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Animal Brides in SFF Short Fiction post with links to several short stories by [personal profile] forestofglory.

All these stories are well-written and thought-provoking. I particularly liked the one by Ursula Vernon, which reminded me about her story Pocosin which I loved, and led me to find her whole book online Summer in Orcas. Highly recommended all around!

Just noticed there is a live Kickstarter for Summer in Orcas in case you love the online book and want one of your very own. I now have a paperback coming to me sometime, yay!

I also recently backed Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction / Uncanny Magazine and the bonus for backing this is I get emailed a bunch of great essays by people with disabilities about what SF means to them.
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Symphony percussionist championed social justice, equality

Steve Dinion was a high school classmate, part of the loose group of geeks I hung out with. I remember him as a quiet round-faced guy who was in a peaceful heterosexual relationship. I just found out he died of lymphoma three years ago. I had lost touch with him completely. He grew up to be someone I would have been proud to call a friend. Moved to Hawaii, had a longtime male partner, did a lot of social justice work. Good percussionist!

Joyful and focused includes a video of him playing marimba with two other guys.

A gentle soul, gone too soon has a tribute to what he meant to his community, with photos.

I know that memorials only hold the good stuff, but still, he sounds like an amazing person. Too bad he died so young (age 46), and he certainly made the most of the time he had.

It brings up something, knowing that someone I knew in high school came to have (show, live) values that I respect so highly. Makes me wonder if there were more like that, and if they'd respect what I've made out of my life, or anyway what might show up in online tributes.
sonia: Presence After Trauma cover (Presence cover)
As we look at the world with more relaxation and clarity, we see more of the beauty and safety available to us.
Look into the Present

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read these? Comments welcome!
Eclipse eye care
If you are in the US, enjoy the solar eclipse on August 21! Remember to protect your eyes by not looking directly at the sun during an eclipse. Here is eclipse eye care advice from NASA.

Breaking toxic patterns
I love this insight! In her post Finding love that doesn’t hurt: Keeping yourself safe in the aftermath of abuse, Artemisia Solstice says, "[H]ere’s the deal: It isn’t time alone that helps survivors break patterns that get them into toxic relationship after toxic relationship – it is consistent practice of self-care, resulting in the development of self-love and respect, that breaks these patterns." Learn more about Artemisia at

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
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I've gotten feedback from several directions lately that the way I hold space for people, having been in hard places myself, is healing. "Life-changing," one person said. "A blessing," someone said today.

It's good to know that standing with people, saying, "Yes, that's hard. I see how hard you're working. No, you didn't deserve that," helps them. Because really, that's all I can do. I'd love to reach in and magically make them feel better, but that's not how this works. Sometimes people have done all the hard work, tried all the different solutions, and it still hurts. "You get to feel how you feel," I tell them.

I wish I could find that for myself. Someone who's been in the hard places, done the hard work, and can hold space for me to be exactly how I am right then. I tried a therapist the other day, and she seemed knowledgeable, skilled, compassionate - and distant. I don't think she's been there. I think she's helping from the outside, and that's not what it feels like I need.

The thing she said that resonated the most was wanting tending and care. Wanting to learn how to rest. I'm not sure what kind of practitioner helps with that. I picked "solace" for my word of the year, and I think this is what I was trying to get at. I forgot all about it for a while, but I'm starting to keep it in mind again.

I've been tired all the time for months. I stopped reading Twitter. I started taking my vitamin D & iron regularly again. I'm going to try not eating any rice (the only grain I eat) for a week. I do get sleep and eat well and exercise regularly. I want to enjoy my days rather than toughing them out.

(Not looking for advice, but your own experiences are welcome if you feel like talking about them.)
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America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People by Lynn Parramore.
In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.

20% of US folks are thriving, if they're in FTE (Finance, Technology, Electronics). 80% are not. We kinda knew that, but it's good to see it laid out clearly. Having a tech job part of the time lets me see both sides.

