Monthly Archives: May 2018

Three Truths and One Wish

Strawberries from our garden

1. Truth: I am in a strange fugue, a liminal state. This happens every summer vacation, for at least the first two weeks, but if the year was worse (like this one) it can linger. I’ve made the to-do list — things like painting the house and cleaning out the garage and buying new bras and getting a haircut — but only a few things have been done and crossed off. This summer it feels particularly strange because I know when I go back next year, it will be my last (had I told you that yet? It’s not official, but it is for sure), and I already am really clear about what I’m going to to next but can’t start yet. It’s a weird place to exist.

2. Truth: I’m not purposely trying to bum you out, it’s just that everywhere I look things are bad. I can see the good too — I mean just look at that bowl of juicy strawberries that came out of our garden — but I refuse to deny the bad just because it’s difficult or uncomfortable or fucking depressing. The reality is both — tender and terrible, brutal and beautiful. I feel myself tipping towards the dark, feeling the overwhelm of the awful, but I haven’t given up and it doesn’t keep me from seeing the good.

3. Truth: Tomorrow I’m taking my first swimming lesson. Not the first of my life. I took swimming lessons when I was younger, but was a scared, timid, nervous kid who was tormented by teenaged instructors who thought, for example, that it was funny to push a kid who was crying and afraid to jump in the deep end into the water from behind or to meet fear with anger and bullying. I sort of learned to be in the water, but more so learned to be terrified. I’d like to change that, and tomorrow I’m going to start trying.

One wish: That no matter where we find ourselves, we can keep our head above water, keep swimming, keep trying.

Something Good

Even though they got beat down by the hailstorm last week, we have ripe strawberries today!

1. African Americans literally created Memorial Day. Here’s how it went down. (video) In related news, Forgetting Why We Remember on The New York Times, and The Untold Story Of Memorial Day: Former Slaves Honoring And Mourning The Dead, and A town of freed slaves — on Robert E. Lee’s old estate — was destroyed to make Arlington cemetery.

2. Rachel Dolezal facing 15 years in prison for her “white” lies.

3. How a dandelion transforms. (video)

4. Colin Kaepernick vs. Tim Tebow: A tale of two Christians on their knees. In related news, Police Killed At Least 378 Black Americans From The Moment Colin Kaepernick Protested, and The NFL Will Fine Players Who Protest During Anthem, Proving White Tears Matter More Than Black Lives, and Nate Boyer, military vet who convinced Colin Kaepernick to kneel for anthem, disses NFL’s new policy.

5. Federal officials have lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant and refugee children. (video) This Twitter thread gives an important clarification about the issue. Also, in related news, Neglect & Abuse of Unaccompanied Children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

6. Who’s Sorry This Week? Jason Bateman, Morgan Freeman, Milwaukee police and other public apologies. In related news, Women accuse Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior, harassment, and Jeffrey Tambor is Trash: Talent and Genius Doesn’t Justify Abuse.

7. Ireland has changed utterly: the cruel eighth amendment is history.

8. Sweet Potato And Chickpea Salad. I’m making this tomorrow.

9. Photographer Shoots Epic Battle Between Fox And Eagle Over Rabbit, And It Gets More And More Epic With Each Photo.

10. Meet Fred. He’s a 10-year-old labrador with an important job: He’s the adopted dad for nine orphaned ducklings! (video)

11. While Flint continues to struggle, Michigan is allowing Nestle to pump and sell millions of gallons of water for next to nothing. (video)

12. This Donald Trump subreddit has been fully taken over by Donald Glover fans.

13. A border patrol agent detained two women for speaking Spanish at the grocery store. In related news (i.e. cops or border control agents or ICE doing stupid, violent things), Indigenous Guatemalan woman shot dead by US Border Patrol, and New Jersey cop caught on camera punching 20-year-old woman drinking beer during beach arrest, and 2 Mississippi Police Officers Fired After Brutally Beating, Kicking Black Man.

