Gratitude Friday

1. Love. The above might just be the biggest kitchen counter love note Eric has ever made me, (that’s an 8 x 10 sheet of paper). My present to him was pretty good too – an entire case of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. The joke is that my friend is a troop leader so she has a full wall of cookies in her dining room and Eric finds that hilarious, and that for Eric a serving size of Thin Mints is a full sleeve, so I got him a whole case in the original box. Our favorite thing to gift each other is something that can be a joke at the same time it’s an awesome present, like the year I bought him a case of 700 dog poop bags or when he bought me a tiny wireless keyboard to use as a “remote” for our TV, (it has a computer hooked up to it and that’s how we watch “TV” on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube).

2. 11 and a half weeks left at CSU!!! It’s going so fast. And I’m so ready, so done.

3. Teaching yoga. Because the one place I teach regularly is a veterinary clinic and one of the other places I sub is a gym that doesn’t really take yoga that seriously, I need to supply most or all of the props, which means at this point I have a portable yoga studio. I got to teach twice during Valentine’s Day week, and that was extra fun, to focus on the love and attention we give ourselves as we practice, and how that follows us off the mat and we are softer, kinder to others because of it.

4. Flowers in the bathroom. When it’s tulips, once they start to get all droopy is the best.

5. The amazing vet care in Fort Collins. I had a few reasons to think about this recently – Ringo had to go to the emergency vet for medicine for pink eye (our regular vet couldn’t get him in until the end of the week and we didn’t want to wait), he also had to go for his check up at the CSU vet hospital (getting the medicine for his ears sorted, he has a tiny allergy), and it was the anniversary of when Obi was diagnosed with lymphoma ten years ago. I have access to some of the best care in the country for my dogs, whether it is their regular vet, emergency vet, physical therapy vet, hospital, cancer care, or end of life care. I feel really lucky.

He has pink eye, was giving me the stink eye.

Hiding under the table at the dermatologists.

Sweet Obi, on one of his last hikes after he got diagnosed with lymphoma.

The very last picture of Obi. After I took this, I dropped and broke my camera (this was before smart phones), and he died the next day.

One of the last pictures of Sam and Dexter together.

6. My tiny family. We get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but we would rather be together than apart.

Sam sometimes helps me meditate.

I got up to go to the bathroom and they stole my spot.

From our walk this morning.

7. Morning and afternoon walks. I only got to do one morning walk this week, but I got to go in the afternoon a few times.

Bonus joy: my infrared heating pad, good TV (I just finished Russian Doll on Netflix and Pen15 on Hulu, both really good), a tall glass of clean cold water, getting the laundry done on Friday, a whole weekend off (with my yoga teacher training, these have been few and far between), computer glasses, hanging out with Mikalina, walking with Chloe’, texting with my brother, emails from my mom, napping, molasses, being able to work from home, sweet potatoes, down pillows and blankets.

Something Good

1. Hummingbird feeding her babies. (video)

2. The Practice of Letting Go from Zen Habits.

3. Misty Copeland And Calvin Royal III Become The First Black Couple To Dance Lead With The American Ballet Theatre.

4. Hi I became obsessed with amanda chantal bacon the inventor of moon juice “and what she eats in a day because of this article …so i made a video to exorcise it.” (video)

5. I’ve No More F***s To Give. (video) This is my new theme song.

6. “Why can’t I stop dreaming of waffles?” (video)

7. Ellen DeGeneres Awards $50K To Good Samaritan Who Paid For Hotel Rooms For Homeless Chicagoans During Polar Vortex. “She plans on renovating and furnishing properties around the Chicago area to give homeless individuals a permanent home.”

8. 3 Ways To Improve Education About Slavery In The US. “When it comes to dealing with slavery, textbooks often use inadequate or inaccurate descriptions.”

9. At least someone is enjoying all this snow. (video) I feel like this tells you everything you need to know about having a cattle dog.

10. Just me over here, feeling my feelings. (video)

11. Jessica Nabongo is on her way to becoming the first Black woman to travel to every country in the world. (video)

12. Allison Mae has a new website! She’s my favorite local pet photographer. Check out her portfolio to see why.

13. This marathon runner picked up a stray puppy at mile 7 and carried her past the finish line. (video) In related news, Woman Finishes Marathon Carrying Puppy She Rescued Along The Way.

14. This is what millions of monarch butterflies look like. (video) In related news, National Butterfly Center to file restraining order to stop border wall construction.

