dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Monday, December 31, 2018

skypics




Sunday, December 30, 2018

applesauce


We had this tape dispenser by the front door for a long time.  Tonight I was cleaning out the basket.

It says it's supposed to be in the chapel.  Do not remove.  But the chapel here where we live, it's a small room where people pray.  Nobody does office work in there!

So I told Ming, "I think somebody stole it from some other chapel."

I said I wanted to take off the label.  Then we could do whatever we wanted with it.  Ming said yes, so I scraped off tape with my fingernail and removed the label.  Triumph!

"Can you put this in the office?" I asked.

"No," Ming said.  "We have enough tape dispensers already."

So we decided to put it in Freedom House.  Maybe they need a tape dispenser. 

While we were at it, we brought some more stuff over to their house.  An orange plastic egg with little beads in it to make sound.  A decorative metal heart with flowers painted on it that hangs from a jute string.  Two tiny wooden crosses.  A painted wooden lizard.  A red shot glass advertising some university.  A flimsy ruler shaped like a comb. 

Everything was in a purple plastic bowl that might have come from Freedom House originally--not sure.

We have too much to do.  Thank you notes for donations, data entry.  Half-finished projects are all over the place.  I need to put away the spices our friend who's moving away gave to us, but first I need to clean out the spice cabinet.  Stuff that needs to go to storage.  Stuff for goodwill.

This morning I cleaned out my bedroom closet.  It was good.  Then this evening I cleaned by the side of my desk.  Organized stationery, sorted some out to get rid of, consolidated things.  Found two books I was looking for.

I also thanked two big donors who really needed to be thanked, prepared some other mail to send, typed and emailed notes from the last F&F meeting, listened to Ming complain.  They're giving him the runaround for his meds.  He's in the doughnut hole.  Insurance had to reject it, and then his backup insurance kicks in, but they take forever to do anything, and soon it will be next year.

I was feeling like it should be illegal to treat disabled people like this.  Getting medication should be streamlined.   Ming can't stay awake because he doesn't have the medication.

"It's going to be okay," I told him.  "We'll figure things out.  I'll brainstorm.  Look at me--do I look sad?"  I gave him a big smile.

So he was going to bed, but he came back to tell me I left some things there from this morning: papers, clothes, two blankets.  I said he could bring them to me or put them on the floor or put them in a bag.  Did any of that seem possible?

"I'll just sleep on the other side of the bed," he said.  I felt criticized.  I had no energy either. 

I sat there trying to psych myself out to gather the things off the bed.  I sat there for a long time, crying, totally exhausted.  Drinking water, visualizing what I needed to do, willing myself to stand up.

My body hurts, especially my shoulders.  Ming's up again, and he tried to make me some dinner, but the boil-in-bag rice that our friend who's moving away gave to us from her pantry, the plastic melted in the water.  Weird.  So now he's giving me applesauce.

Mmm, applesauce.  It's one of my favorite medicines.  Heal me, applesauce.

tech

me:  Has the sun come up yet?
M:  I dunno, let me check my phone.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

learning experience

My facebook friend posted this meme I found so offensive yet thought-provoking.  It was advice to men on how to treat a woman.  It went like this.

***
As a man...
Lead her spiritually.
Challenge her intellectually.
Encourage her emotionally.
Protect her physically.
Take care of her.
***

I was like, puke.  She doesn't need to be led spiritually.  How about, follow her spiritually? 

And it's not like women are retarded--she doesn't need to be challenged intellectually.  Seemed really creepy, implying that women don't think well.  Men and women might tend to think differently, but there's no way men are superior.

Then I got to the next line and was like, well, yeah.  Maybe encouraging her emotionally is a good thing.  Everyone should be encouraged, really.

Things started getting confusing for me when I got to Protect her physically.  Is it wrong, that I like the idea of being protected?

Then with Take care of her, I like being taken care of too.  Ming definitely takes care of me.

So I was like, wow, maybe I'm a dinosaur. 

Then I showed the meme to Ming.  He said it's not like I want to be protected and taken care of by a man--I want to be protected and taken care of by anyone of any gender, which is true. 

I remember a long time ago, my best friend when I was a kid was tough, and I felt safe with her, which I liked.  I knew she could stand up to anyone.  Later when we were both adults we tried being friends again, and I still really liked that feeling, walking beside her, knowing no one would mess with us.

Well, yesterday Ming was traveling with friends to and from Ely all day, helping deliver twenty boxes of books to a prison.  It snowed.

I did some cooking.  I made funeral potatoes for the first time and was disappointed.  I thought something magical would happen, with all that fat, but they just tasted like potatoes in sour cream with lots of cheese.  There was no oveny transformation.  Maybe I did it wrong.

I also made veggie lasagna.  It's ok--the broccoli got overcooked, being steamed then boiled in the sauce then baked in the oven.  Oops.  The mushrooms were a nice touch, and the fake meat was pretty good, but overall I'd say it was too expensive.  The cheese was more than four dollars, and the fake meat was around three, and then the mushrooms...  I got the noodles and sauce for free, but well, it was a learning experience.

Long ago in Bishop I made something like lasagna with commodities--at the portable near the library, they'd give us huge things of spaghetti and cans of sauce and government cheese.  So I'd layer it up like lasagna and bake it in big pyrex dishes.  Those were the days.

