Does Your Subconscious Try to Sabotage You?

As you know, I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, consulting at Dell on the software I worked with at the previous job. The new job features a very smart team, some fun clients to work with, and a reasonable and kind boss. These are all good things! I’ve completed a couple of little projects and a sorta big one already, and everyone seems pleased with it. No problems there!

This angst-filled woman keeps making an appearance in my dreams. That’s me and Eudora in the early 1980s.

But, my dreams have just not left me alone! I keep dreaming that I am unable to finish things, that I have messed something up (including one where I completely forgot how to use the software I was demonstrating). I’ve dreamed repeatedly of people telling me I’m not fitting in, am a poor worker, and that I don’t know what I’m doing.

Gee whiz, subconscious, what are you trying to say here, that I am Imposter Syndrome Queen or something? I’ve been doing really well in my waking hours with not taking criticism to heart, realizing that whatever went wrong in the previous job was not all me and had to do with something I wasn’t even aware of. I’ve been doing GREAT at not expecting everyone in the world to like me or think highly of my work. I am not basing my self esteem on someone else’s opinion, while still trying to do good work and owning my mistakes. That all sounds fairly adult of me (about time).

To change the subject, my it was a dewy morning.

These things you develop as you are growing up really stick with you, don’t they? I was always so darned fixated on pleasing my dad and my teachers that when I made the slightest error I was horrible to myself. The hardest thing I ever did was give up on academia, because even though it was the best thing for me to do for ME, I was so concerned about disappointing my family and my professors. So outwardly focused.

No matter how much better I’m doing and how much I learn, little Suna keeps peeking out and waving around to remind me that I’m still a bit of a mess, just like everyone else is (thank goodness I realize THAT now).

I did have a weird work-related dream that made me laugh, though. I dreamed I wanted a Wendy’s walnut burger (??). I had not been to Wendy’s in a long time and it had changed since COVID into a weird antiseptic, white subway-tiled place, where you went in one at a time to order. When it was my turn, the server told me that before I could order, I had to set up my Wendy’s PIN.

Something else to make you laugh. Brown Chick riding on top of Star. Black Chick did it later!

Well, that was fine, I guessed. Then the server told me that my PIN had to be the number that corresponded to one of the things that was on a laminated sheet of paper. The paper had on it photos of various things. I can remember a glass of wine and some piece of clothing. I said, “I don’t have any numbers associated with those things.” The server insisted that I had to use MY number for one of the things.

It’s cozy up here.

I finally decided there was a number I could associate with one of them, and asked the guy, “So, where do I write it down?” He looked at me, all fuzz-faced and panicked, and said, “I don’t know! I just started!”

I was never so glad to hear an alarm go off.

Happy Monday.

You Pay a Price for Being Yourself

This was written sort of without editing. I’m glad I have a place to mull over my thoughts, even ones I will find silly tomorrow after some sleep.

Suna the self absorbed (yet another put-down label; maybe that should be introspective)

I’ve been thinking and thinking about a meme I saw earlier this week. It’s one of those things that’s intended to empower and embolden women in the workplace and beyond. I used to take those things to heart and work hard to be my authentic self.

Authentic me, pondering.
I added: Negative: Keep pointing out problems.

I grew up being told to be quiet, that children should be seen and not heard. I was labeled bossy, a lot, for being assertive. I asked way to many questions. When there was an elephant in a room, I pointed it out. These were not good. I was difficult.

Also, I was empathetic, tried to help others, and didn’t mind sharing credit. I asked things politely rather than barking out orders, and didn’t mind at all explaining why I wanted things done a certain way. I felt like that got buy-in and created cohesive teams. That was good, I think.

It can truly be exhausting to have to pretend you are someone you’re not in order to keep a job, keep the peace, keep your reputation, etc. And whoa, have I done a lot of all those things in the past few years. I’ve been constantly checking my Zoom camera to be sure I’m smiling and looking pleasant in meetings. I’ve deleted and rewritten so many emails, chat posts, Facebook statuses, and so on. I do pretty well most of the time.

But, damn, when you are suffering from anxiety and dealing with a lot of difficult family and work situations, you can let your real self leak out without meaning to. You can express an actual opinion, point out something that’s not right, ask if something is true or the best thing to do, use the wrong tone of voice (guilty as charged)…you know, all those things that get you labeled like the ones that are in that meme.

