Thursday, December 24, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
10 Ways to Be Happier
How happy are you―really? If there’s room for improvement, try one of these suggestions.
By Gretchen Rubin
A few years ago, on a morning like any other, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a New York City bus, I saw tha
the years were slipping by.
"What do I want from life?" I asked myself. "Well...I want to be happy." I had many reasons to be happy: My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightfu
girls; I was a writer, living in my favorite city. I had friends; I had my health; I didn't have to color my hair. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected
after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily. Is that how a happy person would act?
I decided on the spot to begin a systematic study of happiness. (A little intense, I know. But that's the kind of thing that appeals to me.) In the end, I spent a year test-driving the
wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and tips from popular culture. If I followed all the advice, I wanted to know, would it work?
Well, the year is over, and I can say: It did. I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier. Here are those lessons.
1. Don't start with profundities. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions
of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on
2. Do let the sun go down on anger. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show,
however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allowsit to
3. Fake it till you feel it. Feelings follow actions. If I'm feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myselfactually feeling happier. If I'm feeling angry at someone, I do something
thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.
4. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brainis stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with
an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things―learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places―are happier than people who stick to familiar
activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to "Enjoy the fun of failure" and tackle some daunting goal.
5. Don't treat the blues with a "treat." Often the things I choose as "treats" aren't good for me. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other
negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day. While it's easy to think, I'll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine...a pint of ice cream...a cigarette...a new pair of jeans,
it's worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.
6. Buy some happiness. Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do. You also want to have a sense of control. Money doesn't automatically
fill these requirements, but it sure can help. I've learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more
efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes; and to haveenlarging experiences. For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on
a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness.
7. Don't insist on the best. There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta
sauce that has the qualities they want, they're satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets theirrequirements, they
can't make a decision until they've examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they're often
anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.
8. Exercise to boost energy. I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, "I'm just too tired to go to the gym"? Exercise is one of the most dependable
mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook.
9. Stop nagging. I knew my nagging wasn't working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more
work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging. I hadn't realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking like that. I replaced
nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying "Milk!" instead of talking on and on); not
insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments?
10. Take action. Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You're born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that's that. Although it's true that genetics play a
big role, about 40 percent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work. So use these tips
to start your own Happiness Project. I promise it won't take you a whole year.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I am back in Salem for the day! I just ate a fine all American breakfast of 'Banana Nut Toast' which was white sourdough-ish bread made into French toast, coated in cornflakes and made into sandwiches filled with butter, brown sugar, bananas and walnuts. No matter how many times I read an American menu, I still can't fathom what will turn up on my plate. Surprised again!
Off to seize the day (and burn some calories) and a wonderful day it is too. =)
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Leave Seattle (wow! that was a fast decision) and head to Hood River. Myself and Cole, my wonderful new travel companion and friend, camped Tues night and it was WET, WET WET! It was a good thing we could dry out on Wed night in the cabin
Cole and I relaxed for the day in Hood River making the best breakfast in the history of the world! We had perfectly runny sunniside up eggs accompanied by toast with a side of diced roasted vegetables (eggplant, carrots, zucchini, red capiscum), avacado and sprouts. It was amazingly yum, oh vegetables how I have missed you! In the afternoon, I went to the craziest thrift store ever and picked up acouple of warm items. There has been a snap in the air at Hood River meaning 'Winter is coming, rug up!'. In the eveing Lloyd picked me up and we drove to the wine makers house in West Salem. After hellos, wine and cheese I bunked with Emily and Derek fro the night.
Awoke to the smell of bacon, Emily is making egg Mcmuffins without the Mc part. Spent all day crushing new grapes (Tempranillo) and bottling wine that was ready. With a slow start due to forklift malfunction and many hands making light work, I reverted to a more primitive life form, the humble, excitable and neurotic squirrel. Once I started, I was on a roll. I collected 2 huge bags of hazelnuts and with help from some of my fellow female gathers (is it in the genes?) we shelled all of those beautiful fresh hazelnuts. We had over 8 cups! I may never be able to eat another store bought hazelnut again and for that matter I ate enough wild hazelnuts to not crave them for a while. After getting in touch with my squirrel side, we drove from West Salem to Hood River . Lloyd was tried so we stayed in the cabin. Drvivng a 60ft, 6miles/gallon vehcile while tired is not fun, poor fella. It's not like I could offer to help.
