The Calm and Happy Peaceful Thread October 25, 2018 8:16 AM   Subscribe

It's been a tough week with tough news. I thought it might be useful to have a MeTa to share soul-replenishing websites and tools we use or go to in order to replenish our inner calm and equilbirium.

As an example, I've got two Twitter lists. One's called "fluff" and is basically I've Pet That Dog, Corgis, Doggos, Thoughts of Dog, Fluff Society, WeRateDogs™, Officer Edith, The Cat Reviewer, Emergency Kittens, Old Friends, Clint Falin, Awkward Animals, Dog Solution, and Holy Cuteness.

The other is "Peace" and is Respectful Memes, Emoji Aquarium, Wholesome Memes, Bunny Buddhism, jonny sun, the Dalai Lama, and the Museum of English Rural Life. Also writers David Cain and Leo Babauta, and the tinycarebot, who I even enabled notifications for. And also two chillhop producers, ChilledCow and Joakim Karud. Chillhop is wonderfully calming.

Also the Feelings Wheel can be useful for pinning down something in particular, and these subreddits may actually help you rekindle your faith in humanity.

And if you just need something that you can remember to type in when upset (as opposed to digging up a bookmark), there's

What are yours?
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 8:16 AM (74 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- loup

You don't want to know how much money I've spent lately going to fabric stores.
posted by Melismata at 8:30 AM on October 25, 2018 [15 favorites]

Oh, thank you for posting that Feelings Wheel! "My" chaplain (he's awesome, he occupies a specific seat in the coffee shop I stop into regularly, and I frequently sit down to chat with him; apparently a lot of people do) showed it to me once but then I could never find it again. I've been intending to print it out and hang it up on the wall for my kid.

The other day's Ask about nature/work-friendly webcams was pretty damn awesome. My little hairless buddies have been keeping me company at work and making me feel less alone.
posted by telepanda at 8:30 AM on October 25, 2018

i saw a fat clumsy pibble puppy in a puffy coat easily 2 sizes too big for it and that will carry me through the rest of this month if not the rest of the year
posted by poffin boffin at 8:32 AM on October 25, 2018 [11 favorites]

Things Organized Neatly

Thank you for starting this thread!
posted by jet_pack_in_a_can at 8:35 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Since I know many of us miss the Toast, this bit from the New Yorker scratched that itch for me this morning: Emily Dickinson's Patreon
posted by dismas at 8:52 AM on October 25, 2018 [8 favorites]

I've been working on transcribing some of the diaries of Clara Barton via the Library of Congress' newly launched crowdsourcing platform. I find this kind of thing *very* soothing.

I was inspired to do this after finding a photo of Barton's 1865-8 DC landlady in a Victorian photo album I picked up on eBay.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:01 AM on October 25, 2018 [14 favorites]

We have large televisions (including a new 4K tv) and I have multiple work monitors and I have taken to putting "ambient" or "sleep" or "nature" videos from youtube on them as background for quiet soothing:

Ambience World
Hawaii ASMR Nature Relaxation
Meditative Art by Johnnie Lawson
Relaxing Sounds of Nature
Balu - Relaxing Nature (4K video)

Also, I have fallen down the rabbithole of UK Narrowboaters, starting with Cruising The Cut.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:06 AM on October 25, 2018 [9 favorites]

That's a great tool, WCityMike!
posted by ITheCosmos at 9:11 AM on October 25, 2018

Caithream Ciùil is a two hour folk music show on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. The music is very nice and the presenters speak Scottish Gaelic so I don't understand a word which makes it very relaxing, especially when they break for news. Two hours every weekday.
posted by Botanizer at 9:34 AM on October 25, 2018 [10 favorites]

Lately, binge-watching New Girl with my wife has been doing wonders for my mood.
posted by COD at 9:40 AM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am listening to an obscure Icelandic band called Amiina, who I tend to do more at this time of the year. Did an FPP about them four years ago; some links work, some don't. Their music gets my mind back into some kind of equilibrium that works for me.

