Gratitude Friday

1. My garden. I love especially all the birds and bugs it attracts and feeds, and the way that every year it gets just a bit more developed and filled in.

2. A safe, fun, short trip to Oregon. It was less time than usual, what with having to work an extra month this summer, but it was good to see family, eat some good food, watch some movies, take some walks, play cards, talk, laugh, and then have a safe trip back.

Playing cards with Mom

3. Friends in real life. I got to spend a few days with my friend Mikalina while I was in Oregon. We met in a Wild Writing class and I loved her immediately, sent her an email and told her so, hoping she wouldn’t think I was weird. She’s all my favorite things — smart, creative, kind, and funny. We hang out almost every week online, but it was even better to get to hang out with her in person, and to find that I was absolutely right about her, (you always worry that maybe a person you’ve known only online will be different than you expected, but the only thing I was wrong about is I thought she’d be taller).

4. The Chinese Garden in Portland. Mikalina and I went one afternoon, and I got to take lots of pictures.

5. My tiny family. I’m so happy to be back home with them.

Bonus joy: aqua aerobics, Pilates, yoga, walking with Eric and the dogs in the morning, Catfish Season Six, air conditioning, clean sheets, Wild Writing, laughing and writing with Mikalina and Chloe’, upcoming dates with friends, good books, my Kindle, a clean car, fresh basil from our garden, strawberries, butterflies, clean water, a cool shower, being able to pay my bills, laughing with Eric, getting a massage, texting, video calls, a soft tshirt.

Something Good

Colorado wildflowers, image by Eric Salahub

Next week I’m going to be in Oregon, so there won’t be a Something Good post — I’m taking a week off! As there are currently 288 of these posts, even one that has a whopping 100 items on it, maybe you could spend your time going back through the archives? Or just get off your computer altogether, go outside and stare at your toes or something. 🙂

1. Two Ears, wisdom from Rachel Cole. “This is just to say we have two ears. One for listening to our own hearts and one for listening to the hearts of others.”

2. Ways To Stay Motivated In This Shit-Shellacked Era Of Epic Stupid, wisdom from Chuck Wendig. I needed to hear this, especially this, “If you’re making the words dance or you’re snapping photos or drawing pictures, and you worry that what you’re doing is somehow shallow or insignificant, fuck that right in the banana-pipe.”

3. The Best of bell hooks: Life, Writings, Quotes, and Books on Lion’s Roar.

4. Baratunde Thurston. “Selected as Noteworthy for cutting through political noise with razor-sharp wit, Baratunde shows us how to be active citizens.”

5. Need something to read? Then this list is for you, 101 books to dive into this summer: a massive reading list.

6. My Grandmother’s Desperate Choice on The New Yorker.

If I couldn’t immediately explain to my daughter how Win died, I decided, I could at least explain why. “She needed help really badly and no one would help her so she died,” I told her. Then I added a reassurance that I’m not sure I’d feel confident offering today. “It’s not a thing that would happen to us now,” I said. “If we ever needed that kind of help, we would get it and we would be safe.”

7. Why Sexism and Homophobia in Old TV Shows Is Such a Big Problem Today. In related news, Horrible True Stories Left Out Of Biopics To Make The Person Look Better.

8. Roxane Gay: ‘My body is a cage of my own making.’

9. 14 of the Best Bundt Cake Recipes. I’ve got my eye on the coconut one.

10. Stunning Video Captures A Year In The Life Of A Very Busy Tree.

11. I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People. “Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society.”

12. 5 secrets to a strong marriage by Dani Shapiro.

13. This group takes stories written by little kids and turns them into into theater. (Video)

14. This amazing library has tens of thousands of sketchbooks from around the world. (Video)

15. Save Free Speech From Trolls on The New York Times.

16. The Same MotherFlippin’ 10 Pounds on The Salty Olive.

17. Let America Be America Again.

America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Gratitude Friday (on a Saturday)

Road closed

Y’all, I’m on summer vacation. This means my internal clock and calendar are a little “off.” Which means on a Friday, I might remember to go to yoga and aqua aerobics and even to be home in time for a play date for Ringo and his buddy Pancho, but it also means that even though I think about it a few times throughout the day, I might forget to do this post.

1. Hiking with Eric and the dogs. I haven’t been hiking since I hurt my knee this winter, which lead to months of physical therapy and the eventual diagnosis of osteoarthritis, which limited my activity, had me on a “Floor to 5k” program because “Couch to 5k” was too advanced. This week, I went on a 5.5 mile hike with Eric and the dogs without any pain in my knees, and I am beyond grateful.

2. Aqua aerobics, Pilates, yoga, careful weight lifting, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and massage. These are all keeping my body feeling strong and relatively pain free.

3. Three new swimming suits, and the confidence to wear them in public. Shopping for them was shockingly easy as well.

To see any of them in full, you’ll have to meet me at aqua aerobics. I’m confident, not out of my mind.

