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Last week I listened to this episode of Insights at the Edge (transcript also available at the link) where the guest was Rabbi Rami Shapiro. Rabbi Rami was a congregational rabbi for twenty years, and now teaches on being a holy rascal and what he calls "perennial wisdom." Tami, the host, asked him about moving away from Judaism. He describes Judaism as, "It's all about God as a male superpower somewhere," talks about issues with the idea of Jews as the "chosen people," and says that many organized religions treat a service as something to just get through. The whole time I was listening to that, I kept thinking, "That's a really narrow view of Judaism." Then I went to a Saturday morning torah service, and thought, "Oh, now I see what you mean." It felt like we were just doing things to get through them without any time to think about what they meant. Also, I discovered that where I know the Friday night service very well, I knew almost none of the Saturday torah service.

There's another part in the podcast where Rabbi Rami talks about the "house-church movement where people who don't feel comfortable at church are just getting together. They pray something, they read something, and then they just have conversations. ... I think what people were hungry for was conversation," which made me laugh because conversation is the last thing I want out of a religious service. I'm not even all that interested in the teaching part - I have a lot of other avenues in my life for that. The other thing that made me laugh is when he says, "we didn't have a cantor so we had whale song instead—recorded whale songs," because I thought, "You don't need a cantor; just sing!"

The combination of listening to Rabbi Rami's thoughts on Judaism and going to a Saturday morning torah service (with a cantor) really helped me define what I want out of a religious service. First, I want a slow, gentle approach to prayer where you get to really think about and feel what you're praying. This is particularly true for me in a Jewish service because I don't read Hebrew, so I'm always trying to follow along with the transliteration while skimming the English translation to see if there are things I don't want to say. Secondly, I want to sing or chant with other people. We chant in my yoga class, and my yoga teacher has various things she says to get people to not feel embarrassed or weird about it and just chant. I find chanting easy because I grew up Jewish without speaking Hebrew, so for me, singing with other people in a language I don't speak is my idea of collective spiritual practice. Part of what I like about Friday night services versus the Saturday torah service is that we sing a lot of songs I know, and when I started going to services on occasion again, what I wanted was to sing with other Jews. Lucky for me, our current rabbi does a contemplative service one Saturday morning a month that's an hour of chanting and guided meditation. It's really lovely, and I do really feel a connection with the divine during that experience. (I feel a little bit guilty sneaking out after the contemplative service instead of staying for the torah study afterwards, but, again, the conversation/learning part is not the valuable piece to me.)

In February, the rabbi's adult education class was "An Intro to Jewish Angels," so at the February contemplative service, she did a guided meditation with angels that I found really moving. (Also interesting: I had a very clear image of the personification of three of the four of them.) It probably helps if you've already done some chanting and breathing first and pause to breathe into each of these, but here it is as best I can remember it: Close your eyes. Take a few breaths. Now imagine to your right the angel Michael, the one who is like God. You may feel some warmth or see a light. Now imagine to your left the angel Gabriel, the power of God. In front of you, imagine Uriel, the light of God. At your back, imagine Raphael, the healer. Now feel the angels surrounding you in their warmth or in their light. Rest in their light. Now from above, feel the light of God pouring over you like honey.

I really love the divine light guided meditations the rabbi's done at both of the contemplative services I've been to so far. For a secular version of a filling yourself with light meditation, I also recommend Danielle LaPorte's Light Scanning Contemplation (at her site, registration-free Soundcloud version).
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Jerry/Kramer is my Seinfeld OTP. It's possible that's entirely because of the episode where Kramer gets a job. Some kind YouTube user has excerpted only the Kramer's job bits from the episode, and I'm inclined to think Jerry/Kramer was also the writers' OTP for this episode. The video is not embeddable, but you can watch it here.
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I wrote this whole post at work today, and then Carter and Richards got their last piece of happily ever after with their Stanley Cup and no one will care about anyone else, but I wrote it, so have it anyway.

Hockey people, if you don't have [ profile] lakeeffectgirl and her fic journal [ profile] alonewithghosts friended, you're missing out. She finds and/or writes the best things.

Once upon a time, before she even liked them, she outlined the epic Brioux plot for me, and then she wrote some bits of it. She's ditching it now, but she has put the breakup scene of my heart (and a few other bits) up at her fic journal. Be forewarned, it is full of sadness, but in a really satisfying way. (Sometimes I just go reread that scene. I love it that much.)

She also directed me toward this video )which is all about Mike Richards being sad after he got traded. We would both very much like some Mike/Cabbie fic if anyone would be into writing that.

