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The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again! While My Thyroid and I Sneak Off to a Corner to Sleep

The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again! While My Thyroid and I Sneak Off to a Corner to Sleep

 

 

Every now and then, something happens in my life or on this blog that requires the presence of clowns. Not just any clowns, but Dog Blog Clowns.

 

Need a dog break? | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

 

The Dog Blog Clowns are like rodeo clowns, but for bloggers. When things fall apart, they ride in to distract us while I call for a clean-up on aisle six.

 

 

Leap! Daisy, my golden retriever, jumping to the sky | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

The first time the Dog Blog Clowns visited us, it was to cover up a little moment of blog maintenance. The next time they came, nearly every tree on our neighbor’s land was being felled, and I was devastated. (Update: I have to admit, I’m enjoying the extra sunlight these days.)

 

 

Fabulous Corgi Tongue | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

 

Now, the services of the Dog Blog Clowns are needed once more. Here they come to save the day.

 

 

 

See the treat? It's right on the corgi's nose | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again!" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

Perfectly aligned for treat-catching, golden retriever style | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again!" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

And here is why the day needs to be saved.

You may already know that I have a thyroid condition, where my body produces too little of the crucial thyroid juices. This can result in debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue — it had me slammed for a long, long time. But once I got medical treatment in 2012 and started taking good-quality medication, my whole life changed.

I was able to leap up from the couch to which my hiney had been glued, reclaiming a vitality that I hadn’t had for years. I rediscovered my creativity. I embarked on all sorts of artsy adventures, and even climbed seventeen mountains.* I also became an astronaut.*

* No, I didn’t.

Under good-quality medical care, my thyroid remained stable for about two years. But this year, and particularly this month, I’ve had a few challenges. Without going into too many details —

Dog Blog Clowns!

 

 

Who's stealing the focus? Gloria the corgi and Daisy the golden retriever | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again!" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

— let’s just say that my own personal thyroid gland seems to be asserting itself, and is having words with my medication. The result: I’ve ricocheted from low thyroid up to high thyroid and back, sometimes within a matter of days.

For the second time in six months, I’ve needed to lower my thyroid dose. I’m actually really encouraged by this. I see it as a sign that my body’s innate wisdom is kicking in and kicking butt. Good morning, thyroid gland! Want some waffles?

I realize that this may just be an aberration (for those in the know, I test negative for Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune response that can cause this kind of thyroid roller coaster). But even still, I can actually imagine a day in my future where my own body will produce enough of the juice to get me off the medication. I never thought I’d be able to envision that day.

But in the meantime, I’m dancing a dance of trying to figure out how much medication I need in the now. My nurse practitioner, a goddess in human form, has given me carte blanche to lower my meds, and I’m carting that blanche with a passion.

So: I have been a little overwhelmed lately (as I mentioned in my last post) and, on some days, have been really, really tired. As in, How did this paintbrush come to weigh ten pounds? And, Is this a couch which I see before me, the cushions toward my rump? Come, let me nap on thee. (Sorry, Hamlet.)

 

 

Now who's stealing that focus? Gloria the corgi and Daisy the golden retriever | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again!" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

To all the amazing people who pop by this blog for doses of artsy/dogsy/catsy goodness, I want to say a major Thank You. Especially to you folks who have so generously left comments here on this little blog. I apologize from the bottom of my heart thyroid gland for not replying to your wonderful comments in a timely way lately. Every single one of your comments is loved and appreciated. Every single reader, whether you comment or not, is beloved to me. That means you. Thank you.

Right now, as I write this, I’m feeling pretty good. Tomorrow, I don’t know about yet. The next day? Meh. We’ll take it when it comes. I’m dancing the thyroid dance, but eventually every band has to stop playing. I’ll get off this dance floor yet, and will fizz and pop with good health before you know it.

And that’s not just a coat of my patented Pollyanna Lacquer.TM

I really believe it’s the truth.

Thank you, again, for being here. Hugs from me, and lots of licky-kisses from the Dog Blog Clowns.

