dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Friday, November 15, 2019

collapse, what the self is, microfarming

Isn't it weird how I find myself doing stuff I'm not sure why.  I joined a facebook group, can't recall how--wasn't sure what it was really about.  Turns out this academic wrote a paper--all these people believe climate change will lead to widescale social collapse.  So the whole premise is--it's going to happen, definitely, so what do we do?

There's an emotional component--grief and pain.  Then the part where most people aren't facing it, or thinking the collapse can be staved off, so all the people in this group are feeling alone in some special knowledge.  Then there's what to do about it--how to move forward.

It's good they're facing reality.  I agree--collapse already started.  It seems obvious.  I don't have the same process because I never really believed the government would protect me or a lovely future was promised. 

I remember as a little girl, hearing news about a bad earthquake in Mexico--people were buried in ruble.  Emergency workers and regular people were searching for their relatives or just to save anyone.  I heard their anguished comments on the radio.

So I was eight years old or whatever, knowing that at any moment there could be a huge earthquake and I could be buried alive, and if I was lucky, people might come looking for me, trapped under bits of building, dying.  Or maybe no one would, and it could be a couple days waiting to die.

Also, there was nuclear threat, ideas of war.  Also, there was AIDS, so I thought about widescale death through illness.  My dreams are full of dystopias, the government rounding people up and putting us into camps, not knowing the rules, people being picked off, or gas chambers.  I don't remember when those dreams started, but it's been most of my life.

Anyway, you know how personality cults can be.  The particular academic who wrote the paper is deified.  It could have been me or you, a zinester anywhere, a blogger.  But no--it's a white guy who uses big words.  He's in another country.

I was on this web conference yesterday.  Two of us were in the US--everyone else was on other continents.  I can't believe it was free.  An intellectual therapist was guiding us in using archetypes to face difficult truths.  It was fun to imagine myself as archetypes and see I have strengths I usually don't realize.

I also learned that I tend to spend most of my life in one mode--I'm living in my emotions.  I can think ok--I pop into a more analytical mode, or other modes sometimes too, but emotions are where I live almost all the time.  Doing the workshop's main exercise about trying to embody these four different archetypes, I realized there's a lot in me that I usually don't use.

I'm thinking of all the benefits of meditation--one I don't hear people talk about much is that just being without the thoughts gives you a break from who you usually are.  Sitting there, silent and still, not thinking--I get a rest from Laura-Mariehood and it's like I'm no one for a while.  Well, I'm still me--maybe more me than usual.  But without the regular behaviors and impulses and patterns.  What a relief.

Earlier I was talking to Ming about who I am.  On the bipolar cocktail, sedated, was that me?  How about now, more emotional and needing different things, more reactive? 

Some people say "It's not him--it's the illness."  So maybe the schizoaffective disorder isn't me--maybe it's a disease I can blame or hope will go away, and then the real me is under there somewhere, and will suddenly emerge?

If I drink oatstraw tea and slow down, I still feel like myself, just slower and not anxious.  Is not anxious when I would have otherwise been anxious still me? 

What is me?  Is there a me at all?  Authenticity is kind of a joke, I tend to think--if a culture's authentic food comes from all over the place and India has only had harmoniums for 150 years, everyone's sharing from everywhere, and it's a modern world of everything mixed up.

Whatever me is--who knows.  I'm probably me right now.  Who else would I be.  I told Ming something about--I am whoever I am in that moment.  He said he loves me.

I've been thinking about the revolution since I was a teenager, and it's a similar concept to collapse that these intellectuals are facing now.  I was a kid who looked pretty normal I think, but inside, I was a punk rock anarchist. 

"Civilization is collapsing--let's give it a push!" has been in my mind since I was 16, and before that without those exact words.  I was making zines since I was 13, and "Bomb the mall" was in there.

Not sure I'll keep hanging out in cyberspace with these intellectuals who have cute accents and just recently realized everything's going to crap.  Who knows--life is weird.  I could meet up with one and we go start a permaculture farm in Costa Rica, where Ming and I live the rest of our days as tropical farmers of rare delicacies.  Or I could never speak to anyone again, from that group, and forget this time ever happened.

I was telling Ming how I want to garden--I love everything about it.  The self-sufficiency, the organicness, the freshness of the delicious foods, being close the nature, nurturing plants, learning about plants, spending time with plants.  I love everything about gardening except for actually gardening.  I was laughing.

He said, "What about growing chia greens?  What's that?"

I said, "It's fun.  It's easy.  It's no big deal, on the kitchen counter."

He said, "It starts with a g."

I said, "You think that counts as gardening?  Well, ok.  You're nice!" 

Then I was telling him this whole fantasy how I'm a microfarmer wearing microoveralls with a piece of microhay sticking out of my mouth.

He said I could put a micorscarecrow in there.  I said it would be easy to get a little toy and stick it on a toothpick.  There are no microcrows, but there could be fruit flies.

That reminds me of a joke I read recently. 

My chia seeds are growing a lot.  They have little leaves now and are green.  So cute.



Here's the joke.  The original I read was anti-liberal, anti-big government.  This version is slightly different, but I love it for the end.

***

A shepherd is in a remote pasture when a BMW comes toward him. The driver, a young man in an expensive suit, leans out the window and asks,”If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one of them?” 

The shepherd looks at the man, then answers, “Sure.” 

The visitor parks his car, whips out his iphone, calls up a GPS, looks at satellite photos... opens a spreadsheet, sends an email, receives a response.  Prints out a 150 page report on his miniprinter, turns to the shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1,587 sheep.”

“That is correct,” says the shepherd.  He watches the young man select an animal and put it in his car.

Then the shepherd asks: “If I can tell you what your business is, will you give me my sheep back?” 

“Ok,” answers the young man. 

“Clearly, you are a consultant,” says the shepherd. 

“That’s correct!” says the visitor. “But how did you know?” 

“Easy,” says the shepherd.  “You showed up here, although nobody wanted you to.  You got paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you know nothing about my business.  Now give me my dog back.”

Thursday, November 14, 2019

possible

Hey, guess what.  My chia seeds sprouted!  Maybe in a few days they'll be edible.  I'm glad they're alive.


Glad you're alive too.

Married life = "Can you not criticize me about olives right now?"  I'm pretty sure I never said that sentence before.

I asked Ming if he felt like I sent mixed messages.  I'll be annoyed one minute and fine the next.  It used to freak me out when others' moods could change that fast.  But now I feel more able to recover, at least.  It used to take longer for my moods to change--pain and anger would linger.  I can get things out faster now.

He said no--he's ok.  Ocd means he's super rigid about some things, but he's easygoing over all.

Feeling overwhelmed with tasks to do and like everything's jumbled together.  But progress is possible.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

reliably unreliable

I saw on facebook someone was complaining about executive dysfunction--she said she can't have a complex conversation while driving.  Also, something about not being able to watch tv while doing something requiring attention online.

I was amazed this was considered a problem.  Many people chimed in sympathetically and I was shocked.  They talked about labels for this and how to get diagnosed.  I felt like it was a weird joke or I'd slipped into another world.