Also glorious is this post by [ profile] gigantic which has both a video of Kings players talking about Twilight (Did you know Mike Richards read the books? I have no idea why they appeal to hockey players, but I almost hope he and Carter are reading 50 Shades of Fan Fic now.) and a fabulous plot bunny about hockey players having a YA lit book club.

Also devoted to making my summer better: the Tylers. [ profile] littledivinity has an awesome primer about them, and they're continuing to live up to everything that primer promises. They live together in the off-season, which prompted Seguin to tweet about yoga. Then he adopted a puppy. Then Brown retweeted some other guy who said of them, "Good to see u boys are still happily attached at the hip." I don't know why I find these two in particular so delightful, and yet I do. Possibly it has something to do with Brown calling Seguin "the wife" in a cheerful and non-demeaning way.

Also delightful, this picture of P.K. Subban and Carey Price wearing each other's names. )Clothes sharing and people wearing each other's names forever.

Anyway, [ profile] lakeeffectgirl and I have been discussing tropes we could apply to the Briouxs or Carter and Richards. Tell me your favorite tropes we could plot bunny!

I have so far written no Carter/Richards (Given the way these things go, I'm sure I will eventually. Keep in mind that they once played on a team with Patrick Sharp, who makes everything more entertaining.), but I now have three Brioux docs: the one where Sean has a boyfriend, the one where Hartsy is confused and no one got divorced (I really want to write more of this, but I don't know what else would happen), and the one where Danny is Claude's professor. I was going to post something not Brioux this weekend, but then I decided I didn't want to (a) read through it one last time for anything that needs to be fixed or (b) deal with AO3. But clothes sharing and feelings sometime this week, I promise.
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Edit: The comments have made clear to me that I have done something I didn't want to and written a post that made people feel talked at. So this is a belated disclaimer: This post is about what I think about when I'm writing and what I think about this particular discussion in fandom. This is not a prescription for what you should do. I do believe the fandom as escapism approach is absolutely valid and useful, and I also go through periods of wanting just stories and no meta in between periods of wanting to tell you everything I think about meta topics. /edit

A very long while ago, [ profile] inlovewithnight linked to a very interesting post about the question Why am I not writing the stories I say I want to read? In case you don't want to read the post, the question is specifically around the issue of saying we want more fic about women and poc characters but continuing to write slash about white men. ([personal profile] happydork phrases this entirely about her, but I'm using "we" deliberately because I think it extends beyond just her.)

For me, the one of her reasons that I'm actively changing in my own writing is the "habits of mind." She says, "There are comfortable ruts in my mind that any story I write can happily rest on. It takes me a long, long time to change these, and a lot of thought, insight and effort." But we can change them, and even if it takes a long time, you have to start somewhere. I've specifically, consciously been doing this around writing about women and gender roles. I'm sure I'm not always successful, but I have been making the effort. I specifically tried to avoid anything that referenced roles that were determined by gender in Fighting For (although I reread it somewhat recently and realized I missed one that needed to come out). I made an effort to make You Have My Heart (In Your Hands) pass the Bechdel test. When I edited A Great Idea to fix the sex scene, I also took out Andi's references to being "girly" as something she didn't want to be/like being.

Part of my resistance to editing my Gabe/Victoria accidental marriage story is that it's at least 40% about how Gabe doesn't sleep and Victoria gets him to - and I don't like the idea that a woman's role is to be in service to men. I've had people tell me that every relationship has its give and take, that if you have trouble sleeping it's easier with someone else in bed with you, and that one plot point is not necessarily a patriarchy-upholding pattern. And yet, I'm still uncomfortable with it. It may just be one plot point, but it's one plot point in the context of a society that tells us in a million other ways that women are supposed to serve men.

This got a little long, plus this part talks about sex and sex writing. )

There's one more point in this discussion where you might have figured out what I think but I'd like to say it explicitly. In a comment on [ profile] inlovewithnight's post, [ profile] mosca said:
I think there's an additional wrinkle here, which is that there's so much "We have to write more women and people of color!" talk, that when one actually writes about a woman or a person of color (especially the latter), it's often seen as a political move rather than an actual expression of fannish affection for that character.
There's an implication in [ profile] mosca's comment - and particularly in the fannish response it describes - that writing about a woman or a person of color as a political move is a bad thing. I don't think it is. Fandom isn't going to change unless we - the people who make up fandom - make that change happen. One way to make that change happen is to choose to tell stories based on the political change we want to make in combination with what interests us.
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I've signed up for [ profile] no_tags. [ profile] no_tags is a double-blind bandom ficlet exchange. You sign up by leaving two prompts, prompts go up for claiming on January 5, and ficlets of a minimum of 1000 words are posted on January 12. If this sounds like your kind of thing, you should play along! The sign-up post is here.
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Today I'm thankful for [ profile] airgiodslv's Stripper Music playlist. I was not in the frame of mind to work on my novel, and then I switched to this and wrote three hundred words in no time. Most of the sex scenes in the first novel would not exist if it weren't for this playlist.
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Today I'm thankful for, which I just spent too much time reading until my stomach hurt from laughing. (I am also thankful for the friends whose email thread made me think of it.)
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Video on the internet kind of stresses me out sometimes. I have to stop everything else I'm doing and watch it. But the title of this one - "How To Be Alone" - caught my eye when someone I know posted it on Facebook, and so I stopped what I was doing and spent four and a half minutes watching it. It is a lovely piece of poetry.

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I've been thinking recently that I need some inspiration. This isn't even about writing. This is about my inner self, my spirit, which just feels empty - and not in the good way where it's making space for the universe to come in and make itself at home, but the bad way where I feel drained. For anyone else who needs some inspiration, here are three four things I found inspirational that you might too.

I was trying to think of places I could go looking for inspiration, and I wondered why on earth I ever stopped reading Corilee Fox's blog. Then I discovered that I hadn't actually dumped the feed ([ profile] corileefox) off of my friends list; it just changed URLs and I didn't notice. So I had LJ update the feed, and now her lovely blog is appearing on my friends list again.

In my quest for things that are inspirational, I also followed a link from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project blog to the companion Happiness Project Toolbox where I started sifting through the Inspiration Boards section. What a lovely collection of things that other people have found inspirational.

[ profile] willowbell wrote "we'll never settle for the quick defeat" for [ profile] realwomenfest. I loved it, so I wandered back to her LJ to see what else she'd written and came across "the literary magpie." This story is so beautifully written that I think you should read it even if you don't like Gabe and Victoria, even if you don't know who they are, even if you never read fan fiction. It really is that good.

Bonus! As I was working on this entry, Gretchen made a post about Secrets of Adulthood. I'm finding that "Seek mentors for more than your career" in particular is making me think.
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  • I can't tell you how much I want an AU (or a real future) where Alex Marshall does things like the music over the inspirational stories on the Olympics. Today's example.

  • Watching So You Think You Can Dance last season totally changed how I look at performance. I now watch for the people who stand out because of their stage presence. In this, it's neither of the soloists. It's the woman in the black and white stripes.

  • If you're not reading Sarahindie (LJ feed: [ profile] sarahindiedtcom), you're missing out. Today she takes on the newest Twilight saga soundtrack.
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    As you probably know, I have switched to using Gmail. I've been using the web interface when I'm at work or when I need to search for something (let me tell you, full text search of email is the best feature of Gmail), and SeaMonkey's Mail component via IMAP at home. Part of this is just that I don't like change, and this way I don't have to change my way of doing things. Part of it is that I can have multiple email addresses (I have more than I care to admit to) in one client.

    Using the two interchangeably is generally working well for me; however, there are two things that are minor inconveniences:

    Gmail treats my folders as tags, which is fine. If I move an email from my inbox into a folder, Gmail applies the appropriate tag. The problem comes when I try to do it the other way around: if I apply a tag to a thread in Gmail, when SeaMonkey syncs with Gmail, it interprets the tag as applying to every message in the thread and moves them all - including my sent items - into the folder, which is not how I have my folders organized. My folders are organized by who sent the message, so I don't want emails from Person B in the folder labeled Person A. During the day, I read/respond at work, and then move things into the appropriate folders when I get home, which is doable but adds an extra step. As far as I can tell, you can't apply a tag to just one message in a conversation. Perhaps my folders are simply an outdated way of managing email and I need to just give them up. (Aside: SeaMonkey also has tags. Applying them to a message does nothing in Gmail.)

    One of the other ways I deal with my email is to keep things in the inbox until I've dealt with them. This works fine in SeaMonkey. The problem with this in Gmail is that i keeps the whole conversation in the inbox and has everything but the most recent message collapsed, which means I have no idea which message has the link I was going to click on. If there are just a few messages in the thread, it's not a big deal, but the current fic recs thread has 31 messages in it - only one of which has the link I haven't read yet. (This becomes even more problematic with epic threads that are close to turning over again.) Hmm. I suppose I could copy the email to the starred folder in SeaMonkey and have that work. This seems inconvenient to do. Maybe if I did it in Gmail early on, before it got buried under other things in the thread.

