sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
In my weekly folk dance email, which goes out to 140 people even though only four or five come to my groups, I sent out a few videos of songs and dances with Muslim backgrounds, in acknowledgement of the heart-breaking Muslim Ban enacted in the US yesterday.

Bulgarian dance Staro Pomaško is named after the Pomaks, Bulgarian Muslims. Here it is danced by Dunav in Israel, led by Yves Moreau, who originally taught the dance. He sings along a bit, too. We have sheet music for this, so we'll sing it at the next singing group meeting.

Nardanina is a Muslim Georgian song. Here is Aragvi Project singing it for a bit, then video abruptly cuts to other beautiful Georgian songs.

Jazzy version of Nardanina, complete with trumpet solo!

Seems like the threatened white supremacist march in Montana didn't happen (yet), so I directly contributed $100 to the Montana Human Rights Network for my January financial action. I figure they'll help Jews and Muslims.


Jan. 24th, 2017 11:55 am
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I'm feeling dread and despair as I watch the Republican fascist agenda unfold. Muzzling the USDA and other government agencies from talking to the public. Dismantling the ACA by every sideways tactic possible. Immediate international gag rule from even mentioning abortion as a healthcare alternative. Introducing federal anti-abortion legislation. Leaving the UN? (Haven't heard if that actually passed.)

Here and there we hear sparkles of abusive legislation blocked. In Arizona, Ethnic Studies have not been defunded. Rah. But each fight is so hard-won, and there are so many of them.

How are we going to survive? How is this happening so fast? People keep saying trash fire, dumpster fire. It feels like the world is on fire. Something will survive, something will grow back, but not necessarily us or anything resembling our world as it is now.

Right after the election I was deciding whether I needed to flee immediately. It doesn't feel like that would even help, although it's good to remember it's still an option. Even if I decide to rebuild somewhere else, this is my world and it is being destroyed with vicious speed.
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One dark December evening, I was biking through a small commercial district, using a high-powered light and reflective gear as always.

As I approached the 4-way stop intersection, a white lady in an SUV-van type vehicle ran her stop sign to turn right in front of me. Then she stopped to parallel park. I stopped behind her to wait for opposing traffic to clear so I could go around her.

She backed her big SUV-van type vehicle straight toward me! I jumped up and down and yelled. She stopped and opened the window and gestured me around her. I said, "Watch the hell out!" She said defensively, "I didn't see you!" As I biked past her, I said, "That's the problem!"

I hope she learned something. I suspect she didn't.

As icing on the cake, someone yelled from a house across the street, "... fuck ..." It might have been, "Shut the fuck up," directed at me, but since I couldn't hear it clearly, I'm going to keep hoping it was directed at the lady's poor driving and judgment. Let's pretend it was, "Wake the fuck up!"

We white lady feminists need to make sure we see the more vulnerable and less powerful women of color, disabled women, lesbian women, trans women, immigrant women around us, rather than focusing only on the oppression of Christmas shopping we experience.
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Preserve, Protect, and Defend by David Remnick, who tells it like it is.
Where is the slightest evidence of this magical transformation? Where are all the sober counsellors, the newfound ethics? Where is the competence, the decency, and the humanity? The reality is that the Donald Trump of birtherism, of Mexican “rapists,” of Muslim registries, of “grab them by the pussy,” of bankruptcies and lawsuits and colossal conflicts of interest—this is the same Donald Trump who, with his hand on Lincoln’s Bible, is taking the oath of office, vowing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

via Onyx Lynx
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Friday, 20 January 2017 I did five sessions of bodywork for trauma, cleaned the house, and hosted my weekly Balkan dance group. We had a fun time and folks thanked me for providing a distraction. I continue to strongly believe that connection, community, music, dancing, singing are important parts of resistance, surviving, and thriving. We need things that knit us together to counter the forces that strive to divide and destroy us.

Saturday, 21 January 2017 I biked up to Council Crest (one of the highest point in Portland) with a friend, shopped at the big downtown farmers market on the way home, went to a writing workshop I signed up for months ago (The Body & Writing), shopped at the coop on the way home, got a flat tire repaired (SIGH, thank goodness the nearby bike shop was still open because I did not have the energy to wrangle with it myself), and now I'm posting to Dreamwidth.

100,000 people at the Women's March in Portland!

500,000 people at the Women's March in DC! (with some good signs)

Some more good signs, especially this one. Never Again!