I wanted to reply that I can't drive at all, let alone have a conversation while driving.  And I don't watch tv at all, let alone watch tv while doing demanding tasks online.  I thought this was a valid, regular way to be, not strange and a disability.

I wanted to tell the person that maybe modern life is expecting too much of us.

But maybe I'm so off I can't even tell what's a disability, or anything at all.  I realized my comments might be hurtful and didn't say them.  She was complaining--she was suffering about this.  What I wanted to say sounded unkind.

Maybe I'm just getting old.  When I was a kid...maybe we were allowed to do one thing at a time, more.

A few days ago, I woke up from a dream--in my dream, Ming said, "Love is mineral."

I replied, "Oh, I always thought love was animal."

In real life I think I'm an ok critical thinker, but in dream life, I'll immediately accept some pretty wild ideas.  In my dream, mineral meant like chemical--love was dopamine and oxytocin or something.  Cold chemicals--gray and gritty, stuff you could put in a little dish and measure in grams.

As for my dream-belief about love being animal--animal meant something soft and living, fleshy, of mammals and our breasts.  It was a dream thing where all that was understood in an instant.  I woke up laughing.

As for vegetable, that was an option we didn't discuss.  I like to think of love that way, though--tangled vines thickly twining in a secret garden, or cold, bare twigs in winter that burst greenly into life in spring.  Summer fruit heavy and juicy, breaking open.  Large pomegranates, weighing down a tree.

Twenty years ago when I was a teacher, I was trying to help my students learn about critical thinking.  We were talking about unreliable narrators.  Maybe that was the quarter I was teaching the novel Sula.

I asked my students--in the X-Files, just because someone says something, can you believe it?  People have personal motivations, biases, things they're hiding, things they want, and they might say whatever, or some skewed version of the truth they believe for known or unknown reasons.

I think it's strange some kids have to be taught this.  How did they get to be 18 years old and not understand advertisers, sexual predators, and anyone else who wants to use you for any purpose can say anything to try to get what they want?

Most students seemed to believe that what comes out of someone's mouth is trustworthy and straightforwardly believable.  Wow, if only I could have lived such a charmed life.

One of the X-Files mottos was Trust No One.  I think that series was kind of about unreliability--that was a fun aspect of it.  And wanting to believe.  How can you believe if you can't trust anyone.

I think the connection between Scully and Mulder was an intimacy that contrasted with the idea of trusting no one.  They had one another, at least.  So the intimacy between them was delicious as a source of comfort and better knowledge.

I want to be a reliable narrator.  I struggle with trusting myself and others.

Someone told me my heart was so open--it was a compliment.  Years ago, it was hurting me to try to figure out when to have my heart open and when to have it closed to protect myself.  I want to be real, but sometimes I close the door.

Nowadays I struggle with other stuff.  Can you believe we've lived here four and a half years?  I wonder when I'll be a real Nevadan, if ever?  Yee haw!

This is one of my favorite songs from when I was young--it's about wanting knowledge.

I want the answers quickly 
But I don't have no energy 
I hold a cup of wisdom 
But there is nothing within 
My cup, she never overfloweth 
And 'tis I that moan and groaneth

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

keep Laura-Marie weird

I had a weird day.  I always have the feeling--when my day is weird, that's a good sign that I'm on the right path.  Trying things, doing something new.

I had therapy at 10, talked meanderingly about many things, said a lot of curse words.  I like more focus and problem solving, but talking is valuable.

I wondered for a while if talking and writing were two different things, for me.  I wanted to believe no, that writing was as good as talking, that they're the same thing.  But I decided recently that that's not true--definitely, using my mouth and breath to form words, hearing them out loud, and being witnessed in real time with a present human is a whole other thing from writing.

It was weird I had an appetite for a while in the late morning and wanted a rice burrito with cheese.  But I needed the cheese melted.  I was trying to figure out how to get that.

It was weird in the grocery store, I got totally exhausted and almost had to leave Ming to pay.

It was weird how things seemed strangely funny.  Laughing at stuff other people did not laugh at.  Sweet potatoes really are funny, but I can't say why.

It was weird I was looking at this coat I wanted--it got on my amazon wishlist last January, when Las Vegas was snowy.  I could probably not need a real coat, except I serve early mornings on the soupline once a week, so when it's freezing out, I have to be in that weather.  The coat I wanted was $130, a special lovely coat with removable liner, recommended by a fat stranger.

So I was on ebay today and found it for $60.  I offered $45, and my offer was accepted, so with shipping and tax, I did pay $60.  It will be here in a few days.  The seller said she wore it twice.

I also weirdly did a ton of research on growing microgreens.  Can't recall why that suddenly seemed totally important.  I learned about substrates, soil vs hydroponic, growing microgreens on screens on trays, ph of tap water, watering times--all different ways to do it.  I love eating sunflower microgreens, but pea greens look amazing too.

Ming and I went outside to check out our south facing window.  Ming was complaining about bugs.  "This is outside--there's supposed to be bugs," I said.

I ended up taking these round groovy trays Ming has had for years, putting paper towels on one, wetting the paper towels, spreading chia seeds on them, washing a new small plastic spray bottle, spraying the seeds with water, covering the tray, and basically trying that out.



I've never tasted chia greens.  I think it only takes a few days.  I happened to have the chia seeds.  If it works and I like them, I might buy some unbleached paper towels.

But the seeds are left over from the Sacred Peace Walk, so it was easy to try.  I eat chia seeds in my oatmeal sometimes, but mostly they were just sitting there.

I used to sprout a lot, in a mason jar--I grew lentil sprouts, mung bean sprouts, garbanzo bean sprouts a few times--didn't like those as much.  I tried buckwheat sprouts--didn't like those at all.  Pea sprouts were delicious.

It was easy, like gardening but simple and not requiring much muscle.  Cheap salad, small scale, low commitment.

Then when we moved to Las Vegas, it seemed too complicated.  I guess I'm getting more functional, since it seems possible again.

Every day I'm a little more well.  I've been eating liquids for dinner--a cup of vegan protein broth, and some diluted juice.  It's working out.

Ming bought me some special popcorn today.  I can't eat it yet, but I think in a couple days, I can probably eat like regular.

Oh, the bad news is Ming feels sick.  I think he got my stomach flu.  I told him he can carry around a bag to barf in.

"I'm not going to barf in a bag!" he said.

"What are you going to barf in?" I asked.

"I'll barf behind the couch, like everyone else," he said.  Not sure what that was about.  But we agreed today to get rid of one of the couches.  We hate couches.

It was weird someone was supposed to come over to hem Ming's pants and didn't show.  So I looked up how to hem pants and decided to try it.  I don't have pins, but I decided I could use gaffer's tape, to indicate where to put the hem and hold it in place as I sew, peeling the tape back bit by bit, and that might actually work better for me.

Gaffer's tape doesn't leave a residue when you remove it.  I bought it for bookbinding, not gaffering, of course.

Oh, one last thing.  It was weird I was lying in bed, listening to "Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder.  Ming came into the bedroom and said, "Listening to that rap music, huh?"

