Author Archives: jillsalahub

#NaBloPoMo: Saving Time

In both yoga classes I taught this week, I talked about how here in Fort Collins, we had a very short fall season before our first snow came and then another big snow hit and we went straight to winter, without the usual lingering color and warmth of fall. Then on Sunday, we moved our clocks, which always takes me (and in particular my dogs) a few weeks to adjust to. The dogs want to still eat at the “regular” time, which is now 4 am, and I walk around asking “yeah, but what time is it really?” and feeling generally wonky.

It’s very confusing, unsettling. It can be hard to regain our balance, our stability, our ground. In times like these, it’s good to honor your need for gentleness, allow yourself extra time and space, give yourself whatever you require to feel some sense of comfort and strength, seeking out whatever support might help bring you back to center.

I shared a quote with my students this morning, a few paragraphs from one of Jena Schwartz’s latest blog posts, Some Words of Encouragement for Regular People. This class in particular loves to be read a poem or quote, either at the beginning of class or the end, (or sometimes both). The way I choose what to share isn’t very scientific. It’s actually a pretty random system — I see or read something that touches me or reminds me of them and I share it at our next class, maybe even theme the whole class around it.

And maybe this is related, or maybe the only connection is that it’s also part of my narrative, but I was paying two bills this morning, the only two I have that still require I send a check. I get paperless statements in my email, but my payment requires at least the first page of the statement in order for my payment to be applied. I’m out of printer paper, so I’ve been printing on the backs of recycled paper. When I printed out the statements this morning, I used paper that had poems on the back side. It makes me happy to imagine the surprise for the human on the receiving end — at work, processing payments for a credit card company, opening my envelope and finding a poem. My wish is that whoever they are, it’s the exact poem they needed today, that it makes them feel somehow better.

Something Good

Image by Eric, from their walk

1. “Stand Up” – Official Lyric Video – Performed by Cynthia Erivo. (video) “From the motion picture HARRIET, the Original Song ‘STAND UP’ was written by Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo.” In related news, Why a new film about Harriet Tubman focuses on freedom, and What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Harriet, and The ‘Superhero Journey’ Of Harriet Tubman, Now On Film.

2. Loving Dad Makes Time-Lapse of Daughter Growing Up From 0 to 18 Years Old.

3. Ten Years Ago, I Called Out David Letterman. This Month, We Sat Down to Talk. “It’s not often that you speak truth to power and power responds, ‘Oops, sorry,’ writes former Letterman writer Nell Scovell.”

4. Columnist Who Accused Trump Of Sexual Assault Is Suing Him For Defamation.

5. Dogs and body image, a Twitter thread. Read it just for the pictures of the dogs. You won’t be sorry.

6. On Being with Krista Tippett: angel Kyodo williams, The World Is Our Field of Practice. “angel Kyodo williams is one of our wisest voices on social evolution and the spiritual aspect of social healing. She is an esteemed Zen priest and the second black woman recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage. For those of us who are not monastics, she says, the world is our field of practice. To sink into conversation with her is to imagine and nourish the transformative potential of this moment toward human wholeness.”

7. Some Words of Encouragement for Regular People from Jena Schwartz. I cried when I read the final paragraphs of this, which means I really needed to hear it, which is why I’ll share them in my yoga class tomorrow morning. Thank you, Jena.

8. 9-Year-Old Kid Who Kept Getting In Trouble For Doodling In Class Gets A Job Decorating A Restaurant With His Drawings.

9. The L Word: Generation Q (2019) Official Trailer. (video) Yes, please!

10. Trump vows ‘no more’ federal aid to California as devastating wildfires continue to burn.

11. Kitbull | Pixar SparkShorts. (video) “Kitbull, directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson, reveals an unlikely connection that sparks between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull. Together, they experience friendship for the first time.”

12. This Sweet PSA About Adoption Shows a Teen Slowly Realizing He’s Part of a Family.

13. The Photograph Trailer #1 (2020) (video) It seems mean to release this trailer when the movie won’t be out for THREE more months! I don’t want to wait. How can I wait?