Lloyd and I arrived in Echo, Oregon yesterday afternoon. Lois picked us up after we dropped the semi off at the farm and we went to their beautiful home. Welcome back, Welcome home they said. I have the bottom bedroom in Lloyd and Lois' one of a kind house in Hat Rock State Park. My bedroom looks out to the columbia river and hammock with grape vines. A Sweedish couple, Anna and Bjorn are also staying and picking. So we are five grape farming peas in a pod. Lloyd and I took a nap and then we all ate dessert for breakfast, this is my kind of place! Lois made baked apples stuffed with cinnamon sugar covered in home made pastry! Yum! We had tea or chocolate with that. I then called my family (Stop worrying family! I wish worry was a botteled substance that once you used it all up, that would be it.) and went to bed to toss and turn.
My first day of picking! We had a sleep in, awaking at 6am and then heading off to the farm. The crew was there as were Anna and Bjorn. Clippers were handed out and off we went. Clipping them into a bucket while a runner empties them onto a tractor. It works better if you do this in a pair, one person on each side of the vine to get those grapes! We picked 2 grapes for one client: Tempranillo and Zinfandel. I liked picking the Temp better becasue while there were lots of little bunches they were relatively easy to get at and in good condition. The Zin were juicy and you got a juiced if you handeled them too much. Also, more were dried or bird pecked due to their location on the farm and I'd rather not have to make the hard decisions when it comes to what goes into the bucket and what doesn't. We are done picking early, the rest of the week will be a lot longer. We only pick to order and orders are coming up! 19 tonns for Wed!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
We drove into Oregon yesterday, the Pacific Northwest as they call this region is stunningly beautiful. Camping tonight. Bought stuff for good ole American smores.
Happy Hood River
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Let go, discharged, dismissed, not invited to return...whatever you want to all it. So now I am 'not engaged in a gainful occupation' even though I did my job adequately, perfectly and to the best of my abaility. Even though I am qualified, have an abundance of relevant experience and they need staff at the moment during a busy period. Thank you Corperate America!
The Convention Center gets flagged any time it's name is mentioned anywhere on the internet (hi guys! how's your day?) and while Naomi had cleared me working with everyone, someone didn't get the memo and had a problem with it. So beacuse we are not technically realted by blood and didn't grow up together beacuse I moved to Australia, but call eacother cousins and are trying to spend some time together, I can't work 'below' her. Not that I saw her much or she could favour me in any way...how favourbale can someone be when you are filling butter and making ice water?
So yesterday I slept in and did ranodm handy woman work for Mike next door (let's see if he'll fire me too now?) and was invited out by Jason, a couchsurfer who went to Bainbridge Island. He has recently moved to Seattle and is interested in exploring. We went for tea at the Wallingford Tea Rooms (now look there, they have just been flagged) and I has tea jitters by the time we left. No seriously, I was drunk on White Nettle, Pink Chai and Black tea with smoke and sherry flavours. To fix that we ate falafels and then went to Jason's local bar and played pool. I really enjoyed hanging out and forgetting that I am awaiting for grapes now with no employment. I guess it's no big deal.
I have organised a CS Hike for tomorrow to Kendalls Katwalk souwth east of Seattle! =) Who needs Convention Centers, work and money!?! wtf?
Monday, September 21, 2009
"We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it only picking grapes or sorting the laundry"
I am working with my cousin Naomi who is the Catering Manager for Lynnwood Convention Center. I am doing functions work, more or less large scale catering . It's funny, you travel half way around the world and the trolleys are the same, the butter goes in little dishes, the debates on 'is it too early to make ice water' ensue and there is always politics and nice people. I plan to be here next week and then...to Oregon!?! I am calling Lloyd every Monday to check on the grapes, silly grapes!
I have hung out with CSers twice now and have had a nice time. The first was a bicycle trip to Bainbridge Island. We took a ferry, I love loading onto ferries with a bike! First on! Then today, I basked in the beautiful weather that Seattle is putting on in Gasworks Park (activities inculded tightrope walking). This was followed by dinner at Mama's Mexican resturant in downtown Seattle and drinks on the rooftop over looking the Sound.
Upcoming Bumper Sticker business:
"Just lie to make me feel better"
"Don't hit that guy"
"No thing, No fling"
"You guys hanging out more?""For the rest of my life"
"What I meant to say is, this Teriyaki sauce is banging"
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
So I am awaiting grapes! They are not ready yet and cannot be picked just yet! I talked to Lloyd today and he said October. So now I am staying with my cousin Naomi in Seattle. She works for a convention center and I am going to work part time until its grape time!
So many new photos and stories. What an experience Burning Man was. Indescribable. I could write all day and never adequately describe all that happened.