They released an (old) movie soundtrack, Fantômas, a few years ago. I'm listening frequently to the last track, L'homme Noir. Next Wednesday at sunset, I'll do my usual Halloween/Samhain sunset ritual which starts with playing one of their earliest tracks, Skakka, before we light the wickerman.
posted by Wordshore at 9:50 AM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Cornell Lab Pond Cam at Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca, New York.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:59 AM on October 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

My coworker skipped a meeting this morning to go pet doggies at the Anti Cruelty Society across the street. When he got in later he showed me some videos of his new friends. One was a righteous little sausage and was my personal fave. But there were also several shots of a lab-looking puppy. First video I said "that dog is 100% a dog who is going to eat all of your shoes." Coworker swiped to the next video. Next video is of said puppy chewing on his shoe (with his foot still in it).

I guess what I'm saying is doggies are way better than work and almost everything else, so if you've got a shelter near you, stop in on during lunch or on your way home today and pat the bellies of some good ol woofers.
posted by phunniemee at 10:41 AM on October 25, 2018 [21 favorites]

Flying Witch is an iyashikei ("healing") anime on Crunchyroll and Hulu that I thought was pretty great--it aims at weird/profound magical moments but embeds them in total simplicity, like cooking, tending a garden, or walking around town.

I've also been practicing a language on Duolingo (which incidentally has a ton of interactive "stories" now for Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German), and I've found I can watch calm / slow / dull / bad films in that language with interest on the principle that it's good practice. So the bar for making me engaged and content is just super low there, and it's a way of being connected to the world--other groups/places/perspectives--but temporarily disconnected from many local concerns.
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2018 [12 favorites]

I've been watching the BBC series Sarah and Duck with my 2.5-year-old. It's her favorite cartoon. It is super chill yet whimsical, low-stress but fun, magical yet grounded, and without any annoying songs. It's an ambien with the tiiiiniest toke of cannabis indica. It is deeply comforting.
posted by duffell at 11:00 AM on October 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

I kinda love the "Oddly Satisfying" channel on YouTube. As advertised, the videos are...oddly satisfying (not to mention relaxing).
posted by holborne at 11:00 AM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was never a pet person growing up or as an adult. As a kid I had caged pets like hamsters and guinea pigs, but never anything free range that roamed the house. All the dogs and cats I've known over the years have been angry hellbeasts. Then over the summer my girlfriend and I moved in together, and she has three cats. One of the cats, a fluffy black kitty named Arwyn, has formed a special bond with me and insists that I'm her human now. And you know what? I like that.

She's amazingly smart. In the morning she begs for pets until I tell her that I have to go to work, and then she walks me to the door. She doesn't try to go out with me and she's not following me. I tell her "I have to go to work" and she starts walking to the door ahead of me and then stops there to see me off. She'll be waiting near the door when I come home.

I'm told that when I'm not around for extended periods, she sometimes goes looking for me. My girlfriend has seen her searching my usual spots around the house like my place on the couch or my game room.

I have a serious digestive condition that causes my abdomen to be exceptionally sore, so I can't have cats jumping into my lap. Arwyn has learned she can only sit in my lap if I've put a pillow there first, and even then she climbs up on the couch next to me and pats at the pillow with her paw first before climbing on slowly and gently.

Arwyn is the best cat and I'm glad to have her in the house with us. Follow her adventures on Twitter for lots of photos.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:11 AM on October 25, 2018 [41 favorites]

At that magical connexion of doggos, children's cartoons, and quiet scenes from British life, I offer:
KIPPER Season 1-12
posted by Chrischris at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh man if you want to cleanse your whole brain Griddlers sure are good for that. It's my go to.
posted by saladin at 11:36 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I suggest non-electronic books. I'm reading Tamara Shopsin's "Arbitrary Stupid Goal."
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 11:43 AM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thank you for introducing me to chillhop. I find most vapourwear grating, but so far all the chillhop I have heard has definitely hit the ::relaxed sigh:: part of my brainspace.
posted by Faintdreams at 11:51 AM on October 25, 2018

I've been listening to the audiobook of "Baker's Magic" on my commute and loving it: baking, a princess, magic, pirates, tulips, and more.

It's a kids' title, but the full-cast recording makes it a really good listen. (I think it won an award, actually, so it's not this is like any great discovery on my part...)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:03 PM on October 25, 2018

Never forget.

