1. Morning walks. I finally got to go on one this week. It’s been super cold, which makes it better for Ringo to go on a run with Eric than a slower paced walk with me, and I still don’t have much energy as I’m recovering from COVID, but the one I got to do was gorgeous. I love winter here.

2. Being on the other side of a medical procedure that was necessary but no fun. The colonoscopy prep wasn’t anything you’d choose to do but it was so much kinder to me this time around. I could actually sleep and didn’t spend the whole night violently ill. I also had a friend doing the same at the same time, so we were texting throughout the process and that somehow made things easier, like I had a “colonoscopy buddy.” My results were positive, the situation that caused the abscess was what we expected (and not cancer or Crohn’s disease, which can cause the same symptoms), and everything else was normal, fine, as it should be, all good. I’ll talk to my doctor after she reads the full report to see if I need surgery, but I’m so happy to be on this side of things. I told the anesthesiologist when I woke up, “I was dreaming about my dog.” I’m going to write and post more later about the process because I learned some things that seem worth sharing.

3. Going back to the gym. Having COVID and then being exhausted from having COVID and a colonoscopy prep to do, I hadn’t been to the gym in three weeks. I went today, did the hydromassage chair, stretched out in the pool, and sat in the sauna. It felt good, and wore me out. Tomorrow I’ll try some yoga and Monday maybe aqua aerobics and small group training. I’m doing everything at half speed until my energy comes back.

4. Making art with Janice and Mikalina. Creative practice, play, and community are so important to the more solitary, “serious” practices I do, and to my mental health in general.

5. First responders. Early on Monday morning the carbon monoxide detector in our garage went off. We were pretty sure it was a malfunction, that the detector was failing because it was so old, and the one inside the house was functioning but not alerting AND the faulty one would alert even outside in the open air, but just to be sure, we called and had the fire department come out to check. They were happy to do so, gave us the all clear and made us feel much better about it all. Ringo however DID NOT approve of those guys in those weird suits, hats, and masks in that big truck talking to his favorite human AND going inside his house while he had to stay in the car.

6. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. Eric and Ringo took such good care of me this week.

Bonus joy: good neighbors who came out in the early morning cold to check on us when they saw the fire truck in front of the house and us sitting in our car, all the nurses and doctors and other various staff who are there when you need them and give so much support and assurance (the woman who checked me in yesterday said “nice to meet you” after getting me all settled — how sweet is that?!), being able to cook for myself especially when I’m craving something specific and can easily look online for a recipe and follow it and have it turn out and be so satisfying — extra so because “I made it myself!”, gingerbread, birds in the feeder, so many possible comfortable places to sleep in our house when we need somewhere other than our bed (must be what Ringo feels like, as he’s got at least six places to sleep that are JUST for dogs and is also allowed on any of the other furniture we use), that the time Ringo threw up his breakfast almost three weeks ago was just a fluke and not the sign of anything else, good movies and TV, listening to podcasts and music, sunshine in the winter, texting with my mom and Chris and Chloe’ and Mikalina and Chelsey and Jeff, talking to Eric’s mom on the phone, having a friend who is a local surgeon, all of Eric’s D&D friends, mashed potatoes, when I start a new notebook and get to pick a sticker to put on the front, Vitamin Water (Squeezed flavor), wipe and ointment, down blankets and pillows, clean sheets, playing with Ringo, “singing” with Ringo, warm socks, soft shirts, indoor plumbing, pizza, cake, walnuts and almonds, oranges, green tea, meditating with Joel, wild-ish writing with my Friday morning sangha, paint, pens, pencils, a warm shower, watching Antiques Roadshow and Tiny House Hunters with Eric at night, sitting with him on the couch, hugs, making each other laugh, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.

Something Good

Winter morning on the Poudre River, image by Eric

1. Patrick got his stem cell transplant. They can still use support, as little or much as you have to give.

2. What Introverts Can Do When They Feel Overwhelmed by Life.

3. London Writer’s Salon #032: David Whyte — Poetic Imagination & The Way of the Poet. (podcast) “Internationally renowned poet David Whyte on his life and craft as a poet, writer, and speaker. We explore poetic imagination, how we might use poetry as a tool to engage more deeply with the world and balancing soul vs survival work. David reads his poems: Blessing of the Morning Light, Song for the Salmon, Your Prayer and Start Close in.”