Bonus link: Finding love that doesn’t hurt: Keeping yourself safe in the aftermath of abuse by Artemisia Solstice. Makes the excellent point that we can find a way out of repeated abusive relationships by committing to self-care. As we treat ourselves well, we will require that others also treat ourselves well.
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And they lived happily ever after... with rewarding careers in engineering by Yvette Griggs. Images of Disney Princesses as various sorts of engineers. There's even a computer engineer. I love this! I want to post it everywhere! I want little girls to dress up as Mining Engineer Snow White.
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This is cool! Uncovering ancient Ashkenaz - the birthplace of Yiddish speakers.

I am Ashkenazi by heritage and it hadn't occurred to me to wonder where that name came from.

Bonus link: the Internet's purring cat!
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We thrive on positive feedback, with the occasional bit of corrective negative feedback thrown in.
Seek Nourishing Feedback

New book response at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!

Happy Summer
Wishing everyone (in the northern hemisphere) a peaceful summer. If you are in the US, I hope you have a pleasant Fourth of July with sufficient shielding from the sound of explosions. Fortunately my cat Basil is mellow about loud sounds.

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
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Even if we missed out on learning how to be calm as babies, it is not too late for our nervous systems to learn about rest and regulation as adults.
Find Calm: Practice Rest and Regulation

New book response at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
Video on co-regulation
Bonnie Badenoch, psychotherapist and professor of interpersonal neurobiology, warmly explains co-regulation and polyvagal theory in her video How to Feel Safe in Your Relationship. Thanks to Donna Norfolk for the link.

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
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Went to see Neither Wolf Nor Dog at Vancouver's old time Kiggins Theater. (Summary linked, and quoted below.)

Can't remember the last time I saw a movie, in a theater or out of it. This one was sparsely attended, and therefore fragrance-free enough for me, yay.

This movie is worth seeing. It is much more up close and personal than the summary implies. The Native Americans are saying, "Look at me! Look at us! We are PEOPLE. These atrocities happened to me, to my family. See us!" The white guy is saying "privilegeprivilegeprivilege oh wait maybe I'll see you a little bit."

I'm so glad the Native American folks got to tell their stories and show their lives and landscapes. I hate that the story centers on the white guy's narrative. He's the one who changes as the Native Americans instruct him.

The cinematography and secondary part acting are bare-bones. For me, that emphasized that these are real people, this really happened, this is the landscape where it happened.

Summary )
sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
Right after the US House of Representatives passed their horrific "health" "care" tax cut act, I donated $100 to opponents of swing district Republicans who voted for the act. No idea if the money will make any difference or will even end up where it's supposed to, but I had to do something.

Yesterday I went to the vigil for Taliesin Meche and Ricky Best, the two men stabbed and killed by a white supremacist on the MAX train Friday afternoon. They stepped in to defend two young Muslim women from the white supremacist's harassment. Micah Fletcher, who also intervened and was stabbed, is expected to survive his injuries. The armed, violent white supremacist was taken into police custody alive.

The organizers didn't have sound amplification at the vigil, so we couldn't hear any of the speeches. We stood quietly with the candles someone kindly gave us, shielding them from the breeze. The people in the crowd looked kind, authentic, like people I would want to know. There were a lot (for Portland) of people of color, Middle-Eastern faces, Jewish faces. I felt like I belonged there.

There was a brief chant of "Not in our town!" Nice thought, but yes, this is happening in our town. Fascism and racism go way back in Portland. At the same time, it's good to know there are a couple of thousand people willing to stand in the heat on short notice to say "We're here. We stand for peace, and inclusion."

And then we biked home and sat on my front steps to enjoy the evening coolness and clear light. As we collectively spiral down into disaster, life also goes on more or less as usual. For those of us who didn't get directly affected this time.

The murders happened a couple of miles from where I live, at a MAX station I use sometimes. I went to the Farmer's Market right near there as usual the morning after, and people were chatting and buying vegetables in the bright sun, but with a jangling tension in the background. Too close to home. That could have been me. I keep reminding myself that people of color have been living in this dystopic world for a long time.

