dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Saturday, January 31, 2009

on the board

I belong to a women's Hindu religious group. We're dedicated to Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. This is separate from my church but very similar. It's like my church only run entirely by women and for women. Anyway, today my friend P asked me if I want to be on the board. "I don't know what that would entail," I said. So she explained it to me. It looks like I'm the new secretary. I'm happy to help, and maybe I can put it on my resume? A meeting is next Saturday afternoon. M is going to teach me how to take minutes.

Tonight a lot of people here at my apartment complex are drunk and very loud. I'm unamused.

I have mixed feelings about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. However, my main feeling right now is that I want to read it. So goodbye!

just little things

Today I had choir practice. There were only five of us. We sang a lot. Then I talked with P in the parking lot for a while. Her son had a terrifying experience. Bad news always makes me smile. I try to pinch myself.

Getting home, I pulled up to the curb--I parked--and I was being watched by people who were just outside my apartment complex. Three were standing, and one was sitting in an old beat-up chair. They were smoking, and the man who was sitting had a can of beer in his hand. When I walked by, they got silent. There was a very strange vibe. I checked the mail. "Is the mail here?" someone asked. I gathered my mail and answered, "Yeah, it is," and walked away.

Oh, at choir practice I was reading aloud the translation of the song we're singing for the memorial service of the old man who died. Oi Jay Daki Jai, something like that. C came in and interrupted me without so much as an "excuse me." She was looking for someone and had an old woman's cane--the old woman forgot her cane in the assembly room. I stared at the paper while she spoke so I wouldn't lose my place. When she left, I continued reading.

Friday, January 30, 2009

bean soup

I made some bean soup from a mix from Trader Joe's. It's a bag of mixed beans, and then you add everything else. I added an onion, two carrots, about five cloves of garlic, a can of tomatoes, Italian seasonings, salt, pepper, water.... Erik loved it. I thought it was pretty good, but I prefer my beans in chili form as opposed to soup form. At the co-op a couple weeks ago I bought some organic pinto beans that were on sale, so I will make those in chili form.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

an excercise in futility

Today I walked to my mental health place to meet my new caseworker and do annual paperwork. My new caseworker is a man, and on the phone he sounded smarmy. "How long has it been since you've seen your caseworker?" he asked.

"I don't know--a year?" I said.

"We'll have to do something about that," he said, which is not bad, but the way he said it.

Anyway, he wasn't there. I had a two o'clock appointment, signed in at 1:55, and waited half an hour before feeling pissed enough to re-approach the desk person. "I'm here to see Anthony?" I said to the desk person.

"He's not here," she said.

"I have a two o'clock appointment with him," I insisted.

"I know that," she said. "He must be out sick."

"Okay," I said and headed out the door.

"Will you call next week and reschedule?" she asked.

I said yeah and kept going. So it was all a waste of time, but I got my walk in.

The walk--it's all on a busy street called Watt, and there's no sidewalk for part of the time. Today there was three traffic cones by the side of the road for no apparent reason. On the way there, I was walking toward two teenage boys, and as we passed one another, I think one of them called me a cow. This didn't bother me too much--after all, I like cows a great deal.

On the way home, I saw a woman outside of a dentist's office playing a ukulele. And I saw a remarkable-looking man in a motorized wheelchair. I felt something like, "The world is a wonderful place, and I'm glad I'm not dead."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was chatting with my Finnish penpal M, and she was telling me she likes black licorice--she is the only person I know who likes it, other than my dad. That made me look it up, and I learned some fascinating things about how it's used around the world. The most interesting thing to me is how it can raise blood pressure.

Monday, January 26, 2009

tired out

This morning we drove home. We stopped at Avila beach on the way home. Erik got to look at / listen to his beloved sea lions. We wanted to go to Avila Barn so I could spend some time with the goats, but they were closed.

So we drove and drove. Got here (it's about six hours). Went out for groceries. Called P--he's coming over tomorrow afternoon to drop off another manuscript.

