Yoga with …

Greetings, dear readers. Have you ever noticed that the world is a curious place? I saw a news story the other morning about yoga with goats. Yep. That’s a real thing. And cute as all get out – imagine downward dog while a baby goat clambers up your back! (I’m assuming the control you need not to collapse into giggles just adds to the workout.)

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The yoga team: Chiquita, Olive, Elijah, and a stuffed hedgepig…

I do have a (somewhat nascent and intermittent) yoga practice. I do not have goats. Not yet, anyway.  I do not have to coordinate my movement with unpredictable ruminants. Said movements are only just beginning to be coordinated at all. I do, however, have the distinct pleasure of trying to hang on to a downward dog, while actual dogs are sniffing my feet and licking my ear. And while the cat is occupying a third of my mat, defending against all comers (mainly my feet) with any number of sharpened wits and weapons… They seem to have acquired the notion that yoga is a team sport and that opposing teams are involved.

 

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The cat assumes the position of pointed guard. My dear sweet Elijah – battler of feet, pouncer upon defenseless digits and owner of … well, anything he decides is his. Including me.

It does take yoga to another level when warrior pose includes a vertical leap occasioned by a sneak attack on your back foot. Or when standing mountain becomes an avalanche because someone is annoyed that your focus is elsewhere and he has decided to stand up against your leg and provide several pointed reminders that he is there.

It’s a good thing he is beyond adorable. And that he also rubs his head against my hand and slinks under me in bridge pose, and then settles into my lap for meditation, purring and kneading, looking up at me with those big yellow eyes in absolute trust.

The workout isn’t the only reason I’m a puddle after yoga. The laughter helps.

Wishing you smiles and laughter in your practice today, whatever it is.


Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

For those who like pet stories, my story collection is available on Amazon: Dog Days . If you are dog-lover who likes to read, it may be just the thing! My sweet little Chiquita is the cover model and I’d love to hear your thoughts if you check it out.

I, Handywoman

Oh, here we go. She’s got a staple gun and she’s not afraid to use it.

Yes. I’ve done it again. I have seen a problem. I made a plan to solve the problem. I made the people at the home improvement store very happy. And I have solved the problem. With staples. BIG staples. The kind that require firepower.

Here’s the story: My dogs have a running squabble with a scraggly little possum that likes 2018-01-14 15.48.02to steal bird seed from my feeder. The feeder is on the porch and they can see it through the window and when Frank (that’s the possum) lumbers up there, they go ballistic. Full metal yap-fest. And when I finally let them out there, long after Frank has wandered off, they tear the place up trying to find him. Which included rummaging around under the porch and tearing up the lattice that blocked off the open front. So there were gaping holes under there and shards of wood tossed about. Shoot.

Since it is winter and several large slats will also need to be replaced, I wanted a solution that I could easily put up that would last until I could contract with someone actually licensed to wield hardware to get it fixed. Since it was snowing at the time I was thinking of it – I thought of snow fencing. The kind that comes in rolls. It’s orange, it’s light, and it doesn’t require power tools to install. (Even though I love my drill, I would rather not use it outside, in 20° weather, while standing in ice.)

I clicked about online to see if I could get some of this magical stuff locally. And I could. So I trundled off to a store the size of an airplane hangar. I wandered around in there a while, finding plenty of cool stuff, but nothing I was looking for. When I finally found a store associate asked where the snow fencing was I got “The Look”. You know the one. The one that says “Crazy lady on aisle 6. She thinks you can fence in SNOW…”

I described the stuff I wanted a little better and he directed me all the way to the other end of the store (of course). Where I still did not find it and had to ask another associate. The second guy knew exactly what I was talking about – Apparently the store is large enough for them to function in different zip codes. He jaunted over a couple aisles and pulled down a roll of orange webbing almost as tall as I was. Snow fence! They just call it safety fencing here. Being that the nearest wide open prairie with drifting snow is probably about 500 miles away.

He smiled. Then I told him I also needed a staple gun and he smiled even bigger. I am not particularly tall, so he sized me up, walked me through several more aisles, and pointed to a dainty little “craft and upholstery” stapler. HA! I did not deign to be tricked into that.

