dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

home with Kitty

We're home from a long journey to my parents' house to celebrate Thanksgiving three days late. I saw friends and spent a lot of time with my parents, ate pumpkin pie--on our way home today we stopped in Cambria to look at birds and plants and the beach. We also visited elephant seals. I did some writing and am glad to be home with Kitty.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I forgot it was supposed to rain today. I love waking up to unexpected rain.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving dinner

This was our first Thanksgiving on our own in quite a while. I made a vegan feast, but we didn't eat it all at once--I didn't have everything done at the same time. We ate in courses. First I made cornbread for stuffing. Then I made roasted potatoes and rutabaga. Then I made the stuffing. Then I made Hungarian mushroom soup. All were delicious and decadent. It was my first time making cornbread stuffing, and we like it a lot. It was my second time making the Hungarian mushroom soup. This time I didn't oversalt it. It was pretty good oversalted, but I couldn't eat it without being afraid I'd drop dead from high blood pressure. So this batch is better.

I am thankful for the health of myself, Erik, friends, and family. Being young and healthy is the greatest gift of all. I'm trying to enjoy my youth.

madrone vs strawberry tree

One of yesterday's moments was when we were looking at a tree, trying to figure out what it was, in Tilden Park. We instantly thought it was a madrone. But I had seen little tree strawberries on the ground and had said, "There's a strawberry tree here somewhere," and we realized the tree strawberries had come from what we thought was the madrone tree. So then we thought it was a strawberry tree. But what would a strawberry tree be doing out in the middle of Tilden Park? It was a mystery until we got home and I looked up strawberry trees and madrone trees and found out their both Arbutus! So they're very related. That explains it.

Also we went to Halfprice Books where I got a new Virginia Woolf book Night and Day which I had never heard of and Erik got a guide to local butterflies. We also had Indian-Pakistani food and went to a cafe I like and Erik doesn't like. I'm liking Night and Day so far and don't know why it's not famous.

vegan acorn squash enchilada recipe

I made some vegan acorn squash enchiladas, and here's how.

Wash a large acorn squash and cut it in half. Be careful! Cook it up in the oven or microwave until it's really done. Scoop out the flesh of the smaller half and save it for another dish. Scoop out the flesh of the larger half and keep it on the counter. Oh, I forgot to say to cook the seeds with salt. They're so tasty and munchable!

Get a 9 x 9 pyrex. Get about 5 large flour tortillas. Heat some oil in an extra large frying pan, and heat the tortillas in the oil to soften them. Put them on a plate to wait.

Chop a large onion and some garlic and saute in a medium or large saucepan. Add the squash and a can of pinto beans or black beans that have been drained. Add some chili powder. (I wanted to add some cumin here, but Erik was against it, and I listened to him, but I wish I hadn't. His rationale is that cumin is so powerful and he wanted to taste the squash.) Cook it up, allowing the squash to brown a bit, if possible. Add salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

Turn on the oven--350 should be fine. Open the can of enchilada sauce and pour some onto a plate. Dip a tortilla in enchilada sauce, completely coating it. Put the tortilla in the pyrex. Add a fifth of the filling. Roll it up. Do this with all the tortillas until the filling is all used. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle generously with mozzarella Diaya. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until it's hot and bubbly. Serve with special rice.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Super fun Berkeley day today--will post about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

in which I complain about the dentist

I went to a new dentist yesterday because it's way cheaper. A crown and filling for $660 instead of $1158, I think. I was really nervous to go to a new place, and I'm generally scared of dentists. So they took 16 x-rays. And then I filled out a form. And then the dentist, who was soft spoken and nice but kind of rushed and his accent was difficult for me to understand, showed me the x-rays and my cracked fillings and where I would need the crown and a new filling. He also showed me another place where there was decay around two fillings and I would need new ones, but that seemed less pressing.

So then I needed to decide whether I could afford the $660 at that time. I said I needed to speak to my husband about it. Luckily, Erik had come with me and was in the waiting room. So we had a tense little conversation about money, and we decided we could afford it but not then, in a week. But the dentist had told me something about paying part of it then and part of it later. So after speaking with Erik I made an executive decision to pay half of it that day and the other half in two weeks when I came in for the permanent crown. The dentist was explaining that the crown required two visits, and I really wanted to get this show on the road.

So they started drilling away tooth matter and fillings to make my mouth ready for the crown and new filling. It was just short of traumatic. They had given me the shot of novacane or whatever it is they use nowadays, but it didn't deaden the pain. When they got near the nerve I flinched, and they stopped, and the dentist told me to raise my left hand if I felt pain. So he went in again and hit the painful spot and I raised my hand. So they stopped and then they tried again and again I raised my hand. Boy was it a creepy kind of bad pain.

So then they gave me more shots. I hate the shots and felt miserable. I was gripping the arm wrests tightly and my whole body was tense. My neck and shoulders were very tense, and as I waited ten minutes for the novacane to kick in, I tried to force myself to relax, but it was really hard to. I recited Wallace Stevens' "The Emperor of Ice-Cream" to myself in my head in a feverish way.

I am kind of sick of talking about this, but I've given you some sense of it all. At the end my temporary crown was on, and I was told to bite some gauze for half an hour. I paid, and the secretary was alarmed at how I looked. "Kind of sore, huh?" she asked, and I think I said yes.

Then we walked home, and it was dark. I had been there for an hour and a half. I talked funny because of the gauze in my mouth. Half an hour later when I took it out, it was all bloody. Yuck. I rinsed my mouth, and little bits of filling came out into the sink. My mouth tasted horrible, like bad chemicals, and I felt it was not mine.

At dinnertime I was hungry, but I didn't feel I could eat. But I had some applesauce. Later I had plain yogurt and chocolate ice cream made with coconut milk that we got at the co-op. This morning I had creamy wheat. I'm on day three of a headache, and I am tired of having a body. The end.

Monday, November 22, 2010

coconut milk creamy wheat

I forgot to tell you that a few weeks ago we were almost out of soymilk so I used a combination of soymilk and mostly coconut milk to make my morning creamy wheat. It was strange.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

gender trouble

Today I copied keys and birthday shopped, made tofu scramble for dinner, wrote emails, went to the library... Erik checked out a stack of field guides. At the thrift store, a mom was tugging on her child. "That's a girl's toy. No, come over here. That's a girl's toy." I felt sorry for the little kid. I almost bought a copy of Cheri for a friend, but it was a movie tie in book and had the picture of a famous actor on the cover, so I didn't buy it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm so glad it's clementine / mandarin / satsuma time again. Erik too.

It's raining like crazy, and our street has been known to flood--a few years ago, our car got flooded and didn't dry right and we had to get the carpets washed for something like $100. Anyway, we parked on the far side of the road, which is safer than the near.

acorn squash

A couple weeks ago I bought the biggest acorn squash I had ever seen from Trader Joe's--I think it was 99 cents. This morning I managed to cut it in half all by myself, and now I'm cooking it up. First I cooked the seeds, with salt--they're very good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I'm not sure where the day went, but I know I wasn't working much. We had Greek food for dinner, and it was good. I walked at my favorite park. Fall is such a delight.

Last night I read more Kathy Acker. She's brilliant. Coincidentally, there was a book of hers at a thrift store I visited today, Don Quixote. I also saw the script for Napoleon Dynamite. I opened it and read a random page. It was the scene where Pedro just signed up for...something, and he and Napoleon are talking about it. Napoleon offers to be Pedro's bodyguard. Oh, and they talk about their skills. It's a great scene.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the soup

It's fantastic but very salty. Next time I'll not follow the directions. Also, I'll slice the mushrooms thinner--one of the commenters said to leave them thick, but I shouldn't have.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hungarian mushroom soup

Today I was going to make Hungarian mushroom soup--Erik even took me to Whole Foods so I could buy some fake sour cream. But after washing the dishes for a second time, I was too out of steam to wash all those mushrooms, so I will make it tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

egret with snake

Here are two pictures of the egret we saw eating a snake yesterday at Consumnes. Photos by Erik.