Oolong's website at
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:04 PM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Inspector Wexford murder mysteries by Ruth Rendell have been my recent go to. Also mltshp
posted by infini at 12:12 PM on October 25, 2018

If you have amazon prime, there are many videos by "the window channel" or "the scenery channel" that are ambient nature/cityscapes. I enjoy having them on at bedtime.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:44 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh, my wife and I also love watching the webcams at Bat World Sanctuary, which rescues and rehabs bats who are too injured to survive in the wild, or rescued from the pet trade. They really are a lovely org for an animal that doesn't get much love, and it's amazing how much personality the bats have - they like to play with toys! Sometimes the staff feed the fruit bats melon treats, and they will actually take them from a person's hand!
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:48 PM on October 25, 2018 [7 favorites]

The Calming Manatee.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Loopy-doop, loopy-doop, loopy-doopy-dee-dee
boopy-boop, boopy-boop, boopy-snoopy-hee-hee
I am a fan of you!

(c) 2018 grumpybear69
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:07 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

My favourite Twitter account is Obama Plus Kids which is exactly that: photos of Obama with kids. Cute, funny, and a reminder of what was once possible and what will hopefully be again. When I’m despairing this kind of thing soothes my soul.
posted by billiebee at 3:34 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Peanut and His Corn!
Shoebill Stork
Capybaras soaking in an onsen
this dog

And these two musical numbers, not necessarily calming, but happy-making!
Neil Patrick Harris 2013 Tony Awards opening number
Isaac Proposal
posted by Glinn at 3:36 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Debating to watch AHS: Roanoke, ep. 7.
posted by clavdivs at 4:08 PM on October 25, 2018

This music works wonders on the dogs I'm petsitting and nearly knocked me out this morning, too.

I tried turning it off as an experiment and one of the dogs whimpered and the other one's eyes went from relaxed to wide-awake.
posted by aniola at 4:13 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Agnes Obels' 'Berlin Session' always moves.
posted by clavdivs at 4:39 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

This week, I found this recording of Moravec performing all of Chopin's nocturnes. It's rapturous. I've already listened to it four times all the way through, and it sends me to another world every time.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 6:15 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I still just love Listing to Port beyond words. It was posted to MeFi Projects by gnimmel and then posted to the front page. Note: not all the entries are great for replenishing inner calm and equilbirium, so I've learned to skim and be selective, but it's usually pretty easy to spot the ones that will be a delightful and renewing read - like these:

Nine tremendously welcoming planets that you should visit
An all-purpose set of phrases to help with filling in personal forms
Units of jollity
and oh, my, this one:
Hopeful whispers

And I found my way back to the Projects page via a comment of mine on The Delightful Side of MetaFilter, which may be a useful supplement to this thread.

Thank you for posting this, WCityMike!
posted by kristi at 7:53 PM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

I just want to say I also love Listing to Port. Thank you to gnimmel for making it.
posted by Caduceus at 8:05 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just watched My Neighbor Totoro with the kids again. Now that them thar's some calm, happy, peaceful for ye.
posted by Jpfed at 8:14 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’ve really been enjoying Welcome to Utopia, Notes From A Small Town. Spent a fair amount of time in & around there in the mid-late 90’s, & the author does a good job of chronicling the good aspects of life in the middle of nowhere, without glossing over the hardships.

It really is a mostly very peaceful place to be, the Sabinal River runs clear & cool, & life happens at its own pace. There’s no traffic jams in Utopia. Reading this has brought back some of that peacefulness I got when I was able to spend more time out there & it’s a reminder that things don’t have to be this damn city way forever, all the time.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:26 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Earlier this week a small portion of the internet briefly went nuts with Limewire / Simpsons memes! I laughed like mad, and will be extremely there for it if it wants to come back.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:51 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Kamasi Washington Truth
posted by chrisulonic at 2:45 AM on October 26, 2018

Thank you for starting this thread and for everyone adding to it. It's well needed and I'm enjoying all the links
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 4:50 AM on October 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Can anyone link to the new GIF of the lady letting her dog out of the hatchback, which (the dog, I mean) then races directly into the heart of a mountain of leaves?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:04 AM on October 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

wenestvedt, check the blue!!
posted by wellred at 6:28 AM on October 26, 2018

Hah, you're right, wellred!

