Archives for posts with tag: music

This semester has been frantic and exhausting and occasionally unbearably heartbreaking but all of that belongs to another blog because this blog is about what we ❤ , and honestly despite all that there have been things I really really do <3.

One is a new long-distance ( almost) daily ritual my brother and I have developed since he moved to Switzerland pretty much forever. When I get up I send him a picture of his card of the day with a quick interpretation.


And then a couple hours and half a continent later when he wakes up he posts an image on the “first beautiful of the day” a facebook page he manages.

1st beaut

I feel like this helps us both to set the tone for our days but we get to do it together despite the distance.


As for old friends — I once famously forced Sarah to watch a cross-over episode of  “Grey’s Anatomy” and ” Private Practice” – she spent the whole episode wide-eyed with confusion. I am no longer a very regular viewer but every now and then I do tune in and I do still really like the melodramatic pretty music they set their over-the-top storylines to. So I was sort of pleased to find that they recently used this beautiful song by Jasmine Thompson about missing old friends- a sentiment I feel– oh about 20 times a day. It made me think of Sarah and her loyalty and her gameness.





… so this happened a couple of weeks ago ( every train in my life is running a little behind schedule right now! ) but it still made me very very happy.



Okay, so its not really about how many books I have read but I like the keeping track of the evidence of how much of my time I am spending BY CHOICE on reading.

As a quick aside the strangest and best part of this journey towards reading more is that what seems like a solitary activity has landed up being ( thanks in large part to social media) a way to renew old friendship and also make new friends.

And the best part.. we already have so much in common!

So its still spring and I am still enjoying everything being in bloom so its tempting to claim our front door steps looking like this  is what I ❤ right now





But the truth is actually been a pretty awful week. For lots of reasons I have felt like I am in a real career rut lately. I have always been embarrassed that I was unable to land that tenure track job at a great university, I tell people it was all about luck and timing but in my head I can’t help wondering if it was really just me. If maybe I just wasn’t good enough. Maybe I just didn’t try hard enough. Most days I enjoy my current job because I like teaching and I like my students but no one at works thinks I am particularly good at my job or particularly valuable. Of course I feel this way in part  because I was spoiled rotten at my last job with lots of  praise ( often from really unexpected people) and folks going to bat for me when I needed it most. I doubt anyone at my current work place would storm into a  big city  art museum and demand to know why they didn’t hire  me( True story!)

And then I heard this great pop song by Kylie Minogue that just captured both my current frustration and how I wished I was dealing with them.   I have been playing this song on repeat, chanting along with the lyrics.


The song is about just owning where you are in life, mistakes and all  and not waiting to be saved by something or someone else. The chorus in particular is not only real catchy in a wonderful pump your fist in the air way, but  also says exactly what I wish I was saying to the world.  So I am just going to keep singing it out loud until I believe it too!

“When I get my back up against the wall
Don’t need no-one to rescue me
Cause I ain’t waiting up for no miracle
Yeah tonight I’m running free
Into the Blue
Into the Blue
With nothing to lose
Into the Blue” 




My little sister is a filmmaker. Her most recent project is a beautiful and sad short film called ” The Heart in the Mandala.” ( You can check out the Kickstarter project page for it here)

While she was editing her final version of the film she was listening a lot to one of her favorite bands,  Grandhallway particularly their song ” Little Sister.” Her film is centered around a sibling relationship so the song felt particularly right. She would be sitting in her office, editing and singing along. At some point she decided to write to Grandhallway and ask them if she could not only use the song but re-record it Dzongkha. She wrote to them via facebook. I thought she was nuts! She shrugged– it never hurts to ask.

And guess what? They said yes!

So she re-recording with a local singer, the amazing Dechen Zam ( who rewrote the song in Dzongkha)  at M-studio  and the result is beautiful and haunting.

I ❤ that she asked to use the song, I ❤ that Grandhallway said yes but I think I would ❤ this song even without the great back story!


My amazing siblings ( along with my sister’s boyfriend) recently pulled together an amazing 5 day short film festival.  They had 32 films, both local and international, live music every night, workshops during the day and good audiences for almost all the events. It was intense and exhausting and hugely successful.

But rarely still for a large scale event  in Bhutan– it was informal and inclusive and fun. I can’t even begin to explain how much there is a tendency towards the super formal in Bhutan. And while for some events it make perfect sense, for an event like this that was about art and pleasure and community the informality was just the right tone.

The picture below of the Minister of Communication being served tea on opening night sort of highlights how laidback and casual the event was. The serving girls are wearing t-shirt over their kira. There is a group of kids playing in the background (later they took over the empty bench near the minister). Seated in front of the minister are my causally dressed sister and the projectionist.


beskop plus 086


Informality– what’s not to ❤


PS also video put together by my siblings to advertise the event:

This week I had the privilege of volunteering with one of the best, coolest groups I’ve ever found. It’s called Girls Rock! DC, and it’s all about encouraging girls in all sorts of wonderful ways, especially to take the stage and play music.

