Something Good

1. Tim Conway reveals joke that made Harvey Korman wet his pants on ‘The Carol Burnett Show’Growing up, this was one of my favorite shows, probably the origin of my love for comedy, especially from funny women. I loved when they broke character and made each other laugh (this skit in particular), which may be the origins of my love for bloopers and gag reels.

2. Buzz stops: bus shelter roofs turned into gardens for bees and butterflies“Bee bus stops first appeared in the Dutch city of Utrecht. Now the UK is planning for more than 1,000 and there is growing interest across Europe and in Canada and Australia.”

3. Watch: Lioness, four cubs create ‘cutest traffic jam ever’“Recent footage captured in South Africa’s Kruger National Park shows a momma lion gracefully leading four cubs along a paved road while tourists follow closely behind.”

4. 36 Cozy and Feel-Good Fantasy and Sci-Fi BooksIn related news, 14 Recommended Poetry Collections for Winter 2022, and Our 23 Favorite LGBTQ+ Books of 2022, and The Best Art Books of 2022.

5. Kindred Official Trailer (2022)(video) “Based on the best selling novel by Octavia E. Butler comes FX’s Kindred, all episodes streaming 12.13. Only on Hulu.” Octavia Butler is one of my favorite authors and I’m so excited they are starting to adapt some of her work to film, and the trailer for this looks so promising, so good.

6. Recipes I want to try: Slice & Bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies, and Circus Animal Blondies, and BBQ Chicken Pizza Tacos.

7. Studying the genetics and evolution of dogs’ friendliness“You’ve heard of survival of the fittest, but a scientist at Duke University says the term that may best describe dogs’ evolutionary success is survival of the friendliest.”

8. TikTok star Noodle the pug dies at age 14“Noodle won over the internet with nearly daily videos of a game called ‘no bones.’ Graziano would hoist Noodle out of his bed and if the pug flopped back down, it was a ‘no-bones’ day, warning people to take it easy and avoid risks. If he remained standing, it was a ‘bones’ day, encouraging people to take risks and indulge.”

9. How Do AI Art Generators Create Original Artwork? “Can Machines Create Art That Is Truly Unique and Original?”

10. Am I Still a Real Writer If I Don’t Feel Compelled to Write?

11. A Therapist Explains 5 ‘Thinking Errors’ That Lead to Overthinking.

12. The Cult of Thinness Is Making a Depressing Comeback“For those of us who remember Slim Fast, Weight Watchers and ‘thigh gaps’, pop culture’s return to aspirational skinniness is more than jarring.”

13. Explore the Vast Archive of the Museum of African American History and Culture Through Its New Digital Platform.

14. Meet Shauna White Bear, moccasin maker“‘I don’t believe it’s cultural appropriation if you are purchasing from a Native artist,’ she said. ‘You’re supporting us.'”

15. Comedian Rob Delaney discusses new memoir, fatherhood, family and grief“Comedian and actor Rob Delaney joins ‘CBS Mornings’ to discuss his new memoir ‘A Heart That Works.'”

16. Tarot Prompts for Writers“There’s no better place to find inspiration than a character-driven tarot spread.”

17. Portland Japanese Garden is ablaze with fall colors“With winter weather looming, it seems that fall has come and gone much too quickly. Perhaps one of the most beautiful places to see the fall colors on display is at the Portland Japanese Garden. If you weren’t able to get there this year, take a look at this video by OPB photographer Brandon Swanson, who captured the serenity and beauty in this special place.”

18. Ron Finley Project“The Ron Finley Project is teaching communities how to transform food deserts into food sanctuaries, and teaching individuals how to regenerate their lands into creative business models. We envision and want to facilitate a world where gardening is gangsta! Gangsta: projecting strength on one’s own terms, hip, cool, innovative, revolutionary, resolute, vital, the cutting edge.”

19. Wisdom from Jami Attenberg: “Being alone is helpful for the creative process but we need to know we are loved, too, and not entirely alone in this world, that when we emerge from the creative cocoon there will be someone there waiting for us.”

