Monthly Archives: January 2020

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. We are upping Sam’s distance, which meant flipping the walk this morning, going backwards, which always feels so strange after days and days of the same route. I still haven’t been to the river in weeks and I miss it.

2. Another Lincoln Center date with Eric. I didn’t really know anything about the musical we were seeing, and it was one of those that (at least for me) didn’t really hold up, meaning “back in the day” it was meant to be a romantic story (I think), but it didn’t seem romantic to me at all, most likely because the way we (or rather I) view love between a man and woman now is different (as in women have choices, their own desires and goals that don’t need to be secondary to marriage or a man). The choreography and dancing, however, were gorgeous.

3. “Joy is my choreographer.” The new Maria Bamford comedy special, Weakness is the Brand, is out and I watched it the other day — SO GOOD. She’s just so awesome and weird.

4. We got our new rugs put down. I really like them, and they are a nice backdrop for super cute pictures of the dogs.

5. My tiny family. There’s nothing I love more than hanging out with them at home — cooking, napping, watching TV.

“Can we haz some pizza?”

Picture #1: Wow, Jill’s dogs really love her.

Picture #2: Nah, my dogs just really love cheesy snacks.

Bonus joy: Good TV (I’m finishing up Ghost Bride on Netflix, and even though it is SO different from the story in the book, it was really good), pay day, hanging out with Mikalina, tickets for an Andrea Gibson show, teaching yoga, clean pjs, a warm shower, sitting on my new couch under my heating pad and a blanket, therapy, writing, reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep.

Something Good

1. And it bends toward justice from Seth Godin. “Our culture is the result of a trillion tiny acts, taken by billions of people, every day. Each of them can seem insignificant, but all of them add up, one way or the other, to the change we each live through.”

2. In Celebration of Armchair Activism on Dances with Fat. Also from Dances with Fat, Comebacks To Shut Down Fatphobia – Part One.

3. making light in the dark on Chookooloonks, in which Karen Walrond asks, “Anyway, I was wondering: when you’re working toward something good — whether it’s raising good children, or fighting against an injustice or fighting for justice — what are ways that you do to keep joy close at hand?”

4. How to Survive the End of the World: It’s Hard Out Here for a Prophet, (podcast) featuring Rev. angel Kyodo williams and Lama Rod Owens discussing how going inward helps us transform the world.

5. Life is Tough. Here Are Six Ways to Deal With It on Lion’s Roar. “An ancient set of Buddhist slogans offers us six powerful techniques to transform life’s difficulties into awakening and benefit. Zen teacher Norman Fischer guides us through them.” In related news and also on Lion’s Roar, 5 Questions That Help Us Wake Up. “Trying to push away our emotional distress can throw us into ‘cognitive shock’ that turns our mind into a muddle. Ezra Bayda shares five simple questions to help us cut though confusion.”

6. One method of writing from Austin Kleon. Also from Austin, The Hawk (a comics diary).

7. 6 Tips for Surviving Anxiety as an Introvert.

8. Birthday self portraits. “A few years ago, I started taking self portraits on my birthday—as many self portraits as my age that day. This Thursday I took 52 self portraits on the occasion of my birthday.”

9. Ten Years After Howard Zinn’s Death — Lessons from the People’s Historian.

10. Obama Called Trump a ‘Fascist’ on Phone Call During Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Run for The White House. He was not wrong.

11. Photographer Captures Real-Life “Fairy Forests” in Finland.

12. What’s Your Ailment? “Join host and comedian Maria Bamford as she talks candidly with fellow comedians and artists about their experience with mental health, past or present.” For now, you can watch the first episode for free. I’m hoping they’ll eventually unlock the others, otherwise I might need to subscribe.

13. Administration behaving badly: Trump Revealed the Logo for Space Force and It’s Just the Star Trek Logo, and Trump Administration Cuts Back Federal Protections For Streams And Wetlands, and After Contentious Interview, Pompeo Publicly Accuses NPR Journalist Of Lying To Him.

