Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks, especially when we all get to go together.

2. The colors of fall, even when they are spilled all over the front step, (squirrels love to eat our pumpkins). I also am totally in love with my dog Buddha a friend got me a few years ago.

3. Flowers in the bathroom, even though they are from the grocery store now.

4. Get together time. Hanging out telling stories with friends, Wild Writing, yoga class, video chatting, texting, going out for a meal, taking a walk together — I have really good people in my life and I love spending time with them.

5. My tiny family. Talking a walk or a nap or hanging out in the backyard together are some of my most favorite things.

Playin’

His happy place

I either need a bigger couch or a smaller dog

Bonus joy: a new supply of dog poop bags, a whole weekend where I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to, good books, good tv, good podcasts, falling asleep on the couch, black bean and sweet potato quesadillas, sleeping dogs, massages, starting a new notebook, my favorite pen, computer glasses, donuts, a clean glass of cold water, a warm shower, clean sheets, birds singing, a soft blanket, being done with the laundry, slippers.

 

Something Good

Fall on the Poudre River, from one of our morning walks this week

1. With all the recent disasters, I’ve been loving when there’s good news. Like this, Dog missing after 6.3R earthquake returns home when school bell rings, or this, Dog stranded by wildfire waits for her family at burned-down home, and this, Guy Drives Across The Country To Adopt A VERY Special Dog.

2. Recipes I want to try: 5 lunch recipes that only require 3 ingredients, and butternut squash and caramelized onion galette, and “Healthy” Fried Rice, and Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Buttery Pecans, and Apple Pie Cookies, and Chocolate Olive Oil Cake.

3. The model in the controversial Dove ad speaks out: “I am not just some silent victim.” In related news, 9 Shockingly Tone-Deaf Ads That Should Have Never Happened and Black-Owned Skincare Brands to Support Instead of Dove.

4. From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories on The New York Times. In related news, What If We Just Believed Women? “One of the reasons Harvey Weinstein was able to allegedly prey on women for 30 years is that victims were afraid no one would hear them out if they came forward.”

5. Dear White Co-conspirators. “Stay with the discomfort and repeat to yourself: I do this in solidarity with my fellow people of color who have had to live in this discomfort, still do, without the privilege or luxury of walking away from it. I do this in solidarity. This is a vital part of dismantling racism.”

6. #NamaSlay: How Black Women Are Using Trap Yoga as Spiritual Resistance.

7. 15+ Of The Most Beautiful Bonsai Trees Ever.

8. Come For The Fat Girls, Get No Girls At All. “Whether they’re whining about women playing leading roles or trying to tell us that we should keep kids away from fat people, we don’t have to put up with it.”

9. The Faceless: On Whiteness & Emotional Assassination. “White people consistently break the softness of my heart — because Whiteness is brokenness, and to be close to it, is to be broken by it.”

10. My life has been marked by sexual harassment – just like all women.

11. 12 Amazing Highlights from the 2017 Nat Geo Nature Photographer of the Year Contest.

12. Growing Up In A Fatphobic Household.

13. This Video of Young Girls Dancing to Beyoncé’s ‘Freedom’ Will Give You Chills.

14. The New Midlife Crisis. “Why (and How) It’s Hitting Gen X Women.” In related news, How Philosophy Can Solve Your Midlife Crisis.

15. There Is No Middle Ground Between Racism And Justice.

16. 3 Things America Doesn’t Want To Tell You About White Terrorism.

17. The Airport Bomber From Last Week You Never Heard About.

18. Conversation with Laurie Wagner about Creativity as Medicine with Sherry Belul.

19. Curious Arctic Fox Pups Destroy Hidden Camera In The Most Adorable Way.

20. On Fragility. “White or White adjacent fragility isn’t just annoying…it’s a power grab. It’s dangerous and it seeks to harm people who speak up and out. Fragility and centering is employed daily…and it’s designed restore the desired position of power or feel ‘safe’. It’s both unconscious and intentional simultaneously.”

21. 6 Simple Personal Commitments to Overcome Low Self-Esteem. “Even though you know that you can be so much more, deep down you have a nagging feeling that you are not worthy of greatness, accolade, pure joy, and happiness. Low self-esteem is keeping you from living your life to the fullest.”