"This is Stevie Wonder!" I said.  I told him I thought Stevie Wonder was on Sesame Street.  I think I saw him when I was a little kid.

I played Ming "Isn't She Lovely" which is from 1976.  How weirdly appropriate, as that song about the birth of a loved baby girl is from the year I was born.  "I can't believe what God has done / through us he's given life to one" has always been my favorite part.



Wow, education doesn't get better than that.

Monday, November 11, 2019

my cpap machine and the surprises of life

I heard of sleep apnea and thought I probably had it.  But I was scared to get a sleep test.  I had a medical phobia, and the overnight aspect of the test freaked me out--it seemed like being admitted to the hospital.

I was afraid of feeling trapped.  There's really a lot to fear.  I need freedom--being trapped is one of the worst feelings in the world, for me.  And in a medical situation, not being in control of my own body.  There's a lot of poking, prodding, and pain that can happen.  I had a huge fear of infections also, the special infections people get in hospitals and die from.

Well, I'm crazy--it's common for people crazy like me to have medial phobias and issues.  Fatness is a factor also--I've been treated poorly many many times.  Women diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder have some seriously reduced lifespan--I googled it, the worst of the mental health diagnosis lifespans, a reduction of 17.5 years.

I think there are a lot of reasons for that, but if you're too freaked out to go to the doctor, that might not be helpful, combined with everything else.  You know I used to say I'd rather die than go to the hospital.  Luckily I don't have alcoholism or drug addiction, and I quit smoking a long time ago.  I have Ming and many people who love me.  So maybe I won't get the worst of it.

Anyway, when I was in the hospital toward the beginning of the year, they told me I have sleep apnea.  And I partially got over my medical phobia in the hospital, so finally I was able to do a sleep study because there was a place Ming could go with me and stay there--my lovely bodyguard, asleep in the recliner.  We brought my emotional first aid kit, and that was helpful too.

The sleep test was actually worse than I thought it would be.  There's got to be a better way.  But they found the info they needed, my insurance covered things well, and then I had a cpap machine to wear every night while I slept, something I'd dreaded.

I'd heard so much bad about cpap machines, and I'm a bit claustrophobic, so that was part of the issue also--I thought, why go through that terrible testing to be prescribed a treatment I couldn't follow through with.  There was no point.

Well, imagine my surprise when...I love my cpap machine!  I had this meeting with a respiratory therapist--he was totally kind, smart, and patient, helping me find the right mask and teaching me the different things to do.  I wrote a letter to his boss saying how great he was.

Ming is the one who helps me keep track of maintenance on my machine, so I should really write a letter to Ming about how great he is.  (I love you, Ming.  Thank you.)

The first time I had the mask on me, pushing air into my mouth and nose, I was a little freaked out.  But I got used to it.

Then at home, I had some difficulties--I would fall asleep so fast, at times, that I didn't have time to get the mask on.  Or if I cough, it's confusing because I'm too sleepy to manage to take the mask off at the right times.  Or getting the straps right so it's tight enough not to leak, but not too tight.

But I really love breathing, and I had this feeling like the cpap machine was my breathing buddy, a little pet who breathed with me and helped me get the oxygen I need for my brain and for all my systems to be ok.  I had no idea I would love my cpap machine.

The feeling that it's my pet went away, and the difficulty mostly did also.  It's still bad when I need to cough, but otherwise, I wear it all the time, when I'm sleeping, and have become good at that.

I wish I didn't need the electricity, and when we went camping, that was hard to manage.  Also, there's a lot of cleaning involved.  Ming does the filters, but I'm afraid I don't stay on top of it like I should.

I didn't mean to tell you this whole story, but I did.  Here is the part I actually wanted to tell you.

One of the coolest things about having a cpap machine is how--well, when I'm cold, I always want to put the blankets over my head.  But then I couldn't breathe well, and now I know that reducing my oxygen was a bad idea since I wasn't getting enough oxygen already.

But now, since I have this machine pushing air into my mouth and nose, I can wear my cpap mask and put my head under the covers all I want.  It's actually very nice that way.  Who knew.  I can be a bundled winter person, wrapped in blankets, with this tube of air reaching into the cocoon to let me breathe.  Clever clever.

So--thank you to Ming for all the help, and to whoever invented cpap machines and the people who made them smaller and lighter so when we travel it's easier.  I can be a bundled winter person much better now.  The end.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

you have to wear pants, trauma response, valid salad

I was feeling like the crazy lady in the attic.  "Why the attic?" Ming asked.

"You don't know that story?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"Can I tell you that story?" I asked.

"Is it a bedtime story?"

"No," I said.  "But it's always bedtime for you!"

He was looking for a snack.  He was evaluating lettuce.  "Would you eat this salad?" he asked me.  I inspected salad.  We considered possibilities.

"Salad is a special thing," I said.  "It's raw--you can't cook it up.  It has certain rules.  Easy come, easy go.  It's better to have tried salad, than never to have loved at all.  You can't beat yourself up about salad."

He said he wanted to pick some leaves off our tree collard, to eat, and what to call it.

"You have to wear pants," I said.

"That's a funny name for a plant," he said.  "You have to wear pants."

"No!" I said.  "That's not its name."

"Sounds good.  It's a good name," he said.  He put on pants and went outside to pick leaves off You have to wear pants, although it's dark out.

I was telling him how it's an itchy night.  This patch of dry skin near my left elbow is itching like crazy.  "It's itching like crazy, so I'm scratching it, and I'm like--you gotta stop!  What are you accomplishing?  You're just going to make it bleed!" 

I explained how I put lotion on it.  But that was a few hours ago, and it's itching again.  "It's the story of my life!" I said.

I was seeing my mental health like itchiness.  Trauma response that's not helpful anymore.  My body is telling me a thing, and I respond the way I think I should, but my response just hurts me.  Life is confusing.

Ming put vegan thousand island dressing on some washed, ripped up tree collard leaves.  He's eating up this fresh fresh salad.  He offered me some, but my stomach is still recovering.  "It's intense, huh?  Maybe in few days," I said.

"That was really delicious," Ming said.

"Doesn't get fresher than that," I said.  He's picking more leaves, and the door open lets in that wonderful cool night air.

"You look like you overdid it this time!" I said.  He was standing by the sink, washing lots of tree collard leaves, and they looked like a pretty bouquet in his hand.

He said no, he did not overdo it.  It's perfect right now, I'm thinking--to get salad while the getting is good.

Earlier, he said something funny I can't recall.  I was giggling, and he smiled at me.  It reminded me of my whole life.  "You remind me what I like about life," I told him.

I was laughing as he shoved a bunch of salad in his mouth.  "You're like the cookie monster for salad, honey!" I said.

"Yummy," he said and wiped his mouth.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

peace labyrinth

I'm sick with stomach flu--I slept almost all day, yesterday.  I feel uncomfortable.  There's nausea and pain--both come in waves.  And I feel so discouraged and like my life is all wrong.

Guests are here this weekend for Pagan Pride, and Sunday is the baptism.  I ate some breakfast early but didn't eat anything else all day.