Erik was supposed to go hiking tomorrow, but T called it off, which is actually great. So maybe he'll go with me to Vedanta to set up the computer and the software for me to do that conversion project for Swami, converting some analog media to digital.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Friday we left Sacramento to visit my parents. We got here to Santa Maria on Friday night. We ate pizza and talked with my parents. (We're vegan only at home, and going to stay with my parents is one of the two main reasons.)

Saturday I went clothes shopping with my mom. She bought me three paris of jeans and gave me a pair of hers that didn't fit well anymore. She also bought me socks.

For lunch we went to El Pueblito. My enchiladas were too much for me. It was good to sit at a table together. (At my parents' house, the dining room table is used for eating only on special occassions.)

My mom and I baked a carrot cake for my dad, whose birthday is tomorrow. It was fun to bake, but the cake was overdone. Then my mom and I went to my parents' bedroom and talked while Erik and my dad played a video game that involves killing people.

This morning my parents left for Las Vegas. I did a ton of laundry. We agnoized over whether to stay here another night or head home. We decided to stay here and went to Guadalupe beach. On the way, we saw a rainbow. At the beach, the wind was so strong that it made the sand hitting my face feel like little needles. After some attempts at getting out so I could take a walk, I decided to stay in the car and stare at the waves and read my new book, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I have heard good things about this book, and I like it so far.

Now it's night and I'm exhausted. Good night!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Yesterday in the morning I did morning things. Then at high noon I met a new friend: Coco Negro. She makes a zine called Carrots and Condoms. Issue one is mostly about permaculture. She is the second Sacramento zinester that I've met, and she's a really nice person. We had a good conversation that was cut short because I said I'd meet Erik in one hour. We should have left it open-ended--oh well.

Then we went to P's place to drop off the last manuscript I edited. It was good to see him and talk about birds. We saw some doves outside his window at the feeder, and a goldfinch, and a finch with lots of red. He showed us pictures of the birds he and J used to have when they lived together and people kept giving them birds.

Then we came home and I baked. I baked cornbread and cookies. The cornbread was my usual whole wheat vegan cornbread, and the cookies were vegan sweet potato and carob chip. (Do I even need to say vegan? I guess anyone who stumbled across my blog wouldn't know I'm home-vegan, so I'll keep saying it.) The carob chip ones are usually pumpkin carob chip, but I didn't have any pumpkin and used canned sweet potato puree instead, and they turned out great.

Then there was a meeting of my womens writers group. I brought the cornbread and the cookies and two cans of vegan chili. So we ate those foods, and they were delicious. The other two women had cheese on their chili. And we put margarine on the cornbread, which H had heated up in the oven so it was nice and warm.

After dinner, we were all feeling tired, and the actual writing didn't go so well. I wrote a poem in which I articulated some things about myself that I had never articulated before, so that was useful, but I don't know if it's good as art. I wrote some other things I'll need to look at later.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Erik is out with T now--they went to the arcade. I want to read my book, but I don't know if I want to be alone at night and scared out of my wits.

Erik told me, "The scary people left."

I said, "Do you mean the people on the end there?"

Erik said, "No, the 'I'm going to cut your head off' people."

I said, "Oh."

Erik said, "There's an eviction notice in their window."

I could write a letter--I could bake some cornbread. I would rather chat, but my primary chatting buddy is awol. It's too early to go to bed....


The book I'm reading just got really scary!

The Writing Class by Jincy Willett

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Erik was so sad he would have to miss the inauguration this morning because he had to go to work. Well, he called me at lunch and said they brought in a TV and let them watch the speech and the swearing in. It was like a dream come true, for him.

I ended up seeing the last part of the ceremony on accident. I went to Vedanta to talk with Swami, and there was a TV set up in the library, and two men from the monastery were watching it. I needed to wait for Swami, and it was cold outside, so I stood there in the library and watched the benediction and national anthem and saw them leaving.

shilly shally

Last night I had nightmares about being at an evil grading factory. A memorable line was, "I think they're going to take us into different rooms and torture us." I had to meet with the big boss supervisor and seek his approval, but he was maniacal, and I was very afraid of what he would do to me.

