Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. We went by the river and around the ponds this week, but because of the time change, it was too dark to take any pictures. I keep my headlamp on the whole time, and the sun is only just coming up as we are almost home. Sam is back up to being able to walk four miles in the morning and that makes me so happy.

2. Sam came to live with us 10 years ago this week. We had planned on going to Lifeline Puppy Rescue over the weekend to get a new dog, the same place we got Obi and Dexter, but I was home sick midweek and looking on Craigslist, where I saw a listing for Sam from the woman fostering him and his brother for another local rescue. I emailed Eric and we agreed I’d email the foster mom. As soon as she emailed back, I knew we’d found our new puppy, and Dexter agreed, so we brought him home. They guessed he was about 12 weeks old, but he was probably closer to 8 or 9 and looked like a baby bear.

3. Spring is coming. It seems appropriate that I took this picture of the first crocuses in the dark, using the light of my headlamp. Things are getting so weird, but the birds have returned and flowers are blooming. Life is like that — tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal. Wash your hands and keep your heart open.

4. Practice. More than ever, it’s helping to keep me strong, stable, and sane.

5. My tiny family. There’s no one I’d rather be “stuck at home” with, and I’m so thankful that dogs and seemingly children won’t be seriously impacted by COVID-19.

Bonus joy: a safe and comfortable home to hunker down in, the rational and reasonable approach Colorado is taking to this pandemic, the ability to stay home for long stretches of time, the resources that make staying home for long stretches of time workable, that if/when we do get sick there won’t be much I need to cancel, the internet, good books, good podcasts, good TV, limes, clementines, sweet potatoes, a big glass of cold clean water, getting all the laundry done before lunchtime, hanging out on Zoom with friends, all those working so hard to keep people safe and healthy.

Something Good

1. Elizabeth Warren Nailed the Drake ‘Flip the Switch’ TikTok Challenge at ‘SNL’: Watch.

2. Yoga for All Bodies: Jessica Rihal is getting people to love their bodies – on and off the mat. In related news, For Black, Southern Women, Practicing Mindfulness Offers Escape.

3. Interview with Alison Brie: ‘The effects of trauma spider-webbed through the whole family.’

4. Black Woman-Owned “The Honey Pot” Attacked Online: Let’s Talk About Intersectional Feminism.

5. How One Man Turned His Backyard Garden Into a Full-Fledged Community Farmers Market.

6. Recipes I want to try: spiced cauliflower and potatoes + more, and 16 Decadent Pasta Dishes That Don’t Contain Dairy, and “Marry Me” Cookies, and Lemon Pound Cake.

7. There’s A Twitter Account That Posts Cow Pics Every Day Just To Make People Smile.

8. The Dixie Chicks Have Released Their First New Song In 14 Years And It’s Incredible.

9. High school student near Seattle builds website to serve as a leading place for coronavirus information.

10. 4 Common HSP Health Challenges (and How to Deal With Them).

11. i don’t know how to make you care about other people.

Like so many others, I’ve spent the week thinking about Democratic politics (exhausting!) and COVID-19 (also exhausting!) As many have noted, America is particularly susceptible to a burgeoning pandemic because of our broken health care system (specifically: the number of people who are un- or under-covered by insurance, and thus will opt not to seek care) and the number of workers who lack paid sick leave. But it also challenges the very American cult of the individual: the idea that you take care of you and yours, but also the idea that if you’re fine, then everything’s fine.

12. A post in which the F-word appears. Repeatedly. from Rita’s Notebook.

13. How to make a zine from a single sheet of paper from Austin Kleon.

14. What I think about COVID-19 this morning (a Google doc), a really helpful overview.

15. Afraid to Retire? What to Do on Day One.

16. Willie Nelson and His Son Lukas Covers “Just Breathe.”

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. On one this week the sky really lit up, and on another we walked through the snow by the river.

2. Good food. I’ve been avoiding campus or campus events and even most campus people cause it feels too soon, too tender, but this week I took myself to lunch at one of my old favorite work lunch spots right across the street from CSU.

3. Good content. I finished Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives and Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, both really helpful. I also finished watching Gentefied on Netflix, which was really good too, (although just dramatic enough I could only watch one episode a day).

4. Good friends. People I can trust, who make me laugh.

5. My tiny family. My favorites. Eric is such a good husband, offers me so much support and loves me so much, and I love that Ringo gets I’m also his person now that I’m home more often, and even though Sam triggered my anxiety last night waking up choke coughing, he eased it later when he got in bed and spooned with me.

Bonus joy: aqua aerobics, sitting in the sauna, yoga, meditation, this mantra, taco bean salad, fresh lemonade, tulips, bird song in the morning, a good therapist, Girl Scout Thin Mints, canceled plans, reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep, TV shows that are easy to watch (like HGTV’s House Hunters), coupons, grocery shopping, my new pen, clean soft pajamas, cooking with Eric, sunshine.

