Monthly Archives: February 2018

Something Good

I stand with Emma poster

Free downloadable graphic from Pocho.com

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.

 

Gratitude Friday

Snow at Lory State Park

Image by Eric, Lory State Park

1. Eric running with Ringo when it’s too cold to walk (pretty much anything below about 15 degrees, which has been most mornings this week), and Sam can’t go because he’s hurt, which means I miss the walk too but that’s okay for now.

2. Sweet Sam, who has had to put up with a lot of poking and prodding lately, and has managed to stay sweet. He went in yesterday, was sedated so they could do a thorough exam and take xrays. The good news: his knee is okay, won’t need surgery. The potentially bad news: it’s his back that’s actually hurt, making him limp. We are waiting for a second opinion to know if we can go to physical therapy and heal him up, or if it’s something worse.

3. Ringo Blue, who has been as nice as you can expect to Sam through it all. He gets to go hiking and running all by himself with the dad, so he doesn’t really mind all that much.

4. A flexible work schedule. Let’s be honest, I work my ASS off for CSU (was just awarded a Superior ranking for the 7th year in a row, in an evaluation that described my “high level of professionalism, competence, patience, and good humor”) and I very much appreciate that when I need to be doing other things, like take Sam to the vet or wait around until he can come home or hang out with him to make sure he’s okay, I can without too much fuss.

5. The weekend. I’ve been working and worried so much that I really need the weekend to rest. It sucks that I don’t get to do too much of anything else right now, but rest is the most important thing.

Bonus joy: Wild writing, aqua aerobics, money to pay the vet, Ringo being old enough now that I don’t have to watch him every second, good neighbors, snow, my moon nightlight, my Kindle, good books and TV and films and music, texting, being able to work from home, teaching yoga, a cold glass of clean water, wool sweaters, a warm hat, snow tires, a clean desk, avocado, birds singing.

 

Something Good

Mcmurry Pond, image by Eric

1. ‘Resist White Supremacy’: A sign. A farm. And the fury that followed. “We are white people using our privilege and power to say something that should be obvious but clearly still needs to be said,” she wrote, “and there’s nothing brave about that.”

2. The White Fragility Script: The Five Act Experience [INFOGRAPHIC] from Lessa Renee Hall.

3. David Sedaris on Keeping a Diary in the Age of Over-Sharing (video). “David Sedaris offers advice to young writers. His biggest tip? Keep a diary. Here’s why.”

4. 13 Incredible Black Artists, Past And Present, Everybody Should Know.

5. on practices and setting intentions from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

6. Weight Watchers New Teen Marketing Plan.

7. Zen of Knitting. (video)

8. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman | Obama talks about how progress is made. (video) If you have access to Netflix streaming, do yourself a favor and watch the full episode of the new David Letterman show where he interviews Barack Obama, and spends some time with John Lewis.

9. Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors You Need to Read.

10. A cat pets a bird. (video) Sometimes it’s just that simple.

11. Girl pets dog. (video) #same

12. Poet Andrea Gibson on Health, Queer Healing, and Learned Behavior.

13. Have your representatives in Congress received donations from the NRA? Click this link and find out.

14. ‘Black Panther’: All The Box Office Records It Broke (And Almost Broke) In Its $235M Debut. If Hollywood really does only make movies “people want to see,” there better be so much more of this.

15. Blue heeler doesn’t so much want to heard the sheep as play with them. (video)

16. Audre Lorde’s ABC’s of Fighting Facism.

17. Students Who Lived Through Florida Shooting Turn Rage Into Activism.

Gratitude Friday

Art by Marisa Aragón Ware

1. Happy (Tibetan) New Year! From an email sent by Shambhala Publications: “The Tibetan New Year (Losar) 2145 February 16, 2018. This year is a Year of the Earth Dog.

According to Tibetan Astrology by Philippe Cornu, the dog brings idealism, justice, and reflection. The dog is all about honesty and loyalty, intelligence and conscientiousness. While it may become overly serious, alarmist, or pessimistic, it is generous and favors those who have good intentions.

The element of earth is all about crystallizing, working slowly and powerfully to stabilize things. It is fertile, abundant, practical, and prudent. Earth can be enterprising, selfish, and shrewd, but it can also be grounded and realistic, reaching concrete goals methodically.”

