Category Archives: Bird

Gratitude Friday

“Life is weird. Hard. Also beautiful.”
~Estrella Azul (41 6-Word Days).

On Friday’s, I do a “Gratitude Friday” post that’s a mash-up of Joy Jam (“Join us to radiate the energy of gratitude, thankfulness and celebration of everything that gave us joy this week. Together we will help send positive energy out into the world”) and The Little Bliss List (“Every Friday, the Little Bliss List provides a chance for us to celebrate the little things that brought us hope and happiness this week. I do believe when we focus on the sweet stuff of life, the sweet stuff multiplies. And by sharing those small gifts in our lives, we help others notice the gifts in theirs”).

This week was a rough one for me, so concentrating on what’s been good is especially important.

The List

1. Nice cops. On my way to my mother-in-law’s this morning, to be there with her when our beloved Rocky died (and to be with him), I got pulled over for speeding in a school zone. It would have been even nicer if he’d just let me go with a warning after hearing where I was headed, but he was nice enough to give me a bit of a break. And who knows, maybe the Universe was taking care of me too, keeping me from something much worse by delaying me for ten minutes? I haven’t had a speeding ticket in over 20 years, and that one was the first and only until now, so there’s that to be grateful for too.

2. Good dogs who are no longer in pain. I was so lucky to have known, loved and been loved by Obi and Rocky, and we are so lucky that there’s a group of vets like those that work with Home to Heaven who can come to help when our dogs are just too sick and in too much pain to go on suffering. Both Obi and Rocky went peacefully and at home where they were comfortable, surrounded by those who loved them most. I am grateful for that.

obi and rocky, the very last time they were together

3. Spring in bloom. This week I’ve seen bright yellow forsythia and daffodils, and the crabapple and cherry trees are also in bloom.

4. I have the best husband. He brought me back a sprig of blooms this morning from his walk with the dogs, and left them for me with a love note, because he knew I was going to have a tough morning, and because he’s just that good and kind.

5. Vegetarian corn dogs and organic tater tots with lots of ketchup. All of the yum with none of the yuck or guilt.

6. Birds singing at dawn. This is one of my favorite things about Spring.

7. The Dalai Lama running on a treadmill. I saw this in a Russian documentary “Sunrise/Sunset” on Gaiam TV, and this clip includes the scene, towards the end. He’s shuffling more than running, and he’s wearing a white cotton tank top, with a large, fluffy pink bath towel belted around his waist. Too cute. I also realized as I was watching this film that when the Dalai Lama is starting to giggle, but still talking, he sounds kind of like Yoda. So cute, he is.

8. Two healthy, happy dogs. I know this was on my list last week, but it is worth repeating.
9. Danielle Ate The Sandwich. I am going with some dear friends to watch her play and sing tonight. A happy end to a hard, sad day.

10. I get to finally meet Roxie!!!

Small Stone(s): Spring in Fort Collins

Small Stone(s): Spring in Fort Collins

buds are opening on my lilacs

Birds singing at dawn.
Green blades of grass.
A warm wind.
Even Sam wants to go two laps around the little dog park.
Mama fox by her den.
Ten robins on the ground, searching for breakfast.
Our hearts soften towards Spring.

Small Stone: Sparrow in Flight

On our morning walk, I am startled by a sparrow in flight. Suddenly I am no longer in my mind, lost in thought. I am focused, anchored in the present moment. My feet on the trail, forehead warm from the sun, ears and cheeks still cool from the air blowing off the river. That vibration of movement and sound, that blur of color, so small and yet enough to pull me back to the present.

This is how it is, the tiniest thing has the power to wake you up–a sneeze, a sigh, a stretch, a smell, the slightest shift in the wind or a whisper in a quiet room. The smallest of things.

image by Kitty Terwolbeck

Something Good

First on my list today has to be the Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop and Rachel Cole. 13 brave Fort Collins woman sat in a circle with Rachel yesterday, identifying and connecting with their hungers, trying to understand what was getting in the way of feeding them. I can’t stop thinking that we planted a seed, started something, and how powerful we can be, what great things we’ll do, how much love we’ll generate and spread. And when I think of that circle of women, so many of my favorites, I keep thinking of this quote: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ~Muriel Rukeyser

Ladybug on the cover of my new notebook. I didn’t even realize it was there, and then, while I was sitting in the above circle of women, I looked down, and there she was. Considering who was sitting next to me at the time (Kandyce), it was pretty special.

Wednesday is Tibetan New Year: the Year of the Water Dragon. Another chance to begin again, make a fresh start, and the Dragon is a powerful symbol for the coming year: “The Warrior of Inscrutable: Dragon” and “The Mind of the Dragon and the Power of Non-Self.”

image by Will Clayton

Quote from Sakyong Mipham Rinphoche: “Aggression comes about from a feeling of inadequacy. Non-aggression comes about from a feeling of worthiness.”

Brittni Mehlhoff’s “Art to Inspire” posts on Scoutie Girl.

Neil Gaiman and his voice. I wish he would read me to sleep every night.

The Story You Are Telling Yourself” by Daniel Collinsworth on Metta Drum. “You, and you alone, generate the story that tells you who you are. So why not make it a beautiful one?”

Letter Love 101: Art Journals” Lettering Class!!!! I have been looking for some kind of calligraphy or lettering class for a long time, and this one is perfect, just what I wanted without even knowing how to describe what I wanted. And the fact that it’s self-paced and unlimited access means I don’t have to feel pressured or guilty about the timing.

