When You Woke Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

You’re cranky. EVERYTHING is pissing you off: the lady on the subway sleeping when you want to be sitting + reading a magazine, the chipper guy in front of you in line at Starbucks, the sunshine that is SO BRIGHT its hurting your eyes. We all have those days, where no matter what happens its not going to turn your mood around.

When I have days like that, I need a little perspective to put my problems back into a normal scale. Here are some things you can try:

  • Follow Oprah’s advice:
    • Make a list of things you’re grateful for in your life
    • That includes little things like warm socks
    •  That includes big stuff like an awesome sister
  • Google the median income of the place you live
    • In the U.S., it’s around $45,000
    • Chances are you don’t know how well off you really are
  • Download the Thankful For app to your smart phone
    • Read some quotes
    • View the public timeline
    • Repeat
  • Go grab a glass of water from that tap.
    • Did you know that 783 million people (about 2.5x the population of the U.S.) can’t do that?
    •  Because they don’t have access to clean water?
  • Use the restroom and flush the toilet.
    • 2.6 billion people don’t have access to hygenic public sanitation systems
    • More people have a mobile phone than have a toilet

If you’re reading this, it means you’re part of the roughly 40% of the world population with access to the internet. Now don’t you’re problems seem a little smaller?

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Munchkin the Teddy Bear

There is nothing that will brighten your day faster than this little Shih-Tzu dressed in a teddy bear suit, running around in an ewok costume. In the latest installment of cute things to fall in love with, meet Munchkin! Isn’t she the cutest?

I’ll wait while you go watch every video on her YouTube channel and follow her Instagram feed. It will be the best decision you’ve made all week.

In Honor of My Gram

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The past two weeks, there has been a gap in my posts. On July 11th, I lost one of my most faithful readers, my dear grandmother Janet Rose. She has always been the person asking for latest things I’ve written, pushing me to follow my creative dreams, and wondering when that novel I’ve been plugging away at will be done so she can get her hands on a copy.

After 30 years with her in my life, it just didn’t feel right to post things I knew she wouldn’t see. But I know that Gram would give me a hard time if I leave off for too long. So, in the only way that seems fitting to pick up again, a tribute to her and the things I’ll remember fondly the most.

  • Playing card games, especially when drinking iced tea and eating Nips candy on the back porch
  • Picnics on the beach and ice cream at the Nokomis Groves afterwards
  • Hunting for shark’s teeth and olive shells in the sand
  • Eating the most delicious variety of dips at the kitchen counter while she stirs some equally delicious bubbling pot at the stove
  • Sharing recipes
  • Feeding and holding all of the tropical animals at Sarasota Jungle Gardens
  • Doing puzzles together at Mema’s house
  • The always-full game closet that gave us days of fun
  • Learning to knit from the only other lefty in the family (then learning again when I inevitably didn’t practice and forgot)
  • Playing video and computer games together. (Helping Gram get past the levels she couldn’t beat)
  • Searching for treasures at yard sales all around town, and inevitably saving all my money for a rainy day
  • Learning how to make her famous éclairs (and lots of ways to practice when they didn’t turn out quite right)
  • Evening walks to the creek or railroad tracks or river or meandering through the woods
  • Sending her long-winded emails full of all of the mundane details of my week, and knowing she printed them out to read over and over again
  • Watching violent action movies with the only other person in the family who loves them as much as me
  • The feeling of her soft hands in mine
  • How I was always allowed to pick up her crossword and fill in a few clues
  • Raiding her magazine and Reader’s Digest stash for reading material
  • Falling asleep in “my” twin bed at her house to the tune of trains whistling in the background
  • Telling her what I’m reading for book club
  • Deciding together what I should have for a bedtime snack

It is the thousands of happy memories that we’ve had together that make me miss her so much. And in this time of grief and loss, I will think of those and remember the loving soul, huge heart, and wonderful Grandmother that I was lucky enough to have in my life.

