Gratitude Friday

Snow at Lory State Park

Image by Eric, Lory State Park

1. Eric running with Ringo when it’s too cold to walk (pretty much anything below about 15 degrees, which has been most mornings this week), and Sam can’t go because he’s hurt, which means I miss the walk too but that’s okay for now.

2. Sweet Sam, who has had to put up with a lot of poking and prodding lately, and has managed to stay sweet. He went in yesterday, was sedated so they could do a thorough exam and take xrays. The good news: his knee is okay, won’t need surgery. The potentially bad news: it’s his back that’s actually hurt, making him limp. We are waiting for a second opinion to know if we can go to physical therapy and heal him up, or if it’s something worse.

3. Ringo Blue, who has been as nice as you can expect to Sam through it all. He gets to go hiking and running all by himself with the dad, so he doesn’t really mind all that much.

4. A flexible work schedule. Let’s be honest, I work my ASS off for CSU (was just awarded a Superior ranking for the 7th year in a row, in an evaluation that described my “high level of professionalism, competence, patience, and good humor”) and I very much appreciate that when I need to be doing other things, like take Sam to the vet or wait around until he can come home or hang out with him to make sure he’s okay, I can without too much fuss.

5. The weekend. I’ve been working and worried so much that I really need the weekend to rest. It sucks that I don’t get to do too much of anything else right now, but rest is the most important thing.

Bonus joy: Wild writing, aqua aerobics, money to pay the vet, Ringo being old enough now that I don’t have to watch him every second, good neighbors, snow, my moon nightlight, my Kindle, good books and TV and films and music, texting, being able to work from home, teaching yoga, a cold glass of clean water, wool sweaters, a warm hat, snow tires, a clean desk, avocado, birds singing.


Something Good

Mcmurry Pond, image by Eric

1. ‘Resist White Supremacy’: A sign. A farm. And the fury that followed. “We are white people using our privilege and power to say something that should be obvious but clearly still needs to be said,” she wrote, “and there’s nothing brave about that.”

2. The White Fragility Script: The Five Act Experience [INFOGRAPHIC] from Lessa Renee Hall.

3. David Sedaris on Keeping a Diary in the Age of Over-Sharing (video). “David Sedaris offers advice to young writers. His biggest tip? Keep a diary. Here’s why.”

4. 13 Incredible Black Artists, Past And Present, Everybody Should Know.

5. on practices and setting intentions from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

6. Weight Watchers New Teen Marketing Plan.

7. Zen of Knitting. (video)

8. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman | Obama talks about how progress is made. (video) If you have access to Netflix streaming, do yourself a favor and watch the full episode of the new David Letterman show where he interviews Barack Obama, and spends some time with John Lewis.

9. Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors You Need to Read.

10. A cat pets a bird. (video) Sometimes it’s just that simple.

11. Girl pets dog. (video) #same

12. Poet Andrea Gibson on Health, Queer Healing, and Learned Behavior.

13. Have your representatives in Congress received donations from the NRA? Click this link and find out.

14. ‘Black Panther’: All The Box Office Records It Broke (And Almost Broke) In Its $235M Debut. If Hollywood really does only make movies “people want to see,” there better be so much more of this.

15. Blue heeler doesn’t so much want to heard the sheep as play with them. (video)

16. Audre Lorde’s ABC’s of Fighting Facism.

17. Students Who Lived Through Florida Shooting Turn Rage Into Activism.

Gratitude Friday

Art by Marisa Aragón Ware

1. Happy (Tibetan) New Year! From an email sent by Shambhala Publications: “The Tibetan New Year (Losar) 2145 February 16, 2018. This year is a Year of the Earth Dog.

According to Tibetan Astrology by Philippe Cornu, the dog brings idealism, justice, and reflection. The dog is all about honesty and loyalty, intelligence and conscientiousness. While it may become overly serious, alarmist, or pessimistic, it is generous and favors those who have good intentions.

The element of earth is all about crystallizing, working slowly and powerfully to stabilize things. It is fertile, abundant, practical, and prudent. Earth can be enterprising, selfish, and shrewd, but it can also be grounded and realistic, reaching concrete goals methodically.”

Sidewalk snow heart

2. Morning walks. They’ve been a little weird lately because Sam can only go around the block, but Ringo has been making the best of it, getting a human and all the treats all to himself for the longer walk.

3. Eric, and his kitchen counter love notes. He’s been holding up the ceiling for me when my arms get too tired, like in that poem, “A Marriage” by Michael Blumenthal.

You are holding up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, terribly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.