Girls run the world.

A poster made by one of the campers, hanging on the wall just outside of the Hall of Sisterhood at Girls Rock camp.

There’s actually a week long summer camp for girls between the ages of 8 and 18. They meet each other on the first day and have a sort of “speed dating” to pick out their bands. Then in a week they form bands, come up with names, learn to play instruments, write a song, and perform at a really big, well known music venue in DC. (Here are some pictures of the event from the Washington Post.) And there are workshops to talk about everything from healthy relationships to how to build a guitar out of a pizza box to gender and sexuality to owning the stage. And the whole time, girls are working together with strong women leading the workshops and teaching them instruments, offering an incredible positive example for them. (Even the gym where everyone gathers in the morning and the evening is called the Hall of Sisterhood.) This was my first year volunteering so I helped with a lot of different odds and ends, but I also got a chance to participate in the “volunteer band” — a band for volunteers that meets in the morning before camp. And I started to learn guitar!

Riot GrrrlEveryone got together, picked out instruments, and then starting helping each other. The girl that was best at guitar starting teaching me how to tune and how to play power chords. The girl that played drums picked up a bass. It was incredible and wonderful and encouraging. It sends all the right messages to young girls, and I really wish it had existed when I was a kid and that it would start up in places like Phoenix. I’ve wanted to learn guitar and play in a band for some time, but have always felt so intimidated, or like I had to learn and practice for a long time before I could try it or play in front of other people. And this was exactly the boost I needed to feel confident and to push myself to actually do it. Those 8 year old girls did it in a week, fearlessly. And I should too.

Here are some other pictures of awesome things at Rock Camp.

Shout Out Wall

Girls at Rock Camp writing messages on the “Shout Out Wall.”

Sleater-Kinney Room

All of the rooms where campers meet are named after awesome female musicians and bands. This practice room is named after the amazing Sleater-Kinney.

Gender Poster

One of the posters up in the Hall of Sisterhood at GR!DC.

And while this week meant about only 4 – 5 hours of sleep a night, it was so worth it. To top everything off, I saw Loretta Lynn play the night before the Girls Rock! showcase on the same stage, and my wonderful partner played at a legendary summer punk series in NW DC, called Fort Reno.

Loretta Lynn

A little blurry, but here’s the incredibly talented Loretta Lynn. Still going strong at 81 years young.

Fort Reno

My partner’s band Southern Problems playing at Fort Reno. The little peanut taking a picture of them is my friend Rasheedah’s son, visiting from Turkey. Photo by Ron Akins.

And I think it’s only appropriate to close with the lyrics of the Girls Rock! DC camp song. Inspiring and endlessly joyful.

This I <3.

Sitting alone in my room,
I sing all of my favorite tunes.
But I dream about playing a show,
I can almost hear the crowd scream GO! GO! GO!

We’re the girls of DC and we’re ready to rock!
We’re the girls of DC yeah the beat’s gonna drop!
We’re the girls of DC and we’re not gonna stop!
Whoa oh oh ohhhh, oh!

Now I’m heading off to rock camp,
Gonna practice and turn up my amp.
Make some friends and join an awesome band,
Do whatever we want, yeah that’s the plan!

We’re the girls of DC and we’re ready to rock!
We’re the girls of DC yeah the beat’s gonna drop!
We’re the girls of DC and we’re not gonna stop!
Whoa oh oh ohhhh, oh!

I wake up everyday!
Something is always in my way!
But I will never stop!
Cause I know that I’m here to rock!

Now I know I can do anything,
I can DJ or play drums or sing!
Come on everyone, get up and dance,
Cause the future of rock is in our hands!

We’re the girls of DC and we’re ready to rock!
We’re the girls of DC yeah the beat’s gonna drop!
We’re the girls of DC and we’re not gonna stop!
Whoa oh oh ohhhh, oh!

Everything Will Be Better

Spray painted on the wall at the old NPR HQ, just before the move to the new building.

I’ve been remiss. For six months, I’ve had access to this joint blog with a really great friend, and I haven’t managed to post ONE thing that I <3. Part of it is because in a lot of ways, it’s been a tough six months. But no matter how tough it’s been, or how much I’ve been working, or how much I think I struggle with finding this to smile about, the reality is there are a lot of things in my life that I <3, and that I’m grateful for.

So in an attempt to make up for lost time, I am posting a list of things that I have <3ed in the six last months, along with a promise to myself and to Dolma that I will find and post lots more things, lots more regularly.

