Behind the Curtain


Erik and I have been doing the BiCurean podcast for a little over a year. Our first episode was posted on Feb 15, 2018. I was so scared and excited. Erik has been a professional musician for most of his adult life, so his comfort with microphones was enviable as far as I was concerned. I struggled with feeling awkward and incompetent our first few episodes. I cringed when I listened to them to do show notes and updates. Erik was supportive and patient with me. Nowadays I almost don't notice the microphone.

Our original vision for the show was to interview guests and bring out the different contradictions they embody. We decided to start with just us. I didn't realize the amount of work I was signing on for. With guests, we can have them be the source material for the topic. Without guests, we are the source material. Being the source material means lots and lots of research. We are both committed to accuracy and strongly concerned with the impact of confirmation bias in our culture. Which means we want our content to be fair and as free of confirmation bias as we can achieve. This commitment means researching a show topic is somewhere between 3 and 6 hours. Depending on how much Erik or I already know about the topic and the availability of reliable resources.

Recording is usually the quickest part of the process. Erik has the skill and equipment to make our episodes sound the way we want them to sound. Once we are done with the show, he adds in the intro and outro. Sometimes he cuts a large pause or something a guest asked us to redo. And then he uploads it for me to work on. I upload it to our hosting service (Pippa) and request a transcript. They have an AI program that gives a rough transcription of the show. Once that finishes processing, I go through and correct the transcript. This takes about 2 times the length of the show. Then I listen through and create the show notes. I type out anything substantive that we reference that wasn’t in our original body of research and source materials. I double check anything we reference as a fact. I type out the keywords for the show and I create the short show description.

Next I create the snippets, those snazzy videos with the text of what we are saying. I publish the snippets on our different media streams to start getting the word out about our next episode. I update the show with the keywords, references, and any necessary corrections. Then I schedule it to publish.

All together the show research, recording, updates, and promotion can take 6-11 hours per show. And I love it, most every minute. It has been such an amazing experience to have the freedom to create this project that I have been

The First Step is Embracing


“The cure to polarization is to embrace our own complexity.” Tyler Elliot Bettilyon

This is the heart of the BiCurean belief. The belief and understanding that our external experiences are motivated by our internal world. I wanted to start the podcast as a way of showing this in a more tangible. Sometimes I feel like we get it spot on. Other times, not so much. The idea of embracing ourselves as full humans can be watered down into a catchphrase or a used as a weapon or an excuse.

I am reminded of a friend of mine in college. He was born with, in his words, the body of a football player. Short and broad, he built muscle easily, and he loved sports. He was actively recruited for his high school football team. However, he really wanted to play basketball. He accepted himself as he was. Physically he had a lot more work to do to become a good basketball player than if he had been interested in playing football. And he set himself to the task of developing those skills. He worked on dexterity, speed, and accuracy. Practicing long hours after school and doing extra training drills, to get himself to a point where he was able to make the team and become first string.

Accepting our complexities without judgement or reaction is the first step. It can be uncomfortable. In my friend’s case, it was tinged with the possibility of disappointment. He could have accepted that as his end point. He took a different path. One that required more of him to create his desired future.

I am inspired by the people like my friend, who can see the challenges before them and still take that first step. In the midst of the confusion and the chaos of our modern world, these are the lighthouses I look to for hope.

Civil Discourse Over Dinner


If you have people in your life that have vastly different political beliefs or ideologies, how do you keep your relationship honest and also keep the relationship strong and connective?


Using the power of the internet and our own experiences, we attempted to come up with some ideas for you to take on the task of keeping your family gatherings more about connection. If that is your goal, of course.

Transcript here:

Articles and items we referenced:

How to talk politics at your family holiday meal - CNN, Nov 22, 2017

How the night before Thanksgiving became the 'biggest drinking day of year' -, Nov 22, 2017

Why Families Fight During Holidays - The Atlantic, Dec 23, 2013

Non Violent Communication

Christians and the Pagans

Romeo and Juliet in Kigali


Hannah Gadsby: Nannette

As a Black Woman Everything I Love is Problematic, Huffpost, Jan 25, 2018

Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease - CNN, Oct 28, 2018

There are Always More Dishes


I recently attended a concert with some friends up at Red Rocks. The performer, who sings some fairly aggressive and angry songs, spoke out towards the end of his performance. “We live in interesting and difficult times,” he declared. “And I don’t know that I have the answers. I’m a romantic. And I think we need to listen to each other.” It was a somewhat surprising and appreciated sentiment to hear from the stage.

