In which comfort becomes the priority

83

Crane 83.

This is a student made Huck Finn raft. It has been left behind from someone’s presentation in a literature class. The bird sitting on it was made from a Pride and Prejudice calendar. I’m not sure what Elizabeth Bennet is doing hanging out with Huck, but there you go.

Cranes 81-82.

81-82

This is a big wood carving of an eagle that sits in our English Department office. You can see I didn’t venture out very far to take pictures today. It was a wet and nasty day.

It is now 5:00. I’m at home with my dog in my lap. I have eaten a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I have done my homework for tomorrow. I have posted my pictures for my daily photo challenge. I have a goal of being in my pajamas and underneath a blanket by no later than 5:30. I imagine the dog will still be cuddled up with me.

Lucy Peanut and I had a rough day today. She was attacked by a dog toy. She had torn it apart, and it fought back. She got it stuck in her mouth with string she had pulled loose getting caught in her teeth and twisting her tongue up. She squealed like the Big Bad Wolf was after her. I had to cut the toy away from her mouth with scissors to even be able to get at the string caught in mouth. That was a scary moment for her and for me, but we managed to free her finally, and she is not injured. She is just hurt that her toy would do her that way. She and I have needed some cuddles.

I’ve had a lot of goals lately, and one of them is exercise. I got my exercise in the same way I got my photos in today–by knocking it out as quickly and efficiently as possible. I went to the school gym and got on a treadmill before I came home. You might think that a person with goals would feel bad about making plans to crash and cuddle by 5:30, but this is not so. Today, comfort is the priority. Comfort food. Comfy clothes. Cuddles. We must have our priorities.

I’m a firm believer that one of most important aspects of accomplishment is managing stress. You are more likely to lose weight on a diet if you are not stressed out and if you are getting enough rest. You are more likely to get your work done if you are not feeling stressed. You are more likely to remember not to be a jerk to the people around you if you are taking enough comfort time.

Lucy Peanut is fine now, and she doesn’t seem to be too terribly traumatized by this morning’s horror, but she is being clingy, and she is crying whenever I set her down. She and I are about to put on our comfy clothes and have a calm night in.

Peace and love, friends. If a wad of loose string ever attacks your mouth, please remember to remain calm and stay as still as possible. Fighting just makes it worse.

I don’t think so, said the little dog to the sullen cat

Don't box me in

My dog challenge prompt and my regular photo challenge prompt were essentially the same today: “in a box” and “box.” I tried to make Lucy Peanut sit in a hat box while I took her picture, but she refused to do it. She said bad words to me.

Stella Calico could not bring herself to care.

Stella Calico does not care what you think.

Even the cranes did not get excited.

78-80

Lucy Peanut gave me the stink eye.

Stink Eye

There was no dog in a hat box tonight.

The end.

All hail the power of peer pressure

Feeling Faded

Lucy Peanut is tuckered out, and I can’t say I blame her. She burrowed into a blanket on the couch to take a nap this evening, and I tried to get her up to play so that I could take a more active picture of her, but she just kept going right back to her cozy spot. It’s been that kind of day. Lucy Peanut and I don’t care much for the cold. Even Jack Cat elected to spend most of the day indoors. Winter is rough on the children of summer.

I wanted to be like Lucy Peanut today and burrow in for the day. I wanted to read and nap and basically just spend the day recharging for the coming week. I forced myself to venture out as far as the school gym this morning, however, because I was feeling the peer pressure. I accepted a weekend challenge on Fitbit, and since this was the first of these challenges I’ve ever participated in, I didn’t want to be that one person who only logged 200 steps for the whole weekend because I whiled away my days off on the couch. I ended up only staying on the couch half the day today, and I paid my dues on the treadmill first.

This is why I consider the Fitbit a necessity. I’m a whole lot lazier when I don’t feel judged.

Tomorrow will be a bigger challenge as the school gym will be closed, and it will likely still be too cold outside to make for enjoyable outdoor exercise. I have a challenge to live up to, though, so I have at least some chance of figuring this out.