    I suspect the real answer to all of this is some variation on "email: ur doin it rong."

    One more random email thought, not related to Google: I'm still in the habit of signing my emails, and not even with an auto signature. I actually type out "Ruth" at the end of every email. I've noticed that hardly anyone does this anymore, which kind of makes sense since you know who the email is from anyway. Quaint old habit or sign that I haven't fully moved into the digital age?

    In addition to increased use of Gmail on the web, I've been using Google Docs a lot more. (Again, because I can use them at work. I am, in fact, typing this very entry into a Google doc at work.) Before, with things I was sharing with people, I had my text document on my local computer (because I like writing distraction free with Dark Room [and it's too bad their screencap is green text on a black background, because you can actually set it to be whatever colors you want]) and then I copied whatever I'd written that day into the Google doc. Now I have several things in Google Docs without a local copy on my computer. It's making me mildly nervous not to have a copy that's not held by Google, but it's also easier not to mess with copying and pasting. I'm mostly just rambling about this point, but I am curious: what do you do about writing? Google docs, Word, text editor of some sort, something else?
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    Somehow, most likely through a couple of comments on a [ profile] anon_lovefest and some very anti-woman comments on a girl!Mike/girl!Kevin fic (not mine, but someone else's), I've had the feeling that fandom is especially misogynistic recently.

    But then. In the last month or so, there have been three amazing things that have reminded me that being a part of fandom is about being a progressive community of women as much as it is about porn:

    • [ profile] megyal made two posts linking to other women's posts on feminist topics. (Full disclosure: one of the posts she links to was one of mine.)

    • [ profile] roga, who I don't know at all, recced "You Have My Heart (in your hands)," which led to a handful of people reading it and leaving feedback. What's making me particularly joyful about this feedback is that the things people are saying they liked are all of the feminist elements of it.

    • [ profile] colouredmango has made two posts in the last couple of days that both made my heart feel full. "I just need your hand in mine" indeed.
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    Come join [ profile] romoerotic! So far there's an unrec from [ profile] schuyler and a things I would've made you fix in editing post from me. I, for one, have several other books to post about once I get around to writing about them, and I would love to see what you all have to say about other novels.
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    I've been cranky all day. There isn't anything particularly wrong with my life, so there's no real reason for it. (Well, mostly. I'm a little tired and it's allergy season, but I can deal with that.) So to try and counter that, here are five things I'm thankful for, in no particular order:
    • [ profile] lakeeffectgirl's suggestion of Larabars as a morning snack. I loved the apple flavor, and now I'm going to have to try them all and then buy the ones I like in bulk.

    • Sarah's Bad Rabbits and The Young Veins show liveblog.

    • [ profile] siryn99 sending me a link to a post that had my new favorite Gabe and Victoria picture. (I'm such a sucker for them singing together. Which is really about how I'm a sucker for couples who are evenly matched.)

    • I made peanut butter last night, so I can eat as many spoonfuls of it as I want today without worrying that I won't have enough for breakfast tomorrow.

    • The AP Tour. I would never travel to go see The Cab, but I just bought tickets to see them in my very own hometown on Thursday.
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    I've stopped watching How I Met Your Mother. I started watching it this week, but it was offensive (I actually said, "Fat jokes are not funny," out loud), it wasn't funny, and I think they've lost their way in terms of storytelling, which is only going to get worse now that they've been renewed for yet another season.

    I'm now three episodes behind on SPN and two on Leverage. I'm just not willing to give up time I'm spending doing other things to watch them. (Also, I've been having trouble keeping up with my weights, which is what I was doing while watching TV. I'm changing to Sunday-Tuesday-Friday, and hoping that helps.) I'm caught up on Mercy and Castle (only because it apparently wasn't on this week), and I never get caught up on Friday Night Lights until Saturday or Sunday anyway.

    I'm a Nielsen family this week, and they're really not going to have a good picture of my viewing habits given that there's no place to write in stuff watched online. Their loss! I'd forgotten that they send you money when you agree to keep a TV diary, so at least there's that. (It's actually making me even less inclined to watch the Super Bowl than I already was, just so I don't add to the ratings.)

