what i’m into: december downwardly mobile


time to write a hodge-podge post about things i have been into. it has been a good couple of weeks, my brain feeling fired up and ready to go. but the truth is, i don’t have loads of people in my real flesh-and-blood life to discuss these things with. but i’ll be hanged if i haven’t met some lovely people on the internets and learned a lot from them, and what they have been reading/listening/watching. so i will post my own in hopes that it will be helpful, and might even spark a conversation or two.

one thing i wanted to address with this-here list is the commitment to simplicity my family recently took. we are moving backwards in the american dream, ya’ll. some things are easier than others (clothes, for instance, or eating out fancy), some things are not nearly as bad as i thought they would be (i had a horror of washing dishes by hand by now i find it oddly soothing–as long as they don’t stack up and completely overwhelm our miniscule kitchen). and other things that i thought would be fine tend to be a little trying on the soul (not being able to read every book that i would like to, for instance).

so here’s my list of things things that i am into this month, and they are almost all completely free/accessible to all (although many of them require a computer. but libraries have that too!). so here we go:


i have been really into sufjan’s latest christmas album, silver and gold, which i find so beautiful (the hymns) and so sad (the other songs). this album is quite a bit darker, if you look under the superficial christmas cheer. this is a song about longing for a time when everything was perfect, even though you know it never was. this is an album for advent, when we live into the reality that we need a savior, and he is nothing like we expect.

(you can listen to the album for free on spotify).


oh, pbs. i have recently rekindled my love for you. in the past month we decided to quit our huluplus account because i had a sudden and intense hatred for all our situational comedies that i used to love (modern family, new girl). they just seemed so . . . stupid. and privileged. and i do believe that zooey deschanel might be the anti-feminist right now (but that is another rant).

enter pbs.

good ol’ dowdy, serious, public television. except, the quality of the programs are quite a bit higher than the masterpiece theater’s of yore. i got hooked on a bbc show airing on pbs entitled “call the midwife“, set in east london in the early 1960s. although the show should come with a trigger warning for anyone with past traumatic birth experiences, i found their take on poverty very refreshing–showing the need, but also showing vibrant culture, and a variety of stories. i loved it. unfortunately, i think the free run on pbs might almost be over. but look for it on dvd soon.

i have also started watching a series of videos on poverty from pbs, called Why Poverty? I have only seen 2 of the 8 documentaries available, and they have kept the husband and i up for hours, talking and discussing (and that is saying something, as the child has started waking up several times a night and we are tired!). the first one we watched was on wealth inequality in America, and why we should care about it. I’m not going to lie–this one raised a LOT of questions for me, and I would love to discuss it with some other folks if you get around to watching it. The other one we just finished was an animated history of poverty–a really unique (and not western-centric) take on the various phases and histories of poverty around the world. I feel like my brain is growing two sizes and my heart is struggling to catch up. Both of these films brought out the fact that I am slow to catch onto: we really do live in an age where there are an unprecedented amount of riches existing side-by-side with untold sufferings as a result of poverty.

lord, may your kingdom come.

all of these videos are available for free on pbs.com until the year 2019. so go get on it!


the library card might be my most valuable piece of plastic right now (more on that another day). although, i have been a little grumpy by how slow the system here in the midwest works (maybe they just have way more readers than the system in portland?) whatever the case, there are about 10 new books that i have been wanting to read SO BADLY but i am way down the line of library holds for them. at this point, i will read most of them late next year.

so i have been looking past the big-name newbies and discovered a new favorite fiction author in Anne Tyler. Her novel St. Maybe is a funny and more than a little sad look at family, with a surprising amount of forgiveness and atonement sprinkled in. I love it. I  read it and wished somebody had told me about her long ago. So here I am, telling you: go to your library and get it.

I am also reading my apocalyptic subsistence economy books and still loving (and hating) it.

Also, i have been rereading the earliest books in the Harry Potter series. Because escapism.

On the blog front, there are too many good things going on so I will just tell you about my favorite writer that you have never heard of: Becca of Exile Fertility is nuanced, funny, wise and passionate. I just love every single thing she writes, and decided not to be selfish and share her today. Go check it out.

There is probably more I could share right now, but Sesame Street only lasts so long (starting the child early on her PBS!).

I am linking up with a bunch of others talking about what they are into, and I would love to hear yours.

