Video: serious awesomeness.

Important discussion from Oxfam America: When is a “looter” really just a survivor? "Consider the options for desperate people trying to survive, and look for a realistic perspective on news coverage in the early days after a disaster."

Last year I totally failed at a running streak, but I'm going to give it another shot this holiday season: The 2013 Holiday Running Streak ("pledging to run at least one mile every day, Thanksgiving through New Year's"). We completed our "three half-marathons in three months" goals, and now don't have another long race till our half in February. In the mean time, I want to keep up my stamina with regular running and a few short races, but mainly focus on yoga. I'm still going to Baptiste (3-5 times per week) and loving its affect on my mental health. It's very difficult and humbling to get so face to face with my aches and pains and lack of flexibility, and it's not a calorie burner in the way that running is (ugh, so hard to free the mind from the calorie counting trap), but it's been invaluable for my mental and emotional health and I feel very lucky to have gotten back into the practice.

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern." - Annie Dillard

This is beautiful: Self-Made Man #24: Love Your Emergency: "I wish I’d told the woman in Brooklyn that we can only hold the muscle of what we most love about ourselves alongside the little terrors that haunt us, but nothing is ever erased. We’re just bodies stamped with time, moving through space, coming together, coming undone. Those red-and-white emergencies sparkle with their own terrible beauty, but you have to stay up late, you have to ignore the call of the elevator operator, you have to wait long enough and love it all hard enough to really, really see."

"Maybe this is the point: to embrace the core sadness of life without toppling headlong into it, or assuming it will define your days." ― Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship


Take a listen. From Jefferson Public Radio: "Members of the Ashland Congregational United Church of Christ participate in a Justice and Witness Team that travels to Honduras to help people affected by the human rights crisis there. It can be a grim job." As always, so inspired by my incredible UCC Ashland faith community, even from afar.

Image: Hey, now that sounds cool. "New Crafts Artists In Action: Learn to craft hand-made basketball nets for empty hoops in your neighborhood." (h/t LG)

Support your independent bookseller this holiday season! 45 Great American Indie Bookstores to Support This Holiday Season (Happy to say I've been to a few of these! Powell's is a life long fav, I visited the lovely Montague Bookmill last year, and was lucky enough to be a regular at Books & Books when I lived in South Beach)

Two interesting pieces on the role and effect of technology on our attention spans and experiences of our surroundings: from The Independent, Driven To Distraction, and from The New Inquiry, The Disconnectionists.

Always, always: "And if your spirit / carries within it / the thorn / that is heavier than lead --- / if it's all you can do / to keep on trudging --- / there is still / somewhere deep within you / a beast shouting that the earth / is exactly what it wanted --- / each pond with its blazing lilies / is a prayer heard and answered / lavishly, / every morning, / whether or not / you have ever dared to be happy, / whether or not / you have ever dared to pray." (the great, the wonderful Mary Oliver)

Video: "Finding Vivian Maier" looks fascinating!

 The Guardian: Over 3,000 US prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent crimes "ACLU report chronicles thousands of lives ruined by life sentences for crimes such as shoplifting or possession of a crack pipe."

Welcome to Dinovember! One month of awesome imagination and parenting.

Over the long weekend I found myself absorbed in Meg Wolitzer's novel, The Ten Year Nap. It was very readable, Wolitzer is clearly smart and observant, and I appreciated the interwoven story lines and characters, and the attention paid to different women's experiences of career, family, etc. I think the main problem was that the different women weren't different enough, and eventually it was just too insular and bland. With the exception of one minor character, all of the women involved are white, straight, married, upper middle class women. It's not that Wolitzer ignores this reality - the characters make a fair number of self consciously liberal references to race and class (especially $$$) - but in the end it was just boring. Plenty of women of varying sexual orientations and socio economic placements have lots to say about these same issues, and even if their exclusion from the small world of this novel certainly didn't rise to the level of racist or classist, or render the book without merit, it nonetheless missed an opportunity to make the book more interesting and relatable. (In Wolitzer's later book, The Interestings, she seems to consciously do a better job with issues of race, sexual orientation, and money, but she still has a long way to go. Her mentions of money and class in both books seem so self conscious and intentional to me (sort of an "I guess I should explain how these people afford to live in NYC!" afterthought), and there's one pat resolution of a money situation in The Interestings that had me seriously eye rolling.) Apart from these issues, the hardest part of this book for me was just what a SAD portrait of modern women this was. None of the characters in this book seem remotely happy with themselves, their careers, their role as mothers or as wives. I am desperate to believe that while some of this may be true, there MUST be women out there who have found some fulfillment....Despite the flaws of both, I liked The Ten Year Nap, as I liked The Interestings, for the wonderful writing and wry observations. I just wish Wolitzer could expand her world a little bit.

