Happiness is Taking a Break

I’ve been freaking because I’m so far behind on work, and Bob’s been great. He keeps saying, “We have plenty of time,” and I keep shrieking. But this week he convinced me and I’m slowing down and taking breaks and doing other things besides staring into screens. I highly recommend this. Definitely a path to happiness.

What path to happiness did you take the week?

109 thoughts on “Happiness is Taking a Break

  1. My path to happiness this week is flying to Roatan for March break. Of course I’m flying with three teenaged girls but…how could that possibly go wrong??

    1. Oh you make a good point, Elizabeth. Although the two older ones are acting very cool about the whole thing.

  2. Happiness is not losing an hour due to a time change.

    Happiness this week will just be getting rid of this stupid cold that’s been hanging around forever.

  3. Happiness arrives by so many roads and alleyways. For instance, Walmart is substituting a family pack of ribeye steaks for my order of NY Strips. I’ll be forced to eat ribeye steaks this week. Oh, the humanity!

    1. I’ll make Gary even happier by contrasting his food fate with mine. I overshot my red-meat target last week, and resolved to allow myself only one red-meat meal this week. I’ve really got to start watching cheese too. (I’m okay for cheese calories, but probably eating too much of it per week.)

      1. I don’t have a red meat Target. Target charges for delivery. Walmart is generally cheaper than Target even without the free delivery.

        A family pack of three thick steaks will be subdivided into nine meals. Or more. They also delivered boneless pork chops and chicken tenderloins. My meat needs are met.

  4. Happiness is a cat toy they are still fascinated by after 2 months. https://www.amazon.com/stores/Potaroma/page/D45F2790-5323-4207-9F98-249B8ACBEFB4?ref_=ast_bln&store_ref=bl_ast_dp_brandLogo_sto

    Happiness is having scraped dirt from the cement part of my driveway into the rutted part at the end where it belongs, and redigging my drainage “trench” (it’s a foot long an 3 inches wide, but what else would you call it?) so that hopefully there will be less water down there causing erosion.

    Happiness is deciding to get in my car and procure some smoked salmon to go with my bagel, because that is what I really want, and I deserve it!

    1. Sorry, thought the link would take us to the item. It’s the hide and seek toy. My sister’s cats like the butterfly which mine don’t care about, but the fish attachment on the part that moves under the skirt can still make them run across the room and pounce

  5. I too have been learning the hard way that I need to limit my hours as I try to power through my big photography sort-out. It’s mentally exhausting, but I’m happy to be a third of the way through, having sorted the first 5,000 images. Had a good evening with my photographer friend, Pam, who’s doing a similar sort-out of her film photography.

    A couple more of my tiny pots of seeds started popping up today – there’s been a lull, and I was beginning to think the rest wouldn’t germinate. So I’ve got two kinds of larkspur, three kinds of tomatoes, sweet peas, French marigolds and dill so far. Waiting on echinacea, nicotiana, Iceland and Welsh poppies. Must start this month’s batch soon.

      1. I use Lightroom – it’s got an excellent database aspect alongside really good tools for optimizing images. I’ve used it since it first came out.

    1. Congrats on getting through so many of your images! I am pursuing a similar quest because of a recent hard drive meltdown. All edits, keywords and work done in Lightroom on over 3 years of photographs gone. Sigh. BUT, I am so happy to have been able to save the files at the last moment (dead hard drive woke up for just enough time to quickly transfer outside of Lightroom) and I am powering through re-sorting all that work. I have now decided that an hour a day at least will be dedicated to this task — it will take months. A chore. But lots of photos are being deleted (why did I save some of these duplicates?) and I realize how lucky I am to have been able to save them in any form at all! Good luck on your next 2 thirds!

      1. No! That’s horrendous. Hope you’ve now got a permanently attached external drive running automatic back-ups. I bought a 4TB one recently for around £135, I think. I use it with Time Machine on my Mac, which backs up every hour. I’ve got a second back-up drive I keep in a different room; I use Carbon Copy Cloner for that, which means I could use it as a start-up drive. I’m really bad at remembering to bring it upstairs and run a back-up, but I try and do it whenever I’ve finished a project.

        And thanks!