14. Why Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members Is an Act of Self-Care.

15. Reading lists! 13 Graphic Novels Feminists Should Read in 2020, and Grade 11 students in Ottawa are ditching Shakespeare for Canada’s Indigenous authors, and 17 Great Books on the Border to Read Instead of ‘American Dirt’. In related news, Latinx Critics Speak Out Against ‘American Dirt’; Jeanine Cummins Responds.

16. 85,000 Pieces From Beloved Chinatown Museum Likely Destroyed in Fire. Such a huge loss.

17. National Archives Replaces Altered Women’s March Photo. “The National Archives apologized after its decision to alter a 2017 Women’s March photo sparked controversy…In an exhibit on the 19th Amendment, the Archives displayed a blurred photo of the 2017 Women’s March in D.C., which took place the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, to obscure four protesters’ signs.”

18. The violence of white feminists relies on the carefully constructed myth of white womanhood’s innocence, purity, and righteousness.

19. “The Goop Lab” Proves Capitalist Takes on Self-Care Aren’t Going Anywhere. In related news, The reviews of Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Goop Lab on Netflix are savage, obviously, and Goop claims Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Netflix show offers ‘tons of scientific proof’.

20. The Racist ICE Detention Center Captain Was Just Fired. We Found 132 More Posts by Him on a Neo-Nazi Site. Not surprised. Seems like the perfect job for such a person. #AbolishICE

21. What We Get Wrong About Minimalism on The New York Times. “It’s not about empty walls or avoiding your phone — it’s about finding beauty in our surroundings, whatever they may look like.”

22. New Podcast Marsha’s Plate Wants to Make Every Black Life Matter. “The show, hosted by three Black trans folks, is doing its part to dismantle White supremacy and patriarchy.”

23. Do Not Move Off The Sidewalk Challenge: Holding Your Space in A White World.

24. “Shrill” Author Lindy West Talks Fat Liberation, Allyship and Donald Trump.

25. 20 of the Coolest Custom VW Camper Vans Ever Built.

26. How to Identify and Cope With Emotional Abuse.

27. Health and Wellness Is About Mental Health, Not Food Intake.

28. How Yoga Helped Me Learn to Love My Body, And Myself. “As a nonbinary and trans person, it’s taken me a lifetime to learn to love my body. Yoga was the last thing I expected to help me get here.”

29. Homeless Moms Evicted From Oakland Home May Return.

30. If Dr. King Was Alive Today, His Facebook Page Would Be Deleted, And He’d Be Censored.

31. He’s not kidding when he says, “Ready for the best Uber ride of your life?” (video)

32. Survivors: Faces of Life After the Holocaust on The New York Times. In related news, 75 Years After Auschwitz Liberation, Survivors Urge World To Remember and Half Of American Adults Aren’t Aware That Six Million Jews Died In The Holocaust, Poll Finds.

33. Portraits on campus lacked diversity, so this artist painted the blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. Because Sam is on restriction, only going 1.5 miles in the morning, we’ve been walking more around our neighborhood and not so much by the river, so I haven’t been taking many pictures. The one above is of my favorite tree in our neighborhood, at the end of our block just across the road from a large field that is used as an unofficial dog park by the people who live nearby and someday could have an apartment complex built on it. I love the shape of the tree, and how it reaches out over the street. I’m not sure what kind it is, always think to get online and try to find out but then forget by the time we get back home, (okay, I just looked it up and I’m almost positive it’s a Honey Locust).

2. Lincoln Center shows with Eric. We get a package every year of tickets to five different shows. Usually there are at least three we for sure want to see, and then we pick two that are more random. Last week we saw The Choir of Man (it was really good, although I could have done without so much audience interaction) and this weekend we’ll see An American in Paris. Eric always takes a selfie of us with the program to text to our friend Jeff, to prove that we actually sometimes leave the house at night. My favorite thing about the Lincoln Center as a venue is it’s only six minutes from our house, so if the show is over at 9 pm, we are in our car at 9:03 and home by 9:08.

Me, sitting on my new couch under my infrared heating pad and favorite blanket, with a rainbow at my feet

3. Honoring my limits. My habit over the years has been to push myself too hard, go go go until I collapse and have to stop completely and rest until I can get back to it. I’m not good at pacing myself. Before I start teaching a bunch more classes, I’m trying to learn what my limits are and honor my true energetic levels as well as my requirements for rest.

