Last night I had the enormous pleasure and introduction to Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, a self-described psychedelic noh-wave opera group hailing from Toronto. They performed at Motr pub in Over the Rhine to a modest, Monday night crowd in Cincinnati.


Their performance was solid, the band was really tight, and the vocals were stellar. I got to chat a little bit with the band afterwards about the creative process in this political climate, another Toronto band who came through town and blew my mind at Motr (looking at you Beams), and midwestern life. They were all really generous with their time which was amazing because they had just played one hell of a show and had to get on the move to Cleveland, where they are playing Beachland Ballroom tonight. If you find yourself with the opportunity to check them out, I cannot recommend enough that you do just that!


circles and circles and circles again

When I last posted here, I had no idea that in just two short months following, my mother would die in a sudden and traumatic end. I couldn’t write for the longest time after that, then I picked up working on short fiction again. The escapism of fiction has always been a nice release, but the mental and emotional toll that losing her took on my well being was just too great.

It’s been nearly a year and a half since that happened.

This blog was inspired by my life and love for Iceland, a country that’s been so healing and so hard to be in for different reasons. When I first traveled there, I carried the enormous weight of having suffered rape at the hands of a friend who I trusted just six months earlier and still couldn’t even process that I experienced that trauma, not even to my partner. When we returned home after that trip, I spent the rest of the summer very much in a healing process and supported by a partner who is and always will be at the core of who I’ve become as an adult.

We didn’t return to Iceland for two years after that, but when we did it felt even more like home to be back on that rock in the middle of the ocean. That trip was a beautiful exploration of the entire island, but not without the heartache of arriving at a small farm in East Iceland, only to receive messages that my mother was suffering from a stroke and it would be days before we could travel home. She recovered, thankfully, but those hours where things weren’t certain as we tried to assess from thousands of miles away were extremely difficult. I had no idea that it would be nearly a year later and she’d be gone forever.

Surviving the loss of a parent is a bizarre and almost unnameable experience. But because we had made it through 6 months of this hell, I suppose my partner wanted a break and he certainly deserved it. So even though it was going to be November and colder than ever when we had previously visited, he booked our return home to that emotional rock in the middle of the ocean and we attended our first Airwaves festival. We made some of the best of friends and saw incredible artists and I thought a lot about what had happened with my mom last time we were there. It was a trip of a indulgence and reward for having made it through the things we had made it through and for that I am forever grateful.

I’ll celebrate my birthday this year when we return to Airwaves. This time of year is always one that is wrapped up in feelings of new beginnings and fresh starts, with the change of seasons and as I start another revolution around the sun. It’s also marked with trauma, however, and we actually depart on the anniversary of my assault, the one I carried with me in silence the first time we traveled to Iceland. And to be sure, the political climate here in the US with the recent confirmation of a known rapist to the Supreme Court nominated by another known rapist has become one of the most difficult daily reminders of this awful experience. But, this time of year is mine, it’s my new start, my renewal, my enduring, and my survival.

So I guess this post is to say, I’m back, I think, here for a while to share again the things I’m reading, writing, listening, and enjoying. Thank you for being here with me.

Audible is incredible

So in looking for an audiobook for my book challenge this year, I started with something totally not in my wheelhouse and then ended up switching to Neil Gaiman's narration of Norse Mythology. It is absolutely perfect.  


Okay, not as perfect as that time he was in a falafel on Arthur....but close.  Coupled with some weirdo weather lately that's made the Midwest seem very Icelandic, it's just a real treat to listen to while looking out at the rainfall.

I might make the move from podcasts to audio books for my drives to work now! 

Wherein Sherwood Anderson, who I haven't thought much about since undergrad makes my heart so happy.

In the collection of letters gathered in  Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children and edited by Dorie McCullough Lawson, I have come across some really famous/well known letters, probably because of the blog Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. 

But then today, I read one that Sherwood Anderson, most notably for his work Winesburg, Ohio and who I probably hadn't given much thought about since undergrad (aka a really long while). The letter included penned by a then 49 year old Anderson to his second child, John. Under the collection on "Good Work" this letter included some advice on what the future holds for the seventeen year old. 

