photo by Livia Meneghin

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Welcome to my blog. I'm spending a year capturing happiness, and I invite you to come along as I journey toward a more joyful living. I also write about travel, food, and matters of the spirit. Hope you enjoy!

Birthday

Birthday

If you've been following my blog regularly, you know that my blogs are a reflection of the day I've just experienced. And as such, I'm always posting them right before I go to bed, which I claim is strategical (what if my most Joyful moment comes at night! It's been known to happen! [see here and here and here]), but it's really a matter of not getting around to it until the very last moment.

The story of my life.

The story of many people's lives.

But today I'm going to do something different and reflect, in advance, about tomorrow.

Tomorrow--April 2nd--is the day that my friend Jeremy (and his twin brother, Josh) were born. Jeremy was one of the first people I met when I moved to Rhode Island, within my first week of living here, and thus he is my longest-standing Rhode Island friend (even though technically he lives in Worcester and not RI). So, in honor of his birth, I'd like to commemorate our friendship by cultivating a list of the top reasons I keep him around.

Kidding. But seriously, I made a list.

The Top Ten Reasons Why Jeremy is The Most Awesome Dude

(In the style of David Letterman

10. He's a science nerd. 

Science Nerd Heaven

Science Nerd Heaven

He's actually a science teacher, but he has internalized that and gets really excited about things like solar-powered camping stoves. If you have a fun fact about lizards or rock formations or convection currents, you can call Jeremy and he will share your enthusiasm.

9. He's probably the coolest teacher ever. A very short list of examples: 
-He's submerged himself in a giant bucket of water to teach his students about volume.
-He stages a crime scene every year in which a poor stuffed animal suffers unspeakable deaths and the students have to solve how it happened.
-He's even completed the mannequin challenge with his students--MIDDLE SCHOOL students, mind you, an age where holding still for more than half a second requires superhuman concentration. The fact that he was able to pull this off with (almost complete) success deserves a medal of honor.

My favorite meme 

My favorite meme 

8. He's a photo hobbyist and has some really great work. I insist he bring his camera everywhere so that I can use his photos. When he's not taking pictures of me in colorful pants, or using my pictures to create memes, he's taking photos of Fall foliage that get him noticed on Instagram's Fifty Shades of Nature. You should check out his collection: @mularellaphotography 

He has a Candle Facebook page here

He has a Candle Facebook page here

7. He's a budding entrepreneur, and his business of choice is candle-making, with the occasional fragrance diffuser and sache. I have the good fortune of being his guinea pig as he tries out new things, so my house has never smelled better. Plus, he taught me how to make "Tzenaki" [<--my nickname in Greek] candles at Christmas time to give as gifts! It was so exciting!

6. He's not shy. At this point, he's met almost all of my friends and half of my immediate family. He survived hiking with me and my mom, and in fact, he came out as the winner of my mom's favorite person on the hike.  

5. Two words: Jumping Photo. Every year Jeremy's school takes part in Boston's Walk for Hunger. Twice I've gotten to participate with them. It's a 20-mile walk around the city to raise money to feed the hungry. But Jeremy is not content with merely walking 20 miles. The last two miles are always reserved for sprinting, a time-honored tradition in which a few hearty kids try to beat him. One girl broke her arm trying to win. I have also tried to beat him, and I must admit--if not for my competitive nature, I certainly would not dream of running the last two miles. Anyway, at the end of our first walk, we thought it'd be fun to take a commemorative photo of us jumping in victory, captured mid-air. His teacher friend was the photographer and, frankly, did a horrible job. But I couldn't stop laughing when I looked through them. The entire reel can be found here. Jeremy shockingly didn't mind me posting these photos all over the internet, so I'm going to do it again because LOOK AT HIS FACE IT'S THE BEST.

 

4. He hates the Patriots. I can't tell you how much of a breath of fresh air that is here in Patriot country. I'll probably come home to find my house TP'd for saying that, but I'm an Eagles fan and he's a Steelers fan, and we unite to watch football games because we are each other's support group. In Patriot victories, we console each other. In Patriot defeat, we toast espresso martinis and give each other discreet high fives. I can always count on him to give me game updates and make me feel better by telling me how many times Brady got sacked in a game.

3. He's well-traveled. Although I hate admitting this, I think he's better traveled than I am. He's been to China and Morocco, Thailand and Peru, plus the "usual": England, France, Italy, Iceland. He lived in Australia for a while. He volunteer teaches abroad, thus he's a do-gooder and it's hard to hate him. He's even got a photo of himself riding a camel across the desert. So, he gets a lot of cool points. 

 

2. DAYS OF FUN. This was his idea, modeled after Joey and Janice's DAY OF FUN (which is a reference to an episode of Friends, my favorite show of all time). These include beach days, hiking days, ice cream days all rolled into one. We have them a few times per year and they're always full of gluttony and awesomeness. I'm looking forward to our next one, a day of yoga and homemade-something-healthy!

and the NUMBER ONE reason Jeremy makes the best friend:

1. HE SHARES FOOD AND EATS HIS HONEST HALF (or more!). This is the most important quality of a human being, in my opinion. I have many friends who are nice to grab coffee with and talk on the phone with, but Jeremy is the Best Food Friend. If there's a food conference, a restaurant that needs reviewing, a cooking class, a food tour, anything that involves eating in abundance, he is the first person I call. I've learned to accept his aversion to mushrooms and shellfish because he's otherwise up for anything. Knowing I can count on him to fully enjoy a food experience gives me absolute joy. He's made more appearances in my Motif articles than anyone else, eaten more Lincoln creamery ice cream with me than anyone else, and has been on the path of restaurant discovery with me for nearly four years now.

 So, to that end, I want to give thanks for Jeremy and our journey together.

Happy Birthday, M-Dogg.

ps. I pilfered 90% of the photos from Jeremy. But the cover photo is from here

Happy birthday, guys!

Happy birthday, guys!

All The Things

All The Things

Spark

Spark