Sunday, March 29

The news

Beast did not get accepted into his grad school of choice in California.

He's pretty bummed, but we're trying to keep the positives in mind: no sky-high rent requirements! I still have a job! He'll be done with school soon! Still, it was disappointing for him. He's looking into grad schools for next year and, in the meantime, we are narrowing down our search for awesome cities and jobs within those cities (or telecommuting, which would be even better).

We took Bean to the Institute of Contemporary Art last weekend for the Shepard Fairey exhibit. She was more impressed with the glass-walled walkway overlooking the ocean.

This weekend, we went to Davis Square and got some $5.49 pants for Beast at Goodwill (his old ones were ripped and falling apart at the seams), only they were $3.49 because he found $2 tucked into the pockets of a pair he tried on but didn't buy. The gods were smiling: money grows in pants.

We ate lunch and debated our values in a new city. Here is what we're looking for, and we're definitely open to relocation suggestions:

*A city or town with culture and nature: we either want to be in the city but close enough to bike to nature or in the country but close enough to bike to culture. No suburbs; I've lived in enough of them, thanks!
*Progressive-minded folks: I went back and forth on this. On one hand, it's great to have a mix of folks, but on the other, I'm really seeking community and I haven't found that in the cities I have lived in (which were all mixes) yet. Maybe I should change the wording to "a real community atmosphere" or something to that effect.
*Great public transit or bike-friendly/a year-round climate for biking: it has been almost two year since we have driven a car and we intend to keep it that way.
*Bonus points for year-round farmers markets/climate to grow our own

I have a feeling that this list is like many folks' lists, but I am determined to find this town and live in it! Here is our list of possible cities that seem to match some or most of our value criteria:

Asheville, NC
Portland, OR (or really anywhere in the Pacific Northwest)
Boulder, CO
Madison, WI
upstate NY (?)
Chicago (?)
Montreal (?)

It was, by the way, highly amusing to read where you guys thought I'd belong, especially from my blogger friends that I have never met in person. Thank you. And, to answer BB's question, I most certainly am NOT from Massachusetts. I'm from many places, more than a dozen cities in the Midwest and also New Orleans, Clearwater FL, and here. So, I'm not afraid of moving!

I'm sipping some organic, fair trade, caffeine-free chai tea that my wonderful friend Momma Val sent in a care package. She (and the tea) is delightful. Now, I return to my quest for some chocolate. Mhmmm, tea and chocolates ...

Sunday, March 15

Going to California ... or not

"The waiting is the hardest part."

Sigh. I'm not a patient waiter. Who is, really? I'm--we're--waiting to hear back about Beast's graduate school application. His top pick is a school in California. California. As in, sunny and warm and more laidback. California, as in, the complete oppposite side of the country, one of the few states I have never visited and one of the states I'm constantly told I "belong" in (although Momma Val disagrees and thinks I'm more of a Washington or Idaho girl). Perhaps most importantly, California is where I do not have a job.

My feelings are mixed. On one hand, I'm not a huge Boston fan. I don't know, it could be something about the lack of community and abundance of selfish, cold, self-involved people combined with sky-high rental rates and bone-chilling, wet winters. I don't want Bean growing up to invest so little in others, which is the example set by the majority of folks around here. California has year-round farmers markets, great weather, an ocean you can actually swim in, a more progressive community. California is an unknown that I can discover and relish in. Beast would love grad school.

On the other hand, I have a job at a nonprofit with great benefits here that I can work from home for half the week. This isn't exactly the best time to go job hunting. I'm tired of Beast being in school. We have been together for nearly a decade, and for nearly a decade minus one year, one or the other of us has been in school. It would be nice to actually see each other instead of do homework a few nights a week. California is expensive, just as much if not moreso than Boston. Having been here two years now, I feel like we're just getting settled. I'm tired of moving. I've moved more than a dozen times in the last decade. Moving means I'd have to pack again. I hate packing. Don't they have earthquakes and mountain lions in California?