Can we, as women, who are expected to smooth things over, agree with what the leaders say, follow instructions rather than making rules, and all those frustrating unspoken expectations, ever, actually be ourselves? What if yourself is sarcastic? What if yourself gets tired of inefficiency? What if yourself gets irritated when told to just follow orders when you’re used to helping make decisions? (Or if you are my male spouse, your real self is tired of being told not to be so brusque. They have their own sets of expectations.)

Nope, we can’t be those selves. We have to spend years in therapy, reading self-help books, and getting sanctimonious “coaching” from our bosses, so we can meekly fit in, and only speak up when it’s time to do what we are asked to do.

The dogs don’t even try to be fake.

So, no, I do not plan to act on the meme above. I give up. I think it’s just as stressful and unproductive to let my more prickly nature show as to try to smooth my nature out to meet expectations. I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m not going to make waves, express my opinions, or debate in work or public.

I’ll be me with my inner circle, and just do what I have to do to get by with others. I’ll make a bad impression to some and a good impression to others and it won’t matter at all, in the long run. The key is that I won’t be stressing myself out either trying to conform or trying to be my fierce self. No wonder both Lee and I are plumb tired. We’re tired of trying to matter.

I’m tired of being tired. The price of authenticity is just too high for me.

Why I Didn’t Want to Leave My Job but Left Anyway

It came as a surprise to some folks that I took a new position after being at one place for such a long time. To others, it came as a relief, no doubt. But to be honest, I really wanted to stay at my current employer. I just wasn’t a great fit for what I was currently doing.

But I’m happy today. Me and Bogey the horse

I’d really been enjoying the work I was doing in diversity and inclusion there. I discovered I was really interested in the topic (thus all my book reports on unconscious bias and allyship) and wanted to help the company move forward with their focus on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. I’d brought up the idea of creating an official position for D&I, and everyone I talked to thought it was a great idea and that I’d be a good choice. But, new CEOs, new initiatives, new reorganizations, and new priorities came up that made my urgent desire a not-so-urgent corporate nice-to-have. I totally get that, but I do want my colleagues to know I really cared about the people at the company and wanted to be able to help them with their concerns. Things just didn’t work out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

He didn’t like the coffee.

In addition, I cared very much about the customers of this company and was darned proud of the work I’d done to help them succeed in using a complicated enterprise-level software “solution.” I would love to have stayed in my position where I contributed to that work, which is exactly why I took my new position: I get to do what I like and am good at again!

Mostly, though, I hate leaving people I care about and who rely on me. I know perfectly well that no one is irreplaceable. In fact, I repeated this endlessly the last time the organizational priorities and my skills and interest no longer meshed and I needed to go elsewhere. (I do feel I left those folks in a bad position, but they seem to have all found other good stuff to do.) Where I am now, I was onboarding new team members and serving as a mentor to a few other folks. I’ll miss this the most. I was actually doing my best to hang on as long as I could be helpful to my coworkers and do good work in whatever role I was asked to do.

This is Chevy, the other horse where I am. He is also gray!

Sometimes you have to change your jobs. I did have a choice here…to wait and see if I could find a better fit in the company or look at other options. It’s weird as heck that a recruiter called with the new position the exact same day I realized I had to leave. That sounds all pretty and like it’s a packaged tied up in a bow, but I just wanted to share that it was not an easy decision.

One of my character “features” is that I care. I care about my work and the people I work with. Things would be a lot easier if I didn’t. I was way too committed to the “servant leadership” thing for my own good, and really wanted to be there for people who need my encouragement or support.

Two pretty boys. Bogey is very, very tall. Both had their manes trimmed because of sand burs.

I wish all of you who work in large organizations the kind of leadership who provide encouragement, support, and mentorship. I’m not planning to seek opportunities to lead teams during my remaining few years in the workforce, though. I’ll do work I like, do my best, and give and seek support elsewhere.

A Surprise from Suna

Folks, it’s been a very long and very hard week for your resident blogger, but the good news is that Suna is here, has met her challenges and come out on the other side with her pride and self esteem intact. That’s really, really good news.

Like good ole Dusty here, I’ve been dealing with a load of poop, and it’s left me a bit disheveled.

