dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

what Wednesday feels like

We survived a two day in-person scoring job. Now we're free. It's a fog world out there. I have nothing on my agenda but therapy and a walk. Last night, vivid dreams of a yoga class and a party. Kitty hunting a heron in the ocean. I woke up at 3 thinking it was morning.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

from parents


Making Stuff & Doing Things by Kyle Bravo
A Maze Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
I Want Everything to Be Okay by Carrie McNinch
Dishwasher by Pete Jordan
Off the Map by by Kika Kat and Hib Chickena
Invincible Summer by Nicole J. Georges
Veganomicon by Moskowitz and Romero


Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell
XO by Elliot Smith
The Man Who Sold the World by David Bowie
The Shepherd's Dog by Iron & Wine
Chamber Works by Women Composers by Amy Marcy Cheney Beach


Life of Buddha

how Christmas was

So much has happened since last I blogged. I feel sort of intimidated by my own silence. I guess I'll just jump in.

Last night there was bad fighting in the apartment complex. We put in ear plugs and slept. Now there's more fighting, now in the afternoon. It's loud and violent. Someone's playing loud music too. I'm waiting for Erik to finish his tea so we can go out. We need to go to Whole Foods for water.

This morning I went to worship for the first time in quite a while. Then we went to the Borders that's closing down to get 40% off everything. I had two gift cards, so I spent the gift cards. It was kind of fun, kind of crazy. I mean it was holiday-type shopping, where people are grabby and almost frenzied. The type of shopping I avoid. But it was a novelty, and I was okay with it. The line was very long, but we were patient. The people in front of us were spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars, which was interesting.

Then we stopped by Fry's to computer shop. We're getting serious about it. Erik is researching a lot. I really appreciate his hard work.

We got home from holiday travels yesterday in the evening. Our trip to Santa Maria was good. I was feeling down some of the time. I think it's my medication change, but I'm not sure. I got to spend a lot of time with my parents and talked to my mom a lot. I got fabulous presents. I will give a list when we're back from Whole Foods.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

tale of two packages

This morning I went to the post office with the green piece of paper in my hand, the green piece of paper saying I needed to go to the post office to retrieve the package that was too large to fit in my mailbox. This time there were 15 people in line but more than one worker behind the counter. So I stayed in line. Two men in front of me were having a conversation that I sort of enjoyed following. One was saying how much worse it was in the 1970s. I think he was talking about post office lines.

When it was my turn, I handed the green piece of paper to the worker. She went into the back to find my package and came back empty handed. She told me it wasn't there. She said to check with my apartment complex manager. "There is no manager," I said. She disappeared into the back again to look for my package. She came back empty handed again and told me it wasn't there. "What am I supposed to do?" I asked. She said there was one more place she could check. So she disappeared into the back again and returned empty handed. She told me she had asked two supervisors and neither of them knew where my package might be. "What am I supposed to do?" I asked again. She took my phone number, wrote it on the back of the green piece of paper, and said she would scour the area.

I hoped the package would be waiting for me when we got back home--I hoped it was gone because the mail carrier had decided to try to deliver it again. But no such luck. Instead, another very important package had arrived. It was the package containing my Christmas present for my dad. So now I'm 100% ready for Christmas. But not really--I lack the package that was lost, the package I think is from Finland. I feel sorry for that Finnish friend who wanted me to have the present in time for Christmas. Hopefully it will turn up.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Firefox is working again.

this morning

This morning we went to the post office. I thought things would be reasonable there because it was too late to get packages anywhere for Christmas. Wrong! There were 15 people in line and one worker working. I stood in line for five minutes, but the line didn't move that whole time, so I gave up. I had to go to the post office because I got a green slip of paper in my mailbox saying there was a package that wouldn't fit in my mailbox and I had to go pick it up at the post office. I don't know why they wouldn't just leave the package on my doorstep like usual. Must have been a different mail carrier?

Then we went to the bird refuge. I worked on a letter to my friend C who lives in Bishop. And then we went for a walk. We walked in thick mud, and our shoes were caked with it. My feet were heavy with accumulated mud.

I found three small dinosaur toys on the ground near the picnic tables. I was excited. I wanted to take them home and play with them, but I left them on the picnic table in case by some miracle the people with the kid came back. Probably someone else will take them home to play with them like I wanted to.

our ignorance is showing

The computer turned itself off a lot today, so I'm trying to get files off the hard drive--I've emailed myself all the Erik and Laura-Marie Magazines and functionally ills, for example. More important, maybe, are all the photos I have on this hard drive that I really like having, but there are hundreds, maybe thousands (baby pictures of my nieces and nephew, other photos of family and friends). I couldn't even begin to email them all to myself. I wish there were a way to take this computer's hard drive and install it into my new computer as an extra hard drive. It's possible, but anyone I know who could do this lives far, far away.

