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I went back through 9+ years of posts and added links and story! tags where appropriate. Happy browsing!

I went back one year at a time and then worked forward within the years. It was interesting to get an overview of what I've posted about. The interpersonal struggles are ongoing, but I don't even remember whom some of the older posts were about. I'm posting a lot less about my food and fragrance intolerances - my sense is that they've stabilized, even improved slightly, so they're not news. At the same time, I think I feel worse as an ongoing baseline, which is not ideal. Pain levels are mostly better, but digestive discomfort is worse, which feels more global.

I used to post more personal stuff visible to everyone rather than access-locked, and there used to be more folks commenting here. Those might be related, or it might be that there's been an overall drop in dreamwidth activity. Or both.

I keep thinking about making a sticky post about comments and access, and I keep not doing it (this works for now). I love getting comments! As long as they don't give advice or reinforce my self-judgments. Thinking about [personal profile] melannen's post How to Make Discussion Happen on DW, it isn't really my goal to host discussions, more to form friendships and offer mutual support. I worry that I complain too much, but there's got to be somewhere I can talk about what's hard.

Happy to give access to folks who can read and comment with kindness. Let me know if you're interested.

It's always access-change Amnesty Day around here. If you want to stop having access, I can take you back off, no questions asked. Likewise, I may change my reading/access list if I can't cope with something, with no implied judgments.
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If you're in the US, you've finished your taxes, right? I finished mine last week, which was a big relief. There was a lot of extra figuring things out and looking at past mistakes and figuring that it wasn't worth the $100 I'd get back to file an amended return because it was certain to cause further trouble, and also it is not easy nor convenient to file amended returns. I might still change my mind, but that's the calculation for now.

Anyway! Now that we're done with our taxes (or other mid-Spring tasks in other countries), it might be time to spend some time on a game.

I happened to notice that Monument Valley had an update, and cautiously* downloaded it. Turns out it's the 5 year anniversary of the app, and they've added a lot of little extra touches that make it entertaining to play through again. It sounds like the special effects go away May 1, so download it soon if you're interested. It was free to download the update. If you don't already own it, I think it's definitely $3.99 worth of entertainment.

* cautiously because of my experience with HexT. Do NOT download the latest HexT update. They've added really annoying ads. Fortunately I had a backup I could put back on my phone, so I'm still enjoying playing that, occasionally getting to 14, never (so far) reaching 15.
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Learning to manage conflict with care is a lifetime project for each of us.
Careful Conflict

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
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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This Library Takes an Indigenous Approach to Categorizing Books by Sydney Worth. Xwi7xwa library in British Columbia is working to decolonize the way libraries organize information.

Reviews of trans and/or non-binary lit by trans and/or non-binary reviewers by Corey Alexander.

Vice's Broadly creates a free, gender-inclusive stock photo library by Heather Dockray.

refracted senses of self (or: how kids think they work, vs how they actually work) by Drakkinabrarian.

The virtues of anger by Shay Stewart-Bouley at Black Girl in Maine.
If one is constantly abused by the system and individual white people, how is shrugging that off “better” or “bigger?” When has passively accepting chronic abuse caused it to disappear?


Who invented the dishwasher, windshield wiper, caller ID? Women created these 50 inventions by Josie Green.

How Plastic Is a Function of Colonialism by Dr. Max Liboiron.

"You Got Your High School Diploma?" What happens when you put a classroom on wheels and park it in the poorest neighborhoods of San Francisco? by Elizabeth Weil, photographs by Eugene Riley and Chris Shurn.

These ballroom dancers teach a gender neutral way where both people lead by Samantha Craggs. Jeff Fox and Trevor Copp teach people, from survivors of abuse to people who just want to dance, how to share the lead.

What Language Do People Speak in the Balkans, Anyway? by Dan Nosowitz.

And a couple bonus pretty things.
Digitized Book of Kells

The Most Wonderful Map in the World: Urbano Monte's Planisphere of 1587 by Benjamin Breen.
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I'm looking at getting my house painted this spring. I've been looking at house colors since I moved in 14 years ago. I took a lot of the stress out of choosing a color by telling myself that it doesn't have to be perfect - I just have to like it better than the current boring beige.

