Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Healing always takes longer than I think it will. This is linked to the habitual way I rush in and try to fix it when anything is wrong. I try to hurry past the discomfort, and I get anxious when I can’t make things right. Like with Sam, I want him to be better as soon as possible, because it’s so hard for me to see him in pain and to deny him some of his favorite things, but his particular injury can take anywhere from two to six months to resolve. And if for some reason he tweaks his muscle again before he’s completely healed, we will have to start all over.

2. Truth: One essential ingredient for healing is rest. In this case, there is nothing to do. It’s all about not doing, being still. I don’t allow enough of it for myself, and that’s part of why I struggle so much — physically, emotionally, and mentally. Even when I’m exhausted, I push myself to keep going, sometimes until the only option is collapse.

3. Truth: We are all living under the shadow of death. When we were sitting on the floor with Sam last night, giving him his cold lazer treatment, Eric remarked that it reminded him of when we had Obi and Dexter put to sleep. We were in similar positions, in almost the same spot where it happened, and I totally understood what he meant. This came right after I was telling Sam we needed to get him better so he could live to be an old dog, and that eight wasn’t old. The whole thing made me think about how death is always right there, for all of us. It doesn’t care what we want, doesn’t concern itself with our schedule or plans.

One wish: May we be patient and gentle and spacious with our healing, allowing the time and effort (or non effort) it takes. And when the time comes, may we have an easy death.

Something Good

Morning on the Poudre River, from our morning walk

1. Lucas the Spider. A super cute video series that reminds me of Marcel the Shell.

2. The New Vanguard on The New York Times. “Our critics chose 15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.”

3. Michelle Obama meets the 2-year-old who was captivated by her portrait. And they danced. In related news, This Adorable Little Girl Thinks Michelle Obama Is A Queen. (video)

4. Dear White People, Please Stop Pretending Reverse Racism Is Real. In related news, Shit White Feminists Need To Stop Doing and Catriceology: 30-Day Crash Course for White Women and How “Good” White People Silence People of Color Every Day, which says,

Here’s the thing: All white people are not actively racist but all white people live in a culture of white supremacy and their actions potentially help to uphold that culture. Taking up space to talk about how non-racist you are upholds white supremacist culture and centers whiteness. Placing your offense, your hurt feelings, before the discussion of the racist issues centers whiteness and upholds white supremacist culture. These acts stifle discussion, silence education and uphold white supremacist culture.

5. Serena Williams says ‘there’s no wrong way to be a woman’ in powerful ad. I hope that Serena Williams understands that her real, lasting, important legacy has very little to do with tennis. If you need another reason why, there’s this, Serena Williams on Motherhood, Marriage, and Making Her Comeback.

6. Overlooked from The New York Times. “Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of 15 remarkable women.”

7. The Nonbinary Author Centering African Narratives Erased by Colonialism. “In her hotly anticipated debut “Freshwater,” author Akwaeke Emezi uses the ogbanje—an Igbo spirit—to explore metaphysical identity and resist the binary split between spirit and body.”

8. Commentary: I study liars. I’ve never seen one like Donald Trump.

9. When a Theory Goes Viral. “Intersectionality is now everywhere. Is that a good thing?”

10. Family honors grandma’s memory by displaying all of her quilts at her funeral.

11. Patriarchy Is Contraindicated for Life. “It’s hard to imagine a more fitting way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to usher in the end of patriarchy. While the path forward will not be easy, even Steve Bannon recently declared the certainty of its demise, pronouncing: ‘The anti-patriarchy movement is going to undo 10,000 years of recorded history.’ May it be so, because patriarchy is contraindicated for life.”

12. 16 Girls Who Changed The World. “Proof you’re never too young to make an impact.”

13. The Real Threat To Campuses Isn’t ‘PC Culture.’ It’s Racism.

14. If You’re an INFJ, You’ve Probably Had This Problem at Work. I am so right in the thick of this. In related news, 4 Reasons Introverts Make Awesome Employees and What to Do When You Feel Overstimulated and Overwhelmed.

