Gratitude Friday

It was so cold and my glasses were fogging up, but the sunrise was amazing

Apparently, I wasn’t just late with this post last week, I forgot altogether! I’m not sure how exactly that happens, except for it’s been a busy season and I had a different schedule last Friday that must have thrown me off. I was just as grateful, even though I didn’t come here and tell you about it.

1. Morning walks with the dogs. They were some cold, dark ones this week, but there was an almost full moon.

2. The play of the light. These next two pictures were taken from the same bridge at the same moment, only one minute apart, one looking east and one looking west.

3. Christmas trail trees. After Thanksgiving every year, someone decorates three trees along the trail. It makes me so happy.

4. Flowers in the bathroom and kitchen counter love notes. This week, they were extra fancy.

I’m not even sure how he did this — when he writes a grocery list, I can’t even read it

5. My tiny family. My favorites, even when the dogs are barking at garbage trucks for what feels like the fourth hour in a row and they won’t stop no matter what I try or Eric is in a bad mood it doesn’t even come close to erasing the laughter and the love, which is so so much bigger.

Bonus joy: getting holiday shopping finished (don’t get too excited, I still have to wrap and then ship half of it), texting, good TV, good books, aqua aerobics, my new infrared heating pad (it’s only been two days, but so far it seems like a miracle – it was an early present from Eric because the company he ordered it from sent it without boxing or wrapping it so I already knew what it was when I saw it sitting on the front porch), the sauna at the gym, massage, a bonus at work, dropping in on a yoga class I won’t be going to much more, our new bed (another one — we had to return the first new bed that was memory foam because it was too soft, like sleeping on a giant marshmallow), breakfast for dinner, a fun Christmas movie with friends, oranges, clementines, an apple with peanut butter on crackers which is apparently my go-to “I didn’t have time to pack a lunch and I don’t want to go anywhere” meal when I’m at work, Wild Writing, Get Together Time, Nosework class with Ringo, how sweet Sam is, laughing with Eric, Christmas lights.

Something Good

1. My Body is Not a Billboard: Weight Loss Talk in Eating Disorder Treatment Marketing a new post from one of my favorite humans.

2. From Ronna Detrick’s Notes from Her, “Do what your intuition tells you, what you can clearly discern as the right course of action. Trust-trust-trust that you know what you’re doing. And let everything else go – every fear, every anticipated reaction, even every expected risk and seemingly-certain cost. It’s all going to work out.”

3. Need help finding a good book? Maybe this list of lists will help. In related news, Some Baffling Omissions from the NY Times 100 Notable Books List, and The 10 Best Books of 2017 from The New York Times.

4. Good stuff from Austin Kleon, (who also shared the link above), Tidying up and Have you tried making yourself a more interesting person?

5. A Line-by-Line Response to the New York Times’ Response to the Backlash It Received for Publishing a Nazi Puff Piece. In related news, Nazi Sympathizer Profiled by The Times Loses His Job. Karma is sometimes direct and swift.

6. A Portland Cartoonist Created a Bizarro World Where Trump Is Good.Decent Don is helpful, kind, and generous.” For more:

7. Musician James Maslow traveled back to his old high school to surprise his former drama teacher with a thank you letter that will give you all the feels. (video)

8. This American Life: Our Friend David. “David Rakoff died on August 9, 2012. He’d appeared on This American Life 25 times, first in 1996, during the third month of the show; his last appearance was just a few weeks before he died. He was on the program so often that in putting together this week’s show, we realized we could tell a lot of his life story, simply through things he said on the show. So this week we do just that, with excerpts from some of his favorite stories over the years.”

9. Buddha’s last 8 instructions. Seems pretty reasonable, but I admit I’m a bit biased.

10. 30+ Hilarious Cat Snapchats That Are Im-Paw-Sible Not To Laugh At.

11. Going Up the Mountain and Going Down the Mountain is the Same Thing, and Upaya Institute podcast with Natalie Goldberg.

12. People Are Sharing The Names They Now Call Their Pets Instead Of The Original One, And It’s Hilarious.

13. I’m a Plus-Size Runner and I Got Heckled at the NYC Marathon. I say again: fuck you and your fat phobia!

14. Writer Jenny Lumet: Russell Simmons Sexually Violated Me (Guest Column). Trigger warning: this description might hit close to home and be hard to read. I know it did and was for me.