        1. Oh yes! Even though I had a back up system and it was a crazy fluke that both drives died simultaneously just as my Time Machine malfunctioned, I am now being extra careful and will be using Carbon Copy Cloner henceforth. I’ve learned my lesson! 😳

  6. Happiness is going back to work after two weeks off but knowing I only have four weeks left until I leave, I’m not working as a manager between now and then so a lot of the day to day responsibilities won’t be mine, and planning an extended holiday for May and June. Hurray!

  7. Happiness is having a new book out, plus FINALLY getting a new contract. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with my decks from Llewellyn–The Everyday Witch Tarot, The Everyday Witch Oracle, and the upcoming (in May) Everyday Witch’s Familiars Oracle–but I have a great time working with illustrator Elisabeth Alba, plus people really seem to like them. The oracle decks were fun to work on, but Elisabeth and I REALLY wanted to do another tarot together, and we just signed a contract for The Whimsy Woods Tarot. Whoo hooo! (We’ve only announced on our Patreons and in our newsletters, but we’ll be announcing wide on Tuesday, so I figured I could share with y’all here.)

    This is great because New Contract (since I’m now a full time author, contracts are even more important than ever, see 1st contract in over a year, above), Fun Project (we really do have a great time working on these–as Jenny and Bob have repeatedly shown, a good collaborator is a pearl beyond price), plus the tarot deck is a great earner. So YAY!

    Also happy about having the old sagging wood patio removed, along with a non-functioning chimney, and nasty-looking siding, to be replaced by new siding, a new window, and pretty pavers instead of wood. No maintenance. Just saying. Not thrilled about the mess or cost, of course, but once I redid the front of the house, the back suddenly looked awful… Ah, home ownership. The gift that keeps on giving.

    1. Oh, and not happy about poor perpetual problem kitty Koshka having serious tooth issues, but very very happy that when I took him in to see the vet, we did a recheck on his urine values, and not only are all the crystals gone (they can kill male cats, so it’s a big issue, and since he developed a gluten intolerance, he can’t eat the special preventative food anymore) but his urine pH is down to 6.5 which is normal. I’ve had him on a supplement that has cranberry, B6, cornsilk, and a bunch of other stuff in it. It’s cheap, I just mix the powder with his food, and he doesn’t seem to mind it. And now I know it’s working. HUGE happy.

        1. Well, he’s not healthy, bless him, but we do seem to have a handle on one problem, and are making progress with the allergies. It seems likely that he’s going to lose a couple of teeth though, including one of his beautiful fangs. He and his sister Ember had a really rough start in a 25 cat hoarding situation. She seems mostly okay, but he’s had one health issue after another.

          1. One of my cats ( born feral but started kneading me and purring the first time I picked him up) had teeth issues. He eventually lost them all. He actually ate better once they were all gone then when he still had some left,

      1. Congrats on Koshka, the contract and your happiness with the first batch of home repairs. It sounds like you are really building up some momentum.

      2. So happy to hear about positive health-development for him! Hope something can be done about the teeth too.

  8. My big happiness this week was presenting on capsule wardrobes with Dress for Success for International Women’s Day. I met a woman I’d worked with a couple of weeks ago and she said she had gone to meet with a group of managers wearing an outfit we selected and gotten a job offer on the spot. I could tell the difference in her confidence level from the first time we met. I met many lovely people, including a young artist who is going to take my large seed bead collection. More progress towards decluttering my basement.

    I survived my dental procedure. My mouth still hurts but it’s healing. I’ve ignored the instructions about not eating crunchy foods for a month. Cutting my veggies into little chunks works fine.

    Planting my first batch of spring seeds. Despite the wacky warm weather, gardening season is a way off but I’ll enjoy watching the seeding a grow.

    1. Susan, For no hard foods, my dentist crossed out the “3 days” on the handout sheet and wrote in “1 week.” In my case, though, the hard food warning was less about pain and more about not knocking loose a blood clot, leading to the dread “dry socket,” which can be a messy complication. I had a soluble suture on one socket, with the end sticking out from my gum. It felt odd, and I was glad when it finally dissolved.

    2. Sending lots of mouth-healing vibes! At least the mouth is the part of the body that heals the fastest, rumour has it. Hope you’ll be able to eat anything and everything again soon.

  9. Happiness is listening to the Liz/Vince books. The narration is great. I like the back and forth of the two narrators, and how it follows the books that way.

    Why, yes, I have the books in print, ebook and audio. That’s not too much, right?

