Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rock'n'Roll Marathon 2017

Hey everyone!

Most of you know I’m doing my first (and probably last!) marathon on Sunday June 18th! (Yes, it’s Father’s Day.) The Seattle Rock’n’Roll Marathon has a new course this year, and I’m excited to run 26.2 miles through the streets of Seattle! If you’re able to cheer me on, I’d absolutely LOVE it! If you can’t meet up then, no worries, but I’ll be having drinks later that night at Optimism Brewing. Come grab a brewski and see my shiny medal! (That I hope to have….otherwise, let’s drink for just having trained a shit ton!)

As with any big “first” I have a few contingency plans:

Goal #1: Finish within 6 hour cut-off.

Contingency A: Finish without getting swept by the SAG wagon but maybe after cut-off time. This race has a PRETTY fast cut-off time: 6 hours. Yes, that’s fast when you’re doing 26.2 miles…. That’s a 13:44 mile. I’ve proven I can run that pace for 15 miles, but another 11 is a lot to ask. SO……if that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen because I’m going too slow…

Contingency Plan B: If I get picked up, get them to move me forward on the course, tracking how far I’ve moved on the truck. Run the rest of the way to the finish, then keep running the amount they moved me forward on the truck, AFTER the finish line. I’m no cheater and, while an official time would be great, ain’t no shame, my people.

Contingency Plan C: If something goes wrong (see: my left knee has been grumpy lately), try to make it past 19.5 miles. This is the farthest I’ve ever run in training or in general, so if I’m able to at least make it past 19.5, I will have run the farthest I’ve ever run.

Contingency Plan D: Lie down on the course and cry. J/k j/k. Maybe.

Here’s links to information about the race: http://www.runrocknroll.com/seattle/the-races/course/ (make sure you select the marathon distance for the course stops)

I’ll be using my Nike Running app to track my pacing, but you can sign up for live updates here: http://www.runrocknroll.com/runner-tracking/

If you’d like to join me for bevs after the race, go here: https://www.facebook.com/events/742726669221371/

If you’d like to cheer me on, I’d REALLY love it if folks can meet me at the 9, 17, and 22 mile markers: http://www.runrocknroll.com/seattle/the-races/course/

Race start 6:30 AM; I’ll be in the last or near last wave, so I won’t likely start until close to 6:45 AM. I ran all the numbers in this spreadsheet to get the following windows:

  • 9 miles (Lake Washington Blvd & Dawson St): ETA ≈8:48 – 9:00 AM
  • 17 miles (Dearborn and 7th Ave S): ETA ≈ 10:38 – 10:56 AM
  • 22 miles (THE INFAMOUS “WALL” IS AROUND HERE, it’s a tricky one bc I’ll be on 99/Aurora across from Aloha Inn): ETA ≈ 11:47 AM – 12:06 PM
  • 26.2 miles (Finish Line, outside WaMu Theater on Occidental Ave, CUT OFF IS 1PM): 12:54 PM – 1:02 PM


Monday, May 29, 2017

"Why are they marching again? Annoying."

"Why are they marching again? Annoying."
--A "friend's" comment on Facebook following the Women's March on Washington in January 2017

I went to the Women's March. I intended to write about how inspiring it was. Instead, my thoughts were derailed, and this (very, very long post) is what happened after the derailing. #notsorry


*Disclaimer 1: I wrote this many months ago. I'm not quite sure where it's going, what it's meant to do. But I am tired of seeing painful articles and posts by my friends and ignorant responses. So I am sharing this. I've asked for people's permissions to share their stories, except in the case of women who have passed. I removed some stories because I never heard back from the women about allowing me to post, and two stories are from women I've tried to find and contact, but have not been able to do so. So I know more trauma, but I clipped it where it was because there is only so much one can handle at a time. 

There is power in the truth. Power in numbers. Power in letting go of the shame. Power in knowing we aren't alone. I guess I'm trying to show a little bit of that.