15. Wholebeing from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks. “I had come to the conclusion that thriving, in essence, was less about financial success or even having a rocking body, and more about the way in which we move through the world.” Also from Karen, The importance of a creative practice.

16. Your kitchen table from Seth Godin, who suggests a way of understanding the messages that come through your laptop and phone.

17. An Open Letter to Oprah about Weight Watchers.

18. How to Talk About Body Image Issues When You’re Not Fat on The Body is Not an Apology.

19. Wild Mystic Woman Podcast Ep016: Melissa Toler On Opting Out Of Diet Culture & Reclaiming Our Wellness.

20. The Movie Version of “A Wrinkle in Time” Was Markedly Less Feminist than the Book. In related news, Watching ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is a political act and Black Panther Breaks $1,000,000,000 Mark and A Wrinkle in Time Claims No. 2 Spot in Historic Weekend for Black Films.

21. How Segregation Shapes Fatal Police Violence.

22. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “When you don’t stop to rest, to think, to recharge, to remember, to restore…you end up grouchy, tired, uncreative, angry, and numb to lots of life.” Word.

23. Wisdom from poet Mary Oliver, “A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world and the responsibilities of your life.”

24. The Broccoli Tree, Or: The Dangers of Sharing Photos of What We Love.

25. The Black Love Bail Out Aims to Free Poor Defendants — And Teach Others To Do The Same.

26. Teenage Chef On His Way to Ruling World of Ramen. To have parents, etc., who support your interests is huge. Imagine what the world would be like if even just half the kids, especially kids of color, had the same chance?

27. Dog Wants To Go With Owner. (video) This cracks me up, but it’s not about a dog wanting to go with, it’s a puppy throwing a tantrum, and it reminds me so much of my Ringo Blue. Dogs can be cute even when they are being jerks.

28. These two outstanding high school students were deported, and their community is devastated. (video)

29. Tybre Faw meets John Lewis. (video) I’ve seen this multiple times. Every time, I cry. “Tybre Faw traveled 7 hours to see his hero, Rep. John Lewis, who was in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. The boy became emotional when they met, and Lewis invited him to march with him toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge.”

30. 10 Great Movies Under 90 Minutes Long on Netflix.

31. Obamas visit swing set they donated to DC shelter. (video)

32. This 11-year-old helps stressed-out New Yorkers fix their problems. (video) “Ciro Ortiz is not your typical middle schooler. At 11 years old, the Brooklyn-raised boy is not only already fending for himself but is giving back. Inspired by a desire to help, Ciro decided he would set up a stand and offer emotional advice to stressed-out New Yorkers off the Williamsburg L train line. He charges $2 a session, but it’s clear his advice is worth a lot more.”

33. The Brutal Truth Behind The Toxic Relationship Between A Narcissist And An Empath. Been there, done that. *sigh*

34. A Phrase For Our Time: Merriam-Webster Adds ‘Dumpster Fire’ To Dictionary.

35. ‘It Just Felt Very Wrong’: Sherman Alexie’s Accusers Go On The Record.

36. Body-shamers try to tear her down, but Mirna is strong and can run for miles. (video)

37. A 6-year-old’s hoop dreams. (video)

38. Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People — And Still Keep Their Jobs.

39. 6 Ways to Celebrate Women’s History Month Like a Lady.

40. Find Out Why This NOLA Chef Is Charging White Customers More Than PoC For The Same Meal.

Gratitude Friday

1. Spring break. I barely made it, and I need it so desperately. I haven’t been this burnt out in a really long time.

2. Morning walks with Ringo. Sam is still restricted to going just around the block, so it’s been just me and little dude. The other morning, we were about 15 minutes from the river when the sky caught on fire. I thought for sure we were going to miss it, but we made it in time to get a picture of the tail end of the sunrise.