pretend jello

At Trader Joe's I got some pretend jello already made in little clear plastic cups. It's vegan--I got peach mango flavor. I had been wanting it for a long time, but it's kind of expensive. Anyway, I tried it this morning, and it's okay.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Consumnes River Preserve

Today we went birding. We saw sandhill cranes, my favorite! We also saw greater white-fronted geese, pintails, northern shovelers, coots, mallards, egrets, a black necked stilt, a black phoebe... We saw an egret eating a snake, amazing and gross. We met a strange old Scot who helped us ID stuff and made us laugh. I sat at a picnic table near the visitor's center writing letters while Erik and our friend A did more birding. Then at sunset we watched the sandhill cranes come in, hundreds of them. I lack the patience for hardcore birding, but I like it in smaller doses.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

psychic Erik

Today I got a postcard from someone in Singapore. I don't think that had ever happened to me before.

Today we went to the Sacramento friends of the library bookstore so Erik could look at field guides. I picked up a Sufjan Stevens CD and have to figure out who to give it to.

Today was Jagaddhatri puja at my place of worship. I didn't stay for lunch. But I took an apple. Later I asked Erik, "Guess what I have in my bag--you have three guesses," and he guessed apple first try!

Well, I've caught a cold. It's my first time being sick in quite a while. I don't think I got sick at all last year. So I will rest up and score SAT tomorrow, which will be day four.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Paper Chase

Brilliant essay on zines in Japan by my friend Gianni.


my oatmeal recipe

I'm scoring SAT and not much else is going on. Last night I looked through my journal and found poems and poem-bits that I typed up and tinkered with--that was fun. I made a nice stir fry for dinner last night, with bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and fresh basil. It was really good.

My friend A asked me to share my oatmeal recipe. It's enough for two people.

2 1/4 cups soymilk
1 cup oatmeal
dash salt
2 tsp earth balance
2 tbsp flax seed meal
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
two dashes of cinnamon

Heat the soymilk and oatmeal and salt in a saucepan to boiling. Turn down the heat and allow it to simmer until most of the soymilk is absorbed, maybe ten minutes. Meanwhile, get two bowls. Divide the earth balance, flax seed meal, brown sugar, and walnuts into each bowl. When the oatmeal is done cooking, add the cinnamon and stir well. Dish the oatmeal into each bowl and stir well.

Note: depending on whether or not the soymilk you use has sugar in it, you might want more or less brown sugar.

Also note: for variation, you can add chopped peeled apple.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today there was free opera at Music at Noon, selections from Handel's Orlando. I loved it. Then we circumnavigated the capitol on foot. Then we ran errands, like getting cat food and groceries before SAT scoring starts tomorrow, battening down the hatches.

I went to P's place and we talked for a while, eating oranges and pomegranates. She practiced a Mozart piece she's playing for the recital, and I turned pages. Then I drove home as it was getting dark. I saw the moon.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

East Bay adventures

Today we had excellent East Bay adventures--sold books, ate Indian-Pakistani food, and even hiked a little at Tilden Park. I caught up on letter writing. Oh, and I copied some zines. I feel like a broken record because that's the stuff we always do. Sorry! A dog growled at Erik and jumped on his leg. Dogs are supposed to be on leash, but not one of the dogs we saw at Tilden Park was on a leash. And there were signs by the creek saying how the banks are getting over eroded, and it's valuable habitat for rainbow trout and newts, so you're supposed to keep your dogs away from the creekbanks.

We're trying to get on an early sleep schedule because Erik's working weird hours Thursday and Friday, so good night, friends.

Monday, November 08, 2010


Today I sorted through piles of clothes and books. Tomorrow we're going to sell the books we don't want anymore. It's always a little sad. For example, I had collected all the Amanda Cross mysteries, but I figure I can get them out of the library if I ever want to read them again.