I brought home a handful of paint chips, and sat with them a while. Over time, I settled on a medium blue, "regale blue" (0x7db5d3). (The salesperson pronounced it "regal" blue - I wonder if the 'e' is an accidental addition.) This weekend I picked up a sample quart and painted a swatch.

I looked at the swatch up on the wall and kind of panicked. I still like the color, but I don't think I want my house to be that bright. I went back and chose a much more sedate color, two notches lighter and a little more grey, "vast sky," (0xa9c9d7) and put up another swatch. I think I like it. Way better than beige, anyway.

The trim color is "alabaster" (0xedeae0) which seems really close to white to me, but has some yellow in it.

One of my concerns is a darker color absorbing more heat in the summer, since I don't have air conditioning, so I'm pleased to be going with a lighter color.

See the swatches and boring beige for yourself )

On the not so great side, I had a headache all day yesterday, probably a consequence of spending time in the paint store and then putting up the swatches. I did wear a mask and gloves while I was painting. Also someone stole the under-seat pouch off my bike on my second trip to the paint store, even though I was there all of 10 minutes, 5 of them standing outside while they mixed up my sample. :-( All good reasons to stick with "vast sky." (I like the name, too.)

If you have any tips on getting a house painted, feel free to share! I'm going to try to coordinate the painting with a trip out of town, but I am still concerned about how I'm going to feel with fresh paint off-gassing from my house.
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Trans citation practices — a quick-and-dirty guideline by Jonah Coman. Best practices when citing a trans author who has changed their name during their writing career.

Coming of age in cohousing by Courtney E. Martin.
Koenig, who is now 28 and a public radio reporter in Alaska, summed it up most beautifully. After sitting on porches and in kitchens and on living room couches for hours upon hours interviewing her neighbors, she realized that there was no template for adulthood. In her words, “I learned that there is no one right way to live; that loss and failure and doubt are part of the package; that love finds its way to you in surprising and humbling ways; and that ‘adulthood’ is a made-up thing that never actually arrives.”

She went on: “And as wise and valuable as all that was, I think the bigger takeaway from those conversations was just that they made me feel loved. Wisdom is a gift, and they were willing to sit with me and give it.”


Death-Cap Mushrooms Are Spreading Across North America by Craig Childs. The mushrooms are coming, the mushrooms are coming!

Death of the Calorie by Peter Wilson.
For more than a century we’ve counted on calories to tell us what will make us fat. Peter Wilson says it’s [way, way past] time to bury the world’s most misleading measure


Cars are killing us. Within 10 years, we must phase them out by George Monbiot.
Yes, the car is still useful – for a few people it’s essential. It would make a good servant. But it has become our master, and it spoils everything it touches. It now presents us with a series of emergencies that demand an emergency response.
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Normalization of Deviance - learning from the Challenger disaster by Foone. I still clearly remember the moment I heard about the Challenger disaster. Good to understand a little more about it, and the general principles behind that.

Normalization of deviance is the idea that things are designed and limits are calculated. We can go this fast, this hard, this hot, this cold, this heavy.

But we always want to optimize. We want to do things cheaper, quicker, more at once.
And the thing is, most of the time going a little faster, a little hotter, that's fine. Nothing goes wrong. Engineers always design in a safety margin, as we've learned the hard way that if you don't, shit goes wrong very fast.


Later Abortion: A Love Story by Missy Kurzweil.
Ending my pregnancy was the most selfless act of love I have ever committed.


Struggling more with disability in times of political emergency by Ruti Regan. This makes so much sense! I hadn't put it into words, but I could feel it in my body.
The times we’re living in involve a lot of fear and extremely stressful political crises. This kind of stress makes everything harder. If you have a disability, some of your coping skills might not be working very well right now. Acceptance may also feel a lot harder. It’s worth remembering that it’s normal to struggle in situations like this — and it’s not your fault that disability matters now. Your body is not a character flaw.