"Oxfam aid teams are on the ground in the Philippines and reporting urgent needs of food, clean water, medicine and shelter. Communication lines between some provinces are cut and many areas are experiencing total black outs. Thousands are feared dead, and local emergency food stocks are dwindling. Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda, is the strongest storm in the world this year and quite possibly the most powerful to ever hit land. Oxfam teams are assessing the extent of the damage now and are ready to deploy water and sanitation materials to those affected. We urgently need your help to scale up our response. Please donate to the Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund to rush emergency aid to the region."


A beautiful, short (I could read a book!) essay about relationships and love and life and death: Laurie Anderson's Farewell to Lou Reed

Incredible bravery: Despite Barriers, Farm Worker Breaks Silence About Rape Case

Looks awesome: Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, a beautiful YA graphic novel on the life of great lady primatologists.

Image: Angela Dalinger "Little Homes"

So moving: Photographer Takes Beautiful Portraits of Shelter Dogs to Find Them Homes

Lila Rice has amazing big metal earrings!

This (long) weekend I devoured The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer. Despite being a pretty depressing examination of female displeasure with marriage, work, and motherhood, it was very readable and thought-provoking. I wished it hadn't been so white and straight, but I still thought it was worth a read, and would be a great book club book - lots of discussion to be had.

Help save lives in the Philippines, donate to Oxfam America's Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund


Anne Lamott On Coming Back After Tragedy. "I realized I wasn't hungry for what I wasn't getting and achieving, I was hungry for what I wasn't giving, for the inability to just be, just be, instead of to do, or impress." Can't wait to read her new book.

Image: art work of kirsten sims.

This weekend I read Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell. My God, I loved this book. I loved it as a woman with deep female friendships, I loved it as an introvert with a passion for solitude, I loved it as an adult transplant to Cambridge and Boston, I loved it as one who has experienced someone I love getting a serious illness.....I just loved it this book. Heart-wrenching for sure, but so clear-eyed and wonderful. Throughout, I thought again and again of this Rilke quote (which, to be honest, I could not remember was Rilke, but just heard vaguely echoing through my head): "Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other." With "Let's Take The Long Way" Caldwell lays bare the intimacy of her incredible relationship with her best friend and soulmate, vividly portraying the ways in which they broached, and pushed through, and protected each others solitude. This memoir is an incredible act of love, of bravery, and gratitude, and humility, and it is truly a gift to us all.

Does anyone have a favorite granola recipe? I've tried a few, and really like homemade granola more than the store-bought stuff, but I feel like there's room for improvement....open to any ideas.

I admit I was dubious about this because, modeling, who cares - but, my bad. This essay is awesome.


Real talk: 21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed.

So, I started doing hot yoga again, about two weeks ago, after a few years off. It is, basically, blowing my mind. I think about it when I'm at work, and I miss it when I am not able to go. In the past I did Bikram, which I loved, but this time I'm doing Baptiste (Power Vinyasa), basically due to proximity to my house and a good first month membership deal. Anyways, it's awesome. It's like therapy and meditation and exercise and a spa treatment (all the sweating!) at once. And, when there are people walking around doing adjustments, it's also sort of like massage. I'm seriously hooked, especially heading into winter. On the consumerist tip, I will also report that these are the most amazing hot yoga pants I have ever worn. They are def thin, if that bothers you (they are leggings, not pants), but I love love love them - soft, a great length (I'm short - 5'3" - and they don't bunch up. I did order a little larger - M - than I maybe NEEDED to, but I love the way they fit), a little lose around the ankles, and a perfect waist band. Not cheap, and sort of weird patterns, but whatever.

Image: source.

Solitary confinement's invisible scars

Making the rounds, and for good reason: The Logic of Stupid Poor People: "What we forget, if we ever know, is that what we know now about status and wealth creation and sacrifice are predicated on who we are, i.e. not poor. If you change the conditions of your not-poor status, you change everything you know as a result of being a not-poor. You have no idea what you would do if you were poor until you are poor. And not intermittently poor or formerly not-poor, but born poor, expected to be poor and treated by bureaucracies, gatekeepers and well-meaning respectability authorities as inherently poor. Then, and only then, will you understand the relative value of a ridiculous status symbol to someone who intuits that they cannot afford to not have it."

And a little something to make you smile.

"According to Rabbi Bunim of P’shiskha, everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: 'For my sake was the world created.' But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: 'I am but dust and ashes.'"[Thanks to Rev. Pam, UCC Ashland, for yet another beautiful sermon, and for still guiding me from afar.]

“Enlightenment is absolute cooperation with the inevitable.” - Anthony de Mello (from Tara Brach's article Absolute Cooperation with the Inevitable)