*Disclaimer 2: I initially included but since removed a few stories from other people who have been traumatized (men). I decided to focus on women, exclusively white women. By no means am I trying to remove the trauma of other marginalized populations (LGBTQ, POC, WOC, etc), but I am a white, cis, bi-but-straight-passing woman and the stories of other communities are far different from mine. The stories below are all about white women. I intentionally edited this post to include only these stories bc white women voted Trump into office, against their best interests. Because white women don't realize how much they need the services their president speaks against.

The Set Up: Right after the Women's March, I wrote a direct message response to a friend's friend who is a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered male. His post on Facebook was about recently returning from vacation in the Caribbean to see a bunch of "idiot" women marching in the US when they don’t know how good they have it. 

People don't expose the underbelly of their trauma to tourists. They can barely show their pain to people who know and love them intimately. After I wrote him a version of what's below, I went back to screenshot his comment and he'd deleted it from his account. I don't know what that means, but I hope it was that he realized his statement was misguided.


I’ve since revised what I wrote to him, and I wanted to post it. I don't intend to rattle off a litany of terribleness, but I am one person.... I have lived in a few cities. I have met a few thousand people. Some of them have opened up to me, whereas others have had a public showing of their pain (bc of death, articles in newspapers, and the rumor mill following a serious incident causing hospitalization). How many other stories exist that I don't know about? 
I am one person. To know this much pain exists, there needs to be a way to bring it to light so that we see it for what it is. An epidemic of hatred toward women.


I know that not only women are attacked, but if you don't believe the truth of these stories. The proliferation of them across women's lives, ask some straight cis-gendered men how many similar stories they've heard from their male friends. I'll wait. 

Edited: While all the stories that follow are true, I edited them to the first person narrative. The means, any time the real story was, "my friend/sister/mother/cousin/etc confided in me about____," I changed the language to "I was_____." This is not because I have any liberty to understand what others’ have endured, but merely to give anonymity to my friends and family. 

I tried to change everything to "my friend" but then it seemed to take away the closeness that these things happen to real people. Don't ask which ones are my stories to tell. If you're a writer, you know the tells. If you know me, you may be able to identify them. 

For your consideration: I open up this post for discussion, for a place to share "Me Too" stories. In which case, I open it up to other womxn with other identities to post their experiences in the comments, if they are comfortable and feel so inclined. I'm not sure how to create anonymous postings/comments but I invite you to share...like womxn-only Post Secret

Here we go.

******************************


Dear [Redacted],


However, facts have not seemed to move many people lately. So let me tell you a few stories I know.



