dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I woke up super-cranky today--I was woken up many times, by terrible sounds outside, including the yelling guy, who was not at his usual spot but somewhere down the street but still loud. Our own insomnia kept us up too. But I had emotional dreams about my friend's brother dying, and it was so sudden.

I made a tape for my friend P and tried to chin up. I'm feeling better now. Yesterday I made dal and some riata. Both are delicious today, and there's choir practice tonight. Erik just made me some weird chai with way too much licorice in it, and it's good with vanilla soymilk and powdered milk powder and honey--creamy, sweet.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Here's a Moomin card someone nice sent me from Finland.


This is what I mean when I say I like art.


We got these Persian cucumbers from Trader Joe's, and they're so tender and delicious, they don't need to be peeled.

Today I sent a great deal of mail. We picked up some audio tapes freecycle near Winters. I just got on Forrest's waiting list for a bassoon, and the gentleman said "Good morning" though it's afternoon.

We went to the 99 cent store. I looked for pickles because I have a hard time committing to the large-size jars found normally, but the only pickles I found (other than sweet ones) had artificial flavors. WTF? I bought red bell peppers, nectarines, a jar of vodka pasta sauce, and four pairs of chones.

I brought our own bags, which I put on the conveyer belt for the checker's ease, and she threw them away, which I didn't say a word about. It's not the first time this has happened to me.

Brown basmati rice is cooking for lunch. We're out of both peanut butter and tahini, which is a household emergency. We've been thinking a lot about the emergence of emergency.

Monday, August 28, 2006

happy Monday

Today I received my first postcard from Estonia. It has a picture of a statue of a ghost on it, and I learned that in Estonia, ghosts are fat (or at least this one is).

I wrote two letters and a postcard. I'm constantly losing and finding things.

The creepy yelling guy woke us up at a quarter to eight this morning, and we heard someone yelling back. He sounds very near, like in the Dairy Queen parking lot. My mom says to call the cops and explain what's happening, but I've called the cops here before (when the apartment next door was broken into), and they were very rude, so I'm hesitant, and it's hard to explain this yelling in a way that's clear and conveys the disturbing quality.

Erik passed his qualifying test for scoring CELLA today. We've been feeling under the weather, as if we were sick, but no symptoms are manifesting beyond an extreme lethargy. I took a two-hour nap this afternoon which wasn't even my idea.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

happy 80th

more postcards

This is called Rosegarden by Paul Klee.

This is a promo art card of art by Eric Powell--picked up for free in Berkeley on Friday.

something new

This morning at church, the worship was being performed by Jaya--it was beautiful. She wore a green Indian-style dress. I was really surprised to see her up there, and afterwards I asked P, and she said that Jaya does worship once a month or when Swami's not there.

I really appreciated hearing it in English. The choir sounded great--loud and strong. I was happy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Here is the most beautiful postcard I have ever received, made collage by my new mailart friend ElizaDeth.

Here's the postcard I'm sending in response, bought ysterday in Berkeley (I'm sending a zine too).

update: creepy yelling

This morning there was the creepy repetitive yelling again--it was around 8:30 in the morning, broad daylight, and it only lasted a minute this time. Erik thinks someone confronted him. Maybe it will stop now.

beautiful concert

Yesterday we went to the bay area for a free Wah! concert. It was absolutely awesome. It was at the Mariott in San Mateo--she was the entertainment for an alternative medicine conference. Originially it was going to cost $35 to see this concert (if you weren't already there for the conference), but there were some difficulties....

To make a long story short, I got an email saying the concert had become free, so we went, and there were only about 10 people there, including us. It was intimate, beautiful, moving, transformational, and I sang my little heart out. It's mostly kirtan, which is call-and-response. I loved it, and I was so happy. It's extremely encouraging--her music makes me feel supported and like I can live.

This picture is from her website.

At the women's retreat I went to last week, the nun who spoke mentioned to us the importance of holy company--she said a person can have holy company in the form of sacred images in addition to actually present people, but I like music to be my holy company too.

In Berkeley we did some usual excellent stuff, like we ate delicious Indian food and bought Acme bread. I was actually very cranky all day, and the concert made me feel so much better: uplifted.

Today I have choir practice, we need to buy water, and Erik's starting training for some online scoring he's starting next month--the CELLA with ETS.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Guess how much we paid for four pink lady apples at Whole Foods. $6.49. They were $2.99 a pound. Isn't that crazy? I had one this afternoon, with peanut butter: delicious.

some unusual stuff

Last night and the night before, we were woken up by something oddly terrible. It's someone yelling over and over again. Imagine if you yawn and you give that yawn-sound--imagine that sound but mournful, pained, and very, very loud repeated over and over again for five minutes straight. Then you will know the frightful thing that's woken us up two nights in a row.

