dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This morning we went to my mental health place for the final time. (I lost services.) I went to do a drop in to get refills because I was out. I waited about an hour. Most of the waiting was outside before they opened, and I had to breathe a lot of cigarette smoke. Once I was in, I was in a group of 10 people seeing the drop in doctor. He definitely has the right job--he's even-keeled and seems very trustworthy and kind and smart. So I got a prescription for five refills.

Then we went for a walk at McKinley park. It was good to be outdoors and get some exercise.

Then we went to the thrift store and paid ten bucks for a large duffel bag. It was definitely not a good deal--I think it should have been about five dollars--but it was way less than buying new, and I didn't want to go to five different thrift stores looking for something that might or might not have been there.

Then we went to the library. I got the new Antony & the Johnsons CD, which I had requested months before.

Then we went to Kaveri for lunch. It was our first time there in quite a while--maybe a year. We ate some delicious Indian food from the buffet. We love the flavorful sauces.

Today I'm packing. Erik did some laundry for me. I feel pretty ready. I could use some snacks and foods to bring with me.

Oh, I shaved my legs. It was the first time since I was 17 years old that I shaved my legs. It's a compromise so I can wear shorts during the trip.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Yosemite 2009

Our Yosemite trip was pretty good. We saw marmots. We got bit by mosquitoes. We swam in a hotel pool and slept up in the loft of the hotel room while our friend and his sons slept in the bottom part. There were some good moments of conversation and a lot of persuasion, as in our friend trying to persuade his kids to do things, like to turn off the DS. The older boy is obsessed with a kid's baseball game. Now we're exhausted from a lot of driving and being out in the heat in Sonora and Columbia. Tomorrow morning we're getting up at 6:30 to be in line at my mental health place at 7 to do a drop in so I can get some refills--I'm out of refills because of how my doctor's appointment was canceled last month. Also, we need to get some luggage for my trip, so we need to hit at least one thrift store. And I need to pack.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

busy busy busy

I've been so busy taking care of home stuff and getting ready for trips. Yesterday I shopped till I dropped but still didn't find a dress for the wedding. Maybe a shirt-skirt combo I've got will work--need to have Erik take a picture and email it to my mom.

Yesterday I copied functionally ill #5 and already have about 50 ready to go. I bound quickly. But I still have more to take care of today.

It's supposed to hit 104 here for the next three days. Tomorrow and Monday in Yosemite it's supposed to be nearly as hot. I don't know how we're going to be able to function outdoors. I guess pouring water over our heads will help. Dang, I forgot to buy sunscreen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I intended to get up early and walk at 6, but I slept in until 8:30 or so. We got some things done, like I got a skirt and a teeshirt at WEAVE thrift. And we got lots of foods at Trader Joe's--we were out of soymilk, which is a difficulty.

In the afternoon, Erik washed dishes and did four loads of darks.

Tonight Erik is out with T. I wish I was invited, but I don't like the video games they play. I've been listening to music (Yoko Ono then Tori Amos) and writing a little bit. I seem to only write poems when Erik's out, or else at women's writers group.

They had organic grape tomatoes at the dollar store, so I had some in a salad, and I cooked up some for Erik's rice and lentils. I wrote a letter to C in Bishop. I chatted with my friend A, who was at a skating rink in Chico.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

now that SAT scoring is over

I baked some vegan banana bread. We had some overripe bananas. I put some vegan chocolate chips in one of the loaves. That's the loaf that's almost gone. I told Erik, "It's not even like bread. It's like a mega-cookie." I thought about how chocolate chips is cheating.

We went to the library. I got a book of vegetarian backpacking food on special order. Don't worry--I'm not going backpacking. I just like backpacker food. I also got Morrissey's Years of Refusal (great title). I listened to it just once and think it sounds too normal. Some possible gems in there, though. One listen is not enough.

last day

A couple weeks ago we went to the office supply store so I could buy some 6 x 9 envelopes for sending out zines. It's right by a BevMo! We have always thought BevMo! was the stupidest name for a store ever and we would never go to one. But Erik has been longing for canned Gyokuro, and we thought we would try BevMo! because if all they have is beverages, maybe they have some obscure ones too.

