dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Yesterday was my friend C's memorial service. I was happy to honor her by singing in the choir. It was strange to see her family members there. The service was partly for us, partly for them. They were dressed up and seemed uncomfortable. I thought Swami did a great job, and I liked the verses he chanted.

I finished laying out my zines, so we're going to Berkeley to photocopy them today although it is Halloween. I have not been in the Halloween spirit--I didn't carve a pumpkin this year, which is unusual. Erik was going to go see Halloween movies, but it looks like we won't be home in time.

We walked yesterday downtown in neighborhoods. I liked looking at all the plants. We went to a baseball card shop so I could buy clear plastic protective sleeves for my ATCs. And we went to a Japanese shop so Erik could look at stuff, mostly at matcha bowls, though they didn't have much.

Erik's becoming a birder. He also has the Sibley tree book and wants to identify trees. He seems almost manic about it. I'm glad it's making him happy.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Here are some ATCs I made as last night's writers group.


peace of mind

ELM 49

Here's the cover of ELM 49, secret preview!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Today I did something fully satisfying--I made the cover for ELM 49. I don't have the text done--this is very unusual for me. Usually I have the text done first and the cover is a last minute thing. It turned out just like I envisioned. How often can we envision something and then make our vision come true?

Today we went to a lot of thrift stores. Erik likes to look for hiking stuff. I found some Frida Kahlo stationary and some Hawaii postcards. Oh, and some jeans.

Tonight there was writers group. I worked on ATCs. I actually completed some, but my style is so minimalist. I'm afraid most artists would look down on my creations. I hope to scan some tomorrow and post the scans here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

under the weather

Yesterday SAT scoring ended, and we have two weeks off work. This morning we went to our favorite park where I had a nice walk. Then I worked on a letter to MM who lives in Florida.

In the afternoon I saw my friend A, the A who is 65 and is a birder. We had a nice conversation. She's reconciled with her son. She had to go because friends were coming over to help her trim some plants.

Then Erik and I went to the library and two thrift stores. I found a beautiful bowl for 49 cents and some stationery with pictures of shoes on it for a dollar.

I have too many books to read, too many movies to watch. I just want to lie in bed dozing.

"The earth is rotating. Let's say you don't know that. You think there's a force. But there isn't one. That's fictitious force." <-- Erik

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

great white

On Friday there was a fatal shark attack at a beach near where I grew up.


In 2003 there was a fatal shark attack at a different beach near where I grew up, a beach I swam at many times when I was a kid.


I feel sad about these attacks (even though getting struck by lightning is more common).


Monday, October 25, 2010

surprise visit with M

This morning I made breakfast, messed around on the computer, worked a little, and was writing a letter when my cell phone started vibrating, which is unusual--I get few calls. I didn't hear it vibrate because I had headphones on--Erik had to tell me. So I answered the phone, and it was M telling me she was downstairs waiting for me. I had totally forgotten that she was coming to see me today.

So I threw on some clothes, got my black bag, and ran downstairs. It was a shock to be out and with M so suddenly. We went to our favorite cafe where she had a cappuccino and I had ginger tangerine tea. Then we went to Fox & Goose for lunch. It was really fun. I was more relaxed than ever. We spoke of going up to her cabin when it's snowy. At the cafe I got a sunburn because we were sitting outside and the sun was shining on me.

By funny coincidence the people sitting at the next table at the cafe had gone to see Ghost Bird last night, and they were talking about the movies playing next week for Halloween.

more mail

A week ago I got a beautiful 10 page letter in the mail from my penpal H in the Netherlands. I didn't read it right away because her handwriting is so challenging and I never felt focused enough. She wrote most of it while vacationing in Warsaw. She spoke of some recent travel to Minsk. She spoke of some couchsurfers who stayed with her before she left. (I finally finished reading it last night.)

Anyway, H is a German person--she's in the Netherlands for school. And I have had great luck with German penpals. One of my favorite penpals of all time E was German, and she also wrote 10 page letters in exquisite difficult handwriting.

So now I need to write back. I'm afraid I have no exotic travels to talk about. But maybe I can write a good letter anyway.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ghost Bird

Tonight we went to see a wonderful documentary Ghost Bird about the ivory-billed woodpecker with our friend A. There's controversy over whether the ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct--the movie makes it seem extinct. I like the people in the movie and the story of it. The director was there, and afterward he answered questions.

The strangest scene in the movie is some hunters setting up decoys in a field and then lying down on their backs, fluttering white fake wings, and then shooting the birds that pass high overhead. It's kind of surreal.

Erik reminds me that hunters are responsible for preservation of wilderness because they want wild places to hunt. That's a good point, but when we saw a hit bird plummeting earthward, it was very sad for me.


