Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

#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 (NaBloPoMo Day 30)

1. Morning sky. Today is dreary and gray, so I’m appreciating the mornings that haven’t been even more.

2. Christmas decorations on the Poudre Trail. The people who decorate these three trees every year do so on Thanksgiving day, so the morning after on our walk, we went to check it out. It was still dark, so the pictures aren’t great.

3. I got a post placed, step two for my eventual tooth implant. It isn’t a fun process, but the people at my dentist office are super kind and careful and professional and it helps so much. When I first sat down, I asked to keep my coat to cover my legs because I always get so cold in there, and the assistant said, “oh no, honey, I’m getting you a blanket.” It was thick and red and soft and big and it made everything else easier. Two days later, I still feel pretty poopy, loopy, and tired, but also super lucky to have paid sick days and dogs who will cuddle with me and a husband who takes such good care of me.

4. My three boys. Ringo found a baby doll on one of our walks this week and carried her all the way home. Our front porch sometimes looks like the Island of Misfit Toys from all his finds. Sam is doing really well, up to walking 3.6 miles in the mornings, and he’s the best dog when you don’t feel good because he is perfectly happy to curl up beside you and nap for hours and hours. And Eric just wants me to feel better, does whatever I need to help make that happen.

Bonus joy: good books (almost finished with Children of Blood and Bone), good TV (Catfish is back), and good films (I know there was a some criticism about it, but Crazy Rich Asians was just what I needed yesterday), fresh orange juice, three days with nothing on my schedule so I can rest and heal.

Strength and Flexibility (NaBloPoMo Day 27)

Broken heart spray painted in yellow on a sidewalk

Someone painted a broken heart on my sidewalk

1. Truth: We get confused about qualities of practice and thus make them small. For example, we think that compassion means “being nice” or “kindness” and in our confusion, we limit ourselves to that expression. As in the Andrew Boyd quote I shared the other day, “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others.” Or, we think that confidence means being certain of the truth, feeling unshakably sure of ourselves, but as Susan Piver defines it, “Confidence is the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”

2. Truth: Strength is a quality we limit. For example, in yoga, we often link strength to purely physical expressions, and in that manifestation we think it to mean simply being able to hold a particular pose for a long time or to being able to do an especially difficult or advanced pose. And yet, strength can be practicing with illness or injury, living with chronic pain or trauma, or experiencing strong emotions like grief or anger. To practice in that context, to have compassion for ourselves and others and not give up — that’s strength.

3. Truth: Flexibility is another quality we restrict. Again, in yoga asana practice, we think flexibility means being able to go deeper into a pose, to reach and stretch further and with more ease. However, flexibility is much more than that. We can practice flexibility when something about a pose doesn’t feel right for our body, and instead of giving up, we modify our approach, doing another variation of the pose or using props, or asking for help or even doing another pose altogether, and, this is key, we don’t beat ourselves up about it. We keep moving. We can practice being flexible when we come to the mat expecting or wanting a particular experience that just doesn’t work out. We can be fluid and not get stuck, keeping going and not give up.

One wish: On and off the mat, may we maintain an awareness of the ways we are strong and flexible. May we continue to practice staying open and awake. May we meet any resistance or confusion with curiosity and compassion.

Something Good (NaBloPoMo Day 26)

1. Me And White Supremacy – The Workbook from Layla Saad. I was lucky enough to do this as a challenge on Instagram led by Layla the first time she offered it, and highly recommend it. “Part education, part activation, the Me And White Supremacy Workbook is a first-of-its-kind personal anti-racism tool for people holding white privilege to begin to examine and dismantle their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.”

2. CONSOLATIONS: A Year-Long Exploration of Everyday Words from Jena Schwartz. This looks SO GOOD! “Spend 2019 exploring the meaning of everyday words, based on David Whyte’s work…one work per week.”

3. Yes, We Can Have Hope on Lion’s Roar. “In this commentary from the Fall 2018 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, Roshi Joan Halifax reflects on the idea of ‘wise hope’ and why we should open ourselves to it.”

4. How to Simplify the Holidays from Zen Habits. Who doesn’t want a simpler holiday season?

5. The 100 Best Pens, As Tested by Strategist Editors. “Gels, ballpoints, rollerballs, felt-tips, and fountain pens — we tried them all.” My favorite Pentel Clarius was discontinued and I only have a few ink refills left because they also discontinued those, so I’m reading this with great interest.

6. Small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out.

7. Brandon Farris on YouTube. He makes videos that make me laugh, and until recently, he’d been living in his car (for TWO years!).

8. 40 Tweets That Sum Up Life With 4-Year-Olds.

9. The Master Quilters of Gee’s Bend, Ala. on The New York Times.

10. Health Science is Bullshit, a video I shared last year that’s just as funny-true now as it was then.

11. No Bed Of Roses, No Pleasure Cruise: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

12. ‘Green Book’ Is ‘Full of Lies’: Dr. Don Shirley’s Family Speaks Out. In related news, ‘Green Book’ Is A Poorly Titled White Savior Film.

13. The Bun Also Rises: Why We Love ‘The Great British Baking Show.’ In related news, Meet the Guy Who Draws Every Great British Baking Show Recipe Illustration.

