Category Archives: Fun Facts!

Less is More

Today is Ellison’s 14th soberversary, and since I always post a Good Job! message it seemed like a good day to pick up blogging. It’s been a wild few months, the upshot being that we’re moving on Friday and taking the plunge to being landlords. This is a dream of mine, a long term plan to build community and provide ethical service while getting away from office jobs. And with packing and decluttering and moving, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want in my life and what I want to let go. Here’s a list I made:

LESS:
Clutter (physical and metaphysical)
Fear
Obligation
Anxiety
Second guessing
Guilt
Nicety

MORE:
Freedom
Abundance
Joy
Love
Connection
Flexibility
Kindness
Gratitude

I’m looking forward to building a new home, making connection with new neighbors, and having a space that better meets Ellison’s physical needs. I’m looking forward to launching a new venture that I hope will bring freedom and flexibility. I’m trying to be brave and to trust that the universe will give me what I need, and conversely that I need what the universe provides. And for all this I feel very, very grateful.

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Access Vs. Equality

When I was first trying to figure out my way as a young queer, I didn’t really have any role models. I knew that some of the adults around me were gay, but our community was not welcoming and adults who worked with kids also worked hard to stay in the closet. My parents had befriended a gay male couple who gave me a book of Oscar Wilde stories for my 10th birthday (who says we don’t recognize our own?) but we never explicitly talked about sex or sexuality. I did find their collection of Drummer back issues to be both formative and informative, though. I spent my time with a variety of other misfits and broken toys, finding my way through the world of Riot Grrrl and AIDS activism, both shaping my dystopic view of a world that needs some changing, and my sense of self-efficacy to make the change. Though I was never really a Lesbian Avenger or a member of ACT-UP, those organizations and their direct action approaches – unapologetically demanding visibility and recognition – were instrumental in helping me shape my personal aesthetic and activism. I got involved with a variety of issues – women’s health, trans inclusion, antiwar and nonviolence activism, economic justice, corporate responsibility – always being visible as a queer person in the ranks. Why? Because I believed it was important to represent myself while working for justice and equality for all.

When I was in college, someone gave me a copy of Urvashi Vaid’s Virtual Equality: the mainstreaming of gay and lesbian liberation. YES, I thought. I didn’t want to be mainstreamed, to sell a “we’re just like you” message, to walk away from the progressive social justice basis of my activism in service of getting a crummy package of rights in an otherwise unjust system. While I struggled to maintain my voice in an increasingly corporate activism world, I always tried to keep our community diversity in the forefront, and strove confront, rather than avoid, homo- and trans-phobia. Ultimately I couldn’t continue to promote the beautiful diversity of my acronymic experience, and walked away from full-time activism. I couldn’t stomach making my living off a movement that didn’t check its own privilege or work on its own biases; that no longer stood up for reproductive justice and economic access, and failed to speak truth to power. I used to joke that there was no gay sex in the gay rights movement, a bitter observation of our movement’s shift from gay liberation to gay assimilation.

Last week we marked 25 years of ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. Yesterday was May Day, or International Workers Day. There was a time when leading queer activists would have been all over those celebrations. But the mainstream national gay agenda (and let’s be clear, this is not an inclusive agenda) continues to be one of access to the existing power structure – repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act; and inclusion of sexual orientation in laws that prevent employment discrimination and allow hate crime prosecution. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think anyone should be kept from joining the military, recognizing their relationship, or getting a job because of their sexual orientation. But that agenda is a very narrow view of the things that impact our broad and diverse community. It doesn’t address the underlying economic justice issues that lead many young folks to join the military, or the war on women, or the power structure that benefits from racism, misogyny, classism and homophobia. And then yesterday, I found this article by Vaid, who continues to push the envelope on what the queer agenda is and should be. She doesn’t minimize the incredible success that some of these legislative and policy changes represent, and the progress they signify toward inclusion. But, she cautions, “winning these battles for equal rights is not the same as winning a new world, which once was, and should again be, the LGBT movement’s objective.”

I am deeply saddened that I feel that my own life – poly, leather, queer and gender subversive – is a detriment to the current iteration of the LGBT movement. I have taken a step back from LGBT activism because it doesn’t currently represent me. But I hope to find a way to push for an LGBT movement that is a part of a larger justice movement, one which celebrates diversity, fights for substantive equality, and confronts its interal privilege and prejudice. Until then, I will continue to be a visible queer working for movements that embrace and encompass my values.

Modern Fossils

I’ve been walking every day during lunch, so I’ve had a lot of opportunity to explore some new areas near my new office. I started noticing these strange shapes in the pavement, and then I came upon a block with these very clear imprints – leaves.

image

I started thinking that, as we pave over most surfaces in urban and suburban environments, cement and pavement are the mediums by which the natural world will leave its fleeting mark. So while we search for leaf prints and foot prints in stone, generations to come may learn about our world, culture and society from what is left behind in our built environment.