He stresses the importance of learning how to do something with one's hands, though if given the choice, he himself would still be a writer first and how the importance shouldn't be strictly measured in a monetary benefit.  He writes, "There is a kind of shrewdness many men have that enables them to get money. It is the shrewdness of the fox after the chicken. A low order of mentality often goes with it."  

Then, about a year later, when Anderson's son stays behind in Paris to study painting, after his family traveled there together---he writes what I would describe as the "Wear Your Sunscreen" sort of commencement speech bits of advice for his son. 

Some particular bits of wisdom: 

The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself. 



The thing of course, is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all their lives in a stupor. The point of being an artist is that you may live.  


And he closes this long letter with what is such terrific advice from a parent to a child, so accepting and loving:  


It isn't your success I want. There is a possibility of your having a decent attitude toward people and work. That alone may make a man of you. 


I think reading this letter, coupled with having just finished John Green's  Looking for Alaska has me thinking a lot about parenthood and the relationships between teenagers and how they relate to their folks. That weirdo age between almost adulting and actually having to adult is interesting because while so much depends on the teenager, undoubtedly a great deal rests on the involvement of the parents. As someone who has had hands off parenting since early adolescence, I can't help but feeling as though I missed out on not having these sort of letters and conversations. But, perhaps it's the beauty of collections such as these.... Sherwood Anderson's parental advice keeps on instructing far longer and much further than he had imagined back in 1927. 



small goals sunday

I met with friends over the weekend and we talked about our successes and failings in working through each week. Undoubtedly, since that awful day this past November, when the world seemed to lose all sense of what is good and right (at least in our corner in the US), it has been exhausting to work through the endless cycle of madness that is the daily tweets and news reports .

I've taken to small goal planning, to exert some level over control in this decidedly undecided world. I say small goal specifically too, because as much as I like writing TO DO lists, I enjoy marking things off of those lists even more. 

So for this this first full week of March, I working on the following: 


Write every day. I have been sticking with this one for a while, but it's important to me that I continue with this goal. I have various projects I'm working on: this blog, an EP that Patrick and I are working on together, a short story art project I have had in the works for quite a while, and a new poetry project that's in the earliest stages of infancy. Basically, come on lady, you've always got something to write for/on/about.


Drink some fucking water, you ungrateful first worlder. As an adult with access to clean drinking water, I have no excuse for the amount of caffenated beverages I consume in lieu of delicious good old fashioned H2O. I don't know if the old timey 8 glasses of water is still the recommendation, but this week I'm seriously making it a priority to get at least 4 glasses. I mean, I have to start somewhere.


Keep readin', Keep, Keep Readin' (sing to the tune of Leona Lewis): I have been super excited about the Pop Sugar challenge I posted about a few days ago. I really rediscovered my love for reading last year when I did the one year challenge where I only read authors who were either Women or POC. It had been long enough from my heavy academic workload that I got back into reading for pleasure. I finished another text this week and I think to complete the full Pop Sugar list I have as it stands currently, I need to be reading at least 50 pages a day on average, which seems a bit heavy, but I'm going to work towards that and will be happy if I finish off another 2 titles this week. It will be a challenge but I know I can definitely finish 1, which is why I'm going to work toward 2. 


Dear Woodward, I love you.


Last night, the Nashville four piece Savoy Motel came through town. It was a really great show. Whoever does the booking at the Woodward is totally responsible for expanding my musical horizons. The best show I saw all of 2016 was there.

These kids were way groovy. I felt bad that they had a show on the start for the biggest drinking weekend in Cincinnati, Bockfest. Nevertheless they put on a hell of a show for an intimate crowd.  


Friday musings

It's Women's History month and I'm on my way to a concert, which made me think of this gem.  


Vincent (as her friends referred to her and I like to pretend we'd be friends in other lifetime) is such a fascinating woman and I really treasure her anachronistic personality. Talk about queer poly heroes of the 20th century for $500, Alex. 

 Happy Friday Night!



A lot has happened in 226 days

So I didn't exactly lie , but it's been longer than I anticipated in my break from blogging. 226 days to be exact.  


