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ruthless compassion
30 April 2015 @ 01:03 pm
I don't know if it's the weather, finally having recovered from the weekend, the fact that I drank my coffee at the PERFECT time this morning, or the fact that I got a great night of sleep ... or just dumb luck! But I am in a super awesome top notch good mood today. It's WONDERFUL.
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I'm feeling: bouncybouncy
ruthless compassion
10 April 2015 @ 07:20 pm
I always have a post-event drop after a large event, and I just finished my largest event ever: 400 people for four days at the Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire. I started planning it over a year ago, and at the beginning of this year, I handed off most of the remaining planning (which is a lot) to my then-assistant (now successor as I've moved into my new role), but it still felt a lot like my event, especially since most people there identify me as a person who can answer their questions or solve their problems.

Also, although it was 400 very smart people, almost none of them are able to find their way out of a paper bag, which leads to a LOT of frankly baffling questions. Like: "Should I eat lunch before or after I put my suitcase on the bus?" Dude! You pick! Are you hungry now? Do you want to stop dragging your suitcase around? Both options are fine!

Overall, it was awesome. The Mount Washington Resort is fantastically beautiful, and the staff was unmatched by any other venue I've ever worked with, and the agenda worked super well, and our attendees were, in general, well-behaved, even if clueless.

On the other hand, we had a handful of prima donnas who threw dramatics over minor and soluble issues, which was a definite downside. My favorite was the fellow who, outraged, insisted he was going to fly home to California if he was going to have to share a bathroom. (Some of our guests were staying in townhouses with some shared bathrooms.)

But the highlight for me was that it was kind of a victory lap for me. This is the event I've run every year in my role as "Minister of Fun" at athena, and this group is sort of my "home base" group at the company. I was given pretty free rein to institute a number of programs that made their lives at work better and more fun, so they really like me a lot, and they're geeks, so of course I love them.

They surprised me with a thank you ceremony that involved a giant cake reading "So long and thanks for all the fish", and a set of gifts that included a fancy pair of noise-canceling headphones, a set of five gorgeous metal dice, a Star Trek sushi-making kit, an 8-bit mug, a useless box, a plastic crown and scepter, a velvet cape, and ... a drone. Oh! And an air cannon. And a truly absurdly decadent donut covered in frosting. And they said a lot of nice things about me. It was incredibly heartwarming and affirming.

Later, I sang karaoke by myself for the first time ever ("You Don't Mess Around with Jim" by Jim Croce -- with thanks to regyt for the suggestion), because I realized I was there with a group of people I truly didn't mind making a fool of myself in front of, and one of my colleagues told me she hopes her 8 year old daughter grows up to be like me, and another one told me that I make everything I touch better.

So, that was all super nice, and really well-timed, because outside of work, things are pretty sad and hard for me right now, but I have a lot of good friends, and my family is awesome, so I think I'll get through.
I'm feeling: complicated
ruthless compassion
03 March 2015 @ 12:23 pm
If you were a tree (or treelike plant), what would you be, and why?
I'm feeling: curiouscurious
ruthless compassion
03 March 2015 @ 09:56 am
Part of what I love about where I work that makes it stand out from any of the other places I've ever worked (including the places I liked!) is that there's true opportunity for growth (for me). I think this largely has to do with it being an organization that's a great fit for me, with work that I enjoy doing and that the company needs done.

I'm sure I learned and grew in other positions I had, but it was never easy for me to put my finger on my major accomplishments or achievements. It was always like, "I did my job, as requested."

This is the first place where I've been given a lot of leeway and been able to really make my way in the organization, and where my contributions -- uniquely mine -- were just the thing.

It's a good feeling.
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I'm feeling: chipperchipper
ruthless compassion
24 February 2015 @ 12:35 pm
It will come as no surprise to exactly no one who knows me that I don't want to have kids. I've fantasized for years about permanent sterilization, but, of course, I know how much our desires and inclinations can change over time, so I always had age 40 in mind as the point at which I would pursue a permanent solution to the problem of my potential fertility. Since moving into a household with kids, I've been even more sure that that's not a path I want to pursue in life. (I love living with other people's kids. Almost as much as I love not having any of my own.) (Okay, not even close to how much I love not having my own.)

