dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Sunday, December 31, 2006

happy New Year

I've ripped the December page off my calendar.

This morning's worship was very nice. Tonight's the new years program, and that will be fun if I can stay awake through the movie. There's vespers at midnight, and Swami will blow his conch shell, which really confused me the first time I heard it. I thought it was one of those long, plastic horns that kids blow at sporting events and parades.

I'm asking Erik how we found out it was a conch shell, and he's telling me he doesn't know, so maybe I just made that up. But I bet I heard someone mention it.

Erik's cleaning house and thinking about going into a PhD program. Kitty's having a little pet frenzy and clawing Erik's leg for attention. I'm just sitting here typing, but not for long.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

last Saturday of the year

It's a lot of adjustment, getting used to Erik being home. This morning we bundled up and took a walk down Professional Drive. I told him he should bring his camera everywhere and showed him shots he should take. I like to have a walking-buddy. But at home, he's sort of loud. And I have to think about his feelings all the time. It's hard work, raising a husband.

Choir practice was fine. I wrote a letter to my penpal in the Netherlands this afternoon. I wrote a postcard back to the gentleman I have a postcard friendship with--he's in Colorado. I paid bills while Erik read to me a 9 page letter I wrote to my dear A in Portland. And I got some zines in the mail, hip hop don't stop, all five issues. That was generous.

Erik filed for unemployment yesterday. That's his idea of form torture. But now I'm snacking on cheese and crackers--the crackers is some Wassa crispbread, and the cheese is some smooth and mild Monterey Jack my mom gave me as we were heading out the door Christmas afternoon. It's delicious, and Erik likes it too.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

party / poverty time

Erik's project at the grading factory has ended. Long live the project.

Anyway, life is entirely different now. We can stay up as long as we like. We can goof off in tandem. Erik can sit, write, play microscope, listen to music, watch South Park, and do qui gong until the cows come home.

But we are in poverty. So nothing involving the spending of money is allowed ever again.

Next for-sure work is February first. But we have lots of other prospects.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

alarmingly windy

This morning while Erik drank his matcha, he was telling me about this FOAF who likes to play speed-chess when he's drunk. Without a board! That made me giggle, to imagine.

This afternoon I took a walk in the alarming wind. It's almost windy to the point of danger.

Erik's working late again tonight. Rumor has it that if they don't finish the current project by the end of the year, they'll lose the contract. So, as soon as he gets home, I'll be off to choir practice. However, I don't feel like going to choir practice or doing much of anything.

In the mail I got a Christmas postcard from my charmingest friend in Florida and a journal from the 1001 journals project--super-visual, and I'm feeling a bit daunted and at least wary. Chary.

ping question

Technorati thinks I haven't updated this blog in 310 days. Also, it says no one links here (then lists all the links). Any ideas why pings aren't working?

strange dreams, new zine received

This morning I woke up from a dream that Al Franken was putting the moves on me. He was eating salad without dressing. I found him very pushy and unpleasant.

There was another part of the dream where I was at choir practice, only there were about 60 people in the choir, and we were singing secret prequel verses of "Amazing Grace." Everything was a mess, we needed to clean up afterwards, and there was a catering company, but they were slacking.

Anyway, I got in the mail yesterday you don't get there from here, Carrie McNinch's newest comix zine. It's sad and lovely. She wrote me a nice note too. I sent her a big stack of old cookbooks a year ago, and she had an offer at the time that anyone sending her an old cookbook (pre-1960s, I think) would be on her subscriptions list for life. That was supposed to be a lifetime subscription for Food Geek specifically, but she's being generous with me.

I got an email this morning from Anto who runs loserdom in Ireland, and he was sending me his new address and url. That was nice, to hear from him. On his site, I watched a video of him collating and binding a zine, which was somehow magical to see because I have collated and bound so many zines, always in private, and seeing someone else do it filled me with peace.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

dark orange sunflower

Here's my current desktop, a picture Erik took at the Berkeley botanic garden in the summer: beautifully cheerful.


