dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Yesterday as we demonstrated against the war, I held a HONK FOR PEACE sign for the first time.  I was embarrassed to be holding a sign with an imperative sentence on it, but I loosened up as the hour passed.  I was heartened by the people who honked and made eye contact with me and nodded or gave me a thumbs up.

But there seemed to be more flak than usual--someone yelled, "Peace doesn't pay the bills," which gave me food for thought.  I wondered if he was a military person and was talking about his own bread and butter?  Or war in general being good for the economy, as most people believe?  Or did he mean paying the bills in a more...metaphorical way, like peace isn't action?  I wonder.

Then I sold some cds at a music store and got $1.50, which was okay.

free breakfast

This morning there was tension at breakfast.  I got there right at 7:30, but they opened five minutes late, so there was a line out front, and people in the line were drinking beer and being boisterous in a bad way.  Then inside they were being badly boisterous more.  There was tension when some looks were exchanged and then the drunk people were saying how others need to go back to Mexico and "we don't need no green cards--we didn't have to dig no tunnels or cross no river."  I was just trying to make toast.

Anyway, I wish they had a policy about not drinking beer out front of the building or something. 

"Drinking beer at 7:30 in the morning doesn't bode well," I told Ming.

special rice

Last night I saw my friend K.  I played with her kitties while she made dinner.  I liked to see their acrobatics and when they disemboweled the toy.  K made us salad, peanutbutter and banana sandwiches, and this delicious butternut squash soup.  I don't usually like butternut squash soup, but this one was made with parsnip and was heavenly. 

I told Ming that and he said we should plant parsnips.  The guide we looked at online said to wait till May.

Work starts tomorrow.  I have had more than a month off.  I feel okay about it, but I probably won't feel okay in a few days.

Yesterday I made some special rice.  It turned out delicious.  Though I was afraid I put in too much cayenne, I did not.  I used green salsa when usually I'd use red, but it was still great. 

olive oil
chopped onion
chopped garlic
half a cup to a cup green salsa
half a can diced tomatoes with juice
chili powder
two cups rice
three and a half cups water

I could have put a spoonful of better than bullion--maybe it would have been tastier if I had.  But it was really good.

Monday, January 28, 2013

full-time poverty

This is my new mini-zine of seven poems about living in poverty in Sacramento.  It's about standing in line for food, getting free counseling, visiting the free clinic, and getting free condoms at the county medical building.  So it's really about services and a lot about old cake, Mexican cookies, and government beans.  Contact me for trades!

full-time poverty

Today I was washing dishes and broke a glass plate in the sink--I dropped it.  We were supposed to go to Oakland today to see an Icarus friend, but they felt sick and canceled.  I made a new zine today--I mean, I made it from start to finish.  It's six poems, a mini-chapbook.  I wrote the poems, did the layout, and went to the copy place to make copies.  Ming and I have even bound most of them this evening.  It's called full-time poverty.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


This morning we went to worship then picked oranges at church.  There's an orange tree there in the back along with many other fruit trees and some grapevines.  We used Ming's fruit picking pole which has a wire basket on the end.  It was fun.  I peeled and ate two oranges, while we picked, and they were heavenly.  It was cold out but not too cold.  I feel happy to have helped.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

me and Ming

Last night we went to a party.  Our friend H was camera happy and took about ten pictures of me and Ming, which she posted on facebook.  This was one of my favorites.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

dried great northern beans

Today we made beans that we got this morning free from a church.  They've got onion, garlic, salt, and a little kombu.  Oh, they turned out delicious.  We didn't let them cook down to mush.  They're still whole.  And I like mine with some earth balance.  Ming likes his plain.  This is a triumphant victory after the crushing millet pudding defeat.

millet pudding

Today I made some millet pudding with coconut milk and cinnamon and nutmeg and vanilla and honey.  We tried it.  Ming thinks it's nasty.  He says it tastes like floor shine.  I said, "I guess I never tasted floor shine, so I'm safe."  I was just trying to use up this old millet that's in a jar.