Crafts – HAH!! I was putting up a fence! For crazed dogs and wild varmints! I needed a BIG stapler. I pointed to the next size up and he handed it to me. And I attempted to squeeze the trigger. Got nowhere. I handed it to him, saying it must be locked. I’ll give him credit for not laughing when he easily squeezed the handle and I heard the thunk of the pin. Shoot. Given another try, I did figure out how to get enough leverage to manage the bigger one. I tucked it into my cart possessively. I got a box of staples, too, and headed for the registers. Props again to Deck and Fencing Guy for wishing me a good day and not laughing, at least while I was within earshot.

Epilogue: I put up my fence and fence is good – no more critter wars under the porch! Never underestimate a woman with a staple gun and a plan.


Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

Resolving

Greetings, dear readers! I hope this January weekend finds you in good spirits.

For me, there is something about the start of a new year that always seems hopeful. A page is turning, we get to restart, I get a new planner, and all those blank pages beckon. On a blank page so much is possible. I love that moment of just imagining what will be, even if I know most of what’s coming.

It’s the time of year when resolutions are made, some of which last no longer than the confetti from New Year’s Eve. I gave up trying to resolve to do less of one thing or another – “less” always sounds constraining. It says “You can’t have …” (Uh oh.) One year when I was trying to shift my eating habits I decided not to go the “don’t eat this, don’t eat that” route. Instead I decided to eat MORE – more vegetables and more fruit. And (leaving aside for now the argument about chocolate being a vegetable because it comes from plants) it worked pretty well. Loading up on fresh food meant that I was a lot less likely to over-indulge in carb-y, salty, sugary snacks. I ate better and felt more nourished. And I still made room for little squares of really good chocolate.

This year I am also resolving to do “MORE” – more of the things that are important to me, and more to build the way I want to live. I’ve found three areas where my intentions needed clarity and some attention. If you’ve been reading the blog a while, it probably won’t surprise you that one of those areas is my house. I still have work to do to create 2018-01-14 16.15.04the home I know it could be. I did some thinking and drew up a list of need-to and want-to. I’ve started making my way through the things I need to do. Sometimes really small things – like take a load of boxes out to the recycle bin. Meaning that my dining floor is clear.

Like taking every bit of mail and random dropped-off things off the dining room table. And actually having a clean surface to work or have a meal! This may sound ridiculous to those of you who regularly use the dining table for it’s intended purpose; being single, disorganized, and likely to place whatever is in my hands on the nearest horizontal surface, I often have a struggle finding enough table top to drop the mail, let alone dine!

It feels really nice to see and feel a more peaceful, clutter-free life take shape. I will share my progress with you here – I’m giving myself permission to see this vision all the way through! I hope your vision for the year brings you joy and excitement, too, no matter how big or small your goals.

A Fresh Start

Greetings, HaQ readers, and Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is starting well for you.

I am pretty much a holiday homebody, so my New Year’s Eve is typically a quiet affair; some snacks, a glass of wine, maybe a movie, and I don’t always manage to stay awake for the countdown. However, this year… I just wanted a fresh start. So, this year I had a Kenmoredate. And it sucked. And that was awesome.

This fine upright individual was my beau for the evening: His name is Kenmore and he’s a little shy. As in, he does not get out nearly enough. (Uh oh.) So when I was thinking about how I wanted to spend the evening and how I wanted to start the new year – well, I decided to take Kenmore dancing.

Dance, we did – all around the living room and into the office and down the hall. The cats were scandalized because Kenmore growls like a banshee and can cough up a better hairball than they can. The dogs were just non-plussed, I always bark back at them for making that much noise, and here I was swanning around with this howler. But we soldiered on.

When Ken got winded, I switched to a broom and mop and blew through my kitchen. And when the floor dried, I did the dishes. By the time it was all done, I had just enough time to sip a little bubbly and eat a piece of chocolate and watch the ball drop.

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I toasted Kenmore and my clean spaces and went to bed knowing I would start the new year with clean floors and a fresh house – and that was just the cherry on top.

Wishing you all the fresh starts you were hoping for and a wonder-filled, joy-full, grace-blessed New Year.  ❤

 

 

 

 


Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

On the Cusp

Greetings, dear readers!