I can tell how many Hershey's kisses Erik ate on Christmas by the number of foil wrappers left in his pocket.

Monday, December 25, 2006

home again

We had a lovely Christmas and packed lots of life into a very short trip. I got some wanted books to read and music to hear--two They Might Be Giants CDs, for example. I had some good moments with my nieces. We ate delicious food--it was enchiladas instead of the regular turkey dinner.

Here's us in the front yard this afternoon.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

merry Christmas Eve-Eve

My relatives are making tamales today, in Port Hueneme, so it's also Tamales Making Day. Erik's working at the grading factory. It's cold here, gray skies, and I feel mostly content.

This morning while Erik was drinking his matcha I told him, "Merry Christmas Eve-Eve."

He said, "Merry Christmas Eve, Eve."

I said, "I'm not Eve." Then I made up a joke like this.

Eve's feeling guilty that she ate the apple. Adam says, "It's okay, Eve. It's not like this is the first time someone did something wrong." Then he says, "Oh wait, yeah, it is."

Erik's very nice that he likes my home-made jokes.

Friday, December 22, 2006

the best

First-rate mail day: three zines, a letter from my dearest friend in Georgia, the Christmas presents for my nieces arrived in time for Christmas (and they turned out just gorgeous, custom made), and we got a present from N1VG, straight from amazon, which I'm waiting for Erik to open. Yay!

peace day

Blue skies today, though it's still cold, and I'm a bit stir-crazy listening to neighbor kids yell. Watching yard work--god the yard work seems endless. No rest for the mowers, leaf blowers, someone raking green waste into a pile.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

happy solstice

My friend J made cranberry sauce and gave me a jar of it last night--this morning I had some in my yogurt, and it was good. I know cranberries are very important to her and have been since she was a girl, so I'm trying to enjoy them mindfully.

Rainy here, and cold. I've written a letter to M in Portland and finished one to my cousin S. Washed dishes, paid a bill. Trying to keep my spirits up despite the darkness. It's really cloudy out. I went to bed early last night, then woke up in the middle of the night upset. Erik comforted me. Sometimes I feel like the world is very mean. The way we get by, everything's pieced together so carefully, and if one thing falls through, it's hard.

Anyway, it's solstice, so brighter days ahead.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


It bothers me what I said last post about being skeptical when I saw it was all old white people at the restaurant. I guess that shows one of the ways I'm biased against old while people. I'm sorry. I'll work on that.

Today's excitement was when I noticed my truck wasn't in the parking lot. It was towed for having too much dust on it. Yep, dust is a towable offense. I feel very unsuited for the world. I thought when they said it could be towed for being unregistered or not running, they meant unregistered or not running. It should have occurred to me that "looks like it's not running" is the same as "not running."

Anyway, I have learned my lesson. Three hundred and fifteen dollars later, the truck is parked on the street, and we washed it. Sad but trying to move on.

new restaurant

Last night we went to a new Mexican restaurant La Rosa Blanca. It was recommended by Erik's friend T. I was skeptical when we walked in and saw only old white people at the tables. The food was okay. Erik got something with mole sauce, which he really likes and which I don't make for him anymore, so that's good. And it was kinda fun to be out.

The beans were great (but probably not vegetarian--I have a don't ask, don't tell policy, which isn't too smart, I know), my enchilada sauce was good but not stellar. My chile relleno was bland. I think Erik liked his dinner more than I liked mine.

Anyway, I have high standards. I like La Superica in Santa Barbara more than anything. Also my mom's and my own Mexican cooking. And Cielito Lindo in Orcutt. I have yet to find Mexican that I really like in Sacramento--we haven't found a good Chinese place either. It's sad but not too sad because we would rather spend our out-to-eat budget on Indian and Japanese over by the Bay.

