Blooming Happiness

I was curled up in bed reading with dogs snoozing next to me and was suddenly struck with the most immense feeling of contentment.  Not joy or glee or passion or excitement, just the sense that where I am right now is exactly where I’m supposed to be, that the whole “bloom where you are planted” bit is backwards and what I’ve been doing my whole life is planting myself in different places, making different connections, trying to find a place to bloom, and then suddenly, after decades of re-potting and transplanting, I’ve taken root here in the quiet middle of nowhere and now there are buds all over the damn place.

What I’m saying is, I’m happy.  No reason.  Just happy.  So I’m wallowing in my contentment.

How did you wallow this week?

Food, A Rediscovery

I’m toying with the idea of making Fridays “Foodie Fridays” or something less twee, but the last thing I need is to get locked into another Every Damn Week Post (although I will admit that most of the ones we’ve got now just involve finding a picture and saying, “Hey, what did you read/work on this week?” so not labor intensive. Even Cherry Saturdays require minimal research. Happiness Sundays are a bitch, though). And yet I feel an intense need to talk about food, and I’ve seen leanings that way in the comments, too. The problem is, right now food is a problem for me. Or a solution that I haven’t quite arrived at yet. Which pretty much sums up my life.

Where was I?

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The Myths of Happiness

Last May, Psychology Today published an essay by Susanna Newsonen discussing why chasing happiness was a bad idea. Newsonen describes herself as a Happyologist, aka a happiness coach, which would send me running in the opposite direction except that she went on to talk about the three myths of happiness. They are:

  1. Happiness is the absence of negative emotions.
  2. Success fuels happiness.
  3. Happiness fuels success.

Okay, two and three are obvious non-starters, but I found the first one interesting because it seems to just make sense. Negative emotions make us unhappy, therefore getting rid of negative emotions would lead to . . .

Oh, wait

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Iguana Awareness Day, September 8, 2018

Today is Iguana Awareness Day.   Iguanas are aggressive reptiles that bite and lash with their strong tails.  They’re evidently very cute as babies (what isn’t cute as a baby?) but then they grow to be six feet long.  Which made me think of all the other things that I’ve brought home because they were cute/beautiful/desirable in some way and that then metaphorically grew to be six feet long and not desirable.  Like the book I’m working on which was supposed to be a simple story about a small town girl who fell for the Devil and is now Game of Thrones in New Jersey.  Or the storage benches I bought to store my yarn before I remembered I don’t have any place to put storage benches (two are at my front door right now).  Or possibly my ex-husband.  I do not count the amazingly cute dogs I rescued because they did not grow to be six feet long and are still cute, but I think my yarn stash counts.  Now that I’m aware of it, I’m calling it my Yarn Iguana.  Perhaps you also have a situation at your house that you were not aware was an iguana, something you liked that you brought home and now are looking at with hopeless horror as it takes up way too much space and metaphorically bites you on the butt.  I understand some children are like that.

Today is Iguana Awareness Day.  Be aware.

Random First Day of Spring

Today is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.  Tomorrow, the power company warns, we may lose power again because we’ve got another snowstorm heading straight for us.  Hail spring!  (I have Working Wed, Good Book Thurs, Cherry Saturday, and Happiness Sunday scheduled to post on their own, so if I cannot get to the internet, Argh will chug along merrily without me.)

I’ve been rereading some of my faves for comfort lately and went back to Cotillion, Heyer’s book where Freddy is the hero.  I don’t like ditzy romance heroines, and Kitty is, if not ditzy, at least very young, and I don’t like dumb romance heroes, and Freddy, while not stupid, is not deep or thoughtful.   Why then, do I love this book?  It finally came to me on this reread: it’s that knowing each other thing.  They’re nice people, and Freddy does Kitty a favor by pretending to get engaged to her so she can go to London, and then Kitty does Freddy a favor by helping his sister, and then Freddy keeps an eye on her by helping her through society and teaching her to dance, and Kitty tells him over and over again (truthfully) how terrific he is, and you can see the relationship grow as you read the screwball plot that Kitty plunges herself into and that Freddy follows her through, protesting but giving her everything she wants.  The realization hit for me when he shows up at the end of the story with the one thing that Kitty is missing to save two friends of hers, and even though it’s a complete surprise to the reader (and Kitty), once he’s there with it, you know that OF COURSE Freddy would show up with it.   It’s the way he thinks, and if Kitty needs it, he’ll get it, at great inconvenience and personal expense because Kitty won’t have thought of it.  It’s the Regency equivalent of an air conditioner.  I also love that he knocks down the Bad Suitor, even though he immediately admits that he could never have done it if the Bad Suitor hadn’t fallen over a footstool.  Freddy may not be deep, but he’s hero material clear through and Kitty knows it.    So that was a worthwhile read.

I had to through out an entire freezer full of food, and I have a big freezer.  I kept telling myself that just because the power was out, that didn’t mean that the food had gone bad because it was freezing everywhere else in the house except by the fireplace.  (Exaggeration, but in the 40s for sure.)  Krissie finally told me to quit whining and get rid of everything, so there went blueberries and potstickers and sugar free ice cream and chicken with dressing and tuna noodle cassarole and ravioli and . . . . But it did mean that I defrosted the freezer and scrubbed it out, finding some extremely old bacon froze solid to the top shelf, so that’s something.  And tomorrow I go raid the freezer shelves at Weis because . . . no, wait.  Storm coming in.  Grrrrrrrr.  Back to canned goods.

