Things to Watch on TV

I watch too much television, but, lucky for you, I can tell you what’s good.

The Magicians

The Magicians is a Sci-Fi Channel (you can watch it on Netflix or Amazon Prime) series based on a trilogy by Lev Grossman. Some book people will hate me for this, but the show is better. Grossman’s original concept–a world in which magic is real, and so is Narnia, but it’s darker than the children’s books make it out to be–is superb, but it focuses an in ordinate amount of time on one of the least interesting characters, Quentin Coldwater, and is vaguely sexist, homophobic (the gay characters and relationships are portrayed as very sad or embarrassing), and whitewashed. The TV show brings the supporting characters into a new life, making some of the most lovable characters I’ve ever seen on TV. I may have to name a child after Elliott and dress up as Margot for Halloween for the rest of my life. But seriously, can I please be Elliott’s mom, so I can tell him how proud of him I am and mean it?

One Day at a Time

You know how sometimes you are scrolling Netflix, and you are like, “I just need a laugh track sitcom about a Cuban family in LA!” Ok, so you probably have never thought that, and I am 99% grateful that laugh track sitcoms are a thing of the past, but One Day at a Time, a Netflix original, tackles big social issues in a new, yet familiar way. There is plenty of mugging from the indomitable Rita Moreno (best known for her role as Anita in West Side Story) the unflappable abuelita, who dances and talks to her dead husband, and the intrusive landlord has a catch phrase. It makes me think of my childhood TV experiences and how sitcoms were about the typical American family. I just imagine the creators of this saying “what would tv look like if we had had representation 20 years ago?” Anyway, it’s charming, sincere, and there’s a fair amount of Spanish spoken without subtitles, if you want to test yourself or see yourself represented without explanation or excuse. You’ll also recognize a lot of actors from Jane the Virgin.


This is a masterful series by the Wachowskis (The Matrix). What if, one day, you became telepathically linked with 7 other individuals around the world. You could understand each other speak, feel each other’s feelings (all of them) and see what they see. The Wachowskis weave a thrilling tale of love, romance, and empathy through this exceptional show, shot on location world wide. I cannot recommend it enough. Also Daryl Hannah. Need I say more? It was cancelled after just two seasons, but Netflix brought it back for a two-hour finale to appease fan outcry about the show ending on a cliffhanger.  I am sad the show was cancelled, but I’m also glad that it didn’t get 5 more seasons and lose the plot.

Midsomer Murders

What? Why? Well, it’s just so…reliable. You know exactly what you are getting, and Hot Fuzz will make more sense to you once you watch all 120 episodes (and counting) of this process crime drama.


I cannot get enough of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag (and Crashing–watch that too). So far, it has two seasons on Netflix. The unnamed main character, aka Fleabag, is a wreck, but not in a women’s empowerment romcom circa 2012 kind of way, like, she’s unapologetically horny (sex positive!), but all of her relationships are deeply unhealthy. She is a compulsive liar and thief, and socially awkward to an extreme. But you somehow love her. She vulnerable in a way that makes you root for her. It’s crass, funny, sad, and winning.


That’s all for now. You have hours of entertainment ahead of you. Go and enjoy these stories.

Paris Fashion Week (Yes I Know if was Two Months Ago)

This outfit makes me irrationally angry. I also love it, which is why I’m irrationally angry.

First things first: I hate almost all the components of this outfit. I think puffy coats are the worst–yes, they are warm, but they look and sound terrible. Second, I hate slouchy jeans. I would never buy the shoes or the scarf–both of which I would categorize as fine.

But this is a great outfit. Roberta Benteler looks fantastic, effortless and yet intentional. She’s probably achieving the golden ratio between the length of her coat and the way the she’s rolled up her pants to expose the slenderness in her boot’s ankle. This look is working.

I guess that’s at the heart of what sometimes gets to me as a designer and enthusiast. It’s one thing if a look doesn’t work because of failed design elements or ill-fitted garments (I’m looking at you Zac Posen). That’s just human error, and now we have to suffer it walking down a runway or on a famous person. But this–Roberta Benteler–is a different thing. The whole outfit is greater than the sum of its parts. So now, it’s not human error, it’s the universe’s error that clothes I could never bring myself to buy, appreciate, or want, based on their aesthetic appeal manage to look so good.