At the farmers market yesterday we bought fresh basil, and I made garlic basil pasta for dinner. Also, we've been having it in sandwiches instead of spinach. It's gooooood.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Half Empty

I finished reading Half Empty by David Rakoff today. It was a sad ending because he talks about getting cancer again. I really don't want him to die. I read three of his books within the past few months and feel very fond of him. Also, my friend P sent me a link to a Jon Stewart interview with him, and he was all bald from chemotherapy. It was strange to see him and hear him talk, after reading the books only. I would like there to be many more books.


Today we went to the farmers market, the big one under the freeway. We got garlic almonds, basil, and no pesticide tomatoes and bell peppers. Oh, and olive oil.

Then we went to McKinley Park. We walked in the rain. Then we went to a free chrysanthemum show. The chrysanthemums were beautiful. I liked Lava best, I think. Here are pics from a different chrysanthemum show, but the one we went to was like this one.


Then we had Thai food with our friend A. Then we went to Vic Fazio and birded with him. In addition to egrets and starlings and red winged blackbirds, we identified Killdeers and Northern Shovelers. There was some kind of kite we couldn't ID, and a hawk.

eucalyptus friend

This was taken on Erik's last hike to Pt Reyes. It's my current desktop.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

new cookies

Tonight I made that new vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I mentioned. I realized I had an old jar of apple sauce in the cupboard. But I didn't have enough flour, so I used some oatmeal (now we need flour and oatmeal). They turned out kind of flat but really delicious.

new Crocker

The Crocker used to be free Sunday mornings care of Bank of America. Now they're "Pay What You Wish" every third Sunday. Sad face!


The Crocker reopened November 10th of this year. The billboard read 10-10-10, and Erik and I had a late night conversation about how at the grand opening there would be ten tense ten-year-olds in ten tents (and that sort of thing).

musical pontification

"You know how you tell me people underestimate me? I think people must underestimate them too. People think, 'They're just a couple of fun-loving kids having fun,' but they're really kind of geniuses."

--LM on BFF while listening to "Jess Excellent"

outgoing mail

I wrote a six page letter back to H--she's the German who lives in the Netherlands who sent me a ten page letter a couple weeks ago. I adore her.

And I wrote a four page letter to A who lives in Utica, New York. She sent me a little vegan recipe booklet she made just for me--it's very cute. And she sent me a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe that I want to try. It calls for applesauce, and I don't have any, but I'm thinking applesauce is the egg replacer so I can substitute my egg replacer of choice.

Today was choir practice. Today is W's birthday--she turns 100 today. I signed the card. I think she's the only 100 year old I've personally known.

Friday, November 05, 2010

two years for Mehserle

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Kitty likes to look out the living room window. He climbs up on our desks and paws the vertical blinds open and slips his body against the glass. He meows while he looks outside, but then he climbs down off the desks and howls like a banshee. I say, "Kitty!" or grab him and he calms down for a sec but then it's back to the howls. I don't understand what he's feeling. Loss?

more hiking

Do I sound like a broken record when I say that Erik's hiking at Pt Reyes again? He has this Pt Reyes natural history book and also a waterproof topo map. He can't get enough Pt Reyes. Today he's there with his best friend T. He left here just after 6 in the morning and hopes to take full advantage of the daylight.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

voting day

Sunday we had a fantastic Halloween in Berkeley. I made copies, we ate delicious Indian-Pakistani food, we went to Tilden Park, and we went out to dinner with a friend. It was all super-fun.

Yesterday was a non-event--I didn't leave the apartment except to go to the post office in the morning and Trader Joe's at night. I've been binding zines and writing notes to go in the mail.

Today Erik's hiking at Pt Reyes. I've walked to the blue mailbox twice but otherwise am having a quiet home-day by myself. Or with Kitty, rather. He wants lots of attention but is sleeping at the moment.

This morning we turned in our absentee ballots at the church across the street in exchange for "I Voted" stickers. It's good to have done our duty, and we can only cross our fingers now and hope for the best.


Have you seen these new holiday stamps? They don't look too holidayish to us, but aren't they great?