The Puppiness Project – Enjoy Your Simple Comforts

Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.

Honey’s comfort 

Golden Retriever and Christmas Tree

Who could believe I'd ever cause mischief under a Christmas tree?

I like to put the unwrapped gifts back under the tree. As I placed a box of chocolates on the tree skirt Mike said, “I don’t think you should do that. You’ll poison your dog.”

To which I replied, “Honey won’t get into anything under the tree. Besides, there’s not enough chocolate to harm her even if she did get into it.”

Guess which one of us was right. And wrong.

Honey didn’t devour the chocolate under the tree. She didn’t pay any attention to it. But she very daintily picked up a pair of socks I had gotten as a gift and brought them up on the couch with her.

Honey finds a soft sock in her mouth more comforting than chocolate.

Pamela’s comfort

Yes, I know I can’t multitask nearly as well as I think I can. And that distractions take away from the quality of my work. But I enjoy a simple comfort when I’m working alone at home.

My husband frequently works late. It gives me productive time to work on computer and blogging tasks. But it’s awfully quiet. Especially since Honey rarely snores.

My comfort is to play some kind of media in the background. Sometimes I’ll play music. Other times I’ll put in a library DVD of one of my favorite TV shows. Or I’ll pick up the Iron Chef offerings on Hulu.

My latest favorite is catching up on Deep Space Nine, the very best of the Star Trek offerings.

The secret to comfort media is to pick something that’s not too involving or doesn’t require much concentration. Wim Wenders movies are out as are anything with subtitles. I can’t listen to complex music like Bach or irritating music like U2 (Is this where I get my first death threats? U2 fans are pretty rabid).

But TV shows I’ve seen before, folk music, and stupid movies are great comforts.

Sure it’s low brow but it makes me happy

When Honey carries a pair of socks around in her mouth, I don’t make fun of her because it’s not a ball. It’s a simple comfort that makes her feel good.

And I’m vowing now to stop being embarrassed that I like to play bad TV in the background while I’m replying to blog comments or planning my next week’s posts.

Sure my writing would be better if I concentrated on it more. But I’d probably spend far less time doing it if I was freaked out about being alone.

I’m an extrovert doing introverted things–reading, writing, planning. And if carrying a sock around in my mouth playing mediocre television while I’m working is a comfort, I’ll take it.

Do you and your dog have simple comforts? What are they?

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  1. Sure we do! Bunny’s simple comfort is to use my leg as her pillow and share the blanket with me on the couch. It’s my simple comfort, too, until I can’t feel my leg anymore!

  2. For my dogs their whole lives consist of simple comforts. For me it’s chocolate, dark chocolate. When I read that dark chocolate had health benefits according to one study, as well as psychological comforts, I knew there was indeed order in the universe.

    And bacon.

    • You’ve got it right about the dogs. They know how to take pleasure in everyday.

      Don’t forget the health benefits of red wine. Yes, there is a God! :)

  3. I hate Wim Wenders too but have to argue about your assertion that Deep Space Nine was the best Star Trek series. Everyone knows it was Next Generation.

    I always have something on in the background while I write — usually NPR during the day and any variety of bad TV at night (sometimes both in different rooms, I am going to admit — shhh). It’s not a question of loneliness, but of being creeped out by quiet. I guess growing up in Brooklyn near the elevated subway (that’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?) did that to me!

    • Yes, I find Ithaca awfully quiet. At least in Philly we’d hear the police helicopters buzzing the nearby chop shop on a regular basis. :)

      But I actually love Wim Wenders (he’s too good to half ignore while i’m working) and DS9 agrees with my dark and cynical view of the world much more than TNG. I so love the fact that we have such different tastes. It makes the world such a splendid place!

  4. My comfort object is a squeaky toy. There are two of them, exactly the same, but I know which one is MINE and that’s the one I want. As for the chocolate and socks, I would have eaten both. Trust me, it’s happened before and I did NOT learn my lesson either time.

    • So you’re smart enough to know one squeaky toy from another but not smart enough to avoid eating socks and chocolate. Oh, RumpyDog, you like to live dangerously!

  5. Going for walks is Justus’s comfort. Mine is quiet & silence! HA. I need to remind myself to put on some music once in awhile! I freaked out another nurse once when I told her I went days w/o TV or radio. I have been listening to Pandora on my computer while I play/work – the classical Christmas station :).
    The original Star Trek is the best; yep, the effects are cheesy cause they had no budget but it aided in opening social discussion as well as how much emotion does Spock really feel :).

    • So a quiet walk with Justus is probably a joy for each of you.

      You’re right about Star Trek opening up people’s world views. Unless, of course, that world view was not treating women as sex objects. :)

  6. I read what you said about U2, and I don’t think we can be married anymore.

  7. (Of course, this is Mike, Pamela’s husband, forgetting that he’s writing from Pamela’s log in.)

  8. I’m with Jan, I like chocolate, but I don’t need it to blog!

  9. How funny. My simple comfort is to also play music or TV in the background. In fact, I have a headset on my head right now and am listening to the radio!

    Daisy’s simple comfort is to hop onto my bed every morning and get a belly rub (I have a hard time getting her to go outside to go potty in the morning!). Lady loves to cuddle with me at night. She loves that time before we go to sleep because that’s her belly rub time. Jasper’s simple comfort is to lie at the end of my couch, near my feet, and hang his front feet and head over the edge while he snoozes.

    Now I am thinking a nap might have to be my simple comfort today. :)

  10. I’m the same way… I like to have comfort media in the background while I’m working or blogging. I really prefer some sort of background noise to complete silence most of the time. Right now, I have Mickey’s Christmas Carol on in the background. I hadn’t watched it yet this season, but I know it by heart so it doesn’t really require my full attention. :)

    Bella’s simple comfort is snoozing among her toy pile.

  11. I definitely like to have music on in the background (it’s even better when I have a kitty on my lap!).

  12. I really think the Golden we had before the Chessies would have helped himself to the chocolate under the tree. :)

    I have bad tv going in the background a lot. A habit I acquired when I lived alone.

  13. When I’m working (writing), I like it totally quiet. But if I’m doing something like blogging or housecleaning, I like to blast Broadway showtunes. I know, lame. But…it’s my Soft Sock.