4.13.2015

A great article, lots of food for thought: What is it like to be poor at an Ivy League school? "High-achieving, low-income students, often the first in their families to attend college, struggle to feel they belong on elite campuses."

Image: source.

NYTimes: Justices’ Ruling Allows Illinois Man, Jailed at 14, to Reconsider His Future

Now reading: New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell, and The Fever by Megan Abbott.

Currently listening to: Waxahatchee, 'Ivy Tripp' Also: tiny desk concerts: Chadwick Stokes

I've gotten into climbing (again) these past few months, and am totally swooning over Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville. Amazing space and awesome people....doesn't hurt that it's next to a cool brewery as well. I tweaked my shoulder while bouldering this weekend and I hope it gets better soon so I can get back on the wall....Climbing has turned out to be a great mix of mental and physical challenge for me, I'm really enjoying it.

Wonderful read: The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison

"It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work." (Wendell Berry)

"Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal." - Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

3.18.2015

Wow. Wow. A brave, honest piece about being raped: Showing My Hand. This line will stick with me for a long time, I think: "Mostly, I just feel complicit in breaking the parts of me that are broken." Some remarkable writing.

Image: source.

This past weekend, I unexpectedly read the entirety of "Dept. of Speculation" by Jenny Offill while at the beautiful Cambridge Public Library. Part of what I enjoyed about it was that I went in with almost no idea of what to expect, so I won't say much mother other than I thought it was extraordinary. Recommended.

Currently reading "White Girls" by Hilton Als - the first essay is incredible.

So true, so true: The Emotional Stages Of Rewatching The L Word Ten Years Later

“Life is mostly an exercise in being something other than what we used to be while remaining fundamentally - and sometimes maddeningly - who we are.” - Meghan Daum, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion 

"What can we do about God, who makes and then breaks every god-forsaken, beautiful day?" the amazing Mary Oliver

3.13.2015

A moving essay written recently by a woman who was killed this past Tuesday while riding her bike in Cambridge. Sobering yet inspiring, a reminder of life's brevity and beauty. Also worth reading: Old Hearts, New Love And A Kiss, a beautiful piece she wrote about her 102 year old mother.

Another beautiful and devastating read: Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time

Image: source. Heard often, but hard to remember. I know that often I mean well, but that I convey my stress and anxiety to those around me, spreading tension with my presence. I really want to work on this.

The ongoing quest for balance is such an interesting and difficult one. The portion of What Yoga Taught Me About the Balanced Life I found most interesting was, unsurprisingly, from the wonderful Susan Piver, who muses, “Is it ever possible to be balanced? I don’t think that it is, because then you’d have to freeze in that position. ‘Got it. Now don’t move.’” A wonderful, thought-provoking point.

On the recommendation of a number of people I recently read "True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart" by Thích Nhất Hạnh. I anticipate rereading this book many times in my life. Even just the first, short ("The Four Aspects of Love," 4 pages only) chapter was a revelation to me. Simple yet so much to think about. The way that he builds upon the 4 aspects of love to show how they can be applied to love of others, of yourself, of your body, even of answering the phone, is done so gently and clearly. The book is only 100 pages but enough lessons for a lifetime. One note: as I've seen other reviewers mention it, I will say that I don't fully agree with his take on therapy/mental health treatment, but it's not delved into deeply here, nor is it a focus of the book. I still feel that the overwhelming majority of the book is incredibly useful for anyone, so it wasn't a deal breaker for me. I personally happen to think meditation of all sorts is incredibly valuable, as are therapy, medication, and whatever other forms of self care and treatment people need to be healthy and happy. If you are someone who feels some guilt or shame or conflict about your own engagement with therapy or medication, heads up that he makes a few comments that might be triggering or uncomfortable. However, overall, I still feel strongly that this book is a "must read" for anyone seeking to better understand the process of loving and being loved.

A interesting and moving story: A Writer Moves To 'Bettyville' To Care For His Elderly Mom. I was particularly touched by a short anecdote he tells about watching "Dirty Dancing" with his mother every week. He explains that it's not simply that they watch it together, it's that they do so because she as a little crush on Patrick Swayze and he (her son) places value on this, places value on this part of his elderly mother's emotional life. That was so moving to me - his acknowledgement that this tiny crush, whatever part of her emotional life is inhabits, is of value, and that he respects and nurtures that.

