Gratitude Friday (on a Saturday)

1. Morning walks. This picture is one of my favorites, and I didn’t even mean it. I was taking a picture of the sky (the one below) and I looked down and noticed the dogs looking too, so I knelt down and got them in the shot.

2. Colorado sky, especially the ones in the morning, which we’ve been getting to see a lot since the time change. The winter weather can make them especially glorious.

3. It’s my birthday! I turned 50 today, and will most likely write a post later saying more about that.

4. Eric has made this a really special one. He organized a dinner out with friends, is making a German chocolate cake, got me lots of good presents (one is a night light that’s a replica of the moon!), and earlier in the week, he ordered clam chowder from my favorite place on the Oregon Coast (uh, we live in Colorado!) and made a dinner that almost exactly replicated what I order when we go there.

When the box arrived, I had NO idea what it was

Packed full of so much good, and don’t forget the cheesy garlic toast

And pie, don’t forget the pie

5. Tomorrow is Ringo’s birthday! He’s going to be four years old, but I love him like he’s going to be 50.

He likes to steal my spot on the couch

6. Sam. Even though he’s probably going to have a tiny scar, he’s all healed up from the dog attack of a few weeks ago. He’s also almost finally adjusted to the time change and stopped trying to wake everyone up at 4 am.

Bonus joy: Facebook messages on my birthday, texting with my brother, laughing with Eric, Fall Break, Wild Writing, yoga, getting in the pool, clean sheets, a warm shower and a clean towel, a good night’s sleep, sleeping in, napping, good TV (the season finale of Better Things was so good), pulling together an article to share some good news, Pilates, a massage, French toast, roasted sweet potatoes, discounted gas, a free training session, my computer glasses.


Something Good

Fall and Winter in a single tree, by Eric Salahub

1. Savor is coming! Daily Practices for a more nourishing holiday from Rachel Cole, one of my favorite traditions. I shared this last week too. It starts November 20th, so there’s still time to sign up.

2. 7 Questions to Ask When You’re Feeling Stuck. “When you feel stuck, asking why is often helpful. But just asking ‘Why am I stuck?’ doesn’t always work, because feeling stuck can be more of a general sensation than a specific ailment. So here are a few other questions that might help you figure things out.”

3. Roxane Gay, Feminism and Difficult Women, an interview with one of my favorite authors.

4. It’s very clearly okay to be white. “This incident is part of a larger effort from white supremacists and white-nationalists to center their own insecurities in conversations about racial inequity and convert those who wouldn’t normally take a stance to their side of what they think is an anti-white culture war.” This happened on MY campus this week, and it’s not okay.

5. An Open Letter to Brené Brown. “This world has a whole lot of amazing changemakers who happen to be fat. I think it’s time we invite sizeism into the diversity conversation to make space for healing.”

6. It’s The Underpants Rule! from Dances with Fat. Also, Giles Coren: Garbage Human, Fatphobe and, Horrifyingly, Father.

7. Good stuff written or shared by Austin Kleon: You are allowed to change your mind and The tension between creativity and productivity.

8. Calorie counts on menus are going to be mandatory in 2018. This is why we can’t have nice things…

9. The “New” Black Friday. “Black Friday is, for many Americans, a day of stress and debt.
What if we chose to give it a better meaning?…This Black Friday, go with the new black: Spend at least part of the day making a Love List as a holiday gift for someone you love.”

10. Colin Kaepernick Is GQ’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. “He’s been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality. But Colin Kaepernick’s determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.”

11. I am tired of being invisible to you all from Winona LaDuke.

12. Who Will Mourn Teen Vogue? on The New York Times.

13. A Black Queer Man’s Syllabus to Whiteness, a great reading list.

14. 20 Really Good New Books You’re About To Hear Everyone Talk About Nonstop.

15. David Cork Wants To Normalize Bisexuality With His Webseries.

16. Recipes I’d like to try: 8 Homemade Veggie Chips & Dips, and Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches, (a local restaurant makes these, and you seriously cannot tell the difference), and Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken, and Meatless Tacos 5 Ways.

