It’s tempting to say this year was filled with nothing but loss — the deaths of my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, and a friend/critique partner, plus parting ways with my agent. But that’s not the whole story.
I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago as I dealt with the resurfacing of a childhood trauma. I did a lot of work with my therapist in the first half of this year and am much stronger and more centered. That’s a huge win.
This past year I also took my first-ever solo camping trip which made me nervous to contemplate (see above), and ended up having a glorious time.
And while I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, I did want to continue my Hoop Dancing Challenge tradition. In 2021, I hoop-danced for just over 24 hours. And this year? Well, I logged 27 hours and 11 minutes!
Here I am this afternoon with my trusty hoop that brings me so much joy. I’m incredibly grateful to have this outlet, especially on days when it’s a struggle to get out of bed to face another day of our harsh reality. But music and movement kept me going. Hooray for funk!
Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year! Don’t forget to dance in 2023!
final moments of the day
sun sets short again
Now it’s your turn
hit me with a haiku
January 31, 2022
Tripod plus timer
portrait success elusive
sun sets on sitting
It’s the last day of 2019 and the final day of the decade, which feels like an awful lot of pressure. What exactly have I accomplished in that time?
I quickly realized that contemplating this past year and the previous nine years was not morale-boosting if I only focused on my quest for traditional publication of my novels. So. I shifted my gaze to another aspect of my life.
Self-portrait, December 31, 2019.
I just went through my calendar and added up all my 2019 hoop-dancing sessions. And you know what? I hooped for 1,162 minutes this year (and there’s still time to add more today)! All those minutes translate to just over 19 hours of hoop-dancing this year. Nineteen hours of me dancing, whether I felt like it or not, knowing I always, always feel better after a hoop session. I didn’t sell the novel about my beloved character Poppy Valentine this year, but I danced myself through that disappointment (and the overall fog of hard-times-on-the-planet) and drafted another book.
Hoop-dancing and drafting? Not too shabby. Turns out I did accomplish a few things in 2019.
Happy New Year to everyone! May we all keep dancing in 2020!
let’s hoop it up, yo.
Last night the Boulder/Denver hub of the Sunrise Movement held a town hall meeting on the Green New Deal. It was organized by the two young leaders who worked their tails off to put it together. I’m the group’s token Baby Boomer (my words, not theirs) and was proud to assist Michele Weindling and Nick Tuta as I could. We had over 100 people show up on Memorial Day, many of them young people who care so deeply about the climate crisis they dedicated their last evening of the long weekend to activism. Impressive and humbling.
As I listened to the speeches from young activists and watched the Green New Deal presentation that included the many, many challenges facing young people today (decision to not have children due to climate crisis, crushing student debt, stagnant wages and tight job field, etc.) I teared up. And when those same speakers declared their resolve and refusal to back down from their demands for real action on the climate crisis and environmental equality/justice, I wept some more.
These young people aren’t going to take No for an answer and politicians best wise up. They either need to Step Up or Step Aside. We need a Green New Deal.
Forgot my camera so have just this one blurry shot of me in my Green New Deal bandana. We had a table for people to make one for themselves, their kids, or dogs.
Please support the young people in their efforts for a sustainable future and contact your representatives to demand they co-sponsor this aspirational resolution. Thank you in advance!
This was me all week
scanning trees in confusion
who’s singing that song?
And yet, when I came across this forgotten selfie on my phone I immediately fell in love with it. Because the photo took me back to where it was taken: on our Rustler’s Gulch hike in Crested Butte last July. Zippy and I’d climbed the trail at the end of the valley to sit on a huge outcropping to eat our lunch. Everywhere we looked was absolutely glorious. Up, down, side to side. Blue sky, fluffy clouds, wildflowers, stream, trees, mountains. Nature at her very best.
But this selfie isn’t just a reminder of the natural splendor we witnessed on that hike. Our expressions are also documentation of how very happy Zippy and I were that day. The poorly framed image and those nostrils only add to the good memories.
Tried to capture joy
of dog’s bouncing ears, pert tail
December is a tough month for me because of the short days and colder temperatures. I try hard to get outside every day, but when it’s below freezing I stay inside. Today was sunny and warmer than the rest of this week so I took Emma for a run. We were both exceedingly happy to be outside and moving. The shady parts of the streets were a bit chilly, but whenever the sun hit me it felt warm and wonderful. I’m definitely more upbeat as a result of our outing.
Post-run selfie as the sun slips behind the hill.
Unfortunately, the sun’s already setting behind the foothills and we’ll soon be in shadows. But my dose of sunshine, exercise, and Emma’s happy face will get me through another short December day.