4. Good TV. I am not watching as much as I was when I first stopped working, but I still watch a fair amount. I just finished Frankie and Grace and Sex Education, and I’m trying to finish reading The Ghost Bride because they just released it on Netflix and I noticed today that the first episode of the new season of Shrill is up. All my “regular” shows are back in action too: The Good Place, Superstore, Grey’s Anatomy, Will & Grace, The Conners, Blackish, Grownish. There’s always plenty of International House Hunters and Tiny House Nation too. I also want to watch Troop Zero and the Downton Abbey movie on Amazon when I get some time.

Six years ago, when Ringo Blue was still a baby and Samson still liked to play

5. My tiny family. I’ve started to notice Ringo giving me way more attention and seeking out my attention more than before I was home so much during the day. Sam has always adored me, followed me everywhere, and that hasn’t changed. I think that pets are essential for any introverted hsp, but even more so for one that doesn’t have a “real” job and spends most of their time at home and has anxiety issues, (although sometimes they are the source of anxiety).

Each boy on his own couch

Someone is shedding…

He still prefers this couch even though he’s really too tall for it. His fur was warm from the sun, so I get it.

Me watching a police bust go down in front of our house (a car pulled over that had at least four stolen backpacks inside) while the dogs wait quietly. Some day I’ll repaint those circles of drywall from when we got our house insulated…

Bonus joy: writing with Carrie, hanging out with Mikalina, writing in the morning while I drink my cocoa coffee, sleeping in, taking naps, good books, good podcasts (I had an ocular migraine the other day and couldn’t watch TV or read, so I laid in a dark room and caught up on podcasts), moving my body, a big glass of cold clean water, sunshine, clean pjs, getting all the laundry done, our new rugs for the kitchen and dining room, watching Father Brown with Eric, my infrared heating pad, sitting in the sauna after aqua aerobics.

Something Good

I’ve been reminded lately how much I’ve always loved these little weirdos. (Photo by David Clode on Unsplash)

1. memories of australia (and how you can help) from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

2. The High Cost of Fatphobia on Dances with Fat. In related news, this wisdom from Melissa Toler‘s latest newsletter, in which she talks about a recent interview in which “Jillian Michaels made some pretty awful comments about Lizzo,” and says,

Here’s the thing: Jillian Michaels is a fitness professional who has a long history of publicly shaming and abusing fat people in the name of health, and unfortunately, she’s not alone. What happened during that interview happens everyday in doctors’ offices, health clinics, and fitness centers, where health and wellness professionals condescendingly warn patients that they’ll get diabetes, heart disease, or even die if they don’t lose weight. When events like this occur in the media, I think it’s important for us focus LESS on the celebrities involved and pay attention to the messages and behaviors being displayed:

  • Despite the popularity of body positivity and the increased awareness around fat activism, there will always be people who are committed to upholding the status quo. This is especially true for folks whose identity and/or income requires them to do so.
  • Folks like JM who claim to be concerned about the health of others are only concerned when it comes to larger body sizes. They usually don’t have much to say about the toll that constant weight loss attempts take on your mental, physical, and emotional health.
  • These beliefs are dangerous and harmful. They’re often used to justify discrimination against fat people in healthcare, the workplace, and many other areas of society.

So, even though this was an interview with a famous personal trainer who said some things about a famous musician, it really isn’t about them. It’s an example of the harm caused by people who claim to care about health. But I believe it’s also an opportunity for us to challenge our own thinking about bodies, size, and health.

3. You Absolutely Can Tackle the Big Things You’ve Been Avoiding on Zen Habits. Also from Zen Habits, A Guide to Dealing with Uncertainty About What Path to Take.

4. How starting a writing practice can sharpen your mind, which features some thoughts on the matter from Jena Schwartz.

5. Hide and Seek from Austin Kleon.

6. Good stuff from Patti Digh: an online course Hard Conversations: Whiteness, Race, and Social Justice, and another online course Hard Conversations: Introduction to Racism, and The Art of Activism: Hard Conversations Book Club 2020.