I can generically shared that I got some quite unexpected and upsetting feedback at my job last week. You know me and my lifelong battle with self esteem…I was a bit of a mess there for a day or two. But, all this growth stuff I keep talking about kicked in MUCH quicker than it would have in the past. And life and the Universe already had an option ready for me when I needed it most!

A mere fifteen minutes after the unpleasantness, I had an interview for a job that I’d decided I just HAD to do, because it looked so interesting. After talking to the recruiter it became clear that there literally was no one else on the face of the earth more qualified for the job than me. It was like, “Here is the description of the part of your job you’ve enjoyed the most, but that no longer is a priority, so you’re not doing it now.”

I had a perfectly reasonable week at work this week, because I actually DO like my current coworkers and the project I’m working on. But, after interviewing with the cool and interesting people at the other job, it clearly was a better fit for my skills and my current stage of life. Oh yes, don’t forget that much better pay rate. So, I said yes and gave my two weeks’ notice where I am now.

Oh yeah, the pool is ready for the next stage. It even got inspected.

I assure you, this was not how I’d wanted to wind down my career, but I think I’ll learn a lot, have fun, get to know some new people, and not lose the real friends I made at the current place. I think everyone will be happy with this. I’m really proud to have managed this transition as smoothly as I have. Things sure can work out, at least sometimes!

My readers, family, and friends: your support and kindness has really helped, even if you didn’t know it. It’s nice to know there are folks who appreciate you!

Go Away Anxiety. I Need a Nap.

When you’ve been graced with a genetic predisposition to anxiety, you can meditate, breathe, do talk therapy, and take helpful medicine all you want, but still have days when you can’t deal with the symptoms.

Current co-napper

I woke up that way today. I was dealing with my personal “stuff” fine yesterday, but since I woke up this morning, some chemicals are flying around my brain that are decidedly unhelpful and unpleasant. I got through my meetings, and through the screaming haze and fuzziness, I was even able to contribute. But wow, I feel like I’m in a vat of buzzing jello, with a high-pitched droning soundtrack. Oh, with bonus eye tic and chest pains. Thanks, anxiety.

Napper to my far left.

I’m going to try to sleep it off, me and the canines, who are great napping role models. I’ll share some nice sleeping dog images to entertain you, since I can’t put two thoughts together right now.

Napper to my immediate left.

My sinuses are yelling, too, because it’s dusty and the air pressure keeps changing. I’m a big ole negative whiner!

Napper in the next room.

Tomorrow is another day.

He was napping, then I came downstairs.

Maturity: The Older You Are the Less You Knew

Yesterday’s walk down memory lane got me to thinking about how I felt about myself at different points in my life. I can remember standing in the middle of a pine woods in Gainesville Florida, where freshmen could park their cars, and crying my head off because I felt like there was too much knowledge in my head and that all that awesome knowledge was such a burden. It’s a wonder that High School Boyfriend didn’t just leave this overblown ego to ponder her magnificence alone right then and there. Nope, I didn’t know much at all.

Lucky for me the twilight of life is also the most beautiful part, because I’m paying attention.

In my twenties, I kept thinking to myself, every time I hit a milestone (but mostly after each of my flaming love interests exploded into black holes of nothingness), “Ah, I’ve got it figured out NOW, and I’m not going to make THAT mistake again. I’m finally wise.” Nonetheless, every time my hormones kicked in, I wallowed in their glory and glommed on to some poor unsuspecting guy. If only I’d read the fine article in this month’s Psychology Today about people who are in love with being in love! (Not online yet, pooh!)

I went directly from the love of my life to the guy who lived here (Hyde Park, Illinois), who was one of those scary possessive people…I did escape THAT. Then, it was on to the bisexual guy who claimed to be a sex addict. My twenties were active (I have omitted some people for brevity).

At least I figured out that my hormones were not necessarily my friends, and managed to stick with the NEXT one until he left me many years later. I thought I had figured all that love, hormones, relationships, friendships, and people skills stuff out. I was so wise by the time I hit 30.

This beautiful stink bug symbolizes my hormones. Lovely at first, but they leave a smelly mess if you trample them.

Guess what? I wasn’t! Life kept whacking me on top of the head, showing me where I was way off base, and sending me off to learn more. Repeatedly. I learned things like don’t go looking for the exact opposite of your ex as your next relationship. Though, I must say that those two really ARE exact opposites physically and mentally! Yes, sure, don’t repeat the same mistakes and expect different outcomes, as some of my friends are painfully figuring out right now), but don’t over-correct. I also learned that you can remain friends with people you used to be hormonally attracted to and that that can be better than the hormone frenzy.