But here we are, on National Bjór Day, where Patrick and I celebrate from abroad the repeal of prohibition on beer in Iceland. 


The world is very different place from the last time I recorded anything on this little piece of the internet, but I won't mourn the sadness at the ridiculous state of our current political climate here... at least not today. 


Mostly, I wanted to put in writing I'm back. Or will be, every day this month. Unfortunately, I started off March feeling under the weather, both figuratively and literally, but I'm looking forward to digging in and sharing my thoughts in this space. I do hope you'll pull up a seat and stay a spell.  

Soon returning to our regularly scheduled blogging.....

Wowzers...it's been nearly 2 months since I last posted. Summer is really flying by. 

So since my last post, we've returned home from Iceland and settled back into the lovely sweltering heat that is a Cincinnati summer and I know on my end (maybe not Patrick's) have begun the countdown to cooler days of Autumn. 

But before Autumn arrives, I'd love to share some of our travels, adventures around the city, and the amazing books, films, and other media I've been consuming. 

So stay tuned and I'll be back before you know it. 



We're on holiday in Iceland! It's been a bit of a whirlwind so far, in that lovely fog where you never really know what day of the week is or what time it is kind of way. Jet lag has been oodles better this time around, but it still feels as though there's never enough daylight (which there is plenty) and I'm trying to stay unplugged but we also happened to get a modem for while we're traveling so it hasn't been that unplugged. 

I'm writing from a tiny studio in Ísafjörður, where the wind is howling against the windows, and as I look out I can see snow covered mountains and choppy sea waves. It's more beautiful than I can describe, really.

We're making our way around the West Fjords tomorrow before taking on the North.

Until next time! 

Basking in the shadow of Humboldt

I've just finished a terrific book by Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World. 


Wulf does a phenomenal job of I've described to friends as "Humboldting, Humboldt," which is to suggest she does a wonderful job of contextualizing the famed naturalist within a broader and bigger picture. Weaving together figures from all over the world, she explores the way the Humboldt's worldview developed in various political climates. Certainly in many ways he does appear to be a bit anachronistic, his way of viewing the world is so thoroughly modern.


The overall structure of the book works well and I liked the way she grouped different sections of his travels together. Humboldt's relationship with Goethe was a stark reminder that I need to revisit works I have not touched since undergrad (more than a decade ago). Want I love most about Goethe is the way he was able to show Humboldt the beauty of poetry when combined with science. 

 Wulf quotes Darwin in the last paragraph of Origin of Species  to demonstrate the influence of Humboldt by comparing it with a passage from Personal Narrative : 

"The beasts of the forest retire to the thickets; the birds hide themselves beneath foliage of the trees, or in the crevices of rocks. Yet, amid this apparent silence, when we lend an attentive ear to the most feeble sounds transmitted by the air, we hear a dull vibration, a continual murmur, a hum of insects, that fill, if we may use the expression, all the lower strata of the air. Nothing is better fitted to make man feel the extent and power of organic life. Myriads of insects creep upon the soil, and flutter round the plants parched by the ardor of the Sun. A confused noise issues from every bush, from the decayed trunks of trees, from the clefts of the rock, and from the ground undermined by the lizards, millipedes, and cecilias. There are so many voices proclaiming to us, that all nature breathes; and that, under a thousand different forms, life is diffused throughout the cracked and dusty soil, as well as in the bosom of the waters, and in the air that circulates around us."

With our return to Iceland coming up in the not so distant future, I feel like I'm going to see the country I love so much with a new Humboldtian perspective, fresh eyes. I am eager to work on my writing while we're there and to take the time to really reflect on the beauty that is this little pile of dust we travel upon around the universe.

The Mondays 04.25.16

The weekend was rough, you gals. I mean, we lost Prince. What gives 2016? Why do you have to keep taking all our favorites? 

I would have posted yesterday, but I basically spent the weekend taking care of business around the haus so little time left for writing. P and I are still waist level deep in snot due to the unrelenting allergy season the midwest has in store for us, but hoping to shake it so we can do the Little Kings One Mile race during the Flying Pig Weekend coming up. I mean, I can get through a mile, I just might be wheezing, snot nostril bubbling, and whining an embarrassing amount. 

