Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 18Apr21

The mornings here lately have been cool and lovely. Anyone who has lived here for a year or more knows to appreciate these mornings, as they will quickly be a distant memory.

I went out on the back patio and took the Nikon. The birds chatter endlessly out there—not complaining!—and I figured if I sat out there a while, they’d fly in and fly out and maybe I could catch a few.

I know very little about birds, so I don’t know what most of these are.

The first one to show up was on the neighbor’s roof. There had been two, but even with camera already in hand, I wasn’t fast enough to catch both.

The neighbor on the other side has an enormous dead tree in the yard. I’m not excited about its damage potential, especially if we have a proper monsoon season this year, but the birds love it. And when I’m out there in the morning, the sun is behind them and I get silhouette shots which I enjoy.

A tree in the front yard of a back yard neighbor—a hummingbird! Still, one day I will catch one in action. Today’s not the day.

The lead photo and this one are of the most common sightings of stationary birds—on the wall. (We have walls here in lieu of fences. It’s depressing.)

And, at the times when there were no birds … our tomato plants from last spring are still going strong (which is amazing!).

And the Climbing Daddy has taken to rooting plants—most often cactus—from clippings. At some point, we’re going to do our front yard and put them out there. For now, they’re in pots.

Have a great week!

Posted in audience participation, connections, differences, know better do better, mindset, motivation, parenting, vulnerability

LISTEN—it’s about all of us

It doesn’t feel right to prattle on about the usual things today.

The problem of gun violence is overwhelming.

The problem of black people murdered by police is overwhelming.

The problem of racism is overwhelming.

There are solutions or partial solutions to these, and we rationalize our way around them.

How do we connect when there’s little to no willingness for vulnerability? If you show up for the conversation with your army and I show up with mine, the best possible outcome is a stalemate.

“You go first” “No you go first” has the same result.

We—white people—have so much fear of losing.

Community isn’t a zero-sum game. When the “least” among us does better, everyone does better. (I hate the word “least” because of the value judgment. What if our gold standard was compassion? The “least” among us would be some very different people…and it would be better for everyone.)

We’re all people. We all have some similarities in emotions and wants and needs. But not everyone’s life and experience and motivation is the same as yours. (And it’s often not what you judge it to be, either.)

Listen.

Especially when you’re triggered or feel dismissive.

Listen.

It’s not about you.


To my friends of color, to other people of color who I’m not acquainted with… to the mamas…

It’s easy to say “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” and to offer a platitude that way.

I don’t want to offer platitudes. So I took some time, and I sat, and I imagined it, the best that I can.

And I wept.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that this is part of your parenthood. I’m sorry that this is what we offer you. I’m sorry I can’t fix it. I feel like my voice doesn’t matter—because it’s small, because it’s white, because the people who need the lessons aren’t listening—but for whatever audience I have, in a variety of contexts, my voice is all I have.

Posted in about me, connections, gifts, mindset, thoughtfulness

Delight in small things

“Hey, you got a card from someone,” The Climbing Daddy said one day last week when he brought in the mail.

There wasn’t an occasion or anything attached to it—just a card that said, in sum, “I’m glad our paths crossed” from a relatively new friend.

It was lovely. It made my day. I have it standing up at my little workstation in the living room.

Ten days ago, I injured my foot. I thought it might be broken with a small or hairline fracture. X-rays indicated otherwise, but I couldn’t put weight on it for several days, couldn’t walk on it normally for a week, and still have a limited amount of walking I can do before it complains.

A friend lent me a pair of crutches and a kneely scooter so I could get around better. The crutches she had handy but the scooter was a bit of a pain on her end. And she delivered both to my house.

The dog was already here and did not go back in the basket. He wasn’t a fan.

A few weeks ago, a friend gifted me a copy of a book she had told me about that sounded really interesting. (I finished reading it last week! It was as good as I’d expected.)

All of these incidents made my life better.

We underestimate the goodness we can bring to someone else’s life through small gestures. One of those cost nothing but time and gas money. The next cost a card, a stamp and some time. The last cost a paperback book.

Most people are delighted by happy surprises (though many prefer not to have an audience for said surprise). Mailing a card or ordering a book or giving/lending something you don’t need right now (or ever) can be a bright spot in someone’s day.

And also—the other things on my work station?

One was a box that a paper crafting friend of mine made for me for my birthday that I keep there because it’s lovely (the lead photo is a close-up of the front) and sums up where my professional life is right now.

The other is a LEGO minifigure that Rocket Kid made of me with a camera. The hair is more generous than mine, but I love the camera detail. (The other LEGO is a critter he made. We disagreed about whether the two black pieces are antennae or legs.)

All that to say—sometimes, things are not only nice in the moment, but they stick.

Take a bit of time to do something for someone, whether it’s someone in your house or not. (Imagine the surprise someone in your house would have to receive a card in the mail from you!)

Do something not electronic. Make a phone call, send a card or a letter or a small token gift, see if you have something someone else can use. Make someone’s day. It’ll make yours, too.

Who are you going to delight?


If sending a card is a great idea and you don’t already have some on hand, you can find beautiful cards that come with stamps already affixed here.