I took some pictures at the Catholic Worker.  The labyrinth looked so beautiful in the morning light,


I photographed our courtyard also.  You can see the peace pole.  View from the bench by the back house.

Last time I had stomach flu was at least ten years ago, camping in Yosemite.  That was bad timing.  I was ok, then suddenly barfed on the ground outside our tent.  I might have barfed another time.  But my ex barfed at least 30 times.

Maybe I'll go back to bed.  I feel lonely but really bad at being around people.  I have a toy stuffed bunny, but he's really not enough.  But at least I can't pass him a germ.

Friday, November 08, 2019

there was a crooked board


Ming showed me this really crooked board.  What the heck.  Was it free in the reject board pile?  Did it come here regular and get warped somehow in the weather?

Yesterday I did this webinar that I liked.  Not sure why I thought I would like a webinar.  In the past, I've hated them.  There were 16 of us including two facilitators.  I was unprepared for how beautiful and emotional it would be.

And it was free.  I got and gave some support, did some talking in a small group.  I signed up for the next one.

I realized we can't make enchiladas on Sunday because our friend is being baptised.  Trying to figure out how to swing it.  I can only be comfortably social for one or two hours a day.  I'm invited to the baptism, a coffee time, and then a lunch.  I guess if I can't do the lunch, I can't do it.  But I wish there was a way.  The thing is, sometimes I think I'll be ok, push myself, then pay dearly afterward.

Too much to do--not enough help.  I hold hands with myself, but it's not good enough.

So much to do, but time slips away from me.  I'm more than a month behind on the permaculture course.  I feel I need it paced for two years, not one.  I feel bad that I'm slow.  I love snails, though.


The rock workshop, I like this pic Ming took.  I love rocks.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

how to find new meaning

I got discouraged--kinda weird how some little thing can set me on a bad path, and I keep going from one sad thought to the next until I'm crying as Ming drives us home.  I was feeling so sad, like nothing I do matters, and why bother trying.

I was telling Ming some ideas that were really important to me. This article I read, how to help the world, values, building bridges, everything I believe about peace.  How if you only talk to people who are just like you, you'll never find out how to make the world better so people don't need to do the jobs that hurt others.

Ming was falling asleep.  We were in a parkinglot by a FedEx, and I didn't want to get out of the minivan.  I felt he didn't care.  I felt like I was wasting my breath.  If my own spouse didn't even care what I was saying, what was I doing.  But I know Ming has narcolepsy and can fall asleep many times.

Earlier I read this long post on facebook, some rich guy congratulating himself for decluttering his house, getting rid of five truckloads of stuff he didn't need anymore, and how the emotional work he was doing corresponded to this physical work. 

I told Ming--you know if this guy needed some products, he could buy five truckloads in a minute.  He paid an organizer to help him go through his stuff for days, and kept mentioning a game room.  What's a game room?

I was thinking how if you're rich, you can pay people to help you--support can come from more places.  The post pushed a few of my buttons.  A secure feeling is wonderful--too bad everybody can't have it.  The safety net of money. 

Then I looked at the first few comments and saw people falling over themselves praising him for speaking up about mental health!  I felt so doomed.  This is good writing about mental health?  So many people could relate to it?  Arrrg!

Today a bill was passed in Las Vegas criminalizing homelessness.  Ming and some of our friends were at City Hall to protest it.  Homeless people can be fined or get six months in jail for sleeping outside, or even sitting.  Wow, you gotta be kidding me.  I don't think they can hire someone to help them declutter their game rooms.  Maybe someone should listen to them about mental health.

I looked again at the name of the guy who wrote the post.  He's a famous actor.  I felt so hopeless.  I'm writing my heart out about this stuff.

I need to find an alternate life meaning.  My regular life meaning is helping others through intimacy--communication, connection, love, honest closeness.  But when that fails and I think reaching out is a totally pointless activity, what am I supposed to do.  It gets ugly when I think my life is a joke because intimacy is a joke.

I told Ming I already decided I need to find an alternate life meaning--that's on my to do list, hasn't happened.  Ming said he's curious to see what I find.  He seems to have a lot of faith I'll find something.  I feel thankful--I love his curiosity.

He said something about how I could care for plants or fungus instead of humans and other animals, just an example.  I imagined a life of mushroom care--sounds intriguing.  I imagined trying to help Mother Earth.  I'm not a scientist.  But maybe there's a way...  I told Ming it would be cool to have many life meanings, like ten of them.

We came home and I was lying in bed on my side, praying to ask God to help me find new meaning.  My body was filled with sorrow.  I was crying and praying, and it was hard to have faith.  Ming heard me crying and came over to comfort me.

This is a hard time.  Life is full of feelings.  I txted my friend that I was discouraged and overwhelmed.  They can go together. 

Probably I should pray in all different ways.  I'd like to go out to the desert.  Someone asked where I'd like to travel--I said the town in New Mexico where my mom's mom was born.  I want to kiss the ground there.  I'm imagining lying on my tummy out in the desert, kissing the ground, getting dust in my mouth.  I think Ming would help me get back up.

For no good reason, here are pictures of enchiladas we made, green then red.  I think Sunday we'll make some more.



Wednesday, November 06, 2019

nice typo you got there

I was wanting to eat those lovely thick fries at Red Robin, so golden and delicious, and I'd been craving a veggie burger.  I talked to Ming about veggie burger options.  It wasn't the patty itself I wanted--more the whole experience, with toasted bun and sauce.  The burger, but definitely the burger accoutrements.

Ming really likes that word--accoutrements.   I've never heard anyone say it as much as he does.  He's funny with the French origin words.  He says "souvenir" like "sylvan ear."  We laugh about it.

"How are you supposed to say it?" he asks.  I pronounce it for him.  He tries to say it right, and we laugh some more.

He also says "elltz" for "else."  Sometimes I tease him, calling him a bumpkin.  We have a good time.

Other words I associate with Ming are "lampoon" "accolades" and "aspect."  He uses those words a ton.  So now I use them sometimes, which is more than I used to.  Well, aspect is common, but not the others.

Anyway--back to my story.  We headed to Red Robin.  Ming missed our freeway exit.  I was annoyed because I was hungry. 

We got there--the host tried to seat us at a booth, but I asked for a table.  I'm kind of confused about hosts not noticing I'm really fat and wouldn't fit in a booth.  I don't get it!

Our waiter was amazing.  Quick, helpful, brought Ming extra broccoli to go with his broccoli.  Ming's a fiend for free broccoli refills.  The waiter was very easy to communicate with and understanding.  Great waiter.

A shake we ordered was supposed to come with some cookie things on it, but they were missing.  Ming asked the waiter, who quickly comprehended what Ming was asking for and brought the cookie things with extra cookie things.  We were too full to eat them, so Ming wrapped them in a napkin and we brought them home.

"Red Robin--I really like the fries," I told Ming afterward.  "I like the experience of sitting there with you, and the fries.  But also it really makes me think of late stage capitalism, fiddling while Rome burns.  Everyone distracting themselves with this comfort, as it's all falling apart--death.  So I really like it, but it's also depressing."

