One year ago

Results of the July 2010 Massachusetts Bar exam were received today. That means its been a year since I found out that I failed my first attempt at the MA Bar...by two points. It was a horrible day. I was in Cleveland for my job, alone in a cold, grey, unfamiliar city, and got the call from my wonderful roommate Jeremiah that the envelope I had been eagerly anticipating had arrived. Then, as I stood on the sidewalk, I forced him to read it to me out loud. There was a pause and he said "You didn't pass." For a moment I thought he might be joking, but I knew he was too nice a guy to pull that sort of thing. He read me the rest of the letter, which informed me that I had fallen 2 points short of the required 270 points needed to pass.

The next few weeks were pretty rough. The next day, for instance, I had to go stand with a bunch of other recent law school grads and tell prospective students about law school (I was a recruiter for my awesome law school). I worried one of them would ask me the common question "What's your schools Bar passage rate?" and I would lunge over the table and strangle them (my friend Adam suggested that my answer be, "One less than it should have been.") Many of the other recruiters had just found out that they had passed and were thrilled. The friend I studied for the Bar with had passed. Most of my friends had passed. People tried to hide from me their good news or politely ignore the topic, which only made it worse. Being me, I immediately updated my Facebook profile to show I had failed - I'd rather put it out there than think people were wondering behind my back, gossiping whether it was true that I had failed. I wrote this post on my blog about how to deal with a friend who is taking, or has failed, the Bar.

And then I got back to work. If there is one thing that law school taught me, it's that spending time moping or feeling sorry for yourself is generally unproductive (not that I think you should stifle your emotions but - there's a time limit on most short-term moping issues). Somewhat luckily (for me, not so much for her), one of my good friends had also failed the MA Bar. So we began studying together. It was horrible, of course - the whole process of studying for the Bar is horrible. But having someone who was going through the same thing as me was incredibly helpful. (Also helpful was the fact she laughed at my jokes sometimes, had a really soft kitty who "studied" with us, and that we were signed up for a dance class where we learned the entire "Single Ladies" dance.) My boss allowed me to work a modified schedule, and having something to do other than study was oddly helpful. My boyfriend at the time was really patient and, despite having a totally different schedule than me, didn't complain about my lack of free time and occasional breakdowns.

Studying to take the Bar the second time was easier in some ways (I knew the drill, I knew what the big day would be like), and harder in other ways (the loss of confidence (as if law school hadn't already stolen it all), the fear of failure). But this is what I can say: one of the proudest moments of my life (maybe THE proudest) was when I found out that I had passed the MA Bar. Of course I would've loved the pass the first time - duh. But I learned so much about myself taking the Bar a second time - how to be devastated and insecure, but keep working. How to have joy for others in the midst of my own pain. How to stay humble, and how to have an identity when you fail at something that has come to define you. And the pay-off was so huge. When I found out I had passed, I cried and laughed with joy (and relief). Passing the second time around, I felt not only proud of my victory over the test, but so incredibly, indescribably proud that I hadn't let one obstacle stop me. I felt so proud that I had pushed ahead, that I had done the work that needed to be done, that I had accepted this humiliating and humbling event and still found a way to believe in myself.

Now that I'm a practicing attorney, and the Bar is no longer part of my day to day life, it's easy to forget this feeling. Frustratingly enough, as easy as it is to forget the horror of Bar study (thank god), it seems like it's even easier to forget the triumph of passing the Bar. And that's why, even though I don't write about much personal stuff here, I'm forcing myself to write this. To anyone who has failed the Bar: feel free to contact me. I will listen. To anyone who has passed the Bar: enjoy your victory and don't forget your humility and compassion. To those who supported me through both Bars: thank you, thank you, thank you. To me, law student me, Bar studying me, lawyer me: always remember that you were strong enough to make it through law school, strong enough to study for and take the MA Bar twice, and, most importantly, remember that you were so, so, so very proud of yourself. You are a "fantastic wonder."

There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in.

Judges Weigh Fairnes of Juvenile Life Without Parole: "Judges are grappling with whether it is ever proper to sentence a juvenile to life in prison without parole in light of a Supreme Court decision that such a punishment for non-murderers is cruel and unusual."

Image: source.

