Category Archives: Owl

Something Good

It’s raining. And not that small, light Colorado rain, or that Colorado thunderstorm that takes just 5-15 short minutes out of a day and tries to kill you, but real, get you wet, need an umbrella, gray sky, this might take all day, fall asleep to it and wake up to it kind of rain. We really needed it. This has been such a dry Spring. The only downside is all I want to do is stay home in my pjs, cuddling on the couch with my boys, and nap, watch a move, or read a book. Oh, let’s face it, when it’s sunny out the only difference is I want to be doing those same things in the backyard.

Fear of Writing Blog. Having suffered from about 25+ years of writer’s block, I have a soft spot for blogs like these. There’s something about being an artist, about having an open, tender heart, about being mindful and present, that makes you somehow more sensitive to fear and doubt–at least, that’s my theory, my experience. People who make art, feel it is their calling, love so big that the potential for loss and ruin can sometimes be overwhelming. I learned of this blog because one of my favorite bloggers, writers, artists, big hearts, Judy Clement Wall, wrote a post for them recently, “j’s Journey: Getting Personal.”

Prolific Living’s Green Juicing Guide. I haven’t downloaded this yet, but am going to because of the promise of “the only 10 recipes you will ever need for your green juicing journey.”

Marie Forleo’s Free Business Training Videos. Jonathan Fields blogged about this, and it peaked my interest enough that I followed the link. After watching the intro video, I signed up. The way she talks about the potential for women in online businesses was inspiring.

Animals Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before on Brain Pickings. This one is my very favorite.

from the book Menagerie by photographer Sharon Montrose

Risk Being You by Raam Dev. Wow…this is worth reading and thinking about.

27 ways to be an (even) better person & practically levitate with awesomery on Unicorns for Socialism. I might have already shared this, but was reminded of it today, and it’s certainly worth repeating. I really am madly in love with Alex Franzen and her particular flavor of awesomery.

Now What by Tara Sophia Mohr. “[W]e need goals, not because goals are themselves important but we can’t have an engaging quest without a meaningful goal. The goal provides direction, momentum, plot, in the quest.” Wise words, and this:

So pick your quests mindfully. Pick the ones that you think will give you joy, and moments of tears at the poignant beauty of it all. Pick the quests that you think will put you in deepest, most glorious contact with something larger than you. Pick the quests that make gratitude and passion come alive in you.

The pot of gold is not at the end of the rainbow. It’s here.

Amen, and thank you for the reminder, Tara.

You Don’t Have to be Everything on Metta Drum. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Daniel Collinsworth is a brilliant beast. In this post, he urges us to declare our freedom, provides a list of important points, including “You no longer have to feel embarrassed about your weirdness.” Amen. The light of weirdness in me acknowledges and honors the light of weirdness in you, Daniel, and you, kind and gentle reader. May we all be weird.

Cute Animal Break: Animals Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before on Brain Pickings, Part Two. This is my second favorite:

from the book Menagerie by photographer Sharon Montrose

Make It: Folded Notebook on Design Love Fest. Oh, nerd alert, I so want to make this book!

Quote from Ed & Deb Shapiro’s “Your Daily Chill Out”: “Like a young bird, you will have no idea how far you can fly until you spread your wings and just go for it.”

Quote from Tara Brach: ‎”During the moments of a pause, we become conscious of how the feeling that something is missing or wrong keeps us leaning into the future, on our way somewhere else. This gives us a fundamental choice in how we respond: We can continue our futile attempts at managing our experience, or we can meet our vulnerability with the wisdom of Radical Acceptance,” from her book Radical Acceptance.

Sloughing the “Spiritual” Identity and Becoming the Wholeness of Me on the Daily Breadcrumb. In this post, Sunni reminds us to give ourselves a break, that to be a fully realized spiritual being doesn’t mean becoming someone “just generally beaming sunshine out of her ass.” What a relief.

Procrastination.

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.

Something Good

I am Left Brain. I am Right Brain.

I despise most advertising, geared as it is towards convincing us we are not enough, something about us is broken or missing or wrong, but if we buy “the thing,” we’ll suddenly and magically be forever happy and safe and young and rich and loved.

Even though I feel this way about advertising, sometimes there are ads that even I have to admit are wonderfully funny (I’m thinking of this Volkswagon ad from last year’s Super Bowl) or beautiful. This one, from Mercedes Benz, is beautiful–and kind of weird as an advertisement for a luxury car brand, (click on the image to read more and see a few other versions).

The text for the left brain reads:

“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”

And for the right brain:

“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feat. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”

My fortune from yesterday’s lunch

Smart cookie.

Baby beaver

I hate the damage the adults do to the tree population at McMurray Ponds Natural Area, but this weekend, we saw one of the babies. So cute! Don’t believe me? Watch this video of a baby beaver in a bathtub.

Dog sighs

I love the noises dogs make when they are dreaming, or when they eat a carrot or an apple, but a dog sigh goes straight to my heart.