17. Being busy is the new status symbol.

18. Roy Moore’s Former Deputy District Attorney Just Made His Sex Scandal Infinitely Worse. In related news, Fake news troll Jack Posobiec doxxes woman who accused Republican Roy Moore of child abuse.

19. Otters wag their tails like dogs when they’re happy. (video) So cute.

20. Little Boy And His Mom Are Saving Hundreds Of Shelter Dogs. (video) When he chokes up at the end talking about Sully, I lost it. Here’s another video about him and the project he and his mom work on, Project Freedom Ride.

21. Staying in With a Chronic Illness: Expectations vs Reality. (video)

22. Phone-Sized Camera Has 16 Built-In Lenses. (video)

23. This weed commercial is a hilarious parody of pharmaceutical advertisements. (video)

24. Stop walking your dog. Not gonna stop walking my dogs, but there are some good reminders here.

25. Meet 82-year-old Sumiko: a Japanese dumpling maker by day… and professional DJ at night. (video) It’s never too late to start.

26. Luther Vandross’s first TV appearance…on Sesame Street. (video) Warning: this tune is hella catchy.

27. Ava DuVernay Talks ‘Lip Service’ of Diversity Programs: ‘Once They Do That First Year, Then What?’

28. This Man Used to Dance for Fun—Now He Dances to Help Others. (video)

29. Stephanie Beatriz’s New Movie “The Light Of The Moon” Is A Rape Recovery Story That Needs To Be Told: BUST Interview.

30. Fighting Hunger Under Trump’s Budget. (video) “‘It’s very difficult for children to concentrate on their education if they have not been properly fed.’ Trump’s budget cuts could spell disaster for places like Mississippi, which faces the worst hunger rate in the nation.” There are some who’d watch this and still feel like it’s not their responsibility to help, that hungry people have somehow made a choice and “it’s not my problem.” I watch this and think we should be embarrassed that there are so many hungry people in a culture where so many have so much more than they need.

31. The Tragic Story of Althea Garrison, the First Trans Person to Hold State Office in America.

32. Professor: ‘Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Everyone.’

33. Elisa Kreisinger/Pop Culture Pirate breaks down why there are so many mediocre male leaders & how it’s hurting women. (video)

34. Amazing Hoop Dance performance by Nakotah LaRance at the Swaia Fashion Show. Note to self: If this guy challenges you to a dance off, forfeit.

35. Holy Thank You For Not by Megan Falley. (video) A beautiful poem. Another beautiful poem? Watch Andrea Gibson Perform ‘Your Life’ in The Dreamhouse.

36. Her family hired me as a maid for 12 years but then she stole my life and made it a Disney movie. Someone on a thread about this suggested (after we heard the court case didn’t work out and Abilene Cooper hasn’t received any sort of justice), that she needs to make her own movie about what happened to her, including how Becky stole her story and made a bunch of money and fame for herself.

37. People With Golden Hearts Share Their Most Wholesome Secret. Happy World Kindness Day!

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. With the time change, we have a bit more light, but we also had snow this week.

2. New fence. It snowed this week, and it was the first time since we got the new fence. The old one was in such bad shape that every time it snowed I was afraid part of it was going to fall down.

3. Flowers in the bathroom. I’m back to ones from the grocery store, bouquets that are weird collections of things, some of which don’t even seem real and for sure not natural, but I still love having them.

4. Kitchen counter love notes. He always seems to come up with something new, and I keep all of them.

5. My tiny family. Again, it’s Friday and I’m so looking forward to being alone with them all weekend.

Not a dog bed, silly puppy.

6. My new hat. I was very sad when I lost my favorite hat last winter. I’d bought it almost 10 years ago at REI. It was fleece lined wool with earflaps, made in Peru, and a great color. It was the perfect hat for me, just right. Then, during a freak storm with freezing rain, I slipped on the ice in a parking lot, fell hard flat on my back. I landed on my elbows, back and head, and was really worried I’d broken something or given myself a concussion, but had to get to my car and drive myself home. It wasn’t until a few days later I realized I’d dropped my hat. I even went back to look for it, but it was gone. I still need one that is a bit warmer but I found this one last weekend — made in Oregon, super soft and floppy, and some of my favorite colors. I love it so much.