 

 

Because you know you want to be licky-kissed by this corgi | from "The Dog Blog Clowns Ride Again!" | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

 

Oh No! Another Nameless Dog! (a.k.a., Name That Pup) (A post in which I am not as wordless as I make myself out to be)

Oh No! Another Nameless Dog! (a.k.a., Name That Pup) (A post in which I am not as wordless as I make myself out to be)

 

 

My last week has been packed tight, which earned me the American Badge of Honor for Extraordinary Busyness. (Note: apparently, you’re no one in our culture if you do not bear this badge. Want mine?)

The result has been odd — a strange, burbly wordlessness — the feeling that, at the end of the day, I have nothing left to say — which, if you know me, you’ll know is an occasion so rare that psych students should cluster round my brain to sharpen their study tools on my personal vocabulary anomaly.

In other words, I don’t have much to say (aside from, “Can you direct me to the nearest nap spot?”), but I could, if pressed, say absolutely nothing in several hundred words, a skill well-honed in academia.*

* I actually am in academia — for a few more weeks. I’m wrapping up my last term in my side-job as a college writing tutor as we speak. That’s the good news. The other good news: I can no longer be accosted in dark alleys by five-paragraph essays. (I think I’ve found religion.)

Well, now that we’ve covered the important things in life, like assault-by-term-paper, we are now (I hope) willing to be whisked away by art.

Good thing a dog is here to whisk us yonder! A dog painting, that is.

 

 

Watercolor Rainbow Dog by Harmony Harrison | from Oh No! Another Nameless Dog! (a.k.a., Name That Pup) | www.harmonywithanimals.com

???
watercolor on canvas board
8 x 10

 

 

Given my (ahem) crippling wordlessness at the moment, I haven’t yet come up with a name for this pup. Any thoughts?

(Comments in the form of five-paragraph essays will not be accepted. Please see your class syllabus for more information.)

 

And Now It’s Time for Something… Wordier

Exciting news! Which, remarkably, I do have the vocabulary to share.

I’m creating a new little ebook, not unlike The Beginner’s Guide to Animal Wisdom. This new book will be focused not just on animals, but also on one of my other long-term passions: creativity.

As in:

The Cat & Dog Guide to the Creative Life*

*Not the actual title, for which you can thank me.**

**Yes, I am having issues with titles this week. See painting, above.

 

This little book is still taking form in my cranium (and will likely make more sense after I’ve had 2.5 naps and ten times that much tea).

But I do know this: It will be lovely, it will be truthful, it might be silly, and it will definitely be free.

I’m aiming to create and publish it by my birthday, which is coming up on June 9th.

That’s only nineteen days away, so I’m gonna need support. You can join my personal cheerleading squad by sitting quietly in your home and not cheering, which would just disturb me. Hot tea, and lots of it, may be sent by airmail. Photos of encouragement from your adorable animals are welcome, too (those you can just email).

After all, I am cat-activated and dog-powered. The more dogs and cats I love, the happier I am.

 

Now Back to the Dog at Hand

Remember Indigona Jones? Well, what shall we name this new dog? For this one, I’m thinking more poetry, fewer puns. (But I will take the fall for any punnage that may accidentally occur).

Thoughts? Ideas?

 

Watercolor Rainbow Dog by Harmony Harrison | from Oh No! Another Nameless Dog! (a.k.a., Name That Pup) | www.harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

P.S. This post contains 559 words, which means I am 559 times less wordless than when I began it. Thank you for your help.

 

 

Intuition and Paint and Birthdays, Oh My! Exploring the connection between intuition and art (with our party hats firmly in place)

Intuition and Paint and Birthdays, Oh My! Exploring the connection between intuition and art (with our party hats firmly in place)

 

It’s birthday season here. A couple of weeks ago, I painted Two for You — two loose watercolor dogs on canvas — for my sweetheart to celebrate his birthday. Just this past weekend, my sister-in-law’s birthday popped up — and my own (fortieth!) is soon to come.

(Want to see what I made my sweetie’s sister last year? Sneaky Kitty Gets the Treats)

This year, for my sis-in-law — The Auntie to our dogs and cats, one of the rare people our kitty Tucker will allow close to him — I painted this dog:

 

"RainBojo" loose watercolor dog by Harmony Harrison | from Intuition and Paint and Birthdays, Oh My! | harmonywithanimals.com

RainBojo
watercolor on paper, 5×7

 

 

 

… modeled a bit after this dog:

 

Bojo the Fabulous Wonder Dog, photo by Harmony Harrison | from Intuition and Paint and Birthdays, Oh My! | harmonywithanimals.com

Bojo the Great

 

 

Bojo is my dog nephew, The Auntie’s constant beach companion, ball chaser extraordinaire, and champion at getting his butt skritched. He is capable of balancing a treat on his nose, a trick I myself have yet to master. Also, he’s highly skilled in seagull-scattering maneuvers.

