Happiness Jar

When I saw this on Facebook I loved it and immediately shared it, saying “So doing it!”.  I didn’t immediately do it, though, knowing that it would be there on my FB so I couldn’t forget.

Then I was in my friend’s kitchen and she proudly showed me her fancy happiness jar on the kitchen table.  Not only that, she described how she had shared my share, and some of her FB friends had enthusiastically announced they’d made theirs before she had.  Uhoh, she thought, I have to get mine in action, I posted it and they’ve already done it.  That made me feel a little more queasy, as I hadn’t done it yet, and there were already certainly two degrees, possibly three, of enactment already sparked from my post.

Well, it’s done now, and we had several slips to top it up with from the first month of this year.

I love this idea because it has multiple elements of happiness-causing behavior.  It creates a tradition, creates a handy year-in-review memorabilia, and amplifies happiness by creating (at least) two chances to recollect the happy event: in the writing it down and the year-end reading.  The slips can all be stuck on something, laminated, reduced on a photocopier, or photographed to make something artistic and lasting yet small.  Brilliant!

Here's mine
Here’s mine


Squirrel friends


There’s a bold little squirrel coming around mooching for food.  It’s the cutest thing, he stands up like a gopher with his little front paws folded in, shivering a little, staring boldly up with his head a little inclined.  He took his first nut, in the shell, off my hand and then paused a little distance away, turning it all over in his mouth and smelling it, then, coming to some decision, running away under the fence with it.  He was back a little while later, standing up on the patio door looking at me.

IMGP4512It’s so magical to be trusted by a little wild creature!  I know he just wants nuts, but it’s a blessing to have a little squirrel put his hand on yours.  Such a rare experience, and it’s a mutually pleasing arrangement.  I’m probably more thrilled to give him a nut than he is to get it.

Having a moment of intimate contact with a wild being that usually avoids people for its own safety is a special event, like having a bird perch on your finger or a wolf show itself to you.

IMGP4482I’ve never touched a squirrel before, nor seen one so close up.  They have luxurious whiskers, like a cat, and soft chins.  Their claws are curved and very sharp, but the “palms” of their paws are cool, soft skin like our hands. His tail is quite gauzy instead of thick and plush like they look from a distance.

“My” squirrel has a very soft chin, and he has a lot of control.  He rests his paws gently on my hand and pulls himself up, then delicately retrieves the prize with his mouth.  Sometimes he smells my fingertips or even more gently nibbles them a little.

Any more?

My mom would be horrified.

Then he quickly sits on his haunches, if it’s out of the shell, and devours his nut by holding and turning it with his little paws.  That’s about as delicate a process as a buzz saw – tiny chips of nut flying like sawdust.  He can eat a filbert in about 10 seconds, and then he’s looking for more.

With this facility for trust and looking cute, he’s not a thin squirrel.  I tried gently stroking his fuzzy chest while he was busy harvesting.   He leapt back when he noticed I was touching him but not before I felt some strong little squirrel muscles under his fur.

IMGP4507 Continue reading Squirrel friends

Lists in peace

I finally updated my life into the digital.  My lists, at any rate.

The last incarnation of my “list system”, in a beloved orange clipboard, was a masterpiece of design.  I had tabbed pages (different colours), and each page had topical lists on it.  Books and Movies, Big Dreams, Sewing projects, Want list, Long-term projects, etc. The top page was always the current, top of the heap need-to-do things.  The beauty was any page could easily be replaced, top page most often, when it needed significant changes or got used up, and the overall system retained its order.  Crucially, everything that I would need to write down or collect in a list in any way had a place in my system.   See, I’m still proud of it.

Its fatal design flaw was that the orange clipboard was sometimes not conveniently around, while my laptop nearly always is.   I get why people might put everything into their phones for the same reason, but I hate typing on a phone.   So I transferred all those lists into the Journler program (Mac) that I use every day.  I made a folder – LISTS – with a master lists file that has many many short lists – old projects, new projects, current to-dos, wanted things, things to look up on the internet, etc.  Addresses and Birthdays; Books and Movies have their own files.

It’s so elegant!  I’ve no idea why it took me so long.  Continue reading Lists in peace

That’s so 1985

Yes, that's a picture from Jökulsarlon on 2002
Does anyone else save old calendars?  I can’t say I stockpile them, but the most beautiful ones can be hard to throw out.  With that glossy printing and thick paper they cry out for something more than recycling.

Well, dig out the relics from 1991, 2002, or 1985, because those are entirely reusable in 2013.  Obviously, the 80’s are back, after all.

In fact, one could get by an entire life with only 14 calendars, and that includes the leap years.

That could sure put a dent in paper waste, and it sure makes me feel better about those exceptional art calendars that it’s so sad to think of having an ephemeral span of usefulness.  I always have a few “keepers” in my very heavy but precious “image box”- a box of paper I save for arresting, beautiful or novel images that wait for their chance to be reused as gift wrap, collages, or media for various crafts.

I didn’t find any from 1991, but here are a few reusable calendars I found lying around.  Check out Seattle, 1985.  This year also matches the year I was born, so my birthday this year will land on the same day of the week as my birth day did.

2012 in review: Ok. We’re all still here.

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 6.49.47 PM

I love the WordPress annual report.  Here’s mine, although it’s pretty torturous to watch, at least on my browser.  The world’s slowest, meekest fireworks.  If I waited outside for a show like this, I’d be pissed.

Although I eschew resolutions (I make those every New Week or less), it is a nice time to review.

So besides that the world didn’t suddenly end…

2012 on the whole was pretty damn rough.  It started out fine, but when my husband was unexpectedly denied entry to Canada, I moved all I own in two weeks, abandoned my garden, we left the lovely cozy barn we just finished, lived in a tent until we got the camper habitable, and proceeded to make a long-term habit of roaming around like itinerant snails with our camper.

I should have learned by now that it’s best to tell the whole truth at the time, but I hate that.  Continue reading 2012 in review: Ok. We’re all still here.