dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Sunday, December 09, 2018

germ cake

Either I'm having an allergy attack or I caught a cold on top of my cold, which is a party foul.  Yesterday I overdid it.  Lately I'm feeling pretty disabled.  I have very few spoons!  I'm able to do about two difficult things per day, realistically.  And yesterday I did about five difficult things, so I was like, you gotta be kidding me.  I was negative spoons.

So last night I was sleeping and my mind was torturing me, and it was really bad.  I asked Ming to comfort me, which helped.  He said encouraging things and touched my shoulders.

If I'm sick that's a problem because I'm supposed to cook a big meal on Tuesday for community lunch and someone's birthday.  I can't even think what to make.  But nobody wants germ soup.  At least I'm not baking the cake.

Saturday, December 08, 2018


Yesterday Ming went to Dollar General without me to buy a gift card for a Christmas present.  He was standing in line when a man told him not to get too close to him.

"Was he crazy? or angry?" I asked when Ming was telling me the story.

Everything was ok.  Ming kept his distance.  But the person behind him in line was snickering.  (Snickering is like Milky Waying but with peanuts.)

Ming cleaned out a kitchen drawer, trying to make space.  We found three Magic Bullet blender gaskets that our organization's previous leader ordered from Amazon in 2013--the packing slip receipt is with them.  They're still rubbery and gaskety.

While back I emailed the leader, who's now in San Francisco, asking if he wanted the gaskets, and he ignored my email.  So I guess he doesn't want them.

I thought the gaskets, though worth only a few dollars, might be useful to someone.  So I placed a freecycle ad to give them away.  My ad is awaiting moderation.

Also there are two replacement wires for a cheese slicer we no longer have.  I'm upset by them.  I don't want to throw them away, but we don't have a cheese slicer...  Seems stupid to buy a cheese slicer just to use the replacement wires on.  But maybe then we would spend less money on cheese?

Anyone need some replacement wires for a cheese slicer?  They're driving me nuts.

Also there's a little coffee grinder.  But we only get coffee ground and keep it in the freezer.  I'm so confused.

Also there's a small food processor.  Seems silly because the only time it's worth it to use a food processor is on a big job, in my opinion.  Maybe we should give it to Goodwill?  But I heard Goodwill treats disabled people like crap, paying them pennies.

We'll definitely give the cookie cutters to J.

Moral of the story: don't go to Dollar General, don't clean out your kitchen drawers.

Friday, December 07, 2018

what we don't have, what we have

A very nice lady brought us some homemade vegan lumpia.  Ming asked her for a recipe, originally, but she had some already made in her freezer.  We just have to deep fry them! 

I don't know how to deep fry them tho.  She didn't give any instructions.  I kind of don't like deep frying things which is partly why I don't make lumpia normally.  We have no, uh, exhaust thing on our stove.  You know the thing overhead that takes the steam away?  In fact, none of the three houses has that, here where we live. 

We don't have any bathtubs either.  Or heat besides space heaters.  It's a bit basic, around here.  But we have everything we need.

We have things other people don't have too, like a gorgeous peaceful courtyard with windchimes that tinkle in the breeze and many fat, fluffy cats who roam around like they own the place.  Great trees--mequites trees, conifers, a eucalyptus tree, a fig tree--all giving shade.  The birds who visit the trees and chirp for us and poop.

I remember when we were talking about getting a drier.  Before, we only had a washer and hung everything to dry on the line.  R was advocating for a drier.  I said in a meeting, no, we don't need one.  I liked not having a drier.  I hate drier sheets and the way they smell.  And I thought it was better for Mother Earth to line dry.

But R really wanted a drier, and I found out it was because he believes he has no time to line dry.  He hates to line dry so bad that he wouldn't even do laundry here.  He'd go to a laundromat.

So we got a drier a year ago and now barely use the line.  I asked that we not use drier sheets.  But someone put this thing in the drier that is like a drier sheet, stuck to the inside of the drier.  By now it's used up.

Well, Ming is home from serving the hungry.  I think it stopped raining.  I need to run a couple errands.  I rejoined Postcrossing so I need some postcards and to pick up some pills.  Also that special kind of vegan cheese sauce for this chili mac recipe I wanna make.