Then in the next decade or so, I thought I’d figured life out, that giving love to kids was a much better plan. Of course they will love you if you do your best to nurture them, listen to them, be there for them, and let them fly when they need to fly. Nope, that’s not guaranteed either. You might want to check and see if the person you’re mentoring is a sociopath or suffers from borderline tendencies that they aren’t willing to or interested in working on. And again, don’t befriend the same type of person repeatedly and expect different results. I do think I’ve got that down now, and I added on to it not to link your emotional well being to that of someone else, blame yourself for their issues, etc. Hmm, I did apparently learn something…just not everything.

However you get through your metamorphosis, it’s beautiful and unique, like this clouded skipper.

Yeah, so, by the time I got to the age I am now, it became really clear that all those times I thought I had my emotional life all figured out, I hadn’t. I can laugh at it now, even if reading the old journals, just brimming with confidence that I’d got it all figured out, is painful.

Now I have a stable marriage and some stability in other areas, but I no longer have any inclination that I understand how other people (or animals, as I’m learning with horses and dogs) feel, how I feel, or how relationships work. It’s trial and error, with some help from past experiences, at best. At least for me. I no longer think I have awesome understanding of the world, its inhabitants, and how everything works. Instead, I’m in awe of how there’s no way to understand it and am enjoying my daily discoveries.

Relationships are mysterious, but they can be wonderful with mutual trust.

My message to anyone who reads this is to realize right now that you aren’t finished figuring things out, you will continue to make mistakes, but you can also continue to learn from them and face every day with new wisdom. Who cares if you didn’t know what you thought you knew way back when? Maturity is the ability to be just fine with that.

I do have the cutest lawn mowers, fertilizer spreaders, and weed eaters of anyone I know.

What Counts as a Journal?

I know, I know, whatever you think is a journal will count as a journal. But Lee and I were talking about our journals. One of us said, “I’m down to just one journal.” Then they (I) realized that nope, there was something else the probably counted as a journal, and hmm, maybe something other than that was also one…I figure this blog is really a journal of my thoughts, just online and not printed, and mostly for me and a couple of friends. I also have my lovely bullet journal that I started in February. It’s still going strong, and covered in cheerful stickers and inspirational notes to myself.

In which I frantically try to cheer myself up.

So, that makes two journals that I update daily. But wait, what’s this other thing? I do believe it’s a horse journal (if it wasn’t one, it should have been). I get given a lot of journals with horses on them, so I figured I might as well use one of them, and started this one the day I got Drew.

As you can see, some days I write a lot, and some days, not so much.

I’m surprised to admit that I have written in this one nearly every day, and never missed more than one day. It’s been really useful for keeping up with the progress of Drew and Apache’s training and health, and I won’t lose important information like what they’ve been eating, when they got their vaccines (I am pro horse vax), and how they do mentally every day. Uncharacteristically for me, I started out using a pink pen. I’m still using it, so the notebook is pretty consistent (one day I left it). Pink is not a Suna color, but I’m trying to embrace my traditionally feminine side, I guess. I even painted my nails.

Ooh, aah.

Lee got to thinking, and he realized he mostly uses his one journal, which is not inexpensive but is consistent and looks good on a shelf. He writes a LOT in his journal, including gratitude, things to do, deep thoughts, and so much more.

A man’s journals should coordinate.

And Lee does something I find it really hard to do, which is re-read his old journals. I get all cringey when I go on and on about my latest favorite person or things I did that I now wish I hadn’t. But it was ME, so what gives? Lee is really enjoying reading a journal from around 2010 and is culling out interesting things he says for a collection. That actually sounds like a fun project.

Lee typed his, punched holes, and filed them, with headers, footers, and all sorts of organizational cues. Hey, I have page numbers!

The person in the family who has the most journals is Kathleen. She lives a journaling lifestyle. I’m in awe! It has to help a lot with organizing thoughts and goals.

I must say that all my various journals are helpful to me, and I’m glad I have a mundane journal of notes and dates, a blog journal of all kinds of other thoughts, and a horse journal. I just never thought I’d end up with so many journals.