"Is it that you don't like nutmeg?" I asked.  Ming said he likes nutmeg. 

I'm glad he tried it before adding raisins to his portion.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

copies sign

This sign in a local copy shop's window made me laugh and think of my zinester friends.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

tiny things

Today I got some amazing stuff in the mail, all from one person--four letters, a plastic bug with a solar panel on the top which might walk when the sun shines on it? a princess pen, two bindis, possibly Guatemalan little dolls, transfer letters, a small notebook, apple stationery and apple stickers, watermelon erasers (we think) that come apart, a cloth bucket that says JOY on it with a cardinal, a small box that says BELIEVE on it with Santa, and best of all, some tiny dishes and utensils.


Thanks, Chairman!  What should I write with my princess pen?

salt and pepper chocolate

Yesterday at Trader Joe's I tried some salt and pepper chocolate.  I really tried to like it, but it was nasty, for me.  It was so bad and felt so wrong, I wanted to spit it out!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Don't Stay Away

This morning I was telling Ming how I used to enjoy, back when we had landlines and answering machines, putting creative outgoing messages on my answering machine.  When I was a sophomore in college and living in the dorms, my roommate was a skinhead, and we used an excerpt from this song.

My favorite part is the sad part.

She treats you nice, I know.
She's even more beautiful than I.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

lemon verbena

Looked like our lemon verbena was dying, but it's just responding to the frost.  It was really frosty here for a week.  Glad to know it's still alive.

shoe news

Ming bought me some walking shoes.  They were $20 at Big 5.  I hope they're good!  They seem good.  I'm in the habit of buying men's shoes.  I tried on this other pair that were much better looking--brown and rugged--but the ones Ming bought me are very supportive, which I appreciate.

food news

I bought some vegan butterscotch pudding at the co-op.  It's pretty good.  It was on sale a dollar off.

I also bought some skyr.  I read about it online being cheese, actually, because it's got rennet in it, but this skyr at the co-op didn't have rennet.  I tried it and it was just like Greek yogurt even though it's from Iceland.  I guess the practice of straining yogurt is not just a Mediterranean thing.

I got something I think of as the most delicious food ever.  Though a perfect orange is pretty great.  This is some chocolate from Trader Joe's with coconut caramel in it.  The caramel is very thin and has an exquisite flavor. 

The animal crackers we got at a food giveaway a month ago are still good, as good as they ever were!


How come all the stuff I want to read or listen to is special collections and I can't check it out from the library?

Friday, January 18, 2013

soymilk cottage cheese

A few days ago, Ming made soy yogurt using the unsweetened, just plain soymilk from Trader Joe's.  It's not vegan because we used cow's milk yogurt as a starter.  But it's good.  And now I want to try making soymilk cottage cheese.


The Whole Story

I found this Kate Bush cd that I love that I hadn't heard in years because I lost it.  But E found it when he was going through stuff when he moved.  I remember I first heard Kate Bush when I worked for the software store in Santa Barbara, and my coworker T would play this cd.  My favorite part is "I can't hide you / from the government."

Cloudbursting by Kate Bush

I still dream of Orgonon
I wake up crying
You're making rain
And you're just in reach
When you and sleep escape me

You're like my yo-yo
That glowed in the dark
What made it special
Made it dangerous
So I bury it
And forget

But every time it rains
You're here in my head
Like the sun coming out
Ooh, I just know that something good is going to happen
And I don't know when
But just saying it could even make it happen

On top of the world
Looking over the edge
You could see them coming
You looked too small
In their big, black car
To be a threat to the men in power

I hid my yo-yo
In the garden
I can't hide you
From the government
Oh, God, Daddy
I won't forget

'Cause every time it rains
You're here in my head
Like the sun coming out
Ooh, I just know that something good is going to happen
And I don't know when
But just saying it could even make it happen

The sun's coming out
Your son's coming out

The Wizard of Oz

This morning I woke up with the Lollipop Guild song from The Wizard of Oz stuck in my head, which made me laugh...

