The New York Times ran a story a while back that said, in a nutshell, stuff doesn't make you happy. (Read it here. No, really. It's a good article. I'll wait for you. OK, are you back? Cool.) For the most part I agree with them. There are, however, some possessions that have genuinely made me a happier person. To wit:
1. My cast-iron skillet. After reading that Teflon frying pans do bad things to you (I forget what; Google it if you're interested), Mr. SZ decided I needed some nontoxic cookware. Not sure if he saved my life or anything but this pan freakin' rocks. It weighs about as much as a preschooler and everything I've cooked in it has been edible (which, if you've ever had dinner at my house, you know is saying a lot). I also love that you don't wash it with soap and have to season it every once in a while with olive oil.
2. My hiking boots. I used to think people who wore just-for-hiking gear were poseurs. But before a trip to Glacier in 2003, I decided that if I was gonna go to a big fancy national park I was gonna get me some big fancy boots. Holy crap. It changed the whole hiking experience. Rocks and tree roots that used to kill my feet were no longer a problem. I stopped twisting my ankles and I could stomp through streams without getting soaked. Hiking boots: four-wheel drive for your feet.
3. My bathrobe. It's one of those giant white terry deals you can
4. My art. Behold "Yey Tree," a woodcut by Roman Klonek. OK, it's not to everyone's taste, and at least one visitor to our home has asked, "Did you make that yourself?" But Mr. SZ and I thought it would be fun to invest in some actual art, made by a real live artist with paint and everything. We don't generally agree on these things, so when we both liked this when we saw it in a gallery in Williamsburg we decided to drop a few bucks on it. I love the colors and sense of humor. And yes, I know he spelled "Yay" wrong, but that's part of its charm. Now go tell all your friends about Roman Klonek so he gets really famous and our woodcut increases in value.
5. My SmartWool™ socks. No, this is not a paid product placement. (I wish. Are you reading this, manufacturers of SmartWool™? I CAN BE BOUGHT.) I don't know how they do it, but the folks who make these take wool — a fiber that normally makes me want to claw my skin off — and turn it into the softest, warmest socks imaginable. Also, they are pretty. And machine washable and dryable. Hey, January? My toes are ready for you.