15. ‘I Can’t Do This Anymore,’ Think 320 Million Americans Quietly Going About Day from The Onion — so funny, not funny.

16. Grad School Is Trash for Students of Color and We Should Talk About That.

17. Colin Kaepernick Is Recipient of 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Just like I know if you voted for Trump, we won’t have anything in common, I know that if you think Colin Kaepernick absolutely deserves this honor and is someone whose actions should be honored, we probably have some stuff in common.

18. Walmart yanks shirt threatening to kill journalists. I’ve been seeing more and more of this reported on lately — cases of those who work for businesses small and large making the dumbest, tone deaf, and even dangerous choices in their purchasing and marketing.

19. Writers, Authors, and People Who Write from Jena Schwartz.

20. Pantsuit Nation and the Tale of the Pumpkin Spice Allies.

21. Gifts for Writers, 2017 on Terrible Minds.

22. Navigating a HAES-Ignorant Health Care System from Jenna at Eat 2 Love.

23. 12 Things INFJs Absolutely Need to Be Happy.

24. How Will You Die? “Lindsay Kyte profiles five people who offer Buddhist wisdom to people who are dying and those close to them.”

25. Developing Extraordinary Resilience on Zen Habits.

26. Coming Out (Elle Mills Style). I love this video so much.

27. What do you do with wild commercial success? If you’re Ava DuVernay, you pass it on.

28. The Seeds of Trump’s Victory Were Sown the Moment Obama Won. *sigh*

29. The Dog Who Means Nothing to Me, because “indescribable suffering is a small price to pay for love.”

30. Man Goes 1 Week Without Talking to Anyone. (video)

31. Recipe I want to try: Veggie Fritters 4 Ways. (video)

32. The Senate just passed the biggest tax bill in a generation — and they didn’t even read it. (video) Fuck everything about this. In related news, from The New York Times, Senate Republicans Pass Sweeping Tax Bill and A Historic Tax Heist. Also, 4 winners and 3 losers in the Senate tax bill.

33. Artist Lina Iris Viktor breaks down the misconceptions of blackness in art. Her work is so amazing.

34. Meet the 5-year-old artist who donates her masterpieces’ proceeds to charity. (video)

35. The man looking after Kenya’s thirsty animals. (video)

36. This Woman Takes Pie Baking To Another Level. Fancy.

37. You Can Create A Stuffed Animal Clone Of Your Pet.

38. Tattoos Infused with Korean Art Techniques. (video)

39. Accused child molester and Alabama candidate for Senate Roy Moore explains who’s really to blame for the troubling accusations against him — and it’s not who you think. He said these things in a CHURCH.

40. A list of the sexual misconduct accusations made against Donald Trump. This was KNOWN, and people still voted for him to be the next President of the United Fucking States.

41. Meet the People Building Their Own Internet in Detroit. (video) “40% of Detroit is without internet and ignored by major telecoms. So one group has mobilized to bring the internet to the people by building their own infrastructure.” Watch the whole documentary here.

42. Pure Intentions: Little Miss Flint. (video) “‘I think the president is a bully and a liar.’ Years after the start of the water crisis, ‘Little Miss Flint’ is still fighting for her city, in spite of what haters and Trump have to say.”

43. Why Are White Men So Fragile? (video) “Having all the power and privilege in the entire world for all of history has been tough on white men! Elisa Kreisinger/Pop Culture Pirate explains why men are so angry (with the help of a white man).”

44. Cory Booker Tells the Truth About Our Prison System. (video)

45. Who’s Surprised? April Ryan Not Invited to White House Holiday Party for 1st Time in 20 Years.

46. That Moment You Realize You Could Die. (video)

47. This former NFL athlete and medical student didn’t know he was undocumented. (video) DACA saved him from getting deported.

48. Trump Brings Back ‘Pocahontas’ Slur Of Elizabeth Warren At Event For Native American Veterans.

49. This police department got in the holiday spirit #GivingTuesday. (video) No. No. No. Do we still not understand how traumatic it is to be pulled over while “driving black” (or any other color, for that matter, anything other than white)?! This is not the way to change relations with the community, unless you think subtle terrorism is a workable method for building relationships.