7. Why Finland And Denmark Are Happier Than The U.S.. (video) “What does it take to be happy? The Nordic countries seem to have it all figured out. Finland and Denmark have consistently topped the United Nations’ most prestigious index, The World Happiness Report, in all six areas of life satisfaction: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.”

8. 100 Ways to Take a Break.

9. Love Is the Answer to the Climate Crisis on Lion’s Roar. “As the climate crisis worsens, and the window to solve it is quickly closing, we have a choice to make: we can shut down in fear or lean in and open our hearts even more.”

10. Buddhist Books by and for People of Color on Lion’s Roar. “In response to a query from a reader, our editors suggest some books by and for people of color.”

11. $11 Billion And Counting: Trump’s Border Wall Would Be The World’s Most Costly.

12. A Poem for the Veterinary Community from Andrea Gibson. (video)

13. Japanese Artist Transforms Ordinary Rocks Into Highly Realistic Animals.

14. The body-positive movement excludes women like me — those who aren’t ‘acceptably fat.’

15. This Colorado poet found inspiration in everything around her — even cactus spines — to assemble “Naked for Tea.” “Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer explores vulnerability and ‘the invitation to say yes to the world as it is’ in her latest collection.”

16. As Menopause Nears, Be Aware It Can Trigger Depression And Anxiety, Too.

17. The Black Moms Who Occupied a Vacant House and Became Icons of the Homelessness Crisis.

18. How ‘Namaste’ Flew Away From Us.

19. Pema Chödrön steps down from Shambhala position, (sort of).

20. A Derry Girls movie is in talks according to the show’s creator. In other happy TV news, Insecure Returns for Its Fourth Season This Spring, and ‘Wild Seed’: Viola Davis Developing Adaptation Of Octavia Butler Novel At Amazon, Scripted By Nnedi Okorafor And Wanuri Kahiu.

21. 5 Pilates YouTube Videos For Beginners That Are Also Body Positive.

22. New online tool points consumers Native American-owned businesses.

23. The Science Behind Why Diets Don’t Work.

24. 17 Nonfiction Books Feminists Should Read in 2020.

25. Japan Releases a Range of Miniature Furniture for Cats.

26. A VW Beetle Spotted in the Insect Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

27. Media Bias Chart. “The AllSides Media Bias Chart offers an easy way to identify political bias in the news so you can be better equipped to navigate our polarized media landscape.”

28. The NFL Takes On Police Shootings of Black Men in New Ad. “The spot, which is slated for the Super Bowl, comes as the league boosts its social justice messaging in wake of the Colin Kaepernick controversy.” This is total bullshit, and I’ve been pretty clear that I think the NFL is a horrible organization. As this article states, “Critics have questioned the league’s motives, seeing the efforts as a way to repair the NFL’s image in the wake of the PR damage done by the Kaepernick controversy. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has not been picked up by a team since 2016, the year he started kneeling during the anthem to bring attention to racial inequities.” This follows some pretty similar situations: current day Christians would have judged and hated Jesus when he was alive (and I don’t think he would have been too happy with them either), white people only supported MLK’s message after he was murdered and they could manipulate it to their advantage, all kinds of diet culture behemoths have adopted the body positivity and “wellness/lifestyle” languaging in an attempt to monopolize on trends, etc.

29. “Flood the zone with shit”: How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy. “The impeachment trial probably won’t change any minds. Here’s why.”

30. Today is MLK Day, and these are some things worth reading: 10 Things You May Not Know About Martin Luther King Jr., and Don’t Post An MLK Quote On Social Media Unless You’re Truly Anti-Racist, and The history behind MLK Day, and how you can celebrate it, and The Agitated M.L.K. I Came to Love on The New York Times, and Martin Luther King Jr. Was More Radical Than We Remember, which is two years old now but still worth reading.

31. ‘Spoons are so brutal!’ Paris Hilton’s cooking show is a rare work of comic genius. “In Cooking with Paris, the heiress and her dog dressed as a French maid struggle to make a lasagne. It’s either a baffling vanity project – or an instant classic.”

Gratitude Friday

Image by Eric

1. The Colorado sky. Today, sadly, it’s mostly gray. We are due a big windstorm later in the day, so hopefully that will clear out the crud.