Friday, December 28, 2018

super duper fun things to do in Las Vegas post

Ming started this list a while back, and I'm cleaning it up and annotating it.  It's a work in progress!  Check back for updates.

in town attractions and daytrips

Happy Earth Market 900 E Karen happyearthmarket.com
This is an art gallery with events, such as open mic night, meditation, workshops.  You can pay a fee to use their art supplies to make art.  The owners are kind and will give you a hug.

Each Thursday morning, we hold a peace vigil from 9 to 10 then have a brief prayer for peace.  Most Thursdays it's at the Federal Building.  Sponsored by Las Vegas Catholic Worker and Nevada Desert Experience.

Las Vegas Catholic Worker 500 W Van Buren lvcw.org 
Serving the hungry since 1983?, the Las Vegas Catholic Worker located in the historic Westside provides a nutritious meal four mornings a week, maintains a food pantry, grows gardens, and more.  Call to make an appointment for a tour or to learn how you can volunteer.

Peace Camp is an historic site where thousands of protesters have camped and made art out in the desert across from the Test Site.  Tunnels have historic graffiti, and there's sculpture to be found as well.  Contact Ming for GPS coordinates of Shadow Children.

Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet https://plus.codes/8586H7GF+6R sekhmettemple.com 
Located a 45 minute drive from Las Vegas, there's a gorgeous open-air temple at Cactus Springs where you can pray, sing, meditate, or leave an offering.  Rituals are held new moon and full moon.  Call ahead and speak to the priestess to let her know you're visiting or to ask about events.  There's also a labyrinth you can walk and a beautiful pavillion that can be reserved for events.

Barrick Museum at UNLV https://www.unlv.edu/barrickmuseum 
Free admission art museum with exhibits that change, free postcards, and an art bar where you might be able to make a collage or other masterpiece using free supplies.  There's also a little theater and a botanic garden outside.  Home to the Las Vegas Zine Library.

Now housed at the Barrick Museum, Las Vegas Zine Library contains more than a thousand zines, many of them local.  Self-expression, creativity, DIY.

Pinball Hall of Fame 1610 E Tropicana Ave pinballmuseum.org
This is a huge warehouse filled with pinball machines and other games.  Admission is free--just pay quarters to play the games.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area redrockcanyonlv.org
There's a one-way drive through the whole thing.  You can park and look, walk, take pictures.  Beautiful rocky colorful scenery that may be new to you, if you're not from the desert.  Gift shop and little museum too.

Hikes in the Las Vegas area such as those on http://www.birdandhike.com/index.htm
Ming likes to hike and this website is by someone who is helpful and knowledgeable.

Vegas Roots Community Garden 715 N Tonopah http://vegasroots.org/
Some days you can buy fresh produce grown here.  It's fun to look around at what's growing in the different beds, and there are chickens too.

Desert National Wildlife Refuge fws.gov/refuge/desert
If you're crazy about desert plants, wildlife, or geology, don't miss this refuge.  If you have a four wheel drive vehicle, there are amazing places you can go.  The museum and gift shop have rangers and maps that can help you learn how to get there.

Clark County Wetlands https://plus.codes/85864X2H+ http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/parks/Pages/cc-wetlands-park-trailsmaps.aspx
This wetlands has concrete paths and some manicured dirt paths--it's very managed, less naturey.  But it's still a good place to take a walk and see a stream, maybe birds.

Sahara West Library 9600 W Sahara http://www.lvccld.org/about/branch_info.cfm?id=6 
I'm mostly immune to architecture, but Ming says this public library has a reputation for a beautiful building.  We saw a Buddhist sand mandala presentation there that I think I will remember my entire lifetime.  The library has some great free programs worth looking into.

Valley of Fire http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire
Beautiful park about an hour away from Las Vegas.  Lots of hiking--worth visiting.  Petroglyphs.

Ethel M Chocolates 2 Cactus Garden Dr., Henderson ethelm.com
Free, but there is little to see, factory-wise--some conveyor belts and workers in there, through the glass, on work days.  The free sample is ok.  The cactus garden is good, if you like plants.  We saw a roadrunner there too.

Death Valley National Park
This used to be my favorite place in the world.  The huge, impossible expanses, the amazing colors of rocks, the specialness of Badwater, which is the lowest place in North America--walking on all that salt.  It's extreme and unique--some might say barren?  There's camping but you can do it as a daytrip from Vegas, depending on how much you want to see.

Tecopa Hot Springs 368 Tecopa Hot Springs Road, Tecopa delightshotspringsresort.com
Tecopa is a small town less than two hour's drive from Las Vegas.  There are hot springs there visited by people from all over the world, prized for their medicinal waters--wild hot springs by the side of the road, a place run by the city I think where men and women are in separate areas and naked, and then there's Delight's, which is more expensive and has private rooms.

China Date Farm and Ranch chinaranch.com 
Near Tecopa is a very special date farm.  It looks like another world.  There are orchards with different types of date trees, places to walk or hike, a gift shop where you can sample different types of dates, buy date shakes and special honey, look at books, and buy postcards.  Outside there are places to picnic, but some months there are these evil huge flies that bite, so be careful.  It's definitely worth a stop if you're already going to Tecopa.

