Monthly Archives: November 2017

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.


Something Good

Fall and Winter in a single tree, by Eric Salahub

1. Savor is coming! Daily Practices for a more nourishing holiday from Rachel Cole, one of my favorite traditions. I shared this last week too. It starts November 20th, so there’s still time to sign up.

2. 7 Questions to Ask When You’re Feeling Stuck. “When you feel stuck, asking why is often helpful. But just asking ‘Why am I stuck?’ doesn’t always work, because feeling stuck can be more of a general sensation than a specific ailment. So here are a few other questions that might help you figure things out.”

3. Roxane Gay, Feminism and Difficult Women, an interview with one of my favorite authors.

4. It’s very clearly okay to be white. “This incident is part of a larger effort from white supremacists and white-nationalists to center their own insecurities in conversations about racial inequity and convert those who wouldn’t normally take a stance to their side of what they think is an anti-white culture war.” This happened on MY campus this week, and it’s not okay.

5. An Open Letter to Brené Brown. “This world has a whole lot of amazing changemakers who happen to be fat. I think it’s time we invite sizeism into the diversity conversation to make space for healing.”

6. It’s The Underpants Rule! from Dances with Fat. Also, Giles Coren: Garbage Human, Fatphobe and, Horrifyingly, Father.

7. Good stuff written or shared by Austin Kleon: You are allowed to change your mind and The tension between creativity and productivity.

8. Calorie counts on menus are going to be mandatory in 2018. This is why we can’t have nice things…

9. The “New” Black Friday. “Black Friday is, for many Americans, a day of stress and debt.
What if we chose to give it a better meaning?…This Black Friday, go with the new black: Spend at least part of the day making a Love List as a holiday gift for someone you love.”

10. Colin Kaepernick Is GQ’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. “He’s been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality. But Colin Kaepernick’s determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.”

11. I am tired of being invisible to you all from Winona LaDuke.

12. Who Will Mourn Teen Vogue? on The New York Times.

13. A Black Queer Man’s Syllabus to Whiteness, a great reading list.

14. 20 Really Good New Books You’re About To Hear Everyone Talk About Nonstop.

15. David Cork Wants To Normalize Bisexuality With His Webseries.

16. Recipes I’d like to try: 8 Homemade Veggie Chips & Dips, and Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches, (a local restaurant makes these, and you seriously cannot tell the difference), and Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken, and Meatless Tacos 5 Ways.

17. Being busy is the new status symbol.

18. Roy Moore’s Former Deputy District Attorney Just Made His Sex Scandal Infinitely Worse. In related news, Fake news troll Jack Posobiec doxxes woman who accused Republican Roy Moore of child abuse.

19. Otters wag their tails like dogs when they’re happy. (video) So cute.

20. Little Boy And His Mom Are Saving Hundreds Of Shelter Dogs. (video) When he chokes up at the end talking about Sully, I lost it. Here’s another video about him and the project he and his mom work on, Project Freedom Ride.

21. Staying in With a Chronic Illness: Expectations vs Reality. (video)

22. Phone-Sized Camera Has 16 Built-In Lenses. (video)

23. This weed commercial is a hilarious parody of pharmaceutical advertisements. (video)

24. Stop walking your dog. Not gonna stop walking my dogs, but there are some good reminders here.

25. Meet 82-year-old Sumiko: a Japanese dumpling maker by day… and professional DJ at night. (video) It’s never too late to start.

26. Luther Vandross’s first TV appearance…on Sesame Street. (video) Warning: this tune is hella catchy.

27. Ava DuVernay Talks ‘Lip Service’ of Diversity Programs: ‘Once They Do That First Year, Then What?’

28. This Man Used to Dance for Fun—Now He Dances to Help Others. (video)

29. Stephanie Beatriz’s New Movie “The Light Of The Moon” Is A Rape Recovery Story That Needs To Be Told: BUST Interview.

30. Fighting Hunger Under Trump’s Budget. (video) “‘It’s very difficult for children to concentrate on their education if they have not been properly fed.’ Trump’s budget cuts could spell disaster for places like Mississippi, which faces the worst hunger rate in the nation.” There are some who’d watch this and still feel like it’s not their responsibility to help, that hungry people have somehow made a choice and “it’s not my problem.” I watch this and think we should be embarrassed that there are so many hungry people in a culture where so many have so much more than they need.

31. The Tragic Story of Althea Garrison, the First Trans Person to Hold State Office in America.

32. Professor: ‘Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Everyone.’

33. Elisa Kreisinger/Pop Culture Pirate breaks down why there are so many mediocre male leaders & how it’s hurting women. (video)

34. Amazing Hoop Dance performance by Nakotah LaRance at the Swaia Fashion Show. Note to self: If this guy challenges you to a dance off, forfeit.

35. Holy Thank You For Not by Megan Falley. (video) A beautiful poem. Another beautiful poem? Watch Andrea Gibson Perform ‘Your Life’ in The Dreamhouse.

36. Her family hired me as a maid for 12 years but then she stole my life and made it a Disney movie. Someone on a thread about this suggested (after we heard the court case didn’t work out and Abilene Cooper hasn’t received any sort of justice), that she needs to make her own movie about what happened to her, including how Becky stole her story and made a bunch of money and fame for herself.

37. People With Golden Hearts Share Their Most Wholesome Secret. Happy World Kindness Day!

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. With the time change, we have a bit more light, but we also had snow this week.

2. New fence. It snowed this week, and it was the first time since we got the new fence. The old one was in such bad shape that every time it snowed I was afraid part of it was going to fall down.

3. Flowers in the bathroom. I’m back to ones from the grocery store, bouquets that are weird collections of things, some of which don’t even seem real and for sure not natural, but I still love having them.

4. Kitchen counter love notes. He always seems to come up with something new, and I keep all of them.

5. My tiny family. Again, it’s Friday and I’m so looking forward to being alone with them all weekend.

Not a dog bed, silly puppy.

6. My new hat. I was very sad when I lost my favorite hat last winter. I’d bought it almost 10 years ago at REI. It was fleece lined wool with earflaps, made in Peru, and a great color. It was the perfect hat for me, just right. Then, during a freak storm with freezing rain, I slipped on the ice in a parking lot, fell hard flat on my back. I landed on my elbows, back and head, and was really worried I’d broken something or given myself a concussion, but had to get to my car and drive myself home. It wasn’t until a few days later I realized I’d dropped my hat. I even went back to look for it, but it was gone. I still need one that is a bit warmer but I found this one last weekend — made in Oregon, super soft and floppy, and some of my favorite colors. I love it so much.

Bonus joy: getting in the pool, aqua aerobics, Wild Writing, teaching yoga (even on a morning when I’m so tired I just want to sleep in), walking with the dogs in the afternoon (even when I’m so tired I just want to take a nap), working from home, tangerines, breakfast for dinner, texting, video chatting, cuddling with Ringo on the couch, the way Sam’s clock won’t adjust to the time change and he begs for breakfast at 4:30 am, down blankets and pillows and coats, writing, meditating, my interns (how can they be my favorite ones every single semester?), my Smartwool sweater that I’ve worn about 1000 times and have on for some part of every day just about all winter long, Pilates (especially leg circles with the straps, feels so good).