the beauty is in the honest life

NPR: Writer Says Being Gay Is About Being Honest: "A popular rejoinder to homophobes today is to assert that being gay is not a choice — that we are born this way, as Lady Gaga tells us. I disagree. The most important part about being gay is precisely the part we choose — to stand up and own who we are, proudly."

I saw a great concert last week: Brandi Carlisle opened and Ray La Montagne was the headliner. Going in, I didn't know Brandi but she totally stole she show - incredible! Ray was great too, but not as dynamic a performer and, well, all his songs are sort of downers....Anyways, overall it was just a wonderful concert, and the first night out at Britt always marks the real beginning of the summer for me!

Image: source.

From NPR: The End of Gender?

More on Jose Antonio Vargas, and the "undocumented" v. "illegal" debate. I'm thrilled to see his excellent article and brave stand are getting so much attention.

Good news - I'm back to running! This week I'm in Boston for a friend's wedding and for general socializing and vacation. Yesterday I decided to try a run for the first time - and made it a whole mile without pain! I think I could've gone longer but I didn't want to force it. Today, with no pain, I ran a slow 3 miles with a friend! While neither of those runs got to the "running high" place, they did make me feel like I could get there again eventually...which feels great.

"You don’t want to start setting up another rule book, like: 'This is how you’re a feminist. And this is the way you dress. And this is the way you act. And this is the way you protest.' It’s like, some people protest carrying signs. Some people protest by making activist radical music. Sometimes people try to just make it through a day and not kill themselves, and that’s their activism for right then, because that’s all they have."- Kathleen Hanna


An incredible, detailed, heartbreaking first person article in the NYTimes by a journalist who is an undocumented immigrant. More than most similar articles I've read, this one goes into the reality of what it means to be undocumented, the day to day (and larger) decisions and effects, and grey areas, etc. Well-written and especially brave as he documents the various illegal things he has done (for instance, use a fake social security number), in order to get schooling and employment. A highly recommended read.

From the New Yorker: The Invisible Army: For foreign workers on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, war can be hell.

Left: My amazing friend Kate made and gave me this papercut for my birthday and I'm thinking a version of it might be my next tattoo...so excited!

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” - Harvey Milk


Living The Good Lie: Should therapists help God-fearing gay people stay in the closet? This article in the NYTimes Magazine this past weekend about therapists treating clients whos religious beliefs conflict with their sexuality was really intersting. It raised a lot of difficult questions about the role of therapists, empowering patients etc.

Left: bounty! Last night I cooked up some kale (with shallots) from my garden for dinner, along with roasted white carrots and onions, also from the garden! I'm definitely still not over the thrill of eating veggies that I started as seeds - such a neat feeling.

Love this colorful summer style - somehow they manage to be bright and pattern-combining without looking immature.

On my trip last week I read the Icelandic mystery Jar City by Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason - a solid, well-paced murder mystery. I'll definitely check out more by this author.

“Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” - Rainer Maria Rilke


Oh! "The world is full of fake sounds: The ATM machine doesn't actually go, 'whhrrrrrrrrr.'"

I love little pieces of art in the everyday like this (especially when they involve mail): Netflix envelope art.

I listened to a few great (by which I mean they made me teary) Story Corps segments on my flight back home, including #179 and #180. And they are all free!

Image: source.

An oddly touching photo project "placing an old photograph in front of the same setting years later, and aligning it so it fits in with the background."

Mmm, chocolate quinoa cake? I'll have to give this a try.

My wonderful (and wonderfully creative) girlfriend put this song on a mix for me recently, and I'm fully obsessed. It might even be the #1 song of my summer. I dare you to resist! Brett Dennen, "Sydney (I'll Come Running)"

Gorgeous tattoos.

"The way to know life is to love many things.” - Vincent van Gogh


The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle writes in the Atlantic Monthly about the story behind his great song 'Dance Music.'

In the aptly named "As If You Don't Have Enough To Read," the NYTimes lays out some of the best nonfiction writing.

Image: source.

I'm still watching Friday Night Lights - right now I'm on Season 3 and loving it. I live in fear of it going the way of so many other shows I've loved - getting too wacky, adding in new characters I don't care about, etc. But so far, so good...Seriously quality tv.

Podcast update: I've started listening to Julie Klausner's podcast, How Was Your Week. As with most of her writing, it's really hit and miss. Particularly, her monologues are pretty grating, self-absorbed, and occasionally offensive. However, some of her interviews are great, including the one I listened to today with Ira Glass and his hilarious wife.

“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” - Hafiz


Really interesting: The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy: "All around you are everyday heroes who refuse to be complicit in the economic mistreatment of other people."

Image: source.

Already loved StoryCorps, and love 'em even more after learning about their OutLoud initiative. Check it out, and think about contributing!

