Little Wins & Blessings

Moose and Misty

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten a new computer and seriously – I mean seriously – questioned even bothering to reload 99% of the programs you had on your old computer. The headache promised with such an endeavor clearly gives me pause. Do I really need Microsoft Office?  OK, as a writer, I probably do (grumble). Scrivener, do I need to keep my novel in progress?! Do I REALLY?! How about all that financial info on Quicken? Who needs it, right?!  OK, the organized, ducks-in-a-row side of me swings a heavy bat so, yeah, I guess I’ll put that on, too. How about Fitbit? Would it kill me not to track my every waking breath and movement??  A-ha! Finally! One I can live without but, heck, I’ve come this far loading Office, Scrivener, and Quicken, I might as well load the Fitbit app, too. Dang it. So, after I’ve mentally sorted out what programs … Continue reading…

Irritated August and a Season for Everything

Bear in area sign.

I’ve been a little irritated lately. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been trying (and mostly succeeding with) a cutback on sugar and flours and therefore all joy in life is gone, leaving only irritation and annoyance for a hopefully brief but albeit excruciating period of withdrawal, or if it’s because I well and truly am just irritated and annoyed. But things are good! So why am I so irritated? Let us ponder… 1. I can see!! Always a good thing! However, as I put my cheater glasses on to write this, I am somewhat irked that my eyesight has tanked so markedly in the past year. When I first had Lasik done, my eyesight was remarkable. I could count the branches in the trees on the neighboring ridge. Now, wearing cheaters is more the rule than the exception and, without them, I can tell you only that “there … Continue reading…

The Mouse Hotel & Playground Solution

Mouse Cage

Living in a barn, it’s nearly impossible to keep the critters out. Most people are used to spiders getting in, maybe the odd mouse or bat. One year, we had a small family of pine martens take up residence. Now that they’ve moved on, it seems that every few months a deer mouse or two wanders in and starts exploring, nesting, and hunting for food. They’re like little refugees, searching for a safe home of their own. This wouldn’t be a huge problem if they weren’t also so destructive, noisy, and unhygienic. Mice can be carriers of the deadly hantavirus and can pass it to humans through contact with saliva, urine, or feces. I’m all for sharing my food and warmth, but not at the risk of anyone getting sick. Getting these guys out of the barn is an issue of safety and health. But I’m not gonna kill ‘em. … Continue reading…

Life at the Speed of Luna: the Next Adventure Begins

I’ve said it many times. Our dog, Luna, would drop me like yesterday’s chewy bone for anything with a hint of newness. She is always up for the next adventure. She’s always evolving as well, adapting to new challenges. For example, when she wanted out of her pen, she went under the gate. When we blocked off that exit, she exploited a hole in the fence. When we sealed that egress, she considered using the corner braces to climb over. Though she hasn’t yet done that (I caught her in the act and put the kibosh on it), I fully expect she’ll get there someday. But as frustrating as it is sometimes to keep one step ahead of this adventure seeker, it’s also somewhat inspiring. It’s admirable to me that she does not give up and she doesn’t stop attempting expansion of her world. She’s not content to let the … Continue reading…

Goodbye Thorne, Hello Nuance

Love this moment today

Not to put a damper on anyone’s summer fun; after all, it seems like we just got done with winter (and some of us are still keeping our pellet stoves on standby), but we in the Northern Hemisphere have already experienced “the longest day of the year.” Technically, the length of the day itself hasn’t changed – it’s still roughly 24 hours – but the number of hours and minutes we see that great yellowish orb in the sky is at its peak. That’s right, folks, it’s the Solstice. After June 21, the Solstice and the first day of summer, we’re on a downhill glide back into winter. Can you smell the pine-scented candles? Halloween is a mere 129 days away, Christmas is only 184. Let that sink in for a moment…. OK. Moving on. All good yogis know that the key to happiness is to revel in the present moment, … Continue reading…