Today and tomorrow Erik is working outside the home. I need to figure out whether I'm willing to take the truck out considering Erik has the cell phone (at times like these, it would be really good to have two cell phones). The truck's check engine light comes on a lot, and it worries me. But maybe I should just chill.

I need to go to Vedanta to talk to Swami and take whatever it is he has for me. I also need to go to the post office to send some zines and cards that really need to be sent (birthday card to Nana will be late anyway, unfortunately). And I didn't walk yesterday, so I really need to walk today.

Speaking of the truck, it needs to be smogged, but I've heard they won't even try it if the check engine light comes on? So I guess we need to take it to our mechanic so he can do whatever needs to be done for the check engine light to come off before we try to smog it. It's never a good time.

We're probably going back to San Francisco this week to see our Portland friend A again because he'll be there for business again this week and next. No day is very good, though. I'm worried the only possible day for him will be Thursday, which will mean I need to flake on my writers group. They are so important to me, but A lives so far away that seeing him is also so important to me. And there are Erik's feelings to consider too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

poverty --> depravity

This morning we went to breakfast with my friend H and her new boyfriend M. I guess they've been together for a while now, but he was new to me. Actually, it was revealed that he attended a tea H gave a year or two ago, so we were in the same room together, but he was all the way at the other end of the table, so we didn't meet.

We went to Fox & Goose, and it was a bit nerve-wracking to meet M. I guess there's a lot of pressure on me to like him. But I did like him, so everything's okay. I'm bad in groups, so I was pretty uncomfortable, and I'm sure it showed, though I didn't want it to. At any rate, I think all four of us have good intentions, which counts for a lot.

M is a lot younger than H. (In fact, he got carded when he ordered a mimosa.) They're both gamers, so they know one another through that. And they've been friends for years. He went to UC Davis. He lives down near LA right now but is moving back to the area next month.

After breakfast we went to P's place to drop off the manuscript I'd been editing and pick up a new one. It was good to see him. Some finches were visiting the bird feeder he has set up just outside his livingroom window. He told us some of his troubles. His van is leaking coolant. He's working long days on this book. His deadline's February 24th.

Then we went to the co-op for some foods including nutritional yeast. Then we went to this stationary store called Pulp Papery that we had never been to. It's right by McKinley park, this park we go to a lot. So we'd seen it a lot. There were some nice cards there. Erik almost bought a molskine planner that was marked 50% off. He decided to make one for himself instead.

I was feeling angsty about that essay I wrote about my apartment complex, but I've decided the change the last word, so now I feel less angsty. I sent it to my best friend, and she advised me. I changed the last word from "poverty" to "depravity."

Swedish white brownies

I have a recipe for white brownies--I used to make them for Erik regularly, but it was during a phase where I ate no dessert. Last night I made them for the first time since we became home-vegans. I used Ener-G egg replacer, and I'm happy to report that that turned out great! I don't know the difference, though, between this way and the former way, since I never ate them the former way. Erik agrees that they're tasty.

The recipe I have had taped to the fridge for years. I originally got it somewhere on the internet--can't find exactly where, now. The secret ingredient is almond extract. "This recipe has been in my family for over 100 years," the recipe says on the top.

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
(little bit of cinnamon or cardamom is optional added to the flour)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Bake in an 8x8 pan for 30 min or until a toothpick comes clean.

I used margarine instead of butter, Ener-G instead of eggs, whole wheat flour instead of regular flour, didn't add the optional spices, and used brown sugar instead of white. I guess I changed it a lot...so they're not really white brownies--they come out sort of tan. They needed 25 min--I guess my oven is a little hot.

