dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Sunday, June 30, 2013

hot but okay

This morning we had breakfast with friends at 7.  I had never gone to a restaurant so early.  There were few people there.  It was Fox & Goose.  We had delicious foods and lively conversation.

Then we went for a walk around downtown and went to our community garden plot and watered.  There are so many bees!

Then we went to Ikea and bought a garlic press and a strainer thing and a plum colored fitted sheet and a very inexpensive bathmat just to try out having a bathmat.

Just now I was reading to Ming from Alice in Wonderland while he washed dishes.  Earlier I did some fundraising.  It's hot and we're cooped up with the air conditioner, but we're okay.

my new saying for something silly

It's like talking about your foot with a psychiatrist. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

also birds

Neighbor said birds were going to town on the harlequin bugs.  So there's hope.

gardening is for eaters

I'm working on a gardening zine.  The text is almost done, but I need some pictures.  I wish I could draw!  I have a block about drawing, kind of like my block about meditating.  But I meditated the other day.  So maybe there's hope. 

can't stop the heat

All that's really going on is the heat.  It's supposed to hit 109 tomorrow and Tuesday, high highs other days too.  It coops me up.  But we went for an early walk this morning.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Also in plant news, our blood orange tree Mary has new growth.

gardening tragedy

Our tree collards, some of our very favorite plants to grow, have been infested with harlequin bugs.  Sadness!  I was like, "Let's pick some tree collards to make stir fry with," and yelled, "Oh my god!" over and over again when I saw how bad it was. 

All four of the plants are like this.  The bugs are crawling, flying, mating, laying eggs...  Ming got a bucket of soapy water and started picking them off the plants.  I helped him, smashing bugs between my gloved fingers.  We killed at least 200 bugs and didn't even put a dent in it.  We don't know what to do other than denude the plants, hope the bugs all die or leave, and start over. 

Any ideas?

strange trip: relatives, Big Basin, Ano Nuevo, Santa Cruz

We are home safe from the strange trip that felt really long but was only a few days.  I liked seeing my nieces and nephew, but I went to bed early each night from being wiped out.

After the time seeing my relatives, Ming and I drove to Big Basin.  We had wanted to camp but thought there was no way we'd get a spot.  But we were surprised to learn they did have spaces, so we decided to camp for the night.  We took a short hike to Slippery Rock and Sempervirens Falls.  I am not usually a fan of waterfalls, but this one was gorgeous and subtle.  I liked the rock and the beautiful pool that the waterfall's water flowed into.

We enjoyed the greenness.  We enjoyed hearing ravens squawk.  I bought a postcard for a friend.

In the morning, we woke up early.  We were up at 6 and packed up our gear and tent.  Then we went on another two hikes.  One was around the short loop trail that has Mother of the Forest and Father of the Forest.  Usually the trail is packed, but there was literally no one else on it because of how early we were there.

The second hike was on the Skyline to the Sea trail.  We almost made it to the Maddock Cabin, but we were tired and turned around.  We hiked about three miles in the morning.  Again we saw no one else on the trail.

Then we asked about Ano Nuevo State Park since we had a pass that would let us go to any state park for free that day.  It looked really close on the map.  The worker we spoke with was enthusiastic about Ano Nuevo--he rangered there over the winter--and we decided to go there to see Elephant Seals.  He told us the walk to see them was only one mile.

It took a long time to get to Ano Nuevo, and we stopped at an elaborate fruit stand to ask if we'd missed it.  "Eight miles north," the worker said.  We kept going and went to the visitor's center where we bought more postcards and talked to the nice docent.  She gave us visitor permits saying the rules.

Turns out the closest place to view elephant seals was a mile and a half away, one way, so we ended up hiking another three miles.  This was in full sun.  I had a hat, but I still felt very exposed.

There was beautiful yellow lupine on the trail, but I was hot, sweaty, dirty, and exhausted.  I enjoyed the plant life and views of beaches.  I enjoyed pelicans.

But when we got to our destination, rather than the ten or so elephant seals we'd been told about, there were two and a half elephant seals.  The half was a dead elephant seal portion.  It was really gross.  I felt let down and sad. 

So we took the trek back.  A short portion of the trail was over sand dunes, and walking was difficult.  I was even more hot, sweaty, dirty, and exhausted.  I got cranky and felt like the excursion was not worth it.  We'd seen lots, lots more elephant seals before at a viewing area near Hearst Castle months before.  I was writing a bad yelp review of Ano Nuevo in my head and trying not to cry. 

Then we drove back to Santa Cruz to see the mission.  It was small and a half-sized replica, if I understood correctly.  But we had a nice moment sitting on a bench in the courtyard.

