Saturday, January 05, 2019

Small joys

In a 1997 article called "Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life," I wrote:
Enjoyment—that word itself is hardly used. Enjoyment is seen nearly as a sin for some people. "You're not here to have fun, you're here to work." Why can't work bring joy? Any tiny moment can be enjoyed: the feel of warm running water when you wash your hands; light and shadow on the floor; pictures in the clouds; the feel of an old book. If you see an old friend, that can bring pure, tingly joy for which there are no words.
Today I was watching episode 50 of a Korean "variety show"—what Americans would call a reality series—and someone is decribing a Korean word based on a Japanese term (or phrase) that they ranslated as "small but certain happiness." Trying to find the original writing in English, I came across the article [Trending] #Small but certain happiness #小確幸 It's from a 1986 essay by Haruki Murakami (Western name order, on that one) called "Afternoon in the Islets of Langerhans." The article, describing the essay, says his examples are:
...eating a freshly-baked loaf of bread with one’s hands, seeing neatly folded underwear in a drawer, wearing a new shirt that smells like clean cotton and letting a cat enter into a bed with a rustling sound.
So in retrospect, as decades have passed, maybe there will be a word. There's a word in Korean. 小確幸

But wait—it jumps to another of my favorite things, which is word histories. It seems the term was created in Japan from Chinese idea-elements, and then taken up by Korean. Maybe in the way we can still create English terms from Greek and Latin elements, and maybe other languages will use the term, too.小確幸

Probably my use of "joy," and finding joy in small, everyday things is better. We already have the word joy.

The idea has been with me since before that article, and I've recommended in many ways and places that people can avoid stress and live better lives if they can become more observant and appreciative. "Stop and smell the roses" might be the best English-language prescription for that.

For unschoolers, it was easiest to tie it in with the ideas of abundance and gratitude.

From Just Add Light and Stir, November 15, 2017:

Abundance and gratitude
"If it's not one thing, it's another."

People usually say that of problems or frustrations. But what about gourds, and little girls, and music, and humor?
If you practice finding abundance, if it's not one thing, it will be another.
photo by Cátia Maciel

There are others, there, on Gratitude and on Abundance, and with practice, those become inseparable.

Oh, sweet! Note about this one below:

Gratitude for everyday things
Spoons. Flush toilets. Roofs, walls, doors. Paper and lights. Colored markers.

Love. Time.

Thoughts. Ideas.
photo by Sandra Dodd

When I looked to see some of what had come up in those search links, I saw this—the first photo I took when I got my iPad, years ago—and I was sitting in the same place:

Here's what I looked like that day:

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Way back in 2018

My Christmas letter. I was thinking I should keep it out somewhere, and this seems like a good place. I wish I had sent it to more people. Maybe some of them will find this, and I can read it again, too, someday.

Dodd News for 2018

Last year's Christmas letter came from a future grandmother. This one comes from the grandmother of three.

Ivan Odysseus Dodd was born just a few days after Christmas, on December 28, 2017. He is a robust, big, brave guy. July 3, the tiny miss Kirby Athena Denise Dodd arrived. She's becoming more comfortable in the world, with her long hair (long for a baby) and big eyes.

Not so long after that, Devyn became an official, legal Dodd when her adoption by Kirby became official. I got to be in the courtroom that day, sitting in the gallery with the baby.

Keith and I (kind of suddenly the grandparents of three, THREE!) each had a bump. I had pneumonia for two months in Spring, for no good reason, and thought I would die. I didn't. Keith had shoulder surgery in fall, and is nearly recovered because he is a self-rehabilitating marvel. He is nearly always subtly exercising and stretching one way or another, getting a little more strength and flexibility.

Keith swims most mornings, and I write every day. He still goes to SCA activities, and I still don't. Lately he's doing instrumental music, mostly recorder, with a few others.

Unlike many of the past ten years, all of us were in Albuquerque this year. We never know when that could end, but this year, we have proximity, and a full set.

Kirby is doing computer tech mostly in person now, rather than phone and e-mail, so he's meeting people and seeing lots of places in town he hadn't been in before, working for Ardham Technologies. He took his family to Texas for a long Thanksgiving week, so friends and relatives in Austin, Sulphur Springs and Dallas could meet the baby, and Devyn could see her cousins, aunts and grandma.

Marty got a BA in Economics from UNM in May. His minor was geography. He was already working for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (not a very snappy name). They like him and want to keep him, but he looks around.

Holly earned certification as a yoga instructor, and that became the fourth of the ongoing part-time jobs she has worked this year, in a prismatic sort of schedule. They vary, and all have newness and things to learn. She likes house-sitting and is good with plants and pets. Keep her in mind!

There are photos of everyone named here, and of Destiny and Ashlee, too,

I hope your Christmas is either fun or that the Christmas you're ignoring passes peacefully, and that 2019 will be a good-memory-making time for you!

2905 Tahiti Ct. NE
Albuquerque NM 87112

And if anyone sends Christmas cards and you have an extra, I love them. Please send one to me at that address. Or a post card if your in an exotic place and need someone to send a card to!

At my house, on Christmas 2018 (these photos aren't at the link above—those were all pre-December):

Devyn, Holly, little Kirby

Original Kirby and the baby-girl Kirby, Keith, Marty, Ivan

Here's a wider shot, with the mothers of those babies: