Category Archives: Life

Snapshot: February 24, 2015


Feeling: A little on the bleh side. Had a bit of family drama erupt last night. Took me by surprise and today I’m feeling kind of drained. I much prefer reading about family drama than being involved in it!

Reading: I finished 84 Charing Cross Road and all I can say is, it is such a lovely, lovely read. I’d had it in my to-read list for so long, and it’s definitely one of those books about which one says, “what took me so long to get to it?”

And as for what I’ll be reading next … Well, I still have the second half of 84 Charing Cross Road to read: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. And I really want to get back to Norwegian by Night – I’ve read the first three chapters and left off on an interesting part, but it’s on my ereader and I seem to be giving all my attention to print books lately.

spring tide

I’m also eyeing Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind, which arrived from the library yesterday. It looks like it will be an interesting mystery/thriller, and I’m rather in the mood for something like that. And this came in from the library yesterday as well:


I’ve heard such a lot of good things about Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds and am really looking forward to it.

pet sematary

And of course, there’s the Pet Sematary readalong! It starts March 1st, and the hashtag for this one is #gangstercats (read Jill’s post to find out why).

Listening: I’m listening to Patricia Cornwell’s Flesh and Blood. It’s my first Kay Scarpetta book in eons. I got really tired of how gory they were, way back when. I kind of have the impression she’s toned it down a bit these days. Hopefully this is true, or I won’t be able to listen to this in audio for very long.

Writing: I just finished a short story. It’s about a haunting but it’s not scary. I’m going to leave it for a few days, do another read and some revisions, and then send it off to beta readers. This year I plan on submitting more of my work, so this could be one of the first to get sent out.

I also received Memory’s feedback on my children’s fantasy, Waverley. I’m all pumped up about getting this one out of first draft status now! I sent Memory a very messy first draft – I try not to reread what I’ve written, so I’ll often write two or three versions of a scene, and sometimes add a character or plotline as if I’d already written about that character or plotline. Very confusing, but luckily Memory braved through it all and gave me back such great comments.

Working: I’m working on a couple of articles on student loan forgiveness (I know, not the most enticing subject in the world – well, unless you’re a student mired in student loans). And there’s an index on immigration due later this week too.

Creating: *sad face* Nope. But soon, I hope! I’ve just been so excited with the writing, it’s been hard to remember to do something artsy too.

Photo of the week:  Creeper and Hobbes are a riot sometimes. Hobbes has decided he wants to share Creeper’s box too. So here the two of them are:

Creeper and Hobbes in box

Looking forward to: Starting work on the revisions for Waverley. I’ve promised myself once I get started with the second draft, I’ll treat myself to a membership to SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)!

The rest of today: Taking Dylan to dance class, and finishing up those two articles. Nothing glamorous, I’m afraid!

Snapshot: February 17, 2015


Photo of the week: It’s been so cold this past week, I haven’t even thought to bring out my phone and snap pictures when I’ve been out and about. So here’s another Creeper photo (that cat is just so photogenic). Hobbes is the cuddly – and naughty – one, but not nearly as photogenic.



Feeling: A little tired, even though it’s still quite early in the evening for me. I’ve been getting up a bit earlier the past few days (working my way toward a regular morning ritual – yay!)

Reading: I finished Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton. This was her debut novel, and I really enjoyed it. It was so good, I went and put a hold on her second book before I finished this one.


I’m also reading Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, Derek Miller’s Norwegian by Night and Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road.

It’s been SO nice to have ample time for reading. I started Sacrifice last night and had the luxury of reading right through to the end when I picked it up again this afternoon (it’s that kind of a page-turner book).

Listening: I’m listening to Victims, by Jonathan Kellerman. I thought I’d read all of Kellerman’s books (except the latest, which I’m on hold for at the library) but then I came across someone’s review of Victims and I thought, hey, I don’t remember that plot – I must have missed this one.

But, as it turns out, I had read this one before. I began recognizing bits and pieces of the story once I started listening to it. I still don’t remember the whodunnit part, though, so I decided to just keep on listening. The Alex Delaware novels are kind of like comfort listens for me – I’ve done most of them in audio now.

Writing: I got an idea for a short story the other day, and I’m nearly finished the first draft. I’ve been playing around with titles. I think I might call it “The Devil’s Consort” or “When The Exorcist Arrives”.