22. How to take a nap.

23. So You Want To Fight White Supremacy.

24. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.”

25. A great offer from Rachel Cole, “The world is hurting so much and sometimes the best thing we can do is to help those most local to us. During the month of November if you book a consultation with me (90 minutes, one-on-one) I will donate 75% of your payment to organizations that are supporting the North Bay fire recovery effort. I’d love to help you while also helping others.”

26. A UMD lecturer received a racist voicemail after he was on Fox News. I sent him an email of support today. If you’d like to as well: jan@umd.edu

27. 11 new essay collections by women that you need to read if you haven’t already.

28. How To Practice Self-Care Amid All The Harvey Weinstein News, Because The News Cycle Can Be Really Overwhelming.

29. This Is The Anti-Gay Pamphlet Handed Out At The Values Voter Summit. In related news, Values Voter Summit: Whose Values?

30. Andrea Gibson: ‘Genderqueer is a Constant Coming Out.’ I have tickets to see them in Boulder in February. Yay!

31. #ExpressiveWriting Prompts to Use If You’ve Been Accused of #WhiteFragility #SpiritualBypass or #WhitePrivilege. Hall created this resource for free. If you recognize the value of her effort, you can pay her: “http://www.paypal.me/leesarenee It’ll say Arbisys. That’s the name of my holding company. But it’ll get to me.”

32. My Book Is About Race. Of Course It Is. from Ijeoma Oluo. Can’t wait to read it!

33. Meet the Black Women Named MacArthur “Geniuses.”

34. The Game is Rigged from Chuck Wendig.

Just be aware of this stuff, People Like Me. Elevate voices that aren’t your own. Listen to those voices. Hear them. Pass the mic. Boost the signal. When you see the system working for you and against others, say something. Try to do something. Don’t worry about perfect, just be better, for Chrissakes. Stand tall for people who can’t, for people who will be crushed underneath the machine. Get out of the center of the universe. Give money to good causes. Vote for interests other than your own. Find empathy and critical thinking. Do something. Don’t just sit there and be the casual, happy recipient of love and favors. Share the road. And see the game for what it is, and how someone has cheated for you on your behalf.

35. This artist put Trump quotes on sexist ads from the 1950s and it’s frighteningly realistic.

36. President Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over 263 days.

37. 15 Bad-Ass Latina Activists.

38. What happened when a poet was sent to the biggest US mall to write for shoppers. “Brian Sonia-Wallace was selected to pen poems at the Mall of America. In a shrine to consumerism, he regularly brought visitors to tears.”

39. 10 Books by Indigenous Authors You Should Read.

40. Buy Native, a list of Native owned businesses.

Gratitude Friday

1. Practice. It keeps me sane, and as a teacher, it feels like something worthwhile I can share.

2. Fall color. Even when it’s competing in my backyard with an early trace of winter.

3. Kitchen counter love notes. It’s the best thing about coming home from work, that and how excited the dogs get. Oh, and being able to take off my bra.

4. Texting. Even when it means getting a picture of your boys, happy after a hike, when you are sitting at your desk working.

5. My tiny family. They saved me this morning — I was scheduled to sub a yoga class at 7 am, but somehow I got the dates mixed up in my head and thought it was next Friday, so I slept in this morning, but Eric came back from walking the dogs at 6:30 and woke me up, which gave me enough time to get to the gym and get set up, and I don’t think anyone even realized that I taught a class I planned right there on the spot. That last part is something to be grateful for too — to have taught yoga long enough and enough times that I can just show up and teach, no worries.

Waiting for the dad to come home

The look he gives me when I won’t share my lunch

When it’s too crappy to play outside

My date at Chelsey and Jon’s wedding (Jon dancing with his mom in the background)

Bonus joy: Wild Writing, texting with friends, laughing with Eric, sweet potato and black bean quesadillas, sunshine, our new fence, no more yellow jackets or mice in our house, saying “no,” sleeping in, napping, clean sheets, our new bed, snuggling with the dogs, how worried Sam gets when I run the washing machine, how Ringo thinks he needs to yell at anyone he can see from our front window no matter what they are doing or who they are, a thin soft wool sweater, computer glasses, my Kindle, aqua aerobics.