An imperfect but interesting article (and discussion in the comments section - really, read 'em!) by Julie Klausner about twee, maturity, women, and pop culture: Don’t Fear The Dowager: A Valentine to Maturity. (Especially apt given that yesterday was my 30th) (Check out this response, as well as this one that tackles the role of race)

I'm in San Diego for a conference and thus far it's not quite the warm weather vacation I was hoping to have....it's smoggy and grey, muggy, and my events/hostel are all in the not-very-interesting or pleasant downtown area. I'm drawing on my creative and adventurous reserves, however, and this design*sponge guide, and setting out to hopefully find some more interesting parts of SD. (Note: I have been here before, and enjoyed it, but was staying with friends who knew their way around, had a car,...and never came downtown). Anyways, exploring a new city is always fun one way or another, so here goes nothing!


From The Awl: Voting: The Most Discouraging, Important Thing You Can Do

Yikes. So scary. Nearly Half of Americans Are ‘Financially Fragile’: "Nearly half of Americans say that they definitely or probably couldn’t come up with $2,000 in 30 days, according to new research, raising concerns about the financial fragility of many households."

Image: source.

Oh man! I feel like I would be so good at assembling these, I love a good care package: Lost Crates: get a customized, curated box of stationary and other goodies each month. Seriously, when do I get to have a job as a present maker and buyer?

Seattle love from the NYTimes.

Depressing but unavoidable: The Earth Is Full: "You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?"

"Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how…We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." - Agnes de Mille
Is it summer yet?? This "retro" polka dot bikini from F21 is adorable.

Very cool - go Cambridge! Same-sex stipend may be a first in the US: Cambridge seeks to defray federal tax on health care

Image: source.

I was in Portland this past weekend for a friend's grad school graduation (yay, Sadie!) and had a wonderful time. Portland was really bringing the charm, and more and more I'm thinking it's a place I'd love to live in the future. Saturday night was a yummy all-appetizers and dessert (my kinda people!) dinner at Ciao Vito - I'd especially recommend the spinach and polenta, and the potato fritters. Sunday, we had a wonderful brunch at Tasty n Sons (with a pre-game donut from Voodoo Donuts - yes, this weekend was sugartastic, to be followed by a few more non-sugared days this week. Everything in moderation, right?). The wait isn't short at Tasty n Sons, but the service was very prompt and I was impressed by how quickly the food came - it's sort of tapas style, which was great. Favs included the potato donuts, the sauteed spinach (although it was really salty), and the potatoes bravas. After brunch we strolled around N. Williams St, which had tons of cute shops, including Lark Letterpress, where I wanted to buy pretty much everything. Also observed: endless cute bikes and dogs. Yay, Portland! Can't wait to visit again soon.

Wow. A complete lack of basic human compassion. Massachusetts Republican: Undocumented Immigrant Rape Victims ‘Should Be Afraid To Come Forward’: "Asked if he would be concerned that a woman without legal immigration status was raped and beaten as she walked down the street might be afraid to report the crime to police, Mr. Fattman said he was not worried about those implications. 'My thought is that if someone is here illegally, they should be afraid to come forward...If you do it the right way, you don’t have to be concerned about these things.'"


"Portland [OR] is now the third municipality in the country to provide trans-inclusive care to their employees, and Oregon is a clear leader in the national effort to end insurance discrimination against transgender communities." Yay Portland!

Oh, this looks like a much better idea than the current, ugly stack of plastic shelves my computer is currently sitting on...(also, this is pretty adorable)

Image: source.

This documentary on the Native American concept of "two spirit,s" and the life and murder of a young queer man in rural America looks really powerful and interesting.

Ha! Been there: living with chronic bitchface.

My beloved town - Ashland, OR - has been selected by Outside magazine as a finalist for the best Outside town in America! It *is* pretty great...

Work, Sometimes by Mary Oliver

I was sad all day, and why not. There I was, books piled
on both sides of the table, paper stacked up, words
falling off my tongue.

The robins had been a long time singing, and now it
was beginning to rain.

What are we sure of? Happiness isn’t a town on a map,
or an early arrival, or a job well done, but good work
ongoing. Which is not likely to be the trifling around
with a poem.

Then it began raining hard, and the flowers in the yard
were full of lively fragrance.

You have had days like this, no doubt. And wasn’t it
wonderful, finally, to leave the room? Ah, what a

As for myself, I swung the door open. And there was
the wordless, singing world. And I ran for my life.


