Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another benefit of looking for the good

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my dog's nipple seemed kind of hard. Then I noticed the hair around it seemed to be raised up some. So I started keeping an eye on it and I found that there is a mass growing there and it's growing fairly quickly too. It's now about the size of a lima bean. Today I took him to the vet and had the mass aspirated. At first the vet found fatty fluid and was pleased, thinking it was just a cyst. But under the fatty fluid it was hard. She aspirated the hard part and, under the microscope, it showed "bizarre" cells. She said she doesn't feel very good about it and I have a gut feeling it's not good too. She's sending the samples off to be biopsied. It will be next week before I know anything.

All the way home from the vet's office, I cried and petted him until he finally got annoyed with me and jumped in the back seat. By the time I got home, I was sooooo depressed and drained from crying. I ate some lunch and then crawled into bed and went to sleep. When I woke up, I sat down at my computer and checked my email. I had a comment from Steven, one of my followers. You can read his comment in the comment's section on my post about looking for the good in what you already have. When I read his comment about how I was helping him, I realized that, with his comment today, he was helping me! I was very depressed about the news about my dog, and some other things too but I won't tell about them. But reading Steven's comments got me back on track to trying to find the good in every situation. Thank you very much Steven! Your timing is impeccable! :)

I guess that's how it works, huh? Maybe looking for the good is contagious. Maybe if we all tried to look for the good and tell other people about the good we find, then they will look for the good too. What if that expanded out over the whole globe? I think maybe we'd have peace on earth like we sing about at Christmas. Hmmm

Anyway, back to my dog. I never dreamed I could love a dog like I do Bossy. (His name is Boss but I call him Bossy.) He has stuck with me through some really serious hard times and he has made me get up when I just wanted to wallow in self pity. At times when I just wanted to give up, Bossy wouldn't let me. I love him like my child and I dread the day he leaves. But that's kind of part of the deal when you adopt a pet. Especially when they're already adults when you get them. Bossy is 10 yrs old and I've had him since he was three. Seems like a really short seven years since I got him. And yet I can hardly remember what life was like without him. Oh yeah, I got to eat my cheeseburgers by myself and didn't have to share them. LOL!

No, I'm not going to find anything good about my dog having a tumor and possibly being at the end of his life. What I will do is borrow from the past and think about all the good that has come from having Bossy in my life. I think that focusing on those things while I deal with the tumors and such will make the pain of possibly losing him less intense. I guess you could say that looking for the good is kind of like an emotional pain killer.

PS I just checked out Steven's blog and what a great artist he is! Check it out!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking for good in what you already have

Ever since I lost my home in 2006, I've felt uprooted and "homeless" in the sense that the roof over my head doesn't belong to me. I rented for years before I bought my house and every place I lived always felt like home. But there was something about owning a place that changed how I felt about "home". In the three and a half years since I moved out of the house, I've lived in a pop up camper, a hotel room, an old tenant house that was going to be torn down, a farmhouse, and this apartment I'm in now. I moved here in July and it has never really felt homey. Just a place to hang my hat. Kinda depressing actually. I've never taken any interest in decorating it or doing anything to make it feel cozy. Until today.

In my quest to focus on the good because what we focus on gets bigger for us, I decided that I would do some Christmas decorating. Last year I bought a 9 ft artificial tree at the Goodwill Store for $29 and it looked beautiful in that old farmhouse with the 10 ft ceilings. But this apartment is tiny and has regular 8 ft ceilings so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to use it. I knew I could leave off the bottom section and that would take care of the height. But I remembered it was a fat tree too. Would there be room?

Three days ago, I lugged the big tree box into the apartment and pulled out the sections. Once I figured out which was the bottom section, I put that part back in the box and took the box back out to the utility room. Then I spent the next TWO freakin' HOURS assembling the tree and fanning out all those branches. By that time I was tired, grumpy, and tired of messing with it. I slid the tree into the spot I wanted it and there it sat, completely naked, for three days. I had also brought in the boxes and bags of ornaments and lights. They covered the chair, ottoman and sofa. My house looked like a disaster area and every time I looked at it I wanted to cry.

Today I got myself busy and put the lights on the tree and the ornaments. Then I put on the top and I found a can of snow left over from last year so I sprayed the tree a little. Then I took all the boxes back out to the utility room. After vacuuming the tree needles off the carpet and putting the poinsettia design table cloth on the table, I was finally done.

Still, I felt nothing. I always enjoy the lights of a Christmas tree but I still didn't have that warm fuzzy feeling I was hoping for. But tonight I wanted to cook a few things. I hate to cook so I cook ahead several different dishes and freeze them in individual serving sizes. That gets me off the hook with cooking for a while AND it keeps me from overeating.

By the time I started cooking it was dark outside so I closed the blinds and turned off the main light in the living room that makes it like daylight in there. Now I have only the lamps on and the light from the Christmas tree. My apartment is a studio one-bedroom so the kitchen is on one wall of the living room. I was cooking spaghetti and was stirring the sauce when I turned around and saw the tree. Some of the lights twinkle. I put all the lights on it that were on it last year when it was 9 ft instead of 6. and the tree just glowed! And, for the first time since I moved here in July, this place felt cozy and homey.

