dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Thursday, January 31, 2008

just an update

SAT scoring started today. Erik's planning to score for 10 hours each day. I'm doing well if I get two or three. Today I got a lot of work done at the Vedanta bookstore. I ran into Swami on the grounds, and it was good to say hi, which feels like darshan. I heard back from the woman who is in the women's writing group, and she wants to remain writing buddies. How that will work out remains to be seen. I'm hoping to keep meeting every other week. I got and wrote an email to one of my oldest and closest friends J, which felt right. It's rainy here and pretty cold. I mean, not cold like snow places, but cold for here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Swami Vivekananda puja

Today I went to DBT with a poor attitude and didn't enjoy myself.

Tonight I had a puja--it was for Swami Vivekananda. The choir sounded strong, and I was happy to be a part of it. The choir sounded like a wall of sound, vibrant and vibrating. The music was full of life. We sounded young in the best way.

I forgot to tell you that my women's writers group seems to have collapsed. Three people quit in one day. So it's just me and one other woman right now, which is not really a group. I've emailed her asking what we should do and haven't heard back.

Monday, January 28, 2008


skeleton, originally uploaded by ELund.


cormorants, originally uploaded by ELund.

Cataract Creek

Cataract Creek, originally uploaded by ELund.

Shelf Fungus

Shelf Fungus, originally uploaded by ELund.

Scarlet Elf Cap (Sarcoscypha Coccinea)

noise is harmful

Here is an article about how noise harms people. I experience this almost every day in my apartment complex and wish I didn't.


nature time and Somatherapy

Yesterday we spent in the Bay Area. Erik took me to a place just outside Mt Tamalpais State Park, a trail called Steep Ravine. It runs along a creek. It was lightly raining, so not many people were out. I will probably post some pictures later. We saw two banana slugs, a cute little mouse, and lots of green.

Then we went to Stinson Beach. We walked on the shore and got our backsides soaked by rain that was hitting us from behind. When the rain stopped, we found a place among some grasses to sit and just stare at the waves for a while. We were very cold.

Then we drove into Berkeley. We went to dinner at House of Curries, and our food was excellent. I had baingan bartha and rice. Erik had paneer tikka masala and rotis.

Then it was time for the whole reason we went to the Bay Area yesterday, and that was a Somatherapy workshop in Oakland. Somatherapy is a radical anarchist therapy, and the workshop I attended was a three hour introduction to the kinds of games the Somatherapy consists of. It was held at an Aikido dojo, so the floor was springy. The games involve a lot of physical contact. For a picture of the kinds of things we did, see the above Wikipedia link.

The experience was incredible. I learned a lot about myself, about my ability to trust people physically (I don't trust people very much--in fact, I think I was the least-trusting person in my group, for one of the exercises--everyone else closed their eyes, and I wasn't able to).

I won't go into detail about the things we did, in case you ever do a Somatherapy workshop--it would be best if the experiences were new, for you. But I will say that some involved defying gravity. My arms are sore today, and there's a slight bruise on the inside of my left arm. The games we played were intense, I'm surprised no one cried.

After the games we sat in a circle and talked about that happened. As usual, I was silent in the group. I enjoyed listening to people talk. If you ever have a chance to try Somatherapy, I 100% suggest it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Witch's Butter

Witch's Butter, originally uploaded by ELund.


Today Erik is hiking with his friend T somewhere in or near Mount Tamalpais State Park, in the redwoods.

I've been trying to find some good poems to imitate with my women's writers group. So far I have four: "Arrival at Santos" by Elizabeth Bishop, "Father's Bedroom" by Robert Lowell, "Ode to Tomatoes" by Pablo Neruda translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, and "The Last Poem I'll Ever Write About You" by Denise Duhamel. I think this is enough.

This morning I walked at Howe Park, taking advantage of a break in the rain. Now I have choir practice.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

good rainy experiences

Last night I met a new friend A and her two-year-old E. We went to the kids' section of a Barnes & Noble and looked at books for a long time. Then we walked through the mall, ate food, talked. I had a great night other than a panic moment on the escalator. I learned about Dora the Explorer. I learned that a backpack can be a person.

