camera phones.

Practical things. Like sending a friend pictures of seeds for our shared garden during a text conversation. How handy is it that we always have a camera on us?

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And how much handier is it that whatever image we capture at any given moment, we can instantly send or share it with anyone else?!

Clearly this picture never had the potential to change the world, but how many times have I been at the store and wondered if I was looking at or holding the right item. Not a problem; I just take a photo of it and send it to whoever I’m texting with or talking to. Right then and there.

This reminds me of a concept I’ve heard about; hedonic adaptation. This term just refers to the way we quickly absorb the waves of happiness that good things bring to our lives; at first we may be tickled pink to enjoy a new pleasure or convenience, but not for long. I’ve only had a camera phone in my hand for about half of my life, but it’s so easy for me to forget how much of a privilege it actually is.

And speaking of privilege… 😉 a couple months ago, shortly before COVID-19 closed things down, I treated myself to a gel manicure. My natural fingernails often behave like puff pastry and think they should shred and peel at the slightest provocation. I know; I need more collagen. I’m working on it. In the meantime, I’d gone in to a nail studio for a quick fix. It was a busy place. While I was waiting, I took the opportunity to choose the colour I wanted, to save time once my appointment actually started. Snap. I was ready with my image when my nail technician asked. Just so. Then, as I was about to leave, I saw a sign which promised that if I posted a photo of my nails in the salon, I’d be entered in a draw for a free manicure. Accordingly, I quickly took a little picture of my much-improved hands, and posted it to my instagram feed, tagging the nail shop.

Again, not earth-shattering. Still, for every such innocuous example, there must be dozens out there of camera phones to the rescue on matters of much greater import.

So blessed,

Leah 

p.s. Did I win the draw for a free manicure? This remains to be seen; there must still be a remote chance that I’ll get a call once business gets back underway. It’s possible…

happier.

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.” ~Gretchen Rubin~

This is one great podcast. It’s the first one I ever started listening to, and still a favourite.

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This woman is brilliant. Actually a genius. She left a promising career as a Yale-trained lawyer to become a writer who researches happiness. Also, her smart and funny younger sister, Liz, joins her; the podcast episodes are a dialogue between the two of them, with occasional guests interviewed from time to time.

Most episode include these cute little sections: “Try This At Home”, Happiness Hack”, and “Demerits and Gold Stars” (pretty funny, t.b.h.). These two. Anyway, there’s a huge community of listeners, many of whom write and call in with questions, answers, and sometimes rather amusing arguments.

I’d read some of Gretchen Rubin’s books, beginning with The Happiness Project, and Happier at Home). Eventually I read her newer offerings, and wrote little blog posts about these two: Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies. When I learned she had a podcast, I was excited to hear her talking about all these ideas. But when I heard their voices I was surprised; they sounded so down-to-earth. I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe more cerebral-sounding voices?  Anyway, I find their unabashed openness and vulnerability super relatable.

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Liz (l) and Gretchen (r)

When I first started with the Happier podcast, I was binge-listening for a while as I started at the beginning and gradually ‘caught up’. Now, of course I just listen to them as they’re released. They often make me laugh, and I always learn something or at least get a little vitamin-shot of motivation to look at things a bit differently, and I think it does make me happier, in real life.

So if you’re interested in listening in on this fun little world, here’s where you can find it:

Happier Podcast

Or you may just want to check out this little list:

Best Of Happier Podcast

Enjoy, my friends!

So blessed,

Leah 

p.s. I always do something else while I listen; often ironing or putting away laundry.

dutch blitz.

I’m not really one for card games. But this one is definitely an exception.

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Little did I know what good times I was bringing home to my family when I picked this up randomly, shopping one day several years ago. You may wonder why I haven’t gotten rid of this poor old box, and just wrapped the deck of cards in a rubber band. This is why:

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While I appreciate and admire those talented individuals who can ‘do accents’, I am not one of them. But when I read the little ditty on the back of this box, I think I actually sound a bit Dutch. Maybe not, but it’s fun to try. 

It’s simple, even straightforward to understand how to play. The hilarious intensity is because it’s played all at once! No turn-taking. No dull moments in between turns. No mind-wandering. Nope.

Each player gets one of these sets (from the main deck). If you want to play with more than 4 players at a time, there’s an expansion pack you can buy. Personally, my attention is spread to full capacity with four players. One of our adult daughters has A.D.H.D., and playing Dutch Blitz with her is enough to make my head spin. She’s definitely at an advantage in this game!

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The general idea is to make lots of red, blue, yellow, and green stacks of cards in the centre of the table, each stack beginning with a 1 and ending with a 10. There’s a pattern to how and when to use the cards in each players’ hand, and it’s fun.

Don’t take my word for it, though. I’m pretty sure you can order it on Amazon. During this pandemic, a lot of us have extra time at home with our families (or housemates), and this is just one more way to enjoy it.

Here’s the official Dutch Blitz website, which has a video you can watch to see the game played:

 
The craziest, and best memory I have of playing this is from last summer. My husband and I were out car camping with our two adult daughters. It was cold and pouring rain there in the majestic mountains of Banff National Park, so we all squished into the back of our little Subaru Forester to play a few rounds of Dutch Blitz. In all honesty, we didn’t actually fit. Oddly though, we all cheerfully contorted ourselves into pretzels in order to laugh our way through this silly game together. Good times. 
 
So blessed, 
 

Leah