15. ‘I’m mad, y’all!’ “Ocasio-Cortez wipes away a tear as she vows to defund ICE over death of 7-year-old migrant and claims Trump hates ALL immigrants – while saying Latinos can’t be illegals because America is ‘native land.'”

16. ‘We bought this good boy a shell bath the other day… I think he likes it’ (video)

17. Wisconsin Boy Is Hooked On Crocheting And Giving Back.

18. I Wrote a Letter to a Nightclub That had Hindu Gods on its Bathroom Walls. Here’s What Happened Next.

19. 100+ Books by Black Women That Should Be Essential Reading For Everyone.

20. Redbone ~ Come And Get Your Love ~ The Midnight Special 1974 (video)

21. Pipe Cleaner Puppets (video)

22. The National Parks’ iconic typeface has never been digitized–until now. “It’s part of designer and professor Jeremy Shellhorn’s Design Outside Studio, which takes on design projects in Rocky Mountain National Park.”

23. This video of a girl singing into a well has gone viral because, well, just listen. (video) Sometimes I feel like all our efforts are just singing into a well, hearing our own echo.

24. ‘If our union is strong, it is because of its resilient people who have succeeded in spite of, not because of, the actions of this administration.’ (video) In related news, Read Stacey Abrams’ full response to the State of the Union.

25. A dam collapse killed more than 60 people and ruined this Indigenous tribe’s home — now they blame the ‘white man’ and corporate greed. (video) As they should.

26. “Who’s Behind Dieting’s Rebranding as “Wellness”? Men.”

27. First bison calves born in Banff National Park in over 140 years.

28. Colorado Runner Kills Mountain Lion In Self-Defense. You know how people sometimes give themselves a goal to train towards? Mine is now “be able to fight off a mountain lion attack and then suffocate it with my bare hands and walk away, drive myself to the ER.”

29. Camille Dungy on Race, Motherhood and the Guidebook to Relative Strangers. In which Camille shares a very important question for us to consider: “How are we personally doing in terms of treating the people around us with equity, care, honesty, grace, support and genuine kindness?”

30. A Dying Mother’s Letter to Her Daughters. “Many may disagree, but I have always believed, always, even when I was a precocious little girl crying alone in my bed, that our purpose in this life is to experience everything we possibly can, to understand as much of the human condition as we can squeeze into one lifetime, however long or short that may be. We are here to feel the complex range of emotions that come with being human. And from those experiences, our souls expand and grow and learn and change, and we understand a little more about what it really means to be human.”

31. Dismantling White Feminism Masterclass with Layla F. Saad. “How white womxn can become allies to BIWOC* (*Black, Indigenous, Womxn of Colour).”

32. The struggle is real, this past week’s newsletter from Paul Jarvis, one of the only humans who gives advice about business that I listen to and trust.

33. Yoga for All Podcast with Jessamyn Stanley, “her Yoga Journal cover, setting boundaries, representation & more.”

34. 14 Stunning Illustrations That Perfectly Capture The Introvert’s Love Of Books.

35. don’t follow your passion from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

36. Write to Get Free with Melissa Toler. February 17 – March 24, 6 weeks of reflective questions and prompts.

37. The difference between Validation and Hope, and Toxic Positivity. “Here are some positive sayings I found on Pinterest. Alone, they’re pretty benign. But for someone who is really struggling they can sting. I translated them into some different variations that I think still inspire hope, but are validating. What do you think?”

38. Here’s How To Love Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Personality Type.

39. “Real but Not True”: How These Four Words Can Help With Strong Emotions on Lion’s Roar. “‘Real but not true’ gives us space to both notice thoughts and emotions and acknowledge that they might not correspond with reality. It’s an antidote to our habit of trying to escape uncomfortable emotions. It alleviates the suffering that is caused by futile attempts to avoid what actually is.”

40. This week in People Behaving Badly: “They Say We’re White Supremacists”: Inside the Strange World of Conservative College Women (alternative title: This is What Willful Ignorance Looks Like”), and Nick Sandmann’s Lawyer Plans To Sue Nathan Phillips For Defamation, and This Republican rep. tried to kick Parkland parents out of a hearing on gun reform and said building the wall would do more to protect our country than gun legislation (video) (This is the kind of thing I think about when someone argues for civility, tells us we need to try and get along with those who disagree with us. THIS kind of violence and perversion of the truth is not something we should entertain under any circumstances), and CSU sells Hughes Stadium land to home developer; 600-700 homes planned, and We fact-checked Trump’s State of the Union address — he averaged one false claim every 2 minutes (video), and Liam Neeson Explains Why There’s No Such Thing as Racism, and Investigation: Shambhala leader Sakyong Mipham likely committed sexual misconduct.

