From Minnesota Public Radio, The immigrants' story, told through letters.

It's been said before, but it can't be said enough: the time to love your body is now. not tomorrow, not tuesday. now.

Clearly my favorite thing about living at home is quality time with my mom and stepdad. BUT, if I HAD to choose a second thing, it would be the cooking. I cannot even tell you how my quality of life has improved - Lean Cuisines no longer! My mom makes the best healthy yet comforting cooking. My most recent favorite was her take on this quinoa soup - she added some chicken and corn, and the potatoes and quinoa made it so filling and creamy. It reheated perfectly for lunches. I hope they don't ever expect me to move out....

Beautiful image: Inhale by Teagan White.

Interesting discussion of How to Defend Yourself Against Other People’s Food and Body Weirdness. This is an issue I have definitely been on both sides of. One of the things that most helped me heal from having an eating disorder was realizing how much I was affecting people around me - to the extent that I began to feel that many of my comments were acts of violence against women in the room. Saying things like "you're so lucky you're skinny," "ugh I wish I could eat that!" and other things "disguised" as "compliments" weren't just about me - they were a way of encouraging women to feel badly about themselves and their bodies, to base their self worth on their appearance, and perpetuated the idea that criticizing our bodies and weights are appropriate ways of engaging with other people. They aren't.

When I realized what a negative impact I was having on others (which took me years to realize, believe me) I was deeply shamed, and wracked with guilt. But it also helped me realize that eating disorders are not a solitary disease, they are diseases of community and society - that is a hard truth to accept, but in that truth there is also the positive realization that healing can be healing for those around you as well as yourself. We can drag each other down with our self-obsession and self-hate, or peacefully resist the messages around us, and actively influence others with our self acceptance and love. Every time you choose not to engage with the body hate around you, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are silently offering a person who may be hating themselves the chance to take a brief, probably very needed, break from attacking their own worth.
Mociun continues to blow my mind with more amazing jewelry. Their stuff is astonishing and so unique. Swoon.

Image: source.

From Quirkyalone, gratitude for being single.

From the NYTimes, Justice Stevens speaks out against the death penalty: "In 1976, just six months after he joined the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens voted to reinstate capital punishment after a four-year moratorium. With the right procedures, he wrote, it is possible to ensure “evenhanded, rational and consistent imposition of death sentences under law." Former Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an essay for The New York Review of Books. In 2008, two years before he announced his retirement, Justice Stevens reversed course and in a concurrence said that he now believed the death penalty to be unconstitutional."

Love this round-up inspired by Hannah & Her Sisters.

"It all depends on you. You can go on sleeping forever, or you can wake up right this moment." - Osho
All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.

— Gary Snyder

Image: source.


An Interview with Eileen Myles: “If you’re interested in poetry, I’ll give you lesbianism, and if you’re interested in lesbianism, I’ll give you poetry.”

Precedent and Prologue, Jeffrey Toobin on the 10 year anniversary (wow) of Bush v. Gore.

From the Texas Observer, Solitary Men: Does prolonged isolation drive death row prisoners insane?

Video: Chrissie Wellington shatters the women's Ironman world record time. Kick ass.

Image: source.

A beaut: Sam Cooke, "Darling, I Need You Now."

If you're seriously considering law school and plan to practice public interest law....well, I have a lot of advice for you. But one piece of advice would be apply to the Public Interest Law Scholarship at Northeastern. As a lucky recipient of the scholarship (which is now even larger than when I was enrolled), and a past NUSL recruiter, I believe in and love the school, and also realize that my ability to be a legal services attorney directly out of law school is a clear result of the financial and networking support I received via the scholarship. Feel free to write me with any questions if this is something you are seriously considering.

I'm back on the running bandwagon. Kicked out 5 miles on my last day in AK, 8 miles yesterday, and back to bootcamp this morning. For the first time, my knees are hurting. It doesn't feel like it's deep in the joint, it's almost the tops of my knees, tender to the touch, like the tendons running across my knee caps are sore or something (my complete lack of knowledge about the human body is not doing me any favors). I'm hoping that incorporating trails into my runs, plus being back in bootcamp, will help me get through the pain. But running with stiff and hurting knees is not thrilling me. I want to be healthy and able to run for miles and miles and miles, damn it!
"When I die, don't come, I wouldn't want a leaf
to turn away from the sun -- it loves it there.
There's nothing so spiritual about being happy
but you can't miss a day of it, because it doesn't last."

