1.19.18

What I’ve been up to: The day after we got home (Christmas), I went back to work at my new job, and then we immediately started doing inventory. So it’s been (SO) busy, but all in a good way. This weekend we go to visit our brand new baby niece!

What I’m reading this week:

Mapbreaking, at Medium, talks about the various ways we represent the physical landscape. I would have been a cartographer in a previous life so I devoured all of this but in particular, I love the genius behind the Polynesian Stick Maps.

The anger of women and how our collective categorization seems to fall into either sad or angry. “The sad woman often looks beautiful in her suffering: ennobled, transfigured, elegant. Angry women are messier. Their pain threatens to cause more collateral damage.”

The conundrum of happiness increasing as we age. “Gerontologists call this the paradox of old age: that as people’s minds and bodies decline, instead of feeling worse about their lives, they feel better. In memory tests, they recall positive images better than negative; under functional magnetic resonance imaging, their brains respond more mildly to stressful images than the brains of younger people.”

The Codex Quetzalecatzin has been published online. I geek out almost as hard about ancient manuscripts as I do about maps.

The Tribe that Would Not Die – an older article about the Duwamish that came up after I read through what felt like hundreds of articles about various indigenous communities trying to keep their culture in a quickly changing world.

Amazon Awakening – about Ayahuasca tourism, part of which lead to the deep rabbit holes of reading mentioned above.

Women are reclaiming the Adventure Story. Hooray! And then – 10 of the most Inspiring Female Adventurers. So inspired! And so Jealous!

How Yoga Won the West – and how much it has changed. “Yoga to the man who most famously delivered its message to America meant just one thing: “realizing God.” He abhorred channeling, séances and past-life hunts as diversionary. Worse, the great seer savored a good smoke, and on occasion chowed down on meat.”

Understanding the Patriarchy, at Darling. A good primer… and a reminder to rise up.

Regretful Mothers at MacLean. I don’t understand why this it is surprising news that some parents regret having children but the backlash about even having the conversation seems to indicate it hits close to home. I am fascinated by these new(ish) discussions – not only because it validates my choices not to have children but because population growth seems to be slowing up FAST and I can’t help but feel the two are related.

Seattle’s living wage experiment has been a success. Hooray! Now we just need to make it possible to live here.

A new way of telling women’s stories. Fairy tales have ruined us.

Where will 2018 take the #metoo movement? I’m curious too.

How to do everything better. Basically always on my task list.

12.29.17

Missed a few due to being on an incredible adventure in Ecuador, so in turn, this is going to be a bit of a massive update (and at the same time just the tip of the iceberg).

What was Beautiful:

Just before we left, my Flamenco teacher organized a studio show to showcase her students. I was grateful to be part of it but the advanced students blew my mind with their grace and skill.

Then we flew to Quito and drank in the colonial architecture – including a Gothic cathedral with Ecuadorian armadillos, marine iguanas, crocodiles, pumas and monkeys in place of gargoyles and a Jesuit church basically covered in gold – sat in the square, surrounded on all sides by mountains – drinking mochaccinos and people-watching. In a way, it doesn’t feel new because I’ve been to quite a few Latin capitals at this point but it really gives you the opportunity to dig into the details and difference and I love that.

Our hotel was an old school hacienda with a well (!!!) in the courtyard outside our room and beautiful wooden beams throughout, local handicrafts put in use / displayed everywhere.

From there we rented bikes and I found out upon arrival that I had been upgraded to a Husquavarna 701 – truly a beautiful machine. I wasn’t all that worried about not being able to touch the ground until much later when I ended up stalled in a steep uphill curve (in sneakers, in the rain 🙄) but the combination of grace and power in that motorcycle is something I personally aspire to.

The Galapagos islands were as amazing as promised and I delighted in my first sightings of Mola Mola sunfish and playing with marine iguanas in the surf, as well as spending more time with hammerheads and various other sharks.