Nonviolent Communication can be emotionally violent by Ruti Regan. Again, this is something I had sensed about NVC, but hadn't put into words. I think the problem isn't specific to NVC - any communication tool can be subverted in abusive ways. Beware the 'splaining in the comments!
In a NVC interaction, you have to regard your needs and the other person’s needs as equally important, no matter what they are. You have to regard their feelings and emotional reactions as equally valid and worth hearing as yours, no matter what they are. That is a good thing in some contexts, but it’s dangerous and deeply destructive in others.


city folk ain’t rude, they just polite different
It’s true. The closer in to a city (and the larger the city) the more the concept of polite changes from “how you are [a]ffecting the person you are communicating with” to “how you are [a]ffecting the people packed in around you”
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The community spectrum: caring to combative by SKUD.
The Competitive Spectrum describes communities as being:

  • Caring: members are motivated by helping each other.
  • Collaborative: members share goals and help each other to achieve them.
  • Cordial: members have their own goals which do not conflict with each other.
  • Competitive: members share the same goals, and compete against each other to achieve them.
  • Combative: members must achieve their goals by preventing others from being doing so.

This is such a useful idea! I ran across it (via [personal profile] brainwane I believe, although I can't find the reference) shortly after telling my singing group that I want us to give each other kind, collaborative feedback. By which I mean, feedback that helps us become better singers and make better music. People keep thinking I mean that the group is run collectively. Nope! I'm the leader, *and* I want us to be at least collaborative, if not caring.
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Finding Their Footing by Marissa Lingen.

A story about new beginnings and adventure and relating with kindness. The main character is a soil scientist who is also a mother with young children. I appreciate that this story includes the essence of emotional labor - the labor of managing one's emotions.
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"I'm here to listen."
Support a Friend in Crisis

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
Massage table for sale
Now that I have been using the new massage table for a while, I am selling the old massage table and other massage equipment that I no longer use. For in-person pickup in Portland, OR only. Take a look at the sale page and let me know if you are interested.

Twenty years
I started Sundown Healing Arts in February 1999, twenty years ago. Thank you all for being part of the journey! I'm happy with where the business is now, and I'm looking forward to continuing working with clients, writing, and learning about healing.

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: colorfully dressed men & women dancing in a circle (dance)
I think we all have minor superpowers - something we are particularly good at and/or knowledgeable about just because of how we're put together and what we're interested in.

My minor superpower is knowing what folk dance someone is trying to request, even if they say something like "The one that starts with 'M'" (actual example!) or "The one that goes back and forth and in and out" (of course lots of them do that). A combination of knowing lots of dances and remembering what people like lets me name the right dance amazingly often.

Relatedly, I have minor political power in the folk dance community because I've been around a while, dance with several different groups, and help lead a big group. I just put together a dance workshop this coming September because I was on the short list of people emailed about the teacher coming to town, and could email another list of people who was interested in funding it. Yay for small powers for good!

When I was a kid, I had no idea that this is how things happen - individuals working with other individuals. It really is who you know, and what kind of credit/trust you have with them. Somehow I thought there was a type of person with power, and then the rest of us regular folks. I never imagined I'd become one of those people who can make things happen (in certain limited circumstances).

Before national politics made it a dirty word, it was about people working together and negotiating to make things happen. Somehow it makes me feel a little better to remember that.
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Looking back at the story! tag, an awful lot of the stories are apocalyptic. Makes sense, given what's happening in the world these days. I like the goal of bringing kindness to the apocalypse. Better than feeling completely helpless.

No Flight Without the Shatter by Brooke Bolander.
After the world’s end, the last young human learns a final lesson from Earth’s remaining animals.
I loved the dreamtime prose.

Asphalt, River, Mother, Child by Isabel Yap. This story is full of violence. And yet. I am posting it because the goddess Mebuyen is kind to her charges. Because someone cares about the violence, and it has consequences. Also I loved that the story is full of Filipino words and phrases (with glossary at the end). Do check the content warnings at the top of the story.

I do have an anatomy geek complaint about locating something "above her ribs" in the second paragraph. Our ribs go all the way up to the collarbones, and a little higher. I don't think "above" is what the author meant.

via [personal profile] bibliogramma where there are other short story links.
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Is Sunscreen the New Margarine? by Rowan Jacobsen.