Jewelry & Mineral of Las Vegas 410 E Sahara jewelryandmineraloflv.com 
One of the weirdest stores I've ever been to, this jewelry and mineral shop is huge and has fossils, crystals, jewelry, beads, art.  Some areas of the store seem neglected and things are falling apart and in disarray.  I went there for a hunk of amethyst for my birthday and liked what I found.



restaurants and food

pasty - Cornish Pasty 10 E. Charleston Blvd cornishpastyco.com 
Pasties are like big empanadas or calzones.  They can be stuffed with all kinds of foods.  I like all the vegetarian options here, the bread and butter, the super-rich mushroom spinach walnut soup, and the pavlova.

thai, slightly fancy - Pin Kaow 1974 N Rainbow pinkaow.com 
Some of the best Thai in town?  Well, the red curry is great.  I like it there but the lunch special comes with a soup that usually has meat in it and an eggroll that has meat in it...you can get salad instead but I wish it wasn't like that.

thai, youthful and relaxed - Jackie Bee 6250 W Charleston 
This one is cheaper and gets a lot of students from the community college across the street.  There are games you can check out and play, and sometimes anime is on the tv.

papusas - Salvadoreno 720 N Main
This is our favorite restaurant, partially because the pupusas are around two dollars each so you can get full for about four dollars.

japanese curry - Curry Zen 5020 Spring Mountain http://www.curryzen.com 
This Japanese curry is good and you can get it vegetarian.  You can customize your spiciness level and get extra spinach or extra rice...

Yama Sushi 1350 E Flamingo Rd #18 
It's fun to order mushrooms, corn, or asparagus and cook it yourself on the grill in the middle of the table.  They bring you small bowls of sides, which are free--seaweed salad, fishcake, marinated cucumbers, kimchi, macaroni salad...  I love the tempura kabocha squash which is like pumpkin.  They give you sauces to dip everything in and it's just a nice experience.  Fun to go with friends and not too expensive for us since we avoid the meat.

Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant 4970 Arville St merkatolasvegas.com 
If you get the veggie combo, you'll be delighted by the many different dishes bursting with spicy flavor, and it's enough to share.  They burn incense and there are usually Ethiopian music videos playing on the tv.  The servers are nice and bring you all the injera you want.  There's honey wine, if you would like a special alcohol to drink.  It's welcoming and cozy there.  Also they are open super late, I think till 2 am.

indian - Mount Everest 3641 W Sahara http://www.everestcuisine.net 
This may be the best Indian food in town.  The lunch buffet is $13.  They always seems to have spinach, our favorite.  I think the malai kofta is more delicious at dinner ordered off the menu, but I don't know why.  The veggie samosas aren't always hot, but the veggie pakoras are great.

indian, airport view --
This Indian food is a close second, and you can watch the planes take off through huge windows.  The weekday buffet is a similar price for lunch, but if you go on the weekend I think it costs more, but with champagne included?  Very yummy, complex food.

chinese vegan - Veggie House 5115 Spring Mountain http://www.veggiehousevegas.com 
This place has delicious flavors and textures and nice veggies and great fake meat.  My favorite is the walnut shrimp, but I've loved everything I've tried.  They give you little guava candies with your check.  The jasmine tea is fragrant.  Great place.

vegan fast food - VegeWay 7790 S Jones Blvd http://vegewaylv.com 
Wow, it tastes so delicious but in that way where you know it's really not good for you.  It tastes just like fast food.  I like the burger, the curly fries, and the chicken nuggets.  All vegan!

Mr Sandwich 4626 S Maryland 
We go here for the huge bowls of delicious, nourishing vegan pho.  They also have a ton of flavors of boba drinks but they're all kind of too sweet.

popcorn - Popcorn Girl popcorngirlvegas.com 
This is special gourmet popcorn worth trying, the best popcorn I've ever had.  They give samples to help you decide.

Rainbow's End - 1100 E Sahara rainbowsendvegas.com 
This is a small natural foods grocery store when you can get special things you might need if you want to buy independent, avoiding Whole Foods or Sprouts.  They also have essential oils and body care.  They used to have a cafe too but it closed.

boba tea - Kung Fu Tea 5030 Spring Mountain kfteausa.com
This is the best boba in town, customizable with lots of options, in a hip atmosphere in Chinatown.

ice cream custard - Lov-It 505 E Oakey http://www.luvitfrozencustard.com 
You can check their website for flavors of the day before you go.  We like the Western Special with caramel sauce, hot fudge, and pecans.

Albo's Pizza--
Their carryout large one-topping special is a great deal, and they offer fresh garlic as a topping, which we get every time.  Delicious flavor and texture but they've burned the bottom so we always ask them to cook it a little less.

coffee - Madhouse 
donuts - Ronald's Donuts 4600 Spring Mountain 
International Marketplace 5000 S Decatur Blvd
Ehren Watada - Bachi Burger 470 E Windmill Ln #100 https://bachiburger.com/

first try

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Ming's learning curve

M:  I wanna txt you more.
me:  You're supposed to txt me when I'm not there, not when I am there!  Weirdo!
M:  Maybe I don't have the hang of it yet.

The sun came up while we're at the Panera in Barstow.  Going home!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

stickered pear


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

bailar

Mom gave me riches in the form of postage stamps, cash, costco gift cards, and Trader Joe's gift cards.  "I never want you to be hungry," she said.

I told her I wanted to play with the gift cards, but I didn't want to be like Scrooge McDuck counting my money.  Swimming in a swimming pool of gold.

There are Scooby Doo stamps.  Scooby is watering a flower in a flower pot with a watering can that he holds in his mouth.  He looks slightly awkward and very earnest.  Good dog.

The cd said it was a certain album, but Dad had put a bonus song at the beginning.  Mom danced as she swept the floor, making small, fancy steps.  "You look like you know what you're doing," I said.  "Did you ever dance like that?"  It was Mexican dancing.

When they lived in Santa Barbara, walking to the courthouse, seeing the colorful dancers.

"No," she said, sweeping.

I remember when my friend was a baile folklorico dancer.  He had a performance at the big haunted auditorium at Santa Maria High.  His mom was working as an admissions cashier, and I didn't have enough money to get in.

"I could cover one of my eyes and pay half," I told her.  "I could stay for just the first part."

She laughed at me, thought I was ridiculous, and paid my way.  I probably already told you about that.

merry xmas


May all your gifts be well-received!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

may peace prevail on earth


Saturday, December 22, 2018

what Ming believes

me:  Sometimes I think I've had so many ancestors, the world couldn't hold all of their dead bodies.  But I guess some were burned.
M:  This is not a night topic.
me:  And the world is really big.  Do you think my ancestors love me?
M:  Ancestors love the living.
me:  What do they do for us?
M:  They make the sun rise.  The crops grow.
me:  I don't farm.  Do my white ancestors love me?
M:  All your ancestors love you.
me:  What if they're racist?  Can my ancestors see me?
M:  Do you mean literaly?
me:  It's good that they're dead--ancestors are supposed to be dead.  That's their job...will I be an ancestor someday?
M:  Yes.
me:  Will I love the living?  What if I hate them?  Ungrateful bastards!
M:  Ancestors love the living.

Friday, December 21, 2018

happy solstice

We met a lady at a gas station minimart in Maricopa, California.  She was waiting for the bathroom.  She wore a beautiful Frida Kahlo teeshirt and has a house in Las Vegas as well as a house in Old Orcutt where her grandkids live.  She was headed to Vegas while we were headed to my homeland.  It felt funny to meet at such an under-populated place, have a small, warm conversation, and head in opposite directions.

Anyway, here we are, safe and happy.  To celebrate, here's a picture of a salad.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

the moon

We got to the motel room and I put my pink plastic water bottle on the nightstand, but somehow I bumped it, and the lid popped open as if fell. 

Water spilled a lot and kept spilling.  I asked Ming to get me a towel.  He realized the bottle itself had broken, on the bottom.  So that's sad.  I had that pink water bottle for years.

At the Thai place I admitted Christmastime is hard.  I thought I was working through it differently this year.  I thought my better attitude meant it would be easy.  I miss Dad.  I remember him.

"Do you remember him?" I asked Ming.  He said yes.

My food was very spicy but bland, which I didn't know was possible.  I sprinkled some salt on it, which helped a little.  It needed lime juice or some complex dark sauce.

The waitress was being weird and dropped stuff.  Several men were there.  "What did you get your wife for Christmas?" she asked someone.

"Whatever she bought herself," the guy said.  "I don't even get home till Christmas Eve."

The men seemed super average and boring. 

I went to the counter to pay and looked through to the kitchen.  All the cooks were serious middle aged Thai women, four of them, in hats or hairnets. 

I wanted to express love to them, to thank them, but they were in another world, in the kitchen.  As if they were ghosts--as if they wouldn't have been able to hear me.

The manager told me $19.90 and I handed him my credit card.  The waitress was asking the men about their kids.  The men seemed like they hated their lives.  Someone said he had one kid too many.

Outside, the moon was almost full.  The sky seemed so black.  The wisps of clouds and stars looked very good.  I felt like the sky was okay, with the cold wind on my face and hands. 

I wanted to hold onto that moment, paused.  But we got into the minivan.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

comfort


Our friend is visiting from New Orleans.  She is the kid of our other friend.  She runs a Catholic Worker house.  She used to run this one, for a while, with her spouse. 

Today we went to her sister's house and sat at the kitchen table, just talking for a while.  I drank peach Perrier.  Ming had a Coke.  She had three glasses of red wine. 

I asked for advice about a couple things.  We talked about money.  Family.  Personalities and getting along.

Lately I want a lot of comfort: mac and cheese, Ming's hand on my back, wearing my mom's clothes, sleep.  Warm things.

Too much to do.  But tomorrow we leave town, so I can forget about some of the responsibility, for a while.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Red



Last night we took R out for dinner for his birthday.  We went to vegan Mexican food.  He liked the chips and his chorizo breakfast burrito.  Ming got an impossible burrito and a Mexican coke.  I got a chorizo breakfast burrito that was so salty I couldn't finish it.

We talked about how he quit smoking, how I quit smoking, long ago.  Health stuff, my dad's first heart attack.

"When I quit, I was smoking half-cigarettes," I said.  "And I said, that's it.  But I still had some left, so I took the pack and put it in a drawer in my bathroom and just left it there, just in case.  But when I moved, I threw it away."