Don't ask me what's going on. He seems to be on the street. It's mental illness or drugs that's making him decide to do this. Maybe tonight we'll close the window.

My lunch today with my friend was very good. I had a falafel sandwich and a side of baba ganoush. Tasty, light, and seemed healthful and veggie-laden. Conversation was good too. We liked eachother's shirts--I was in rainbow tie-dye, and she was in a green teeshirt with a picture of Buddha on it.

I'm really proud of myself for driving to midtown and back--no problem. I gave myself extra time and got there early. I was standing there reading the free paper, leaning against the wall, waiting for my friend, when a guy came by and said I blended in with the art that was painted on the wall and on the windows. He said I looked like I belonged there. I thought he was kinda nutty but said thank you.

I forgot to say that yesterday at the park, Erik and I looked into the creek and saw huge half-frog, half-tadpoles. They looked freaky in their in-between stage, spherical but with a tail and small legs.

DIY everything


This is just what I like to see! Awesome innovation.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

what Wednesday feels like

Today we went to the park to look at dragonflies, stare up into the trees, and read.

I went to choir practice in the evening and sang myself raspy. Then we went to Whole Foods mostly for some brown basmati rice.

Then we drove the route that I'm going to need to drive tomorrow to see my friend EA for lunch at Juliana's Kitchen. I don't drive on the freeway, so we had to get creative. I think it's going to be okay, though parking might be a bother.

While I was at choir practice, Erik was walking around the garden and sitting by Krishna pond. He ran into Swami, and they talked about our bumper stickers. I'm glad.

Near Vedanta we saw the beautiful chickens again. I didn't have the camera, but I would also like Erik to take a picture of some huge lily pads.

I have to tell you it costs ten bucks to send a reasonably normalweight book to Australia through the post office. Just say no! I thought it would be more like four.

Also, in Erik's dinner rice tonight there was a little rock, which is something unusual that would tend to happen more often in lentils. He's hiking tomorrow with T. So right now he's going to make the hiking sandwiches.

some large chain Mexican place

The backside of an envelope I made today from an ad. I think the rice looks very not-Mexican. And the guacamole is strange in its little roundness, like it was scooped with an ice-cream scoop. Other than the meat, the rest looks appealing.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Listening to some MC Hawking--"Entropy" is pretty likable.



CBEST is done, and I couldn't be gladder. Here is the prettiest of the ice crytsal postcards.

We walked by there today, and all the stuff was in the trash.

Monday, August 21, 2006

a mystery

We went for a walk at work and saw that by a dumpster was a pile of stuff. Some of the stuff looked good, and right away I noticed some postcards. As you know, I collect postcards, so I took them. They are of water crystals, like snowflakes.

In the pile of junk was also dress-up clothes and clothes hangers, bill-like mail, a bunch of Egyption stuff that would suggest that the owner of this trash had recently been to an Egyptian-themed event. Black, white, and brown socks, two pennies, hotel shampoo.

Strangely, I found a key-card for the Luxor hotel, which is Egypt-themed and the only hotel in Las Vegas that I have stayed at.

The more I thought about this pile of stuff, the more it bothered me. This was obviously stuff from someone's car. A crumpled-up Burger King bag, for example. Erik thought someone just cleaned out their car really fast. I was unconvinced and imagined funny business.

Finally I decided that someone stole the car and dumped all the junk out of it in this parkling lot, near a dumpster, to get rid of the evidence. It reminded me of something that happened to me, when my backback got stolen during college. The thief had taken the unwanted contents of the backpack and dumped it in someone's front lawn. That person whose lawn was used as a dumping ground was a good citizen and called me up, which was great because I got some text books, my wallet, and my keys back.

So I was thinking maybe we should look at the mail to figure out what the guy's name was and try to call him because maybe it would comfort him to have at least some of his stuff back. That was my plan, as I scored--to go out at lunch and get his name, look it up in the phone book, and call him.

But then I thought about it more and started worrying maybe this was all shady and it was best to leave well-enough alone. Maybe the owner of the junk was a bad guy and would somehow figure out a way to use my attempt at kindness to his advantage.

We were uncertain at lunch time, but as soon as we had finished our lunch, we walked back over to the dumpster. On the way I said to Erik, "Maybe the dead body is in the dumpster," which scared him. I'm always imagining dead bodies--it's a habit I've had since I was a child and imagined dead bodies in the kelp when I was swimming in the ocean every summer.