Pictures from Women's Marches Around the World including lots of US Cities, Canadian cities, European cities, African cities, South American cities, Bangkok, Antarctica (!) and Tblisi, Georgia. Highly recommend scrolling through these! In snow, rain (hi, Portland), sun, so many people showing up.

I am so encouraged that so many people are marching! And in the name of women! I'm a little sorry not to have been there, but also relieved. I really really don't like to be hemmed in by crowds. On the way back from the bike ride this morning, I heard singing from the rally on the South Park Blocks, then saw a few people walking across the Broadway Bridge with signs, then saw a MAX train packed to the gills headed downtown, then saw a few people walking down 7th Ave near where I live with signs. One with a pink hat.

I'm hoping to acquire me a pink hat. Great sign of solidarity, hope, and again, encouragement. We all need our hearts lifted, supported.

Tomorrow I'm (probably, if I have the energy) going to a Safety Pin training on confronting hate in public spaces. Then in the evening taking my turn running the International folk dancing group down at Reed. I'm kinda peopled out, and at the same time, I want to solidly connect with people resisting.

This training is at a synagogue, and I'm finding it especially helpful to connect with other Jews. As a rabbi said at a meeting I went to last week, we know this. We have lived this for 5,000 years. There's a shared felt recognition of how much this is like the late 1930s and how BAD that is. A grounding, comforting, validating antidote to the ongoing gaslighting out there.
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what resembles the grave but isn’t by Anne Boyer. What it feels like to resist, and resist, and resist.

Next Steps. I went to an amazingly well-organized and supportive gathering of Jews for Resistance, and this is a website they (already!) made offering next steps in Portland and online.

Safety Pin Box from @RissaoftheWay and @LeslieMac. Women of Color say, if you're going to wear a safety pin, support us financially and with your actions.

Resistance Manual, a project by StayWoke. Open Source list of ways to resist.
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Google Quietly Removes “Fake News” Language From Its Advertising Policy by Brennan Suen & Tyler Cherry
Google says no no no we're still against fake news, but continues to allow verified fake news sites to use AdSense.

We fight for Rep. John Lewis because he has fought for us by Melissa McEwan on ShareBlue, telling it like it is as always.
Critics of those who are taking up space in solidarity with Rep. John Lewis are levying charges of reflexive partisanship. But we are not fighting for him merely because we are Democrats; we are Democrats because people like him have fought for us.
I am so relieved and grateful that we have a leader like Rep. John Lewis stepping forward, and I see the irony that a Black man might work harder than anyone else to save our asses yet again.

The Music Donald Trump Can’t Hear by Adam Gopnik. Music is protest.
And so the inability, so far, of Donald Trump to get any significant musicians from any of those traditions, rock or country or blues or Broadway, to sing at his Inauguration is not a small comic detail but a significant reflection of this moment in history. It reminds us of just how aberrant Trump and Trumpism is.

ETA: Human Rights Group Portrays U.S. as Major Threat, Citing Trump by Mark Landler. Nothing we didn't know, but it's good to see a major organization saying it out loud.
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The Truth About Obamacare and How It Solves the Suffering of the Insured by Kurt Eichenwald

Leaving aside for a brief moment the suffering and earlier deaths of people without health insurance, leaving them uninsured hurts everyone else, too.
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Four homeless people die of exposure in Portland in first 10 days of 2017 by Lauren Dake.
Four homeless people have died of exposure on the streets of Portland, Oregon, in the first 10 days of 2017, a toll that has horrified the city and focused attention on its housing crisis.

“Any loss of life is unacceptable,” the newly inaugurated Portland mayor, Ted Wheeler, said. “This is a wealthy nation and we’re a prosperous and progressive community.”

Read recently (on Twitter I think) that before Reagan, homelessness was rare. Yeah, there are a lot more people in the world, and a lot of economic chaos under the bridge. But think about that. Within my memory. Rare.

We Americans are failing our people so hard. And it's an intentional pillaging and subjugating. For money, for power, treating people as less-than, closing any route to meet basic needs, no matter how hard they/we work.
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New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage by David Cecere, Cambridge Health Alliance

Evil. Repealing the ACA is pure evil. It does need improvement. We need single payer. We need to get the health insurance companies out of the loop because they're sucking money out without providing any benefit. But, just taking the ACA away and letting us go back to the previous untenable situation, with added gotcha that lots of people got diagnosed with something while pre-existing conditions *didn't* prevent you from ever getting care again, that's evil.

People are easier to control if they're sick, or bankrupt, or dying. People don't vote, don't go through the steps now needed to get an id to vote, if they're too busy trying to get themselves or their loved ones needed medicine, or figuring out how to cope without it.

