Tuesday, September 29, 2009


A bowl of cereal, an email from a friend, and some archived posts on another friend's blog. May all mornings be this humbling and inspiring. Today I'm relearning like a child how life keeps happening even where I am not. Thank God, I am never allowed to go too long before something pulls me back out of myself again, reminds me how to look outward.

Ich bin nicht bereit es so zu sehen
und anders zu verstehen als
dass die Wände, wenn sie näher kommen
für mich bedeuten dass ich wachse
bis ich sie sprenge, aus ihrer Enge mich befrei'

I'm not ready to see it that way
and to understand it differently than
that the walls, when they come nearer,
mean for me that I am growing
until I break them open, free myself from their narrowness

- Klee

Friday, September 25, 2009

Things that are making me happy

My neighbors appear to have moved their wireless router because I can no longer jack access their internet from my bedroom. Which means way less time on the computer, and I have to be more creative with my time. I wouldn't have made my room internet-less by choice, but it's a definite win.

A tea party with my childhood tea set. [I have some more pictures from that which I will show you.]

I'm thinking hard about returning to my old college. It's near Chicago and I did my freshman year and half of sophomore year there. It's just 2009 that I've been at home, first for some time off to sort myself out, and later taking community college classes online and working. I never thought I'd want to go back because I left on such a bad note, but the prospect is actually quite pleasing.

Excellent mix CDs from excellent people.

I cut my hair some more [stop, Holly, stop!] but it looks better now. So basically it takes me about seven weeks to give myself a haircut that I'm happy with.

The preview for next week's Project Runway has Michael Kors in it! Yay for Michael being back! Finally!

Jay McCarroll and Austin Scarlett (the designer, not my pet rat, although I love that one too). Yes, I'm watching season one again. But they're SO GREAT!
"I would just love to sort of set an example, for any dreamer, maybe not the most popular kid in school, or just anyone who's different, but who has a dream, to always stick to that dream, no matter how many times people tell you to walk a certain way, or talk a certain way, or act a certain way, dress a certain way, design a certain way. You can't listen to that, you have to be true to yourself. No matter what."
- Austin Scarlett

Gala Darling's podcast series, Love & Sequins.

Sociology of the family and anthropology and women's studies keep colliding with each other in the best ways. At times it's just like they're one big course.

Pondering getting pierced with Ellie while she's here.

I leave for Australia in seventeen days! EEPS!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On the inside of the lids of your eyes

"We could go in the morning."
"Perhaps it would be a good thing."
"No," he said. "My ghosts are not there."
(You have ghosts?)
(Of course I have ghosts.)
(What are your ghosts like?)
(They are on the inside of the lids of my eyes.)
(This is also where my ghosts reside.)
(You have ghosts?)
(Of course I have ghosts.)
(But you are a child.)
(I am not a child.)
(But you have not known love.)
(These are my ghosts, the spaces amid love.)

- from Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Friday, September 18, 2009

Things that are making me happy

Dancing and driving at the same time. Traffic jams are underrated, no?

Fake mustaches, tinsel and otherwise.


The bank teller who said "Here you go, my friend," when she gave me my receipt.

A late-morning smoothie date with a friend from high school.

Amanda made me a package! AAHH! I can't wait to meet her and it'll be so great to gad about Perth with her!

I have a major now. Anthropology! I decided this last Sunday. I was doing my anthro reading, and kept thinking, Okay, I could stop now, but not wanting to. So I just read the chapter straight through because I was enjoying it that much.

One of my coworkers called me muffin.

Mochi ice cream.

Decorating my Firefox. [Search for Firefox Personas or AnyColor.]

Online friends and meeting online friends. My dad said this one and I talk like we've known each other since we were six. [Really, we started talking in January and just met last week.]

Catching up on my letters.

Kanyegate spin-off jokes. People on the internet can be so clever.

"'Cause if you knew the truth / you'd think I was crazy! / Think I was insane / 'cause I love you / simple and plain..."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conclusion on ze summer goals

- read three plays by Shakespeare [Othello, The Winter's Tale, and Much Ado About Nothing]

- plan and save for a trip to take later this year [Australia! One month!]

- take a good portrait of a stranger with permission

- make vanilla frosting that is neither too thin nor too sweet

- read one book in another language [the German translation of The Horse and His Boy]

- buy a waterproof camera and take some pictures underwater [did so at the beach in Laguna at the beginning of August]

So the only one I didn't get to was the vanilla frosting challenge. But that was a conscious decision at the end, because I remembered that...I don't actually like frosting very much.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Poetry this year

Poetry, this year,
is pulling out the stitches to say,
Look how beautiful.
Even when I tangle them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Accent marks

From some things I was thinking while I was vacuuming

Q, thank you for being so smart, direct, and trustworthy.

Madison, thank you for being unapologetically Anilee.

Liv and Beth, thank you for your constant affirmation.

Sarah Louise, thank you for the emails.