And finally, we headed down river to Napo Wildlife Center in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This was an add-on leg and neither of us expected it to be the highlight but we loved the Kichwa Anangu community, the incredible diversity of the plants / animals / insects, etc. , a chance to practice different camera techniques and learning about all the various species in the area.

We brought the audio recorder to Ecuador so even when it wasn’t in use I was on the lookout for new sounds and that made me experience the boat, the rainforest and even the airport hotel in a new way.

The full list of wildlife sightings is:

  • Frigatebird Various Finches
  • Blue-footed Boobies
  • Red-footed boobies
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Flightless Cormorant
  • Agamie Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Black Vulture
  • Snail Kite
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Hoatzin – beautiful, but very common where we were
  • Greater Ani
  • Short-Tailed Swift
  • Neotropical Palm Swift
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • White-throated Toucan
  • Grey Antbird
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Crested Oropendola – beautiful song and neat nests
  • Yellow-Rumped Cacique
  • Blue-grey Taninger
  • Brown-Black Grosbeak
  • Common Squirrel Monkey – had a neat interaction with this one
  • White-fronted Capuchin
  • Black Cayman
  • Sea lions
  • Mola mola (!!!!!)
  • Scalloped Hammerheads (!!!!!)
  • Galapagos Shark
  • Silky Shark
  • Galapagos Bullhead Shark – found only in the Galapagos
  • Torpedo Ray – rare, and found only in the Galapagos
  • Eagle Ray
  • Stingray
  • Marine Iguanas (!!!!!) – found only on one side of one island in the Galapagos
  • Yellow puffer
  • Box puffer
  • Mexican hogfish
  • Harlequin Wrasse
  • Parrotfish
  • Barberfish
  • Sea turtle
  • Common Dolphin
  • Red-lipped batfish
  • Octopus
  • Spotted Moray Eel
  • Shrimp
  • Nudibranch
  • Crabs
  • Line-spotted fish
  • Damselfish

What I’m Grateful for:
My amazing flamenco teacher, Ana Montes, who has suffered through trying to teach me how to clap and walk, amongst other basic things that have suddenly become important.

Being on this Trip of a Lifetime to explore Quito, Otavalo, volcanoes, the Galapagos and a bit of the Amazon.

My new job, that has paid me for all of this vacationing, even though I’ve only just started.

What made me Laugh:
Pictures of (my) dogs, children in the market, children at the flamenco afternoon, river otters, monkeys, my own dog and cat monkeys being super excited to have us home.

What I’ve been up to:
Dancing, travelling through Ecuador, crossing the equator!, trying to remember my Spanish, holding space.

What I’m reading this week:

Radio Handbook Manifesto, to try and learn a bit about podcasting.

Celebrate your accomplishments. Remember to look back as well as forward.

How American Women Helped Win World War II in the Wake of Pearl Harbor

Using star maps to identify whale sharks.

Patagonia and REI have posted about Trump’s decision to reduce the size of the public land allocation in Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante parks. Tragic stuff but it feels like just another drip in the ocean during this administration.

And speaking of lost land, Ecuador is drilling for oil on edge of the pristine rainforest in Yasuni. At the Guardian. 😩

And speaking of the Amazon, I fell into several rabbit holes learning about the people; Uncontacted tribes of the AmazonAmazon AwakeningInto the Amazon (a photo essay) and what felt like all of Wade Davis‘ writings and half of Wikipedia. 400 indigenous groups live here.

Why Birds Matter also proved more interesting to me after looking at birds for a week.

Plus two actual books that were incredible; Yiddish for Pirates and the Orenda, and a LOT of poetry.

and Watching:

Islands of Change Galapagos. My dive master is featured in this episode as he is one of the local success stories of a fisherman converted to ecotourism and guiding.

and Listening to

What “namaste” really means. At the Allusionist podcast.