14. 9 tricks advertisers use to make food look delicious! (video)

15. Elizabeth Gilbert on the Unexpected Friend Who Helped Her Survive Loss.

16. ‘Thank You, America’: A Crowdsourced Holiday Poem That’s A Blessing To Read. In related news, The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday, and How Do Native Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving? U.S. Holiday A Day of Mourning for Indigenous Peoples.

17. 100 Ways to Support—Not Appropriate From—Native People.

18. White Supremacy, Colonialism and Fatphobia are Inherently Tied to Each Other.

19. Eating Disorders and Body Love in Marginalized Communities Panel.

20. Doctor and runner reunite after he saved her while she had a heart attack during marathon. (video)

21. With Her New Foundation, Taraji P. Henson Wants To Change The Stigma Of Black Mental Health.

22. Keep trying, (video). So cute.

23. Liberals use “unity” to systematically silence women of color. It’s time to be divisive.

24. Couple Becomes First-Time Dog Parents To A Baby Pittie. (video) I had the same anxieties with our first dog, a Rottweiler mix named Obi.

25. Watch this sad, little polka-dot bulldog transform into the happiest adventure dog ever. (video)

26. How My Brother Survived The Camp Fire. “My brother lives in Paradise, California. For five hours on November 8, while wildfire devoured the town, I had no idea if he was alive or dead.”

27. Don’t Be Naive: Avoiding Calling Trump Supporters Racist Won’t Convince Them to Vote for Democrats.

28. Michelle Obama and Tracee Ellis Ross on the Power of Women’s Stories on The New York Times. “The former first lady and a star of ABC’s ‘black-ish’ talk about Mrs. Obama’s memoir, feeling ‘good enough’ and what it really means to ‘go high.'”

29. 100 Notable Books of 2018 on The New York Times.

30. Snoop Dogg Looks Back; Talks Tupac, Mentor Dr. Dre, Speaking Up for the ‘Voiceless.’ The last few minutes of his speech are epic, pure Snoop Dogg. “I want to thank me for believing in me, I want to thank me for doing all this hard work… Snoop Dogg you a bad motherf—er”

31. This Creative Woman Excels at Baking Art Pies with Avant-Garde Crust Designs.

32. Seriously do yourself a favor and watch for a good laugh! (video)

33. Someone Says “Depression Is A Choice”, And Andy Richter’s Response Is Brilliant.

34. These Are The 19 Most Stressful Experiences An Introvert Can Have.

35. Manifesting 2019 with Andrea Scher. A mini-manifesting online workshop for only $20! This seems like a great gift idea.

36. ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ Changes the Rules for Who Gets to Eat on TV.

37. This week’s edition of People Behaving Badly: A Not-Guilty Verdict Absolves Border Patrol Of Cross-Border Killing, and Alabama Cops Kill 21-Year-Old After They Say He Opened Fire in a Mall. Now They Say He Didn’t, and Girl, 13, Who Wrote Essay on Gun Violence Is Killed by Stray Bullet, and White Man Allegedly Pulls Gun on Black Muslim Teens in Minnesota McDonald’s, Manager Handles It Terribly, and Isolated Tribe Kills American With Bow and Arrow on Remote Indian Island (just to be clear, it’s the Christian invader who was behaving badly in this situation), and New video shows two white school officers brutally assaulting a black middle-schooler in an unprovoked attack (video), and Administration Admits Border Deployment Was a $200 Million Election Stunt, and This veteran was working in a yogurt shop when employees got ‘scared’ and called the cops, and How a Liberal Couple Became Two of N.Y.’s Biggest Trump Supporters on The New York Times, and US agents fire tear gas as some migrants try to breach fence.

Day of Rest (NaBloPoMo Day 25)

In my Facebook memories today, there was a quote I’ve shared for the past two years in a row. It still rings so true to me. I reshared it on Facebook and wanted to do so here too. It’s a good reminder, as I said yesterday, that just because it’s the right thing to do doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors. ~Andrew Boyd

NaBloPoMo Day 24

From our walk this morning

I get to take this whole weekend off. Since I started my 500 hour yoga teacher training, I’ve been busy every Sunday. Because of the holiday, we have tomorrow off from yoga teacher training, (although I do have homework I need to do to prepare for next week). Eric is still sick, so we don’t have plans — we walked dogs this morning, then I went to my Saturday Pilates class, got in the pool and sauna after, then I came home, ate leftovers, got on the couch and pretended to watch TV but slept though most of it. I just got off the phone after talking to my mom and remembered I hadn’t written a blog post yet today.

As I stand here typing, I realize I’m not sure if I have anything of value to tell you. What I can say is that on this week off from work, two conflicting feelings arise — one is how much better I feel being away from the stress and overwhelm and confusion of that particular effort, and two is the closer I get to quitting and being done, the more anxiety I start to feel about money. There are going to be some big adjustments and there are times it’s going to feel hard and I might even second guess my choice, and yet I KNOW it’s the right thing to do, that I will feel so much better and be some version of happy and things will work out and we’ll be fine. That’s the thing about the right thing — just because it’s right doesn’t mean it’s perfect or even easy.