The Very Best Dogs are Manipulative

But he’ll always be my baby.

I just read a really interesting article entitled, “Science Proves a Harsh Truth About Very Good Dogs”. I almost didn’t read it, because with all that’s going on in the world, I’m not sure I’m ready for a harsh truth about my dog. I mean, seriously, I don’t think I can take one more thing. But it turns out the article was worth the read.

Have you ever fallen completely in love with a dog simply because it has a very expressive face? That pretty much does it for me. Shoot me the sad eyes and I’m completely at your mercy.

Until quite recently, the general consensus seemed to be that those expressions were involuntary, just as they are with the bulk of the animal world. If a dog feels sad, we assumed, he just automatically made a sad face. I know that when my dog gives me that look, I just have to hug him.

But no. A scientific experiment was conducted to determine if dogs made the same expressions under the same circumstances if a human was paying attention or not. They gave the dogs food with an attentive human feeder, and also with a feeder whose back was turned, and studied their facial expressions. Turns out that dogs give many more facial expressions if the human is attentive.

To make sure it was the human attention that was the game changer for the dog, rather that how visible the food was, they experimented with food visibility, too. No change. It was all about the attention. According to the article, “the faces your dog makes are less about the food you have in your hand and more about getting you to do what it wants.”

I still believe, though, that my dog loves me. Even if he is a manipulative little monster. He may be performing to get a reaction, he may know darned well that he has me wrapped around his little paw, but he’ll always be my baby.

Quagmire, my manipulative boy. ❤

Quagmire urges you to check out my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

There Are Many Ways to Say I Love You

It’s giving someone the last bite of apple pie.

When my husband makes me a sandwich, he often gives me the bread heel, because he knows I love it. He also happens to love it, so that makes the sacrifice even more special. He also scratches my back without me having to ask, and he holds my hand when I’m going down the stairs because, let’s face it, I’m a klutz.

There are many ways to say I love you.

It’s remembering someone’s shoe size or their favorite flower. It’s putting up with insane relatives. It’s making sure someone is wearing their seatbelt.

It’s dropping someone off at the front door so they can avoid the rain. It’s handing them their vitamins after breakfast. It’s taking better care of yourself so you’ll be able to take care of someone else.

There are many ways to say I love you.

Sometimes, I love you means biting your tongue. Sometimes it means speaking up. It always means listening.

It’s giving someone else the last bite of apple pie. It’s sharing your secrets. It’s trusting and being trustworthy.

There are many ways to say I love you.

It’s stepping aside and it’s stepping up. It’s walking hand in hand, and it can sometimes be walking away. It’s sitting through a movie that wouldn’t have been your first choice.

Anything that demonstrates that you have given thought to what makes someone happy is a resounding I love you. Putting someone else first is another I love you (if you find the right balance). Allowing yourself o be vulnerable is perhaps one of the biggest I love you’s of all.

There are many ways to say I love you.

But sometimes people just want to hear the words. That’s important, too. Never assume someone knows. Tell them. If you truly feel it, you’ll never regret saying it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear reader.

heart-of-hearts

Portable gratitude. Inspiring pictures. Claim your copy of my first collection of favorite posts! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Creative Expressions of Grief

I had the distinct honor of participating in a reception for The Healing Center the other day. It’s a grief support community here in Seattle that is a welcoming and safe place to express your feelings of loss. They have been wonderfully helpful and understanding to me.

The reception, which is held annually, is called Healing Hearts. It is an opportunity for people to show the creative ways they have of expressing their grief. I have to say, this is quite a talented crowd. There were poets and writers there, and singer/songwriters and musicians and photographers as well. I was really pleased to be included in their number.

I read two excerpts from my book, A Bridgetender’s View: Notes on Gratitude. Before the event, I was having trouble choosing which parts of the book to read, so I asked for feedback from some of the regular visitors to my Facebook group, The View from a Drawbridge. The entries we finally chose were I Am Not Who I Was Yesterday, and Scars.

My main takeaway from this event was that there are so many ways to express one’s emotions. In fact, that’s what art is, really: a way to reveal what is inside you. That’s why the arts are so vital to any healthy culture.

I truly believe that it’s very important to open yourself up. Your inner self needs to see the light of day in order to thrive. Things should not be bottled up, lest they fester. And that’s what communities like The Healing Center are all about.

If you are experiencing grief, you do not have to go through it alone. Seek out the equivalent of The Healing Center in your community.

grief-by-i_strad
Grief, by i_strad

The Beauty of Words

The words you choose can be seductive. They expose your wit, your intelligence, your creativity and your charm without you having to come right out and declare that you have those qualities. And it often seems that the most fetching expressions are those that are rarely used. That’s a pity.

I love delicious repartee. I do not require adulation, only droll parlance. Entice me with your bonhomie and you will win my veneration. I will hold you forever in my high esteem.

I long to hear words that aren’t often uttered. Circumnavigate. Meander. Peruse. Trifle. Blunder. Toothsome. Pulchritude. Thoroughfare. I would prefer a good turn of phrase to a dozen roses any day.

Here is the very key to me: I can be easily ensorcelled (my favorite word of all) by your pithy commentary. Cogitate upon that if you so desire.

wordcartoon2

[Cartoon stolen, with the utmost admiration, from http://gustavtjgaard.wordpress.com/ ]