The only difficulty I've encountered is trying to remove leftovers from the pan. Last night they came out easily, but trying to get seconds today, they're stuck to the pyrex. I had to use a knife to chisel one out. Very messy but still tastes good.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

anarchist cafe

I found out that on the 24th here in Sacramento there's an anarchist cafe! I am so surprised this is happening here and so interested! Erik said he would bring me. Someone from the Black Panthers will be giving a talk. There's a free dinner at 5. I wonder if it's vegan? I bet it is.


Vivekananda puja

Last night was Vivekananda puja. It was beautiful and fun. I got to see my friend M who I see only sometimes, and it was good to get a hug from her.

When Swami shook my hand, he told me he has something for me. He has a project for me, something ongoing, and I wish I knew what it is. I plan to go talk to him soon, some morning. Maybe tomorrow morning. We're having breakfast with my friend H and her boyfriend, who I have never met--nervous about meeting him.

We also need to stop by P's place to drop off the manuscript I finished editing and pick up a new one, a shorter one.

Slowly getting used to my new computer. I have trouble finding files after downloading them. Just now I did, with the Vivekananda pic. But Erik helped me. Maybe I won't have trouble now.

We had a nice dinner of veggies with rice. Now I crave dessert and might bake cookies. I feel like pumpkin carob chip.

I wrote an essay about my apartment complex, and I don't know how I feel about it. I wrote it for my friend G's zine Call & Response. A couple things about it make me uncomfortable. The very beginning and the very ending, actually. I don't know if it's a good discomfort or a bad.

Friday, January 16, 2009

bananananananana bread

I made some kick-ass vegan banana bread tonight. It's a recipe I've made before. It has a whole stick of margarine in it and calls for a whole cup of sugar--I put in less sugar and used all brown and no white. Oh, and I used nutmeg instead of allspice. And I put in about half a cup of pecans. And I always use all whole wheat flour.

we need to fight global warming or we're all going to die

Last night we went to a Marxist talk on the economy and climate crisis. It was scary. We need to fight global warming or we're all going to die. Something big needs to change or the planet's in huge trouble. I now think it's the biggest problem in the world.


In person work today and yesterday went okay--I came out of it unscathed and actually thriving. Now this weekend I need to finish up this manuscript I'm editing.

There was a bad fight here earlier, but it didn't last.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Today the new neighbor called me "young lady," which I hadn't been called in a long time.

a truly wonderful day

Yesterday we learned that our old friend A from grad school who lives in Portland was in San Francisco for a business trip, so we decided to go to SF yesterday. But first we had to go to our friend P's place to help him move a large chair. It was fun to ride in the back of his van. P is a wonderful person who makes fun things happen.

Then we drove the 1:45 min or so to SF. We went to Japantown, which is basically a mall full of Japanese shops and restaurants. We did a lot of shopping, not too much buying, and had a good but exhausting time. I got some cheap cute Japanese stationary and a short fork with a yellow plastic handle and a sticker with pictures of bananas on it. It says Putifresh and Lube Sheep on it. Erik got some small sauce dishes for eating his morning chocolate, which he has when he drinks his morning matcha.

Then we drove to A's hotel, where we met in the lobby and hugged and were happy to see one another. A looked very different from the last time I had seen him. He had shaved his head and grown a goatee. Also, he was wearing fancy black clothes. He looked like a kind of person who is way too sophisticated and well-to-do to be my friend. But we spoke and behaved like close friends, so I guess I was wrong. It was super good to see him--it had been more than two years. We walked to an Indian-Pak restaurant and had delicious food. The worker brought us a mango lassi by mistake, so we drank that, which was tasty.

Then we went to the hotel's lounge where A got a Manhattan and Erik and I (who don't drink) shared a piece of the worst cheesecake I have ever had in my life. Erik felt the same way about that very sad cheesecake. The conversation was wonderful. We spoke of razor clams, his kids, his exwife, his new girlfriend, stand up comics, wholesome entertainment, our friend M who had a book published last year, Vedanta, Erik's Buddhism, and meeting again. I think we're going to return to SF next week to see him again--he's in SF for three weeks, though he's going home on the weekends. And he's also talking about coming to Sacramento when his trip is over so we can show him around town.

