Category Archives: Birthday

I’m actually good / Can’t help it if we’re tilted

Last night, I watched the season finale of Better Things. I have (for a long time) the biggest crush on Pamela Adlon, and absolutely adore Duke (Olivia Edward). I was explaining later in a post on Facebook that this is a show I love, but also don’t always understand. It’s about a single mom raising three girls (a life nothing like my own), and at times it’s painful to watch, confusing. Bad things happen and their relationships, their lives are so complicated — but also so beautiful and tender and heartbreaking. This dance scene at the end of the final episode had me sobbing. I’ve rewatched the video at least ten times, listened to the Christine and The Queens album this song is from multiple times today.

I turned 50 years old today. That has weight. Any birthday with a zero at the end does, but this one in particular means something for me — something I still haven’t quite worked out. Part of it is that 50 is for certain the moment on the roller coaster when you are at the top of the arc and the drop begins, the moment the ground falls away beneath you and your stomach lurches into your throat and the car starts to fall, equal parts exciting and terrifying.

I’ve been in a weird place for the past year. I blame “the election.” It changed everything for me. My world view shifted two inches to the left and everything looked different. It’s taken a while to figure out where I am, which way is up. For a long while, I was in the weeds. I got busy at work, busy working towards understanding and acting in my life, and I wrote less and less here. Recently, I’ve only been posting twice a week — Something Good and Gratitude Friday.

I did a celtic cross tarot spread reading for myself today. I used all my decks: Wild Unknown, Animal Spirits, Body Cards, and Q Cards. Many layers and levels. Themes arose — about honoring myself, my vision, my strength, my determination, my inner wisdom. About trusting that I have support for the hard stuff, knowing I’m not alone. About needing to maintain balance through regular practice. About having clarity of seeing and knowing. About being on the cusp of a big decision. About being creative and having an impact. About connection and freedom. About solid ground and groundlessness. About courage, confidence, and magic.

I still don’t know what it all means, any of it. Life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — and so confusing. I am feeling the truth of that old saying, “the more I learn, the less I know.” I want to practice, to write more, to work through it, to come here and share it with you, to connect. In the meantime, these lyrics knock around in my head, “I’m actually good / Can’t help it if we’re tilted.”

#reverb13: Day Six

reverb13Project Reverb Prompt, “Blowing Out the Candles: You’re another year older!  How did you celebrate the passage of another year?  Did it turn out the way you had hoped?”

I celebrated with donuts instead of a cake, a day off work to do whatever I wanted, which turned out to be not much different than what I’d do on a normal day away from CSU, which was a happy surprise, to realize I am already and always living like every day is my birthday. I wrote a Something Good post that morning, an especially good one. I pulled a Ten of Pentacles, “Fulfillment, Abundance … signifies material and spiritual abundance in nearly every area of your life.” I meditated, wrote, read, watched a movie, had a nap, ate what I wanted, talked to my mom on the phone, took a walk with Sam, and had dinner with Eric. I felt loved and celebrated by so many. It was lovely.

tenofpentaclesThe other two prompts are so similar, I’m going to answer them as one. The Besottment prompt is “Five things you do not want to forget from 2013?” And the Reverb13 prompt is “There are so many ‘precious things’ that are presented to us each day; discoveries and treasures found in simple moments, memories we wish to store in our hearts and keep with us forever. What precious things have you gathered in 2013? Which memories from this year do you wish to keep with you always?”

First, the things about Dexter that I never want to forget, memories and moments I wish to store in my heart and keep with me always.

  • The way he was so excited for breakfast every morning even though he ate the same thing every day, twice a day. He would whine and wiggle, run from one end of the house to the other, nudge me as he passed by while I was filling his bowl, then run back to tell his dad, then run back to me.
  • How he would ask for a treat by either sitting and looking up at the kitchen counter where we kept them or nudging his nose against the door of the cabinet where we kept the backstock.
  • How full of joy he was, always.

  • The sound of his sigh, how he sometimes barked in his sleep but it sounded like a whimper.
  • The way his face lit up when he asked me to play with him and I said yes.
  • His favorite game of “oh no, I lost my toy, where is it!?” (um, dude, you just buried it in the snow, or that pile of leaves), *dig* *search* *find the toy* *celebrate* and repeat.

  • How soft his fur was, how gray his face got as he got older.
  • How he’d curl up as close as he could get to me, circling closer and closer until he settled in so close he was partly on me and then sigh.
  • The way he would put one foot on my arm when I was petting him. I’m convinced the way he curled his toes, sometimes lifted and dropped his foot that he thought he was petting me back.
  • The extra black spot of fur on that one toe.

my favorite toe is the one with the black spot

  • How he changed color from gray black to brown and back again as the seasons shifted and his undercoat got thicker or thinner.
  • How fuzzy he was after a bath.
  • How he didn’t like anyone to mess with his feet, but he let me do it anyway.
  • The sound of his bark, the way he’d almost squeal when he was trying not to bark.
  • The way he’d run after and catch a ball, as many times as I was willing to throw it, how he always reminded me of a professional baseball player, so strong and graceful.
  • How he always wanted to stop at the little dog park to search for tennis balls, how happy he was when he found one.
  • How he’d perk up when I said “Do you want to go see Grandma?” How he’d whine all the way to her house.
  • How he’d bring me a toy in the morning and invite me to play.


  • How we didn’t have to go outside to play, he was happy to play a miniature game of fetch or catch on our bed, how he’d lure me down the hallway with a toy to get me to go in, how I’d say “ready, set, go” before I threw the toy, how he’d sometimes throw it back to be, how intently he’d watch me just before I threw it back.
  • Seeing him run around the yard like when he was a puppy, even with cancer and a bum knee.
  • How he’d herd me by nudging his nose into my hand.
  • How much he loved Obi, our first dog, the first we lost to cancer.

Obi and Dexter

  • How much he hated it when anyone sneezed or coughed.
  • How good he was at the vet, how much he loved all the attention he got when he’d go to physical therapy.
  • How he’d get so excited when I took the trash out, how he’d grab a toy and convince me to play for a bit while we were outside.
  • How he’d help me pick up the yard, always showing me where the next pile of poop was — ah, the wonders of having a working breed dog. They’ll take any job you’ve got for them and love it.
  • How he’d stand on the couch to be able to see out the front window.
  • How much he loved to go on a walk, hiking or running, anywhere really.


  • How he’d ask at certain spots on the trail, “can we go this way?” knowing the difference between “okay” and “not today.”
  • How he’d let you know someone was coming on the trail, how he always could find the trail even in the snow.
  • How he remembered everything, was so smart, knew so many words.
  • How much he loved his girlfriend Brea.
  • Even how rude he could be to other dogs and strangers or people he just didn’t like.
  • How he’d stand in your lap to get attention.


  • How much he loved tomatoes.
  • How patient he was with Sam.
  • How he was so careful with stuffed toys that I could buy him ones meant for babies or collecting.
  • How much he loved his Little D.

bigdlittled04A few other precious things: moments at 27 Powers Court, a widening circle of support, being able to be with Dexter when he died, love notes from Eric.