    Music - The Best Blog
    If you have any interest in either music or good writing, you should be reading Sarahindie (feed: [ profile] sarahindiedtcom). For the sake of full disclosure, I have to admit that I am slightly biased in this recommendation; Sarah is one of my favorite people in the whole world. But you don't just have to take my word for it! I told a friend he should read it because he would totally disagree with her but enjoy the writing. Last weekend, he said he's been reading some of it, and I was absolutely right: he disagrees with her but likes the writing.

    Bandom - Fall Out Boy
    I've taken to reading Alternative Press when I'm in Barnes & Noble. I read their 2009 wrap-up issue and was very confused that FOB wasn't on their list of bands on permanent hiatus. I'm actually also confused by people's annoyance at Pete. He said, "would you rather me lie to you through a publicist?" and my thought was that people would probably rather his band weren't over, but barring that, I'd rather he just straight up say whatever it is he has to say (which he eventually did). Vague blog entries are annoying. (My favorite thing to come out of all of this was this post from Pete which I scrolled past on my friends page and just assumed was a [ profile] daily_patrick post.) I will admit to being teary-eyed, but I was also excessively cranky and headachy, all of which I think has more to do with not getting enough sleep than anything going on with FOB.

    The discussion in the comments to [ profile] eleanor_lavish's post about this said that this is what Pete always does: draw fire to himself to protect his band. (Personally, I think this seems like a bad idea when you're already struggling with depression, but it's his life. Also, bunny: Pete the masochist. Eventually someone figures it out and takes him on so he has a safe, sane, consensual outlet for it, which makes him a little more stable in public.) At least a couple of people in the post said they were annoyed with Patrick. Me too! At least Andy and Joe both stepped up and took some of the heat/stood up for Pete. Interesting, though, that Patrick's now referring to his album as a "solo project," which he refused to do before. (My theory was that "solo project" makes it sound like there's a band to go back to and he knew there wasn't.)

    Aside: Weight Loss Culture, Spencer, and New!Patrick
    I have to admit that while Patrick's video is freakin' adorable, I'm not into new!Patrick. I've actually had a really hard time reading comments talking about how hot he is now. "Now," of course, meaning "now that he's lost weight." Then there's my own personal thoughts on his attractiveness: this guy could be any guy; that guy looked like he might be interesting. I have the same feeling about Spencer; I like hot baby dyke Spencer a lot better than I like lost some weight, wears boy clothes Spencer. I have two thoughts about this. The first is that I'm a lesbian; of course I'm not into the guys who just look like guys. The second is that I feel guilty for this because liking who they were doesn't acknowledge who they are now. (This second one is where I fail at objectification, which is, I suppose, a win for my critical feminist brain.)

    Bandom - Empires
    If you haven't yet, I recommend spending the $2 to buy Empires' new single and its b-side. The single is "Damn Things Over," which I really like despite its punctuation issues. The b-side is "I Know You Know" (video of the live version), which is close to surpassing "Spit the Dark" as my favorite Empires song.

    A lot of people (read: four) I know have seen them on this tour. I feel totally left out, but [ profile] schuyler concert called me and [ profile] siryn99 uploaded video, which helps! Someday Empires will make it to my part of California.

    Bandom - Other
    Speaking of bands that make it to my part of California, are Never Shout Never, Hey Monday, The Cab, Every Avenue, and The Summer Set worth seeing? They're on the AP Tour, which means they're going to be in Chico, which means I could go for not very much money and a very short drive. It is a Thursday, which makes me less inclined, both because it would mean skipping dance and because it would mean being up late, but I could handle that if it were worth it.

    Bandom - Cobra Starship
    The fact that I really like Cobra Starship is an unpopular fannish opinion in my corner of fandom, so I don't talk about them as much as I otherwise might. I love their music, and I find Gabe totally fascinating. I'm also new to them so I'm not invested in a way that means the things that have made my friends be done with them don't bother me (much; Gabe being a jerk to one of my friends directly gets the angry face: >:( ).

    But let's talk about Gabe being fascinating. I know fandom has this whole image of him as being a wild, drunken party boy, which I suppose he's earned, but following him on Twitter has given me this whole other image of him. Where is the emo!Gabe fic? Because, seriously, he is not necessarily cheerful: "i feel like i'm losing my fucking mind. but for real. and i'm sure not sleeping is not helping. eventually the medicine stops workin." (source) "i went out tonight with all my best friends... .i dont even know how to have fun anymore... i'm just always looking to get into a fight. :/" (source) "not to get all emo, but what's worse: getting disappointed, or being a disappointment?" (source)

    And where's the discussion and/or fic about how he's actually really, really smart? "As Gabe Saporta awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect" (source) is possibly my most favorite status update ever. I'm sure he got interesting replies from people who didn't get it. (It's a riff on Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and Gabe was in Vienna at the time.)