Here's a better more attractive less snotty look at the state of things in my world right now...

Currently I am: 

Reading: The Invention of Nature ... and still have my nose in a few others, but focusing on that one mostly for now.

Listening to: A lot of Prince (obviously), REM (we've got them planned as a big part of our upcoming soundtrack while in Iceland), and Bully (we're seeing them this weekend!)

Watching: I don't even pretend like I'm not invested in an embarrassing level of devotion to Dancing with the Stars. We were pretty stoked to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones last night, though I do hope there's more storytelling and less epic battle scenes this season. My best friend S showed me a one off episode of The League because one of the actors was in an episode of Brooklyn 99 which we watch together and so I plan on going back to start that—I mean Netflix has been pushing it on me too (for years). 

Looking forward to: The next round of the NHL playoffs for the Penguins. They've found their stride and it's been really great to see them play again. The Bully show this weekend, live music is for me what religious folks feel like going to church. My irises blooming! They're one of my favorite parts of our landscaping and I love seeing them from the front porch. 

Here's to a fabulous week ahead!


The Sundays 04.17.2016

Spring has arrived in Cincinnati. Patrick and I had a lovely weekend that was fun filled and exhausting. We attended a craft beer festival on a riverboat cruise that put us both closer toward our goal of reaching 1000 brews on Untapped. Gorgeous weather meant we got lots of our landscaping progress out of the way and we now live pretty much surrounded by marigolds and I'm totally okay with this. 

I went to my first social event with Girls Pint Out which was lots of fun! I also totally fell off the wagon in terms of keeping up with my April photo a day challenge on Instagram, ha. They've been good prompts, but I forgot one day which turned into two days and then three....oh well. I'm reserving that this is okay and I won't stop taking lots of photos nevertheless. 

Most excitingly, we booked our tickets for a visit to Blue Lagoon as soon as we land in Iceland. It's a tourist trap, to be sure, but we enjoyed it on our last trip and landing early in the morning before we can check in to our apartment means we needed to find something to do. So getting good and pruney will be the first thing we do! 


I've been sitting on this post, pondering what I wanted to share to explain how completely different I've felt for the last week. A week ago, P and I headed to see Thao & The Get Down Stay Down at the Woodward. It was one of the best shows I've been to, like ever, in my nearly 2 decades of showgoingtos (attendance?)

I was reading a bit more about the album I fell in love with, her most recent release, A Man Alive and it donned on me why I was so attracted to the sort of deep cut, "Meticulous Bird." She wrote about giving survivors of abuse, sexual abuse in specific, a space and anthem and words to scream: 

I find the scene of the crime, I take my body back

It hadn't occurred to me that might be why I was so attracted to this song, why I found myself listening on repeat for the last month, and how wonderfully combative it felt. But so that was all I wanted to hear—just that one song. I know, from years of going to shows, it is positively setting oneself up for heartbreak to have your mind and heart so set on hearing that one song, but I didn't care because I needed to hear her play that. She had a fantastic set and came back for the encore and covered Missy Elliot which was amazing and then went into this track. 

It was pure magic. For me, something shifted. It's been nearly 2.5 years since I was raped. I didn't even tell Patrick about it until 6 months after it happened. That was followed by an even harder, bumpier, year and a half of therapy and recovery. I went through many phases from denial (I couldn't even use the word rape until Patrick repeated it to me over and over when I referred to what I could only call an "incident"), to anger, to not talking about it, to only talking about it (telling strangers, people I just met because I needed them to see me to tell me I was in fact there and not the ghost I felt like), and after hearing this song, a since of closure and resolve. 

For the longest time, it's been about him: the person I trusted and cared about who raped me. It's been all reactionary, all consumed by this one night and this one thing he did to me. It became the defining mark of my identity, there was pre-rape Katrina and post-rape Katrina and this person got to exist as this hyphenating troll ruining my life and nearly ruining my relationship with Patrick. It takes an extraordinary amount of courage, forgiveness, kindness, and love to work through something that painful together. Finally, though, I feel as though I've arrived. 