We represent 
the Lollipop Guild,
the Lollipop Guild,
the Lollipop Guild.
We represent 
the Lollipop Guild!
And we'd like to welcome you
to Munchkin Land.

...and I sang it to Ming after a morning of bad dreams.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

ant ideas

Today we saw our friend P.  We sat in his friend's backyard in the sun and talked.  It was 62 degrees out, which I correctly guessed.  He was reading a book by Neil Young.  We talked about his time as a ranger at Mesa Verde.  He told us about the people who fainted on his tour. 

Once when I was teaching at UCI, I was walking to class and a girl who was walking in front of me started to faint.  I caught her.  She lay down for a while, and she called her boyfriend on her cellphone.  Her boyfriend seemed like a total putz. 

I have this chocolate my mom gave me for Christmas.  It's Godiva, a brand I'd never had before.  It's 85% and so delicious.  Ming spotted an ant and told it, "Go home to your brethren and tell them there's no food here.  All there is is just white paint."  I decided to finish my chocolate before the ant found it.  But maybe there's not enough sugar to interest the ant.

mostly porch life

 Here's one of the back garden beds all frosty.

Here are the pumpkins we've had on the porch railing since Halloween.

Those are our luffas, fully dried and ready to go!

And here's the fishtank that makes its sound on the porch right outside the window where my computer is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

so many eggs

Some people got hardboiled eggs this morning, but not me.  I think they must have had just a few left over from yesterday. 

--two instant oatmeal packets, one cinnamon spice, one plain
--two orange wedges
--strawberry yogurt
--two pieces of wheat toast (heels)

I was talking on the phone with my friend Chairman post-breakfast and told her, "Everybody got eggs but me because they don't like me," and she said, "Well, I love you, so I'll make you so many eggs, when I come visit you!"  It was terribly sweet.

I just looked up heels and found out that in Ireland, the heels are considered the best part of the loaf.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

hat genius 2

I have a new hat genius out!

from the intro

I've decided to leave these poems mostly in the order than I wrote them. They tell the story of my life. You'll see me grieve more for my lost marriage, a lost friendship, a dying cat. You'll see the six-word poems I'm experimenting with, form courtesy of poet Michael Hannon. Thank you for witnessing me.


Saturday, January 12, 2013


Today we had choir practice, which was fun.  We went for a walk in Carmichael afterward.  There were so many olive trees!

It's been cold, for here.  It's supposed to get down to 23 tonight.  Holy Moses!  Too bad it's not going to snow.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

graffiti pic

Here's the graffiti pic I promised you.  This is on our walk to the co-op near the smashed tv.


Last night we went to a mini-maker fair at the museum.  It was fun to look around and hear the band Be Brave Bold Robot play. 

It was fun to look at some California art I'd never seen on the third floor, the Norman Rockwell exhibit, a Nepal exhibit. 

It was fun to participate in a "Community Collage" where people all collaged on the same page.  I wanted to go back after an hour to see how it had progressed, but we never made it back.  I contributed some red lines, some small pink rectangles, and some deep blue triangles.

We saw people painting rocks, and I liked looking at the finished rocks, which were drying on paper plates.  I liked looking at the people's names on the paper plates too.  Someone was named Holden.

Ming liked the knitting machines.  I did too.  I told him, "We totally could have been selling zines here," and he said back that we could have been making zines there.  We had spent half an hour or so binding zines at home earlier in the day.

We took light rail there and back, and I liked the train rides.  A worker asked to see our tickets, which I don't think had happened to me before.  I have ridden light rail only a few times.  I showed him the two tickets I had in my pocket.  He tapped the correct one with a pen.

It was good to be out at night and see the stars in the sky, cold but not unbearably so.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

smiles, not smirks

Tonight we went to choir practice.  It makes me feel good to sing.

Today we walked to the co-op for pretend butter.  It was mostly uneventful.  There is a smashed tv on the sidewalk between here and there, though.  And some new graffiti--I'll try to remember to take a picture for you.

