Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Day 31, 100 Happy Days: Not Partying

I'm sitting here in front of the fire with a nice cup of tea. It's New Year's Eve. It's quiet, I'm alone, and I am happy.

What's making me happy? Is it the lack of fanfare? The quiet? Solitude? I gotta say; I've had 48 New Year's eves in my lifetime and only a few of them came close to what I consider "good". None of them were great, and several were disastrous.
It is so nice to be okay enough with myself to not feel the need to get out there and party. It is wonderful to allow myself the contentment and quiet.

In years past I would try and try to have a good NYE - as if it were my duty. I don't know what is wrong with that celebration. I want to love it, but... I guess there is just a lot of expectation put on it. It never lives up.

The years when I haven't tried to make it a great party night, I would stay home and try to ignore it. I would pretend it wasn't happening, and that I didn't want to be out there living it up. Boy does it feel good to be done with that!

So I'm spending tonight in front of the fire, writing, planning and being.

What a beautiful way to ring in the new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Day 30, 100 Happy Days: Snow Sculpting

It was absolutely freezing this morning. My phone told me it was 1 degree, but it could have easily been below zero. And I had to get out in it to play with the dog I'm sitting.

I really wanted to mumble and grumble and be miserable about  going out, but instead I made the choice to embrace it. It only makes it harder when I resist what is. And I can do absolutely nothing about the weather! Nor the fact that I had to be out in it. Might as well enjoy it!

So I made a little penguin while I was out there throwing the ball around. Not bad for a first effort. I think it could have been better had the snow had a bit more moisture, and if I could have worked at it for longer than five minutes at a time. (Even with decent gloves, my hands hurt from the cold after a few minutes.)

Making snow art made me happy, as did giving up resistance.

Bonus happy: It never warmed up, but it was good to see the blue sky. 

And of course, there's this kid... ❤

Monday, December 29, 2014

Day 29, 100 Happy Days: Handmade Card in the Mail

It seems a rare thing to get holiday cards in the mail anymore. I got three this year: one was mailed
alone, one came in a box with gifts, and one showed up today.

In all fairness to the sender (providing she hoped it would be here by Christmas), the envelope was postmarked December 18th (today is the 29th).
Two pieces of mail turned up outside my door today (instead of my mailbox), so my guess is a neighbor has been sitting on it for week or so.

But it matters not! Even if it had been mailed late it would have been fine - it made my day! I was delighted to get not only a card, but a beautiful hand made card at that.  And it says "joy"!

Happy happy, joy joy.  :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Day 28, 100 Happy Days: Clearing Cyber Clutter

Behold! My newly organized desktop.
I finally got a day at home where I didn't have to be anyplace else. I slept late, wrote in my journal, read, had coffee, and made myself a delicious (albeit very late) breakfast.

All of this made me quite happy, indeed. But come on now... as much as I'd love a leisurely day, I really had to get some work done.

Last night I had started cleaning up my iPhoto library, so I already had organization on my mind. Today when I logged on to my computer I took one look at the desktop and knew I couldn't rest until that thing was cleaned up. I really should have taken a "before" picture but... well, it just would have been too embarrassing.

So I got to work cleaning it up. Wow, do I collect stuff or what?! Not sure where to save something? Put it on the desktop! Most of it was junk and is now trashed. Between last night and today I trashed or sorted well over a thousand files. And organized some cluttered folders, too.

I feel so much more clear!! Now to work on my actual desktop...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Day 27, 100 Happy Days: Video of My Mom

My mom, August 2012
Tonight I decided to clean up my iPhoto library. I take hundreds of photos each month - pics of classes, things I want to paint, or post to Facebook, or just find interesting. I'm kind of a photo hoarder, really. Most of them go into iPhoto and never come out.

So tonight I just went into random albums to sort what I wanted to keep into folders, and delete the rest. I was mainly doing this with pictures of my classes, but I kept coming across pictures of my mom.
I decided that it was time to sort them.

It's kind of a hard thing to do. A bit like walking down memory lane, but the pictures were divided into two categories: before and after she got sick. Which really makes no difference to me; I thought she was beautiful no matter what. And although she probably wouldn't want me keeping the photos of her when she was sick, I am. There are some amazing memories there. Of course I would prefer that she never got sick, but I wouldn't trade the last eight months of her life. Her being sick brought us closer together.