So we went to BevMo! and found out it's just a huge liquor store.

This morning Erik got up at a quarter to 4. I got up about 5:30. I walked at 6. It was still cool out. Today is the last day of SAT scoring.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Sleeping way better lately.

Friday, June 19, 2009

getting ready for my trip

It looks like I'll be taking the train to San Luis on the first, and my parents will pick me up at the train station there.

Today I was researching nutritional info of fast food places in case I'll be eating at fast food restaurants. So much sodium.

I'm requesting some Playaways from the library so I'll have audiobooks with me. The train ride alone will be eight hours. So I need lots of listen to. I've got Madame Bovary, which is eleven and a half hours, and just requested Interpreter of Maladies, which is only six and a fourth hours. Reading Lolita in Tehran is eighteen and a half hours, which would be great. I actually have the paperback of that book, from a freecycle book box years ago, and I should take a look to see if I would like it.

I haven't SAT scored much today. I don't know if I'll meet my goal. But Erik's going to try for four hours (after he gets home from working the other job). Then he'll work just short of 10 hours tomorrow. Busy. I'm on page 14 of the manuscript I'm proofreading, 14 of 70. Getting ready to bail on The Unconsoled. If I don't get to like any of my characters within the next ten pages or so, I'm outie.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Lately I haven't been sleeping too well. This morning early I was tossing and turning for an hour and a half. But then once Erik got up, I was able to sleep almost right away. I slept in until 9:10 when P called to check and make sure I was home before heading out to drop off the manuscript. I feel weird and tired. In addition to that hour and a half, I was up earlier in the night too. First Kitty wakes me up. Then worries attack me. Last night I was worrying about the camping trip we might be going on--trying to get a campsite at Cherry Lake on a weekend in summer might be a dumb idea. They don't take reservations. I really like our friend A who we'll be spending time with, but I really don't like Yosemite in the summer.

Today it's supposed to get hot. I wasn't up early enough to take a walk in the cool morning air. Yesterday I made a dish called rice and lentils. We got the recipe from a book of backpacking recipes years and years ago. So it's very easy and simple. I used red lentils from the Indian grocery and brown rice and extra onions.

Smart & Final has onions ten pounds for a dollar this weekend. And cantaloupe is five pounds for a dollar. Boy am I tired.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Today reading the wrapper of my Luna bar I learned a new word: molybdenum. I guess our bodies need to have it in order to function. But if you have too much, it interferes with your ability to absorb copper. And if you have too little, you might get esophagus cancer. Anyway, the people who make Luna bars think it's important.

I have been curiously trying the different flavors of Luna bar. At a dollar each, they're pretty expensive--but they're convenient, sweet, and have protein. Kind of like soy yogurt. Today I had Cookies 'n Cream Delight, and it was like an oreo cookie, kinda. I thought about making myself some chocolate haystacks and decided to eat a Luna bar instead. So it satisfied a cookie craving.

Listening to the Cure, taking a break from SAT scoring before my final half hour of the day. Washed dishes. Walked in the morning. Tomorrow my friend P is dropping off an interview manuscript for me to proofread. I was on a free business card site and thought about getting some business cards printed, and what would I say on them? I don't need a business card for making zines. So I thought about saying "editing and proofreading" but I don't have enough confidence.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Life is SAT scoring. This morning I didn't get up until 9:30 (I was up some in the night, with Kitty, and then with insomnia). I spent the day without Erik. He was working outside the home. He's trying to work eight hours a day at this other job and two and a half hours a day at home.

We went for a walk. It was dusky out. We didn't go as far as usual because Erik wanted to come home and score SAT. We stumbled upon a group of people in the church parking lot. A woman stared at my legs. A man said, "Nice night, isn't it?" or something like that.

Then on the way home, we passed the house that had some wood for sale out front, and a woman with a wheelbarrow was taking it away. It's the woman with the beautiful front yard garden with tulips and everything.