Link to FPP, direct LINK TO BALM [SLTInsta].
posted by wenestvedt at 6:34 AM on October 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

Tiny Kittens!

Aura (fb link), was born in April to a feral mama cat, Chloe, with a giant huge cleft palette that almost killed her because she couldn't eat. She just had her surgery this week to fix it, and she's recovering very nicely so far. I have never been so invested in a tiny foster kitten's plight more.

But Chloe and all Aura's siblings have been adopted into lovely homes, and there's Grandpa Mason, who just adores kittens, and well, fine. Between their Facebook updates and the YouTube live camera, let's just say kittens are a balm to my battered soul this year.
posted by PearlRose at 7:12 AM on October 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

I have I am a rock, I am an island, one of Flavien Gillié's albums of field recordings on my phone. This one is largely surf and bells and when I wake up at night I often listen to it while I'm drifting back to sleep.

This is my favorite kitten right now.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:24 AM on October 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

MST3K's "Bouncy, Upbeat Song" still works for me.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:34 AM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Cat and owl are friends.

I'm also a big fan of paint mixing videos.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:18 AM on October 26, 2018

My kid and I have been watching Hilda and I am enjoying the chill Grimes soundtrack and lovely wide open animation. (I know, Grimes, but I am a sucker for chill electronica)
posted by Lawn Beaver at 12:38 PM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Speaking of cheerful songs, here's Generic, Uptempo Folk Song by the Limeliters.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:55 PM on October 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Gibby the rescue squirrel (be sure to watch the video.)
posted by gudrun at 4:15 PM on October 26, 2018

Generic, Uptempo Folk Song

Your State's Name Here by the Berrymans
posted by moonmilk at 4:43 PM on October 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh ma Goat, it's a Goat Pajama-Jam!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:33 AM on October 27, 2018

If it doesn't have to be online, I just bought Pema Chodron's Compassion Cards ($11.52 on Amazon) after hearing about them on a podcast. Each card has a Buddhist teaching to think about throughout the day. It has a brief teaching on the front and a deeper explanation on the back. The one I got yesterday was "Regard all dharmas a dreams." Here's an explanation of that one if it doesn't make sense to you. Obviously not for everyone, but it was a great purchase for me.
posted by FencingGal at 11:32 AM on October 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

At the moment, rewatching older (BBC, not Channel4) episodes of the Great British Bake Off. It's comfort TV, and it usually inspires me to bake.

That, and baking. We're in the process of making Smitten Kitchen's Russian Honey Cake, which is a two-day project.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 3:20 PM on October 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am listening to my neighborhood, listen to The Series. People are out in their yards, old timey in Socalistan. Cars, radios, train horns, sub woofer, and talking. This is a totally pleasant evening. The commentator is wailing.
posted by Oyéah at 8:08 PM on October 27, 2018

I'm watching the various Ruth Gordon / Peter Ginn / Alex Langlands shows. They're historical documentary with experimental archaeology, but mostly they're about watching calm professionals try to recreate historical farm life by sowing fields, feeding chickens, washing clothes and cooking over a fire, all with soothing music and lots of nature.

I started at the beginning with Tales from the Green Valley and am now in the middle of Victorian Farm. It's seriously chill but interesting enough to hold my attention. One of the few shows that I don't find myself reaching for my phone half way through.
posted by mosessis at 4:47 AM on October 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you’re like me and enjoy nice goats and their buddies, the Puget Sound Goat Rescue Instagram page is for you! There’s also Goats of Anarchy, a special needs sanctuary for goats. Both are 501c3 nonprofits run on donations and volunteers, doing good work for nice animals!!
posted by gucci mane at 1:17 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

As for non-cute animals, my fav Instagram meme page is inzane johnny, ran by one of the people in the perennial noise band Wolf Eyes. Check it out if you’re into weird, esoteric memes and Instagram meme drama.
posted by gucci mane at 1:19 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Came to make sure everyone knows about Hilda, is pleased to see it already recommended. Super soothing. We're rationing episodes for the worst days.