Share Some Warm Fuzzies

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Way back when I was in middle school, I went to sleep away camp for the very first time. I’d been to day camps, but never stayed away for a whole week. My friends at home and I were used to spending every moment together. I wasn’t sure how I’d like being gone for so long. They wrote me wonderful letters with collages and updates on what I’d missed while I was away, and though they were lovely they made me a bit home sick. But that didn’t last for long. We were split into groups called families with two adults, and ten campers. We’d meet each day, and do activities together, and talk about what we’d been up to. It was the camp’s way of making sure everyone had some friends even if you didn’t hit it off with anyone during free swim.

I lucked out and was assigned to a group I loved. We got very close, very quickly, as is the way of camps, so much so that the last night was full of tears and heartache to be leaving. I still call a few of them my good friends today. As a final activity with our family before we all went home in the morning, our adults kicked off an exercise they called warm fuzzies.

Everyone sat in a circle. One by one, each person in the group was picked and then everyone else went around the room, and said what they liked about that person. The camp counselor wrote it all down on a list, and the person got to keep it as a record of their warm fuzzies at the end. Some were simple, “She has pretty hair.” Others were a little deeper, “He has a gentle soul.” All were heart-stoppingly touching to hear people you cared about just sit and say out loud. It was such a flood of good feels all at once. It brought everyone even closer than before and ended in a series of group hugs.

When I chaperoned a group of 10 undergrads from my alma mater on a volunteer trip to Bolivia, I remembered how special those moments were. One night, after a particularly tough day, I gathered everyone together in the biggest bunk bedroom in the apartment where we stayed. Now I was the adult in the group, keeping track of the warm fuzzies. We all took turns, me and the team leader starting things off. Going around, and sharing all of the good qualities we’d seen come out in our first 7 days. This time I was the one tearing off a sheet of notebook paper and handing them out to the group.

Once again, the night ended in embraces and happiness all around. When I look through old memory boxes, sometimes I still unfold those papers, and read through all of the beautiful things people shared with me. It’s not often enough that we just sit down and tell the people we care about the things we like about them. So, this weekend, share some warm fuzzies of your own. Tell one person you love, one thing you love about them. It will make you, and them feel just great.

Image by Denise Cortez

Always Late? It’s Probably Because You’re Too Busy Looking on the Bright Side

4961717384_f4da868db6_zIn what is arguably, the most optimistic look at running behind schedule that I’ve seen, a recent article puts it out there that maybe non-punctual people are just victims of being too positive. The chronically late are not just inconsiderate, or poor planners, no! They’re just a touch too hopeful. They think they can accomplish more in the time they have (laundry! Breakfast! A workout….in 45 minutes) than they actually can, which makes them regularly miss their timelines.

And if that’s not enough of a silver-lining for you, this attitude tends to make them live longer, have lower stress levels, and diminished risk of heart disease. Think of your type-b friend who strolls into work cool and collected (albeit 10 minutes late) when you are still drying the sweat from your brow after rushing in 5 minutes earlier.

People who are always late tend to look at the big picture, and figure, “It’s only 10 minutes!” Getting over the small stuff, and seeing time as more fluid can help you live in the moment and enjoy all the wonderful things while they’re happening, not only when they fit into a timeslot in your schedule.

So, the next time you’re stressing while you’re stuck in traffic, take a deep breath and adopt the positive point of view. You’ve got plenty of time! And when you make it to your destination relaxed and clear-headed, you’ll have the wherewithal to make the most of it.

Image by Sean MacEntee.

Links! (not THAT Link)

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If Magic Mike was rewritten by children, here’s what it would be about.

Gloomy cat.

America explained to non-Americans

Did you weigh in on the great peas-in-guacamole debate?

Why cats are just fine (not great) pets.

For anyone who hasn’t joined the dirty 30 club yet.

Can YOU identify Magic Mike characters by their abs? I got a 6 out of 8.

A crisis line that works for the kids these days who only communicate via text.

The perfect koozy for your summer bbq’s.

If you’re on a budget, the best $10 or less wines you can buy.

Image by Tiger Pixel.