Sidewalk snow heart

2. Morning walks. They’ve been a little weird lately because Sam can only go around the block, but Ringo has been making the best of it, getting a human and all the treats all to himself for the longer walk.

3. Eric, and his kitchen counter love notes. He’s been holding up the ceiling for me when my arms get too tired, like in that poem, “A Marriage” by Michael Blumenthal.

You are holding up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, terribly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.

But then,
unexpectedly,
something wonderful happens:
Someone,
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arms up
to the ceiling beside you.

So you finally get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flowing back
to your fingers and arms.
And when your partner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
without the house falling.

Kitchen counter love note: special edition

4. Flowers in the bathroom. They had Charmelia again at the store last week. I love these so much, they last a really long time and remind me of sweet peas.

5. Ringo and Sam. If you could, please send Sam some extra love. His limp isn’t going away, is getting a bit worse. We took him to the vet, and from what she could tell from a quick exam, there’s reason to believe he might need knee surgery. Next week, we’ll take him in so she can sedate him and really get a good look, take some x-rays, but my gut is telling me the poor sweet dude is going to need surgery. I can’t stand to see my dogs suffer, so maybe send some love for me too. And then, only if you have some to spare, send some Ringo’s way cause the whole thing is just boring to him.

Bonus joy: the new swimming suit I needed was on sale AND I got an extra 10% off, aqua aerobics, Wild Writing, Pilates, getting stronger, knowing everything is okay even when nothing is, pain meds, Sam doing so good at the vet yesterday even though they messed with him so much and it was the last place he wanted to be, that even though my washing machine has been suffering from an electronic form of dementia for at least a year it keeps going and still works, getting all the laundry done on Friday, being able to gift my Andrea Gibson tickets to someone who really really wanted to go when it turned out I couldn’t, the way Ringo went over by Sam (who is hiding under my writing desk, because laundry) just now and laid down even though they were already in the same room — it was like he wanted to be closer, clean sheets, good TV (Catfish and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee) and good books (An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was picked by Oprah for her book club for good reason), and being able to work from home.

Something Good

Winter morning on the Poudre River, image by Eric

1. Take Heart: Finding Celebration No Matter What. “A virtual Valentine’s event for anyone who is divorced, bereaved, broken up, feeling blue, or simply needs an added dose of self-love.” A free mini class from my dear friend Sherry. In related news, Be Your Own True Love: A Self-Compassion Mini Retreat – Body Positive Yoga, a free, 90 minute workshop. It’s on the 13th and Sherry’s is on the 14th, so you could do both!

2. Make your space more inclusive from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

3. All things green and good, a Pinterest board from SF Girl.

4. 200 Women who will change the way you see the world.200 Women is a book and exhibition founded on original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits. This landmark project is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and to ask them what really matters to them.”

5. Tayari Jones Writes About People with Problems, Not Problems with People. “Her latest, ‘An American Marriage,’ is about race and incarceration—but mostly it’s about three people with feelings.” Y’all, I just started reading this book last night, and I could not put it down! That hasn’t happened for me in a long time, and I’m enjoying it so much. Oprah agrees with me, as it’s her latest Book Club pick.

6. 3 Reasons We Cannot Cater to White Friends Who Say ‘I’m Not Racist’, an older article but it’s clear some of us still aren’t getting it. In related news, How To Easily Be A White Ally To Marginalized Communities, and White Supremacy Roundup: 4 Stories That Show How Institutional Racism Works, and
5 Valuable Ways to Use Your White Privilege to Fight Anti-Black Racism.

7. A Crash Course in Diversifying Your Bookshelf. “Is your reading list looking a little monochrome? We’ve compiled 15 books to help you broaden your horizons.”

8. Teaching Hard History, an important guide from SPLC. In related news, this amazing resource from Charles Preston on Google Drive.

9. Take The Cake: 8 Clues Your “Lifestyle” Is Actually A Diet (& Why It’s Gaslighting).

10. Weight Watchers is targeting teens with a new free program. That’s a problem. My eating disorder started at 14 years old. I struggled and suffered, sometimes to the point of being suicidal, for the next 30 years. The fact that Weight Watchers is making this effort to do the same to other young women, girls, is devastating.