— Frank O'Hara

Image: source.
The Los Angeles Times' article on the lawyering problems serving to clog up California's death row: "The inability of the state to recruit lawyers for post-conviction challenges, or habeas corpus petitions, has caused a major bottleneck in the state's criminal justice system. Nearly half of those condemned to die in California are awaiting appointment of counsel for these challenges. This "critical shortage," as the state high court describes it, has persisted for years, despite lawyer gluts. The average wait for these attorneys is 10 to 12 years."

Image: source.

This photo made me ache to be back in Paris. I'm so lucky to have spent time there, especially alone, especially with no schedule or agenda, especially when young and a little lost.

I read a bunch of my dad's old issues of the Times Literary Supplement and the NY Review of Books on my flights back to Oregon, which was great. I really liked this piece on Emerson, whether he's a philosopher (and, if so, what kind), his writing on grief, etc.

I also caught up on my podcasts, including this great interview with Wilbert Rideau, a long-time prisoner and writer: Doing Time, And Doing Good, In La.'s Angola Prison.

There are those who love to get dirty
and fix things.
They drink coffee at dawn,
beer after work,

And those who stay clean,
just appreciate things,
At breakfast they have milk
and juice at night.

There are those who do both,
they drink tea.

- Gary Snyder


The SFGate on the well-known and respected meditation program at San Quentin.

Image: source.

Watch Star Trek (all of the series!) online for free.

Interesting and honest discussion about the challenges of dating while struggling with an eating disorder, or another mental illness (although I admit I hadn't previously thought to classify eating disorders as mental illnesses, although it clearly is).

What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space: "However, despite the incredible power and potential of sacred spaces, they are quickly becoming extinct. We are depriving ourselves of every opportunity for disconnection. And our imaginations suffer the consequences.


"The Social Construction of Neighborhood Navigation…and more in this 3-minute TED talk by Derek Sivers, sent in by AJ S. As AJ points out, the examples show that '…just because something is different doesn’t mean it is not logical in context.'"

"Compassion is the radicalism of our time." - Dalai Lama
I'd never heard of the store Plumo before, but I'm loving their stuff, especially the jewelry and bags.

Image: source.

I like the new Adele single, I think it'll be added to my running mix very soon.

"Christopher Baker films in Cordova, Alaska, documenting life around Copper River, one of the last pure watersheds in North America. Absolutely gorgeous."

What gives a city its feel, what gives a city its personality? A Radiolab episode on “Cities” uncovers what gives a city its walking speed: "On the high end you’ve got the Dubliners who take on average (10.76 steps to cover 60 feet). Compare that with to Buchanan, Liberia whose walkers covered the same distance in about 21 seconds. In football terms, by the time the Dubliner has scored a touchdown, the guy from Buchanan is somewhere around midfield. (~9:00)"

Forever21 launches gift cards?? Feel free to buy one for me for every occasion.

"I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of season, how without grief they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal from a ribbon at a time." - May Sarton “Journal of a Solitude”

"The heart is a very, very resilient little muscle." Woody Allen (Hannah & Her Sisters)


When walking, walk. When eating, eat.

~ Zen Proverb

Image: source.

Does anyone have advice about watches that have GPS trackers (and assorted bells and whistles)? I hear Garmin Forerunners are the best, but which one? I can't decide whether I should get the basic 110 with GPS (for a not cheap $200) or spring for the one that comes with a heart rate monitor (the 210 at $300). Also, will this work when I bike (with this to mount it)? Based on the Runner's World review, I'm leaning towards the 110 with an extra $50 for the heart rate monitor. I want to be able to use it in all weather, to run and also to bike.

Image: source.

Today is my last day in Alaska. After a nice breakfast with my dad and a friend of his at the diner, and a great run (just 5 miles but it felt great to me moving again) and sauna at the local health club, I'm now luxuriating on the couch, sipping decaf, and re-watching "Hannah & Her Sisters."

From the LATimes: Undocumented UCLA law grad is in a legal bind: "His family crossed the border illegally when he was an 8-year-old, but he has done everything right since then. Will his adopted country now do right by him?"