This spiraling descent like a bird pinwheeling out of the sky is not what I wanted to live through. And yet here I am, here the world is. We each contribute as we can, some by fighting disconnection, some by fostering connection. I don't know what doing enough looks like. I don't know if any amount would be enough to make a difference, to change our course.

I do think every little bit helps in the long run, making people's lives a little better where I can. And, the long run might be long. Things might keep getting worse for quite a while.
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I haven't been writing in my paper journal. Not sure why, might have to sit down and write about it to find out... Haven't been posting here either, although the reasons feel different to me. Maybe a sense of feeling less connected, or having less to say that's important to broadcast or get feedback on. Anyway, here are some links.

The Realities of Going No Contact with Abusive Family by Miranda Jayne Boyd. I exchange email with my mom once a year. Haven't spoken to my dad in decades. Nice to see the occasional piece of writing that acknowledges that no-contact is a thing.

The glass of dirty water: working with shame sociopolitically on Powerful metaphor for working with shame in a social rather than personal context.
I have used the above ideas in my practice by asking women, to think of shame as a glass of dirty or unsanitary water that has been and, indeed continues to be handed to them to drink. The choice of the word handed here is purposeful. It aims to establish a boundary or some distance between shame and the person who experiences it.

Previous two links via [personal profile] silveradept.

How to Embrace Living in the Unknown by Rachel Barenblat. She's writing about the process of divorce, but it's relevant to the US political situation as well.

How to Spot Fascism Before It's Too Late by Maia Kobabe. Beautifully drawn, gentle comic about an old person who grew up in a fascist country, and a young person struggling to understand what is happening in the US.

Blood Trauma by Nadia Owusu. A 30 year old woman writes about her mother leaving when she was 2 years old and its effects on her, in a way that's emotionally connected and not overwhelming (for me).

On being a fat medical student, at the start of our metabolism module at Raspberry Stethoscope.
And to those reading this who are fat patients, I want you to know that I see you. I see the times your heart sank as the new GP asked you to jump on the scales. I see the aches and pains you’ve put off getting treatment for because you know just what the doctor will say, and I’m so sorry. Medicine is not always a kind, compassionate profession when it comes to interfacing with people whose bodies look like yours and mine. But there are many wonderful doctors, nurses and students I’ve encountered since starting medical school who are trying to change that.
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Stephen Porges' Polyvagal Theory explains our nervous system and helps us make sense of our behavior.
Find Calm: A Polyvagal Primer

New book response at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!

Updated FAQ
I updated my Frequently Asked Questions page to include a note on tipping (none wanted), after a question from a client. If you have a question that is not answered there, let me know and I'll add it.

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
I missed March for making a donation. Didn't come across something political that grabbed me. I wanted to donate to Wallace Medical Concern, a wonderfully compassionate low cost medical clinic in Portland, but their online donation form was through a third party that didn't feel right for typing in my credit card number, and I couldn't find a donation address to send a check. I may still call them and track down an address, because I think that highly of them, but I haven't had the time/energy to make that a priority. Healthcare is STILL a hot legislative issue.

In April, I sent $100 to a friend who lives on disability largely as a consequence of terrible abuse she suffered growing up, because she needed money for groceries. The personal is political.

Just now for May, I sent $100 to StreetRoots, our local street newspaper organization. They have a campaign where you get some cool buttons if you give $25 or more.

I've been talking a lot with people about marathon vs. sprint, trying to feel okay about what I'm doing and not doing about the US political disaster. I saw a series of tweets about doing a tiny bit and building up strength slowly, because otherwise you just burn out. That resonated for me. I have a strong sense of what's right for me, and then I question it and judge it and shame myself. Wish I could do less of that! I do a lot of building the world I want to live in, rather than fighting against what I don't want to see, and that has value as well.
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I've had a website since 1999. In that time, I've had maybe 10 web hosts, choosing them by internet search and guesswork, or occasionally through someone's recommendation. At first I thought I was just choosing badly. Then I realized that part of my issues with support have come from sexism and disrespect of women. Then I realized, not only do they disrespect women, I know *vastly* more than first level support. Sometimes immediately asking to be transferred to second level support works better.

