Sunday, February 15, 2009

Prerequisites For Happiness--Food For Thought on a Sunday Night

"The prerequisite for happiness is the ability to get fully involved in life. If the material conditions are abundant, so much the better, but lack of wealth or health need not prevent one from finding flow in whatever circumstances one finds at hand. In fact, our studies suggest that children from the most affluent families find it more difficult to be in flow — compared with less well-to-do teenagers, they tend to be more bored, less involved, less enthusiastic, less excited.

At the same time, it would be a mistake to think that each person should be left to find enjoyment wherever he or she can find it or to give up efforts for improving collective conditions. There is so much that could be done to introduce more flow in schools, in family life, in the planning of communities, in jobs, in the way we commute to work and eat our meals — in short, in almost every aspect of life. This is especially important with respect to young people. Our research suggests, for instance, that more affluent teenagers experience flow less often because, although they dispose of more material possessions, they spend less time with their parents, and they do fewer interesting things with them (Hunter, 1998). Creating conditions that make flow experiences possible is one aspect of that “pursuit of happiness” for which the social and political community should be responsible."

— “If We Are So Rich, Why Aren’t We Happy?”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, American Psychologist, vol. 54(10), Oct. 1999

Valentine's Day at Kingwood Drive




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Monday, February 9, 2009

Four Things for February 9th

So, the four things I'm grateful for today:

1. The Capitol is warm and dry, and I'm in it.
2. The gym was warm and dry, and I was in it.
3. When I was in the warm, dry gym, I worked out. Consequently, I am in a good mood.
4. Tonight is basketball, and I can sit on the floor and work on THE HAT. Maybe I'll actually get more than an inch on it.

The Hat, Still and Again

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It actually got knit much further up the sides, but I increased by 24 extra stitches, tried to decrease instead of ripping it out, and ended up with a weird little bulge. So I ripped it out, and now it looks like this again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For February 4, 2009

Outside My Window
Wow--it is 60 degrees and sunny. Bulbs are popping up all over, and the squirrels are going crazy. I'm becoming something of a squirrel expert, b/c they are all over creation around the Capitol grounds. Today, I saw a fat one grab a big pinecone and go running up the side of a tree with it. I mean, really, what can a squirrel do with a pinecone, for pete's sake?

I Am Thankful For
The fact that I have time to sit in the back of this hearing room and don't have to testify on this bill (patient orders for life sustaining treatment). Also, that I have a car that goes, a job that pays, a happy family, a babysitter that is dependable and stands on Aidan's neck every day till his homework is done, and a dog who is feeling better.

From The Kitchen
I've been cooking and freezing on the weekends lately, b/c freezer food is such a life saver during the week when I get home at 6:30 with no brains left in my head.

I Am Wearing
Black pants, flats, and a sweater from Banana R. It was so nice today that I thought about running out the door in a skirt without nylons, but stopped when I realized how white my legs are. Note to self: must go to tanning bed.

I Am Creating
The red sweater, still and again. I'm thinking about taking a break and trying out Elizabeth Zimmerman's two-color hat, but I only have one set of circular needles, and the red sweater is on them. Guess I'd better get to the YLS (dang).

I Am Going
Home, after this hearing, which will probably go till at least 5:30.

I Am Reading
I just finished The Prince Of The Marshes, which was really compelling. Then, last night, I read The Sweet Dove Died, by Barbara Pymm. It wasn't quite the thing, but better than a kick in the butt.

Around the House
Last weekend, I cleaned the snot out of the upstairs couch. I washed all the cushion covers, and (gasp) rented a rug doctor and cleaned all the upholstery on it. It was much harder than I'd planned, but after it was dry, it looked great. Approximately 1/2 hour later, the shrimp dropped mac-and-cheese on it, and the dog hopped up and went to sleep next to Kevin. Sigh . . ..

I also changed the rug in there, which looks good. I'm realizing that it's one thing to change and clean a room up, but it's entirely another thing to keep it looking like that as I advance through the house to the next room. Basically, I did the entryway two weekends ago, and it looked great, but by the time I started I started on the couch seven days later, the entry needed a major hosing down again.

One Of My Favorite Things
Taking Aidan to the Capitol in the mornings before he goes to school. He is fascinated with the dynamics of lobby behavior, as follows:
A: Mom, let's try to sit in the back row again today.
B: OK, but we have to hurry to get there, because those are the most popular seats.
A: Because people can kick their feet and not get in trouble?
B: Right. And also get up and walk around, and talk to people, and stuff like that.
A: What about the front row? Is it a big privilege to sit there, too?
B: Would you want to sit up there?
A: No, because all the legislators would see me kicking my feet and laughing.
B: Exactly.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week
Try to figure out how the Vermont healthcare transaction tax works, and how we could set up something similar in Oregon. After that, try to figure out how to get self-insured members to like it. Can't imagine this actually happening.
From Alie Edwards' friend's blog, so I don't forget it:

"What I realized is that there is not just one big moment of courage in our lives. There are many. These moments come to us in different ways. At times we are forced into a leap (unexpected pregnancy, when parents or partners pass away, when we loose our job). At times we are called into a leap (when someone invites us for a trip of a lifetime, when our partner wants to move to a new city, when we are offered a chance, when we take the "money maker" role to support our family). Then there are also the daily tiny leaps we take for the sake of adventure (when we try new types of food, music, when we go out on a date, when we talk to a stranger, when we transition from blogger friends to real life friends). No matter how small, silly or hard, tiny, dramatic or forgotten... All leaps are important because little by little, we live through change, we figure out how to cope, we move forward, we learn who we are, and we build our confidence for the bigger leaps, the ones we seek for ourselves."

February manifesto day 2: make a leap.