4. Summer vacation. I’ll be flying to Oregon for a short visit next week, and have spent the last two weeks doing just what I want: moving my body, resting, reading, watching tv, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with my tiny family and friends. When I get back, there are some chores to get done, but I think I’ll be ready for the work by then.

5. My tiny family. I’ve loved getting to spend so much more time with them.

Bonus joy: good documentaries (I’m kind of obsessed right now, especially those involving mysteries and/or crime), good books, pay day, a few cool days to break up the heat, wearing pajamas more than regular clothes, Downward Dog the TV show (which I have to watch when the dogs aren’t around because they think our TV is just a big window and the dogs on TV are real and trying to get us), sour cherry juice, berry pie, cabbage rolls, a big salad, fresh eggs, meditation, a hot shower with clean water and a clean towel, sunflowers, wildflowers, bees and ladybugs.

 

Something Good

Columbine, image by Eric Salahub

1. Fifteen Minutes from Jena Schwartz.

2. Lots of interviews and articles about Roxane Gay’s new book, which btw is so good: ‘Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body,’ by Roxane Gay, and A Lifetime of Aftermath: Roxane Gay’s “Hunger” Dares You Not to Look Away, and Why It’s Fine to Not Be a “Good” Fat Person, and Other Lessons from Roxane Gay.

3. This is the real me: This little girl and this one. (Video)

4. Cat doesn’t Understand what the kittens are for. Until they come closer and he knows it. (Video) Here’s another video of him trapped under a pile of kittens.

5. Dad Does Baby’s dread locks. (Video) The dancing in the tub though. #blackboyjoy

6. This father biked 1,400 miles to hear his late daughter’s heartbeat. (Video) I’m not crying, you’re crying. Be an organ donor!

7. This high-end fashion brand is getting called out for co-opting the Black Lives Matter message.

8. Toddler Leads Duck Army. (Video)

9. 10 MUTTS Comic Strips to Celebrate the First Day of Summer.

10. 15 Wholesome Memes Guaranteed to Brighten Your Day.

11. Fatphobia: 5 Facts and a Guide for the Disbeliever. This is from a few years ago, but it’s still worth reading.

12. These Alvin Ailey dancers are sharing their journey of love and dance, and it’s adorable AF.

13. White fragility is real: 4 questions white people should ask themselves during discussions about race. Another old one that’s still worth a read.

P.S. I knew I was forgetting one, and rather than wait until next week, I’m including it here now — 14. Creative Superheroes Podcast #14: Live Awake with Sarah Blondin. I shared one of the Live Awake podcasts a few weeks ago, have been listening to more and really liking them, so it was really fun to hear Andrea and Sarah talk more about how it came to be.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks with Eric and the dogs. There are so many mosquitoes by the river right now that we’ve had to temporarily reroute and walk through our neighborhood and around City Park instead. It’s a great place to walk later in the day in the summer because there’s lots of shade.

Sometimes when it’s hot in the afternoon, Ringo stops in the shade and takes a break (for being Australian, he does terrible in the heat)

The baby geese are so big right now that you can barely tell them apart from the adults

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

My view from the couch

3. Peonies. A few from my garden are still lingering.

4. Pie season. Peach, blackberry, marionberry, strawberry, and apple are my favorite. The first one Eric made is already gone.

So pretty it’s almost a shame to eat it…almost.

5. Eric. Besides being a master pie maker, he does what he has to in order to get great pictures.

The picture he took of Ringo

What he did to get the picture of Ringo

Bonus joy: breakfast with a friend, the first swimming suit I tried on being the one that worked AND it was on sale, naps, good books, good TV, fish tacos, coleslaw, fresh tortillas, pinto beans, clean sheets, being able to wear my pjs almost all day, some cool weather after too many days of too hot, good podcasts, teaching a surprise yoga class on International Yoga Day, clean water, a warm shower, nose work class with Ringo, sleeping in with Sam, laughing with Eric.

Choice

I am officially on Summer Break. This year I have two months off instead of three, and this is one of the summers we stay in Colorado rather than spend a few months on the Oregon Coast. I told Eric the other day that my favorite thing about vacation is I own my time in a way I just don’t when I’m working for someone else. The complication of that ownership is that I get to choose how I spend my time.

I could sleep in, have a lazy morning, take a shower but immediately put on clean pjs, get on the couch and binge watch television shows or movies, only getting up to eat and go to the bathroom.

I could get up early, do some laundry, walk dogs with Eric, go to the gym or a yoga class, shower, meditate, write, sit out in the back yard with Eric and the dogs, read or take a nap.

I could work on all the reading and contemplating and action from the various sources I’ve accumulated it.

I could plan some things to teach or get together with friends.

