dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Over the weekend we went to visit my parents near Santa Maria. Frozen yogurt, conversations with my mom, my dad's good mood, seeing my best friend E, and delicious Mexican food were some highlights of the trip.

This morning we went for a walk. I have a DMV appointment to renew my license. It's supposed to hit 98 today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I like nectarines better than peaches.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

retreat, another Obon dance

Yesterday was the Vedanta retreat. I went to the afternoon portion only, which included singing and a talk given by the swami from the St Louis center, Swami Chetanananda. I got teased by choir-mates for not going to the morning session. Sometimes it's hard to say no.

At night we went to the Obon dance in Florin. It was smaller than the Sacramento Obon dance but just as fun. We could see better, and the sound system was better. Talk about people watching! It's all about watching the dancers. Some are in kimonos--some are in shorts, and everything in between. The mood there was very positive. I wished I knew the dances so I could join them. Maybe one year I'll go to the practices beforehand and learn.

This morning I went to worship. I almost didn't go, but I'm glad I did. After worship I talked to friends and got a good hug from S. Now I smell like her perfume.

This whole time living in Sacramento, we've never been tourists to the capitol. We were thinking of going today, but instead we're planning to stay home and clean house, try to get rid of some of the clutter.

Friday, July 20, 2007

dinner party, tomatoes

Last night I went to a dinner party. It was held at the home of my friend K. The mashed potatoes were delicious. I really liked the cornbread too: it had been a long time since I'd had cornbread. I got three hugs and some laughs. It was good to do something different. I think it was my first dinner party ever.

Today I saw my friend A. She gave me 20 tomatoes from her garden and a lemon cucumber. The challenge is using all of them, and we're up to it. When all else fails, make tomato sauce and freeze it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

weeding, not weeding

Today Erik and I pulled some weeds at Vedanta early in the morning. We worked on the area right up front, where people walk, because there's a retreat coming up on Saturday, and lots of visitors will be here from out of town. There's a desire to make everything pretty.

Then we came home so Erik could get ready to go hiking and I could get ready for my dentist appointment, a cleaning, which was fine....

Then I went back to Vedanta to work on the Shiva mound. There were some baby trees growing where they didn't belong, so I ripped them out. It was hard work, but it was very satisfying to see the job from start to finish.

I ran into Swami in the garden near the lotus pond. We spoke--I was standing on one side of the pond, and he was standing on the other. He asked what work I had been doing.

I said, "There were some plants they didn't belong, and I was getting rid of them."

He said, "Oh, weeding."

I said, "No, they were big." To me, weeding would be small plants. These were a meter high with woody stems.

All day since, I've been remembering this conversation and feeling my gums ache from the cleaning.

This afternoon I've written two letters, napped, washed the dishes. I suppose I'll start dinner now.

Monday, July 16, 2007

the Bay area today

Today we went to San Francisco's Japan town. It was fun. Erik had been wanting to go for a long time, mostly for matcha stuff. We had lunch there, and it was pretty good, not at our usual place On the Bridge but a new place, a noodle shop--I forget the name. Erik would know, but I can't ask him because he's not here: he's at his zendo for a dharma talk being given by his teacher Myo Lahey.

At the Kinokuniya stationary store I got three postcards and a green pen. Afterwards we stopped in Berkeley for Acme bread. For Erik we got a loaf of Pain au Levain. I wanted an apple turnover, but they were all out: instead I got a Cinnamon Swirl, which was excellent. Erik got a Pain au Chocolate. This was a conservative Acme trip because we needed to keep $4 for the toll home.

I have a dentist appointment at 9:30 tomorrow (I'm a little scared) and plan to garden early beforehand.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

the Crocker

Today I went to worship in the morning. Then Erik and I went to the big art museum in town, the Crocker, in the afternoon. We looked at California art, European art, some Asian art. I looked at postcards in the museum store and bought none. It was really fun. We've been meaning to go to the Crocker for three years. It was much easier and less crowded than I thought it would be, and I want to return soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

bon dance

Today I was feeling nihilistic and world-hating. Erik and I gardened in the morning, finishing the patch of weeds that had been bothering me.