I don’t know where I’m going with this except to say that I found these modern fossils to be bittersweet. I love the tenacity of the natural world and the way it makes its presence known (moss on paving stones, red tail hawks on skyscrapers, vacant lots overtaken by weeds), and I’m sad at how distant we’ve gotten from the dirt that is mere inches below the surface. I try to find ways to connect to the natural (or cultivated, but growing) world in my urban environment. Whether beach, field or forest, I find a craving to surround myself in the constantly changing world around me, and to note the subtle changes in the built environment where I spend my day to day life. One way or another, the world leaves its impact on us.

Adventures in Solo Travel

I haven’t taken a significant trip without Ellison since we’ve been together, and haven’t really ever traveled alone. But now I’m having a solo adventure at Spanish school in Costa Rica. After nearly a day and a half of travel I’m safely ensconced in my hotel and have explored the little tourist town I’m living in for the next two weeks. I’ve made a friend who will be here for the first week. And I’ve found, and gotten the nod from, the local lesbianas.

So for the next two weeks I live here:

But also I live here:
Costa Rica 005

Hoping my roommate, who hasn’t arrived yet, is awesome, or at least quiet.

You can keep track of my travel photos at Flickr, I’ll be uploading more often than blogging. Wish me luck!

The Whole Megillah

Today is Purim, one of my favorite holidays. Why do I love it? Because it’s one of few holidays celebrating a woman’s agency, it requires public service and feeding the poor, and it features a carnival where folks are encouraged to crossdress and make noise to drown out the name of the bad guy. The story of Purim is written in the Book of Esther, or the Megillah, which is read twice during the festivities. A very detailed narrative, the story is long and somewhat convoluted – hence the slang term of “the whole Megillah”, meaning a tedious or overly detailed account of something. I am particulary fond of Yiddishisms that have made their way into standard American English, and this is one of my favorites.

Also great about Purim is my favorite Jewish baked good, the hamantaschen. One of the mitzvahs of the holiday is to feed your friends with treats, so I’m providing a tasty and fairly easy recipe. I like poppyseed filling, or mohn, without raisins. Gluten free dough variation and filling recipe at the bottom.

HAMENTASCHEN DOUGH
•2/3 cup butter
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 egg
•1/4 cup no pulp orange juice
•1 cup white flour
•1 cup wheat flour (DO NOT substitute white flour! The wheat flour is necessary to achieve the right texture!)
•2 tsp. baking powder
•1 tsp. cinnamon
•Filling of your choice

Blend butter and sugar thoroughly. Add the egg and blend thoroughly. Add OJ and blend thoroughly. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating white and wheat, blending thoroughly between each. Add the baking powder and cinnamon with the last half cup of flour. Refrigerate batter overnight or at least a few hours. Roll as thin as you can without getting holes in the batter (roll it between two sheets of wax paper lightly dusted with flour for best results). Cut out 3 or 4 inch circles.

Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, folding the last corner under the starting point, so that each side has corner that folds over and a corner that folds under. Folding in this “pinwheel” style will reduce the likelihood that the last side will fall open while cooking, spilling out the filling. It also tends to make a better triangle shape.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown but before the filling boils over!

The number of cookies this recipe makes depends on the size of your cutting tool and the thickness you roll.
Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Variation
Substitute 2 cups of buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup of milled flax seed for the white and wheat flour. Reduce the baking powder to 1 tsp. The resulting hamantaschen will have an unusual pumpernickel color, but they taste great! Make sure the buckwheat flour you use is wheat-free/gluten-free! Sometimes buckwheat flour is mixed with white or wheat flour. Hodgson Mill buckwheat and flax are gluten-free and have reliable kosher certification.

POPPY SEED FILLING:

1 c. poppy seed
1/2 c. water or milk
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 lg. egg, slightly beaten

Combine first 5 ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over moderate heat until thick, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice. Add a little of the hot mixture to the beaten egg and then stir into the remaining poppy seed mixture. Cool thoroughly before using.
Makes sufficient filling for 2 1/2 dozen Hamantaschen.

Energy Generation

Observed about town:

image

Sitting Is Killing You

A link to this image was posted by one of my favorite blogs in a weekly roundup of stuff to read. I have been more conscious of the havoc that sitting wreaks on your body since Ellison has a number of angry slipped disks, and since being more attentive I’ve noticed the impact it has on my hips, shoulders, and lower back. There’s a soupçon of fatphobia/conflation of weight with fitness in here for which I apologize in advance and am happy to hear feedback. And I’m not sure what the deal is with the sponsoring organization. I wonder how much of this data relates to the impact of sitting, and how much to the impact of watching TV (which has been shown to drop both brain activity and metabolism to levels BELOW SLEEPING and close to coma within 2 minutes…an impact mitigated by knitting!). But I do know that for my own health, flexibility and fitness, I try to sit less, and stand, walk and even lie down more. I’d love to hear your thoughts about sitting.

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding