Animals

  • Animals,  Cat stories,  Home & Family

    Goodbye, Jack B. Nimble

    I lost a dear friend on Thursday. During an annual physical last year, the vet told me that Jack, our 19-year-old tuxedo cat, was possibly nearing his final months. He started failing steadily last week, so when he lost control of his back legs and collapsed by his litter box, I knew it was time to let him go. En route to the vet’s office Thursday afternoon, I remembered a small poster I’d purchased a few years ago. Cats are angels with fur, it said. Like most angels — animal or human — Jack arrived on the scene exactly when I needed him.  Our only child had gone off to college…

  • Animals,  Health & wellbeing

    The shadow side of abundance

    “Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a person’s self. Where there is no comparison, there is no envy.” ~Francis Bacon As Thanksgiving approaches, we reflect on the concept of abundance. But abundance also has an interesting shadow side — and it can be painful to acknowledge. I’m talking about envy and jealousy. When someone has an abundance of gifts or advantages that you lack, for instance, you might struggle with feelings of envy. On the other hand, a person who owns an embarrassment of riches might suffer the awkward consequences of someone else’s envy or jealousy. On the positive side, envy inspires us to achieve goals or become…

  • Animals,  approval seeking,  Health & wellbeing,  Personal growth

    The dog ate your homework?

    “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” ~Dr. Robert Anthony, Beyond Positive Thinking Excuses, excuses. It wasn’t my fault …. It was the wine talking …. I was raised by dysfunctional parents …. Someone gave me bad advice …. The dog ate my homework. When we make a mess of things or miss the mark, it’s tempting to reach for an easy excuse. We might try to save face by placing the blame on someone or something else — even when we know, deep down, that we are responsible for our own mistakes. In today’s quote, psychologist Robert Anthony shines a light on the blame game.…

  • Animals,  Happiness,  Health & wellbeing

    Small treats and rituals

    “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” ~Iris Murdoch Every night after we finish dinner, Doug and I fill our mugs with tea and head for our favorite chairs to watch the evening news on TV. It’s a ritual that our dog, Coco, happily anticipates — because we always reward her with a handful of dog biscuits if she finished her dinner, too. Watching her savor each and every crunchy bite never fails to bring me joy. Sometimes we set our goals too high, deluding ourselves into thinking that happiness depends on attaining a huge win or reward. But as today’s quote reminds us, it’s…

  • Animals,  Domestic arts,  Health & wellbeing

    Getting cozy

    “It was so wonderful to be there, safe at home, sheltered from the winds and the cold. Laura thought that this must be a little like heaven, where the weary are at rest.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder The Scandinavian concept of “hygge” suggests a sense of comfort and contentment. The word possibly stems from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy.” Another theory suggests that hygge was derived from the Old Norse word “hugr”  — which is the origin of the word “hug.” Hygge has become a popular marketing term in Scandinavia in recent years — and we’ve embraced it here in the northern United States, especially in the cold winter months.…