Oh, and there's a guy in the movie Sibley who is a nature artist--he makes field guides--and he is possibly the most likable person in the movie: brilliant, sensitive, articulate, persuasive. Erik and I want to be his friend.


little bit stormy

When a gust of wind hits the magnolia tree I can see out my window, I can see the undersides of its leaves, which are brown and look different from the green of the topsides.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


These are all pics from Erik's hike yesterday at Pt Reyes to Mt Wittenberg and Arch Rock.


freaky tree

tree magesty

fog trees

freaky beach

arch rock


rocks lined up

rock collection


stunning green

banana slug

fall is here

Rain time, rain world, rain life, raining in earnest. Today I went to choir practice. Afterward P sprinkled me with a sacred potion. It was leftover sacred potion from Vijaya last week. I left before that night's sacred sprinkling, so I was getting a makeup sprinkle today. I came home from choir practice, asked Erik to smell the top of my head, and asked him to guess what happened. He guessed incense.

At choir practice we're practicing for C's memorial service, Kali puja, and Jagadhatri. After P sprinkled me, I went with her to the bookstore where I chatted with a devotee who wears nice rings (I covet them). He had a green hat on the floor that he put on his head before leaving. He was just in Vietnam. He had a photo album with him that I wanted to peek at, but he left.

I got a nice letter from R in England today as well as a stack of zines from W. I was profoundly shaken by one of the zines and think I still need to cry.

But I did my three hours work today and we're supposed to be finished on Tuesday. Then we'll have two weeks off and can put our life back together after SAT chaos.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Today Erik hiked at Pt Reyes. His best friend T reports that they saw banana slugs, a newt, and a bobcat. Sadly, I don't believe in bobcats. I think they're all housecats. But maybe I'll see a convincing pic?

Today I got a much anticipated letter from P in Canada. It's short but beautiful and accompanied with honest to gosh photos. I wrote him back right away because he's moving. I asked him if he wants them back.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

good mail day

Today I got two solid letters--one from MM in Florida and one from my cousin who's in prison. My cousin is getting out in six weeks and doesn't know where he'll live.

Today I bought a book from 1917--it's a plane geometry book. The previous owner wrote some strange things in it. I love looking through the 25 cent boxes and the dollar shelf outside The Book Collector. Today the store's owner had the hiccups and apologized.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Every so often, helicopters circle above our neighborhood. Now is one of those times. The noise is bad for me. I really need the helicopter to go away now!

Why I Don't Eat Meat

A zine I'm interviewed in is out! It's Why I Don't Eat Meat.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

frozen burrito

My friend A in New York was telling me about a frozen Indian wrap made by a company called Amy's. I said I would look for it at Whole Foods. So last time Erik and I were at Whole Foods I found the Indian wraps, which are vegan, and we bought two. I just heated one in the microwave, and when it was done, I said, "I haven't eaten a frozen burrito in a long time," and remembered how when I was a kid we would have frozen burritos sometimes. It even smelled similar. "Did you have frozen burritos when you were a kid?" I asked Erik, and he said no.


My friend Mandy referred me to NAP today, and I submitted some poems.


Monday, October 18, 2010

fondness for old things

Everyone's getting so technological, and I'm left in the dust. I started chatting with a friend on facebook the other day, thinking he was home on his computer, but no--he was not home. In fact, he was driving on the freeway. What the heck.

My phone is from many years ago and doesn't have internet. It has a camera, but I have no way of getting the pics off the phone--I can send them as a text message but that's it. Maybe one day I will have a new phone with a keyboard and everything. But I have grown very fold of this old phone.

My last computer was an emachine, and it broke down so terribly. I couldn't get anything off it because the USB ports were broken. But I loved it. And my old truck I loved. I loved the way it smelled. Now it's a broken down liability, but I did love it, long ago.

special checker

We were at Whole Foods and I was annoyed that the checker and the paying customer were talking about a baseball game so much and the checker was going slow. Then the customer left and I was standing before the checker and realized who it was--my possibly favorite checker. I feel strangely toward him. I told Erik later, "He looks at you like he just had sex with you, or he's about to," and Erik laughed and agreed. I kind of like it, but he makes me nervous. I know he really wants to make eye contact while he hands me my receipt, and I made eye contact obediently and mis-aimed as I reached out for the receipt. We fumbled. We recovered. Receipt in hand, I walked with Erik toward our car, laughing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Today I went to a party and I liked it. Have you ever heard me say that before? It was a brunch crafting party. There were six grown ups plus one baby, which is an okay size group for me. We didn't much get to the crafting part. We ran out of time. My friend A gave me a ride home in the rain.

Later I talked on the phone with my parents. I was in the car while Erik was at REI. Then later yet my friend L called, and I was talking to her until I realized I completely forgot about Vijaya. So I got dressed and went to Vijaya to sing and left right after the singing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

oracular spectacular

Erik: You know how there was the Delphic oracle and there was really some gas coming out of the ground?

