12.31.2010






























I'm trying.

Image: source.
































Praying for peace for all in the coming year.

Image: source.



12.30.2010

Still reading MLK Jr.'s autobiography, and now watching Season 2 of Mi-5 (I'm on vacation!). I ended up loving A Single Man last night = it's a quiet movie, but not in the "quiet as a euphemism for boring" way, just a carefully paced and well-executed movie.

Photo: it was an amazing day of cross-country skiing at Buck Prairie today!

Yesterday's planned workout: Bootcamp. Yesterday's actual workout: Bootcamp, 4 mile run.

Today's planned workout: 5 mile run. Today's actual workout: 5 mile run, 2 hrs cross-country skiing, 1 hr Zumba (well, whether I make it to Zumba remains to be seen).

Also, I added a run to my race schedule (left): the Frostbite 10K in Talent on January 15th. Can't wait till Jan 1, the official start of my marathon training!

Finally, always a classic:

last year i abstained
this year i devour
without guilt
which is also an art.

— margaret atwood

excerpt from To A Siberian Woodsman by Wendell Berry

12.29.2010

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and
increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of
life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well
entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not
my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they
discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty
and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied - I see, dance, laugh, sing . . .


- excerpt from "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman

12.28.2010

I saw 127 Hours last night. I don't know if it really lives up to the hype (personally I found the editing and the soundtrack both distracting and weak) but James Franco was great and I found myself crying at the end of it. Overall, worth seeing.

Image: source.

Tonight my mom and I are watching A Single Man, which I've been wanting to see forever.

Heard this report on NPR and thought it was both heartbreaking and inspiring: A Female Explorer Discovered On The High Seas: "Jeanne Baret didn't set out to be the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. When she stepped onboard the Etoile in 1766, she was looking for plants. Her lover, Philibert Commerson, was a well-known botanist at the time and had been selected to be part of French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville's round-the-world expedition from 1766-69."

Deportation Is Not A Family Value: "During his first two years in office, President Obama’s administration has dramatically increased enforcement of undocumented immigrant deportations. In fact, the current administration has far exceeded the Bush administration’s level of deportations and is currently spending $17 billion per year on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)."

“I don’t want to become someone who ignores the pain of others. We’re all human beings, together, on this planet, and it’s only an accident of luck that means I can give and not receive.” Source.

Planned workout: 5 mile run. Actual workout: 5 mile run/jog/walk combo, 1 hr Zumba.

12.27.2010

Currently watching (and loving): Season 1 of Mi-5 via Netflix streaming.

Image: source.

This series of maps is pretty interesting (if somewhat predictable): Food Atlas: What Are We Eating, and Where?

Best title of a movie review I've seen recently (and the review itself is pretty good too): In Which We Realize We Hated Lost In Translation In Retrospect.

If you look to the left you'll see I've posted my training schedules through August. I doubt they will be of any interest to anyone but me, but posting them helps keep me motivated. I think I will post daily "planned workout / actual workout" updates as well.

Today's planned workout (12/27): bootcamp. Today's actual workout: bootcamp plus 3.5 mi run.

Books on marathon/triathlon training





I got a bunch of great books for Christmas to help me kick ass in all my big goals for 2011:

The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer: I'm using this in conjunction with a few other guides to plan for my first marathon. There are some great things about it (like discussions of the mental and emotional aspects of training etc) but it really is a book for people with very minimal running experience who are only focused on getting through a marathon - I'm not totally adhering to the plan because it only includes running (and I know I personally need my bootcamp class once or twice a week to keep me un-injured and my body & mind balanced), and I think that even with only 3 months of running under my belt I'm a little ahead of the plan. But I would still consider this a must-read for any first marathon runner.

Training Plans for Multisport Athletes: Your Essential Guide to Triathlon, Duathlon, XTERRA, Ironman, and Endurance Racing: I'm training for my first half marathon in Jan, my first marathon in May, and my first Ironman 70.3 in August - I've used this guide, along with a few others and the advice of more seasoned athletes, to create a training plan for the next 8 months - so far so good. It has a wide variety of plans that take into account your goals, your current fitness, your time frame, etc.

12.26.2010

"They are three of the eight men at the Eric M. Taylor Center — one of nine jails on Rikers Island — who completed a five-week literacy course this fall called 'Daddy and Me,' in which they recorded themselves reading children’s books for the sons and daughters they had left behind."

Image: source.

Definitely interested in reading this new biography of Mandela.

Vows-fan and romantic that I am, I admit to being taken by these last lines of this weeks profile: "Ms. Banky, the bride’s friend, referred to these changes as “ghili vili.” In Farsi slang, she said, 'It means that he created a revolution in you.' 'You’ll say, "Does he make her ghili vili?' Ms. Banky continued. And if he doesn’t do that, it’s a no-go. Jesse makes her ghili vili.'"