This tray for soup and a sandwich is adorable.

"All these trips that we lay on ourselves - …the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy… - never touch our basic wealth." - Pema Chodron


Well done, HuffPo (and, as always, awesome work by Immigration Equality): "This morning, HuffingtonPost.com’s home page includes the stories of LGBT binational families as part of the site’s ‘Thanksgiving 2010′ coverage. HuffPo – one of the most widely read sites on the web – features Immigration Equality’s recent work on behalf of the Uniting American Families Act among its front page headlines for the holiday."

Image: source.

In honor of my visit to AK, time lapse video of the Aurora Borealis.

I'm in Alaska, visiting my dad for Thanksgiving, which means that I'm taking a forced break from running. While it's not particularly cold here right now, the streets and sidewalks are very icy, and not at all suited for running. It's a little hard to be out of my routine, especially since I just got back into it, but I don't have any trips planned after this one, so I should be able to get back on track soon. It might require me learning to love treadmill running, however, which remains to be seen.

Today we saw the Russel Crowe movie "The Next Three Days" and it was pretty good - suspenseful, a little heart wrenching. As always, I got annoyed that of course the protagonist (an incarcerated woman) had to be a skinny, white, straight lady. But, political qualms aside, it was good and managed to keep our interest, even though it was almost 2 hours long. (And even though at one point when the lead woman did something frustrating a dude behind me loudly said "I woulda smacked that bitch!" and I turned around and angrily glared and said "Seriously, dude?" Jesus, people.)


It snowed last night. When I headed out on my run this morning, the snow had stopped, so I only had to contend with the slush. Or so I thought. About a mile in, the snow started up again, and brutalized me for the remaining 3 miles I managed to eek out. Not the 12 miler I was hoping to hit. Ah well, the sky has cleared up now, and I'm looking forward to getting home and putting in those 8 miles I have left. I WILL do this!

Image: source.

This locket is gorgeous. And here's the perfect jewelry rack to hang it on.

The NYRB has republished Joan Didion's review of Manhattan from 1979. It remains one of my favorite movies, but I am still entertained and engaged by Didion's scathing critique. Of Allen's list of reasons to live at the end of the film she writes: "This list of Woody Allen’s is the ultimate consumer report, and the extent to which it has been quoted approvingly suggests a new class in America, a subworld of people rigid with apprehension that they will die wearing the wrong sneaker, naming the wrong symphony, preferring Madame Bovary."

“I love poetry because it makes me love” - Gregory Corso

Running update: When I got home from work today, I put on my headlamp and pushed out the 5 miles remaining from this morning. It felt great, and I felt great for doing it.

"Otherwise" by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.


I had a lovely, quiet weekend here. It was the perfect mix of rural but still with some comforts (like heating and hot water), and the meditation instruction was pretty straightforward and not too intimidating. I would definitely go back.

I thought about this article on "Vipassana romance" while I was at my retreat - there is definitely the potential to form intense relationships with people you hardly know in situations like an isolated retreat, and a busy monkey mind will cling to any distraction.

Image: source.

I started and finished "The Wonder Spot" while there - it was sort of a pale imitation of the author's previous book, "The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing," but I thought it had much of the readability, wit, and heart that made me love the earlier book.

Running has been hard the last two weeks. My 9 mile race, and the 10 mile run two days before, felt great and I was reveling in the victory. Which should've signaled to me that it was short-lived. A change in routine (gone last weekend, out of town for the coming weekend as well), cold weather, and general stiffness and laziness have made for some rough runs....and for some lack of running. I'm trying to not get too upset about it - not every run can be great, and even pro athletes probably have some off weeks. But once Thanksgiving is past, I'm committing to really buckling down, getting back into my routine, and pushing through this blah phase in my relationship to running.

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." - Agatha Christie

Pine tree tops
by Gary Snyder

In the blue night
frost haze, the sky glows
with the moon
pine tree tops
bend snow-blue, fade
into sky, frost, starlight.
The creak of boots.
Rabbit tracks, deer tracks,
what do we know.

Image: from my weekend here.