 

12.2.17

What was Beautiful:

The scallop eyes, above, from the Atlantic. “Look at a full, living scallop, and you’ll see a very different animal. And that animal will be looking right back at you, using dozens of eyes that line the fleshy mantle on the inner edges of its shell. Some species have up to 200 eyes. Others have electric-blue ones.” The sea never ceases to amaze me.

Also the urban stand of birch trees close to my office:

What I’m Grateful for:

Time with my sister, dogs, balance, visits to the sea, Rainier Ravens, real conversations, friends reaching out, PTO, adventure.

What made me Laugh:

Flamenco hijinks, impromptu dinner with a friend, chatting with a new friend about books in a bar, and every day the dogs.

What I’ve been up to:

Along with packing for the expedition to Ecuador’s jungles / volcanoes / oceans / old towns, ramping up at my new job, prepping for a 5k holiday run and a Flamenco studio open house show, my Raven’s holiday party and a Death Cafe, I’ve barely had time to think.

What I’m reading this week:

Have we always been depressed? Yes. The answer is pretty much yes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve radical happiness. at Literary Hub.

Using elephants to demolish homes which forest officials claimed were illegally built in the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary in Guwahati, India…and thereby co-opting elephant habitat. at the Atlantic. I’m really (still) not sure how I feel about this.

How Wolves Shape the Natural World, at Literary Hub again. Reminds me of this TEDx video.

Fertility rates are declining super fast. I’m surprised and yet I shouldn’t be this paragraph amalgamates almost everyone I know (and doesn’t include the many who, like us, have forgone children altogether); “In 2017, things have changed. Emma ended up breaking up with the guy she thought she might marry because he turned out to be kind of a deadbeat, so she didn’t have that kid she hoped to have in her 20s. Olivia got a great job… which has really long hours, and she really loves the job and she loves how comfortable it has made her and her husband’s life, but there’s no way she and Bob can care for a kid right now: life is just too busy. And Harper? Well, Harper and her husband were enticed to take a few extra vacations by generous credit card rewards programs and super-low mistake fares online, so they used up their vacation time and their disposable income, and so a third kid just isn’t in the cards anymore.”

About Real Rent, a type of reparation project for the Duwamish tribe. This is an amazing idea and I’m so glad it exists.

“Savoring is a mindset that doesn’t wait for life to get perfect to enjoy it. It believes that life is worth it, no matter what the state” at Darling Magazine.

My friend Eagranie writes about connecting to Syrian refugees through food at Saveur.

About Lagertha, the Viking Shieldmaiden. Someone told me last night that I looked like the portrayal of her in Vikings.

The Enduring Power of Aunties is a great read, even more now that I’m going to be one.

The effect today of blasting the Bikini Atoll coral reefs. It’s not what you think. At Medium.

11.28.17


What was Beautiful:

Grey sky stretching out to grey waves crashing against grey sand beaches… it’s weather that only a Pacific Nor’wester family could love but we do. So much.

What I’m Grateful for:

This is a big one since it was Thanksgiving weekend in the United States but for me not a tough one. I am grateful every day for these dogs that get me up in the morning, get me walking even on rainy days, get a laugh out of me even when I feel like I could clobber them….but also my sister who is the most amazing person I know, and our proximity to the sea, our ability to come down here once or twice a year and re-connect to our souls (human program) and / or to our joy (dog program).

Additionally this year I am grateful that I have started a new job at Nordstrom, and in spite of now working in the retail industry, they were gracious enough to gift me this time off as well as for our upcoming trip to Ecuador.  And I am especially grateful that when Tyler decided to bolt down the beach, some combination of my being able to keep up with him in Wellies and he stopping to smell the dead sea creatures meant that he didn’t run all the way to California.

What made me Laugh:

Fawlty Towers is the easy one, as my sister and I watched almost the whole season last night and found ourselves holding our guts pretty frequently, but also dogs running on the beach for all they’re worth.