“Nothing happens? Or has everything happened, / and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?” - Juan Ramon Jimenez

12.23.2010

I'm reading the MLK Jr autobiography and remain more in awe of his intellect and compassion than ever before. A few selections from his first 30 years:

"My mother confronted the age-old problem of the Negro parent in America: how to explain discrimination and segregation to a small child. She taught me that I should feel a sense of 'somebodiness' but that on the other hand I had to go out and face a system that stared me in the face every day saying you are 'less than,' you are 'not equal to.' She told me about slavery and how it ended with the Civil War. She tried to explain the divided system of the South - the segregated schools, restaurants, theaters, housing' the white and colored signs on drinking fountains, waiting rooms, lavatories - as a social condition rather than a natural order. She made it clear that she opposed the system and that I must never allow it to make me feel inferior. Then she said the words that almost every Negro hears before he can yet understand the injustice that makes them necessary: 'You are as good as anyone.'"

"It has been my conviction....that any religion that professes concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried. It well has been said: 'A religion that ends with the individual, ends.'"

"True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power . . . It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in that faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflictor of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart." [SJS: This really puts a lot of faith in people to feel shame when they are doing something wrong/evil, but I guess that is the Christian in him, who has such faith in all humans . . . ]

[Describing the bus boycott]: "During the rush hours the sidewalks were crowed with laborers and domestic workers trudging patiently to their jobs ad home again, sometimes as much as twelve miles. They knew why they walked, and the knowledge was evident in the way they carried themselves. And as I watched them, I knew that there is nothing more majestic than the determined courage of individuals willing to suffer and sacrifice for their freedom and dignity."

Image: MLK Jr. in jail, Birmingham Alabama.
My ex-boss (I worked as a Summer Associate at Dwyer & Collora the summer of 2008) makes a big move! "Prominent Boston lawyer Thomas E. Dwyer is leaving Dwyer & Collora, the boutique firm he co-founded more than two decades ago, to launch two ventures under one roof: a small firm and a consulting agency with a focus on communications technologies." Best wishes to Tom in his new venture!

I'm about half way through The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. and I'm really enjoying it. This isn't a traditional autobiography, rather it's an excellently edited collection of King's letters, diaries, sermons, and even papers he wrote for school! For anyone who respects and is inspired by MLK Jr, this book is a wonderful chance to learn about his young life, his philosophical and theological development as a young man, his relationships with his family, and his development into one of the most prominent and important leaders of the 20th century. An enjoyable and inspiring read.

Also reading and loving: The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays on Art by Eileen Myles.

I just finished Sara Miles' Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. While Miles has had some interesting experiences, and I appreciated her exploration of the idea of communion in relation to the very palpable idea of serving others (she runs a food bank), the book gets SO repetitive. Yep, I get it - your work at the food bank is a new type of communion. It's the sort of idea and story that might have been better served by being an essay instead of a complete book. I appreciate her sharing her journey and her liberal interpretation of Christianity (I myself am in the midst of figuring out my own liberal understanding of Christianity) but as a book it just doesn't hold up.

Sounds good to me. "Bruce McCall imagines the Manhattan street with no room for cars...but there's a baby stroller lane, a Segway/skateboarding lane, and a runner/jogger lane." via.

12.22.2010

Generally a fan of lists, I've especially been loving The Millions' Year in Reading and it has at least doubled my "to read" list.

Image: source.

I love this! (And not just because I get to see my friend Monika in the background - look for the stunner under the hair dryer): A heads-up for trouble: "Cut It Out program trains hairstylists to recognize signs of abuse and safely refer clients to local resources."

Right now I'm finishing up my lunch and am headed to court to mediate landlord-tenant/eviction cases. Apparently I'm going to be the only one there, since the others (there are usually 3-4 others) canceled this week. This, combined with my 101 degree fever, is less than promising. Let's hope I help them reach some good agreements and don't infect anyone.

Ha! Love this:

Jack Kerouac: You're ruining American poetry, O'Hara.
Frank O'Hara: That's more than you ever did for it, Kerouac
Currently reading "Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny" by Suze Orman, and I would recommend it. Some of the "women, let's talk about money and your feelings" stuff I skim over, but Suze tells it like it is when she gives concrete examples of the ways you are wasting money and the very clear steps you should take the change that. Good stuff for anyone to learn/be reminded of.

Image: source.

Read this article last night, super inspiring: "Unstoppable: Introducing our 2011 Reader of the Year, Ryan Levinson, an athlete who competes like a champ while fighting a savage form of muscular dystrophy."

