dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Monday, June 30, 2008

my life since Friday

The weekend was enormously enjoyable. I got to spend a lot of time with my mom. We went to Avila Barn and fed the goats and bought veggies for soup. We looked for pumpkin or peach pie for Erik, but there was neither. We got some crunchy toffee covered nuts instead. Then we went to the pier for lunch. I enjoyed the beach. I liked staring out at the water and talking. Then we did some shopping. I don't like shopping in general, but I liked being with my mom. I almost bought Erik's friend T a field guide to insects. Maybe I should have.

Erik spent time at my parents' house with my dad. They watched TV and movies together. Erik read a book of haiku called The Haiku Anthology all weekend. I read a little over his shoulder and liked it.

We're going back in just two weeks for a visit that coincides with my friend J's visit to the area. I haven't seen J in...many years. About 10 years? And even then it was only for a minute at Jack's. He's been busy in other states. We're planning to see one another twice--once with his daughter and Erik, and once just the two of us. I have a hard time in groups, so it's better for me to focus when it's one-on-one. J is one of my favorite people in the world and has been since high school. He's two years older, and I looked up to him and respected him a great deal (I still do). He played piano very well--he played for choir, and I sang alto for a semester. That's how we met. I was going to sing a song for Pizza Pops, a really strange idea because my voice isn't very strong, and I was paired with him as my pianist. So that's how we became friends. Then he and I went out to coffee a lot, back when I drank coffee, and I remember many a Garcia mocha at Cafe Monet--Garcia mocha was a regular mocha with a shot of almond syrup. I think it was my favorite. We talked late into the night and had religious conflict. I think of my friendship with him very fondly and as one of the best things about high school. And now a days, he and I are in touch a lot through blogs and letters and Facebook. Yay Facebook and its status updates.

Today Erik and I had doctors appointments. I need to go periodically so they'll refill my blood pressure medication. My blood pressure today was 120 over 78. So that's okay. Erik went about a lump he's had on his head since he was a kid. It's right in the middle, front and center, and it was hidden by hair for a long time, but now his hair is thinning, and the lump is visible. I was hoping they could refer him to a low cost surgeon, but I guess there's no such thing, around here, and the PA said he should expect to pay between $600 and $800. So we won't be doing that--we were willing to pay up to $300. Maybe one day we'll have health insurance. Anyway, it was Erik's first trip to the doctor in about 15 years.

I have a deadline today for some zine reviews, but all I want to do is sleep. I have two and a half reviews left to write, and one and a half zines left to read. Plus I need to do all the stuff that's at the end of each review: the address, email address, how many pages, how long it took me to read it.... All the address info has to be checked against a database that I don't know how to use. So maybe I'll be up late.

The air is way better now.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Smoke here is bad. Yesterday we saw the sun was pure red. We're going out of town to get away from it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

cookies, peanuts, murder

Last night I made a new oatmeal cookies recipe. It wasn't what I had in mind but delicious in its own right. It's more molasses-y than I really wanted. But they're very good. I need to keep experimenting. This recipe has a lot of bran in it, so it was put forth as a breakfast cookie recipe, but it's really too sugary for that purpose.

Erik and I were wondering if there's really such a thing as Golden Boy Peanuts. We've been to pan Asian supermarkets and never seen them, but then again, we were never looking. But Erik's searching online. Oh, now he gave up.

Last night we watched a movie: Murder on the Orient Express. It was very entertaining. We got it from the library. Erik says it was good acting, and that the story is cartoonish, which is a good or bad thing depending on what you're looking for. I agree.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

how the workshop went

Last night we went to the poetry workshop downtown, the same one I went to with my women's writers group two weeks ago. I wanted to go for the social contact, and maybe to make new friends. I could use a couple more local friends.

It didn't go well. They pick everyone's poems apart in a way that feels cold--no one gives a holistic reading of the poem--it's very different from my experiences with other workshops as an undergrad and in grad school. Also, some of the smartest women from last time didn't show up this time, and I missed them. As it was, the workshop was dominated by men.

It was a bad experience, and I don't want to go again, but I know that with different people, it's a whole different scene. They didn't seem to like my poem's project, and I can't blame them--it takes more than one poem for people to learn how to read my poems. I would have liked it a lot better if the women from my writers group had been there and could speak about my poem from a richer perspective.

Anyway, Erik was stellar. He shared important insights and spoke bravely. I think he should go back without me. He felt like two of the men at the workshop became antagonistic towards him. It's complicated. But he had a better experience over all than I did.