3. Winter sky. It’s always vast, but the colors and clouds in winter are extra special.

4. Physical therapy for Sam. That we can afford it, that it is helping him heal, and that he is such a good boy when we go.

5. Eric. All the ways that he helps me, loves me, makes me laugh and keeps me sane.

6. Naps. Ringo typically doesn’t let Eric take very long naps, but for some reason he’s willing to take epic ones with me, even if he fights it initially.

7. Flowers in the bathroom. I’m loving how long these last.

8. Practice. Keeping me from giving up, keeping me sane.

Bonus joy: Yoga, Pilates, aqua aerobics, massage, crisp crunchy Gala apples and peanut butter, good TV, good books, good podcasts, good films, blogging, my car which looks so pretty after Eric washed it, things turning green, birdsong, our old neighbor saying “hi” to Ringo, our “new” fence, barbecue, clean laundry, clean sheets, a warm shower and a clean towel, cuddling with Ringo, loving on Sam, pain meds.

Something Good

sleeping cat

Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash, #currentmood

1. Ava DuVernay’s Fiercely Feminine Vision for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ on The New York Times. “She made the movie she wanted, about a multiracial world and the loss of a beloved parent. ‘I know it’s $100 million’ for Disney, she says. ‘They’ll be fine.'”

2. Patrisse Cullors of Black Lives Matter Discusses the Movement on Teen Vogue. In related news, this interview with Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a co–founder of Black Lives Matter, and author of “When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir,” and the activist Angela Davis in conversation with Melissa Harris-Perry. “They will discuss the kinds of racial divides that exist in the U.S. Leave your questions for them in the comments.”

3. 10 Women Who Made A Positive Global Impact In 2017. In related news, 15 Trailblazers On What History Books Will Say About Women’s Activism In 2018. #womenshistorymonth

4. The creative learning spiral from Austin Kleon.

5. A Toast to the Tiny Steps (Every big change is the result of 100 tiny steps) from Courtney Carver at Be More With Less.

6. The Squatter from Jena Schwartz. “It takes courage, so much courage, to keep going when there are no guarantees of anything.”

7. Wild Mystic Woman Podcast Episode #015: Leesa Renee Hall On Exploring Identity & Writing Expressively.

8. 7 Ways to Cope When There’s No Escaping a Social Event. My favorite is #7. I do that sometimes at work and even at home to get a moment by myself. In related news, 9 Things That Quiet, Awkward Introvert Wishes You Knew and 17 Way-Too-Personal Confessions of an Introvert.

9. The Other F Word Podcast Ep 71: Karen Walrond on the Beauty of Being Different.

10. #ExpressiveWriting Prompts to Use If You’ve Been Accused of #WhiteFragility #SpiritualBypass or #WhitePrivilege from Leesa Renee Hall.

11. Pema Khandro Rinpoche recites a prayer to awaken bodhicitta.

12. Three Truths About Writing, And How The Writing Gets Done from Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds.

13. Rescued Baby Chimpanzee ‘Helps’ Fly Plane to Safety, (video).

14. “You inspired me to quit my job!” from Paul Jarvis. “But saving money and being really cheap isn’t as motivational as telling someone to take big risks, because they’ll pay off.”

15. Why is this interesting? from Seth Godin. I like “C” in particular.

16. Little girl awestruck by Michelle Obama’s portrait believes she’s ‘a queen.’

17. Blank Panther Toys for Lufkin, Texas Pre-K Classrooms.

18. Toddler dancing to Michael Jackson, complete with a few crotch grabs. (video)

19. 11 new books by Native women you need to have in your life.

20. Sleepy kittens. (video)

21. The Pain of Loving Old Dogs on The New York Times.

22. What Happened After I Spoke out About Fat Shaming at the NYC Marathon. “Her impassioned response to a heckler went viral, but rediscovering the joy of running and fitness wasn’t easy.”