Owls

I’m kind of obsessed with owls lately. They symbolize wisdom, intelligence, and freedom. They are seen as oracles of secret wisdom and protectors of the dead, of souls and secrets and dreams. They are able to see things that are hidden, are shape shifters. They have a connection to the underworld, death, and the moon. If this blog had a mascot, an animal spirit guide, I imagine it would be an owl, most likely riding on the back of a dog.

Here’s a great color palette and picture from Design Seeds (a really fun site for all you color and design geeks).


I also love the work done by the woman behind Dou Dou Birds. I finally bought two of her owls, the new mascots for A Thousand Shades of Gray. Now, what to name them…

Some Things You Need to Know

This is from Marc and Angel.

Whenever somebody discredits you, and tells you that you can’t do something, keep in mind that they are speaking from within the boundaries of their own limitations. Ignore them. Don’t give in. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self. And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.

Remember, our courage doesn’t always roar aloud. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, “I will try again tomorrow.”

Calligraphy Links from Scoutie Girl

I am a calligraphy nerd, love the practice, so I loved these links.

“Getting it Up” from Zebra Sounds

Judy Clement Wall is one of my new favorite people. She is the instigator behind the new site A Human Thing, and also the author of Zebra Sounds. Her latest post, “Getting it up” is a really great kick in the pants for artists.

Add to the Love in the world – a challenge

From Unicorns for Socialism, ways to add more love to the world.

Memoryhouse, “Untitled”

Beautiful video, dreamy song.

Small Stone: Day 26

Small Stone: Morning Walk


On our morning walk, my intention is to find a small stone. Instead, I return home with a pocket full of pebbles.

Walking before dawn, we are alone, together.

The boys smell something, track it in the dark with their sensitive noses. I see a blur, and catch a single reflecting eye with my headlamp, but it’s gone before I can turn my head all the way to meet it. It was probably a fox, usually is.

Along the river, it’s colder. It makes sense, because the water was snow not that many miles ago. I’m glad for the extra layer, the warmer gloves, and the thicker hat.

I smell a skunk, and am glad for the headlamp. I scan the path, its edges too.

Just before we reach the Soft Gold Little Dog Park, Dexter stops, looks at me happily, tail wagging–a tennis ball!

On the wooden bridge over the creek between Wood Duck Pond and the McMurry Ponds, fresh raccoon tracks. I wonder, as I always do: is it the same one that leaves footprints most mornings?

I scan the trees for owls, even though mating season is long over and the babies have most likely left the nest. The branches are empty, the sky quiet.

The back pond is thawing, but the beavers don’t come out of their den. Sam is ready anyway, hopping on his back legs, yodeling and whining, straining against the leash.

The dawn turns the clouds pink and the sky light blue.

Even though the water is clear, when we color the river, we see silver, gray, and mostly blue, with a touch of green. Walking this early, the river is also black and gold.

Towards the end of the trail and our walk, through the trees, the sun looks like a fire–which, I suppose, it is.

Photo by Mara

Small Stone: Day Nineteen

Small Stone: Two Owls

Walking across campus, coming back from a meeting, I hear what sounds like owl noises in the trees at a spot known as Sherwood Forest. Five years ago, two graduate students were struck by lightning in that same spot, one killed instantly and the other dying a week later. When I did a ride-along with the CSU Campus Police, they told me a high number of sexual assaults have occurred over the years in that grove. Typically, I avoid it, but the noise and the chance to maybe see an owl draw me in.

At first, I think it might be a student making the noises to mess with people walking past, but I see another girl stop and look too, so I go further in. I locate the source of the noise high in a pine tree. A large owl, like the pair I see in the morning sometimes at Lee Martinez park, raises its head and shakes. It spreads its wings, flying to another tree. I move to find it again and hear someone call to me, “If you want to see both owls, come over this way.”

Image: Tina Phillips / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Natural Resources student watches too, tells me his professor has been studying this pair for years, that they come back to this same place annually to mate and raise their babies. Once their family leaves, Sherwood Forest is quiet for a few weeks, until the Red-Tailed Hawks come to use the same nests to have their own families. He says if you are ever near this area and hear the Magpies squawking and see them diving at something, you know the owls are around. Apparently, at night, the owls try to steal Magpie babies for their dinner, so the next day, when the owls are typically trying to rest, the Magpies seek revenge.

We stand there for long minutes, looking up at the tree top and the owls. The sounds of a busy campus are muffled by the trees. Finally, when the owls quiet down, I tell the student “Thanks for owling with me,” and leave, happy to know there is another pair of owls I can visit so close.

Owls symbolize wisdom, intelligence, and freedom. They are seen as oracles of secret wisdom and protectors of the dead, of souls and secrets and dreams. They are able to see things that are hidden, are shape shifters. They have a connection to the underworld, death, and the moon. If this blog had a mascot, an animal spirit guide, I imagine it would be an owl, most likely riding on the back of a dog.