50. I Wrote A Book! And I Finally Get To Share It With You. from Renegade Mothering. I can’t wait to read this book. And seriously, it’s every writer with a blog’s dream to have that phone call — “I work with a publisher. We read your blog, love it. Wanna write a book?” Yes, please.

Something Good

City Park Lake, image by Eric

1. December Reflections, 2017 with Susannah Conway. “The idea is simply to take a photograph (and share it if you wish) every day in December while reflecting back over the year. I’ve provided a list of daily prompts with a mix of things to photograph — for example: sparkle, red, skyline — and things to ponder. The ponder prompts are an extra invitation to pause for a moment and consider some of your favourite bits of 2017. Share your treasured photos from the year alongside your thoughts. Dig further into the prompts privately in your journal. You may feel moved to create paintings or collages or poems. December Reflections started as a photo project but feel free to take it in any direction that calls to you!”

2. Sleep-over at the library. “Falling asleep in a library is typically the hallmark of an overstressed student, slumped over a desk piled with books in a fit of exam-induced exhaustion. But at this library in a small Welsh village, sleeping among the books is part of the appeal.”

3. 30 Questions I’ve Asked Myself Every Year for the Last 8 Years. I love a good list of prompts.

4. 5 Misconceptions About Highly Sensitive People That Need to Go Away.

5. What I learned from a year of dumpster diving in Australia.

6. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club. This one feels like it was written just for me, but I’ll share it here just in case it was for you too.

Dear Brave Soul,
Listen for a minute, okay?
It’s time to stop waiting.
It’s time to become who you want to become and do what you want to do and learn what you want to learn and rest when you want to rest.
It’s time to take little pieces of your day and do terrific things that are beautiful and personal and unique and true.
Every day we can make progress toward our own big and little dreams. So no more waiting, okay?
It is time. Time to find peace, time to be happy, time to really live. It is time. Today.
You are so beloved. Right now.

7. Strangled Roots and More Than One Kind of Silence from Jena Schwartz.

8. Farmland can spark urban renewal—and it’s happening in Detroit. (video)

9. These 10 companies control everything you buy. “Oxfam created a mind-boggling infographic that shows how interconnected consumer brands really are.”

10. Recipes I’d like to try: Vegan mayo and Scalloped Sweet Potatoes.

11. With ‘One Mississippi,’ The Moment For Women Storytellers Is Now. “As some of comedy’s icons have fallen, Tig Notaro continues to rise. We should make way for more women like her.”

12. Health Science Is Bullshit from College Humor. (video)

13. We Can’t Train Our Way to Racial Equity.

14. The Patel Family’s Immigrant Story. (video) “Ravi V Patel joins his family and friends in Chicago to take a trip down memory lane and learn about his father’s immigrant story.”

15. This Cat And Dog Love Travelling Together, And Their Pictures Are Absolutely Epic.

16. Thanksgiving for Native Americans: Four Voices on a Complicated Holiday from The New York Times.

17. Turns Out Tree-Kangaroos Exist, And It’s Impossible To Scroll Down This List Without Smiling.

18. An American Secret: The Untold Story Of Native American Enslavement.

19. Anyone for crickets? Finnish bakery sells bread made from insect. Considering the things we eat and take for granted as food, I’m not sure why eating bugs is viewed as anything out of the ordinary.

20. It is time to Give Back to Black Women for #GivingTuesday. (video)

21. A Texas teenager has a forever home just in time for the holidays after his former teacher adopted him on Friday.

22. This 23-year-old is doing her part to bring clean water to her Navajo community after decades of pollution and neglect. (video)

23. Don’t be afraid to talk about the real history behind Thanksgiving. (video)

24. Eliahu Pietruszka had grown up thinking his whole family had been killed in a Nazi death camp. (video) “This is the moment a 102-year-old Holocaust survivor meets the nephew he never knew he had.”

25. Trump Says He Passed On Being ‘Person Of The Year.’ ‘Time’ Says He’s ‘Incorrect.’ Liar, liar, you are a dumpster fire.