Me: Yeah?

Erik: I think that's what's happening at our apartment complex.

Me: Stupid-gas?

Opa Opa

My mind is shutting down, but I'm still awake because the neighbor children are playing hide and go seek which involves running up and down the stairs and yelling a lot.

We went to dinner at Opa Opa with A. I liked the moussaka's sauce. The garlic fries were heavenly. We talked for a long time about Slumdog Millionaire, Andrea Dworkin, Gandhiji, individual vs society, social pressure, A's childhood, new style arranged marriages, Durga, fake sadhus. What else? Whether A's an introvert. Fireworks, cousins, bathing with cousins.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I don't think I blogged the East Bay Alternative Press Book Fair website yet.



Yesterday I got in the mail a strange pamphlet saying the rapture will occur on May 21, 2011. It's not strange enough to be cool. I wonder where they got my address--the apartment number was left off.

Durga puja

Last night was Durga puja. I hadn't been to a puja in maybe six months. I forgot how beautiful they are, all the flowers and candle flames. I came home reeking of incense--my hair still smells of it. Afterward there was flower offering and I went up with two friends. Swami was chanting in Sanskrit and then translations. I think I sang well. We sounded like crap on the first song but sounded better on the others. Boy did a lot of people show up. It was like a fashion show--all the sparkly saris.

I wanted to say that Durga can mean "the inaccessible."


This morning I put fried apples in our oatmeal. It's a delicious change.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Justin's chocolate peanut butter

Are you familiar with Nutella? It's chocolate hazelnut butter, and I don't like hazelnuts, but I tried Nutella a couple months ago at M's cabin and loved it. But it's not vegan, so I wouldn't buy it. But guess what? At Whole Foods I espied Justin's chocolate peanut butter which is like Nutella but vegan and made with peanut butter and less sugar. Anyway, its tastes like candy. I made some chocolate peanut butter toast for Erik and was eating the chocolate peanut butter off the knife. It's heavenly. It tastes sort of like a certain dessert food I used to make a long time ago: peanut butter mixed with dried milk powder and honey. It reminds me of that.

Begin to Hope

Last night was writers group--we met at a Starbucks, and it was A's first time with us. He did great. He wrote his first odes.

Then he gave us his old laptop that he added some RAM to, and today we need to try to get it going. Erik's wrestling with computers. His old computer, he can't get Java to work, and it won't download, or it downloads but won't install? which is causing problems with our scoring software. The new computer, he's having trouble getting into the control panel, or rather, he can get into the control panel but can't do anything there. However, he's still working on it. Actually, I think he's washing dishes now.

I'm seeing my friend P at 3--we're doing the bulletin, and she keeps thinking I'm blowing her off when the actual problem is that Erik fails to tell me that someone called. So I didn't know she called last night. So she was asking me again if I want to do the bulletin with her still, and I absolutely want to, but she thinks I'm sending mixed messages. I wish she would just call me on my cell phone.

I got a Regina Spektor cd out from the library, and I'm listening it to the first time, Begin to Hope.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Here's a postcard I picked up in Japantown two weeks ago.

Monday, October 11, 2010


My neighborhood is called Arden Arcade. Right now there's controversy because some people want us to become our own city. When we drive around to the library, the bank, and Whole Foods, we see signs for and against cityhood. There are lots of signs both ways. There seems to be an even distribution of pro and con.

I don't know what I think, but just off the top of my head, I think I'm con. We got a flier in the mail, and cityhood seems to be a Republican kind of thing. Arden Arcade is a nice area, and I think the pro cityhood people want us to keep more of our tax money for ourselves. Maybe I'm too sleepy to explain this. I give up. Goodnight.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's supposed to hit 89 today. Hello, God. It's October 10th.


Yesterday I got a beautiful letter from Michael Hannon, who is a poet. He sent a copy of his latest book too, a book called Almost Old. The poems are brilliant.

You can read some of his poems (not from the new book) here.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

name this cartoon character

There was a knock at the door. Erik answered. It was the neighbor kid (the one who months ago was selling massages for $5). This time he was selling drawings, and Erik bought this one for $1.50.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Mariposa Gardening and Design

I picked up this postcard in Berkeley last time we were there. Isn't the wall beautiful, and aren't the flowers cheerful?

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Work started today. It's training. It's stressful yet easy at the same time, weird combination. My summer is officially over.

Yesterday some of our decent neighbors moved out. We never really talked to them, but I liked them. There was one little kid, a girl who seemed happy all the time. They're the ones who lived right by the mailboxes.

Now this whole side of the apartment complex is vacated except for us. It's very strange how half of the apartments here are empty.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I was so excited / just to be in your car

This evening we went on a wild goose chase to a certain library that was supposed to be on Mack Road but was not. Or rather it used to be. Google was confused, which made us confused. At any rate, we never found the actual place. I was sad because I wanted to see my friend who we were supposed to be meeting there for a movie, a documentary.

