Category Archives: Gratitude Friday

Gratitude Friday

1. The season of blooms. It has been a cool, rainy spring, and the flowers have loved it. So have the strawberries.

2. Practice. I’m getting more and more clear that I am in recovery from full on burnout (“a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress”), and practice is helping me not spin out about it.

3. Healing, and trusting that I know what to do. Besides my current state of burnout, which requires spending some time every day in a dark quiet spot among other things, I’ve been dealing with the pain of osteoarthritis in my knees (as well as chronic tendinitis and some meniscus tearing) for the past four years, so bad that I take a THC gummy every night just so I can sleep. I’ve tried everything, even started to think I maybe needed surgery in one knee. Then Eric asked me to sign up for a pretty intense small group fitness class at the gym with him. He’s training for a Tough Mudder and I have trouble getting more intense cardio now that I can’t run anymore, even though I’m super active. Starting out, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it, thought it would hurt or even wreck my knees. It feels like some kind of miracle, and was certainly something I didn’t know, but this particular intensity and variation of movement makes my knees feel better! Eric found this article that explains the phenomenon: If your knee hurts, keep exercising, says expert.

4. I don’t have a job. Nine years ago, I got out of a horribly toxic work situation and had my first summer off. When I went back to my job in the fall, I expected things to be better. While some things were, (like I no longer had to constantly engage with an abusive narcissist), other hard things stayed the same, (like the unsustainable workload and the stress that caused). I tried for nine years to make it work, but during that time I also put effort towards a backup plan, giving myself other options. When it became clear that not only was I not having any fun anymore but the work was impacting my health and wellbeing in a negative way, I knew I needed to shift. I’m still in recovery mode, but it was the absolute right choice. I also know my choice was a direct result of my privilege.

5. My tiny family. I really would rather spend time with them than anyone else.

Bonus joy: Wild Writing with Laurie, hanging out with Mikalina, texting with Chloe’, plans to see Andrea Gibson with Carrie, dinner with Chelsey and Jon, aqua aerobics, Pilates, teaching yoga, how good Sam is doing after injuring his back last year, how much of a kid Ringo can still be at 5.5 years old, good TV (how much HGTV can one human watch?!), a cool rainy day when I didn’t really want to get out of my pjs anyway, bread, strawberries, a cold glass of clean water, a warm shower, forgetting what day it is, taking a long nap.

Gratitude Friday (on a Saturday)

1. Peony season. Mine are blooming, and there are so many blooms! This year was also a good one for my roses.

2. Strawberry season. In these first weeks of that harvest, we can barely eat them fast enough. So far we’ve also made Strawberries and Cream Biscuits and Strawberry Cream Pie.

3. Morning walks. Ringo cracked one of his pads, so he had to walk for about a week with a sock boot his dad made him — so cute! At Sam’s vet appointment, we found out he’d lost FIVE pounds — when we had to restrict how much he walked because of his back injury, he’d put on a little extra weight, so we cut his food back, but then he also got back to his regular exercise, and now he’s down to his young man fighting weight. He also on the regular weirdly loses 3-4 pounds every summer and then gains it back over the winter.

4. Colorado sky. This was the view from our front porch yesterday morning.

5. My tiny family. It’s been really nice to be with just them, lazy like summer, taking walks and naps and hanging out in the backyard.

Bonus joy: Hanging out and writing with Mikalina, finally making some progress cleaning and decluttering the house, being almost over my cold, watching TV shows about tiny homes with Eric, knowing it’s okay to go slow, teaching yoga, aqua aerobics, sitting with Eric in the sauna, working out really hard and having my knees actually feel better as a result, good TV, knowing that even if I don’t actually sleep I’m allowed to go into a dark and quiet room and just hang out by myself for a bit taking a “nap,” that Ringo is the kind of dog who is fearful but totally compliant at the vet (because a lot of Heelers can be pretty grumpy and mean under those conditions) and how much his vet loves him (she has three Heelers herself), hearing back that his blood work results look “perfect,” clean sheets.

Gratitude Friday

1. Hanna Farm. It’s the name of our neighborhood, which in the 1800s was a farm where they raised rye and something else I can’t remember. This picture is the field at the end of our street. I love living here — so close to all the good parks and hiking, only about a mile from Old Town, only six blocks from one of my favorite humans, just down the road from Beaver’s Market, and super close to CSU (which doesn’t matter anymore since I don’t work there!).

