sonia: Chocolate fluffy cat on a chair in the sun (basil chair)
2017-10-16 04:56 pm

Link: Giving liquid medicine to a cat

My cat Basil had a broken jaw at some point before I knew him, and his jaw is still a bit askew. While it doesn't seem to bother him, I am categorically unwilling to put force on his jaw in any way.

He's been prescribed liquid antihistamines. Even though they're fish-flavored, he's still refusing to eat if I put them on his food. I tried to out-stubborn him for several days, but this morning I decided I should try giving him the medicine directly.

The usual technique is to force open the mouth at the back of the jaw. I did a web search for other options, and found this link that suggests picking up the cat's front half by the scruff of the neck to make the mouth open slightly. It worked great! Basil didn't even fight me, or turn his head away. (Granted I had a pretty good hold on his scruff...)
http://metzgeranimal.com/videos/giving-liquid-medication-to-your-cat/
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
2017-10-16 03:02 pm
Entry tags:

Resistance is creating art and supporting creators

Lauren Rusk has created a poetry chapbook, "What Remains to be Seen." The collection centers around her poems that respond to children’s artwork from the WWII ghetto/prison camp at Terezín near Prague. The ghetto was filled to overflowing with especially accomplished Jews, who were then secretly transported to extermination camps. Meanwhile the inmates wrote, composed, drew, performed, and taught each other whatever they knew, in an act of creative resistance that outlives them.

Lauren’s collection also includes modern-day poems with related concerns and love for the people they portray.

I'm finding that part of my resistance is contributing to the resistant, creative efforts of others. And then I get the occasional surprise in the mail when projects are complete!

Preorder at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/what-remains-to-be-seen-by-lauren-rusk/ . More orders this month result in a bigger print run.

Art saves lives, we say. Yes and no: nothing rescued the children of Terezín, though the drawings they left behind preserve something of their inventive play, their hopes, terror and questions. Lauren Rusk is an extraordinary observer; she brings to these artifacts a profound ability to discern in marks on a page the human complexity of the ones who made them. The great majority of these children went up in smoke in the absolute moral zero of the chimney stacks. But we can bear witness to them, still, in the precise, empathic and beautiful interventions of a poet who knows that what she can save is sometimes all we have, and never enough.

–Mark Doty, author of Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems (National Book Award winner), Deep Lane, and other collections



Lauren Rusk resurrects the imaginations of children whose inner lives shine through contraband paper and color in artworks found when the labor camp Theresienstadt was liberated. She manages to re-create the works themselves, which often reflect a Chagall-like combination of lyricism and dissociation, and also to bring the children to life in their moments of vision and their persistent, subversive reach for beauty. Rusk serves as their transparent medium, selective and convincing, in this gem of a collection.

–Leslie Ullman, author of Progress on the Subject of Immensity (poems), Library of Small Happiness (essays), and other collections
sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
2017-10-16 12:50 pm
Entry tags:

Tikun Olam: Race Talks and connecting with community

I first went to Race Talks, presentations and conversations about race, organized by Donna Maxey, back in April 2012, continuing for maybe a year after that. I learned a ton, and felt nourished by connecting with a diverse crowd learning about social justice together.

Then I went to one that included a heavy police presence as part of the conversation, and also got really busy with my tech job, and stopped going. The police presence was ostensibly friendly, but felt so oppressive I didn't want to go back. I do understand that it's a privileged position to be able to avoid them, and that Black folks are a lot more oppressed by police than I am.

I've thought of it since then, but figured surely it must have petered out by now.

Then last week I was paging through https://pdxactivist.org/ and noticed that Race Talks was coming up on the second Tuesday of the month as always! So I went. The topic was "White America: Become an Ally through Education & Dismantle Racism." Unsurprisingly for that topic, the crowd was mostly white. Looks like I missed some other good topics in past months! (Note to self: I could watch the videos...)

The panel discussion got sharp as Cameron Whitten (a Black man) confronted Randy Blazak (a white man) about microaggressions and reparations.

I was glad to see that Donna Maxey has gotten a lot firmer about asking for donations. I happily left a check for my October contribution.