26. Words of wisdom from poet Andrea Gibson,

When I think the light is gone
I consider that it might just be too bright
for me to look at. Especially
if I’ve come directly from the dark.
Which I, and many of us have, lately.

27. Through Our Eyes: Puerto Rico. (video) “Here’s a glimpse at what life is like in post-hurricane Puerto Rico, where American citizens are still without clean water, food, or electricity.”

28. NYT Accused Of Normalizing White Nationalism In ‘Nazi Sympathizer’ Profile. In related news, from The New York Times, Readers Accuse Us of Normalizing a Nazi Sympathizer; We Respond.

Gratitude Friday

1. Flowers in the bathroom. From Trader Joe’s, not the Farmer’s Market or my garden, but still one of my favorite things.

2. Morning walks. It’s fun to go alone with the dogs, but also good to go with all three of my boys. The sky this week was amazing, as always, and Eric pointed out that the true sunrise, the full measure of it, only really lasts for about five minutes.

3. Cache La Poudre River. If I can’t live near the ocean, at least I am within walking distance of the river.

4. The pictures Eric takes while he’s hiking, walking, riding, or napping with the dogs. He texts me pictures, and it’s the next best thing to being there.

5. My tiny family. It’s been so nice to spend more time with them this week.

6. Special occasion food. It was just the two (four) of us for Thanksgiving dinner this year, but that just means that with leftovers, we don’t have to cook for a few days, and there’s a fridge full of yum. I made a breakfast casserole this morning to add to the mix, and it is so good (it calls for store bought biscuits in a tube, but I make it with homemade cheddar cayenne biscuits instead). The apple pie Eric makes is sweetened with maple syrup and apple cider, and it’s so good.

Bonus joy: aqua aerobics, sitting in the sauna, not having to do anything if I don’t want to, good books, good TV (I’m watching the BBC series Happy Valley and loving it), stretching, hot apple cider, San Pelligrino orange sparkling water, breakfast burritos, a warm shower and a clean towel, a clean car (thanks, Eric), our new fence, answering questions with Eric (after 25 years, how are there things I still don’t know about him?!), texting with my brother and friends, a good nap, clean pjs and clean sheets, a new bed on its way (the new one we got isn’t working out, so fingers crossed this one is better).

Something Good

Picture from our walk yesterday morning, and quote from a fortune cookie from our lunch the same day — which it turns out is actually wisdom from Guillaume Apollinaire, a French novelist who died in November of 1918

1. Modern Love 13-Word Love Stories from The New York Times.

2. Yoga in America Often Exploits My Culture—but You May Not Even Realize It. As a Buddhist, yoga teacher, and white woman, this is something about which I continue to cultivate awareness.

3. Captivating Kids Stories To Recognize Privilege. A great reading list, especially with the holidays coming up. #booksarethebestpresents In related news, ‘Open the doors and let these books in’ – what would a truly diverse reading list look like?

4. Saying ‘No Thanks’ to Lying to Kids about Thanksgiving. In related news, No Thanks: How Thanksgiving Narratives Erase the Genocide of Native Peoples, and Native American Girls Describe the REAL History Behind Thanksgiving (video), and The very first Thanksgiving looked a lot different than most of us realize (video).

5. This couple got married on the U.S.-Mexico border when it was opened for 3 minutes. (video) As I said when I shared this on Facebook: Fuck this shit. Fuck your wall. I mean y’all do realize we live on stolen land, right?

6. ‘This is such a scam’ — this senator won’t tolerate any bullsh*t about Trump’s tax plan. (video) In related news, Congresswoman masterfully exposes Trump tax scam as a giveaway… (video) This is the kind of thing I hope is happening in politics everywhere, behind every closed door, in every meeting and session — resistance.

7. Teachers Learn About Their Bias Towards Students. (video) “The ratio of white teachers to students of color is a national problem. This New York school district is training educators on how to talk about race, and address their own biases.”

8. Experience: my workout nearly killed me. Thank goodness my eating disorder and messed up notions about my body didn’t exist in the thick of the CrossFit era. I might be dead.