But then,
something wonderful happens:
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arms up
to the ceiling beside you.

So you finally get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flowing back
to your fingers and arms.
And when your partner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
without the house falling.

Kitchen counter love note: special edition

4. Flowers in the bathroom. They had Charmelia again at the store last week. I love these so much, they last a really long time and remind me of sweet peas.

5. Ringo and Sam. If you could, please send Sam some extra love. His limp isn’t going away, is getting a bit worse. We took him to the vet, and from what she could tell from a quick exam, there’s reason to believe he might need knee surgery. Next week, we’ll take him in so she can sedate him and really get a good look, take some x-rays, but my gut is telling me the poor sweet dude is going to need surgery. I can’t stand to see my dogs suffer, so maybe send some love for me too. And then, only if you have some to spare, send some Ringo’s way cause the whole thing is just boring to him.

Bonus joy: the new swimming suit I needed was on sale AND I got an extra 10% off, aqua aerobics, Wild Writing, Pilates, getting stronger, knowing everything is okay even when nothing is, pain meds, Sam doing so good at the vet yesterday even though they messed with him so much and it was the last place he wanted to be, that even though my washing machine has been suffering from an electronic form of dementia for at least a year it keeps going and still works, getting all the laundry done on Friday, being able to gift my Andrea Gibson tickets to someone who really really wanted to go when it turned out I couldn’t, the way Ringo went over by Sam (who is hiding under my writing desk, because laundry) just now and laid down even though they were already in the same room — it was like he wanted to be closer, clean sheets, good TV (Catfish and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee) and good books (An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was picked by Oprah for her book club for good reason), and being able to work from home.

Something Good

Winter morning on the Poudre River, image by Eric

1. Take Heart: Finding Celebration No Matter What. “A virtual Valentine’s event for anyone who is divorced, bereaved, broken up, feeling blue, or simply needs an added dose of self-love.” A free mini class from my dear friend Sherry. In related news, Be Your Own True Love: A Self-Compassion Mini Retreat – Body Positive Yoga, a free, 90 minute workshop. It’s on the 13th and Sherry’s is on the 14th, so you could do both!

2. Make your space more inclusive from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

3. All things green and good, a Pinterest board from SF Girl.

4. 200 Women who will change the way you see the world.200 Women is a book and exhibition founded on original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits. This landmark project is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and to ask them what really matters to them.”

5. Tayari Jones Writes About People with Problems, Not Problems with People. “Her latest, ‘An American Marriage,’ is about race and incarceration—but mostly it’s about three people with feelings.” Y’all, I just started reading this book last night, and I could not put it down! That hasn’t happened for me in a long time, and I’m enjoying it so much. Oprah agrees with me, as it’s her latest Book Club pick.

6. 3 Reasons We Cannot Cater to White Friends Who Say ‘I’m Not Racist’, an older article but it’s clear some of us still aren’t getting it. In related news, How To Easily Be A White Ally To Marginalized Communities, and White Supremacy Roundup: 4 Stories That Show How Institutional Racism Works, and
5 Valuable Ways to Use Your White Privilege to Fight Anti-Black Racism.

7. A Crash Course in Diversifying Your Bookshelf. “Is your reading list looking a little monochrome? We’ve compiled 15 books to help you broaden your horizons.”

8. Teaching Hard History, an important guide from SPLC. In related news, this amazing resource from Charles Preston on Google Drive.

9. Take The Cake: 8 Clues Your “Lifestyle” Is Actually A Diet (& Why It’s Gaslighting).

10. Weight Watchers is targeting teens with a new free program. That’s a problem. My eating disorder started at 14 years old. I struggled and suffered, sometimes to the point of being suicidal, for the next 30 years. The fact that Weight Watchers is making this effort to do the same to other young women, girls, is devastating.

11. You Need Help: Here Is A Worksheet To Help You Talk To Partners About Sex.

12. Because Facts. (video) “Guns, berets, and leather jackets are what we typically associate with the Black Panther Party. But did you know the Panthers were instrumental in bringing healthcare to the communities they served?”

13. 10 Years After She Went Missing, A Black Lab Is Returned To Her Owners. She looks so much like Sam! In related news, Woman Adopts A Senior Dog — Then Realizes It’s Her First Best Friend. “I never thought I’d see my dog again, but I just knew in my heart that it was her.”