The news was playing on a tv.  "Look, the El Cid," I said.  A shut down downtown hotel had caught fire.  Fifty people were living inside, apparently.  The cop seemed disgusted with them.

"Look, there's L," R noted.  A homeless man we know was shown on screen, leaning against a cop car.

"What do you think of squatting?" R asked.

"I think it's great but I'd never have the guts to do it," I said.  R seemed satisfied with my answer.

We talked about community roles and our different perspectives on how we relate.  I said J is a mother figure to me though I make a lot of effort for her not to be.  Ming thinks it's unhealthy for me to feel like she's a mother figure, but I think it makes sense.  I was telling R how I'm a goddess worshiper and love women and go to women's groups and am a feminist.  J is only five years older than Ming, but she's 15 years older than I am.

"It's very fatherly for you to think that," R said to Ming.

We held hands and prayed.  I asked the mother of God to bless R and bless his year, to help us be good to him and support him in what he needs.

We gave him a birthday present, this candle holder he liked from Happy Earth Market with a little dreamcatcher in it.  He blew into it and dust came out, so much dust it looked like smoke.

Then we drove back to Bartlett and went to Freedom House so R could play guitar for us.  "Can I play your guitar?" he asked me, and I said why not.  We sat together in the living room with just the glow of the white Christmas lights.  I was cold, so R got a heater and a blanket.

"Any requests?" he asked.  I asked him to play Red second.  Red is my favorite.  I asked him to play the capitalism song.  "Which one's that?" he asked.  I said Sail.

So he played, and I sang along when I knew the words.  I know all the words of Red, my favorite song, and sometimes we were singing so loud, we were shouting, but still Ming slept beside me on the couch.

R went through most of his repertoire.  Oh, when he was tuning I told him a story.  He was so distracted he couldn't tune as he listened to me.

Should have taken a picture--sorry.

This morning R leaves for Mexico.  I told him to be safe.  I wonder if he'll find what he thinks he'll find, at the border.  He is brown but hopefully his passport will work.

Earlier yesterday, at Catholic Worker Christmas, I was given a Gandhi pen and some homemade prayer cards I can send to all my penpals with my address on them.  They depict and describe Ganesh and Sarasvati.  I was so moved, I hugged my secret santa G.  He let me.

Monday, December 17, 2018

a very Catholic Worker Christmas




Sunday, December 16, 2018

atc



Beautiful atc by my mail artist friend Predrag Petrovich.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

how I really feel

Last night I went to a women's group.  There was dinner then a talking circle.  I'm glad I brought the leftover black eyed peas plus spinach because dinner was chicken.  The lady had this delicious peach juice.  Peach mixed with something else maybe.

I was shocked to be given presents.  I was given a plastic box of homemade cookies, a grapefruit tangerine soap with fancy matching hand cream, and something I haven't opened yet which I think is a calendar?

These ladies, they have kids, and they were talking about all the people they buy presents for.  Coworkers, their kids' teachers, workers at the YMCA.  There are so many ways I would fail at being a mom!

Things got really emotional.  My friend was crying, and I started crying too, as she told this long beautiful story of guilt and feelings.  So many feelings.  The stuff of life!

I put some hand cream on the backs of my hands, which are so dry there are little owies on the left hand.  I felt weird that I was given this fancy stuff, like I didn't deserve it, or I should save it to give to someone else.  It was confusing.  Was I allowed to enjoy it?  As if it were too good for me.

Life is confusing.  This morning I did some writing at the Catholic Worker after we served.  J was giving some schoolkids and their chaperones a tour.  I paused in my writing, listening as she told everyone in the next room about what we do and how the street people need love and community, which we can provide a little of.

Ming is out doing the work, tabling for NDE at Happy Earth Market, handing out the new event fliers R designed and had printed up yesterday.  Advertising for the MLK Day parade next year and the Sacred Peace Walk.  He'll sell NDE teeshirts and give away stickers for donation, hand out brochures, talk to people.

All that while I stay home hiding out and being disabled.  But there are all kinds of work to do in this world.  Blogging, solstice cards, laundry.  Telling someone how I really feel. 

This morning R and I had a conversation about how we have to love our whole selves, including our shadow selves, because even if it's bad, it's okay.  It's good.  And if you sweep stuff under the rug it comes back to bite you at inopportune moments.  You gotta deal with all that.

"Look at this," H said to me in the Catholic Worker kitchen, showing me his beautiful silver watch.  "Look familiar?" he asked.  I admired it but didn't recognize it.  "It was your dad's," he said.  Turned out Ming gave it to him.  It was in with a bag for Goodwill and Ming thought H would like it better.  It looked so nice on his wrist, glowy silver.  He got a new battery put in at Walmart.

Friday, December 14, 2018

bathroom asura

"Hey, will you take a picture of the weird painting in our bathroom?  I want to blog about it," I asked Ming.

"What weird painting?" he asked.

"Oh no.  You mean I'm the only one who sees it?" I asked.


"What do you think it is?  Have we talked about this?" I asked.

"Yes.  I don't know what it is," he said.

"I think it's an asura," I said. "But why would anyone have a painting of an asura in their bathroom?"

Thursday, December 13, 2018

old mail, believing things, plentiful lizards

I was cleaning out a bag and found some old mail never replied to. Some of it had never even been opened. Oh, what a bad penpal I am. Well, it varies.