9. Recipes I want to try: (or an alternative title for this list, “many ways eat Brussels sprouts”), root vegetable gratin, and Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad, and brussels sprouts, apple and pomegranate salad, Brussels Sprouts Gratin, and Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts and Parmesan, and Gingerbread Apple Muffins, and Cornbread 4 Ways. In totally related news, How To Make Brussels Sprouts Taste Way Better.

10. Confusing Malaise from PHD Comics.

11. This brave woman has something to say to her body shamers. (video) Fuck you and your fat phobia. Even if she weren’t doing a single thing to modify her body, she can put whatever she wants in her mouth, eat whatever she wants AND enjoy it. What you eat or what your body looks like is NOT a moral issue, and it’s certainly nobody else’s business. In related news, Seemingly Overweight Dancer Blows Audience Away With Epic Swing Routine. And again, I say: Fuck you and your fat phobia. And just to underline the point, Roxane Gay Wants You to See Fat People as Humans and Aidy Bryant Puts Fat Shaming In Its Place and Letting Go of “Health-ism” and Related Panic.

12. 10+ Neighbours Who Made The Neighbourhood More Interesting.

13. If music gives you goosebumps, your brain might be special. My brain is special. Maybe you’d already guessed that? 🙂

14. The amount of food we waste every year is absurd. (video)

15. Gentle Giant Adopts Tiny Rescue Owl, His Protective Ways Will Make Your Day.

16. These people received a special surprise for being kind. (video)

17. White People Are Smashing Their Coffee Machines to Show Support for Child Molestation. I wish people would just admit they are racist, misogynist bigots and stop pretending to be so righteous and offended. In related news, this is how you do it: Why Kaep Takes a Knee. (video) “Colin Kaepernick has been named ‘Citizen of the Year’ by GQ. Here’s a refresher on what Colin’s protest is all about.” The same kind of people smashing coffee machines were burning his jersey.

18. Food Psych #130: How to Fight Fatphobia in Woke Spaces with Melissa Toler. I didn’t get to listen to this yet, but it’s a great podcast, and Melissa Toler is doing really great work.

19. Lemonade for Love. (video) “This little girls kindness and generosity is so well needed in this world.”

20. This kid is so awesome. (video) “When Hurricane Harvey slammed into Dickinson, TX, 13-year-old Virgil Smith trudged into the water with an air mattress to transport his stranded neighbors to safety.”

21. An Ode To the Women Who are “Too Much”, which I found because Lindsey shared a quote and link on A Design So Vast.

22. Some things I’ve noticed… from Chaz Hutton.

23. Who knows who you’ll help? Susan Hyatt makes a really good point about the importance of doing what you do. “We’re all here to serve one another. Whether it’s through a blog post, an article, a business, a fundraiser, or some other project, we’re all here to serve humanity. So, go create and share. Please don’t hold yourself back. Because who knows who you’ll help?”

24. So You’ve Sexually Harassed Or Abused Someone: What Now? from Ijeoma Oluo. “You can never erase this, but you can repair some of the damage done, and the damage your inaction is currently doing. You can be a part of the solution. And you have to be. You owe it to your victims. You owe it to us all.” This wisdom applies, regardless of the specific wrong you’ve done. Also from Ijeoma Oluo and in related news, When You Can’t Throw All Men Into The Ocean And Start Over, What CAN You Do?

25. Five Science-Backed Strategies to Build Resilience.

26. ‘I’ve Always Queered That Normative Space’: A Q&A With Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito.

27. The Truth About Christmas: The Epic, Untold Story of the holiday’s True Origins. This is just one small example of why it’s so important to understand the origins of things, to know actual history, and to seek out the truth.

28. A Wrinkle in Time Official US Trailer.

29. Being better to your fat friend this thanksgiving.

This holiday, before you comment on how much you’ve eaten, the weight of your regret, your fears for the body you might grow into, your fears for the bodies around you, your anxiety about anyone eating too much, stay silent for a moment. Sit with how it feels not to say it. Sit with what you wanted to say. Ask why you wanted to say it. Ask who it would benefit.

