Wednesday, 30 March 2011

baby talk

this is super amazing! i think they are actually communicating. maybe this will teach us the international language of baby??

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


i should be writing about a couple of things -- the book of mormon: the musical and hungary; but i want to first write about the clean program. (mostly because i don't want to think too hard.)

i've been feeling like my body needs a reset; this month is my reset! sunday, i started the clean program. the first week its basically just "a dietary protocol that removes foods and ingredients from your diet that are known to cause food allergies, food sensitivities, and disruptions in the digestive process".

it already feels good. i can't tell if its just in my head or real, but i just feel less hungry and less heavy. i don't know how to explain it. but i thought i'd introduce yall to what i'm doing. i am going to track some of the process here.

i went to the farmers market sunday and stocked up. it was cool because i eschewed my normal trappings of the cheese&bread-wallas and found a huge table of crazy mushrooms. (i will take my camera next week and get the name). so, now i've got a funky mushroom risotto to make . . . its fun to limit myself and have to explore new options in food.

its also cool because it feels like it gave me some weird permission to get yummy snacks . . . dried mangos, pepitas, gorp, etc. i wonder why i don't eat like this all the time?

the other thing the clean-program-shopping-spree brought home was calm & relaxed. i spotted the jar to the left and thought, "i need those feelings more" and bought it.

in the check out line i read that it was magnesium. magnesium! a few months ago my doctor told me my magnesium levels were low. i kinda forgot about it. but after just a couple of days of drinking it, i feel more chill. again, probably just in my head . . . but maybe not.

i read this article about magnesium, and found it super interesting. apparently most americans have low magnesium. basically what i'm trying to say is, you might want to try this stuff.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

hole in the sky collective

i got an email this morning sharing the progress of hole in the sky collective. i had never heard of it, but am THRILLED that this organization is in my neighborhood. this is EXACTLY the type of enterprises i hope will move in. i feel like eckington could be a wonderful bohemian enclave in DC. there isn't much (there is some tho) in DC promoting arts and creativity amongst the residents. i believe this type of space where art can be expressed and explored is exactly the kind of thing this city needs.

this is what the email said:
Hello everyone!
I'm sure some of you have already heard the music coming from the second floor warehouse on 5th St NE over the last 8 monhts...just above Bini's Security Ironworks. The music you've heard is from a public arts space called Hole in the Sky Art Collective. We have recently taken a break from doing art events to renovate and come up to fire safety code and other city compliance. We are very happy to do this because safety is an absolute priority to us. We started renting the space in May of 2010 and were certainly underprepared to take on such a huge project, but we've had so much community support and energy behind the project that things are well in motion. We've learned a lot over the last 8 months about the positives and negatives to running an art space and we're redesigning not only the physical space of Hole in the Sky but the ideological approach to a space like Hole in the Sky.

I wanted to keep the neighborhood updated for a few reasons:
1. We are determined to make Hole in the Sky a multi-use/multi-dimensional art space. We have mainly hosted music shows but our new efforts will be geared towards music and arts education (we have three teachers living and working here to help with program development) and supporting independent artists and musicians in DC. We will continue to do public evening music events but with much less frequency.
2. We want to build a relationship of trust and transparency with the neighborhood. We have previously lacked promotion and organization, mainly because we've just been so darn busy and trying to do too many things at once! But we're here as a resource and opportunity for ourselves and each other.
3. We want to get your ideas! What would you like to see in a community art space?? Do you want to come over and check it out and take a look at things?? We'd love to hear your feedback.

A few of the specific projects we're doing are more thoroughly described on our website: -- please check it out and give us feedback or ideas you may have. We are truly a collective so if you have something that you want to SEE happen then let's MAKE it happen.

Lastly, we are taking donations for Hole in the Sky's development. We are not incorporated as a non-profit currently, but we have qualified people helping us to pursue that over the summer. Also, we have made promises to keep anyone who donates up to date on the progress and goals of the space. We are really in the exciting beginning stages of a lot of things, and yes, all of us involved have one or two other jobs to pay rent for the building, so we're stretched quite thin in terms of financing. But we're resourceful and have the know-how to do everything we've laid out plans for.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice you may have to offer!
Cheers and we'll be in touch.