Today I head off (with my mom) for a weekend long retreat on Meditation, Relaxation, and Concentration. I've heard the place we are going is pretty secluded, rustic, and "very Oregon" - I'm a little bit nervous but mainly looking forward to the chance to slow down and check in.

The books I'm taking with me include: "Comfortable With Uncertainty" (which I first wrote as "Uncomfortable With Certainty" - ha!) and "No Time To Lose," both by Pema Chodron, "The A.B.C. Murders" by Agatha Christie (I've been tearing through the Christie recently), "The Wonder Spot" by Melissa Bank, and "Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice" by Paul Butler.

Image: source.

Some acquaintances of mine (and their awesome dog) are taking a year to sail around the oceans in their sailboat - follow their adventures here. I'm so inspired by the way they committed to this idea for a few years and are really making it happen!

I thought this article on coming out (the personal and political commitment to coming out, and specifically coming out as a bisexual woman) was interesting and well done.


"Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain . . . On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Bodchitta is our heart - our wounded, softened heart. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die. This love is bodhichitta. It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious. The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings." - Pema Chodron

Image: source.


(I like the commenter who wrote: "If I don't hear slide guitar when I get to heaven I would rather go to hell.")
Image: "3,190 debossed marks to fill in day by day, representing the nine years spent imprisoned by the longest-serving Guantanamo Bay detainees. “The Imprisoned Calendar” by The Best Part" via I'm Revolting.

Absolutely amazing 360 image of London.

A (new to me) blog I'm finding inspiring: Diary of an Amateur Triathlete. It's especially nice to read about a female athlete. I wish I lived in San Diego - how great for training year round!

“Finding is losing something else.
I think about, perhaps even mourn,
what I lost to find this”

- “Finding is losing something else” by Richard Brautigan
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T.S. Eliot - "Little Gidding" (the last of his Four Quartets)

Image: source.


Banning Homelessness Instead of Addressing It:"San Francisco has a reputation as a liberal, 'progressive' city. And in some respects that's true, with residents breaking with the rest of the state on November 2nd to back the legalization of marijuana. But then, there's also reason to suspect the city's liberalism is of the limousine variety: urged on by Democratic mayor and Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, 53 percent of city residents voted to essentially ban homelessness -- though only during daylight hours . . . San Franciscans voted on Tuesday to make it illegal to sit or lie on a sidewalk in the city between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m."

Image: Banksy, girl with balloon, Palestine 2005.

New Girl Talk! Haven't listened yet, but it'll be at the top of my play list for my next long run.

I went to church again on Sunday. One particularly powerful moment was during group prayer when we sent our love and prayers to all those who will be born today, and to all those who will die today. That is a prayer I should take a moment to focus on every day. An amazing reminder of change, renewal, impermanence.
Big deal! "In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that illegal immigrants [sic] can be eligible for the same reduced tuition at public colleges and universities as legal residents of the state."

Today I will be in my second day of training to become a CRB board member: "In 1985, Oregon's legislature created a statewide foster care review program of citizen volunteers to help state courts ensure that case plans and services meet the needs of children in foster care and youth offenders in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority. These citizen volunteers and the staff who support them are the Citizen Review Board, known as the CRB. Oregon law requires the CRB to: (1) review the case plans of children and youth offenders in substitute care to ensure that their placements and services are appropriate and timely, and (2) advocate for effective policies, procedures, and laws in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems."

Image: source.

On momentum: "It can carry you like a strong current carries a fallen leaf. It can ground you like an early morning walk through the woods. It can move you like wind moves a cloud across the summer sky. It can ignite your spirit and make you feel like you can do anything. It is momentum – that invisible, universal force that can saturate your every choice, your every step, your every breath, your every moment of resolve with vibrant, joyful energy. Momentum can surge you forward and it can pull you under. It goes with your flow, follows your lead and enhances your trajectory.”
by Kevin Hart

There’s nothing that I really want:
The stars tonight are rich and cold
Above my house that vaguely broods
Upon a path soon lost in dark.

My dinner plate is chipped all round
(It tells me that I’ve changed a lot);
My glass is cracked all down one side
(It shows there is a path for me).

My hands—I rest my head on them.
My eyes—I rest my mind on them.
There’s nothing that I really need
Before I set out on that path.

Image: source.