    1. Never.
      If we mike a book, why not indulge in any other way?
      I’ve noticed how much (more) I take from readingAND listening, so money well sprnt ehrn it’s a book you adore!

  10. I’m on a nice writing retreat and have actually made a lot of progress on my project. The retreat facility is really great—beautiful setting, and the combo of small cabins and a conference room to work in has been perfect. They’ve got chickens, cats, and hiking trails, too!

  11. When the grandkids turn 12, we take them on a trip of their choice (within financial reason). So we are getting ready to take our granddaughter to New Orleans.

    If anyone has suggestions for food or places to take her I would love to hear them. She is interested in ghosts and otherwise non-committal.

    1. My sister went to New Orleans last year. Lots of heavy food. She liked it, but apparently they aren’t big on salad.

      She did tours of the garden district and a boating tour of a bayou, which is what she liked best.

  12. Working my brains out this month. Having very much fun at it and also really looking forward to a break at the same time. Sometimes I have to get away from home to get a decent break since I work at home. Alright, you’ve decided me, I WILL go and visit my daughter in the coming months. I had decided not to for financial reasons, but the heck with that. I will re-organize my priorities and make it happen. Thank you!

  13. Things are ready to bloom, blooming, and leafing out. We have had sun for several days in a row. It’s still cold in the mornings, though.

    We are now in Daylight Saving Time, which really, really bugs me. It seriously messes up the body clock, and people die every time we change times. Why can’t congress meddle in this issue, and leave people’s bodily functions and privacy alone? End of rant.

      1. We decided not to do it in Oregon, as did Washington and California but you need federal approval after you pass the law to get rid of it and Trump was elected and we didn’t go for him, so Republicans in congress didn’t give approval and so we still have daylight savings time.

  14. This wasn’t a big happiness week. Or sadness.
    Well, in the day job there was good news for all of us when congress passed half the appropriations bills without any of the terrible riders the republicans wanted, especially the flat out unconstitutional one about the census . (Or the abortion or immigration ones … between this and the next batch of bills there are about 500 poison pill riders. The government may still shut down March 22 and if it does it will likely be over these.) Also made progress on a bunch of writing projects.

    At home my daffodils and giant snow drops are in bloom and I’m getting ready for the annual neighborhood Pi day dinner Thursday. My contributions will probably be bought main course Pi, pi-napple, and homemade raspberrry pi.

    That’s kinda it. Mom is still driving and we are still refusing to do family zooms or pretend it is all ok. SDW hasn’t showed up to get her stuff or return the car key so I’m still hoping she takes the car and solves both my mom problems at once. Although I will never look at mom the same way now that she has made it brutally clear driving herself is more important to her by far than having good relationships with her kids. (Or protecting peoples lives, let’s not forget that.)

    Dh had a week of conferences in town and now heads out for two weeks so I will miss him but get my introvert time. And a bunch of big house chores done like restuffing the cushions on the small couch.

    We had a huge weather change yesterday and apparently I am now a human barometer because my arthritic hip was extremely painful and now it’s fine.

    Oh and I’m going to a giant nonjuried art exhibit today called Artomatic in DC (local people check it out —every year they take a different building about to be torn down and do an art exhibit with about 1000 artists —it’s open for almost two months.) My friend will be showing her amazing super closeups of flowers taken with her I phone. That should be fun.

    1. How’s the sleeping going, Debbie? Any better?
      It’s such a sad thing when you realize a parent is prioritizing increasingly odd things above their kids. I hope your mom will come to her senses sooner rather than later and 1. stop driving and 2. reconnect with all of you.

      1. Thanks for asking Shass. The sleep is better . I don’t wake up for 3 hours in the middle of the night.
        If I wake up an hour early I can’t get back to sleep but sometimes I get a full night.
        It is hard — there is the worry and then as you say the separate sadness of being low on her list of what she cares about.