Ming said he knew what I meant.  We were driving home on Rancho, a favorite street of mine, this former highway street that cuts diagonally.

The tvs at Red Robin showed different sports games with subtitles.  I glanced up at a basketball game.  The subtitles were yellow.  Some of the tvs were mirror images.  I was confused how that happened--reflections in windows.  Another tv was a reflection of a reflection, so no mirror image..?

Or maybe it was just a tv.  I didn't really care.  I was with Ming, enjoying life, but a little kid was wailing to its mom, and I was getting sad.  Ming held my hand, sometimes.  I shared the part of my shake with him in the large metal cup.

A dad was with his kid at a table next to ours.  The dad was standing there and seemed really impatient.  Like he didn't like his kid and had nothing to say to him.

He made a motion I didn't understand.  It looked like someone tossing salt over their shoulder, a fast motion like that, with a wrist flick.  I wondered if he really had tossed salt over his shoulder--why would he do that?   Maybe it was a nervous tick, or a fly was there.  Who knows.

Something about his attitude toward his kid was hurting me, like he hated his kid and resented being alone with him.  I couldn't take it and closed my eyes for some seconds.  I felt how difficult it can be, to see others' pain and bad behavior.

It was just a feeling, not like the dad yelled at the kid or said something mean.  Just a feeling in the air.  Then the other people came back from the bathroom, the dad seemed relieved, and they all left.

I was just having a fantasy about moonprinting, a potential nice typo for monoprinting.

You reach up into the sky, grab the moon, and press it onto your paper.  It will leave a moonprint.  Love it, love it--roundness, dark craters, glow.  Go crazy, then.  Press the moon into everything--your shirt, your spouse's shirt, your front door, your own body.  The wall, your car, a tree out in the courtyard.  The moon shrinks more so you can press it into a cat, who yelps as the moon pushes against its soft fur.  Calm down.  Put the moon back in the sky.  Think you bothered it enough.  Leave it alone for a while, just looking at it like a regular person.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

how to heal

I made a meme.  My friend sent me a link to this zine, and it included the manifesto an anarchist wrote--I missed all that, in the summer.  But one sentence in the manifesto stood out to me--I really related to it.  It was about healing through service.

Volunteering and helping others helps the others, but it really helps the helper too.  I tell people that and don't think they believe me.  They might think they don't have time or need that energy for themselves.  But most people would really benefit from it.

So I was looking for pictures of service, and the best I could come up with was a picture of a pot of black-eyed peas about to get cooked for Food Not Bombs back when Ming and I cooked for Food Not Bombs.  Around four pounds of black-eyes peas with water in this big tamale pot.



To me, cooking a lot of beans symbolizes love and service, but I thought most people wouldn't feel that way.  So I was surprised to see that on facebook it's been viewed quite a bit.  It says right now the meme has been shared 26 times and has 2038 views.  Not bad.

Ming went to the Bagel Cafe yesterday with friends and brought home some treats for me, at my request--bagels and a slice of cheesecake.  It's pretty big so I cut it on half.  Wow, amazing!  I love that place.

Honestly, it was more than "with friends."  There's an officer at the test site.  This is the second time Ming has gone out with him.  Trying to build bridges. 

Some people find this reprehensible--how can you break bread with the enemy?  It makes total sense to me.  I like friendship, common ground, learning from all kinds of people.  I don't like his job and think the test site should not exist.  Clean it up as best you can, make inaccessible the parts that are too contaminated, and open it to the Native peoples and everyone.

But that doesn't mean I hate everyone who works there.  I want to love him and see how he got where he is.  How we can make the world better for everyone so people don't do that job?

As for me, actually sitting at a table with him--cops freak me out.  Ming says the officer came in his cop costume complete with gun--yuck!  I can't handle that too well, but I support Ming 100% in showing up. 

Also, they paid for the meal.  Your tax dollars at work, I guess.  Sorry about that, taxpayers.

Ming is the master of clocks, but we couldn't figure out how to fix this little clock I have that tells me the temperature in our house and outside in the laundry closet.  I think I'll put a little piece of tape over the time.



We went to a class at a craft store, monoprinting, but I messed up the registration, and we didn't have materials, but the teacher let us stay and learn by watching, which was great.  She was a good teacher.

Monday, November 04, 2019

plant happiness, rainbow cat, ritual day

Yesterday we went to Star nursery in the morning.  It was fun to look at plants.  Few people were there.

I asked a worker if they had lemon verbena--she said no.  I asked if they had yerba buena--she said she had never heard of it, in all her years.  I felt kind of accused, like I was making up a plant. 

"What's the common name?" she asked.

"That's the common name," I said.  "It's like a mint, but I don't think it's actually a mint.  It has stiff leaves, smells really good..."

"Is it an herb?" she asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"All the herbs are over here," she said.  I was accepting that finding yerba buena might be difficult.  Not a surprise.  I wanted to tell her how San Francisco had been called Yerba Buena long ago, but I didn't think she was interested.

Then I saw they did have lemon verbena, which was confusing because she'd said they didn't.  We chose a good looking plant of the few lemon verbenas, though I know it dies back in the winter, usually. 

We chose an upright rosemary that looked good also, and a little chard plant that was only fifty cents.



We bought some sand, to mix with tomato lady soil to make it drain better.  Sometimes it seems too dense.

I could have looked around for a long time, but we needed to get going for a brunch date with a friend.  We ate pupusas with her and had a good time talking about many things.  She's involved with the radical mental health collective, and we talked about some ideas related to that.

We'd wanted to make enchiladas again, but the timing felt different and my energy was low.  Lately I feel hungry but don't know what to eat, feel like listening to music but can't think what to listen to.  Then I choose something, but it doesn't seem right.  Some kind of restlessness combined with difficulty making decisions.  Maybe related to the changing of the seasons.

I took some pictures of rainbow in the driveway.  I try not to get too attached to these cats, but she's a cutie.



At night we finally did the ritual I'd wanted to do since October 19th.  I said some words, and we ate the special cookies.  It was about Dad and the third anniversary of his death, but also fall, changes, and friendship.  I expressed some intentions and thanks.  We burned a handmade candle that a friend had mailed me as part of a birthday package.  We had rocks given to us by another friend. 

It felt really good to mark the season and do something different in our usual space.  A moth visited and flew at my head.  I could have sat a long time in the candlelight, but I felt vulnerable.



I took melatonin, not for sleep, but I heard it can be good for the gut.  I wish my ulcer would heal.  I got really sleepy in the way I don't like, overly sleepy in a way that scares me.  I felt like crying, but not in a good way--more bewildered and overwhelmed, like a lost kid. 

So I remember now why I don't like melatonin.  I thought the dose was so low, it wouldn't do that to me.  It was half of a 5mg pill.

Then I woke up with a cramp in my calf, in pain but too weirdly sleepy to know what to do.  I stretched it eventually and it stopped.  So then I got up and wrote about the ritual.  Now I'm eating cereal with toasted almond slices.