  1. When I was 6, my father started molesting me and my sister for years. I finally confided in a friend when I was 13. It got back to my mom, and she moved us out of the apartment and divorced my dad. She never talked about it and never helped me get treatment. No one helped me because no one knew.
  2. When I was 14, my stepfather told me my tits looked nice in a dress and asked my friend if she was wearing panties. He also made inappropriate comments to my boyfriends about taking me out to get fucked. My boyfriends and my mother said nothing, I was embarrassed for us obeying the "don't talk back to/criticize adults" rule. My mother and stepfather would get drunk at dinner and drive me home. When he asked me not to lock the bathroom door when I showered, I asked my father to get custody of me. I'm in my 30s now. A few years ago, my mother referenced my teenage years and told me I was always "flaunting it" for my stepdad.
  3. I've been in therapy off and on since 1994 starting with my parents divorce, for the way my relationship with my mother dissolved, for emotional abuse, and for ongoing depression. After more than 3 suicidal episodes, in 1999, I resolved to year-round never-ending medicinal and behavioral health therapy. Without the insurance and access to these services, I know for certain I would have committed suicide. Access to healthcare is incredibly important to survival.
  4. When I was 14, I dated a guy who was 19. I lied to say I was 16. When I slipped up and said I was 15, he said, "That's okay. It doesn't matter anyway." He moved to my city to be with me. I broke things off with him immediately. He became obsessed with me and wouldn't leave me alone for weeks. I had to threaten to call the police and tell my mother to get him to leave me alone.
  5. When I was 15, I passed out from cramps, so I got birth control at Planned Parenthood so I could attend classes again. In sex ed, I learned more than abstinence-based prevention and learned all about condoms, IUDs, the pill, and other ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Because I had access to an in-town Planned Parenthood, I accessed their services (including testing and free condoms) on a sliding scale.
  6. On my 16th birthday, I learned my boyfriend gave me herpes from skin-to-skin contact. I was still a virgin. He lied to me about being a virgin and never told me he had herpes.
  7. In college, I applied to a sorority. They circled my body parts in black marker and called me fat. I used laxatives and worked out at the gym for hours a day. I eventually quit the sorority but continued suffering issues with my intestines and bowels for years. I accessed therapy from the college to help me get over my body dysmorphia.
  8. In 2000, 8 days before leaving for college, I was assaulted and murdered at the gas station where I worked. I was known as one of the kindest people folks ever knew.
  9. Throughout college, Planned Parenthood and other sliding-scale clinics gave me free or low-cost pregnancy and STD tests when a condom broke. Which admittedly happened one more than one occasion. Once, when I was in the thick of doing drugs, I thought I was pregnant. I went to a different clinic and they tried to convince me that I could still have the baby if I was pregnant, despite doing drugs, because it was wrong to abort an unwanted pregnancy. I wasn't pregnant, so they quickly ushered me out the door. I later learned it was religiously affiliated. They didn't care about me. Just the (nonexistent) fetus and "preventing abortion."
  10. After I graduated college in 2002, I waitressed during my career job search. I was making $200-300 a week, if I was lucky. Without health insurance, medication was about $140/month. I had to choose between my depression medication, therapy, and rent. I'd sometimes skip or space out doses to make them last longer. This made me suffer withdrawal symptoms and get sick, but I couldn't afford everything at once.
  11. When a hiring freeze cost me my job in the month after my father passed away, I again had to decide between rent and now even more medication (increased depression medication, anxiety medication, sleeping pills). Luckily, my family and coworkers gave me money to cover the cost of medication. Again, access to insurance and healthcare is incredibly important to survival (in more than one way), especially for low-income women. 
  12. When I was 22, I fell asleep at my coworker's house after a house party. I woke up to him trying to push his fingers inside me, but he failed because I had a tampon in. I told his girlfriend, also a waitress at my job, who accused me of trying to break them up. I quit my job that week.
  13. When I was 23, I skipped a period. Later that week, I was bleeding heavily--far heavier than a period. I went to the ER where they confirmed I was miscarrying. I was 2 weeks past my missed period (or 5-6 weeks past conception). I left the hospital and took the next day off work. Of course, having gone through this was traumatic enough. I didn't have insurance and the trip to the ER cost me $2300. Thank god I wasn't forced to bury anything.