14. Watch the funniest girl scout cookie story of all time on Snap Judgement. (video)

15. All The White Supremacists Running For Office In 2018.

16. Why I’m Raising Money For Black Kids To See ‘Black Panther.’

17. Andrea Gibson – “Orlando” Live from Detroit. (video) “In hopes that we continue to remember. In hopes that we not put a time limit on grief. In hopes that we build something much kinder. In hopes that we become the love we are meant to become.” In related news, That Moment Your Secret Comes Out. (video)

18. Hear Their Voices: 10 Must-Reads for Black History Month. In related news, two more great reading lists curated by Camille Dungy: Necessary New Books by Black Writers and Ten Essential Black Authors to Read During Black History Month — and Every Month.

19. Recipe I want to try: Vanilla Clementine Bread.

20. The Betrayal. Two women refuse to leave the side of a stranger who suffers a tragedy while on vacation.

21. Can I Enjoy the Art but Denounce the Artist? “Roxane Gay takes a look at what happens when we find out our favorites aren’t who they appear to be.”

22. Baby hamsters. (video)

23. Black Lives Matter Activist Who Snatched Confederate Flag Killed In New Orleans. I finished reading When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir the night before this news broke. I recommend you do the same, read the book I mean.

24. Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For. “The company’s operation in Michigan reveals how it’s dominated the industry by going into economically depressed areas with lax water laws.”

25. Lina Iris Viktor Says Kendrick Lamar Stole Her Art for His New Music Video. In related news, from The New York Times, Artist Says Kendrick Lamar Video for ‘Black Panther’ Song Stole Her Work.

26. Conscious consumerism is a lie. Here’s a better way to help save the world.

27. James Brunt Organizes Leaves and Rocks Into Elaborate Cairns and Mandalas.

28. There are no white exceptions, wisdom from Jena Schwartz.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. They’ve been a bit unusual this past week because Sam has had a tiny limp that won’t go away (only happens when he first gets up after having been resting for a bit, and he only limps about 3 or 4 steps, so you barely notice it, but he’s 8 years old now and we have to be careful) so we’ve been making him rest. We have a vet appointment scheduled for next week just in case it doesn’t clear up. You might not know this about me, but anything like that makes me anxious, because I always worry that every little weird thing is the first sign of cancer, and not just cancer but fatal cancer, because it’s happened to us like that two times and I keep expecting it to happen again because so far that’s been our reality. So an extra gratitude linked to this one is that while I worry, in this case Eric isn’t worried and has been able to keep me mostly sane.

2. The sky and the bare trees. The winter can be cold and dark, but it can also be beautiful.

3. Baby Ringo, back when his ears were just starting to stand up.

4. Teaching yoga. I subbed twice this week. This morning was almost a disaster because even though I KNEW I was teaching this morning, I forgot somewhere between Wednesday and today. I slept in and was being lazy, totally forgetting I was supposed to teach. Luckily my phone was in my hand when the notification went off, “Yoga: I’m Teaching!” and I only live five minutes away from the gym where I was subbing.

5. Aqua aerobics and then ten minutes in the sauna. Just look at how happy and pink it makes me.

6. My tiny family, and an explanation — many times when Eric and I text each other, we say “How’s it going?” and then include a selfie of wherever we happen to be at the moment. That’s why there’s a picture in this post of me at Om Ananda as I was getting ready to teach, and me in the gym locker room after aqua aerobics and the sauna, and the ones that follow of Eric and I with the dogs.

Bonus joy: Wild writing, Friday !!!, homemade pizza, a crispy gala apple with peanut butter, a working furnace, warm water, clean sheets, texting, Ringo doing well in his Parkour class even though we hadn’t had time to practice, how much more spacious my schedule is next week, and this cutie…


Something Good

1. Judy Clement Wall: Artist, illustrator, author, love warrior. J posted the above picture this weekend on Instagram and Facebook, and you know I LOVE IT. I’ve been following J’s journey ever since she started sharing her “doodles” and to see her become so fully embodied as an artist gives me all the joy I can stand, and reminds me that I have to trust myself and keep trying.

2. Wisdom from Kelly Diels, “Sometimes you don’t even realize the burden you’ve been carrying until you put it down.”

3. White Denial is an American Tradition: It’s Time to Bury It. Amen. In related news, 7 things black people want their well-meaning white friends to know.

4. 10 ways to keep doing the work when you’re in it for the long haul from Jena Schwartz. Thank you so much for this, Jena, and for sticking with it, doing this work with me, helping me to keep from giving up. Also from Jena, Five Deep Breaths.

