From the LATimes: Licenses for illegal immigrants would make roads safer, LAPD chief says. (This story was also featured on NPR)

USA Today: "What life is like for 14-year-old killer tried as an adult"

Image: source.

On "pop-up urbanism," “tactical urbanism, spontaneous interventions, and the other forms of unsanctioned public space activity that are extremely important in today’s discourse over how public space is used and allocated."

Facts About Rihanna And Other Abused Women. Yes yes yes: "But if you sincerely want to reduce the incidence of domestic violence in our society, I beg you to refrain from judging her. Strange as it may sound, judging women who return to their abusers only makes the problem worse."

So, I'm on Day 11 of this thing called the Whole30. I learned about it from friends at CrossFit, and it's basically a month long program to "reset" your body by eating whole foods - no sugar, no grains, no alcohol, no dairy. While it's definitely had its challenging moments, for the most part it's been a great experience. I'll wait till I've completed the month to do a write up, but I felt like at least mentioning it, since it's been a big part of my last two weeks!

"You don’t discover courage right away…You discover a tender, shaky vulnerability. It takes courage to be vulnerable. But when you live with a genuine heart, unarmored, you can trust the basic goodness of yourself and humanity." - Pema Chödrön


This article made me giggle and remember fondly my many years of living alone (of which there will undoubtedly be more in the future): One Is the Quirkiest Number: The Freedom, and Perils, of Living Alone. It also made me roll my eyes numerous times - I think it's clear the author thinks it's much crazier and like *riskier!* for women to live alone because of all the "weird" behavior they might indulge in. Relax, yo. Just because there might be a few hours in the day a woman isn't spending trying to present herself in the perfect way for anyone who might be watching doesn't mean she's on a downward spiral towards irredeemably antisocial behavior.

Image: source.

Haha, yes, love this. From The Onion: Female Friends Spend Raucous Night Validating The Living Sh*t Out Of Each Other": The entire night we just went balls out with the confidence-boosting,"

Watching this tonight, been looking forward to it: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

Music video for Josh Ritter‘s “Love Is Making Its Way Back Home” created by Prominent Figures using over 12,000 pieces of construction paper

Realizing I haven't written on here about CrossFit for a while, which is weird because it's become such a big part of my life. My "box" (the term for a CrossFit gym) is so supportive and encouraging and gets me excited about pushing myself in a way I absolutely couldn't on my own. It was hard to see how much progress I had lost while I was in Nicaragua (despite running and hiking every day), but my CrossFit friends have such an attitude of "Just get back to work," that that's what I did! Feels great to be lifting weights again, working on my pull ups, and generally back on the road towards badassness....


From Michelle Tea: On Hysteria, Transphobia, Man-Hating, Sobriety, Anonymity and Writing (everyone I know - including me - is totally hooked on her series about getting pregnant)

Image: source.

Listening to: Cat Power, She Loves You So Hard.

Sarah Menkedick: Proof of Extreme Hardship: "US/Mexico border and the relationships that straddle it: personal narrative-reportage about the waiting in Ciudad Juarez for a fiancé visa."
(I hated the formatting of this article, I just have to note - it's frustrating when you want to read something but the format is distracting or clumsy....)

Reward Good Food: Prince Charles on Healthy, Sustainable Farming


American Experience's "A Class Apart" is streaming for free on their website for one more week: "From a small-town Texas murder emerged a landmark civil rights case. The little-known story of the Mexican American lawyers who took Hernandez v. Texas to the Supreme Court, challenging Jim Crow-style discrimination." Recommended!

Image: source.

Ready to see the faces behind the voices? Babes of NPR.

From the NYTimes, a powerful slide show of images following the prison fire in Honduras that killed hundreds. Although it's clearly an injustice and tragedy no matter what the status of those killed, it's also horrifying to note that most of the inmates were never formally charged or convicted.

Occupy Oakland, an illustrated history.

From the LA Review of Books, Leslie S. Klinger on the cult of Sherlock Holmes.

The NY Review of Books on Downton Abbey (warning, spoilers!)

Interesting: Women May Earn Less, but They Find Their Work More Meaningful: "Women may be making a trade-off between pay and other aspects of work that make them happy."


A friend of mine is currently volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti for a few months (the second time she has done so). She linked to this incredibly powerful post by a couple volunteering in Haiti, about the unfathomable decisions some families face.

Image: source.

This article on seed starting is getting me excited about working on my garden this year. Even though it snowed today....

Listening to: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy: "Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax works with people at the last stage of life (in hospice and on death row). She shares what she's learned about compassion in the face of death and dying, and a deep insight into the nature of empathy."

Currently reading: Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua by Stephen Kinzer, and, of course, a mystery: The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler.

Thinking of a good friend doing amazing work in Honduras, and all the other people working for justice in Central America: UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya urges the Honduran Government to effectively protect human rights defenders.


Nicaragua -> Oregon

I'm back! So much to write, and to catch up on, but for now I'll just say that I had an incredible time in Nicaragua - I really couldn't have asked for a better month. I got back home around 1am on Saturday morning, so I very much still have one foot in Nicaragua and one foot here. Thanks so much to all of you who sent supportive messages while I was gone!

I'm very much in the midst of catching up on emails, work etc, but I'll get back to blogging ASAP. For now, here are a few of the books that had a huge impact on me while I was in Nicaragua:

- Nicaragua: Living In The Shadow Of The Eagle does the seemingly impossible by presenting centuries of Nicaraguan history in a very compact, readable, and politically aware format. An excellent introduction to Nicaragua, and the history of American involvement in Central America.

- The Jaguars Smile: Salman Rushdie spent 3 weeks in Nicaragua in the 80's and this is his account. It's not without flaws - he admits his own ignorance and biases, and even with an updated forward the book reads like a relic. But Rushdie quotes from a variety of excellent poems, had some good access to "important" people, and had a real appreciation for the artists of Nicaraguan. It's a quick read, and be sure to read the updated intro as well (which is now almost 10 years old and pretty out of date, but offers a glimpse of 90's Nicaragua).

- Nicaragua: Surviving The Legacy Of US Policy is an incredibly powerful collection of images and first person testimony about the devastating effects of the US-backed Contra. The authors photographed and interviewed Nicaraguans (including community members in Lagartillo, the village where I lived) in the 80's and again 20 years later - the result is both hard to put down and difficult to read.

- Finally, I most recently finished The Death Of Ben Linder: The Story Of A North American In Sandinista Nicaragua, one of the best books I've read in a while. Through an incredible amount of research and interviews, the author recreates the final years and days of the life of a young American who lived and worked in Nicaragua in the 80's, helping build and operate a hydroelectric plan in rural Nicaragua, before he was murdered by the Contras. The book is a vivid portrait of Nicaragua in the 80's as well as a powerful and affecting story of an American trying to live responsibly in the world, a young man struggling with his own idealism and desire for personal fulfillment and social change.

Oh, and two more: The Country Under My Skin is the autobiography of Giocondi Bella, a wonderful Nicaraguan poet. Hers is a very specific view of the revolution as experienced by a privileged woman living in Managua, choosing to fight with the Sandinistas. Eventually I got tired of hearing about her endless love affairs, but the book is worth a read for its first person account of the internal politics of the FSLN in the 80's. Finally, if you're able to find it, the Cooperativa Maria Zunilda Perez in London has published La Vida De Tina/Tina's Life Story, a powerful first person narrative of the life of Tina, a woman who lives in El Lagartillo and lost her husband and daughter in the contra attack.

In addition to these books, the snippets of poetry I've read have been an important part of my time in Nicaragua. The piece that has stayed with me the most is the following, a selection from "Epitaph For The Tomb of Aldofo Baez Bone," written by (Padre) Ernesto Cardenel:

they killed you and didn't say where they buried
your body, but since then the entire country has been
your tomb, and in every inch of Nicaragua where your body
isn't buried
you were reborn.

they thought they'd killed you with their order of
they thought they'd buried you
and all they had done was to bury a seed.