Sora, Lucas, Nathan, Jeff, Meagan, Jaime, Haley, Ashley

Sunday, 13 March 2011

blind eye to the soldiers

my dear friend ingrid shared this with me. it made me cry. i wish all american could read this!

i'm extremely disgusted by the cult of celebrity that has engulfed out country. we know WAY too much about the dysfunctions of a handful of, mostly, narcissistic attention whores. we feed their narcissism, or in other cases invade their privacy, so that we can get our jollies from understanding the "lifestyles of the rich and famous". these people we spend so much media attention, money, and time on do very little to help society. in fact, they normalize some destructive behaviours.

not all celebrities are bad: obviously. but those few who see their job as art and work to do what artists have always done, which is point out the flaws and reality of current culture are less appreciated and often less stalked by the media.

why do so many americans enjoy watching the nonsensical rants of a man who is clearly in the midst of a psychotic episode? why are we lifting up the illness as entertainment, rather than helping a man in need get help?

and why, for heaven's sake, are we spending so much more time on lindsay lohan's drug problems or charlie sheen's latest psychotic rant, or mel gibson's hate filled xenophobic rants? we give these sick and demented people a stage. they are able to spew their hate or addiction, or sometimes just melt down right in front of us. and for what reason? does it help our children live better lives? bring peace to our souls? answer plaguing questions of poverty, war, hate, dispair? NO this doesn't. it distracts of from actually facing the reality of life. that most of us are struggling to make ends meet, raise our children, keep our marriages or families healthy, healing our own wounds, and way more of us are missing family members who are fighting in protracted wars that seem to be quagmires larger than vietnam. but because we don't see the images of afghanistan in our face every night like we did with vietnam, we don't do anything.

the media feeds us a diet of ridiculous celebrity gossip and ignores some of the most relevant stories of our day. yeah, 2011 feels a bit like 1968, but only to those paying attention. it is hard for us to find any news source that will really help us to see what is really going on in the world or our country. instead there is ridiculous prognosticating about which of the pool of losers will finally announce he is running for GOP presidential nominee or celebrity muck, or distorted lies about health reform or how budgets are "balanced" by removing collective bargaining right.

president eisenhower warned us that this kind of intellectual death could take place if a real military industrial complex was buoyed up. now corporations are making laws that benefit them and hurt people. more on that later . . . please read this below and THANK-YOU CNN!!!

Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers
From left, Army Spc. Rudolph Hizon, Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, and Spc. Brian Tabada.

Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers

By Wayne Drash, CNN

It started with a Facebook status update. Upset at the media's coverage of Charlie Sheen, someone took up for American soldiers dying in Afghanistan.

"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict," it said, "while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."

The status update has since gone viral, shared by tens of thousands on Facebook. An abbreviated version is on Twitter.

When a friend of mine posted the message on her Facebook page, it was a sobering reminder of the news media’s failings of covering the Afghanistan war. I kept returning to the names of the four soldiers. Who were these men? What’s their story?

I started by calling the father of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt (pronounced WILL-fort) in Rosemount, Minnesota.

“I think it’s spot on,” Jeff Wilfahrt said of the viral post.

His 31-year-old son was killed while on foot patrol outside Kandahar on February 27, around the same day the Sheen media blitz kicked into high gear.

“From the Charlie Sheens to Lindsay Lohans, who are these people and what good have they done in society?” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “What are we collectively doing as a society? How do you wake people up?

“In part, sir,” he said, “I blame the press.”

Andrew Wilfahrt was a Renaissance man with an infectious laugh. In his obituary, his parents described him as “compassionate, smart and witty. He was an admirer, composer and player of music who believed deeply in art and humanity. Andrew was fascinated by math, palindromes, maps, patterns, mashed potatoes and the absurd.”

He was also anti-war - part of a “strong family of lefties” from Minnesota, his father said. Andrew stunned everyone when he announced two years ago he was joining the Army.

“He didn’t have a child and a wife,” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “In a way, he went over so that somebody with a young family wouldn’t die.”

The grieving father added, “He was a gay soldier.”

His son agonized over the decision to join the military because Andrew knew he’d have to keep his sexuality a secret. He kept quiet when he first signed up, but his fellow soldiers knew.

“Andrew told me one of the reasons he wanted to enlist was that he felt guilty as a civilian when so many men with wives and children were separated from their families," one of his comrades posted on Facebook. "He joined the fight so that guys like me didn’t have to. He is my hero, my friend, and I miss him. Sleep well, buddy. You earned it.”

