So here we are in the last three days of the year that was so bad it killed 300,000 (and still counting) people in America alone. I’m not sure what I’m expecting to happen three days from now aside from a huge psychological sigh of relief. It’s January 20 I’m really aiming for, when the Secret Service dumps Donald Trump outside the gates of the White House and let’s the real world have at him. Fake news, my ass, here comes the Southern District of New York, Donald, and they have some questions.
Milton died yesterday after a short but terrible illness.
Milton was joy made flesh, an inspiration for me every day. A master escape artist, he was known to the neighborhood as Houdini, digging through the fence frequently to spread happiness wherever he went. He escaped one day and I found him licking my next door neighbor’s face and making him laugh while he was under his car trying to fix something. He escaped another time and I found him in the arms of another neighbor’s plumber, also getting his face washed, who said, “Aw, I knew he had to belong to somebody,” before he reluctantly gave him back to me. Visitors to my house would often leave with “Thank you for a wonderful time, and I’ll be taking Milton with me.” Life was Milton’s oyster to open and every day was an adventure. A scourge to cats, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and bears, he was also a master burrower and cuddler who made me laugh every day.
He is survived by his sisters, Veronica and Mona, and his godmother, Krissie Ohlrogge, who was the worst of his attempted dognappers. And me, although I don’t know how I’m going to make it without him.
I just read a recipe on the Bon Appetit website and realized I had all the ingredients to make it, not just the onions and beef which I would always have had but the three inches of ginger root, the sesame oil, and the fresh lemon, not to mention the bok choy he suggested as a side dish. It made me think, “Huh. Maybe I’m a cook.” Mostly it made me feel competent. Which made me happy.
It’s Write A Business Plan Month, and since I’m in the business of living, I think I’m gonna go for a Business of Living Plan. This should not be mistaken for a list of New Year Resolutions because I’m against those. This is more of a “Things I Intend To Do To Make Living More Excellent in 2020.” They are not ways to improve myself. Screw that. They are Fabulous Living Plans. Entirely different thing. For example, I can have as many French fries as I want on this Fabulous Living Plan because it does not involve restricting my food intake in any way. I may have to do that as another part of my life, but it does not go on this list.
I’m a big fan of sheep because of yarn but also because they’re fuzzy and huggable and my rescue pup Mona looks like a little lamb. I hug Mona a lot. She was the runt of the litter and was born without kneecaps in her back legs which means she can’t jump, but she can run like the wind, or at least a very small rabbit, and she’s happiest dog I’ve ever owned and I adore her, so today for me it’s Hug A Mona Day.
Feel free to define “sheep” as most befits your life and hug something close to you.
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.
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.
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:
Happiness is the absence of negative emotions.
Success fuels happiness.
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 . . .
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.