A is hyper articulate, super intelligent, and works as a project manager. He's also very nice but at times seems reserved and cerebral. It was nice to hear him talk on the phone with his sons, to hear him say "I love you" to them. A carries a lot of anger toward his exwife, and it's painful to hear about because we care about him so much and wish things were different.

We stopped at Elephant Pharmacy on the way home to use the bathroom and so Erik could get some green rooibos, but they were all out like last time. As Erik drove us home, I didn't fall asleep like usual. My mind was full of remembered conversation and new thoughts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire, dark library, mysterious file locations

Tonight Erik is at a movie with his friend T. Our friend P gave us free tickets to Slumdog Millionaire when he was here this morning dropping off a manuscript for me to edit. I'm a fourth of the way done and feel like I just started.

Today we went to the library--I wanted to edit there because at home there are the bad saw noises. But at the library the lights were out. They were having trouble with a circuit. When I went to check out my books, the computers weren't working, so they had to take the info down by hand.

I'm still getting used to my new computer. It puts files in weird places.

more about last night

Today when we were going out, I wanted to look at the side of the building where I heard the sounds. A neighbor saw us and asked, "Checkin' out what went down last night?" He told us more about what happened, though I still don't understand. He told us about the blood on the sidewalk, which we saw. And the hole in the fence. The neighbor said the guy got taken out on a stretcher. It was good to have a little more info, though it's still not clear to me. The blood looked fresh--it didn't seem to have dried. The neighbor was suggesting that that guy got all messed up from trying to go through he fence. Why he didn't just hop the fence I don't understand. And Erik gathered that the guy was on the run, and the cops just chased him here. At any rate, it's over.

something bad

Last night something bad happened at our apartment complex. I woke up to someone making weird sounds and yelling very violently. He sounded drunk or high. Then I heard the sound of the wall being banged on. Something was happening to the apartment complex. It shuddered.

Then the cops showed up with lights flashing. They peeled out as they turned the corner to enter the parking lot. At about the same time, a police helicopter showed up. It shined its beam on our apartment complex. Even though the shades were closed, light flooded the room. By then Erik was awake. I don't know if someone was arrested, but the weird and violent yelling and the sounds of the building getting harmed ended. The police helicopter made only about 10 passes then left.

People outside were talking for a long time. Eventually the cop car turned its flashing lights off. I felt scared. I hoped cops wouldn't come try to talk to us. What was happening seemed to have been happening right downstairs. But luckily, no cop wanted to talk to us.

Erik was hungry and ate some sunflower seeds. When the cop car left, the people went back into their apartments, and it was quiet out, so we were able to go back to sleep.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

mostly proofreading

I spent the morning proofreading zine reviews for Zine World. It was fun, but my brain is tired. I'm done, but I'm waiting to hear back from a few people with physical addresses--email only is not allowed.

It's a good thing that I'm done because our friend P has more book for me to proofread and edit. He's delivering that tomorrow.

Erik's working hard on a side project he's got going to help P with his book. He's making boxes with fun facts about each decade. He's done with the 50s, and just finished the 60s, and is starting the 70s. Making the boxes requires a lot of research and careful writing.

Yesterday evening I talked on the phone with an old friend in Chicago that I speak to only rarely, and he made me feel supported and understood. I'm happy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Here's the cup we bought at Far Leaves in Berkeley when we were there having tea with our friend M from Brooklyn.


Here is some kalanchoe which I got at the dollar store a few days ago.

Friday, January 09, 2009

dinner as it was, breakfast as it will be

I made the rice salad but was too hungry to bother with the sauteed onion. I didn't make rice fresh--I used some leftover short grain brown rice that was in the fridge. So it was pretty good. Definitely different from what I usually eat. I guess I'm not entirely convinced of rice salad as a concept.