Working: Nice and light on deadlines this week! I have an article to write and an index on regulatory law due later this week, and that’s all. I like my work when I’m not going frantic with deadlines.

Creating: Haven’t gotten back to creating a little something every day, but I’ve been thinking about it. Thinking about it counts a little … I think!

Looking forward to: More resting and reading. It’s so nice to know I have downtime between deadlines!

Snapshot: February 10, 2015

Photos of the Week:

Creeper in box 1

Creeper in box 2

Yes, Creeper wins again. We finally figured out how to stop him from sleeping on Dylan’s laptop keyboard. He loves this box and spends all his time in it now. It sits on top of the dining room table next to Dylan’s laptop, and when we want to move him, we just move the entire box. He doesn’t seem to mind – he just stays put.

We do have another cat, Hobbes, by the way. More about him later in this post.

Wearing: Black top, black pants BUT! green cardigan

Feeling: Not stressed. Which, I have to say, is a great feeling.

Eating: Sausage fried with onion and spinach.

Drinking: A glass of malbec.

Reading: Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory by Lucy Mangan. Mainly because I realized today it has to go back to the library on Friday. It’s a nice book, full of colour photos. I never realized Roald Dahl was married to the actress Patricia Neal! Or that he suffered so many tragedies in his life.

Spread from Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory

The cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the left is the same cover as the book that I have.

Listening: I finished Stephen King’s  IT. It had gotten a little too intense for me near the end, but luckily the ebook copy I’d put on hold at the library came through right about then, so I switched over to ebook for the last few chapters. I enjoyed the read, but I have to say this: you know the scene with Bev and the boys near the end? (If you’ve read the book you’ll know exactly what scene I mean.) Yuck. And I don’t think it had to be in there like that. Surely something else could have happened to show the bond they all share? I mean, I could think of a few different things. Yes.

I’m listening to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl right now. I’d started listening to it last year, and even though I’d fallen in love with the whole Simon and Baz story, I’d put it down and never got around to picking it up again. Until the other night. And I’m really enjoying it. Particularly the Simon and Baz bits. (I know, I know – the story’s not really about Simon and Baz. But I can’t help it.)

Writing: I’m still brainstorming my dark fantasy, Sweetness & Dank – I have about 25,000 words written but have decided I don’t want to proceed until I at least know how it ends. Memory’s been helping me brainstorm the bad guy bits, thank goodness. Bad guys are my weak point.

I’ve got manuscript chapters to critique for Memory (she’s my writing buddy), and also for Suey and Kathy, who are both in the online writing group I’m in. I’m really looking forward to getting to them!

Working: I wrote ten legal blog posts today for my legal blogging client. As for the rest of this week, I have an article due for LegalZoom, and that’s it! Ahhhh. It feels good to have some downtime! I have a few more LegalZoom assignments coming my way, which will be nice.

Creating: Nothing! But that should change …

Thoughts: I now have a way to gauge how well my morning mindfulness practice is “taking” in terms of the rest of the day. This little guy here helps me:

Hobbes 2

This is Hobbes. He’s like one of those babies you can’t take a picture of unless he’s sleeping, because when they’re awake they’re always crying. Only in his case it’s because when he’s awake he’s non-stop, all over the place. Every picture is a blur then.

He is the naughty little rascal around here. When he does something naughty and I don’t get upset, I know I’m managing to hang on to those peaceful, mindfulness feelings. About an hour ago, he jumped to the top of one of our bookcases and knocked over (and broke) a small raku wall hanging we were storing up there. I didn’t get upset. (Don’t ask about my husband, though.) After all, Hobbes likes to jump up there and I kind of figure we should have hung the wall hanging on the wall. Because, you know, it’s a wall hanging, right?

But then just a few minutes ago, while I was intent on writing this post, he kept jumping up onto my desk. Which he’s not allowed to do when I’m working because he ALWAYS walks on my keyboard. And I did not feel so relaxed about things then. Good bye, mindfulness.

Looking forward to: I have a lunch date with a good friend of mine tomorrow. Hooray for lunch dates! I haven’t gone out for lunch or dinner with a friend since the beginning of December, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.

The rest of today: I’m going to do some blog hopping, play a Kairosoft game on my tablet (I am kind of addicted to their games) and then go to bed. Yes, my idea of fun!

A day of small pleasures

Today was my first full day off work in almost six weeks and I can’t tell you how good it feels not to have a series of deadlines looming over me! I do have some legal blog posts to write for a client tomorrow, but even though it’s work, it’s writing, and for some reason writing deadlines never feel like they’re looming over me.

I tried to find a picture that adequately describes the sense of these looming deadlines, but had no luck.  So here’s a quick doodle instead. See the look on my face?

Looming deadlines

I had a medical appointment first, but after that the day turned into a day of small pleasures. First up was a lovely lunch with my daughter, Hayley. She’s just finished filming her thesis film, and it was nice to be able to sit and have lunch together without one or the other of us thinking about having to get back to work.

After lunch, I ended up doing a little bit of shopping on my own. I’m not overly fond of shopping normally, especially in the winter when I get so hot wandering around indoors with my heavy winter jacket on, but when you’ve been more or less stuck inside for nearly six weeks straight  and your shopping has consisted of texts like these to your husband:

Shopping texts

it’s amazing how nice it feels to simply go to the drug store and buy yourself some contact lens solution. While I was there I also picked up some Burt’s Bees Hand Salve too.

Burts bees hand salve

We only had an old container of it left, and while it still worked, it smelled off (yes, it was very, very old). I’ve found this salve to be the best non-medicated salve for when my skin cracks on my hands. Next time I’ll have to order directly from their site – I see it cost me more to buy it from the drug store!

After the drug store, I went to Homesense, a brand-name discount store where I love to browse. It’s my place for picking up small, fun things. I came out with two herbal teas (a strawberry chocolate rooibos blend and a maple roobios blend) and a set of three little writer’s notebooks I just couldn’t resist.

adorable writers notebooks

I need to learn how to take better photos with my iPhone but anyway, aren’t they just adorable? I also love that they’re not all lined. One is lined, another is blank and the third is grid. Just perfect. They had a few more sets with different covers, and I may go back later this week and buy some more.

I popped into Starbucks for a decaf Americano, and then rode the subway back home. Tonight’s Ward’s night for taking Dylan to dance class, so I happily lay on the sofa catching up on my Flipboard (that and Feedly are probably my two most-used apps) and my email. I just started using the Mailbox app, and I’m finding I really like it, especially the Lists feature.

Catching up on the latest productivity posts and articles on Flipboard reminded me I should do something productive, so I got on the computer and cleaned up all my Gmail labels, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. The other day I’d dealt with the emails that needed to be dealt with, and marked the rest of them as “read”. The Mailbox app got me to Inbox Zero today by archiving all my read messages (with just a click of a button, too). I can’t tell you how nice it is not to have a ton of email sitting there, day after day, knowing I would never get around to them all.

Up next: blog reading (aka “adding to Mt. TBR”). After that, my older son, Sean, and I are going to play a board game – probably either Arkham Horror or The Lord of the Rings card game. For dinner, it’s fend for yourself night (because the cook is at dance class with Dylan) so I’ll probably cook up some frozen rotisserie chicken wings.

So that’s been my day off so far – a day of small pleasures, and they all add up to something really wonderful!

Snapshot: February 3, 2015

Time: 10:07 p.m.

Photo of the Week:

creeper under ironing board

Creeper found a new spot today – underneath the IKEA tabletop ironing board that I use to hold my keyboard when I’m in standing desk mode. Dylan just howled with laughter when he saw him – and the only reason he saw him was because Creeper’s tail was sticking out. It’s amazing the tight spots he likes to squeeze himself into.

Wearing: Black top, black pants. (You knew this already, right?) But ah! White hoodie.

Feeling: Tired.

Eating: Sausage fried with onions and fried kale.

Drinking: Mango kefir. Looking forward to my nightly glass of malbec.

Reading: I finished What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga today. It’s a great foodie graphic novel, and includes recipes!

what did you eat yesterday by fumi yoshinaga

I’m now reading Antique Bakery, Volume 1, also by Yoshinaga. No recipes, but lots of description of desserts. What Did You Eat Yesterday made me more hungry, though – probably because I have a savoury tooth rather than a sweet tooth.

I’ve fallen behind on my short story a day reading plan, but I think I’m going to change it to

Listening: Still listening to IT by Stephen King. I only managed a few more chapters since my post yesterday. I am really enjoying it.

Writing: Nothing. I’ve just been so busy. I think this week is probably my busiest week yet.

Working: My three final index deadlines (for a few weeks, at least) are due this week and next. After that – freedom! Right now I have two 1,000 page books for indexing on my desk, but one is finished and the other nearly done. What a relief it will be when I get them sent off to my editors!

