dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Great Wisdom Beyond Wisdom Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva when practicing deeply the prajna paramita, perceived that all five skandhas in their own being are empty and was saved from all suffering. "O Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness. O Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear nor disappear, are not tainted nor pure, do not increase nor decrease. Therefore in emptiness, no form, no feelings, no perceptions, no formations, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes until no realm of mind-consciousness; no ignorance and also no extinction of it until no old-age-and-death and also no extinction of it; no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path; no cognition, also no attainment. With nothing to attain, a bodhisattva depends on prajna paramita and the mind is no hindrance. Without any hindrance no fears exist. Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in nirvana. In the three worlds all buddhas depend on prajna paramita and attain unsurpassed complete perfect enlightenment. Therefore, know the prajna paramita is the great transcendent mantra, is the great bright mantra, is the utmost mantra, is the supreme mantra, which is able to relieve all suffering and is true, not false. So proclaim the prajna paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra that says: Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate! Bodhi! Svaha!"

my new favorite quote

"I can't help it if I like apples and am not afraid of snakes."


I've been practicing a Sunday morning worship song on harmonium, a hymn to Shiva called Prabhu Mi. Last night I played it at choir practice with the choir. Actually, Wednesday night choir practice isn't well attended, so there were only four of us. Still, I was nervous. But it came out just fine. My body knew what to do. So now I'm going to play Prabhu Mi for worship on Sunday morning, and I'm nervous already. I plan to practice tomorrow afternoon.

This afternoon I work at the bookstore. Now that I have more responsibilities, it's totally different from the way it used to be. Before, I would read and write letters during my three hours. Now I have a lot more to do: entering numbers into the database for books sold and books ordered, systematically checking the alphabetization of the card catalog, making tapes for an out-of-town devotee who wants a tape of every one of Swami's lectures, and managing a project for getting all of the previous swami's taped lectures onto CD. It's a lot to think about and keep straight. I'm at my limit.

This morning Erik and I went for a walk in the cold. We found a shortcut through a long parking lot that will make our nearby walking route less unpleasant because we bypass part of the busy road.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I've been working on Christmas cards.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


This morning, Erik and I took an early walk in the cloudy mist. We noticed "RON PAUL 08" posters on every telephone pole, and I was dismayed by them. I thought about ripping them down as we walked by, because I think it's wrong to advertise political views on public property. Well, I'm more understanding of signs put up on freeway overpasses. They're interesting, at least.

Anyway, Erik reassured me that Ron Paul isn't even in the top three Republicans running. Then we got to talking about candidates. I'm not a Democrat or Republican--I'm registered Green Party--so I don't need to worry about whether I like Clinton, Obama, or whoever the best. I suppose it would be responsible of me to have an opinion. I intuitively gravitate toward Clinton. But I don't know if I can trust her. I think she and I have some important differences, like I heard she voted for some flag protection law (I think flag burning should be a right). And I heard she hasn't been good about the war. Maybe nowadays she is, but before. When she was young, she was quite a feminist--I saw part of a documentary about her years ago--but I don't know if she still would be considered much of a feminist. As for Obama, I know nothing about him. Kucinich appeals to me as the peace candidate, but I know next to nothing about him. Same ignorance about Edwards. The whole thing makes me feel overwhelmed and pessimistic.

I went to Wikipedia's entry about the candidates, and seeing all those men and one woman in their suits, with their practiced smiles--it's too much for me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Today I finished The Time Traveler's Wife. I was dissatisfied with it over all. The ending especially was dark and unpleasant. It's not that I want my literature all sunny. It's just that darkness should be there for a reason. I thought the death at the end was predictable, and I didn't like the way kids are portrayed throughout. I liked some of the themes, and the time traveling itself was interesting.

Today we went to Fry's for CD-Rs. I also wanted jewel cases, but they only had a 100 pack (I wanted about five). I also looked for bubble mailers, but I found them too expensive.

Last night, having tapas with my friend H, we shared everything. We had cream of pumpkin soup, a mushroom dish, an eggplant dish, a fried croquette dish with mushrooms in it, and a potato dish. And we had balsamic vinegar with olive oil to dip our bread in. Yum.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

safe at home

We're home safe from our Thanksgiving travels. The holiday was beautiful. My favorite food was the buttery stuffing. My mom put in a minimum of celery, so it was perfect--well-seasoned and tasty and melt-in-your-mouth.

Today I had Jagadahtri puja, which meant being there at 8 to help set up, choir practice, the puja itself, serving lunch, and then working in the bookstore after lunch. It was a full day.

Then this evening I saw my friend H for tapas downtown. It was delicious. After dinner we went to coffee--I got hot milk and put in honey to sweeten it--not enough honey. I should have used twice as much. But it was still good.