24 Years

I wrote on the card I gave Eric this morning: “24 years?! How does that even happen? How does it happen SO FAST?!” I have no answers for this. Here we are, just living our lives like it’s no big deal — making each other laugh, getting irritated about stupid stuff that doesn’t even matter, doing the laundry and making dinner and walking the dogs — and suddenly we’ve been married for 24 years.

At Chelsey and Jon’s wedding reception this weekend, Eric said, “do you think if we could go back to that day and relive it knowing everything was going to work out, we’d have enjoyed it more?” I said, “you didn’t enjoy our wedding?” He laughed and said that wasn’t what he meant, but rather he remembers being 24 and just starting out, anxious about how things were going to go, wondering if it was going to be okay.

This morning I read this great article from Susan Piver, The Truth About Marriage Vows: Five Promises you Can Keep. She talks about the “not knowing” we enter into when we commit to another person. We can’t be sure, we can’t know, but we dive in anyway. She ends the post by saying,

Here’s something else I’ve learned about a relationship: Okay, so it’s not what you think it’s going to be, the feelings are always changing, and you’re going to have to say goodbye someday. But when you find your love, there is something inside that simply and inexplicably says hello to him. Yes to him. Of course to him. Certainly. Obviously it’s you. There is no choice. I do.

I’ve written a lot about us over the past few years. Here are three of my favorite anniversary posts:

When I officiated the wedding of some other friends last year, I said that “marriage isn’t a commitment you make just once. Rather marriage allows you the opportunity to choose that person again and again. This can happen in moments of joy, such as today, looking at your partner and feeling overwhelmed by love, knowing this is your person and you are hers, and choosing to commit publicly and legally to your partnership. This choice also happens in some of the darkest moments, when things are hard. Over the course of a long marriage, there are many opportunities to choose. You commit yourself to this person over and over again.”

Today, 24 years in, I choose Eric again. I can’t help it. He’s my favorite.

Something Good

High Park Camp, Colorado

1. Trying is always worth it, wisdom from Alexandra Franzen.

2. How do you want to fill your day? Wisdom from Paul Jarvis.

3. Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up. “Emotional labor is the unpaid job men still don’t understand.” In related news, Ask Agatha, or Don’t: Unsolicited Advice to a Woman Who’s Afraid to Be a Nag.

4. Everything You Need to Know About Indigenous Peoples Day. In order to get to a better place together, we need to face (and teach) our true history. There are terrible things we continue to try and gloss over, even deny, and it’s not doing any of us any good, is actually doing direct harm to some. For starters, we need to stop honoring Columbus Day. Stop celebrating this person. Stop taking advantage of discounts and sales in his honor. Work to have your city, state, country reframe or get rid of this “holiday” altogether. In related news, 8 Myths and Atrocities About Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day.

5. The Space Between Lives and Why I Don’t Feel Proud of America from Jena Schwartz.

6. Why LGBT Spaces Can Be Uncomfortable for Queer People of Colour.

7. 10 Ways White Liberals Perpetuate Racism.

8. Why do we feel so guilty all the time? “Food, sex, money, work, family, friends, health, politics: there’s nothing we can’t feel guilty about, including our own feelings of guilt.”

9. 10 Things Fat Babes With Eating Disorders Need You To Know. In related news, When You’re Both Overweight and Anorexic.

10. This White Cop Slamming a Little Black Boy to The Ground is Why Black Athletes Are Taking The Knee. “If you don’t get it yet just admit it’s because you don’t want to.”

11. As Overdose Deaths Pile Up, a Medical Examiner Quits the Morgue on The New York Times. Should we have done more, cared more when crack was decimating communities of color? Yes, absolutely. Should we do better now? Yes, for sure. Do we really know what to do? I don’t know. Addiction has been around me my whole life, and it’s one of the most confusing, confounding things, so I hope a whole lot of people know and do better than me, (<– I could say that about just about everything).

12. “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” Creator Accused of Stealing Work from Filmmaker Reina Gossett.

13. Dove apologises for ad showing black woman turning into white one. In related news, The Black Model In The Controversial Dove Ad Responds To The Backlash.