Something Good

From our walk, no filter

1. The First Body-Positive Children’s Book Just Came Out, and It’s Exactly What the World Needs Now.

2. 23 Instant Pot Recipes With No Meat Or Dairy.

3. 200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms.

4. She Coined the Term ‘Intersectionality’ Over 30 Years Ago. Here’s What It Means to Her Today.

5. Demi Lovato has opened up about her exercise addiction. Here’s how to spot one. “Lovato says she was exercising as much as three times a day, after each meal. ‘There were times I lived at the gym,’ she said. ‘I’d eat a meal, go work out. And that’s not happiness to me. That’s not freedom.'”

6. Black National Anthem. (video)

7. The High Note movie trailer.

8. AOC just flipped the entire ‘religious freedom’ argument on its head. (video)

9. How to Decolonize Your Yoga Practice.

10. Comebacks to Shutdown Fatphobia – Part 5 from Dances with Fat.

11. Fat Women Onscreen Deserve Better Than Crappy Love Interests.

12. The Diet Industrial Complex Got Me, and It Will Never Let Me Go.

13. Six Sentences I Can’t Forget. In related news, the post Rita wrote after reading it, 6 Sentences.

14. How to Be a Bodhisattva on Lion’s Roar. “It may seem like an unattainable ideal, but you can start right now as a bodhisattva-in-training. All you need is the aspiration to put others first and some inspiration from helpful guides like the Buddhist teachers found here.” In related news, also from Lion’s Roar, Why Bodhisattvas Need to Disrupt the Status Quo.

15. How to Be Perfect, a poem by Ron Padgett.

16. 8 Reasons Why Gentle Discipline Works Best With the Highly Sensitive Child.

17. Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. I just started watching this and I really love it.

18. NSFW Video Starring Cynthia Nixon Calls Out Double Standards For “Ladies”.

19. Stacey Abrams Is Building a New Kind of Political Machine in the Deep South. “Behind the scenes with the policy wonk, power broker, romance novelist, lawyer and entrepreneur who just might be our next vice president.”

20. 9 Tips for Staying Safe in Yoga Classes.

21. Andrea Gibson: Come to Where I’m From Podcast Episode #75. (video)

22. 58 Body Positive Journal Prompts. “Dig deep into the hows and whys of improving your body image with these thoughtful writing, journaling and meditation prompts.”

23. Susanna Bauer Examines the Tension Between Strength and Fragility in Her Stitched Leaves.

Gratitude Friday

1. The last bit of winter. I think I’ve mentioned it: as much as I love my garden and all the green and sun of spring and summer, living in Colorado I actually prefer the weather in fall and winter. We’ve been getting snow pretty regularly this month, but I can hear the birds singing in the morning and it is getting light much earlier, so spring is close. I’m savoring this last bit of cold and snow.

2. Good food. I made this Sweet Potato Salad with Pepita Dressing from Smitten Kitchen (my favorite recipe site) this week, added in some spinach because I had some that was wilting and needed to be used, and it was SO good. Pretty much anything with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, and spinach is going to be something I like, and the lime really made this salad. I love trying new recipes, especially when they turn out well and are something I want to eat again.

3. Teaching yoga. This week in my regular class, I talked about “completing the stress cycle.” This is the time of year when people are getting sick and feeling fatigued by the dark and cold, and I had one person with a knee injury and another with a hurt back. I was also pretty sore from doing 120+ push ups in a fitness class the day before and extra tired from a people-y week, so teaching was a challenge, but also the best medicine.

4. Good TV. I watched The Stranger and Safe on Netflix this week. They are both based on books by the same author, murder mysteries with lots of interpersonal drama and intrigue, and even though it seems like those things would be triggering for someone with anxiety issues, they are weirdly calming in small doses. I’m also rewatching The Office, one of the only comedies that seems to stand the test of time, and there’s always House Hunters to round it out. I’m also reading some good books and listening to a bunch of good podcasts and good music. There seriously isn’t enough time to consume all the worthy content, let alone create some.

5. My tiny family. Last night while I was watching TV, Ringo got in my lap, and seriously there is nothing better than a warm cuddly dog on a cold night. Sam does his cuddle shift in the morning, in the hour or so before the alarm goes off.

Sam grows his own socks in the winter

Bonus joy: pay day, Girl Scout Thin Mints, napping, clean pjs, clean sheets, a warm cup of cocoa coffee while I write in the morning, writing with Carrie, hanging out with Mikalina, aqua aerobics, morning walks with the dogs, blue sky, good neighbors, my tiny house, sitting in the sauna with Eric, texting, therapy, grocery shopping.

Something Good

From our walk

1. 86-year-old comedian Lynn Ruth Miller, who started her career in stand-up at age 71. (video)

2. Mr. Prather is a Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher who created a “pamper day” for his kids. (video)

3. Tracee Ellis Ross talks with Oprah. (video)

4. Dogs Will Outlive Us All on Great Big Story, (video). “Dogs might have a shot at outliving us all, according to American Museum of Natural History scientist Dr. Jack Tseng. Look no further than inside their mouths to find out why they’re such evolutionary marvels.”

5. What About the Cost of Retreats? “Many Buddhist practitioners can’t afford to go on retreats. Pamela Ayo Yetunde says it’s time we start thinking about how to make the practice less exclusive.”

6. Why Trauma Survivors Shouldn’t Think They Are ‘Lazy’.

7. Why Veggies Won’t Save Health Care in Real Life. “Someone could be following the perfect diet according to our dominant wellness culture’s standards. But, all those antioxidants from fruits and veggies cannot stand up to the effects of systemic oppression, generational trauma, and, yes, even something as small as the chronic stress from nightly homework struggles.” Wellness and health are so much bigger than what you put in your mouth and how you move your body. The fact that we don’t acknowledge that truth is one of the reasons we stay so sick.

8. SmartPetLove’s Snuggle Puppy Could Be The Cure For Your Dog’s Stress. We had one of these for Ringo and I think it really helped him. It came with a battery operated heart and you could put a handwarmer inside. That combined with a small fleece blanket that smelled like his biological mama made him able to settle down and sleep so much faster and easier.

9. 14 Writers Choose One Book That Gives Them Hope in a Dark Time.

10. Good stuff from Dances with Fat: Does Being Fat Cause Arthritis? Does That Even Matter?, and Compassion From Doctors Isn’t A Substitute For Evidence-Based Care, and I Can’t Believe People Are Still Pushing Calories In/Calories Out, and Celebrating Black Fat Activists.

11. How to Practice Hugging Meditation on Lion’s Roar. “Nothing warms the heart like a loving hug. To make the experience even deeper and more healing, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us this practice of hugging meditation he created.”

12. A cheery and helpful guide: How to be happy. Make sure to check out the comments too.

13. 5 ways white allies can honor Black History Month all year long.

14. Adult Life Can Be Lonely, so Here’s How I Build Community as an Introvert.

15. Journaling Prompts to Relieve Stress: 10 for Morning + 10 for Evening on Be More With Less.

16. Upcoming Group Show at Beinart Gallery Celebrates the Intricate Art of Miniatures.

17. How would you feel after six years living in a converted school bus? (video)

18. Lab Experiment Accidentally Gave Students Caffeine Dose Equal To 300 Coffees. Whoa!

19. Malena Ernman on daughter Greta Thunberg: ‘She was slowly disappearing into some kind of darkness’.

20. Sweet Potato Salad with Pepita Dressing. Wanna try it.

21. 20 of the Best Book Club Books of the Decade.

22. The Danger of WW and Rebranding Diets as ‘Wellness.’

23. I Learned Yoga/Buddhism Through an Abusive Group. Now I Teach It. What Do I Do?

24. “I Fail Almost Every Day”: An Interview with Samin Nosrat. “The author of ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ on fame, veganism, depression, and writing a new cookbook.”

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. Yesterday was only six degrees and it had snowed late the night before, so we drove to the park to walk by the river, (the city is better about getting the trail cleared than our neighbors are about clearing their sidewalks). Sure it was foggy and cold, but it was so pretty.

There are two deer out in that field

Ringo had frosty whiskers

2. Going to a show with Eric. It was the last one we have tickets to this season at the Lincoln Center. I’m so glad he likes to go to shows, everything from a musical to comedy.

3. Our new living room. The carpet and sectional and bookshelves and plant Eric bought me make it all so cozy.

4. Honoring what I need. This week it meant a few new books, cancelling some plans, eating whatever I wanted, watching dumb TV, and taking long naps.

5. My tiny family. They are my favorite.

Bonus joy: sitting in the sauna on a really cold day, a warm shower, clean pjs, reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep, drinking cocoa coffee while writing in the morning, sitting under my infrared heating pad, how when I back into the parking spot at the park the sidewalk is tall enough that Sam hardly has to jump to get into the back of the car, teaching yoga, writing with Carrie, how good walking in the pool feels when my knee is sore, cute pictures of my grand niece that remind me how cute her mama was when she was little, laughing in the car with Eric way harder than we’d laughed inside at the comedy show, the new griddle he ordered, cooking dinner with him, a big glass of cold clean water, letting go a little.