Over the 20 years of the study, sun avoiders were twice as likely to die as sun worshippers.

There are not many daily lifestyle choices that double your risk of dying. In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, Lindqvist’s team put it in perspective: “Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor of a similar magnitude as smoking, in terms of life expectancy.”


It turns out that supplementing vitamin D does not remedy the negative health effects of low vitamin D. The remedy is to go out in the sun (without sunscreen) and make your own vitamin D, as well as getting all the other health benefits of sunshine.

Margarine became a big deal, the new "health food," when I was a kid. My parents cooked and baked with a lot of butter. I clearly remember thinking that something that came from a cow had to be healthier for me than something made in a lab. Sure enough, 20 years later trans fats become something to avoid.

Same thing with sunshine. I only wear sunblock when I'm going to be biking all day and know I would get fried otherwise. If I'm just out and about my normal amount, I don't wear it. And that was my habit even before I got sensitive to most of the chemicals used in sunblocks. I have a hard time convincing some clients, no really, they can't wear sunblock to their sessions with me no matter how automatically they apply it every morning.

It's nice to see science catch up to basic common sense. Sunlight can't be inherently damaging to us, or we'd never have gotten this far as a species. What's damaging is hiding inside most of the time and then getting overexposed all at once. It's a bit of a problem in Portland where it can be rainy and cold until June, when the sun is at maximum strength, no chance to build up a tan gently starting in March.

ETA: Oh yeah, and that's not even getting into the harm done by applying sunscreen chemicals to our bodies and then the environment. Sunscreen Regulations Haven't Aged Well by Megan Molteni. The inorganic sunblocks - zinc oxide and titanium dioxide - are the only ones now judged "generally recognized as safe and effective." Coincidentally (not!) those are the only kinds I use.
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If You're Often Angry Or Irritable, You May Be Depressed by Nell Greenfieldboyce

Newsflash! Anger and depression are associated! On the one hand, this seems crashingly obvious. Grief and depression are similar. Anger can certainly be a part of grief. On the other hand, as the article says, the DSM doesn't consider anger a symptom of depression. Fortunately they're starting to do studies that strongly show the link.
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How About I Just Don't Play Laugh out loud funny rants about misapplied dynamic markings.
via [personal profile] amethyst73

Table of Intervals in Music Theory by Espie Estrella. This is for my own reference, how many half-steps in each interval and other info.

Earpeggio is a free ear training app I've been using on the iphone. It's well done, and I think I have gotten better, but I'm having real trouble now that it's adding diminished fifths and sevenths. Aside from repetition, it doesn't tell you anything about how to get better at identifying intervals. I have a good aural memory, so I'm okay with a fixed root note, but when the notes move around I have a hard time.

Interval Ear Training App another free ear training app I downloaded a while ago. It shows a piano keyboard, plays an interval, and has you reproduce it. It can be limited to a small range to start. At first I thought it was too simple, and it doesn't actually teach, but after getting a little better with Earpeggio I'm finding this one more useful.

Toned Ear: Ear Training is browser-based and looks useful. They also offer an app for $4.99.

More ear training apps, article by Michael Hahn. This includes at least one browser-based site, good-ear.com.

MusicTheory.net ear training. This browser-based one lets you keep trying different intervals until you get it right, which is useful for me. Their app is Tenuto, for $3.99.

I wish there were an app that would make it easier/faster for me to learn. I've gotten better with unison/thirds/fifths/octaves, but the finer gradations are still hard. I wonder how musicians learn this stuff. Endless, endless practice? Is it easier to learn as a kid?

ETA: One more music link Total Choir Resources tips for running a choir.
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The Thing, With Feathers by Marissa Lingen

Post-apocalyptic, with some attendant horror. Recommending because of the kind, respectful relationship.

Also an interview with Marissa Lingen by Caroline M. Yoachim
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Winter Fox a lovely short animation following a lost fox cub.
via [personal profile] yhlee in a comment on a post asking for cheering links.