Beautiful wishes to you for a good day and love all around.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

doctor trauma

Yesterday, doctor trauma.  Not fitting in the chair I had to sit in to get my picture taken, pain in my legs as I was squoze.  Stepping on the scale: "whenever you're ready!" 

The doctor's idiocy about my cough.  "You know, it's the season for coughs!  Things are going around!  The cold weather."  I kept telling him I've had it since summer.  "I haven't heard you cough yet," he said.

I told him how I'm afraid of the sleep study, and he's telling me there's nothing to be afraid of.  Complete dismissal of my terror, as if he doesn't know what terror is or doesn't believe I could feel it.  No problem solving whatsoever, just a "there, there."  Don't feel the way you feel.  There's no reason for it.

I wanted to be like, "See on my chart where it says anxiety?"  Another doctor confirmed it--I have feelings that can wreck my life.  If you don't believe me, maybe you could believe the other doctor?

So he ordered an x-ray for my toe and a pill for my tongue, a blood test for the clotting disorder I might have inherited from Dad, and then he left nervously, unhappily, without saying goodbye or more handshakes, sending in the nurse to explain to me what to do next.

When he left, I started to cry.  I didn't want to touch my eyes because I thought I had germs on my hands, from being at the doctors, from touching things.  Ming gave me a tissue.  I didn't want to cry in front of the nurse. 

"Is everything okay?" the nurse asked when she saw I was crying, amused.  I assured her everything was okay.  In the parking lot I sobbed, so frustrated, and txted my mom.  Ming gives the new doc a C+.

What if I'll never be ready?  He said my ankles swell, more in summer, just because I'm fat.  He says if I do have sleep apnea, it could go away if I lost a lot of weight.  "That doesn't happen right away," he said.

Last time I was in the hospital, when an urgentcare doc sent me to ER afraid I was having a stroke, I was in the back, soon to be released, shaking with fear.  "I notice you're shaking," the doc said.  "Why is that?"

I told her I was afraid of doctors.  "Is there anything I can do to help you not be afraid?" she asked. 

I told her no.  Driving home, flipping through my paperwork, I saw all I'd been prescribed--there was an anxiety med I could take just for going to the doctor.  I cried then too.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018


I want to make this vegan chili mac recipe someone posted on facebook.  I need a specific kind of vegan cheese spread.  Oh and some pretend meat.

Today I expect very little of myself.  I have to go to the doctor, and that's my thing for the day.  Doctors scare me a lot, especially new ones.  I know rationally that if he's no good, I just won't go back.  And I'll have Ming with me to protect me.  But the fear is in my body.

I got this big box of fancy Christmas cards--someone gave them to me at a party.  They have iridescent glitter, little bows made of ribbon, tiny plastic jewels.  Three-dimensional elements.  The snowman's scarf is made of blue actual fabric.  The glitter comes off, though, which I feel bad about.  Don't want to afflict people with rogue glitter.

Tomorrow my friend is doing a free flower essences treatment on me.  She speaks little English and I speak little Spanish.  She's asking me all these questions over facebook messenger about my temperament and attitudes using google translate.  It's great.  She does acupuncture and reiki as well.  She is a warm and energetic young woman, full of laughter and hugs.

This new guy moved into the back house, but then he vanished.  We think he went back to his homeless home under a bridge.  But today he has a medical appointment Ming is supposed to bring him to.  We'll see if he reappears.  Some people need their freedom.

yes, I know how to say no. I worry about climate change and environmental destruction but I feel pretty good about my own personal future. I feel curious about my future but not scared. laziness, I have lots of ideas but not the energy to do the actions. I could think and plan all day but my body doesn't want to move. when I get sad, I usually have a reason, some challenges in relationships. no, I don't feel much guilt. I do volunteer work caring for others, but I spend all day doing self-care also. the thought of defeat does not overwhelm me--my problem is figuring out what I really want. I try to think of a goal or dream and can have trouble doing that. no, my thoughts are pretty good.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Veggie House

I feel anxious about my medical appointments today and tomorrow.  Might just need to accept this day is lost.

I have so many tabs open, I don't know how my computer doesn't crash.

I have so many projects going.  But the people who are visiting from out of town go home today.

