Study Prep aka Procrastination

Well, I didn’t get any studying done so far today, so I probably won’t be going to the Spanish Meetup tonight. But I see  cleaning today is a good sign. All the way through grad school, whenever I was working on a paper, the first thing I would do was clean house. I would clean literally top to bottom, moving stray dishes towards the kitchen, starting laundry and doing the kitchen last. Once everything felt orderly, I was better able to begin.

My little house in Minnesota

My little house in Minnesota

If for some reason I couldn’t do the cleaning (like there were other people in the house who did not want me cleaning, vacuuming, moving furniture etc) I could sit for hours at the computer and get very little done. So while some people may have deemed my cleaning merely a socially acceptable form of procrastination, I’ve come to see it as a way to gather myself, to clear out the cob webs in my brain, to cut loose the brain suckers (which I can tell you about in another post) and ready myself for business.

study central

Study Central

And, finally, the gratuitous cute dog picture. As usual, Bodhi gives up his bed to Max.

bodhi and max


Facebook – Deleted

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been a frequent poster on FB since 2006. I was that annoying person who posts every little detail (actual post from 2006 – “Out walking the dog”) and I was the person who reminded you every day to check out my choir’s next show (my new chorus, LGCSF is performing next Saturday!). I have posted many, many pictures of my dogs and other people’s dogs, as well as random things I found in the world including silly things for sale in the Skymall catalog.

True, I took this from - but I swear I have a picture I took of this somewhere.

True, I took this from – but I swear I have a picture I took of this somewhere.

Then I saw Terms and Conditions May Apply. I already knew some of these things were true, I mean, I knew I wasn’t reading my terms and conditions, so I can’t say it was a total shock – except that it felt a lot like one. It scared me. A lot. 


Over the years, I had expressed my concern about the digital world and my privacy. I had posted from time to time that I was planning to get off FB, and I did everything I could think of to increase my privacy, including changing my name and avoiding details about where I live and work. I even deactivated it once or twice, but never considered seriously cutting out all together till I saw that movie. Really, you ought to see it. No sense in hiding your head in the sand.

beep beep

But then it sort of faded from my memory…it was easier to just go on pretending I didn’t really know. Till I saw this video about FB’s new “feature.”

Yup. So that did it. I deleted my account and don’t see going back any time soon. Which, in part, means more posts here, I’m guessing. And which also means more meaningful emails and phone calls. At least, that’s what I’m envisioning.

That said, here’s today’s cute picture of Bodhi and his friend Max.

Aren’t they cute?

Aren’t they cute?





Spreading the word about ¿DONDE ESTA MI GENTE?

Come out and support poets!

Baruch Porras-Hernandez

hi folks! Some of you I’m sure have been wondering where the hell have I been? And where the hell has BackFat been? We’ve been busy, I’ve been busy, putting together an amazing poetry festival, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you are not going to want to miss this fantastic event. Galería de la Raza and I are making it happen, read all about it below! BannerForRealsThisTime

or go to to get in there and get your Latino writer groove on!


¿Dónde Esta Mi Gente?   (Where are my people?) is a Festival of Latino Poetry and Spoken Word! For three days writers of all Latino backgrounds are going to get together and recite poetry to the people of San Francisco as part of National Poetry Month. ¿Dónde Esta Mi Gente? -Is a celebration of the voice of the latino…

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Living in San Francisco (why I love Minneapolis)

I recently returned from a visit to Minneapolis and, as often happens, going some away taught me some things about where I live.

My first couple of days I had a horrible migraine, and my Rumi was under the weather too, so we spent them just hanging around, commiserating, talking, complaining together. It was great. I mean, I love my Rumi and I underestimated how much I missed her, as I have in the past. As you might have read, I’m eating in my own specialized way, so a trip to the store for my sweet potatoes was necessary in those first few days, too.

I discovered, to my dismay, that specialized, organic food, while always costly, seemed even more so in Minnesota. I realized how very lucky I’ve been to be living in San Francisco while on a limited income. I’ve relied heavily on CSA’s since 2008.

In Minnesota and later Massachusetts, this ensured that I could eat fresh, organic produce relatively inexpensively, for about 9 months out of the year (22 to 26 weeks of deliveries, and the rest frozen or canned – mostly frozen). When I went away for my internship, I knew I’d have a tiny stipend, so I bought my farm share (from Farmer Dave’s) in advance for most of the year (CSA’s in parts of the country where the growing season is, well, a season rather than year-round, members of CSA’s purchase all the weeks in advance, as a way to support the farm at the beginning of the season, before there is any actual produce).

One of my earliest CSA shares

One of my earliest CSA shares

When I moved to San Francisco, I quickly realized that my postdoc wages weren’t going to get me far with organic produce, so I went back to a farm share (in CA many farm shares are available to purchase by the week). I was thrilled to see artichokes, avocados and Romanesco in my boxes. Once I got to know the area a bit better, I started going to the farmer’s market and went down to just once a month on my farm share. Know what I spend on food each week? Most weeks, 20 bucks. That’s it. It’s true that I make a Costco run about every other month, but I buy the bulk of my food for about $80 a month.



And San Francisco feels good to me, I feel comfortable here. I love the way the sidewalks fill with people, and the variety of people where ever you look. I love that there is a street fair somewhere damn near every weekend (or so it seems). There are free concerts and parks and beautiful views. There are beaches and hills and dogs in the stores.

Just one beautiful vista

Just one beautiful vista

And in my neighborhood, it’s sunny. A lot of the time, it’s sunny. The weather is great for me (although co-workers who moved from L.A. think it’s too cold). It’s warm to cool all year round. I love my job and where I live. I’m making connections to community these days and that’s all great too. I’m singing in a community chorus, too.