Some of what I'm listening to: new Lupe Fiasco, Weezer's cover of Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart" (I love me a cover, especially a cross-genre cover), Josh Ritter & Dawn Landes "500 Miles," the incomparable Sean Hayes "Diamond In The Sun," Bon Iver "Skinny Love," and, of course, annual fall/winter favorites Chet Baker and Billie Holiday.

I saw The Social Network last week and liked it more than I expected - well-paced, funny at points, some well-shot scenes, some emotional depth. Recommended. Tonight I'm going to see Easy A, which I know next to nothing about. This weekend I'm looking forward to running a 5K (hoping I'll see a lot of improvement from the one I ran a month ago), and also heading out to shoot skeet. Hopefully this week-long rain storm will end.

Also, I'm going back to church this weekend. However, unlike originally planned I'm not going to a new place of worship, I'm going back to the place I went last week. Not because it blew me away and was a perfect spiritual fit, but because there was something about it that felt right and I want to give myself another hour in that space. Originally, I was thinking I would sort of write about each place of worship I went, but as I was sitting at church last Sunday I realized that thinking about what I would say/write about it was taking me out of the moment, and it felt weird to think about "reviewing" a church as if it was a restaurant instead of (someone's) spiritual place. I guess this means no book deal for me about my quirky 29 year old lawyers quest for spirituality. Oh well.

Image: source.
GOOD: "Contrail Turns Your Bike into a Paintbrush"

Left: love these pigeon lights.

Hispanics increasingly fear immigration backlash: "Hispanics are increasingly concerned about a backlash against them, even as they are split over the effects of illegal immigration on the country. Their anxiety comes as illegal immigration and border security are playing major roles in election campaigns nationwide."

NPR: Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law.

Today is my one day a week off from exercising. This is surprisingly hard for me. Less because I physically desire to exercise every day (although I sometimes do), and more because exercise is such a vital part of my mental and emotional health. However, I'm putting a lot of strain on my body with all my running, etc, and I want to avoid injury and burn out, so I'm trying to commit to one day a week off. I choose the day, Thursday, where I have a variety of things built in to support me mentally - some spiritual group work I find helpful, as well as acupuncture. Additionally I sometimes go for walks on my days "off" but I try to have them be meditative walks (listening to Tara Brach, going at a slow pace, stopping to take photos) instead of my usual "full force ahead" power walks.


Image: source.

"Twenty years ago, Wojnarowicz made this piece, Untitled (One day this kid…). He made it as a 30 3/4-inch X 41-inch photostat, but it’s probably gained more cultural currency as a postcard available at just about every progressive bookstore in New York. This seems like a good time to post it. It also seems like a good time to suggest you visit and support GLSEN and that you share Wojnarowicz’s work with, well, everyone you can think of. Especially young people, all of them."
Using Jealousy As a Gift: "There’s a lesson here for all of us. When you feel jealous, instead of identifying with that feeling or beating yourself up for feeling it, let it serve as an important message."

Matisyahu "Use Somebody" (Kings of Leon Cover + Beatboxing) (thanks ELM).

Really interesting (thanks Moosh): Jake Brewer on "The Tragedy of Political Advocacy" "If you are one of the 135 million people who have contacted Congress by letter, phone call, or online petition in the last few years, you've probably asked yourself: "Did that matter?" Despite how good your civic action may have made you feel, the overwhelming odds are your deed was essentially pointless - and Congressis not to blame."

From the NYTimes: Latino Immigrants to Sue a Connecticut Police Dept., Asserting Racial Bias: "When Yadanny García asked police officers in East Haven, Conn., why they were ordering him to the ground, they shocked him three times with a Taser gun, punched him and told him to “go back to your country.” When José Luis Albaraccín was arrested after questioning an officer, he was taken to the police station, sprayed with pepper gas and beaten to the floor. And when Edgar Torres vowed to complain publicly that officers had used a Taser gun on him four times for no reason, an officer threatened to kill him."

Image: source. Never gets old.
The Moment
by Margaret Atwood

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

Image: source.


Writer Arundhati Roy May Be Arrested For Sedition After Kashmir Remarks. "Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free."

Image: source.

Should I do it? (the 70.3 is the short version (albeit longer than the sprint version)). The one in Austin would give me the most time to prepare. The hardest part would be getting myself ready for the swim. But I'm spending the whole winter and spring working on running, and my biking is decent, so I could devote the summer to swimming....a thought....