Ugh, horrible news: Massachusetts State Police joining Secure Communities.

Maybe because I'm currently reading Martin Luther King Jr.'s autobiography (which isn't actually his biography, per se, but a wonderful compilation/editing of his journals, letters etc), I was especially struck by the comments of the chaplains during the coverage of the DADT repeal this morning. I found it not only personally offensive that many stated they would be unable or unwilling to counsel gay service members, but also a real mark of their unprofessionalism - if you're a chaplain and you say you can't counsel anyone who is "different" than you, then basically you suck at your job.

12.21.2010

Image: source.

Running update: First, on the shoe front, I went in and talked to the peeps at Rogue Valley Runners and they diagnosed the problem - the toe area of the Lunarfly's is too big for my relatively small feet - therefore, I'm pulling the laces tighter and that's why my toes are falling asleep. There's no real fix, I'm basically just learning my way, trial and error, through different running shoes. I'm still pleased with their lightness and comfort, and wore them this morning, but the fit is far from perfect (for my foot). That said, after 5 days in the sick bed, I got out running this morning. It was an ugly run - lots of snot, phlegm, walking, and stumbling, but I pushed through 5.5 miles and feel infinitely better for doing so.

A reminder for anyone applying to law school who is committed to a career in public interest law - the deadline for my alma mater Northeastern University School of Law's Public Interest Law Scholars program is Jan 3rd.

Reading magazines like Running Times, Runner's World, Outside, etc is way more motivating than I would've thought before I got hooked on running. The stuff people do is incredible and pushes aside any of the excuses I come up with for being out of shape. I keep thinking of one ad that just said: "Right now, someone busier than you is running." I don't look at it as a mean or taunting thing, just a reality. And a motivational one at that.

Check out: Run and Become: Motivation and Transformation at Brighton Marathon
"We Won't Forget How You Voted": on the death of the DREAM Act (but not the death of the dream): "This one idea, compassion even for your alleged enemies, is what convinces me that passing the DREAM Act is not a matter of if but rather a matter of when. This is a youth movement driven by a fierce love: for each other, for justice and for the country. And that love, no matter how much some people try to resist it, will triumph in the end."

Left: love this photo: "in the 1980s, james r. murphy began teaching students at la guardia public high school mathematics and problem solving by creating string figures through a sequence of complex steps. one of the students, robin moore, photographed each student’s achievement as a visual record, standing tall and proud behind decaying hallways and tiled bathroom walls." via.

"The American Constitution Society has run a new piece by Wilbert Rideau, describing his time in solitary confinement. As the ACS’s introduction describes him, 'Wilbert Rideau is author of In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance, a memoir that recounts his 44 years in prison, where he became a journalist and won several journalism awards, including a George Polk Award and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel. He was freed in 2005.'" via.

12.20.2010

My amazing friend Kate got a much-deserved shout-out on Pep Talk From a Best Friend - wohoo!

Image: source.


"This morning's Boston Globe has this effective new article reporting on this important new academic research just published in the Stanford Law Review about post-Booker sentencing realities in the District of Massachusetts. The Globe article is headlined "Disparity cited in sentence lengths; Analyst studying Hub’s US judges alleges bias risk" . . . Here are excerpts from the Globe coverage: Since the US Supreme Court struck down mandatory sentencing guidelines five years ago in a landmark ruling, the difference in the average sentences of the most lenient and most severe federal judges in Boston has widened, according to a new study that says the trend threatens to undermine fairness." via Sentencing Law and Policy.

"You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive." - Martha Graham










































Image: source.
Modern Metropolis lists' their 12 Top Banksy Pieces of the Year.

Image: source.

An idea/discussion that pops up every once in a while, and I always find interesting/persuasive: If Nonprofits Aren't Working Themselves Out of Business, They're Failing.

Wow: Runner Crawls to Finish as Team Wins Title for Ailing Coach.

Recently read and enjoyed Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

I'm currently reading "The Cunning Man" by Robertson Davies. To be honest, I can't figure out what to make of this book. Certain aspects of it I find enjoyable and comforting (ah yes, a portrait of private school boy life, an old man's memories of boyhood friends etc) and, yet, other parts lead me to skim entire pages (lengthy dialogue/debates about religion that I found less thought-provoking than just boring and self-indulgent). Maybe I'm not intellectual enough (the charge has been leveled at me before), but I just kept getting pulled out of the wonderful writing and character description and story line by the literary and religious references/debate (to be fair, I think that they are supposed to be sort of obnoxiously self-referential/showy, because it is teenaged boys making the statements, but still). I don't know if I'm going to continue the book, or maybe try another Davies (suggestions welcome).

"We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be." - Anne Lamott

12.19.2010

From Mother Jones, Queer and Loathing: Does the Foster Care System Bully Gay Kids?