As you can tell, I don’t do exact likenesses when I paint animals. I feel more drawn to paint lines and washes inspired by the animals, not the actual, factual critters in question. I am drawn to paint my inner experience.

Which brings me to a whole new topic:

 

cats eye flourish

Intuition in Art
a.k.a., Letting Your Hand Follow Your Gut
(Which Is Not as Anatomical As It Sounds)

cats eye flourish 2

 

But first… the back of a scrap!

 

Ooh, the back of a watercolor painting! | from Intuition and Paint and Birthdays, Oh My! | harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

Hello? Of course you have to see what’s on the back of Bojo’s painting. The Back of Scraps Painter strikes again!

Now, what we were discussing before I so rudely interrupted myself?

Ah yes…

 

 cats eye flourish

Intuition

cats eye flourish 2

 

 

Long, long ago, in a messy bedroom far, far away, a teenaged Harmony sprawled across her bed, surrounded by mountains of books (which, come to think of it, is not too different from my present-day life).

But these books were not the standard murder mysteries / screwball comedies / watercolor tomes on which I currently chomp.

These books were on (cue woo-woo sounds) the paranormal. (I was not normal and I liked to eat pears, so this only made sense.)

Back then, I was fascinated with all things New Age — astrology, divination, tarot, crystals, clairvoyance, healing, and small, unpopular religions, to name a few — but at the same time quite frightened. After all, stuff like Ghostbusters – you know, the incredibly goofy movie? — left me terrified.

Let’s just say that the veil was thin between what entranced me and what scared me out of my skull.

Being of rational mind, I preferred to stay within my skull as much as possible, so I avoided the shaking-in-my-boots department: ghosts, channeling, spirits, etc. (Note: None of these things is actually scary. I was also scared of turtle food back then. Seriously. It’s part of my PTSD bouquet. I will tell the turtle food story another day.)

So, given my low tolerance for fright when I was a kid, I stuck with what I thought was quite safe, pitching my New-Age tent on more quake-proof ground: the study of psychic abilities.

I stuck with it for a long, long time.

Fast forward twenty-four years, and what do we have? A mad woman covered in cat fur, gripping a paintbrush in one hand while desperately trying to figure out how to work her iPod with the other.

Eventually, I remember which way the brush should point (the bristles go out; did you know?) and stagger toward my easel, whereupon… a change comes over me.

 

 

cats eye flourish

I breathe.

I see what’s to come.

I don’t know how I’ll get there…

But soon, a new animal is born.

cats eye flourish 2

 

 

"Orangey" watercolor on music paper by Harmony Harrison | from Intuition and Paint and Birthdays, Oh My! | harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

As pigment and water wash over the surface, the animal eyes start to watch me back, and I am enlivened in the bright flow of knowing, of joy.

I don’t have formal art instruction. I barely have informal art instruction. I’m learning and sharing as I go, just as I have been for the past year and a half since my painterly exploits began.

But in the last few weeks, I’ve started to realize that there is something deeper going on than just experiments with paint.

My two-and-a-half decades of intuitive adventuring — which, since my years in TeenageLand, have expanded to shamanic studies, animal communication, spiritual healing, and professional services for others — have become a deep part of me, so deep that they flow from my heart to my brushtip to the paper, without much need for conscious control.

My intuitive adventures have taught me to trust myself. To quiet my mind and connect with my first thoughts. To have faith in my body’s wisdom, in the moments of pure knowing, in the images that flit across my inner screen.

These adventures have also taught me, with little effort or trying, to trust that my hand and my brush know their path.

All that I am learning right now is from inner experience — an inner experience cultivated through spiritual practice and spelunking in the realms of intuition.

