3 Week Check In: Delights, Lessons, and an Invitation

I am three weeks into (c)leave. So far, I am succeeding at using delight to self-medicate. Really, delight is a good treatment option because it doesn’t have any side effects, unlike every other medicine I’ve been on in the last 6 months. Good news: I’m down to one medication these days!


Delight abounds when your full time job is to notice it and seek it out. Here are five high(de)lights:

  • On Wednesday around 1 PM, a drag queen looked me straight in the eye over a clothing rack at a thrift store and said, “Girl, no one in this world should have to go without clothes. And we work so hard for them. My hand hurts just from moving these hangers.”
  • Beth Barr’s book The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth was poignant, disruptive, and scholarly. I finished listening to it this week. The way she deconstructs (and calls out) the contemporary evangelical Christian belief that patriarchy is God’s design with rigorous historical research is for sure a delight.
  • So much art: We took the kids to see the Matisse show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I saw Hiroshima’s Great Wave of Kanagawa and met contemporary artist Helen Zughaib at the Susquehanna Museum of Art. This week I got to see the Carnegie International. Dia al-Azzawi’s Ruins of Two Cities: Mosul and Aleppo (this post’s header image) did me in at the beginning; I just sat there on the floor staring at it. To have that type of unhurried alone time in a museum is a gift.
  • One of my daughters recently declined looking through a book about changing bodies, stating, “Mom, you’ve already answered all my questions about penises.”
  • Curio’s Sketchbook Club. Making art with other folks – even if they are strangers – has really slowed me down in good ways. I love showing up to a new still life and thinking, “well, shoot” and giving it a go anyway. I leave with a drawing and a bit of reassurance I am not a fraud.
    • Delight 5b: this list isn’t in parallel structure and I don’t care!


I’ve learned that chasing delight is also kinda expensive. I realized that it was worth it to invest in reciprocal memberships, passes, or subscriptions. Here are the delight investments I made up front:

  • I bought the Keystone Philadelphia Museum of Art Membership. This was not cheap ($250). But, it gets me and three other adults plus kids into major museums across the country, goes to support a museum I love, and will pay for itself this year. It would have cost my family ~$60 for admission and parking to the Matisse show on its own. I used the reciprocal membership to get into the Carnegie International this week.
  • I bought a ten ride Amtrak pass. This will get me to and from Philadelphia museum for cheaper (~$15 a ride) than I can get individual tickets, and it’s cheaper than driving and paying the tolls if I’m traveling solo.
  • I bought a family membership to a local museum (The Susquehanna Museum of Art) for $125. The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association and gives me access to 1,000 additional museums (not all art). The extensive list of all of the museums you can access is available on the NARM website.
  • For Christmas, we received a gift card to Longwood Gardens. Longwood allows you to apply gift cards to membership, so I paid $45 out of pocket for an annual membership that allows me and one guest into the gardens all year and a few other benefits.

Yes, this cost me almost $600 in memberships, which I recognize isn’t nothing. There are some important unadvertised benefits of this:

  • I can visit places without continued cost or concern about how long I should stay to make it “worth it.”
  • I can share the delight. I can take family or friends along with me to these places and their cost is nothing or very minimal. I love to travel by myself but sometimes company is nice too 🙂 In this case, I carry the title delight usher, and here is my DU headshot taken by my friend Kelly on our recent trip to Longwood Gardens. Leslie Gates, Ph.D., DU.
  • I can stack delights. For instance, I’m going to NYC at the end of the month to hear a concert and between my two reciprocal museum memberships have free access to about 25 museums in NYC. So, I’ll be going to the met for the first time since 1999!
  • I feel obligated to use the benefits. It’s that simple. If I’ve paid to go, I am more likely to go than to not.

The Invitation

Having collected and posted delights for days on end, I realize that there are three themes to my delights: the arts, nature, and relationships. I love this quote:

One of the delights of life is eating with friends; second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.

Laurie Colwin

I wonder if you’ve ever thought about what brings you joy and delight, and whether you’ve thought about stacking them for a double whammy. Try it and let me know what happens. I’ll write more about double whammy delights soon.