Last night six of us went out to Veggie House for vegan Chinese food.  I like the veggie walnut shrimp best.  Our friend W paid for the whole thing.

The hot and sour soup was too hot for me.  Everyone else slurped it down.  It was so spicy I was amazed.

The spinach salad had a great flavor, but I had to pick out the copious stemmy cilantro, putting it on Ming's plate.

The rib strips Ming ordered were confusing, couldn't tell what type of animal it was pretending to be, but they had an amazing salty flavor.

Orange chicken is kind of my idea of the most boring Chinese food, too sweet, but I tried a few nuggets.

The spicy fish was flavorful with a nice texture.  The other fish in all the brown gravy sauce with tons of veg I didn't try.

The tea was like nice flowers.

I found out two of my friends know this famous pagan author and don't like her.  There was an incident.

We talked about mishaps on different peace walks.  I lamented the time I didn't order enough pupusas.  My confession paled in comparison.

Ming is going out for a hike.  Yesterday in Beatty our friend was found guilty but got no jailtime.  Just a fine he can work off with community service and a fee he cannot.

Monday, December 03, 2018


I made the oatmeal, which was very quick, and hardboiled a dozen eggs.  Put brown sugar and raisins into bowls.  Asked Ming to bring over the milk and almond milk.  A loaf of bread.  A stick of butter.

Last night we went to Ethiopian food.  We got veggie combos to share.  We talked about movies and ancestors.  H wouldn't eat.  I offered that we could order some meat, but he said no.

Soon everyone will leave for a day in Beatty for a trial.  I will stay here and clean up lunch.  Relax.  Do laundry.  Recover.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

our tree collard

Saturday, December 01, 2018

vegan lumpia

Friday, November 30, 2018

find treasure

I remembered two dreams I had long ago that might point me toward my true desire.

In one dream, I lived in an intentional community of artists.  Maybe we were all writers?  There was a lot of dark wood, green plants, picnic tables, places to hang out in the common areas.  Different levels--it was a strange house, with at least one mezzanine.  Vibrant, creative people coming and going.  Conversation, love.  It was like art school.

In another dream, I was visiting this place.  It was like a cafe for writing letters.  You could go there and stay as long as you wanted.  There was free paper there, sitting out for anyone, and I was so happy, writing letters to friends in a cozy space.

Also I am thinking more about living off the grid, bartering, gift economy.  Different ways to have more resources.  I made a brainstormed list that starts with "employment--regular job" and ends with "find treasure."

Thursday, November 29, 2018

what I most want

How do you decide what you most want?  I have old dreams, but I would like to know what's real now.

Others tell me I should publish a book.  But I really like zines.  I think they suit me better, DIY and smaller scale.  I have a successful poet friend who publishes books, and he says I do it a good way.

Of course there's kids, house, career, money, all that.  Money is not going to be it.  I mean the normal route.  No way.

I admire vegans who go off the grid.  You know I wanted to move to the PNW and have a big garden, enjoy home, go to the city once a week for Indian food and bookstores, city time.  That was a delicious fantasy, cooking with all the fresh produce we grow ourselves, but Ming and I don't have the energy for a big garden.  Something would have to change.

Van dwelling is another idea, a mobile life, but I don't know if Ming and I would fit well.  And we'd have to get rid of everything.  Well, that's just an idea.  Nice not to pay regular rent.

We could stay here in Vegas.  We have community, support, meaningful things to do, friends, a peaceful courtyard, and someone else picking up the cat poop.  It's a very good life, but the summers are brutal.  Ming doesn't mind, but for me it's months of hell to endure.

I could go back to school for something--teaching English to non-English speaking adults.  Something in the alternative mental health field.  I could become some kind of teacher again or healer.

My relationship with money is bad.  I just hate it.  It makes me feel dirty.  I think everything should be free, the way I think school shouldn't have any grades, and I feel bad charging anyone for anything.  I feel bad passing the hat at radical mental health meetings, so much so that I usually just skip it.

I'm 42 years old and this is a nice place.  My energy is low but otherwise I have everything I need and things are pretty great.

Well, please let me know if you have any ideas.  