I had planned to donate to Puerto Rico relief efforts for this month. I'm noting https://somosonevoice.com (via Shakesville) for next month.

I want to get more connected to communities of resistance. I plan to continue attending Race Talks, and I sent an email to P'nai Or, Portland's Jewish Renewal congregation. I need to be around more folks like me, where I don't feel too big too much too loud.
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
2017-10-07 05:20 pm

Landline gone

I did quit my landline. all gone )

Landlines were *important*. I'm happy with my decision, and at the same time I'm conscious of stepping away from a whole lot of history.
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
2017-10-03 06:13 pm

Quitting my landline

I've been unhappy with Century Link for years. The ongoing landline debate )

I have 30 days to return the cell "home base" and not pay anything if I decide to drop the landline number entirely. Stories, advice, opinions welcome.
sonia: Presence After Trauma cover (Presence cover)
2017-10-01 04:54 pm

October Sundown Healing Arts Newsletter

When we do not constrain ourselves to be nice, we can step into the power of showing up as our authentic selves kindly and creatively.
The Perils of Nice

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read these? Comments welcome!
Anatomy images online
I recently noticed that Frank Netter's classic anatomy drawings are available free at netterimages.com. For example, if you are wondering if the pain in your leg is related to the sciatic nerve, you can search for that phrase and take a look.

Anatomy classes in Portland
Amy Bennett is offering three classes in her Functional Anatomy series this Fall, at 510 NE Dekum in Portland. Contact Amy at amy@elementalbodywork.net or 503-781-3886. Read more about her work at elementalbodywork.net.
  • Leg and Foot, Oct 7-8, 9am-5pm, 14 CEUs, $280
  • Hip and Pelvis, Nov 11-12, 9am-5pm, 14 CEUs, $280
  • Forearm and Hand, Dec 10, 9am-5pm, 7 CEUs, $140

I took Leg and Foot last year and I use the techniques I learned all the time. I'm taking Forearm and Hand this year. Highly recommended!

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)
2017-09-19 12:03 pm
Entry tags:

Tikun Olam: Funding abortions for Hurricane Harvey survivors

For September, I donated to Shift Stigma Relief Fund, which is helping to fund abortions for people affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. This includes travel and lodging assistance, since Texas has a 24 hour waiting period and few clinics for its huge area.

Here's more about the program. Women's Health Clinic Provides Free Abortion Care to Texas-based Hurricane Survivors

I've been continuing to pull back from engaging with daily news. I read whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com, as well as skimming the Shakesville news summaries, but don't delve into a lot of articles.

A friend's grandparents were bystanders to the Holocaust in Austria. Her parents taught her a strong anti-bystander ethic. My grandparents fled the Holocaust in Germany, and my parents taught me to stay alert to similar patterns. I don't want to be a bystander as others are harmed either.

I'm sitting with my limitations and privileges, my fragilities and strengths. I feel like my awareness, my donations, my support to others are not nearly enough. And, they are what I can do, what I am doing right now. As I reassure others, doing our own healing work reduces the harm in the world. Keeping our eyes open to the truth, and speaking it with others, reduces the effect of gaslighting in the world. It's going to have to be enough.
sonia: Chocolate fluffy cat on a chair in the sun (basil chair)
2017-09-16 09:07 pm

It loves me back

I've lived in the same house for 12 years now. It has a large-ish back yard with grass and trees and bushes that I water some and weed occasionally and mow in the spring and rake leaves in the fall, but mostly leave alone. There are a couple of raised beds near the house that I fuss over more often, but currently I'm not growing anything in there because it hasn't been raining at all and I didn't want to have to water that much.

Once a year I hire someone to whack the hedges back and perhaps battle the encroaching ivy into temporary retreat.

What I do the most back there is sit on the back steps and enjoy looking into the greenness, and pet Basil if he's about. I often eat my lunch or dinner there if it's not too hot/cold/wet.

I've often felt that it's way too much yard for me, and if I'd understood the fierce growth of Pacific Northwest plant life when I moved here, I would have chosen a place with a much smaller yard.

Lately though, I've been appreciating the privilege of looking into greenness, and space.