Now I'm sleepy. I'm swallowing my pills and off to bed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Yesterday I baked some pumpkin carob chip cookies. They turned out really good. The pumpkin flavor is subtle. This recipe called for two cups of chips, but next time, I'll use just one. And maybe more nuts.

Today I plan to bake some molasses cookies to bring my mom for Thanksgiving.

Reading The Time Traveler's Wife still, and Bruno comics.

I was supposed to maybe go see Amma this morning, but the program was canceled.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

interview wth me

My good friend Katie H interviewed me. I really love her questions and feel good about my answers. So please read it.


Monday, November 19, 2007


Yesterday we made seitan. It turned out good. It was easier than I thought it would be. There's a method using whole wheat flour, which is harder (it involves rinsing)--we did the method using wheat gluten. I taught Erik how to knead.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

kill the smurf

Does everyone do this, try to run over the blue reflectors in the road that indicate the presence of a fire hydrant? I used to have a friend in high school who would sing "Kill the smurf" while attempting smurf-murder.

I'm getting good at hitting the reflectors on my road. I've learned where the wheels are, both the Civic and the Blazer.

mint tea

Lately I've been putting vanilla soymilk in my mint tea. The vanilla soymilk from Trader Joe's--one of its nicknames around here is "melted milkshake."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Erik's done

Erik's scoring ended while I was at the psychiatrist. I like my psychiatrist. He seems like a reasonable person and is pretty easy to talk to. I wasn't nervous this time. It's like I forgot to be nervous. Some of my medication is getting changed.

My left eyelid is all swelled up. I don't know what I'm being allergic to.

Erik's researching public transportation in Portland. And he just looked to see where Trader Joe's is. And now he's looking at Portland Buddhism. I'm going to make him a tomato sandwich for dinner.


I am officially done! My prompt scored out this morning. I went to work a little more, and it was over. Meanwhile, scoring for Erik's prompt continues.

baking, reading, listening

Last night I made some apple crisp. The apples are all the way cooked this time but sort of watery and bland. The topping is good (but anything with that much butter in it should be).

I started reading The Time Traveler's Wife. I'm reading it with my mom. I like it a lot so far--I like the characters.

I think the downstairs neighbor might have broke up with her boyfriend. We haven't heard him there for a week. I definitely don't miss him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Today I sort of almost got into an accident. I was driving home from Howe Park. There was construction, and a lane was blocked. It's hard to explain what happened, but in a moment of panic, I made the choice to run over a traffic cone. I thought I would just go over it. But the traffic cone got stuck under the front of my Blazer, and I had to pull over to pull it out.

This afternoon I went to the library to pick up two guidebooks to Portland. Best Places Portland looks good (I was reading about them on Amazon). Frommer's Portable Portland is small, and I don't seem to be its target audience.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

recycled toilet paper

Here's an interesting non-scientific study of recycled toilet paper brands. Seventh Generation Double Rolls won.


Monday, November 12, 2007

sea salt

I got some salt from a bulk bin at Whole Foods, and it's so wet that I can't even use the salt shaker! I tried the trick of putting some raw grains of rice in the shaker to absorb moisture, but the rice did nothing.


This afternoon I went to Vedanta and practiced harmonium. I played all the Sunday morning worship songs, all the vespers songs, and two of our current choir songs: Jatane and Bom Bom Bom.

Then I went for a walk around the grounds and ate some tree strawberries as a snack.

This morning it was 56 degrees in the living room, and I wanted the heater on, but it wouldn't work. I guessed the pilot must have gone out. So Erik and I lit the pilot this evening. There's a hole, and if you have the kind of lighter with a long metal tube, you can stick the end of the metal tube in the hole and light it. Erik was concerned that it was going to blow up, but we were brave.

I took this harmonium picture from a website that sells them, Abydos Enterprises.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


This morning after worship I ate too many sweets. What was I thinking? I was hungry. But it threw off my blood sugar for the whole day. I had a small piece of apple pie, half a piece of pound cake, and a prasad See's candy (maple with a pecan on top).

This afternoon I went to Howe Park for a walk in the wind.

For dinner I made soy chorizo and egg burritos. They were delicious. I explained to Erik how with real chorizo, a red oil drips from the burrito.

Erik's trying to score for ten hours today. It's kinda crazy. He's thinking about overtime. He took tomorrow off work at the grading factory to stay home and score. SAT pays seven more dollars an hour.

tree strawberries

Today I learned about tree strawberries. I ate one, and it was delicious. They grow from a strawberry tree. There are two at Vedanta, and the fruits are ripe right now, dropping onto a walkway and getting smashed there. My friends were talking about making tree strawberry jam.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kali puja

Last night was Kali puja. It went very well, and I enjoyed myself. I liked hearing the usual chanting which I recognize, and I liked hearing the chanting special for Kali. I got dressed up, wearing mostly black. Prasad afterward was delicious. I saved the samosa for Erik.