14. Man Coping With Dementia Falls In Love With A Rescue Dog. (video) “When this neglected dog was rescued, he didn’t know how to act around people. All Louis needed was love, and so his foster mom got an idea — she introduced him to her dad, who suffers from dementia. Today on Soulmates, watch how Louis and his dad immediately clicked, helped each other cope and started loving every minute they get to spend together.”

15. Malian Migrant Gets French Citizenship After Saving Child Dangling From a Balcony.

16. Donald Trump Says ‘Our Ancestors Tamed a Continent’ and ‘We Are Not Going to Apologize for America.’ This is what white supremacy looks like.

17. Kalief Browder Took His Own Life, but the System Murdered Him.

18. White women are using the police to terrorize people of color. It’s got to stop. (video)

19. The recent mass shootings in the US all have one thing in common: misogyny. In related news, What is an ‘incel?’ A look at the anti-women movement behind multiple terror attacks.

20. You can’t please everyone, wisdom from Seth Godin. Also this, Does it help?

21. 3 thoughts on a decade of publishing books from Austin Kleon.

22. What advice do you wish you’d gotten when you graduated from college? 25 TED speakers answer.

23. Great Big Story’s YouTube page. “Great Big Story is a global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling. Headquartered in New York, with bureaus in London and Stockholm, our studios create and distribute micro docs and short films, as well as series for digital, social, TV and theatrical release. Since our launch in late 2015, our producers have traveled to more than 100 countries to discover the untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing.”

24. Disrupting Bail: An Innovative Criminal Justice Reform Idea Gains Momentum—And Funders.

25. How Trump’s nativist tweets overlap with anti-Muslim and anti-Latino hate crimes. “Words matter. Heated political rhetoric, especially derogatory language toward groups of people, can create all kinds of unintended consequences, including sometimes physical violence.”

26. The SPLC strongly opposes the suggestion this week by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that schools can report undocumented students to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Me too.

27. CrossFit Gym Confuses Fat Shaming With Advertising from Dances with Fat. In related news, Weight Bias is Not In Your Head…and that’s probably not a reason to diet from Isabel Foxen Duke.

Gratitude Friday

1. Spring. It’s all so GREEN.

Part of why it’s so green is all the rain and snow melt coming down from the mountains. This is a picture of what should be trail, but the river is spilling over and flooding it out.

2. Morning walks. So far, we’ve kept to our regular weekday morning schedule and Sam still can’t go on longer walks, so two mornings a week it’s just me and Ringo (and the deer, raccoons, herons, ducks, geese, etc.).

Can you find the deer?

3. Gardening. Although, especially in the spring in Colorado, it can be heartbreaking. We bought vegetable plants and put them in the ground last week, then one day later we had the biggest hailstorm I’ve ever seen — 15 minutes straight of hail and almost a full hour of thunder and lightening. It destroyed about half of what we planted, which we’ve already replaced. It’s not the first year the hail has wrecked what we started, and we always start again.

That’s not enough basil

I finally got rhubarb!

My irises loved all the rain this year

Eric put wildflower seeds by our front step

I’m going to have a ton of peonies

This was about 10 minutes into the hail storm, when I knew for sure we’d be starting over

Spring in Colorado

4. Ringo and Sam. Ringo had his annual exam and shots at the vet. He hid under my chair. It’s so sad because his vet has three Cattle Dogs of her own, loves them more than any other kind of dog, even took off her white coat and sat on the floor to coax him out from under the chair. She loves Ringo so much but he can barely look at her he’s so terrified. Sam did really well at his physical therapy appointment this week. He’s off all his pain meds and we are increasing his walks and doing more exercises. There’s a chance that if he’s still progressing and doing well in two weeks, he might graduate from needing regular PT appointments. He still seems a bit stiff at night sometimes, so fingers and paws crossed that he keeps getting better.

5. Eric. He’s been doing so much of the hard work to get the garden going. I’m so glad he likes it as much as I do. I’m also glad that he’s happy reading books and taking naps and just hanging out. It makes for a pretty perfect summer.