Bonus joy: getting in the pool, aqua aerobics, Wild Writing, teaching yoga (even on a morning when I’m so tired I just want to sleep in), walking with the dogs in the afternoon (even when I’m so tired I just want to take a nap), working from home, tangerines, breakfast for dinner, texting, video chatting, cuddling with Ringo on the couch, the way Sam’s clock won’t adjust to the time change and he begs for breakfast at 4:30 am, down blankets and pillows and coats, writing, meditating, my interns (how can they be my favorite ones every single semester?), my Smartwool sweater that I’ve worn about 1000 times and have on for some part of every day just about all winter long, Pilates (especially leg circles with the straps, feels so good).

Something Good

All the gold is gone here, but I want to linger with it just a bit longer

1. Savor is coming! Daily Practices for a more nourishing holiday from Rachel Cole, one of my favorite traditions.

2. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: September notebooks (excerpts) and 30-day challenge.

3. 7 Ways for Introverts and HSPs to Beat the Winter Blues.

4. God doesn’t hate people. You hate gay people. (video) “Reza Aslan breaks down a particular tendency humans have when talking about the divine, and how it affects all of us.”

5. 52 Mondays: The Backstory, shared by A Design So Vast.

6. No-waste grocery store. (video)

7. Recipes I want to try: 6 High-Fiber Recipes and roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt and graham crackers. Let’s just get real and admit I want to try every recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

8. Wisdom from Jena Schwartz’s recent newsletter, (sign up for it here), “We cannot change the world if we’re not also making room to look inward. And I believe with all my heart that looking inward and writing freely are radical acts, acts that become the foundation for resisting and undoing inner and outer oppression. Writing is a mighty force.”

9. Wisdom from Susannah Conway’s recent Love Letter, (sign up for it here), “I’m currently 50% less productive but 98% more content.”

10. This man was paralyzed by an act of police brutality – now, his son is inspiring him to walk again. (video)

11. Her family hired me as a maid for 12 years but then she stole my life and made it a Disney movie. This is the worst.

12. Three Athletes Who Risked Everything to Protest. (video) “Long before Colin Kaepernick took a knee, these pro athletes took a stand.”

13. Mary J Blige: ‘I lost my gut and my gift. But I got it back.’ “The R&B singer turned actor tells Rebecca Nicholson about her heartache, reborn hope, and why she sometimes needs to get away from herself.” I’ve mentioned before how much I love Solange’s “A Seat at The Table” and SZA’s “Ctrl.” Mary J. Blige’s “What’s the 411?” was that album for me in 1992. She’s amazing.

14. Forever Flourishing, something good coming from Toi Smith in 2018. “Forever Flourishing is all about honoring, celebrating, and championing women. We believe women are the shit. We also believe that all women – no matter their age, race, or ideology – should be vocal about their greatness and work towards self-actualization, even while fighting to smash the various systems that bind us. Always…in all ways.”

15. The Moth. “Arts organization The Moth was founded in 1997, and has surfaced thousands of people’s stories through hundreds of live shows. Each show has its own theme, and each story is unique.” We went to a live event last night, and the story Dylan Park told BROKE me.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. It’s that time of year where it’s dark for most of it, but so pretty when we get to see the sun rise.

2. That it wasn’t worse. Two hard things happened this week: Sam got bullied by a loose pit bull while Eric was out walking the dogs on Sunday afternoon, and I had to have an emergency root canal on Monday (after having a toothache all weekend). It made me grateful for so many things: that Eric and Ringo didn’t get hurt, that someone heard Eric yelling and came out and helped so they could get to safety, that Sam was limping and had a cut where the dog’s tooth punctured his leg but it wasn’t any worse, that we have an awesome emergency vet, that we have the money to take our dog to the emergency vet, that even though my dentist was out of town and couldn’t do the root canal until November 8th there was another office where I could go and get it taken care of that day and they were all awesome, that I have good dental insurance, that I could take the day off work, and that I could afford the portion my insurance didn’t cover.