Most recently, I realized that a previously great web host can go rapidly downhill after being purchased by EIG, as Site5 recently was. I tried moving to HawkHost as recommended in comments to one article, but I'm having too much trouble with mail from their servers being labeled as spam, so I'm back to my Site5 account for now.

This article recommends InMotion hosting. Anyone have experience with them? Or a recommendation for a non-EIG cpanel-enabled web host?
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Want to find an old LJ friend? Linking DW and LJ identities by [personal profile] nanila. A useful list!

The Corporation Does Not Always Have to Win by Albert Burneko. Re: Dr. Dao being dragged out of his paid seat on a United plane by Chicago police. It is okay for the corporation to lose a small portion of what it has in terrifying overabundance (money, time, efficiency) in order to preserve what a human has that cannot ever be replaced (dignity, humanity, conscience, life).

SuperBabies Don't Cry by Heather Kirn Lanier. Countering the ableist narrative of New Agey positive thinking. Content Notes for quotes of New Agey positive thinking and description of some infant medical procedures.

Losing Friends to Ableism by Erin, aka GeekyGimp.
Losing friends to ableism exposes what people think of you as a human being, and that truth is painful. It’s another scar you get from living as a disabled person in a society that devalues you at every point.

Conscious Consumerism is a Lie: Here's a Better Way to Help Save the World by Alden Wicker. I thought about this one a lot, because I vote with my dollars whenever I can. The message of this post is that switching from one corporate purchase to another is less effective than donating money to organizations fighting for the environment, etc. I still believe that buying from local small businesses directly supports people I want to support, and I will continue that practice.

Sometimes, it actually IS hormones: a story of feminism and medicine by Chance&Lily Spy Cats. "We really need to work on research funding for some of these conditions."

Whites Only: SURJ and the Caucasian Invasion of Racial Justice Spaces by DiDi Delgado. SURJ and other all-white anti-racist groups should be accountable to people of color.
If history has taught me anything, it’s that there’s nothing more disappointing or dangerous than a room full of white people. With that in mind, I’d like you to consider why anyone would expect white-led anti-racism organizations to be any different. [...] Imagine a vast network of men meeting up on weekends to discuss dismantling patriarchy, and every once in awhile they check in with a woman to see if they’re doing it right.

Can you explain why straight passing privilege isn't a thing?
Regardless of your sexual orientation, the vast majority of people are going to assume you’re straight all the time unless you are doing something specifically coded as being romantic or sexual with someone of the same gender (or someone who is assumed to be the same gender) at that exact moment. highlights immigrant-run businesses in Portland. This StreetRoots article about founder Tim Cowley says, "Cowley’s career has centered mainly on assisting Christian-based nonprofits through digital media." Which definitely gives me pause.

The AP Stylebook’s New Rules On Gender-Neutral Pronouns Are A Small But Positive Step In The Right Direction by Natasha Guzmán. Go forth and use singular "they"!

The Trauma of Facing Deportation by Rachel Aviv. "In Sweden, hundreds of refugee children have fallen unconscious after being informed that their families will be expelled from the country." Faced with inexorable threat to life, our bodies simply shut down.

Seeing My Body With Fresh Eyes by Ashley Ford. Original title was "My Boyfriend Weighs Less than I Do." Content Note for struggling with body hatred.

On Divorce and Ambiguous Loss by Rachel Barenblat.
The relationship through which I once self-defined no longer exists, but it will always have existed, and I will always be shaped by it, even as I work on learning to define myself in other ways.

At UCC Portland I saw an intense exhibit on Cambodian Resiliency. It included some vivid paintings by Vann Nath, one of a handful of survivors of Tuol Sleng Prison during the Khmer Rouge subjugation of Cambodia. He documents what he saw and experienced there. Content Note for depiction of torture and abject misery.

One more: To body positive friends who don’t wear plus sizes by Your Fat Friend via Shakesville.
Do not reject your fat friend’s experiences out of hand because of a lack of context. Instead, find the context. Look harder. Sharpen your vision. Listen closely.

