joie de vivre

I was going to start this by writing “These are strange times.”

There are batshit crazy times. I can literally point at current events and match them with the Book of Revelation. I mention this as a simple point of interest. I’m no biblical scholar, nor do I put any fundamental stock in the book.

I started this blog fourteen years ago, as of this writing. There’s a field in WordPress where you can give your site a title and add a tag line. Not knowing how else to describe it, I put joie de vivre as my tagline when I created this site.

General setting page in WordPress

Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit. It “can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do… And joie de vivre may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung.

Approximately 80% of the posts on this site are Art related. The rest are miscellaneous articles about web design, skating, tutorials, and joie de vivre.

I noticed that when I wrote about the good things in my life, more of those good things appeared in my life. I began to study the Law of Attraction as described in The Secret, the Abraham-Hicks books written by Esther and Jerry Hicks, Napoleon Hill’s works, and New Thought philosophy. I was convinced I was on to some great discovery. A big element of all these writings is gratitude. In a way, this site is a long thank you note. There are very few things I can control in my life, and gratitude is the skeleton key to the “engine room of my thoughts.”

The world, and the United States, is in turmoil. While plagued COVID-19, alongside shallow government officials that refuse to lead, during civil protests against police brutality and generations of racism, we head into economic peril not seen since the great depression – all while blatant income inequality is clearly evident and foreign governments interfere in our elections. Facebook continues to value profit over ethical practices, while the county wrestles with women’s rights, transgender rights, and human rights. Every day, I witness some new outrageous horror on Twitter.

I see these events, and others, as a chance for our world to heal, to grow, and for the human species to evolve and begin to properly care for our planet, the plants and animals we live among, and each other. There is a lot of real, hard work ahead that is going to have most of us feeling uncomfortable. Gratitude helps. Maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” allows me to see all the good things around me, while acknowledging, and doing, all the work I need to do.

For me, these joie de vivre posts are an opportunity to spend time focusing on things for which I am grateful. It is candle light for dark thoughts during dark times. I believe we all need this light – you have your own light in your own joie de vivre, and it’s worth celebrating. To not celebrate the good things in life, even the smallest things, even during the apocalypse, is to miss out on something important – a chance to be in the moment, to be mindful, and perhaps, happy.

Please make a note of your own joie de vivre, your own joys and triumphs, however small. May they grow and shine in your own life, amid the fear, grief and uncertainty we call face every day. I shall follow my own advice, and write more about my own joie de vivre.

The End of the Twenty Tens

I haven’t written a year end post since 2012.

My life took a big turn in 2013, and during the years that followed. My marriage ended in divorce. I moved to another zip code. I changed jobs. I went back to school. I moved to yet another zip code. I changed jobs again. There were deaths, and loss, and the sad ending of relationships. In other words, a lot of life happened.

I started drinking in 2013, after ~20 years of not drinking. I strongly suspect that, because I started drinking again, I have not written any year end posts.

My previous “year in review” posts contained notes of gratitude for that year’s many blessings. I have so much for which to be grateful. I will not attempt to enumerate the many wonderful things that have happened since 2013, or even from 2019, in this year end blog post. I will name just one blessing, which I intend to carry into our collective future.

I am sober.

Happy New Year!

Lucky Hedwig

Hedwig the Cockatiel

Our cockatiel Hedwig escaped last week during an avoidable mishap. She slept outside while the girls and I stayed awake and worried for her. The next morning, I hit Craigslist and canvased grocery stores, vets and pet shops with MISSING BIRD fliers.

The last store I visited explained, rather bluntly, that I’m a fool for not keeping her wing feathers trimmed. They also said that when a bird escapes, they are overwhelmed with trying to find the “ceiling” outside. Typically, they won’t go more than 200 to 300 yards from the house, and they will usually stay put in a tree until forced to move (food, predators, etc.)

I picked a street in the next neighborhood and started walking and whistling – Hedwig always whistles back, it’s a kind of game we play. Almost immediately, I heard her respond to Sleigh Ride. I still can’t believe my luck – I keep reliving the thrill of hearing her in the distance. Such amazing relief. It took us both about 20 minutes to figure out which tree she was in, and how to get her down in the wind. She managed it, and is sitting on my shoulder as I type this.

Hedwig in the tree

The advice from the cranky store owner was excellent. I called to thank her, and she then told me that people will often keep friendly birds if they meet them. And Hedwig is the friendliest ever.