Everyone is Nicer

Dear Optimists,
Is it just me, or are you noticing everyone is a little bit nicer these days? Is that everywhere or just where I live?
Yes, there’s a pandemic. But humanity is being so much more…human.
I’m raking the yard. A stranger walking by says hi.
A lady is pushing her son on a cart, and they both wave. My daughter has a conversation with them from across the street. Next thing we know, we have a play date “when this whole thing is finally over.”Untitled-Artwork 1.png
I take the kiddo for a walk. Everyone we pass asks how we are and if things are good. Some even ask if we need anything.
All from six feet away.
Is it possible we needed to get farther to become closer?
Love,
Den & Nadia
P.S. Let us know if people seem nicer where you are! Tell us stories in the comments.

Nadia, will you marry me?

Dear Optimists,

I often look through which search engines terms led to this little optimistic spot on the interwebs. Most of them are quite ordinary. Such as “how do girls pee”, “meaning for optimistic rocker”, and “flavour of optimistic persons” (!?).

But my personal favourite is “Nadia, will you marry me?”.

I’m very curious about who went on Google and typed in those words to end up here. It’s probably Den pranking me, and not Boyfriend finding new, creative ways of proposing to me, as one might think…

But a girl can dream, right?

Love,
Nadia.

Male Bonding

A story about our encounter with a father and son bonding over my favorite thing in the world: Legos.

Dear Optimists,

If you read this blog at all, you already know I have a bit of an affinity – oh heck let’s call it what it is – an obsession with Legos. Well, this past weekend I had a $20 gift card to Toys-R-Us and wanted the cool Creator Log Cabin and was in the aisle looking for it when I saw a father/son by the little bagged figures. Do you know them? They’re in a bag and you have no idea which one you get. It’s fun and I definitely buy them when I see them on sale.


So I walk into the aisle and this father and his son have about twenty of the bags laid out on a shelf. I quickly figure out they’re going for the Feel the bag and guess which one is in it theory (which seldom works…I was trying to get the monkey trainer for the longest time but apparently the girl-hair part feels like a monkey), so Elle and I joined them. I wanted her to see the new series (she pretends to care because she loves me).

I said to Elle, “I really want the robot.” The little kid, who had thick glasses, looked up. The dad laughed. “That’s the one we’re trying to get!” “I can understand that…it’s the best one.” “We also want the leprechaun” the kid said to me. We had a little talk with them and I admitted it took luck to get the monkey trainer (yes, I did finally get it) and we had a nice talk with the kid and his dad. It really warms my heart, seeing a moment like this. The dad and son, working together and chasing down these toys, it’s one of those memories the kid will have forever. I hope to be that dad someday.

They ended up in line behind us as I was buying the log cabin (yup! got it!) and as we walked to our car I heard a voice say “Excuse me!” from the van next to our car. I look over and it’s the kid in the back seat.

“We got the robot!” he yelled. His dad and I both laughed, and I said “That’s awesome. I’m jealous now!”

What a trip to the toy store, huh?

Love,
Den

Hug a teddy

Dear Optimists,
Every day we struggle to find happiness and boost our self-esteem. We build optimism gradually, with willpower and, of course, smiles.
But years of work can be destroyed in a single night. A single phrase, commen or facial expression can shatter every self-confidence we have and drown our good mood into a storm of negativity.
Yes, it’s hard to stay optimistic. But it doesn’t mean we should give up. We should start to build everything again… but not without support and affection, which can effectively come from a hug – with a huge fluffy teddy bear!!!
So who said that lonely people could not have a hug as well?
In hard times, teddy bears (or whatever teddy animal you love) can really help. Believe a 16-year-old teenage girl. Haha.
So next time you’re sad, hug a teddy bear. It’s the next best thing to a hug from a loved one!
Love,
An Evil Nymph.

Relax, Dude

Dear Optimists,
There’s something about a random day off that’s just so nice. That’s me today! I slept in a bit, made a nice breakfast and some tea, and now I’m just relaxing and playing online. I’m so glad I’m a teacher!
 
Not rubbing it in…just saying.
Love,
Den
P.S. Today’s illustrations are by the always lovely Mette.

Shadow Puppets

Dear Optimists,

Last week the gal and I were driving to a friend’s house for a little get together and the sun was setting, creating this really cool shadow of us in front of the car. I had to point it out to her.

“Look at how cool our shadow looks!”

As she looked I decided to wave. She giggled.

It’s the little things.

Love,

Den

Busy? Busy!

Today’s illustrations are by Mette. Check out her blog!

Dear Optimists,

Busy busy busy. Sometimes we find ourselves so busy that we don’t get the chance to sit down and enjoy the simple things. And that is ME right now. Over the next two weeks, I will teach twenty-four college classes, work at six hockey games, write at least nine blog posts and still attempt to find time to write. Plus about five appointments that surround planning our wedding.

When will I find time to relax, enjoy my house, have some quality time with the fiancee?

Trust me, I will. I’m like that.

Love,
Den

A Fulfilled Dream

Dear Optimists,

Last week, I got to fulfill a dream I’ve had for around fifteen years.

Neutral Milk Hotel has been one of my favorite bands for that long. They broke up before they even really got to show the world their talents in a live venue. They did a tour or two and that was it; I never got the chance to see/hear them live.

Until last week. The lead singer and the songwriter of the band, Jeff Mangum, went on tour and I got to go and just soak in how beautiful the music is live. I sat there like a wide-eyed kid:

It was AWESOME and I will never forget seeing Jeff Mangum live. Eventually I calmed down to the point where I couldn’t stop smiling like a kid:

I hope everyone gets to experience something like that. Now if only I could somehow see The Beatles live.

Love,

Den

P.S. Here is a video of my favorite song by Neutral Milk Hotel (I am aware that their sound is not for everyone), so you can check it out:

Contest With Den!

Dear Optimists,

I have to admit I love writing posts for this blog. Not only does it keep me optimistic and give me the opportunity to make others smile, it also, sometimes, opens my world to new people and friendship.

After months of friendly emails with a certain optimist, I finally got the opportunity to have a Skype conversation with a new optimistic friend from Canada. And it was a blast! I just love Skype and how it makes everyone just a bit closer to me emotionally. We talked for a bit, laughed a lot, told stories…what fun!

So now I’m offering a different type of contest on DO. Nadia gets to offer you artwork, but I can’t exactly send you some random scribbling and expect you to get excited. So I’m trying something a bit off the wall – everyone who comments today will be entered into a random drawing to have a Skype chat with Den! Or maybe if your comment is especially enticing I will choose you! Got something you’d like to chat about? Know a funny joke? Just need a bit of a laugh?

Not really sure this is much of a prize, and yes I am nervous that nobody will enter for this prize, but heck, it’s the best I can offer…a few moments of entertaining chat with a disgustingly optimistic person. And trust me, worst comes to worst I WILL make you laugh. I guess the only steadfast rule is that you have to be comfortable speaking English.

Good luck, even though I’m not sure anyone wins in a chat with Den.

Love,
Den

P.S. I did the artwork today since Nadia started a very difficult semester this week.