I heard Ming coughing and thought he would get up, but he's still in bed.  Our friend volunteered to do the Catholic Worker costco shop with Ming this morning so I wouldn't have to.  I feel grateful to him.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

not malfunctiony exactly

Two dogs are barking like crazy, next door, at the neighbor house to the west.  The sick guy coughs more of the worst coughs I ever heard.  A woman yells.  Sounds like a bad night over there, but it always is.  They're reminding me how ineffectual I am.  Suffering so terrible and so near, but I'm not helping.

And they remind me how horrible life can be.  But I can't say, "At least that's not me," because it's been me. 

I was hurting a lot in my abdomen from my cycle and went to sleep to try to escape the pain, too tired to find Tylenol.  Then Ming came home from the Day of the Dead celebration, and I was having a brain difficulty, talking to him and having a dream at the same time.  It was uncomfortable.

Today was the rock workshop.  On the way there, I told Ming how I have these sensory issues that I've never talked to almost anyone about, let alone a psychiatrist.  It would never occur to me to complain about that.  I was saying how some people start screaming, but I don't scream about anything.

My whole life I've been told "don't be so sensitive," since I was little, as if I chose to be sensitive?  So I took all that and translated it to "don't let people know you're sensitive," and hiding all my reactions to everything became another thing to do.

Also, psychiatrists hear whatever and stop listening--they hear the magic words, think they got me figured out, and it's over.  Next!  They hear a huge problem and don't want to listen to other problems.

When light is painful from brightness, the wind blowing on my head feels like it's hitting me like a mean hand, I taped a cord down on my desk so it could never touch my leg again, too much sound feels like it's killing me, and all the stress that comes from the nights all my nerves are freaked out--all itchy, but no rash--like my skin is attacking me.  Taking a shower can be overwhelming because it's too much sensation, or it can help with some kind of reset other times.

Tags are removed from almost all my clothes, and I've worn my underwear and socks inside out for more than 30 years because the seams bother me.  I didn't know that was a thing, but Ming told me it's a thing.

I was telling Ming it feels weird to realize that having a high sensory sensitivity, I have something in common with some people who have autism.  I think of myself as the opposite of autistic because I thought autistic people were socially out of it, while I'm socially the opposite--overwhelmed by paying too much attention. 

I thought that was a club I'd never be near, but now I'm like oops.  I knew we were all considered crazy, but I thought I was in a totally different camp.

Ming was saying it can be like a circle--like anarchism and then it loops around until the anarchists to the far left are saying the same things about guns that the libertarians on the far right are saying.  Same with sensory stuff.  He said it was all a mental malfunction.

Then I said, "Hey hey!  Malfunction!?"  I want to love myself and minimize the pathologizing.  Yeah, it's hard work being me, but everyone has challenges.

We were at a meeting the other day--there was music playing quietly, so that was sucking the life out of me.  A space heater was on near me, and the uneven warmth was very distracting and felt like it was killing me also.  Tons of bright colors there and visual stimulation.  So there was the social exhaustion, which we were there for, then the noise problem, a warmth issue also on my skin, and the colorfulness is cheerful but hard too.

I felt like I couldn't ask them to turn off the music or heater.  Being totally not understood is really a pain--I get considered fussy, overly demanding, or whatever.  And then I need energy to ask for what I need, but if I have no energy, how am I supposed to ask.  So I suffer, but by the time we came home, I was out of my mind.  It was horrible.

I need to ask for what I need, but it's hard to speak up when what I need is considered inappropriate and unreasonable to 95% of people.  Asking for help stresses me, so how am I supposed to do that, when I can't even do the thing I'm trying to do.

Thank god for the knock off instant pot someone gave us.  I cooked some small white beans--just beans, water, and salt.  Then we added garlic tahini to the individual servings as a delicious added fatty creaminess.  I used to put butter or plant-based pretend butter, but tahini might be even more lovely.  So we had the rock workshop then ate beans together and talked.  Thank god for beans.

It was a beautiful day, and I felt safe at our picnic table.  I felt I could sit there forever, in my special chair.  It was five years since the last rock workshop.  I forgot how funny the book was.  She gave us some little rocks also, and I gave her a zine.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

confusion price, wry toast, the ofrenda completed

"Is constant confusion the price I pay for authenticity?" I asked Ming.

"I don't know," he said.  He was waiting to turn right on a red.

I told him about a certain person I knew who was never confused, a macho man who had all the answers.  It seemed like it must be nice, to have your whole life figured out and know everything.  But maybe at a deeper layer, he really didn't know much, so it was more of a performance.  That would explain why he needed all that valium.

I laughed because we were driving by the Neon Museum.  They're having a special event for a couple months--I saw two metal detectors and lots of overflow parking, security guards in bright vests, with walkie talkies.

"That laugh was at the metal detectors at the Neon Museum," I told Ming.  "Good luck with your pathetic attempts at safety.  There is no safety," I added.  "It was a wry laugh.  And not like rye toast."  I imagined rye toast, warm and buttery.

Ming helped paint this ofrenda at our friend's house a few nights over the past week.



So we went to Winchester Cultural Center last night so he could see the ofrenda finished and in place.


Ming told me a bit of the story--a farmer of corn, an attempted relocation that resulted in death.  I think it's beautiful art.

I asked about the actual women in the ofrenda.  I thought they should tell a story or carry a sign written in beautiful script saying they were victims of imperialism or something.  Yeah, the whole family died.

I was sitting in the minivan for most of an hour, feeling too much emotional pain for crowds and noise.  My window was rolled down.  I watched the sky turn purplish.  A lot of people walked by on the sidewalk toward the celebration.  I could hear some distant music from the stage.

I heard bits of the conversation of passers by.  A mom asked her kid in Spanish if he was sad.  A lady wore a pretty dress and had her face painted.  A man wore a skull mask on the back of his head.

I'm at the time in my cycle when I take things personally and feel a ton of anguish--everything hurts.  I was asking Ming how to reconcile being a valid functional ok human with this monthly suffering for no reason.  "Is this the price I pay for the sacred honor of being able to create life in my womb?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said.

"Evolution seems pretty ridiculous," I said.

The other day I was thinking how men have nipples--I think we all start out as girl babies in the womb.  So...almost all men are trans?  Does that make sense?  It made sense to me.

Friday, November 01, 2019

The Narcoleptic and the Mysterious Lady Rebel Girl at a pride party

I usually don't like parties, but it was a costume party, and I was excited.  There would be dinner.  It was to thank the people who participated in the UNLV Pride--it was their first Pride.  The radical mental health collective had a table, so I rsvped "two vegetarians."

I imagined a fancy dinner--then I imagined catered sandwiches.  The reality was pizza and some vegan tacos from Pancho's.  The tacos were amazing!

Ming dropped me off, and I walked into the room knowing no one.  It was at a meeting room at the student center.  I felt shy.  I txted my mom and tried to relax.

My costume was Mysterious Lady.  I wore this fancy dress of dark gray lace, a dollar store black lacy mask, and a black shawl someone made me years ago.  It was my first time wearing the dress, and it was comfortable.



Someone sat down at the table, and she talked to me a bit.  She seemed intense--she was tired from interviewing for accounting jobs.  I guess she's graduating.  The interviews are very long.