My small-term goals, like organizing the mess, learning to live within our means, cooking at home a lot, exercising in some way almost every day, taking better care of my teeth, meditating almost every day--those seem attainable.  But I feel like I'm missing something bigger.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

tea need

I need some tea, stat!  I'm tired of being sick! 

Ming is helping H do some photocopies.  It's someone's birthday today.  But I think I will skip it. 

I was blowing my nose on a napkin that smells like pepper and coughing like I'd choke.

"I'll see you guys over there," H said as he went out the door.

"I don't think I'm going to go.  I don't feel good," I said.

"Oh!  You're going to miss out on the cake and all the goodies!  You know what he's going to say!"

I'm trying to imagine what the birthday boy will say.  I think he'll say, "She's not feeling well, huh?  Well, I'll just get my birthday hug another day."

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

the world is too big for you to understand

Yesterday we talked about family for a while as we traveled.  It was intense.  I said how some of the men in my family were more like cartoon characters than fully-developed people.  We talked about what goes on that can't be seen. 

I love those oak trees we pass, leaving the coast, the valleys and hills.

We stopped in Arvin at the Vallarta.  Ming got two pineapple tamales and ate them at a long wooden picnic table.  I looked around at things--rice, beans, little pickled apples and octopus. 

Wanted to buy the inner parts of pumpkin seeds.  Wanted to buy star anise but didn't know what I'd do with it.  But it's so pretty.

Then in Tehachapi at a park, a red truck had a flat tire, and there was a note on it saying Don't tow.  I saw a raven.  My phone died.  I was using it and the gmail app paused.  Then the screen went black.

I tried turning it off and on--didn't work.  I asked Ming to help.  "Do you know how to take the battery out?" I asked.  He was walking across a field and I was walking toward him, naked phone in hand, and a flock of blackbirds flew by in the wind.  I laughed.

Ming couldn't fix it, so at our hotel I googled How to fix iphone and fixed it.  Turned out my memory was almost full so I put 1700 pictures onto my computer and deleted them off my phone.  Ming supplied the cord.

When we first got to the hotel, I lay down in bed and Ming took a shower.  I woke up and he was lying beside me.  I said, "I got the wrong mule."  I'd wanted him to unload the minivan. 

He said, "I'm stubborn."  I laughed and remembered that mules are known for a few things, including carrying a lot and stubbornness.

Then I got up to pee and saw he'd brought in everything from the minivan.  He must have come in and out the door five times, not waking me up.  I had been dead asleep. 

So I started cracking up.  Later we went to Thai food.  Ming said he liked the look of my phone without its case.  I said, "What, are you a phonosexual?"  It did seem little and cute in its vulnerability.

I asked Ming about his last name.  "What's that 'a' doing there?  Seems like it's doing nothing!"  He said it keeps Lai from being Li like Lee.

Monday, November 26, 2018

traveling home

Sunday, November 25, 2018

inbox cleaning, Santa Barbara, nice lady

I've been cleaning out my inbox.  I used to keep it spartan.  Then it filled up with emails I hadn't dealt with. 

A certain friend emailed me a ton, and I emailed him back a ton but slightly less.  I had all these emails from him with unanswered questions from the previous year. 

So I went through and read them, taking notes, then archiving them.  And I wrote him an interesting, varied six-page letter on pink paper, answering all the questions.  It's a good letter.  I showed it to Ming too.

Then I did it again the next day, but the second letter was only four pages.  It included a description of Santa Barbara that I was proud of.  I read it aloud to Ming and Mom.  Ming liked it.

"I left out the part about running into a surfer on the hiking trail, with his sandy-brown long hair, wearing shorts and Tevas, with his golden retriever on a leash," I said. 

Then we talked about Tevas.  I went to their website--they still exist.  I kind of always wanted some.

I also want this book Celestial Wisdom which talks about life at all the different ages by Z Budapest.  But how many unread books do I have?

I also want a weighted blanket.  There's a blanket Mom made so thick and heavy it's like that.  Comforting.

This old lady I knew much of my life died.  She was a teacher at Mom's previous preschool and then worked as a substitute.  "I think she didn't have a mean bone in her body," Mom says.  "How many people can you say that about?"


RIP Ester Keough!