Then we went to Santa Cruz's beach boardwalk, which required more walking, and it's an amusement park.  I was not ready for the noise and crowds.  Ming suggested we go to the arcade and look for my favorite video game Bust a Move II.  "I don't think I can handle the arcade," I told him.  So we walked around in the sun some more, and I felt like hiding.

Finally we made it to Berkeley to my favorite Indian-Pakistani restaurant where I drank two cups of chai, which may be why I'm up still at 1 in the morning.  I changed into shorts and brushed my teeth.  I felt somewhat better.  I enjoyed our conversation.  Ming was very nice to me and listened to me complain about how I was feeling.

The drive home from Berkeley was easy.  I wrote a poem in the truck.  And that's the story of our trip.

Monday, June 24, 2013

beach day

This morning we planted three trees at my mom's work, two apple and a plum.  I dug holes, drove stakes into the ground with a post driver, and otherwise helped.  It took a long time.

Then we went to the beach.  We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, something I used to hate and now like okay.  We ate chips, grapes, red vines.  The kids, my mom, and Ming built a huge sand castle.  I wrote.  Ming and I walked on the beach with the youngest of the children.  The kid picked up some kelp and was calling it his pen.  He wrote a long line. 

Then the kids were getting snow cones, and there were a bunch of young people speaking another language in front of us.  We wondered where they were from, and I asked, "Excuse me?  What country are you from?"  Someone answered me, "Russia."  Then I didn't know what to say. 

After the beach we went back to my mom's work and staked the trees.  Ming learned online that trees really shouldn't be staked unless they're in certain circumstances.  But we were expected to stake them, so we did. 

I am sunburnt, eating another sandwich for dinner, in need of a shower.  They're playing badminton without a net in the backyard, and I am done for the day. 


Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today something interesting happened.  But I'm too tired to remember what it was.  Well, I know that Ming, I, and the younger of my two nieces performed the Bumblebee song for my parents.  We held hands and sang joyfully.

We went to Morro Bay.  Ming and I went to a shell shop and looked at the shells from all over the world.  I remembered having some sea urchin spines that I kept in an Altoids tin, and they were so fun to play with.  I don't know what happened to them.

We had some staring contests.  We ate lunch at a restaurant by the water.

Oh, before that we went to Montana de Oro.  We bothered a hermit crab.  We saw starfish and anemones.  "I touched an enemy," my nephew said to my dad.  They had conflict about my nephew's shoes.

Ming had a magnifying glass with him and inspected our rings.  He saw the 92.5 stamped inside our rings.  Ming also had binoculars.  I think they were together.

We talked about how spectacle, spectacals, spectator, and inspector must all be related, but how does specter fit in there, like a ghost?  We passed through Montano de Oro's eucalyptus forest.

I hoped it would hit me, but sorry I can't remember the interesting thing.  I think it was about food.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

fruit salad

This morning I made the most beautiful fruit salad.

organic strawberries
organic nectarine
organic grapes

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

soan papdi

There's this candy from India--like a cookie but more like a candy--called soan papdi.  We bought some yesterday at the Indian grocery store.  I thought I'd be like $9, but it was $4.  It's so delicious!  It tastes like sugar, in a good way.  It tastes like cotton candy if cotton candy were really dense and brittle.  I hate cotton candy, but I love soan papdi.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

spicy green curry with plastic bit, collard greens, newtons, ice cream, upma

Today started out horribly.  We almost went to the beach.  Instead we stayed in town.  We ran some errands--I made copies. 

Then we went out to lunch and there was a piece of plastic in my food.  We got my dish taken off the bill, which was good.  My Thai iced tea was delicious.

Then we went to the art supply store where I got a drawing pen.  Then we went to the library, where I wrote a sad letter to my bestie.

Then we came home and picked collard greens and an onion and some garlic.  We brought these things to church, and Swami gave us some cookies in return.  I thought they were strawberry newtons, but Ming thinks they were apple.

Then we went to this ice cream social at Arden Dimick to kick off summer reading.  We were the only people in line who were not kids or adults with kids.  We were kidless.  We were like, are we allowed to be here?  But it turned out we were allowed to be there.  We filled out these forms about values.  I said the library's main value for me was sharing.  I wrote some socialist stuff.  Go me!  I said how you don't need money to read books or use the computers at the library.  And then I talked about love.