4. R.I.P. Tyre Nichols. Instead of watching the video of his last moments (really, just don’t watch it), check out his photography website, or read more about his life and who he was, Tyre Nichols remembered as beautiful soul with creative eye or Tyre Nichols loved sunsets. People are sharing glowing skies in his honor, or support his family.

Tyre Nicols, image by Kris Volker

5. In ‘No More Police,’ Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie Argue for Abolition. Teen Vogue spoke to the abolitionist organizers about policing, gun violence, hope for the future, and more.”

6. Confessions of a Hungry Ghost on Lion’s Roar. “Sensei Alex Kakuyo knows what it’s like to live as a hungry ghost, constantly striving toward one more thing. He shares how Buddhist practice has helped him accept this endless hunger and find refuge in the present moment.”

7. From Seth Godin: The coming ubiquity and “What do you do around here?”

8. Suggestions for Making Your Dreams Come True from Jena Schwartz. And reason #212 why I love her so much is the “p.s.” she added in a newsletter after she posted it: “I made a list today of suggestions for making your dreams come true. I did not include the systemic and cultural barriers for so many people, and haven’t decided if I’ll write more about that, share the list as is, or not share it at all. believe in the things I listed, and also know that privilege is more often than not a factor when it comes to living one’s dreams. And the isms that infiltrate every aspect of life in the United States make it impossible to talk about things like making dreams come true without acknowledging inequity. So part of the both/and I’m sitting with is that I truly DO believe in making our dreams come true, and I also truly believe that we must simultaneously, continuously work to name and transform the toxic, inhumane, shitty norms and systems that make this easier for some people than others.”

9. Layoff Brain from Anne Helen Petersen. “You can reconcile yourself to Worker Layoff Brain, absorbing the blows each time they come, sitting with the cognitive dissonance of millions and profit and hundreds if not thousands of jobs cut, repeating the mantra ‘this is an opportunity,’ ‘this is an opportunity,’ ‘this is an opportunity.’ But again: that’s shouldering risk that shouldn’t be yours to bear. If we understand layoffs as irrational — and generally the result of imitative behavior, in which companies compete to signal most strongly that they’re tightening their belts and/or pushing back against employee power — then there is no strategy to avoid them. But you can mitigate their effects and their power over you, and not just by amassing a personal emergency fund.”

10. Six Months to Live from Summer Brennan. “The idea with pretending you only have six months or a year to live is, of course, that you never know. The bus or the aneurysm or the heart attack—they can come at any time. Sometimes there’s a bad decision involved, those slippery stairs at night, or the friend who’s had a few drinks behind the wheel, but other times it’s nothing to do with you. You’re checking the soccer scores and then, the next moment, gone. As for my six month mortality experiment, it’s possible that I simply forgot about it, the way we always forget. I don’t remember marking the end, some metaphorical demise where I was grateful to be alive, or whatever. I would forget, and then remember, and take my sunglasses off, and then forget again.”

11. Water Rabbit Year (2023): An Opportunity to Recalibrate.

12. Reclaiming resilience: Building in redundancy, complexity and diversity for systems change.

13. I’m an Organizer. This Is How I Use Social Media to Make a Difference. “Activist Eliel Cruz outlines seven strategies for using social media as a tool for promoting social and political change.”

14. No, You Are Not an Hysterical Female, and This Is Not Just Anxiety a reshare of this important post by Patti Digh seven years after the event. “I think there are many things you could call me. You could call me stubborn. You could call me opinionated. You could even call me anxious — when I am anxious. Just don’t let that be the benchmark for my health care, or a convenient thing to write when you can’t find anything else wrong, or are so intent on not listening to me that you can’t hear me.”