2. Things that give me hope. I try to practice the Buddhist principle of letting go of both hope and fear, one pulling you into some imagined experience you believe will be exactly what you want and the other causing you to run away from something you think will be bad, both states pulling you out of the current moment, distracting you from what’s really going on, taking you out of your actual experience. That said, sometimes I need to hope. I read a line in a story in The Sun magazine yesterday that said, “just because it is all so very, very unfair does not mean there is not still great hope in the world” and it made me feel better about the state of things. Then there was a report of a swarm of ladybugs so big it registered on the National Weather Service radar, and then this morning in one of the ponds, this waterlily that typically produces 1-3 flowers has 11 blooms.

3. Morning walks. This morning will be our last along the river. It is rising because of snow melt and the flooding is predicted to be some of the worst this time around, but the real reason we’ll have to avoid this area until much later this summer is because of the mosquitoes.

4. The light this morning was extra special.

5. My tiny family. For some reason, I didn’t take many pictures of them this week.

Bonus joy: bird song in the morning, hummingbirds flying over our yard, my peonies getting ready to bloom, long naps, strawberries from our garden, hanging out with Mikalina and Chloe’, good TV, good books, good music, clean sheets, having nothing on my schedule so I can do whatever I want.

Gratitude Friday

1. Lounging in the backyard. Right now is that magic moment in Colorado when everything is green and the sun is out, but it’s not too hot yet and the mosquitoes haven’t arrived. Maybe one day we’ll landscape our backyard a bit more beyond the three raised beds, the Golden Raintree, the clematis that covers one whole wall, and the roses we don’t really take great care of but they bloom anyway, but for now the green carpet is just fine for the dogs, all they really want.

2. Garden time! Eric has been working so hard on it — weeding, putting compost into all the raised beds, and planting. So far we have peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, and tomatoes. We’ll get basil once we can find somewhere with healthy plants, and I’d like to keep trying to find that variety of watermelon we planted that one year that did so well but we forgot to save the tag. I am excited about all the potential blooms on my peonies and for feeling a bit better (I’ve had a cold all week) so I can start planting some more flowers and help with the weeding.

The yummy watermelon in question

Worm bins and all the compost they made this winter

3. Good food. I’ve been obsessed with cucumbers, spinach, hummus, and falafel on naan bread. I also made biscuits the other night that were super yummy.

4. Epic naps. Since I’m trying to get over this cold, and the lingering burn out from work, I’ve been taking 2-3 hour naps almost every afternoon. It’s so obvious how badly I need the rest.

5. My tiny family. The above picture was from the other day, one of the first days it hadn’t rained, the sun was out and it was warm. At some point, all three of the boys got too hot and hunkered down in the shade.

There was a squirrel on the neighbor’s roof he was very interested in

“Can we haz some of your snack, Dad?”

Bonus joy: Wild Writing with Laurie, Chloe’ and Mikalina, Booksmart at the Lyric with Chloe’, not teaching yoga this week because I knew it was what my body needed to recover, good books (I’m almost done with There There by Tommy Orange), good TV (She’s Gotta Have It‘s second season was really good, and I liked Dead to Me), good movies (I just watched Always Be My Maybe on Netflix and really liked it), a warm shower, pay day.

Gratitude Friday

1. I’m still here. Yes I’m retired. Yes I’m done with 500 hour yoga teacher training. Yes Eric is now on his summer vacation. Yes the sun is finally out today after a whole lot of wet, dark, and cold. And yet, as is pretty typical every year at this time, I’m kind of stuck to the couch, reading and watching TV and taking naps. Sure I’m also teaching yoga and going to the gym and walking the dogs and doing laundry and such, but I’m feeling the full weight of the burnout that comes after the recent years of effort and discomfort and overwhelm. It’s such an interesting process, and it seems like part of me is living it and another part is watching it happen. When people ask me how it feels to be retired, I think they expect something different, a relaxed sense of euphoria and freedom, but that doesn’t come immediately. There’s a lot to work through first.

2. I’m now a 500 Hour CYT. I’m probably actually an E-CYT, but I’d need to go back and calculate my teaching hours to be sure, (it means 1000 hours of teaching experience). I’m very proud of myself for finishing this, for sticking with it. One of my primary teachers said of me, “I love your insight, dedication, and inclusiveness! You are a great teacher!” That meant a lot to me because she is a really amazing human and teacher.