“You have come to the shore. There are no instructions.” - Denise Levertov

3.10.2015

“you have to be vigilant about keeping your own fire alive”

Advice from My Eighty Year Old Self

A wonderful piece: On Kindness: My mother is sick, by Cord Jefferson

Powerful: “The phone rang. It was my college rapist”: a true comic

Image: Pablo Picasso, postcard to Jean Cocteau, 1919

Just read: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (some spoilers ahead!). For the most part I loved this book. Pulled me in quickly, well paced, I didn't guess the ending too quickly, and the author does an incredible job of creating the tense, lost, confused atmosphere of the drinking problem and depression suffered by the main narrator. Only one star off because it was sort of insane at the end that basically everyone was evil, or at least both men in question turned out to be sociopathic abusers....jeez. A little much? But overall a really good read, I see why people are calling it the new Gone Girl.

Header: source.

“Please be gentle with your body. It loves you more than anyone or anything in this world. It fixes every cut, every wound, every broken bone, and fights off so many illnesses, sometimes without you even knowing about it. Even when you punish it, it is still there for you, struggling to keep you alive, keep you breathing. Your body is an ocean full of love. So please, be kind to it. It’s doing the very best it can.” - Your Body is an Ocean (Nikita Gill)

“Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.” - Audre Lorde

3.04.2015

On Being a Badass by Ann Friedman

Image: source. Not always easy....

This year's Austin 100, for your listening pleasure.

This piece was incredibly familiar and touching and powerful: NYTimes: Bringing a Daughter Back From the Brink With Poems. I've read this three times today and cried, heartily, each time. I think it slays me so much because I can easily remember myself as that teenager, and I hurt for my mom as that mom, watching with love and panic. I also think it resonates in a different way from my now-adult perspective, as I'm sort of mother to my own teenager self, teenage impulses, always trying to help myself find the beauty and worth in life. The older I get the more I feel like adulthood is a process of learning to parent ourselves, to gently but firmly guide ourselves again and again to life and to love.

Briarpatch: A Note on Call-Out Culture

Really disturbing: Are You Man Enough for the Men's Rights Movement?

This past weekend I saw Wild at Heart for the first time, a showing of the X-rated (ridiculous violence that was just perfectly hilariously and gruesomely done) 35mm version at the Brattle. I wasn't really sure what to expect but it was was so good - the whole look of it, the tone of it, the outfits, the soundtrack and dialogue. Crazy and bizarre and great.

Always good to revisit: Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry

3.02.2015

Listening to this flawlessness: First Aid Kit, "The Lions Roar"

Loved this interview between Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Image: source.

Great Tumblr: Lunchbox Poems. This recent poem has particularly stayed with me: Familiarity.

I've become a big Professor Blastoff and Tig Notaro fan over the last few years and will definitely watch Knock Knock, It's Tig Notaro....and basically anything else Tig related, ever.

Listening to: these episodes of "On Being: Helen Fischer on Love and Sex and Attachment, Brené Brown on The Courage to Be Vulnerable; and, of course, Mary Oliver on Listening to the World.

Reading: I just finished reading "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell, an author who has gotten a lot of love on PCHH, hence my interest. Overall, I enjoyed "Attachments." The pacing at the end was somehow off to me and the ending didn't have the same realistic imperfections as the rest of there book, but the dialogue between the two friends was just so familiar and good that I couldn't put it down. Some of the best lady friend dialogue I've maybe ever read. Now I'm continuing my way through Cleeve's Shetland series, and am on book 4, "Blue Lightning."

2.20.2015

Finally got around to watching Twin Peaks. It's not totally my cup of tea, but Agent Cooper is clearly the best: "Every day - once a day - give yourself a present. Don't plan it, don't wait for it, just let it happen. It could a new shirt in the mens store, a cat nap in your office chair, or two cups of good hot black coffee, like this." YouTube.

One of the best things on anxiety I've read: ​Keep Your Friends Close but Your Anxiety Closer

Damn gorgeous: Sufjan Stevens, "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross"

More student-focused than my reality but still funny/good/painfully true: The 37 Emotional Stages Of Living In Boston During February 2015. And, on a more serious note, How to Support #BostonWarm

Man, I love them: Broad City.

Currently reading: "How to Grow Up" by Michelle Tea, "Are You My Mother?" by Alison Bechdel, "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler.

"Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, /even in the leafless winter, / even in the ashy city. / I am thinking now / of grief, and of getting past it; / I feel my boots / trying to leave the ground, / I feel my heart / pumping hard. I want / to think again of dangerous and noble things. / I want to be light and frolicsome. / I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, / as though I had wings." from "Starlings in Winter" by Mary Oliver

2.13.2015

Just finished reading "White Nights" the second in the Shetland series by by Ann Cleeves. Cleeves is one of my favorite contemporary mystery writers, I just love her portraits of life on the Shetland Islands. Because of her, they've risen to the top of my "want to visit" list. In "White Nights," I didn't see the "whodunnit" coming, which is also nice. I just started "Are You My Mother?" by Alison Bechdel. I also added "Disgruntled" to my "to read" list after hearing an interesting author interview on Fresh Air.

Image: source.

Great post by a friend of a friend who is doing some awesome work as a life/health coach: So. You Wanna Lose Weight.

I thought this article about the life-impacting effects of one thoughtless (racist, insensitive) tweet was really interesting: How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. It's not a perfect article and there has been some valid criticism lodged, but I think the NYTimes article isn't just about "feeling sorry for stupid white people on the internet," but instead touches on much broader issues of public shaming and the rapid-fire cycle of internet comments and publicity.

Absolutely heart-wrenching: "Hello, my name is Yusor Abu-Salha."

"In this choiceness / Never-ending / Flow / Of life, / There is an infinite array / Of choices. / One alone / Brings happiness- / To love / What is." - Dorothy S. Hunt

2.05.2015

I'm listening to "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" by David Sedaris, however, can't say I'm loving it as much as some of his previous books, but I'm not entirely sure why. I'm also reading "Little Children" by Tom Perotta, a gift from a very wonderful friend. Sometimes Perotta's books frustrate me with the heavy handedness of the satire, or the broad strokes, but for the most part I always find them to be engrossing, entertaining, and thought provoking reads. So far, "Little Children" is no exception.

Image: a page from "Marbles" that is one of the best depictions of the mental struggles of doing yoga I've ever seen!

On the yoga front, I'm still doing the 40 Days program at Baptiste and absolutely loving it. The snow storm and a terrible flu made this last week a particularly tough one, but I'm happy to say I'm back on the mat in week 3, and really grateful for the practice.

This past weekend I read "Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me," a graphic novel/memoir by Ellen Forney about her diagnosis as bipolar and subsequent journey to find some "balance" (she rolls her eyes at the word/idea) and to reconcile her life as an artist with this quest for stability. I don't identify as an artist so the parts of the book focusing on links between creativity and mental illness weren't as interesting to me (hence the one star off), but overall I thought the book was an excellent illustration of Forney's relationship to ("struggle with" sounds too cliche although would also be apt) mental illness. I cried in recognition at multiple parts, which is uncommon for me, and I feel grateful for the hard work that Forney put into documenting the years covered by the memoir; I'm glad she survived and I'm glad she decided to share with the rest of us.

"Love, love, love, says Percy. / And run as fast as you can / Along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust. / Then, go to sleep. / Give up your body heat, your beating heart. / Then trust." - "I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life" by Mary Oliver.

1.26.2015

Currently reading: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney and Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott.

Just finished watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - I'm so bummed to be done! Season 3 can't come soon enough. On my mom's recommendation, I watched episode one of Grantchester, which is right up my alley (small British town and relatively unthreatening mysteries!). I also just finished season 2 of The Fall, which was absolutely excellent, possibly even better than season 1. Superb acting, well-paced plot (although it definitely drags a little at the end), and fascinating moments of discussion about violence against women (and about what it means for people like me to watch shows like this).

Image: source.

I'm on Day 8 of a 40 day program at my local Baptiste yoga studio, working on creating and sustaining a daily yoga and meditation practice. So far it's great. The first week our goals were 5 minutes of meditation twice a day, and 20 minutes of yoga (along with some journaling and reading goals). This week: 10 minutes meditation, 30 minutes yoga. By the final week, we will be committing to 30 minutes od meditation twice a day, and 90 minutes of yoga. I've had various meditation and yoga practices at different times in my life, but nothing this sustained. It's definitely challenging but I'm grateful for the structure and guidance and the tools to help my anxiety. I struggle a lot during the meditation but I also find that, when it's over, I'm disappointed to no longer be in that space. Very interesting.

Lindy West's piece on This American Life this week was absolutely amazing. On misogyny, internet trolls, human connection, our worst selves, and forgiveness.