        1. I’m happy to hear there’s a little bit improvement on the sleep at least. Can recommend Valerian (although it doesn’t taste very well), hop (ditto), chamomile, lavender and peppermint as sleep-improving herbal infusions if you need some extra support. Lemon balm you knew already, but these are also good and you often find them in herbal blends called things like “Restful sleep”, “Sweet dreams” etc. Lime blossom-tea is also good for sleep. You can also often find valerian supplements in shops for natural/alternative medicine, if you prefer that over drinking the stuff. Unless you’re allergic to any of it, I find it’s easier on the body than anything prescribed by a doctor, and in my experience at least the teas don’t have any side-effects to speak of.
          Lot of worry circling around in your body, it’s no wonder you have trouble sleeping restfully. Some people are helped by a weighted blanket, have you ever tried one of those? Sending turbo-big goodnight-hugs and will keep fingers crossed that SDW will do one last good deed and steal the freaking car before she disappears into the void or something.
          (And after that, she will suffer from unexpected LEGO-pieces on the floor in the dark and jam in and on her keyboard for the rest of her days.)

          1. Ooh.
            Shass, you make the best curses.
            Also I think my son left his weighted blanket here and if so I will go get it from his room—great suggestion. Thanks !

      2. I don’t think she’s prioritizing odd things above her kids. I think she’s hanging on to her independence and her identity with both hands, and doesn’t see why her kids have the right to take that from her. If she loses the car, she’s old and failing. If she keeps the car, she’s independent and free. I know she’s a danger to others, I’m not downplaying that, I understand that she has to loses the car, but her selfishness may very well be because she sees her identity as an independent woman capable of making her own decisions at risk. I don’t think it’s “I’d rather drive than love my children,” I think it’s more “I can’t possibly be this person my kids think I am, so they sadly wrong and I will have to fight to keep my freedom.”

        Or the short version: Nobody should take this personally as an indication of lack of love.

        1. A co-worker of mine had some success with the “you have worked so hard all of your life you deserve to have someone taking care of you and driving you wherever you want” when she needed to get her mom to let go of the car (unsafe driver) and use a car service when she wanted to go somewhere. It let her feel independent and important, while preserving the safety of those around her.

        2. I am eighty and I still drive (safely). My cousin Ansley stopped at 91 because she no longer felt safe. She did however get her Masters’s degree that year and went on to study for her doctorate.
          I wouldn’t want my children deciding what I can and can’t do. How you age and what you can do is individual. But please don’t believe the notion that if you are 80 or older you must become stupid and or helpless. My cousin Marcia is 86 and just moved into a home because her husband of 65 years died. she says there are several sharp intelligent centenarians there. If you haven’t seen it, “If you are not in the Obits, Eat Breakfast” is a wonderful Documentary with Carl Reiner , among others. here’s a link to how to watch. https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tVP1zc0TDM1yU4xLE43YPRSz0xTqMwvVS9KVcjLL1HIzFMoyUhVyE_KLFFITSxRSCpKTcxOSywuAQDuZhKY&q=watch+if+you%27re+not+in+the+obit,+eat+breakfast&rlz=1C1UEAD_enUS1061US1061&oq=if+you%27re+not+in&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUqBwgBEC4YgAQyCggAEAAY4wIYgAQyBwgBEC4YgAQyBwgCEC4YgAQyBggDEEUYOTIHCAQQABiABDIHCAUQABiABDIHCAYQABiABDIHCAcQABiABDIHCAgQABiABDIHCAkQABiABNIBCDk3OTZqMGo3qAIAsAIA&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&si=AKbGX_oaVUdQPq0OhaSQRZLbjHW380traJHwMbfqHXRXvDdnl4sYELErFK3RsfDKG-eyfBpFhcTrLfFCYTay_F7SFhxmVhlVpTzaorVjFe-698rz57L-TdtKnlx8ch4uF3vlhaFwam6Ir3I3FP27AwFHp0FVCumlm9wNAfllB5Ff8Jh6OSNO6UA%3D&ictx=1&ved=2ahUKEwjK1Zniwe-EAxXPLUQIHbjMBYQQyNoBKAB6BAgZEAA

          1. I want to be really clear about this. She probably does see it as independence but it also absolutely is about not caring about us and not caring if she loses time or relationship with us over it. It’s not just that she won’t give up driving —it’s that she is very clearly not missing us. And it’s part of a much bigger picture. I wouldn’t say it just because of the driving.

            It also looks like she was told by one doctor that she wasn’t safe to drive and went doctor shopping to find one that would sign a letter saying she was safe (we are not sure yet but her PCP office says no record of his signing such a letter and he may send a letter saying she is dangerous.)