Seeing Sean Hayes again tonight, can't wait. ALWAYS a great show.

Barn's burnt down -
I can see the moon.

- Masahide

Image: source.

Love love this message-on-a-cookie-cutter idea (not that I'm currently a big cookie maker, but if I was...)

I took part in this! Some results from the "Track Your Happiness" app experiment. Basically, "a wandering mind is an unhappy mind." I did find that the questions targeting "Are you thinking about something other than what you are currently doing?" and "Will your thinking having an effect on that situation?" were the most interesting and definitely caused me to question the benefits of my (over)thinking when they popped up on my phone.

Beautiful short video, Wanderlust, reminding me of the great travels I've had and all the ones to come...

Image: source.

Good post from Jezebel on exercising in order to get stronger, not thinner, and also about how a newfound love of running changed the authors relationship with her body and food. I related to fair amount of what the author wrote. I will readily, if not proudly, admit that it is not so black and white for me. Having worked hard o overcome years of disordered eating and body image, I still cannot separate excercize from the quest to be thin, to look a certain way. Yes, I run because it keeps me sane, it keeps me motivated, it makes me strong and proud. But I also do it so that I can eat the fatty foods I love without gaining weight, I do it so that I feel better about how I look. It's a tricky thing. The only thing I can say is that I have tried to not engage when I find myself turning to excercize as punishment - that is, if I don't feel like working out but feel like I "should" or "need" to, I often make the decision not to head out to the gym or go running. It may seem like a small distinction, but it's a large one in my ongoing quest to honor my body, to cultivate a good relationship with excercize and food, and to become truly happy.

(Update: loved this comment from the comments section of the Jezebel article: "Susie Orbach wrote something about this that really resonated with me--she said that we need to start seeing our bodies as places we live from, rather than things we work on. ")


The D.C. Council wants to make it easier for the city government to hire ex-convicts.: "A bill called the "Returning Citizen Employment Inclusion Act of 2010" would prohibit most District agencies from asking about the criminal records or histories of job applicants until after they've landed an interview . . . The bill's backers believe that not asking about criminal history on government job applications will make it easier for ex-convicts to get city jobs. They say hiring ex-offenders will keep them from returning to prison."

Image: source (from the awesome Yes and Yes)

NPR: Express Yourself: A Major New Showcase Of Gay Portraiture: "Hide/Seek is not exactly hidden, but to find it, you have to thread your way upstairs and through the crowds visiting a hugely popular Norman Rockwell exhibit at the adjacent Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery is a smaller show, but it marks the first time a major museum in the United States has dedicated an entire exhibition to gay and lesbian portraiture."

Attic love! My moms room was the attic when I was a kid, and I always dreamed of the day I would get to take over the attic when I was older. I still want an attic room!

I got a beautiful book of photographs and Buddhist wisdom from a friend at work yesterday - such a thoughtful gift, and very much appreciated. Today's quote: "The law commands us to do what we would do naturally if we only had love. The Way consists of finding that love, which then becomes the law." - Arnaud Desjardins


Hello gorgeous. Love the beautiful, organic pieces from Miss Mouse.

Image: source.

An amazing ivy-covered art studio (in SF, of course).

Aw, I like this little pouch: "Work Hard & Smile."

Today is the 15th anniversary of my friendship with my bestie. She's been by my side through thick and thin, through heartbreak and triumph. She's an inspiring artist and activist and friend, and she has taught (and continues to teach) me so much about love. Thanks ELM! Here's to lots more decades of Sarica.

Two months ago, when I started running, I could barely go 1 mile without stopping; today I ran 10. #betterfasterstronger

"To stay with that shakiness - to stay with a broken heart, with the feeling of hopelessness & wanting to get revenge - that is the path of true awakening." -Pema Chödrön

Image: source.


"[T]he truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together & they fall apart. Then they come together again & fall apart again . . . The trick is to keep exploring & not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought . . . Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing."

- Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart

Image: source.


Arguments scheduled today at the US Supreme Court on Flores-Villar v. United States: "Children born overseas who have one U.S.-citizen parent can obtain U.S. citizenship if the citizen parent had been physically present in the U.S. for a certain period of time before the child’s birth. If the citizen parent is the father, the period is five years; if it is the mother, the period is one year. Does this differentiation amount to unconstitutional gender-based discrimination?"

