"The Dog" Journal

Welcome to the Dog Journal, a Sunday afternoon blog, where I'll share my best finds of the week for taming those puppies that gnaw at your planner.

Could be a quick time management tip, a smell-the-flowers moment, a comment overheard on the elevator. Whatever the inspiration, I hope you'll blog right along with me by commenting and sharing your tips and stories for taming an overbooked life.

Why Sunday afternoon? That's time I call "white space," a block of time I set aside for reflecting on the week before and planning the week ahead.

Ah! The Simple Life!

April 8th, 2012

IMG-20120406-00048 Sometimes less is more. And my granddaughter Taylor, 2, is a great one for making this point.

With all the Easter hoopla possibilities, she was most content to find 12 plastic eggs hidden rather obviously in the front shrubs and then settle herself down to open them.

The prize in each one was pretty simple: a single blackberry. And so was the process of getting them: twist, open, pop (in the mouth). She sat very quietly, working through her fruit loot, one by one, till all were gone.

The ritual ended a little more rowdily.

“Happy Birthday!” I heard her say, and turned around to find her throwing Easter grass like an exuberant flower girl with a basket of rose petals.

She found all the eggs. But I’ll be finding the grass for months to come. If I’m lucky, it will remind me that the simpler we keep it, the more fun

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February 27th, 2012

images-2When I called my daughter-in-law this weekend, I was stunned when my two year old granddaughter answered.

“Hi, gammy!” said Taylor. I soon found out there was big news behind this phone debut: “Daddy made popsicle!”

The orange juice popsicle, poured in the morning, had reported been the focus of her attention all day long. Like the watched pot that would not boil, the popsicle would not freeze. For hours. she waited for the final reward. Finally, minutes before the call, it was time.

“Cold!” she reported. Brrrrr!”

I marvel at the patience of this two year old, and hope that in a world where we’ve come to expect instant, she will continue to be willing to wait and finally savor. I suspect the long-awaited treat will be the one she remembers, long after those store-bought “quiescentally frozen confections” have melted away.

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Looking Back and Forward

December 28th, 2011

clipboard pixMaybe you’re the New Year’s Resolution-making kind. Maybe you give yourself the luxury of a retreat to set goals for the next year. Maybe you give the coming year a theme, like “My Year Of Adventure.” Or maybe you do none of the above.

Whatever your style, a useful exercise is to take inventory of your time, your stuff and your relationships.

Here are a few sample questions to get you started:

* What am I spending my time on? Does it still have value for me?
* What would I like to spend more time on? How can I do that?
* Is there stuff I no longer want or use? How and when will I dispose of it?
* Are there people I’d like to reconnect with? When will I do that?
* Are there relationships that no longer serve me? How can I change those relationships or let them go?
* Is there someone I need to forgive? Express gratitude to?

Finding the answers and acting can lighten and enrich your load in 2012.

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Baby Laptop. Really?

November 28th, 2011

large_support_images.Par.11403.Image.240.185.1.gifWith Christmas coming soon and the weather too rainy for the playground, I decided to invade Toys R Us this past weekend with my two-year-old granddaughter, Taylor.

“Why not let her test the toys and see what really appeals to her?” was the theory. It turned out to be a good one because it turns out that Taylor is not as enamored with the Fisher Price “Sing a Ma Jigs” as the online reviewers were. In fact, she was much more taken with a $2.00 violet vinyl ball.

But the real surprise of the trip was my discovery that toddlers now have laptops. Or can have them if there’s a willing buyer. “My Own Leaptop” comes with a USB cable which magically – only a two-year-old could understand how – would let her personalize the entire set-up to receive e-mails from grandma. She can also do blog posts of some kind, apparently with an electronic dog (sold separately) and create her own playlists. I don’t even have my own playlists.

I think soon she will be writing my blog posts, which is really fine since I am quite far behind. But maybe she won’t have time because she will also be pressing letters to learn the alphabet and common facts about animals. Or, more likely, playing with the $2.00 ball she was actually interested in. Or (don’t tell…I found this on my own) reading the Peter Rabbit book that lets her push a button and hear Peter eating the carrots in Mr. McGregor’s garden.

The real question is whether a two-year-old who already has three cell phones needs a laptop or should simply keep practicing with that vinyl ball. I think I know the answer.

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