Joy generator

In case you need a dose of joy or a break, NPR has a “Joy Generator” that includes activities from poetry to drawing to looking at cute animals. Check it out here.

Potential topics for future blogging

I keep on starting blog posts and then not getting very far with them. I’m going to write a list of topics and see if I expand on any of them at least briefly. Or perhaps this is a list that I can return to for future blog entries. Or maybe it’s just an update that includes a variety of topics.

How having a dog, especially one who is allergic to chicken, makes me aware of how many people throw out part of their fast food chicken meals onto the street in our neighborhood. Don’t throw chicken out your window, people! (This might be all I can really say about this, unless it’s to write an imaginary letter to these people or to my dog).

How I don’t know if I want to return to the old normal, but I’m willing to take slow steps towards a “new normal.” In any case, I’m not in a rush.

How it’s now been seven years since I voluntary admitted myself into a psychiatric hospital.

Doing my Nia Brown Belt online from January through April.

On exhaustion, burnout, and finding a sustainable way past it. (Both past and present).

Mental health and social media. I know that I struggle between desiring to connect and having the feeling that being on social media is mentally like being in a crowded room. I know I have to limit myself for my mental health, and I also know others who seem to benefit from it personally.

Revisiting my sensory processing issues and how I experience the world with them now.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’m going to hit publish on this post before I leave it as a draft any longer.

Link roundup 4/9

From the New York Times: We have hit a wall: On many people’s state of minds a year into the pandemic.

From Rolling Stone: Atlanta Spa Shootings: What Korean-Language Media Told Us That the Mainstream Media Didn’t.

Scientists Debate Who Would Really Win Godzilla vs. King Kong

On starting with your body to regulate anxiety.

From Salon: An interview with the author of The Sum of Us about how racism and racist policies affect everyone.

From Vox: The problem with “mom boss” culture.

From Spin: A recent interview with the Indigo Girls.

Odds and ends: busy/not busy contrast

Me: With a busy weekend with assignments, work, etc.: We should catch up on cleaning, and I should start to sort my beads, and get my stuff together for taxes and…

Also me: With free time: I just want to do nothing.

2020: looking back, looking forward.

2020 began feeling like any other year…and then it went….well, you know how it went. You know how when you’re little and a day or a week feels like it takes forever? This year felt more like that to me.

There was also a lot of change, day to day, week to week. While I rarely left my neighborhood, there was so much physically going on in the country and the world. The pandemic and varying degrees of lockdown and protests and the election and….you know, you can probably read a more succinct summary of what happened that was considered newsworthy this year. Like here. And here. Here’s some of NPR’s global stories from 2020 that are not about the pandemic.

There were the weeks of transition for me where all my classes shifted online in March — both the one I was taking and the one I was doing supplemental instruction sessions for — and that was a lot to deal with all at once. And then experimenting with teaching Nia online…I still feel that I’m in the process of learning what works best as far as the technology goes.

There were moments where I wondered what I would have thought last January had someone told me how this year would unfold. Also, have you seen Julie Nolke’s YouTube shorts about talking to her past self about the pandemic? Four episodes total and worth watching. Start with the first episode here.

The true highlight of this year for us personally was getting our dog from a local dog rescue organization. He has brought joy and laughter (and walks outside!) to our lives at a time when we really needed it. He’s willful and zany and sweet and goofy…and totally the right dog for us.

See all the cuteness? He’s really great.

I tend to get annoyed by taglines about “How to make 2021 your year!” or other similar statements. Granted, I’ve never been much of a fan of resolutions or high doses of ultra-positive affirmations, particularly not in the past few years. And then looking at the silver linings of 2020…they are there, especially on an immediate personal level. But they are also there with a lot of miserable and awful stuff. I had quite a few moments of breaking down and grieving and being frustrated and feeling helpless this year. I miss my family. I miss New Mexico. I want…well, I want things to be different than they are. But I also expect that it will take a while for life to change to something resembling the normality of the past, and I don’t have an expectation for a timeline on that.

So I will end with this: I am grateful that my family and I are currently healthy. I am grateful to have work that I enjoy and tentative plans for the future. I am grateful for regular dance and monthly hikes. I am grateful for the companionship and love of my husband and our relationship; we are truly a team even when times aren’t easy. I hope this next year will have more highlights than this one, both personally and on a global level. My hope is to take one day at a time, to see as clearly as I can…and hope. I can’t always hope for the best, but I can hope for better.

So, goodbye 2020. Welcome, 2021! Happy New Year!

11/6 link roundup

Blog post on the U.S. and our current character as a nation.

From Anti-Racism Daily: On the history of the electoral college and the case for abolishing it.

From Today: 10 books that gave the recommenders hope.

From Salon: How to fix the country’s empathy problem.