Then we went to this Indian grocery store I like.  I kind of wanted Indian ramen, but we ended up getting upma mix.  I made upma for dinner.  I put in some onion, garlic, and finely chopped collard greens from our back garden.  It tasted delish.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Egyptian walking onions

Ming took pics of our Egyptian walking onions.  They live in bed six.  Toward the upper right you can see the small cluster of bulblets.  I am very happy about these onions.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Spirited Away

Today Ming and I watched Spirited Away.  It was about the fifth movie we've seen together.  We watched it in bed, on his laptop.  It was his first time seeing it and my second. 

I like No-Face a lot, and I like the part where the river spirit gives the main character a magical prize, when everything gets quiet and mystical. 

Then we ate chips with green salsa and it's 97 degrees outside.  We finished the shit-ton of forms we had to do.  We listened to Sufjan Stevens, I wrote two letters, and it's a low key day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

pistachio butter

We bought the pistachio butter.  It's super delicious.  But it's better licked off the knife than spread on the bread.

We bought the pistachio butter at this fruit stand near Davis.  It cost ten bucks for a little jar.  It's a delicacy, vegan heaven, and not for every day.  

We stopped at the fruit stand near Davis on our way to Berkeley.  Ming's son R graduated high school.  I photocopied functionally ill 8, we had Indian-Pakistani food for lunch, we met Ming's mom for coffee, and Ming went to the graduation with his mom while I hung out at a cafe and met my friend K for dinner.  We went to Herbivore, which I had heard of, but I was unimpressed with my pretend chicken mole.  But the ginger lemonade was fantastic. 

I got a heavy packet of forms in the mail that I have ten days to fill out.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


This morning we helped a friend turn in an application in time.  I printed out four application packets, and each packet was thick.  I don't think my printer had ever seen that kind of action!  The applications were due in Woodland by noon, and we left home around 11:25.  That was cutting it close, considering we had never been to the campus we were delivering the applications to.  But we made it--luckily the administration building was easy to find, and I wandered into the right office. 

"What can I do for you?" a dressed up man asked.

"I need to turn in these applications," I said.

"What kind of applications?" he asked.

"English full-time tenured and English full-time temporary," I said.  He looked at them.

"You need to give them to her," he said, gesturing to the woman who was on the phone. 

"Thanks," I said, wanting her to get off the phone.  It was ten till. 

Finally she got off the phone and held out her hand for the applications.

"Thank you and good luck," she said. 

Then I phoned Ming to see where he was parked.  Then I phoned the friend I did all that for.  If he succeeds in getting the job, he will move to Sacramento. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

doing the mailing

I took a few pictures of Ming and me doing the mailing at our temple.  Every month we spend a few hours preparing the bulletins to mail. 

Paper folder, stacks of bulletins and the two fliers that were included as well, piles of envelopes sorted by zip code...

Here's an action shot of Ming doing the work.  We prepare the bulletin in the library--not the public library, but my temple's library.  It's a beautiful place! 

seeing Amma

Did I tell you about how we went to see Amma?  I did, but I didn't show you any pictures.  Possibly my favorite part of the day was walking the labyrinth with Ming, and here's a picture of that.

Here's the peace pole out front of the main hall at Amma's ashram.  I love peace poles!

Unrelatedly, here's a street art pole near the Sacramento cafe that's near Southside Park.

red walnuts

Oh, and I forgot to say we tried red walnuts at this great store called The Olive Pit in Corning where you can try, I'm not exaggerating, at least 25 different kinds of olives.  Red walnuts are delicious.


We camped!  We hiked (about one mile up) Mt Shasta!  Ming hiked Black Butte!  We noticed the town of Mt Shasta is full of crystals!  Seriously, there are a lot of crystal shops.  I went to one and bought a beautiful art magnet and a card for a friend.

And we wrote a song.  It goes like this.

Once upon a time,
I went to Mt Shasta the town.
I saw the most beautiful bumblebee
that ever could be found.
I said to my darling,
"Let's make a bumblebee song."
He said if he knew it
he would sing along.

Oh Bumblebee!
Oh Bumblebee!
I want you to
bumble with me.
Oh Bumblebee!
Oh Bumblebee!
I love you--
don't fly into my tea.

Here's a picture I took of Ming at the base of Mt Shasta.

Here's the most beautiful view of Mt Shasta that Ming photographed from the top of Black Butte at 6325 feet, he tells me.

Here's the foundation of the lookout house that used to be at the top of Black Butte.

This picture Ming took at the top too, of a metal pole that was stuck in the rock, a mystery.

ps  Bumblebees are important because the worker at Mt Shasta's outdoorsy store Fifth Season said there have been reports of lots of bumblebees at the top of Mt Shasta.  So bumblebees were on our mind, and so we made a song about them.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

rad salad

I just ate the most delicious salad.

cut in half very small tomatoes
homemade lentil sprouts
raw English peas
Goddess dressing
walnut bits

"Do you covet my salad?" I asked Ming as I ate.