Creating: Nothing. I have fallen SO behind on my 365-day projects! I think I will just go by the spirit of the whole thing, not beat myself up about it, and play catch-up once the deadlines die down. I’ll have at least a week of catching up to do, unfortunately.

Looking forward to: Next week, when I’ll have some time off. I’m probably going to have to take a day or two to crash and just do nothing. I am really really looking forward to that.

The rest of today: Work, then sleep. (Because it’s pretty late. I’ve been noticing that I tend to write my posts fairly late in the day.)

My quest to be a morning person

dont want to get up

dont want to get up

I originally titled this post “How to be a morning person” and then realized that was a bit misleading, since I have no clue how to be a morning person. But I want to learn how.

I’ve always been a night owl. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been noticing I actually like those occasional mornings when I do get up early. I end up feeling more productive and more energized throughout the day – even though usually the only reason I got up early in the first place was because of an appointment I was unable to schedule for the afternoon (my preferred time for appointments). Which usually meant the morning would be a write-off. It didn’t seem to matter. I still felt more productive.

And I’m also finding it more challenging these days to stay focused when I’m working late into the night. This used to be something that came easily to me. Now? Not so much. (Apparently this can have something to do with getting older. Hmmm.)

The question, though, is how to wake up early on a consistent basis, without having to go to the trouble of scheduling morning appointments?

I decided to search online to see how I, too, could become a morning person.

As it turns out, there are a LOT of articles and blog posts out there on “how to be a morning person.” (Obviously I’m not the only one yearning to wake up earlier.)

I found some pretty good tips. Like, get more sleep (this sounds like common sense but apparently most people don’t get enough sleep, which makes it harder to get up early). And make your bedroom the right environment for sleep. There are also some  good ideas for making sure you get out of bed when the alarm goes.  (Moving your alarm across the room, for instance. And letting more light into your room in the mornings.)

My main problem, though? There are two, actually. First, because I work from home and my work is very deadline-driven, there are many nights when my office actually is “open” at midnight. And at 1:00 a.m. And 2:00 a.m. This problem is one of those vicious cycle kind of things, though. Obviously if I got up earlier and went to bed earlier, I’d still have the same number of hours in the day to do my work, right?

My other problem is that I tend to get my second wind right around 11:00 pm, when most people are thinking about getting to bed. From everything I’ve read, if I want to get up at, say, 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning, then I really should be in bed at around 11:00 or 12:00. That’s kind of hard to do when right around then is when I start feeling energized. Not that I want to go workout or anything like that. I just feel, well, kind of like I’ve just woken up and had a cup of coffee. Which I haven’t. (And anyway, I’ve been off caffeinated coffee for a few years now, so I can’t even blame it on the caffeine.)

Despite this, though, I’m going to give it a good try later in February, when work isn’t so chaotic and I have a chance of implementing a totally new sleep schedule. Wish me luck!

What about you? Are you an early bird or a night owl? Have any tips for me?

Learning to say no

schedulePhoto credit

One of the things I needed to do this year was learn how to say no.

As a freelancer, I find it difficult to turn down assignments. In all the years I’ve been freelancing (and I’ve been a freelancer for a long time, from the time my daughter was born, and she turned 21 back in December), you could count the number of times I turned down assignments on one hand.

But so far this year, I’ve turned down several assignments – more than I’ve done in all my previous years as a freelancer combined. The easiest were those that offered a fee far less than I usually charge. The hardest were the ones from favourite clients, people I enjoy working with. I’ve also had one failed attempt, where I said I could, but the deadline had to be extended by a few weeks. Unfortunately, my client did exactly that.

In previous years, I would have just said “yes” to all of them, and then did the whole grin and bear it thing while I slogged through all the deadlines. But I’m finding I can’t do that any more. I seem to get burnout a lot quicker these days. And I can’t seem to handle the stress of too much work very well now, either. My back hurts, or my neck hurts, or my stomach hurts, or my head hurts.

My body’s been trying to tell me something.

And I feel like I’m finally listening. Yes, it’s taken me a while.

When 2015 came I said I was going to stop the insanity of continuing to do the same things and expecting a different outcome. Learning to say no is part of the process. There are other steps to be taken: with the type of work I’m doing, it’s often feast or famine. But I’ve mentioned before, I’ve noticed things smoothing out over the past two to three years. When I look back, I see that the “famine” periods have been more like dinner, or lunch, or sometimes, a snack. Never just a coffee, though.