It's so close to Christmas, I can feel it, and it's cold here. My zine reviews are done except the last one, for a music magazine called Razorcake that is so not my cup of tea that I'm having a hard time forcing myself to read it. That's the hazard--they have a policy of assigning zines randomly. I really wish I could just say no to music zines and take extra poetry ones instead. I think most people it would be the opposite, though. Reviewing poetry zines is considered similar to cleaning the litter box.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I like to eat plain yogurt, all by itself.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Evidently, I like this a lot because it's making me laugh a great deal. Quirky photo comix.


cold Monday

The puja was actually very nice. The choir was reduced almost by half, but we managed to sound great anyway.

I had been depressed, but I'm feeling better now, enjoying my time alone. I've been editing for Urban Dictionary, which is a great way to see a variety of interesting definitions, though many are misogynist and gruesome.

Getting down to 26 here at night. I told Erik we should get reduced rent because it's not even California-ish. He agreed.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

not making cookies

Erik got in the mail today some cute little tiny tripods for his camera so he can take a long exposure. He got them from American Science Surplus, or ASS.

Tonight there's a puja for Shivananada. I am not too terribly invested emotionally: all I want to do lately is sleep. I feel like I should make cookies or something, but it's not happening.

Friday, December 15, 2006

lichen trees

Here's my new favorite of Erik's most recent batch of hiking pictures. It's my current desktop.

from a conversation

me: I take what you say very seriously.

Erik: That means I need to take what I say very seriously.

ides of Decemeber

It's windy and winterish out. I'm aggressively procrastinating SAT scoring. I like the way Firefox checks my spelling as I go along.

Strong dreams last night: there was a deformed child who was being kept a secret, and someone wanted to kill her. I was afraid to meet her, but when I did, she was charming, and who cares that she couldn't walk, was missing a hand, and had a cleft palate unsewn?

The night before, I dreamed I was in jail, but I wasn't myself--I was younger and whiter. I was falsely accused of attempted murder. I didn't do it. Jail was a lot like school but 24 hours.

Last night some neighbors smashed the car of some other neighbors. It was the Asians. This morning I saw one of them pick up a smashed driver's side side mirror. He looked a bit wistful.

Some wonderful news is that I got a request from the woman who currently reviews zines for Utne Reader wanting some of my zines. What an honor. I sent two yesterday, the most recent two. Hope she likes them.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

photo for physics

I just wanted to show this picture to you. Here's the link to the article too.

Nobel Notations

interfaith peace meeting report

Last night I went to an interfaith peace meeting at Swami's request. We carpooled from Vedanta.

I enjoyed the presentations by the Jew, the Sikh, and by Swami. The rest was pretty worthless and hokey. The little songs between presentations were monotonous, and they didn't give us the words, so only the Catholics were singing, which felt uncomfortable. (It was held at a conference room of a huge Roman Catholic retreat center Christ the King.) The Christians and Catholics said only banal cliches, dumbed down--I felt really disappointed. Peace is such an important idea, and I was alarmed that it was being handled in a sentimental way. Also, I felt the event was self-congratulatory. But I feel that way about many events--so much time wasted with introductions and, "I'd like to thank"s. As far as I'm concerned, time is precious, and wasting a hundred people's time at once is a crime....

But I'm glad I went for the Jew's presentation and prayer. And I'm glad I went for the Sikh's prayer too. Swami, of course, said brilliant things and gave the most comforting, interesting prayers, in Sanskrit and then translated.

On the car ride there, we drove in near-silence through light rain. I almost started crying because I couldn't believe we could all care about one another so much yet be so isolated from one another like that. The truth is that I didn't know the customs for riding in the same car as a holy man. I think we were all wondering what behavior was appropriate, and when in doubt, stay silent.

On the drive back, the mood was lighter. We talked more. I swallowed my timidity and asked Swami questions about a few things that have been on my mind. For example, I asked about the movie Pather Panchali, if his life when he was a little boy was like the life portrayed in that movie. And I asked him about the translation of a particular Sanskrit term, and if Sikhs live in a certain area of India, and if the Sikhs are friendly with the Hindus--he said yes.