The women's writers group seems to have fallen apart. We've had to change days of the week a few times, and it's no longer clear when our meeting is supposed to be. Also, we have no set location for the meetings. I think the burden of location has fallen on one of the women, and that's not fair--I mean, the default location became her apartment. I don't think she likes that. So I plan to send out an email this morning about our next meeting.

Erik has a focus group-like interview this morning, something having to do with technology. He's getting paid $75, which is nice, for only 45 minutes of interview. This is with a company we've done focus groups with before, and it's pleasant there.

I have therapy today and nothing else. I haven't been practicing harmonium at all, and I should be, if I want to cover the worship service when P will be away at a family reunion one weekend in July. This thought has been at the back of my mind, worrying me.

Erik got his hiking boots fixed--the insole had worn a hole--so now he's ready for more hiking. It was cheap to get them fixed.

Lately I've been dancing in the mornings instead of going for a walk. There are fires all over California, and the smoke is unpleasant. Erik gets air quality reports and warnings through email, and the air has been bad. We've been staying indoors. But I think we're getting vitamin D deficient, and I know sunlight is good for depression, so we plan to going to the park today to sit in the sun for a little while.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Well, SAT scoring is over. Last night we watched a movie called The Thin Man. It's a classic--it's a mystery. We got it from the library. It's entertaining.

We also watched a super short documentary about Day of the Dead festivals in Oaxaca. It thrilled me. The music was pretty bad (out of tune), but we loved seeing the celebrations. We liked the parade and the people dancing in costume. I liked all the flowers.

I got an email from my best friend E who's in Colorado doing a summer writing program at Naropa. I was surprised to hear from her. I was prepared for a month of silence, so it was nice.

I've been sleeping a lot lately. I slept almost 12 hours night before last. Last night was more like 10. It's been more than a week like this.

We went to farmers market yesterday. We also went to the Carmichael library. I got Swann's Way out again--I had renewed it too many times (three times) and had to return it. So I have it again. I read some yesterday. I've also been reading a memoir called Looking Back by Lois Lowry. She wrote some of my favorite children's books: the Anastasia series, Us and Uncle Fraud. She also wrote The Giver, which I read as an adult, just a few months ago.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

karma yoga day as it really was

I got there at 9. Meditation was just getting out. Swami saw me and said good morning. I waved. (It was really important for Swami to see me.) I got gloves on and got a little shovel. Trowel? Yeah.

So I worked with P. At first it looked like I was going to be under the supervision of J, but then P stole me, which we were happy about. Happy that J didn't throw a fit. So we pulled weeds for three hours. It was hot. It's 102 here right now, yahoo! says.

Then we had a half hour break. That was tough for me. I didn't want to be around people anymore. But I had to grin and bear it.

Then was lunch, which was pretty tasty. B made a brown rice and tofu dish that was quite yum. There was a boring green bean casserole. There was dal. There was keifer. (Wikipedia doesn't seem to know what keifer is. Maybe I'm spelling it wrong? It's like yogurt.) There was watermelon--either seedless, or the seeds were picked out. It was good. Then there was a brown betty (made with loquats) and vanilla ice cream. The brown betty was supreme.

Then we had choir practice. I was exhausted, and I had a hard time making myself sing.

Now, home, the apartment was very hot. It's finally cooling down. Erik is hiking with T. I want to make brown betty. Maybe B would give me his recipe.

Friday, June 20, 2008

karma yoga day imagined

Yesterday while I was working at the bookstore, Swami came in to return a DVD. He asked if I was coming to karma yoga day, and I couldn't say no, so now I'm committed to doing yard work tomorrow. I'll probably work with my good friend P. Karma yoga day is an annual event where people come meditate then work three hours then get delicious lunch. I don't know if I'll last three hours--maybe I'll work two hours then come home for a shower and home lunch. And I know I'll skip the meditation. A complicating factor is that there's choir practice at 1:30. So I'll be there all day! And it's SAT scoring time. Oh well--I'm getting seriously burnt out anyway.

This morning I wrote a very positive review of Not My Small Diary. I was feeling down on myself the other day that my reviews are boring, but I did some rereading / editing today, and they look pretty good. I have eight out of about 12 done.

Today's supposed to hit 102 F (38.8 C). Tomorrow's supposed to hit 96 F. Could be worse.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

nothing much

Yesterday I had my first real appointment with my new therapist. She helped me come to some insights about my life, and I enjoyed talking with her for 50 minutes. I think this is going to work out well. (I've written about it in detail for functionally ill #4.)