From Vogue: How Stacey Abrams is turning the tide in Georgia

Published this summer and still relevant if baking reduces your stress level: 30 stress baking recipes that bloggers recommend.

From NPR: 5 ways to deal with stress while waiting for election results (also probably good things to do when stressed out in general)

From CNN: 50 ways to get through election week.

Link roundup 10/30: Please vote! 2020 edition

November 3, 2020 is Election Day in the U.S and it’s only a few short days away! For those of you who are eligible and haven’t voted yet, please vote! If you have already voted, thank you!

Not registered? These states offer same-day voter registration on election day.

Locate a polling place, where you can drop off your ballot, and more here.

Why vote? Here are 5 reasons why.

How to respond when someone says their vote doesn’t matter.

What will my ballot look like? Ballotpedia has a sample ballot look-up tool.

Take care of yourself: Conscious self-care during the election season. 10 self-care ideas. Make a post-election self-care plan.

Bits and Pieces: an update

I haven’t really been feeling the inclination to blog much. It’s also that sometimes I think and feel like there’s simultaneously so much to say, although perhaps less to update on a day-to-day basis. So this post is a gathering of things.

Where I was almost a year ago with my mom. This was our view from our hotel room in Springdale, Utah, just outside of Zion National Park. I would never have imagined then how much would change in a few short months, and I am so grateful that we had this time to spend together.

Near Sedona, Arizona, end of December 2019. Since 2015 we’ve (my spouse, my father, and I) spent a few days over the holidays here. As it looks like now, 2020 will be the first year in many years that we won’t go anywhere for the holidays.

Posting these photos brings joy, nostalgia, grief. So many feelings at once. These times were wonderful and I don’t know when I will see either of my parents, who both live in different states.

It’s challenging to have spent so much of the time over many months within the same four walls; so much changes, and so much stays the same. Perhaps that is true for non-pandemic times as well, but now the contrast, or lack thereof, is clearer or harsher.

End of February, 2020, Lake Mead, to celebrate my birthday. My memories of this outing are even more sweet — and bittersweet — because it was so close to the time of the lockdown and where everything changed. I was aware of the pandemic, it was there, but it didn’t seem quite real, not yet.

And there were highlights even then: the hummingbird broods nesting on our porch (two broods; a total of four birds fledged) in April/May and July. The picture above is from May and these two were about to fledge.

Like many people during these quarantine times, I baked bread. It generally tastes better than it looks, so I don’t think I have any pictures on hand. I did that almost weekly for a while. Like many things, the novelty wore off.

While we’re more used to having a pet member of the family now, his novelty hasn’t worn off. This is our dog. We adopted from a local rescue in late July. He’s a four-year-old Shiba Inu. Among other things, Shibas are known for their independence (read: willfulness and self-containment, sometimes almost to a catlike extent), as well as their fox-like appearance. They are the smallest of the Japanese snow dogs, the largest of which is an Akita.

He deserves at least one full post devoted to him alone. He’s a bright spark in our lives. He has given us many reasons to go outside, find delight in play, and live in the moment. He’s a wonderful addition to our quirky household.

Also, our dog absolutely loves hiking, which has given us more motivation to go ourselves. We love hiking, but often don’t make time for it, so it’s great to have him to give us that extra push to go. Hiking and being out in nature has been such a great way to get away and take a break.

Pictures from two of our hikes:

I think I’ll end this update here for now. Perhaps I’ll post more soon.

Link roundup 8/14

So I’ve been continuing to gather links…and then I don’t post them. Which means that a lot of what I have may be outdated. So I’m going to post a few things here today and resolve to post it before I leave the room and/or get caught up in other things.

A book I’ve recently read and would recommend: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Premise: Two half sisters in Ghana with no knowledge of each other; one is sold into slavery while the other is not. This is their story and the story of their descendants.

Six ways to help save the post office that take less than two minutes.

Write postcards to help encourage people to vote! You can sign up with MomsRising (who will provide postcards and sample content). Postcards to Voters is also looking for volunteers to write postcards.

From Vice: Talking to friends about whether to hang out during the pandemic.

Want to add a little surprise in your life and something to look forward to receiving? Check out these reviews of 20 Best Subscription Boxes under $15.

From Politico: 55 things you need to know about Kamala Harris (her life, history, accomplishments).

Link roundup 7/18

A Black medical student created a handbook on how certain conditions appear on darker skin.

From The Atlantic: The role of cognitive dissonance in the pandemic.

Top feminist organizations plagued by racism, 20 former staffers say.

Six positive developments about COVID-19 from The Washington Post.

Asheville, North Carolina’s city council has voted to provide reparations to Black residents and their descendants for the history of slavery and discrimination.

A new study shows that working moms have reduced their working hours 4 to 5 times more than dads during the pandemic.

Some amazing pictures of birds from the Audubon Society’s annual photography awards.