Mood boosters

The Difference

June 30, 2023

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

“If ever I am feeling sad … or lazy, or tired, or lonely I just go outside pick a flower or two, bring it in, put it in a vase, walk around the house finding the perfect place for it, and my mood gets an instant lift. Something about the garden, the sunshine, the birds, smells, and sounds, and the small gesture makes the difference.”
—Susan Branch


Less Do. More Be.

June 16, 2023

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

“After a breakup or a breakdown, be willing to feel the emptiness and wait for the lessons. Stop filling all the spaces with busyness, shopping, food, booze, or other numbing devices. They won’t prevent the pain, only delay it….

“If find yourself waiting in line or sitting in traffic, or are simply settling down after a long day, take a few deep breaths and reflect. Stop filling all the spaces with digital distractions and mindless scrolling. Just let there be space.

“When an appointment cancels or something falls off your to-do list don’t replace it. Enjoy the margin. Stop filling all the spaces with more to-do items. Less do. More be.”

—Courtney Carver, Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Is Really So Much More


The Summer of Kathy

June 09, 2023

In one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, after George Costanza gets fired from the Yankees, he receives a severance package equal to three months’ pay. He decides he won’t work for three months, instead indulging in “The Summer of George,” which for him means wallowing in idleness, trying never to leave his apartment. Hmm… 

Let it be known I’m indulging in “The Summer of Kathy.”

My well is dry. I’m exhausted mentally and emotionally from digging deep to deal with such hard issues as terminal illness of loved ones, losing a parent, and trying to decide what to do with all of my mom’s belongings (including her cats) during two extended stays in California. I’m still not done with all of that, but the most urgent matters are being handled. After the horrifying whirlwind of the past four months, I’m definitely taking my activity level down a notch this summer.

Actually, that’s not quite true. What I’m planning to do, along with getting extra rest and taking time to contemplate what’s next now that my caregiving duties have ended, is catch up on the simple pleasures and everyday adventures I had to put aside temporarily. Therefore, I have a more ambitious than usual Summer Fun List this year. I’ve already checked off a couple of these (noted in red), so I think I’m off to a good start!

  • Paint my toenails a color other than pink. (With dubious results, but at least I did it. The jury is still out on whether or not I like teal toenails.)
  • Have a bubble tea.
  • Try a new obedience training program with Luna (started).
  • Make key lime pie ice cream.
  • Plant a small, potted herb garden.
  • Read a lot.
  • Take a horseback riding lesson. Tank is semi-retired and off for the summer, but there’s a new horse at the barn available for lessons. I haven’t taken a lesson in more than five years, so I need a tune up. 
  • Work at least one jigsaw puzzle.
  • Have a massage. I’ve been trying to do this since the beginning of the year, but I’ve had to cancel two appointments because of my moms’ failing health.
  • Go to a movie with my husband.
  • Bake something from my grandma’s baking book (inherited from my mom).
  • Get together with friends—I’ve been mostly unavailable in 2023, so we have some catching up to do.·  

Mainly what I want to do is rest and regroup and slow down. I’ve been rushing for so long. This list gives me some things to look forward to during my least favorite season, and who knows? Maybe by the end of The Summer of Kathy, new and exciting opportunities will show themselves—and maybe I’ll have the energy to take advantage of them. My goal is to combine emotional healing with gentle adventure. We shall see how it goes.

What are your summer fun plans?

More summer fun lists:

Laura Vanderkam’s 2023 Summer Fun List (I originally heard of the summer fun list from Laura)

Cup of Jo’s Low-Key Summer Check List

My Summer Fun List from 2022