Waiting to see the vet

Recovering (if you look close, you can see where they shaved his armpit so they could close the wound, no stitches necessary just some medical grade superglue)

3. Ringo. He’s been extra sweet. I can’t say he understands that Sam and I had a rough start this week and therefore is trying to be super good, and yet he’s sure been extra nice — especially all the extra cuddling with me and being patient with Sam.

On our walk the next morning, he was a bit wary, keeping an eye out for any trouble

4. Kitchen counter love notes.

5. My tiny family. I will be happy that we can all be together this weekend. Hopefully it will be a quiet, uneventful, relaxing time.

Bonus joy: vegetarian corn dogs and tater tots and lots of ketchup, pain medication, clean sheets, Wild Writing, yoga, aqua aerobics, a new swimming suit, down jackets and wool socks, waterproof Keens, something to stop the itching, being able to work from home, good TV, good books, good podcasts, good movies, good women doing good work who keep me from giving up because they keep showing up, texting with my brother, emails from my mom.

Something Good

1. The Community Fridge – Helping Those In Need. (video)

2. I Talked to 150 Writers and Here’s the Best Advice They Had.

3. By D Grace of God. (video) “When Ben was contacted by an internet scammer named Joel, he had two choices. He could ignore him or knowingly take the bait. Ben decided to lead the scammer on in hopes of wasting his time. However, when he started to do that, things took a totally unexpected turn.”

4. Racists were afraid to attend their own hate speech rally in Murfreesboro Tennessee. (video)

5. A Chicano Community In San Diego Is Outraged Over A White Woman’s Attempt To Open A ‘Modern Fruteria.’ No, Jenny. Just no. You too, Becky. Just stop it.

6. The deadlier drug crises that we don’t consider public health emergencies. “Alcohol and tobacco kill far more people than opioids. Should they be considered an ‘epidemic’?”

7. Why you should give money directly and unconditionally to homeless people.

8. Women accusing Trump of sexual harassment are lying, says White House. White hot rage is all I feel in response to this.

9. ICE agents are out of control, y’all. Because this: Border Patrol Hauls 10-Year-Old Away IMMEDIATELY Post Surgery. (video) And this: Oregon ICE Agents Enter Home Without Warrant. (video) And in seemingly related news, this: This is a disgraceful abuse of power. (video) And this: Assistant Principal Placed on Leave After Pinning Student to Ground. (video)

10. The Skeleton Key: Dismantle is an offering to white cis-women to begin to dismantle the white supremacy we carry in our own bones.

11. how sza became the definitive sound of 2017. I didn’t think anything could come anywhere near to how much I love Solange’s “A Seat At The Table.” Then came SZA with “Ctrl.”

12. Roxane Gay Lists 13 Rules for Female Friendships.

13. C.D.C. Panel Recommends a New Shingles Vaccine from The New York Times. These vaccines are all recommended for those over 50 or even 60, but the majority of people I know who’ve had shingles are women in their 30s, and many of them have recurring, ongoing outbreaks.

14. Ever wonder why some history textbooks look more favorably on the South after the American Civil War? Meet the United Daughters of the Confederacy. (video)

15. The Adjunct’s Guide to Teaching College Composition on McSweeney’s.

16. Andrea Gibson: exploring chronic pain. (video)

17. More Than 800 People Have Been Shot To Death Since The Las Vegas Massacre.

18. Recipes I’d like to try: Healthier “Bacon” 4 Ways and 5-Minute Vegan Sauces (video).

19. 2017 Sony World Photography Best Photos Will Take Your Breath Away.

20. The Flint water crisis inspired clever 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao to develop a new water testing kit.