What I’m creating and doing:

Before we left for the weekend, I started a new job at Nordstrom, made a coffee scrub and a couple of face spritzers, bathed the dogs, ordered a bunch of stuff for various parts of our upcoming expedition and then got us all to a place of resting and not thinking so much.

What I’m reading this week:

I picked up 2 volumes of “Whiskey Words & a Shovel” poetry by r.h.Sin as well as Felicity by Mary Oliver and while I didn’t get through all of them it was the perfect pile to leaf through while curled up on the couch at the cabin, raindrops pelting the windows and the sea crashing, continuously,  just a little ways off.

11.19.17

When I was small, my mother used to ask us before bed, what was something you learned? something that made you laugh? and probably a few other questions in there as well. I’ve read since then that this asking for details results in a better memory but I find the act of taking note helpful in and of itself, and so I’ve continued the tradition for years, recording bits of gratitude and spots of beauty in my task list application – which means it gets archived at the end of the day and I never go back to look at it. I haven’t blogged here in such a long time but I’ve been reading and doing some interesting things and want to put them somewhere more accessible. So:

What was Beautiful:

Hummingbirds buzzing around the feeder, fire in the hearth – with dogs luxuriating around it, rainy days, the maple tree shedding its leaves like flames, the phenomenal Casa Patas flamenco show, luminescent anemones covering underwater structures.

What I’m Grateful for:

Yoga, dog snuggles, cats in boxes, my Rainier Ravens, this crisp fall weather, legwarmers & wellies, Matt’s help sorting out my dive camera and gear, new fences.

What made me Laugh:

Buying dog coats. Picture this: wrestling one huge into trying on coat after coat while he was trying to kiss everyone in the shop, play with the dogs and steal some of the bulk treats while I wasn’t looking then swapping him out for the even bigger dog who is terrified of everyone and trying to back into me and rack while staff were trying to give her treats. By the end of it, I had broken a sweat and my gut hurt from laughing so much but we are now all outfitted for the rain.

What I’m creating and doing:

A new blog – https://www.asgoodasarest.com (still very much in progress)

A lot of dancing of various sorts, diving with my camera and dog training. Next week I start a new job, try out Capoeira and head to the Oregon Coast for the holiday.

What I’m reading this week:

Rebecca Solnit: if I were a man at the Guardian. If I were I man it’s not the direction I’d go in but I still found this snippet appalling, “But success was available to them, and that was an advantage – and still is. We still have wild disproportions on those fronts; the New York Times reported in 2015 that ‘Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John’.”

Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness of Donald Trump at the Literary Hub.

And re-reading her old but always good “Men Explain Things to Me

This all came about because I have been struggling to get through The Mother of All Questions before it needs to go back to the library because in spite of being amazing it is also a paper book and I just don’t have as much time for sitting and reading as I would like.

Various posts about the #metoo movement – here and here and here. I’m glad this has not gone completely quiet. I have been thinking about it quite a lot still and probably need to do some writing there myself.

Dangerous Life,” an arresting poem by Lucia Perillo.

Why People Can’t Stop Touching Museum Exhibits. I suppose it’s helpful to know why, but I just wish they’d stop.

The Story of Self at the Guardian, which talks about how memories are constructed by the brain, the unreliability of memory and how that plays into our sense of self. I am fascinated by the overlapping and editing that happens here. For instance, this is my earliest memory but I am also sure that my memory is largely (if not entirely) informed by that photograph. “And yet these untrustworthy memories are among the most cherished we have. Memories of childhood are often made out to have a particular kind of authenticity; we think they must be pure because we were cognitively so simple back then. We don’t associate the slipperiness of memory with the guilelessness of youth. When you read descriptions of people’s very early memories, you see that they often function as myths of creation. Your first memory is special because it represents the point when you started being who you are.”

4 Unconscious Questions that we are all asking ourselves.

Other bits of inspiration:

Looking Past Limits by Caroline Casey via Mel Robbins‘ newsletter