Today I'm at the Vedanta bookstore working my shift. I've brought with me a comix zine called Not My Small Diary #14 that I need to read and review for Zine World. It's in two volumes. It's famous--I'm surprised this is the first time I'm seeing it. I looked through the table of contents yesterday and was surprised to see a comic by someone I went to university with, John Isaacson.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

food, park, poetry

Yesterday I made cabbage soup for the first time. It has green onions, garlic, half a huge head of cabbage, a large can of ground tomatoes, four bullion cubes, and some basil. I don't like it, but Erik thinks it's the best, so he gets to eat it all.

Also yesterday I made some egg salad using vegan mayo. I am a true lover of egg salad, but I think with regular mayo it's not good for me. Using vegan mayo cuts a lot of the fat. Anyway, I tried it for lunch today, and it's definitely different but tastes okay.

This morning we went for a walk at McKinley park. We saw moms doing strange aerobics that I can't even begin to explain. I would need to use terms that I don't know. What's a squat? Maybe they were doing squats. I remember once the instructor, who kind of yelled and kept addressing them as "ladies," had them skip back and forth down a court. They kept checking in with their babies, who were all in a line of strollers. It was very odd. We also saw a runner with a very hairy shoulder. I mean the rest of his back and his other shoulder were smooth. Also, he had an unusual gait, as if he was limping. We also saw crows, and I noticed a sign that said no smoking in all city parks. That just about shocked me. As an ex-smoker who hates cigarette smoke, I feel pleased but then I feel kind of guilty for feeling pleased.

Then I went to Trader Joe's by myself and bought the usual. The only thing I bought that's out of the ordinary is some strawberry Greek yogurt. I'm looking forward to trying that. I always get the nonfat honey flavor, but the strawberry flavor is full fat. I will not eat it all at once.

Now I need to score SAT, and I don't feel like it at all. I would rather get together poems to send to G. I promised him my two favorite poems: "The Man on the Dump" by Wallace Stevens and "Like This," a version of a Rumi poem done by Coleman Barks. As a bonus I plan to include "Of Modern Poetry" by Wallace Stevens. I've had that taped to the kitchen wall for about a year. That and something by Dylan Thomas.

Here's "Of Modern Poetry."

The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice. It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed

To something else. Its past was a souvenir.
It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time. It has to think about war
And it has to find what will suffice. It has
To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage,
And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and
With meditation, speak words that in the ear,
In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat,
Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound
Of which, an invisible audience listens,
Not to the play, but to itself, expressed
In an emotion as of two people, as of two
Emotions becoming one. The actor is
A metaphysician in the dark, twanging
An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives
Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly
Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend,
Beyond which it has no will to rise.
It must
Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may
Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman
Combing. The poem of the act of the mind.

(Well, for some reason Blogger is screwing up the formatting, but you get the idea.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

more paintings

I looked at all the Georgia O'Keeffe paintings at this website. Here's the last one.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

happy Father's Day

I remembered to call my dad.

Today I made "cauliflower not nopalitos" for dinner, and it was quite tasty. Actually, if I were being entirely truthful, I would say it's "broccoflower not nopalitos," but cauliflower and broccoflower are pretty much the same thing. But broccoflower's green.

Now I'm lonely, eating White Rabbits to console myself, and listening to a website Erik told me about. Here's the most remarkable thing I've heard so far. Hope the link works. It's unlike any other music I have ever heard.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

happy Flag Day

There's a fire north of us near Paradise, and when Erik and I went for a walk early this morning, the light was all spooky. I showed Erik how when there's a fire, the sun is red and the light's all pink, the shadows blue.

Note: I need to remember that it's Father's Day tomorrow and call my dad.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I have a therapist. We have our first real meeting next Wednesday. I think she's okay. I'm writing about my intake appointment for functionally ill #4.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

puzzle bobble

SAT, mental health place, haystacks

A new SAT scoring session started today, so we'll have work for about 12 days. Erik's planning to work nine and a half hours today, tomorrow, and Saturday. Then he'll go down to about eight hours a day.

Today I need to go to my mental health place to pick up medication. Tomorrow I have an intake appointment to get counseling there. (I'd been on the list for more than a year, I guess, and finally I'm getting a chance.) I want to do some writing beforehand: make lists of what I want to get out of counseling, what attributes I need my counselor to have. Actually, they call them therapists there.