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21 thoughts on “what i’m into: december downwardly mobile

  1. You’re about the fifth person has said something wonderful about Call the Midwife…I think it might be time to give it a try. Such a good things to be into for this month!

    • Caris Adel says:

      She’s not kidding about the warning. Oh my goodness the first episode about did me in. I just hate reliving birth. I want to read the books that the show is based on now.

  2. Anna says:

    part of the sufjan album is available for free download on noisetrade.com too!

  3. Jeyna Grace says:

    I’m not sure if PBS is available all around the world though…

  4. Ashley says:

    I’m a Christmas Unicorn

  5. becca says:

    aww, thanks for the reference. 😉 you are very kind. i had to look up “nuanced”. i heard you and kristina connected – one of my life goals has been fulfilled. phew.

  6. Amy says:

    Thanks for the tip on exile fertility. consider it added to my reader.

    I’m still trying to work up the courage to finish Half the Sky. Once I get there I’ll work on Why Poverty, but I wish I could watch it with you and hear your thoughts on it.

    • the half the sky documentaries? what do you think of them?

      honestly, i was disappointed by the emphasis on celebrity narratives. i also feel like the book was much more devastating, but maybe just because the information was so fresh.

      we should totes do a documentary discussion barefoot laureates skype call.

  7. Christiana says:

    Looking forward to that Christmas Unicorn! I’ll have to pick up Anne Tyler. I’m intrigued.

  8. Puneet says:

    Call the Midwife is awesome – good choice!

  9. Adele says:

    Love, love, loved Call the Midwife. It’s long finished in Aus. but it’s so fun finding lots of other new fans here in the blogosphere.
    Also adore Anne Tyler and I think I might know what you mean about Jess from New Girl being the anti-feminist – would love to read a ranty post about that!

  10. hopefulleigh says:

    1. I want to hear your Zooey Deschanel is anti-feminist rant.
    2. I’ve heard great things about Call the Midwife but I keep forgetting to watch!
    3. I’m definitely going to watch the PBS documentaries on poverty.
    4. I read one or two books by Anne Tyler years ago but she slipped off my radar again. I’ll have to remedy that.
    5. Thanks for linking up!

    P.S. Have you read Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline yet? I’m thinking it’s right up your alley.

  11. Nicole says:

    I really need to check out this midwife show on pbs. I’ve heard so many good things!

    I’ve also been making steps to live more simply and have been surprised at how easy some things are after the initial shock of separation. Other things are not easy at all, but good in their own way as the “without” of some non-necessity teaches me something.

    • well, now i am intrigued. what was easy for you? what has been hard? i wish more people would have been square with me beforehand 🙂

      • Nicole says:

        easy: dropping the smart phone. It’s now a simple flip phone without a QWERTY keyboard which means that in addition to not getting instant notification of emails/social media – I’m also more likely to make a phone call than to hassle with T9 texting.

        not having a car was easy when I was in Chicago because of its density, walkability, and transit options.. But I’m in a suburb of Philly now and …well, not so easy. Making it work, but I’m saving for a car. On the plus side – It helped me to learn to ask for help when I need it and let the other people worry about their boundaries in saying yes or no.

        I think the hardest thing for me was just those common “necessities” – – clothes, food, things for the home. “Yes, that sweater is pretty. But do you need it? If the answer is yes – can you get it secondhand? Can you wait? Is that sweater the best option? (Meaning – not just “is it cheapest?” – but is it the best investment? Is it going to last? Do you want to support that company?) All those questions because for me downward mobility is also about global economic justice and how my consumption drives that.

  12. Caris Adel says:

    I, too, would love to hear your Zooey rant. Although I do find that show hilarious. But I have an idea of what you’re talking about.
    Those PBS documentaries sound fascinating. I’ll have to try watching some of them. You and Jessica have really been deepening thoughts I’ve had about it, and challenging me on a lot of stuff.
    And now I feel like a heel..I’m in the middle of writing a post about how living in a tiny house with 7 people is incredibly difficult and frustrating, and I feel like I’ve simplified as much as I can, at the moment at least. We’re going to get a storage unit to box up some of our stuff, and I have the feeling that after things have been put away for a few months, it might be easier to get rid of some stuff permanently.

  13. markcaudill says:

    I think George Carlin said it best: “It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”


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