15. A Great Writing Companion from Jamie Attenberg, whose sweet pup Sidney passed last week. “This probably will seem obvious to anyone who has or had a pet themselves, but I can’t imagine a scenario where I would have stayed as sane as I did (the little I did) during the pandemic without my dog.” Amen.

16. Why Do Terrible Things Happen To Wonderful People? Why make a universe that hurts? from Andrea Gibson.

17. Don’t try to worry less. Worry smarter. “Try these steps to make worry less of a burden — locate it in your body, make it concrete, problem solve and let it go.”

18. 100+ Plants Fill a Beautiful, Brick-Walled 600-Square-Foot NYC Rental Apartment.

19. 11 Anti-Racism Educators & Activists To Follow And Support Online.

20. 15 Grounding Techniques To Soothe Anxiety, From Therapists.

21. Tiktok’s enshittification. “Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.”

22. Productive procrastination from Austin Kleon.

23. Michael Imperioli’s Apartment Looks Like a White Lotus Hotel. I had no idea how much I should like him as a person, a human. And his walk in closet converted to a meditation shrine in the Tibetan tradition? *swoon*

24. Marie Kondo revealed she’s ‘kind of given up’ on being so tidy. People freaked out.

25. Jane Fonda, 85, Says She Still Does Her Iconic Workout Videos Every Day to ‘Stay in Shape’. “The actress admitted that her fitness goals have changed over the years from focusing on her physical appearance to her health and well-being. ‘Now it has to do with how I feel,’ she said. ‘Also, because I’m old, I know from experience that if you don’t keep using your muscles and joints, you’re going to be in big trouble.'”

26. New owner of Yachats’ largest motel has big plans for upgrades and creating more rooms, shops and housing.

27. Saunas Are Filling Up, but Are They Actually Good for You? on The New York Times.

28. Spend Less Time on Your Phone with These 15 Little Tricks.

29. The Praying Mantis Moment: You’ll Never See This Again by Brian Doyle. He could write the most expansive essays about the seemingly smallest things.

30. The Serviceberry: An Economy of Abundance. “As Robin Wall Kimmerer harvests serviceberries alongside the birds, she considers the ethic of reciprocity that lies at the heart of the gift economy. How, she asks, can we learn from Indigenous wisdom and ecological systems to reimagine currencies of exchange?”

31. Recipe I want to try: Cream Cheese Pound Cake.

32. Mom’s heartbreaking post about her dying 5-year-old’s final days is a powerful lesson in what really matters.

33. Grief comes in waves, a poem from The Wandering Paddy. (video)

34. The Education of X González. “After the Parkland shooting, I became an activist, a celebrity, a ‘survivor’ — and the pressure almost killed me.”

35. Do Rapid Tests Still Work? on The New York Times. “They can result in false negatives, but they remain a valuable tool in stopping the spread of Covid-19. Here’s how to use them most effectively.”

36. “Sort Of” Season 2 Grapples With the Many Complications of Love.

37. Do you use these words when you apologize? It’s time to stop, researchers say.

38. ‘From this day forward, I will always be “Oscar-nominated actor Ke Huy Quan”!’ on The New York Times. “After mounting a major career comeback and losing his health insurance, the ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ actor said the news was surreal.”

39. Trader Joe’s 14th Annual Customer Choice Awards Winners.

40. Sam Smith says they finally love their body: ‘I have the opposite of body dysmorphia.’

41. 6 Things People Do Differently In Finland, The Happiest Country In The World.

42. Delicate Knots, Velvet, and Beads Entwine in Julia Shore’s Mossy Embroideries.

43. Laser-Cut Paper Coils Into Intricate Vessels That Contrast Human Touch and Technology. In related news, Dramatic Flora and Fauna Emerge from Maude White’s Exquisitely Detailed Cut Paper Sculptures.

44. Need Advice? Here’s Why You Should Seek Out an Introvert.

45. What I Kept | January 2023 on A Grace Full Life. I always find something good on Kari’s list, things that make me think, others that make me smile (I mean, HOW CUTE are her dogs?!). This list I especially like these two: How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Your Health on The New York Times and, in related news, The Emerging Science of Awe and Its Benefits.