I've been sick and crabby for days. Feel like waiting out my sickness in a little rural cottage like this one (left: source.) Not being able to excercize, and generally being sick, is making me miserable. I know it's dramatic, but I already feel like I've gotten completely out of shape, and seeing that this week is scheduled to be rain rain rain does nothing to improve my mood.

Hard to describe, but you've gotta check out Christoph Neimann's Let It Dough!

Annnd then I read something like this and my self-pity is shown for the patheticness it is: "About 5 months ago, Hannah was a victim of a hit-and-run while riding her bike to school in lower Manhattan. After two and a half months in ICU with a cracked up pancreas, she is back on her bike, with the amazing help from her doctors and surgeons at Bellevue Hospital. Here she is proudly showing her battle scars."

Watching the DREAM Act fail on Saturday morning was depressing. But, in response to the defeat and my frustration, my wonderful legal assistant said "Maybe this is paving the way for something that will help 9/10th of undocumented people, instead of 1/10th of them," like the DREAM Act would've. I hope this is true, and that her optimism is warranted.

"Litany" by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the win
e…
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

Image: source.

12.18.2010

"To Have Without Holding" by Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

Image: source.
Interested in seeing this: "PBS documentary The Calling, a two-night event about the journeys of seven young people of faith who seek to become professional clergy." via.

Image: source.

Sometimes I get burnt out on Colbert and Stewart, but I appreciated this: "Jesus Was A Liberal Democrat.'

I've definitely seen this to be true: "As Julia Preston and Robert Gebeloff of the N.Y. Times report, driver's license eligibility for undocumented immigrants can have tremendous practical consequences in the lives of undocumented immigrants. Preston and Gebeloff write about how an ordinary fender-bender or a run-of-the-mill traffic ticket, can result in detention and removal proceedings for an undocumented immigrant." via Immigration Prof Blog.

So pysched to watch this! Maybe it's just what I need to push me through winter training: "The Ford Ironman World Championship broadcast will air for the 20th-consecutive year on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. EST on NBC. With innovative XDCAM-HD technology and super-slow-motion effects, the two-hour telecast will highlight the physical and emotional journey taken by athletes during the 140.6-mile triathlon."

Almighty comforter, we deeply desire for your kingdom to come and your will to be done. We ask that you empower and strengthen us to break down systems of injustice and poverty in the world. Give us, your servants, tireless vigor as we follow your will. Amen. Source.

12.17.2010
































































Broken City Lab projects.
"Northeast Portland nonprofit food cart run by day laborers hopes to find niche in trendy cart scene"

NYTimes: Immigrants Make Paths to Suburbia, Not Cities: "Immigrants fanned out across the United States in the last decade, settling in greater numbers in small towns and suburbs rather than in the cities where they typically moved when they first came to this country, new census data show."

Image: source.

Harvey Milk, on hope.

This whale mobile is incredible.

Though often framed as an alternative to incarceration, drug courts can actually expand the incarcerated population. In her article for The Nation‘s War on Drugs issue, Tracy Velazquez explains how. (via Prison Law Blog)

I called my Senators to express my support of the DREAM Act - please do the same, and give hard-working immigrant kids the chance at residency. My legal assistant and I have been pouring over the Act for days and it's not an easy path or a free ride at all - it would reward those only willing to commit to years of study or military service, who successfully abide by some very strict guidelines. Children brought here without documentation deserve the chance to make a future for themselves in the US, and US culture and economy benefit from their presence.
Aw, the good ol' rutabega curl! I love you, Ithaca.

Ugh, pretty upsetting: "Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word ‘Cure’": “So far, Komen has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred of these Mom and Pop charities, including Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure—and many of the organizations are too small and underfunded to hold their ground. 'It happened to my family,'said Roxanne Donovan, whose sister runs Kites for a Cure, a family kite-flying event that raises money for lung cancer research. 'They came after us ferociously with a big law firm. They said they own ‘cure’ in a name and we had to stop using it, even though we were raising money for an entirely different cause.'"

SO crabby these last few days. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm getting sick. This is a bummer because being sick generally sucks, but also because I just got my knees good enough for one long run and now I'm on the sidelines again! So so so frustrating, and so making me a crabby person (having clients be no-shows for appointments and lie to me did not help). Ah well, yesterday I hit up my awesome acupuncturist, she did some work on me and gave me some herbs to take, and my mom made me amazing chicken noodle soup so....nothing to do but rest and wait.