Today I met a friend at the Denver Botanic Gardens. She has a membership and treated me (for the umpteenth time) to a guest pass. Here’s one of the dazzling flower and plant displays at the entrance:
There were many plants I recognized and many more I did not. For instance, what is this?
In my photo file I labeled it “Poky Plant,” but I’m nearly 100% sure that’s not the right name.
Then there’s the Dragon Arum otherwise known as Dracunculus vulgaris. When I showed this photo to Zebu he said the exact same thing my friend had remarked: “Dracunculus vulgaris is a Harry Potter spell.”
It was a lovely couple hours at the gardens and now I’m back home in front of my computer, getting psyched up to tackle my revisions.
May my thoughts stay still longer than the water spiders in that last photo.
. . . to take this photo of Marcel (the cat who generously repositioned himself on the floor so as to be visible to me in the mirror as I lifted weights) and Emma (the pup who ran in and plopped down next to my feet).
Who says weight-lifting has to be a solo event?
Lost in the shadow
ant hill intended subject
I have a birthday coming up which means my driver’s license is about to expire. I tried to renew it online this morning, but was told I didn’t qualify. This means two things:
(1) I have to go wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and (2) I have to get a new photo taken.
I’m not a photogenic person, however, my current driver’s license photo is pretty good. By that, I mean I don’t wince every time I take it out of my wallet. From my perspective, that’s the definition of “keeper.” That past success should make me optimistic of getting another non-wince-inducing photo, right? Wrong.
- Colorado no longer issues colored driver’s licenses; they are now grayscale.
- Colorado no longer allows people who wear glasses every single moment of their waking lives to wear those glasses in their photos.
- Colorado no longer allows people to smile in their photos.
No color. No glasses. No smiles.
Gee, I can’t wait to see what my new driver’s license photo looks like. Except, I already know what it’ll look like: as drab and unlike the real me as my passport photo which is also No Color, No Glasses, No Smile.
I am so angry right now. Not because I’m vain (I am), but because we’ve become a fear-based society that’s given up our civil liberties in the name of increased security. I don’t know about you, but facial recognition software doesn’t make me feel any more secure. The surveillance state doesn’t make me feel more secure.
I’m debating whether to show up at the DMV wearing my colander:
Other Pastafarians have taken a stand with their driver’s license photos, and maybe I should do the same. The shiny metal would certainly brighten up what will otherwise be a dreary photo.
Me and my french press
on National Coffee Day.
Warm. Caffeine. Goodness.
Emma hogging all the room on my yoga mat.
Today is the day, I thought. Today, the photo of me with the Stabby bus will make its blog debut. (The image was captured our first day in Uppsala. Zebu spotted the bus coming up the street, and I quickly handed off my phone and posed next to it when it stopped. Those who know me well know that I quite frequently “feel stabby,” which is why I was thrilled when Zebu captured the original Stabby bus image for me.)
Today is one of those “I’m feeling stabby” days. So I went back and found the photo.
Huh? That woman does NOT look as if she’s feeling stabby. She’s smiling, happy, and, aside from the claw-like curve to her right hand**, looks pretty damned relaxed. Not at all stabby.
I almost gave up on today’s stabby theme. And then it hit me: this photo is perfect for today’s post. Why? Because the reason for my stabby feelings is that I’m struggling with two characters’ friendship in the opening pages of my new project. I’m struggling to smooth out their interactions so as to establish their relationship and character arcs, and suddenly, it feels as if the first 60 pages are a steaming pile of mixed messages.
So what better photographic representation of mixed messaging than this photo of the smiling me next to the Stabby bus?
HA! I’m suddenly feeling slightly less stabby.
** me simulating holding a pointy object in preparation of stabby motions.
I dislike having my picture taken.
I dislike seeing photographs of myself.
I would much rather I didn’t care one way or the other.
I just used my old phone to take a few pics of myself
and I’m posting them here.
Call it photographic immersion therapy.
A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks.
~ Richard Avedon
As I perused my photos, hoping to pluck an image or two from the obscurity of my hard drive, I came across a couple unsettling pics.
Years after this ash tree was photographed, it was attacked by an unidentified blight and is no longer in our garden.
(Just realized that the neighbor’s crab apple tree in the background was also cut down. Not to mention that the snow is also long-gone. HAHAHA! Ahem.) Then there’s this selfie for a passport photo from a “few” years back:
Those glasses, the dangling jewelry, the barely-gray hair . . . no longer. The only constant is my deer-in-the-headlights expression whenever a camera’s aimed at me.
HAPPY HUMP DAY, EVERYONE!