dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

bad news good news

Today we drove from Las Vegas home.  Ming drove us.  We stopped in Keene and saw the Cesar Chavez museum.  We looked at the Tehachapi Loop.  We didn't take pictures--sorry.  I saw a tortise by the side of the road, but Ming didn't see it.  We drank slurpees and didn't talk much.  I dozed for hours.  We ate sandwiches.

Home, I have a stack of mail to read, good mail.  And I have a bunch of stuff to do.  But bad news: bee balm dead, yerba buena dead.  Something's eating the grapes.  But the peppers are growing.

Monday, July 29, 2013


This morning we demonstrated at Nellis Air Force Base. 

There's me, scared out of my wits.

And there's Ming, cute as can be, the peace faster.  He's fasting one day for peace. 

So we sang some songs, held hands, and stood around for peace for 15 minutes.  Then three guards and a cop approached us and told us to leave.  But they took down some info from us.  They said we were on the base, which was confusing because we were outside the gate.  They said we had to be up at the stoplight. 

Lots of cars went by.  We tried to find somewhere else to park, but the 7-11 had a customers only sign.  I am weirdly afraid of BOB getting towed since it's happened before.

The sign I chose this morning was smaller than the sign I would usually wear.  I asked Ming, "Does this sign make my ass look big?"  We had a laugh.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Forgot to say we stopped on a flat big rock to take a rest on our hike, and there was a pair of twigs that looked like antlers there.  I held them to my head, and Ming noted how they were the perfect antlers for me.  I said I would stick them in my ears and leave them there forever.  He held them to his head, and I said he should superglue them to his head and leave them there forever, only they would get smashed when he slept.  There was another twig that looked like a party noisemaker, and we tooted tunes on it.  Fun times.

There's a windstorm here in Las Vegas.  I think none of the trees here has heavy enough branches to fall through the roof and smash us in our sleep.  As Willie Wonka says, "The suspense is terrible.  I hope it'll last."

First Creek, cute breakfast, six-winged angels

This morning we woke up at 4 in order to go hiking in the cool of the day.  It was great.  We saw the sunrise.  We went to a trailhead called First Creek.  We hiked about three miles total.

Then we went to our friend's house.  We woke him up.  His three dogs barked at us: Cerrilo, Pork Chop, and Bill.  His nice daughter offered us breakfast.  She made banana slices topped with peanut butter dollops for her little child to eat with chopsticks. 

Then we went to church.  We went to a Byzantine Catholic Church.  Would it be disrespectful of me to say it was quite a show?  The incense thing loudly clanged.  I liked the icons.  We got blessings instead of taking communion, which was great.  They put a cup on our heads.  The six-winged angels were amazing.  I am in favor of them. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

skip this if you don't care about my flip flops

We almost bought some bright orange flip flops that were two dollars.  But we thought they would break in about five minutes.  So we bought these other black and green flip flops that were five dollars.  The end!

just hello

G'morning, world.  Good morning, good morning, good morning.  We were awake early today and walked at 6, which is the way to go here in the desert in the summer.  It was a good walk, but CVS was closed, so I couldn't buy flip flops.

Yogurt, burnt toast.  Leaning back in this office chair.  The moving air from the ceiling fan.  Today we see a friend for lunch, and I'm hoping we don't go to a casino!  I'm going to advocate for Indian food.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Las Vegas

This morning we served the hungry again then helped with the dishwashing.  We served bread, which is easy.  With a gloved hand, hand the person whatever bread they want.  There were some bagels today.

Then we folded and taped NDE newsletters.  They're pink.  I did it for about two hours, and Ming did it for much longer.  I napped.

Last night we went to an open mic, and I read three unsent letters from an unsent letters zine I wrote a year ago.  The crowd was small, and I felt mostly brave.  Ming says I did well.

