Gimme Some Sugar

In honor of the upcoming ubersweet holiday, I thought I’d introduce the Satisfied Mind readers to Sugar.

I adopted Sugar in 2003 from BREW (Beagle Rescue, Education, and Welfare). She’s the best beagle on the planet – and I mean it – she doesn’t bark and she’s so mild. She doesn’t howl, although she used to, when she heard the answering machine. Something about the sound freaked her out. Now that no one even knows what an answering machine is anymore, the howling is no more.

Sugar used to have a cat, before she got divorced. Shug and the cat weren’t really friends, although Sugar tried. Now she rules my little roost. She’s gotten much older and whiter, and I’ve had to bump up the dog budget lately as we enter into geriatric dog phase, but she’s still the most wonderful beagle ever.


Matters of the Heart

I figured this was the best day to talk about my heart. Like, the actual organ: Today is National Wear Red Day (see, a day to raise awareness for women’s heart health. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, though many people don’t realize it.

So what the heck is going on with my heart? I’ve had some weird issues over the last two years or so, including some irregular/flopping-heartbeat-at-random-times feelings, a couple of wake-me-in-the-night pounding heart moments, and some chest-pain-while-exercising events.

Though I tend to put it off, I’ve tried to be responsible and get it checked out. I had an echocardiogram done. Results? Nothing. Symptoms continued. I even had a 24-hour Holter monitor done, during which I was hooked up to leads and had a machine strapped to me. Results? Normal. Chest pains again after that, actually just a few days ago, during a trainer ride on the bike. The primary care peeps told me after the Holter results came back normal to call the cardiologist, but I wonder, what the heck for? Am I just getting old? I am about to turn 30, after all. Then again, there’s a bit of heart disease history in my family, and one of my brothers says the “flopping” thing has happened to him often for years. but years and every time he asks about it, he is told it’s nothing.

So maybe in addition to wearing red today, I’ll call the cardiologist.

Introductions Are in Order

Oh, hi!

Welcome to my blog, The Satisfied Mind. This is a post to sort of explain what’s up here. I’m Jen, an almost-30 writer and editor (by trade) living near Philadelphia. This is a brand new blog, but I’m definitely not new to blogging. I’ve actually through the years started and stopped writing in four other blogs that are now defunct or have just run their course. Most notably I wrote for a long time about my divorce, and now I’m ready to get away from that and blog about what’s come out of it, with time and work – a satisfied mind. Some other things I have:

  • I have great parents and a relatively big family – three brothers, all married, and three nieces and three nephews – that I’ll probably mention along the way.
  • I have a fun, funny, smart, and eclectic group of friends – that I’ll definitely mention along the way (for starters, there’s Roomie 1.0 and Chicken, who I’ve already written about).
  • I have a small business, Murami, that I’ve been tinkering with for almost four years. I’ll write about that here, too.
  • I have an abiding love for the bike. And I mean the human-powered kind. You’ll be forced to read stuff about that as well, if you’ve got enough pity to follow this blog.
  • I bought a condo last year, and as a single homeowner I’m sure I’ll probably be mentioning the ups and downs of that endeavor.

I’ll be continuing the posts about the Happiness Project, and I encourage you to try adding one Nonrandom Act of Kindness to your day!

A Happiness Project

Earlier today I wondered whether I’d make a new year’s resolution. And I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been feeling a little down, so I wondered if I could resolve something to help myself get a little happier. I considered doing something blog-related, like a blog-a-day a la Badger Meets World, but that actually sounds a bit overwhelming and more like work than fun or happy.

I thought, maybe I could do a “nice-a-day” kind of thing, where I say something nice to or do something nice for a different friend each day. Making people happy makes me happy. But it seemed like an unhatched idea; people might think it was forced.

But the idea wasn’t altogether dead, and I still wanted to incorporate a blog into my happiness plan. Then I stumbled on Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project while surfing around Huffington Post. One of her tips from a year-long happiness journey of her own was “Don’t practice ‘random acts of kindness,'” because the recipients of this kindness end up being suspicious rather than happy. Instead, practice acts of kindness with purpose – be thoughtful and helpful in meaningful ways.

That’s it! I’m going to try to practice “non-random kindness” every day for a year. And you know what? I think I’ll try to direct some “non-random kindness” toward myself sometimes, because happiness is cyclical. Making people happy makes me happy, and making myself happier makes people happy, too. And I’ll try to share my acts with you here.

Happy, Happy New Year!