This morning's run: 5 miles, pitch black and could see Orion as I headed out. Saw a 4-point buck moving through the darkness, ghost-like. Ran by the coffee places brewing all their beans, arrived home with red cheeks. Knees sore.

"reaching / into the darkness, learning / little by little to love / our only world." Mary Oliver

Image: source.
What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of— indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

— Mary Oliver

Image: source.


Some awesome news from my pre-law school employer, Prisoners' Legal Services of New York. They do great work, and their willingness to hire and train me not only introduced me to prisoners' rights work (which remains a passion), but also started me on my path towards law school.

"Anthony Burrill collected BP oil from the beach at Grand Isle, Louisiana and used it as the ink for a limited edition silkscreen poster."

Image: South of Klamath Falls, Oregon (1973) from “Uncommon Places” by Stephen Shore.

“I sometimes find myself just admiring the pockets of space between the different branches in a tree and walking and immersing myself in those pockets of space. It is just beautiful. It is a beautiful sensation.” - Sue Barry, a neurobiologist, had been cross-eyed since early infancy. As a result, she viewed the world in a flat plane and had no stereoscopic 3-D vision.

"hello babies. welcome to earth. it’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. it’s round and wet and crowded. on the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. there’s only one rule that i know of, babies - 'god damn it, you’ve got to be kind.'" - k. vonnegut

7 mile run tonight. Dusk, deer, hens, fog rolling over the mountains.
Saint Francis And The Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

by Galway Kinnell

Image: Moon, by Japanese Zen Priest Yamada Mumon.

Beautiful shots. Pigeon flyers of NYC.

Image: source.


I'm not sure why this article is only about men in their 40's doing triathlons (I know there are plenty of 40-something year old female triathletes today) ((and the part about being "chick-ed" is beyond obnoxious)), but it was still motivating (if only so I can dream of "chick-ing" one of these testosterone-fueled dummies some day).

From the NY Review of Books: All Programs Considered: in praise of great radio.

Image: source.

"StoryCorps Atlanta has an interview between two staff members at the Southern Center for Human Rights: staff attorney Melanie Velez, who has worked on prison overcrowding and abuse cases in Georgia and Alabama, and social worker Vivianne Guevara."

NYTimes: "Daniel J. Millis was one of the Arizona volunteers ticketed for littering after he was caught by a federal Fish and Wildlife officer placing gallon jugs of water for passing immigrants in a remote semidesert landscape."

"Generosity brings joy: joy brings calm: a calm mind fills with ease and settles readily into meditation."

Image: source.

I Believe In All That Has Never Been Spoken

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within in
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
the forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Image: source.


Interested in seeing this: "It's More Expensive To Do Nothing explores the dark and often disregarded world of criminal justice, the revolving door of institutionalization, the complexities of remediation, and the programs that have worked to help nonviolent ex-offenders succeed as self-sufficient members of society. The math is staggeringly simple: It will cost $75,000 year if a nonviolent offender returns to prison, whereas $5,000 a year will help that individual lead a productive life outside.”

Looking forward to the new Sherlock Holmes, airing tonight on PBS's Masterpiece.

NYTimes: Coming Out Illegal: "A senior at U.C.L.A. and the only child of a single working mother, Leslie is brave but not reckless: in the wrong place under the wrong circumstances, the T-shirt’s two words across the chest — “I’m Undocumented” — are provocative enough to upend her life."

Always amazing: Bruce Springsteen, "Atlantic City."

Congratulations cardigans, you are my favorite.

I was moved by and interested in the invocation at today's service (despite my ongoing discomfort with the word/idea of God):

"Loving God,
you have led us to this place,
not to shield us from heartache
and the pain of human life,

but to heal us and inspire us.
to gently redirect us,

till we see the world as you do
and love it with your love."

Image: source.


Poem #126 from the 180 Poems Project.


"An audacious faith in the future"

"I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the 'isness' of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal 'oughtness' that forever confronts him.

I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

I believe that even amid today’s motor bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964

[After a week of hearing so many sad stories, so many tales of people being violent to each other...I'm really trying to have such "audacious faith in the future."]

Image: source.
Alec Baldwin is problematic, to say the least, but damn he comes through sometimes: on why you shouldn't donate to public radio, and why you should let him marry Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Image: source.

This NYTimes article is from January, but it's a decent introduction to the U-Visa. In my opinion as a legal services immigration attorney, the U-Visa is a vital and necessary tool to protect victims of crime and to prevent greater victimization of a vulnerable population. And they are NOT easy to get.