21. This Man Asked A Simple Question Online That Shut Down The Whole Anti-Abortion Argument.

22. All the Beautiful Humans. The story of a bad day that turned out to be a reminder of “all the beautiful humans.”

23. How to Engage a Fanatic from The New York Times. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

24. “That’s Racist Against White People!” A Discussion on Power and Privilege. An older post, but worth repeating, since apparently so many people still don’t understand how this works.

25. Photos Show Rituals Of Womanhood In Remote Tribes Around The World. Stunning.

26. Students call for professor’s firing after he hosts ‘female or shemale’ quiz during class.

27. To The White Woman I Can No Longer Be Friends With. This is hard to hear, but we need to hear it.

28. Stuff Black People Need.

29. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “It’s hard to know whether to laugh or to cry at the human predicament. Here we are with so much wisdom and tenderness, and—without even knowing it—we cover it over to protect ourselves from insecurity. Although we have the potential to experience the freedom of a butterfly, we mysteriously prefer the small and fearful cocoon of ego.”

30. Aaron Lee, the “Angry Asian Buddhist,” has died, age 34. I can’t stop thinking about this part (read his whole post here),

In his last year, Aaron shifted his focus from activism towards creating “refuges,” which he described as spaces where someone can feel safe, supported, and nurtured. In a blog post, he wrote, “In the hospital, I found my speech and actions could become refuges for my family and caregivers — providing them with a space where they could feel calm, positive and helpful.”

31. All Hands on Deck, a poem by Jena Schwartz. P.S. She did an unplanned, impromptu reading of this at a coffee shop last week. Just got up and read it out loud. I already look to Jena as an example of how to be a writer on the page, but she’s also a good example of how to live as a writer off the page.

32. Cambridge University moves to ‘decolonise’ English literature curriculum adding more black and ethnic minority texts. As I read this, I can’t help but hearing Queen Whitney Houston singing in my head, “I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”

33. Samoan fire crew sings beautiful hymn amid Northern California wildfires.

34. The Absence Of Empathy, which says at one point,

We’re trapped in a doomed 4-step program:
Step one: The president is challenged in a way that pushes him toward unbearable feelings inadequacy.
Step two: He responds by saying something despicable, usually projecting his weakness and corruption onto someone else.
Step three: He gets blasted by media, politicians, etc.
Step four: His followers experience this shaming as proof of Trump’s infallibility and redouble their allegiance.

35. Why people keep dieting despite logic or rationality from Isabel Foxen Duke. “The fantasy that we can diet our way into safety, love, power and acceptance—and diet our way out of judgment, powerlessness, oppression or rejectionunderlies all body-image or “food issues” to some degree or another.”

36. 12 Things Introverts Absolutely Need to Be Happy. I need to keep this somewhere I can refer to it often, as a reminder to get out of my own way.

37. 31 Things That Will Happen When You Finally Decide To Live Your Dreams. I want to go to there.

Gratitude Friday

1. The Colorado sky. This morning (pictured above) the clouds were moving so fast and pattered in such an odd way, the sky looked like water.

2. Morning walks with the dogs. It’s the time of year when it’s dark for most of it, but yesterday we saw a fox and the sunrise, and it’s so quiet out.

3. Eric and the dogs going hiking. Even if I only get to see pictures, I love that they get to go.

4. Working from home. Getting the laundry done. Being able to work in my pjs and hang out with the dogs, cook some real food or take a nap if I want to.

5. My tiny family. I’m not sure if I’d want to keep going without them.

It’s really Sam’s couch, but sometimes he lets Ringo have an arm

I give up trying to convince either of them that the ottoman isn’t a dog bed

Bonus joy: Wild Writing, shows at the Lincoln Center (we saw Take Me To The River last night, Mike Birbiglia last weekend) and how when they are over it only takes us five minutes to get home, giving myself permission to not, biscuits, good TV (the second season of Stranger Things just released this morning), good books, good interns, aqua aerobics, a warm shower and a clean towel, clean sheets, being okay with the dust and piles of stuff in my not so clean house, sleep, my dogs reminding me it’s time for lunch.