23. White Women Must Hold Each Other Accountable For Racism.

24. Black Lives Matter is a powerful and influential movement for justice and empathy.(video) Franchesca debunks some of these toxic myths and sheds light on the true goals of this movement.

25. ICE arrested more than 150 immigrants in California this week. (video) Dena Takruri traveled to Mexico to see what happens after deportation.

26. At his core, Trump is a conman. Here are 20 broken promises he’s made to Trump voters. (video)

27. Is a Late-Career Change Worth It? from The New York Times. “A reader has eight years to go until retirement, at a job that has become almost unbearable. Is it better to explore other options even if that means taking a step backward, or to play it safe and ride it out?” Honestly, this didn’t feel like much of an answer to me, especially since it didn’t respond at all to to person’s concerns about their physical and mental health. I’d like to hear the answer Laura Simms or Michelle Ward would give.

28. Masterclass. “Online classes taught by the world’s greatest minds.”

29. This is not about falling in love from Andrea Scher, (who takes a Wild Writing class with Laurie Wagner too, and last week Laurie gave us a prompt from a poem called “About Flying” that was the line “this is not about”).

30. Dismantling Racism: A Resource Book for Social Change Groups.

31. Why can’t we recognize fat anger? “Like so many straight size people, they struggled to see my anger because they struggled to see what had happened as fundamentally unacceptable.”

32. 9 Afrofuturist Books to Enjoy if You’re Homesick for Wakanda.

33. ‘Pure madness’: Dark days inside the White House as Trump shocks and rages on The Washington Post. “‘I think the president is starting to wobble in his emotional stability and this is not going to end well,’ McCaffrey said. ‘Trump’s judgment is fundamentally flawed, and the more pressure put on him and the more isolated he becomes, I think, his ability to do harm is going to increase.'”

34. Before there was ‘intersectional feminism,’ there was the Combahee River Collective on The Washington Post.

35. Boop. (video) So cute.

36. All the puppies. (video)

Gratitude Friday

1. Laurie Wagner, my Wild Writing teacher and dear friend. Facebook told me that today is our six year anniversary of being friends on Facebook. The reason we became friends online is Rachel Cole told me about Laurie’s writing classes and I signed up for one. I’ve been writing with her on the regular ever since. A few years ago, too long now, I got to go visit her at 27 Powers three different times. Her home is magic, she’s magic, the practice we do together is magic.

2. Morning walks. I got to go this week. We saw a fox one morning, and the herd of white tailed deer another. The sky is so amazing, particularly in the winter.

3. Getting Sam in to see our favorite rehab vet, four days early. That’s the next step with Sam, doing physical therapy. We tried to get in to see our favorite person, but she was booked a month out, so we scheduled with someone else. Then yesterday, I got a call from her tech, who remembered us from when we took Dexter there, saying they could get us in this afternoon. Fingers and paws are crossed that this helps him feel better.

4. Dexter. Going to rehab with Sam reminds me of when Dexter was going. He hurt his knee the last year he was with us, but because he already had a fatal cancer, he wasn’t a candidate for surgery. In the end, he wouldn’t have needed it either way, got better with physical therapy. I miss him so much. He was so in love with Obi and so was I, and when we lost him, we turned that love on each other and it was a glorious four years.

5. Ringo. Let’s not forget him. Yesterday I took a sick day. I was so exhausted. He typically only wants to take about a half hour nap if he’s not in his crate, but he cuddled next to me for almost two hours yesterday.

The only dry spot in our yard right now

“Stop taking my picture, Mom.”

Bonus joy: chocolate chip oatmeal cookies the size of my face, meditating with a friend, yoga, Pilates, aqua aerobics, a tall glass of cold water, sweet potatoes, tangerines, bbq pizza, napping, clean sheets, reading in bed at night, sunshine (it’s gorgeous outside today).

