Rapist Brock Turner, Judge Aaron Persky and How to Not Feel Only 1000% Repulsed at the Situation

To be honest, I’ve avoided all but the headlines over this horrific Brock Turner rape case until today. It hits particularly close to home for me, because as a virgin in college, I was raped while blackout drunk. Afterward, I tried to bring it up to him, but he insisted that he hadn’t done anything wrong. I felt so much shame and blamed myself, my drinking, my inability to take control of my body. I still deal with the aftermath of it; I finally told my parents what happened a few months ago, 10 years after it actually happened. I never confronted the dude about it again and he remains friends with some of my friends to this day.  I think it confuses him why some of us avoid him and I wonder if he even remembers it as it was- sex without consent. It put me on the fast track to figuring out who I am and what I believe in… that my body is MINE and no one else’s.

I’ve seen the headlines and the posts all over Facebook the past few days, but it wasn’t until this video came across my Twitter that I took some time to really consider it. And actually, even though the video makes my stomach turn and tears well up in my eyes, I actually feel some kind of solace watching Ashleigh Banfield passionately read the victim’s letter. I can almost feel her rage and I believe there is something special about women standing up for other women that is palpable in this video. It gave me pause, and lead me to conclude that society has made huge steps in the past 10 years in identifying and bringing to the surface the systemic problem of rape culture. I see my friends on Facebook, women AND men, rallying behind the innocent women, furious at the rapist. I see that 200,000 people signed a petition against Judge Aaron Persky who gave him such a lenient sentence. I see USA Swimming banned him from membership, and the Twitterverse has taken up arms against the ignorant father who defended his rapist son. We still have a long way to go to end rape culture and the people who allow it to go unchecked, but I truly feel that if what happened to me 10 years ago happened today, I might have the courage to say something and to publicly defend my body, knowing that my experience would not be shoved under a rug. Yes, some trolls may still say I deserved it for being so drunk or wearing a short skirt or whatever, but that those voices would be drowned out by the voices of the people fighting and demanding justice alongside me. Let’s keep standing up and fighting and see how much further we can get in the next 10 years.

The Moral Code of Teen Sexuality

Disclaimer: I am not even close to having any teen daughters that I need to talk to about sex and in fact the idea of having to do so is quite jarring. I want to be a cool mom, I want my kids to trust me and talk to me about everything and be their friend but I can imagine that it ain’t easy to tell your 16 year old who was just a tiny babe what seems like 3 months ago that you are proud of her for having sex for the first time on her terms. And like, what really is the appropriate age to have sex for the first time? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But I’ve got about 10 years before I have to think about that, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. What really struck me about this segment from my favorite morning talk show ~ The Brian Lehrer Show ~ is how much I related to it as an exploration of the struggles of my own teenage past. Hearing Peggy Orenstein so vehemently denounce abstinence teaching as a method of birth control just made my heart flutter! She generously, clearly and bluntly puts into words how important communication about sex truly is for young women, and makes me feel like progress is happening in our world. Because if teen girls to have the ability to own and explore their sexualities, then we are equipping them with the ability to say “No” until they are ready to say “Yes,” and truly be stewards of their own bodies. And when that generation of women (and men) grow up to be of child bearing age, they will be that many miles closer to gender equality, maybe even ~ dare I say~ at the finish line? If we correct the way we talk to girls about sex from a young age, can we correct the gender gap entirely?

Also, this book sounds awesome if you are a Mom of a young girl.

A Case for Restoration


about 1/4 way through the process, before the new sink and floor were laid down.

Why does no one make the case for restoration? Why do I feel like the only person in the world who think it’s worth spending a little extra time to keep some things around, versus gutting and starting over? After meeting with two contractors this weekend and having our family over and all of them saying the same thing, I’m starting to feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

When we first talked about redoing our bathroom, I was all for installing new tile and a new shower in replace of the tub. But, as I lived in the bathroom a little while, the pale yellow 4×4 squares and built in porcelain soap and toothbrush holders really grew on me. They reminded me of my childhood bathroom. Granted, the bathroom I grew up in was a lot fancier than this one. It had a thin trim tile with blue tulips with green leaves that went around the room near the top and a yellow and white mosaic floor. It was classically 1920’s (The house was built in 1919), and I lived in that bathroom from age 3-18. So naturally, I have a real obsession for all old houses and old fixtures, things with “character” and “charm.” But still, I was ready to part with the yellow tile in our new house, especially considering how cheap … wait for it... how cheap subway tile is! Continue reading

