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5 Ways to Work Happier

5 Ways to Work Happier

5 Ways to Work Happier

My office almost finished. It’s both cleaner and messier today.

I read an article the other day on how to work happier. I disagreed with it so much I thought I should write my own blog post.

So here are my ideas. Feel free to disagree, toss them all out, or add to them. If you have some ideas of your own, I’d love to hear them. I’m always trying to make my day more productive.

1. A neat workplace.

While I was in the corporate world, I had to clean my desk every night. Because I worked in banking, it was especially necessary to lock away anything rather than leave it on my desk. When I started working at home, I let that rule slide a little bit. Now that I’ve reestablished it, I found that it’s refreshing to come into my office first thing in the morning and find the desktop clean.

2. Exposure to natural daylight.

This has always been important to me. Granted, I don’t sit in front of a window now with my new desk, but I can see out of the window just by tilting my head a little.

3. Pet dogs in the workplace.

Do I need to say more? Sometimes, the feel of a nice furry body on your feet is a good thing. Sometimes, hearing a nice furry dog barking like mad is not so great.

4. Quiet.

I’m one of these people who has to allow my mind to be the loudest thing in my work environment. When I was in the corporate world, the constant chatter of people in nearby cubbies would drive me bonkers. Now, all I have is the wind (and Sir Barksalot).

5. Pretty.

This is another component I hadn’t realized I needed. I need something that’s attractive around me, not all wires and computers. Right now I have the desk wind chime that was a gift from my son for Christmas, the bonsai plant I love, and a Tibetan prayer bowl as well as my beautiful new desk. All pretty things that enliven my day.

How about you? What would you add?

Linguistically Speaking – Words I Don’t Say at Home

Linguistically Speaking – Words I Don’t Say at Home

FLASHreadytoplayI know better than to say certain words. The most important of these is: cookie.  If I make a mistake and utter that word lots of things happen.

Flash comes and sits in front of me, licking his lips. His eyes brighten. His whole body wiggles. He is intent on me like a guided missile.

Most of the time, I catch myself before actually saying the word aloud but when I’ve screwed up, I have to say, “No, sweetie, sorry.” The disappointment on that furry face is heart wrenching.

Another important word is: bone.

I used to give Flash dental bones before I put him on a diet of his kibble and only his kibble. But a friend sent him a Doggie Care Package and in it were the most wonderful bones in the world. I didn’t sample them, but I know this from Flash’s reaction. He tried to get the wrapper once they were in the garbage. He stuck his big long nose inside the box. He salivated.

I’ve realized there is one additional word that triggers a response: okay. In the morning when I put his food in his feeder, I make him get “down” and “stay”. I release him with “okay”, which prompts a race to his bowl. I’ve notice that whenever I say the word “okay” now, he perks up, goes to attention, and looks around for food.

I’m not at all surprised that these words have something to do with food in some fashion. He’s overweight but he acts as if he’s starving. He loves cauliflower, lettuce, and any veggie except spinach. I’m not going to tell you what else I’ve caught him eating, but it isn’t cookies or bones, okay?

Pacing My Tension

Pacing My Tension

Pacing My TensionWhen I’m watching television, I sometimes scroll through the more tension inducing scenes. For example, if it’s a drama with which I’m not familiar, and the fate of a child is in jeopardy, I’ll fast-forward through it, rather than feel my tension ratchet up. A lot of British dramas don’t mind killing off lead characters, so if they’re in danger, I find myself fast forwarding through those scenes, too.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy dramatic pacing. I understand the need for tension in drama, whether it’s a book or movie or television show. But it seems to me that there’s too much tension in the shows I watch lately. I find there are some shows I can’t watch before I go to sleep. I think the adrenaline is probably still pumping through me.

I also think that some tension, especially the kind that puts an innocent or something sweet in jeopardy, is written to tug on the heartstrings. In other words, you want to show how bad someone is, have him kill a neighborhood dog. Not only is that lazy writing but it’s manipulative.

No thank you.

The best tension for me, I discovered, is when most of the anxiety is off screen. And when the tension is directed inward, rather than having the ultimate result of death if the protagonist fails.

For example, if a detective doesn’t catch the serial killer, he will prove to himself that he’s not good enough to be a detective or in Homicide. He will disappoint himself and prove his ex-wife correct. That, to me, is better tension than if he fails, the serial killer is going to kill another four-year-old child.

One isn’t better than the other. It’s just that my appetite for cringe inducing scenes, whether in a book or in visual media, is not as great as some people’s. The other day I was at a friend’s house and he convinced me to play a popular videogame. He gave me a controller shaped like a gun and my goal was to kill as many insurgents as I could.

I’ve said this before, and please forgive me for being redundant, but as a real live victim of violence, I know that violence is not funny or cute or even something I want to replicate in my game playing. I tried, for a few minutes, to pretend that I was a soldier and I was killing all these insurgents, but every time I pulled the trigger and saw someone fall to the ground, blood spurting out, I was a little horrified.

How many years of that does it take until you are desensitized to any kind of anxiety or tension?

  • Which makes me wonder if television writers and movie writers don’t have to increase the violence or ratchet up the anxiety level simply to offset the desensitization some of us have experienced?
  • Which also makes me wonder if writers of urban fantasy in which the gore level is really, really, really high are among the group that has been desensitized to violence.

Questions to which I don’t have the answers. What do you think?



Well, oops.The other day I installed a nifty added security feature to my browser. I’m big on security since I’m at so many pirate sites. But I didn’t realize that none of my comments were posted until this morning. It gave me a “hijack” error. Evidently, this nifty added security feature saw me as a virus.

I’ve been called many things in my life but never a virus.

I do apologize, because I try to answer comments within a day or two.  I’ve removed the darn thing so I shouldn’t have that problem in the future.

The Virgin of Clan Sinclair Stepback

The Virgin of Clan Sinclair Stepback


I received the stepback for The Virgin of Clan Sinclair a little while ago. Isn’t it lovely?

Here’s the front cover:

the virgin of clan sinclair cover

Honestly, I thought The Witch of Clan Sinclair was my favorite cover of all time, but I love the colors of The Virgin. Not sure what I think about the hero, though.

What do you think?