Anyway, deleting pictures is not an easy thing to do - not of someone who is not around anymore. But I cam across a particularly bad picture and was about to delete it when I noticed a little camera icon on it. A movie!! Six minutes and fifty-four seconds of my mother being animated. What a find!* Of course I was hoping it was some message for me, but I knew better. It was typical Linda: sitting at her desk in her pj's talking about a dream she had and eating a ham sandwich. Pretty funny stuff. I felt like I was sitting across the table from her again.

What makes it all the more interesting is that yesterday - for the first time since she died - I bought some ham at the deli. She loved a particular kind and I spent time thinking about her and trying to find just the right one. Then today I made a ham sandwich and thought of her and how much she loved her ham sandwiches... so of course she was eating one in this video!

So happy to see my mom in action rather than still photos.

*After she died I downloaded all the stuff from her iPhone. I thought I had looked at everything, but I guess not.

Day 26, 100 Happy Days: Snow

Max deciding if the yard is sniff-worthy.
I love snow - but only if I don't have to go out into it. I love looking at it, and I love having an excuse to stay cozy and warm at home.

But today I had to get out in it to walk a dog. Now I know that dogs are super fun in the snow. But even the prospect of watching a dog frolic and play in the snow was not enough for me to want to go out. But a pet sitter's gotta do what she's gotta do, so I put on about 8 pounds of clothes and got out there.

Suddenly I was reminded of how much I LOVE to be in the snow! I don't know why I ever forget. New snow is so beautiful. I delight in being the first one to make tracks in the snow. I love how quiet it makes the world seem, and how loud my feet are as they plow through the snow.

I've got to get some nice warm boots and get out there more often.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Day 25, 100 Happy Days: Popcorn, Wine and TV

I'm not really a big holiday person these days. It's not that I'm anti-holiday (although I do get sad sometimes), I just don't go out of my way to celebrate.
And I am absolutely fine with that.

I'm one of those people who finds themselves alone on Christmas. It's not that I'm without invitations-I could spend Christmas with friends. But luckily I'm an introvert and I love my alone time. Sometimes being around other people and their families just makes me think about who's missing in my own life. So, best to enjoy my own company sometimes.

So tonight I cozied in with a bowl of popcorn some wine and the TV. Oh, and I was not completely alone, as I'm hanging out with this big guy; Max.

A lovely evening, really. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Day 24, 100 Happy Days: Reflecting on Beauty

"Haven" ©Tabetha Hastings
I had a lovely Christmas Eve morning. It started with writing my morning pages, and then moved on to reading the book I'm currently devouring savoring. (One way or the other I'm eating it up.)

I had just read a particularly beautiful passage, and I paused to reflect on it. I looked out the window to see a the bones of a beautiful old tree standing against the blue sky with a few happy clouds floating by. It was all framed so perfectly by the window. I wanted to paint it.

I wonder if I would have appreciated that scene if I hadn't just read some beautiful, thought provoking words. Certainly I wouldn't have even noticed it had I not paused to reflect on those words.

Art inspires art inspires art.

There is so much beauty in the world if we just take the time to slow down and see it... Savor words, pause to reflect... it can make a person happy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 23, 100 Happy Days: Feeling Understood

I'm new to the Amanda Palmer band wagon. (If you haven't heard of her, I suggest you check out her brilliant TED talk.) I've been following her on Facebook ever since I discovered the TED talk. She's pretty damn rad. I followed the buzz leading up to the release of her book "The Art of Asking".

Because I think she's amazing and open and honest and raw, and because of the incredible book cover that kind of says that she's all of those things, I figured I'd probably love the book. Money being what it is, I got on the library wait list as soon as it was available.

I'm not very  far into it - just page 37, but my mind was kind of blown today, and it's because I feel so understood reading her book.

She was talking about people wanting to be seen and to be believed...

"I laughed thinking about every single artist I know... who had decided to forgo a life of predictable income, upward mobility, and simple tax returns, and instead pursued a life in which they made their living trying to somehow turn their dot-connecting brains inside out and show the results to the world - and how maybe it all boiled down to one thing:
Believe me
I'm real

"Here's the thing: all of us come from some place of wanting to be seen, understood, accepted, connected. 
Every single one of us want to be believed. 
Artists are often just louder about it."

