The Happiness Report: 5-18-2020

Full transparency, last week was hard.  It was probably the hardest week that I’ve had since this whole Stay At Home Order began.  I am an extrovert, through and through, and I’m really missing human interactions outside of my house.  For some reason that was hitting really hard last week.  And then I received the news that our company was cancelling all travel for the remainder of the year.  As you know, I travel approximately 75% of my time for my role, and it is now a major part of my way of life.  It was also a light at the end of the tunnel, something to look forward to at the end of this, and it was canceled.  It’s not my style to dwell on things, so I cried it out that night, and I came in the next morning with lots of ideas to pivot my role and stay engaged in things that bring me joy.  I was feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, and I was thinking that, although not ideal, it could still be a really cool year and the opportunity to expand my capacity.  Then, on Friday afternoon, I received the news that my enrollment in Pacific Coast Banking School had been cancelled due to these travel restrictions.  Y’all, this one hit really hard.  This graduate course work has been on my professional wishlist for over 10 years.  As soon as I heard about its existence, I wanted to go.  I got my nomination and acceptance a couple of months ago, and it was one of the happiest moments of my career.  So for it to be canceled was a really tough blow.

And I get it.  I get all of it.  And I respect and appreciate it.  My company is doing everything possible to keep our employees, our customers, and our communities safe.  I’ve been intimately involved in this work, so I can confidently see and say that.  But all I could think about was me and how I was feeling.  And honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  It’s okay for us to feel sad and disappointed about every way this pandemic is affecting our lives–big or small.

So to say that finding bright spots was hard seems like a meek description.  So on Saturday morning, I sat at my quiet kitchen counter, Notes app open on my phone to a fresh page, to start my list.  And although it took a while to get going, I almost couldn’t stop.  Because although the week was hard, there really were a lot of things that brought me joy.

(But note to self, I will now be keeping a running list on my Notes app throughout the week so I can easily recall these things in the future.)

Here are the five happiest things from my week:

  1. Virtual Cooking Class.  I am continually inspired by how our small businesses are innovating during this time.  And when I heard about how our local restaurant, Summit Grill, was offering a virtual cooking class on a Wednesday night, I was like, “YES!”  This was such a fun mid-week break and an unexpected date night for Chad and me.  I did a full recap for the blog, complete with the recipe that we made.
  2. Nelson Atkins Penguins.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a Kansas City institution.  As the daughter of a long-time museum employee in Tulsa, I am so happy to have this space and its collection in my city.  The museum is currently closed, but that didn’t stop them from inviting the penguins from the Kansas City Zoo inside for their own personal tour.  You guys!  I seriously cannot stop watching this video!  Guaranteed to make you smile.
  3. Wine Deliveries.  I’ve often heard that one way to boost your mood is to make someone else’s day.  Cliché maybe, but true.  Thinking of ways, big and small to make people smile typically makes you smile too.  Plus I just really miss my people, and I want them to know that I love them.  So on Saturday morning, I bundled up some of my new favorite warm weather treat, KC Wine Co Vine Coolers  and did some drive-by drop-offs to my best KC gal pals, followed by texts to go check their mailboxes or front porches.  It was so fun to be a little sneaky in the best possible way.
  4. Saturday Takeout with a Cause.  Give and Partake was created by a local KC mama, Ashley Judy, as a way to give back to local nonprofits while driving more traffic to our local restaurants.  She started last year with a Mac & Cheese Book, where you could visit a selection of local restaurants, and with the purchase of an entrée, you got a signature Mac & Cheese dish for free, and the restaurant donated a portion of the sale to charity.  Win, win, cheesy, feel good, win.  Since then, she created a Brunch Book and a collaboration book with Open Belly, focused on immigrant-owned and/or operated restaurants.  Obviously, with the closure of their dining rooms, our local restaurants need us more than ever.  So with her incredibly kind heart, and innovative mind, last week, Ashley launched the “Give and Partake-Out” book, with your takeout order earning you a dining credit to be used in the future, and a portion of the sales going to Operation Breakthrough.  We broke in our book on Saturday night with some Old Shawnee Pizza, and our goal is to knock out all 24 restaurants in this collection.  The most delicious quarantine adventure!
  5. Mug Cakes.  Baking has always been incredibly therapeutic for me.  And sadly, I don’t do it nearly as often anymore.  Call it busy.  Call it not wanting to have a ton of baked goods in the house.  Call it what you will.  It just doesn’t happen.  But one thing I’ve learned in my life is that you can and should revisit things that you know bring you joy.  So on Sunday afternoon, the little dude was napping, the big dude was mowing, and I took to the kitchen.  A podcast feed full of true crime and all the ingredients on hand, I created over 10 new variations of my favorite protein mug cake.  It was so nice to zone out and create for a couple of hours.

Thank you for your ongoing love and support.  I know that this may not have started out as sunny as you have come to expect from this space, but I always want to be honest with you about where I am in my life.  It’s okay to not be okay, and I hope that, and this list brought you some joy this week.


Molly B.

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