An interesting discussion (via Jezebel and Tiger Beatdown) about the character of Betty in Mad Men (I'm still working my way through season 2).

Another interview with Anne Lamott (yes, I'm obsessed) - this time via the wonderful world of Powells.

Are you a scientist? Contribute your personal story of how and why you became a scientist at my wonderful friend Phoebe's awesome website, Call of Science.

"Use your time wisely. Say beautiful things, inspire, forgive, act physically to protect and help." - Thich Nhat Hanh

"Sam said to me the other day, "I love you like 20 tyrannosauruses on 20 mountaintops," and this is the exact same way in which I love him." - Anne Lamott

Image: source.
A little bit of beauty and hope in what's been a heartbreaking week: I love this StoryCorps (I've listened to it....uh, 5 times?): "Colbert Williams was just 16 when he became a father and then had to raise his son as a single dad. Now Colbert is 30, and his son, Nathan, is a teenager himself. Recently the pair talked about raising kids."

Image: source.

I like crazy new music as much as the next guy (well, maybe not quite as much), but when the going gets rough (or good, or just confusing), I pretty much come back to the same 3 albums I have loved since high school (and, in one case, middle school): "August and Everything After" (Counting Crows), "1200 Curfew" (Indigo Girls), and "Graceland" (Paul Simon). Maybe not the coolest line-up, but I wouldn't trade these for anything. (Oddly enough "Dookie" (Green Day), which I SWORE I would love forever, didn't make the cut....)

Love the Hand Drawn Maps Association, and this kids map of NYC.
"May whatever circumstances arise in this life serve the awakening of this heart and mind and may this life be of benefit to all human beings." (Tara Brach)

Sarica forever (20 years and counting?)


On Prayer

You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.
All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.
That bridge leads to the shore of Reversal
Where everything is just the opposite and the word 'is'
Unveils a meaning we hardly envisioned.
Notice: I say we; there, every one, separately,
Feels compassion for others entangled in the flesh
And knows that if there is no other shore
We will walk that aerial bridge all the same.

- Czeslaw Milosz
This is an undertaking I have thought of for many years, but have never actually engaged with. For many reasons, right now feels like the right time. The idea: visit a different place of worship in my community each week. The motivation: to learn more about my own spirituality and also to learn more about the community I live in.

My first stop, this weekend, will be Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ - I chose it because I know where it is (never underestimate the power of familiarity, especially when you have some social anxiety), their stated commitment to service, justice, and support of LGBT issues, and also I liked that they said the take the Bible "seriously but not literally." After reading this article and finding out their minister is a lesbian, I'm looking forward to my visit even more.
Please, someone, make this stop. Another young gay man takes his life.
Angela Davis on prison abolition. via Democracy Now! and Feministing.

From the NYTimes: "Their Debt Is Paid: More than five million Americans could be barred from voting in November because of unjust and archaic state laws that disenfranchise former offenders, even when they have gone on to live crime-free lives . . . Democracy is strengthened when as many citizens as possible have the right to vote. Fully integrating ex-offenders back into society is also the best way to encourage their lasting rehabilitation. It is past time for all states to restore individual voting rights automatically to ex-offenders who have served their time."

Image: source.

More Anne Lamott I love:

"...learning to eat was about learning to live - and deciding to live; and it is one of the most radical things I've ever done." - A. Lamott ("Plan B")

"Since the United States went to war in Iraq, I've been thinking about A.J. Muste, who during the Vietnam War stood in front of the White House night after night with a candle. One rainy night, a reporter asked him, 'Mr. Muste, do you really think you are going to change the politics of this country by standing out here alone at night with a candle?' 'Oh,' Muste replied, 'I don't do it to change the country, I do it so the country won't change me.''" - Anne Lamott ("Plan B")