But there was no dead body in the dumpster. There was nothing but a tire and a pair of latex gloves. Do you think that's odd? This is really creeping me out--maybe because it's night-time.

We looked at the bills and learned the guy's name: it's unusual. I looked at the clothes and learned that he wore a size 3x tall. I found another postcard.... There was a burned 2-Pac CD. Erik found two plane tickets to the Philipines, pristine in their envelope.

A lot of the mail was old--from December--but some was as recent as May.

There was also some kind of attendence report printout for a 10th grader who had a different last name. And there was a Washington Mutual bill for a woman who shared the same last name.

So, what do you think? I googled the guy's name and got zero hits. I googled just his last name and got zero hits. I googled variations on his last name in case I remembered it wrong and got zero hits--the same with yahoo. So at least there's no news about him going missing.

I think tomorrow when we take a walk, we'll not go over there again.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

change of plans

Rememeber we had this idea that we were going to find me full-time work, a real job either in the Bay Area or Portland, Oregon and then move? This week of CBEST scoring is incapacitating me. I just can't be around people eight hours a day. So we're thinking it's not going to happen--I can't work full-time, unless it's at home, which is almost imposible to find.

So our plan is changed, and we're going to find a way to live without me working full-time. We still might be moving, but things are less clear now. Maybe Erik's the one who will need to find full-time work, or maybe we'll keep things just as they are for a while.

When culture judges your worth as a human being as your ability to make money, I'm feeling like quite a failure that I'm not good at that. It's sad to give up. But we need me to be happy, or all our time is spent trying to prop me up and keep me functioning, but it's a very low level of functioning.

Of course, being a woman, I could get some worth by having kids, but that's not the plan either. I become more inscrutable, but I hope my friends and family will try to understand me and love me even though.

three minutes of fun

Taylor's #12, Lundgren's #4432. Delgado's #392. Chavez is #206. Hawkins is #161.

There's a lot more Schwartz than Weiss. (But Gray is #70.)

A lot more Wolf than Woolf.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

retreat and the desire to retreat

Today I went to a Vedanta women's retreat at the home of some devotees near Roseville. A nun from San Francisco came to give a talk. Then there was a lot of question-and-answer, lunch, more question-and-answer. It was a beautiful house--the largest house I have ever been in--and I met some new people who I liked. I had done the suggested reading beforehand, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Yet being around people drains me, and I need a lot of recovery afterwards. It takes me a long time to process listening to people talk, seeing people, touch.

I feel happy to be accepted at my local Vedanta place and by the women of this women's group, but it's difficult to know how to proceed. Erik and I still plan to move, and I don't want to put down roots. My gender problems with Vedanta were somewhat lessened today, but they still remain.

Meanwhile, things at the apartment complex are worse than ever. Yelling drama, revving cars, loud music, the man I hate who is always on the apartment complex's front stoop, smoking cigarettes and leaving Budwiser cans behind. Cigarette butts are scattered everywhere. And we have to pass by him on our way to and from our car, breathing his smoke. I dread his presence and just can't take it anymore.

Today a young woman was yelling at her child (who seemed to be about four years old) "I told you to get my soda! Get my soda! Now!" as if getting Mother her soda is part of a child's responsibilities, because she's too lazy to walk inside and get the soda herself.

This was right in front of us, just feet away as we passed through. Her yelling was loud enough to hurt our ears, as if the front stoop was part of their livingroom rather than a shared space. There's no sense of responsibility to the greater good, no sense of privacy, no consideration. I would never yell at my child in that way for such a stupid reason, but why isn't she ashamed or at least embarassed?

I start feeling like I'm not fit for the world--I can't handle people. I just can't live if the world is this way. It's not acceptable, and there's no way to get away from it, because even if we move to a better apartment complex, someone like this can move in next door. People are nasty, and I can't take it, and what can I do? I need quiet and to feel safe. I shouldn't dread coming home or leaving.

Yesterday at dusk I wanted to go for a walk, but when I stepped outside, someone was shrieking, "You're a mandated reporter! Go ahead and call!" with more words I couldn't understand. But this isn't the first time we've heard loud, upset conversation about CPS. I decided not to take a walk after all because this was happening outside--I would have had to walk right through it. This happens all the time.

The decent people have all left--the complex is growing more horrible this way. Toys are littering the yard always. They treat the yard like it belongs to them rather than all of us. It's just a given that that's where the children play and leave all their junk, and no one else can be there. Toys, shoes, two pools, dishes, scooters, sticks, broken things. The terrible behavior becomes the local "normal."