Then today my aunt I was in town. We went to lunch at the downtown Thai Basil, and our food was delicious. My aunt ordered us some fabulous soup to share, and we all ate eggplant dishes. Then she ordered us a dessert to share too: fresh mango slices with sweet rice. Everything was really good. Then we went back to her hotel room and drank hot beverages and talked some more.

These were good rainy experiences.

passing plane setting off a car alarm

Does this happen other places too?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

getting addicted

busy week

Today I went to Tai Chi for the second time. I was the only client: it was just me and the facilitator. I found it calming.

He had a big basket full of junk food and afterwards insisted that I take something. At first I said no. Then I took Cracker Jacks. He wanted me to take more and added a diet 7-Up, some cookies, and some crackers to my bag.

The cookies had hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup in them, and Erik made me throw them away. The crackers had hydrogenated oils and artificial colors in them, and I threw those away on my own.

Today a new friend is coming to town. I'm supposed to see her and her two year old daughter this afternoon. I'm excited.

Then tomorrow a beloved aunt is going to be in town. I'm happy. It's been a busy week.

Last night I met with my women's writers group. It was at my friend H's house. I was a little more relaxed this time. There were only three of us. I don't think I got any great writing out of it, but it was a beautiful evening.

Yesterday I had my third DBT meeting. I'm finding it less helpful, seeing weaknesses, and the personality of my facilitator is grating on me. She kept us late for the second time in a row. I needed to leave because I had to go to the Vedanta bookstore to cover someone's shift. So I got up to leave, and she didn't want to let me go. I was slipping out quietly, but she stopped everything.

I can't remember her exact words, but she asked me something like, "What are you doing?"

"It's 1," I said.

"We leave DBT as a group," she told me.

"I have to go to work," I said, and she relented. It was emotional for me, and I felt angry because it's her big ego that makes her think she can hold us all fifteen or twenty minutes late. We're all adults with lives--I bet I wasn't the only one who needed to leave. I hate to cause a scene, and it embarrassed me.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Star of India, "Gender Equality: Where do we go from here?"

Yesterday we went to lunch at an Indian place we had never been to, Star of India in Fair Oaks. The food was north Indian and not so creamy. Probably the nicest thing I tried was the spinach dish--palak paneer? But I didn't see any paneer in there. The rice pudding was really good too.

Then in the late afternoon we went to the local Unitarian church for a talk on gender euqality. The speaker Lynn Medeiros was trying to convince us to be feminists and that we need to pass the ERA. The talk was put on by the Humanist Association of the Greater Sacramento Area. The crowd was almost entirely senior citizens, so I don't know if Medeiros believed she had a difficult task. I loved the entire talk. It's a rare treat for me to hear a feminist lecture. I don't know anything about the history of feminism, so I appreciated the history that the speaker presented us with. It makes me want to go back to school and major in women's studies.

more ebay saga

I received the magnets in the mail that I "won" from someone on ebay, and the color is wrong. The printer was running out of ink--everything has a purple tinge, and one of the magnets actually has those lines that show up when your printer is running out of ink. Is there a name for those lines?

I went to leave negative feedback for the seller, which I considered my duty, so hopefully other people won't get ripped off by this person, but I chickened out and decided to try emailing the seller one more time. I haven't heard back and feel stressed out about the whole confrontation.

Friday, January 18, 2008

cat crisis

Kitty's been especially nocturnal lately!

Today Erik's working day two of a two day job. I'm seeing my friend A this afternoon at a Peet's.

I'm wearing some new gray pajama pants my mom got me for Christmas. They're super comfortable. Gray is my favorite color to wear.

Last night I dreamed I had hundreds of dollars in my pocket. I was going to give it to my friend who was buying a car. I kept recounting it and coming up with a different total.

We were in a strange underground place like a cave beside an underground river. It was very damp, and I was worried about leeches, but I looked down at my legs, and they were leech-free.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tai Chi, worry, a nightmare

Yesterday I went to a Tai Chi group at my mental health place. I thought it would be a big group of people with a live instructor, but it was only three of us including the facilitator, and it was with a video. Still, I liked it. It made me feel calm. Also, I can see that it will strengthen my legs.

