Happiness

Keeping Up With the News

A while ago, I started listening to Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast (you can find it here; it's a good one).  Each week, she and her sister, Elizabeth, talk about  being . . . happier.

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(This photo has nothing to do with the podcast or with news . . . but I was out in the garden on Saturday when I found these Japanese anemone seed heads, and I thought they were cool.  And . . . being in the garden again definitely made me happier!)

Anyway.

In the podcast 104 (from February 15), Gretchen and Elizabeth talked about dealing with the emotional toll of the news -- which they call a stumbling block to happiness, or something that takes up a lot of real estate in your brain and limits your ability to "find the good" around you.

They gave the following helpful suggestions for dealing with the news:

  1. Limit your news intake to just one time per day.  Really, that's enough to keep up with what's happening.  
  2. Just read (or watch or listen to) ONE story on a given topic.  Then stop.  You've got the details; you know what's happening.  Taking the same story in from multiple sources just ramps up the drama in your head.
  3. Consider reading the news instead of listening or watching.  Written articles are more "information-dense" than news items produced for radio and tv -- which tend to be far more emotion-driven (and, ultimately, emotionally upsetting).  
  4. Take action.  Take your feelings and make something happen instead.  (Even if it's just baking banana bread.)  Doing something active provides you with distance . . . from the emotional toll of the news.

They also discussed the conundrum some people feel right now . . . should we even be striving to be happy, given the current state of affairs?  Their answer?  An unapologetic YES!  Because happier people are more resilient people -- and better able to manage tough situations with an active response.  Happy people are hopeful people.

My take-aways from the podcast?  Stay informed -- but keep your emotional distance!


Right Now - March 2016

March came in like a lion . . . but it's (pretty much) going out like a lamb.

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I know spring -- and especially early spring (like . . . March) is fickle.  But I'm sure ready for the Real Deal to begin!

Here's what's happing for me . . . Right Now.

Watching  Well.  Nothing on television.  Because I've decided to move into a cave until the ugliness of the presidential campaign is behind us.  (I do come out to vote.)  (And watch movies.)

Reading  In my ears: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (the 4th in this excellent quartet; I'm going to miss this series after I read this one);  in print: The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (good; compelling; but . . . well.  Confusing Bible names throw me off.)

Knitting  An adorable little toddler pullover for a great-niece-in-law (Tom's brother's son's daughter).  I missed making her a baby sweater (because timing) -- so need to hurry and get this toddler sweater off the needles before she grows some more!

Listening to  Bruce Hornsby.  (We'll be seeing him in concert as part of the Gilmore Piano Festival next month.)

 

Dreading  Taxes.  This weekend.  They WILL be done.  (And that is all I'm gonna say about that.)

Drinking  Chocolate milk.  Red wine.  Whisky.  (But not together.)

Planning  I'm creating my "Plant Watch List" of things I want for my garden this year.  I do this each year -- and it's a great way for me to stay loyal to my garden plan.  (Because it's so tempting to just start buying every pretty bloom I see.  And especially in the spring, when I'm starved for blooms.)

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Looking Forward to  Riding my new birthday bike.  Something new . . . a bit of a risk . . . but certainly - adventures ahead!

Humming  Bennie and the Jets.  (Yeah.  Still.)  (I tried to embed a video, but they're all restricted.  You'll have to sing it on your own.)  (I'm sure you already are. . . )  

Itching to  Do some sewing.  A copy of Merchant & Mills new Workbook (long ago pre-ordered) arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

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Delighted by  Tea Drops.  My sister sent me a box for my birthday.  Tasty.  Cool.  And they work just the way they say they will!

Organizing  I continue chipping away at organizing my digital photos.  It's a giant task -- and may never be truly complete.  But I'm working at it.  (It's made me just put my "real" camera aside for the time being.  Because, really.  I don't want more photos to organize right now.)

Enjoying Thunderstorms!  When they aren't violent, I just love a good thunderstorm.  

Celebrating  The end of an era and the beginning of something new.  ;-)

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . right now?