I decided to look at what is good about this apartment and there really is a lot. Especially now that it feels cozy and warm. One thing I like about it is that it's VERY private. The way it's situated, there are NO neighbors within eyesight. I'm a very private person and enjoy sitting outside on my deck in the summer without getting univited guests. (I know, I'm a hermit. LOL!) It is also a convenient location. Everything I need, and a few things I don't need (ie fast food places) are within a mile or two. There's also a lake nearby where I can go for walks. Oh and the rent is cheap! And I've got a great landlord that takes good care of the place.

Since I moved here, I've been dying to get out. I wanted/want to get back to the country. But I think I'm figuring out that if you look for the good in what you already have, then more of that good will come. And when I looked for things I liked about this aparment, I found things. I also found things I didn't like when THAT was what I was looking for.

I still hope to move back to the country when my lease runs out, IF I find a suitable place. But meanwhile, I'm going to focus on the good aspects of living here. If nothing else, it will make the next six months a whole lot easier to live. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

To find the good you gotta pay attention

Yesterday I had some grocery shopping to do and some other errands to run. I set out with the intention of continuing my "experiment" of looking for something good in every person I came in contact with. But the day moved so fast it was almost a total blur. I got so involved in the task of finding what I was looking for at the grocery store that I kind of went into my own little world and forgot to look for good. Well, not completely. I do remember a teeny little blond haired girl in a lab coat, apparently the pharmacist, asking me if I needed help with anything. I thought at the time that was a good thing and I appreciated her doing that. And I almost ran into the girl who worked in the floral section but she laughed and said "That's OK hon!" That was pretty good. :) And there's a cashier at one of the stores that I always enjoy because he's very quick witted and funny. I told him I always wonder what he's up to because he's always grinning. :) In case you haven't noticed, I like to laugh. My life got really really serious for a while and I hope I never go back there. Life's too short.

I did have a couple of long phone conversations with a new friend yesterday and I saw a lot of good in him. But I was paying attention then. When I was talking to him, I was 100% there. When I was in the grocery stores I wasn't. I've heard the saying "Wherever you are, be there." I think there's a lot of truth to that. I think I've probably missed out on a lot of good stuff in life because I wasn't paying attention. I wasn't really there. I was living at such a fast pace that there wasn't time to notice the true beauty of the world around me and the good in the people around me.

Oh, I did notice some good things about yesterday. Between buying products that were on sale and using my coupons, I saved about $40 on my groceries! And I bought some homemade cheese from a local farmer and it is sooooooo good!

Today is another opportunity for me to slow my butt down and pay attention and look for good stuff in the people and experiences I have today. I'll report in later.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Looking for good in people

I have to admit that I'm not a "people person". That doesn't mean I'm a recluse or anything. It just means I don't enjoy working with the public and I'm not a very social person. I prefer quality over quantity and I allow very few people into my life as far as getting close. That's just the way I've always been. But even people like me have to be around other people every day and it's important to be able to interact successfully with people. I've always been challenged in that department. In the past, I've found dealing with people to be quite exhausting and frustrating. But I think that is because of the mindset I've had about it. Like most people, I've had a number of "bad" experiences with people and I guess I've tended to focus on them and magnify them in my mind. Remember, what we focus our attention on is what gets bigger in our lives. So I've decided to, again, shift my focus when it comes to people. Yes, I've had bad experiences, met rude obnoxious people, been hurt, been ripped off, been taken advantage of. BUT, I've also had some really good experiences with people as you've seen if you've read my other posts. So starting yesterday, I've decided to try an experiment. I decided that I'm going to practice looking for something good in every person I come in contact with. So far today, I haven't been around anybody. So I'll tell you about yesterday.

The first person I saw yesterday was my neighbor. He was out with his dog when I was out with mine. What I saw good about him is that he's always the same person whenever I see him. Not moody or anything. I always know he'll be friendly. And he likes my dog so that makes him a good guy! :)

The second person I saw was my customer's husband. Well, I guess he's my customer too but I rarely see him and it's usually the wife that I deal with. He was outside putting up Christmas lights when I pulled up to their house. What I saw good about him was that he's got a really sweet, mild personality even though he's a Major in the Marine Corps. I always think of Marines as being gruff and tough. And he seems to be a really good father too. And very respectful to me.

The third person I had minor contact with was a lady at the grocery store. She and another lady were standing near the register and I asked if they were in line. She laughed and said "No we haven't figured this out yet!" And I saw that they had found some kind of Santa thing they were trying to figure out and they were chuckling about it. That made me chuckle too. Their laughter was contagious. That was good!

Next was the cashier. She had a big smile and was very friendly, which is NOT the norm where I live. There were some samples of Christmas candy on the counter and I asked her what they were and she laughed and said they were soooo good and she keeps eating them herself even though she's not supposed to. I said maybe I shouldn't even try them and we laughed together. She had a charming accent and a good sense of humor. I enjoyed the brief contact with her.

I had another house to clean in the afternoon and the customer is not a very pleasant person to be around. He's really gruff, unfriendly and sometimes downright rude. I wasn't looking forward to seeing him and wondered what I could find good about him. But I found something good! He wasn't there!!!! LOL! I"ll work on finding more good about him and report back later! :D

After I left his house, I came straight home because the weather was getting crappy. So no more people for the day. I think my experiment went well. Hopefully, if I continue, it will become a habit to look for good in people. It sure would make life more pleasant, I know that! I invite you to join me in the experiment and contribute your comments here on my blog or email me privately at