  14. When I was 23, I was kidnapped, raped, attacked, and held in the trunk of a car until my kidnappers let me go. 
  15. When I was 26, I got pregnant by accident. My long-term boyfriend and I were not ready to take that step, so I got an abortion. I received the immediate care and the emotional support I needed because I had insurance.
  16. When I was 27, I took a guy home from the bar, we made out, but I didn't want to have sex. We fell asleep. I woke up to him trying to rape me. I squeezed my thighs together so hard, but he grabbed me and got more frustrated. I finally rolled over and gave him a hand job so he would stop. I kicked him out. In the morning, I was bruised up and down my arms. I tried to tell my roommate what happened, but he didn't understand what I was saying. I never reported it. Planned Parenthood and therapy were there to talk me through the emotional and physical aftermath.
  17. When I was 28, I got herpes from my cheating boyfriend.
  18. When I was 28, a friend was being physically abused by her boyfriend. She broke up with him eventually. I dated the same guy years later. When my friend warned me, I told her not to worry about it. Six months later, my boyfriend grabbed and jerked the wheel of my car while driving down 90/94, the car flipped, and we nearly died. I left him for a while but went back. 
  19. When I was 29, my husband was arrested for drugging and raping my 13-year-old sister. He was imprisoned, and case managers linked my family with services. Clinics and therapists funded by the state support our healing through group support and court-appointed advocates walk us through the legal case.
  20. When I was 29, my ex-boyfriend gave me a ride home when I was too drunk to drive. I passed out and later woke up to him raping me in my sleep. I went to a local health clinic to access STD testing and therapy. It has been 7+ years and I can only now call it the word rape, and I'm still hesitant to say it. I've said "assaulted" many times, but my therapists and friends have helped me be able to say that word. Because that's what it is. Two years ago, a newspaper called this man a hero because he saved a woman from committing suicide on the El train. Heroes can be monsters. Monsters can be heroes.
  21. When I was 29, a friend pressured me into sex with him and his best friend's wife. I said no many times, but they wouldn't take no for an answer. I knew they wouldn't stop, and I was outnumbered. I gave in. I hated it. I stopped being friends with him because I can never trust him again.
  22. When I was 30 and a student, I had an IUD, but I was 17 days late. I was able to access affordable services (on a sliding scale) at Planned Parenthood to confirm I wasn't pregnant.
  23. That same year, I died. Maybe it was suicide. Maybe my boyfriend smothered me. Maybe there was an accident and my boyfriend didn't know what to do. My boyfriend called 911, and I was kept on a respirator until my friends and family could say goodbye to me. The police didn't have enough evidence to prosecute. My friends still don't know the truth.
  24. Between 39 and 41, I lost 5 babies, four pregnancies, the last being twin fetuses in the second trimester. The first three pregnancies were nonviable due to chromosomal defects, and the last loss was due to issues with my body’s ability to carry them. In the case of the last two fetuses, my body went into early labor at 22 weeks. As I was going into active childbirth, I was given the option of (1) remaining awake and birthing them, in which case they would likely die in childbirth (stillborn) or suffer through birth and then die shortly thereafter, or (2) choosing a procedure (D&X) that would remove the fetuses from me while I was asleep (in the case of late-term misscarriage). I chose the later, knowing they would not suffer as long and the trauma for both the fetuses and me would be less. I had incredible health insurance, but the emergency surgery and hospitalization was still $30k. I luckily had a career and partner who helped me pay for them. I was not forced to bury or cremate them. 
  25. Three months ago I found out I was pregnant. Planned Parenthood confirmed it. Later, they called me to tell me my hormone levels were off, and they encouraged me to go to the ER. I went but the ER dismissed me, saying it was “just a miscarriage” and that I should “"wait a week and then get another blood test to make sure the hormone level is at zero.” Planned Parenthood called to see how I was doing later that afternoon, and when I told them what happened, they were upset with the ER’s dismissal of me and urged me to go back to a different ER. There, a doctor confirmed a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. I accessed services to have a safe and legal medical abortion. I was not forced to bury or cremate the remains. 