I take my body back I take my body back I take my body back

The Sundays 04.10.2016

After looking back to last weekend, this one was totally pretty much the total opposite. We were busy with all kinds of fun things but I almost feel like I need a weekend to recover from my weekend! 

Looking back: This past week I got rid of the pink in my hair and went over to the dark side, so dark in fact, that Patrick has said I'm borderline goth. My appointment ran late, however, so I didn't make it to hear a former professor speak on politics and humor. I was happy to meet more new folks at the Brewery Book Club and to discuss a pretty good text but had to cram that in before Patrick and I headed to the Woodward to Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. That in itself will be a post I hope to get up this week. It was a phenomenal show. I also got to meet up with some of the girls from Girls Pint Out on Saturday for a lovely event sponsored by Artswave at one of my favorite watering holes in OTR.

Looking forward: I'm super pumped about heading to my first official Girls Pint Out event this week. I identify pretty much as an ambivert, though I'd say these days I'm definitely feeling that the scales tip more toward the introverted side than extrovert. So it's been a real mission lately to put myself out there and try and meet new people. Patrick and I have a full weekend of plans next weekend, so hopefully we will have a low key work week. It's been colder than I like, so I'm hoping for spring to return again and get these legs running again. I'm also hoping to make my way through more of this fascinating book I started, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World


Cincinnati Goddamn

Fifteen years. Fifteen . 

I didn't live in Cincinnati when the riots happened. I was just across the state line, in Indiana, probably thinking about what I was going to wear to my first prom. 

Timothy Thomas, just two years older than me, fled from police down an alley in Over the Rhine, where he was shot and killed. He was unarmed. 

I think about him often, I spend a lot of time in Over the Rhine, and I pass that place he was killed on a regular basis. If those walls could, the stories they'd tell.  

Patrick and I went this past Tuesday to a screening of April Martin and Paul Hill's feature-length documentary about police brutality and grassroots activism, Cincinnati Goddamn , at one of our favorite venues in Over the Rhine, The Woodward Theater. It was a compelling examination into the decades long institutional racism our city has experienced and the deaths of several black men at the hands of Cincincinati police officers.  

Admittedly, I cringed when a fact that is often quoted on my tour, a boasting about Over the Rhine being the "largest intact urban historic district" flashed on the screen among these stories of fractured families and communities caused by police violence. 

I've been thinking a lot about my own research and wanting to share stories of Over the Rhine and her history. I've been thinking about the voices you don't hear on tours and how to incorporate the stories of the often marginalized communities, to give them a seat at the table and let them share their stories, their histories, and their hopes.  I feel a real calling to try to do this work, because it's important to present history in a nuanced and critical way.

It has been 15 years. That's a lot of time for things to change, but the wheels of progress turn slowly. But at least, I suppose, they feel like they are turning. That's no doubt because people like Martin and Hill are presenting an opportunity for these important conversations to happen. 

You can purchase a copy of the documentary Cincinnati Goddamn here

The Sundays 04.03.2016

Goodbye, March! Hello April!

We had an absolutely terrific weekend. It was a perfect mix of productive and lazy and was full of recharging and relaxation. It was exactly what was needed after this week.  

Looking Back: 

We got to try out some new recipes thanks to trying out Marley Spoon subscription service. The first meal was a bust for me, but P really liked it. The second meal we tried knocked it out of the park though! It was these little meatloaf burgers served over rice with quick pickled cucumbers! I can't believe I haven't tried the quick pickling thing before, but damn it had me like: 


Today was really special because we got to celebrate with P's aunt who was celebrating her 50th year as a nun. It was a lovely service and we heard lots of really funny stories about her experiences joining the convent and what it was like to make a decision like that. P's mom (his aunt's older sister) shared how she had sent a sympathy card as joke to his aunt when she first moved to the convent after joining and little did she know, the mail was all opened before delivery to the sisters. His aunt got called in by the head nuns who wanted to know who had died! His mom has a real sassy spark to her and the biggest heart. 

Even though I don't hold the same religious affiliation/spiritual world views, I think that it is really great to celebrate the commitment to service and making the world a better place that his aunt has made for the last 50 years. I can't wait to go back and celebrate her 60th! 

