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The secret to a great hug: just breathe

25 Oct
Stormtrooper hug

On The Happiness Project blog, this week’s resolution is to “hug more, kiss more, touch more.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot today.

Last night, ignoring my friend Jenn’s very smart advice that you should never work late on a Monday night (it sets the whole week off on the wrong foot), I stayed up until midnight finishing up some work. And of course, I burned myself out. By 2 pm (since I had also skipped lunch), my mind was a mess. I came home early, as my neighbor Pat was out back having a smoke.

Pat, a former hospice nurse, is a great neighbor and human being — he’s amazingly empathetic and very much in tune with the people around him. As we wrapped up the conversation, he gave me a big hug. We talked about hugs, and he said, “What I like to do is not hug too tight, but just to wrap your arms around someone” — he wrapped his arms around me — “And just breathe. I used to do that to my patients.” We took three deep breaths, then let go.

His hug reminded me of Fr. Andy, a Jesuit who worked at a retreat house along the Oregon coast and who was the best hugger I have ever met. Fr. Andy was tall, and his arms would encircle you. He’d hold you close and safe but not too tight — and then just breathe.

Photo: Some rights reserved by Kalexanderson

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I should really study this

18 Jul

How to take amazing food pictures.

This one tip would probably make a huge difference:

Stabilize your camera. Use a tripod, or prop your camera on a high-back chair to help reduce the photo’s blurriness. This will eliminate the camera shake, you can also use a timer on the camera to be sure.

So, THAT’s what the timer is for.

What color orange am I?

19 Sep

I’m slightly jealous that Gillian was CNET orange and I’m not. But I do ever so love cameos.


You Are Cameo


You are understanding and very empathetic.
You don’t tend to have acquaintances. Everyone is your friend.
And all of your friends tend to be friends. You have a knack for bringing very different people together.

What Color Orange Are You?

Things I Covet

3 Apr

Since I can’t afford to buy them right now, I might as well blog about them.
– any flower pin from Supermaggie. The Lariats are pretty cool, too.
– a fruit stripe Laurie Weber belt. I love the buckles she uses.
– a Miele Fresca/Lilywear t-shirt. I so love my flower people one.
– a Colleen Keenan handbag (sadly, her site is down as of when I posted this message).
– a Maya Kini organix beet or watermelon daikon necklace.
– a Terry “Ride Like a Girl” cap and commuter skort (for the day when I finally am able to ride the 30+ miles home from work).

I envy all the gals on this Craftster discussion about their projects from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, which was apparently the iPod of the knitting world last Christmas. I drooled over that book for days when Jen first gave it to me. Maybe I’ll set aside the Freda poncho since I’m, er, having trouble with the pattern anyway, and work on the hourglass sweater.

Too Much to Do

31 Mar

I haven’t had time to go to Dharma and get help with seaming up all the items I need help with, which are (for the record):


  • Chad’s cap
  • Prentice’s baby sweater (well, Owen’s sweater, but Prentice’s baby)
  • Three cell-phone cozies
  • The Freda poncho I’ve barely started on but will need to seam up

Work is killing me. I want to do Bay to Breakers with Erika in May (Team in Training is letting people run for them if we just raise $200), but I haven’t had time to train because I’ve been working so much. I’m just wrapping up another three-hour evening on the blueprint for Play Guitar!. It’s fun but draining, and I feel like I don’t have the time now to devote to anything. Especially not this road bike ride Chad and I are supposed to do next weekend!

And that half-finished handbag and unhemmed skirt from last year (I hemmed the pink tweed skirt, but not the lining) stare at me every time I go into our dining room. Maybe I can finish it up this weekend…

Busy, Busy

3 Jan

I’m so busy for the next few weeks, between Nellies gigs, traveling for work, work being crazy, etc., I won’t have any time to start my sewing projects, which are the projects I most want to work on.

I should start on an iPod cozy to protect my Xmas gift!

I probably won’t be posting much for the next few weeks.

After-Christmas Sales

1 Jan

Everyone talks about the good deals to be had at after-Christmas sales, but let me reveal to everyone who has never worked in retail just why they are so good: returns.

See, lots of people (sadly, not me) start buying Christmas presents in September and October–and even earlier. They give the gift in December and it doesn’t fit, the recipient doesn’t like it, or for some other reason, it ends up being returned. Of course, in the three or four months since the original purchase, the item has been reduced in price three or four times, so you can pick up that item you thought was overpriced in September or October at a super cheap price. Also, you have the best selection of items in months, maybe not in size, but in style.

I love after-Christmas sales. I just picked up a pair of $128 Banana Republic shoes for $35, $60 black casual BR pants for $42, and $50 Gap cords for $25 (I love the modern fit there). Also, a few things I purchased right after Christmas have already been reduced again (thank heavens for price adjustments! I’m bringing my receipts back to the stores).

I think I’m going to make another new year’s resolution to save up a lot of money to spend in next year’s after-Christmas sales.