Anyway, there were eight of us from the Vedanta center, we got some cookies at the end, and I had a lot to think of it, though much of it was angry, especially considering the nature of the meeting.

I pray for peace every single day--it's my default prayer.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

maybe okay now

This morning I took a nice winter walk. I like the gray sky and the smell of fireplace smoke, cold wind on my face, dampness.

Maybe the computer problems are fixed, because I've scored for half an hour so far this morning with no incidents.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

computer problems

Firefox is working just fine, but Internet Explorer works for about three minutes and then gets all crashy. I need to fix this soon because it's a SAT scoring session, and I'm pretty sure I can only score SAT in Internet Explorer. I thought it was a malware called Torpig, but supposedly I got that off--maybe something else.

Erik really likes his matcha cake--I had pumpkin ice cream. The tacos were delicious, with just refried beans and carmelized onions inside.

Erik's 32 now

The puja last night was really beautiful, and seeing P was too. We ate lentils and talked about Arizona, Mormons, plans.

Today I have a choice of getting some carrots to make a carrot cake for Erik's birthday, or making a matcha cake from a mix that I already have, and I think I choose to make the matcha cake. It's rainy and dark outside.

This morning Erik called his dad in Minnesota, and they talked about global warming, work. He's collecting happy birthdays, and tonight I'm making tacos.

Monday, December 11, 2006

complete Monday

Yesterday morning I wore to worship some new clothes I am in love with. I know you have never heard me say this before. But my mom gave me this beautiful dark gray skirt with beautiful black, um, decoration stuff on the bottom. It's so pretty. So I have this whole outfit to wear with a black long-sleaved shirt and these nice strange black socks my dad bought me years ago and these off-black shoes that actually belong to Erik and this charchol-gray hoodie my aunt Tina gave me years ago. I feel very pretty in these clothes.

At worship we sang Fairest Lord Jesus when Swami put the flowers on Jesus and Buddha's plates because it's December. Swami is totally cool about Christmas. He sent me and Erik a Christmas card a few days ago. I just about swooned because I had never seen his handwriting before. It's not as unusual as I thought it would be, but so nice, so nice. I want to frame the card. It's a nice art of Mary and baby Jesus. Very old Byzantine picture. Jesus doesn't look like a baby at all because you know how babies have big heads.

Today after work, my dear friend P--I know I have too many friends named P, and this initial method sucks--the one who was in Arizona for six months being a park ranger? He's coming over. Unfortunatly, the house is a cluttered mess. I'm trying to chill about it.

Also this evening is my favorite puja of the year, for Holy Mother, and so I'm excited about that. I need to go to practice before the puja, which means I might not be able to spend all the time with P that I would like, but there will be other days. As long as he doesn't get another job out of state and move again, all of a sudden, which he would actually like to do. He came back to Sacramento only after stuff fell through--he doesn't want to be in Sacramento, I'm thinking. And his poor chicken Sparky was killed by a ring tail two weeks before he left Arizona, so not a soul is holding him to the earth.

Yesterday I met an Indian musican named Binay Pathak, who I might or might not take tabla lessons from. He's flying back to India today. But when he comes back. He has a lot of personality and might be too hyper for me. I need a lot of gentleness. So we'll see. He's obviously brilliant and has a ton of tallent. It's just a question of whether we're a good match.

Last night after vespers I asked Swami if he would rather me work in the bookstore or play tabla in the choir. He said "play tabla" without a second of hesitation.

Erik's birthday is tomorrow, and I need to bake a cake. It's rainy but not raining this very moment.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Here is my favorite of Erik's hiking pictures from yesterday in Muir Woods. You can see more at his picture blog.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

acorn squash

Tonight it's raining nicely. I went to choir practice at the lunch hour and then saw my friend K in the afternoon. She gave me an acorn squash and another thoughtful gift which shall be unnamed (but it involves supreme milk). We Christmas shopped, talked about wonderful topics, looked at her scrapbooks, ate delicious homemade tomato soup. She is one of my favorite people in the world, and I'm so glad to have good friends in town.