"I'm all over the place, up and down, scattered, withdrawing, trying to find some elusive sense of serenity. The world can't give that serenity. The world can't give us peace. We can only find it in our hearts. I hate that. I know. But the good news is that by the same token, the world can't take it away." - Anne Lamott

12.15.2010

Colorado Welcomes First Latina, Lesbian Supreme Court Justice: "On Friday Colorado appointed its first Latina and first openly gay member to the Supreme Court. The Denver Post reported on Colorado Deputy Attorney General Monica Marquez's path to the state's highest court, noting that the 41-year-old Marquez was said by Gov. Bill Ritter to have "deep respect for the rule of law." Law seems to be a family tradition in Marquez's family. Her father, retired Judge Jose D.L. Marquez was the first Latino appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals back in 1988, and was on hand to swear in his daughter."

Image: source.

In support of International Human Rights Day, UN Secretary General: “People were not put on this planet to live in fear of their fellow human beings.”

I want to read these all! NPR's Maureen Corrigan's top mysteries of 2010. (Unfortunately, after reading and really enjoying "In The Woods," I tried Tara French's follow-up and couldn't get into it. I'll still give "Faithful Place," which Corrigan lists, a try, though....)

Today was my first day as a volunteer mediator in landlord-tenant cases here. It was good training for me not only in landlord-tenant law, but also in getting more comfortable with being in court, and with dealing with conflict (something with which I'm notoriously uncomfortable).

"what I count on / is a white birch / that stands / where no human language / is ever heard." - Yosano Akiko


















































. . . For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

- T.S. Elliot

12.13.2010

Warning: this post totally boring for anyone not obsessed with running shoes




I got a new pair of running shoes yesterday (I was under the assumption that running is a low-cost undertaking, but once you start adding up all the race entry fees, the shoes and clothes, it gets pricey! But still so worth it). My first go, with the help of the awesome Rogue Valley Runners store, I got the Mizuno Waverunner. I loved that they were pretty bare bones (I hate feeling like I'm running with a bunch of styrofoam surrounding my foot), and they fit my short, bear-like feet incredibly well. However, after about 200 miles in them, and my recent knee issues, I realized they might be a little too bare bones for all my road running. I've gone back into RVRunners a few times, and they have watched me run barefoot on the treadmill (you can watch a close up of your own feet running on a tv screen - very cool to see all my muscles working up close!). They said my gait is pretty neutral - I supinate (roll out) a little bit at the start, but always end centered, which is what matters (apparently). This time, taking into account my previous shoes and current concerns, they suggested two shoes: the Saucony Kihvara and the Nike Lunarfly. I ended up going with the Lunarfly because it felt like it provided a little more cushioning and support than the Kihvara, while still being super light. However, on my first longish run in them this morning (8.2 miles, baby), I was a little bummed. I was definitely pleased by how light and yet cushiony they were - that was awesome. But something about the fit of the shoe made me feel like they were made for longer and more shapely feet, not my short, sort of square like feet. I felt like I had a little too much room in the toe area, and overall they didn't have the close fit I liked in my Mizunos. Eventually, I'd love to get the Kihvaras and rotate the three - that will be $240 worth of running shoes I've bought in the last 6 months! Yikes!

- - - - - - - -

Today marks 3 months since I started running! The stats: Longest distance run = 10.5 miles. Races: 5K, 10K, 9mi. Total mileage run: 297.4 miles. Next race: January's half-marathon.
Check out this profile of Chief Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas, retiring this year after 35 years of federal service. I had the honor of getting to know him when I interned with the Federal Defenders Office in Puerto Rico. He's a great guy - funny, smart, and genuinely committed to being a great judge. Congrats on 35 years and enjoy retirement, Judge Arenas!

Image: source.

Currently reading (and enjoying) Eileen Myles' "Cool for You."

And Bob Dylan, always breaking my heart: Tomorrow Is A Long Time.

This weekends return to running has me feeling positively about my physical health (and goals) again. Today I went to bootcamp which, no matter how long I've been going or how much I'm working out, always kicks my ass! I'm hoping to get in some laps before teaching citizenship class tonight, but we will see. I have a big case on my plate right now and really hope to dig into it before holiday break comes along.















































12.12.2010

"Leah Dieterich's mother always told her to write thank you notes. So she does. To everything. thxthxthx is her daily exercise in gratitude."

Image: source.

"Before Christmas, the people of Mexico [and lots of Mexican-Americans in the US!] join together for the festivities of La Virgen de Guadalupe, Our Lady of Guadalupe, on December 12, one of the most important dates in the Mexican calendar."