Yesterday and this morning, I got the strong sense that the yard collectively loves me back. It looks upon my struggles to provide what it needs with tolerant amusement, and perhaps even appreciates being left mostly in peace. My efforts, my way of being with it, are good enough. I'm accepted here. It makes me cry.

There are a lot of squirrels running around, and chickadees and scrub jays calling in the trees, and hummingbirds chittering. Today a tiny round bird with a yellow breast and a yellowy-brown back smacked into the French door and sat on the back porch for a while, recovering. Poor thing! Fortunately it flew off before Basil came around. So there are some of those around too.

The enormous elderly pear tree in the back corner made a lot of pears my first Fall here, but hasn't since. Until this year! I collected a lot of the fallen ones a couple of days ago and put them in the green bin. There are more out there now. Not sure why it's a banner pear year, but I'm glad it's doing well enough to produce. It's way too tall for me to pick them though.

It's good to notice that the oasis of green is doing a lot of critters good, including Basil who pads through or curls up to sleep, and also including me. I feel like I should use it more or differently, share it with more humans, but seems like it's doing fine as it is.
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
2017-09-03 04:40 pm

September Sundown Healing Arts Newsletter

When we can sit with disappointment, we find our own balance between acceptance and efforts toward change.
Sit with Disappointment

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read these? Comments welcome!
Eclipse!
Did you get to see the recent solar eclipse?  It was my first total eclipse, and I was awed.  The light does come back!  It was definitely not a disappointment.

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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2017-09-03 04:34 pm

Link: Toxic Masculinity explained

What Do We Mean When We Say “Toxic Masculinity?” a comic by Luke Humphris. Note that the art in the panels shifts back and forth (moving GIFs I guess).

via [personal profile] javacat
sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
2017-08-30 08:30 pm
Entry tags:

Tikun Olam: Sisters of the Road, and thoughts on antifa

I went on vacation for a week in June, and didn't read the news at all. When I got back, I decided to extend my Twitter break, and I've only looked at my feed a couple of times since then. Which means that I run across fewer opportunities to make political donations.

For June, July, and August, I sent a large donation to Sisters of the Road. They're the primary organization I've decided to support over the years, because their philosophy of nonviolence and gentle personalism makes sense to me, and they're feeding homeless people every day at their cafe.
Sisters Of The Road exists to build authentic relationships and alleviate the hunger of isolation in an atmosphere of nonviolence and gentle personalism that nurtures the whole individual, while seeking systemic solutions that reach the roots of homelessness and poverty to end them forever.


I'm still reading whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com every day, as well as skimming the Shakesville news summaries. I'm less connected with people who plan local events, so I haven't been attending any. Sadly the Jewish group that was planning events went quiet.

They were the first to clearly explain to me what antifa is, and what they are specifically doing to keep Nazis from expanding their territory in Portland. I am grateful to the antifa folks. They are putting their bodies and safety on the line in ways I am not willing to do, in order to make Portland a safer place for me to live.

I've been seeing pushback lately against specific actions of specific antifa people, as if that invalidates antifa as a whole. I think we can support a group's overall agenda, while still taking exception to specific actions and people.

As far as I'm concerned, physically fighting against Nazis is good. It keeps them from taking over, which keeps me from joining my (recent!) ancestors as a refugee and/or murder victim.
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2017-08-16 09:23 pm

Stories! Animal Brides, and a whole book online, and Kickstarters!

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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2017-08-13 03:29 pm

Stephen Dinion 1968-2014

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)
2017-08-01 01:24 pm

August Sundown Healing Arts Newsletter

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 artemisiasolstice.com.

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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2017-07-19 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

Holding space, and finding rest

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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2017-07-19 09:04 pm

Link: United States regressing to a developing nation

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.
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
2017-07-16 03:09 pm

Link: Disney Princesses as Engineers

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.
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
2017-07-10 07:56 pm

Link: Where "Ashkenaz" comes from

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! purrli.com
sonia: Presence After Trauma cover (Presence cover)
2017-07-01 04:42 pm

July Sundown Healing Arts Newsletter

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.
sonia: Presence After Trauma cover (Presence cover)
2017-06-27 09:35 pm

June Sundown Healing Arts Newsletter

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.