Andrew’s younger sister, Martha, said the “least interesting thing” about her brother was his sexuality.

“Quite frankly,” the father said, “nobody gave a s*** he was gay. He was a good soldier.”

His mother, Lori Wilfahrt, told Minnesota Public Radio her son was an “interesting, wonderful young man” who joined the service because he was “looking for a purpose.” Andrew wanted to be with a “group of people that would be working together toward something.”

In a recent letter home, he told his mother that “everybody knows … [and] nobody cares” about his homosexuality. In combat, he rode with two other soldiers. One was African-American, the other from Hawaii. The unit called them "Team Minority."

“He was a gentle soul and he was very kind and compassionate,” said Lori Wilfahrt.

As Sheen’s every comment was dissected on TV and plastered across the internet, the Wilfahrts quietly buried their son.

“In exchange for a son, we got a flag and a bunch of medals,” his dad said. “That’s a helluva tradeoff.”

He’s torn by all that’s happened. Jeff Wilfahrt said he’s always been a peace activist and staunch opponent of war, yet he added, “I’m so proud of him and his service.”

His voice breaks. It’s likely his son is among the first gay soldiers to die in combat since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed in December. “I’d do anything to honor my son.”

'Truly an American hero'

From Texas to Nevada to California, three other families mourned loved ones mentioned in the viral post. I was unable to reach those families, but I pieced together these snapshots from local reports and Army news releases.

Spc. Brian Tabada was the youngest soldier honored in the Facebook status update. A fire support specialist with the 101st Airborne, he was killed February 27 in northeastern Afghanistan when his patrol was ambushed by insurgents using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

He joined the Army in 2008 and quickly earned an array of medals, including the Army Achievement Medal.

His mother met his flag-draped coffin at Dover Air Force Base and escorted her son’s body home to Las Vegas. Nevada’s governor ordered flags at half-staff.

“Tabada made the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever grateful,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a written statement. “I believe it is right to honor his life, service and his sacrifice.”

Spc. Rudolph Hizon, a 22-year-old Los Angeles native, was killed when insurgents attacked his brigade with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province.

A Bronze Star recipient, Hizon was best known for his radiant smile and love of life. Hizon enlisted with the Army in January 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan last October.

“I will always think of him as the happy and cheerful person he was,” Spc. Joshua Gonzales told Task Force Patriot public affairs. “I’m going to miss him dearly.”

“He is truly an American hero,” Tito Pong wrote on a Los Angeles Times obituary tribute page. “We are very proud of him and we are very much going to miss him.” Added Pfc. Lorien Rilate, “You had such a big heart and you always knew how to make someone feel better.”

In the eastern corner of Texas, residents in the town of Cookville honored Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, a father of two young girls. Mays, a member of the 10th Mountain Division, was killed February 28 in eastern Afghanistan’s Wardak province.

A highly decorated soldier, Mays worked as an explosives ordnance disposal technician; the Army credits him with saving countless lives for disarming hidden bombs in the region.

“He was a leader who led from the front,” Army Sgt. Chandara Hak told Task Force Patriot public affairs. “He was always careful, but never fearful. I will do my best to follow in his example.”

Army Capt. Aaron Teller said Mays epitomized the best of the American soldier. “He would give you the shirt off his back without hesitation.”

Those were traits Mays displayed even in high school. "He cared about people and worked hard to encourage them," his teacher, Josh Stegall, said at amemorial service. "He lived to serve."

Since February 26, when the Sheen story began dominating headlines, at least 13 U.S. troops have died in support of the Afghanistan war. Besides the four honored in the Facebook post, seven others were Sgt. Kristopher Gould, 25; Spc Christopher Stark, 22; Pfc. David Fahey, 23; Spc. Jason Weaver, 22; Cpl. Jordan Stanton, 20; Staff Sgt. Mark Wells, 31; and Pfc. Kalin Johnson, 19.

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, and Airman Zachary Cuddeback were killed in a March 2 attack on troops at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

Italian Lt. Massimo Ranzani, 36, and British Lance Cpl. Liam Richard Tasker were also killed in Afghanistan in late February and early March. Another British soldier whose name has not been released was killed Wednesday.

As I looked at the names of those who’ve died in the last two weeks, I thought about my phone conversation with Jeff Wilfahrt.

“Get this on the front headlines,” he said, “and make people aware of what’s going on.