It's been a wonderful weekend in the Valley. After an annoying month of hassles resulting from my first ever car accident, we finally found a (fingers crossed) great car for me. Yesterday, I had a great meeting to begin work on the church website and even launched a Facebook page for the UCC Ashland. Today's sermon was wonderful, as always, and I'm really starting to feel at home there. I also got in two days of runs - the knees are still sore, but I finally got back to that place where I had a mile of pure bliss, for which I am incredibly thankful. My run was the sort of run where I think (realize?) I live in a sort of utopia - kids were out skating on the rink, there was a great blue heron in the park, and generally Ashland was at its busiest, most wholesome prime. All of this, combined with the fact I think I found a soccer team (or two!) to join, the great stack of books in my room, and a movie date this afternoon with my stepdad to see the new Harry Potter = me, pleased.

"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and form anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you . . . But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return." Luke 6:27-35.

12.11.2010

Amanda Hess takes down the New York Times' latest "fashion trend."

Image: source.

Just read "I Don't Care About Your Band," by Julie Klausner, and while I laughed a few times, and Klausner's definitely a smart gal, I can't quite say I liked the book. Klausner gets off on talking about her sexual conquests graphically, wittily, and, occasionally, honestly. The book is easy to read and occasionally entertaining, and Klausner is no doubt a good time to hang out with. But she's also rabidly judgmental, totally heteronormative, self obsessed, and will manage to offend you at some point, whether it's her casual insults towards "tranny feminists" or those she finds fat and ugly. Learning to be funny and shocking without being cruel can be hard - but its not impossible. (As always, feel free to check out what I'm reading on my GoodReads profile - I think it's a great tool for keeping track of books and getting suggestions from friends).

I'm enthralled by geochaching, and was touched by this article: "Nine-year-old with autism finds connection to family while geocaching: What comes so easily to other boys his age -- language -- is difficult for Ryan Hurley, but not when the family goes geocaching."

If you're looking for a deserving organization to donate to this holiday season, consider LAMP. "The Lamp Foundation is a not for profit corporation whose mission is to work together with the people of Haiti, to advocate for the respect and protection of basic human rights in the areas of greatest misery and poverty in the capital city of Port-Au-Prince. In pursuit of this mission, the Lamp provides basic health care, investigates allegations of human right abuses, and provides educational and humanitarian aid." An awesome friend of mine from law school is working with LAMP currently, check out her blog here. Donations may be made in one of three areas, Health & Medicine, Human Rights & Law, and Education; donate here.

Inexplicable, Yet Amazing

12.10.2010

My friends are the coolest: "In this episode of Explorations, I got the chance to sit down with Dr. Phoebe Cohen and chat about her research and her work in public outreach. Phoebe is a paleobiologist and the coordinator of Education and Public Outreach for the NASA Astrobiology MIT node: The Advent of Complex Life. She has also done work with The Encyclopedia of Life, an online database of Earth’s biodiversity."

Image: source.

The books currently on my bedstand (uh, actually the floor) include: "Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr," "The Autobiography of Malcolm X, " "The New F*ck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading," "And the Heart Says Whatever," "The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art," "An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land," "The Irresistible Revolution: Living As an Ordinary Radical," "Seven Storey Mountain," and "Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Militant Feminist." You can tell a few things about me from this list, not least of which is that I'm planning of doing a lot of reading over my holiday break (our office is closed for a week!)

“Female fat [as] a moral issue is articulated with words like good and bad. If our culture’s fixation on female fatness or thinness was about sex, it would be private issue between a woman and her lover; if it were about health, between a woman and herself… A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but one about obedience.” - Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

When we want only answers, dear God, create in us the space for wonder. Amen. Source.

12.08.2010

Insanely, overwhelmingly gorgeous rustic urban home. (Thanks AA for the real estate porn).

Love this big wooden ear and it's paper earring accessories (I know, it sounds weird, just look at the photos).

Left: one of the awesome fortune posters.

Support the DREAM! We Cannot Afford Not to Pass the DREAM Act: A Plea from Immigration Scholars.

An interview with the Reverend of the church I've been attending for the last 3 months, Rev. Pam Shepherd: "A lesbian in Christian ministry is just a head-snapper. A lot of my friends had to struggle with the thought that either the Christian faith tradition was not what they thought, or else their friend had just gone crazy. Or both. Walking with old friends on this journey has been a gift in both directions. So many people have been wounded by the church. Especially GLBT people and women. Traditional Christianity has been devastating in codifying bigotry and unjust relations. When I meet people who hate the church, I want to say I’m sorry for all the hatred nurtured in the name of God’s love, and then I want to ask them, 'So when did the church first break your heart?' Because there’s always a story…and ministry is about hearing that story and being able to say, with the authority of the church, 'That is not true about God, and not true about you.'"