I would get a flash drive and put all the photos on a flash drive, but this computer's USB ports are all broken, which is one of the many reasons I need a new computer. Ideally, this computer and the new computer could be networked, and I could transfer tons of files from the old to the new, but Erik and I don't know how to make that kind of network.

Sister Winter

Here's my former favorite Christmas song by Sujfan Stevens. I listened to it a lot last year. It had a place of honor on the 2007 Christmas mix.

Come On! Let's Boogie to the Elf Dance!

Here's another of my favorite Christmas songs by Sufjan Stevens.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!

There is no video here, but it's one of my favorite Christmas songs. By Sufjan Stevens.

pumpkin carob chip cookies

I was in the mood to bake, so I made some pumpkin carob chip cookies. They have walnuts. They're so very good.

Holy Mother puja

Thursday night was Holy Mother puja. It was beautiful.

Only about 30 people showed up, but there was enough food for 60 people, so one of the workers made me take four plates, two for me and two for Erik.

The singing went well.

free time

1. I don't have anything I need to do until Tuesday night, when there's a puja for Shivananda.

2. It's supposed to rain into the forseeable future.

3. We're in the middle of watching a documentary called My Architect.

4. Firefox still won't work for me, for some reason.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

White Corolla

We were woken up in the night by a tapping sound. We decided it was a bird and went back to sleep.

Then we woke up in the morning to the smell of frying bacon from another apartment. It made me want bacon. I fried up some potatoes instead.

As the day progressed, I scored SAT--I went to choir practice. We went to the co-op and bought delicious walnut sourdough bread, among other things. We went to McKinley park so Erik could jog. I was cold and wrote letters in the library.

Then we came home, and I went to score SAT some more, but I had a happy surprise waiting for me: we were all scored out. December SAT scoring session is over! I'm free! I'm dancing around and throwing confetti.

Now firefox isn't working, so I'm relying upon explorer, so my spelling is unchecked. I've been listening to a lot of Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, and "Old Panda Days" is stuck in my head.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

fruit salad

Today I made fruit salad. It has mandarins, apples, canned peaches, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries. I'm afraid the peaches don't belong. Their cooked-ness is distracting. Also, I cut the mandarins up too small. Oh well--it's still pretty good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the two things I wanted to tell you

1. The kind of toothpaste we always used to buy has propolis in it, which is made by bees. So it's not vegan. We had to buy a new kind of toothpaste. We actually got two--one is a gel and is spearmint flavored, and the other is a paste and is apricot flavored. The gel is for Erik. The apricot smells great, but I haven't tried it yet.

2. Last night there was a terrible fight outside. We listened to it for about half an hour before Erik found the earplugs. They said the f word a lot. One yelled, "Are you threatening me?" and the other threatened to call the cops repeatedly. I really wished someone would call the cops. But the earplugs worked. Usually when I hear the fights I feel scared, but last night I found it all amusing, and we were giggly.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Somewhere I might like to submit.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


I was reminded to blog about the peace event I attended Wednesday night. My computer won't stay on, so I'm using Erik's. Boy do I hate laptop keyboards. I can't pop off the caps lock key, so I keep hitting it when I hit the shift.

The peace event was the same as last year's and the year before. Representatives of various faiths gave little talks. The Jew lit a menorah for us. The Muslim...I can't actually remember what the Muslim talked about, but I remember she mentioned equality of the sexes. There was no Buddhist this time, so Swami was the only representative of the East. Swami went first this year. He did some peace chants in Sanskrit and then English translations. They were beautiful.

There was singing. The notes were too high. I didn't sound good. We all lit white candles and took them outside to the fountain to let them float. Then we gave one another a sign of peace. A stranger hugged me.

I had an interesting conversation during cookie time with one of the women who works in the bookstore. We talked about bookstore boss. It was refreshing, validating.

My friend J came in the same car as me and P. She was having too many senior moments. She couldn't figure out how to use her seatbelt. Eventually she got it buckled, but without her body in it. P had to help her. Then when we dropped her home, she couldn't figure out how to use the key to get into her apartment complex. P had to help her do that too. She called me Maria and Anna Marie. She referred to Erik as Kirk, and I corrected her. Anyway, it seems clear that her mind is going, and it's sad because she won't be able to live alone much longer, and I hope her family takes good care of her. She's the first person I've ever known to go from pretty standard brain functioning to pretty bad. She was being giggly and good-natured about it. But when J was gone, P told me, "Scary, scary."