And there are things I can do to continue this trend away from famine periods. It does feel counter-intuitive to me sometimes, but turning down assignments when my schedule’s already filled to the brim is the first step. Doing so let’s me keep my health, my sanity, my energy, so that when the deadlines slow down, I have the ability to focus on getting new clients, getting new work, launching new ventures.

Saying “no” is hard. But I’m finding I learn a little something more each time I do.

Snapshot: January 27, 2015

Photos of the week:

Dylan and CreeperDylan and Creeper 2

I don’t know what it is about cats and boxes, but Creeper loves them. The smaller the better. We’re not sure how he manages to squeeze into some of them, but he does.

Wearing: Black pants, blue and beige short sleeved top, black cardigan. Yes, breaking the all black rule today. (I need to get some laundry done.)

Feeling: Hopeful. Work gets easier deadline-wise after the first week of February.

Eating: Homemade soup.

Drinking: Strawberry-flavoured water kefir. Very nice!

Reading: I started Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves last night. I had a little bit of trouble remembering what had gone on in book one, which makes me think maybe I should have reread The Raven Boys first. But then I got to the scene with Blue at home with her relatives, and a lot of it came flooding back to me.

I’m also in the middle of Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga. I’d forgotten how different manga can be, but luckily it was pretty easy getting used to the different facial expressions and ways of conveying emotions. It’s an interesting, foodie manga that makes me hungry every time I dip into it.

Listening: I’m not listening to an audiobook right now, although The 4-Hour Work Week is still waiting for me. I’m not sure if I’ll finish it soon or not, though. And I don’t have anything on my to-listen list that’s really calling to me at the moment. I guess I have to be in the mood for audio, and I haven’t been.

Writing: I began brainstorming the murder mystery series I was planning, but then I came across the first three chapters of a draft of a children’s fantasy I’d printed out a long time ago. I reread the chapters and now I’m all fired up to write more of the story. Except I never did plot it out, so I’m going to do that first. I also have a dark fantasy novel I need to get working on.

Working: I’ve been working on indexes, as usual. I just finished one on organizational behaviour. I’ve also been writing blog posts for my legal blogging client. I’m still undecided how much I like (hate?) writing personal injury blog posts …

Creating: Not much time for creating, so I’m counting my brainstorming/daydreaming time as creating.

Discoveries: I don’t have a clue what to blog about when I’m too busy with work. December was so easy. I’d wake up and I’d know what I wanted to write about here. January has been tough. So obviously too much work saps my creativity. Which is good to know. I never realized this before.

Looking forward to: Dylan and I are stopping by the library on our way to his dance class, where a couple more issues of both Saga and The Sandman are waiting for me!

The rest of today: Library, Dylan’s dance class (my Starbucks time!), dinner and then more work. In that order.

Snapshot: January 20, 2015

Time: 4:58 pm

Wearing: Black pants, black short-sleeved top, black cardigan (I detect a theme going on here).

Feeling: Tired. A little stressed. (This one’s a recurring theme …)

Eating: Maple pork breakfast sausages

Drinking: Green tea followed by two decaf hazelnut coffees

Reading: I finished two books yesterday!

First was The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll. Since I’ve been busy, I’ve been trying to read a bit from it every day, so it’s taken me a while to finish it. I turned to the last page and said, “wow”, because I hadn’t expected that last paragraph. This is an older book – published in 1980 – and it’s kind of surreal and quirky. I enjoyed it, and will definitely read more of Carroll’s work.

The second book was Saga, Volume 1. When I finished The Land of Laughs, it was around midnight, and I decided to keep reading Saga until I finished it. It was so good! I can hardly wait until I get volume 2.

Listening: I’m still listening to The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, but I’m at the part where he’s talking about different technology you can use to automate your life. This is the expanded edition, published in 2009, I think, and a lot of the programs he’s talking about are on the obsolete side. So I may just fast forward to the next chapter to see.

Writing: I’m mostly finished with the first draft of Lakeview Legacy – there are several scenes from a secondary storyline that I added that need to be written, but I need to sit down and brainstorm those scenes before I can write them. So three days ago I started making lists for the new mystery I’ll be writing next. The brainstorming’s been going well – I stretch myself by making myself list 100 points for each topic I’m considering. Today I’ll be working on motives.