And yet, coming home from Minneapolis, it’s hard not to notice what San Francisco is missing. It’s missing my very best friend and her family. It’s missing my kid. It’s missing the best women’s choir I’ve ever known (TCWC), and the many connections I have there. It’s missing the Ladies from Spades. It’s missing the camaraderie of ridiculously cold weather and potholes big enough to break your axle.

One last snow - for me!

One last snow – for me!

Living in San Francisco is great. And now, I love Minneapolis, too.


Female Bodies: A Weighty Issue


shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows


We have, as a society, such a completely disordered, distorted perception of female bodies that the vast majority of people are incapable of recognising what “overweight” actually looks like on a woman, let alone “healthy”. As such, we’re now at a point where women are not only raised to hate their bodies as a matter of course, but are shown, from childhood, a wholly inaccurate picture of what they “should” look like – a narrow, nigh on impossible physical standard they are then punished, both socially and medically, for failing to attain.

I don’t say this lightly. I say it because this is the only conclusion supported by the facts.

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

1: BMI

Overwhelmingly, the measurement used to determine whether or not someone is a “healthy weight” is the BMI, or Body Mass Index. Most people are still taught it in schools; indeed, it’s…

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The Whole30 – or something really close

So, I did it. Pretty much. I did!

I stuck to the plan almost completely for 27 days. So, yeah, I know that isn’t quite the Whole30, but it’s close, right? Maybe it was just a justification or copping out or something, but I could not see getting to my 30 days and celebrating on a Monday. I really, really wanted to celebrate with my first test food, popcorn.

Ruby red popcorn from Bittersweet Farm -  Lake Elmo

Over the course of my life, I’ve given up a number of foods that I really love because they don’t sit well in my body.


Milk, for one. I used to LOVE milk. I’d drink a big ol’ glass of it, just because. And then other dairy things, a little bit at a time. Then gluten – yes, I was only completely gluten-free for about 9 months, but since then, I’ve not been able to really, truly enjoy most of the bready, gluteny things that were once staples in my diet.

Next, potatoes!


When my Rumi pointed out to me that my itchy, red hands when I cut and peeled them probably meant that I shouldn’t be eating them, well, I have to say I was just sad. I tried to argue with her (in my head) but I could see she had a point. And I loved potatoes. Mashed, fried, scalloped, latke, cheesy potatoes, hash browns, twice baked, pirogi, potato pancakes, baked potato soup, jojos, clam chowder, tater tots, curry, gnocchi…

Ahem, yes. Ok. Back to the present. Where was I going with this ode to potatoes? Oh yes, popcorn. After choosing to let go of such foods that I loved dearly, I really didn’t want to have to give up popcorn. And hey, guess what? No need! I ate a nice, healthy (and by healthy I mean huge) serving on my 27th night and no adverse effects whatsoever! Yay!

I’m sticking with the plan (as directed) while I add in other foods. I had ramen the next day and hey, guess what? I was right the first time I gave up gluten. Which is not so much learning something new as confirming something I once knew.

So, what have I learned? I have learned that popcorn is ok and gets to stay, and remembered that gluten is not a friend to my stomach. I’ve also learned that I feel much, much better without sugar. Although I didn’t keep careful track, I think that my mood fluctuated less in the last month, without any strong dips or highs. Which shouldn’t be surprising, but still is, a little.

Which doesn’t mean I won’t be having the occasional sweet...

Which doesn’t mean I won’t be having the occasional sweet…

And I learned that if I tell people what I’m about, people are supportive of that (mostly – you know who you are). And it helps me, too, to tell people what I am up to. I mean, I can hardly say I’m not eating sugar then come out of the teacher’s lounge with a big ol’ cup cake. I also learned some tasty, creative ways to eat my slow carbs, mostly in the form of sweet potatoes, and to add veggies to my meal to help me feel satisfied (ala Volumetrics). And while this wasn’t about weight loss, I did lose weight. And I only ran twice this month (mostly because I’m still feeling the effects of the anemia)!

The next big thing I’ll be trying is beans. I love my beans and have seriously missed them. I already have my lunches for the week so I’ll wait till next weekend, but I’ll be interested to see how I do with them.

For now, I’m content to continue with the Whole30 eating plan, continue to be gluten free, continue to leave out the sugar and fast carbs (ala 4 Hour Body) and allow myself popcorn and something sweet one night a week (also 4 Hour Body). I’ll be experimenting with dairy free ice creams, and going back to gluten free brownies/cookies, too. Silly not to listen to my body, right?

The Hard Parts

Well, I told you all about the ways the Whole30 hasn’t been too hard – and I meant every word of it. I swear, that was no bullshit. However, today I’m here to say, yeah, that was true, and yet, in some very real ways, it’s also been hard. Very hard.

Today was a great example of that. Today, a very sad, distressing thing happened at work. And, the caring, loving, people at my job did what many people do in such situations. They brought food. Food of the bagel and cream cheese variety. And cake. Pound cake. And there we all were, in the room, telling our stories, laughing and crying and feeling sad, right there, alongside those bagels. And pound cake.


I held out. I did. I went and had lunch, a lunch that was almost perfectly right – the sauce on the meat probably did have a little sugar in it, but over all it fit the Whole30 parameters. And then we came back. Meanwhile, the crew at work had gotten food from a local place, which included tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. I think I held out about 10 minutes, before I decided just a few chips would be alright. Like, two. Then two more. In the end, I didn’t really eat a bunch, a handful, I’d say. I felt proud of myself.


Then the room quieted again and hey, there was that pound cake again!

All this just to say that, well, you know, it isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s really hard.  Times of stress, emotional times, those times, those times are hard, very hard.  Which likely doesn’t surprise any of you, but I thought it was only right that I document those parts too.

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