Image: source.

From the League of Women Voters of Oregon, a study on Farmworkers in Oregon (from 2000 but still has a lot of interesting information).

So glad someone said this: "Are a small number of Slate writers creating news at the expense of abused immigrant women?" Yes!

Study says Ashland is full of potential bike commuters: "The study recommends the creation of separate or buffered bike lanes on busy streets, as well as more cross-town routes that don't rely on main thoroughfares."

NYTimes: Confusion Over Program to Spot Illegal Immigrants. (a) NYTimes, it's "undocumented" not "illegal," get with it. (b) The "Secure Communities" shit show continues.

"[T]he truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together & they fall apart. Then they come together again & fall apart again." - Pema Chodron
More inspiring coverage of the NY Marathon: Along the Route, a Variety of Music and Messages: "Experiences along the New York City Marathon’s 26.2-mile route were as diverse as the 45,350 official entrants who ran it Sunday."

Image: source.

From WBUR, one of the best professors I had in law school (also one of the toughest): "The struggle for universal civil rights in this country is remembered as a non-violent revolution led by luminaries such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. But many, many activists died for the cause. Margaret Burnham, a law professor at Northeastern University, hopes to make sure that none of those civil rights crusaders are ever forgotten."

I'm surprised and pleased to find that writing about my new attendance at church and ramblings about faith have lead to an increase in comments by people I don't know. I think it's really interesting that people are excited to talk about their relationship to church and spirituality and are so open to reading about mine. Thanks to all the commenters, here and those who have emailed me personally!

“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes—it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.” - Maya Angelou


USCIS launches Citizenship Resource Center, a free site helping immigrants understand naturalization.

Image: source.

Man, I gotta say, November has been a toughie so far. It's been rough for various personal reasons and then last night my car got totaled (my first car accident, I should note). The accident was oddly tame - the car in front of me and I turned left at a green light in an intersection, a dog ran out in front of her, she slammed on her brakes and I rear-ended her. You wouldn't think it would be that severe at 20 miles per hour or so, but the entire front of my car was crumpled and destroyed (it was a 2004 Nissan Sentra - can't say I would recommend purchasing one after seeing how easily it was crushed). Also, because her car was an SUV and mine was lower to the ground, her car escaped damage while my airbags didn't even deploy. I'm sore today, but we are both fine and that's what really matters. Not having a car, however (when I work in a different town than I live in and neither has great public transportation), and having to pay money when I'm already broke, is less than awesome. I'm looking forward to this fall improving at some point.

On a more positive note, I start training next week to join the Citizen Review Board. The CRB is a volunteer board "providing meaningful, independent review of our child welfare and juvenile justice systems to ensure that children, youth, and families are getting the services they need." I'm hoping it will help me learn more about family law and juvenile justice, as well as a way for me to have a positive impact on youth going through "the system."

"To be alive at all is to have scars." - John Steinbeck
Typography explosion.

The Oregon State Bar profiles an immigration attorney, herself an immigrant: Chanpone Sinlapasai Works to Ease Resettlement for Other Immigrants.

Image: source.

Love this idea of Christmas lights for camping. New goal = cozy secluded winter night in a tent surrounded by tiny glowing lights.

From the Oregonian: Death for the death penalty.

“The shower threw steaming water into the dawn at the twist of a tap, just as it does every morning; a flick of the light switch rolled away the dark, as always. The kettle boiled and there was tea; toast leapt from the toaster . Outside, the car awaited. The engine turned over at the first touch of the key and I rolled into the day, rain falling onto the weather-tight windscreen. Things work. Little things that we hardly take the time to think about. Oh, there are traffic jams and demands upon time, mortgages to pay and all manner of frustrations and niggles. But everyday things work to a point beyond the imagining of the most pampered emperors of history’s most fabulous empires. A hot shower, a jug of boiling water, light at a click of the fingers? A car that streams through the rain, the interior heated, radio harnessing news from the world? These are so familiar to most of us they escape comment. Yet when things don’t work, we are reduced to anxiety and, sometimes, near hysteria.” - “The apparently mundane doesn’t impress us, whether it’s a successful plane journey, hot water on tap or a successful immigrant.”