I took a break from Nita because I was getting too far up inside my own brain and when I came back to it this week, I discovered that I love it.  And her.  So it’s back to Act Three with renewed enthusiasm.  That’s the act in which Nick becomes a Stuart hero–arrogant, demanding, controlling, and always there to save her ass.  Of course, Nita is not a Stuart heroine, so there are problems, but fortunately Nick can adapt.  It’s either that or she’ll kill him.  I haven’t figured out his air conditioner yet–oh, wait, he does give her something in Act Three: amanita socks.  I’m good.

I’m researching Hell which is turning out to be a lot more interesting than I’d thought (not a fan of the concept of Hell because I think it’s stupid and illogical, the kind of concept Trump would embrace with both hands and probably grope in the bargain.)  I like the idea of Hell being an analogue of our world, organized along our structures because it’s an entity designed to serve this one, but the problem is that Hell in specific is European, probably because a lot of other cultures recognized that it’s a dumb idea.  So while I’m fine with calling it Hell since Nick and the boys are in New Jersey and that’s what that section of Earth would call the Afterlife, it can’t be just Hell, it has to be the entire Afterlife.  Maybe I need another name.  Expect a post on Hell sometime in April, once I’m out of the stormy powerless Hell that is March.

I did have lunch at the diner the other day, desperate to get out of the house.

The dogs are going stir crazy.  I don’t think Veronica has left the house since the big snowfall (I put down paper in the shower for her).  Milton and Mona are philosophical about leaping through snow that’s over their heads, but they’re not young any more and they get tired and cold and wet and exasperated.  Also, snow has no interesting smells, at least not until they get through with it.  We are sleeping in the guest room at the front of the house because the bedroom at the back of the house where we belong is all windows looking on the woods which is fabulous until the temps go into the teens, because those windows are all single pane.  I’m imagining their joy when we finally return to our own place.  Hell, I’m imagining my own joy.

I am concerned about the amount of back story in Nita.  I just started the first book in  a series that had a great premise, but I finally abandoned it about a third of the way in because the first person narrator kept stopping the story to explain things to me that I didn’t want to know.  It’s that “You need this to understand the story” stuff that authors cram in.  I cut some stuff from the first scene but now I’m afraid it’s confusing.  Don’t look down, Jenny, keep writing, the betas will tell you if it doesn’t make sense.  ARGH.

At least I know who the major antagonist is and the motivations and all that good stuff.  HUGE progress there: the story makes sense.  You know, considering it’s about a mixed-species heroine in love with a dead human who’s about to become the Devil.  The fact that I now have a logical plot is big step forward.

The Glass is Cracked, But It’s Still Half Full

So America is in the middle of a massive stomach churn of the body politic, heaving while half of it freezes and the other half burns (climate change is a myth, part of SoCal always slides into the ocean during January).  The Evil Empire that Trump put into office is cancelling net neutrality, funding Big Coal, releasing the oceans to drilling, and trying to criminalize pot again.  Also Trump is still President.  So it’s bad.

But it’s not that bad, it may even be good, and I am not a glass-half-full kind of person.   Why am I delusional about this?  Here, have some random optimism: Continue reading

It’s a Good Day to Write


It’s truly autumn here now.  Still not coat weather, but lovely and brisk.  Leaves all over the place.  And today it’s overcast and blowsy, a day made for curling up in blankets with hot chocolate and dogs and making stuff up about demons and humans and other animals  

I’m never tempted by sunny days, probably because I’ve spent my entire life fighting allergies and asthma–breathing, it’s a good thing–but when the weather turns in spring or fall, I come alive.  There’s just so much promise in the air in spring, so much last-ditch energy in autumn when everything’s trying to get its act together for winter.  Winter here is beautiful and thanks to global warming, not nearly as cold as it used to be.  Summer is amazing, but spring and autumn are the times when things move.  

Which makes me think of story structure.  (Everything makes me think of story structure.) Continue reading

Your Moment of Dog, March 14, 2017

So today at about 9:30, I opened the front door to the expected blizzard. I shoveled a path to the driveway and then quit before I had a heart attack. Yes, it was still snowing, but it’s easier to shovel a foot of snow at a time than it is to shovel four, and this stuff isn’t supposed to stop until eight tonight. We’re getting two to three inches an hour. You do the math.

The dogs do not do math. I went inside, yelled, “Outside!” (their favorite word next to “Cookie!”) and Milton and Mona raced through the door. Continue reading

Wolfgang Smith, A Good Dog and True: 2001-2016

Wolfie

Wolfie was born in a &%^$*&^ puppy mill which is why he had such extreme parrot mouth and looked like a very small, deranged wolf. He was shipped to a pet store where some idiot bought him and then returned him. Then somebody else bought him, and then they gave him to somebody else. I picked him up to take him to Dachshund Rescue as a courier and then refused to hand him over, so I was his fourth owner before he was a year old. We were together for the next fourteen years, through moves to Columbus, two moves in Cincinnati, and one move to New Jersey. He was generally an easy-going dog, aside from the occasional bouts of vamp-face snarling that tapered off as he got older. He had issues. Who doesn’t?

He was the model for Steve in Faking It, and appeared as himself with new puppy Milton in Dogs and Goddesses. I’m sure he’s now chasing squirrels in dog heaven (he always got along with cats), free of the arthritis, blindness, deafness, heart murmur, leg tumor, and other ailments that brought him down in the end.

He is survived by his foster brother, Milton, his foster sisters, Mona and Veronica, and that woman who kept feeding him.

He was a good dog and true, and he will be very much missed.