Man Interrupts Woman at Party

One of the things I have dealt with since childhood is men talking over me. It doesn’t matter if I am at a party or in a meeting or in school. I will be talking and a man will talk over me. This was a prominent feature of growing up evangelical. While I was at times amusing to men who found my passion and conviction unthreatening due to my youth, overwhelmingly, men paternalistically explained things to me. There are men with whom I had meaningful conversations, who invested their time and resources in me as a person. They typically were not the ones talking over me; although they did, at times, explain things to me.

One of the reasons I have distanced myself from identifying as evangelical is because of this tendency at church and the Christian university I attended. It was always annoying, and as I learned more about feminism and equality, it became infuriating.

I have managed to build a life where this rarely happens to me now. Part of that is because of my partner who is remarkably good at giving space to women, which in turn promotes other men in our social circle to do the same.

I recently went to a party without him, though. I was having a conversation with one of the partygoers that ended up being broadened to the whole group, where I explain my position about why I think baby boomers are The Worst. It is an unpopular opinion in media today, but a correct one nonetheless.

Two things of note happened.

One, a man interrupted me with an even more unpopular opinion that was both off topic and off base.

Two, the rest of the men in the room wanted nothing to do with it. They repeatedly attempted to give me the floor and enact other mild social shaming approaches to no avail. The first man continued to insist on talking.

This resulted in all of us leaving the room.

I was with active progressives at this party—they are both politically engaged and intersectionally knowledgeable—including the man who couldn’t stop interrupting me. The dominant feeling was that women with valid points should guide the conversation, not the man with an invalid point. Still the other men were unable to successful subdue the interrupting man and proceed to engage on the original topic.

This reminded me that extricating myself from evangelicalism has not solved this issue for me or for society as a whole. The striking difference was that rather than no men helping me be heard, I had most men helping me be heard. Just the same, the outcome was that of a derailed conversation where no one felt heard, including the interrupting man.

Please Sir, Can I have a Job?

Job hunting makes me anxious.

I know it makes everyone anxious, but for me it reminds me that I spent three years after college trying to find work and only being successful with temp work. It brings up memories of day-long stints in the library pouring over any and every job posting I could find. I am reminded of those feelings of defeat, as I took a low-wage 4-month position over an hour’s bus ride away, doing employment verifications for a fish processing company (even though I kind of loved that job). It reminds me of being homeless, of the uncertainty of my next paycheck, and daily general fear that I was actually just mediocre.

I’ve spent the last three and a half years fighting that feeling. I have a proven record of learning and improving, earning a promotion, a certification, several raises.

I designed entire functions of my job that had not previously existed. I formalized informal aspects so that whoever took the role in the future would have a better job to walk into. It is hard to be creative in an administrative role. I did it anyway. Not to mention, I worked on the largest project my company has done to-date: moving 700 employees to a new headquarters. I am so proud of the work I have done in the last three years.

I am not sure if I know how to put any of that on my resume. I’ve employed resume writers and sought out the advice of recruiters to make sure that I’m showcasing my very best self and accomplishments.

I have applied to 40+ jobs in the last two weeks. LinkedIn tells me whenever a recruiter looks at my profile, which is around three times per week. They also tell me when someone views my application, which is around 5% of the time.

While I didn’t do much online dating, I suppose that’s what this feels like. You put out extensive information about yourself and hope that someone sees it and likes it. It’s one of the reasons I liked Tinder as opposed to almost every other dating site. I liked not knowing much going into the first date. I liked not relying on an algorithm to tell me whether to be attracted to someone.

The other thing I realize, amid all this job anxiety, is that I have only ever gotten a job by knowing someone or through an agency. The one exception is the time I got a job because I walked up to a group of people speaking French and started speaking French. The one woman in the group that didn’t speak French became my boss a few weeks later. Even then, it was not at all conventional. I didn’t submit a resume and get a phone call. I met someone. It was a meet cute.