Today Erik scored nine and a half hours. I worked on Christmas cards, Christmas letters.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

more trouble

This morning I was in the middle of writing an email to my best friend E when the screen suddenly went black, and the music I had been listening to stopped. The computer was still on, but there was no awakening it.

So the problem wasn't the monitor--it was the computer after all. But it went all day yesterday without going dead like that.

Friday, December 12, 2008

birthday visit

Yesterday my friend A had a doctor's appointment in Davis, so she came to Sacramento to visit me. I took her out to lunch at a Lebanese place we like. The food was very tasty. We shared labneh and spinach pies, and she had an eggplant sandwich while I had a falafel salad. I ate almost none of the salad. (I took it home and had it for dinner.)

Then we went for a walk at Howe Park. It was strange to be there without the kids. We spoke of many things.

Then we went to Vedanta so A could see the place, and I showed her everything: fig trees, the temple, the bookstore, strawberry trees, statues, ponds. She even got to meet Swami. "You should show her around," he said.

"I did," I said.

"Everything?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. It was really fun to have someone to show everything to.

Then the truck wouldn't start, and I thought we were stuck in Vedanta's parking lot, but after many tries, she got it to turn over and keep running. So she took me home. She opened her birthday present.

She was wearing her favorite sweatshirt, which is dark green, one of my favorite colors--I used to have a shirt that color, but it got a hole in it, and that was long ago.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I asked for a monitor on freecycle and was given one. Erik and I went to pick it up during rush hour. We did a great job finding the place in the dark. And Erik set up the new monitor really quickly. It's just as big as the last one. So far, no problems. So I think it was the monitor, not the computer. But I won't be satisfied for at least a day.


I don't know if it's my computer or my monitor that's giving me trouble. Twice now it seems like the monitor has gone into power save mode, but it won't come out of it. I visited the settings and told it never to go into power save mode, but either that didn't stick, or it's just plain malfunctioning. Anyway, it's a bad time because SAT scoring starts today. Lately I've been thinking I need a new computer because I've had this one for a long time, and I'm afraid it's its time to go. I feel the same way about our car, which has about 255,000 miles on it. I got this monitor maybe a year ago through freecycle. I don't know how old it is.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

brain drugs

Here's an article about how there was an editorial in Nature saying that healthy people should be able to use brain drugs. Erik and I have different views on the matter. I think it's a super bad idea for ethical reasons. But Erik thinks it's all about side affects. He uses caffeine as a brain-enhancing drug, and I tease him about his addiction. I'm kind of straight edge about it, but I use mental health drugs every day, so I guess I shouldn't talk.


problem of poverty

Here is an article about how poverty may give kids brain damage. I am not surprised, but I'm very saddened. Poverty is such a big problem, and I hope people hear about this and it makes the problem of poverty more known, understood, prioritized. The psychologist's idea that it's from lack of museum visits I find ridiculous. I would think it has more to do with poor nutrition.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

honey pie, you're not safe here

Did I tell you about when a stranger came to our door trying to sell us Trix and milk for bus fare last month? I don't think I mentioned it. Anyway, he came back today. This time he was selling Kix, orange punch, and cookies. I didn't take any of the food, but I gave him two bucks. He said bus fare was $4.75. So hopefully he found someone else to help him.

This encounter I found stressful, and lots of other things added up to a stress day--Kitty's moods, the worker's table saw, difficult editing. I ended up putting in earplugs. Then I made the Tofurkey dinner. It was fun. In the morning I went to the regular supermarket across the street for a lightbulb but also for bread and onions, because I needed an onion for the Tofurkey roast. The regular supermarket is unpleasant.

Anyway, it was fun to make a whole meal with a main protein and side dishes and everything. It was really different from how we normally eat. I hadn't had gravy in at least 15 years. It's pretty good! I liked to put it on my potatoes. Everything was very salty.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Point Reyes

Yesterday Erik and I spent at Point Reyes National Seashore. We drove the two hours to the visitor's center and got our park map there. A park worker was speaking to some tourists in German, which impressed me.

First we stopped at North Beach. There I sat in the sand and did some editing of the manuscript I've been working on. It was very cloudy out, windy and cold, and we were bundled up. The beach was beautiful. The waves were huge and turbulent.

Then we went to the lighthouse. Here Erik and I split up for an hour. I dislike lighthouses! so he went to visit the lighthouse on his own. I stayed in the car, finished my editing, and worked on a letter to my friend A in Hillsboro. I was very happy.