14. Pretty, Big and Dancing from Great Big Story. “Akira Armstrong started dancing at 8 years old and never looked back. She even landed a featured appearance in two Beyoncé music videos, but when she decided to pursue dance professionally, she faced rejection from agencies because of her body type. She didn’t fit the physical mold of a typical dancer. So, Armstrong took matters into her own hands and started a plus-size dance company, Pretty Big Movement. Now she’s a mentor and teacher to a group of women who are striving to become professional dancers themselves, regardless of their body types.”

15. Alcohol causes most overall harm of any drug, says study.

16. Kids Got Trump 2020 Messages With Their Halloween Candy And Parents Are Not Pleased.

17. NPR Music’s Top 15 Albums Of October.

18. Shari’s Restaurant in Lewiston kicks out couple dressed as Native Americans and making war cries. In related news, Is Your Halloween Costume Racist? Check This Flowchart.

19. Obama Says Democrats Don’t Always Need To Be ‘Politically Woke.’ To be clear, I disagree with a lot of what he had to say.

20. I’m Obsessed with the Covers of “Pocket Change Collective,” a Book Series by Some of Today’s Leading Activists.

21. 42 Interesting Animal Facts That You Can Throw Out In Casual Conversations.

22. 100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating For People of Color.

23. Ballet Dancers And Dogs Pose Together For A Photoshoot And The Result Will Make Your Day.

#NaBloPoMo: Time Change

When I switched my calendars over to the new month, they were all very autumn-y pictures, which is odd because we sort of skipped from about a week of that here and went straight to winter. All our leaves are either down or dead and there’s still snow on the ground from our last storm.

Then today the clocks changed, we “fall back” for Daylight Savings Time, which means at least two weeks of the dogs waking up before the alarm and us asking each other, “yeah, but what time is it really?” And apparently Mercury is in retrograde and that means something.

I’m teaching a yoga asana class this morning and I think our theme will be staying grounded amidst chaos, honoring what we need, being gentle with ourselves and each other.

#NaBloPoMo: Parts and Service

[November is NaBloPoMo, or “National Blog Posting Month,” in which bloggers post something each day of the month. I’ve been wanting to publish more here and have done it in years past, so here we go…]

I was disappointed yesterday when I took my car in to get my snow tires put on. I take it to the dealership because my car has those fancy computerized tire pressure sensors. They need to be recalibrated when I switch the tires and only the dealership knows how, or at least they claim they do. The first few years when I took it to a tire store, it never got reset and that lead to driving around the whole winter season with the warning light on and hoping that I didn’t actually have a flat tire, checking and rechecking the tire pressure manually to be sure. The tire store also kept putting too much air in my snow tires and last year they sent Eric home with two of the tires with lug nuts so loose the tires were coming off the car, so last year I decided to take it directly to the source, to the dealer.

I was disappointed because they paired me with my least favorite service person. He’s an older white man, slow and sort of sloppy and always mildly grumpy. He never really listens to me, which makes me have to repeat myself multiple times, and even when he hears me he some how misunderstands half of what I’ve said, and then acts confused and/or irritated as I try to explain. He vacillates between treating me like I’m an idiot and acting like I understand more about cars than he does.

First he misunderstood that the snow tires were already on their own set of wheels. He was explaining to me how they’d put the snow tires on the wheels and then have to balance them, and I interrupted and explained they wouldn’t. I had to repeat at least three times that no, the snow tires are on their own set of wheels before he heard me, understood. Then he couldn’t figure out pricing, and I kept telling him that they’d done the exact same thing last year, so all he needed to do was check my service records, that were right there on the computer that was right in front of him. He said $20, but I knew that wasn’t right, and I explained that they would need to recalibrate the tire pressure sensors to correctly read the new tires. Well, that about broke him. He got so flustered, telling me how that meant they’d have to unmount the tires to find a particular code so they could reset the sensors. I just nodded my head, “yeah, like they did last time.” After a search through my old records and an updated higher price and repeating at least three more times that yes, I was going to wait here until they were finished, I headed to the lobby waiting room.