Here we are, in the middle of the holidays, on the edge of New Year’s Eve, on the threshold of 2018. On the cusp.

That’s an odd little expression, isn’t it? “On the cusp” – it means to be at a transition point, whether that is a point between two states of being, or between two astrological signs, or the peak where two curves meet.  And when I  think of that I always see two upward curves, meeting at an upper point, like a swooped mountain.

Confession: I am both drawn to and suspicious of change. The pull of novelty and new beginnings is powerful – as is wariness of change and the comfort of inertia. Tiptoeing on that peak it is equally possible to fly forward, or slip back.

_DSC0370It’s not absolutely certain what will happen on either side of the curve – but the amazing thing is, we all get to choose. No matter what the cusp is, you get to choose whether to lean forward and trust, or step back and regroup for a different time, or maybe a different mountain. And if you just want to stand on the peak and meditate a while, you can do that, too.

In this little space before the celebrations, whatever cusp awaits you, I wish you a peak that will take your breath away with joy and hope, and that your dreams take flight in the new year.

Love Those Faces

Greetings, dear readers. It’s holiday time and I know many of you are busy, so just a quick thought this week.

With the holiday bustle at full throttle ’tis the season for friends and family get-togethers. There are hugs and smiles and shared stories – and all those faces. Sweet, funny, smiling, frowning, talking, laughing, eye-rolling faces.

Love ’em all – from the smallest to the biggest, the oldest to the youngest. They’re all precious. Being with family has always been what the holidays mean to me. And since you know me by now, you will know that for me that includes the four-footed members of the household.

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This is the little face that greets me in the mornings. My sweet Callie, the senior member of the fur family and the paper-shredder-in-chief (you should see what she can do to a roll of paper towels…!) Who could wake up in a bad mood when you’re greeted by a purr and a head bump and an invitation to rub the softest belly on the planet. Too sweet!!

I hope your holiday mornings are blessed by the faces you love.

Happy Holidays to all, in all the ways you celebrate.

What’s Your Jam?

Greetings, dear readers! A few questions and a wee challenge for you this week:

What is that one wonderful thing other people might not get that you would like more of?

In other words, what’s your jam?

What will get you up at a ridiculous hour to go do, even if there’s no monetary payoff? What can you do for hours and then talk about for hours afterwards? What will you give your time and dollars to and feel richer in the end, than if you had done anything else? What makes you feel lost (in thought, in the moment, in wonder) and found (this is where you’re meant to be) at the same time?

That’s some serious jam right there, folks.

And here’s the challenge: How are you putting it out there? Are you getting time for the thing that sweetens the crunchy bits of life? If not – GO GET SOME!

OK – I know. It’s the holidays and nobody has time for one more thing. Or do you? Whatever you’re up to – I bet there’s time to capture some goodness for yourself. Recruit the family to help with the things you always do on your own. Take a short cut or two. Pick up prepared food one night instead of cooking like crazy. And go get some jam on your toast. Do one thing in the next couple weeks that is your favorite thing. Notice how it gives you joy and energy for all the other things you do. That’s awesome. Then go ahead and plan a way to do more of it in the coming year. Imagine making space for more joy and energy in your life. It will ripple outward in so many ways.

Wishing you joy of the season, however you celebrate – and plenty of jam!


Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

My story collection is available on Amazon: Dog Days . If you have a dog-lover who likes to read on your list, it may be just the thing! My sweet little Chiquita is the cover model and I’d love to hear your thoughts if you check it out.

NaNoWriMo 2017

Greetings, HaQ readers! I hope this day finds you well and happy.

I am just coming down from the crazy writing ride that is NaNoWriMo, which means that I am discovering just how high I can pile the laundry and what was in the bottom of that sink full of dishes. (Uh oh) NaNoWriMo is indeed a ride.

NaNo-2017-Winner-BadgeFor those not yet familiar with this November occupation, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. You can find their website here: NaNoWriMo.   It’s awesome. Every November writers of all kinds from all over the world sit down on the first of the month, crack their knuckles and limber up their keyboards and attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s an average of 1667 words a day. I can tell you from experience – most days are not “average”. Sometimes you’re lucky to get in 400 words. Sometimes, you hit a seam and it’s go-go-go until you can hardly see any more, and you’ve blasted off 5000 words.

