Choosing joy

The puppy stopped suddenly, coming up short when he realized what he wanted was gone.

The younger, and far less dominant, of two dogs, he had been playing joyfully with a toy, shaking it and tossing it around, when it flew from his mouth and hit the floor with a thud. It caught the attention of the older, larger dog, who quickly grabbed it off the floor and walked away with it.

And just like that, the toy was gone.

This is a true story, which I tell because of what the little dog did next. His face took on a stunned look, and he stood motionless, silent, for a couple of seconds. I could practically see him thinking about what had just happened, and whether or how he should respond. Then shaking his head slightly , his face restored its happy puppy brightness, and he ran off to grab a different toy. Continue reading

Accomplishments on a small scale

I had tentative plans for a big day today. I canceled them.

It was 0° F once again when I awoke, and after facing the frigid outback that is Chicago for an actual night on the town last night I decided against driving two hours for a nature adventure.

After spending most of the morning at my computer, by noon I was thisclose to beating myself up for wasting away my day. Looking back now, at the start of evening, I realize that I’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit. Here’s what I did: Continue reading

Bad things gonna happen; enjoy the ride

I’m reminded of the time my son bought a carton of my favorite ice cream from a local maker in another city, packed it in his suitcase, put the suitcase in the luggage compartment of a Megabus, and climbed aboard for the six-hour ride home. It was early spring, and we were to meet him at the bus depot and head out on a week-long road trip. Continue reading

Coming into focus

It’s Dec. 30, and I’ve just returned from a year-end ritual: my eye exam. My eyes have been dilated, throwing my vision off a bit and making me extra photosensitive. On top of that, I left my glasses behind to get new lenses placed into them.

The result? I can barely read my computer screen as I type. My world is out of focus and could be so for two weeks, until my glasses are returned to me with their new lenses.

I apologize in advance for any typos that might creep into this blog as a result.

That said, focus seems as good a theme as any for the end of a year and start of a new one. Continue reading

New Year’s resolutions? What’s the point?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I’ve never really gone in for them, though it’s possible I might have tried once or twice. To me there’s something almost superficial about pegging the promise of a life change on the occasion of a recurring holiday. It seems trivializing or insubstantial, maybe flighty. I don’t trust myself to commit to keep a promise that I’m making because it’s the time of year to make a promise.

But that’s me, and I wonder if other people have success with their resolutions. I do like the idea of “new year, new start.”

I’ve been reading Jeanette Winterson’s “Christmas Days,” a book of stories and essays and recipes that isn’t only about Christmas, and it has this to say about New Year’s resolutions: Continue reading