Bonus joy: Melly is back in Wild Writing, I get to hang out with Mikalina tomorrow, aqua aerobics five times a week, teaching yoga, good books (I’m finally reading the novel The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and loving it, in that particular way you can “love” a book that is about women in difficult situations), good TV (I finally started Fresh Off the Boat and it’s the perfect show to binge during a lazy summer), flowers in the bathroom, the tiny dog that comes out to visit Ringo and I some mornings on our walk, Ringo doing nosework, Sam napping nearby always, toast with marionberry jam, cold clean water, a warm shower, sitting in the sauna, not checking my work email, clean sheets, grocery shopping, Chelsey’s birthday, leftovers.

Something Good

Fort Collins trolley, image by Eric

Fort Collins trolley, image by Eric

1. Enough already from Paul Jarvis. “Exterior mindfulness (some call it minimalism) only works when we solve for enough.”

2. 3 Beautiful Things I Learned When My 3-Year Old Daughter Died Of Cancer.

3. Upaya Podcast with Natalie Goldberg, True Secret of Writing (II of II) – “Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir.”

4. When Russian trolls wanted to divide America, they knew what to use: race.

5. Black Yale Student Wants White Classmate Who Called Police on Her Held Accountable. In related news, Nigerian Woman, Who Was Removed From United Flight After a White Passenger Complained She Was ‘Pungent,’ Files Lawsuit, and White Woman Calls Cops on Black Real Estate Investor Inspecting House Next Door, and #CommunityServiceWhileBlack: Cop Questions Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Members During Highway Cleaning, Says He Thought They Were Fighting, and California Starbucks Writes Racial Slur on Latino Customer’s Drink, and #GoingHomeWhileBlack: Rapper T.I. Arrested Outside His Gated Community After Misplacing Keys, and This is how the police should react when a white person calls 911 on a Black person for no reason (video), and White Hobby Lobby Manager Calls Police on Black Customer for #ShoppingWhileBlack, and Enraged White Man Threatens To Call ICE On Women For Speaking Spanish In A Restaurant, and Security questions Black dad deemed ‘suspicious’ for pushing sick son in a stroller, and ‘White Caller Crime’: The Worst Wypipo Police Calls of All Time.

5. Recipes I want to try: Barbecue Zucchini & Chickpea Tacos, and pasta salad with roasted carrots and sunflower seed dressing, and sweet potato tacos, and rhubarb cream cheese hand pies, and strawberry rhubarb crisp bars, and 4 Ingredient Spinach Tortillas. P.S. I love Smitten Kitchen.

6. Delicate Accumulations of Colorful Spring Flowers Installed in a Historic French Home.

7. 12 Things INFJs Absolutely Hate.

8. Is Yoga really for Every Body? “A guide to body positivity and falling in love with yoga, right now.”

9. He has millions of fans, multiple Grammys, a Golden Globe and an Oscar. So what makes Sam Smith unhappy? (video)

10. Three Black girls were awarded $4,000 for their scientific invention after being racially attacked online.

11. A Police Officer at My Public High School Told Me I’m Going to Hell Because I’m Gay.

12. Cougar Attacks Two Bicyclists in Washington State, Killing One on The New York Times.

13. This road trip was made for doughnut lovers. (video)

14. ‘Experts’ Said You Should Have Twice Your Salary Saved By 35 And Twitter Broke Out The Pitchforks.

15. Dana Falsetti lost nearly 100 pounds, but found she still wasn’t happy with her body. (video) “Then she found yoga. Now, she’s helping others find confidence through yoga classes that focus on body positivity.”

16. These are the 10 victims of the shooting at Santa Fe High School. (video)

17. Houston police are investigating alleged abduction of black teen by group of white males.

18. This white student thinks she’s the victim of racism because people got mad when she brought a rifle to school. (video) Hearing what she has to say makes me a thousand times angrier than the pictures. She graduates from college and still does not understand how racism and white privilege work?! She doesn’t understand why, of all the campuses, it would be so much more offensive on this one?!

19. This Alabama sheriff bought a beach house with money meant to feed people in prison — and he claims it’s legal. (video)

20. A mayonnaise and spoiler-free cut of my “Do Not Link To The Line Stepper” PSA from Jay Smooth. (video)

21. A deportation bus? This Republican candidate wants to track down “illegal immigrants” on the campaign trail. (video) When racists don’t even bother to hide anymore, when they run and are elected to office, we are living the fall of Rome.