Sacramento has a restaurant called Pancake Circus that I have passed many times but never eaten at. I want to, now--I was just reading reviews. On the other hand is Fox & Goose Public House, which has a great breakfast reputation too, but no clowns.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

rice salad with sun dried tomatoes

I have rice, and I have sun dried tomatoes my parents got us from Costco, a big jar full, so I looked for a recipe that uses both, and I found this recipe. I don't think I want beans in it, so I'll try just sauteed onions, half a cup of lemon juice, some olive oil, salt and pepper.... I never have fresh parsley, so that's out too. Maybe it will be good without. Oh, and I don't like capers.


Erik's got the new computer all set up for me. I'm listening to a CD my friend K sent me in November that I never heard until now--my old computer didn't have a working CD drive. Right now is "Why Can't I Touch It?" by the Buzzcocks. It's like a party around here.

two things

1. When I went to pick up my medications, one of them was missing. I only have two of those pills left, and there's no chance I'll get my refill until Monday, so I'll have to cut my two remaining pills in half so they'll last me four days. I was surprised the nurse didn't have any samples she could give me.

2. The new computer arrived! Erik's going to set it up when he's done trying to get through to unemployment (he's been trying for two weeks now).

forever is a long time

Today I've been cleaning my desk and dealing with the things I find there. For example, someone sent me a mental health zine and letter back in November, and the zine is vulnerable, and the letter is too, and she really should have heard back from me right away, but the zine and letter got buried on my desk. The holidays happened. So I wrote back to her this afternoon.

I've also been using a site called Postal Traffic made by my friend sinoun. She's the same person who runs The Trading Network. Postal Traffic is a great way to get a receive mail from other mail-lovers around the world. Well, so far I think it's just the US and Britain, but it's still new. It's based on another website for random mailings called postcardx that got all hacked.

So I've gathered up things to send strangers, written a letter or two--fun stuff. About my desk, I've conquered the pile on the left, but there's still the pile on the right. So wish me luck. But I need to go out now, to get some meds and send some mail and I think one other thing....

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


1. Erik's hiking with T
2. told him to be careful because we can't afford the helicopter ride
3. computer keeps turning itself off
4. went to the park
5. working on a letter my favorite person in Kansas

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Marxist talk, My Architect, dentist annoyance, angry dog

Last night we went to a talk put on by the Marxist School of Sacramento, and it was well worth our time. It was about household labor. The speaker Paddy Quick was making some arguments about how labor happens in the home, and how it should be considered labor, but I was never sure about her "why." It's heartening and stimulating to be in a room full of people who are interested in learning about ideas. I really need the stimulation especially. We spent yesterday at home except for a walk, and it was good to get out.

The other day we finished watching a movie we had been working on for a while. It's called My Architect, and it's a movie made by the son of a famous architect. He's trying to learn more about his dad, who's deceased. The dad had three different families. The movie shows his buildings and includes lots of clips from interviews he did with people who knew his dad. It's emotional and interesting.

My dentist office has been bugging me lately. They called the other day trying to get me to schedule a cleaning appointment even though I already have an appointment in March. Then they called again today to bother me again. This time I answered the phone and told them I was satisfied with my March appointment. So hopefully they'll leave me alone for a while.

Yesterday on our walk we were passing by a man who was fiddling with possessions in the back of his truck. Then a little white dog shot out of a doorway and made a b-line for me, barking its head off. I was really scared it would bite me, but it stopped right at my feet, barking furiously, and the man grabbed the dog, picked it up, and apologized to us, then took the dog inside his house. I was shaken but grateful that I didn't get bitten.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

thrift store finds, park activity, poetry project

This morning I went to church. Then we ran tons of errands. I got a new black shirt and dark green pair of pants from the thrift store. I finally deposited the check from Nana so I can write and thank her for the money which I used on stationary.

In the afternoon we went to the park where I walked and Erik ran. I wrote a letter to my cousin who's in prison. I'm almost done reading On Subbing.

