Dear friends,

Source: Say it Sweet

I had a dispiriting day yesterday.

The reason isn’t important because we all experience them, don’t we? Sometimes it’s a work issue. Other times it’s a family problem. Or the dishwasher stops working. Or the dog gets sick. Whatever the reason, we sometimes have days that disappoint us, make us lose confidence, cause us to question what we believe about ourselves and our abilities.

Lately, when I have that kind of day, I go looking for words of inspiration and encouragement. Sometimes I find them as posters on Pinterest. Etsy is another good place. And my favorite Buddhist books and websites usually give me a lift, too. I’ve even been known to Google my particular disappointment and see what pops up — and like an encouragement lottery, I sometimes find a winning ticket or at least an interesting path to follow.

Yesterday, I tripped across the canvas above on an Etsy shop.  God bless Victor Hugo, because I really needed the reminder that sometimes, you just need to let the sun go down on your disappointment.

You’ve likely figured out by now I have a tendency to over-analyze. I mean, who else but a hopelessly introspective individual would publish a gratitude journal for all to see? And like most traits, my tendency toward self-analysis can be both a strength and a frailty, depending on the day.

Self-reflection has at times given me more empathy, more humility, more patience. And it has also driven those closest to me to distraction with my tendency to “talk it all out.” Really, you can’t just argue with me. Because then you have to dissect the argument. Discuss the motivations of the participants. Reflect on the outcome and opportunities for improvement. Have a meta-argument. (Did I mention my graduate degree is in Psychology? Top that with an interest in self-help techniques and an endless curiosity about spiritual beliefs of all faith traditions and . . . yeah, I’m one of those people. I suspect some folks wish I would just curse at them and storm out of the room. It’s certainly more efficient.)

Anyway, I spent the better part of yesterday obsessing about this particular setback until I decided some time around 8:00 pm that I was done with it. I turned my attention elsewhere and let the sun go down on it.

I’m not fooling myself. The matter is messy and unresolved and I have to pick it back up again at another time or it will continue to fester. But on Wednesday night, I bid it bon nuit and released myself from the responsibility of absorbing it any longer.

And Thursday morning . . . well, the sunrise looks a little brighter today.

With gratitude {for words of wisdom sprinkled throughout the universe},

Joan, who once took an aptitude test and was told she should be a writer or a psychologist and can’t figure out how in the world she ended up as neither


Dear friends,

I got a pedicure yesterday. My first in a very, very long time.

And since I have spent the last two and a half months publicly expressing my gratitude every dadgum day, I wish today to express a little ingratitude.  I trust you’ll indulge my rant.

You see, back home, my best friend did my nails. For 20 years.

She is a college graduate. She is an insanely talented and accomplished artist who just happens to do nails for a living. She’s funny as hell. She kisses me and hugs me every time she sees me. Her salon is as clean as her home. She doesn’t wear gloves because she’s not icked out by my feet and I’m not icked out by her hands touching my feet. She doesn’t wear a mask because she doesn’t use hazardous chemicals. We don’t make small talk because we’re used to big talk. I love her so much and enjoyed the company in her salon so much I used to hang out there even when I didn’t have an appointment. It was my Cheers, in a way. She let me take naps on her sofa, even when she had other customers. She gave me bites of her lunch. She was the Matron of Honor in my wedding. She is the first person to change Kate’s diaper. And beyond all that, she happens to be the most talented, most thorough, most skilled nail technician in all the world.

So I’m guessing you’re getting it that I miss her. And I don’t like her replacements.

I mean, all I can say is getting a pedicure by anybody else is like kissing your elderly neighbor when you miss your husband. Ewwwww.

And if you were tempted to say “Ewwwww” when you saw that photo of my feet, I blame it on yesterday’s nail tech. My feet used to look much better when Alisa took good care of them.

And Alisa didn’t criticize me. Yesterday’s nail tech declared “You cut nails too short.”

“I don’t cut them,” I deadpanned. “I pick them.”

“Too short.”

“Yeah, I know. I also bite my finger nails. It’s a bad habit.”

“You stop.”

“No. I don’t think I will.”

I know. I was being snotty. But come on. A woman comes in with trashed toes because she clearly has a nervous habit and you really think you’re going to convince her to stop with two words of broken English?

I’m being terribly uncharitable. I think it’s a reaction to the grief of losing not only the world’s best nail tech but also my weekly, scheduled, therapy sessions with my best friend. It’s a lot to deal with.

Alisa used to take one look at my toes and say “Oh my. You’ve been stressed lately haven’t you?” Then she’d give me a hug and a glass of wine and massage my feet and ask about my kids and compliment my hair and invite me for dinner. I guess I don’t really expect anyone else to live up to that soul-filling standard, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be crabby about it now and then, does it?

Many years ago, Alisa contemplated running away and marrying a man in another state. I was young in my career back then and I contemplated buying her salon. She taught me all her secrets, and the result is I can now perform a better manicure on myself than any other nail technician besides her. (Heck, I could perform a better manicure on you than anybody besides Alisa.) So the problem is, I am terribly picky and I don’t do my feet well. The angle is tough and I’m ticklish, even to my own touch. So while I have resorted to doing my own manicures, I’m kind of stuck when it comes to pedicures.

And that makes me very, very sad. And my feet very, very neglected. I mean, what kind of tech doesn’t shave the tiny hairs on your feet, which are embarrassingly visible on that photo? I’m both deprived and humiliated.

Without gratitude {for the skilled and loving care of my feet by anyone but my best friend},

Joan, who apologizes for this self-indulgent break in programming but clearly desires your sympathy