So, even though I'm about 18 months from my 40th birthday, I feel ready to make a longer term decision. So! I met with an OB/gyn this morning to talk about my options. I went in with Essure as my likely preferred option. It's a minimally invasive procedure with good outcomes. The other permanent option is tubal ligation, which is a real surgery.

While I was talking to the doctor, she suggested I consider the Mirena IUD, primarily because the low dose of hormones could alleviate some of my endometriosis symptoms, and most women on the Mirena don't have periods, which is obviously appealing. But it's also appealing to know that pregnancy is totally off the table. So, I'm thinking about it.

I'm interested to hear thoughts and helpful questions, if you have any, but it will make me angry to hear anything along the lines of "But what if you change your mind?" or "Don't you want to keep your options open?", so please skip those!
I'm feeling: thoughtfulthoughtful
ruthless compassion
20 February 2015 @ 10:50 am
By Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
I'm feeling: chipperchipper
ruthless compassion
20 February 2015 @ 09:04 am
Tell me a secret! Tell me a not-secret! Whisper sweet somethings in my comment box. Express your maddest crush or deepest curiosity! Expound upon the fabulousness of your friends or lovers or would-be friends or lovers! Or people you know or want to know. Do it anonymously or with your name attached; anonymous commenting is on and IP logging is off.

You know you want to!

[Please note ground rules here.]

[Link to flat version of comments is here.]

A note on user experience: If you're starting a new thread, if you give it a subject, it'll be easier to pick out comments in response to it down the road.

ETA: IP logging is back on!
I'm feeling: curiouscurious
ruthless compassion
20 February 2015 @ 09:02 am
Happy Confessional Month! First, some ground rules, and shortly, I'll post the confessional itself:

As I've done the past couple of years, I'll be moderating comments with a relatively heavy hand, especially around pointlessly mean-spirited comments or threads. Similarly, I'm aiming to nip in the bud comments or threads that seem to be headed in a bad direction. If you think I made a mistake about leaving something up, feel free to email me to bring it to my attention.

One of the things I deeply value about the confessional is the opportunity to say hard things, but it's important to me that they be productive, so please refrain from mean comments without substance. In past years, we've had some pretty amazing learning, compassion, and vulnerability, along with playful fun.

If there's a comment/thread that seems primarily to be about character assassination, I empower you not to respond, and to privately draw it to my attention for deletion. I will try to delete that sort of thing ASAP, but I have to eat, sleep, work, and play outside of this, also, so my eyes won't be on it every second it's up.

If there's any comment about YOU that you'd like me to remove for any reason, please email me so I can do so.

Remember that all those anonymous voices are people, some of whom you know and like, and all of whom are people like you.

Finally, on commenting with your name/handle vs. commenting anonymously: please consider anonymous commenting the default unless it's specifically relevant and important to post with your name attached. We have many settings in which we can converse as identifiably ourselves, and part of what's fun for me about this is the opportunity to hear people's words without always already knowing who is saying what.
I'm feeling: chipperchipper
ruthless compassion
19 February 2015 @ 10:31 pm
I missed this on other social media, and it's too hard to catch up there, so! Let's do it here:

What three things would you put in a circle to summon me?

Comment with my three and I'll respond with your three!
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I'm feeling: chipperchipper
ruthless compassion
16 February 2015 @ 06:48 pm
I fell into one of those nonconsensual naps for about 5 hours this afternoon, and I'm feeling substantially more human. I awoke to the combination of dusk and a power outage, which my nappish brain had a difficult time parsing.

I give groggy thanks to my past self that has scattered headlamps all over the house, so I was able to navigate around to find and light some candles, and soon after that, the power returned; it looks like it was out for about 3 hours, which works out to pretty good timing all-in-all, since it was mostly when I was napping and during daylight hours. And it wasn't enough time for the house to get problematically cold (though our heat proper isn't electric, the forced air action is).