Ha, especially since I hate to re-read my old stuff, this seems to be an odd place to end up journal-wise. But, I think I can re-read these, at this stage of my life, where I’ve figured out most my self-destructive tendencies, negative self talk, and insecurities.

Do you re-read journals? Can you even FIND your old stuff? Maybe I’ll share about some old stuff I recently found…

Minor Miracles

One of the things I’m most grateful for is that little miracles keep popping up in life, and they keep me moving forward with a good attitude. Yesterday was filled with these wondrous occurrences.

After this, we even had a few drops of rain (and it rained a LOT to the north of us).

The first one was so many people reading the blog the last couple of days. I guess tagging a post “death” brings in readers, but really, the hits were a testimony to how much my friends care about each other. Thanks to all who said such kind things about Stephanie, Terry, Beth, and Alston.

Next came an answer to my prayers (more like a response to my internal curses). The County finally, at last, por fin, made a stab at fixing the road that runs by the Hermits’ Rest. Thanks, Precinct 2, for doing this before we lost another tire or shock absorber to your potholes that were becoming dangerous craters.

Heading toward Sara’s house.

They put down some black stuff, and at least for the moment (i.e., until it rains again in a month or two), you can drive the speed limit! No more weaving and trying to judge which set of holes was less bad for your car. No more coming to a complete stop before daring to go up the hill to the cemetery. Wow.

Heading toward the cemetery. You can see they didn’t bother to cover the parts of the road without potholes, but that’s okay.

It felt bizarre going down the hill last night and not getting that feeling that you’re on a carnival ride. We feel so fancy now.

This part was solid pothole!

Maybe the people across the street complained. Since they are Cameron natives and from a Good Milam County Family, their complaints would be listened to. Gee, I hope all the cement trucks and heavy equipment for building our pool doesn’t mess up the roads again (or the trucks full of corn, cotton, or whatever).

Alfred hair.

And to me, this was an actual miracle: Alfred actually came up and asked to have me pull some of his tons of excess hair off yesterday. He even came back for more when I got tired of it. It now looks like it snowed in many parts of our property, but Alfred seems much happier. Good dog.

I’m a good boy

And this felt like a minor miracle, too, like a gift from my friend Terry. One of our friends found some pictures of us having parties at a conference we all attended. There were pictures of us having a movie night as well as us laughing so hard while reading a book about baby platypuses that we lost the ability to speak.

Paulette, Barbara, and Terry during our laugh fest. It’s been wonderful sharing fun memories of our dear friend. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

I’ve missed these positive memories about my supportive group of friends from back then, the majority of whom are still my friends now. It’s a miracle to have such lasting connections.

Movie night at the “Technology Room” at an LLLI conference, laughing with my friends Jo and Dave. Our lives have changed a lot, but we keep in touch. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

And finally, Lee and I went on a nice ride out in the country last night, to enjoy the daily miracle of a Texas sunset after a day that wasn’t too hot or humid (I barely sweated when I rode Apache around 5 pm). With all this open space, I enjoy either a lovely sunrise or a pretty sunset nearly every day, even when the air isn’t full of dust or smoke from fires and such. Or rain from hurricanes, which we won’t have, but our friends to the east are having way too much of.

At the end of our road.

Think about what miracles surround you, whether from people or Nature (yes, people are part of Nature; I realize that). These things help you get through illnesses, deaths, work stress, and more. Don’t forget to share your miracles with others! It helps to hear them!

Life, Death, and the Little Things

First, thanks to all of you who sent me kind words yesterday as I talked about how my friend Terry’s passing made me feel. She was one of the people I talked about in my post Welcoming Death and Treasuring Lives, which I also published in our Friends of La Leche League newsletter, Continuum, in the most recent edition (that issue is just for subscribers, but back issues are available at the link, if you want to see what the newsletter is like).

Terry!

I know Terry’s legacy will live on, through her art, books she wrote and illustrated, the students she helped educate, and the many memories all of her friends have of her, like when her surrogate, Flat Terry, went all around the world visiting friends and giving them paper hugs. She was so creative, so very human, and a great friend. Was she perfect? No. Who is? We are all glad to have known her. I’m honestly not up to writing a long tribute, because I’m just so sad. But, here’s a nice tribute my friend Nancy Sherwood wrote.

Stephanie was one FUN woman.