20. 10 Tips to Survive Working With the Public When You’re an IntrovertIf I ever have to do paid work again that isn’t teaching, I really hope it’s not working with the public. I did that for 20+ years, and it almost destroyed me.

21. What the Times is really saying is: “Fat people, go die in silence.” A twitter thread about an important topic.

22. Good stuff from Seth Godin: Confidence doesn’t help win the lottery, and When we look in the mirror, and Expertise.

23. Why Highly Sensitive Introverts Become ‘Rescuers’ — And How to Stop.

24. Creativity: It’s a Muscle.

25. Climate Action Starts in Your Own Hometown“Turn your city into a climate sanctuary, lobby your elected officials, and try out these other ways to make change globally by acting locally.”

26. 61 Days of Festive Activities to Close Out the Year.

27. The Best Way to Deal with Dissatisfaction (It’s Not What You Think).

28. David Bird’s whimsical Becorn sculptures

29. Stop Trying to Be Productive“Jenny Odell, author of ‘How to Do Nothing,’ wants you to stop giving into the pressure of getting shit done.” This article is from three years ago, but during this season in particular it’s still relevant.

30. The Art Stories Colossal Readers Loved Most in 2022.

Gratitude

1. Morning walks. The weather delayed a few of these this week, one day too windy and another too cold. It makes me happy that when that happens, Ringo doesn’t seem too bothered about waiting or even skipping if we have to. It’s one of the joys of an older dog. He’s that perfect age where he can go on a five mile run or go back to sleep after breakfast, and is happy either way. Don’t get me wrong, too many days of no walk and he’d be bouncing off the walls. 

2. Books. Writing them, reading them, talking about them, sharing them. The December Reflections prompt for today was “best book of 2022,” and my response was: I cannot pick just one, even if I expand it to just one from each genre (see bookcases for reference and know there are probably double that number throughout my house and on my Kindle — I have the most wonderful problem). Here are a few of my very favorites from this past year of reading.

Best Novels: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz (this would be a great vacation book, a “beach read”), Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker (HOW had I never read this before?), The Overstory by Richard Powers (this touched my love of trees AND weird stories), Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa (another wonderfully weird tale), and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (an epic story that I still think about).

Best Short Story Collections (IMHO, in the top five best of all time): The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw and Heartbroke by Chelsea Bieker. If you love short stories, another two in the top five best of all time according to me are Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and All The Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva.

Best Nonfiction: The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief by Francis Weller (this book is an essential read for all humans); Pause, Rest, Be: Stillness Practices for Courage in Times of Change by Octavia F Raheem; American Detox: The Myth of Wellness and How We Can Truly Heal by Kerri Kelly (this placed the discussion of wellness culture in the context of social justice and it’s a book I’d been waiting for someone to write); Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa Febos; and The Lightmaker’s Manifesto: How to Work for Change Without Losing Your Joy by Karen Walrond.

Best Memoir (my favorite genre): Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up by Selma Blair.

3. Hanging out with Hendrix. This kiddo was dreamed of, wished for, and loved before we ever met him. Getting to be a part of his life makes me so grateful.

4. Me, awake and alive. I’m still here, still trying, haven’t given up. I don’t have to tell you, kind and gentle reader, life can be so hard, and yet I wouldn’t trade mine for anything, (except maybe for world peace or a cure for cancer or something else big).

5. Good food. The picture on the right is my unattended bowl of the last of the some yummy leftovers and Ringo being such a good boy, doing a good “leave it.”

6. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. Only one more week and it will be winter break, one of my favorite seasons to be home and hunkered down with my boys.

Bonus joy: A warm shower, clean laundry, clean sheets, payday, finding the perfect present for someone, texting with Mom and Chris, Wild Writing, training with Shelby and the gang, the hydromassage chair, the pool, the sauna, listening to podcasts, naps, gingerbread muffins, grilled cheese, gummies, my practice room, my office, houseplants, watching TV, solving crimes with Eric, down blankets and pillows, drinking green tea with my weighted blanket over my lap, yoga, having friends who understand when I have to cancel plans because “I can’t people today,” music, poetry, art, snow tires, snail mail, flowers in the house, laughing with Eric, hugs, good health, birds in the feeder, and reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.