There was a letter from a political prisoner from February that I never replied to. I think he might be out, though. I'm trying to figure it out.

I just want to stay home and email people and sort things and relax. But I get the feeling life is slipping away from me. As if life were happening elsewhere.

Ming comes and goes, while I stay home. Last night I got lonely as he went to a chorus thing with community and I was on my own for the second evening in a row.

I write in my journal, add to a list, marvel as my desk grows more unacceptably covered in papers. A penpal from Australia sent me a tiny packet of vegemite, herbal tea, floral washi tape wrapped around a card, a double-sided paper cat, a spiral pink paperclip, a letter. That was last year. Oops. And it's almost next year.

Was talking to Ming then another friend about belief. I've heard Eastern philosophers say not to believe anything. But it seems like it happens kind of automatically. Like you're walking down the street and you believe in the sidewalk? Or you could just be living in the moment, I guess, and feel the wind and the hear the traffic and it's an experience, without concepts.

I always used to say friendships are made of ideas, and we're constantly trying to figure out who we're talking to, imagining the other person, correctly or incorrectly. Varying degrees of incorrectly. Long distance friendships, I can be good at them, though there's nothing like a hug.

I remember when my bestie had her play produced. I traveled to watch it in Santa Barbara. Someone said to me it was nice I could reconnect with my friend. But it wasn't reconnecting--she and I have never been disconnected. Living far apart means nothing. She's my best friend for a reason.

If I go to Red Robin with Ming so he can have a free shake, then am I participating in life? I'm definitely participating in commerce. It's free with purchase! 

I was thinking more like Red Rock, to feel nature, but I'm so lazy. Would rather just sit on a boulder for a while than hike. Like a lizard soaking up sun.

I found this horney toad necklace I bought myself a long time ago, I think in a gift shop in Arizona. It was still on its paper tag and I saw it had cost $9.99. I was delighted to see it again, lost among crinkled stationery and pens and old mail. I feel close to horney toads, that they are survivors like me, and I loved them when I was a little girl. My dad would catch them. They were living under the porch in Tanglewood.

The paper tag says PLENTIFUL, which made me laugh. They are not a delicate endangered species or threatened. Like Ming's trilobites, plentiful, but the trilobites did all die. Creatures comes and go.

Well, I said I'd take a shower and go out. On the calendar this afternoon is marked "fun" so I better find some.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

two teeshirts and how yesterday's meal went

For a while I have wanted a teeshirt that says I LOVE JUNK BIRDS and then it would have a picture of a raven, crow, or grackle on it.  You know a lot of birders, they travel to other continents to glimpse a rare bird and check if off their list.  Whoopdiedoo.  I'd rather watch a grackle play any day.  Or a crow feeding its baby.  Or ravens taking everything out of a trashcan!

More recently I decided I want a teeshirt that says DON'T FUCK WITH DISABLED PEOPLE.  This is more of a joke idea because would I really wear a shirt with a f word on it?  I just feel like I'm in a situation where I'm down to zero spoons and then someone fucks with me, and I'm like, really?  I have no capability of dealing with your shit right now.

There are pots on the stove, still dirty from yesterday's meal.  The food turned out pretty good and was praised.  My friend who was sitting right next to me had four servings of black eyed peas.  He kept dishing himself a little more.  "These are so good," he said.  Ming got him a plastic container so he could take some home.  We roasted four delicata squash and I'm very grateful to Ming for all that chopping.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

alien

Last night Ming and I were lying in bed talking.  I was telling him I'm excited to stay a night at the goddess temple.

"Yeah, remember that time we went for a walk in the desert and saw the Tall White?" I asked.

"What?" he asked.

"You know," I said.  "The alien!"

"When?" he asked.

"Well, we left he guesthouse and were walking toward the temple, that back way, and there was a Tall White jogging!  Why would anyone be on that road?" I asked.

"How do you know he was a Tall White?" Ming asked.

"Well, he was white!  He was kind of tall.  Not really that tall.  He was a short Tall White," I said.

"That sounds like a cup of coffee," Ming said.

Monday, December 10, 2018

prisoner, birthday meal, therapists

There's a prisoner who wrote to the Catholic Worker asking for help.  He's imprisoned in Reno but will be released in Las Vegas and was looking for a church that would accept him despite his past mistakes.  So he wanted a list of all the Christian churches in Las Vegas.  Well, there are a whole lot.  So I gave him a partial list.  Also he needs a lawyer to help him because he got a bad knee replacement.

Anyway, today another letter came from him.  He was thanking me for all I've done for him and asked me if I was a nun.  It was so nice I almost cried.  No one ever asked me if I was a nun before.

Also he wants a calendar.  Usually my friend G accumulates free calendars so I will ask him.

Tomorrow I cook a big birthday meal.  Luckily I don't have to bake the cake.  I'm making black-eyed peas, rice, spinach salad, and roasted delicata squash.  Ming chops veg for me.  It's all vegan.

Today at therapy I talked so much.  I told about all my realizations and struggles and feelings and decisions.  It was great.  I talked about my issues with money.  I talked about Ming's happiness.  I feel so lucky I get free therapy.