3. Lilacs in the bathroom. Our bushes were burying our mailbox, so Eric did some trimming and brought them in for me. I’m glad he did because the next day it snowed.

4. Morning walks. They were sort of a risk and a bit of a bummer the past few days because of the rain, but this morning was lovely.

5. My tiny family. My favorite part of retirement so far is getting to spend more time with them.

Bonus joy: nachos, a big glass of cold clean water, writing with Mikalina and Chloe’ in Laurie’s Wild Writing class, sitting in the sauna with Eric, having the swimming pool all to myself, good books (I’m reading There There by Tommy Orange while I ride the bike at the gym), good TV (I just finished the second season of Fleabag, and it was so good), naps, hummingbirds, taking my time.

Gratitude Friday

A collection of plants

All the plants from my CSU office

1. Zero more days at CSU!!! It hasn’t completely sunk in yet. I am so focused on prepping and teaching the capstone for my 500 hour yoga teacher certification on Sunday that I haven’t fully relaxed into the reality that from here on out, I am the one making all the decisions about where I focus my time and effort. This morning, I removed myself as an admin on the Facebook page, logged out of the Instagram and Twitter accounts, and checked my email for the last and final time: done.

2. It’s finally time to put a garden in. I recently finished the novel Tulip Fever and am reading a nonfiction book about the same topic, Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. That, combined with my Dutch roots, makes me want to plant a bunch of tulips this year, in varying shades of purple.

3. Morning walks. There are all kinds of babies right now, the river is full of snow melt, and everything is turning so green. Not only do I not need a headlamp, but I start out wearing sunglasses!

4. Wild Writing with Laurie and Chloe’ and Mikalina. I signed up for a short session to launch myself into my “retirement.” This morning is the first meeting and I can’t wait!

5. My tiny family. It’s only been a day and a half since I finished up at CSU, but I already can feel how much I missed getting to spend time with my boys, and how lovely it’s going to be getting to be around them more. If nothing else, there clearly will be WAY more pictures of them to share.

Bonus joy: hummingbirds, the sound of the whole house fan in the morning, the prospect of finally being able to clean out and organize my home office, teaching yoga, aqua aerobics, Pilates with Ashley, the smell of my lilacs, how healthy my Peonies are, tape, that place you get when you are transitioning or moving where you finally can surrender and let things go, working in my pjs, Ann’s irises continuing to thrive, dandelions, a big glass of cold clean water, my infrared heating pad after getting needled at physical therapy, health insurance, the privilege and luxury of being able to quit my job, long naps, reading in bed at night while all three boys sleep, good TV, clementines.

Gratitude Friday

1. Baby foxes! The pictures aren’t great because with two dogs, this is as close as we can get to them. The last year or so were the first babies in at least five years. Our fox population got wiped out by plague or rabies or some combination of both, but they are finally back.

2. Morning walks. There are going to be a lot more of these in my future.

3. Flowers in the bathroom. Eric bought me these. I love when he does that, sometimes because I’m having a hard week or sometimes for no reason at all.

4. Three more days at CSU!!! I took some final pictures of my office today, my last Friday in that space. Eric is coming tomorrow to take some of my plants to his office, so I realized if I pack most everything up today, he could help me move it out when he’s here, which means these are the final moments this space will look like this. As soon as I start boxing stuff up, it’s going to feel really real.

5. My tiny family. I love how Sam always wants to be right with me. I’m sad that Ringo feels that way about Eric and not me, but I guess I can’t have everything.

Bonus joy: the flock of tiny birds sitting on my fence and in my lilacs, sushi, all the people who are stopping by my office to tell me good stuff, cupcakes and awards, money I hadn’t expected, how much greener the grass gets every time it snows, Pilates with Ashley, aqua aerobics, sitting in the sauna, teaching yoga, being so close to being done with some really big things, knowing what I’m going to be doing but allowing room for surprise, good books, the sweetest Facebook page for an elementary school choir and the videos they post, writing with Mikalina, texting with Chloe’ and my brother, emails from my mom (not saying you have to email me, Mom, but rather while I was cleaning out my work email today I found a whole folder of emails from you and it made me happy), going to a movie on a weekday with Carrie, shock wave therapy for my knees, an awesome physical therapist, THC gummies, CBD oil, living in Colorado where both things are now legal, napping, the smell of my lilacs.