I'm beginning to rethink my conclusion that the airline's original offer to get me back to Boston on Friday was not the right choice after they canceled my Sunday flight. But it's a little late for second thoughts, now that I'm here!
I'm feeling: restful
ruthless compassion
16 February 2015 @ 10:41 am
I just arrived home from a week+ in Costa Rica with my family and contessagrrl, which was super nice. It was amazing to be away in the warmth and sunshine for a week in the middle of winter (and a week containing two major storms -- it's surreal arriving into the current state of things). The second storm led to my original return flight yesterday being canceled, and Copa (who I can't recommend flying with, if you can avoid it) said the soonest flight back to Boston would be FRIDAY, which, no. So I wound up flying to JFK last night instead, and then made the final hop to Logan this morning. It's incredibly restful to be home after three days of active travel.

This was my first time in Costa Rica, and I really liked it. It's visibly better funded than Guatemala (the Central American country I have the most experience with), and it took me a little while to get used to potable water coming from the taps. San Jose didn't strike my fancy, though I didn't really set out to explore it much, but the countryside is fantastically lush and beautiful.

The day we drove to Dominical, taking the mountain route, we wound up on a crazy little detour off the highway that started out paved but quickly turned into an incredibly steep and twisty dirt road that left us all wondering if we'd taken a wrong turn. A quick consultation with another driver confirmed we were in the right place, and I think we spent about 30 minutes of the most difficult driving I've ever done. I was glad to have both a manual transmission and four wheel drive.

The rest of the drive was winding and gorgeous, to an elevation of over 11,000' before dropping down to sea level at a rate that made the changes in the air noticeable moment to moment.

Dominical wasn't much to write home about as a town, but I liked the house we rented, and it was walking distance to the beach, down an unpaved street. The beach was grey sand and had a pretty foamy break that was popular with surfers (which is why we chose it -- my brother's big into surfing recently), and although it wasn't my favorite ocean swimming conditions, the water was bathtub warm and wonderful to be in.

Other highlights include the next door restaurant that had super delicious batidos (smoothies), the intense and restorative massages (two of them!), and the beauty of Manuel Antonio park. I also got a surprising amount of my Spanish back, to the point that I transacted a pretty complicated exchange at the airport in Spanish on my return -- to my great satisfaction! And I think I might have drunk my weight in fresh coconut water, drunk right from the coconut. Oh! And I finally got to try a cashew fruit! It was horrible.

This is the first big vacation that my family and I have taken since we were all together in Guatemala for Christmas in 2003, and it was such a pleasure to be traveling together, so of course that, in concert with the novel and tropical setting, my companions were the biggest overall highlight. I hope we manage to do something like this again before another 11 years have passed!

And now, I'm enjoying the fullness of the pleasure of being home, even if it does require several layers of wool. It also includes a purring cat for my lap. Is there any sweeter satisfaction to travel than the first night in your own bed, no matter how good the vacation was?
I'm feeling: good and tired
ruthless compassion
09 February 2015 @ 10:16 pm
So, I'm in Costa Rica! It's beautiful and warm and lush and green. I have a sunburn and I hardly care. I've swum in the ocean each of the last three days, and my skin feels amazing. My Spanish is coming back to me more quickly and substantially than I exoected, even with relatively casual use. I even successfully deployed the subjunctive a few times today!

I want to have a lot to say about it, but I don't, really, at least not yet. It's nice to be away, spending pretty minimal time at a screen, soaking up sun and some real, solid relaxation.

For those of you wondering about the confessional: I can't host and moderate from here (nor would I want to), so I'll be posting it next week sometime.
ruthless compassion
29 December 2014 @ 11:04 am
For New Year's Eve this year, I'm taking myself on a little personal retreat in Provincetown (which I've never been to!). My goal is to be offline as much as possible in favor of reading, walks on the beach, movies, meditating, and spending time at the spa. I feel super good about this; I'm looking forward to some concentrated self-care and time away from my day-to-day that is really built just around me.