11. You Need Help: Here Is A Worksheet To Help You Talk To Partners About Sex.

12. Because Facts. (video) “Guns, berets, and leather jackets are what we typically associate with the Black Panther Party. But did you know the Panthers were instrumental in bringing healthcare to the communities they served?”

13. 10 Years After She Went Missing, A Black Lab Is Returned To Her Owners. She looks so much like Sam! In related news, Woman Adopts A Senior Dog — Then Realizes It’s Her First Best Friend. “I never thought I’d see my dog again, but I just knew in my heart that it was her.”

14. Watch the funniest girl scout cookie story of all time on Snap Judgement. (video)

15. All The White Supremacists Running For Office In 2018.

16. Why I’m Raising Money For Black Kids To See ‘Black Panther.’

17. Andrea Gibson – “Orlando” Live from Detroit. (video) “In hopes that we continue to remember. In hopes that we not put a time limit on grief. In hopes that we build something much kinder. In hopes that we become the love we are meant to become.” In related news, That Moment Your Secret Comes Out. (video)

18. Hear Their Voices: 10 Must-Reads for Black History Month. In related news, two more great reading lists curated by Camille Dungy: Necessary New Books by Black Writers and Ten Essential Black Authors to Read During Black History Month — and Every Month.

19. Recipe I want to try: Vanilla Clementine Bread.

20. The Betrayal. Two women refuse to leave the side of a stranger who suffers a tragedy while on vacation.

21. Can I Enjoy the Art but Denounce the Artist? “Roxane Gay takes a look at what happens when we find out our favorites aren’t who they appear to be.”

22. Baby hamsters. (video)

23. Black Lives Matter Activist Who Snatched Confederate Flag Killed In New Orleans. I finished reading When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir the night before this news broke. I recommend you do the same, read the book I mean.

24. Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For. “The company’s operation in Michigan reveals how it’s dominated the industry by going into economically depressed areas with lax water laws.”

25. Lina Iris Viktor Says Kendrick Lamar Stole Her Art for His New Music Video. In related news, from The New York Times, Artist Says Kendrick Lamar Video for ‘Black Panther’ Song Stole Her Work.

26. Conscious consumerism is a lie. Here’s a better way to help save the world.

27. James Brunt Organizes Leaves and Rocks Into Elaborate Cairns and Mandalas.

28. There are no white exceptions, wisdom from Jena Schwartz.

Gratitude Friday


1. Morning walks. They’ve been a bit unusual this past week because Sam has had a tiny limp that won’t go away (only happens when he first gets up after having been resting for a bit, and he only limps about 3 or 4 steps, so you barely notice it, but he’s 8 years old now and we have to be careful) so we’ve been making him rest. We have a vet appointment scheduled for next week just in case it doesn’t clear up. You might not know this about me, but anything like that makes me anxious, because I always worry that every little weird thing is the first sign of cancer, and not just cancer but fatal cancer, because it’s happened to us like that two times and I keep expecting it to happen again because so far that’s been our reality. So an extra gratitude linked to this one is that while I worry, in this case Eric isn’t worried and has been able to keep me mostly sane.

2. The sky and the bare trees. The winter can be cold and dark, but it can also be beautiful.


3. Baby Ringo, back when his ears were just starting to stand up.

4. Teaching yoga. I subbed twice this week. This morning was almost a disaster because even though I KNEW I was teaching this morning, I forgot somewhere between Wednesday and today. I slept in and was being lazy, totally forgetting I was supposed to teach. Luckily my phone was in my hand when the notification went off, “Yoga: I’m Teaching!” and I only live five minutes away from the gym where I was subbing.

5. Aqua aerobics and then ten minutes in the sauna. Just look at how happy and pink it makes me.

6. My tiny family, and an explanation — many times when Eric and I text each other, we say “How’s it going?” and then include a selfie of wherever we happen to be at the moment. That’s why there’s a picture in this post of me at Om Ananda as I was getting ready to teach, and me in the gym locker room after aqua aerobics and the sauna, and the ones that follow of Eric and I with the dogs.

Bonus joy: Wild writing, Friday !!!, homemade pizza, a crispy gala apple with peanut butter, a working furnace, warm water, clean sheets, texting, Ringo doing well in his Parkour class even though we hadn’t had time to practice, how much more spacious my schedule is next week, and this cutie…