I don’t have a solution to these feelings. Graduating from college into our worst economic recession has just been hard for my career. I will keep applying to jobs. I have more to say about how the process of advancing in a career feels like dating and what kinds of gender norms exist in this space, as well as the influence of capitalism on this process, but I will save that for next time.

In the meantime, if you live in the Twin Cities, I am looking for entry level project management roles in just about any industry where a physical product or a social good (bonus points for both) is the outcome.

36th Legislative District March Meeting

Bailey Stober, Chair of the King County Democrats, still hasn’t resigned. He could resign via e-mail at any time, though he has intimated that he has an important announcement to make at the March 27th meeting, location TBD.

Last night, however, my home legislative district voted on a resolution calling for Stober’s resignation. Unsurprisingly, some of the women at the center of the controversy, Natalia Koss Vallejo and Mona Das, were present, though they are not residents of the 36th. Bailey was also there at the start of the meeting but left shortly after we started.

I have been attending 36th meetings regularly for just over a year. Even though I had project management classes on Wednesday nights for 9 months, I would sometimes skip class to attend and participate in local democracy.

I am an acting precinct committee officer. At first, I was accidentally assigned to two precincts. One of my only interactions with Bailey was over e-mail rectifying this error and asking that he only sign off on one precinct appointment. Thus, I became an acting PCO in precinct 36-3699. This means, I have a vote in our meetings.

The 36th district is known for being the bluest district in the state—encompassing Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Magnolia, Queen Anne, and even Belltown. We consistently vote for democrats up and down the ballot. We are so sure of our candidate’s victories in our own district, that we adopt a district each year and canvas for them. While I would like to see more people of color in positions of leadership, I can’t deny that the executive board is solidly progressive. A couple members even attempted to change our bylaws to be able to endorse candidates who aren’t Democrats, like Nikkita Oliver. In communities of color, especially the Black community, north Seattle has a bad rap, and that’s not wrong. We’re a wealthy district and we live in desirable, majority white neighborhoods where property values are some of the least affordable. I can only afford to live where I do because I have a roommate. I would need to be making 22% more than my current income to afford my below-market apartment on my own (but we can talk about that later).

In the last month, I have been to two KC Dems meetings, and I have written about those experiences, the climate of the room, and the lack of process in place to address the need for Bailey’s resignation. I don’t know what they are like when it comes to less contentious subjects, but I will say that being back in my LD was a comfort. And that comfort was not the familiar faces of my neighbors, but came directly from the top, from the leadership of our chair, Jeff Manson.

I like Jeff. I have always liked Jeff, even when I have paused to ask myself why this progressive district is led by a white man. The answer is in his presentation of last night’s resolution. It is rare for a chair to present on a resolution. The impartiality of the chair is a valued tradition and Jeff adheres to it. However, Jeff broke with tradition last night, and presented on the resolution calling for Stober’s resignation, not before explaining his reasons and giving space for anyone to voice their objections. No one objected.

I had prepared a statement in defense of the resolution. As Jeff spoke, passionately and precisely, I felt affirmed. He was touching on all the points I had planned to make. He was saying things that I have said during this conflict, in whispers, between eyerolls, in post-meeting car rides. He was saying those things, not in opposition to power, but as the person in power. I felt my insides melting—trepidation gave way to hope and feeling seen. Jeff stated at several intervals that he believed the accusations of sexual harassment and emphasized that our resolution’s scope only included whether we believed Bailey should resign as chair, making an apt distinction between kinds of due process.

When Jeff finished, we had several technical questions, none of which came across as hostile. Before anyone had a chance for debate (at which point I would have volunteered to make a statement), a member made a motion to “call the question.” For those of you unfamiliar with Robert’s Rules, this is how to end debate on something when you think further debate would not be fruitful or you are in a time crunch. Calling the question needs to be approved by a two thirds majority. Otherwise, debate is allowed to continue. The motion passed handily. Moments later, the 36th LD unanimously passed the resolution calling for Bailey to resign as chair of the King County Democrats, 96-0.