So, I wait.

"They say fate, it takes time. I walk a thin line."

Wednesday, March 11

Thrift in this recession

The New York Times has polled authors on whether the recent trend of thrift will last beyond this recession. I have read dozens of blog posts on this matter--and many of them say, yes, let's hope so!--but I'm left scratching my head with the large environmental groups. Where are you? Now is the time when people are realizing how important a dollar is. They are finally stopping to think about their money and realize the power of their dollar. You vote with your money, so where are the large eco-groups crying out for a renewed interest in thrift and where your money goes, what practices it supports, what national policies, what pollution is created, etc etc etc? Now is our moment, our chance. If we can harness enough support now for wise green spending and thrift, it will last beyond this recession and carry us into a new line of thinking, a new way of being. All I'm seeing from the large eco-groups is a sort of "oh, good, they're finally being thrifty" observation when it should be instead the largest PR push they have ever mounted. I suppose it's up to individual actions once again ...

Oh, and The Boston Globe explained how greenhouse-gas emissions have lowered since the recession began--yay!--but how this negatively impacts the cap-and-trade industry.

Monday, March 2

Why religious fundamentalism and politics shouldn't mix

On the floor of the Colorado State Senate on February 23, Senator Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley) actually referred to gay and lesbian people as an "abomination" and an "offense to God."

It gets worse: Renfroe equated gay and lesbian people with murderers and quoted the Book of Leviticus suggesting that gay people should be put to death. He also said that women were created to be "helpers" for men, quoting the Book of Genesis. You can watch his rant on YouTube.

Renfroe was referring to Senate Bill 88, a bill that would extend healthcare coverage to the same-sex partners of CO state employees. SB 88 is about healthcare. It's about gaining some measure of equality for gay and lesbian state employees. And regardless of how people like James Dobson and Scott Renfroe feel about gay people, their shameless hate-mongering has no place in public debate and we should reject them completely.

Respond to Scott Renfroe via ProgressNowColorado, from which some of this message above was obtained. Or, write your own letter to:

Scott Renfroe
Colorado State Senator, District 13
200 E. Colfax
Denver, CO 80203

This letter clarifies the LGBT community's position and Renfroe's misguided speech well--feel free to use parts of it as a sample in your own letter. Let him know hate speech--especially within our government's own walls--will not be tolerated.

Dear Mr. Renfroe,

Recently on the Senate floor, it was your statement that our country was founded on certain beliefs which you hold. The implication was that our country was founded on one version of Christianity. If we go back and look at the situation of our founders, one of the strong reasons we founded our own union was to be free from the violent and murderous religious persecution of England. It is partly because of this experience of persecution our founders believed in a strong sense of religious freedom and that no one religious interpretation should be upheld in our laws if we are to have true religious freedom. (As a side note, some of our founders were actually atheists and deists, not all of them were Christians though one common belief held them together and that is their belief in the implementation of religious freedom.) History has shown the bloody, violent and discriminating effects of instituted religion and your readings on the floor of the senate point to verses commonly perceived as and used to support death as punishment for homosexuality. This is a good example of the value of religious freedom. In the past, religion has been a convenient advocate for everything from slavery and segregation to the oppression of women's equal rights. Our country is a melting pot of many different types of people, religions, races and sexualities and you must consider the diversity within your constituents in order to represent the group fairly. To single one group out and deny them equal access to life-saving healthcare by citing one specific set of religious beliefs is against the nature of our union and also the belief in equality held by our President who holds very high approval ratings. I urge you to do some research into the positions of the following groups on the issue of homosexual equality as they all cite research and fact as support of their positions: The American Psychological Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The Academy of Pediatrics, The National Association of Social Workers and more. I urge you to apologize and retract your statements on the Senate floor, as they speak for religious intolerance and cold discrimination, two things that history has shown to be an embarrassing mistake.

Laura Elizabeth Woodson

Sunday, March 1


"We have done better at playing according to the men's rules than changing them to our own." -Susan Estrich