30. Give Back To Black Women on Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a national movement fundraising day that happens on Nov. 28th which focuses on altruistic giving, particularly in the online space. Like most structures impacted by systems of violence, Giving Tuesday has become monopolized by the Non-profit Industrial Complex. To make it plain: huge heirarchal non-profit organizations take up space and collect money that the very communities they proport to organize for never see. We are disrupting that model and centering Black Women and femmes. Join us in the work!

31. 100 questions to spark conversation & connection from Alexandra Franzen.

I’m actually good / Can’t help it if we’re tilted

Last night, I watched the season finale of Better Things. I have (for a long time) the biggest crush on Pamela Adlon, and absolutely adore Duke (Olivia Edward). I was explaining later in a post on Facebook that this is a show I love, but also don’t always understand. It’s about a single mom raising three girls (a life nothing like my own), and at times it’s painful to watch, confusing. Bad things happen and their relationships, their lives are so complicated — but also so beautiful and tender and heartbreaking. This dance scene at the end of the final episode had me sobbing. I’ve rewatched the video at least ten times, listened to the Christine and The Queens album this song is from multiple times today.

I turned 50 years old today. That has weight. Any birthday with a zero at the end does, but this one in particular means something for me — something I still haven’t quite worked out. Part of it is that 50 is for certain the moment on the roller coaster when you are at the top of the arc and the drop begins, the moment the ground falls away beneath you and your stomach lurches into your throat and the car starts to fall, equal parts exciting and terrifying.

I’ve been in a weird place for the past year. I blame “the election.” It changed everything for me. My world view shifted two inches to the left and everything looked different. It’s taken a while to figure out where I am, which way is up. For a long while, I was in the weeds. I got busy at work, busy working towards understanding and acting in my life, and I wrote less and less here. Recently, I’ve only been posting twice a week — Something Good and Gratitude Friday.

I did a celtic cross tarot spread reading for myself today. I used all my decks: Wild Unknown, Animal Spirits, Body Cards, and Q Cards. Many layers and levels. Themes arose — about honoring myself, my vision, my strength, my determination, my inner wisdom. About trusting that I have support for the hard stuff, knowing I’m not alone. About needing to maintain balance through regular practice. About having clarity of seeing and knowing. About being on the cusp of a big decision. About being creative and having an impact. About connection and freedom. About solid ground and groundlessness. About courage, confidence, and magic.

I still don’t know what it all means, any of it. Life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — and so confusing. I am feeling the truth of that old saying, “the more I learn, the less I know.” I want to practice, to write more, to work through it, to come here and share it with you, to connect. In the meantime, these lyrics knock around in my head, “I’m actually good / Can’t help it if we’re tilted.”

Gratitude Friday (on a Saturday)

1. Morning walks. This picture is one of my favorites, and I didn’t even mean it. I was taking a picture of the sky (the one below) and I looked down and noticed the dogs looking too, so I knelt down and got them in the shot.

2. Colorado sky, especially the ones in the morning, which we’ve been getting to see a lot since the time change. The winter weather can make them especially glorious.

3. It’s my birthday! I turned 50 today, and will most likely write a post later saying more about that.

4. Eric has made this a really special one. He organized a dinner out with friends, is making a German chocolate cake, got me lots of good presents (one is a night light that’s a replica of the moon!), and earlier in the week, he ordered clam chowder from my favorite place on the Oregon Coast (uh, we live in Colorado!) and made a dinner that almost exactly replicated what I order when we go there.

When the box arrived, I had NO idea what it was

Packed full of so much good, and don’t forget the cheesy garlic toast

And pie, don’t forget the pie

5. Tomorrow is Ringo’s birthday! He’s going to be four years old, but I love him like he’s going to be 50.

He likes to steal my spot on the couch

6. Sam. Even though he’s probably going to have a tiny scar, he’s all healed up from the dog attack of a few weeks ago. He’s also almost finally adjusted to the time change and stopped trying to wake everyone up at 4 am.

Bonus joy: Facebook messages on my birthday, texting with my brother, laughing with Eric, Fall Break, Wild Writing, yoga, getting in the pool, clean sheets, a warm shower and a clean towel, a good night’s sleep, sleeping in, napping, good TV (the season finale of Better Things was so good), pulling together an article to share some good news, Pilates, a massage, French toast, roasted sweet potatoes, discounted gas, a free training session, my computer glasses.