“That’s what I’d do if I was king. But I'm just an unemployed 58-year-old man in Minnesota who misses his son.”

Thursday, 10 March 2011

'Unprotected Text': The Bible On Sex And Marriage

one of the first real papers i ever wrote in college was for chauncey riddle's philosophy 101 class. i called it "the Bible's Philosophy of Sex". because i was writing this, i got special permission to go into the limited access portion of the Harold B Lee library that had all the books about sex in it. i felt honored. i spent most of my paper (which i wish i could find) discussing how the verb for sex in the bible (at least the KJV) is to know. "and adam knew eve", etc. the premise of my paper was that the bible's metamessage about sex was that it was something of REAL intimacy. it was a way to gain a knowledge of a person and give that kind of knowledge to someone. it was sacred, because once the knowledge is shared, it can't be taken back. as a result when that knowledge is shared between people that aren't safe with each other, sharing that knowledge can lead to intense hurt and emptiness.

i was a freshman trying figure out all the relationship/boundary stuff that goes along with the intimacy v. isolation phase of development. i often experienced that horrible feeling of sharing too much and then being embarrassed, or lonely, or just weird.
saying something that people don't understand, and feeling my arms hurt with loneliness. i struggled, like many that age do, with all those big questions of boundaries and safety. obviously, i was a unique case (kinda) in that boundaries and safety were not something i grew up experiencing. so i think it made these questions about sex even more complicated. but i started to learn that when i do somethings, i just feel bad. i shared before a foundation of trust and safety was created , either sexually or emotionally, and got hurt.

though i think these mistakes are a normal part of learning to be human . . . i think God tries to help us avoid the pain. to learn that there are rules for all of us. things that are universal. we all suffer from this wrestle of the flesh and soul.

in researching for my freshman year paper, it was obvious that the bible contradicted itself on a number of sexual issues. this book seems well researched and super facinating:

please listen to/read this story. i haven't read the book, but i am hoping that my bookclub will choose it soon. :)

for instance, she writes about how the stoning of a woman who has sex before marriage is now deemed immoral, though there are numerous instances where the Bible teaches it is imperative in keeping Judaic Law.

paul taught that people shouldn't marry. most Christians totally disregard these scriptures. those that don't suggest that a celibate/unmarried life is only for their most religious leaders (catholics i'm looking your way). today, most chrisitians see marriage as a sacred sacrament.

we blow off paul's clear admonition not to marry and the Judaic Law's insistence that we stone the un-virgin bride, yet hold doggedly to the vague references in the old testament that homosexuality is not of God. how do we make these decisions?

the author points out: a random commandment in leviticus that says a man should not "lay with a man in the manner of a woman" . . . is kinda taken out of context. her analysis of David and Jonathan's relationship is super interesting! she suggests that the one commandment in Leviticus that seems to make homosexuality against the will of God is later contradicted in the entire story in 1 & 2 Samuel of David and Jonathan's relationship, their bond and love, and how their "marriage" made it possible for David to inherit the kingdom of Saul (Jonathan's father's Kingdom).

sex is a sacred knowledge. when we treat it as such, we are happier. when we dismiss this element, it can leave us empty. God does not want that. songs of solomon extoll the virtue of passion and sexual connection. God gave us sex for much more than just procreating it is clear. it is for enjoyment, connectivity, release, etc. and that is best experienced on a foundation of trust and safety where that knowledge can be shared without reproach. i just wonder if God really cares who we choose to love. . .?

anyway, take a listen, it is super interesting.

oh, and after reading/writing about this, i decided to go to and see what the top hits about sex are. the following video is #3. please check it out. i really mean no offense, but doesn't the guy at 1:00 seem like he is trying to convince himself that being gay is bad? (hey gay boyfriends, and all other friends in SLC, can you please find him and tell him that God loves Him no matter what his sexuality is?)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

things i love: mad men (on trains)

i am in love with mad men. it is one of the best t.v. shows that has come out in recent years. the costuming is amazing, the honest portrayal of american life in the 60's super interesting, and the characters complex. i'm bummed that they do so few episodes a year and i am thrilled for the next season. so maybe it is that anticipation that made me so happy to see a couple of mad men in a new scene . . . about trains. enjoy!!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

eckington recommended in this old house!!

this is my 'hood!! this makes me pretty stoked! i love my neighborhood.