22. This lad made his dog the happiest dog in the world with 5,400 ball pit balls. (video)

23. When you see black people get arrested for waiting in a Starbucks or choked for selling cigarettes on the corner, you’re looking at the racist history of loitering laws at work. (video)

24. Four years later, Flint still doesn’t have clean water. And yet residents are being forced to pay the highest water bills in the country. (video)

25. Black Dog Syndrome. (video) “Why do people pass over black dogs for adoption? Why do they cross the street to avoid them? It’s called black dog syndrome, and filmmaker Dara Bratt decided to find out what’s behind it.” All of my dogs have been black. I prefer them.

26. This designer created portable igloos to help homeless people survive the winter. (video)

27. Spike Lee rips Donald Trump because of his refusal to denounce the KKK. (video)

28. This Indian man single-handedly carved a road through a mountain. (video)

29. What It’s Like Being an INFJ Teacher.

30. Downsides of Diet Culture on Dances With Fat.

31. Months After a Brutal Day in Charlottesville, a Tender Wedding on The New York Times.

32. You, You, You Oughta Know: Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Is Now A Musical.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. Everything is so gorgeous and lush right now. And everyone has babies — the foxes, raccoons, geese, and owls. The river is full and running fast from the snow melt.

2. Summer vacation. Just two days in, I already feel better than I have in months.

3. Space in my schedule. I’m filling some of it with as much yoga and aqua aerobics and Pilates and naps as I can.

4. Sam and Ringo. One friend lost a dog and another is about to and another is waiting and watching, and it SUCKS. I love them so much, almost like I forget I am going to have to let them go and it’s going to break my heart into a million pieces, again. I’m loving on my two a bit extra, so happy that they are here, that no one is a puppy and no one is dying, even as I know they will eventually.

5. Eric. He’s there, making me laugh and feeding me and checking in with me on the regular to make sure I’m okay.

Bonus joy: getting the garden ready, dog sighs, sleeping with the window open, the smell of lilacs, breakfast burritos, long naps, clean sheets, weaning Sam off his pain meds, Wild Writing.

Something Good

1. Pit Bull Who Loves Cats Finally Gets His Own Litter Of Kittens.

2. This is the world’s first collapsible and reusable straw. (video)

3. National bail out, a really great cause. “Over 60 percent of people in jail in the United States are being detained while they await trial. They’re not serving time as a punishment. They’ve been found guilty of no crime. Instead, in the majority of cases, money is the barrier to freedom. They languish in jail because the bail amount far exceeds what they and their families can afford. Their poverty alone imprisons them. The result is a two-tiered system of justice: one for those who have and one for those who do not.” In related news, This movement is paying bail for Black women on Mother’s Day. (video)

4. This is Black Twitter America: Glover’s Sunken Place, Kanye’s Broken Face.

5. 25 Influential American Muslims. “We asked American Muslims to name the most influential people in their fields. Here’s what they said.”

6. Colorado State University Tour Incident Is Nothing New for Native Students, “Our very existence as Native peoples in what is currently known as the United States is constantly seen as a threat.” In related news, This security officer said he was going to call the cops on a student. The reason? A Cherokee Tribal ID card (video), and Teens’ experience shows campus reality for Native Americans.

7. CWI Traditional Birth Center, Native American-Centered Women’s Health Collective in Pojoaque, NM. Another good cause.

8. True Secret of Writing (I of II), an Upaya Dharma Podcast with Natalie Goldberg.

9. Wisdom from Carl Sagan by way of A Design So Vast, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”

10. Why Meaningful Relationships Are Few and Far Between for the INFJ.

11. How I Discovered the Four Noble Truths of Love from Susan Piver.

12. The Eternal Question: What Should I Write? from Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds. He shares two specific questions here to ask yourself if you are a writer, but it seems to me that these are very useful questions, especially for any of us who are following our own path.