Something Good

I stand with Emma poster

Free downloadable graphic from

1. Emma González Is The Bisexual Latinx Teen Leading The Charge For Gun Control. In related news, The Problem is Toxic Masculinity, Not Mental Illness, and Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings, and Black Teens Have Been Fighting for Gun Reform for Years, and The Armed Florida School Officer Didn’t Go Into The Building During The Mass Shooting.

2. James Brunt, an artist who makes amazing sculptures and madalas in nature using natural materials.

3. 23 Pictures That Prove The World Isn’t A Steaming Pile Of Garbage, just in case you needed the reminder.

4. Allegations of sexual abuse against Sherman Alexie. In related news, An Open Letter About Sherman Alexie.

5. How “Good” White People Silence People of Color Every Day. “Being offended and uncomfortable is a natural part of life. But before you lash out, sit with that feeling, deconstruct it. Understand why you are offended by the statement or action. Take time to understand the statement or action… But never assume your initial reaction is the correct one, especially when faced with brand new information. Your bias plays a part in how you see things and must be actively overcome. Don’t do white supremacy any favors because something hurt your feelings.”

6. How Might Trump Plan For Food Boxes Affect Health? Native Americans Know All Too Well.

7. Me Too Founder Tarana Burke: “Watch Carefully Who Are Called ‘Leaders’ of the Movement.” In related news, This is why we need to talk about race in the #MeToo movement, (video).

8. A Wrinkle in Time’s Representation is Just as Important as Black Panther. In related news, Sade to release first new music in eight years. “The British singer has recorded a song for the soundtrack of Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.”

9. Getting intersectional means showing up when there are no pink hats.

10. Why I Won’t Ever Identify As Recovered. “Recovery is hard. Period. Recovery in a culture that promotes disordered eating and inequality of bodies is even harder.”

11. Easy activity to satisfy our toy de-stuffers! (video)

12. Laura Monterrosa Detained In Texas, ICE Won’t Let Elected Official In. “This young immigrant was sexually assaulted in custody — but ICE won’t allow her to get help.”

13. George Washington’s teeth not from wood but slaves. It’s ugly, horrible, disturbing, but can we please look, listen, and finally begin to face the real truth if our history? This is who we are.

14. How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday. White supremacy kills. So does white fragility, white guilt, and in particular white denial.

15. Undoing Patriarchy – A Syllabus on Google Docs.

16. The Breakup Museum.

17. The Forest That Blooms Brilliantly for Just a Few Days a Year.

18. What I’ve Learned from 10+ Years of Body Acceptance from Anna Guest-Jelley on Curvy Yoga.

19. Why I keep a diary from Austin Kleon.

20. 8 Paradoxes of Being an INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type. I’m an INFJ, btw.

21. The Year in Hate: Trump buoyed white supremacists in 2017, sparking backlash among black nationalist groups from Southern Poverty Law Center.

22. When feminism ignored the needs of black women, a mighty force was born. “Founded in the early 1970s, the Combahee River Collective spoke to the unique position of being black and female.”

23. Watch this viral video of a Zen priest singing the “Heart Sutra” with acoustic backing.

24. Daniela Andrade – Stare at Each Other & Fall in Love, (video). I don’t understand why she’s not famous yet. And if you like her and don’t know who Yuna is, you need to seek out her stuff too.

25. Five Truths About Black History from the ACLU. “If we want to understand the state of race in America, we need to know our past — particularly the painful parts.”

26. Donald Glover Can’t Save You on The New Yorker. “The creator of “Atlanta” wants TV to tell hard truths. Is the audience ready?”

27. Artist makes mirrors from anything he can find. (video)

28. Playing ‘Havana’ on violin. (video) This song gets so stuck in my head. #earworm

29. Vernā Myers: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them | TED Talk.

30. This American Life: In Dog We Trust. “Stories of dogs and cats and other animals that live in our homes. Exactly how much are they caught up in everyday family dynamics? We answer this question and others.”