Also well done, Craig of the Creek on Cartoon Network. It's heartwarming and even the conflicts have a point and are resolved.
posted by librarianamy at 1:24 PM on October 30, 2018

I've gotten heavily into a rewatch of the Office from S1, and have begun to enjoy Office-centric social media communities (several on Facebook, and these ones on Reddit) in a BIG way. Part of what delights me so much is that this show's last air date was 5+ years ago and it's like no time has passed, meme-wise.
posted by witchen at 2:08 PM on October 30, 2018

posted by Melismata: You don't want to know how much money I've spent lately going to fabric stores.

My arts and craft spending may earn me a spot on the Micheal's board of directors. I feel your pain. (It was fabric, but I've run out of windows to make curtains for, and a straight seam is about the only thing I can successfully sew. Heh.)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:59 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've run out of windows to make curtains for, and a straight seam is about the only thing I can successfully sew. Heh.

That's why the good Lord gave us tote bags.

And you can even push off cute reusable shopping bags onto the suckers on your holiday gift list.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:52 PM on October 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

I read and/or help with the New York Public Library project "What's On The Menu?"
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:53 PM on October 30, 2018

Also I've been generating fabric designs via the Illustrator->Spoonflower channel like a madwoman.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:55 PM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also pillow shams.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:07 PM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

For instant blood pressure lowering, I like watching youtube videos by Bicycle Dutch. They show people of all ages sedately gliding through lovely scenery on expertly designed cycling infrastructure. This time of year all the new videos have the added feature of autumn leaves drifting down over the cyclists.

For added calm, watch while knitting.
posted by antinomia at 7:09 AM on October 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Soft baby goat love pile
posted by k8bot at 11:49 AM on October 31, 2018

This is the most adorable and amazing thing I've seen in days: this little girl dressed up as Michelle Obama's official portrait, for Halloween, after going viral for being completely entranced by the portrait earlier this year.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:50 AM on November 1, 2018 [7 favorites]

It are my birthday, but all around me are sick, so instead of being Typhoid Mary and going out into the world, I made myself a cake. Well, I worked on a new recipe, (chai latte cake with fresh cardamom pods) and then played with creating a quick no-boil frosting without using any powdered sugar, and everything turned out delicious. The frosting is too soft to pipe details well, so my roses looked like onion domes, but was good enough to eat with a spoon, and none of that toothache sweetness, or weird american buttercream mouthfeel. (And without the fuss of a swiss meringue.)

Also, we got a cold snap, and I got an electric blanket, with a big fuzzy side and a big sweater feeling side, and I am going to hang on the couch, eat cake, drink tea, and watch cartoons. :)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:01 PM on November 1, 2018 [7 favorites]

Happy Birthday SecretAgentSockpuppet! Post a recipe for both the delicious sounding cake and the frosting. I think we're low down enough in this thread now for RECIPES!!
posted by infini at 11:51 AM on November 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

True story, I've made better cakes, and were I to do it again, I would use experiment using this recipe for Italian Sponge, but adding toasted spices for the chai flavor, and I'd probably go Italian meringue for the frosting, again adding toasted spices to the meringue at the point right before it's glossy and ready to spread or pipe.

Chai blends are as individual as the person blending them, but I make mine by cracking cardamom pods into a mortar and pestle, (so, you're just using the little peppercorn looking seeds). I lurve me some cardamom, so I use a lot. To that I add ground cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, grate some nutmeg in, add a few red peppercorns, and a goodly dose of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta)

Hand the bowl to a teenager and tell them to mash it all together for a while. Once all the grains and berries have been ground, I put a sifter over a non stick saute pan, and pour the mix from the mortar bowl, through the sifter, into the pan. That way, any large bits stay in the sifter, and not in your cake.

Toast the spices over low heat for 3-5 minutes, moving them around regularly so they don't burn. Let the spices cool before adding them to flour or frosting.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:21 AM on November 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'll have to swop out the teenager for an old age pensioner but will definitely be trying this out! thanks
posted by infini at 9:53 AM on November 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

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