Yes. So good to feel understood! Looking forward to the rest of the book.

Day 22, 100 Happy Days: Love Actually

To be honest, I really didn't want to have my happy thing come from a movie, but... that's just the way it turned out... I watched Love Actually, and it was what made me the happiest today.

I love this movie! I don't know how many times I've seen it - it's just one of those movies I like to watch around the holidays.

Even though I know the stories well, the movie never fails to make me happy.

There are the big stories where someone takes great risks for love are great: the Prime Minister going door to door to find his love; the boy who runs through the airport to say goodbye to his love; and the writer who learns another language to propose to the woman he's never really spoken to, but has fallen in love with.

Grand romance, indeed.

But even the stories that didn't work out so well are about love: the woman who looses the man she's in love with because she won't set boundaries with her mentally ill brother. And the man who falls in love with his best friend's bride. The message in both of those stories is that there is value simply in loving. Love can be bumpy and doesn't always work out the way you want - romantic or otherwise. But it's always there if you look for it.

That makes me very happy. And hopeful for humankind.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Day 21, 100 Happy Days: Blank Canvas

A blank canvas is a wonderful (and potentially terrifying) thing. It represents pure potential. It's fresh and new, and has it's whole future ahead. It's all possibility.

When one is having a creative block, a blank canvas can be quite intimidating.

Luckily, I am anything but blocked right now. I couldn't wait to tear the wrapping off of this canvas today. And even though I was excited to start painting, it made me happy to just look at that beautiful blank canvas on my easel for a few minutes before diving in with the oils.
After (in progress)

This is what's happening to that canvas that I opened up this afternoon; I started a painting of this morning's sunrise. This is just the first layer, so it's very much a work in progress. But I'm pleased so far!

Day 20, 100 Happy Days: Warmth

I feel like I've been cold for days. That deep down to the bone cold but you just can't shake. Even when I'm sleeping, lately, I've been aware that I'm cold, but am too cold or tired to do anything about it.

I'm pet sitting right now, and I'm often cold when I stay at other peoples houses. One of the very few benefits of having a tiny apartment, is that I can crank the heat up and stay warm in the winter. (Without paying through the nose.) I guess I'm pretty spoiled in that way.

Today I went home to get some work done in my office, and was welcomed by my nice warm apartment. It was cozy and toasty and wonderful. Warmth = happiness.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Day 19, 100 Happy Days: Kids Painting Class

Today I taught a class full of kids.
My classes are usually for adults, although every once in awhile a kiddo or two will show up. But this? This was eighteen kiddos! A whole different ballgame. They were ages 8-13, and they were awesome!

Kids are really fun to teach. I love how free they are with the paint, and how willing they are to do their own thing. They look at the original painting, take my instruction, and then unabashedly put their own spin on it. Very cool.

They try new things, take risks, and aren't afraid to shake it up. We could all learn something from them.

Watching these kids go definitely made me happy today.

"All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 18, 100 Happy Days: A Trip to the Dentist

Feeling like a queen with my new crown.
Wow. Amazing day! So much to be happy about, it's hard to choose just one thing to write about. 
So I'm going with the first thing that made me happy today: a trip to the dentist.

I know that is not something that usually would make a person happy, but this visit has been a long time coming... I finally got a crown put on my poor broken tooth.

It's been several months of babying this tooth and eating on one side (luckily I have not been in pain through this process). Finally, after seeing a dentist that I didn't like, and a second opinion, and some insurance issues... I finally I got it taken care of! Woo-hoo!

I celebrated tonight with some delicious crunchy food at Punchbowl Social.

Day 17, 100 Happy Days: Free Coffee and Holiday Cheer

It was a dreary, overcast day in Denver.... I really could have used some sunshine today. All I wanted to do was to go home and climb back into bed. But, no rest for the weary. I had one more errand to run before heading out to teach a class tonight; I had to stop at Whole Foods.

It was late afternoon, and Whole Foods was kind of a zoo. Luckily (or not), I was too cold/tired/apathetic to get irritated with the other shoppers. (I suffer greatly from GSSSS: Grocery Store Shopping Stress Syndrome.) I trudged through, and got in line to check out. I chatted with the checker and silently noted that I sounded far more chipper than I felt. Which is good - I'm not a fan of spreading misery around.