"The Nutritionist" by Andrea Gibson a spoken poem about depression, suicidality, and reasons to live. It made me cry, in a good way.
via [personal profile] capri0mni

"Lost World" about the effects of sand dredging in Cambodia to add land mass to Singapore. I linked to [personal profile] asakiyume's entry about it, since she gives a great intro with stills from the video, and then embeds the video. I will admit to only watching half of this so far.

ETA: There is a line in the Andrea Gibson poem about "how gay it was to be sitting in the closet," which is fine if they identify as gay, but might be a slur if not. So I checked, and wikipedia says they have had a girlfriend and use gender neutral pronouns. Whew.
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Grief is as individual and as universal as a fingerprint.
Make Room for Grief

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


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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Years ago, I bought a pair of Acorn polyester fleece slippers, and wore them a lot. After a while, I stopped wanting to wear polyester fleece anything, and they sat in the closet while I walked around in my socks all winter. This year I finally admitted I wasn't going to start wearing them again and got rid of them.

(I'm seeing posts about decluttering popping up all over. I've been gradually getting rid of things ever since a friend of mine moved to Europe a few years ago. "Would I take it overseas?" is a whole different way of looking at Stuff.)

Somehow getting rid of the old slippers made room for the idea that I would like to wear slippers, just not those - maybe I could get wool ones! I poked around online and semi-impulsively ordered these in charcoal. I was very pleased to find a 30% off coupon code for the site I ordered them from!

Pink and red embroidered flowers aren't usually my style, but these make me smile every time I see them. I even like the sparkly beads at the center of the flowers. And they're cozy warm, too. Perhaps I needed some brightness as well as warmth.

I have some internal conflict about spending money on things like this, but I think this is going to end up being a good exchange of dollars for comfort.
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I like having a reason to notice bits of warmth.
  • The receptionists at my current vet are all notably warm and kind.
  • For that matter, the receptionist at the dentist was warm and helpful when I made my appointment. A nice contrast with the previous one, where they were grumpy and unhelpful enough that I would have to remind myself that they were only incidental to my reason for being there.
  • I saw a friend briefly at an event. We don't see each other often, but she is always warm when I do see her.

Not so much with this friend, but definitely with the receptionists I notice some wariness in myself, wondering what did I do to deserve the good treatment, and when am I accidentally going to break it.
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Her Left Hand, the Darkness by Alison Smith. On showing Ursula K Le Guin around town for a week as a college student.
When she finally grew tired of the silence (this took a while – Le Guin seemed quite content to sit quietly with me) Le Guin told stories. In retrospect, I see that she may have cottoned on to what I was going through, for the stories she told were about being out of place and being brave.
I am still so sad she's gone.

This Science Fiction Novelist Created a Feminist Language from Scratch by Rebecca Romney about Suzette Hayden Elgin and her feminist constructed language Láadan.
“Not once did any feminist magazine (or women’s magazine) ask me about the language or write a story about it.” In fact, Klingon became the foil to her Láadan. “The Klingon language, which is as ‘masculine’ as you could possibly get, has had a tremendous impact on popular culture,” Elgin observed. In a blog post on her experiment, she couldn’t help but note, “Meanwhile, the Klingon language thrives — from which you are free to draw your own conclusions.”


Home items are getting smarter and creepier, like it or not by Anick Jesdanun.
With every additional smart device in your home, companies are able to gather more details about your daily life. Some of that can be used to help advertisers target you — more precisely than they could with just the smartphone you carry.


It’s Not a Government Shutdown. It’s a Right-Wing Coup. by Adam H. Johnson.
What we are really facing is a liberal government shutdown—which is to say programs designed to help the vulnerable and poor are gutted, while institutions designed to serve the rich and powerful remain unscathed.


Here's What Happened When an Alaskan City Took Fluoride Out of Their Drinking Water by Peter Dockrill. People think I'm anti-fluoride because I'm sensitive to chemicals and fragrances. Nope! That stuff works. I clearly remember my parents pointing out that my sister and I didn't have cavities because we grew up with fluoridated water, while they didn't and had many cavities.
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