"But you can’t get to any of these truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home." - Anne Lamott





























Image: source.
Illegal Immigrant Students Await Votes on Legal Status: "With both houses of Congress set to vote this week on a bill that would give legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant students, one of those students will wait for news of the outcome at an immigration detention center in Arizona . . . Hector Lopez, in a 2008 Oregon school photo, was deported to Mexico in August and is seeking asylum in the U.S. The student, Hector Lopez, 21, was deported to Mexico in August after having lived with his family in Oregon since he was an infant. After two months of trying to find his bearings and a job in Mexico City, Mr. Lopez, who does not speak Spanish, traveled to the border last month and turned himself in to the immigration authorities, requesting asylum in the United States."

Image: source. (Thanks, ELM)

Running update: after three days of decent length runs (7, 8, 7.5) and a day of bootcamp plus 20 min lap swim, I have been struggling. Yesterday, I managed to drag myself out of bed, but did a paltry 3.5 miles. My legs, my heart, my lungs - they were all NOT into it. This morning was the same. It's really frustrating to feel like I've been working so hard for months to get into great shape and get my body healthy and still feel so weak sometimes. But I'm trying (trying) to be patient and have faith that I will continue to see improvement. I definitely have the appetite of an athlete - I've been eating 5 small meals a day (including lots of banana and peanut butter, my staples). The nice thing is that as I get healthier, my body definitely craves healthier foods, but still, it can be hard to adjust to being hungry so often, especially as someone who has some shame and guilt issues around eating.

Always a favorite, and a welcome reminder: "Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it is really worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass them on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It’s okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise." - Miranda July


Full text available here.

"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

























































This cartoon brought back a lot of (deeply repressed) memories of being a Census 2010 worker. It's so accurate, right down to the forms and binder that don't fit in the bag, the ID tag, etc.... (TY Moosh for the link)

12.07.2010

RIP Elizabeth Edwards: "The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."

Image: source.

12.06.2010

"I know, its scary to think you may die alone. Trust me, we all wrangle with this fear. But this type of fear-mongering won’t actually lead you to happier romantic relationships. What leads to happier relationships is being empowered, being honest, intentional and clear about what you want. Feminism is constructed in the mainstream as a boner killer and is very effective in keeping young women disinterested in it, but in the long-run, feminism actually makes your love life better. And incorporating and prioritizing your own needs into your romantic life means sometimes running the risk of being single for a little while and it means having some standards and it means not settling, but the truth is we have too much to lose any other way." - Feministing on the predictable "omg feminism is killing romance" "style" article(s) by the NYTimes.

(Despite appreciating this tidbit, I do have to note that Feministing is sort of driving me crazy with their tendency to have a hetero focus/lens on stories. I know the NYTimes article they are talking about has to do with straight couples but plenty of the things they have to say about feminism and relationships relate to queer relationships as well.) Also check out Amanda Hess' excellent "A brief history of the New York Times' gender essentialist trend piece."
N.Y.C. Misdemeanor Defendants Lack Bail Money: "Thousands of people arrested on low-level crimes in New York City spend days languishing in jail, not because they have been found guilty but because they are too poor to post bail."

Image: source.

I've been reading Patti Smith's (National Book Award winning!) "Just Kids" for a few days and am absolutely loving it. I'm not a huge Patti Smith fan, and I don't know all the artists and people she references, but she is a wonderful storyteller, managing somehow to recall details from decades ago and describe things intricately, while at the same time always moving the story along at a quick pace. It's a book about love, friendship, being an artist, being young, growing older, it's a book about the 60's, the 70's, and on, a book about New York City, a book about inspiration - it's got it all. A wonderful read. (Check out my friend Zac's glowing review of "Just Kids" as well)

Running update: slowly but surely, I'm back. 7 miles on Friday, 8 on Saturday, 8 on Sunday (some walking in there, to be honest). Paying extra attention to warming up my legs with Tiger Balm and massage and warm pants before running out, hot showers afterwards etc. Scheduling acupuncture for this week. Went to bootcamp today and hoping that helps me build the necessary muscle and any minute amount of flexibility. My knees are still not 100% pain free, and I long for a pain-free run, but I'm hoping these are just growing pains in the life of a still new runner. I know I should add yoga into my routine, but it's another cost on top of the Y and bootcamp and running shoes....ugh.

things to do in the belly of the whale

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

- Dan Albergotti

Image: source.

12.05.2010

Love Poem With Toast

Some of what we do, we do
to make things happen,
the alarm to wake us up, the coffee to perc,
the car to start.

The rest of what we do, we do
trying to keep something from doing something,
the skin from aging, the hoe from rusting,
the truth from getting out.

With yes and no like the poles of a battery
powering our passage through the days,
we move, as we call it, forward,
wanting to be wanted,
wanting not to lose the rain forest,
wanting the water to boil,
wanting not to have cancer,
wanting to be home by dark,
wanting not to run out of gas,

as each of us wants the other
watching at the end,
as both want not to leave the other alone,
as wanting to love beyond this meat and bone,
we gaze across breakfast and pretend.