It does feel odd not to be adding a word count to my word count tracker. I’ve been putting in a “B” instead, to indicate I’ve been brainstorming and planning.

Working: Still working through a slew of indexing deadlines, across a variety of subjects, plus I have two articles due tomorrow.

Creating: I’ve been working slowly but surely on a doodle quote. I figure if I add a little to it every day, I can still say I’m being #creativeeveryday, right?

Photo of the week: I was really too busy this past week to take too many photos. If I had to pick, I guess it would be this one of Creeper making himself very comfortable on Dylan’s laptop, while Dylan’s trying to play a game. He’s so comfortable, he’s napping!

Creeper on laptop

Discoveries: When I’m busy, it’s more of a struggle thinking up a blog post topic. Even the stash of ideas I started back in November, which I added to all through December, feel lacklustre to me. I never realized this connection between getting ideas and being overworked/overwhelmed before!

Looking forward to: February (I think that’s going to be the tune of all of this month’s snapshots). Also looking forward to the decaf Americano I’ll be getting from Starbucks later tonight, when I take Dylan to dance.

The rest of today: I’m taking Dylan to his dance class – I’ll do some writing at Starbucks while I’m waiting – and then back home for more work.

All Those Happy Moments

Photo 2015-01-15, 9 51 27 PM

It’s only been eight days since I started keeping a Happiness Jar but it’s already been pretty interesting so far. It turns out keeping a Happiness Jar isn’t just about remembering to write out a happy moment from the day onto a slip of paper to put into your jar.


I’m more likely to notice now when I’m happy. It sounds kind of strange when I put it like that – what, you mean you didn’t used to know when you were happy? – but sometimes I can be having a happy moment and, because my mind is somewhere else, I don’t even realize it. But now that I know I’ll be filling at least one slip of paper at the end of the day – and hopefully several slips of paper, because there’s a lot of room in that jar – I’m far more aware of all the times I’m happy. Mainly, I find myself taking the time to notice.

It’s the small things

I don’t know about you, but when I think about being happy, I think about the big things – you know, winning the lottery, getting “The Call” from a publisher offering me a six figure publishing contract, things like that. What’s been quite amazing to me is how it’s the small things in my life that make me happy. Walking hand in hand with Dylan on our way to his dance class, talking and laughing. Having coffee in bed on a bright sunny winter morning. Getting to the subway platform just as the train pulls in. A barista at the local coffee shop who has such a genuine smile.

These are the things that are filling my Happiness Jar, and they are so beautiful. The kicker is that I never really noticed them before, not the way I do now. And even better? I can have a whole day filled with all these happy little moments, and it’s like this cumulative thing. One after another, they can come non-stop. As if all those happy little moments are catching and contagious somehow.

Which feel just as happy as the big moments

And guess what? The feeling of happiness that shoots through me when something small and sweet happens feels the same as when I get all happy over something big. There’s no difference in the feeling, no matter what the size of the moment, the bigness or littleness of the situation. It’s all the same happy feeling.

More engagement

Not only am I noticing more often now when I’m happy, I’m also finding myself more open to those happy moments. When I walk outside, I’m not always doing it head down, focused only on getting to my destination. Instead, sometimes I remember to look around, see things, listen more – I’m more engaged with my surroundings.

A few nights ago I was taking Dylan to yet another dance class. It was super windy, and as we turned the corner a crushed Coke can came dancing along the pavement. It made an interesting sound – something I don’t think I would have noticed before – and Dylan and I ended up having a wonderful little conversation about it.

I said, “Did you hear the can?” And he said, “It sounds like music. Da da dada da da.” I said, “You’re right!” And he said, “Maybe one day that can will be playing with a symphony orchestra.” Just like that, the whole moment was transformed from some piece of trash getting blown about by the wind into something musical and magical. It was quite amazing, and it only happened because at that moment the can blew by us, I was more engaged.

Looking forward

Like I said, it’s only been eight days since I started putting those little slips of paper into my Happiness Jar. But I’m really liking what I’ve been discovering. Mind you, I’m still not that good at noticing and being more engaged – it’s just that I’m better at it than I used to be. I’m pretty sure I’m still deep in thought more often than not and not seeing the happy moment that just tried to embrace me. I’m hoping though, that this is all part of exercising the happiness muscle, and over time this way of stepping into life will be just that thing that I do.