Reading The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro. It's very dreamy so far. Reminds me of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in that way. But I'm not very far in at all.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking
I think it's good to think about death even though it's not possible to be prepared. I found this book riveting and fascinating at the beginning, and I wasn't sure I could handle it, but I got through. It started as a 10 out of 10 for me, and by the end I felt I had been taken though a full experience, the full year, and like I had a real sense of how this death had hit Didion, though I didn't keep thinking "this is a perfect book" like I did at the beginning. So that's why I've given it four stars rather than five. It's repetitive sometimes, but always for a good reason. Grief is repetitive, and that's conveyed. I couldn't relate to a lot of the class things in this book--buying houses, staying at the Ritz--but that was okay.


At three in the morning Erik's computer turned on. It woke us up, that annoying three second of sounds it makes when it turns on.

It's a laptop, and he had it open, so it's possible that Kitty walked on the power button (Kitty was nearby). But it freaked me out.

American Music

I have part of a Violent Femmes song stuck in my head: "I need a date to the prom / would you like to come along" and "every time I look at that ugly moon" and "it reminds me of me."

Do you like American music
I like American music
Don't you like American music baby

I want you to hold me
I want your arms around me
I want you to hold me baby

Did you do too many drugs
I did too many drugs
Did you too many drugs too baby

You were born too late
I was born too soon
But every time I look at that
Ugly moon it reminds me of you
It reminds me of you
Ooh ooh ooh

I need a date to the Prom
Would you like to come along
But nobody would go to the Prom
With me baby

They didn't like American music
They never heard American music
They didn't know the music
Was in my soul baby

You were born too soon
I was born too late
But every time I look at that
Ugly lake it reminds me of me
It reminds me of me

Do you like American music
We like American music
I like American music baby

Do you like American music
We like all kinds of music
But I like American music best, baby

You were born too late
And I was born too late
But every time I look at that
Ugly lake it reminds me of me
It reminds me of me

Do you like American music
It reminds me of me
Do you like American music...


Yesterday my friend A came to see me with her two daughters. They'd spent the afternoon at Western Horse Expo. When she came to get me, we went to Howe park so the kids could play. I gave her the new zine, and she read it some while we sat under a tree watching the kids play. I read The Year of Magical Thinking some. The younger daughter really wanted ice cream, but surprisingly, there was no one selling ice cream at the park. So after only an hour or an hour and a half, we left for ice cream.

We thought we'd get ice cream at the co-op because A wanted to go to the co-op. So we shopped. I had my own basket. I bought a tomato, three avocados, bananas, some mung beans, some soy yogurts, some vegan mint chocolate chip cookies, and a rice dream ice cream sandwich. We ran into my friends M and S--I hadn't seem M in a long time, and it was nice to see them. I'm not really good with running into people--it makes me feel off-kilter to see someone where I don't expect to see them. It's fortuitous but a little stressful for me. I think I handled it okay. So we paid and left and ate our ice cream in the car.

Then the most exciting event of the evening occurred while we were driving me home. We ran out of gas. Always before, the low on gas light came on, but I guess the light wasn't working, because we ran out. Luckily we were within sight of the gas station and A had a red gas can in the back of the truck. (It's actually a Blazer, which I think of as a truck, but it's actually an SUV, and I heard A refer to it as a car.) So the kids and I stayed in the truck while A walked to the gas station. It was dark. We talked quietly. The younger daughter ate strawberries. The first thing the little daughter said when we ran out of gas and A got out of the truck to get the gas can was "Be careful, Momma," which I thought was a sweet thing to say and very good thinking for a three year old. So then after A got gas, the truck started, which we were all happy about, and they took me home.