Yesterday in the morning I made some haystacks with oatmeal, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, soymilk. They're very tasty, but I used the full amount of sugar that the recipe calls for--always before, I cut it by about half. So the cookies set better than they ever have before, but I can tell a difference in how I feel after eating more sugar. Next time I make them, I'll go back to half.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

dinner, poetry workshop

Yesterday at 8 in the morning I got a call from my friend V asking if I would switch bookstore shifts this week--she had a meeting in Yuba City--and I said yes. So Erik and I ran errands in the morning and walked at Howe Park, my first real walk since I got sick, so I'm officially well again, which is nice.

In the evening I went to dinner with my friend H--I hadn't had dinner with her in months--at an upscale Mexican place called Centro. I made the mistake of ordering guacamole--it was in a huge bowl, way more than one person could eat, and H doesn't like avocados, so I was on my own. For my main dish I ordered the potato burritos--potatoes just sounded good to me--I was in an odd mood, because usually I would have gone for something like enchiladas.

Afterwards we went to a poetry workshop at Hart center downtown. It was our first time there, and our friend H met us there--her first time too. The workshop was pretty fast moving, and I was impressed at how smart everyone was. I liked about half the poems. The problem is that I don't have poems I have questions about. I guess I could bring in a poem that I considered done and see what they had to say about it as an experiment. I'm pretty sure at least one person last night brought in a poem he knew was done, showing it off. I don't mean that in a bad way.

Monday, June 09, 2008

today, tomorrow

The mall makes me really uncomfortable. I feel like I'm entering a world where everyone's judged harshly--where I'm being judged harshly--where fashion matters and there's nothing more important than the way you look. I don't belong at the mall.

But this morning we went to Arden Faire so Erik could buy some special tea. He's been wanting green rooibos for months. He also wanted to look at glass tea pots.

I figured while we were at the mall, I would buy some bras. So that's what happened--we were in and out of there pretty quickly.

Then for a treat we went to a new-to-us thrift store, Sacramento's SPCA thrift store. Erik found a ton of clothes, and I bought blank greeting cards. We also got a phone--Erik wanted a phone with a cord as opposed to cordless. It seems to work just fine. The SPCA thrift store is big. My friend A volunteers there--I think she works Sundays.

Tomorrow night I'm having dinner with my friend H and then we're going to a poetry workshop.

Also tomorrow, my best friend E leaves on her momentous trip to Colorado.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

the cutie

I'm a straight shooter with curly hair

Yesterday in the evening we went to this huge Asian supermarket called SF Supermarket over on 65th St near Stockton Blvd. It's mostly Chinese, but there are little sections for various Asian countries. I just wanted to see some different stuff--I wanted the stimulation. We ended up buying a few things: avocados, some fake canned meat, a super cute little aloe plant. I will see if Erik will photograph the aloe plant for me.

When we were leaving the apartment to go to SF Supermarket, I was going toward the car and passed by the door of the crazy lady, and she talked to me. She said, "Do you live in apartment three?" I realized she was talking to me, and I got goosebumps on my entire body.

"No--we live in apartment nine," I said quietly, walking away.

"Good, because I didn't think you were me," she said. (Later, trying to figure out what she meant, we realized that she lives in apartment three.) "You should come visit."

I'm terrified of the crazy lady and would never come visit. Everything she said to me was in a strange, biting tone, as if she hates my guts, though I have never done anything to her or fought with her in any way. In fact, we jump started her car once, years ago. She's the only tenant who has lived at this apartment complex longer than we have.

Today Erik and I went to the big farmers market under the freeway and got no-pesticide cherries, organic nectarines, mint leaves, and a huge cabbage.

Then we went for a mini-walk at McKinley Park--mostly we just sat on a bench near the duck pond.

Then we went out to Indian food for lunch. Kaveri raised their prices on the buffet. It's too expensive now. Maybe we won't go back. Erik asserts that when we first started going there, it was $7.99--now it's up to $10.99.

I've been working more on the typing project I have going, typing childhood texts for my best friend E. I've started emailing documents to her, which feels good, so there's another copy somewhere in case my hard drive were to crash. She says I'm doing a good job, and I feel happy to have her praise.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

they always do this when I come home

Yesterday we went to Cost Plus World Market so Erik could look at tea infusers. They didn't have the kind he wanted. I bought White Rabbits--I wish I had a scanner and I would scan a wrapper for you.

I've been reading a book called The Family on Beartown Road by Elizabeth Cohen. It's a memoir told by a woman who is raising her baby while taking care of her dad who has Alzheimer's.

This morning I made a mango fruit shake for breakfast. It was the first time I had made fruit shake in years. It tasted like a delicious ice cream, but it's made with vanilla yogurt, frozen mangoes, a little wheat bran.