This morning--again--there was someone sleeping in front of the women's center I go to for free breakfast.  We said hi.  He wasn't actually asleep.  On my way out, he and I made eye contact, and I smiled, but afterward I was afraid it had looked like a smirk.

--maple and brown sugar oatmeal packet, one
--orange slices
--strawberry yogurt
--bread with pretend butter

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Tonight we went to a food distribution.  We thought we were going early, but our number was 91.  We were the 91st family to be served.  (Last month they got to 200.)

As we waited for our number to be called, we talked to our friend G.  We talked about the luffa.  And we met a chard missionary.  She was touting chard to all the people around.  When I told her I thought of her as the chard missionary, she told me she was touting the butternut squash too.

The most exciting thing we got was dehydrated potato flakes.  Maybe you think I'm being facetious or kidding, but I'm not.  We got some nice macaroni too.  Potatoes, half and half--we got half and half last month too.  What do I do with it?  Make soup and add it at the end to make it creamy, is all I know.

The most interesting thing we got, something I had never had before, was watermelon juice.  It's actually agua fresca.  And it's delicious.

The mandarins we got are delicious too. They have an exquisite flavor.

luffa update

Ming finished peeling the luffa.  Then he washed and squeezed it.  Now it's drying on the porch.


free breakfast

This morning at free breakfast, someone was hoarding the pretend butter!  What the heck!  I went to butter my toast and she had the whole tub.  I guess she didn't want to share.  I asked the volunteers if there was other butter, and they looked in two fridges and didn't find any.  So I used peanut butter, which just is not the same. 

apple and cinnamon instant oatmeal--two packets
orange slices
"banana split" Gogurt
peanut butter toast

I had never had Gogurt and was not skilled at slurping it out of its tube, like Otter Pops but yogurt consistency.

Monday, January 07, 2013

winter garden

Today we went to our community garden plot.  We did some winter gardening--ripping out the old tomato plant that was still there.  I hacked at the lavender which is trying to grow over the line into the neighbor's plot.  I hacked at the yarrow too, same. 

Here is basil wood, all that's left of our loved basil.

Here are the dead pepper plants.  Thanks for your hard work, purple beauties!

And here's the lavender.

harvesting luffa

This morning Ming asked me if I would like to harvest luffa with him.  I said yes. 

Here's a rotten one that broke.

Here are two as they hung on the withered vine, about to be harvested.

Here's an end.  The websites said there's be a lot of black seeds, but we saw only white seeds still embedded in the flesh.

Here's Ming peeling one.


And here you can see him getting his thumb up under the skin.

We're going to let them sit on the porch for a while to dry out more.


bassoon news

I decided to separate out my bassoon blogging from my regular blog.  Not sure why I decided that.  I guess I didn't want to bore my regular readers, or I didn't want to bore any potential bassoon readers by making them wade through posts about luffa harvesting and vegan banana bread.

Anyway, here's my bassoon blog and I hope you'll take a look.  Thanks.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

six beaches

We are home from travels.  This morning we went to church, and during coffee time, I told my friend S how we went to Avila Beach, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach, Surf Beach, and Guadaulpe Beach.  I forgot to say we also went to Goleta Beach.  And we went to LA and Santa Barbara.  And we went to Montecito to attend vespers at the Vedanta temple there.  We saw six of my old friends in addition to much family.  We baked cookies.  We fed my parents' three-legged pit bull Tracey and gave her her pill every night. 

Today after church we delivered some empty boxes and picked up a ton of stuff from E's place that I missed when I moved out.  Then we got home and I sorted though most of it, which made me sad.  There were a lot of cds, some stamps, lots of letters and old papers, postcards, books, and too many zines.  I found the 99% pin a friend sent me last year and pinned it on my sweatshirt jacket.

