It's been a pretty nice last few weeks for me, all things considered. Here are some things recently that have brought me joy.

# Music

I got to see Spencer LaJoye in concert. Spencer performed at the campus ministry church I was deeply invested in in college, but the show was open to the public. To be honest, I had not heard of Spencer LaJoye before learning about the upcoming show, but I checked them out and have been listening to their music around the clock basically for a week or so now. The show was so wonderful. I was fascinated by this profile of Spencer in Religion News Service.

Previously in my life, it's been rare for listening to music to feel like a spiritual experience. (Notable exceptions include the Taizé monastery in France & Taizé style worship music, and honestly, all the music at the campus ministry I attended in college). But when I get the chance to hear queer people like Adeem the Artist or Spencer LaJoye perform live, I feel so clearly in the presence of what is holy and good.

Speaking of queer music, Orville Peck and Willie Nelson released a collaboration/music video for a new rendition of "Cowboys are Secretly Fond of Each Other", a classic Willie Nelson song. I love it.

A not-queer (.. I think?) musical group that I've been digging lately is the Swedish group Movits, who I'd never encountered til a friend mentioned them recently. They are so different than the other stuff I listen to most of the time! The way I described my first listens was: "This feels like it makes the wrinkly parts of my brain unfurl in a very pleasant way."

An album I think you should check out if you like folk music: "Songs Not Bombs Vol. 2", by a collection of artists who each donated an original song to the album. 100% of proceeds from all sales are being donated to the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund.

# Other Media

I just re-read Becky Chambers' A Psalm for the Wild-Built in preparation for a book club. It was as lovely as it was the first time around, a few years ago. It's very short, and portrays an actually utopian (not utopian, but horrific under the surface), post-capitalist and post-consumerist alternate future for an Earth-like planet. It was so cool how skillfully the author builds the world so vividly and quickly.

I watched Hannah Gadsby's "Gender Agenda" comedy special on Netflix. It was delightful. More queer people making funny jokes about queerness (and everything else), please!

My friend John Jasa makes very funny videos and posts them on youtube and instagram. Check out the Shorts (or Reels) ranking various things belonging to John, as well as this review of a book about cats that do art.

I am not very into podcasts, but came across the Money With Katie blog and read a ton of posts from its archive the other night. I thought the advice was generally sound, and Katie's overall approach (we need systemic change to make people's lives less financially precarious, and in the meantime, there are some individual-level finance things that it can be helpful to know about or think through) was fairly values-aligned with where I'm at these days. I bookmarked don't live beyond your assets, on avoiding lifestyle creep; the feeling bad for the Joneses economy, which pointed out that a statistic I was fairly familiar with (US average household income) is a bit misleading as it includes retirees only receiving defined benefit income, rather than my incorrect assumption that it was the average for households where all adults were working; and one titled "Consumerism is exhausting: the choresumption phenomenon". But there were so many more that were good, too!

This blog post on Spanish tips you maybe didn't learn from your Spanish teacher is a great resource. I knew some of this, but not all, and a lot of it I'd already forgotten since I learned it!

I got a book of poetry by local-to-me author Arden Eli Hill recently called Bloodwater Parish. It was a really excellent collection, and I'm excited to hear Arden read some of his work at an event next Monday hosted at the UU church. The published collection focuses on themes like adoption, gender, and growing up in the south.

# The outside

We've been hitting the park after work/daycare any day that it's nice out and we don't have something else going on. That's a huge source of joy for me. I've been taking lots of walks, too. I can't even say it's my stupid little walks for my stupid mental health; that doesn't ring true for me because I actually absolutely delight in my walks, and yeah, they feel pretty foundational to my sense of wellbeing, but that doesn't feel stupid at all. I've been biking the kiddo to daycare more too, and biking to errands, and that's pretty great, too.

# Other stuff

I got some blue mascara and have been wearing it whenever it seems to plausibly match with my outfit or how I want to present for where I'm headed. I don't normally wear makeup, but it's so blue!

This site selling letterpress artwork recently linked in Mariame Kaba's newsletter has so many gorgeous pieces.

This reflection on poetry and Ellie Black's "Be Spiritual No More Mechanical" was beautiful, as is the poem it discusses.

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