Gratitude Friday

More specifically, this week’s list is “things keeping me from giving up during a global pandemic.”

1. Morning walks. It seems like the morning light is lingering longer than in year’s past, and even though I’m not leaving later than usual, we still get to see the sunrise and I can turn off my headlamp before we get home. On a walk early in the week, I thought I saw a bald eagle but it was far enough away I thought it could also be an osprey. Then later in the week, a large bird took flight over my head and I assumed at first it was a heron but quickly realized it was a bald eagle, which means the one earlier in the week probably was too.

2. Ringo and I are a year older. I’m so glad that we are both still here, healthy and together. He’s the only dog we’ve had that we knew his real, actual birthday, and it’s the day after mine so very easy to remember. Even though a pandemic birthday is unusual, a little weird, not celebrated in the same way I usually might, I got so much love. I’m so grateful.

3. Comfort food and flowers in the bathroom and gummy supplements. Eric made me a pineapple upside down cake, nostalgic and yummy. He also brought home flowers for the bathroom and they smell so good. I also appreciate that all the supplements I take come in gummy form, as I hate taking pills.

4. Practice. Meditation, yoga, writing, and dog.

5. Good content. I watched the final season of Schitt’s Creek and the farewell special. I was late to the party, didn’t start watching until season four but quickly caught up, fell in love, cried and laughed. I’ve always loved Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy’s movies but wasn’t sure how that’d play in a TV series. It was smart, funny, weird, and so so sweet. Just what this moment needed. Also, if you are feeling lonely, pick a podcast and become a regular listener. After a bit, it’s weirdly like hanging out with your friends.

6. My tiny family. Eric is working from home full-time again. COVID-19 numbers are rising in Colorado, as they are everywhere, and they closed his physical campus again. He has next week off for Thanksgiving break and hopefully he’ll get to relax and rest — he’s been working so hard, (his skill set includes online education and active learning so he’s in high demand). Ringo has his own “work day” routine that has been entertaining both Eric and I: after a walk, he makes a bed out of pillows on the “big couch,” then moves to Sam’s couch where there’s a patch of sun most days, and then lands in his chair. At close to 10 am, he goes outside for his “morning break” — seriously, he’s on such a fixed schedule about it, it’s like he is wearing a watch. He spends the rest of the morning moving inside and out, barking at stuff, keeping an eye on his territory.

Bonus joy: Eric got me a bird feeder and I’m so excited to put it up (I don’t worry about becoming a “crazy” cat lady, but I do suspect I’ll be wearing pajamas covered in dog fur filling my collection of bird feeders and baths), sitting in the sauna with Eric, getting in the pool, writing and hanging out with Mikalina, Wild Writing, birthday love, texting with my mom and brother, eye drops, pizza, clementines, sharing a Clif bar with Ringo, my HappyLight, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.

Something Good

1. The Dodo, “At The Dodo, we’re obsessed with creating fun, entertaining and emotional content that makes people fall in love with animals. The Dodo is proud to tell animals’ stories at a time when people care about them more than ever.” Their videos and bloopers (no matter where or what they are from, I just get on YouTube and search “bloopers”) are my go-to comfort content. Sometimes the state of abandoned animals when they are first rescued is hard to watch, but every video has a happy ending.

2. How To Be At Home. “Lean into loneliness — and know you’re not alone in it. Filmmaker Andrea Dorfman reunites with poet Tanya Davis to craft tender and profound animation on the theme of isolation, providing a wise and soaringly lyrical sequel to their viral hit How to Be Alone.”

3. The Bridge Dog, (or what we call at our house “the backup dog”), because this:

I could not believe how much happier I was now that I had Merle in my life. Merely by agreeing to feed her and dispose of her waste, I had opened a portal to a pure, white-light joy that cut through all miseries, personal and structural. We walked and walked, mostly at night, over the bridge, around the town, over the other bridge, in the cool dark. Mere errands became ecstatic experiences because she was with me. “We are together,” I liked to exclaim to her reflection in my rearview mirror. “We are alive, and we are together!” My life was no longer a disaster. It was instead the miracle that had landed this creature in my back seat. I don’t want to say that Merle made me happy, but she made me stop wishing I was dead.

4. Joint Statement by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris On Diwali, the Festival of Lights. More of this, please.

5. COVID-19 news: Covid-19 vaccines may have potentially unpleasant side effects, and ‘Breakthrough finding’ reveals why certain Covid-19 patients die, and Gov. Polis warns against holiday gatherings as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations hit record highs, and Moderna announces initial Phase 3 data showing its COVID-19 vaccine is up to 94.5% effective.

6. From Obscure To Sold Out: The Story Of Four Seasons Total Landscaping In Just 4 Days.

7. This Etsy Ad Featuring a Black, Gay Couple Going Home for Christmas Will Make You Weep.

8. Insights at the Edge — Elizabeth Lesser: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes. “Tami Simon speaks with Elizabeth about her experience in the early days of the Omega Institute, redefining ‘power,’ and the ways that patriarchy is subtly, and not so subtly, embedded in our culture—how we can become more aware of it, and how we can make changes on the outside and inside so that in the future we can tell a different story, a story that equally embraces the power of women as well as men.”

9. Writing/Contemplating Prompts from John Pavlovitz:

  • What have you lost during the past few years? What/who are you grieving? What do you mourn over?
  • What have you seen or experienced that has sustained you and given you joy over the past four years? What is worth celebrating right now?
  • What has been renewed in you; something you rediscovered that you thought was gone? A beautiful surprise? A resurrected dream or voice?

10. What a Simple Haiku Can Do for a Friendship on The Atlantic. This article is part of a series where the author interviews two friends, and in this installment she interviews, “two friends who have been texting each other a haiku every day during the pandemic. They say that the practice has kept them connected and helped them to live in the moment. They discuss how structure helps maintain friendships, explain the coincidence that brought them back together after falling out of touch for years, and share some of their haikus.”

11. on rage, compassion and boundaries from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

12. Good stuff from the Upaya Election Series: Love, Fear, and Resilience as the World Falls Apart (“Lama Rod Owens looks at systems of trauma. He talks about resilience, compassion, suffering, and the need to embody our feelings and our practice”), and another with Sharon Salzberg, who “talks about having a sense of agency and committing to taking a step even if it doesn’t seem like much. She also talks about moving from grief to resilience and from anger to courage. Lastly, Sharon Salzberg leads a loving-kindness meditation.”

13. On the Power of Essayistic Compression in Flash Nonfiction. “Dinty W. Moore Traces the Growth (Contraction?) of a Genre.”

14. How to make this winter not totally suck, according to psychologists. “The practices involve cultivating different states — social connectedness, a clear purpose, inspiration — but all have one thing in common: They get you to focus on something outside yourself.”