I had choir practice at lunchtime. My friend P and I went for a little walk afterwards, looking at different areas of the grounds that needed work or that had recently been worked on.

In the evening, we went to a Buddhist church downtown for a Bon Dance, which honors ancestors. It was really fun and really different. Erik took me home during the half hour break and went back to see the rest on his own.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ordinary morning

This morning I made a mini-zine called "ordinary morning." I wrote it and went to Staples to make ten copies. (I wanted to go to Staples so I could use their paper cutter.) Then I came home and bound it. So I have ten little zines here ready to be read by friends. I will make more copies another day.

Today Erik is hiking in the Sierras with his friend T. It's his first day of unemployment.

This morning we went to Vedanta and pulled weeds for about 45 minutes. It was fun.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

firefox doesn't know what tahini is

This morning I went to Vedanta and pulled weeds for 45 minutes or so, just long enough to get something done but not long enough to overdo it. I plan to go back tomorrow to finish the area I was working on, maybe bringing Erik, because he's about to score out of his current project today, which means a period of unemployment, which we've been looking forward to. He plans to look for a real job in earnest.

There's some road work happening on our street, with jackhammers. It's loud. The noise is making me cranky.

Last night we took Myers-Briggs tests. I'm still INFJ. We found out Erik's INFP. I thought he would be INTJ. But I'm a little sketchy on the difference between a P and a J. A lot of my friends are INFPs, so I guess it makes sense.

I've been looking at my vegan cookbooks for good vegan foods to make. Last night I tried a recipe for rice balls. I was lacking one ingredient--
tahini--and used creamy peanut butter instead. Also, I was supposed to use short grain brown rice, but I ended up using long grain brown rice, I think. So I didn't follow the recipe quite perfectly, but they still turned out okay. Erik likes them. But they're fallen apart. The grains were all loose and separate in the pot.

God, I'll be glad when the jackhammer part is over.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

something different

Today was cloudy. It rained for about three minutes, more like sprinkling but big drops. I was very impressed.

In the afternoon I was lonely and chatted on the new Icarus chat. I met an interesting couple in Buenos Aires. I learned of a site called deoxy.org and learned what DMT is. Psychedelics are the last thing I need, but it's stimulating to learn something different.

This morning we found a present on the front porch that Kitty had left for us. A neighbor alerted us. Erik was about to step on it. It was a rat with the head and neck removed, to give you too much information. I'm haunted by the sight. All day I've been regarding Kitty as the killer that he is. Right now he's sleeping near my feet and looks so harmless, innocent, sweet.

Monday, July 09, 2007


This morning I went to county pharmacy to pick up refills. I went right at 8 and only had to wait for half an hour.

I finally finished the DH Lawrence book I've been reading for weeks Women in Love. The ending is very dramatic.

Today was an excellent mail day. I got two letters, a zine, and a book. The book is Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, which I might save for about November. The zine is fabulous ordinary tragedies by Jacob Arrow. The letters are from penpals in Idaho and Texas.

Tomorrow's only supposed to hit 89 here. It's a reprieve.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

book oriented

Today I did churchie stuff and read all day.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

some baking, a trip to Davis

Today I baked a carrot cake. The recipe calls for some apple juice, but we didn't have any, so I used orange juice instead, and it really added something.

I also made some baba ganoush with the eggplant I got at the farmers market this morning.

I've been reading Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell, and I find Sarah Vowell to be charming, quirky, brilliant, articulate, funny. These are great essays.

Then we went to the bird refuge near Davis and looked at some birds and flowers. Erik took an excellent picture depicting a bee on a white umbra-shaped flower which I will post.

Then we went to the Davis Co-op, not knowing what it would be like, and we loved it. It's a lot more roomy than the Sacramento Co-op, and it was really fun to browse there. I bought some bulk fig bars and carob-covered almonds. Erik wanted goji berries, so we got some of those....

Then we came home. It was a very nice outing. Tomorrow Erik's hiking with his friend T somewhere in the Sierras.

today's better than yesterday

This morning we went to the farmers market for nectarines, broccoli, eggplant, a melon. It was fun.