13. #CookingOutWhileBlack: White Woman Calls Cops on Black People Cooking Out in Oakland, Calif., Park. The community’s response to this was so great: Black Oakland Electric Slides on Racism by Throwing Big Ass Cookout in Park Where White Lady Called Cops. In related news, Should I call the cops?, and ‘I Quit’: Georgia Officer Resigns After Dragging 65-Year-Old Woman From Car During Traffic Stop, and North Carolina Waffle House Customer Choked by Police Officer After Taking Sister to Prom, and Supermarket Employee Fired After Denying Black Couple a Money Order Over ‘Fraud’ Concerns, and A Black Yale Student Took a Nap in a Dorm Common Room. A White Classmate Called the Cops on Her, and How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour, and When she wouldn’t give her landlord an ultrasound photo, woman lost her apartment, and Manager Loudly Reads Store’s Theft Policy to Black Customers, Calls Security When Asked Why.

14. Dentists apologize for ‘free whitening’ ad that poses white dentists in cultural garb. In related news, North Carolina Dentists Apologize After Cosplaying in Native American, Japanese Clothing for ‘Whitening’ Service.

15. Dear Fat Feminists: Roxane Gay Doesn’t Owe Us Anything.

16. Toys R Us Workers Fight for Severance While Executives Walk Away With Millions. This is who we are, capitalism in action.

17. Lesbian teacher claims discrimination after showing class photo of future wife. If this school holds this standard for everyone, any teacher who shows a picture of their spouse or talks about them should also be fired for “promoting their lifestyle.”

18. ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Officially Revived at NBC. Woo-hoo!

19. Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance. “Rakem Balogun spoke out against police brutality. Now he is believed to be the first prosecuted under a secretive US effort to track so-called ‘black identity extremists.’”

20. I Honestly Thought White People Were Better Than This.

21. ICE raided this family home with full riot gear when they refused to let them in to arrest their husband and father. (video) ICE is the worst.

22. ‘I do not yield. Not one second to you. Not one second.’ — Rep. Maxine Waters will never stop reclaiming her time. (video)

23. Why It’s Not Racist When People of Color Point Out White Supremacy in White People’s Actions.

24. The whyte woman in this Twitter video calls what this little boy is doing, “adorable.”

25. If you’re really woke, you will listen when we call you out for causing us harm. In related news, Race, trust and friendship: Dear White Women.

26. Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Has Been Colonized. I have to imagine that Nicole Arbour and Tomi Lahren are besties. Neither one can keep their mouth shut about shit they know nothing about.

27. A Mother’s Day Poem for Humans from Jena Schwartz.

28. Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon Is an Epic Tale From the Last Known Survivor of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Gratitude Friday

1. Spring. Besides the green and the blooms, you can tell it’s spring in Fort Collins because the river is full up of snow melt.

2. Everything is SO green. It’s almost hard to believe.

One of my favorite spots on the trail

3. Morning walks. It’s so light out now that when we go, not only can I leave my headlamp at home, on Thursday morning I left at 6 am wearing my sunglasses!

4. Sweet Sam. This week at his physical therapy session, he went on the underwater treadmill. He did not love it. He also tried really hard to do some other stuff the tech wanted, but he was too excited/nervous to get it just right. He seems to be getting a bit stronger without getting sore, and I’m so grateful.

5. I finally saw the fox babies!!! This is a terrible picture, taken from far away, but that’s as close as I could get. When we first spotted them, all four babies and their mama were there, but by the time we were close enough to get a bad picture, only the bravest little one was still above ground. Ringo wanted to play with them so bad.

6. Eric. He’s been working so hard this week getting our front garden ready while I finish up my last few days of work.

Bonus joy: Hanging out with Mikalina, a friend coming back to town for the summer, getting all the laundry done on Friday, Pilates, sitting in the sauna after aqua aerobics, dark chocolate, clean sheets, good books (so good they make you stay up really late but you don’t even care that you are tired the whole next day), computer glasses, the smell of lilacs, sleeping with the window open, my new hooded sweatshirt with the picture of a cattle dog on the front that looks like Ringo, another fabulous massage, summer vacation just two more days of work away.