Sadly, my online friend Stephanie Jordan, who was the other person I talked about living her life to the fullest, passed away yesterday. I’m just so impressed with how well she continued to enjoy every day, no matter how sick she got, and how wonderfully she prepared her children for life after she was gone. I’m so glad they got a lot of time to spend together and make memories. Again, rather than summarize her journey, I’ll let you read what Nancy S. said in her blog. I’m glad she was able to keep herself together and share these memories!

While people were commenting on my post from yesterday, another friend let me know of an LLL Leader’s passing, a woman named Beth O’Donnell. I didn’t know Beth (though I may have met her at one of those conferences where I met so many women), but when I read her lovely obituary, I realized how much in common I had with her and what great contributions she’d made to the world. She was a teacher of the Our Whole Lives curriculum that my children studied at our Unitarian Universalist church, so I know Beth helped babies, mothers, children and future children. Wow. But it was also just nice to read about her interests and travels. It’s like I got to know her a little.

I feel privileged that one of my volunteer “jobs” is to maintain the web pages for We Remember, which honors La Leche League Leaders (and others who have contributed to that organization) who have passed away. Their names are also inscribed in a book, which is taken to ceremonies – this year there will be a virtual ceremony at an online conference. I read every one of the obituaries that are shared, and I’m really happy how many of them include little tidbits that make the person I’m paying tribute to come alive again in my mind. I’m really grateful to the family members who pause in their grief to share the lives of the people they loved, so others can carry their memories as well.

I’m not sure why, but reading about these wonderful volunteers always inspires me. Go ahead, take a look! You can even post a memorial to someone who mentored you, share news of an LLL Leader’s passing, or make a contribution to Friends of LLL’s work in their name (you will see that I’ve done it a few times lately).

One of the first entries in this blog had a photo of Dr. Thoms!

And speaking of people who volunteer their time…yesterday, I also found out that one of our Master Naturalist mentors, an amazing human being named Alston Thoms had passed away in June, and we hadn’t heard about it (I did touch on this yesterday, but I want to say more). If you read his memorial page, you’ll see what a real treasure the world lost when his life ended. I learned so much about the Native Americans who lived in this part of Texas from him, and I always hungered to learn more. His teachings will live on through the work of his graduate students and the many Master Naturalists he generously taught through the years.

Here’s what I said about him in my blog from early in my Master Naturalist career:

We also had a very interesting speaker, Prof. Alston Thoms, an anthropologist from Texas A&M. He is an expert on Native American history, and focused the talk for us on what people ate in past centuries in this area. It was lots of roots and berries, cooked in earth ovens (which he does yearly for his grad students). The most “duh” moment came when he asked what the most common food source would have been. It took a while to realize that of course, it was the white-tailed deer. It’s been in the area as long as humans have, and always on the list for what’s for dinner!

I could listen to this guy all day long.

Proud of Me, May 14, 2018

So, please. If someone you care about is no longer with us, share your memories. They can mean a lot, even to people who didn’t know them, and the little things, their quirks, their stories, their adventures…they can mean more than you know to someone else.

Quick Hello

I’m not able to write much, due to not only work and figuring out all this moving stuff, but also because I’m sad. A good friend from my volunteer past, Terry Stafford, died a few days ago from a stomach cancer that came on fast and hard. That’s the one that seems to hit people I particularly love.

Here’s sad ole Suna showing how to move more things to your permanent house. Wear them.

Sadness is to be expected, but I’m actually pretty overcome with fear. You see, some of her children stopped speaking to her years ago, saying some things about her that she didn’t understand, and didn’t want to try to work things out. It broke her heart and caused so much pain, but nothing she tried helped. She died unable to reconcile with them.

I’m also transporting these boots. Clever.

What a sad thing. I don’t know the whole story, so I’m not blaming any party, just sad that they couldn’t work it out. And I’m now coming to realize that could happen to me. After 2.5 years, will my older son every decide to let me know what his issue is? I sure hope so. When they said parenthood is hard, I thought they meant the early part. This grief is always there, even as I learn to live with it.

Meanwhile, I learned today that one of my favorite speakers in our Master Naturalist program, Dr. Alston Thoms, passed away in June. He was supposed to be our speaker last month, and that explains why we hadn’t heard from him. Read his obituary to learn about a life well led and a person who truly loved all of humanity, all living things, and the land.

Well, hope your day is going well. Hug people you love.