Riding home, I found myself reflecting on the belief that things in America are really extra super bad these days. The twists and turns of the car on the mountain road provided a comforting and peaceful environment to consider this viewpoint. I remember in 2008 when the country rippled with state after state passing the Defense of Marriage Act. When I was young, I watched the LA riots over the beating of Rodney King. I’ve studied the history of AIDS and how it was first called GRID- Gay Related Immune Deficiency. How gay men who were diagnosed were abandoned by even medical professions and left to suffer and die. I watched city after city in our country issue camping bans (even Boulder, bastion of all that is liberal) to shut down the Occupy movement and inhibit our right to assembly and free speech. I’ve read first hand accounts of our wars in Vietnam and Korea. I’ve absorbed histories and stories about the creation and use of nuclear weapons. And the impact of nuclear weapons and accidents on people and environments. I lived near 3 Mile Island as young person. Difficult times and human suffering are not new to our country.

When W. was elected, there were folks in my social circle who were pleased to have something happen to address the complacency of the progressive community. I admit my own frustration at getting people to engage and participate. We had achieved just enough to feel comfortable, without having actually and genuinely made change. Similar to what happened in the Obama years. It is an unfortunate fact that many of us need to be scared or uncomfortable to get motivated. And there is a form of fatigue from doing this work, repeatedly, for years, and still feeling a sense of being where we started. The ancient story of Sisyphus, condemned to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again, highlights the essentially hellish nature of doing a task with no real sense of progress.

This feeling of discouragement is something I faced when I first took on the primary work of my household when my kids were young. No matter how many times I did the dishes, there were always more dishes. And as long as I thought of them as a task to complete, I found myself wrestling Sisyphian feelings of being in a hell of in-completion. After some time, it might honestly have been a few years, I had a moment of experiencing it differently. Instead of trying to complete the overall task of dishes so it could be done, perhaps I would simply do the dishes in front of me and feel a moment of satisfaction in the experience of the empty sink. And not really expect it to remain empty. It worked. Even when my well-meaning youngster dropped his cup into the pristine porcelain sink, it didn’t diminish my feeling of satisfaction. There will always be more dishes. Sometimes even the same dishes.

There will always be more injustice. Sometimes the same injustice. Vulnerable people will be targeted and hurt by the chess moves of the powerful. Policies will have intended and unintended consequences that are harmful and damaging. The poor will be left out and left behind. Those who are different will be overlooked or intentionally silenced. And those of us who are committed to justice will be tireless in our efforts to address these things. In the world. In ourselves. In our families. And some days, we will tire. And some days, we will fail. And some days, we will succeed. And every morning, we will start again. Because there is always more to clean up and the only way we can make a difference, is to keep cleaning.

The Pragmatic Progressive

We talked with gubernatorial candidate Jared Schutz Polis about the challenges and opportunities of serving in public office.


How does one balance ones ideals against the need to move forward towards a better future? Politicians are people doing a job and yet the modern approach to politics creates 2 dimensional versions of these people.

Transcript here:

Articles and items we referenced:

Polis for Colorado

Out Boulder

Register to Vote

Traffic congestion is making it harder for Denver’s paramedics to get around. Here’s how they are coping. – The Denver Post, Dec 1, 2017

F.D.A. Targets Vaping, Alarmed by Teenage Use - The New York Times, Sep 12, 2018

On Being Horrified


I wrote a short Facebook post last week about being horrified at where we are and how we got here as a country. My partner told me I was a fool for posting anything vulnerable on Facebook. Given the result, I can’t say he is incorrect in his assertion. It won’t stop me from trying again, though. In that post, I referenced my father, someone with whom I am politically not in sync and also someone whom I love and respect. It resulted in a family member of mine (not my father) acting out in unexpected anger.

I have been reflecting on the post and the result for the past 48 hours. For me, the BiCurean approach is curiosity, compassion, and grace. Can I stand in the face of my own flaws and not blame others for my fears and insecurities? Can I acknowledge where I am ignorant? blaming? unkind? Will I take responsibility for my actions and words? Can I bear the pain of losing face to stand for the world I want to live in? Some days, yes. Other days, no. When I am in a “not there” day, will I acknowledge I am not living up to my own standards and recommit myself? Yes.

I truly am horrified by the polarization and division in our country. It is astonishing to me that a poorly worded statement on a social media platform could prompt a person I love and care for, a person that I know loves and cares for me, to be so inflamed and angry. It highlights for me how deeply into this story of us versus them we have allowed ourselves to sink.

The same day that my family member (not my father, someone else) was messaging me with anger, a friend of mine from college was reaching out. As a young, faithful Mormon I went to Brigham Young University. This friend is still very committed to the Mormon faith and also committed to our friendship. He and I were talking about how much we appreciate one another. We both believe we can work together, despite this current morass and our different views, to create communities in which we all would feel welcome. More than that even, we both believe it is the better path.