Looking Forward:

I am so excited for this week.  It's gonna be a full one, but hopefully the kind that leaves you very happy even if very tired. Looking forward to seeing Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, a former prof from undergrad give a talk on humor & politics, my brewery book club meetup, and depending on how I'm doing by Saturday maybe a little Roller Derby? Shew, it will be fun. We're also getting our first delivery from Blue Apron so we'll see how making meals goes with that!




The Sundays 3.27.16

I've decided (schedule and life permitting) that sitting down to reflect on the past week and think about the week ahead might be a regularly scheduled post around these parts. In undergrad, my roommate and I instituted SNMN (Sunday Night Movie Night) as a means to curb those Oh-No-We-Have-To-Go-Back-To-The-Real-World-Because-The-Weekend-Is-Over-Blues. So maybe this is new iteration of that sort of blues-curbing/self-caring kind of thing.

Looking Back:

So let's see, what's in the past? This weekend was full of #hliðstæðu time. For once, Patrick and I didn't have a full weekend of obligations and plans, which was terrific. We had a super low key Friday at home. Saturday morning we started things off at Covington's Braxton Brewery for their 1 year anniversary party! In just one short year, they've really upped the game when it comes to delicious local beer. We also hit the cinema to see the much talked about 10 Cloverfield Lane which was so good (I'll probably end up writing a longer review on sometime soon).  We don't celebrate Easter, but our Sunday was still full of fun and sunshine as we toured around in Over The Rhine, enjoying some new brews and eating a delicious lunch at Pontiac. It's been so nice out we decided to invest in a new small bluetooth speaker to enjoy some tunes on the front porch and may have hit the jackpot when we found a Lisa Frank complete with rainbows and puppies speaker at a second hand bookstore. I may or may not have squealed at the sight of it. 

Looking Forward:

We are going to get our first delivery from Marley Spoon midweek so it will be fun trying to cook some new styles of cuisine for dinner. We are most certainly guilty of not getting outside the box around here, mostly because I'm guilty of having a "toddler diet" with my main food groups being tacos, pizza, and chicken nuggets. 

I'm really relieved to not have any commitments or plans for this week. It seems like such a rarity, so hopefully it means I'll play a lot of catch-up with my Omnifocus task list for dumb adult/house type duties—which would be nice because Spring brings such an anticipation for bringing things back to life and a deep cleaning around this corgwn/cat hair palace is definitely in order. 

Actually, technically we were to meet for our FWB: Friends with Books Book Club this week, but the book I had picked for this month has been an absolute bear and none of us have gotten through it, so we're aiming to meet up at the end of April. It's been a big exercise for myself to let go of what I would normally want to put in the total failure category, but not all books are good book club books, so we try, we learn, we move forward. Giving myself the space and permission for that has been a lot of work, but I'll get there.

Also totally can't wait to check this film out this week. It looks absolutely stunning.  Might even turn up later as a film review!

Here's to a fantastic week!

It wasn't a match, I say. It was a lesson.


Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric  is unforgettable, unsettling, and unapologetic. It answers questions of what it means to be a person of color in America—she presents quite clearly what traumas, including those fatal moments where in a situation things occurred specifically because of racial aggression.  

It's heartbreaking. It's honest. It's brutal. 

Rankine's prose poems collectively show from a smaller personal scale, to national headlines, to celebrity athletic stages—there's a shared experience that exists as a person of color.  

On Hurricane Katrina, she writes:  

He said, I don't know what the water wanted. It wanted to
show you no one would come. 
He said, I don't know what the water wanted. As if then
and now were not the same moment.

From her poem "Making Room," Rankine recounts her experiences in public transit, her awareness to the way men of color are mistreated. It's this level of awareness, that beyond being a black woman, there are the difficulties of being a black man that she pens so beautifully. 

You sit next to the man on the train, bus, in the plane, wait- 
ing room, anywhere he could be forsaken. You put your
body there in proximity to, adjacent to, alongside within. 

There's a solidarity in her understanding. The experiences outlined in these prose poems are infuriating and collectively make me wonder, how does one deal with this? Perhaps, as the final lines suggest, not as matches, but rather as opportunity for lessons.