Then we went to the touchless car wash and washed the car and the truck. Both were filthy.

Now Erik is meditating, and I just worked on the review for No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. I'm eating black grapes. I have the Sufjan Stevens song about Abraham off Seven Swans in my head. I find it chilling.

I wanted to go last weekend to visit my cousin S who's in prison in Susanville, but his yard is locked down. No visitors. Then again this weekend, same thing: still locked down. I think it's cruel and unusual punishment to keep them away from their families.

Friday, July 06, 2007

installation, art

Today I read the first half of No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, which was sent to me by my friend A. I think it's brilliant, but it's also disturbing. None of the blurbs on the back mention the disturbing part.

Today was remarkable in that workers came and installed a new air conditioner. They were here for more than an hour. The new one works only slightly better than the old one. I was disappointed when I noticed this.

Then the power went off. It was supposed to be 102 today, so that was a problem. I went to the post office and the library. At the library I wrote two letters and read some Hello, Cruel World by Kate Bornstein.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

how we spent our holiday

Today we went to Pt Reyes. We took a little hike down to the beach. I sat in a cliff shade while Erik took tide pool pictures. On the trail, we saw some pink flowers with four dark pink spots. They were so pretty. None of his pictures of them really turned out. But here's the best.

Then in the afternoon we went to Olema for a Vedanta retreat. It was good for about the first hour. Then I couldn't concentrate anymore and just wanted to leave. We did leave a little early.

Then we went to Berkeley for dinner at one of our favorite Indian-Pak places. It was delicious.

Home again, it's very hot in the apartment. The inadequate air conditioner is blasting, and it will be time for everyone's exploding fireworks soon.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

gardening, a miracle

This morning instead of my usual walk, I went to Vedanta and pulled weeds for half an hour. I also started working on some ivy that's growing up some trees, but then I got spooked standing in that ivy, thinking there might be a snake in it.

Afterward I ran into J and we talked about her cats. "Do you want a kitten?" she asked, and in the second that followed I tried to think of a way to make that work but couldn't.

Driving home the check engine light came on again.

A miracle happened. My landlord responded to my complaints about the air conditioner. Workers are coming today to measure for a new one.

Monday, July 02, 2007

walks, neighbor revelation, farther / further

The morning walk has become a normal occurrence. Every day I go a little farther. But today I must have been walking extra-quick because despite the extra distance, my walk took less time. Tricky!

I had a revelation yesterday. It has to do with loving my neighbors as myself. I realized that hating my neighbors hurts no one but myself. They're loud--they're obnoxious--they have too many kids and let them run wild--they block the stairs--they leave trash everywhere--they destroy stuff. But hating them doesn't punish them: it only punishes me. The Dalai Lama says "Be compassionate not just to your friends but to everyone." I don't know how to go about not hating my neighbors, but I can pray.

Also in the news is the difference between farther and further. Farther is distance as in "more far." Further is more time or more amount as in "This requires further study," or "I thought the pregnant woman was further along than she is." Right? I guess I missed that day of fourth grade.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

have I already called a post "lazy Sunday"?

This morning I went to worship and sang. Afterwards I went to the social coffee time, met two new people, ate a delicious Indian cookie, and stood around.

All day I read: more DH Lawrence, and a new one for me called Hard Love--it's a young adult novel about zinesters and reminds me of my youth. I also played computer, posting on the Icarus forums and emailing friends.

This evening I went to vespers and stood around after that too. Swami gave me a map and written directions to Wednesday's retreat at Olema. We ate our prasad cookies and chattered the way people do.

Erik has been gone all day, hiking with his friend T somewhere in the Sierras. "The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead."

Kitty meows at me when I sing, but mostly he likes to meow at me when I'm on the phone, pacing and talking--the idea is that he believes I'm talking to him. Singing I don't know--I think he doesn't like music and wants me to shut up.

something happened

I don't like talking about the super-private here, or any secrets, or darker feelings. So when something big happens, I never know what to do. I don't want to blog about it, but at the same time, I don't want to act like the big event didn't happen. How about if I blog about it in a totally cryptic, abstract way, like this?