Photo by jose alfonso sierra on Unsplash

2020, now in the rear-view mirror, was for many of us the worst year of our lifetimes, and by some measures the worst year in human history. For many, it could not possibly been worse, especially for the 340,000 American families who lost a loved one or the millions who lost their jobs or small businesses. It was a heartbreaking year for frontline health workers whose tireless efforts sometimes still meant that someone didn’t get helped because it still wasn’t enough.

To all of us, but especially to the grieving, the suffering, the hungry, the unhoused, the disillusioned, and the…

5. Be mindful of stressful events that cause uncomfortable feelings. Feel the feelings, then and seek comfort not in the fridge, but in what brings joy: walks, music, friends, reading a good book, writing, anything I love and that loves me back.

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

Stressful events. When I wrote a list of health commitments in the summer of 2019, the most stressful event I could imagine was a looming project milestone at work, a falling-out with a friend, earthquake damage to the house, or illness in the family.

A global catastrophic event — certainly not one that would so profoundly and permanently…

4. Eat meals instead of grazing mindlessly all day.

My health commitment for March started out relevant as the world was still normal(ish) in my city — and then its advice quickly became quaint / cringeworthy / tone deaf / moot. As we’ve hunkered down in our homes and no one is sharing meals with anyone beyond their four walls, much has been put on indefinite hold. Who knows when or if normalcy will return, or what form it will take when it does?

The suspended animation in which most of us are now living affects us all differently. It’s…

Red, about age 9

We found her at a Beagle rescue farm in Lancaster in November 2013. We went there looking for a puppy but middle-aged (Red) Sally was the one we took home. We dropped the Sally from her name on the drive home and from that day forward, she was just our Red.

Beggs — our first — was going to be our only Beagle, but we lasted just six months after Beggs passed away in the Spring of 2013. If you’ve ever had a Beagle, you’ll know they’re like potato chips. You can’t have just one.

A tail of two Beagles

Red and Beggs were both…

This is the third in a 12-part series.

Update March 19, 2020: My timing is awful; I’m so sorry if this landed wrong. I wrote it just before the shit hit the fan. Of course, with current COVID-19 pandemic situation and the recommendation for social distancing, I think it is fine to suspend this recommendation for the foreseeable future.

3. Choose company over solitude when eating — make eating a social — not solitary — experience. That means actual people, not devices.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I eat most of my weekday lunches and many of my other meals alone out of habit and…

Every Silver Lining has a Cloud, Doesn’t It?

My city is illuminated by 281 days of sunshine a year. Half the time I wonder when it’s going to rain.

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

I enjoy my job. I do it well. I like my coworkers. I’m well paid. At night, I imagine working somewhere else doing something else with other people for more money.

Our beagle is grey but graceful, wobbly but sweet. She still loves her food, her naps, and us. I think about the inevitability of life without her instead of enjoying life with her.

Our home is warm and dry; precious memories and unique art cover our walls. I’ve…

There’s no doubt we all have cause to worry about events in the world around us lately; some of us have every right to be terrified. I’ve faced challenges in my life, but the worst of these — loneliness, abuse, poverty, harsh judgment, loss, and especially my own bad choices — are in my rear-view mirror although they sometimes seem closer than they appear. As a cisgendered straight white woman born on this continent to Christian parents, I’ve never been persecuted for who I am or for whom I love, for the color of my skin, for seeking refuge from…

2. Eat when I’m hungry, don’t eat when I’m not. Have tea or water — or wait it out instead.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Last month’s Crowdsourcing Accountability was the launch and January installment of a 12-part series: healthier eating goals for 2020.

Crowdsourcing accountability works three ways:

(1) I’m sharing my commitments with the world whether or not anyone reads about it. I have gone public with my intention and therefore I answer to more than just myself — I answer to the higher power, to the collective of which I’m a contributing part. This is an approach I’ve had success with all…

I’ve made a promise to myself and the people around me to be more positive this year, to stay out of the bogs and bear traps of criticism, gossip, and judgment, and to be a kinder person.

And I will.

But first, I have to reach back into 2019 and reflect on some promises I made last year in support of my physical health, because if the fit of my clothes right now is any indication, I did not succeed and I really, really wanted to. My health goal at this point is not to get back to a certain…

The life and times of my black-and-white guardian angel

Tommy, 2009. All photos: a grain of infinity

It’s been ten years, and, as always in December, Tommy’s been on my mind. I thought about him as we trimmed the tree with the pictures and dog tags of the six dogs we’ve lived with over the past 22 years. I thought about him as we ate a tuna casserole one Sunday in December because tuna was his very favorite food, so much so that when we visit his grave we bring a can of tuna instead of flowers.

I thought about Tommy when I saw another split-face Border Collie galloping exuberantly down the street, panting human in tow…

a grain of infinity

I grew up in Toronto, Canada, but, for now at least, the US is my home. Hear me at grain of infinity dot com.

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