2. Doing fun stuff with people I love. Lunch and a movie with Chelsey and Jon, dinner and a movie with Chloe’ and Claudia, breakfast with Carrie, a yoga class with Abrona, aqua aerobics and a chat with Janice, sitting in the sauna with Eric, watching “Father Brown” with Eric, laughing with Eric, walking and napping with the dogs, yoga with my Red Sage class, a fitness class with Paige and Beth, random texting with my brother.

3. Practice and therapy and moving my body and napping and eating what I want and napping and reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep. These are some of the things keeping me from giving up this week. I just reread this and realized I said “napping” twice, but since that is pretty accurate, I’m going to leave it like that.

4. Kindness and support from other people, even if we’ve never met IRL. I posted something on Instagram about having an autoimmune disorder and burnout and was immediately offered so much goodness by people, some of them who I’ve never even met in real life. It can sometimes seem like social media and the internet are a container for the worst of humanity, but it also holds the best of what we are.

5. My tiny family. The real reason we got a whole new sectional is so Eric can stretch his legs out all the way when he takes a nap, and he took full advantage of it before he had to go back to work this week. Sam is still doing better after tweaking his back, but we did have to put him back on a small dose of pain meds to give him a bit more time to heal. I’m so grateful for all the support for him we have access to living here in Fort Collins. This week six years ago we brought Ringo the dingo home. He was so cute and tiny and gray, but clearly part wolverine.

Bonus joy: Clementines, good books (I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing and started The Ghost Bride), good TV (a new season of Catfish), good music, good podcasts, getting the laundry done and put away a day early, the few days I had this week without any anxiety, a long nap when you are really tired, toast with marionberry jam, sleeping in, writing in the morning while drinking a cocoa coffee, blue sky, the softest pajamas, laughing with Eric.


Something Good

Image by Eric, sunrise over the Poudre

1. Lines in the Sand: When the Beach Becomes a Canvas a video from Great Big Story. “Anyone can write their name in the sand, but Jim Denevan uses the beach to create stunning large-scale art. What started as a hobby over 20 years ago has resulted in worldwide recognition, and he’s created masterworks from Russia to Chile to Australia. At the end of the day, though, Jim’s just happy to find a new beach to make his canvas.”

2. Old Man Blogs At Cloud, a great post about blogging from Chuck Wendig on his blog Terrible Minds.

3. Good stuff from Dances with Fat: Stealing from Fat Positivity to Sell Diets – Looking at You “Biggest Loser” and Jillian Michaels Continues To Be A Horrible Human Being, This Time Dragging Lizzo Into It and The Minnesota Starvation Experiment Was Less Strict Than Modern Diets. In related news, Lizzo Issued A NSFW Clapback After Jillian Michaels Commented On Her Health, And I’m Clutching My Pearls.

4. Reading lists: I Read More Than 100 Books in 2019—Here Are the 10 I Recommend and The ZORA Canon: The 100 greatest books ever written by African American women.

5. The Next Generation of Meditation Teachers. “These eight young meditation teachers are so gifted, bringing a unique integrity, open-heartedness and wisdom to their work, that they’ve already earned a strong following.”

6. Grove Collaborative. “Grove started as an idea between three friends talking in a spare bedroom in San Francisco: ‘what if it was easy to find healthier home essentials?’ The belief that what we bring into our homes contributes to that homey, cozy feel prompted them to try to make their idea a reality.”

7. EP52 – The Diet Binge Cycle with Isabel Foxen Duke: Intuitive Bites Podcast.

8. Thanks for coming to my TED talk, an actual TED talk from The Bloggess.

9. advice to your high school self from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

10. “Home” by Warsan Shire, (video).

11. 80-Year-Old Tortoise Becomes A First-Time Mom.

12. A letter to…my angry father. “What I do know is that you have never dealt with it, never sought help. Your deep feelings of loss and hurt come out at night, during family dinners, and instead of addressing that trauma, you blame yourself: you hate, you spit and you rage.”

13. A staggering 1 billion animals are now estimated dead in Australia’s fires.

14. She’s 7 and was born intersex. Why her parents elected to let her grow up without surgical intervention.

15. Haut-Relief Portraits of Animals Come Alive in Detailed Paper Sculptures by Calvin Nicholls.

16. ‘Star Trek: Picard’: Patrick Stewart on Why He Returned to the Final Frontier.