So we need to move--there's nothing else to do--but I can't figure out where to go. Erik says he can find places in Sacramento with the same rent we're paying now--$595 for a medium-sized one-bedroom. So maybe we should move within Sacramento while trying to find me a good job in the Bay Area or Portland.

But it seems stupid to move then need to move again in just a couple months. We have way too much stuff--I feel frustrated with our propensity to accumulate. It's not good to put Kitty through it, or ourselves. Moving is an incredible strain for all three of us.

So I don't know what to do.

Friday, August 18, 2006

scoring CBEST day 3: dragonfly time

Today work got out an hour early, which we knew beforehand. I paced myself. There was apple pie for afternoon snack, the kind with caramel sauce, but the sauce is thin and doesn't really contribute.

On morning walk, we saw the shed skin of a mantis. Then, a little ways longer on our walk, we saw a large mantis, yellow and alive but very still. It turned its head to look at Erik. That creeps us out in a happy way.

What else--dragonflies: the red ones, the small blue ones, and a larger blue and black one. I guess it's dragonfly time.

Ants got in M's salad, which she didn't like, and so she didn't eat it, though she's not a vegetarian.

There was ham and raisins in the potato salad, but I ate it anyway--my serving didn't have any ham at all, and I left the raisins on the plate. Someone argued with me in the lunch room that they were olives, but I could see their wrinkled surfaces, and my eyes are much better than the eyes of all those old people.

the most shocking thing I've read in a while

"After 20 years of public debate, the percentage of U.S. adults accepting the idea of evolution has declined from 45% to 40% and the percentage of adults overtly rejecting evolution declined from 48% to 39%. The percentage of adults who were not sure about evolution increased from 7% in 1985 to 21% in 2005."

They also compare the levels of acceptance of evolution in the United States with those in thirty-two European countries and Japan, noting that "Only Turkish adults were less likely to accept the concept of evolution than American adults."

Using a two-group structural equation model, they identify three relevant factors: the acceptance of fundamentalist religious beliefs, the politicization of science, and the widespread ignorance of biology.

It's the rise to 21% "not sure about" that shocks me particularly. The study used the same question over 20 years, so it's not new phrasing the caused the changes.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Wanna see my Postcrossing profile?


year of the horse

This is one of the prettiest stamps I have ever seen, received on an envelope today from Brazil. The scan doesn't show the shining silver of the horse--it scans as dark gray--but at least you can get an idea. It's 1 1/2 by 3 inches.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I thought teething-biscuits were designed to be really solid to avoid being dissolved in the mouths of babes. But in actuality, they dissolve in a heartbeat, when soaked in tea.

I learned something about myself today. If I don't have soymilk or milk, I can be happy soaking my cookies in tea.

Erik said maybe tea was designed to dissolve teething biscuits. I said I don't think so. Tea was designed to dissolve teeth. But we're lucky it didn't work that way. Don't ask me what I'm talking about or I'll say dissolution.


The apartment complex is so loud nowadays that it's like a cross between a preschool play yard and a disco. Walking from the car to the front door is like walking through a battleground. The staircase we usually take upstairs was blocked tonight by four people at its base, so we took another, which had food spilled on every step in a way that seemed entirely deliberate.

I hate it here, and we need to move, but rather than move within Sacramento, when moving is so expensive, I would rather just Move, which means another city such as the Bay area or Portland. But we haven't found me a job, and it's so rare that I see a listing that I'm even interested in applying for.

But the apartment complex, which is like our own small neighborhood, has gone from decent to street, and I'm feeling crazy and like I never belong anywhere, but I particularly, especially don't belong here. When I'm stressed out from work, I can't take another layer. I'm running the air to try to block some of the bass.

what we saw

The puja last night was wonderful. I like the outside part, and there were no mosquitoes this year. I found out that being in the choir makes the time pass so quickly, it was over before I knew it. I love singing because I love losing myself.

Today we started scoring a week of CBEST, and it's brain-destroying, but hopefully the destruction is temporary and I'll regenerate daily.

A long time ago I told you about the chickens near Vedanta who roam free. I tried taking some pictures today, but the only one that turned out was this chicken in a tree. So I will try again another day.

Or maybe this is a Bantam? It's small. Let me know, if you know.

Monday, August 14, 2006

the backside of

the best envelope I've ever made (from a calendar)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

sweet dreams

Today I finished two letters, sang for the first time with the choir, and awaited Erik's return from a 10 mile hike with T. Tonight I've done some zine trades and ate one and a half baked potatoes. Now I'm going to bed, so good night.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

bad Kitty

I was stepping out the door for choir practice but saw that Kitty had left us an unwanted gift on the mat. I yelled, "Something dead!" and pointed.