Have I told you I'm doing a poetry project? We write a poem a day in January. Then we spend February editing. Then we send our favorite poem out of all the finished poems to the woman who's doing the project, and then she makes a zine out of them. Anyway, it feels good and right to write so much. I was going to keep all the poems under my hat until February, but I just couldn't keep them in anymore, so I sent some to poetry friends.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

a visit

Yesterday we went to Berkeley to see our friend M who lives in Brooklyn. We have known M for 9 years. He was our classmate at grad school, one year behind us in our poetry program. He was in the Bay Area for the MLA conference. He had a book published last year, and he needs to promote it and network.

We went out to breakfast at a restaurant called Cafe Leila. Erik and I had breakfast burritos. They were good. M had huevos rancheros and coffee cake.

Then we went to Muir Woods. M has a disability, so a ranger gave him a lifelong free pass to national monuments and national parks, and it covered everyone who came in his car, so Erik and I didn't have to pay either.

At Muir Woods we walked around in the coast redwoods and talked and talked. We spoke about the end of the world (how the Mayan calendar ends in 2012), a CIA psychic, dragons, movies, books, the MLA conference, our friends. Erik took lots of pictures. We walked for hours, going very slowly because the rain made everything slick, and M didn't want to fall--he fell once in the morning in San Fransisco, before we saw him.

Then we went back to the car and ate sandwiches and drove back to Berkeley. We had tea at a place called Far Leaves. There we talked about religion and meditation and recited poetry to eachother. I recited "The Emperor of Ice Cream" and an Emily Dickenson poem that I will quote here.

Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The Frost beheads it at its play --
In accidental power --

The blonde Assassin passes on --
The Sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another Day
For an Approving God.

Erik and M recited some haiku translations, and M did some Rumi quatrains. It was fun.

Then we went to House of Curries for dinner. Erik and I shared bangan bartha, paneer tikka masala, two rotis, and some rice. M had chicken tikka masala, garlic naan, and a papadam. His garlic naan smelled really good. We used to get that all the time.

Then we went to a cafe that's near House of Curries. M got a piece of lemon cake. I got a cinnamon bun and hot milk with a shot of almond. Erik got a large hot chocolate which he didn't like very much.

Then we took M back to the Ashby station and said our goodbyes. It was a good but exhausting visit. Erik and I stopped by Elephant Pharmacy for some bread and soap before heading home for Sacramento. I slept in the car while Erik drove. We got home around midnight.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


I tried Bugles. They kinda remind me of Chex Mix.

sacred snack gathering

I forgot to say that after the vespers service last night, Erik and I were standing on the loja waiting for P to walk by because I wanted to wish her a happy new year. But Swami saw me and Erik and offered us snacks. Everyone else got there at 10 to watch a movie, and before the movie is sacred snack gathering. Everyone lines up and picks up snacks and puts them into brown paper bags. The mood is somber though seeing a movie is supposed to be a lighthearted thing. The thought of it makes me giggle all year. Swami goes first. So we missed that. So after vespers Swami offered us snacks, and I said, "Sure!"

He let us into the assembly room, and we gathered popcorn, cookies, Bugles, and yogurt-covered raisins. Swami directed us and specifically said, "Take Bugles," which delighted me and continues to. Since then Erik and I have been telling one another, "Take Bugles," in Swami's accent.

Erik told me how when he was little he would put Bugles on his fingers. "I didn't know they've been around that long," I said. I thought they were a new thing.

Swami also gave us some homemade jam. "A gift from the monastery," he said. They make jam every year, and this year it's not labeled, so I don't know what kind. I'm guessing apricot.

happy new year!

Yesterday we walked to the new thrift store that's down the street on Watt. I got a gray teeshirt for 91 cents. I think it's destined to be my new favorite teeshirt. It seems new. We also got a green bowl for 67 cents. It's so beautiful--it's my new favorite bowl, and it's microwave safe.

Last night we went to bed at a regular time and set the alarm for 11:20 so we could go to Vedanta for midnight vespers. It was fun. Swami burned just about my favorite smell of incense. A lot of people were there, more than last year, and some of the people I had never seen before.

Today is Erik's birthday observed. I will bake him a vegan carrot cake. I also want to take a walk.