Alaskan Husky Exercise Wheel. This dog looks like it is having so much fun.

29 Soundbites On Writing And Publishing” on the Creative Penn. I don’t agree with all of them, but it’s an interesting list.

Claire Brewster‘s Papercut Map Art. This is so cool.

Everblooming Amaryllis. The one in my office at work currently has eight blooms.

Something Good

:: Well-Fed Woman Mini Retreatshop in Fort Collins, Colorado: next Sunday, February 19th. If you’ve been on the fence about it, buy your ticket today. The feedback from attendees makes it clear it’s not to be missed. Read why it’s so important to me, what Rachel had to say, and what she says on her website about the event.

Update: I just got an email from Rachel that she’s put up a new post about the Retreatshop, pictures and praise. You should go read it, and then buy your ticket!

:: Slim, my new favorite person. Jamie Ridler posted something this weekend about Slim and his Kickstarter book project, (which I am going to contribute to as soon as I get the chance, because I want to read this book).

Seung Chan Lim, better known as Slim, holds a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University where he studied under the late Dr. Randy Pausch [you may have seen his “Last Lecture“]. He also holds an MBA from Point Park University and has recently graduated with an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Slim says about the book:

What is the book about? At the heart of it is an inquiry into the meaning of making. I am deeply interested in how making works (as a process), what it means (to make something), and why it matters (to our lives). One of the central themes is the relationship between the act of empathizing with the act of making. The second theme is exploring how we can design a space that facilitates the act of making: what I call the empathic conversation.

He talks more about these concepts in this video.

You should take some time and look around on Kickstarter, “a new way to fund and follow creativity.” It’s a great idea and there are some really cool projects looking for funding.

:: Taking training walks with Sam. One of the things I am doing to work with Sam’s “issues,” as well as to bond with him and build my confidence, is to take short “Do you see that?” walks. The goal is to train him another way of noticing what he sees on a walk. So, instead of getting up on his hind legs, lunging, barking, yodeling, and slobbering like a crazy Cujo dog, I say “Do you see that?” and he looks at it, then at me and gives me a calming signal (for him, that’s usually licking his lips). I give him a click and a treat as a reward. His default seems to also include sitting in front of me, just to make sure I see that he’s doing what I asked for, doing what will get him the good stuff.

Other than my thumb being sore from feeding him treats (he’s got the mouth of a crocodile when he’s anxious or excited, something else we are working on), I feel pretty good about the work we did today. During our short, 20 minute walk, there were four sets of people and dogs (one off-lead), three cows, three bikes, two runners, and Walking Dude, and Sam figured out pretty quick what he should be doing. Thanks again to Sarah Stremming of Cognitive Canine for all her support and help, (and patience, considering she first suggested this training more than a year ago, and I got lazy).
:: Ani DiFranco at the Aggie Theater. Last time, my friend and I had to drive to Boulder. This time, we could practically walk to the show.

:: Anne Lamott, and more specifically, her “B+ is Just Fine” commencement address. Anne Lamott is right up there for me with Pema Chödrön as a woman who is older and wiser and loving and funny and can always make me feel simultaneously okay just as I am and inspired to be better, to both relax and get off my ass.

:: Making or taking vows. I wrote about his yesterday, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that it’s an important exercise. My most recent vows were easy–already written for me, clearly and lovingly explained by Shastri Dan Hessey, with the ceremony planned and hosted at my local Shambhala Center. As part of the process, we wrote aspirations before each vow. We made lists of what habitual patterns we wanted to purify and dissolve, what characteristics and qualities we wanted to cultivate, and how we would embody and manifest these vows we were taking.

And I’ve been thinking, it’s a good thing to do, no matter who you are or what your beliefs or practices. Write out your vows–how you want your life to look, what you want to be and do, what you pledge and promise. Maybe it’s simply a vow to yourself, or maybe a vow about how you intend to live your life–kind of like New Year’s Resolutions, but more serious, more sacred. And if you are honest, no nonsense, it can be a powerful statement of how you plan to proceed, how you will move through your life, and what you hope to manifest. You can make your own private ceremony and read your vows. If you have someone you trust, you can ask them to be there as a witness. I believe it is a powerful, profound practice, and you might consider doing it for yourself.

:: Cute baby owl, just because.

Two Small Owls

Yesterday, I got my order from doudou birds. They are even cuter in person, (in owl?).

I posted their picture on Facebook, and asked what I should name them. Because she is the littlest, the cutest, and the most precious, Kelly‘s three year old niece Maddie won the rights. At first, she said Joey and Snoopy, but later asked her mom “let me see those owls again” and changed it to Bot and Millie. The bigger one on the left is Bot and the smaller is Millie. Apparently, these are characters from Umi Zoomi on Nick Jr.

Bot and Millie are my new mascots for this blog, (along with Dexter and Sam, of course). I love them because they are equally wise and sweet, small but brave, serious and silly.

Small Stone: Day 29

Small Stone: Dog Park

Big V and little v, two formations of Canadian Geese fly over our heads. When they come close, the vibration of their wings sounds like giant bumblebees.

Eric is on my left, pointing out a hawk sitting high in a tree, and Sam stays close on my right, running away and right back, over and over in circles, getting close enough on each return to bump his head into my leg.

Dexter searches in random patterns, nose to the ground and ears back, across the entire width and length of the dog park, looking for an abandoned tennis ball.

It already feels like Spring.