"What's your major?" she asked me.

"Hmm," I said.  "I had a major, long ago."  My major seemed like a very past thing and not that pertinent.  I should have answered her though, to give her the hold on who I am that she wanted, a fact about me.

But I was a Mysterious Lady after all, so it makes sense I would be evasive.  I txted Ming, "I'm feeling pretty mysterious here."

Ming arrived.  There was a brief meeting with a few powerpoint slides, thanking volunteers for helping with the event.  The radical mental health collective was acknowledged as in the house.  That was sweet.

Then the eating and karaoke started.  The first few songs people sang, I had never even heard before.  I was trying to think what I would sing, if I were going to sing a song.

First I googled on my phone "Sufjan Stevens karaoke."  There was Chicago, which was possible, or Come On!  Feel the Illinoise! which seemed too ambitious.  I considered The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us! also.

Then I thought Innocence Mission--Bright as Yellow looked ok, but not super pertinent.

Then I thought Kimya Dawson--Tire Swing is easy to sing and has amazing lyrics, but I wasn't sure.

Then I thought of the perfect karaoke song for this group--Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill.  It's queer, it's not too hard, and it has a screamy part--high energy.

When I realized there was a youtube karaoke for Rebel Girl, I felt nervous because I knew I had to sing it.  So when someone else's song was ending, I went up to the laptop and pulled that song up.



I was feeling kind of old, but singing Rebel Girl was very empowering.  Ming was nearby, and I saw a couple other people in the room who seemed transfixed, though most of the people didn't seem to be paying much attention.  I was so nervous, my voice wasn't the best, and I was dehydrated also.  But I screamed the screamy part ok, and I really liked it.

It was my first time in my life singing karaoke, and I see the appeal.  Afterward, someone at my table said she liked my song, that she had never heard it before.   Google tells me it was released 1993, my junior year of high school.  But I didn't hear it till later.



Thanks to Ming for helping me do all the things I want to do, taking pictures, and supportiveness.   You're wonderful.  I love you.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

fundraiser for disabled people in power outage areas

I'm posting this fundraiser because I thought someone with a job and everything might want to give.  Just an idea.  

Ming and I are both disabled.  I started out psychiatrically disabled, and then I had that ulcer bleed early this year, and I slowed down a lot.  Ming's narcolepsy plus OCD is a bad combination.  At this point, Ming and I don't need power to live.  I think a lot about people who do, though.

We have a friend who's psychiatrically disabled and his roommate is too.  Our friend just had a knee surgery, and he's struggling.  He and his roommate live in poverty, in a small apartment downtown, and when they get their $15 food stamps every month, they go to the dollar store to buy food.  

It's very sad, and there's no help for them to get to doctors appointments.  Normally they take the bus, but our friend can't take the bus right now because of the surgery.   He can't walk.  He asked transit for accomodation, and they told him he doesn't qualify.

It's hard to see how much help they need, and the amount we get for disability is so small, it's sad.  I get near the minimum amount because I've never been gainfully employed, and our friend and his roommate get the minimum.

A lot of people have their life set up just so, and if one thing goes wrong, everything gets thrown out of whack, and it goes from ok to dangerous.

Today I bought groceries with a credit card because I haven't been paid yet.  The debt accumulates, since our minivan's transmission died last year, and I can't figure out of it's just a number or a real problem.

Life is confusing in about a hundred ways.  I had a lot of trouble with anxiety when I was trying to sleep last night.  I asked Ming for help, but he couldn't stay awake to help me.  

I was crying and talking to myself--it's difficult because I can't sleep because I'm so anxious, but then I get anxious because I can't sleep.  I mean, not sleeping messes me up, so then I get more anxious.  

I can see why people self-medicate.  I would like to be knocked out.  I'm brewing some oatstraw tea and hoping for some relief.

thinking about wind, electricity, disability, capitalism, responsibility, and how a culture treats its most vulnerable members.



Power outages are challenging for many people, but for some, they are life-threatening. Ventilators and CPAP machines enable people to breathe. Medicines require refrigeration. Many mobility devices, medical beds, lifts, and other critical assistive devices require power. At least one disabled person, who was left to fend for himself, has already died. 

PG&E and city governments, in the midst of infrastructure that hasn’t been updated to withstand the effects of climate change, have suggested that people "plan ahead" for a power shut-off and relocate if needed, without providing funding or information on how to do so. 

The shocking lack of support by PG&E to ensure the safety of disabled people and elders inspired Power to Live - a grassroots group of disability activists and allies that is literally saving lives NOW. They are providing mutual aid and support, connecting those who need help with funding and volunteers.

Senior and Disability Action is serving as fiscal sponsor for this all-volunteer group. Please donate, and your donation, minus a very small administrative cost, will be sent directly to people who need it.

Donations options:
Venmo: stacey-milbern.
Online/credit card: bit.ly/PowerToLive
Check: send to Senior & Disability Action, 1360 Mission St #400, San Francisco CA 94103, and mark that it is for Power to Live

We will not let our people die, either from fires or from power outages. We will not let disabled people and older people be victims of climate change and corporate negligence.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

outlier: representing the weird, alien food, the optimism of eighth grade social studies

Many years ago, far far away, I knew a lady.  She lived with her girlfriend, and I knew her from school.  She wasn't exactly my friend, but I liked her.  She's a lawyer now.  We're friends on facebook.

One day, they got a phone call.  Ring ring.  This was before cell phones were even a thing.

The caller was a survey taker.  "Would you like to take a survey?" the caller asked.

"No--we don't represent anyone!" the lady said, laughing, and hung up.

I always thought that was sad.  I thought, well, you might be weird, but maybe if you're weird, you should speak up, because then people will know the weird exist, and life could become better for us.

But if they were a business, trying to find how to be more profitable by being more appealing, yeah, they would probably want to know facts about regular people.  Not many products would have the mainstream version and then the "lesbian writer in Santa Barbara who's into fashion and Marvin Mudrick" version.

Then years later I was somewhere, I can't remember where, and someone was explaining how polls and surveys work--I think it was the census: if someone said they were Mexican-American and had a Master's degree, that result was thrown out.  It was more likely for a result to be incorrect than for a Mexican-American in California to have a Master's degree.

I was like, holy crap!  I guess that lady long ago was right.  I'm such an outlier that I'd be more likely an error than who I actually am.

I don't think I ever bolded, in my blog before, but there you go.  I'm the anomaly, the highly unlikely, the data that gets tossed out.

And that's only one of the weird things about me!  I've got extreme politics, unusual religion, living in community, disability, how I spend my time, vegetarianism, not having kids, not driving...  I fill out forms that ask if I rent or own my home--the answer to that one is "no"--well, there will be a "live with family or friends" option.  But that's not right either.

I like to refer to myself as an outlier introvert--off the charts, or so extreme that that result is thrown out.

It's funny how Ming's spacial skills are off the charts, genius.  And my language skills are the same.  But my spacial skills are horrible, and he has a language-related learning disability.