I could email Amy about using our last two training sessions with the dogs, answer those emails that have been sitting in my Life Wholehearted inbox for way too long, schedule some people to come give us a bid on putting in a new fence for us, recaulk the bathtub, go through the pile on my desk, get texture spray and paint to fix the places on the walls where they put in our insulation, paint the outside of the house, weed the flower beds, make an appointment with the dermatologist, buy a new swimming suit and bras, mail the things sitting on my desk, install the new modem they sent us months ago, clean out the garage.

Or, I could do nothing. No plan, just whatever I feel like doing next, even if it’s absolutely nothing.

I get to choose. I am fully aware of my privilege, and also my anxiety.

Something Good

Close up of a pink peony flower

One of the last ones from my garden

1. Notes from the Lower Level an essay from Camille Dungy. Her new book of essays is out now, Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History, and is so good. I wrote a short article about it for work, and will write more about it here later because there’s more to say.

2. Bad things keep happening. The acquittal in Philando Castile’s killing makes clear that black lives still do not matter, and Muslim Teen Killed in Virginia After Leaving a Mosque, and Pregnant Seattle Woman Calls Police, Ends Up Dead. As we all know, this is not a complete list.

3. Young Photographer Highlights Every-Day Racism.

4. Little Boxes. This is streaming right now on Netflix, and is really good — the kind of good that is also sad and hard.

5. Diverse Bookish Instagram Accounts to Follow. In related news, Lena Waithe curates her favorite films by LGBTQ+ artists, and How Black Creators Are Breaking Barriers By Using Scripted Podcasts For Storytelling.

6. When my dog died, I didn’t understand why it felt like a human had died. Then I read the research.

7. Father’s day, Juneteenth, & Pride Bail Out Day.

8. Roxane Gay’s deeply personal Hunger explores relationship with her body. I’m reading it now, with all the feels. In related news, Roxane Gay Is The Hardest-Working Woman In Letters.

9. The Complexities Of My White Lady Friendships Post Election. In related news, White People Will Always Let You Down, and Beware of the So-Called “Woke” Allies.

10. 5 things you may have not realized are cultural appropriation. I posted this to Facebook this week, with the additional, “6. Using ‘tribe;’ to refer to your group,” and this clearly is an issue people have strong feelings about. For me, there’s still a lot of confusion about what is and what isn’t, but as I said on Facebook, for me it is a compassion practice. I listen carefully and deeply to native people and people of color, and if they say they feel harmed or oppressed, if they are suffering and I can do something to ease that, I will. Especially if it’s as simple, for example, as saying my community, my friends, or my people instead of “tribe.”

11. Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.4 Billion on The New York Times.

12. Getting Real from Sarah of The Cognitive Canine, a really great post about the highlights and the blooper reels of being a dog person.

13. Facebook Permanently Blacklisted Me From Their Site.

14. Jelanii Kabita’s message to families with LGBTQI kids, (Video). “Dancer Jelanii Kabita’s mother rejected his trans identity. After years of devastation, struggle, and growth, he has a powerful message for the families with LGBTQI kids.”

15. GAYCATION: Orlando (Full Episode). Watch the whole episode online for free.

16. ‘Gwyneth glows like a radioactive swan’ – my day at the Goop festival.

“You can’t honestly address ‘wellness’ – the things people need to be well – without addressing poverty and systemic racism, disability access and affordable healthcare, paid family leave and food insecurity, contraception and abortion, sex work and the war against drugs and mass incarceration. Unless, of course, you are only talking about the wellness of people whose lives are untouched by all of those forces. That is, the wellness of people who are disproportionately well already.”

17. Deported from Trump’s America, (Video). “This family has been split apart as deportations of immigrants without criminal records more than double under Trump.”

18. Tracy K. Smith named new U.S. poet laureate. In related news, Tracy K. Smith Is the New Poet Laureate from The New York Times.

19. Brit scientist could be about to CURE multiple sclerosis and provide hope for millions.

20. Burg’s Place still isn’t fully funded. When Amy made this page and the video, Burg was doing just fine and there was no reason to think that wouldn’t continue. Now that he’s gone, after everything happened so quickly, it seems even more important than ever to fully fund this request.

21. What your days look like from Austin Kleon. In related news, What Makes You Happy? from Kerilyn at Ancora Imparo.

22. How This “Fat Femme” Yoga Instructor Is Reshaping The $3 Trillion Wellness Industry.

23. Being in love and creating with Becky Chappell a new video from the Beyond the Gallery series.

24. Expanding Awareness: How Patterns of Interaction Support White Supremacy.

25. Start With a Flower: Alice Walker & Sharon Salzberg in Conversation.

26. Having a rough go of it? Dukkha, Baby. (Handle With Care.) from Adreanna Limbach.

27. #TheySaid Highlights Our Culture Of Body Shaming.

28. Dog photographer of the year 2017 – in pictures.