This is pretty much exactly how it went last year, except it was the first year I’d come here. The thing I didn’t mentioned is that last year even though I paid extra to have the tire pressure gauge reset, three days later after driving it on the highway, the warning light went off and stayed that way even though all the tires were fine. I didn’t end up taking it back in because I took it in to their body shop to get my hail damage repair done and they had it for FOUR months, which meant by the time I got it back it was already time to take the snow tires back off.

I waited for two hours in their slightly gross waiting room. The TV is always on a news or sports channel and set too loud, even though no one ever seems to be watching it. The lights are those horrible jittery too bright florescents. It smells like burnt coffee and the furniture is functional but ugly and uncomfortable. Usually it’s way too hot, but on this day every time someone opened the outside door, which was at least once every ten minutes, a gust of freezing air filled the space. An older guy next to me was clearly impatient with the wait and spent the time sitting in a chair bouncing his leg or pacing the small room and muttering under his breath. Two different guys went into the bathroom while I was waiting and managed to stink up the whole place. An older white guy came in and saw a young Latino boy sitting by himself and tried to give him a high five, which the kid reluctantly agreed too but clearly didn’t like. A couple came in speaking animatedly to each other in Spanish. Based on the demographic of the room (mostly white — it’s Fort Collins, so this is pretty common), I braced myself for a confrontation if someone decided to have a problem with it. A woman in her 20s sitting directly next to me reeked of alcohol and I couldn’t tell if it was a hangover or what she had in her water bottle. Eric kept texting me to check in, thought it was taking too long, but I told him it’s like the difference between going to the doctor in the afternoon and first thing in the morning. By the afternoon, they are always behind, for all kinds of reasons.

They finally finished and I was able to get home. The anxiety lingers about paying more even though in a few days the warning light might still go off, and then I’ll have to decide if I just put up with it or spend my effort, energy, and time to take it back in and insist they do it right, which leads to having to make another phone call for an appointment (introverted highly sensitive people like myself hate nothing more than making phone calls), probably get the same service person, having to explain the situation multiple times while he gets more and more frustrated and irritable, and wait again in that uncomfortable waiting area.

Oddly enough (meaning I’m weird like that), this had me thinking about patriarchy and white supremacy, and all the ways I’ve internalized sexism and misogyny and whiteness. The ways I’ve been programmed to center men and whiteness, and the ways that leads to denying myself, seeing myself as unworthy and less than, prioritizing being quiet and polite and pleasing and compliant. All the ways that leads to me doing harm, to myself and others. All the ways that I appease and please. All the times I’ve gone silent because I’ve felt like I had no right to take up any space. All the moments I’ve allowed someone to make me small. And how complicated it is to turn it around, because it’s not just that I need to deprogram myself but entire systems need dismantled and the people stuck in those habits of behavior need called out, encouraged to take responsibility for the harm they’ve done and the healing they need to do in order to stop.

Gratitude Friday

1. Snow! What I’m actually grateful for is that even though it was a bit earlier than usual, and because of that we didn’t have snow tires on the cars yet, we made it through okay. On the morning I walked dogs and it was only 5 degrees out, I was especially grateful for the hour I got to spend under my infrared heating pad and a couple of blankets. And on all the other cold mornings, Eric ran with the dogs while I stayed home in our warm bed.

2. Writing with friends. I got to do that twice this week. There was a bit more conversation than writing, but that’s okay too.

3. Trying new recipes. Eric made General Tso’s with cauliflower instead of chicken (good, but I missed the chewy texture of the chicken, as the cauliflower is pretty soft), and I made oven fries with three different kinds of potatoes. We also tried spaghetti with Quorn Meatless Grounds, (recommended, in fact it might have been even better than a meat version). We are trying to add more plant options and eat fewer animal products. It’s so much easier to do now than it was 20 years ago, with all the new products you can buy and the ease of searching the internet for recipes, (although 90% of the time, I land at Smitten Kitchen).

4. Practice. Being able to come back to it, depend on it, no matter what else might be going on. It keeps me steady and sane.