The process of becoming more moderate (and yet more diligent) about excercize continues. Yesterday I did 15 min of the 30 Day Shred, followed by 30 min of fast walking on the treadmill, and 15 min stationary biking. This is the sort of workout that would've seemed pretty weak to me a few months ago, but now felt solid and great. I guess it's just important to remember why you're doing what you're doing (i.e. are you training, trying to reach a goal, or focusing on staying mentally and physically healthy day to day), and also to remember (as tough as it is) that not every workout has to be a marathon. It's now been almost 3 weeks since I ran. After some warm up walking yesterday I decided to try jogging - but after only a minute or two, I felt a twinge in my knee, so I stopped immediately. I guess it just needs more time to heal.

After seeing this photo I sent the always amazing NK a note saying, "Hm, I want to try to make a sweatshirt cardigan..." to which she promptly replied with this link. I'm gonna get on it this weekend!

Image: source.

I'm playing around with the idea of committing to buying no new clothes for a serious chunk of time - like 6 months or a year. This month at church we have been talking a lot about money, how we spend it, what it means for us emotionally, etc. Nothing that is totally new for me to think about, but always important things to be reminded of. I guess my spending on clothes, even though it has SO greatly decreased in the last year, bothers me because of a few things: (1) I actually don't NEED more clothes; (2) it's often in response to low self esteem (and I don't like being part of that crafty cycle of consumerism and self worth); and (3) a lot of the retailers I frequent are not ones I actually want to support (in terms of their production, lack of environmental responsibility etc). I'm not sure exactly what form this commitment will take - still buying used clothes? (which would really only address issue #3) No clothes at ALL? Is a year pushing it? - but I'm hoping I can figure out a way to challenge myself, and make good choices for my pocketbook and peace of mind.

This month is a busy one, travel wise. I'm headed up to Portland this weekend for a friends graduation, then to San Diego next week for a conference, and then to Boston at the end of the month for a wedding and general good times. Plus I got tickets to go see some shows at Britt (our outdoor music festival) in the next month or two, including the Avett Bros! Even though it's still not hot here, all the activity is starting to make it seem like summer is a distinct possibility...


Queerty is one of the sites that I rely on for queer news, but their brief article yesterday on the Canadian family that chose not to reveal the gender of their baby totally threw me off. The author was very flippant, and really added nothing to the conversation. Anyway, I commented saying as much (Im trying to engage more with what I see online), and someone who commented after me led me to this site, LGBabyT. Love their gender neutral baby clothes, and especially appreciate the one that says "I'm not flirting, I'm a baby." I always feel weird when, for instance, a male baby will smile at a women and people say things like, "Oh he's such a ladies man!" or something. I've definitely fallen into this trap before, and said similar things but I'm trying to stop because....c'mon, babies don't "flirt."

Image: source.

A good post: cisgender privilege within the queer community

Really curious to check out Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism by Scott Herring: "Herring explores queer culture’s overwhelming 'metronormativity' (a term he borrows from J. Halberstam) and makes a strong argument for examining the varied dimensions of queer life’s rural iterations." Also added to the "to read" list: Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism.

“It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous. / Resign yourself to be the fool you are.” - T. S. Eliot


I'm feeling good about my decision not to train for the IronMan, and to focus instead on just my day-to-day health. "Just"! As if it's that easy. So far it's taken the form of my return to yoga and my beloved Jillian Michaels. Also, checking in on my sugar consumption. To put it all out there, on Saturday my sugar intake included: two danishes, 2 candy bars, and strawberry shortcake. Yeah, I like my sugar. But do I? It makes me hot, jittery, and emotional. Not the way I want to feel. So Sunday I went sugar-free and I'm aiming to do the whole thing the rest of the week. Ideally I would be able to do moderation, but I'm not there yet. The quest for health continues!

Excellent! Gov. Patrick says he won’t sign Secure Communities program

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Sigh: The Problem With Question 36: Why are so many of the answers on the U.S. citizenship test wrong?

"When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there’s a very real danger that you might love some of them. And who knows what might happen to you then?"- Jonathan Franzen, in an op-ed adapted from a commencement speech he delivered on May 21 at Kenyon College


Check out the trailer for the new documentary Transmen: "Transmen is a documentary that follows the lives of three Tennesseans during their transition from females to males. Each transman faces his own struggles in the film, such as the availability of health insurance for surgeries and discrimination in the workplace and school, as well as coming out as transgender to their friends and family. Currently, Tennessee is the only state with a "law" that bans gender changes on birth certificates."

Image: “George Tiller was a compassionate physician who risked his life to help women in need. He was assassinated by an anti-choice terrorist.” Dr. George Tiller: August 8, 1941 – May 31, 2009.

Looking forward to today's Fresh Air interview, A Son's 'Love Letter' To His Gay Father: "His coming out was actually this gesture, of him saying 'I want life. I want more life. I want something.' And this was a man who was so self-denying for so long — this very polite, quiet man. And he [wanted] sex. ... It's just weird, to think of your parent that way ... This is a man who had defused himself, who had tamped down his desires. And when he came out, it was the beginning of him becoming more vivid and hot and present, which was often messy but always wonderful."

From the NYTimes, a "nifty graphic that shows the planting layout of the White House vegetable garden . . . and then re-imagines how it would look if it were to reflect the crops that the federal government supports."
I'm quickly burning through all the old episodes of Pop Culture Happy Hour - it's so perfect! Smart, snarky yet sincere nerds who are actually friends in real life, discussing pop culture on NPR? Everything I love, combined. And I just found out that host Linda Holmes is a "recovering attorney" - even better!

Image: source.

Need a pep talk? Thumbs up for rock and roll!

From the super talented Egleson fam, ZERO, a graphic memoir by Jan Egleson, illustrated by Kseniya Galper - a graphic novel for the iPad!

Just found out that my office is having a mandatory week of vacation in late August (to force us to use our vacation days - sort of annoying, but let's make the best of it) - so I think a road trip to the Bay Area (one of my favorite places) is necessary! The plotting and planning begin....now.

Watching this movie (Unbreakable: Western States 100) is probably the closest that I will ever get to the Western States 100...but wow, it got me excited about running again more than almost anything since my marathon. Whoever thought a video about people running 100 miles would have me swooning? (And yay for featuring Hal Koerner! He owns the running store in my town, and is such a nice guy and has done a lot - along with everyone at Rogue Valley Runners - to make the Rogue Valley an awesome place to run).


New blog I'm liking, with some tasty looking recipes: Cookies + Kate.

More from Sasquatch 2011: Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings

Image: source.

Watch: Awesome Video of the First Civil Union in Illinois

Um, wow: Perfect Urban Penthouses: 7 Radical Rooftop Homes of NYC

From cynosure: eating disorders have nothing to do with food

“You are a perfectly acceptable human being right now, this minute. You are just as valid as any other human being, without changing a single thing about yourself. That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to want to grow, evolve or improve yourself, or you can’t do better sometimes, it just means right now this instant, you are worthy of your own self love. Even if it is hard to love yourself sometimes (and boy, is it!), or you’re struggling with some really difficult stuff in your life, you still deserve it. So dearest you, be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and give the best version of you that you can give, but know that even in the tough times, you are still valid, worthy and deserving of your own self love." source.
Check out the great short video for GROW, Oxfam's new campaign to build a better food system

Wow, awesome: I am not your tragic trans narrative: "Here’s the thing: we’ve all got our own experiences, but in mine being trans is not tragic. It’s incredible. In fact, I’m fucking amazing. And my transness has a lot to do with that. I’ve broken one of the most absolute rules handed down by our culture, and that gives me a vision that goes beyond what seems possible to what’s needed and desired. Coming out may have felt like a necessity, but it’s given me incredible strength, the ability to take big leaps of faith, make exciting mistakes, and find liberating new possibilities. I’ve become a more caring, compassionate friend in a real way, because I also take care of myself. And it’s given me an extraordinary community if trans and gender non-conforming folks and allies who are honest, direct, incredibly loving, and fucking hilarious. And hot. So damn hot."

Image: source.

Really interesting (thanks, NK!): Veganism, feminists of color, and hope for the Animal Rights movement. For instance, "American and Western European vegans often opt for 'cruelty-free products', when in fact, these products are not at all human cruelty free. The chocolate, sugar, and cotton marketed as cruelty free is mostly not fair trade and 'the non-white racialized populations' harvesting and treating these products work in dangerous and cruel conditions. This kind of ethical consumption is leading to a racialized neo-colonialism marked by geo-political privilege."

I went to the doctor yesterday and she tentatively diagnose me with tendonitis in my knee. The good news is that she doesn't think its my meniscus (fingers crossed!), but she gave me a referral to an orthopedist just to check in and make sure. I haven't run in about 2 weeks, which sucks, but I really want to have a long term life as a runner, so if taking it easy right now is what it takes then....that's what I'll do. In the meantime I'm walking, doing 30 Day Shred, and biking (although mostly indoors, since it is rainy and cold here - seriously, there is snow on the hills and it's June 1st!). Sigh. I guess having a knee injury makes me a real runner, right? (What is really a bummer is that I don't think its from the marathon or marathon training at all, I think it's from the trail race I did a week afterwards....guess I learned a lesson there....)

"I grew up in traditional black patriarchal culture and there is no doubt that I’m going to take a great many unconscious, but present, patriarchal complicities to the grave because it so deeply ensconced in how I look at the world. Therefore, very much like alcoholism, drug addiction, or racism patriarchy is a disease and we are in perennial recovery and relapse. So you have to get up every morning and struggle against it. " - Cornel West