As I was about to leave she said "Oh, did I mention that they're giving away free coffee in the parking lot? You can get coffee, hot chocolate, a latte... anything you want."


I headed out to the super cool Allegro Coffee truck, where I was greeted by a super nice lady. I asked for a mocha. They were playing Christmas songs. Everyone seemed happy. The lady handed me my mocha and said how nice it was to give stuff away. And then she gave me a stocking made by L.I.F.E Line. The tag says that it's "made by mums in Kenya" and that it "serves to protect elephants and rhinos against the devastating ivory trade".

All of this is just what the doctor ordered. Exactly what I needed. Happy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 16, 100 Happy Days: Being Present Through Painting

"Sunrise at Libby's" (In progress)
One of the things that I love about painting is that it can bring me directly to the present moment. All attention is on the painting in front of me, and the rest of the world melts away. I find the rhythm of the music, and somehow it feels that it's synced up with the paintbrush.

I've found my groove.

However, I can't get to that place when I'm teaching a class, or when other people are around (with the exception of a very few people with whom I've been painting for years). If I'm not painting much, or during times of high stress, it can take me hours to find my groove. I'm happy to say that with my daily practice I'm finding that place nearly immediately.


And actually, I would say that painting is very similar to meditation. It's like an active meditation. If you're stressed or out of practice, it can take a while to quiet your mind. But with daily practice you can get there quickly.

Again, bliss.

Tonight's music was courtesy of Eric Dolphy and Herbie Hancock. Very nice indeed. Here's Herbie...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day 15, 100 Happy Days: Painting!

Current works in progress.
I spent six glorious hours in my studio tonight. Six hours in my studio is not that much when I'm teaching, but to have six hours to myself is very unusual. And wonderful!

Sure there were approximately ten thousand other things that I needed to do, but I also needed to paint. Even though my business is painting, painting my own work (as opposed to painting for classes) still gets pushed to the back burner sometimes. I spend a lot of time putting out fires, trying to get the word out about my classes, or crunching numbers, and painting for myself can seem like a novelty in the face of all that. Paying bills becomes priority, and painting a distant memory.

But I forget that painting is necessary for my peace of mind. It is necessary for my happiness, for my self preservation, for balance in my life, and it's necessary for me to paint in order to be whole.

Tonight was bliss. I have several pieces that I'm working on (you really have to when you paint in oils), and I worked on a few of them. Right now I'm a bit obsessed with the night and the early morning skies.  I'm enjoying having many paintings in progress with the same theme; it allows me to explore different approaches to similar images.

I listen to a lot of music while painting. My favorite cd's of the evening were Joshua Bell's Red Violin Concerto, and Dexter Gordon's Our Man in Paris and One Flight Up. Sometimes it's good to paint to music without lyrics.

Here is Dexter Gordon's Tanya. Brilliance.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day 14, 100 Happy Days: Holding Space

I had three awesome ladies show up for Paint Club today.  Some really wonderful people pass through my studio, but every once in awhile I meet some who I would consider kindred spirits. These three fell into that category.

We spoke the same language, and they really "got" what I'm doing in my studio. They came in and fearlessly dove into the paint (so to speak), and understood that painting is about the experience more than it is about the finished product.

They allowed themselves to be fully present.

It made me happy to be able to hold space for people to have that kind of experience. What exactly do I mean by "holding space"? To me holding space simply means providing a non-judgmental environment where people can feel safe to explore. In my studio (best case scenario), they're exploring not only the paint and what it can do, but they are also getting in touch with a part of themselves that they don't always access. Painting can really pull you inside and help you to work through things you've been holding on to. Of course, not everyone has that experience, but everyone could if they were open to it.

I'm so happy to be able to provide that opportunity.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Day 13, 100 Happy Days: Doing It Differently

Bonus happy: good food with a good friend.
Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George decided that he needed to do everything in the exact opposite way than he'd normally do? He started with changing what he ordered for lunch, which led him to introducing himself to a beautiful woman... yadda yadda, next thing you know he's landing a job with the Yankees.

Today, I decided to do things differently. Well... I've been doing them differently all week, really. Which makes me realize that once you make a change, other changes become easier. So I didn't really decide do things differently; it was more of a natural outcropping of doing them differently all week. I must say I'm getting very good results, which of course, makes me happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day 12, 100 Happy Days: Gift from Students

It was a great evening. I taught a class in my studio and everyone walked away having created a really cool painting.

