Monthly Archives: July 2022

Gratitude

1. Morning walks. I spoke too soon about the mosquito population this summer. Monday was fine, just a few; and then just two days later, on the same route, there were more — clearly mosquito season is in force and we’ll need to reroute for a bit. Eric and I also noticed this week how brown things had gotten in the past few days — not surprising considering almost every day is over 90 degrees. And yet, with Eric on summer vacation, we get to walk together. Yesterday I mentioned we were reaching a spot on the trail where I always see deer, and just a few minutes later, Eric said, “Babies!,” a momma and her twins. A little later, one of the babies was wondering close by and I got a few pictures.

2. Books, reading and writing. I am on such a lucky streak right now with both what I’m reading and what I’m writing. One of these days, I’m going to write a post about all the good books I’ve read lately.

3. Palisade peaches, and a husband who not only bakes pies, but can do it on the grill in the heat of summer so the house doesn’t get too hot in the process.

4. Ringo, who continues to excel in his volunteer work as neighborhood watch and lost & found. This week he rescued a unicorn binky.

5. My tiny family, tiny house, tiny life. One night while Eric and I were making dinner, I told him that even though so many things were wrong in the world, so much suffering, the little life we have together is everything I ever wanted. He agreed.

Bonus joy: Asian cucumber salad, mini round ice cubes, compression gloves and ice packs and my hand massager, hydromassage, the sauna, the pool, the maple tree just outside my window, hummingbirds, herons, honeybees, dragonflies, bats, living in a neighborhood where if I step outside at dawn I will hear a rooster cock-a-doodle-doing, a/c, hanging out with Calyx, texting with Chloe’ and Mom and Chris, listening to music, naps, good TV and films, listening to podcasts, aqua aerobics, small group training, sunshine, shade, vaccines and masks, being able to email my doctor instead of needing to make an appointment (seriously, so many things can be handled without needing an office visit), taking a break from therapy because I’m doing so well (*knocks on wood*), being able to use an app or website to make appointments and get test results, being able to access and afford food and housing and healthcare and transportation, a washer and dryer in my house (y’all, I’m still traumatized from using public laundry rooms/mats all these years later), freezers and refrigerators, indoor plumbing and electricity, all three “local” dogs (Ringo, Rizzo, and Rex) in their respective yards barking at each other as the sun goes down, clean sheets, a warm or cold shower, magic, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep. 

Something Good

1. Wilford The Bear Makes A Bed And Takes A Nap In The Angeles National Forest(video) I shared this at the end of my last Gratitude list, but it’s so good, I want to be sure if you missed it that I give you another chance. I’m convinced if you watch the full video, it will lower your blood pressure by a few points.

2. Bonsai Master Masahiko Kimura Takes The Craft To A Whole New Level By Creating Gravity-Defying Mini Forests.

3. Jason Reynolds on stories told for, and by, young readers“Jason Reynolds is not only a prolific and bestselling author, he’s also the national ambassador for young people’s literature.”

4. Recipes I want to try: Instant Pot Chicken Breast, and Honey Cake Muffins, and Raspberry Breakfast Bars.

5. The Way Into the Poem Is the Decision to Write the Poem“The fear of writing a ‘bad’ poem keeps me from writing at all. But I can’t write a ‘good’ poem without writing any poem.” This is from the series Don’t Write Alone on Catapult, where “you’ll find writing resources, advice, job and fellowship opportunities, prompts and craft talk, and more.”

6. Every Moment Loved, a cartoon from Connie Sun. “Wherever you are, whatever is happening in your life, I hope you feel loved in the universe.”

7. Interview with Martin Freeman“The cuddly Bilbo and John Watson actor, 50, on squash, lefty politics, having a little faith and reserving the right to be difficult.”

8. Correcting people at the gym who didn’t ask for it isn’t ‘helpful’ – it’s toxic. While you are at it, don’t ever comment on anyone’s body, even if you think it’s a “compliment.”

9. Chilly and Milly(video), from the 2022 PBS Short Film Festival. “Chilly, William’s father, is a diabetic with kidney failure, whose illness detrimentally affects his and his family’s lives. Milly sees her sole purpose in life as to taking care of her loved ones. While watching the documentary, Chilly and Milly discuss their life together, and their successes and setbacks in life. When Chilly passes away during the pandemic, Milly comes to terms with her loss.”

10. 40 Interesting Ways You Can Take action to Get Unstuck.

11. A Close Reading of Jack Kerouac’s Advice to Writers“‘Belief & Technique for Modern Prose’ as Read By Your Resident Kerouac Skeptic.”

12. This toy is designed for you to fail (and that’s ok)(video)

13. The grandmother the internet needs(video)

14. Krista Tippett Wants You to See All the Hope That’s Being Hidden on The New York Times.

15. New Speculative Fiction Crossovers That Bust Genre Boundaries

16. ‘It’s just a house, but not just a house.’ Marshall Fire victims’ plans to rebuild.

