Happiness Highlights: RADical in Pittsburgh

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

My goal this week was to get my ass outside as often as possible. Fortunately, the return of RADical Days here in Pittsburgh made that easy and cheap.

During the month-long RADical Days promotion, various Pittsburgh attractions offer free admission on select days and times. I went through the schedule and added everything I might have a remote interest in to my personal calendar, determined to take advantage of the opportunity to travel for free in my new hometown. This past week, I dipped into the freebie pool with a big ol’ bucket.

I spent an afternoon at the Phipps Conservatory by myself.

This was more than an afternoon exploring botanicals. It was the first time I’d taken out my big girl camera in over a month. It felt good to practice photography again.

Emma and I spent a morning getting our hands dirty with arts and crafts at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

She is so creative and talented, and I enjoy making things with my hands even if I’m not especially good at it. During one of the workshops, an art teacher invited Emma to take a fall class she teaches. “It’s for 8 to 10 year olds, but tell the program director I said she can handle it.”

My maternal heart swelled with pride.

“I think she recognized your special talent,” I said to Emma.

“Yep, and I can’t wait to come back and take classes!” she said.

My little artist was not interested in accompanying me to the Andy Warhol Museum, free or not. “I like to make art,” she said, “not look at it.” I tried to tell her that writers should read and so, I assumed, artists should look at other people’s art, but her enthusiasm remained nonexistent. No one else in my family was eager to learn more about the father of Pop Art either, so I set out alone once again. And I wasn’t even a little bit sad about it.

My solo excursion took me on a half-hour bus ride, an adventure I always relish.

Well there was that.

But once I got on a bus, I got to spend 30 minute marveling at the beauty of average folks. People watching is my favorite part of public transportation. I often find myself wanting to tap a stranger on the shoulder to let them know they have beautiful eyes or exquisite bone structure. I resist the urge to take pictures of the funky shoes and pretty hairstyles. Instead, I sit quietly in my seat and try not to get caught staring as I enjoy the scenery between the windows.

These were some of my happiest moments from last week. In all, I spent $11 on bus fare and coffee, proving that not all adventures have to be expensive.

What happy adventures did you have this week?

I take the time to highlight what made me happy each week because gratitude is the root of all happiness. I encourage you to develop your own gratitude practice; I wholeheartedly believe it will change your life.

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  1. Nanna says:

    Oh! It sounds wonderful – especially the conservatory and the bus rides!

    My happiness came from old-timey things. Hanging out laundry and bringing it in again, fresh smelling and autumn crisp. And making homemade noodles from scratch and watching everyone devour them. Listening to kids laugh and play. Niiiice.
    Nanna’s most recent post: The hallmark of a good Nurse Practitioner

  2. Dawn says:

    I’m too tired to think of a happy adventure that I took (oh, wait, does going to my in-laws’ house count? no, I guess not), but I wanted to comment on something that you said.

    You said: I often find myself wanting to tap a stranger on the shoulder to let them know they have beautiful eyes or exquisite bone structure.

    Well, you *should* tell that stranger. Let me tell you something. One day as I was walking out of a grocery store, I walked past a woman who was sitting on a bench, and she said to me “I love your hair. You have great curls.” Well, I don’t remember how I felt before she said that, but I can tell you that I felt terrific afterwards. I thought, “This woman — this stranger! — made me feel fabulous.” And that stuck with me.

    Months later, in yet another grocery store, a woman was yelling at her young daughter. The woman was obviously stressed and just wanted to get home, and her daughter was asking “can we get this? can we get that?” and just slowing her down. The woman was wearing quite a nice sweater at the time and, without even thinking it through, I said “I love your sweater! That color looks fabulous on you!” The woman BEAMED. She blushed and thanked me, and then she took her little girl’s hand and said that she could pick a treat to have when they got home. I clearly changed her entire mood. It was a great feeling for EVERYONE — her, her daughter, and me. My husband was a bit appalled that I’d said that (what? tell her that I liked her sweater? big whoop!) but I said to him, “It was such a little statement… and look at the HUGE results it got.”

    I do that often now. If I like what a stranger is wearing, or I think that they have fabulous hair or gorgeous eyes, I tell them. It’s a great feeling for everyone.

  3. Ken says:

    Pittsburgh is such a wonderful city. I have only visited but managed to do several museums, etc. Loved the walk along the river and the Warhol museum! And what a super idea to have all that for free at least once a year!

  4. Lisa says:

    I love that Emma loves art, making it that is. I think appreciating the art created by others comes later in life.

    I had a great visit with the in-laws, which inspired me to get my sewing machine out because my FIL’s girlfriend is quite the quilter. I have tons of new project ideas and after sitting idle for months I got out my quilt project and the topper is almost done and ready to put together for quilting & binding.

    Also, Jason’s birthday was Tuesday and we had a wonderful dinner with friends and family to celebrate. Considering the last few months, I’m very grateful for another birthday.
    Lisa’s most recent post: Adventures in Cake

  5. the muskrat says:

    I saw my boy get all excited about turning 4 and receive his first bicycle (with training wheels), which he rode around the rest of the day.
    the muskrat’s most recent post: muskrat does dallas

  6. Renae says:

    That is wonderful! You’ve reminded me that I need to go have an adventure of my own VERY soon.

  7. Robin says:

    I need to set up a weekend with you and Jared and Becky so you can introduce me to Pittsburgh. Hopefully soon. So far, I am LOVING what I am seeing.
    Robin’s most recent post: Overshare

  8. Naomi says:

    My happiness? Spending three hours in the cemeteries here … and the having a lunch … table for one please … for some amazing sushi.
    Naomi’s most recent post: Box 53b

  9. Rebecca says:

    I just wanted you to know your Happiness Highlights, and your life in general has inspired me often. I am now trying to capture my own Happiness Highlights and shared you with others on my blog today…hoping your joy will be contagious to them also!!

    Thank you!
    Rebecca’s most recent post: Grateful for Gratitude

  10. Becca says:

    I went and watched Sammi play tennis. It was wonderful to be out of the house, and with my family and my favorite little dog. :)

  11. Jackie says:

    I agree with Dawn! Sometimes an honest compliment can totally change your day. So speak up, sister!

    I’ve lived in the Tampa area for more than 2 years and still haven’t played tourist! I think that’s going to the top of our family to-do list. It sounds like so much fun!

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