Five out of the seven students had been to at least one other class, and it's always great to see familiar faces.

What made me happier than a great class with great people? Two of my favorite students showed up and brought me a bottle of wine. Icing on the cake!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Day 11, 100 Happy Days: The Theory of Everything

I saw a really great movie tonight: The Theory of Everything.

I'm not going to write a review - nobody needs to read that. But I will say that this movie made my happy list today. And today, I do have a list. Some days it's a struggle to find one thing to make me happy, and others it's just one happy thing after the other. I've learned to savor those days.

Many things made me happy today, starting from the moment I got out of bed. But the movie is what rounded out the day, and it's what's sticking with me. It was inspiring, and beautiful, and thought provoking.

Also, I've been painting stars lately, so it seemed right in line with what I'm doing, somehow.

"However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope.” -Stephen Hawking

Here is my latest little painting, still in progress. I started it today, and I won't be able to work on it for a few days - I need to wait for the oil paint to dry before going in for the final touches.

4"x12" Oil on Canvas ©Tabetha Hastings

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Day 10, 100 Happy Days: My Studio Practice

Yesterday I decided to recommit to my art. I have to do this from time to time, as the business of art, and teaching, and making a living get in the way of my real work: painting.

So, I've decided to strengthen my studio practice. (Alright, let's be real; I decided to have a studio practice.) Every day that I don't have to be at my studio to teach (or for some other reason), I'm going in to paint. This is day two. So far so good. Amazing, actually.

As if to confirm my decision, I just had a conversation with another artist whose boyfriend is a successful artist in NYC.
Making a living from your art is difficult enough, but to do it New York? Well, that's a dream. So, today's happy came from knowing that someone is doing it. And from feeling like I got a nod from the universe. I'm on the right track. Keep moving, keep painting.

Day 10 Bonus Happy: I found ten bucks in an old pair of jeans. Woo-hoo!!

Day 9, 100 Happy Days: HOME!!!

Home is where the old, torn paper lantern is.
I love pet sitting. I get to stay at different houses, and hang out with awesome animals... and I'm paid to do it! But it does come at a price because I, am a homebody. I love my apartment, and I like being around my stuff. When I'm away from it for too long, I get... ungrounded.

Luckily most of the places I pet sit at are pretty close to home, so I'm able to stop in for supplies, or to get some work done. But those are only a few hours here and there. Out of the last 16 nights, I've spent two at home in my own bed.
This is the thought that I woke up to this morning: Today I go home!! (I've been happy since the minute I woke up.)

So now I'm home, in my nice cozy, messy place with my stuff.
At least until the next pet sitting job. 

Day 9 Bonus: A really nice version of the Talking Heads Song "This Must Be The Place"

Monday, December 8, 2014

Day 8, 100Happy Days: Nothing to Prove

As I was walking along today I saw a young couple get out of a car. The man opened the trunk and pulled out a giant hard shell suitcase. Like, I didn't even know anyone carried these things anymore. 
A well-dressed woman in a little skirt suit got out of the car. She was carrying a big purse and another bag, and she walked up to the young man and asked "Can I get that?"
Say what??
This case probably came up to her waist, and they were about to go up a big flight of stairs. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that she was not strong enough to handle the suitcase. But she was in heels, and already handling two bags. Of course the young man carried it for her.
Now here's where the happy comes in: it made me happy knowing that I've been her before, and I have evolved. I have been the woman who says "No I can handle it". And why? To prove that I have muscles? To prove that I don't need a man? Fugetaboutit. 
Somewhere along the line, I realized that strength comes in many forms, physical being only one of them. And I also realized that even the scrawniest of men were physically stronger than me. Which, makes carrying stuff easier for them. I say if a guy wants to carry something for you, let him. I've got nothing to prove (not in that warm anyway, not anymore). I know I'm strong enough to handle a lot of stuff, and smart enough to let someone else handle it.

Bonus happiness for today? Finding this particular bag of deliciousness:

Day 7, 100 Happy Days: Studio Day

A lovely day in my studio made me happy today. The weather was gorgeous and the windows were open. I reclaimed my space after first Friday, and painted the afternoon away. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Day 6, 100 Happy Days: Money in the Mail

I really don't want to sound shallow... but being  a single, self-employed artist - living close to the edge - I'm happy when any money comes in. But unexpected money? Now that's special treat!