I prize the fact that I know you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

On the topic of eating disorders

Honestly, sometimes I think I write more interesting blog posts when I stop trying to filter.

So what do I have to say?

I'm sick of the way eating disorders are portrayed. OhGodsotragic, how sad, that beautiful wasted face, "She got down to __ lbs before being hospitalized," so extreme and troubled, starving and coughing up blood alone and it's just something I'll have to fight for the rest of my life and never quite get over.

I don't mean to say that pieces of that are never true, but to generalize all of them into this extreme, tragic, scared-straight sort of story is not okay. You can read that sort of thing in novels and even memoirs, but no mental illness transforms you into a tragic heroine, and I daresay the real experience of an eating disorder is not like that for the vast majority of sufferers, not at all.

The reality is more mundane, common and pointless. It's losing dimensions of yourself so that you can't be bothered about animal rights or poetry or intense late-night storytelling with your best friends anymore. It's calling in sick to work just because you are are too insecure to leave the dorm that day. It's stupid things like spending your last three days in Iceland (Iceland!) on the computer because you too busy dieting to suck the marrow out.

No matter what sort of power it might feel like it confers, an eating disorder doesn't take you into some extreme, tragic/scary parallel universe. It just makes your life small and pointless. It worries your mind with stupid things, makes you tired and apathetic. It takes away your courage and strength and creativity and love, keeps you from living beautifully and being remarkable and making the earth shake.

An eating disorder can be physically dangerous, true, but I would venture a guess that for most struggling with one (and I am thinking of how a majority will never be underweight or ill enough to be hospitalized), the main cost is not to their health, but to their lives.

Seriously. Being really alive and having an eating disorder are mutually exclusive.

I recovered from an "official" eating disorder and I know a fair number of people who had or have had significant eating issues. That's all I'm going on. Disregard if you choose.

P.S. Even if you aren't diagnosably disordered, don't think you are immune. I am pretty freaking sure you can still sacrifice your best self to worries about food and weight.


Waffles and strawberries and tea;
it's raining and it's September


Dear Miss,
There's magic in the things that you have no clue how to say
yours, me


And Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


I have an idea, I said
Uh oh, she said
How about I stay curled up like this and you go dig me a hole that I can hibernate in?
I'll get on that, she said.


"Just the faith of an empty hand..."
The old reminder for myself these days:
Did God give you enough strength for today? Yes? And he will also give you enough for tomorrow. It's good and solid to know this.


Like Poem starts out like this:
I like the motion of hands tearing bread, especially yours
I like the way the sun sees your skin through the branches of the tree

Friday, September 11, 2009

Well, I have this new roomie

She comes from Washington; her name is Ellie; she landed on Wednesday.

One way to tell you are doing a good job is when someone in uniform arrives to tell you to get down.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Read in August

1. The Winter's Tale, by William Shakespeare
Odd, odd story. I hate to say it, but a bit too odd for me. I just don't know what to make of it. Obviously it's Shakespeare, but would I recommend it? Probably not. To be fair, it's supposedly one of the worst of his plays to read, as opposed to seeing performed.

2. Dreamland, by Sarah Dessen
It's what I expected from a Sarah Dessen: emotional, not amazing, but certainly well written and engaging. A good pick for contemporary realistic YA.

3. Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), by Justina Chen Headley
I had the feeling this was supposed to be thought-provoking, but it wasn't for me. Asian-American issue books in general don't interest me that much because the Asian-adolescent-as-minority model is so far from my reality: all my life except college, I've been in an environment where Asians constitute a majority. Patty's voice bugged me a little, too, constantly making witty puns. That said, it was still an entertaining book that felt pretty real.

4. Forest Born, by Shannon Hale
Oh! So wonderful, even better than I expected. And I expected a lot. The fourth in the beautiful Bayern series (YA fantasy). I liked it almost as much as the first in the series, The Goose Girl, which I love with all my heart. It has all the depth and adventure and gracefulness of prose that is Shannon at her best.

5. Token, by Alisa Kwitney
Graphic novel about a Jewish teenager growing up in Florida in the 1980s. A little family drama, a little boy drama. Mostly I like the main character's quirks. Not bad.

6. Women, by Annie Leibovitz
Photo book. Remarkable portraits of a remarkable array of women. I love portraits, period, but she also has a wonderful eye. Her subjects run the gamut from female miners to Manhattan socialites to anonymous teenage girls to Vegas showgirls, who are photographed in ordinary dress with their children as well as in costume.

7. Violet in Private, by Melissa Walker
Really just a resolution for the series, but it does the job pretty nicely. Grievance: what's with the stereotypical squealing, fashion-obsessed gay suitemate?

8. Der Ritt nach Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
The German translation of The Horse and His Boy. Eh, it was okay. The plot doesn't really do it for me.

9. Big Fat Manifesto, by Susan Vaught
Points to the author for writing a YA "issue book" without letting her characters become subordinate to a message. It's realistic and layered and thought-provoking.

10. Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Really delightful comedy. If you like witty back-and-forth à la Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, you will definitely enjoy this.

Delete delete delete

I'm going through my hard drive deleting some things that are irrelevant, and some things that are just ugly and painful.

Who says forgetting is bad?

I've learned what I can, and at this point going back and looking at those conversations from bad times just hurts in a completely unproductive way. Time to stop turning around.

So I delete, very gleefully.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bedtime stories

A bedtime story is not necessarily a cozy story with a happy ending. It is not necessarily a story with any ending.

But to be suitable for bedtime, a story must have a flavor you can't forget. It needs rich images, strange or beautiful. It needs to enchant you, to be something that you read before sleeping because you hope it will stain your dreams.

Also, it must be a story that can be told and listened to as well as read.

I've been working on a family of my own bedtime stories this year, as some of you know, and at the same time have had the idea of an Etsy store rattling around in my head for quite a while.

So [here's the exciting part] I'm planning to put these little stories together in a chapbook that I will list for sale online.

Watch this space for further news.


Friday, September 4, 2009


Rachel of The Creamy Middles (she's great and I think you would like her blog if you like mine) has presented me with this blogging award. My instructions are to share ten facts about myself before passing on the award.

1. I'm good at convincing myself that I dislike people when I'm actually just jealous of them. Same goes for pretending that I hate people who've really hurt me.

2. I gave my Muni transfer to a cute tourist boy this afternoon.

3. So far in my life, I have tended to get very passionate about a hobby or activity and then lose interest after a year and a half or so. (Running, ballet, cycling, Irish dance). I will give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that's just been me exploring a variety of interests, not me having commitment issues.

4. On that note, I really like change and spontaneity. If I suddenly decide one morning to give myself a haircut with kid scissors, I'll probably be happy whether it turns out well or not, just because I'll have satisfied my daily quota for novelty.

5. On my desk: laptop, Robin Hood, stamp, alarm clock, potted plant, three Icelandic stones and two 5k coins, votive candle, lamp, vase of dried lavender, poster putty, Christmas present for a friend, Nordstrom box of feathers, loose prints of pictures I took, loose prints of pictures someone else took.

6. Thing I most hate about traveling by plane: when I'm trying to sleep with my head in my arms on the tray table (it feels very natural when you've been a student for so long and so recently), and the person in front of me leans back, thereby compressing my skull between their seat back and the tray table. If they wake me in this manner, my sleep-defense rage frequently incites me to try to push their seat back upright with my head. Yes, there's your free fact: I get very ugly when people interfere with my sleep.

7. This is my fourth semester of college, and I have no major.

8. What I really want in life, logistically speaking, is to a) have my headquarters in San Francisco and b) have a job that lets me travel often, and either pays me to be creative or leaves me the time and energy to be creative on my own.

9. My favorite Disney movie is Mulan, and I have had a fat crush on Li Shang for years.

10. I used to love coffee and energy drinks, because I love being hyper, but then I realized they were also the reason I would randomly get freaked out and anxious about nothing. So now I don't drink anything more caffeinated than tea.

I am going to pass this award on to Em because she is very honest and honest people say interesting things.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Things that are making me happy

I don't know who lives here, but I like them.

Indian summer.


Velociraptor vid! I need to reread the Jurassic Park books now. [I read them when I was eight. Do I make more sense as a person now?]

The sound an instant film makes when it comes out of the camera.

Very Awesome new vocab word: squish. It's like a platonic crush. You know when you're like, MAN I wish that person were my friend? Yes, like that. No, I didn't make it up.

My anthropology and women's studies classes.

Two more rolls of film back from my Diana [I put the good ones on flickr].

Doing EoBs at work. It means I get to make everything tidy in the ledgers; it's the tail end of the billing process. Satisfying.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I love you all, Explosionism

Do you remember that time I almost ran out of things to talk about with the therapist? That time it was so muddy and Phil Keaggy sang "Here Comes the Sun" to you? How about that time I found four perfect shells on the beach where I had never found anything unbroken except sand dollars in twenty years? Four perfect shells in one day and I went clambering about the ruins of the old baths with seafoam still clinging to my feet and met an old man who told a story about the Summer of Love? That time I climbed up into your bed when I almost fell asleep with you? Because it was Sunday afternoon.

Or how about when I was so scared that I might get kicked out of my German exam, or the time we went to the dollar store in Japantown and I bought a rice bowl because I thought I was still going back to Illinois? Remember when I was stuck, dead in bed but then you texted me and I got up and when I went out there was a letter from our mutual friend to read and reread as I walked to the library before closing time. Or that Sunday, I sang "Blackbird" that day, when it was SO COLD and I had to walk home with all this coffee in my stomach enough to make me sick?

When we were driving back from the airport after midnight and I was hanging out the sun roof and accidentally let go of the directions that were written on the paper that I was holding in my hand? And the chocolate milk that exploded all over the inside of the car? It cracked me up for days afterward, the chocolate milk stains on the ceiling.