I've had a neck ache and nightmares, and I know it has to do with this bill from county. Tuesday I was able to see my caseworker after DBT. We did the fee waiver form, and I feel pretty certain that I'll get the fees waived this time but not in the future (our income will be higher in future months). That means I need to go off the drug that costs more than $200 a month, which I actually very much want to do: I never wanted to be on this drug in the first place.

Erik started a two day job this morning scoring CSET. I work at the Vedanta bookstore this afternoon and have lots to do.

Yesterday we took two walks. It's sunny and in the 50s during the day. I like being outside.

One of my nightmares was like this: it was night, at the beach, and a lot of people were out in the water. Then the waves became tidal waves, and a thunder and lightning storm started. The water was very cold. I was floating in the water near the pier, and I was afraid of being dashed upon the pilings. Also, there was seaweed in the water, and I was afraid of being tangled in it and afraid fish would bite me. Then lightning was coming down, and I was the highest in the water, and I knew lightning was going to strike me.

Monday, January 14, 2008


This morning I convinced Erik that we should do some work on the big closet. Work means going through boxes and throwing stuff away. He got me just two boxes, and it took me hours to sort. I found a hundred homemade Welsh language flashcards, E.T. the movie badges, bottles of perfume I'd had since I was about 5, stickers, my Permanent Record, old letters that made me teary, old letters I didn't feel strong enough to read. But mostly papers, like poems written by long lost classmates, and essays with teacher comments in the margin. Now that everything's email, maybe I'm accumulating less crap.

In the afternoon we went for a walk, and Erik talked to me about intelligent design and how he picks it apart and how he feels about it all. We walked for 40 minutes. Forty definitely feels like a blue number, for me.

The excitement of the day was getting a bill in the mail for $327.07 from my mental health place. They've decided to start charging me for my drugs, all of a sudden, and $327.07 is the cost of my drugs for one month. This bill was for November, which means more bills for December and January are already in the works. I called my caseworker twice (no answer). Tomorrow after DBT the plan is to "demand" to see my caseworker, which means holding vigil for an hour or two hours or however long until she decides to see me. She told me during our annual paperwork meeting (which is why all this happened) that if I ever get a bill, to call her, so hopefully she can help me.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Today we went to a talk by Professor Eleazar Fernandez on "Filipino struggle against colonization and globalization and efforts at social transformation." It was fun. It was held at a nearby church, and I was nervous to go to a new place, but I'm really glad we went. The speaker was articulate and smart.

A conservative "love it or leave it" kind of guy was being belligerent during the question and answer period, but Fernandez handled it with grace.

Then we went for a walk at Howe Park. It was sunny out, and we walked with bare arms. We talked about the lecture, and I felt so alive.

Today I read Tough Love: High School Confidential by Abby Denson. It's a cute story in comic book form about two boys. I got it through the new-ish inter-library loan service--it came from the San Francisco Public Library.

Friday, January 11, 2008

ebay saga

My best friend doesn't read my blog, so I will tell you the saga of buying her Christmas / birthday present.

My best friend's favorite painter is Kandinsky. So I wanted to get her a Kandinsky gift. On ebay I found some magnets. So I bid and won. It was December 3rd. I thought they would arrive in plenty of time for Christmas. But they didn't.

So I found the seller's email address and emailed her. No response for about a week. Then I tried emailing again. This time I heard back: she said I should have received the magnets by then and said she'd get some in the mail right away.

My best friend's birthday is January 19th, so I figured I would just give the magnets as a birthday present since we missed Christmas.

So yesterday I get the magnets in the mail, with no invoice or note or anything to indicate why they were sent to me, and guess what? They're magnets of Klimt paintings! Also, they're obviously homemade, which is fine in and of itself, but the print quality is horrible. Everything's purple!

So I emailed the seller again and told her about the mix-up, and she said she'd get the correct magnets in the mail. I have no faith that the magnets will be of okay print quality, so I've moved on and bought new birthday presents for my best friend.

All of this has left me with bad feelings about ebay.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

more broccoli soup

Yesterday I made more broccoli soup. This time I used soymilk for half of the liquid, and I thought this would make it creamy, but it just made it white. Erik likes it just as much as the previous version.