Saturday, November 24, 2018


Mom is drawing on her eyebrows again.  "My sister always walks me out to the car.  And I told her, Don't walk me out to the car!  What if there's a cucuy out there or something?

"She said, I have to walk you out to your car.  What if there's a cucuy out there or something?"

We laughed.  "So I said, Okay, how about half-way?"


"People are shrinking and squeezing themselves into what counts as able-bodied under capitalism, and I think most people are doing the same thing with gender. Most people are gender non-conforming and we are squeezing ourselves into these categories to keep ourselves safe."--Mia Mingus, my new hero


Friday, November 23, 2018

other people's kids

Once I had a good friend--I talked to her almost every day.  We chatted on gmail chat for hours.  She got up really late.  So we'd start talking in the afternoons.

Her spouse was a psych nurse, and they had two kids who were homeschooled.  And lots of animals.

Once they were visiting Sacramento, when I was living there.  We all went out to Indian food.  The older kid was ordering off the menu, but others were having buffet.  The kid started eating some rice that was from the buffet.

I told her to stop it.  I didn't want her to get in trouble for eating from the buffet.  I was really surprised when she started to cry.  I felt horrible.  I think she knew I wasn't trying to be mean or hurt her.  But something about being chastised was painful anyway.

Now she's a young adult.  I don't talk to her parents anymore but am still friends with them on facebook.

The other morning at the soupline, we were talking to our friend N.  He likes to bring his two little children.  The four year old walked off, picked up a rock, and was moving toward the pigeons. 


"Why?" the kid asked, spun around to face me.

"You can't hurt the pigeons!" I said.

"Why?" the kid asked again.  Our friend N seemed unconcerned.

Yesterday I was at Mom's dining room table writing a long letter to my friend in England for Thanksgiving comfort.  My mom told my niece to change the tablecloth.  It was time to set the table.

"I guess I'm getting the boot," I told my niece as she approached with the fresh tablecloth.  She laughed.  I gathered my writing things and relocated to the kitchen.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

thankful for rain

Yesterday I failed to blog.  I was so sick it scared me.  I coughed like crazy and felt my throat was getting more and more swollen, constricted. 

We went to the health food store and bought cough drops.  Tried to nap and woke myself up coughing every minute.  Almost sent Ming back to the store for some cough syrup purchased by credit card.

Well, today is a new day.  I feel much better though I depressed myself this morning with facebook news.  Parents of young adults who died from type 1 diabetes as they tried to ration their insulin brought the ashes of their children to the drug company that charged $400 to $500 for a vial of insulin that costs $5 to make.  Sounds like it was intense.


This is Chumash land.  Mom is cleaning up.  We'll make a feast.  I'm drinking orange juice and smelling my brother's backyard cigarette smoke as it comes through the open sliding glass door.

Last night it rained.  Thankful for rain.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

suddenly sick

I sneeze.  I blow my nose.  I drink tea Ming makes me and orange juice.  I sleep.

Today we were supposed to go to Santa Barbara to see my bestie and her baby, but they're sick too!

Mom was putting on her makeup, drawing on her eyebrows, and we were talking about death.  "When my dad died, I grieved for everything we never had," she said.

"I didn't do that, when Dad died," I said.  "In a way, I had given up a long time before."

I told her Dad almost died so many times, I had a lot of practice.

"It's a weird feeling, when both of your parents are gone," Mom said.

"When you die, it'll be totally different," I said.

She complained to her doctor that the cancer center has all these classes and they're all during the day, so she can't go to any of them since she works.

"You're remarkable," the doctor told her.

"Did you tell him you're a badass?" I asked.

"No," Mom said.  "Too bad you weren't there.  You could have told him for me."

Monday, November 19, 2018

let's dance

Last week at community meal, J was telling us how her dad had a great Santa suit and would come visit as Santa every Christmas.

"You know that song, I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus?" she asked.  "That happened to me!"

"That must have been disturbing!" R said.

"No, it was okay because it was my dad!" J said.

"But you didn't know it was your dad!"

"No, but it's okay!" J said. "Anyone can kiss Santa.  It's like kissing Jesus."

"It's like kissing David Bowie!" I said.  We were all laughing.  It was a good meal.