"What?" Erik asked. Then he saw the rat with its claws, open eyes, long tail. I had run away from the door.

"Can you go around it?" he asked, and I did, with much effort, and I went to choir practice. I was a little late.

So Erik got major points with bonus points for getting rid of that dead rat, and he had to wash his shoes because they were by where the dead rat was.

The other excitement of the day is--do you remember those creeps who were living in the Dairy Queen parking lot for a month? They left. Let's hope they never come back. They woke us up at 4 in the morning with some weird sounds: I guess those were the sounds of them leaving.

We have run errands, and Erik's going hiking tomorrow with Tom again. I spent about ten bucks on postcards, but they should last a long time, and they had some beautiful ones of San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in addition to Sacramento, Old Town Sacramento, and the capital building.

Eating cherries Mom gave me which are not sweet but still good cherries.

Friday, August 11, 2006


We just got home from the trip to LA and Santa Barbara. We really made the right choice to go. The main goal was attending the funeral, but I also got to see friends and family, and I loved hugging and kissing them.

I met a friend C who I had previously only spoken with through email and once on the phone. I saw a friend L who I hadn't seen in about five years and met her girlfriend. And I got to play with my niece on the playground at her preschool and eat pizza with my peeps. So the two days were packed with rich experiences, and we really made the right choice.

Monday, August 07, 2006

everyday life materials

Yesterday Erik went for a hike with his friend T and they got lost. So they never made it to the lake, and the hike was longer than it would have been if they'd used the trail. Today Erik's arms look like the arms of a kid with chicken pox, sort of, thanks to the mosquito bites which are remarkable in quantity.

We're going out of town tomorrow and will rely on the kindness of friends and chosen-family for places to sleep two nights. It's an adventure on short notice, and I look forward to seeing some people who I love. The gas money will be expensive, but we can cut back in other areas to compensate and be okay.

Today was windy and pleasant. We had a lot of authentic experiences which are not flashy to talk about but which nourish the soul and are the stuff that life is made of, like taking clothes from the line and dropping wooden clothespins into the Quaker oats container. Cleaning out the car, finding clothes to wear to the funeral, eating toast.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

life in the water

Today we worked hard. I cut myself while slicing bread. I felt the knife sink into my thumb and panicked, running from the kitchen. I ran to the bathroom, got toilet paper, and squeezed my thumb until I thought it had stopped bleeding, carefully peeked, and it had. So many times have I cut that thumb doing something stupid--before, it was when I worked at the dining commons in college, and was rushed to the hospital with a white kitchen rag wrapped around that same left thumb, and I can feel the scar when it rains.

I never said my favorite moment in Berkeley was when we saw orange newts and a snake in the water of a shallow pool famed for being a newt habitat. The snake was graceful and slim, with a metalic stripe, and it was emerging from something, emerged completely, then slipped away.

But today we did things like walk, buy rubber cement, pick up a perscription, clean up, make sandwiches for the hike tomorrow. I've been working on one of my traveling journal projects, losing myself in making visual art and new things so stimulating and a perfectly good use of my time that I know I'll miss when I don't have time again beacause of working.

Friday, August 04, 2006

what we did, what we're doing

Yesterday we went to Berkeley. It was free day at the botanic garden, and we spent two hours there, which wasn't enough. Erik took some gorgeous pictures.

Other highlights of the trip were vegan Japanese food...

...and a strange thing we did on Berkeley's fishing pier at the request of a zinester in Minnesota which involved this trash can.

Today we're running errands and having fun. I got a lovely postcard from Finland today, I'm writing a letter to A about some troubles, and Erik's hiking with T again on Sunday.

Here's a picture of a pitcher plant that I think I took. In the orchid and carnivorous plant room.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

happy August

I forgot to say that yesterday Erik bought a matcha whisk, which he had been wanting, when we went to a tea place by Fox & Goose. After Beers.

Here are two postcards I'm sending today.

I also forgot to say happy August. That long June-July wasteland is officially crossed.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ganesha says

Today we went to Beers Books and had a nice time--Erik reading, me looking at postcards and buying more than seven dollars' worth, which is a feat because they're only 35 cents.

We went to the library, we went to the postie. I got some awesome mail in the form of a letter from Florida, some zines from Italy, some zines from the US, and even a button. Yesterday I got zines from Australia. Lately much of my life is occuring through the mail.

Here is a postcard I made today and am sending tomorrow for an artist's 80th birthday.

encouragement for a Tuesday