    And then sometimes he's adorable. He and Bianca (his girlfriend) did a video for Elle that is the cutest thing ever. I kind of wish I had something more substantive to say about it, but that's pretty much exhausted my thoughts about it. I would be happy to flail with you in the comments if you have more to say.

    Bandom - A Brief Critical Look at Cobra Starship's Central Narrative
    I keep meaning to do the actual research to make sure my impression is right and then make a real post about this, but I've been meaning to do that for a month and haven't yet, so you get just the brief, unresearched version.

    I'm fascinated by the way the central narrative of Cobra Starship's promo materials seems to be increasingly heteronormative. By that I mean that I've seen a lot of older promo photos wherein Gabe is leaning on any or all members of his band; newer promo photos seem to put Gabe and Victoria front and center as a unit. Intentionally or not, Gabe and Victoria both play this up, him in interviews and her on Twitter. (My impression of them is that he's doing it intentionally as part of a marketing strategy and she's doing it either unintentionally or intentionally as a way to get people to talk about her.) The music press is also involved; the photo that accompanied AP's blurb naming Victoria keytarist of the year for 2009 is a picture of the two of them on stage. On the one hand, I like this; they're my OTP of the moment. On the other hand, I find this deeply problematic. I know that Cobra has been deliberately mainstreaming their image, and I'm sure this is part of it. The problem is that influence doesn't just go one way. Even as they fit themselves into a heterosexual norm, they reflect that norm back into the mainstream, and to a larger audience the bigger they get.

    What's interesting about Cobra doing this is that they actually haven't done away with the homoerotic angle to the band; they've just pushed it into the background. The homoeroticism is being carried by Alex and Ryland (the band's official announcement of their "Hot Mess" remixes EP, which includes the Suave Suarez On Pleasure Ryland Remix said, "Alex and Ryland even give it their own spin and the title they chose outta give those fanfic writers some...inspiration!") or, more often, Nate and Alex. The sensible part of my brain thinks that they had to choose someone, and Alex and Ryland thought it would be weird for it to be the two of them. The fan fic is the center of the universe part of my brain thinks they chose that because Alex thinks he'll get to top more in fic if he's with Nate. (Considering the way the taller guy always tops thing has seeped into western fandom from anime fandom, that might actually be the way Nate/Alex fic goes.)

    JoBros Meet Nicole Kidman
    Probably any of you likely to care have already seen this picture, but even if you're not into the JoBros, you might find Nicole blatantly checking out Kevin amusing.
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    Today's treat is a rec of a different sort: Sociological Images (feed: [ profile] socio_images). The purpose of the blog is to collect images that might be useful for sparking sociological discussion. It's very interesting. (Note: There is always a troll type, and while the previous one annoyed me at first, now I just laugh, so you don't have to take those comments seriously.)
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    I'm starting to run out of ideas for these treats. If there's anything or any kind of thing you'd like to see, please leave a comment back on the announcement/request post. I did, however, note one thing that's been missing from these: belly dance.

    This is one of my favorite routines to dance (although I'm not in this video):

    I don't know the actual name of the song; we always call it the "Hayati Veil" because the song has the word "Hayati" in it and we do a veil dance to it. Listen/download at
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    I'm fond of PostSecret, and I've been saving the postcards that speak to me. Most of them are not cheerful. (Apparently I like grim stories.) This one is (click for larger).

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    I received a couple of snowflake cookie v-gifts (thank you!), so I thought today's treat could be snowflake-related. First up is this:

    This was posted by Penny Arcade's Gabe with the caption "I cut a snowklake for my son and he looks at me like I'm David fucking copperfield. That's a good feeling." (source)

    Secondly, if you'd like to virtually cut your own snowflake, I always enjoy Barkley Interactive's Make-a-Flake.
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    I only realized on my walk this morning that I forgot to do a thankfulness post yesterday.

    I'm thankful for Novel Eats vegan scalloped potatoes recipe. It's so yummy, and I've now made it enough that I have it memorized. I use gluten-free flour, and I don't like mushrooms, so I leave them out and double the onions; it's still delicious.

    I'm thankful to have had the chance to see a bunch of people I haven't seen in a while, many of whom are people whose kids I was in daycare with, at our old daycare provider's sixtieth birthday party.


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    Ruth Sadelle Alderson


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