I remember years ago when I was searching for a therapist who takes my insurance.  I called tons of therapists, left messages, asked questions.  This one therapist said no, she would not see me, when I mentioned I hear voices.  I remember that hurt my feelings.

My current therapist, she is so nice.  She can handle anything I throw at her.  She takes everything in stride.  She asks clarifying questions and is super validating and understanding.  She is smart and has tools in her toolbox but very humble about it and stays out of the way.  There's no deep love between us like I felt with my previous therapist.  But it's cozy and feels healthy and comforting and helpful.

Whoever invented therapy was a smarty pants.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

germ cake

Either I'm having an allergy attack or I caught a cold on top of my cold, which is a party foul.  Yesterday I overdid it.  Lately I'm feeling pretty disabled.  I have very few spoons!  I'm able to do about two difficult things per day, realistically.  And yesterday I did about five difficult things, so I was like, you gotta be kidding me.  I was negative spoons.

So last night I was sleeping and my mind was torturing me, and it was really bad.  I asked Ming to comfort me, which helped.  He said encouraging things and touched my shoulders.

If I'm sick that's a problem because I'm supposed to cook a big meal on Tuesday for community lunch and someone's birthday.  I can't even think what to make.  But nobody wants germ soup.  At least I'm not baking the cake.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

danger

Yesterday Ming went to Dollar General without me to buy a gift card for a Christmas present.  He was standing in line when a man told him not to get too close to him.

"Was he crazy? or angry?" I asked when Ming was telling me the story.

Everything was ok.  Ming kept his distance.  But the person behind him in line was snickering.  (Snickering is like Milky Waying but with peanuts.)

Ming cleaned out a kitchen drawer, trying to make space.  We found three Magic Bullet blender gaskets that our organization's previous leader ordered from Amazon in 2013--the packing slip receipt is with them.  They're still rubbery and gaskety.

While back I emailed the leader, who's now in San Francisco, asking if he wanted the gaskets, and he ignored my email.  So I guess he doesn't want them.

I thought the gaskets, though worth only a few dollars, might be useful to someone.  So I placed a freecycle ad to give them away.  My ad is awaiting moderation.

Also there are two replacement wires for a cheese slicer we no longer have.  I'm upset by them.  I don't want to throw them away, but we don't have a cheese slicer...  Seems stupid to buy a cheese slicer just to use the replacement wires on.  But maybe then we would spend less money on cheese?

Anyone need some replacement wires for a cheese slicer?  They're driving me nuts.

Also there's a little coffee grinder.  But we only get coffee ground and keep it in the freezer.  I'm so confused.

Also there's a small food processor.  Seems silly because the only time it's worth it to use a food processor is on a big job, in my opinion.  Maybe we should give it to Goodwill?  But I heard Goodwill treats disabled people like crap, paying them pennies.

We'll definitely give the cookie cutters to J.

Moral of the story: don't go to Dollar General, don't clean out your kitchen drawers.

Friday, December 07, 2018

what we don't have, what we have

A very nice lady brought us some homemade vegan lumpia.  Ming asked her for a recipe, originally, but she had some already made in her freezer.  We just have to deep fry them! 

I don't know how to deep fry them tho.  She didn't give any instructions.  I kind of don't like deep frying things which is partly why I don't make lumpia normally.  We have no, uh, exhaust thing on our stove.  You know the thing overhead that takes the steam away?  In fact, none of the three houses has that, here where we live. 

We don't have any bathtubs either.  Or heat besides space heaters.  It's a bit basic, around here.  But we have everything we need.

We have things other people don't have too, like a gorgeous peaceful courtyard with windchimes that tinkle in the breeze and many fat, fluffy cats who roam around like they own the place.  Great trees--mequites trees, conifers, a eucalyptus tree, a fig tree--all giving shade.  The birds who visit the trees and chirp for us and poop.

I remember when we were talking about getting a drier.  Before, we only had a washer and hung everything to dry on the line.  R was advocating for a drier.  I said in a meeting, no, we don't need one.  I liked not having a drier.  I hate drier sheets and the way they smell.  And I thought it was better for Mother Earth to line dry.

But R really wanted a drier, and I found out it was because he believes he has no time to line dry.  He hates to line dry so bad that he wouldn't even do laundry here.  He'd go to a laundromat.

So we got a drier a year ago and now barely use the line.  I asked that we not use drier sheets.  But someone put this thing in the drier that is like a drier sheet, stuck to the inside of the drier.  By now it's used up.

Well, Ming is home from serving the hungry.  I think it stopped raining.  I need to run a couple errands.  I rejoined Postcrossing so I need some postcards and to pick up some pills.  Also that special kind of vegan cheese sauce for this chili mac recipe I wanna make.

Beautiful wishes to you for a good day and love all around.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

doctor trauma

Yesterday, doctor trauma.  Not fitting in the chair I had to sit in to get my picture taken, pain in my legs as I was squoze.  Stepping on the scale: "whenever you're ready!" 

The doctor's idiocy about my cough.  "You know, it's the season for coughs!  Things are going around!  The cold weather."  I kept telling him I've had it since summer.  "I haven't heard you cough yet," he said.

I told him how I'm afraid of the sleep study, and he's telling me there's nothing to be afraid of.  Complete dismissal of my terror, as if he doesn't know what terror is or doesn't believe I could feel it.  No problem solving whatsoever, just a "there, there."  Don't feel the way you feel.  There's no reason for it.