I'd love some recommendations for:

1. Good places to eat in P-town
2. Absorbing books (I especially like feminist scifi/fantasy and/or engagingly written natural history or science writing.)
3. Entertaining movies (I love action/adventure, comedy [but no comedy that's mean or built around embarrassment-humor], uplifting dramas.)
I'm feeling: chipperchipper
ruthless compassion
Today, a day late, but not a dollar short, I close up my Thanksgiving celebration with great gratitude for seasons. Sure, I don't love every piece of weather that comes my way, but I DO love the variety, the change, the way that it helps me feel the passing of time bigger than hours in an internal and tactile way. I love that there are days that are dark and cold and cozy and other days that are brilliant with sun and warmth. I like the way the world changes with the seasons, and the way I fit into it differently at different times.
I'm feeling: thankfulthankful
ruthless compassion
Today, I'm thankful for flow, for this eminent a when everything just works, and is easy -- easy in the sense of ease, not lack of challenge -- where you can get into that groove and make magic happen in a way that feels effortless but actually is the distillation of hundreds or thousands of hours of prior effort. That moment when banging your head against a problem breaks loose into the magic of discovery and accomplishment.
ruthless compassion
I'm a day behind, because of the plenty of life and the blessed and somewhat mixed truth that there will always be too much to be able to do everything. May we all have our baskets overflowing with too much wonder and laughter and snuggling and connecting with each other. Even when I'm frustrated that I can't have everything I want, I am so grateful for everything I have.
ruthless compassion
Yesterday was Thanksgiving proper, and the day of giving thanks for the people in my life. I feel so blessed and lucky to know the great people I do, to share my life with my family and friends in deep and meaningful ways. I am so lucky to have grown up in a warm, loving family, and lucky again to have found my way into a community of people who work hard together to have loving and mutually supportive relationships of all kinds. People are what make everything worthwhile.
I'm feeling: thankfulthankful
ruthless compassion
Today, despite the vast unpleasantness of the Wintry Mix falling from the sky, I give thanks for the wonders of the natural world. Over this summer, I noticed that our front patio is perfectly situated to frame a spectacular sunset pretty much every night, and all fall, I've been caught breathless by the brilliant colors of the foliage. When I'm feeling restless or anxious or sad, stepping outside and taking a moment to notice some small detail of the world around me gives me a moment of calm. Looking at patterns that echo themselves across many different natural systems gives a clue as to the fundamental workings of matter and the universe.

The wild peace and wonder of nature is the most basic definition of a blessing: something wonderful unasked, unearned, undeserved, and wholly outside any system of exchange.
I'm feeling: blessed
ruthless compassion
It is hard to appreciate a feeling of thankfulness today, given the ongoing events in Ferguson, which painfully represent events, practices, and ways of thinking throughout the United States and the world. I feel heartbroken that our society continues to fail black people in such a violent and dehumanizing way. I am sick knowing that I benefit from the system that oppresses black Americans and black people around the world.

So, today, I give thanks for the noisy agitators whose efforts make a ubiquitous and unjust practice rise to the level of news. I am grateful for the hard work done for decades by people striving for the liberation of people not seen or recognized as people by the society they live in. I grieve for the need for their work, and I am so thankful to them for doing it. May there be less cause for their work in the future.
I'm feeling: sadsad
ruthless compassion
As is my annual tradition, I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with seven days of thanks this week. Please join me, if you're so inclined!

Today, I give thanks for work I don't know for sure I can do until I've done it or not.

I love my job, and I love feeling competent at my work, but one of the most valuable gifts my current role gives me is the opportunity to stretch my wings and try things that I might not succeed at. Sometimes I don't succeed! But I always learn from it when I don't, and as a result of these stretch goals, this year has been full of major competence milestones that demonstrate to me that I have really learned and grown in my professional self in a way that I absolutely never could have expected.

I don't love failing, when I do. It feels lousy, no matter what, but failing and surviving gives my insecure inner voice less and less ground to stand on when it tries to talk me out of dreaming big.

I want this for everyone! And I give huge, huge thanks to the great good fortune that it's an aspect of my life these days.
I'm feeling: thankfulthankful
ruthless compassion
20 November 2014 @ 10:04 am
So, I'm watching this video about unconscious bias in the workplace -- https://www.gv.com/lib/unconscious-bias-at-work -- and I'm about 20 minutes in, and I'm thinking about my own stuff around this. It's interesting, because I have a team of administrative professionals reporting to me, so it's not surprising that it's all women. And actually, we're doing okay on racial representation, with 4 white, one Latina, and one Asian American reporting to me.