The other most exciting event of the evening was when we first got to the park and the little daughter said she loved me. She repeated it a few times, and I was unsure it was directed at me. "Me?" I asked. She nodded, and I said, "But you barely even know me!" which is probably the rudest thing I've said in a long time and definitely the rudest thing I've ever said to someone proclaiming their love for me. Oops.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable outing and good to be social and out after all this cooped up SAT scoring. Thank god for the Western Horse Expo which brought them to town.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I feel like I've been on the computer all day. I've scored two and a half hours and got bogged down trying to figure out what model my LG cellphone is so I could ask on freecycle for a car charger. And I read livejournal, which takes a long time.

Last night Kitty woke us about about one thousand times. He's been staring out the window more than usual and crying about it. He wants to be out in the world but is afraid to at the same time. Sounds like me. But he's an old man.

Excited my friend A is in town and I'll get to see her this evening.

Library has new limits as of May, a maximum of 30 items checked out and on hold, which is bad for us--we're maxed out right now. I have about 10 things on hold--one of them I'm hold number 150! so that will be on there for another year or so. (It's a John Adams documentary that Erik wants to see.) We might need to start using Erik's card, but it gets so much more complicated having two cards going.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

magical thinking

Today we went to the park so Erik could run. This was a wonderful idea, to get out of the apartment. First we went to Howe park, but it was super crowded, so then we went to McKinley park, which was fine. I walked and then worked on a letter to my cousin S who's in prison.

Today I had choir practice. My friend P who runs the choir is sick. She should have canceled choir practice. She might have the flu. She's not going to worship tomorrow. (She has an accent from Idaho, and when she says worship it sounds like warship--I just talked to her on the phone.) I really hope I didn't get her germs today. I touched the handle of the harmonium where she had just touched. I washed my hands right when I got home.

I've been reading The Year of Magical Thinking some more. Not sure it's a good idea.

Friday, June 12, 2009

online volunteering

Last night I started researching online volunteer work, and I've found a few interesting prospects. I've learned about a website called Free Open University that I might want to get involved with.

Cloudy here. I read You Don't Get There From Here #11 by Carrie McNinch who lives in Los Angeles. It's first rate journal comix.

I've been really unmotivated to cook. A bunch of veggies in the fridge are getting past their prime. I'm not done scoring for the day either. Today's peanutbutter cookie day, but it doesn't look like I'll be baking. Blah.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

letter to CDCR

Tonight I wrote a letter to Timothy Lockwood about how I'm opposed to the California Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation's proposed lethal injections regulations. The main thing I object to is the unconstitutional limitations placed on the media's access to executions. If the government is going to be killing people in my name, I think I should be allowed to know how it goes.


Not sure if that link's going to work, but the ACLU site provides help for writing a letter of your own, if you're interested. I didn't want to email, so I wrote a letter by hand to send in the mail, but emailing would work too.

neck pain

Tuesday night was women's writers group. We had food, including See's Candy given by a boyfriend: polar bear paws and caramel-covered marshmallows. I broke my vegetarian vows by having a caramel-covered marshmallow (marshmallows, except for special vegetarian ones, have animal ingredients in them). I brought in "Personal Poem" by Frank O'Hara and we wrote poems about lunchbreaks. We talked about what we're reading and about religion--I randomly asked one of the other writers if she believes in a soul, which got us started. Our hostess played for us the theme song to Captain Planet, which I had never heard.

Tuesday afternoon I went to Vedanta to work with P on getting the bulletins ready to mail. Then we went for a walk in the garden and sat at a stone table and talked for an hour. She told me about her grandparents and her hard life growing up on farms in the Midwest. She's 74 years old.

Yesterday I drove to Howe park to go for a walk there and saw a circus setting up. I think it's a circus in Spanish because the signs seemed to be in Spanish. I was surprised to see a circus there.

Today a SAT scoring session started. I don't like it and need a new job. It's a pain in the neck.