Day of Rest

emergency exit doorEric and I went out to dinner last night. I wanted to celebrate earning a Superior ranking on my annual evaluation for the 7th year in a row and getting the word from the radiologist that everything looks good, Sam doesn’t need surgery and we can start physical therapy.

I am very aware of my good luck and fortune. You can also call it privilege, and you might even say there’s a bit of good karma in there too. I have a job that would be anyone else’s dream job, and it affords me the luxury of being able to take Sam to the vet, buy him supplements and pain meds and good food and a new orthopedic bed, take him to physical therapy, and spend the time away from work that I need to in order for all that to happen.

I work hard, too hard. I do my work, according to my evaluation, with a “high level of professionalism, competence, patience, and good humor.” I don’t get compensated for it like I should, and the work load keeps increasing even though it was overwhelming to begin with. I do this work under the constant shadow of anxiety that I’m not spending my time and energy the way I should.

These past few weeks, I’ve been watching the way I’ve handled Sam’s situation. Early on, it seemed pretty clear he’d need knee surgery. I did what I always do — a ton of research, consulting with anyone I knew who knew anything, made a plan for how we’d handle his rehab down to ordering an inflatable collar for him so he wouldn’t have to wear a plastic cone. I overthought and over planned, worried and was anxious, found it hard to focus on anything else, even though I absolutely had to. I made sure to practice every day so I didn’t completely lose my mind and I got extra sleep, expecting a time in the near future when I wouldn’t be.

Watching myself spin out, I thought about my habitual pattern of trying to control everything. I think if I’m prepared, careful, do my research, and am ready, I can handle whatever happens, fix whatever goes wrong. But that’s just the surface level stuff. When I dig a little deeper, it’s clearly anxiety about impermanence, which is masking the real fear — we are all going to die and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about that. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear that there was something below even all that — the real anxiety, the actual fear is that all of my effort means nothing, that I try and work so hard but it amounts to a hill of beans, (nothing against beans).

What I have to offer that I don’t have the necessary time, energy, or space for is facilitating experiences that cultivate compassion, ease, and sanity. That foundation then leads to a more sane and compassionate world, cultivating the necessary ground for social justice and change. This thing I have to offer is stifled, suppressed, silenced because my current focus (my work at CSU) is an obstacle — not only to the work but to my own health and wellbeing.

When I renegotiated my position from 12 to nine months, my intention was to spend the summers on my “other” work. I thought that if I had summers off to focus on my own projects, it wouldn’t be perfect or even ideal, but it would be workable.

Turns out, it’s not. I burn myself out in those nine months and need the summer to regroup and recover. The summers we go to Oregon, that’s all that can happen — the work of planning the trip, preparing, getting there, being there, and the work that has to happen once we get back. It’s a vacation but it’s also draining — energetically and financially — and by the time we get back, the whole summer is over and it’s time to go back to CSU, start the whole cycle over. When we stay here for the summer, we spend our time doing all the things we couldn’t get done during the rest of the year — cleaning out closets and the garage, doing repairs and maintenance on the cars and house and our own bodies. Neither version of summer has turned out to have the space for teaching an online class or working on a book or hosting a workshop or running an in-person class.

Turning 50 for sure causes a shift in perception. Two futures are not only possible but likely — either I am 50 and have a good 20 to even 40 years ahead of me and in that case have time to build another career, to get good at something else; OR I don’t have that kind of time, and if so I want to spend the next 5-10 years I’ve got finally, finally, finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do, trusting my own gut about what to do next, following my own True north. Working at CSU doesn’t fit with either option.

It’s become clear to me that there will never be a time when my CSU workload and expectations are workable. It asks way too much of me, at the expense of my health and wellbeing and just about everything else I want most for myself. Not to make it seem like I’m so sure, that I don’t doubt myself or feel confused, or that I’ve decided, but when the amazing Laura Simms posted on Instagram the other day, “Your work should support your life, not compete with it,” something in me felt very very sure that I knew what I needed to do.