Currently reading: Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky 📚 Oof. I’m printing this sentence out and posting it in front of my face.
If you want to learn more about food insecurity and community fridge networks, this article is a good place to start: There Is Enough Food, Just Not Enough Food Access
Today is Labor Day in the U.S., a day to commemorate the labor movement. Let’s raise the minimum wage so that workers can support their families. Join the Fight for $15 in your state.
If you want to join a mutual aid effort to increase access to free food, check out Portland Free Fridge. People need to eat. Let’s feed them!
It’s colder in the forest today than you thought it’d be. Where the crunchy leaves and soil and roots combine, it’s the color of Birmingham Pen Company’s Oak Moss fountain pen ink. 🖋️
Birmingham Pen Company’s California Raisin is your favorite pair of well-worn jeans in fountain pen ink form. 🖋 When wet, it tends toward indigo, and dries to faded denim.
I’m quite impressed with the microCOVID Project calculator, which “lets you estimate COVID risk and find effective safety measures for customizable situations.” The calculator includes locational data, vaccination status, and mask-wearing.
My friend Jan made me a card and bookmark for my five-year anniversary of working at the library. 🥰 Five years already! Keep reading. 📚
Gluten Free Gem is a wonderful gluten-free bakery, and I love them even more for looking out for their customers in this way!
I was challenged by these words from Patricia Elzie’s excellent newsletter, Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice:
I think a lot of us, myself included, need to be better about bearing witness to the humanity of others, whether we know them or not. We need to think about if our actions around interrupting harm being done to others are because we see the humanity in others, or merely actions made in haste to relieve our own discomfort.
It is a privilege to be able to turn away.
The whole issue is worth a read, and then a re-read. It hit me hard today after a week filled with work on our city’s homelessness response. I volunteered to lead this effort, and yet I still query my reasons for doing so. Is it because I believe in the inherent dignity and humanity of all people, or is it because I don’t let myself think too deeply about how easily some human beings can be disregarded and discarded by our modern society, especially the part I play in the latter?
Thirteen years ago I was working at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library in a job I know now was a delimiter of “before” and “after” in my life. The library’s social worker and I had just had a conversation about a regular patron who was experiencing homelessness as well as mental health issues. I was stymied by the patron’s refusal to be connected with services. The social worker explained to me – so patiently, I now see in hindsight – that the patron was afraid of what might happen to them in a shelter because not everyone has trust in institutions because of trauma they have experienced at the hands of these institutions, even institutions like homeless shelters. Even institutions like public libraries.
As I listened to the social worker, I felt dizzy. My set of assumptions about the inherent goodness of librarianship collapsed. I began to see the ways in which library workers (myself included) interacted with patrons experiencing homelessness: with pitying looks and patronizing voices, and sometimes refusing to make eye contact or even ignoring them completely. I began to see the ways that we wrote incident reports, grouping people into categories of “clean” or “smelly”, “relatively lucid” or “zoned out”, “docile” or “aggressive”. Acceptable or unacceptable.
I began to see all of the ways I was part of the problem, as a white woman with privilege who has lived on thinner margins than one might expect but who has never experienced housing insecurity firsthand. What was the public library to me, a person who could easily afford a computer and books and rent and food, and what was it to a person who could not?
Several years later, I would read Fobazi Ettarh’s brilliant analysis of vocational awe which, by naming some of the institution’s flaws, allowed me to rebuild some of the collateral damage that collapse had caused. But I can’t even visit the “before” part of my life again, knowing what I now know. It’s like playing a game that you know is rigged: Even if you win, what have you won?
It took serious effort for me to set boundaries while I was away from the office for ten days. I answered one emergency phone call, zero emails, and didn’t even open Teams. But tomorrow I will return to work refreshed and ready. It was worth it.
Our basil and chives plants were out of control, so I finally harvested them! 🌱 I am now learning the art of oven-drying. The whole place smells like YUM.
Geocaching, already one of my favorite adventuring methods, is improved drastically by the presence of random cats. 🧭😻
Today @FunkyPlaid and I had a picnic lunch in Council Crest Park and hiked part of the Marquam Trail. 🥾🌲🧭 Perfect weather, beautiful surroundings, stellar company. And we geocached, too!
Tonight: a bubble suspended before the pop for hours and hours. How did we do it? Could have been the soap, the wind, the lack of careless elbows, the breath inside, or all of it, or none. I’ll stop wondering and be grateful.
Today our library building was open to the public for eight hours straight. A year and a half ago I had no idea what an achievement that could be. Months of planning to get back to what I took for granted.
Last night, when the heat broke, we went outside and let the breeze carry our voices around the street. 30° drop, temp free-fall. Hosing off our feet. Soft chat with neighbors. I fell asleep hugging a frozen towel.
Tonight was Tigard’s first Pride parade! 🏳️🌈 I asked for help decorating my car, and the thirteen-year-old grand marshals of the parade obliged with liquid chalk and awesome quotes. Here’s my favorite!
Finished reading: Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe 📚 What a triumph of a graphic novel, relating eir deeply personal experiences with meaningful and compelling images. I loved it!
Shoved myself outside of my comfort zone tonight to attend a social gathering with other local writers. It was so far beyond what I had hoped for that I’m still beaming with delight!
Currently reading: The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker. I loved The Golem and the Jinni, so I am thrilled to be reading the sequel! 📚
I’m about to return to work after 11 days (mostly) off, and I can confirm that the most valuable part of my time away was identifying and connecting with who I am outside of my job, my productivity level, and my relative value to society.
I hadn’t had proper downtime since the pandemic began. A few days off a couple of times, but nothing during which I could truly unplug and just be. Our cats teach us how every day.
As I’m now fully vaccinated, I even ventured out into the world to see friends in person. What I took for granted a year and a half ago is now this rare and special treat, one that makes me quite emotional.
As the sun’s warmth seeps back into our days, I feel less panicked, less wrung-out: something adjacent to better. I’ll take it.
Today’s cooking project: a bit of vegan breakfast happiness with Minimalist Baker’s Easy Tempeh Bacon. 👩🏻🍳 Flavorful and protein-packed!