            So it is increasingly clear that she doesn’t care about potentially hurting people so long as she can have her way.
            And she’s had people driving her for a year and hasn’t missed a thing so sadly the arguments about being able to enjoy being driven around are not working.

  15. I did a fair amount of running around yesterday, and between that and the time shift I’m not running at peak efficiency today. So I’ll stick to the short version: I’m happy that I did manage to finish the book-club book and that the club meeting went well, although with low attendance again. And I’m happy that I found the directions for toggling DST on my digital watch (which directions I had added to my tablet since I could find them easier there than in hardcopy, )

    Stylistic note: When I look over entries like this one prior to posting, one edit I often make is to add words flagging a subordinate clause (mostly “that,” sometimes “which,” etc.). It seems I rarely need them in speech and not always in writing (I’ve omitted two in this paragraph), but writing does seem to need them more often than speech does.

    1. Patrick, I agree. Slightly related to your topic is my current experience learning French by playing Duolingo. Unlike all my attempts to learn French as a school student, I now finally know all the English grammar necessary to understand the uses of “que” and such. Of course, I taught high school English for 15 years — an excellent way to learn English grammar.

      1. I think I sort of worked it the other way. In Spanish and Russian you nearly always have to put those clause markers in, and in German you do except in a few colloquial situations. By the time I had that straight, and analogously for various other situations, I understood English better. (Not that I had much trouble with English grammar as a school subject.) If I’d been learning a non-Indo-European language, I’m sure there would have been linguistic insights of some sort, but possibly not on that level.

  16. Still job hunting. Have had five interviews and a sixth coming next week, no word yet on anything at my actual workplace. This week was not as intense job hunt-wise after the two interviews were done, so that was nice.

    Fiddler is going well, albeit with a few non-covid illnesses and one guy losing a tooth. I’ve had friends come this weekend, which is great. We’re having a pre-show tailgate party in a few minutes.

  17. Taking a break is important, work has all these allegories about taking a break to realise if you sharpen your axe, you will get a lot more work done then, then keep grinding away with a blunt axe. This weekend I went into a small busy Korean restaurant and ate dinner by myself. I had soy garlic chicken, seafood pancake and the staff were lovely considering the place became packed after they seated me. It is a smallish step for me, I will happily eat out alone, but I always hesitate if places are very busy or look like they have limited seating. But I made myself ask, instead of going off to get fast food

    1. Good for you. I used to like eating out, but not since COVID. Some places want to seat a lone diner out in the middle of the restaurant at a table. That seems cruel, to me. A booth is less exposed.

    2. I fail to see why I should apologize for eating alone. Given that line of thought, I would only be able to dine out on special occasions, which would be a lot harder on the restaurant’s bottom line than only having one person at the table. If you were planning on setting up your laptop and sitting there for hours, it would be one thing, but if they do not need to turn the table immediately, you have every bit as much right as a larger party to dine in. Not to mention the carry out containers that are not going into the landfill.

      1. I eat out alone all the time. But I take a laptop or iPad, so I can work or read. Bonus: Very few people try to sit down with me when I’m staring into a screen.

  18. Slammed with making final exams, and… I hit a wall yesterday and took a massive break.

    First, I discovered “Tiny Things” by the Bleachers. Margaret Qualley’s direction of that video and her dancing was so creative (IMHO), and it definitely called back an 80s/90s type of Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club vibe.

    Then, I rewatched her mother’s classic film, Greencard. I was struck afresh at the genius of that script because they are so opposite but also the same. When Bronte says she doesn’t expect him to understand that she married him for the greenhouse, Georges says, “I understand. You take what you want.” It was such a fresh revelation to me that while she seemed like the quintessential “nice” girl who wanted the “nice” house and the safe life, deep down she was like Georges. She broke. the rules to get those “nice” things which wasn’t very nice at all.

    They held up mirrors to each other, showing each the part of their hearts that was hidden from themselves. And they recognized a kindred spirit in the other. She was bad like him at times. He didn’t love and trust, but he loved and trusted her. I had expected a fun rewatch of that old “forced marriage” trope, and opposites attract. However, I got an even deeper look at the complexities of being human, all set against the backdrop of African beats and Hans Zimmer’s gorgeous score that has us elated and calm and scared within minutes. When he broke the picture, and later when they felt their overwhelming attraction for each other, the music highlighted the dangerous and animalistic natures within all mankind. Such a smart movie, and a fun rewatch.