Gratitude Friday

1. Snow. Everyone I know in Oregon was posting pictures of snow, and it was so weird because they never get snow, and we usually do yet we’ve had so little this winter. A few days later, we got about six inches and it’s been pretty cold for the past few days, and I’m so happy about it.

2. Puppies. They never fail to make me smile. In particular this week, some friends brought home a new baby (five months old, so maybe more of a toddler than a baby). Her first family had her for just two months and then brought her back – she’d been their first dog and it was too much for them, (puppies can be hard, not just cute, and some people don’t realize that). I can’t wait to meet her, hope she loves Ringo and he loves her, (Sam prefers to have no more new dogs in his life, thank you very much). I think puppies are just the best. If you don’t believe me, look at these four.

The day we adopted Obi, April 20, 2002

Baby Dexter. We called him Batman when he was this little because he had such a dark mask.

Sweet Sam the baby bear

A baby dingo in the snow

3. Rest. I’ve needed a lot of it this past few weeks. I’ve been super busy and had a cold. Sometimes, when that happens and my anxiety starts peaking, it gets hard to rest. My brain won’t calm down enough for my body to relax. It’s a horrible state, to be so tired but unable to sleep. It makes me appreciate it even more when I can.

Sam decided I needed help meditating this morning

4. Ringo and Sam. The weekend before the snow came, we had a stretch of days where it was in the upper 50s. The boys took advantage of it and lounged in the sun in the backyard, one of their very favorite things to do together.

5. Thirteen weeks!!! That’s all I have left to work at CSU before I “retire.” This week we did interviews and hired two new interns to work with me (one I hired last semester stayed on, so there are three total). That’s the last time I’ll ever interview for that position, and the last two I’ll ever hire. Every day I work there now there’s at least one thing that reminds me why I’ve loved being there for so long, why I stayed, and at least two things remind me why it’s time to go, why it’s the absolute right decision to leave.

Brrr… from their walk this morning

Bonus joy: orange juice, West African Peanut Stew (Eric made this in our Instapot this week and it was SO good), good TV (I just finished Sex Education on Netflix and am going to start Russian Doll), teaching yoga, aqua aerobics, sitting in a 200 degree sauna on a morning when it’s -4 outside, good hand lotion (Aveda’s Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme is my favorite, smells so yummy), computer glasses, a clean bathroom, a warm shower, clean pjs, the blanket my niece made me years ago that turns out to be the best lounging on the couch blanket ever, writing with Chloe’ and Mikalina, Pilates with Carrie and Ashley, being done with another module of yoga teacher training (two more to go!), naps.

Something Good

Sunrise on the Poudre River

Sunrise on the Poudre River, image by Eric

1. New Study Finds Yoga Significantly Reduces Depression in Male Veterans.

2. This young artist didn’t have a home for 10 years. Now his art is selling for thousands. (video)

3. 50 Adorable Pics To Celebrate Hedgehog Day.

4. Artist Delicately Crafts Colorful Insects From Freshly Cut Flowers.

5. My Favourite Photos of 2018 from photographer Lola Akinmade.

6. I Couldn’t Get the Right Medical Care Because I’m Fat. “Doctors can be biased against larger-size patients—so much so that it changes their treatment plan. Advocates are calling for an end to the judgment and less-than-equal care.” In related news, How The Way Doctors Approach Body Weight Is Killing Women.

7. L Word Revival Will Premiere in 2019.

8. I Couldn’t See What Dieting Cost Me Until I Gave It Up.

9. 12-week-old German Shepherd puppy arrives in Colorado for life-saving surgery. Not gonna lie, a primary reason I love living in Fort Collins, Colorado is the quality of care and life in general available for my dogs.

10. This 13-Year-Old Indigenous Girl Has Been Nominated for a Global Peace Prize.

11. Abandoned as a baby, meet 16-year-old Tjili who is deaf and has cerebral palsy – she is winning acclaim for her art. (video)

12. Is it OK to do Yoga? (video) “Some South Asians are calling out Scientific American for promoting ‘cardiac coherence breathing exercises,’ which have been known as Pranayama in yoga practices for thousands of years.” In related news, Why Your Downward Dog Isn’t Necessarily Yoga. “Yoga teacher Carola Lovering left YJ LIVE! New York with some existential questions about the practice of asana. Here she breaks down how a modern-day yogi can make sense of what we’re really doing on the mat.”

13. Borderlands Critter Cam. (video) “Welcome to the wild borderlands connecting Arizona and Mexico, where puma, coati, javelina and foxes meander a creek bed that is at times dry, then snow covered, then running with precious water. Our borderlands in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico are one of the biggest ecosystem complexes in North America, with some of the most remote and important wildlife habitats remaining on the continent.”

14. Why Mindfulness And Trauma-Informed Teaching Don’t Always Go Together.

15. This man left his Wall Street job to start a nonprofit that curbs food waste and feeds the hungry. (video)

16. How to Do Metta on Lion’s Roar. “Jack Kornfield on beginning this time-honored, heart-opening practice.”

17. Stacey Abrams To Deliver Rebuttal To Trump’s State Of The Union Address.

18. Baby hyenas rescued by volunteer who took them home after they were orphaned. (video)

19. Germany’s oldest tree was also suffering from the record heatwave rocking the country – so residents from the small town around it came together to the rescue! (video)

20. People Are Sharing The Nicknames They Call Their Pets And It’s Relatable AF.

21. Chef Fatima Ali Has Died of Cancer at Age 29; This Is Her Essay from Our Upcoming Issue. “She dreamed of opening her own restaurant. Then she learned she had a year left to live.”

22. A Therapist Shares The Secret To Better Alone Time.

23. February is Black History Month. here are some articles, videos, and reading lists to get you started celebrating:

This week in People Behaving Badly: No Heat for Days at a Jail in Brooklyn Where Hundreds of Inmates Are Sick and ‘Frantic’ from The New York Times, and Portland Police Sergeant to Cops: ‘If You Come Across a Black Person, Just Shoot Them’, and Some of the lowest-paid workers affected by the shutdown aren’t eligible for backpay (video), and Racist Website Faith And Heritage Is Closing Up Shop, (and yet, “While Faith and Heritage is gone, the underlying racial resentment that animated the development of Kinism more than a decade ago is alive and well in the racist right”), and This mother was finally reunited with her 18-month-old after the baby girl spent a month in a Texas shelter (video) (I DO NOT support ICE in any way, shape, or form. It should be abolished. They are not protecting anyone. They are causing harm), and Police Say ‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Attacked In Possible Hate Crime, and It Could Take Joshua Tree 300 Years to Recover From the Government Shutdown, and $11 toothpaste: Immigrants pay big for basics at private ICE lock-ups.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. It’s gradually starting to get just the tiniest bit lighter that early. Sam is going 4-5 miles a day now and even running a little. He’ll never be back to where he was before he hurt his back, but I’m happy he gets to go on the full morning walk again.

2. Paid sick leave. I’ve needed it the last few days. After Eric being sick THREE times already this winter, I finally got a cold. All I want to do is sleep, but I don’t have the luxury. And even though I’m using some sick leave, I’ve still been working, along with all the stuff that needs to get done whether I’m sick or not, like the laundry and teaching yoga and walking the dogs.

3. Date nights with Eric. As I mentioned before, we always take a selfie when we leave the house after dark, just to prove that it actually happens sometimes.

4. My boys. They always want to come along when we pick up the dad from work. They are good company when I’m not feeling so great. Sam especially is a big fan of the all day nap.

Eric posted this on Facebook, with the caption “Bird dog… Ringo saw that hawk and stood there, then barked. He wanted to make it fly. Ringo wants RESPECT.”

5. Only 14 weeks of work left at CSU. The next few weeks are super busy, but I’m hoping after that it slows down a little so I can really start making the transition, tying up loose ends and letting go.

Bonus joy: some of my favorite presents ever (like this meditating dog garden statue or the blanket my niece made me that’s the perfect throw to use on the couch), sunny blue skies (although, we could really use more snow), naps, sleeping in, down blankets, a soft warm hat, yoga, meditation, Pilates, swimming, aqua aerobics, texting, cancelling plans, reading my Kindle in bed at night before I fall asleep, good TV, clementines, orange juice, hot sweet & spicy tea, nasal rinse, computer glasses, dreaming about birds.

Something Good

1. This video. “Welcome to the wild borderlands connecting Arizona and Mexico, where puma, coati, javelina and foxes meander a creek bed that is at times dry, then snow covered, then running with precious water. Our borderlands in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico are one of the biggest ecosystem complexes in North America, with some of the most remote and important wildlife habitats remaining on the continent.”

