Tuesday, August 30, 2011


At the bottom is a link to a fascinating column I found today by David Brooks in the New York Times called the Haimish Line. It is a Yiddish word that suggest warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality.

I suggest you read the column, but he starts out by saying that in a safari in Africa, his family stayed in seven tents. The simple camps were friendly warm and familiar. The more elegant ones were colder.

He talks about Comfort Inns with the free breakfasts where people chat at the waffle machine. At the four-star hotels, they are quiet. He mentioned a book called "The Lost City'' about life in an old densely packed Chicago neighborhood where kids ran from home to home and people hung out on stoops. They moved to the suburbs and didn't know their neighbors.

He says on vacations we think of the Where. But when we come back we treasure the memory of the Who -- people you met in faraway places. And he links to an article on research on happiness that is worth reading. It says you should buy experiences instead of things, many small pleasures instead of a few big ones. Pay now for things you can look forward to and enjoy later.

If you click on the link, it says if money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right. It says rich people have better toys, better nutrition, more free time and better jobs but they don't tend to be a lot happier than people who have less because they don't spend it right. The things they think will make them happy often don't. For example, they say you can spend a lot of money on a new hardwood floor and it soon is just the floor but the memory of seeing a cheetah at dawn on a safari continues to provide delight.

The quality of our social relationships is a strong determinant of our happiness. You tend to be happier giving money to a food bank than spending it on yourself.

It also says that while people who have sex are happier than those that don't, it says the optimal number of sex partners in a 12-month period is one. It says that multiple partners are occasionally thrilling, but regular partners are regularly enjoyable.

And that people who enjoy the mundane joys of daily life are happier than those that don't. Which is why rich people don't get to enjoy small pleasures.

I could go on and on about this topic but you can read the link and then click on the link in the story for more details. And this whole topic of happiness may not interest you as much as it does me. Let me know your thoughts.

FD (I suggest you click on the following link and then to the link in the story)



  1. Hi Fla. Dom,

    Actually, this topic interests me greatly and came to me at just the moment that I needed it. At 63, I'm old enough to remember a world that still moved at a comparatively languorous pace and being part of an extended family that walked in and out of my home without having to knock.

    I'm happy that I visited and look forward to sitting on your stoop again.


    Mrs. Kelly's Playhouse

  2. Hi Scott: Thanks for stopping by my stoop. I've visited yours in the past and enjoyed the visits.
    Yes, in our mobile society, extended families living in the same area tend to be a thing of the past.


  3. I really realize this years ago and when money was tight as a single parent, I would offer my son the choice of spending for something tangible or a memory. He would go back and forth in his choices, but at least he was quite aware of the difference.

  4. One year for my birthday my husband/Daddy wanted to know what I wanted. I told him I didn't want anything except his time. He has always told me throughout our relationship that time is money and I wanted a whole day of his time so in effect he'd be spending a lot of money on me, lol. He gave me that day and I've treasured it above all other gifts he's ever given me.


  5. This is also a subject I could "go on and on about," and often do, if someone gets me started. ;) I grew up in very modest circumstances, and have always been so aware of how those around me interact with one another, and the differences between sub-cultures in a society.

    The trip thing... sooo true! How often do we talk about the trinkets we bought, but rather the memories we made, the people we met? My most memorable experiences are a spur-of-the-moment bus ride from CA to TX, car trips to the mountains at sunset with friends, a ride across country with my husband. Not a lot of $ spent, but lots of memories in my bank!

  6. At the behest of my clients, I planned a conference at an expensive resort a few years back. Saying expensive, one night the cost of my dinner was almost equal to my weight.

    I noticed that the other guests rarely made eye contact or acknowledged anyone else and no-one was smiling. Not my kinda place. Me and Randy Travis like a better class of loser.

  7. A great thought provoking post. Thank you Florida Dom.

    I'm like Little Butterfly, I could go on and on about this subject, too! I will just say that to me, the best "gifts" are those that aren't bought with money. Homemade gifts, or not even a tanglible gift mean the most to me. Heartfelt words, the gift of time spent, those are things that I treasure and remember.