17. You’re not taking the dog! How pet custody battles turned nasty“You’ve divided up the crockery, the books, the albums – but how do you split your beloved pets? As more and more cases end up in court, animal lovers share tales of dog eat dog.” Eric and I have a deal: whoever wants out or does something to ruin it doesn’t get the dogs.

18. Janeane Garofalo Never Sold Out. What a Reliefon The New York Times.

19. YouTube channel: Soft White Underbelly“interviews and portraits of the human condition by photographer, Mark Laita.” *Trigger warning*: these deal with all kinds of suffering and are tough to watch. That said, I do think they serve to humanize circumstances and people that are all too often easily dismissed as individual problems.

20. France in Focus: The legacy of colonialism in France (video) “France is in the midst of an identity crisis – grappling with some important questions about what kind of country it is, and what kind of country it wants to be.”

21. Text Your Friends. It Matters More Than You Thinkon The New York Times. “New research says most of us underestimate the power of the casual check-in.”

22. Emerging Form Podcast Episode 69: Travel and the Muse with Laurie WagnerEmerging Form is a podcast about the creative process in which a journalist (Christie Aschwanden) and a poet (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer) discuss creative conundrums over wine. Each episode concludes with a game of two questions in which a guest joins in to help answer questions about the week’s topic.” In this episode, “writer Laurie Wagner discusses how travel can facilitate creative traits like these and help you connect with your muse. She tells us about how being in a foreign place helps her move slower and see things anew. ‘Our lives are passing, and we think we are going someplace,’ she says, but meanwhile life is passing us by in this present moment, and that’s where creativity lies.”

23. Ada Limón Is Named the Next Poet Laureate on The New York Times. “Poetry, she said, can help the nation ‘become whole again’ in a fraught, divided moment.”

24. This Gay Ocean Horror Book Is So Good I Want To Scream, a review of Our Wives Under The Sea, which after reading this article, I now want to read this book.

25. The shocking true story of Netflix’s Girl in the Picture – a very simple timelineJust watched this and it was fascinating and heartbreaking.

26. On the Personalization of Craft; Or, We’re All Going to Die Soon Anyway“Diksha Basu Wonders What We Really Mean by ‘Writing Rules’.”

27. The Good Life Project podcast: Kerri Kelly | The Myth of Wellness & How We Truly Heal“Wellbeing is, no doubt, key to living a good life, but wellness – as a concept – over the years, has become an industry, and along with that has come both incredible benefits and also a host of co-opted, problematic ideals, offerings and structures. A look under the hood often reveals an arguably toxic industry with deep cracks in its foundation that threaten to reveal the inequitable, exclusionary, shame-driven, perfection-aspiring, and, on occasion, even predatory side of wellness culture. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.”

28. The Bittersweet Story of the Real-Life Peaceful Bull Who Inspired Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s Ferdinand“A journey to the abyss between the real world and the ideal world, and a romp across our mightiest bridge between the two.” Munro Leaf wrote my favorite children’s book: Boo, Who Used To Be Scared Of The Dark.

boo
my favorite book as a kid, my personal copy

29. context, indigo & 55 from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks. “So after having this time away, I’ve been thinking about how I want to show up online, especially going forward: how can I show up in a way that feels rooted in my integrity?”

30. Alexandra Franzen on podcasts: Free Time / Run Your Business with Exquisite Greatness and Tiny Art Projects with Alexandra Franzen (“How has Alexandra Franzen built two thriving businesses without social media?”) and Chart Your Career / The Book Whisperer with Alexandra Franzen (“Heidi and Ellen interview the beloved wordsmith Alexandra Franzen. They look at four key career moments in Alex’s life and talk about her writer’s journey and the astrology that supported her along the way”).

31. When Outrage Is A Flower Grown From The Seed Of Love from Andrea Gibson. “Finding congruence between my spiritual and political selves.” Also from Andrea, Undoing Our Codependency, One Butterfly At A Time, “When struggle is necessary for thriving.”

32. Not Yet a God of Even the Palest Flowers“From a conversation about the darker side of Mary Oliver, with three poems.”

33. Wisdom from Adam J. Kurtz.

34. It’s Time to Stop Living the American Scam on The New York Times. Because, this:

It’s no coincidence that so many social movements arose during the enforced idleness of quarantine. One important function of jobs is to keep you too preoccupied and tired to do anything else. Grade school teachers called it “busywork” — pointless, time-wasting tasks to keep you from acting up and bothering them.

Enough with the busywork already. We’ve been “productive” enough — produced way too much, in fact. And there is too much that urgently needs to be done: a republic to salvage, a civilization to reimagine and its infrastructure to reinvent, innumerable species to save, a world to restore and millions who are impoverished, imprisoned, illiterate, sick or starving. All while we waste our time at work.

35. On Unraveling and Resilience. “In a world unraveling due to climate change, an environmental scientist looks to Indigenous stories of resilience.”