5. Harold Ramis didn’t intend “Groundhog Day” to be Buddhist, but it’s a dharma classic. This is the first movie Eric and I went out to see together, at a $2 theater here in Fort Collins which is now a sticky floored music venue. We rewatch it at least once a year, and I think about the metaphors of the movie, the message a lot. In related news, from Austin Kleon, Want to be an artist? Watch Groundhog Day.

6. Good stuff from Everyday Feminism: When You ‘Don’t See Color,’ You’re Contributing to the Everyday Racism Around You, and 5 Things Your Activist Friend Wants You to Stop Doing (Because You’re Wearing Us Out), and I Had Cancer – And Medical Fat-Shaming Could Have Killed Me.

7. Party in my Plants Episode #72: Health at Every Size, Diet Culture & BURNING THE WAGON! with Isabel Foxen Duke.

8. Collaborative Lamps That Weave Traditional Fibers With PET Plastic Waste.

9. Primer: When You Have Too Much to Do from Zen Habits.

10. Onym, a naming site with a ton of free resources. I’m trying to come up with a better name for my business (I’m just not feeling Life Wholehearted anymore, with the events of the past couple of years I feel like I need something with teeth), so I’m hoping this site can help.

11. attention is the beginning of devotion from Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks.

12. Panda eating carrot. (video) In related news, Pandas Gone Wild, a photo collection.

13. #MeToo, Now What? from PBS. Executive editor and host Zainab Salbi goes beyond the headlines about sexual harassment to ask how we got here and how we move forward.

14. New Mexico’s Teacher Of The Year Might Be Deported. (video) “This woman was Teacher of the Year in her state — but until there’s a clean DREAM Act, her future is in jeopardy.”

15. A Man Who Could Finally Afford To See A Doctor After Winning The Lottery Died Three Weeks Later. “Donald Savastano was excited to finally see a doctor after winning $1 million. Then he found out he had stage 4 cancer.” Tell me again how we are “making America great again.” I dare you.

16. Baby dances to dad’s beatboxing. (video)

17. The Term ‘Marijuana’ Is Rooted In Racism. (video)

18. Reminder: Black labor built this country for free. (video)

19. Recipe I want to try: Potato Chip Cookies. Sweet and salty, chewy with some crunch is my jam.

20. Someone edited Ram’s Martin Luther King commercial with what King actually said about car ads. In related news, Yes, the MLK Estate Did Approve That Trash Dodge Super Bowl Ad, and America Will Not Stop Until Martin Luther King Jr. Is Completely Rebranded as a Slice of Avocado Toast, and White Supremacy Murdered Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King & Now Uses Him as a Capitalist Prop, and Dodge’s Super Bowl ad used a Martin Luther King Jr. speech … to sell pickup trucks, (video).

21. Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Was a Total Disaster.

22. White Supremacists Are Targeting College Students ‘Like Never Before.’

23. 3D collages in layers of glass: By Dustin Yellin. (video)

24. A Photographer Captures a Decade in the Life of a Single Ukrainian Park Bench.

25. Black Beekeepers Are Transforming Detroit’s Vacant Lots Into Bee Farms.

26. Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson Save It for the Stage from The New York Times.

27. Why Schools Fail To Teach Slavery’s ‘Hard History.’

28. The Women Behind White Power from The New York Times.

Gratitude Friday

1. Where we live. There are lots of things to complain about or critique here, but the river and the sky and the trails and the snow and the foxes and how close they all are to where we sleep are not on that list.

2. Practice. Wild writing, meditation, yoga, being in relationship with other humans, letting go.

3. Flowers in the bathroom. A few weeks back, I got a bundle of these. The sign bragged that they would last for three weeks. It turns out to be true, and the more they open the more they remind me of sweet peas, which reminds me of summer in Oregon.

4. My tiny family. The way Eric and I check in with each other during the day by sending a selfie of where we are and what we are doing. The comfort of coming home after a long day. The hope that Sam’s tiny limp will right itself and he won’t get older too quickly. How good Ringo did in our Parkour class last week even though we’d missed the week before and hadn’t practiced at all. There are always more pictures of Ringo because he’s so photogenic, but Sam is still sweeter.

5. Snow. And snow tires, and snow shovels, and ice scrapers, and my icebug shoes with the spikes, and wool hats and shirts and socks, down coats and pillows and blankets, and a headlamp.

Bonus joy: getting stronger in all kinds of ways, chocolate, roasted sweet potatoes, clean sheets, a good thermal shirt that’s soft and warm, good friends, the promise of more space, breakfast burritos, an empty parking spot, Pilates, aqua aerobics, the sauna, good books, a new episode of Catfish, flocks of tiny birds, computer glasses, people who shovel their sidewalks, our furnace.