BUT, I have interviewed over 20 people in the last year, and not one of them has been black. If you expand this to all the people I've video screened (this is a weird thing we do where people answer 4 questions on video in advance of a phone screen), I've probably seen over 100 candidates for entry- to mid-level, and only one of them has been black.

So, my task for my next rounds of hiring is to ask my recruiter why I'm not seeing any black candidates. There is absolutely no reason this should be the case, and now that I see the gap, I'm pretty disturbed by it. Part of what's great about my team is that I see administrative work as a way for an excellent but green or otherwise nontraditional candidate to get their foot in the door at our company and, if they're interested, grow into other roles in other teams. This is exactly the kind of opportunity that would be ideal for underrepresented populations, but somehow we're filtering them out before they get to me.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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I'm feeling: frustratedfrustrated
ruthless compassion
12 November 2014 @ 11:36 am
Thinking a lot about missing stairs, loving and compassionate confrontations about bad behavior, the difference between intent and impact.

I know we all fuck up in big and small ways. I ask you, my community, to keep me honest if you feel able, when I fuck up big.

This isn't your job and my actions are my responsibility, but I promise to listen with an open heart and take seriously what you say.

I don't promise to agree with you, but I do promise to consider your words sincerely and seriously and probably talk about it with other people close to me for perspective, reality check, and deeper understanding.

Further, I commit to doing this for you, if I feel able inside of our relationship. I deeply believe that loving you means seeing you with as clear eyes as possible, loving you with your faults and failures as much as loving you with your brilliance and goodness. Love that is blind to faults is necessarily fragile, and that's not what I want for you or for me.
I'm feeling: sad, angry, loving
ruthless compassion
06 November 2014 @ 11:49 am
Dear friends,

Please share with me a favorite poem, preferably by a woman.

Thank you!
<3 aroraborealis
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ruthless compassion
15 October 2014 @ 11:01 pm
Good things today:

* had a GREAT conversations about my potential job next year. Super promising and encouraging, basically, everything I want. Nothing is guaranteed, but my desires have been heard, validated, and encouraged, and the process goes to the next step. It's a big enough organizational change that it goes through our senior leadership team next. Fingers crossed!
* solo cocktails and oysters then joined by amber_phoenix
* awesome dinner and walk home with amber_phoenix
* unseasonably warm weather
* super nice talk with my brother

Generally just feeling so lucky and blessed.
ruthless compassion
06 October 2014 @ 07:40 pm
Yeah, yeah, aging brings aches and pains. But the last few weeks have been unreasonable in these things cropping up:

In August, I developed tennis elbow. Then I was on vacation, which helped (less typing), but I seem to have picked up a case of piriformis syndrome from my mom (I mean, maybe I got it from her genetically, but the joke here is I never had problems with my hip before but after visiting home while she was struggling with it, it cropped up for me), and recently I've developed some Achilles' tendon issue that might be related to the low-level plantar fasciitis I've had for years.

I suspect all of the lower body stuff is related to each other, but I'm still not fond of the cascade of small issues emerging in a cluster. Let's have this be it until I'm approaching 50, shall we?
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ruthless compassion
06 October 2014 @ 11:17 am
Fall is busy. This month, I have:

3 days in Maine, starting tomorrow. One final weekend of wedding prep for friends' upcoming nuptials, then possibly a 2-day trip to CA, then a 2-day meeting I'm leading, but the second day of which I will hand off to my team so I can do wedding stuff. Then the wedding, then the following weekend the Food for Free fundraiser and sleep. The next Monday, I go to Maine again for 3 days, then spend a night at home before heading to CA, and from there, to Austin for the first week in November. What is even happening?

I actually feel really oversubscribed, both in my calendar and in my head. I'm also in the middle of about 50 gazillion conversations about what my job might be next year and trying to be clear in my head and heart about what's right and best for me in that. This will invariably mean letting down between 3 and 400 people.

Having put this all down on paper over the weekend, I realized that I will do better to start proactively doing a little scheduling bonsai, so I'm trying to move one CA trip and block some big chunks of time for self-care and introvert time.

Here goes!
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I'm feeling: busybusy
ruthless compassion
01 October 2014 @ 11:25 am
Every woman I have ever talked to about it -- and that's a lot -- has experienced harassment by classmates, colleagues, and/or strangers.Trigger warning: harassmentCollapse )

But what was awesome is that at the time, sexual harassment was getting a lot of coverage: Anita Hill was testifying against Clarence Thomas, so I had a role model for the importance of speaking up, and my mom really encouraged me to talk to the teacher about what had happened. I did, and my teacher responded wonderfully, affirming that what had happened was absolutely not okay, and that I did the right thing to bring it up. And then, she took it to the school counselor, and the boys got a talking to that they obviously took really seriously, because all three of them apologized in a very believable way the next day.

As I look back, there are a lot of things I like about what happened: No one doubted my story or suggested that I had done anything to invite the harassment. No one suggested I should just ignore it. The words "boys will be boys" were never uttered. Further, I like that the handling of the boys felt right-sized, and whatever conversation was had was one they took seriously. I don't know where they are, but I have a hope that they learned from this that it's not okay to behave that way to the women and girls in their lives and that this event had a long-lasting effect to the good.

Until sexual harassment is much less common, I hope this kind of response becomes much MORE common.
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ruthless compassion
18 August 2014 @ 10:41 am

The situation in Ferguson looked up briefly last Thursday, when the Missouri Highway Patrol took over with a very community policing tone, and there was a sense of optimism as a result of that. This didn't last long, as Friday night, the local police promised not to use tear gas, then denied using tear gas, and then admitted that, oh, oops, yeah, so, that was tear gas. And it's been downhill since then, with a curfew on Saturday and Sunday nights, deliberate obfuscation of information, threatening to shoot media personnel, and corralling media in a corner where they can't record what's actually happening. This police force is out of control, and no one with power over them seems interested in interrogating that.

Imagine living with these people as your law enforcement every day. :( :( :(

If you're mainly getting your news from mainstream sources, know that a lot of them are heavily filtered. Livestreams and twitter are available for independent on-the-ground information. Again, I suggest @AntonioFrench as a great resource. Please share others in comments.

A few links:

Amnesty International is sending in a team.
Here is a resource for resisting the militarization of local police.
Here is some info on the details of the legal process here.

More opportunities to donate to folks in Ferguson:

You can donate money that goes to food and water for protesters to sadditycooks@gmail.com -- she'll post the receipts and purchases on her twitter stream at @bellebutters . I gather some of these donations may go to other aid as well.

You can donate to the local food pantry by sending money here: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church; 33 N Clay Ave Ferguson, MO 63135

This is an updated link to donate to the bail and legal defense fund for protesters.

Please share any additional resources in comments; I'll keep sharing as well.
I'm feeling: sicksick
ruthless compassion
14 August 2014 @ 09:22 am
The Ferguson situation remains horrible, with the police escalating tensions and violence at every opportunity.

Here are some places to send money:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri: http://www.aclu-mo.org/. Also check out their letter to the Ferguson police regarding the police departments's "requests" regarding assembly yesterday: http://www.aclu-mo.org/download_file/1258

Anti-State STL is a St. Louis news clearinghouse that has set up a fund for bail and legal defense of the dozens of people who have been arrested in the course of the vigils that have turned violent each night. As of now, the only link to pay is via PayPal, which I'm extremely leery of because of their history seizing funds for causes/uses they don't approve of, so I'm holding off until there's a way to donate through Dwolla, WePay, or directly by sending a check. Something tells me there will be an extended need. If you're comfortable sending money via PayPal, the link can be found on this page: http://antistatestl.noblogs.org/post/2014/08/11/bail-and-legal-fund-for-those-arrested-during-ferguson-anti-police-demonstrations/

Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who has been a steady presence at the vigils and has provided a constant stream of photos and vines from on site, and who was arrested last night for unlawful assembly (?????) also founded an education-focused nonprofit in St. Louis -- The North Campus http://www.thenorthcampus.org