This year I wrote more than a third of my 50K words in the last week, and I’m still not really sure what I created. This strikes me as both funny and ridiculous. But, whatever it is – I have participated in creating something. The marvelous Elizabeth Gilbert has a TED talk and a book (Big Magic) in which she suggests that when the creative process takes over, it’s more like the art comes THROUGH you, not FROM you. Stephen King has said it’s like channeling an alien radio station. Yeah – it’s like that. And when it happens, it is the purest kind of thrill.

I have hatched stories and watched them grow in front of me nine times. I’ve reached the 50,000 word goal five of those times. These aren’t quite whole novels; 50,000 words is somewhere between half and two-thirds the heft of a full length book. There’s usually enough there for me to see what the whole thing would look like. What I like about writing this way is that, to write that much, you have to let go of perfection, yank the backspace button off your keyboard, and just let it rip. It’s all process without worrying about the product. It’s so much fun. At the end there is a creative work that wasn’t there before, ready to be sculpted into a final form. When I decide it’s time to let this project out into the world, I promise to let you know. For now, we both need a little time off.

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful week – and, if you have a project begging you to rip off the backspace for a while – DO IT! I dare you. The world is a better place when creative energy is flowing.


Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

My story collection is available on Amazon: Dog Days . If you have a dog-lover who likes to read on your list, it may be just the thing! My sweet little Chiquita is the cover model and I’d love to hear your thoughts if you check it out.

BATs and Backspaces

Greetings, dear readers. I have perhaps an odd question: Are there days when you look at some object or person or event that is impinging on you and think “I wish I could just delete that”? Just tap the old Cosmic Backspace and !blip! – Big Annoying Thing (BAT for short) is gone.

Aaaahhhhhh…  …      ….

Sorry. Got lost in thought for a moment.

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Here’s something I’ve been learning: The desire to remove BATs from one’s cognizance isn’t about inflicting harm on persons, places, or things – it’s about removing pain and irritation. And the thing about pain and irritation… they’re responses. Meaning (uh oh) they’re not based out there, where the BAT is. They are based in the person feeling the pain and irritation. Sooo (here’s the bit that made me mad when I first heard it) in some sense, they are a choice.

Yeah – that was my response, too. Heck yeah, I “choose” to be upset when scores of people are killed and injured by someone with evil intent, or when I hear about mistreated children, or starving pets. Or when a legislative body does something that I am pretty sure is going to harm the people they are supposed to serve. That stuff is nasty and disgusting and irritating. It’s awful to me because of the things I value. And some part of me thinks it’s awful that those other people didn’t value those things, too. AND I’M MAD….. !!!!

Yup. Madder’n a wet hen. And, in that state, I am just about as effective as damp poultry  at changing any of the things that got me all stirred up. Continue reading

Thankful

Greetings, dear readers.

This has been a good week. In the US it is Thanksgiving week and time for celebrations around the table with family and friends. Good food and good company are indeed blessings to be thankful for.

Here at HaQ I am thankful for many things: a home, safe and warm; the sweet furry faces that share my home; the wonderful kennel that lets me send my dogs to the ‘overnight camp’ that they love while I clean the house and serve guests with less canine interruption; the farmers market that brought beautiful food to my table; the friends who shared it; the community that comes together to support what is good.

The small sweet blessing of a cat asleep, warm and content, in the middle of a sunspot in the middle of the afternoon.

And you, dear readers. So grateful you’ve come with me on this adventure.

Wishing you many blessings this holiday season and beyond.


Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

My story collection is available on Amazon: Dog Days . If you have a dog-lover who likes to read on your list, it may be just the thing! Chiquita is the cover model and I’d love to hear your thoughts if you check it out.

NaNoWriMo update: The story, and the word count are picking up. I clocked over 4K in one day during the holiday break and I am now over 30,000 words. There are six writing days left, which makes it something of a challenge to hit 50,000 by midnight on the 30th. As they say in NaNo-land: Onward, WriMos!