I'm "lucky" - my health issues aren't helped by western medicine anyway. But I would like to know I'll get the care I need if I get in a bike crash, or I do get an illness that needs treatment. I do have issues that western medicine could help with, but they're not covered by insurance, so I've never pursued them very far. Imagine if healthcare were focused on health, and care, rather than profits for third parties.

This whole mess is racist as fuck, too. Not even getting into the layers of Black people getting worse care and systemically having less money, but destroying ObamaCare because Heaven forbid a Black man get credit for the amazing outcomes he achieved.
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Catharine Eastman's satirical The Crayola Project is well worth reading.

A newly-minted President is eager to increase America's nuclear arsenal. The rest of the government aren't so keen on the idea. Hijinks ensue.

I like how this story makes room for positive outcomes in the midst of ill intent.
sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
Tikun Olam means "repair the world." It's especially apt in this case, but I'm going to use it as my general label for the actions I'm taking to make the world a better place. I've set aside $100/month to donate to a political, human rights, or service cause I want to support. This is in addition to whatever tax-deductible donations I would usually make, since these won't be tax-deductible in general.

Via Sara Taylor Woods on Twitter, a couple of ways to support Jews in Whitefish, Montana, where there is an open-carry white supremacist rally planned.

Donate to the Montana Human Rights Network
Pledge an amount per minute that the white supremacists march or make a general donation.

I did a web search on the Montana Human Rights Network, and the only negative press I found was a letter to the editor clearly from a white supremacist. Which counts as a recommendation in my book. I pledged $1/minute up to $100, and they didn't ask for payment information up front. If the march doesn't happen for some reason, I plan to make a donation anyway, but I like tying it to the march in a positive way.

There was also info about donating to help cover the increased security cost. I'm posting it here in case that's something people want to do. I find that, as sadly necessary as guards are, that's not where I want to focus my financial energy.
Glacier Jewish Community Security Grant
Secure Community Network
c/o JFNA
PO Box 157
NY, NY 10268
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Last year's word was ease. I'm pleased with how that went. )

Overall, there's still a sense of, who am I to deserve ease. Which is interesting to observe. Yeah, being aware of privilege is good, and this is one I'd like to distribute more widely. I think we all deserve and need times of ease to balance times of effort. Ease, as in slack, makes room for unexpected demands and events. It allows more presence, more kindness, fewer exhausted displays of temper. It gives us extra resources to help others when they need it. I want to keep ease in my life.

Personally, 2016 was a pretty good year for me. Politically, not so much! I spent the month of November in a state of physical terror, reading a lot of blog posts and hoping the electoral college would take action on the country's behalf. Which it didn't. I'm still hoping against hope for a reprieve, an intervention, a turning toward a more inclusive, rational, and functional US government. I plan to be part of that turning-toward as best I can.

The word that consistently comes for 2017 is "solace." Wikipedia says, "[P]sychological comfort given to someone who has suffered severe, upsetting loss, such as the death of a loved one. It is typically provided by expressing shared regret for that loss and highlighting the hope for positive events in the future." I have suffered a severe, upsetting loss of democracy in this country, joining those who had already suffered those losses under racism. I want to both offer and receive solace.

Like ease, solace is something I don't think I deserve but do need myself and want more people to have. It feels too vague, not active enough. At the same time, I think connection and community are the linchpins of resistance to the incoming administration, and solace helps create those.
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A Trump Christmas Carol by Roz Kaveney, Laurie Penny, John Scalzi, and Jo Walton. So well done!

Seattle’s Franz Wassermann, 96, remembers the Nazis, and warns of chilling parallels today by Jerry Large.
“I was born in Munich, Germany, in 1920. I lived there during the rise of the Nazi Party and left for the U.S.A. in 1938." ... “We can hope that our government of checks and balances will be more resistant than the Weimar Republic was. Don’t count on it.”

Listen Listen Listen Listen Listen!!!!
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Rewind the Red Planet - a museum exhibit quality compilation of information about Mars that you can view right in your browser. So cool!
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Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt by Ariel Dorfman
Those who vote in the United States should not have to suffer what those of us who voted in Chile had to go through. Nothing warrants that citizens anywhere should have their destiny manipulated by forces outside the land they inhabit.