DIY Copper Firewood Rack

wood stand 02

We moved into this old house in the country and needed all new everything! It’s overwhelming to have to start from nothing; no furniture, no plates, no rugs… nothing. Luckily, we inherited a bunch of great kitchen ware from our friends and family, but the shopping list is still so long. One of the things that was driving me nuts was having a pile of wood on the floor by the stove. It was so messy, leaving scraps of bark behind. Now, our place is clearly not “clean” by any stretch of the imagination because we are in the middle of so much construction. Just TRY to keep dust off everything during a renovation. It’s impossible. For now, I’ve decided to be one with the dust instead. It’s an inevitable part of the process. Continue reading

Classic Roast Chicken with a Twist


When in doubt, always trust Ina Garten’s recipes. The woman can do no wrong in my eyes. Her roast chicken recipe is perfect: crispy skin with lemony tender meat and a thyme filled aroma. One night when I was making this, I went on a riff that proved to be somewhat genius. I don’t mean to wax my own car so much and I’m usually pretty unimpressed with my own cooking, but this was an exception. It was the best chicken I’ve ever made. Nay, the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. Continue reading

We get by with a little help from our friends

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men and new homeowners sure have gone awry. This weekend I showed up to Radley Cottage with a trunk full of new tile, mortar and grout, ready to start making our bathroom shiny again. The bathroom renovation has been on our to do list for months and now that the holidays (and many amazing visitors) have come and gone, we can afford to tear the thing apart. I had planned that this tile laying would take one, maybe one and a half weekends total. That plan was literally flooded out of the house when we arrived late Friday evening to the sound of something rushing and spraying inside the house. We found the handle had burst off of the hot water in the tub and water had been shooting strait out at such a force for who knows how long. The entire house was drenched in condensation, like it was sitting inside of a giant sauna.

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What We’re Reading: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists”


Of course, there’s no arguing that sentiment here.

Recently, the country of Sweden gave this book to ALL sixteen year old students. I’m not an educator, nor do I know many young people. But as soon as I do, I’ll be gifting them this little jem. It’s a really fast read and in fact, you can finish it in about the same time it might take to eat a muffin or listen to the TEDx Talk that inspired the written version (linked below), so there’s really no excuse not to pick it up.

Feminists get a bad rap, but Adichie’s manifesto is nothing but positive, forward thinking and inclusive. Even when siting systemic oppression or horrific acts of violence toward women to prove a point, the motive is not to dwell on those most depressing facts, but to inform and empower a generation to change. We are so much more than our pasts. As Adichie says, we have evolved.

Also, its small enough to fit into a stocking! Happy Holidays!

Waging War on Wisteria

My biggest project so far has been waging war on the wisteria that had infested my beloved pines. Really, I feel in love with this property because of the trees on it but somehow didn’t notice the massive wisteria situation we had going on. Maybe it’s because at the beginning of the summer the vines didn’t have tons of leaves? Who knows. Anyway, I was baffled. Sure, wisteria is beautiful if/when if blooms, but it’s super invasive and it is slowly killing my prized Norway Spruce pines! Everyone said it is impossible to get rid of. I googled and I read everything I could find online before calling a landscaper.

one pine with the wisteria growing up to the top

one pine with the wisteria growing up to the top.

I could feel it suffocating the tree. No light was getting to the inner branches. I felt so bad for the trees and I grew to hate the wisteria. It literally has no structure of its own, it depends completely on the tree and as soon as its cut it falls flat. I don’t like those tendencies much in humans either.


a closeup of the same tree – the wisteria is the fern-y leafy bunches.

When the landscaper came, he told me he’d have to cut the two trees down. Uh, bye Felicia!

Nobody’s cutting down my trees.

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Introducing Radley Cottage

me with our money tree in front of the house

me with our first purchase -a money tree- in front of the house.

Well, we need help with the name. “Radley” is a combination of his last name and mine, and cottage is all we can agree on, though “mountain haus,” “chalet,” and “izba” have been thrown out as options. Leave your suggestions in the comments!

I should apologize for being a lazy blogger as of late, but rest assured I have not been lazy IRL. Continue reading