So. Yeah. I know what's at stake. Women don't talk about their trauma with straight men. 
Or their need for therapy to overcome molestation, shame, and mental illness. Or their need for family planning doctors who can speak with someone empathetic and skilled who can help them access domestic violence services. Or their need family planning doctors so they can speak with someone empathetic and skilled who can help them access abortion services. 

Women of all races, nationalities, incomes, ages, and religions have experienced trauma at the hands of other men. Repeat after me: 

  • Women of all ages and incomes and races are abused. 
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races have mental health issues.
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races are not taken seriously by their doctors.
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races have abortions. 
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races have been molested and raped.
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races deserve deserve to be in a loving relationship without violence.
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races deserve access to healthcare and affordable insurance. 
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races deserve to be treated with respect by healthcare providers. 
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races deserve to plan their families how and when they want.
  • Women of all ages and incomes and races deserve therapy to heal harm done to them.


And they certainly aren't going to talk about it with a person who mocks them. Talking about how women in the US should be happy about what they have? Let me tell you that you have NO IDEA what women here go through. 

And I didn't even mention the street harassment, getting followed home, getting cornered by dudes in a bar or at work, or the many times I and my friends have been flashed, grabbed, or subjected to public masturbation.

I'm sure your friends who are women have had similar situations to those I mentioned above. But they'll never tell you because you post statements like you did. They're not going to open up or feel that you respect them or their experiences. Especially when you don't understand what happens. Especially when you hurl blame and invalidate their experiences so flippantly.


******************************
I wrote this in January. In the two weeks following this post, I learned two more female friends were attacked. 



Friday, May 26, 2017

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup

I read a bunch of different recipes and put them all together to make this maybe-Greek-?-lemon-chicken-rice soup. 

I have terrible time management, so I wrote instructions from start to finish like I wish someone did for me. Start to finish the meal took about 50 mins to an hour.

FOODSTUFF:
  • 2 c. rice + 1 c. water OR 4-6 cups pre-cooked rice
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil or Butter
  • 1-2 lbs chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large vidalia onion
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 1 head of celery
  • 2 lemons
  • 1-3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 boxes of chicken stock or broth
  • 4 eggs


Stuff you should have in your pantry = normal font; italics = buy at store/fresh.

GEAR: 
  • Non-stick Sauce Pan with Lid
  • Cast Iron Grill Pan
  • Stock Pot
  • Cutting Board
  • Awesome chef's knife
  • Tongs/fork
  • Whisk
  • Small Bowl (fits 4 eggs for whisking)
  • Non-scratch spoon (for sauce pan)
  • Ladle
  • Recommended: Dishwasher--human or machine who is not you :)


MAKE IT:
  1. Cook 2 cups of rice in a pot. (2 cups of water/1 cup of rice + a little salt, simmer about 40 mins). Or use pre-cooked rice if you're in a rush or don't want to dirty a pan.
  2. Open and rinse one package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or de-bone and de-skin chicken thighs). (Mine were $6 at TJ’s.) Pat dry.
  3. Add a few Tbsps oil or butter to a cast iron grill pan and turn on medium heat.
  4. Unfold the chicken thighs (they come folded and they won’t cook through if you don’t unfold them), add salt and pepper, turn the grill to medium-low, and toss them on. They should sizzle a bit but not cause the oil to pop too much.
  5. While the meat cooks, put 1-2 Tbsp olive oil or butter in a stock pot and turn to medium-high heat.
  6. Then mince 2 cloves of garlic and dice one Vidalia/sweet onion. Drop those in the heated, oiled/buttered stock pot.
  7. Then peel and rough dice/chop 1-lb bag of carrots. Drop in the pot.
  8. When the meat’s edges start to whiten, flip over with tongs. Some meat may stick to the grill. That’s okay. Char is good, but the thighs should still look juicy.
  9. Stir the rice. Make sure it’s cooking okay.
  10. Then wash, trim, and rough dice/chop 7-8 ribs of celery and drop them in the pot. Once the celery is starting to soften, add two boxes of sodium broth and drop the heat to a low simmer.
  11. At this point, zest and juice 2 lemons and stir the zest and juice into the soup mixture.
  12. Flip the chicken over again. Cut in to see that most of the pink is gone. (Since you’ll be cooking it more in the soup, you don’t have to make sure all pink is gone, but most of it should be.) When the pink is mostly gone and you’ve got the grill marks you want, move the chicken to the cutting board to cool.
  13. When the chicken cools, mix a little flour in the pan and stir to make a roux. Scrape up the bits of stuck on chicken and add a ladle or two of the broth to loosen the roux. Pour into the soup. (This won't actually thicken it, but I hate leaving flavor behind in the pan!)
  14. Whisk 4 eggs in a separate small bowl. Pour into the hot (but not boiling!) soup mixture and stir with the ladle to mix. This will make it a pretty lemony-milky color. 
  15. Chop the chicken in bite-size pieces, and plop into the soup mixture. 
  16. At this point, your rice should be all cooked up. Remove it from heat and stir into the soup. Soup should be still a bit watery but hearty. 
  17. Adjust to taste with S&P.
  18. Hit it with some parsley for color! 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Hair"

"Hair"