I got a poem accepted! Freehand Zine is publishing "the most meaningful job of my life."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the moon stop

Here's a new blog for writing prompts.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

As If It Were Real

A week ago I listened to an audiobook made by author Jeff Maehre. Jeff is a friend of mine, a friend of Erik's too, from grad school, and he made this audiobook of As If It Were Real that runs about three hours. I couldn't recommend it enough to you. It's about a man named Elliot and his girlfriend Elizabeth. Elliot is a poker player. We get to see his friends in jail, once he goes to jail, and some of the story is told from their perspectives. The book is interconnected short stories, but it feels like a novel to me. Elizabeth is one of the most vivid, interesting characters I've ever read. She and Elliot are complicated. It's a very realistic book. It's somewhat dark but never too much to handle, and it made me cry at one point--I was very moved by one character's desire to be held. This is first rate storytelling, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good read. You can contact me at my email address so I can get you in touch with Jeff, who will give you a copy of the audiobook. My gmail dot com email address is robotmad.

SBMG, riverside, asking people what to do

Sunday night I went with Erik to a meeting of the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group. Erik always wants me to go with him, and somehow he convinced me this time. Usually mediation is 40 minutes, but that night's meditation was cut short. I was actually doing very well--for some reason, the atmosphere was good for me. Then there was a talk by Reb Anderson. I thought it was good. He was putting forth a vision of enlightenment that has to do with helping others, and helping others means being fully yourself. He took questions from the attendees, and hearing the questions was painful. As we drove home, we saw the full moon, beautiful and yellow near the horizon. It was good to be out.

Yesterday we went to Fair Oaks to the riverside. We wrote. Erik ran, and I walked. It was sort of hot in the sun and okay in the shade. I started The Year of Magical Thinking--yesterday I got around a third of the way through. It's very sad. Like, I'm not sure I should keep reading it. But it's fascinating. It's about death, how Joan Didion reacted to her husband's sudden death.

Today and tomorrow Erik is working outside the home. This afternoon I'm helping P do the bulletins at Vedanta. This morning I wrote some emails I'm nervous about, trying to get the Samiti website all fixed up the way we want it. So I emailed the president of the board about some info we need from her and emailed the woman who does our website with some corrections. I don't feel comfortable asking people what to do.

Tonight is women's writers group, and I should bring a poem or some kind of activity. We're working on a play, which will take half the time.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

pc of Santa Barbara Children's Parade

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Sending this to my friend A in Portland with her copy of Erik and LM Magazine #45.

Crocker and capitol

This morning we went to the Crocker and to the capitol. At the Crocker we saw the exhibition by Parrish that's going on right now. Sunday mornings are free. I enjoyed about half of the art I saw and found the other half to be pretty hokey, but it was all interesting cultural information. I liked the ad art best, not the landscapes, and not the "girl on a rock" prints. The one I show here is an example of something I don't like. I enjoyed his use of black and white, and I liked the pictures of cooks, and I liked the weird-looking men with big noses.

The capitol has less to see than I expected. We liked the architecture, and it was cool to go to the gallery and see where the state assembly assembles. We liked looking at Jerry Brown's painting, as we were instructed to do by our friend P. I hadn't been there since eighth grade. So it was nice to just see it. We got really hungry and ate dried mango slices as we walked back to the car. Noticed we were parked right near Gaylord's Indian food restaurant and thought about going in for lunch but decided to save the money for summer.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

my picture of Erik

Here are photos from our trip to Berkeley on Thursday.
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my picture of manzanita

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my picture of manzanita

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me by the stream

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me by the lantern

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Friday, June 05, 2009

botanic gardens, Little Farm, smashing a bottle of wine, losing the bone folder and special scissiors

Yesterday we went to Berkeley after Erik took the flat tire to be fixed. The drive was fine. I packed a lunch so we could save thirty bucks. (I have been craving sushi for a long time, but alas.) First we went to Acme. I got a cinnamon swirl for me, a chocolate bread for Erik, and a pain au levain for both of us. Then we went to Copy World. I made 70 copies of Erik and LM Magazine #45, just enough for friends and family and a few left over. Then we went to the UC botanic garden. First Thursday of the month is free day, but we paid three dollars to park. Erik's knee has been hurting, so we only paid for two hours. I will post pictures later. Then we went into Tilden Park, to the botanic garden there. It's all California native plants. We enjoyed walking around and taking pictures, but I got exhausted. Then we went to House of Curries for dinner. The bangain bartha and paneer tikka masala and rice and rotis were all great. Then we came home. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it was. Oh, I forgot to saw we went to Little Farm within Tilden Park and I got to visit with some animals, including goats. When we got home, I went directly to bed.