    And I watched Damsel which was fun, and then tried to speed watch both Enola Holmes because they are favorites.

    So… definitely took a detour from work, but I am making up for it now.

    1. Lol, and it should be “the video and her dancing were so creative” and parts of their hearts that were hidden.” Sigh! I guess “was” just wanted extra time. 🤦‍♀️

  19. I flew a camera using a kite, and got some actual photos from the exercise, including a kind of odd self-portrait, the inside of a puddle (crash landed the camera, which is waterproof, shock-proof, dust-proof and all around durable) and some pix of what I was aiming at – the SunWheel at UMass Amherst. I think the wind has picked up since I packed it in, because it is roaring in the trees outside.

    1. So cool, years ago a man attached one to a gps and helium balloon and got some impressive pictures of earth

    2. I love the drone photography of this instagram account (although he’s out of the country right now and doing non-drone photos, so scroll down a bit): https://www.instagram.com/calebkenna/ Love the work he does with shadows. Of course, he’s located in the town where I went to college, so I’m drawn to his work by nostalgia too. But you might find his drone photography inspiring.

  20. My birthday was on Friday and although I didn’t do anything then, I did get a call from a friend who I hear from a lot less since she moved into a senior building. I’m not really jealous about the difference in our incomes, but I do envy all the activity options and new friends that the 2 friends who have moved into these buildings have.

    This week I got a real demonstration how little sense of time I have. My NY sister told me that she was very busy because her husband’s closest friend had died and that she was trying to help his devastated widow. I remember when this couple got married (there was a lot of familial strife because she is from China and he was Israeli) and in my mind it was not all that long ago. Imagine my surprise when my sister told me that they had been married for 20 years. Between that and my youngest niece and goddaughter turning 24, my head is really spinning.

    I ordered a new pair of glasses on Friday which was, in general, a lot of fun. I ended up choosing a new set of frames that I had rejected last year because they were BRIGHT RED and too expensive. I guess wearing purplish-red colored frames for a year has changed my perspective. I was also very happy to hear that my cataracts haven’t changed in the last year because although I really like the optometrist I’ve been working with the last few years, I was not thrilled with the ophthalmologist he sent me to last year. So I am happy I don’t have to find a new one yet.

    I am happy that I was only one day late calling my niece for her birthday. We had a nice visit and I learned more about her job. She was feeling very happy about scoring a good price on some halal meat for her job and we both had a good time imagining all the happy recipients in the NYC area.

    1. Happy Birthday, Aunt Snack! A friend of mine always considers the potential of a holiday or anniversary for becoming a Movable Feast — celebrate it when or where or how often as you wish. I’m drawn to that idea.

      1. When I was in London fortysome years ago, the group I drank with was having a competition to see who could extend their celebrations the longest. I think it is a wonderful idea. Thank you for your good wishes and enc9ouragement!

  21. I’m cautiously happy about new doctor. Still don’t dare to think or feel too much until there’s an actual plan of action in place.
    It seems like the app I’ve been using lately (Be My Eyes) to identify photos and such on my phone is coming to Windows/Microsoft Store this summer. I haven’t read the exact details yet, but if it’s actually coming, an the AI-part of it will also be there, it’s gonna make things so much easier for me. For instance, I figured out I can use the app to look at yarn in the yarn-shops! That saves me from having to ask someone sighted to sit with me, AND it’s generally much better at describing colours than, for instance, MIL. (I love you MIL, but you’re not good at colours!) Plus, I can ask a billion follow-up questions and it doesn’t mind answering! But, the way it is now it requires me to snag the picture from the site (if at all possible), put it in dropbox and then access dropbox from my phone to analyze it with the app. It’s doable, but takes a lot of time and energy. If it’s on my computer already, it’ll be a breeze. I’m generally speaking vary of AI and scared of robots, but the independence this gives me is just too good to not make use of. Happy.

    1. Oh, that sounds much better! It also means you can spend less of your time with your MIL on work and more of it just enjoying each other.

      As for the new doctor, I am sending another batch of hopeful vibes and time released hugs. Being taken seriously is a great first start, but I hope he is also a person who has the knowledge and skills to get to the bottom of this mystery.