- Miller Williams

12.03.2010

What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire

Call your representatitves and let them know you support the DREAM Act! This site makes it easy - you enter in your phone number, and they call you back and leave a message - when you listen to the message, you are immediately connected with your representatives office. It couldn't be any easier!


Image: source.

From NYTimes Lens: In a Common Scene, a 'Queer Subject': Molly Landreth captures the parallel lives led by gay and transgendered Americans. And Sam Dolnick explains how and why she does."

Enjoying Amy Winehouse's "Help Yourself"

Went for a run this morning, fingers crossed the whole time that my knees, which were nearly pain free, would hold up. At my moms suggestions, I rubbed my legs with Tiger Balm before getting dressed and then bundled up. They were definitely aching after about 3 miles, I will admit, but not unbearably so. I went slowly, avoided going downhills, walked a little, and managed to kick out 7 miles. It felt great to be back out there, running in the morning. I'm headed to the pool this evening to try to continue strengthening my legs (and lungs) without the impact...

“Someday you’ll find the right person, Mari, and you’ll learn to have a lot more confidence in yourself. That’s what I think. So don’t settle for anything less. In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.” - After Dark by Haruki Murakami

12.02.2010

Irate before 9am

Today on my way to work I heard NPS's report on "Smithsonian Under Fire For Gay Portraiture Exhibit." I was excited about the exhibit, Hide/Seek, when I heard about it a few months ago, and I guess I should've expected the controversy. The censorship, the caving by museum officials, and the homophobia - well, I guess I'm just used to that by now, so that only got my blood to sub-boiling levels. But then Cantor really got on a roll, and I almost swerved off the road I was so angry. This blogger sums it up well:

"As I usually do, I was listening to National Public Radio as I got ready for work this morning. It may surprise you to know that a working class person like myself listens to NPR, but not as much as it surprised me to hear you saying that Congress should withdraw funding from The Smithsonian, because it’s only enjoyed by the elites. The working class, you went on to say, enjoys professional wrestling, but we don’t provide federal funding for the WWE.

This is one of the most ignorant and offensive things I’ve heard on the news in a long time, and that’s saying something.

Here’s a news flash for you: not all working class people enjoy professional wrestling, or NASCAR, or even college sports. A whole lot of working class people enjoy the arts and count on federal funding to provide us access to them
."

Wow, censorship, bigotry, homophobia, classism, and a continuation of the cult of ignorance this country has been alternately worshipping and fighting since Bush took office? And all before 9am.

Image: Susan Sontag, by Peter Hujar.
Lay down these words
Before your mind like rocks.
placed solid, by hands
In choice of place, set
Before the body of the mind
in space and time:
Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall
riprap of things:
Cobble of milky way.
straying planets,
These poems, people,
lost ponies with
Dragging saddles --
and rocky sure-foot trails.
The worlds like an endless
four-dimensional
Game of Go.
ants and pebbles
In the thin loam, each rock a word
a creek-washed stone
Granite: ingrained
with torment of fire and weight
Crystal and sediment linked hot
all change, in thoughts,
As well as things.

— Gary Snyder

Image: source.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I just finished reading Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," and enjoyed it. I can't really imagine someone getting anything out of it if they aren't a long distance runner (and/or a novelist/writer), but as a newly obsessed runner, I thought it was good (maybe not great, but good). I especially enjoyed it because of all his running in Boston and Cambridge - I'm a lot more homesick for my New England home of 4 years than I expected! (Murakami on the Charles: "The river I'm talking about is the Charles River. People enjoy being around the river. Some take leisurely walks, walk their dogs, or bicycle or job, while others enjoy rollerblading . . . As if pulled in my a magnet, people gather on the banks of the river.") Here are some of my favorite tidbits from the book:
"Here it is: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you're running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can't take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of...running."

"I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void . . . The thoughts that occur to me while I'm running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of different sizes. They come and go, while the sky remains the same sky as always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky. The sky both exists and doesn't exist. It has substance and at the same time doesn't. And we merely accept that vast expense and drink it in."

"I'm struck by how, except when you're young, you really need to prioritize in life, figuring out in what order you should divide up your time and energy. If you don't get that sort of system set up by a certain age, you'll lack focus and your life will be out of balance."

"I think certain types of processes don't allow for any variation. If you have to be part of that process, all you can do is transform - or perhaps distort - yourself through that persistent repetition, and make that process part of your own personality."

"Most runner run now because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: thats the essence of running, and a metaphor for life."

I can't wait to get back to running in....48 more hours! My knee is feeling a lot better after 24 hours of complete rest, and I'm going to hit up the pool today and see how that goes.