"Blanca Alvarez and her husband risked crossing the border to immigrate into the U.S. and then struggled to make ends meet. They hoped to shelter their children from these harsh realities, but Blanca's daughter Connie reveals how much children can really see of their parents' lives—and the inspiration they draw from their struggles."

Image: source.
"Polish artist, NeSpoon created these incredible doilies for Oak Beach on the Baltic Sea. These "street art" installations were photographed and moved around by curious beach goers until, finally, they disintegrated under the stress." Source.


Solvitur ambulando

Today's run: 8 very rainy and very cold (yet sort of amazing) miles through Ashland. I've been following the NY Marathon news and photos with interest, looking forward to the day I'm among the masses. I'm not there yet though - my next race will be a 9 miler this coming weekend. It'll be my longest yet, and I'm feeling ready and looking forward to it.

Experiencing the feeling of insecurity / in me, I breathe in. / Smiling to the feeling of insecurity, / I breathe out. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Image: source.

“The conviction that traveling in general, and walking in particular, can bring inspiration and even enlightenment is a very ancient one…as the old adage, taken up by the wandering scholars of medieval Europe, had it, ‘Solvitur ambulando’ (‘It is solved by walking’).” - William Dalrymple in The NY Times Book Review
I went to church again today. I don't really know why. I still don't believe in God, I still don't feel comfortable singing the hymns, and I still feel confused as to why there is so much emphasis placed on this book written by various people thousands of years ago. What is it that I appreciate about that hour a week?

Well, I like hearing the minister talk about faith and the struggles of trying to lead a good life. I appreciate the UCC's emphasis on social justice and a life of service. I guess I like the sense of "community," even though I don't really talk to anyone else. It reminds me of being at the beginning of a race - inevitably, at every race I run, I get choked up at the start line, as we all head out. It's something about seeing so many people taking the time out of their day to do something positive and healthy, so full of hope (or maybe it's just the adrenaline). In some weird way, church feels similarly - it feels really tender and precious that all these people felt it was important to take this time to think about "the big questions," and to tend to themselves.

I do know I like having space to think about those that I care about and send them....prayers? I guess I'm still having trouble with that word too. The "Call to Worship" today was this: "O God / whose glory fills the earth, / whose presence is all around us / if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear, / meet us here today." I read it a few times and thought, if this prayer is saying that God is already all around us and only requires our acknowledgement, yet is still asking for God for his/her presence, doesn't this really make the prayer a prayer to the one saying it? Really instead of asking God to do something, if I say this prayer aren't I really asking myself to choose to have "eyes to see and ears to hear"? Maybe all prayer is to ourselves, in some way; a request to ourselves for the strength we need, the patience we lack, the compassion we desire, the healing we hope others find. An acknowledgement that we already contain everything we need.

Image: source.
Currently reading: re-reading, actually, "The Girls Guide To Hunting and Fishing" (Melissa Bank) because I remembered it being a fairly easy, but good, read focusing on relationships. Also re-reading Wallace Stegner's "Angle of Repose" as well as reading for the first time "Marking the Sparrows Fall: Wallace Stegner's American West, "a book of essays by Stegner about the West (obviously, I guess).

Having made it through most of the great mysteries I could find lying around the house, I am now reading a decidedly not great mystery called "One Fell Sloop" about a murder in Maine, involving lots of boat talk I don't understand and really excessive amounts of dialogue explaining the plot. For whatever reason, however, about 10-15 pages of it before I fall asleep is just the right thing.

Image: source.

Now watching: I didn't like the second "Sherlock" on PBS as much as the first episode, but so it goes. I think there is one more to come. I'm on my last disc of Season Two of "Mad Men." I have to say that the character of Don Draper is getting a little old to me, and I'm more and more aware of my reliance on the aesthetics of the show to keep me interested. Nonetheless I'm sure I will continue onto Season Three, but maybe not until taking a break. I still have the last season of "The Shield" to watch, and it's hard to think of a less Mad Men like show than that.... (although I guess they both have "bad boy" protagonists that you end up liking anyways....What percentage of American tv and movies does that describe, I wonder....)


Simply breakfast: a blog by photographer Jen Causey where she documents what she has for breakfast.