      1. All vibes and timed hugs are very much appreciated!
        Doctor is a lady, and she seems to know her stuff. She said she’d thought of gastroparesis even before we brought it up, which is a hopeful sign. When I put emphasis on 2 shrinks and one psychiatrist already saying they did not think this was a mental issue, she said: “I’m not saying it’s mental at all, don’t worry. I just need to know the symptoms and what’s been going on over the last months so we can figure out what this is.” She also admits when she does *not* know something, which also feels good somehow, because she then gives the impression that she’s gonna make sure she finds out instead of going the route of: “I don’t know what it is, so it can’t be a medical issue”, like the internist here.
        Right, we have to wait and see what happens.

        1. This sounds really good. (And your best curses to the doctor who was relying on 10 year old results when you didn’t have this problem! )

        2. Doctors who aren’t afraid of their own knowledge gaps are priceless.

    2. I understand AI has enormous potential to help scientists make breakthroughs – finding treatments for diseases, for example. And it looks like it may be a really useful tool for you. So there are definitely upsides to it as well as downsides.

      1. I agree. There’s a lot that is scary about AI – or rather, what people do or might decide to do with it – but there’s also a lot of good stuff to be done and found and expanded upon. This app, for instance, connects a blind person to a sighted volunteer whom can help them with whatever they need eyes for. I find it too scary to call with strangers, so I found the threshold to use it very high. when they introduced the possibility to take a picture and ask an AI instead autumn last year, I finally started using the app. I cried from joy when it described the photos of custom-made Christmas cards from my grandparents and mother and brother + family and read the handwritten text, correctly identifying it as Swedish, because independence, freedom, and being able to receive and read and enjoy something like a Christmas card at least a bit more like “everyone else”. Here’s where technology is a truly amazing thing.

      2. Agreed. My feeling is that AI is can be a really useful tool. I love the search option with google lens when I am trying to find out more about vintage goods for example. It has huge potential when applied correctly.

        But we have to trust humans to apply it correctly and I believe that history has proven that to be unlikely. People are going to use it to generate images rather than pay artists, for example. It will be cheaper, faster, easier, but it will have a huge impact on digital arts, which were considered more stable for those trying to make a living… It’s like a hammer. In the right hands you can fix and build. The wrong hands hurt or destroy.

  22. I managed to acquire a sinus infection somewhere so have been dealing with headache, sore face, transient sore throat, a bit of coughing, and terrible sleep since Wednesday. Happy that it hasn’t interfered with my ability to work or write, though I’m damn tired.

    Happy to have returned edits for my first release of the year and got the ‘final’ back today to skim through … and happy that there is nothing else I owe my publisher this weekend because I’m damn tired.

    Happy to have watched The Marvels with DH today, which I found entertaining & much more cohesive as a standalone than the last three Marvel movies we watched. (Multiverse: not a fan.) Tons of effective cat jokes, lots of strong women, lots of diversity (incl gorgeous prince), but I will raise my hand to register appalled disbelief at the burial of genocide storyline. I mean, if you’re not going to truly address it in this particular chapter, don’t bring it up at all.

    Happy to have finished beta draft of a new novella that I wasn’t supposed to be writing this year but it grabbed me while on vacation. The brain wants what it wants.

    1. Be happy that the brain is still telling you what it wants. I remember how devastated Jenny was when she was afraid that The Girls Upstairs had moved on for good.

  23. I feel like I’m on a break-only one meeting last week and one this week and one on the weekend and one next week…

    My sister was here last week. I didn’t get to see much of her as she was helping our cousin get her finances in order. My cousin is legally blind (eyes just getting worse over time) and her husband is experiencing dementia. She’s just having a hard time keeping up with things. We’re getting more bills on auto pay and she’s determining his assets just in case. I get to drive her to some doctor appointments (staying out of the finances as much as possible). Brenda did bring me some bok choy from Cindi who apparently got too much of it in her farm subscription. (yay for me.)

    I wish the weather would take a break. It snowed a bit and then rained and then stopped and the sun came out and now it’s raining again. This was in the last half hour. Gotta love northeastern Pennsylvania.

      1. Of all types of weather, strong winds bother me the most. Sometimes I can focus on all that renewable energy being produced. But not today. It’s just disturbing.

  24. Happiness is sunshine. We’ve had a lot of rain, and when it stopped for a day or two, it stayed overcast. So today’s sunshine, especially in the transition to DST, is especially welcome.