Image: source.
I'm on a big Ann Lamott kick, recently. She's the wacky, smart, loving, open, broken mentor I think we all wish we had. I heard her read about 15 years ago, with no idea who she was, and have been a big fan ever since. Here's an short interview with her on Fresh Air, when she came out with "Plan B" (the book I'm reading now). She is so funny and self-depricating but also self-loving, and has something to say on everything from parenting to eating disorders to faith to hair to sobriety to sex. One of the many quotes I love from the book - Annie talking about a friend of hers who believes in "The Church of Eighty Percent Sincerity": " 'Eighty percent sincerity is about as good as its going to get. So is eighty percent compassion. Eighty percent celibacy. So twenty percent of the time, you just get to be yourself.' It's such subversive material, so contrary to everything society leads us to believe - that if you look good, you'll be happy, and have it all together, and you'll be successful and nothing will go wrong, and you wont have to die, and the rot wont get in. 'I've been forced to find my inner beauty,' he said in closing. 'Doing that gave me a deep faith in myself. Eighty percent of the time. And that faith has been a window, so I can see the beauty in you too. The light in your eyes. Your warmth. So thank you.'"


Pretty amazing round up of animated GIFs.

Image: source.

The intersection of minimalist and "cozy crafter." I think both of these aesthetic identities exist with in me, if that's possible....

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. "Today, the LA Times has a really interesting profile on the Second Chance Women’s Re-entry Court program, a rehabilitation program and alternative to incarceration for women who commit non-violent crimes. The program is one of the first in the nation to focus on women in the criminal justice system." (via the Curvature)

Human Rights Advocate to Speak at SOU: "Enrique Morones, the founder of Border Angels, a non-profit organization attempting to prevent migrants from dying as they cross the U S Mexican border, will speak at Southern Oregon University next week. Morones will appear Wednesday, October 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union."

"I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us." - Anne Lamott
A few interesting things on food: an infographic on how your diet affects the planet, and a finding that rings true to me, "Buying Food With Cash or Plastic: People who buy food with cash make better choices than people who pay with credit and debit cards."

Image: source.

On the running front: last week was a tough one - I felt uncommonly sore and stiff and was worried that my last month of gleeful running had been a fluke. However, as I'm learning in all walks of life, when the going gets tough, SLOW DOWN. So I took back to the road, moving as slowly as humanly possible and, sure enough, three miles in I was back in the groove. Not to say it's easy -heading out this morning, in the dark, so cold I could see my breath, I was NOT thinking about the amazing Zen-like gifts of running. But as I headed back home, 2 hours later, having watched the sun rise over these hills I love so much, I was feeling pretty good. Goals ahead: Pioneer Run (9 miles, Nov 13th) and (yipes) the Vancouver WA Half-Marathon (January 2011). Onward!

Currently reading: "Feminist Theory from Margin to Center" (bell hooks), "Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle" (David Wann), "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith" and "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" (both by Anne Lamott).

Image: source.


From Slate: Opt out of dozens of behavioral ad tacking networks in a single click.

Image: source.

Dates for the 2011 RebLaw Conference have been announced (February 18th-20th) - hope I can make it!

Prior to attending law school I worked for almost two years at a wonderful prisoners' rights organization in upstate New York, hence my continued deep concern for issues such as conditions of confinement, the treatment of the mentally ill while incarcerated, and the horrendous affect of solitary confinement on those subjected to this torture. It broke my heart to read this report, "Suicide and Solitary Confinement in New York State Prisons," on how horrible conditions remain despite the work of so many dedicated and hard-working individuals. It is easy to stay ignorant of the reality of our prisons, as they are often hidden out of sight from day to day life. But prisoners are no different than you or I, and the conditions they are subject to reflect our society's failures - for which we are all responsible. "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." Dostoyevsky

The business of sharing: "What do you do when you are green, broke and connected? You share." (via Jeremiah)

The ultimate in hip parent accessories - Keith Haring Rocker. I love it.

"All the elements for your happiness are already here. There's no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just be." - Thich Nhat Hanh

One of my favorites.
This mobile is making me want to revisit my past forays into mobile making.

Amazing photo.

Fantastic kitchen indeed.

“I think you and I are fighting a losing battle, here, but then so is everybody else in his lunatic world, and if you were on my side it might take the pain out of losing.” - Hunter S Thompson’s closing sentence in a letter to Ann Frick.

Photos of the pigeon flyers of NYC.

NYTimes: Two Words: Wasteful and Ineffective: "This would be monumentally wasteful under any condition. The fact is that these facilities are disastrously mismanaged, and as many as 80 percent of the young men who serve time end up committing more crimes within a few years of their release."

Hm, a wall desk - an interesting solution to a small space.

‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ - Lao Tzu (via Zen Habits)


It Was Like This: You Were Happy
by Jane Hirshfield

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent—what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness—
between you, there is nothing to forgive—
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

It doesn’t matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

(In the movie I recently saw, "Dot," they show her reading an excerpt of this poem at the memorial service of her son. Very powerful.) (Image: source)
by W.S Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Still amazing.


Tonight my mom and I went to a screening of a documentary film about an Ashland character, Dot. It was a (somewhat unexpectedly to me) inspiring, funny, moving movie about a woman who has devoted her life to activism and peace. It was particularly great to view the movie in the company of so many local radicals, artists, and families. I hope I am blessed enough to live a long life filled with the fight for justice, surrounded by such an amazing community.

Image: "Though 82-year-old Dot Fisher-Smith spent much of her life protesting injustice, probably her most famous moment came in 1996 when she was chained by the neck to a logging truck near the Croman Mill in Ashland." Mail Tribune.

Image: source.

Image: source.

More love for the Nike + GPS app.

Love these unusual work spaces.

"desigNYC’s mission is to amplify the work of extraordinary NYC nonprofits, community groups and city agencies serving the public good by connecting them with the power of good design."

A brilliant little tea lover's cup.

Need a Lawyer? Good Luck: "Across the country, programs that provide legal representation in civil cases to low-income Americans are so cash-strapped that they are turning away numbers of people. Hard-pressed Americans fighting foreclosure or seeking protection from domestic violence or access to medical care or unemployment benefits must often navigate the judicial system on their own or give up."

“Happiness is much, but it isn’t everything. One wants—one hopes for—the full ride during a lifetime, which includes not only happiness but other rich emotions like sorrow, anger, and yes, even grief.” - Michael Cunningham

Image: source.

In the sea rocks,
in the stone pockets
under the tide’s lip,
in water dense as blindness

they slid
like sponges,
like too many thumbs.
I knew this, and what I wanted

was to draw my hands back
from the water – what I wanted
was to be willing
to be afraid.

But I stayed there,
I crouched on the stone wall
while the sea poured its harsh song
through the sluices,

while I waited for the gritty lightning
of their touch, while I stared
down through the tide’s leaving
where sometimes I could see them –

their stubborn flesh
lounging on my knuckles.
What good does it do
to lie all day in the sun

loving what is easy?
It never grew easy,
but at last I grew peaceful:
all summer

my fear diminished
as they bloomed through the water
like flowers, like flecks
of an uncertain dream,

while I lay on the rocks, reaching
into the darkness, learning
little by little to love
our only world.

- Mary Oliver

Image: source


Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010 (h/t commandc)

Image: source.

Another pretty blog I'm enjoying recently: Lloso, the blog of awesome fabric company Proud Mary - I like the focus on beautiful textiles.

Beautiful. "Princess Boy" "Here’s today’s moment of love. It’s a 10 minute segment from a Seattle TV show about a little boy named Dyson who likes to wear sequins and heels and whose lovely mother and father are totally cool about it." Watch till the end to see his awesome and supportive older brother.

Alan Gomez of USA Today reports on a bitter sign of the times: "Immigrants nervous about stronger enforcement have started drawing up legal documents to spell out what they want to happen to their families and belongings if they are deported." via Immigration Prof Blog.


This underwater sculpture garden is beautiful and, also, totally creepy.

Check out my friend (and favorite scientist) Phoebe's new venture, The Call of Science: how we became scientists, and why.

Image: source.

From Lens Culture: "In 1936, a 16-year-old Dutch girl played a shooting gallery game at the fair: hit the target and a camera takes a photo, which the girl receives as a prize. Almost every year between then and now, Ria van Dijk shot the target and got her prize." via.

And more great photos: Skeletons in the Closet documents the behind the scenes workings of the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Great stuff.

Good question: why can't Jimmy Smits hold down a tv show? It's true! He's totally charming, was great on Dexter and NYPD Blue, but his attempts to headlining shows recently have been complete disasters (Outlaw was even worse than Cane).

This is how I make a quick cup of (decaf) coffee every morning - I'm always impressed by how simple it is and how well it works.

"Awakening Now" by Dana Folds, as read by Tara Brach.

Image: source.


My Heart

I'm not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don't prefer one "strain" to another.
I'd have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says "That's
not like Frank!", all to the good! I
don't wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart--
you can't plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

- Frank O'Hara

Image: source.

Image: source.