Saturday, February 25, 2012

Let Yourself Fly!

Let Yourself Fly! by dphock
Let Yourself Fly!, a photo by dphock on Flickr.

Last weekend I went to the local Citrus Fair (and yes, there is a competition for big items made out of citrus fruit but that is a post for another day) and took this photo. Such serendipity to catch these riders with arms outstretched!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's a Fashion Accessory

The Pack Leader can't come to the blog right now.  She and that girl with the long hair went out (and the girl was wearing those muddy boots that smell like horses, yum!) and left me here with this stupid thing on my head.

It all started at Christmastime.  Even though I'm still youthful and active, my doctor told my mom that the reason I was limping from time to time was that active, athletic dogs like me can have arthritic changes starting in their knees.  I was doing fine, with the occasional special treat and rest on my comfy bed next to the fireplace.  But then at Christmas, my pack treated me to two nights at the doggie spa.  And THAT would have been fab, but for a mouthy, uncouth bully dog in an adjoining area.  He provoked me so that I had to tell him a thing or two, which involved a whole lot of barking and some jumping and lunging at the gates to scare him good.  Turns out that did in the ligament in my knee, so I had surgery to stabilize my knee last week.

I came home with this lovely blue wrapping (which beautifully matched my collar, I might add.).

It was kind of comfy, actually.  But once the vet took that wrapping off, boy, does my leg ITCH!  I can't wait to get at it for some serious nibbly scratching and licking.   So now I have this thing on my head. I'm not sure if I'll have to wear it forever, or what.  But dang, I can't reach my leg to give that incision a good clean-and-scratch.

 I heard the vet tell the Pack Leader about something she can slip into my treats to make me drowsy and relaxed.  All I know is that after I had the last treat, all I wanted to do was look at all these COLORs.  I can stand there all afternoon.  Psychedelic, dude.

I'm going to nap now.  And I'll be dreaming of racing around the backyard to get those irritating birds off of the lawn.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Inviting Happiness

 Some years ago, our household went through a very dark and gloomy time.  Miss C was suffering from severe, daily migraines, and probably as the result of feeling sick all of the time, plunged into a period of deep depression.  Not surprisingly, it's really hard to be centered and happy when one's child is sick and miserable.  During that time, I struggled a lot to avoid sliding into the black hole with her, and one of the things I did was read some books about happiness.  Gretchen Ruben's book The Happiness Project was just out then, and I started following her website and others of a similar vein.

And during that time, I started some things that have worked really well for me... And have helped our family, too.  They are not new or original, but I thought I'd share them here because, well, it's always good to remember that happiness is a matter of outlook, really.

1.  Keep a gratitude journal.  Every day, make a list of 5 things you're grateful for. Oprah is right.  This is a lovely thing.

2.  Consciously notice nice moments.  Make it a point to recognize one thing that brings you pleasure.  The graceful slope of that hill  in the distance.  The song you like, playing when you walk into the coffee shop.  That patch of sunlight on the corner of the couch.  And you know, the more you notice, the more you notice.

3.  At the end of the day, write down 3 good things that happened or you noticed.  We do this at the dinner table every night, share our 3 good things.  It started out feeling corny and forced but now it's automatic and it's often hard to stop at just three.  We have learned a lot about each other, too, discovering what each other's daily good things are.

4.  Here's one I've never read in any book but I think it's really useful: in the evening, write down (or share) one thing you're looking forward to tomorrow. You could do this in those moments before you fall asleep, just thinking about what you are looking forward to in the next day. Again, it can be small.  That first cup of coffee early in the morning.  Using your favorite pen at work.  Getting to listen to NPR in the car on your way somewhere.  If you can't think of anything you're looking forward to, then plan something-- a quick phone call to a friend, a mid-afternoon trip to Starbucks for a latter, etc.  

If you have any rituals or "tricks" for being mindfully happy, I'd love to know what they are! 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Twelve by Twelve turns 20! (by 12, that is)

 I am a bit late (sigh, no surprise there) to tell you that on Sunday, we revealed our first set of the new challenges over on the Twelve by Twelve blog.  After four years of making 12 inch square quilts, we decided to shift the format to a vertical rectangle, so our new size for the upcoming year is 12x20 inches.  The theme, in fitting with our transition to something new and exciting, was "Metamorphosis."  You can go here to see the amazing pieces everyone did, and how differently we interpreted the challenge theme.

My piece was based on my thinking about how many of us art quilters evolved from making very traditional pieced quilts. So I made "Remodelled Log Cabin" about that process... traditional blocks and fabrics morphing into something loose, unstructured, fused, and whimsical.  I had fun making this!  There are more detail shots of this on the Twelve by Twelve blog.

Go see what the others have done.  I am always delighted by the work of my friends the Twelves, but this time I'm awed and even more impressed.  What a wonderful gift it is, to have friends with whom to share a passion!