These ghosts are heavy
Weighted shoulders 
slumped
Bending forward to arch my back
To shoulders touching 
A pinch
Where a muscle spasms
despite the mind’s begging to 
quiet

My spine bows
And these bone brackets
Echoed the reverberations of 
"Oh my god"
The tears took time to come up from the well 
where they were waiting 
For the next transformation 

Your absence is felt
Between my ribs and brain
This is not settling down
Unsettling in is more accurate

No sense in senselessness
You, player of women
Juggler of stories and secrets

In the last second before collision
Did you see the snow and sun 
and hold your breath
the cold Alps air crystallizing your alveoli

This wasn't your last

I bet your hair gave the surgeons 
one helluva time
Snippers clogged, wet
And ruddy 
matted between wild and life
and blood and clot 
and ice melting the mess 
into pools of what was 
Thought
Patterns
Brilliance

Did your blood shine brilliant 
On your new lovers fingers? 
Did she hold you 
Weeping? 
Or was the tree 
left to mourn 
over its dirt birth
in the shores 
along the trail?

Stupid helmets. 
Always crushing the freedom 
That your wild hair danced
In the wind. 

And when you'd gone
the blue skies were still blue.
The clouds still overhead
no wild wind to shake the trees.
No momentuous quake.
Weight of the world still same heft
pinched between my shoulder blades,
tired from always pushing 
up the mountain 
and back down again.

You left these wires crossed, 
These ropes all snipped and strung out. 
And your harem of wild things 
Are more soft beauty than brute. 
Did you wonder what marvels 
we'd weave?

Fancy a friendship
Over mutual discordance, 
unsettling, 
and frayed knots

When we have a moment 
to let your absence hang in the air,
we all fear to answer the question
and a brave one whispers

Was it 

an accident? 


Was it? 

Hello Mountains

"Hello mountains"

Leaving is 
my WD-40. 
Greased ball bearings 
rolling west
fast. 

Stillness--
The roof's pitch. 

I tiptoed under radar. 
Dragged my bloodied knuckles, 
Broken bones, 
Split spleen 
To where salt water can heal. 

I've tidied things. 
A broom and 3,000 miles. 
They suffocate 
under the rug. 
Their silence
a feast for my mind's 
Low-blood sugar rattle. 

Fresh paint. 
New vases hungry
For leafy apologies. 
Sheets unstained by
Restless fire. 
Breathless lurches toward
Connection. 
Validation. 
Acceptance. 
Met
By the empty hollow trail
behind a word
ricocheting off 
the cement board.

I’ll smooth these threads
nicely
Over the fields where
My torso crisscrosses like
A rolling pin
Any indentation. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Step Away from CNN.... Put Down the Facebook

So, the world feels pretty bleak right now. It is. But always/nevers and extreme ways of seeing things can make things feel even heavier and worse. We all need a break. Like Gordon said in his e-mail yesterday, please take care of yourselves. Here’s a few things that have helped me (personally) this week:

Activate with others:
·         10 Actions in 100 Days Seattle


Take A Break:
·         Plan your vacation time and communicate it responsibly so it goes as smoothly as possible for everyone involved

Laugh….if you can…even if it’s laugh-crying?
·         The Daily Show is a go-to for me
·         “What to do when you're so overwhelmed by the Trump presidency you can barely move”
·         Escape into a (non-dystopian) book or movie!

Remember that we’re in this together even if it looks a little different:
·         When everything feels so divisive:


Share positive local changes that affect your work!
·         Changes are happening in Seattle; Seattle approved two open-use sites (but lack funding and locations)
·         People Experiencing Homelessness are Connecting to Estranged Family Due to Startup “Mircale Messages”
·         We have some folks in office who won’t be bullied


And even stories that aren’t local but remember all the good work around the world! Remember the arch that bends toward justice and acceptance:
·         Lesbian Church Minster near White House
https://www.facebook.com/Upworthy/videos/1602791829761669/
·         100 Years of Planned Parenthood
https://www.facebook.com/NowThisHer/videos/960548247409384/


And cuteoverload used to be my go-to, but here’s some things that help now: