbing violins] my parents threw it away. waaaa. My daughter has two and I wash them regularly and told her I'd make them into wedding veils for her. Just kidding. But I definitely celebrate how happy they make her, and how much comfort they give her.

Playground Monitor said...

My granddaughter, for sure! I got to spend the weekend with her and oh my, how she's grown. And she's so chatty now. She showed me her boo-boo a dozen times, climbed up her sliding board all by herself, counted to ten and sang me her ABC's. She's the most beautiful, brilliant two-year-old on the planet.

How could that not make me happy?


Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, my cats definitely know when I need a bit of TLC. They snuggle up against me, or climb on my lap. :)

Vivi Anna said...

Hey Michelle, the Bellest of the all. You get my happy on.

Oh, and eating lots of chocolate and dancing around the house to pop music.

Oh and watching the boys from Supernatural.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Play! I just wish you could be a little more enthusiastic about her. :)

Hey, Vivs! Thanks for stopping by! Looks like I'm gonna have to check out those boys.

amy*skf said...

I was smiling as I read your post Michelle--because a song, the right song can make me soar--literally. If I'm home alone, I will become a ballerina, a woman, not earth bound and graceless...but a prima donna--or a gypsy, or a flamenco dancer...

Yeah. Luckily no ones home.

Marilyn--my granddaughter does the same for me, a hug, a kiss, an "I love you, ganna Ainy" if only you could bottle it.

amy*skf said...


Ack, I've missed you.

And yeah, Michelle gets my happy on--I got to visit with her over the weekend, my husband said, "Do you think you're too much with her?"
Pishaw...I said, she likes to be fawned over.

Playground Monitor said...

I'll try harder next time. ;-)

LeeAnn said...

Portia my cat always seems to know when I need cuddle time too. If it’s been one of those days where the stress tears have to fall or I just feel down my cat always comes up for a little snuggle till I feel better :o)

My son when not trying to give me gray hairs knows how to make me laugh like no one else. And the right song can always bust up the mood too.

ev said...

Anyone of my puppies will help get my happy on. Or a good song when I am out driving and can open the roof and rock out. A good book. Ice cream. A sunny day and doing nothing. Playing with the twins all by myself. All depends on what I am doing and when it stricks me.

LizeeS said...

Hey Morgan!! And hi Michelle -- hey Bellas (Amy, Portia, MaryKate, Play, Vivi -- see me waving), glad you're all here on the Morgans' blog -- one of whom is up here in Alaska and is, I know, so excited you've come to add some more jazz to an already fun place (like the serial vampire story she just started, can't wait to see how that develops.)

What gets my happy on? My DH - everytime he "gets" some dumb emotional thing I go through. And I, too, have a son who is just God's gift to my soul. He's 24 and to this day, when I hear his voice on the phone, all is right with the world.

And music -- yes!! Turn the Beatles up full blast and they'll chase away any blues. Amy, I sooooo want to flamenco dance with you some day with any music up really really loud. Do you ever lip sync with a hair dryer. (Cue the blush.)

And I LOVE Counting Crows' "Accidentally in Love." Good choice, Michelle.


Morgan O'Reilly said...

Ooh, babies, puppies, ice cream, sunny days and the Beatles! They all work.

Hey LizeeS! Glad you like the start of the vampire serial! I just love the voice Jmo captured when writing Jean Baptiste Morgane. I can feel myself slipping back in time, even though he's striding the streets of modern day New Orleans. I'm still searching for a really good portrait of him, then and now.

I guess that means a really hot hero also gets my happy on!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, yeah, Morgan! Definitely a great hero makes the happy! And any vamp named Jean Baptiste must be able to get a woman's happy on, know wa'm sayin?

OK, LeeAnn, I'm kinda jealous of your snuggly cat. I think my cat could see me lying on the floor in a pool of my own blood and just tiptoe around the puddle. but she'd be purring, so I guess she's got that going for her.

Ames, I think you offer the perfect combination of mild fawning and tongue-in-cheek abuse I so enjoy. That's what makes yuo such a good hostess. I do feel sorry for your husband for having to listen to our non-stop, non-sequitorious streamofconsciousness prattle.

Ev, I know quite a few folks for whom ice cream gets their happy on. Do you need cool whip, or can you do it naked?

J. Morgan said...

My family makes me go to my happy place when they're not driving me insane. And of course my Paco, the heck hound who adopted us a year ago.My one sure bet to enter my happy place is Hairspray. What can I say...

You can't stop the beat!


Morgan O'Reilly said...

I still need to convince my family to put on Hairspray and watch it. Then again, the AK RWA retreat is coming up... maybe we can add that to the program one night! I just have to see John in drag.

We also know that Oreos take Jmo to a very happy place.

Adriana said...

Great blog, Michelle - and so nice to see so many Bellas over here! My happy? Puppies, for sure, and a baby's smile any time, the perfect sunset, birds calling when I pick up the morning paper - and happy endings. Sometimes there aren't enough of those in our real lives, so writing them and reading them puts a little hope back on the platter.


Morgan O'Reilly said...

Well said, Adriana!

Yes, we are very excited to have Michelle and the Bellas here this week. They're infusing us with lots of positive energy! Always a happy thing.

Savannah Chase said...

What gets me happy?

I love to read, spend time with family and friends...Listening and writing music.....

So many things that can make me happy...

Stacy~ said...

Hey Michelle! Yep, music does it for me too. It's scary to imagine what other people see as I'm driving down the street, singing right along with Finger 11 or Fallout Boy. It would be worse if they could hear me, but hey, I'm enjoying myself so who cares?

Babies. Of any kind. Human, bunnies, ducklings, they all make me so dang happy to be alive.

My mechanics on their motorcycles. That always puts a smile on my face....

Cindy Jacks said...

I feel the same way you do, Michelle. I feel just so very lucky to be where I am in my life. I love my career, my son, and my guy. Life is good. Oh yeah, and Ghirardelli chocolate squares filled with caramel make me pretty darn happy, too!

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Mechanics on motorcycles... now that would make me happy!

One of the sexiest things I've ever seen on the street was a guy on a bike with his girl. It was one of those bikes where the passenger is up higher than the rider, such that her knees were at his waist and her feet were right behind his calves. At the stop light he sat up straight and then reached down and rubbed her shin, right alongside his thigh.

It was one of those moments that was just too tender for words and I can't even describe it well here. Wish I'd had a camera handy.

So yeah, motorcyles get my engine revvin'... [don't say it, Jmo]

Hi Savannah and Cindy! Happy to see you here too!

LizeeS said...

All these happy things are making my imagination just plain, well, happy!

I talked about my son, but I just had a great conversation with my daughter and the subject of celebritys' babys' names came up. From Dweezel Zappa to Pilot Inspektor Lee. Yup -- laughing for ten minutes about stupid stuff with my daughter gets my happy on!

And on the Men with Props theme: a guy who can REALLY play the piano? Mmmm mmmm, happy!

LizeeS said...

I's a writer. I kin spell. That would be, uh, "celebrities'" (Strike one for the Grammar Nazi, Morgan.)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, Morgan! You explained that perfectly! I once saw a young man and woman on Boston Common, pretty Asian kids, and they were holding each other as if nobody else existed on that crazy busy street. I actually started blushing because I felt like I was a voyeur to their happiness and blossoming sexual attraction. It was singular.

Jmo!!! You and my husband would get along great! He went on a big ol Hairspray binge a couple weeks ago. "Michelle," he asked me, "am I gay?" No, I told him, because I'm not that lucky.

Um, Stace. Mechanics on motorcycles? And all I'm gettin from you is invitations to book signings? Some friend you're turning out to be.

Beautiful, Savannah! You know what just got my happy on? Lookin at that fine young man on your cover...

Oh, Adriana! I know that kind of feeling you mean, when you go out to get the paper. Like, if it's break of day, and the grass is still dewey, or the snow is crusty and the sun shines just right. I like the idea of adding happy to the plate. and grazie mille for the warm welcome for the bellas!

Beautiful, Cindy. Moments of appreciating good fortune can really pump up the happy. And your avatar reminds me of another thing that really gets my happy on: great new sexy shoes!

You know, all, I'll be back hanging here Friday when Morgan and Jmo publish the cooleeoh interview they fronted me.

I'd like to invite you all to join us at RBTB tomorrow as Jo Davis leads us on a special day paying tribute to real-life American heroes. You can share with us your special 9/11 commemorations or stories about roles heroes have played in your lives.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, Lizee! It was great talking to you this afternoon!

J. Morgan said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only Hairspray fan in the world.


Morgan O'Reilly said...

Michelle, thanks for hanging with us today. You bet I'll be over at your blog tomorrow. Jmo and I are already working the promo machines for Friday, so we hope to see a nice crowd then too!

Thanks to every one who visited today. We love having you here!

LizeeS said...

Ahhh, Miss Michelle from trashy non-babes to heroes without pants, to hearing the kids' voices, it certainly was!! Loved it.

And, you've got me really interested in Jo Davis tomorrow!