I wanted to be like, "See on my chart where it says anxiety?"  Another doctor confirmed it--I have feelings that can wreck my life.  If you don't believe me, maybe you could believe the other doctor?

So he ordered an x-ray for my toe and a pill for my tongue, a blood test for the clotting disorder I might have inherited from Dad, and then he left nervously, unhappily, without saying goodbye or more handshakes, sending in the nurse to explain to me what to do next.

When he left, I started to cry.  I didn't want to touch my eyes because I thought I had germs on my hands, from being at the doctors, from touching things.  Ming gave me a tissue.  I didn't want to cry in front of the nurse. 

"Is everything okay?" the nurse asked when she saw I was crying, amused.  I assured her everything was okay.  In the parking lot I sobbed, so frustrated, and txted my mom.  Ming gives the new doc a C+.

What if I'll never be ready?  He said my ankles swell, more in summer, just because I'm fat.  He says if I do have sleep apnea, it could go away if I lost a lot of weight.  "That doesn't happen right away," he said.

Last time I was in the hospital, when an urgentcare doc sent me to ER afraid I was having a stroke, I was in the back, soon to be released, shaking with fear.  "I notice you're shaking," the doc said.  "Why is that?"

I told her I was afraid of doctors.  "Is there anything I can do to help you not be afraid?" she asked. 

I told her no.  Driving home, flipping through my paperwork, I saw all I'd been prescribed--there was an anxiety med I could take just for going to the doctor.  I cried then too.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

freedom

I want to make this vegan chili mac recipe someone posted on facebook.  I need a specific kind of vegan cheese spread.  Oh and some pretend meat.

Today I expect very little of myself.  I have to go to the doctor, and that's my thing for the day.  Doctors scare me a lot, especially new ones.  I know rationally that if he's no good, I just won't go back.  And I'll have Ming with me to protect me.  But the fear is in my body.

I got this big box of fancy Christmas cards--someone gave them to me at a party.  They have iridescent glitter, little bows made of ribbon, tiny plastic jewels.  Three-dimensional elements.  The snowman's scarf is made of blue actual fabric.  The glitter comes off, though, which I feel bad about.  Don't want to afflict people with rogue glitter.

Tomorrow my friend is doing a free flower essences treatment on me.  She speaks little English and I speak little Spanish.  She's asking me all these questions over facebook messenger about my temperament and attitudes using google translate.  It's great.  She does acupuncture and reiki as well.  She is a warm and energetic young woman, full of laughter and hugs.

This new guy moved into the back house, but then he vanished.  We think he went back to his homeless home under a bridge.  But today he has a medical appointment Ming is supposed to bring him to.  We'll see if he reappears.  Some people need their freedom.

yes, I know how to say no. I worry about climate change and environmental destruction but I feel pretty good about my own personal future. I feel curious about my future but not scared. laziness, I have lots of ideas but not the energy to do the actions. I could think and plan all day but my body doesn't want to move. when I get sad, I usually have a reason, some challenges in relationships. no, I don't feel much guilt. I do volunteer work caring for others, but I spend all day doing self-care also. the thought of defeat does not overwhelm me--my problem is figuring out what I really want. I try to think of a goal or dream and can have trouble doing that. no, my thoughts are pretty good.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Veggie House

I feel anxious about my medical appointments today and tomorrow.  Might just need to accept this day is lost.

I have so many tabs open, I don't know how my computer doesn't crash.

I have so many projects going.  But the people who are visiting from out of town go home today.

Last night six of us went out to Veggie House for vegan Chinese food.  I like the veggie walnut shrimp best.  Our friend W paid for the whole thing.

The hot and sour soup was too hot for me.  Everyone else slurped it down.  It was so spicy I was amazed.

The spinach salad had a great flavor, but I had to pick out the copious stemmy cilantro, putting it on Ming's plate.

The rib strips Ming ordered were confusing, couldn't tell what type of animal it was pretending to be, but they had an amazing salty flavor.

Orange chicken is kind of my idea of the most boring Chinese food, too sweet, but I tried a few nuggets.

The spicy fish was flavorful with a nice texture.  The other fish in all the brown gravy sauce with tons of veg I didn't try.

The tea was like nice flowers.

I found out two of my friends know this famous pagan author and don't like her.  There was an incident.

We talked about mishaps on different peace walks.  I lamented the time I didn't order enough pupusas.  My confession paled in comparison.

Ming is going out for a hike.  Yesterday in Beatty our friend was found guilty but got no jailtime.  Just a fine he can work off with community service and a fee he cannot.

Monday, December 03, 2018

breakfast

I made the oatmeal, which was very quick, and hardboiled a dozen eggs.  Put brown sugar and raisins into bowls.  Asked Ming to bring over the milk and almond milk.  A loaf of bread.  A stick of butter.

Last night we went to Ethiopian food.  We got veggie combos to share.  We talked about movies and ancestors.  H wouldn't eat.  I offered that we could order some meat, but he said no.

Soon everyone will leave for a day in Beatty for a trial.  I will stay here and clean up lunch.  Relax.  Do laundry.  Recover.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

our tree collard


Saturday, December 01, 2018

vegan lumpia