Here is the statement I would have read, had there been any call to do so:

“I was raised in a conservative environment where I saw multiple men abuse their power with no consequences. I am a survivor of sexual assault. I cut all ties with the Republican party, because I knew that my voice as woman would be discounted, not matter my qualifications. I joined the Democratic Party guided by the belief that this was a party that supports, empowers, and believes women. Allowing Bailey Stober to continue as chair of the King County Democrats only sends a message to women that we only believe them if they accuse our political opponents.

Even if we were not in this moment, if the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements were not the focus of our public discourse, King County Democrats is broke. They are not financially viable and will not become viable as long as Bailey is chair.

But we are in this moment in time. The #TimesUp and #MetToo movements are central to our discourse. So, I urge you, if you are inclined to lament to lost potential of Bailey’s leadership, to instead consider the lost potential of the women in the organization who will be disenfranchised if Bailey stays.”

I firmly believe that this passed because Jeff spoke in favor of it and because he so rarely does so. I believe that Jeff and other leaders have built a healthy organization, an environment where women and workers are supported, protected, and believed. Jeff volunteers are chair in service to the party, not so that the party can serve him. The last line of our resolution called for 36th Dems to investigate and put into place the correct procedures for removing our own chair in a similar situation. This is significant, because it signals Jeff’s understanding that his wisdom is not infinite, and that we need transparency and process to protect us from abuses of power.

This is in such stark contrast with Bailey’s behavior since allegations of creating a hostile work environment and sexually harassing his employee surfaced. Bailey has tried to use Robert’s rules and the lack of process to stall and protect himself. He has performed political theater, and all but used the Trumpian line “fake news.” This is abuse. Even if somehow all the allegations against him were false or misleading, his behavior toward the executive board of the KC Dems has been abusive. Culture is created at the top. And the atmosphere of abuse created by leadership is toxic and infectious. It created the mentality that the leaks to media were worse than the accusations being made. It allowed Bailey to draw out this process, further deteriorating the function of the organization.

Last night was a breath of fresh air to me, because I was finally in a room where my leader wasn’t trying to gaslight everyone.


Here is what happens when I look at good fashion.

My heart beats faster. No really. My heart rate increases. I can feel it.

My mind starts to extrapolate new designs based on what I am seeing. This is sometimes immediate, sometimes delayed. Certainly, for the next handful of days, I will imagine and literally dream a variety of new designs, pine after the fabrics, and doodle in the margins of notebooks.

I experience a physical and emotional sense of desire. It’s just behind my rib cage. It makes me breathe a little differently, lean forward in my seat. I consume the image before me, details, composition, styling, silhouettes, fabric choice, colors, accessories. All of this happens in an instant, but the feeling slowly spreads throughout my body and mingles with satisfaction. I am both full and hungry.

If this sounds like sex or getting high or falling in love, maybe it is. I can see some similarities there. Maybe that’s why so many artists’ muses have been their lovers. Just remember that when I say that I love clothing, I am not being hyperbolic.

No One’s Dream Job is Fighting for Basic Human Rights

When I was little, I planned on being a fashion designer. I designed clothes, imagined my runway collections, and plotted how I would ethically run my business. I sewed. I read books on design. I thought about other careers, but mostly I wanted to create.

You’ll notice, if you look at my facebook profile,  that I am not in a creative field. I am a facilities administrator. I won’t bore you with those vagaries, though. If you pay attention to how I spend my free time, you’ll notice it is mostly activism-based. I volunteer.

Right now I am planning two fundraisers for my all-time favorite nonprofit, Puentes. I’ve joined the Democratic Party and attend monthly meetings in my legislative district. I am an acting PCO (precinct committee officer). I have joined European Dissent, Neighborhood Action Coalition, and Indivisible since November, all of which have regular meetings and calls to action. I’m learning protest songs. I’m teaching Somali refugees how to sew.

None of these things are things I was doing before November. None of these things are things I imagined for myself as a child. I still have all my usual commitments involving work, church, a boyfriend, friends, and doctor’s appointments. Before you ask, yes, I am tired.

I’m sitting at my computer, and I need to make a plan about the fundraiser in May (which I hope you can come to). But my brain keeps wandering. See, I love to plan parties. And fundraisers are sort of like parties. Ideas start streaming when I’m in my creative zone. Am I thinking about the best way to get people excited for my event? Am I planning speakers or food or centerpieces? Nope. Tonight, all I want to do is plan ways to get the attractive, single men in my life to meet my best friend and flirt with her (because she’s wonderful), tell her she writes the best poetry (because she does), and make out with her on a back porch at a party where everyone is wearing their best clothes or no clothes at all (I’ve heard they have parties like that in New York). It’s frivolous, unnecessary, and it’s all I want to plan. Not a fundraiser. Not 2 fundraisers. Instead of a fundraiser for undocumented immigrants, what if I could hold a celebration?

It’s not so different for other activists. Most of the activists I know are women of color. I saw a post from one the other day saying that once she doesn’t have to fight for basic human rights any more, she plans to get caught up on mediocre romantic comedies. Another activist friend says to me sometimes how she’d like to own a fabric store. She takes me to Seattle gems and picks out fabric for pillows she doesn’t have time to make. Instead of creating, though, we are all doing the work. We show up and do the work. We’re there because we have enough time, resources, or skills to contribute and because our consciences dictate it. To be honest, I feel like I sacrifice relatively little. After all, I have the mental energy to luxuriate in the possibility of setting my friend up with men she is far superior to in wit and beauty and hope they can keep up for long enough to be a break in the cycle of singleness she both loves and hates. I can step away from this work at any time and have a relatively safe, happy, successful life. That is not true of all the activists I’ve met. Some are inextricably members of demographics targeted by policies that disproportionately disrupt and damage their lives. They cannot step away, or simply stop following someone on facebook because they disagree. It is important to understand that injustice isn’t invented by the victims or by the activists; It is created by broken systems and the people who perpetuate those systems.

In recent weeks I have been varying degrees of outraged when I read about yet another republican who is not holding a town hall because of the volume of adverse phone calls and emails they have received. Often, these elected representatives cite the anticipated presence of paid activists as their reason for not doing their job, which includes being accessible to constituents. I truly wish that I could pay all the activists for the work they do, but most of us are underpaid or unpaid completely. We are not doing this because it pays well. The very notion flies in the face of every piece of traditional wisdom which says that if you want to make a lot of money you should get a degree in finance, business, medicine, or law. What degree do you get to be an activist?

We would rather be doing something besides fighting for basic human rights. We would rather that everyone’s rights were recognized and protected. We would rather there was no need for our activism.

There is, though. There is an urgent need. So expect more marches, more phone calls, more office visits. We won’t stop until you protect human rights or we find someone who will.


In more immediate terms, I think the solution to my problem is not to set my friend up with handsome, single men, but to ask her to read poetry at my fundraiser.



An Ostrich Act

We’re doing it again. We’re pretending not to know racism when we see it. It’s the hallmark of white America. Liberals rebrand, and conservatives outright deny. But it’s all an ostrich act.

The litany of ways we deny people of color their personhood continues into our modern era. Before it was outright, bodily rejection that black and brown bodies could be people. Defenses were made and laws were passed. And in every stage of the struggle, black bodies paid for it. And as we have progressed, after being forced into making concessions, white America redraws the lines, and finds a more nuanced way of clinging to its history, entrenched in white superiority, in segregationism. White people are stuck in a perpetual reticence to acknowledge themselves or other white people as perpetrators of racism. We have never thrown up our hands, knelt before those whose bodies have borne the brunt of our prejudices, and cried out for forgiveness. We have never collectively propelled forward any actionable policy in which we become the listeners, we become the obedient. We have never asked, “What do we do to make this right?” listened, and acted accordingly. Instead, we hedge. I don’t see color. But reparations cost too much. If you’re in jail, it must be for something. If you obey the police, you won’t get shot. Is he a racist, or has he just said some things that sounded racist? We bend the rules as they apply to the humanity of others so that we don’t have to see the ways in which we have violated brown and black bodies. We say this isn’t what racism is, it’s just unconscious bias, and the more we hedge, the easier it is for us to ignore the reality that our president elect was endorsed by the most prominent hate group in America, that hate crimes have skyrocketed since the election, that more than one man appointed to a cabinet position is an outright white supremacist.  And it’s because we’ve been so busy plugging our ears and chanting that all lives matter, instead of listening to the men and women of color begging to please not be killed in the streets by police officers. Just because we’ve done away with the official stance that people of color do not matter, does not rid us of the quiet and insipid policies that disproportionately do harm to them.