Rilke on What Winter Teaches Us about the Richness of Life and the Tenacity of the Human Spirit

The awesomeness of Broad City: “Some people are scared of us, and some think we are dumb little girls."

On mental health, and love: My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

"Don’t resent the work. / It gives you the strength to stand / whole and silent / before the Mystery." source

1.15.2015

across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal

I feel like I should hate this idea of a Hitchcock remake by David Fincher, but I think I'm into it....

Currently reading: "The White Album" by Joan Didion and "Blue Horses: Poems" by Mary Oliver. Recently read: "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed(read it twice, right in a row. The best, obviously), and "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion (very readable). For those of you who crave even more info on my reading habits: find me on GoodReads.

This gif. Forever.

Definitely curious to check out the new Duplass show.

Listening to: new Sleater Kinney. Also liking this song.

Image: after months of people recommending it to me, I'm FINALLY watching Miss Fischers Murder Mysteries....and I love it. Awesome lady sleuth with killer wardrobe and an insatiable lust for gorgeous men. Thanks Mom and Phoebe!

"And I thought: she will never live another life but this one. / And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength / is she not wonderful and wise?" [from "Reckless Poem" by Mary Oliver]

12.30.2014

"Because, you will never be brilliant if you’re too busy trying to extinguish shameful feelings. You can never truly step into the light if you’re too busy avoiding the dark. " How To Make Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep by Jamie Varon 

Amazing: Women Listening To Men In Western Art History

Image: "You have more freedom than you're using"

Finally listened to the Maron-Louis CK interview: fascinating. Comedy, life, & two people confronting a friendship that's fallen apart.

Cannot. Wait. Trailer for Season 3 of Orphan Black. (Also, are other people watching Black Mirror? It occasionally borders on unwatchable for me, since some of the episodes are so tense and realistic. But I keep coming back because it really is an incredibly well-done show, walking the dystopic, near future, almost-contemporary/possible-but-not-quite line so well....)

This final Q from "The Unspeakables" has stuck with me, and is rattling around in my head. Such an interesting question: "But who can be sure of such things? And what's so great about being sure anyways?"

12.29.2014

Absolute gorgeousness: Sufjan Stevens - "A Little Lost"

Beautiful, powerful personal essay: Ferguson Divided My Family, But We Were Already Broken: As a black man I’d learned to fear the police. Then the police became my family.

Excellent, and so necessary for people to understand before making (or in lieu of) judgements: Why Poor People Stay Poor

Some local light in this messed up world: Cambridge teacher champions literacy

Angela Davis: ‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery

Image: source: "Nothing is inevitable, everything is possible."

"Writer Alice Munro once described your early 30s as 'an age at which it is sometimes hard to admit that what you are living is your life.' I think that’s hard at any age. What gets easier with each passing decade, I suspect, is not comparing yourself to how other people are living their lives. As I age, I fully intend to give fewer and fewer fucks about how I’m supposed to be, or when I’m supposed to accomplish certain things. It frees up head space for the sort of creative thinking I’d rather be doing. Munro, of all people, should understand that this is a skill that takes time to acquire. She published her first collection of short stories when she was 37." Ann Friedman

I received the much-hyped "The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion" by Meghan Daum for Christmas, and devoured it immediately. My overall rating ended up being 3 stars. But my experience reading it was more complicated than the 3 star rating lets on. There are 4, and even 5, star essays in this collection, and they were an absolute revelation to read. Right out of the gate, "Matricide" is close to perfect. However, there is also a big ol 1 star-er right in the middle (the essay "Honorary Dyke") that angered, befuddled, and mystified me. And, so, I settled on a 3 star review not in the way I give most things 3 stars - "eh, I liked reading it, but can't say it was remarkable" - and instead with a frustrated shake of my head and a grumble. It feels uncool in this day and age to admit to being offended, and like it ends up seeming like a compliment to the author for their daring nature. But because it's nagging me so much, and because I do think it matters, I'll say it: the essay offended me. Whether it offended me as a queer person or as a similarly privileged white lady who wants to believe we can talk about our experiences with an ounce of awareness and originality, I'm still figuring out. My offense is not a testimony to Daum's daringness in this essay (although she is plenty daring elsewhere), but to her laziness in not thinking through this essay - and her own role - more critically. When the essay stops short of being offensive, it's simply embarrassing. It doesn't reflect the same self awareness and begrudging maturity of the rest of the essays in the collection but, instead, seems plucked from the mind of the 21 year old college kid who is the main focus of the essay. It's clear Daum thinks she's aware of her own position as a (regrettably!) straight lady, but her cliche observations about different types of lesbians, her casual gender essentialism, cool girl misogyny, privileged take on life as a series of joining whatever "teams" she wants, claiming of the word butch for herself (and her decisions about who else might qualify as such), and casual use of the word "trannies" comes across less as knowing irony, and more as oblivious self-indulgence. I'm so freaking disappointed. I was so smitten with this book - so wise, so beautiful, so funny - and particularly loved that the author is in her 40s, and not the sort of 20 something that might write an ode to the dyke she's not - and this essay just....sigh, man. What a bummer. It was such a glaring weak spot in the book and such a disappointment and just exactly what I didn't want from this book. I feel a little bit heart broken about it.

