Similarities Between My Dog and Tom Haverford

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of similarities between my dog, named Morris Chestnut, and the character Tom Haverford from the now concluded television series “Parks and Recreation,” played by Aziz Ansari:

  • Considered small to medium in size
  • This face:
    tommy smile10456825_10102437187318905_3877336157580150621_n
  • A taste for the finer things in life
  • They both whine
  • Big brown eyes
  • Men larger than them make them feel less masculine
  • Delicate flowers
  • Will sucker you into doing all the work for them
  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • Sweet dance moves
  • Adorable
  • Faithful and Loyal
  • Loves the ladies (in Morris’ case, it’s more lady dogs than lady people)
  • High maintenance

Notable differences:

  • Color. One is brown, the other is white (this may be racist)
  • Species. Duh. One’s a fictional human portrayed by a real human and the other is dog with a real human’s name
  • Feelings about vacuums. Morris would HAAATE DJ Roomba.


My husband kisses me good-bye and heads off to work. I roll out of bed, the dog at my heels (he’s very interested in breakfast) and head to the bathroom. I’m staring at my reflection in the mirror asking myself “to wash my hair or not to wash my hair?” when my phone rings. It’s my husband. I answer it.

“Hey – what’s up, baby?”

“My car won’t start,” he replies.

I immediately decide I am NOT washing my hair.

“I’ll come down. We can give your battery a jump.”

“I don’t know if it’s the battery.”

“Well, it’s worth a shot – and you can take my car and I can walk if it’s not the battery.”

He agrees, I throw clothes on and leave the sad dog behind, who is wondering if I have left him and forgotten about breakfast entirely.

We use my jumper cables and successfully jump start my husband’s car. He drives to work and head upstairs to feed the dog and get myself out the door. We were both about half an hour late to work. He drove to the nearest AutoZone on his lunch break and had them test the battery, which, lo and behold, needed to be replaced. And it was. And before 1pm on a Monday, we’d managed to each have worked half of our workday and replaced the car battery. And fed the dog, obviously. Breakfast was NOT forgotten.

No one cried, no one freaked out or yelled or had a melt-down. We just handled it and moved on.

We’re ready for our Adult Certificates now. Thanks.

And I know I made this sound super effortless, but if we could be done adulting for the week because of this, that’d be great.

And the dog’s breakfast? He didn’t even eat it. After work, I pulled the trash can out from under the kitchen sink to throw it away and only when it was IN THE TRASH CAN did he try to eat it.


I am thankful to say this is the ONLY thing my dog has ever tried to eat out of the trash can.

A New Way to Fall Asleep

I’ve starting using a new technique to clear anxiety from my mind and fall asleep at night. I, very unscientifically, call it “all the gold stars belong to me.”

To practice this technique, simply think about everything you accomplished or did well during the day. Do not let yourself think about what still needs to be done or what you only got part way through. Reframe everything so that you give yourself a shiny gold star for the things you DID and ignore the things you didn’t do. I find this technique allows me to feel really good about what I’ve done and puts me in a good mood to start the next day and all the things in it that need doing. In other words, it helps me get the never ending to do list of adulthood off my mind so I can catch some zzzs.


  • I walked the dog: gold star
  • I fed the dog breakfast: gold star
  • I put together breakfast for myself and my husband: gold star
  • I took a nap and caught up on much-needed sleep: gold star
  • I gave the dog lots of pets and love: gold star
  • I walked the dog again: gold star again!
  • I went with my husband to Panera for lunch: gold star
  • My husband and I did four loads of laundry: GOLD STAR
  • I called my mom: gold star
  • I texted a friend back: gold star
  • I walked the dog a third time: gold star
  • I picked up prescriptions from CVS: gold star
  • I bought toilet paper and paper towels and body wash at CVS: gold star!
  • I brushed the dog: gold star!


Now, what I didn’t do was say in my head “well, I got the dog brushed out in preparation for his bath, but didn’t get a chance to bathe him.” NOPE. Just giving myself credit for what I’ve done. I know what needs to be done and it is already on my mind. I do not need to stay awake because of it. Bedtime is the time to applaud myself for my efforts so I don’t feel burnt out. GOLD STARS FOR ME!


I am decidedly happier than I was six months ago or a year ago. I’m in a really good place right now.

Part of it is because my husband and I are in a better place as a couple – communication skills for the win!

But a lot of it, and even part of the relationship happiness, is because I am happier. And I’m happier because I’m given myself all kinds of permission to take care of myself. A couple of resources have helped me stay the course and remember that self-care is GOOD. Self-understanding, awareness and care are excellent and make me a better person for myself and the others around me are certainly reaping the benefits!

Two of those resources are:

Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin (co-hosted with her sister, television writer Elizabeth Craft). 20 to 30 minutes, includes a “try this at home” and emphasizes identifying how you respond to and handle things, usually by ascribing a “type” to yourself. The hosts take turns giving a gold star or a demerit each episode and talk about the weird and wonderful things we all do, or could do, to create more happiness in our lives.

Cultivate Creativity by Rachel Denbow (and others), an e-course. Self-paced, contains some practical steps, personal experiences and free printables encouraging you! Great for anyone who needs encouragement or permission to embrace themselves!

Do you have any “happiness resources” that have helped you?