we are on the front cover of the best this old house neighborhoods in the northeast and the best row house and the best city living . . . there is a long list underneath. and this photo got us on the cover of all of them . . .

seriously, buying this house was NO easy task, but ... it really is home. i have wonderful neighbors, i love my garden, etc. seeing this, just makes me feel like the blood, sweat and tears of the rehabilitation might pay off in other ways some day too . . .

house located in Eckington, District of Columbia

Eckington, District of Columbia

Forget Bethesda and Arlington. When technology director Steve Rynecki moved from San Diego, California, to Washington, D.C., in 2002, he wanted to live inside the city limits. He also wanted an older place with period details—a Federal rowhouse on Capitol Hill or a red-brick Queen Anne in Columbia Heights. Unfortunately, digs in those neighborhoods were priced over the half-million-dollar mark. So Steve looked to the district's northeast section and found what he was looking for: an 1893 rowhouse for around $250,000. "The price was right, the architecture was amazing, and the metro a 10-minute walk," he says. Originally the province of powerful Victorian-era politicians and business owners, Eckington later became a stronghold of D.C.'s African-American middle class. These days, it's a magnet for anyone looking to eschew the Beltway 'burbs and find fixer-uppers and freshly renovated homes in a cool, urban spot just a 10-minute drive from Capitol Hill.

The Houses
Most are brick Federal, Queen Anne, or Colonial Revival rowhouses. We found a renovated six-bedroom 1913 Colonial Revival rowhouse for $249,000. Of the renovations-needed ilk: a four-bedroom brick Victorian-era rowhouse, with a turret, for $345,000.

Why Buy Here?
Government offices have opened around the five-year-old Florida Ave/New York Ave metro stop that's just a stone's throw from Eckington. Newly opened restaurants and clubs near the revitalized Atlas District give residents plenty of entertainment options, too. "It's being discovered as an affordable place to buy a house in D.C.," adds local Realtor Michelle Buckman, "and there's a lot of renovating going on."

Among the best for: The Northeast, City Living, First-Time Buyers, Victorians, Rowhouses, Easy Commute, Walkability

Best Old House Neighborhoods 2011: The Northeast

New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island and Washington, DC

Best Old House Neighborhoods 2011: The Northeast

For the fourth year in a row, we've tracked down North America's most timeless neighborhoods—places where lovingly crafted old houses have extraordinary pasts and unarguably promising futures. With help from our friends at Portland, Oregon-based—who distributed our nomination forms to more than 14,000 historical societies, neighborhood groups, and preservation nonprofits—we've assembled our biggest-ever list of off-the-beaten-path places that are worth eyeing for a great old home.

From quaint New England villages to bustling urban enclaves, here are a dozen places where you can find a perfect old house of your own along the northern Atlantic coast.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

what does our country believe in?

this is really fascinating. over 77% of people believe in:
  • getting rid of the bush tax cuts
  • getting rid of the tax cuts for oil companies
  • public union bargaining
  • taxing millionaires
yet, there is even an actual debate about this staling the government ???!!!!!

Despite enforcement success, IRS faces cuts

By Stephen Ohlemacher
Wednesday, March 2, 2011; A13

Every dollar that the Internal Revenue Service spends on audits, liens and property seizures from tax cheats brings in more than $10, a rate of return so good that the Obama administration wants to boost the agency's budget.

But House Republicans, wary of the too-heavy hand of government, differ. They voted to cut the IRS budget by $600 million this year and want bigger cuts in 2012.

The IRS has dramatically increased its pursuit of tax cheats in the past decade. Audits are up, property liens are up, and asset seizures are way up. President Obama and Democrats in Congress see stepped-up enforcement as a good way to narrow the nation's budget deficit without raising taxes or cutting popular programs.

"It makes little sense to cut the agency that collects revenue," said Rep. Jose E. Serrano (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House subcommittee that oversees the IRS budget.

Republicans, however, see the IRS as an ideal target for their promise to reduce government spending, in part because the agency will play a big role in implementing the new health-care law.

But the budget cuts go deeper than health care, reflecting GOP concerns about an agency that affects nearly every business and adult in the nation.

"We're hearing from small businesses a repeat of the horror stories from more than 10 years ago," said Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on select revenue measures. "I think you will see House Republicans have a real discussion about the role of the IRS in this country."

- Associated Press

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

this is mind blowing!!!

thank-you rachel maddow!!