12.16.2014

From Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People: “This is the time to remember that the outrage you feel can in no way match my own and therefore you have way more emotional capacity than I do to talk some sense into the ‘other side.’ This is the time to remember that your 'solidarity' does not render you powerless; in fact, the entire point of your solidarity is to lend the power you DO have to folks who do not. And by the way, this is the time to remember that you do have power.” h/t Love In The Time of Ferguson.

Great story and storytelling: Dollree Mapp, 1923-2014: “The Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment”

Currently reading: "We Are Not Ourselves" by Matthew Thomas. Just read "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair" which was AWFUL. Recently added to my "too reads" list: "Girl in a Band: A Memoir," by Kim Gordon, "The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion"  by Meghan Daum, "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" by Charles Blow, and "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace" by Jeff Hobbs.

Image from NYC protest: Eric Garner’s eyes.

Why Poor People Stay Poor: "Because our lives seem so unstable, poor people are often seen as being basically incompetent at managing their lives. That is, it’s assumed that we’re not unstable because we’re poor, we’re poor because we’re unstable. So let’s just talk about how impossible it is to keep your life from spiraling out of control when you have no financial cushion whatsoever. And let’s also talk about the ways in which money advice is geared only toward people who actually have money in the first place."

Always a favorite, always I need reminding: “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” - Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

"History produces not only the forces of domination but also the forces of resistance that press up against and are often the objects of such domination. Which is another way of saying that history, the past, is larger than the present, and is the ever-growing and ongoing possibility of resistance to the present’s imposed values, the possibility of futures not unlike the present, futures that resist and transform what dominates the present." - Elizabeth Grosz

12.05.2014

"President Obama, the son of a black man from Kenya, who is part of a mixed status family who had an undocumented aunt and has a formerly undocumented uncle with a conviction, says, "If you're a criminal -- you'll be deported... Felons, not families ... Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids." We denounce the President's statement and the insensitive and criminalizing language that needlessly pits people, families, communities and movements against one another. People with felonies have families. People with criminal records have children. Working mothers and their children have been criminalized through gang databases. We are all family and friends...Sadly, President Obama's recent speech fits a historic and racist framework through which we can describe the exclusion and banishment of people with felonies who are detained and deported. It is simply felony disenfranchisement that further strips people of their human rights." People With Felonies, Criminal Records and Gang Affiliation Are Our Friends and Family.

Image: source.

Really thought provoking: I believe Shia LaBeouf – a person doesn’t have to be likable to be a victim: "And if you feel comfortable speculating – as most of the media has for the past decade – that LaBeouf might be grappling with some mental health and/or addiction problems, you should feel just as comfortable believing that mental illness or addiction could have impaired his consent. We are so gleeful with the diagnosis, but so dismissive of the consequences."

Gorgeous and devastating. On grief, love, and life: The American Man: Growing Up, by Thomas Page McBee.

"My son wants me to reassure him, and tell him that of course Darren Wilson will go to jail. At 10 years old, he can feel deep in his bones how wrong it was for the police to kill Michael Brown. 'There will be a trial, at least — right, Mom?' My son is asking me a simple question, and I know the answer. As a civil rights lawyer, I know all too well that Officer Wilson will not be going to trial or to jail. The system is legally rigged so that poor people guilty of relatively minor crimes are regularly sentenced to decades behind bars while police officers who kill unarmed black men almost never get charged, much less serve time in prison." Telling My Son About Ferguson by Michelle Alexander. 

Incredibly powerful: Last Words.

10.30.2014

If you don't already, you've gotta tune into Call Your Girlfriend, "a podcast for all the long-distance besties out there, brought to you by Gina Delvac, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow." I don't always agree with them (the episode on having kids seemed particularly tone deaf to me), but I love their friendship, their intelligence and wit, and the familiar awesomeness of strong female friendships. 

Recently read: "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio (YA. Great writing, great structure, great message(s)); "The Vacationers" by Emma Straub (I had very mixed feelings about this book. An easy and fairly enjoyable read, but some lack of character development, too pat an ending, and I just don't get the widespread praise for the novel.); "No Trace" by Barry Maitland (A good mystery, although I cringe every time I think about the title's cheesy double meaning); "Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir" by Liz Prince (100% awesomeness, recommended to all); "Bad Feminist: Essays" by Roxane Gay (This is Roxane Gay's year!); and, most recently, the excellent "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Image: source.

A friend sent me this, and I think its great: Ask Polly: Would He Love Me If I Were Prettier, Skinnier, and Sweeter?

Beautiful trailer for what looks like a powerful documentary about the Us-Mexico border.

There was a lot I appreciated about this essay by Mary H.K. Choi. "To be consumed by an eating disorder is to live for a vision of the future that will never be as great as you hoped it would be. It also hobbles any chance of enjoying the present." I looked up more of Choi's writing and loved this essay about her mom. Her recollection of being mean to her mother as a kid (the burger story) and "[i]f I were an actress and had to think of something sad to make me cry in a scene, I would think about this moment," made me choke up.

I don't usually listen to audiobooks, but someone reminded me of their existence recently and I finally took up ol' Audible.com on their never ending one free book offer. I've been listening to "Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's 'Learned'" by Lena Dunham on my commute and as I putter aournd the house. At first, I wasn't sure that I could deal with hearing Lena Dunham reading the book. Her voice can be a little annoying and, well, it was all maybe too familiar. But by now (Audible tells me I'm on Chapter 21 of 62?), I'm hooked. The book is well structured, covers a lot of ground, and is clearly a product of a lot of hard work and love. I've teared up at the ways she sought identity through sex, at her essay about her rape, and her proud, sure description of her current relationship. Lena (she seems like a one name person now) is complicated and messy and imperfect but I like that she exists, and I'm glad she wrote (and read) this book. I like that this book made me revisit my 20s in ways that were uncomfortable but felt necessary and like it was a safe space, and I like that listening to her made me want to write. Whatever flaws she has (and I'm sure they pale in comparison to the hot mess I would've been had my 25 year old ideas been in the public light), I'm glad to be alive in a time when she is creating art, and engaging in public conversation, and I think there are worse things than being a sucker for the occasionally awkward, insistent message she is trying spread about supporting young women, and in the legitimacy of intimacy (with art, with yourself, and with others).

9.02.2014

[Note: I tried to put up posts various times in the last month, but it was hard to think about anything other than Ferguson and I didn't feel I had anything new to add to that conversation. Anyways, there are some non-Ferguson topics I felt like sharing as I head into September, so I'm back....]

I am LOVING "Call Your Girlfriend" a podcast between long distance besties that covers pop culture, feminism, bestie-ism, and Beyonce. It's so familiar and awesome and funny and smart and just what I never even knew I wanted!

Image: source from I Want Everything To Be Okay.

I recently listened to this incredible interview, a crucial discussion of American history, family, slavery, race - and also just a riveting discussion: On 'Tomlinson Hill,' Journalist Seeks Truth And Reconciliation: "As the great-great-grandson of Texas slaveholders, journalist Chris Tomlinson wanted to find out what crimes his ancestors had committed to maintain power and privilege."

Recently read: And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman (a quick weekend read); and, All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior (Sort of ridiculously singularly focused on middle class, heterosexual couples, but nonetheless a fascinating and very readable survey of recent studies on parenting, mixed in with real life tales. I thought the info about the changing role of children in American society was particularly interesting, as was the related discussion of changing expectations of parents throughout the decade. The book certainly shows parenting to be a daunting task, one that effects your career, relationships, and sense of self.)

Currently reading (along with everyone else!): Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

I'm almost a month away from my marathon. NOT feeling ready (for example, only up to 15.2 miles so far....) But I will do this....

"Yr gait is simple & it carries you, it is the only sure thing." source

7.30.2014

Check out the absolutely beautiful wrapping paper, notebooks, and prints from Etsy shop Clap Clap

Even though I realize most of it is restrictive in it's price, I'm loving all the coverage of custom clothing for gender non-conforming folks. Keep it coming! PBS: ‘The right to be handsome’: Clothing for gender non-conforming people on the rise

I've really been digging the work of a few female Swedish mystery authors, namely Anna Jansson and Mari Jungstedt. They both write about mysteries taking place on the Swedish island of Gotland, which has now become a dream vacation destination for me (after never really having an interest in visiting Sweden). I guess its weird that murder mysteries would make me want to visit a place, but they both do a great job of giving me a sense of this small island, its relationship with tourism and the "mainland" and I'm totally curious now! (Slight warning: "Dark Angel" by Jungstedt was a let down, so don't bother with that one).

Image: source.

My honey and I recently went to Maine for a few days, to visit Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Aside from the beautiful drive up and wonderful Acadia, I think the highlight might've actually been the B&B where we stayed, the Acacia House. Clean, cozy, great location, excellent hosts, and delicious food (I had blueberry pancakes all three mornings! They were incredible.) As introverts, we always worry about privacy and feeling obligated to socialize at B&Bs, but this place was perfect - the hosts were friendly but unobtrusive, and it was a comfortable, clean, welcoming stay. Recommended if you're in the area!

Rolling Stone article on the incredible CeCe McDonald: The Transgender Crucible: "As a homeless trans teen, CeCe McDonald suffered a lifetime of hardships. But when she was charged with murder for simply defending herself, she became a folk hero." Definitely worth a read.

So, obviously I haven't been posting much, and I'm not even sure why I'm posting now. I guess I've gotten used to sharing links on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Also, the demise of Google Reader affected my blogging, as did the switch to a much more stressful and busy job a few years ago. Either way, it's nice to be posting again today, however, and maybe it will mark a return. Thanks to all of you who continue to read and follow and post your own tidbits of awesomeness.

6.05.2014

A great article in The Nation: Why Immigrant Detainees Are Turning to Civil Disobedience.

Media run down! On the nightstand: I just read, and enjoyed, this Swedish mystery: "Dead of Summer" by Mari Jungstedt (my first from the author - I will definitely seek out more. Classic straightforward, somewhat deadpan, clearly-written contemporary Swedish mystery), and now I'm reading another by the same publisher, "Killer's Island" by Anna Jansson. TV wise: we are still OBSESSED with Orphan Black! So, so good. Don't know what took us this long to get into it... Music wise: listening to First Aid Kit, Lorde (no shame), old REM....I need new suggestions.

One of my favorite shows, Top Chef, has come to film in Boston, and I'm basically on a constant look out for Gail, Padma, Hugh, and Tom. I must find a way to be involved! For those of you similarly obsessed, email and text for the chance to be involved! Fingers seriously crossed...

I listened to this interview this past weekend, and have been thinking about it ever since, especially Mr. Harding's explanation of non-violence direct action as not allowing the oppressors, your adversaries, to chose your weapons: "We tried to redefine what fighting was about. It was not fighting. It was fighting choosing your own weapons rather than allowing yourself to be sucked into the weaponry of the opponent that you're struggling with. We tried as much as possible, and we didn't have to work very hard on this, because many black people in their wisdom there in the South saw what that kind of weapon - love - and that romance with the gun and that militarism of the South had done to so many white Southerners, that it had warped them and their values and their capacity to really be human. And one of the critical things that we felt we wanted to do was to find a way of struggle that everybody could participate in. You didn't have to be a big, strong macho man to do it. You could be an 80-year-old grandmother. You could be a 12-year-old young woman." Listen: 'Fresh Air' Remembers Civil Rights Activist Vincent Harding. Harding died Monday at 82. He wrote several speeches for Martin Luther King Jr., including his controversial 1967 speech opposing the war in Vietnam.

Image: These hotties are two of my favorites in the whole world! And I have a favor to ask! My bestie and her awesome man are finalists in a contest to have the Portland, Oregon wedding of their dreams. They are great couple who has been through so much, and I would love to see them get the celebration of life that they deserve. So, if you have a moment, please take a second to vote for Lisette and Nick! All you have to do is go to the following Facebook pages, like them, and comment on the photo of Lisette and Nick: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. AND/ OR you can also vote by leaving the Lisette and Nick's names as a comment on the following blogs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Voting ends Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:59pm PST. THANK YOU!