5. My tiny family. Ringo is getting used to me being home more often, asks for and offers me more attention than he has, (Eric’s his primary person, the guy who does all the fun stuff like running, hiking, and playing Frisbee, but I’m the one he cuddles with). Sam is still my baby at almost 10 years old, looking to me for, well, everything. Eric and I did a salt tank sensory deprivation float last week, and while I was a partial fail on the float (I could float, but not with the hatch closed), it was fun to try something new with him.

Bonus joy: a crunchy Gala apple, a glass of cold water, sleeping in, sitting in the sauna when it’s cold outside, down blankets and pillows, clean sheets, TV shows where most of the characters aren’t white, grocery shopping, getting all the laundry done and put away, pay day, being able to pay all our bills and have money left over, my new therapist, snow tires.


Something Good

1. Irresistible Book: Prince’s memoir The Beautiful Ones. “In Prince’s cosmology, there are really only three reasons to pen a book that purports to flirt with autobiography: further demystification, education or deconstruction. While we will never know which of those goals Prince would have come down on, the book we have is somehow, and thankfully, all three.”

2. A Collection Of Zora Neale Hurston’s Lost Writings Will Be Released In 2020.

3. ‘I had to buy it and finish it’: Why 1,000 people offered to crowd-stitch the quilt of a dead woman none of them knew.

4. Is ‘Modern Love’ Only for White Women? “The omission of women of color as love interests in the new Amazon series is more than an oversight.”

5. The cost of leaving an abusive relationship.

6. Us Too on Lion’s Roar. “Sexual misconduct and abuse by Buddhist teachers — some high profile, others under the radar — are hurting women, splitting communities, destroying people’s faith in Buddhist practice, and damaging Buddhism’s reputation. Buddhist teacher Trudy Goodman looks at the history, the harm, and what we can do to stop it.”

7. How to Give People Advice They’ll Be Delighted to Take on The New York Times.

8. Pages from a finished diary from Austin Kleon.

9. Panic in Pakistani City After 900 Children Test Positive for H.I.V. on The New York Times. “Health workers say the reuse of syringes drove the outbreak in the city of Ratodero.”

10. How To Leave Toxic Diet Culture Behind And Pursue Actual Health. “The real data behind weight loss research points to a radically different approach to healthy living.” This article is a year old now, but it’s worth a reshare. In related news, and also now four years old but still relevant: Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health.

11. A police officer has been sacked after he allegedly branded parents of trans kids “lunatics” and suggested they should be shot.

12. “A man of noble and good heart”: Read Barack Obama’s eulogy for Elijah Cummings.

13. Someone Sick Of Hearing Anti-Vaxxers’ Stupid Arguments Creates 31 Scientific Posters That Completely Destroy Their Logic.

14. Why Water Aerobics Should Be Part Of Your Fitness Routine.

15. Lynchings, 1921 Tulsa massacre, and 8 other things school didn’t teach you about race in America.

16. Tally of children split at border tops 5,400 in new count. In related news, More Than 700 Women Have Disappeared From A Texas ICE Detention Center And Their Lawyers Don’t Know Where They Are.

17. Impeachment Inquiry Catch-Up: Bombshell Testimony And Revelations From The East.

18. Muslim Student Athlete Disqualified From Race for Wearing Hijab on The New York Times. Compare that to this: After a soccer player’s hijab slipped off during a game, her opponents paused mid-play to huddle around her.

19. How to Be an Antiracist: A Conversation With Ibram X. Kendi. “In his new book, the professor challenges traditional definitions of racism, and who can be racist.”

20. Toxic Parents And Absent Parents Produce The Same Kind Of People. “…when children are raised with negative feedback, constant criticism and devaluation, they not only fail to develop a positive sense of self but learn to maintain the negative one.” *sigh*

21. How I got revenge on a plantation tour.

22. Summer Walker went from housekeeper to R&B it girl — and she’s still a mystery.

23. Ex Dallas Cop Amber Guyger Is Set to Appeal Her Murder Conviction in the Shooting Death of Botham Jean.

24. Fired for Repeating Racist Slur, School Guard Will Get Job Back, Union Says. “A student directed the slur at Marlon Anderson, who then repeated it as he was trying to explain why it was offensive.”

25. This came up in my Facebook memories this morning. (video) “This American Life asked Sara Bareilles to imagine what President Obama might be thinking about the 2016 election and Donald Trump, but can’t say publicly. Leslie Odom Jr. performs the song.” This seems like a million years ago, and 1000 times more heartbreaking than the first time I heard it.

26. A Critique of Byron Katie’s The Work. “Is Byron Katie’s method known as The Work harmful? Some believe so. There are numerous instances of Katie on stage blaming sexual abuse victims, denying racism, stifling efforts for social change, denying the reality of abuse and accusing people of things they didn’t do. It’s all done under the guise of spiritual growth. Katie claims to haven’t had a thought in 26 years and says she could walk into a gas chamber knowing it’s an ‘amazing day.'”

27. Two of the best Halloween costumes, ever: Dog dressed as ambulance complete with his own siren and this baby dressed as Elton John.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. Yesterday we startled something in the tall grass and trees by one of the ponds, but I have no idea what it was. It’s dark almost the full walk this time of year. We leave early and are on our last mile when the sun is coming up. With Daylight Savings Time, that will shift, but it only lasts for about two weeks before we are back in the dark again. That doesn’t mean we’ll ever wait and go later, when there’s more light and other people with their dogs and cars. Even in the dark, it’s nice to feel like we have the world all to ourselves for a bit.

2. Finishing my Yoga for All teacher training. One down, one to go, (I have a bit left for my Curvy Yoga certification, but the plan is to finish that by the end of next week). One of the things we had to do as part of our final was to share our biggest “a-ha moment” or the most impactful thing we got from the training. I answered in two parts: “First, I realized taking this training how excellent my teacher training experience was and how much work I’ve done on my own to learn more — basically, I was pleasantly surprised how much I already knew. The thing I’m taking directly from this training that has the potential to have the most impact is that there are lots of resources and support available for me and my students, but the best resource is our students and their awareness of what they need and what isn’t working. Helping our students cultivate that awareness and self trust and being open to supporting them however we can will have the biggest impact on their experience of yoga. They have so much to teach us.”

3. One year anniversary teaching at Red Sage. The commitment these humans have to caring for themselves and in turn our furry ones is such a gift. I’m so lucky to teach them, to practice with them. I mean, seriously, they are generous and kind and funny and almost every class, there’s a dog or two close by. It’s the perfect gig for me.

4. Random love notes. This one is on the side of some construction equipment working in our neighborhood.

5. Trying new recipes. Last night I made breakfast burritos using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I’m really enjoying trying new stuff, the time spent chopping and assembling and especially eating.

6. My tiny family. Sam went to physical therapy yesterday and is doing so well, we finally stopped giving him all his pain meds. Fingers and paws crossed that there’s no impact, but even if he needs to go back on a low dose, I’m so happy he’s recovered so well. In the next few months, he’ll turn 10 years old, which means he will most likely end up being our oldest dog yet. Ringo is turning six the day after my birthday next month and I’m only just now getting used to the idea he’s not a puppy anymore. Last but not least, Eric and I are going to do a float tank and infrared sauna together this afternoon — one of the things from our “25 things for 25 years” list we made on our anniversary last year that we still hadn’t done.

Bonus joy: Hanging out and writing with Mikalina, Chloe’s new niece, good TV (Modern Love on Amazon Prime was sweet), good books (I thought I was almost done with the autobiographies of Maya Angelou, but I just started the final one last night, which means I’ll need to watch the documentary about her next), getting all the laundry done, a massage on my schedule, aqua aerobics, sitting in the sauna, watching TV and “trading some” with Eric, trusting my body and honoring what it needs, an appointment with my new therapist, a clean-ish garage (thanks to Eric), a yummy new essential oil, sitting under my infrared heating pad and my favorite blanket after a long walk on a cold morning, reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs are asleep, stretching out to press my feet into Eric’s just before we get out of bed in the morning, kitchen counter love notes.