Unexpected Guests: A Story About Bears, a Rescue, and Never Giving Up Hope

Oreo, a.k.a. Trooper Rocky Cubby Luke Skywalker Vader Shadow

I’m not ready to talk about losing Moose, so I’ll tell you a story instead. It’s a two-parter. Part I – The Bear Family One recent Thursday, five days after Moose passed away, I was puttering around a house that felt a lot emptier than normal, missing my beautiful “Moo Bear.” Standing at the slider-door window, I was listening to Mike, who was in the kitchen talking about cars or something. Suddenly, he tensed up. Looking beyond me to the meadow outside, he asked, “What is that? It’s big and dark!” I turned to look and, sure enough, a large sow bear lumbered into the field. “A bear! Look!” Mike was instantly at the window beside me, binoculars in hand, like he’s The Flash or something. I ran for my camera. With the lens to my eye, I zoomed in. “And cubs!” I exclaimed. Two rambunctious cubs bounded along behind … Continue reading…

Resistance to Change, Meet My New Slippers

Picture of Luna with playful look in her eye.

I have a pair of slippers that is so decrepit that they sometimes trip me as I walk. Sure, I can afford new slippers and, yet, here I am, stumbling down the hall – spilling my coffee, no less – because the right sole has peeled away from the cloth, folded itself under, and caught on something invisible. It’s no joke; slippers can kill. “Dang it,” I say, dabbing at the coffee now dotting my bathrobe, “I need to get new slippers!”  But I don’t. Like with my worn-out slippers, I tend to put up with some things far longer than I need to. Sometimes it’s just easier to live with the problem than to fix it. Other times, though, I don’t know how to make the change, or where to begin. Sometimes it’s resistance, pure and simple, making me struggle against a solution that is obvious. For example, I … Continue reading…

Mindful May: Self-Awareness on the Menu

Last month, I wrote about how sometimes we get derailed from our very good intentions or we plan more for ourselves than we can handle. For me, April was one of those times. I had a list of intended goals for myself and instead of blasting on through them like a boss, I stumbled around them like a geriatric flat-coated retriever doped up on pain meds. In my post, Tactics for the Over-committed: Four Ways to Stay on Track and Stay Productive, I offered four basic tacks I planned to use in May to keep on top of my goals, which include: 1. Accountability – having someone that helps me hold myself accountable. 2. Planning – writing down or declaring specifics for how I will succeed. 3. Letting Go – shelving tasks that fall into the “bit off more than I could chew” category. 4. Rewards – giving myself a … Continue reading…

Step Away from the Keyboard: Tips for Avoiding Ineffective Online Arguments

The Internet is a Wonderland, isn’t it? It truly is a magnificent place where truth and fantasy collide, where the media we digest can make us feel either really large or really small, where rationality is optional. Indeed sometimes logging on can be a lot like falling down a rabbit hole. Take social media (no, really, please take it!). Hailed as a monumental leap forward in human communication, this truly is a marvel that has opened doors, created friendships, and given us a nearly instant way to keep in touch with loved ones and old school mates. It is a tool for sharing and learning, and has generated more cat videos and funny photos than any time in history. It has also become a playground for marketers, a battleground for political agendas, and a cesspool in which haters thrive. The most negative and useless place on the Internet is the Comments … Continue reading…

Tactics for the Over-committed: Four Ways to Stay on Track and Stay Productive

Do All the Things Meme

There are some months when I rock my goals every day. I blast right on through each of my daily and weekly tasks, and sometimes even have energy to tack on a few more for good measure. Blam! Take that, To-Do List!! Other months, I peck at my goals like chickens in the yard foraging for bugs. April has been one of those months. My dear friend, Crystal King, launched a book this month, a novel called Feast of Sorrow. She researched, wrote it, shopped it, and reworked it based on professional feedback over about ten years. About 18 months ago, she got the call from Touchstone, the publisher who picked it up. Since then, she’s been working tirelessly with a small army of people to get all the little details right, including additional edits, blurbs, acknowledgments, and accompaniments (like working with top chefs to create a companion cookbook). And … Continue reading…