This morning we went to Morse park to walk and then Whole Foods so I could get something to bring to samiti tonight (coconut date rolls), and the sleeve of my shirt got caught on a bottle of wine as I turned a corner, and it smashed on the floor. I felt so embarrassed and bad, but the worker reassured me that it happens three times a day.

Now I've collated the new zine but can't find my bone folder or special scissors, so I think I'm going to use the back of a spoon as a folder (a trick my best friend E taught me) and use regular scissors for the string. Oh, but I'll need to find my awl too, and that's with the bone folder and special scissors. Why oh why can't I find them?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

flat tire

We were woken up in the middle of the night by thunder--scared the shit out of me. We're supposed to go to Berkeley today but Erik noticed this morning (getting water jugs out of the trunk to make his morning tea) that we have a flat tire. Trying to decide whether to fill it up and hope for the best or take it to the tire shop around the corner. I think we should do the latter.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

my favorite 10,000 Maniacs song

The man in 119 takes his tea all alone.
Mornings we all rise to wireless Verdi cries.
I'm hearing opera through the door.
The souls of men and women, impassioned all.
Their voices climb and fall; battle trumpets call.
I fill the bath and climb inside, singing.

He will not touch their pastry
but every day they bring him more.
Gold from the breakfast tray, I steal them all away
and then go and eat them on the shore.

I draw a jackal-headed woman in the sand,
sing of a lover's fate sealed by jealous hate
then wash my hand in the sea.
With just three days more I'd have just about learned the entire score to Aida.

Holidays must end as you know.
All is memory taken home with me:
the opera, the stolen tea, the sand drawing, the verging sea, all years ago.

new shirt

I have a new green tee shirt. It's a rich, vibrant green. I got it at the thrift store (Thrift Town in Carmichael). It's a men's XL, which would usually be too small for me, but this one is sized generously. But it's not too long, and the sleeves aren't too long, and it's plain with no adornment, which is what I like. Today I wore it for the first time and felt comfortable. And that's the story of my new shirt.

This morning we went to Howe park, but Erik didn't run (or walk with me) because his knee has been hurting him, his right knee. So I walked by myself.

Then we went to the library, not our usual library but the one that's kind of by Howe park. I got The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and Bridge to Terabithia, which is a well-known kid's book (they even made a movie). The former is a memoir about someone's bad year. Big things go wrong, like the health of her family members. I expect both to be very sad, so I'll have to be careful the way I'm careful with the Mountain Goats.

Tomorrow we're going to Berkeley so I can copy Erik and LM Magazine #45. Also, it's free day at the UC botanical garden. So we could go there, but because Erik's knee has been hurting, maybe we won't. I feel insecure about Erik and LM Magazine #45 and am glad I only send it to friends because for example I write about the Catholic annulment my ex-husband sort of asked me for, and I feel vulnerable talking about it.

Today we were making lunch--we made messy rice from the Veganomicon but with extra onion and garlic--and I wanted to add some beans, so I fried up some bell pepper with green onions and more garlic, and a can of black beans, and we debated for a long time about whether or not to add ginger, but Erik wanted ginger, so finally I agreed, and it turns out to have been maybe not the right choice. We only used a little ginger, but the ginger flavor is strong. It's definitely not bad, but maybe it would have been better without it. We flavor our lentils with ginger and it works well, but beans aren't the same as lentils. Anyway, I've been wanting to eat more protein lately, and one can of beans to two cups of rice (two cups before cooking) seems right--not too many beans.

Monday, June 01, 2009

covered bridge

Here are photos from Erik's hike yesterday.

what are these lizards doing?

Any ideas?

dudleya inflorescence

pink flowers


pale orange flowers

purple flower