It's also Diwali. Happy Festival of Light. Swami said light symbolizes truth. On the veranda were rows of small fishbowls filled with water, with a floating candle in each. It made the night feel magical.

A friend sent us the second draft of a poem he wrote, and Erik's taking a long time this morning writing a response. I wrote something long and quick this morning.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Howe Park

I've been going to a big park called Howe Park. I go there with a backpack which contains water, granola bars, a book to read, and my journal to write in. First I take a walk all around the park. Then I find a picnic table to write and read at for a little while. It's good to be out, and I enjoy the exercise.

Today I crossed the street and went to another park called Santa Anita Park. This one is long and narrow. It follows the creek. It's less populated, and I enjoyed the trees. After my walk, I wrote in my journal and read Bruno comics.

I need a hat. The sun in my eyes bothers me. The only hat I have is too goofy. Are all hats goofy? I guess baseball caps are acceptable.

SAT scoring started yesterday. If I seem to be procrastinating by over-blogging, that's because I am.

claims returned

Today I went to the library to return some books and to pay for a book that was lost. I told the worker that I thought I'd returned it, but I must not have. "Sometimes we do make mistakes," she said, and she went to check the shelf. It wasn't there (I had already checked the shelf).

I had my wallet out and was going to pay. She asked, "Do you use other libraries?" I said, "Yes, but this is the only library where I return things."

She said there's an option called "claims returned," and we could use that option so I wouldn't have to pay. "You wouldn't want to have a lot of 'claims returned,' but one is fine." This nice worker saved us thirty bucks.


Yesterday morning I went to Vedanta and helped my friend P put in some stepping stones in front of the Moses shrine. It was fun. Swami came when we had just finished and admired our work. P told him how me and Erik are thinking of moving to Portland. Swami told me all about Portland. I asked if the Portland Vedanta center has a choir, and he said no. He said that individuals sing. I wish I had a louder, better voice so I could sing something by myself. Well, we're not even there yet. Erik's trying to get some more online scoring work so we could take it with us. ETA is February or March.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Tuesday a worker was here to fix the toilet--it was leaking downstairs whenever we flushed. He left two of his tools in the bathroom. We thought he might come back to get them last night, but he didn't show up. I was going to call the landlord so the landlord could tell the worker about his tools, but Erik said not to because we didn't want to get the worker in trouble. So there's a monkey wrench, wide putty knife, and rag in the bathroom just sitting there.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

word count

The file known as "novel 2007" now has a word count of 9420. I'm a little behind.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Today we went for a walk at the American River. It made me feel alive. I love the smell of plants and the earth.

I'm just about on track with my word count for National Novel Writing Month. I'm at 6,487 words tonight, just short of the 6,668 that would be perfect. Losing my ability to formulate sentences.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


It's National Novel Writing Month, and I started my new novel on Thursday. I'm following the two mottos: "Embrace the suck" and "No plot? No problem!" I'm thinking of taking it in a whole new direction today because I'm dissatisfied with what I've written so far. Yesterday I was telling Erik that I wanted to quit. "Don't quit now," he said. "Wait at least until the 29th." Last year I didn't get very far, so this year I just want to have a higher word count than last year. Eventually I can work myself up to a whole novel (maybe in 10 years). Well, I don't want to dismiss the possibility that I'll make it this year. The goal is 50,000 words, and if you write 1,667 words a day, you'll make it, which is reasonable, as long as you don't skip a day.

a reading

Last night Erik and I went to a poetry reading in Davis. The featured reader was Susan Kelly-DeWitt, and I really like her stuff. Afterwards there was an open mic, and I read one poem--it's called "when I didn't show up to save someone." I was scared and shaking, but I did it.

I met the woman who runs the readings and a man who came up to me and introduced himself. It was very social but okay.

The reading was held at the Unitarian Universalist church, and we got lost trying to find the place. Then we couldn't find the reading, once we got to the grounds. But it was a beautiful night to be lost, and eventually Erik led us in the right direction. We were twenty minutes late, but the poet was still being introduced, so it was actually good we were late.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Here is the jackolantern I made for Day of the Dead.

I baked up the seeds with a little salt, and they're delicious. I cooked up the flesh that I carved away, and it's bland but good.


I made up a new word: whenafter. It's a cross between "after" and "whenever." Okay, I just googled it, and it got 512 hits--they look like typos. At any rate, I encourage you to use it in conversation.

Erik: "When will you wash the dishes?"
me: "Whenafter you organize them for me."

consciousness raising groups

Renowned zine maker Cindy Ovenrack Crabb has a blog called doris zine blog, and her latest post is a reprint of a leaflet from 1971 on how to organize consciousness raising groups. I think it's brilliant, and it relates to my ongoing desire for feminist group interaction.