And so I am also emboldened to have hope. I am committed to a world in which our relationships can survive misunderstandings as well as real differences. I am committed to a world in which accountability for our actions and our harm to others is part of how we orient ourselves to where we want to go. I am committed to being the change I want to see in the world, even when I fall short.

Problematic Things

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I've been reading Amanda Lovelace and Ky Robinson in a slightly obsessive way this week. Even more oddly, I found the books at Costco. Wandering by the clothes and snacks, I got pulled in. The blank and empty covers intrigued me amidst the cacophony of politics and mystery novels. Poetry that is almost prose, the words leave enough out to inspire me. Sometimes it is in the negative space I find the most powerful inspiration. 

I'm prepping a reading for an upcoming open mic performance. Some new pieces and some older ones, mixed together. I love to share my writing in written form. It feels safer than reading it, out loud with my actual voice, in front of people. I want to touch someone, even just one someone, to connect across the loneliness and confusion that is life. Reading it in front of people feels like jumping into a pool without being sure I remember how to swim. 

I've heard the magic happens outside of our comfort zone. So, hopefully there will be magic. And I will remember how to swim. 

Why I Canvassed for Jared Polis


I first met Jared while working for Out Boulder. His husband, Marlon, was on our board when I was first hired. Marlon was a hard working board member with a generous heart. I was raised lower class so my experience of wealthy people was limited and I definitely had pre- judgments. Meeting Marlon and getting to know him was my first indicator that my pre-conceived notions about wealthy people were unfounded and unfair. 

One of the things I learned to appreciate about Jared is his practicality. I believe we share similar values. And where we differ, I respect his willingness to listen. I respect that even when pushed hard, he won't commit to things he doesn't think are achievable or practical. I appreciate that he shows up at things like the Peach Festival in Lafayette, the Women's March, and Pride. 

I'm tired of what I am calling "social purity". This idea that a candidate has to be somehow super human. I was an Obama fan, like many of us progressives, and I don't kid myself that he was somehow a perfect human. I am sure the inevitable expose biography will be full of things we wish weren't true. And he did good work that did good things for a lot of people. He also did things I didn't love and with which I disagreed. 

Polis isn't perfect. We don't see eye-to-eye on all policies. And he is upfront about what he stands for. He is willing to face his failures head on and be accountable. He gives it his all when he cares. He will listen to people who disagree with him, respectfully. And he is human, so I am sure people have experienced him making errors in every category. I am not sure when good leader and no errors became synonymous. 

I will be back out there, knocking on doors, having conversations with people about why I support Jared. 

You've Got to Have Faith

The 2016 election cycle was a call to action for me. In a personal context, it challenged me to really look at the choices I've made over the past several years. And, in the same way that I believe we as an American people need to come together and embrace our whole communities, I have been challenging myself to do that internally. 


At 25, I left the Mormon church. I had fallen in love with a woman and I realized that my experience of loving her was not sinful. It was, however, impossible for my faith community to accept and support me in that relationship. My close friends were actually quite loving and did their best to be supportive friends while also being true to the tenets of their faith. They showed a combination of compassion and integrity. These qualities originally drew towards them as friends. We drifted apart for many years, our lives being so different, and busy.  We had young children and were starting careers and finishing school. It was more sensible to retreat to yearly letters and, with the rise of the internet, the occasional facebook post

I became an activist and eventually worked as the director of two separate LGBT centers for a total of 12 years. And, until November 2016, I kept a wall in my heart between the faith of my youth and the world in which I live today. However, a facebook post full of rage and blame at conservative religious people, broke me open. I realized that by keeping the details of my path conveniently under-wraps, I was also failing to represent the power of openness and the ability of people to change and grow. 

I learned to be a social justice advocate. I was a Christian because I believed the message of Christian love and acceptance. And I was a Mormon because I strongly believed in the sacredness of personal choice. So the seeds of social justice activism were within my choice of faith communities. I still had to grow beyond my reflex judgments to find a truth that I could embrace. It is my former faith that made me a good director and activist. I learned to put my community first, to do my part without fanfare. I was able to trust that others would do their part and together we would make a difference for many. It is my former faith, my knowledge of my own confused and stumbling path, the reminder of compassion and the awareness that we are all unknowing in some way, that made me a good leader. 

I didn't talk about my prior faith as anything more than a party trick. I didn't highlight my conservative roots. Doing so also means, I left the power of the changes I made in the shadows. My growth into an advocate was a part of my conviction and my faith. I may no longer be Mormon. The life I live today would not be possibly if I hadn't been Mormon in my past.