At home, I cooked an acorn squash--not the one K gave me, but the previous one--and it was yucky inside, mealy, but I also cooked up the seeds. The seeds were so good. I cooked them in the microwave, with salt. It was way easier than cooking them in the regular oven would be. Three minutes.

Erik hiked today and took pictures too gorgeous for words. He and his friend T were in Muir woods. (T is the one with the Shakespeare tattoo who gives him a lot of music.) He was home earlier than I expected. Now he's making hot chocolate for himself and brown rice for our dinner since the squash didn't work out.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bjork, ELIZA, and me

I was reading about a Bjork song I like, "Possibly Maybe," and was surprised to see that it was the first sad song she ever did, and she was ashamed of it. I was also surprised to learn that it was supposed to be country. That explains the anomalous slide guitar. Anyway, it's the current song at my myspace, so go there to hear it, if you'd like.


I was chatting with my friend Saint--he's the only friend I chat with, and it's only on myspace because I don't have an instant messenger program--and I told him that chatting makes me feel funny, like Eliza. He didn't know who that is, and here's another link if you would like to see.


I have been playing with Elizas since I was a child. I told Erik about all of this, and he said chatting makes me feel like I'm trying to pass a Turing Test. We laughed for a long time. Yes, I do work hard to pass as human.

Usually when Erik calls me from work, we talk about how bored he is, and how sleepy he is, and this morning it was like this.

me: I believe in your boredom whole-heartedly and without restraint.

him: There's no need to restrain yourself in your supposition of the depth and breadth of my boredom.

Today I made a new friend named A (a friend of a friend who I've heard a lot about) who lives in New York, and I'm happy I can write her letters and send her zines, but with this SAT scoring, I get guilt issues, and certain activities fall by the wayside more than usual.

As for today, I've been writing a lot and haven't even done the dishes yet. It's supposed to rain all weekend, which I like. Erik's supposed to go hiking tomorrow--I can't remember where, though he told me--somewhere with redwoods, somewhere green.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

productive evening

I ended up getting four zines read today, and four reviews written. I feel productive. Two of the zines are by zine-friends who I like very much, great reading, and two are by strangers and interested me less.

Anyway, I have three more to go. I feel really good about being involved in Zine World. I can review extra zines too, not just the ones that were assigned to me, and once I get the specific idiosyncratic format down, and a feel for what a 75-word limit feels like, they should go faster.

The vanilla pudding made with silken tofu turned out pretty delicious--Erik liked it too--but I think it was also expensive. It's not really home-cooking, with the mix and all. I should just make tapioca from scratch. I have a recipe using maple syrup for the sweeter around here somewhere....

But there's an organic butterscotch pudding mix I bought, made with milk, and I assume soymilk will work just fine. But Erik's been longing for the expensive cow's milk in bottles, Strauss farm, ever since I told him about the drink K gave me at her write-in party, and I don't think I'm going to be able to keep it from him much longer. Or him from it.

what December 7th feels like

I wrote my first review for Zine World today. It's of East Village Inky #31.

I also read anchor papers and calibrated and started scoring SAT, for a session started today.

Yesterday, we made pizza. I did all the prep (like chopping mushrooms, onions, bell pepper) and the crust, and then Erik did the actual assembling and baking while I was at choir practice. Pizza is really good.

I have been longing for pudding for approx three years. So today I finally made some, the kind where you mix tofu with this packet of sugar and flavors. It's vanilla pudding, and we will see if it's any good tonight.

Last night I wrote a poem that I think's going to be called "experiment" but it has a nasty tone, so maybe it belongs on the cider apple heap.