2. Happy Birthday, Fiona! (video) “Cincinnati’s favorite baby hippo will enter what her care team hopes will not be her ‘terrible twos’ tomorrow! This is another major milestone for the preemie that almost didn’t make it, weighing a fifth of what a normal baby hippo would weigh when she was born on January 24, 2017. Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments of her first two years!”

3. 3-year-old found in woods says he hung out with a bear.

4. Ivy’s still teaching yoga at the age of 87. (video) #teachinggoals

5. This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Hate Your Job.

6. Orchid Mantis. (video) Nature is so cool.

7. Feminist and Sociology Professor Tressie McMillan Cottom. (video) “Alicia Menendez sits down with renowned African-American feminist and sociology professor Tressie McMillan Cottom to discuss her new book, Thick: And Other Essays.”

8. Elizabeth Gilbert on the struggle of watching the person you love die. (Thanks to The Moth). (video)

9. Thich Nhat Hanh’s health “remarkably stable,” despite report in TIME.

10. A pair of bobcats on a winter’s day in Colorado. (video)

11. Kappa Alpha Psi Brother Opens Wellness Studio in Brooklyn That Helps Black Men Deal With Anxiety and Depression.

12. Believe the grin of white supremacy from Renegade Mothering.

13. The Spiritual Legacy of Mary Oliver on Tricycle.

14. Woman Keeps Trying To Rescue Dogs Chained Up Outside. (video) ***Spoiler alert: There’s a happy ending.

15. 50 Times That People Spoke Words So Profound, They Literally Changed Lives. My favorite is, “Don’t be a d*ck to your dog. He’s a few years of your life, but you are all of his.”

16. Baby elephant taking a bath. (video)

17. The Double Dose of Fyre Festival Fail Docs Led to a Blessing as Caribbean Caterer Raises Over $160K.

18. White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It’s not.

19. 3 Newborn Endangered Right Whales Seen After Year With No Births on The New York Times.

20. Avon Pulls Marketing Materials After Jameela Jamil Slams Company For Shaming Women.

21. You can’t be productive without routines and rituals. Here’s why.

22. “My black Lab ran away last night, he returned this morning with some friends in tow.” (video)

23. Four Volunteers Convicted for Leaving Food and Water Near Border as Four More Await Trial.

24. 1 Second Of Every ‘Office’ Episode May Be The Best Time Of Your Life.

25. Buddhism in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter from Lion’s Roar. “We need to update the traditional narrative of the Buddha’s life, says Pamela Ayo Yetunde, for people who know suffering all too well. She offers some alternative stories for the time of #BlackLivesMatter.”

26. Recipe I want to try: Amish sugar cookies.

P.S. This is my 365th Something Good list. 365. Three hundred and sixty five. That’s one list for every day of an entire year! Thanks for being here and letting me share, kind and gentle reader. ❤

Day of Rest

Today in my Facebook memories, a post showed up from two years ago, a list of the reasons behind what I post and share. It was particularly interesting to me because I’ve been thinking a lot about the how and why of my social media use. I was surprised to see that how I explained what I was doing two years ago is still quite accurate today. Nothing’s really changed.

20 Reasons Why I Post/Share Things

1. Because I’m a teacher and thus compelled to share what I learn in the hope that it will be of benefit to others.

2. Because I’m outraged or horrified and need company with that so I don’t give up, run and hide, sink into despair or shrink in terror.

3. Because I want to make it clear what “side” I’m on.

4. To dare someone, anyone to disagree so I can practice my dialogue skills (which are weak, I must admit).

5. To instigate a dialogue because I’m unsure or confused.

6. So I can easily find the info later.

7. To curate a collection of things for my weekly “Something Good” list (so far there are 365 of them, the same number as the days in a FULL year).

8. Because I want you to like me, think I’m cool.

9. To feel like I’m doing something.

10. To cheer you up, encourage you, share joy.

11. To motivate, inspire you.

12. Because I’m bored.

13. Because I need attention.

14. Because I’m overwhelmed and need you to help me “hold this.”

15. Because I’m trying to find my people.

16. Because I think I should.

17. Because it’s so funny or cute and I think it might make you laugh or even cry.

18. Because I think it’s going to go viral and I want to be “first.”

19. Because I’m getting paid to (I’m in charge of the social media accounts where I work).

20. Because I haven’t in a while and I want you to know I’m still here.