 


Thoughts on Welcoming a Daughter-in-Law

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I raised Brian to grow up and become . . . himself.  To follow his own path.  To discover his own life.  To leave me.  It has always brought me great  joy . . . to watch him UNFOLD . . . right before my eyes.

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I'm especially happy that Brian and Lauren found each other.  The two of them seem just perfect for each other.  As a Mom, there is really nothing better than watching your kid . . . grow up and find happiness.

And I am seeing that in Brian now . . . because of Lauren.  I am looking forward to seeing the future the two of them create TOGETHER.  I'm going to love watching their lives continue to . . . UNFOLD. 


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 Last week, I sent Lauren a note (saying pretty much the same as above) along with a little "token" -- a symbol, I guess, of my passing Brian's childhood into her hands (and heart) . . . for the next phase of his journey.

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I'm confident that Mr. Bun is in good hands!

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Doing it Their Way . . . Perfectly

Last May, I shared this happy news.

Then, one day in July, I got a text:

Mom, if you didn't see me get married, would it break your heart?

I remember swallowing hard, and then quickly typing:

Absolutely not!

Because . . . I firmly believe that weddings should be whatever the couple wants.  Some brides want a storybook wedding with all the bells and whistles.  And some don't.  Some girls have dreamed of being a bride all their lives.  And some haven't.  Some couples want to pull out all the stops.  And some want to save up for a house.  

I think that weddings should be perfect -- for the couple.

(Even when the couple includes my kid!)

Brian and Lauren (now living in Colorado) decided they wanted a "destination elopement" -- private, romantic, meaningful, and picturesque.

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They were married yesterday.

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On Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder.


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Just what they wanted! Absolutely perfect.

(I am thrilled.)

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Wedding photographs by Alyssa Mc Elheny Photography.

 


Find a Patch of Beautiful

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.
                                                                            ~Alice Walker

 

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My front garden border is bursting with beautiful blooms right now.  PeeGee hydrangea.  Autumn Joy sedum.  Some greenery I can never remember the name of.

So I gathered some together and brought them inside.

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I challenge you to do the same.  Find something beautiful.  Bring it closer to you.

Restore your soul!


Landslide

Special song . . . for a special day . . . 

 

Happy Birthday, Tom.

This song was pretty "new" when we first met and started going out.  Whenever it played, I always thought of US.   It was romantic and thoughtful and reflective -- and, even though I knew Stevie wrote it for Lindsey, I always liked to pretend it was MY song.

I took my love and took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Till the landslide brought me down

K and T circa 1979

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Tom on Carousel 1994

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you

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But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too

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Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you

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But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too
Oh, I'm getting older too

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Well, Tom.  Here we are.  All these many years later.  This song still resonates with me - only even more so.  Happy birthday.  I love "getting older, too" . . . with you!

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. . . Till the landslide bring us down!

 


Wise Words

There's a Zen saying I'm particularly fond of . . .

"You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day --- unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour."
                                                                    --- Old Zen adage

I'm in the middle of Crunch Time right now.  I just returned from a vacation.  My daughter came for a wonderful extended visit.  Tom and I had a reunion to attend last week.  Work deadlines are exploding everywhere around me.  Oh.  And I'm planning to head up north for another vacation next week. Yeah. It's Crunch Time.

But over the weekend I remembered the Old Zen adage . . . and applied it to my garden.

I took a break.

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I did some weeding.  And some deadheading.  A little planting, too.

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I cleaned off my potting bench and organized everything for the rest of the season.

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I harvested Swiss chard from my kitchen gardenfor dinner, and added fresh mint to my iced tea.

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I noticed that I felt better.

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Less stressed.

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More upbeat, for sure.

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I'm pretty certain that Old Zen adage applies to gardening!

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You should get out in your garden for 20 minutes every day - unless you're too busy; then you should garden for an hour!

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(It worked for me.)


Enough

My life is really full right now.  There are lots of things going on.  Good things.  But things nonetheless.  I'm working hard to keep everything in perspective; to stay in the moment; to breathe.

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And, really, that is enough.

"Just the fact that you get to live and breathe and interact with the world - that's pretty marvelous."
                                                                                    ---  Junot Diaz