    Beyond that, everything is thwarting me. My cats and my house and my spine and my manuscript and food cravings and eye drops and technology and I don’t know what else. The most annoying thing is that the patient portal for my primary care provider is down, and it’s taunting me, sending me emails to say I have a message from my provider, plus lab results, and I should go read them, but I can’t, because the site is down and has been for two days now. None of the thwarting is particularly bad, just a bunch of nuisances along the lines of the patient portal’s outage, but all together, it’s making me cranky.

    Oh, but a friend had some bad health news two weeks ago, and then this week found out that, while it’s still not going to be fun, it’s on the less-terrible end of being a health challenge. And that makes me happy.

  25. Happiness for me this week was being creative. Pix of trees, wine bottle labels I liked, Cooper dog on IG. My prism made some brief appearances but I didn’t photograph any. I wrote a poem I’m really fond of.

    My new efforts at walking are making me happy even though they indirectly caused an itch rash around my ankles. I began at 15 minutes. Yesterday I did 40 minutes and it was fun because I listened to high tempo Green Day while I walked.

    I am happy anticipating the Impressionist show at the Dali Museum that we are going to in April. Being able to move around easier will be so great. And painting by Matisse & Monet – yeeheehee!

    I am happy that there are 2 possible trips coming up. 1 to Kentucky to visit family. 1 to New Orleans with my ex and “our” family.

    As far as breaks go – I work Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun overnights. So Monday is always break day. I do what I want when I want on Mondays!

  26. Happiness: seeing and hearing a field full of hundreds of migrating Sandhill Cranes. AND I found a pair of hands-free slip on sneakers that fit.

  27. Happiness is being on vacation. I’m in Campania, Italy, indulging in my love of archaeology and pizza. Pompeii and Herculaneum have been on my bucket list forever, and I finally just decided to go. My usual amazing travel weather didn’t come with me, but I’ve largely avoided the rain.

    Of course, the first morning I decided to sleep in I woke up at 4am worrying about work. I’ve found that the best way to shift my thinking and get back to sleep is to read a bit. I all yawn now, so time to get back to sleep.

    1. I remember visiting Pompeii as part of a tour sponsored by the ship I was stationed on. Naples, Pompeii, a cameo factory, a local restaurant, some shopping. One of those tours. Others climbed to the lip of Vesuvius. I was too tired.

  28. Happiness is having quilt show judging behind me. Things went smoothly, and I think I won a ribbon. (I wasn’t in that room). The quilt I made in response to a judge’s offhand comment made him smile and reply appropriately to the joke – we all had a good laugh at his response.

    But even better – happiness is that the hard part of this process is behind me – nothing but good times ahead!

  29. My happiness this week was attending my quilt guild’s retreat from Friday to Sunday. Lots of prepping of projects before going. I did get one top completed and made big strides in a new top. I was also happy the weather was rather crappy during the retreat as it is so much nicer to stay inside in bad weather.

  30. Thank you for going Facebook. I am really enjoying your posts. They are funny and honest, and don’t make me feel like I am not living a Facebook worthy life. ( I don’t think “going Facebook” is a phrase, but maybe I can start a trend).?

  31. I’m happy I’m home and not sick any more.
    An airline let me leave Scotland on an expired passport, my mistake, either they didn’t notice(!) or they didn’t tell me. I could have easily re-acquired the correct one before flying. But then they wouldn’t let me fly back. My residence card for the UK and a photo of the current passport didn’t help at all. Since it was a once a week, Saturday evening, flight it was huge pain to fix.

    I did end up finding a new favourite hotel. If you are in Innsbruck, Austria I highly recommend Das Innsbruck. Staff, food, room, bed, location all excellent. I got a fantastic last minute deal but regular price is still decent if you go for the spa facilities: including areas for clothes on, and for clothes off.

  32. Another path to happiness opened this fine, unflooded Tuesday – my email contained a notification that Amazon/Audible has a new work for me from a favorite author. To wit, DEMON DAUGHTER by Lois McMaster Bujold.

    I checked on Downpour, and sure enough, there it was also. I think all of Bujold’s books are there, done by Blackstone Audio. What I love about Blackstone/Downpour is that I can download most audiobooks as MP3 files and listen to them at my convenience whether I have WiFi or not.

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