Springtime in DC

DC Cherry Blossoms

When I moved to DC, the thing I was least looking forward to was winter. Growing up in Arizona, I got spoiled with constant sunshine, and T-shirt weather (or for Sarah: the possibility for cute clothes weather) pretty much year round. And as it turned out, winter was just as bad as I had thought. For me, it’s cold and dark and depressing. But the thing that I wasn’t expecting was just how amazingly beautiful spring would be. (I guess when you don’t have an intense winter, you also don’t have as intense a spring.) The relief of the warmth, the beauty of the sun, the happiness that longer days bring and the incredible awe of everything blooming really is amazing. And in DC, it’s particularly spectacular. While it’s easy to scoff at people who are so enthralled by DC’s cherry blossoms, it’s also wonderful to be able to take a walk on a spring day, and enjoy them. And they’re only in bloom for a week or two, so you really appreciate them while they last. My bf and I got a chance to take a really nice walk around the Tidal Basin when they were open, and I snapped this on my freakin’ cell phone. In person they’re even more stunning.

Spending Time Outside

Great Falls

This seems like such a simple one. But I realized that I don’t do it enough. And especially when I work weekends/overnights (ESPECIALLY in the winter!), it’s so easy to wind up waking up late to an empty apartment, and spend my day inside. But I’m trying to do it more often. So I’ve gone “hiking” a few times at Great Falls. (I put hiking in quotes because it’s far less strenuous for people who are more in shape than me…mostly it’s walking around outside. But dammit there are big hills!) Great Falls is on the Maryland/Virginia border, and it’s where the Potomac River actually builds enough power to cascade into beautiful waterfalls. So gorgeous. And I’ve been lucky enough to have a few friends visit from out of town that I can share the beauty with, and won’t make fun of how easy I get out of breath.

Having Friends Close By That I Can Be Silly With

Groucho Marxes

One of the things that’s hardest for me right now is having my closest friends scattered so far across the globe. I’m finding that not only is it hard to make new friends as we get older, but I’m reminded that it takes a long time, often years and years, to feel the kind of closeness that you do in a deep friendship. And while I’ve had a tough time with this in DC, I’m really grateful that I’m developing that kind of bond with a few incredible women. This is a picture of me and two of my closest DC friends. Sadly for me, one of them is getting ready to move to Minnesota for a fantastic job. But before she leaves, the other friend in this picture threw her a Marx-themed going away party. (Marx brothers, not Karl… The Marx Brothers have always been her favorites.) They asked everyone to come as their favorite Marx brother. I didn’t actually dress the part, but when I got there, the two of them had the Groucho face paint on. They asked me as I was coming through the door if I would do it too, and I said, “Sure! I’m in!” Then they told me that they had also asked everyone else who had come, and everyone else declined… So when I see this picture, it makes me really happy. It’s been a while since I’ve had so much fun at a party, and since I felt like I could just be myself in public enough to be this silly and unpretentious. I love it. (Extra note for Dolma: As we were driving home through a pretty cool part of town, we were stopped at a stop light and a woman crossing the street caught a glimpse of me. She immediately looked at her friend and screamed, “What the FUCK is that?!?”)

Going To Good Shows With Good People

The Black SparksPartly because my work schedule is as unpredictable and irregular as it is, I don’t get to (or feel like) going out to shows nearly as much as I used to, which is kind of a bummer because that used to be something that I did at least two to three times a week, if not four or five. (And half the time I had the luxury of my job “requiring” me to go!!) But making myself get out of the apartment even when I’m tired has been a good thing, and it totally pays off in the case of most shows. This blurry picture was taken at a Bethesda Youth Show. Their motto on Facebook is, “Teens providing other teens with a safe community and artistic opportunities.” This is a killer teenage punk band called The Black Sparks. They’re amazing and high energy, and totally encapsulate the spirit of punk rock. And when I was at this show, I noticed a group of teenage girls in the very front of the crowd. And I thought about how twenty years ago, girls in the front of a punk show was rare. And the girls and women of the riot grrrl movement pushed forward and carved out a place for themselves, and for all of us. And also at this show was another teenage band I love called Ladle Fight, who I brought in to NPR to play a “Tinier Desk Concert.” So this night made me happy for so, so many reasons. And even though I had been up for 23 hours when I went, it was worth it.

Amazing Food, Amazing Friends And A Night in New York

NY Noodles

It’s easy to become disenchanted with New York when everyone rattles on and on about how fantastic it is, and living in Brooklyn somehow mysteriously raises your cool quotient. But I had a chance to hang out on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with a very close friend who now lives in…yes…Brooklyn. And it was awesome! It reminded me of all the reasons why I loved New York to begin with. We basically ate our way through the neighborhood, and this is a picture of our first stop — an incredible western Chinese restaurant called Xi’an Famous Foods that had fresh made noodles. And where else besides New York could we get that, Venezuelan arepas, gourmet ice cream and European style fries (with mayo) all within a few blocks of each other?

Knowing That Other People Need Reminders Of Things They ❤ Too

What Makes You Smile

Ironically, this was outside the momo restaurant in the area where I live. I noticed that they had left green tags for people to fill in whatever it was that made them smile. What a beautiful thing it was to be able to see what all kinds of strangers find joyful. Looking at the cards, and knowing that sometimes we all need a reminder, somehow made me feel comforted and a little less lonely.

All this, I <3.