"No," he said.  "Do you covet my muffin?"  He was eating a raisin bran muffin.

I made a face.  "No," I said.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

holy crap

It's 117 degrees outside!

edit to add:  The weather website I use says it only got to 108 yesterday.  So I guess there was a malfunction at the weather station I use?


I want to remember this url for Legal Services of Northern California.  I might need them or they can point me in the right direction when my SSI application is denied.


miracle from Florida, luchador, quest for pistachio butter

Holy crap, it's supposed to be 111 today. 

Yesterday we went to San Francisco to see my old friend MM.  I was meeting her in person for the first time.  I was so excited.  She is a miracle from Florida.  We had vegan Japanese food then ice cream and visited Needles and Pens. 

Then Ming and I went to Berkeley to my favorite stationery store Elmwood so Ming could find a graduation card for his younger son who is graduating high school in one week.  We went to a cafe, Espresso Roma, and I wrote a letter to AL.  Ming started reading Making Home and loves it like I do.  Then we wrote a postcard to our friend BB together and talked. 

Oh, in the Mission District we also went to a Mexican arts and crafts store to buy Ming a silver ring.  It matches mine.  We paid $20 cash to the nice worker.  Someone came inside looking for a mirror.  He was wearing a blue and gold Mexican wrestling mask.

Today we're supposed to go to a work day at the community garden.  It's too hot, and I am overstimulated from yesterday, but we've missed quite a few. 

We stopped at this fruit stand for pistachio butter on our way home from the Bay Area, but they were closed.  I am on a quest for pistachio butter after seeing it, wanting it, and not buying it a few weeks ago.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

crazy / enlightened

The apartment complex's washing machine is broken...again! 

The bread at free breakfast this morning was moldy, but then some other bread was not.  I ate apples & cinnamon oatmeal.  There were teenaged boys volunteering today.

I'm listening to some throat singer monks on tape.  We went see P the other day.  We went through an old box of tapes she didn't want anymore.  I sorted them into piles: church, thrift store, trash, and me.  Went through cds too.  I borrowed back some cds I made her years ago.

This morning at church food giveaway, they were giving away boxes and boxes of precooked chicken rice, which we had to refuse.  But we accepted boxes and boxes of apple sauce in squeeze pouches.  "This is a lifetime supply of apple sauce!" I told Ming.

Later he said, "I hope it's not a lifetime supply of apple sauce."  He wants to outlive the apple sauce supply.

They gave us frozen cinnamon rolls, and I'm baking them in the oven right now.  Also we received strawberries, a red bell pepper, a loaf of bread, some french rolls, some popcorn, two boxes of mac and cheese, a snack bar thing...  I wanted to take some potatoes, but Ming said we have access to our main neighbor's huge potato stash.

I can't tell whether the throat singing monks are making me feel crazy or enlightened or what.  I definitely feel something.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

vegan sopa de fideos

I found this old cookzine I made ten years ago, back when I wasn't a vegetarian but was a no mammal eater.  It's called What We Eat.

For lunch today I made spinach soup from a recipe in that cookzine--it's adapted from a recipe in the Tassajara recipe book, the yellow one.  It was so good.

And then for dinner I made sopa de fideos.  We went to the Mexican grocery store for some fideo, which is just broken up vermicelli.  It cost 34 cents.  All the rest of the ingredients we already had.  It was also so good.  It's a noodle soup, I guess, but it's kind of like spaghetti. 

vegan sopa de fideos

Chop half an onion and half a bell pepper.  Chop some garlic  Saute in olive oil with some fideos, a 7 to 10 oz package.  Saute until the veggies are done and the noodles are browning.  Add a can of tomatoes, three cups of boiling water, half a tsp cumin, half a tsp chili powder, a little garlic powder, and some salt.  Cook for 10 minutes, until the noodles are done.  Let it sit for a few minutes then serve. 

apricot refigerator jam

We made refrigerator jam this morning, and it seems to have set!  We followed this recipe, pretty much, but halved it.


And we didn't can it--we just poured it into jars and let them cool on the counter and put them in the fridge.  It made about a pint and a third of apricot jam.

(I was alarmed by how much the Pomona's Universal Pectin costs at the co-op, but I guess that's the price you gotta pay for low sugar.  And I was surprised by how much organic frozen apple juice concentrate costs at the co-op too--more than $4!  Maybe I'm stuck in the past.)

Here are my notes for next time.

