Happy Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things.

What do you do when you need a break? How do you relax?

For me, the answer is: “It depends!”

Depends on what? Well, on what sort of break I need. Sometimes all that I need is a bit of a walk around my office. I take this advice from a Jane Austin character:

“Miss Eliza Bennet, let me persuade you to follow my example, and take a turn about the room. — I assure you it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude.”

Other times, I simply need to do something different. I go on a walk about campus looking for our rather elusive 1 mile walking trail. Or I get a banana from our Sports Center and our “no excuses” wellness initiative (also bananas might be going extinct).

I also do my best to visit a fitness centre 5 days a week. While any who know me likely suspect anaerobic exercises are not a major part of my repertoire, I really enjoy an hour to myself, listening to good music and having a cheery cardio workout.

Of course, not all my favourite things are as physically healthy as eating bananas. I also enjoy reading good books (and not so good books to be truthful).

Some of the books I have come to consider timeless are the Harry Potter books. I was greatly heartened to see in last week’s SEAL Academy that Dr Janowski-Bell had on time-turner earrings while Dr Butler had an Order of the Phoenix key-chain. I then remembered that Professor Ajrami has a cat named Dobby who needs a good home (for details see the Employee Bulletin Board in the PiratePortal).

So, perhaps the last thing that makes me happy is knowing that even though it might seem like I’m walking across campus alone, I’m pretty much surrounded by Dumbledore’s Army. And of course, a campus where people are willing to watch out for cats is exactly the sort of place I’d like to work.

What are your favourite things? What makes you happy?



Matt Wiley is a tenured, associate professor of mathematics with awards in both mathematics education and honour student engagement. He earned an assortment of degrees in computer science, business, and pure mathematics from the University of California and Texas A&M systems. He is the director of quality enhancement at Victoria College, assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment program to enhance institutional performance outcomes. A programmer, a published author, a mathematician, and a transformational leader, Matt has always melded his passion for writing with his joy of logical problem solving and data science. From the boardroom to the classroom, he enjoys finding dynamic ways to partner with interdisciplinary and diverse teams to make complex ideas and projects understandable and solvable.


  1. I’ve been jumping on the adult coloring book bandwagon. It’s relaxing. I find it to be a good combo of creativity (deciding on color schemes) and low-pressure non-creativity (not staring at a blank page that demands a masterpiece from scratch).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Colours always worry me a bit, since I don’t see them well. I do like looking at pictures others have done, because I find the line-work of a well-coloured page to have interesting patterns usually (which I tend to like).


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