Tonight I went to a lovely holiday concert with Kindred Spirits, where I saw some old friends. It's always nice to go back to my old stomping grounds, Swallow Hill Music.

When I got home I found a holiday card in the mail, with a check enclosed! I was happy to just get the card, and the check was icing on the cake!

I saw this on a dumpster this morning, and I thought it was a good reminder not to stress.

Day 5, 100 Happy Days: Day's End

I'm beat, I've had it, I'm done. 
This day… This very long day is finally over, and for that I am happy. Very happy.  Now to curl up into a nice warm bed…

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Day 4, 100 Happy Days: Lion in a Santa Hat

Don't ask me why, but I just love a lion in a Santa hat. I'm kind of crazy about lions anyway (Leo that I am), and I love looking at the lions that guard the homes in my neighborhood.

Now... put a Santa hat on one? You got a fierce yet festive cat. And this one made me happy on my walk today.

It kind of reminds me of the slightly bigger lion I was looking at a year ago on my trip to Chicago. That lion makes the first look like a tame little kitty cat!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day 3, 100 Happy Days: No More Street Sweeping!

If you live in the city, street sweeping is just one of those things you have to deal with.

I live pretty close to the corner, and depending on which side of which street I choose (or am able to) park on, I could get a ticket on the first Tues, Wed or Thurs of the month. It's a real pain to remember, but it gets easier after you have to pay the city $50 for forgetting.

This being the first Wednesday of the month, I was all set to pay attention to the signs, when I realized that street sweeping only goes through November. Happy day!! It will pick back up in April, but at least we get a bit of a reprieve, which helps makes the cold weather a little more bearable.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Day 2, 100 Happy Days: Syncronicity

I love it when things line up perfectly in life. It makes me feel like all is well with the world... which of course it's not. It never is, but sometimes it's more glaringly obvious than others. Sometimes the bad stuff is a bit too close for comfort.
Which of course, is precisely why one needs to look for things to be happy about. And noticing the synchronicity in life is a good start. It's a reminder - to me at least - that things are indeed flowing. It's almost a nod from the universe that I'm on the right track.

Today I was driving along listening to a Neil Young song that I had never heard. I looked over at a gas station sign and read "B4 SNOW FLIES" just as Neil Young sang "If I get there before the snow flies".
Wowzers!! How random is THAT? Crazy.

As luck would have it, the light turned red just then, and I was able to snap a pic of the sign, and the screen that showed the song (I took that pic largely to remember the song).

And here is the song. It really is quite lovely.

Monday, December 1, 2014

100 Happy Days Again! Day One: Pet Sitting

I had such a good experience doing my Happiness Project at the beginning of this year, and I've been wanting to do it again. For some reason, it's not the easiest thing for me to start. It's not the looking for - and finding things that make me happy that I find difficult. It's the actual blogging about it - which is a very important part of the process for me. It's what keeps me on track.
So here I am.
December 1st seems the perfect time to start. I tend to get a bit gloomy around the holidays (although so far so good this year), and I figure if I start looking for things that make me happy now, perhaps I can skate through Christmas and New Years feeling better than usual.

Perk of pet-sitting: seeing the sun rise.

Day One: Pet Sitting
I've been pet/house sitting for the last several years. Not only am I paid to stay at people's lovely houses and take care of their wonderful pets, but it also allows me the opportunity to shake things up in my life.
Being self employed and a natural life-long night owl, I tend to run about four hours behind everyone else. While a lot of people get up at 5:00 or 6:00, I get up at 9:00 or 10:00. And I really like it that way! However, I think it's good to change things up every once in awhile.

When I pet sit, I'm pretty much on the animal's schedule. If the dog is up, I'm up. Right now I'm sitting a dog whose mom is an early bird, so the dog gets up with the sun. This means I'm up before the sun (if you can believe that), to get myself up and ready for the wild puppy energy.

The best thing about getting up so early? Yes, getting a jump on the day is nice but I'm loving those sunrises! Gorgeous. So, there I am at 6:30am, bundled up, throwing a ball to a dog, and letting that sunrise make me happy. Oh yeah, and this guy... this guy makes me happy too...

Yup... and this sweet girl....