I feel sorry for him when he's driving and I'm trying to understand a map to direct him.  I don't know where I am, half the time.  "Do you want to pull over and look at the map?" I've asked him a hundred times.  I praise god that he doesn't get mad at me or yell at me.

At least I know where north is, usually.  Before, I never even thought about something like that.  But we live in a valley with certain mountain ranges on certain sides, and I've gotten the hang of it.  People used to say "it's on the west side of the street" and I would feel embarrassed, having no idea which direction was west.  So I've improved.

And then when he uses wrong words and jumbles everything up, and I have no idea what he's saying, and he never writes the email he said he would because it takes him an hour to write an email, I have to be patient with that.

When does being so strange become disabling, a disability in itself?  Writing all this, I realize I should be more kind when people don't know what to make of me.  I get frustrated, but maybe being understood is too much to ask.

If someone's been eating McDonalds their whole life and an alien comes down from heaven and hands them a platter of some amazing alien food, doesn't really matter if it's the most delicious food in the universe--the human is probably going to act polite, then run away and order a Big Mac.

Comfort of the familiar, comfort with fries.  Like the crappy music that I hear when I'm out, a rehash of what's already been done, one percent different so it's a new song, but it has to be 100% comprehensible.

Someone told me long ago that one job of the government is to protect minorities.  We can't vote our way to what we want, so the government needs to consider us specially--some kind of humanitarianism.

I think this was eighth grade social studies class.  That teacher was hyping the United States and all the potential.  I appreciate his optimism, but I don't think his vision matched the way it turned out.  But he made us watch Roots and Last of the Mohicans.  He had a poster up in his classroom that said "A woman's place is in house, and in the senate too."  Thank you, Mr Briody.

Unrelatedly, this is a song I like that could be considered a Halloween song.  I like "wiping their shoulders from the earth."  But "do you know the ghost community?" is great too.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

restroom token from a train station in the Central Valley

When I was traveling by train and bus, sometimes I was at a station in the Central Valley of California.  I remember large rooms with lots of chairs for waiting.  People on their cellphones, people with luggage, adults trying to entertain bored kids, the tv screens that said when what bus or train was arriving and departing.  A weird robot voice announcing.

I was traveling alone between Sacramento and my parents' house.  I felt a little anxious, a little excited, alert, awkward, self-sufficient.  A lot of people take buses and trains by themselves, in this world.  I could get the tickets, make the connections, wait somewhere, figure out what time to be on what platform.

There was a challenge to it, but it gave me a competent feeling.  I was part of the family of humanity.  All these people all over the world could do this, and I could too.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the family of humanity.  All my feelings about belonging or lack of belonging.  How we get set apart or set ourselves apart.

But I have this little token.  It's brass and about the size of a dime.  On one side is says Restroom Token, and on the other side is says Help keep our restrooms clean.  You have to ask for a token at the window, to use the bathroom, so I asked for the token, but then I didn't need it because someone held open the door for me on their way out.

I didn't know what to do with the token and left it in my backpack.  I thought I would make that trip  a lot.  Sometimes the line for the window was long, so it might come in handy so I wouldn't have to ask.

But I think I was never in that station again.  Yesterday I emptied out my backpack to give to Ming to replace the backpack he had stolen.  My backpack isn't fancy at all--it's a student jansport, not the special kind Ming had stolen that's waterproof and has a place for your ice ax.   But he needs a backpack for dayhikes now, mundane carrying.

The bathroom token is here on my desk.  I should have left it on a chair in the station waiting room.  I had no way of knowing things would change and I wouldn't be at the station again.

The Central Valley is weird.  Tons of agriculture, lots of Mexican-American people, some Punjabi people also and white people, a very important valley for growing food, but the population seems sparse some places, and it gets really hot in the summer.  I think of pesticides, oppression, migrants, undocumentedness, the time I watched fieldworkers in a vineyard burning big papers.  Lots of poverty.

Most people traveling through that valley probably want to get from here to there.  It's a route between Sacramento and LA, not a place to linger.  So being there can feel like limbo.  An undesirable place, somewhere just to pass through.  But it's really big, so you can't close your eyes and ignore it.

It's beautiful and sacred to me.  A very special food growing place.  A land that's feeding us but spurned, somehow.  I remember long drives through the Central Valley, being bored by fields and fields.  There's a crop duster spraying pesticides.  There's a bunch of people picking something.  Looking at their cars by the field, feeling something like guilt that I haven't worked that hard in a long time.  I haven't worked that hard ever.

I have an aunt and uncle in the Central Valley who are Mexican-American.  I used to think they were strange to put up with that heat, but now I know what heat is.  And how when a place is your home, you might not want to leave.  They have a house, and their kids and grandkids are there.

I was having a fantasy about mailing this token to the station.  What a waste of 55 cents.  They must buy more tokens periodically to replace the ones that people take, or maybe they have a different system now.

Ming is eating grapes in the kitchen.  He usually gets green grapes, but these are the dark purple ones.  He washes some at the sink and stands there eating them, a breakfast component.  He says they're yummy.

"Where are those grapes from?" I asked him.

He looked at the label.  "USA."

"It doesn't say where in USA?"

"No."

Sometimes I see produce comes from my hometown.  I get excited--strawberries, veg.  It's like I'm famous, though I never worked in the fields.  But my parents did.

Monday, October 28, 2019

ideal home / homestead list

I made this list a few months ago and have added
a few things, but mostly it's the same.
Anything I'm forgetting?

Laura-Marie's ideal home / homestead list

zine library
smells good
no mold
no bugs indoors
nothing broken
no half-finished repair projects
no pets
no cactus / spiky falling hazards
accessible to very fat people
accessible to walkers, wheelchairs
no stairs
wide doors
toilets don’t plug up
composting toilet option
extra-large tub
showers with handheld showerhead
good water pressure
garden by door
herbs
veggies
fruit trees
composting
comfy sturdy places to sit
quiet
private space
also less-private space
uncluttered areas
room to dance, do yoga
high bookshelves
rather clean--cleaning help weekly
gas range and oven
solar oven
enough cabinets
spongy mats in kitchen
spongy mats in exercise area
lots of light
airflow opportunity--windows open
insulated
solar panels
laundry machines on site
clothesline
peaceful courtyard with shade
pretty
bright colors
less plastic
room for bikes indoors
water storage
project space
guest room
guest bathroom
extra fridge / freezer space
central air
good heat
multiple places to be
good place to park vehicles
well water
water filtration system
grounded outlets
reliable wifi
prayer / meditation room

What do you think? Probably you're not really surprised by any of this.

It makes me dream. I picked a few things to try.
This house needs some work--we've had handypeople come and go.

Earlier, when Ming was at a babyshower,
I looked at some job listings and thought about work,
trying to think how I might be able to do it. I made a resume.
I went into a little twilight zone for a couple hours there,
then realized I had been a bit delusional and snapped out of it.

I've done that before. Thinking of another life--
researching housing in another state,
or looking for new penpals.

I've been trying to live within my means for a long time.
But what if your means is really too small.

It's kind of cold. I guess the wind blew in a chill.
I heard in California, there's trouble with wind, electricity, fires again.