I will share additional opportunities to support the community in Ferguson as they come across my screen, and in particular, when there's a way to donate to the bail/defense funds through other means than PayPal.
I'm feeling: dumbfounded
ruthless compassion
13 August 2014 @ 07:02 pm
While my cat was using the litterbox, I noticed it was a bit low on litter, so as she was burying her product, I sprinkled some fresh litter on top of where she was scratching. She stopped, sniffed around suspiciously, and got back in the box to poop even though she had just finished using it. I KNEW cats saved it up for fresh litter!
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I'm feeling: amusedamused
ruthless compassion
13 August 2014 @ 10:22 am
I've been following the situation in Ferguson, MO with horror since Sunday, when a young man was killed by a police officer in yet another example of the extreme institutional racism that results in the murder of hundreds of black people by authority figures in the US every year. My heart breaks for all of us, but especially for black folks, who bear the burden of this shitty, shitty system. My twitter stream is blowing up with this, but I haven't seen as much here, and I want to share some resources and information more broadly:

This article from Colorlines gives you an update on what's happening in Ferguson: http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/08/what_to_read_about_ferguson.html

To keep up moment-to-moment, I've been following St. Louis Alderman Antonio French on twitter: https://twitter.com/AntonioFrench

This article from AlterNet is more than a year old, but still unfortunately apropos to the topic of the systemic murder of black men in particular by police (and vigilantes): http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/1-black-man-killed-every-28-hours-police-or-vigilantes-america-perpetually-war-its

And on that topic, while this is all happening in Ferguson, another young black man was killed by police in LA on Tuesday: http://ktla.com/2014/08/12/man-hospitalized-after-being-shot-by-police-in-south-l-a/

Finally, before you start talking about the killing of these teens and the response of their communities, please read this post by Black Girl Dangerous on things to avoid getting distracted by in the conversation: http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/2014/08/things-stop-distracted-black-person-gets-murdered-police/

Now is a good time to mention the book The New Jim Crow (http://newjimcrow.com/) [which, full disclosure, I have not been able to read, because it's too upsetting, but it's a huge privilege I have to be able to NOT take in every detail of this when many people are living deep inside it]. Highly structured and systematized racism is far from a thing of the past.

Another long, worthy piece on the topic of the wide-ranging impact of centuries of institutional racism is Ta-Nehisi Coates's case for reparations: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

It's not okay that the police have developed such an adversarial relationship with the communities they're supposed to be a part of, and it's further not okay that this adversarial relationship is so focused on black folks, other people and communities of color, and poor people. It's not okay that our police are so militarized. It's not okay that we're not working harder to root out racism from our institutions of power.

I feel pretty powerless in the face of all of this, but I think that it's especially important for white people to engage and recognize that this is real and happening. I know that I benefit from institutional racism, as much as it pains me, and as much as I wish I could legitimately say that everything I have I deserve. But that's not true for me, or for you, so I think we have a special responsibility to be part of the solution.
I'm feeling: sicksick
ruthless compassion
31 July 2014 @ 02:36 pm
Colleague: What's the best thing about your job?
Me: The people!
Colleague: What's the hardest thing about your job?
Me: The people!
Colleague: …
I'm feeling: lol
ruthless compassion
31 July 2014 @ 10:36 am
Belated happy my birthday to all of you! I hope the day treated you as well as possible, and that so does the year to come.

I was born in 1976, so now I'm 38: exciting!

Actually, I've kind of stopped caring about the numbers, and, in fact, most of the time, I have to stop and do the math to figure out what year-of-age I'm in.

I was born in 1976. When as much time has passed from now as since then, it will be 2052, which feels like quite a distance into the future. I'll be 76. I wonder what the world will look like then, and if I'll still have many of you wonderful people in my life -- I hope so. By then, a bunch of the kids I know will be over 40, themselves, and probably many of them will have kids of similar ages to their current ones. It's already weird to know adults who I first met as babies; I imagine this will only get stranger.

Sometimes, I feel like whatever I was going to do with my life, I should have started it by now. I started feeling this way around age 30, I think, when I had this sense of, well, ok, you did college and got a job and now aren't you supposed to have your life figured out now? Our society is really good at front-loading pressure on young people figure things out, and especially in terms of a career, it's like, well, I hope you're in the field you always want to be in, because BAM! now you're a grown-up and you don't get to shop around anymore.

But when I look at the actual numbers, that shouldn't have to be true, because, really, I've only been working what I'm going to call "real jobs" (for the purposes of how it applies to my life) for about 20 years, and if I'm lucky, I have at least 30 more years of working ahead of me, and hopefully after that I still have lots of things to do even if I'm not doing them for money. Why shouldn't we all get to do a variety things along the way?