Very cold here today and a weird grayness near the horizon like there's a fire or the smog has gotten way worse all of a sudden.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the haps

My how-poor-are-you meeting at county health this morning was fine. I was called first, of all the 8 o'clock appointments. My caseworker is meticulous. His pen ran out of ink. But I almost started crying when I saw how far above poverty level we are. Poverty level for two adults is $934 a month. That's federal--if only it were calculated locally. All the people in reasonable states who pay $300 a month for rent are throwing us off, damn it. I can't help it I was born in California. And they don't care how much we owe in students loans, or any of that.

Anyway, they needed Erik's paystubs, though spouse wage verification was not on the "bring this stuff" list, so I'm sending them in the mail tomorrow, and I'll know what my share of cost is in a week or so.

Erik and I are in love with these almonds my mom bought me from Costco. They're so nice because they're blanched, I guess. I had them for the first time at A's house in Portland, the last day we were there, when I needed protein in the morning before we had sugary breakfast of lovely pastries.

I wrote a poem last night called 1850 that I like a lot, but not as much as "Wendy." But it's similar in a way, with the super-short line lengths and gender bitterness.

Today I got two brilliant letters in the mail, one from my cousin S, and one from my dearest friend in Flagstaff--that one's 9 pages, which is an accomplishment. I feel grateful for the love.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


"I'm working on my novel."


"But it's too late!"

"It's not too late."

"It's December!"

"December is National Better Novel Writing Month."


At Erik's work, there was a toxic fume, and everybody got sent home! Yay! So now he will help me get my shit done. He's taking me downtown this afternoon to do the rental form. Feeling better already.


Tomorrow I have a meeting at county health to determine my poverty level and which services I deserve at what cost. I'm stressed about the forms and paperwork. There's a rent verification form I'm not going to have completed because it needs my landlord's signature, which is unfortunate, but I'll bring a copy of the rental contract and hope they'll give me a little more time.

Trying to stay calm and take care of myself. I have too many projects going on without enough resources to do everything I'm supposed to. Exercise is entirely fallen by the wayside. Not sleeping enough. My desk is piled with obligations, and a lot of people deserve attention I'm not giving.

But my dear friend P is back in Sacramento after six months in Arizona, and he called today, and I'm happy he's going to come over next week so we can be in the same room together.

And my dear friend L has been calling lately, realistic about not writing, and I like the way we talk. She has questions for me that I enjoy answering. She lives in LA, and I wish we could be in the same town.

This morning I made myself a delicious cheese sandwich for breakfast, with tomato and avocado and veggie bacon bits. So now I get to have eggs for lunch, which is my idea of heaven / lucky.

Monday, December 04, 2006

the revolution will be live

Educating ourselves this evening with some important music.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

home from a weekend away

Our weekend was so rich and full, I don't know how I could begin to tell you about it. We ate delicious foods.

* Sri Lanakan in Santa Cruz--eggplant, thin dal, pan dipped in garlic olive oil, spicy lentil crackers, mango lassi that they say is a drink, but it really is a food;

* creamy clam chowder, crisp coconut shrimp, and tender salmon in Pismo Beach;

* delicious Mexican food at Celito Lindo in Orcutt--the chile relleno omelette I always get, with enchilada sauce on the side, all beans and no potatoes, corn tortillas;

* comfort food at my parents' house--my mom made a rice dish I've been enjoying since I was little, and Erik loved it too.

We had good company of children and adults. We helped my mom sort stuff. Three birthdays were celebrated--four if you count M opening her present from us, since we won't be there when she turns one. I hugged a loved aunt I see rarely.

Long drives, we listened to Bjork very loud and talked about everything in the world.

I sat with my mom, and we had important conversations deep into the magical night. She said moquitoes would bother us, but she was incorrect as we held hands on her porch swing.

We went shopping. She bought me almonds, cheese, soy milk, bell peppers, tangerines, tomatoes.

In all that I got some needed sleep, did some good writing, and lovely pictures were taken which I might post when Erik gets them off the camera and into the computer.

So tomorrow I will rest and process, read the letters that arrived while I was away, and cook with all the fresh ingredients.