"The Dog" Journal

Welcome to the Dog Journal, a Sunday afternoon blog, where I'll share my best finds of the week for taming those puppies that gnaw at your planner.

Could be a quick time management tip, a smell-the-flowers moment, a comment overheard on the elevator. Whatever the inspiration, I hope you'll blog right along with me by commenting and sharing your tips and stories for taming an overbooked life.

Why Sunday afternoon? That's time I call "white space," a block of time I set aside for reflecting on the week before and planning the week ahead.

Music! Music! Music!

January 14th, 2017

At a time when the world feels increasingly polarized, finding happy sanctuaries is important. Thanks to the recommendation of a Lyft driver, I bumped into one this month visiting my son in Phoenix: the Musical Instrument Museum.

Brainchild of retired Target CEO Robert Ulrich, MIM is the world’s only global musical instrument museum. It displays about 6,500 musical instruments from 200 countries at any one time. Visitors are allowed to play some of them.  Others are on display through a walk-through arrangement, continent to continent, where visitors can see and hear and read about each country’s culture and music.

What a joy to experience this common denominator where there are no language or political barriers. Four hours at MIM reminded me that when life feels out of balance, we can still count on music. 2017 may be a good time to bring more music into our everyday lives.

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Let’s Play

July 5th, 2016

AidenTaylorDanceThe Spiderman cake was nice, and so were the piles of presents. But the real excitement at my grandson’s third birthday party centered around “the show.”

“We’ll be up here, and you’ll be out there,” announced his six-year-old sister , who as usual was in charge.

With that and a little Miley Cyrus rock, the two jumped on and off the wooden “stage,” rolled in the grass and literally kicked up their heels. Afterwards, they treated the grandparent audience to souvenirs – seashells they’d collected at the beach.

They didn’t doubt for one minute that theirs was the greatest show on earth. And of course, the adoring audience agreed.

I couldn’t help but think how creative the world would be if more of us threw our inhibitions aside and played like little kids. Maybe the best way to celebrate birthdays is to remember not to get old.


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Gettin’ Our Ya-Ya’s Out

March 20th, 2016

Taylor + Moose

Most Friday afternoons, I set aside time to hang out with one of my grandchildren, who are 6 and 2. Taylor, the six year old likes choices, so the other day I suggested either the new Disney movie Zootopia or the butterflies at our local conservatory.

To my surprise, she turned them both down in favor of the zoo. Why?

“I need to get my ya-ya’s out,” she said.


Apparently I wasn’t paying attention – and she certainly wasn’t around – when the Rolling Stones made the album “Gettin’ Yer Ya-Ya’s Out.” But the Urban Dictionary translated.

It means: To escape the life dramas that wear on your soul. To be fearless and get through the BS life gives you. Experience moments of clarity, beauty, inspiration and hope that everything will be alright.

So off to the zoo we went, first climbing all over the slides and igloos near the polar bears, then climbing up a lookout to find the prairie dogs, visiting a moose and finally whooping and hollering all the way to the zoo train ride, till there were no more ya-ya’s left.

I highly recommend it.



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Efficient, But….

April 18th, 2015

UnknownMaking carrot cake this morning, I decided it might not be too smart to let the cream cheese frosting sit out all day, waiting for this evening’s potluck.

But wouldn’t it get awfully cold and hard sitting in the refrigerator?

On the other hand, Sara Lee seems to get away with that.

So immediately I ran off to Google the problem. Cream cheese frosting refrigerate?

And immediately, I had the answer. Yes. But take it out an hour or two before serving.

It occurs to me that Google has replaced not only common sense but also those spur-of-the-moment calls to cousins and those home ec queens among friends, who a decade or so I ago I’d have relied on.

The answer might not have come as efficiently. My info source might have had to consult a cookbook or another friend. But in the process, I’d have found out that they had just had a fender bender or the flu or picked up a juicy piece of news.

I like these instant answers, but there’s something lost in all this efficiency – unless, of course, the info source is also on Facebook. In which case, I suppose I would not have missed a beat.

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