14. Dirty John. A six part narrative series, which includes a six part podcast. “This series is based on multiple interviews with Debra Newell, Jacquelyn Newell, Terra Newell, Arlane Hart, Shad Vickers, Tonia Sells Bales, Karen Douvillier, Donna Meehan Stewart, investigators, attorneys and other sources. Christopher Goffard also reviewed thousands of pages of court documents, police reports, restraining orders and prison records, as well as text messages and emails.”

15. 21 Hilarious Tweets That Accurately Reflect Life With Toddlers.

16. Every Single Cognitive Bias in One Infographic.

17. 11-Year-Old Starts Club For Young Black Boys To See Themselves In Books.

18. The Root: 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2017. “The Root 100 is our annual list of the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45. It’s our way of honoring the innovators, the leaders, the public figures and game changers whose work from the past year is breaking down barriers and paving the way for the next generation. This year’s list of honorees are a reminder of the beauty and brilliance of blackness, at a time when the political and cultural landscape has grown even more hostile to the idea of black achievement.”

19. Ellen DeGeneres always knows how to remind us of all the good people in the world. (video)

20. Despite claims in the media, the Las Vegas massacre was not the deadliest mass shooting in history. (video)

21. Huge butterfly swarm detected by weather radar in Colorado. They really have been everywhere.

22. Recipe I want to try: Veggie Nuggets.

23. White Male Terrorists Are an Issue We Should Discuss.

24. How To Help Las Vegas Shooting Victims Right Now.

25. There’s not “a thin person inside you, trying to get out” and that’s a good thing.

26. Nathaniel Russell’s Fliers and Fake Books.

27. The final four lines of Maya Stein’s 10-Line Tuesday poem “Another Elegy,”

What to say, now, in the silence that remains after the bullets have struck?
What shred of grace or beauty still clings to the mouth of this October
and its devastating blue sky? I am out of ideas, but here: Take my shatter
of grief and twine it to yours. Let us swallow this bitterness together.

28. Thank You, Michael. “Carina Stone on the tragic death of her husband, the Buddhist teacher Michael Stone, the challenges he faced, and the gifts he gave.”

This is an all too common theme in yoga and dharma worlds: If you practice deeply enough, you will heal, and if you don’t heal, your practice or something in you is flawed. But meditation is not a panacea, and can even be counterproductive for people with severe challenges.

29. Giant Straw Animals Invade Japanese Fields After Rice Harvest And They Are Absolutely Badass.

30. If You Ever Feel Sad, These 10+ Highland Cattle Calves Will Make You Smile.

Gratitude Friday (on a Sunday)

My friends, Chelsey and Jon, dancing their first dance at their wedding

1. Love. I have a good reason this week for this post being late. I’ve been busy, marrying my friends Chelsey and Jon. It’s the second ceremony I’ve officiated, and just like the last time, I was marrying people I love dearly, who love each other even more. It’s just so great to see people you love so happy together. And, p.s., tomorrow is Eric and I’s 24th anniversary. And, p.s.s., sorry I forgot yours again, Mom and Dad — somehow I always thinks it’s on the 11th, after ours. Hope you had a lovely day even though your kids suck and probably both forgot.

2. Fall in Colorado. I’ve been drinking it in this weekend. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, and even if we don’t get the full 4-8 inches they are predicting, it will for sure pull a lot of the red, gold, and orange off the trees, fast forwarding us towards winter.

3. A new fence! After a few rain delays, it’s finally done. I will never take having a fence for granted, no matter how run down, because my dogs really really love to go hang out in the back yard, play or lounge around, and it’s so much easier when they can just go out when they need to, instead of needing me to suit them up and take them out. And it doesn’t hurt that our new fence is so nice.

Sam approves

Having to play inside just isn’t the same

4. Walking with the dogs in the morning. It’s so dark we can hardly see anything at first, but it’s so lovely and quiet.

5. Flowers in the bathroom. With the snow coming tomorrow, this will most likely be the last ones from the farmer’s market.

6. My tiny family. There’s nothing I love more, nothing that makes me feel more content, than being with them and knowing they are healthy and happy.