Also in the news, Scout Niblett's Kidnapped by Neptune arrived in the mail today. Now I can listen to "Fuck Treasure Island" whenever I want.

my recent graffiti research

I got some art in the mail, and it includes the slogan Demand the Impossible, which I love, so I googled it and came up with a bunch of revolutionary graffiti. It was fascinating. So I read through a lot of it and made a found poem out of my favorites.

Then today I wanted to see more graffiti quotes so I googled the same and came up with some wonderful ones. I looked through hundreds of images of graffiti until I got tired.

But I doubt my search is over. I have a true love of the transgressive communication that is good graffiti. I would never do it myself, but I'm glad other people are brave enough to break the law just to say something to me.

more graffiti

Go to work, send your kids to school, act normal, walk on the pavement, watch tv, save for your old age, obey the law. Repeat after me: I am free.

another graffiti

This is not a good way to handle my problems.


There are old climbers, and there are bold climbers, but there are no old, bold climbers.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Safeway and mail

Today I went to the Safeway across the street. I hadn't been there in a long time, maybe nine months. I hate it there! It's huge. I went to buy kitchen bags, and I had to walk down the isle with all the detergents. The smell almost seized my lungs. Then I had to choose from a dizzying array of kitchen bags. Then I had to wait in line, where all the magazines pressed in on me, pushing for my attention. Then I had to walk home, and the exhaust from trucks sickened me. I guess I'm feeling over-sensitive today.

There were two good things about the trip--one was that "I Will Get By" by the Grateful Dead was playing, which I kind of like. I can't remember the other good thing.

Then I got the mail--I received wonderful mail. S sent me a new mix cd--yay! and a letter. H sent me a podcast burned onto cd and a beautiful note. So I have new things to listen to. Besides the neighbor's gag-coughing, bird song, and Kitty yelling at me.


This is the beautiful washcloth my mom knitted for me. Then she crocheted the border.

Tegan and Sara

When I first heard Tegan and Sara, I thought they sounded great but lacked soul. I found them very listenable and pleasing to the ear but didn't really like the lyrics--I thought they were too pop. But my friend MM put a song of theirs, "The Con," on the mix cd she made me, and it's one of my favorite songs on the whole thing. So maybe I'm having a change of heart.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Yesterday afternoon we went to our favorite cafe to meet A. It was our first time meeting him in person, and he impressed us. It's great to have a new friend. We gave him back a movie he'd sent us in the mail, and we gave him a stack of zines and a mix cd. He had a cappuccino, and we had tea.

So other than Erik's hiking, that was the big event of the weekend. Today it's cool outside with a wind. M is coming to see me. She forgot, and I called her a little while ago, waking her up. Oops.

"Are you coming to see me today?" I asked.

"Am I supposed to?" she asked, sleepy.

One of our neighbors has a terrible cough. When she coughs, she makes a terrible gagging kind of sound to go along with it. I wish she would get better. I used to be a smoker myself, and I know how hard it can be to quit, but I wish she would quit smoking too.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

computer, crown

Erik's computer is really, really crashy. It was never too stable to begin with. But it's really bad now. We're thinking about getting him a new computer before work starts up again. "Do you want to go to Fry's?" I asked. "It's just $500," I said.

"We don't spend that kind of money around here," he said.

"I need a crown too," I said. "Last night I was sleep thinking about that. Do you remember the other night when I decided I was going to make myself a necklace out of dried peas? That was sleep thinking. Do you do that?"

"No, I don't do that," Erik said. I decided it would be best for me to get my crown at my regular dentist because he did a perfect job with the last one. Maybe it's worth it.

re: Scout Niblett

him: Do you think that's her real name?
me: I don't know. Do you know what drives me crazy about you?
him: What?
me: If anyone says what their name is, that's their name! My name could be Charlie Frankfurter! That's like with gender. You want a little window on someone's crotch area! Let's see what's between their legs, and that's their real gender! No! Someone's gender is whatever they say it is! What do you think my real name is? Laura? Are you going to call me Laura now?
him: No. Do you want to wrestle?
him: You got a good move there.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

October flower

These photos were all taken by Erik on his hike today in Desolation Wilderness.

green stone

ideal camping spot

logs with fall color




In San Francisco when we were riding the bus I saw someone whose hair was feathered. (I was impressed at her tenacity.)

Friday, October 01, 2010

hot air

Yesterday in Japantown I was in the bathroom washing my hands when someone was trying to dry her hands using the hot air blower. When she'd push the button, the lights would dim. The machine would turn on for about two seconds and then turn off. The lady was getting frustrated. She said something to me in Japanese as I passed by. "Yeah, I don't know," I said.