Then we got stuck in a traffic jam though it was 9 at night.  Las Vegas freaks me out!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ming and Laura-Marie's Excellent Adventure

For me, when everything goes wrong - that’s when adventure starts. --Yvon Chouinard

Well, we took off for Las Vegas and only made it 157 miles when BOB broke down by the side of the freeway out in the middle of nowhere.  We were on the phone with AAA for 50 minutes as they tried to locate us on a map.  Then we waited 45 minutes for the tow truck driver to arrive.  Then we were towed to the mechanic 40 miles back north to Los Banos.  Then we waited hours more.  Anyway, we drove away $385 lighter and in okay spirits.  It was the distributor and coil and something. 

We almost hit a road runner on the freeway too.  Ming made an unusual sound, and I looked up to see the road runner dodge BOB.

So we stayed the night in Los Banos then started south again.  We arrived in Las Vegas yesterday evening.  We have helped a little with the newsletter and are enjoying being here except for the heat.  I couldn't sleep last night for being too hot, and Ming the Loving Problem Solver went to the other house and snagged me a fan.

This morning we served the hungry with Catholic Worker and washed dishes including a huge metal oar, my favorite.  Next we demonstrate.

I never told you we served the hungry with Food Not Bombs on Sunday.  It was fun.  It was kind of like Las Vegas Catholic Worker but on a much smaller scale.  And vegan.  Catholic Worker serves food with meat in it, unfortunately. 

Some fanciful things: me telling Ming I want to live with him in a little house on the bank of a river and we have a pet cheetah named Bobby and teach it how to talk.  Me telling Ming that we need to throw the tv in the trash, and no one will know because we cover it with banana peels.  "We only have two bananas," Ming said, to which I replied, "Loaves and fishes!  We can pray that the banana peels will multiply." 

Monday, July 22, 2013

my life in a list

1.  Ming and I had a conversation about what was blocking the pipe--the kitchen sink was plugged up.  I guessed a dead rat or a pot of gold.  Ming guessed hair and rice.

2.  Yesterday at Home Depot we used the self-check machine, and as we left I said hi to the worker who was monitoring the self-check area.  She gave me a really strange look.  I don't know if she thought I was stealing, my style offended her, or what.

3.  Workers have been redoing the landing--our apartment is on the second floor, and the little deck area between our door and the next door neighbor's door is being redone, and both staircases too.  It's sometimes loud.

4.  Today I sent a shit ton of mail, mostly the new gardening zine gardening is for eaters. 

5.  Today we picked asian pears at the community garden and brought some to our friends' house, which started a whole chain of events.  It set a whole set of events into motion.  It toppled dominoes.  Cause led to effect.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

trip to Canada

We're planning a trip to Canada, just Vancouver and maybe Banff.  Any tips from any reader out there, what not to miss?  I ordered a book called City of Glass about Vancouver and want to look for guidebooks at the library.  Central library opens at noon.

We'll also get to meet two of my good mail friends, zine friends, on our way up in Seattle, then on our way back home in Boise.  Can't wait. 

But we don't know whether to trust BOB, our loyal steed, to get up the mountains.  So we're not sure whether to go to Banff, which is in the Rockies.  We vacillate.  What do you think?  Should we err on the side of caution, or should we go for it?  I feel like maybe we should be careful, because if we push BOB too hard, we'll no longer have a vehicle, and what will become of us?  But maybe BOB is stronger than we think, and there's only one one way to find out.

Sometimes I think this is just a starter trip to Canada, but other times I think maybe this is our only time.

BOB is a blue '85 Chevy Blazer, two wheel drive, had its engine replaced at some point, not a lot of miles on this engine, I think.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Ming and I rearranged some stuff in the living room and created way more space.  It feels good psychologically.  It's been a hard few weeks. 

I have a friend who is a rambler.  I mean a traveler.  He is passing through Sac soon, and we might get to see him, my first time meeting him in person.  I thought I had known him through the mail for about four years, but it's been only two years.  I just searched my email.

The kitchen sink's broken.  I mean, it got stuffed up.  We tried chemicals that didn't work.  Neighbor said it might be the...p trap?  But then they took it apart, and it wasn't the p trap.  So we're waiting for a key and a snake.  That sounds weird.  There's a snake in the shed thing, and we need a key to the shed, to get the snake.  The snake will clear out the clog, which seems to be in the wall. Well, sorry if that's confusing, readers from other countries. 

All I want is to make dinner.  Well, I want more than that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

two free tomatoes etc

Today we had to be out all day because of work on our landing and stairs.  Various and wondersome things happened, while we were out, but I wasn't able to come home to document them, so they are lost to the winds of time.  Well, I gave a dollar to someone needing bus money near Colonial Heights, but then someone else asked me for money and I didn't have any.  I wrote letters, bought orange nailpolish with Safeway giftcard credit, and threw some things away.  For example, I had some Chinese watermelon seeds in my backpack's front mesh pocket for almost a year, and it was finally time for me to say goodbye to them.  Oh, workers were giving away tomatoes at McKinley Library (yes, we went library hopping--we are that kind of geek) and I took two.  And we went to the SPCA thriftstore where I got some very cute earrings of little metal faces, two postcards, a panda card, and some humpback whale notepaper.  The end.


Some free okra at church.

sun art

Sun art in Berkeley--it's been up for a long time--right by the Espresso Roma at College & Ashby.

Earth Abides Catholic Worker Farm trip photos

There's the meadow part of the farm, with shed, greenhouse, scarecrow, and Blade the cat.

There's Catharine's House, the house we stayed at and where we ate together.

There are our hosts, Pegasus and Chelsea.

And here are us four, photo photoshopped by Pegasus to include all of us.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Home from the farm--pics and report tomorrow!

Monday, July 15, 2013

swans at the beach

Today we went to Rumpelstiltskin's for bright green, kelly green, christmas green, or maybe a slightly darker green thread, but they didn't have any.  The closest they had was too weak.  We strength tested it--it broke in Ming's hands. 

So then we went to Arden to look at the thread at the JoAnne Fabric there.  We found some. 

My left ear is stopped up.  That happens to me a lot.  I hate it. 

Last night: an elaborate nightmare complete with doppelgangers, shotguns, zombies, an evil woman who wanted to kill me but wanted me to like her, and huge waves.  And swans in the ocean.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

mail is not dead

The other day we were walking by a post office in Berkeley that's going to be closed, and Ming's son J said mail is dead.  "Noooo!" Ming said.  As you may know, mail is my life.  Or much of it.

Ming is helping a friend with her garden, and I think I'll start binding gardening is for eaters after an early morning of doing mail.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

gratitude journaling

Today I tutored my learner.  He's thinking about moving to Washington state.  But I don't think he will.  We brought him Asian pears.  We picked some this morning early at our community garden.

And I went to another support group meeting at my new clinic.  This one was not as wonderful as yesterday's, but I still liked it.  The clock had been taken down from the wall.  The facilitator had never heard of gratitude journaling.  So I shared something new.

I've been meditating a little, just a few minutes at a time.  Today I meditated while waiting for Ming to pick me up after the support group meeting (it got out a little early). 

Here's a garden pic of our yarrow and lavender.  Then's a picture of Ming at the garden.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

food news and support

Today we ate a lot of vegan Ethiopian food for lunch thanks to a friend who bought us some $10 restaurant.com gift certificates.  I like the lentils best!

Yesterday I baked some vegan peanutbutter oatmeal cookies.  They are so delicious!  http://www.theppk.com/2008/10/oatmeal-peanut-butter-cookies  We didn't have any tofu, so I used two flax eggs instead.

Today I went to a really good support group that I want to go to every week now.

But we have some travels coming up: demonstrating again at Livermore Labs, and a trip to a Catholic Worker Farm.

washcloths from Finland


Here are the beautiful washcloths my loved penpal M in Finland made me--they arrived yesterday.  They are half cotton, half bamboo.  Aren't they pretty?  Which do you like best?  

Photo by Ming with many thanks to Ming for fixing the color on the camera and removing the datestamp.

go gmail

me: I wouldn't recommend yahoo mail to my dog.
Ming: Your dog gets email?
me: Yeah, my invisible, insmellible, unhearible, unsensible dog.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

new camera pics

Here are some pics from this morning's early walk.  For some reason they turned out very blue, so I used Picassa to fix the color, but I don't know how well it fixed.  You can see for yourself.

I liked this empty fence.

I liked this blooming mint too.  When I took the picture, I heard a voice saying, "You can take some if you want--for tea, yogurt, meat."  It was nice of him to offer. 

gardening is for eaters

Last night in Elk Grove we visited Ming's dad.  It was great!  He's very nice--we saw his garden and his fish.  It was Ming's first time seeing him in four or five years, since his sister's wedding.

The gardening zine is laid out and ready to photocopy.  It's called gardening is for eaters, and I hope it's loved by many.  Here's some info from the intro.

You'll find an overview of what I like about gardening, then an annotated list of everything we had growing as of June 2013 in both of our gardens. Then you'll find an interview with Ming about permaculture and an essay about my past with plants. You'll find interviews with our friends Jade and Marcus about their plant philosophies and practices: tending the wild, biointensive farming, fermentation.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Laura-Marie in Wonderland

We're buying a pink camera from someone on craigslist, and we meet them tonight at a frozen yogurt shop one town over. 

I made soyrizo rice for lunch and put carrots and squash in it for the first time. 

half a package of soyrizo
bell pepper

The carrots are so small and cooked as to be nearly undetectable. 

Ming's been reading me Alice in Wonderland as I cook, and it's great. 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

newly expanded bumblebee song lyrics

Yesterday I had a 10 am appointment at the free clinic I go to, but I didn't get seen until after noon.  We weren't out of there until 1.  So we missed choir practice.

We were going to be early for bread pickup, so we went to a drugstore for the fun of it.  We looked at hair things and nailpolish.  We saw this fuzzy nailpolish--I mean, it makes your nails fuzzy, like cloth.  "Who would want fuzzy nails?" I asked.

This morning at 10 we're giving a tour of our community garden to friends.

And that's the haps.  Ming's doing laundry, and I need to make some fruit salad with the very ripe fruits we have.

Oh, I wanted to tell you we've been playing cards with Ming's great fossil cards.  And we have more verses of the bumblebee song.

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.

Once upon a time
I went to Mt Shasta the town.
My lover wanted to climb Black Butte,
a volcano short and round. 
He'd been wanting to climb it
for seven or eight years,
and when he finally bagged the peak,
it brought him to tears.


Once upon a time
I went to Mt Shasta the town.
It was full of crystals,
for which it was renowned.
I wrote a letter to Abby--
I sat at a cafe.
And this is how I spent my lover's
happy hiking day.


Once upon a time
we went to Mt Shasta the town.
We bought some fossil playing cards,
an investment that was sound.
We like the bugs in amber--
we like the trilobites best--
the coral and the urchins
and the ginkgo and the rest.


Saturday, July 06, 2013


G'morning, world.  Yesterday we were surprise-visited by friends.  They were driving south from Yuba City and could see Sacramento on the horizon when they called.  We toured the backyard garden, showed them what we're growing, showed them the harlequin bugs.  Finally the white yarrow has stood up and flowered, in bed three, which I'm happy about. 

Shoulda taken pictures.  It's fun to take pictures with friends though our camera is poor.  We gave one friend a present of a journal that I got for Christmas years ago and never used because it's leather.  It looks just like the journal he already has.  He was confused opening the present, thinking it was actually his journal.  I used some red and white string as ribbon, and C wore it as a necklace.  They are good-natured friends.

I am happy with the use of my new bookshelf and with the reprieve from the heat wave.  It was only 95 yesterday--what a treat.  And it's only supposed to hit 90 today.  That's great.

After the visit, we went to R's house so I could tutor him.  Ming is my driver and chaperone.  R is doing well but has trouble hearing the difference between certain sounds, like the difference between woman and women.  Ming went through my old toolbox, organizing things I do not know the names of--little metal things that attach to a larger metal thing.  They are all in a row, different sizes.  I gave the toolbox to Erik when we parted ways, and I regret that.  I need to ask him if he wants it back--I borrowed it from him when I thought I needed to take apart the bookshelf to fit it in our truck.

This morning we need to walk while it's cool, and I have a doctor's appointment at 10 at the free clinic because I've been having some bad pain in my left foot that's getting worse.  We have choir practice, and we have bread pickup for Food Not Bombs. 

So that's the near past and the near future.  I can tell my own fortune.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

weird stuff lately

cooling station
1.  Yesterday I was picking up a book at McKinley Library and noticed a cooling station inside the community building.  I had never seen one before, so I stopped in, thinking there would be water, and there was.  I had to print my name on a piece of yellow ruled paper, then drank some water from a Starbucks cup.  "Is this food for anyone?" I asked about the granola bars and chips.  They said yes, so I took a bag of Fritos.

asshole at Starbucks
2.  We were waiting for Farbod to call us back about a bookshelf we were trying to buy from him.  He was late calling me back.  We went to the Safeway and had Starbucks coffee because Ming's former relative gave him $25 credit.  It was SO HOT outside.  The sweat was pouring off my body as if my body was crying.  But we cooled down in the small Starbucks that's in that Safeway.  Some asshole was on the phone talking to his friend.  He wore white converse and a wallet chain.  He was talking about a woman he likes, but he seemed to hate her.  He was saying she won't return his calls and told him not to call, so he's just going to show up.  I wanted to tell him to leave her the f alone, but I was too chicken.  He was wearing horrible cologne too.

moving back to Iran
3.  We bought the bookshelf from Farbod and paid him the $20, which was a good price for the six foot bookshelf in good condition.  Thanks, craigslist.  F was selling his furniture because he was moving back to Iran because his dad died.  He didn't know how long he'd be there.  We'd planned to disassemble the bookshelf, but instead we left it intact and had it slightly hanging out the back.  We passed a cop on the way home, but he didn't trouble us.

murder one apartment complex over
4.  At 6 this morning we went to the truck, which we had left parked on the street for the purpose of getting out the bookshelf.  A woman was standing on the sidewalk and started talking to us.  I was getting a letter out of the truck to send my bestie AL.  The woman was talking quietly and was missing teeth.  She asked Ming if he saw anything last night.  There was terrible yelling and fighting last night, which I did my best to sleep through.  Ming said no, we heard things but didn't see anything.  The woman told us someone was murdered there.  "He died last night--he died last night," she said.

going to hell
5.  Ming and I walked to the post office so I could send my letter, and on the way home there were two guys near the church where we go to food giveaway.  One told the other, "You're going to hell for what you did," then something else I couldn't understand.

What the heck!  Too many weird things.  I want to just stay home and avoid all this.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

home from Safeway

Ming:  Another successful trip to the grocery store.
LM:  What would an unsuccessful trip look like?
Ming:  If we left produce there.

us with friend

Here's a fuzzy pic of us with one of the friends we saw last night, a Franciscan peacemaker named Father Louie.  We were at an Indian-Pakistani place.

quote of the day

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart.
-- Cesar Chavez

This quote means a lot to me because I find food generosity moving, especially feeding the hungry with Las Vegas Catholic Worker.  The whole Catholic Worker movement has been so good for me, and I'm happy I found it because my life is enriched, and I want to enrich the lives of other too.  So thanks, Catholic Workers.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Ming with his peeps

Here's Ming with his younger son, the charming Ross.  They're in front of a Berkeley post office.

Here's Ming with his older son, the charming conspiracy theorist Josh.  They're on a bridge on the UC Berkeley campus.

And here's Ming with his sweet momma Cheryl.  They're at an Espresso Roma.  It was a great visit!  Love to all.

three good things

Today three really great things happened.  Ming's mom said she loves me, I got kissed by an old man I like, and someone I respect said he trusts me.  All this happened in the East Bay today, and none of it would have happened if not for Ming.  So thanks, Ming, more than I can say.