I had less broccoli to work with because my broccoli was infested with small broccoli bugs. I had to toss about a fifth of it. I tried so hard to get the bugs out, but no matter how hard the water is hitting them, they cling.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I almost got invited to a dance!


new things

Last night I went for the first time to a women's writers group. I was invited by my friend H. I'm compatible with this group. I thought it was a workshop, but I was wrong: we had some prompts and wrote most of the time, reading what we wrote afterwards. And we had some writing-related conversation. I was quiet and nervous to the point of tears, but I did my best to be me.

We met at a coffee shop called Butch-N-Nellie's. The girlfriend of one of the group members works there. I got steamed milk with honey and a shot of almond syrup, a favorite drink from my youth.

Today Erik is hiking somewhere in the Muir woods, I think. I went to Trader Joe's this morning. I got some things we needed: bread, eggs, fruit. I bought some red currants on a whim, and I don't like them very much--kind of sour--but it's good to try new things.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Today I tried something new: it's called DBT. That stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It was developed for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, something I don't have, but it's good for people who feel emotional extremes, and that's me. It's all about learning 65 specific skills. I need to get a binder to keep all my papers in.

I also went to a group called Coping With Depression that seemed a lot less useful. I don't know if I'll return.

Today is rainy with some wind but nothing like the recent storm. We're having baked potatoes for dinner.

Monday, January 07, 2008


, originally uploaded by ELund.

Today we went to the Effie Yeaw nature center and walked around on some trails. We walked along the river and looked at rocks. We saw a coyote and lots of deer. Erik took some pictures.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

what electricity is good for

It's so convenient, having a fridge again.

The saddest thing was losing all the ice cream. We thought the freezer would keep cold longer than it did. "We could have had an ice cream party by candle light," Erik said. If only we'd had better estimates.


We were out of power since Friday morning. It came back on today. Our stove is electric, and the water heater is too, so we went without during that time. I'm giving the water heater a couple hours and soon will wash my hair.

I have a pot of rice and lentils on the stove for Erik's lunch.

Last night we went out to dinner at Thai Basil and enjoyed some green curry with eggplant and tofu.

Friday, January 04, 2008

big storm

There's a big storm here: rain, wind, crashing sounds, lights flickering.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


This morning I made some carob haystacks. They turned out different from chocolate haystacks in both taste and texture but delicious in their own right. Erik loves them too. More like candy than like cookies.

This afternoon we went to Vic Fazio Wildlife Refuge to look at birds. It was raining. It was really good to get out and let my mind think some different thoughts!

Then this evening I made oatmeal breakfast cookies, which I used to make all the time, but I hadn't made them for maybe a year. I don't have any applesauce, so I substituted canned pumpkin, which worked just fine.

the Mountain Goats

Yesterday we ran errands. I have a Barnes & Noble gift card to spend, so we went to one on Sunrise because it has a music section, and I was looking for Mountain Goats CDs. They didn't have any, but I ordered Full Force Galesburg. Any suggestions for what I should order with the rest of the gift card money? I was thinking about Sweden. Or maybe the Mountain Goats isn't good for my mental health and I should try something else.

We also went to the bank for quarters. I waited in line for a long, long time. We went to the co-op for water and some other things--veggies, tea. I have peppermint again.

My cold is getting worse, but Erik's on his way to wellsville.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

happy new year

Last night we went to midnight vespers service at my place of worship. Erik set the alarm wrong, so we were just slightly late. We missed hearing Swami blow the conch shell at midnight. But the service was beautiful. And afterwards, everyone was so happy.

Yesterday morning I baked banana bread. I like eating it with strawberry whole fruit preserves. I also like eating it with butter. The recipe I use turns out slightly bland. But it's fat-free and low sugar. With preserves or butter it's delicious.

Erik's watching a MIT physics lecture. Yesterday I started a young adult novel from New Zealand called dare, truth, or promise that I think I'm going to bail on. I can't stand how formulaic the beginning is. I know it will get better, but I'm sick of certain moves. I want to punish the book by not reading it, which doesn't make sense.

Happy new year to everyone.