Happy Little Trees of Indeterminate Species

Happy WEDNESDAY, everyone! I hope you’re celebrating it in the way that best fits your personal preference.

Today was Day One of our week sans children. This is obviously good in that I don’t have to ALWAYS wear a robe, if you know what I mean. But today was even more exciting because I tried something new. I mean, I absolutely didn’t wear a robe, but I chose to shower and get dressed prior to 1:00 p.m. (I guess I tried TWO new things, haha!) so that I could try a new-to-me activity: virtual painting class.

Arrow Senior Living is a pretty rad little company serving multiple states and communities with varied independent living situations. Unfortunately, those residents are, like many of us currently, closed off from the world. One benefit Arrow has, though, is the employ of activities directors and creative staff who immediately sought out myriad activities that can be joined and performed virtually. Exercise classes, creative writing classes, trivia…and, today, painting.

I finagled my way in this afternoon’s inaugural class, and Josh set up a little painting station for me as a surprise so I could actually take a crack at it. I had a little canvas panel, a bunch of paint colors, some brushes, and, thanks to a purchase I made about 10 years ago of a large, slick-surface food preparation board, a totally serviceable paint mixing palette thing.

Almost immediately, I felt like a professional due to Instructor Shelby’s casual way of making us all feel like jaded artists. After assuring everyone calmly with gentle phrases like “people can’t tell you that a tree is wrong” and “just dab it! Or if you don’t want to, just do it your way! It’s okay!” my canvas turned from a lot of blobs of color into, somehow, a recognizable path lined with trees. And it was so calming! I seriously can’t remember the last time that I painted something, and honestly I don’t know that I ever HAVE painted something. I vaguely remember us painting something in seventh grade, the last year I took an art class, so let’s say 1988. Who CARES that I have no idea what kind of trees I painted?

Anyway, turns out I cared, kind of more than I needed to, so after painting class, Josh and I went for a little nature walk and I decided that it was high time I learned to identify more trees than just the sycamore. So today’s spotlight in Jen’s Recommended Stuff: Tree Edition is the Elm. The leaves look like this.

Real Elm leaves. If I’m wrong, please let me down gently.

And, just to wrap up the day with more of same, today’s movie recommendation is RAINMAN TWINS, a 2008 documentary that all but guarantees that your face will also rain, man.

At the request of my friend Michael, I’m also recommending television, and boy oh boy is it hard to name just one. But I’ve got time to do one every day, so my current top recommendation is Season Three (and the first two also) of OZARK. So good.

So there you have it, guys. Painting, tree identification, RAINMAN TWINS, OZARK. I’ll be back tomorrow with more recommendations that absolutely nobody asked me to provide. Can’t wait!


I start every day vowing to become healthier and end every day by zeroing out my fridge.
That's the kind of self-sabotage that forms the core of my being.
You know what I'm good at, though? Spinning words into a magical skein that envelopes you in success. Let's talk about that first, and if snacks end up happening, so be it.

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  1. What a fulfilling day. Only thing missing is mail checkin’.


  2. […] showered, pulled some weeds outside, looked at plants with Josh, had a meeting, looked at my painting again and got absurdly happy, did the trivia, did some volunteer work, went to the river for an […]

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