In Praise of Frugal Pleasures

It’s not necessary to have new things, formally planned events, or spend much money in order to enjoy yourself. Today we just stayed home and did necessary projects while the kids had time with their friends. Then we decided to grill and eat outside and later had friends over for monster marshmallows. The priceless pleasure of the evening was accomplished with mostly free or cheap items.

  • A Canopy. The greatest pleasure and most often used! We put it up on our driveway over a month ago because it’s very hot there in the afternoon and it gives a protected place to eat outside, work, park the car, etc. We liked it so much that we weighted down the legs and left it up. It was free. A few years ago neighbors were getting rid of two damaged canopies, so I cobbled one good one together from the two and in one (long) afternoon we had a working canopy.
  • Round grill. Picked up curbside one garbage day. It was in very good shape (and better than the one we had).
  • Wood (including the kindling). Collected over time from our black walnut tree and other wood from our property. Very dry, no fire starter needed (just some newspaper).
  • Four plastic chairs. Curbside castoffs because they had UV discoloration. I used a stainless scrubby one very rainy afternoon and made them look like new. Added to the two we already had we now had enough for family plus some friends.
  • Aluminum folding table. A garage sale find – a few dollars. Great for leaving up outside because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t rust.
  • Floral lights. Also a garage sale special, and strung around the edge of the canopy makes it very festive at night.
  • Citronella bucket candles. Curbside collections after a family moved.
  • Metal stand. Curbside treasure. Put a citronella candle on it.
  • Three Hurricane lamps (use candles). Garage sale finds. The candle were free.
  • Zucchini. A garden gift from a friend. Sliced lengthways, Italian dressing poured over them and grilled.

Things purchased new:

  • Steaks and marshmallows (both on sale).

The evening – priceless.

Some of Life’s Little Pleasures

(In the tradition of “happiness is… and “1000 awesome things”)

A purring cat.

Kitty kisses.

The smell of fresh basil.

The smell of a freshly-picked ripe tomato.

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Sitting in a sunny window (bonus if you have a cat on your lap).

The smell of freshly dug soil.

The smell after a rainstorm.

The smell of pure sandalwood oil.

Sitting on the grass in the sun.

The smell of balsam fir wreaths/Christmas trees.

When the snack I eat looks like the one on the packaging.

Walking on deer paths in the woods, especially when they are challenging.

Having an F16 fly right over you.

Watching the Blue Angels perform live.

When your cup of tea is just right.

Homemade iced lemon tea with a twist of peppermint leaf.

Doing something that makes people say “Whoa!”

Touching a cat’s tongue when it yawns.

Hugging something warm and fluffy.

Putting your car in neutral while going down a long, steep, straight hill and making it all the way up the other hill.

Flying over the water at midday.

Watching the sunset from an airplane window.

Someone massaging your feet.

The smell of a blown-out match or candle.

Watching any really big airplane land.

The sound of water running over rocks.

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