Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Whatever It Takes February 8, 2014

It only costs a dollar. But it is capable of miracles.

The winter blues have claws deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of many in my neck of the woods these days. If it’s not frigidly cold, it’s snowing. If it’s not snowing, it’s frigidly cold. And I am in good company of many Wisconsinites who still find joy in the snow diamonds falling from the sky. But even I can admit it’s been an especially tough winter. I love my backyard paradise, but it is taking a great deal to get me out there recently.Nap time

So I find my joy in other things. Snuggle time with Carter. Quiet time in another room when Carter is screaming. And (this is new) time alone with dad. Mom has been spending the majority of her time taking care of Carter (as it should be), which has freed dad up for some quality time with me.

Tonight our quality time involved cooking a special dinner for mom. Since I’ve won more of his affection lately he’s been especially generous with treats of all kinds, so I was incredibly attentive as he bustled around the kitchen. (They don’t call me the doggie vacuum for nothing). He was making a comfort food staple – macaroni and cheese. And not the gourmet kind with the roux and six different varieties of cheese (which he does also know how to make). The kind you can get for a dollar. Complete with the orange powder.

Generally I’m not that big a fan of the less is more idea. Us canines tend to indulge in whatever comes our way. But tonight less worked wonders on the winter blues. Joy. From the ground up, it happened in the Schmidt house today in spite of those nasty winter blues. And it didn’t take much.

“Your success and happiness lies in you,” Helen Keller suggested. “Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

That’s the thing about joy – sometimes it takes a little effort to find it amidst the blues. But once you do it almost always is worth the search. Especially when it only costs a dollar.

 

Just Another Day July 6, 2013

Sleep. Eat. Play. Repeat. I realized it while I laid in the sun for who knows how long this afternoon. Some days in a dog’s life are utterly uneventful. There’s nothing spectacular happening around the house. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary in the backyard. No abnormal weather events or exciting visitors. No excursions out of the house. Just another day in a dog’s life.

Today I caught myself somewhat bitterly contemplating the possibilities, all of which seemed more exciting than the absolute nothing I was doing. I heard my forever parents discussing different ideas of things to do outside (some involving me, others not). Meanwhile my heart raced every time they thought they were sneaky spelling out w-a-l-k, as if I don’t know what that spells. (Sometimes it surprises me how little credit they give me in the smarts department.)

Feeling Sleepy On the Job

None of their well-intentioned plans came to pass. Instead, I half-watched half-slept through them doing various tasks around the house. Dusting, cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen…didn’t they just do all this a few days ago?

Then it happened. Mom left dad and I alone to go to something called a concert with a friend of hers and the afternoon took a turn for adventure. Dad took me for a walk (which is even more exciting since that’s usually something I only do with mom), then we played catch outside, and some more in the house. Cuddle time came after that as we sat on the couch watching all the shows on the moving picture window mom doesn’t care for (mostly involving cars). It was a night to remember.

In the grand scheme of things, the night I had with dad was more of the same nothingness of the day. We didn’t do anything that spectacular (other than the walk which even I have to admit got pretty hot pretty fast), other than simply enjoying each other’s company. Some days are like that. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary happens. Instead it’s just par for the course. Just another day in a dog’s life. What a blessing that is! When I find myself feeling bitter about these moments of peace, I am going to remember today and embrace the possibilities that lie in what may be disguised as nothingness. Because as American singers Simon and Garfunkel put it, “I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”