How to bump Holocaust deniers off Google’s top spot? Pay Google by Carole Cadwalladr
Here's the link from the previous article to this one. My grandparents, German Jews, barely escaped the Holocaust in the late 1930s and went to the only place that let them in - Chile. When Pinochet took power (with the CIA's help), my relatives scattered again, back to Germany, to Israel, to the United States, fleeing another dictator. Hey, Google, so much for "Don't be evil."

Trump, Putin, and the Pipelines to Nowhere by Alex Steffen
I've been saying that the rich folks were making sure to get theirs at the expense of the rest of us in the face of climate change, but this makes it concrete and clear. DIVEST YOUR INVESTMENTS IN OIL!

Life in ObamaCare's Dead Zone by Inara Verzemnieks.
The Republicans have already caused a lot of harm to a lot of people by refusing to extend Medicaid to people with slightly more income. Many people don't make enough to qualify for help with Affordable Care Act premiums and definitely can't afford them without help. This is a clear, powerful, heartbreaking article.
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Women's Strike Dec 12 2016 and in Portland, Women & Allies Strike Out and Protest PDX Dec 12 (Facebook link). Part of the point is to publicize a petition to the Electors of the Electoral College to make Hillary Clinton President. (ObDisclosure: I haven't signed that because I have Opinions about petitions, but I did send them all email via

I'm participating in the strike by not running the errands I planned to run today. Not buying cat food. Not mailing packages. Not making copies of sheet music for my singing group. Not making my bank deposit. It's a very small yawp, but it's something.

Of course, I'm going to catch up by doing all those things tomorrow, so I'm not sure what the net effect is. I'm also visualizing software companies with 5-10% women in their engineering departments. If the women didn't show up, I'm imagining that at least some men would be relieved, pleased, comfortable, maybe even without noticing why. I worry that we're giving (some)(many) men exactly what they want when we step back.

What I am doing today: Well, writing this post. Working on image resolutions for the ebook of Presence After Trauma, which is productive work, but no one sees most of it once the thing is finally done. It's amazing how many hours it takes to make something look right in a way that doesn't call attention to itself. I may bake gluten-free muffins. I'd love to just sit and read, but probably I will do at least some productive things. I'm washing my sheets. It's hard to stop doing "women's work," since I value orderly space.

I also have dinner out scheduled with a friend, so I suppose that's strike breaking, but at least it's at the end of the day. I thought about cooking for her, but I'm not sure I could accommodate her dietary needs.

ETA: Cleaning leaf muck off the bike and lubing the chain accomplished, while it's dry and 47F out. In a skirt (see: going out to dinner later), wearing vinyl gloves, to be properly girly about it. Glad I thought to do that before it goes back down to freezing for a while.
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A young woman, 20-something, bright, said more people get cancer recently because evolution tends toward entropy. I said, uh, no, bad mutations get eliminated over time, and she said well, the Bible says we used to live so much longer, and I said, I like my woo and science kept separate, and also the Bible and science. The Bible is not historical! And she said we'll have to agree to disagree on that, and I was sputtering internally for a good half hour.

She attended public schools in a small town in Oregon, not religious school as I would have guessed. I've run into this wall with her before, where she thought she could assert something as fact because she felt like it, or change the meaning of a word, and now I see the underpinnings. I can see that I know so much more than she does (about how to *think*!), and she can't, and she's asserting her view as valid. Microcosm of our political situation. Reality bats last...

I did mention the dinosaur feathers in amber. (So cool!)

I wonder if in twenty years or so she'll be sadder and wiser, or if she'll continue to be hermetically sealed against actual thought. She can't *learn* with her current framework!
sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
You can post and email a letter to our Electoral College electors here:

This is the letter I posted (also see below). Note that I had to send the email myself to the email addresses they provided. I went ahead and did that, and immediately got a few dispiriting auto-responder replies. But, I did something, put my small "yawp!" out into the universe for a result I desperately want.

Speaking of yawps, I also donated to this GoFundMe, recommended by a friend who knows the people involved, to help acupuncturists travel to Standing Rock to help out there. Send Us Back to Standing Rock. They are still planning to go back, despite the Army Corps of Engineers pausing the pipeline, since some people will still stay in camps, and it looks like the area still needs defending!

Dear Electors )
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As you move through difficult, triggering events in the present, bring along all the healing tools you have learned over time.
Withstand Ongoing Trauma

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

I'm working on formatting the ebook version of Presence After Trauma. It should be available by the end of the year. The print version is available from Powell's, Amazon, and directly from me.

Signal app
I installed the free Signal app on my phone, which easily encrypts text messages and phone calls for privacy. You can use it to contact me at my same number. Regular texts and phone calls still work, of course.

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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