It's hard to go back to being a novice, but it's also so important. I love this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's take on this point. I should print it out and laminate it and hang it in my shower.

If I'm lucky, I'll be happy and healthy past 90. I hope I can keep learning and growing and being both a novice and an expert, making mistakes and learning from them, having adventures, having boring times, and all the richness of life.
I'm feeling: contentcontent
ruthless compassion
31 July 2014 @ 09:25 am
Oh, Maya Angelou, how I miss knowing you're in the world with me. At least your words are.

Still I Rise - Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
I'm feeling: morning
ruthless compassion
10 July 2014 @ 11:04 pm

Are you in this picture?
ruthless compassion
09 July 2014 @ 08:52 am
If someone has a restraining order against you, you are not welcome at a party I'm hosting, ever.
ruthless compassion
17 June 2014 @ 02:44 pm
Here's a thing that's been happening more and more to me at work, that makes me feel appreciated and valued:

People come to me for my opinion about their efforts and/or engagement. Increasingly, people of various organizational proximity come to me for my thoughts on a program before they have it fully fleshed out, or prior to its rollout, looking for critical feedback on potential problems or oversights. And people at various levels of the organization have approached me for personal/interpersonal feedback -- both official and informal -- on how they interact with our mutual colleagues, both looking for tips and tricks, and for productive critique for going forward.

It makes me feel like I'm making a difference, both organizationally and interpersonally, and I really like it.
I'm feeling: chipperchipper
ruthless compassion
09 June 2014 @ 12:03 pm
I'm looking for a seamstress or tailor in the Somerville area who can do some alterations on a bridesmaid's dress for a wedding at the end of the month. I took it in over the weekend to a dry cleaner/tailor in my neighborhood, but I'm having second thoughts about their ability to do it (based on our interaction on Saturday), and they haven't started on them, yet, so I think I'm going to pick it up from them this afternoon and try someone else. I have a place in mind, also in my neighborhood, but I'd love personal recommendations if you have them.

The bust on the dress is much too big and needs several inches taken in. It's a strapless dress, so this is structural and essential. The lining is just a tad too tight around the hips, and needs to be let out just an inch or two, I think. The wedding is June 28, and I'd love to get the dress back with a week to spare.

Any suggestions?
Tags: ,
I'm feeling: anxiousanxious
ruthless compassion
06 June 2014 @ 01:23 pm
metagnat and I were chatting about relaxing mind tricks, and I described to her one of my favorites:

I imagine my mind/body as a bird, fluffing its feathers out to let the air under and down to its skin. Just typing that makes me feel more relaxed, and evokes a pleasurable feeling throughout my body.

metagnat offered up imagining her favorite comic book character getting scritched on the back of the neck by someone he loves and purring.

What images give you a pleasurable feeling of relaxation just from picturing them?
I'm feeling: chill
ruthless compassion
04 June 2014 @ 09:58 am
I like to think that I'm a pretty good friend. Obviously, I'm not perfect, but friendship is important to me, and in particular, I really like showing up in helpful ways when a friend is going through a rough time. I mean, obviously I ALSO love it when I get to have fun and frolic with my friends also, but that's not where push comes to shove. That said, I do feel like there's always more I could be doing in a lot of ways, so there's plenty of room for improvement and growth, which I'm more or less constantly aware of. But there are plenty of ways that I am able to show up already, and I'm grateful for them, if certainly not for the circumstance that makes showing up necessary!

But one of the things that SUPER confuses me is when I'm doing something that I think of as a baseline level of friendship -- so obviously part of what I do for a friend that it didn't even involve a decision -- and someone says to me, "Wow, you're such a good friend to do that!"


REALLY? What the heck does friendship mean to YOU, person-who-is-gobsmacked?? Is it all grabbing lunch and chatting? Isn't it normal to take food over to a friend's house when they're sick? Or to pick up something for them at the store to make their crazy day easier? Aren't these the very basis of close friendship?

Yes, I am a good friend, at least sometimes, but that thing is not a good example of why.
I'm feeling: curiouscurious