Noted for my future reference:

Wire a privacy communication app. I have been using Signal for secure texting, which doesn't have a dedicated desktop app, so I'm thinking about trying this one when I have a little time to experiment.

ZEMS: The Best Hearing Protectors in the World by Kelly Dillon. Lightweight, inexpensive, effective ear protection. What's not to like? I will likely try these.

Private Internet Access VPN. I appear to have closed the tab where this was recommended. I will probably sign up, since Congress gave ISPs the green light to sell our browsing history.
sonia: Presence After Trauma cover (Presence cover)
"Should" makes us look over our shoulder to see if we are good enough yet. "Could" invites us to look inside instead.
Relieve Pressure: Replace Should with Could

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read these? Comments welcome!

Touch for Complex Trauma
I recently took a three-day training on Complex Trauma: Touch-Based Methods for Early Trauma, Syndromes, and Trauma Structures with Kathy Kain. I learned several gentle techniques to help a traumatized nervous system learn to regulate, rest, and safely connect with others.

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.

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A series of FAQs on how to discuss race with Black people, by @absurdistwords, whose byline is 5'7 Black Male.
How to Discuss Race With Black People: FAQ Part 1 — Beginner "So. You’re a white person looking to hop into a discussion about race with black people."
How To Discuss Race With Black People: FAQ Part 2 — Intermediate "Now you’ve got a good grasp of the basics. [...] Q: No offense, but what about black-on-black crime?"
How To Discuss Race With Black People: FAQ Part 3 — Advanced "At this point, you’ve realized that acknowledging your privilege doesn’t mean that you are evil, nor does it mean that you have not struggled, worked hard or experienced hardship."

Why Lemonade Is For Black Women by Dominique Matti. "There is a specific betrayal in a Black man failing his daughter. [...] Even if she transcends them, even if she rises above the smoke, makes a phoenix of herself, a small girl inside of her will overcompensate for the parts of herself she believes to be intolerable — unlovable, disrespectable."

The Writing Life of A Disorganized, Antisocial, Black Single Mom with ADD by Ijeoma Oluo. "I sit and “listen” online, in person, on tv, in articles — to what isn’t being said, and I ask myself why."
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Older Queer Voices, a collection of writings.
As [personal profile] alatefeline says, put together specifically to highlight the voices of the LGBTQIA+ elders who are still with us and teach us how they have done survival activism and superb art in a time and place that hated them.

Essays, art and opinion exploring the lives of people living with disabilities at the New York Times, via [personal profile] jesse_the_k.
This is a weekly column, so there are a lot of articles to browse through. Here's one that spoke to me: Love, Eventually by Ona Gritz.

Welcome To The Anti-Racism Movement — Here’s What You’ve Missed by Ijeoma Oluo. A primer for folks just starting out with anti-racism, and a good reminder for the rest of us white & privileged folks. "Racial privilege is like a gun that will auto-focus on POC until you learn to aim it."

Unspeakable Realities Block Universal Health Coverage In America by Chris Ladd. "Americans with good jobs live in a socialist welfare state more generous, cushioned and expensive to the public than any in Europe." (Of course, those good jobs are meant for white men.)

The Problem With Facts by Tim Hartford, via [personal profile] supergee. How the tobacco industry intentionally sowed doubt to continue profiting from a cancer-causing product, and how their tactics are being used by the current US administration. This one makes me sick to my stomach.

Always Go To The Funeral by Deirdre Sullivan, via a friend on the occasion of a former coworker's unexpected death. I was surprised how many of our former coworkers planned to go to the funeral, and she pointed me to this. I have felt extremely awkward at funerals where I felt I didn't belong, so I think it can go both ways. But the larger message stands.
In going to funerals, I've come to believe that while I wait to make a grand heroic gesture, I should just stick to the small inconveniences that let me share in life's inevitable, occasional calamity.
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This Is A Letter To My Son by K. J. Kabza. Science fiction about a trans kid, and people finding their way. The writing is full of light, and full of deep emotions handled just right.

via [personal profile] rushthatspeaks, who edited the story.
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