I will let you know how it goes. Until then, here are my cranes for the day.

72-74 of 1000.

72-74

In which habit is who you are

Jack Cat says oh no you didn't.

Jack Cat says “oh no you didn’t” to Lucy Peanut. That’s his usual line for her.

If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that I’ve fallen behind on Lucy Peanut pictures while I’ve posted more Alice and paper crane pictures lately. I decided to make up for that today. Here are a few of my dog challenge shots for this week.

For the prompt, “stepping out.”

Lucy Peanut is stepping out.

For the prompt, “Starts with W.” W is for “welcome, friend.”

W is for Welcome, Friend

For the prompt, “dramatic.” Lucy Peanut is a drama queen, especially when told it is time to go inside.

Drama Queen

I almost didn’t do a paper crane today. I’ve done a few extra along and along, so I’m ahead of schedule, and I didn’t have a chance to fold any at work today. I was busy typing most of the time I was in my office, and while I can do lots of things while I fold origami cranes, I haven’t yet built up the skill to type and fold at the same time.

I’ve had a busy day, and I’m tired. It didn’t seem to really matter whether I got in my cranes or not. While I have determined that I will have to rotate between taking pictures of Lucy Peanut and Alice and my other photo projects, though, the paper cranes are the one thing that I’ve tried to commit to on a daily basis. I have a specific goal in mind for completing 1000 within 1 year, and that can only be done by remaining diligent.

But what’s one day off, right?

I’m sure I will take a few days off this year. I might even take a few weeks off when push comes to shove. It is still only January, though, and I know I won’t finish if I start slacking this early. Besides, meeting a goal like this requires developing the habit of working on it. Just like becoming physically fit or finishing a dissertation requires developing the habit of working on it. That’s the principle of the Fitbit, and it’s why I love my Fitbit so much. It reminds me to make a habit of being more active. When it comes right down to it, your habits are who you are. You can change them and mold them and challenge yourself to become someone else, but while you are doing what you do, that’s who you are.

I want to be a person who finishes what she starts. I want to be a person who takes some time out of each and every day to meditate on peace and goodwill and hope and prayers for others. I want to be a person who makes paper cranes.

I’ve been trying to average three cranes per day. I did not meet that goal today, but I did sit down and make one crane after deciding I didn’t feel like it and then deciding that wasn’t much of an excuse. As always, once I just got started, I found my groove and got it done.

I present to you crane #63, a delicate and humble lady.

63

In which we all suffer for the art

Lucy Peanut is not impressed with her new outfit.

Today’s dog photo challenge was “all dressed up,” and Lucy Peanut had to endure grave insult because of it. She was not impressed with her new outfit. I had been saving this sweater for excessively cold weather, but after having to model it today, Lucy Peanut informs me that the weather will never be cold enough.

Chase

Jack Cat was also busy today keeping the yard clear of neighbor dogs. He may have been trying to protect Lucy Peanut, but it seems more likely that he was establishing a one dog limit for his territory.

My regular photo challenge today was “upside down.” I took that as an opportunity to play with office toys.

46-47

The yellow cranes were my second set for the day. My first batch were a bunch of clock watchers.

43-45

I have a lot of office time right now because I’m teaching a second eight week class that obviously hasn’t started yet. I’ve been doing most of my crane folding in the office because it is easier to complete them without help from Jack Cat, Stella Calico, and Lucy Peanut. It is also a good office activity. The repetitive process of crane folding sort of puts me into a meditative state, but that’s a good state to be in to work through mental puzzles. I’ve been planning lessons and reading stories I’ve assigned to my students and figuring out how things work while folding those cranes. It’s a good thing. If I didn’t have that little bit of activity to keep me focused on the moment, I would probably get bored and wander out of the office dozens of times during the day.

I’m really not meant to sit still all day. I need to get one of those bicycle work stations in my office. I have room. It would be a better investment than most of the things I purchase on impulse. I feel sure I could pedal and fold cranes and plan lessons at the same time. I could probably pedal and fold cranes and conference with students at the same time. I need to make this happen. Who wants to float me a little bit of cash?

Don’t be sad, sad kitty

Sad Kitty

Stella Calico was stuck inside today, watching Jack Cat and Lucy Peanut play outside. Stella is a shy and skittish kitty and does not go outside, but sometimes she sits in the window looking sad to be left home alone.

To which Lucy Peanut replies…

Wise Puppy

I don’t have anything to add to that. Lucy P has pretty much said it all.

Here are today’s cranes.

40-42

I am done now. I have not done all the things today, but I have the tired, and I am done.

Peace and love.

A walk in the park

Lucy Peanut tucks her tail when she hears a peculiar sound.

Lucy Peanut and I went to the park today, and she heard another dog bark (one that was inside a fence and just saying hello) and made herself bigger by hopping up on the nearest available bench. Alice, the little mannequin, was already there, and I intended to photograph her. I had to move Alice to an alternate location to get Lucy P away from the big and scary dog. See how LP’s little tail is tucked in. She was pretty much convinced we were about to be attacked by a monster.

This is what Alice ended up with:

Alice is approached by a wiry guy at the park.

Alice has met a a guy named Adam. He’s a wiry sort.

I walked about two miles today in the interest of taking photographs and in the interest of giving Lucy Peanut a chance to play off leash in a safe place (safe except for big and scary barking dogs). Lucy P walked about 20 miles for my two, weaving back and forth in front of me and running circles around me. Guess which one of us was tired when we came home and which one of us begged to stay outside and keep playing? The dog is inexhaustible. The girl is highly exhaustible.

My photo prompt for today was warm. This is my shot for the prompt:

Pepper Man in Black and White

Pepper is warm, right? And if it isn’t warm enough, the sun flare behind the Pepper Man should count.

This little guy is hanging in my friend’s tree. There’s a whole folk art village in that tree, and I plan to photograph everything in it before this 365 project is over. I’m really thankful for the tree. January is always that time of year when nature doesn’t provide as much variety for photographic discovery as I prefer.

That’s not to say nature is completely stingy in winter.

Here is my crane shot for today:

31-33

These are cranes 31-33 out of a planned 1000 for the year 2016.

The red berries were a random find from my walk. These berries, and the possibility of finding something like them, are the reason I went outside today.

I keep asking myself why I’m doing this. It takes some time to come up with photographs to post every day, and I have to admit I’m not feeling particularly inspired right now. I’m not doing anything brilliant. I’m not pushing myself to learn new skills. I’m basically just using a nice camera to take snapshots. I’m not necessarily impressing myself.

But then I remember that I would miss seeing all of the small spaces of beauty that I see when I pick up my camera if I weren’t doing this, and I figure that’s reason enough.

Peace and love, my friends.

Grant me the confidence

I believe I can fly

I’ve often been amused by the quote that makes its way around social media from time to time: “Lord grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man.” Because yes. I’ve met those guys. And no. Not all white guys are like that, mediocre or otherwise, but it is a joke, so it’s okay to be amused.

Really, I think anyone, male or female, who has aspired to creative pursuits, has met with condescension from others who pursue the same interests, and it is always frustrating and unnerving, but people who are truly confident don’t have to prove their worth to others and don’t set out to belittle others, so the proper response to being the recipient of artistic condescension is to pity the fool. Confident people encourage others. Only people who are unhappy try to make other people lose confidence.

Lord help me to remember this. Help me to remember when I am doing my job of teaching people new skills that I need to take the time to give encouragement as well as critical feedback. Help me to remember the times people have treated me to condescension when I needed encouragement, and help me not to be that person.

But as for the kind of confidence I want, grant me the confidence of my little bitty puppy. Give her just a little room, and she will run like the wind. Grant me that spirit, please. Let me be all in whenever I’ve committed myself. Let me give everything I have to every moment. Grant me the confidence of that little baby dog.

For your pleasure, a few more shots of Lucy Peanut from today:

Cold Stare

Dog in Charge (1)

Dog in Charge (2)

Dog in Charge (3)

Dog in Charge (4)

I feel pretty