Then we went to visit the elephant seals. Unfortunately, there were only a handful we could see, and they were kind of far away, and they weren't doing anything. Well, we heard one big male making strange sounds from inside his throat. That was kind of cool.

By then it was getting colder and kind of dark. We went to South Beach and walked. Then we sat on a log and I stared out at the water. Erik was looking at things on the sand and showed them to me and asked me questions about them--seaweed, broken sand dollars, a crab's shell, mussel shells, what I would have called an oyster shell, when I was a kid, but I'm not sure if it's actually an oyster shell.

It was fun. The whole day was fun. I'm not mentioning the drives between locations: beautiful green hills. Pt Reyes is dotted with historic ranches, so there were a lot of cows. My favorite moment of the whole day was when we were stopped by the side of the road watching a cow munch grass. She was sticking her head and neck through the barbed wire fence to get at the grass by the roadside. She was using her big tongue to get at the grass. I love cows a lot, more than I like deer, even more than I like elk (though we didn't see any elk yesterday--we didn't drive north enough to the elk area).

We stopped for dinner at an Indian place in Fairfax called The Lotus Cafe, and our food was delicious. The restaurant was very small, but I didn't get too freaked out by that. I got a mango lassi, which is a real treat. Then we went to a natural foods store down the street called The Good Earth and bought some wonderful things. For example, I got a roll of organic mints that are kind of like Certs, and I used to love Certs.

I'm done with the editing work, but I'm worried I didn't do a thorough enough job. All the proofreading is good, but some of the paragraphs are awfully clunky, and I'm afraid I need to fix them in a way I don't know how. I'm also worried about how few pages I got done in those two hours. I don't think P realizes how long it takes me. Anyway, I need to call him.

Tomorrow Erik starts a one week in person job, and also SAT scoring starts Thursday, so today is our last free day together for a couple weeks. There's a lot to do.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Coalition to Abolish the AETA

I'm concerned about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Here's an interesting description of the AETA and why it's bad.


"The language of the AETA covers many First Amendment activities, such as picketing, boycotts and undercover investigations if they 'interfere' with an animal enterprise by causing a loss of profits. So in effect, The AETA silences the peaceful and lawful protest activities of animal and environmental advocates."

Prakrtim paramam abhayam varadam nararupa dharam janatapa haram

This morning I went to the doctor. He upped my dose on one of my medications and lowered the dose on another. It was fine. Erik is upset about the changes. He thinks I should get another doctor. I would need to fill out a change of provider request form. I don't know that I will.

We went to the farmers market for apples, mandarins, green onions. We walked through the whole farmers market to scope out the prices first and then made another round to actually buy. The apples we bought no pesticide--apples are on the organic list.

Then we went to Whole Foods, where two excellent things happened. Erik pointed out to me some vegan doughnuts in the bakery area. I had never seen them before. But I knew they were supposed to have vegan doughnuts because I had been at the website of the company they makes them. The other excellent thing was finding Tofurkey's vegan feast on sale for half off. So we got one of those. I went to make it this evening for dinner, but I found out you were supposed to let the roast and gravy thaw for 24 hours in the fridge. So I plan to make it tomorrow night.

So the doughnut--I hadn't had one in months, since I went to a Krispy Kreme with my dad when we were visiting.... I was completely delighted. It was one of the best doughnuts I'd ever tasted. It was vanilla with nice icing and pastel sprinkles. It cost $2.29. I will get more doughnuts other days.

Then I had choir practice. That was fine. We're singing one of my favorite songs for Holy Mother: Prakritim Paramam. We found out it was someone's birthday and sang happy birthday to him.

In the evening I made soup. It's a variation on "Gypsy Soup" on page five of the Moosewood cookbook. It's sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, peas, onions, garlic, spices. It's very good. It was my first time cooking with sweet potatoes, and I love them.

Friday, December 05, 2008

vegan pumpkin soup

Today I made this soup recipe, which I found somewhere on the internet a couple weeks ago (tried to find it so I could link, but couldn't find it)....

vegan pumpkin soup

1 onion, diced
3 tbsp vegan margarine
2 cups vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry
1/2 tsp ginger
dash salt

In a large pot, saute the onions in the margarine for 3 to 5 minutes, until onions turn soft. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Allow to simmer over low heat for at least fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

I consider it very tasty, and Erik liked it too. I ate two bowls and felt like going for a third. The onions are really noticeable, so maybe it should be called vegan pumpkin onion soup. But their noticeablity was not problematic. Next time I think I'll put in some garlic. Also, I'll consider pureeing it so the onions will blend in.

Overall, it's no health food, because of the coconut milk's saturated fat (though I used the reduced fat version). But it's good.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fibber Island

Yesterday in the morning we went to Effie Yeaw, a wildlife refuge. We saw lots of deer and wild turkeys-- wild turkeys are my favorite. We sat by a fast- moving section of the American River. Then we walked around and sat by a pond. I wrote a letter to my loved friend R in Berkeley. Then I read Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, and it went all spooky on me--lots of stuff about satan--very dark, and I don't know if I'll be able to keep going.

I went to bed at 7:30. I don't know why I was so exhausted. I went to bed with all my clothes on.

This morning we went to the river, American River. We walked for a while, and then we got to a place where we could go on a big island. We crossed where the river got shallow--there were rocks to cross on--and we went up a steep, eroding dirt path. Then we were on the island. We walked around, and there were many little white clam shells on the ground. Erik was very happy. But we were worried we'd come upon someone who had claimed the island as their home.

I was tired and hungry, so we left. "What should we call the island?" Erik asked, and I immediately replied, "Fibber Island." Then I got the song "Candy Man" from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory stuck in my head.

We stopped at the library where we picked up two documentaries, Into Great Silence and My Architect. We came home and had avocado toast for lunch.

Then we went to Vedanta. It was time for me to train U, the woman who's taking my place at the bookstore. I brought my boom box because I needed a tape player to check a master. So I trained her on how to make CDs, how to make tapes, and how to do the project of converting tapes of Swami Shradhanana's lectures to CDs. We checked the master. It took about two hours to do all this training.

And that is the story of my incredible day.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

what I did today

This morning we went to the bird refuge. I wrote a letter to my friend R in Cumbria and started reading Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. My friend A gave this book to me about a year ago, and I'm just now getting around to reading it.

This afternoon I went to my friend P's apartment to talk. She was making soup. It was good--it had sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans in it, which I would think would not be a good combination, but it was.... It's called Gypsy Soup from the Moosewood cookbook. I happen to have that cookbook, so I'm planning to look at the recipe and maybe buy some sweet potatoes and canned garbanzo beans.

Today P the oral historian dropped off a manuscript for me to edit. He was on his way to do some research at Sac State. I haven't even read the first page of it, which is just a letter of instructions to me.

Tonight I made some delicious banana bread. It's a vegan recipe, but I still have butter left in the fridge from our pre-vegan days, so I used butter instead of margarine, and it turned out great. I also used whole wheat flour instead of regular, and I used all brown sugar as opposed to half brown and half white. And I added half a cup of walnuts.

We watched part three of four of BBC miniseries Have His Carcase. It's super good. I love both Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsy. It's like the X-Files all over again.

Thinking about using the heater--we haven't used it yet this year--it's become like a game, to see how long we can go. It's 62 degrees in here, and I'm kind of tired of being cold.

Monday, December 01, 2008

the holiday

Well, how was your Thanksgiving? Some of you are not in the US, so you didn't have the day of turkey, stuffing, veggies, pie. This was my first year as a true vegetarian (always before I ate fish or fowl from time to time), so it was my first Thanksgiving without turkey. I didn't suffer.

My friend redgaurd is interviewing me for his zine Absent Cause, and I worked on that this morning. It's cold in our apartment, and I wish to go back to bed. Mornings can be so difficult.... Now Erik's washing the dishes. It's foggy outside. My parents, brother, and nieces are at Disneyland right now--it's my mom's birthday, and it's my older niece's birthday tomorrow.

Yesterday on our way home we stopped in Berkeley for a late lunch, a neighborhood walk, and a brief visit to the marina. We were exhausted from the drive but had a good time.

Saturday I got to see my best friend E for four hours at Najoqui Falls park. We waked to the falls, took pictures, ate sack lunch, and sat at picnic tables in the shade or in the sun. It was healing and beautiful to see her. A stranger took our picture at the falls, but they turned out blurry.

With my parents I didn't get to spend quite as much time as I would have liked. Thanksgiving itself was nice and quiet. We had a really good time though we ate too much pie. I've decided that pecan pie doesn't agree with me and vow never to eat it again.

Guess what? I'm done working at the bookstore. Saturday at satsang Swami announced that I was quitting, and someone has stepped in to take my place. So I'll train her on Thursday. I don't think one day will be enough. You have no idea how much weight this lifts from me. I was thinking and thinking so hard about how to succeed in my quest to quit, and now my mind can turn to other thoughts.