Just now Ming and I walked to the co-op for prunes, and I put an etsy order in the mail.  I have been looking at free bassoon music and fingering charts online.  But I'm easily overwhelmed.  I guess it's hard work transitioning to regular life after so long away.

purple carrot

We bought purple carrots at a farmers market during our trip.  We bought them in Arroyo Grande then visited Shell Beach.  Here's the gnawed on purple carrot in Ming's loving hands.

Here's the carrot further eaten.

Here's the eater himself, eating.

Here's the carrot dissected. 

Saturday, January 05, 2013


Today I picked up a rental bassoon.  It cost a pretty penny.  I'm thinking of making a new blog just for bassoon news.  What do you think?

Friday, January 04, 2013

clothing distribution

Today we helped with a Catholic Worker clothing distribution, something neither of us had ever done before.  First we helped carry bags and boxes of stuff out of a big shed onto a huge blue tarp that was spread in the yard.  (The chickens had been herded to a corner of the yard and fenced off with orange plastic fence.)  Then we opened up the bags and boxes and spread the contents out so people could see them.  There were a lot of clothes, but there was household stuff too.

Then locals were allowed in, five at a time, and allowed five items each.  They had been standing in line on the sidewalk for a long time. 

Ming and I watched them choose stuff.  Then there was a free-for-all.  Then it was toy time.  They moved the unwanted cosas to one half of the huge blue tarp, and we got the bags of toys.  They were mostly stuffed animals, but there were all kinds of toys, including two spiderman costumes.  We unpacked and spread out the toys. 

Then all the kids lined up, and each kid was allowed one toy.  There weren't as many tears as I thought there would be.  The kids seemed mostly happy with their toys.  One little girl told me, "Mira!" and showed me her pink princess toy cellphone.  I smiled.


Yesterday we went to an interesting cafe where I got jasmine milk boba tea, which was delicious and fun.  I had not had boba tea in more than ten years.  I could have gotten a red bean milkshake, so maybe if we ever go there again, I'll get that.

We noticed person after person enter the cafe, put coins into a cup, pick up a newspaper written in an Asian language, and leave the cafe.

I saw two old friends, which was great, though I was nervous.  I liked the conversation, laughter, a gift, and tattoos.  Then Ming and I went to an amazing museum. I loved the garden upstairs on the roof with doves, though afterward Ming told me that the roof garden was actually closed.  I told him they didn't do a good job closing it.

The most surreal moment of the day was entering the tea room and seeing the beautiful, beautiful dog.  I was so museum-disoriented.  Everything seemed hyper real and at the same time unreal.  We watched a movie about a talking bird.  No one exhibit stands out to me as supreme.  The sum of exhibits had an overall affect on me.

At first I resisted the museum.  I didn't like the small, dark spaces.  I mean, I liked them in a way, but I got claustrophobic.  Sometimes it was scary.  It was creepy.  I heard little kids cry and want to leave!  (The dead mice on toast display stands out to me as something little kids might not like.)

Oh, but my favorite thing was probably the bell wheel.  But I hesitate to say favorite things.  Anyway, ten stars out of ten.

I wanted to go to the Hari Krishna temple afterward, but we needed to drive a long way home.  I was absolutely charmed by someone's Sanskrit hat and wanted one bad!  We were at a cafe near the museum, waiting for the museum to open, and I saw someone wearing a blue Sanskrit hat walk by.

I'm trying to figure out on what occasions I would wear my Sanskrit hat and what Swami would think of it.  He would probably think it was stupid.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Today I saw my bestie for many hours.  We went to Mexican food, walked at the park, drank delicious drinks at a cafe, baked one of my favorite kinds of cookies, and bought food for someone else's dog.  It was very good and now I'm tired.  True love for the win!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Today we went to a different beach where I got a good phonecall.  It rained for a few minutes though the cloud above didn't look like a raincloud at all.  I looked at really cheap beach jewelery on the pier.  Then we ate frozen yogurt on someone else's dime (a gift card my parents gave us for Christmas).  Imagine me throwing confetti in the air / hair for you and shouting "Happy new year!" after blowing on a cardboard metalic shiny party noisemaker.