Bonus joy: working out in the pool, taking a long nap, crispy gala apples, dog sighs, clean sheets, good books (just finished Buddha in the Attic, so good!), good TV (lots of my favorites are back on, like Queen Sugar and Superstore and Grey’s Anatomy), computer glasses, getting up and down the mountain safely, going to lunch with Eric at a place we’ve went to for the first time 25 years ago, pancakes and waffles, our new bed, clean water, all the good people working to resist the awful things being done, knee braces, dog toothpaste, our new furnace.

Something Good

1. We Are the Culture Makers Virtual Symposium.”Eleven culture-changing conversations with leaders who are rewriting the rules on what it means to be in business. This is about showing you how we can use our own lives & platforms as our individual and collective contributions towards a more inclusive and just culture.”

2. Atonement and Action from Jena Schwartz. “They came and built better lives — on land ‘soaked with the blood of Africans.’ Of slaves. Of native people obliterated to make room for our future. These are sins for which we need to be atoning through action for the rest of our lives — whether it was “our” people or not who committed these acts. As people who have benefited in this country, we are…also perpetrators of oppression.”

3. American Black Cross “is a grassroots organization of volunteers that directly engages in rescues, provides relief and actively rebuilds communities in distress.” Check out their wishlist on Amazon. In related news, 10 Ways to Show Puerto Ricans Love, and How to Help Puerto Rico: 12 Effective Ways to Donate Money, and This NFL rookie gave his first ever paycheck to team cafeteria workers affected by Hurricane Harvey, and Here’s How You Can Help These African Countries In the Wake of Recent Natural Disasters.

4. The Japanese concept of Ikigai could be the secret to a long, meaningful life. “While there is no direct English translation, ikigai is thought to combine the Japanese words ikiru, meaning ‘to live,’ and kai, meaning ‘the realization of what one hopes for.’ Together these definitions create the concept of ‘a reason to live’ or the idea of having a purpose in life.”

5. A Message To My Younger Writer Self from Chuck Wendig.

6. How to Protest Without Offending White People. In related news, This video is the best 5 minutes you will see on the NFL protests. Seriously, watch it.

7. Dear Mrs. Trump. A librarian rejects a gift of books, and explains why.

8. What the Data Really Says About Police and Racial Bias. “Eighteen academic studies, legal rulings, and media investigations shed light on the issue roiling America.”

9. America, we need to talk about this ‘police riot’ in a major U.S. city. “We have to care. If anything is fundamental to freedom in America, it is the notion that the streets — and free expression, including dissent — belong to the people, not to a militarized police force. And it’s become increasingly clear — from the asphalt of St. Louis to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — that Americans are going to have to fight to keep it that way.”

10. 3 Reasons Why Being Anti-Racist Isn’t Code for Being Anti-White.

11. Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Making of a Public Intellectual on The New York Times. “Between the World and Me, Coates’s treatise on black male life in America, catapulted him to prominence. Coates spoke to The Times about his new book, We Were Eight Years in Power, his year in Paris and what he’s up to next.”

12. I love this so hard from The Bloggess. “A lot of high school kids do monologues or speeches or interpretive scripts based on my books but I almost never get to see the finished products. This one was online though and I just watched it and it made me (cough) furiously happy.”

13. Suicide Warning Signs Infographic.

14. ‘I started dry retching’: the harrowing world of a trauma cleaner.

15. Bad teeth, bad dogs, bad weeks. And Puerto Rico on Rita’s Notebook.

16. The 21st-Century Fantasy Trilogy That Changed the Game on The New York Times. “Last year she became the first black writer to win the Hugo Award for best novel. This year, she won it again. Now her new novel has arrived.”

17. White Haze on This American Life. I listened to this yesterday as I balanced my checkbook, felt so angry and sad and a little hopeless, and woke up in the morning to this, Las Vegas Shooting Near Mandalay Bay Casino Kills More Than 50 on The New York Times.

So, the rest of the list is cute puppies and yummy food, cause I’d rather end on that note and I can’t quite wrap my head around the rest yet.

18. Please don’t take my sunshine away. (video)

19. The mighty howl of baby beagle. (video)

20. There are two types of sunday-ers. Which one are you? (video)

21. A puppy’s life, one second every day. (video)

22. Dog interrupts orchestra and steals the show. (video)

23. Recipes I want to try: Veggie Rice 4 Ways and Blooming Quesadilla Ring.