Nothing reeks of this trespass more than the news media’s coverage over the last two weeks. There has been an enormous amount of focus on whether various pundits were proponents of the monster, created it, or whether they were simply comfortable breathing the same air. These are not real distinctions, merely obfuscations, meant to normalize that which ought never to have existed.

Our moral well-being, the state of our souls, the content of our character is rotting from our own deceit, and once again, black bodies bear the burden of it.

So we need to say it together, believe it together, act like it together:

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives  Matter.

I try to find threads of hope and kindness to bring into my posts, no matter how dark they are. This is to honor my own sense of goodness and beauty as well as a reflection of the title of this blog: an indomitable grace. Part of me wants to tell you about the conversation I had with a friend last night where we told stories of the powerful and gracious black women we know—women who are simultaneously deconstructing and holding together the universe everywhere they go. We are in awe of them and deeply grateful for their presence in our lives. I am worried that these tender thoughts may only encourage the sense of safety that comes with sticking your head in the sand. So, I am going to leave you with a challenge, an accusation, a mediation, a proverb from black twitter:

“America, [we] racist AF.”

The Monologue

In which I attempted to write something funny and sort of did

I wrote a meta-monologue

a monologue about monologues

and it’s really funny

well, it’s sort of funny

I wrote a meta-monologue that’s sort of funny

and I’m sorry

You can tell I was an existential mess but trying to be cheerful about it

Spotlight. Center stage. One person, female, opens the scene, introducing the story, the characters yet unseen by the audience, who, at first, listens intently. But she goes on and on, and they begin to slump in their seats. She continues, bravely, with a wistful glance here and there, a hand reaching out as though she is talking to someone we can all see. Yes. It is The Monologue. I wonder, as she drones on, is she lonely? I would know, for my life is, as God can see, nothing but a monologue; my own running commentary on my life as I see it. I care not to include the actions or voices of others, and even if I did, no one would join in. Of course it is a lonely place: All eyes on you, but none with you. The stage, the world empty, save one, lonely being, me. And on and on I drone; conjuring up images in my mind like phantoms. The audience grows weary, as do I. I know that a dialogue is much more dynamic, but I cannot find anyone to take the part. I have spent my life alone on center stage, hoping that there would arrive someone to share the stage and bring more life to what I so singly do represent. On and on, the lights don’t fade, but I do. But do not give up hope. The longer I speak the more time he has to realize that it is his cue and arrive. Light would flood the stage, not only me. Scenery and props would come alive to create a world of vibrant life, be it comedy or tragedy the story would be told with passion and conviction. But there is nothing more pathetic than a single monologue.

To the men catcalling me on 3rd Ave between Pine and Pike:

I’m sorry
should I stop what I’m doing,
where I’m going,
my conversation,
my life
to give you my un-
divided attention?
I hear your hey babies, your how you doin’?s
and I wonder,
what could you possibly hope to achieve?
Do you want a smile?
Do you want me to stop?
You think you’re gonna get a date that way?
Obviously that hasn’t really been working out for you
because you’re still standing on the street corner
asking for my name.

You think you’re cool?
You think you’re powerful
‘cause you can stand in the anonymity of faceless crowds
and say all the same words I’ve heard five times today,
before I even got to you?
But I’ve got news for you: I’m the one in charge here.
I’ve got a bus to catch when
at 7:45 am, late for work, and focused on my destination
you think it’s your turn for my attention,
I’ve got a song to listen to,
a bent nail to inspect,
so the most you’ll get is my frustration.
And I’ve got friends to meet,
or an apartment to clean
or dishes to do
at 5:15 when I hear your self-indulging voices again.

And I hear the mumbles, sometimes said too loudly,
of “skinny white bitch”
as I walk away,
unconcerned with you or the rest of your day,
because your tactless efforts have shown
that you’ve got absolutely no game.

I don’t think I’m better than you.
I’ve just got things I’ve gotta do,
and they do not involve acknowledging you.