Today Erik is at an all-day retreat with a Zen Buddhist named Reb Anderson. Erik says he's afraid of Reb Anderson because he's so smart. He made someone cry. "Then why are you going?" I said.

Today I have choir practice, which is a bit of a joke because my voice is still croaky. But I intend to go. I have to go to Vedanta anyway, to make two tapes for a devotee J. Thursday she came wanting to pick them up, but it was just after 4--I had just closed--and the tapes weren't made yet because no one left a note in my box saying I needed to make them. The person who took the order didn't know to put a note in my box. Communication is poor.

Some neighbors are fighting this morning. The angry edge in the woman's voice makes me feel discontented. I guess today I'll find myself writing letters so I have someone to talk to, and answering all my emails.

Friday, June 06, 2008

let the dandelions breed

I drove the truck to and from the bookstore yesterday without incident. The only problem is that the check engine light came on.

Yesterday I got in the mail a huge packet of zines from the person who runs Zine World, zines for me to review for them. It looks like I got some good ones. I immediately started reading the latest from Christoph Meyer, which I was actually sent a month or more ago by his wife Lisa. It's really good. It's about preparing to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Lately I've been playing a puzzle game called JewelDrops Deluxe, which is a variation on what I guess is a classic puzzle game called Columns. It's not as great as Puzzle Bobble but has its charm.

Last night we watched The Simpson's Movie and were not too impressed. We thought it would be very funny. It had its moments: I liked Spider Pig, and I liked the whole creepy prediction at the beginning, Marge working it out in magnetic poetry on the fridge. As always, I like the character who collects comics. We liked when Flanders made Bart hot chocolate, when he grated chocolate on top and used a torch to toast the marshmallow.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

fruit salad

The truck has a new battery, and I plan to take it to the bookstore this afternoon.

My cold has progressed--my voice is mostly gone. I hope it's mostly back this afternoon in case anyone calls on the phone or I need otherwise to talk to any customers.

P picked up the manuscript yesterday--I think I did a good job. My only concern is that sometimes I changed a comma to a semi colon by putting a dot above the comma, and I'm afraid some of them will be very hard to see. I used red pen, but a red dot is hard to differentiate from a black dot. So at some point I started circling the commas changed into semi colons, which will make them very obvious. I tried going back through and circling these instances, but I didn't see very many, but I'm worried some are there, and P won't see them either.

I guess it's possible for anxiety to taint anything. I need to be secure that I did my best and hope that my best is good enough.

I made some good fruit salad by mixing mango with blueberries.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

happy Tuesday

This morning I was accidentally half an hour late to med group, but I was very lucky and got seen anyway, by a nice and intelligent doctor Dr Z who changed the prescription I needed changed and understood my explanation immediately.

I was up many times in the night with the discomfort of my cold, but I'm doing better today. I no longer have an earache or headache, and my throat doesn't hurt anymore.

This morning we went to Whole Foods for water, and I got some vegan mayo while we were there. I tried it on a tomato sandwich for lunch, and I wasn't too thrilled. It's okay, and it's much lower in fat than regular mayo, so there's something in its favor.

This manuscript I'm proofreading for P is an interview he did with a veteran. It's similar to work I've done for him in the past. This cold has me feeling lazy, but I have a deadline of just a couple days, so I need to get on it.

Today being Tuesday, the lawn mower / leaf blower workers are here making their god awful noise. I will do proofreading when they leave. The air is filled with dust.

I got two strange messages yesterday from someone at my mental health place calling to make an appointment for I don't know what. They asked me to tell them good times to call, so I feel like I need to be here during those times in case they call, though we need to try to deal with this truck battery problem.

Monday, June 02, 2008

since last we spoke

The weekend away was very satisfying, pleasant, exhausting. I loved spending time with my relatives.

This morning our friend P came over and visited for an hour and a half, which surprised me, because I thought he was just coming over to drop off a manuscript for me to proofread.

Then my friend A was here from out of town, without her kids, and it was a real treat to see her just the two of us. We went to an orthopedic doctor in Davis, had Thai food for dinner, walked at McKinley park, shopped at Trader Joe's, and got malts at the Dairy Queen that's right next to our apartment complex. Then she had to go.

I have a runny nose and very sore throat, so I think I'm sick, and I really hope I didn't give it to A or P.

Tomorrow morning I have a meeting at my mental health place, something called med group, which I've gathered is my punishment for missing that psychiatrist appointment a couple weeks ago.