17. Here’s How the ‘Health at Every Size’ Movement Made Me a Better Trainer.

18. The Secret We’re Keeping from You. “Listen, your friends are hiding their mental illnesses from you.” In related news, Woman Explains A Lesser Known Symptom Of Depression And People Are Thanking Her.

19. Smirking All the Way to the Bank: Nick Sandmann Settles Lawsuit With CNN. Gross. He needs to divide the money up and compensate all the people he’s bullied and trolled online, because you absolutely know that the suffering he claims to have experienced is nowhere near the suffering he’s caused. In related news, His reaction when asked to name something President Trump has done well…

20. This Husky Picked Out Her Own Kitten To Take Home From Shelter

21. Recipe I want to try: Old Fashioned Buttermilk Sweet Bread.

22. How to Break Your Single-Use Plastics Habit.

23. The Meat-Lover’s Guide to Eating Less Meat on The New York Times. “Reducing your meat and dairy intake can help mitigate climate change. Melissa Clark has ideas for how to do it deliciously.”

24. America Has Never Cared About Sacred Sites. “Trump’s threat to destroy Iranian cultural sites is a dark national tradition, with the desecration of sacred tribal sites offering the blueprint.”

25. I Remain A “Catfish” Queer: On Love, The Midwest, and What We Think We Deserve.

26. Installation Reveals the Metaphoric Power of a Single Book Distorting a Solid Brick Wall.

Gratitude Friday

Image by Eric

1. The Colorado sky. I love it so much because it’s blue so much of the time, but in the winter it is especially magical.

2. I’m still here. For real, this week was HARD. A dear friend got awful news, Sam hurt his back worse than we thought, Eric’s mom ended up in the hospital, and we dealt with a few other things I won’t talk about here, (don’t worry, Mom, I’ll email you all about it later today). Thank goodness for my tiny family, my friends, joyful movement, good books, good food, sleep, practice, and therapy. Also, clean water and biscuits & jam.

3. I finally finished my Curvy Yoga teacher certification. I got sidetracked finishing my 500 hour certification, quitting my job of 19 years, and coping with burnout, but I finished. Now I’ve moved on to getting some of the foundations for my new “business” set up, (I don’t know why, but to say I have a “business” sounds too weird, so I have to put it in quotes).

4. We got new furniture! You might not understand what a big deal this is. We’ve never had furniture that was new and matched or was any kind of intentional design. We still live like we are college roommates renting an apartment rather than a 26 year married pair of 52 year old home owners. We bought new rugs (so Sam won’t slip on the hardwoods and if he lies on the floor, he’ll be on something softer), a mini sectional, and new bookshelves this week. We are also going to get a console table to put our TV on. I hadn’t realized until we got it all set up how much I needed a fresh start, how much I’d appreciate the comfort and beauty. Of course, we ultimately ended up keeping one of our old sofas and a “vintage” mustard yellow velour recliner we inherited from Eric’s parents (they bought it new probably over 50 years ago) that Ringo loves, but it all works in the way we need it to work. Now if we can just keep Ringo from doing too much Parkour on and off the new couch. And also, WHY so MANY pillows?! Who uses all those?

5. My tiny family. The keep me sane and safe, and they make me laugh.

Seriously though: why must he insist on trying so hard to wreck himself?

He likes coffee

“Helping” me make biscuits, or rather waiting for me to drop some butter

Bonus joy: a warm shower, clean pjs, pjs that are decent enough I can wear them out of the house as pants, tea with Chloe’, hanging out with Mikalina, writing in the morning with a hot cup of cocoa coffee (half cocoa with marshmallows, half coffee), sitting in the sauna with Eric, clean sheets, a book so good you try really hard to stay awake so you can keep reading, good TV, clementines, going to the movies and getting popcorn, clarity about what I need, being able to afford new furniture, our “old” furniture becoming someone else’s “new” furniture, other people’s dogs, yoga taught by good teachers using props and good cuing, new to me music, good podcasts, baking, getting all the laundry done and put away, my new pen, being retired.