This has been a whole new adventure, as two of my long-beloved paths — creativity and intuition — weave together, with animals at their heart and core. It was animals, after all, who taught me — finally — to trust my intuition, when I learned to speak with them. It is animals who inspire me creatively today. Without their glorious fuzziness and gobsmacking insight, I wouldn’t be painting. (Truth: I would just be pining.)

Now, then, my creative friends — or Creative Cats, if I may be so bold to say — what is it that inspires your art these days? And how (if at all) do you go about allowing your intuition to flow from your heart or gut or {insert anatomical reference} as you create?

There’s one thing here I know for sure: It’s about trusting yourself — and you can trust me you on that one.

 

The Cat Eyes Know All, detail from "Orangey," watercolor on music paper | from Intuition and Paint and Birthdays, Oh My! | harmonywithanimals.com

 

 

 

“Two for You”: Celebrating my Sweetie’s Birthday with Two New Dogs (of the painted variety) and a Tropical Storm Named “Carrot Cake”

“Two for You”: Celebrating my Sweetie’s Birthday with Two New Dogs (of the painted variety) and a Tropical Storm Named “Carrot Cake”

    This week was my sweetheart Russell’s birthday. My gift to him was dogs. Watercolor dogs, of course.       He unwrapped his gift on the couch before a recently-blazoning carrot cake (more on the carrot cake later). When he pulled the canvas from the gift bag (more on the gift bag later), his faceContinue Reading

The Ridiculous Strikes Back! Two Acts of Artsy Silliness Revealed (plus a possible third, if you dare)

The Ridiculous Strikes Back! Two Acts of Artsy Silliness Revealed (plus a possible third, if you dare)

    Ridiculous the First In last week’s episode, you joined the intrepid artist as she revealed her serious side. Turns out I can’t be serious for too long at a stretch. This is what recently happened:       From across the room, this kitty looks like she’s underwater, hunting, of course, for sardines. I’mContinue Reading

And Now for Something Completely Different: In Which My Art Gets Un-Ridiculous

And Now for Something Completely Different: In Which My Art Gets Un-Ridiculous

      This dog. I painted her.     ***I just learned that this painting looks crazy-red on some tablets and phones. It’s gold in real life and on my computer monitor. Still learning the ropes of image scanning.***   Now back to our regular programming…   I had attempted an accurate rendition ofContinue Reading

Loose Kitties of the Night, and Other Weird Stuff from My Studio

Loose Kitties of the Night, and Other Weird Stuff from My Studio

The earth rumbled. The studio shook. And piles of paper fell with a deafening whump to my paint-speckled floors. So I have a bit of a filing issue. Case in point: When I was in college, I filed every paper that passed through my hands by shoving it under my bed. This would have workedContinue Reading

Coming Clean: Miss Addie Had a Hairball (Plus surprising hairball facts that you never learned in Cat Parenting School)

Coming Clean: Miss Addie Had a Hairball (Plus surprising hairball facts that you never learned in Cat Parenting School)

  For those of you following the culinary adventures of Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner, I have a small confession to make: My darling dear tabby was not picky that day. She just had a hairball. Thank you very much.       Miss Addie does not care whether or not you think of her asContinue Reading

Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner: The Life and Times of a Very Picky Cat

Miss Addie, Celebrity Diner: The Life and Times of a Very Picky Cat

“So, what do you do?” the party-goers ask, ice tinkling in their glasses. If I’m at a party, I’m there under duress. So I answer coolly: “I stay home and feed cats.” This kind of response results in plenty of elbow room. I sigh with pleasure as the party-goers inch from my presence. But it’s actually theContinue Reading

I’m Stacked: 82 Library Books and Counting (a.k.a., Blame It on the Paint)

I’m Stacked: 82 Library Books and Counting (a.k.a., Blame It on the Paint)

The librarian handed me back my card, cocking an eyebrow all the while. “You,” she said, slightly breathless, “have eighty-two books checked out.” My eyes bulged out of my skull, or nearly. At the very least, I felt a boggle and a breeze in the eye socket area. “Our limit is eighty,” she went on, “but I extendedContinue Reading

 
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The Beginner's Guide to
Animal Wisdom

is a little ebook that will help you listen to your animal pals.
Want the book & occasional newsletter? Sign up below.

(Or visit this cute little page to hear me fizz about why this book is fabulous!)

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