Wash, pit, finely chop apricots.
Three cups in pan with 1/4 cup lemon juice.
Add four tsp calcium water.
In a separate pan:
one cup apple concentrate--boil.
Add 3 tsp pectin and blend well.
Boil apricot mixture.
Add apple juice mixture to apricot mixture.
Return to boil and remove from heat.

Calcium water: half tsp calcium powder in half cup water.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

rear ended, unscathed

Today we left the temple, stopped at a stop sign, and the car behind us didn't.  They hit BOB, our truck--our truck's name is BOB, short for Bucket of Bolts.  I felt the impact and said, "Shit!" then, "What was that about?"  Ming pulled over calmly and we assessed the damage.  We had none, but the other person's car had some.  So we traded info.  It was okay.  But I never like that impact feeling, and afterward I was extra-scared of being hit or hitting someone. 

From the temple we got some apricots.  I want to make some jam.

seeing Amma for the second time

Yesterday we went to see Amma.  We left here at 6:45 hoping to get there at 8, but there were traffic jams and a wrong turn.  So we got there at 9, which was okay.

It was my second time at Amma's ashram in San Ramon.  But last time I didn't even know about the pond.  Yesterday I spent a lot of time at the pond, which has swans in it.  I also saw great blue herons, a wood duck, a coot, and something that I think was a kingfisher, but I didn't get a good look.

This time was different with Ming.  Last time I carpooled with church friends but felt alone.  This time I was very much with Ming.  "Do you want to get our hug together or separately?" he asked me.

"I didn't even know you knew we could get our hug together," I told him.  At first I said separately, greedy for my own hug.  But then I changed my mind.  "Then it would be like our relationship was being blessed," I said.

Our tokens said K3.  I was by the pond when Amma arrived so didn't see her arrive.  When I was there years ago, I saw her car drive up and saw her smiling face in the window, just like in the pictures, and it was a joy to see her.

This time, like going to the Sacred Peace Walk for the second time, I felt less dazzled, a little detached, as if protecting myself from the intensity.

When Ming and I were hugged, Ming was grabbed first.  She spoke mantras in his ear.  Then I was grabbed, and she held me to her and spoke mantras in my ear too.  Workers threw flower petals and gave me a hershey's kiss.  Later I saw that they'd marked Ming's forehead with a bindi, but they didn't mark mine.  It was all fast.  They try to get you in and out of there. 

Afterward I was happy.  We got our shoes and bags.  Oh, I forgot to say I bought myself a necklace.  It's made of tulsi and cost $3.  It's tan or light brown and looks like something I would wear.  We thought about buying a tulsi plant as well, for ourselves or someone else, but in the end, we decided not to.

Driving out of the ashram, we were asked if we would give a ride to some Indian devotees.  I gave the front seat to the older of the two.  It's hard, climbing in and out of the back seat.  We talked--the younger of the two was named Chandra.  "Like moon?" I asked.  He said yes and seemed happy--Chandra means moon.  He and his traveling companion were both doctors.  He asked if we were coming back for the 8 o'clock program, but I said no, we were heading home.

So then we went to Berkeley for a late lunch.  We met Ming's mom at the restaurant, and it was good to talk.  She told us about her recent trip to England, Ireland, and Wales. 

Oh, I forgot to say there's a labyrinth, and we walked the labyrinth together.  No one else was around.  It was a little walk to get there.  I left pennies at the center and we kissed.

Monday, June 03, 2013

no more zine library at Central

The zine library at Central is no more.  I asked the workers and they didn't even remember it.  I guess it's been a while.  I was sad.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

we slip through the streets while everyone sleeps

I'm delighted by the Catholic Worker legend about the thousand cats.



Yesterday was busy.  We helped at a garden installing party for an hour in the morning--I dug out some grass but mostly stood around.  Ming helped build the frame of a raised bed and ate a donut.  Then we went to a memorial service at church, and the choir sang a song, the song we sing for memorial services.  We left early.  Then Ming and I went to the library, and I wrote a poem I like.  I read a little too.  Almost done with Making Home.  Then we came home and rested--the heat was terrible--it got to 100.  Then we did Food Not Bombs bread pickup at 6. 

At 9 last night I looked out the window and saw the sky wasn't dark.  I was surprised then realized it is June.

Another east coast friend is coming to San Francisco, and I hope I can see her.  It'll be our first time meeting in person.  She made a zine maybe seven years ago, and I became her friend although she was in high school.  She graduated high school and went to college and graduated college too, in Florida.

I'm chatting with a friend in Manchester and trying to decide what to make for breakfast.

And that's the news as of 7:24 this morning.