Saturday, July 31, 2010

This is what I journal like

Just for fun/follow-up to Heather's guest post on journaling. And the grain disguises my actual words, ooh, how clever of me.

And a motorist whom I photographed because there is Pez in his backpack, for a no-reason bonus:

What do the pages of your journal look like?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Things that are making me happy

homemade birthday cake.

listening to my Belle-made mix while I walk The Puppy and drive to/from class.

short bangs.

discovering awesome blogs.

truly excellent customer service. [see chinacherie on Etsy and the Lomography store]

electric kettles.

wearing a big tulle petticoat out.

spy movies [hem, Salt was good].

finger paint.

moments when I can see a sharp now-then contrast in the way I deal with stress and other negative emotions.

anticipating swimming in the ocean.



Even though that evil voice in my head – which is, not coincidentally, male and hisses like Hanibal Lecter – is telling me this [falling prey to the beauty myth] makes me a bad feminist, it simply means that I, like most women and some men, can still succumb to society’s false paradigm that beauty and worth are correlated. It reminded me how invaluable feminism’s campaign for real beauty standards is because I never want another woman to feel the way I did during that shoot.
It was also a reminder that, even if people are calling me a role model, or perhaps especially so, I’m still very much in the process of birthing myself into the woman I want to be and stripping away the layers of myself that have been torn and scarred by sexism and oppression and personal pain. It’s an excruciating process at times, but a necessary one.
In this case, I’m vowing to do some reading on feminism and body image – suggestions in the comments appreciated! – and feed and exercise my body in a manner so that it’s healthier, if not smaller. I’m going to consciously banish that creepy, self-hating voice from my head and ask myself each time I want to succumb to it’s lull if I would say to a fellow woman such awful things.
After all, it wouldn’t do the movement any good if I or anyone else waits to do radical social justice work until we’re “feminist enough,” unblemished, for public consumption. I don’t believe my sisters will be put off by my scars and scrapes but instead will see them and be more able to see, accept, and heal their own.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Swimming days are coming

I'm housesitting this week and finishing up my philosophy class. The final's tomorrow, but I think it's non-cumulative. Yay. Yay.

As per usual, The Puppy who comes along with the house (she's not a puppy anymore, but she still acts like one) is a bit of a trial for my nerves and temper in these concentrated doses. I'm trying to remind myself that taking care of her is, in the moments when I'm with her, the only thing I need to concentrate on. Trying to be present and viewing the time and energy I spend on her as time and energy spent for me, à la Thich Nhat Hanh.

I was feeling sluggish this afternoon. I took a nap and then walked back to my house (perfect sunsetting sky, perfect sunsetting air) for dinner, which was a nice salad. Did twenty minutes or so of yoga, and then cut up some strawberries to have with yogurt. And a bunch of water. And I feel much better now.

This house has a really marvelous view from the living room. We're up on a hill, big picture windows, the neighborhood all lit up until the line of the ocean. That's where I'm sitting now. Puppy's gnawing on a piece of something that used to be alive. I'm typing to you. Domestic bliss.

(That is how Puppy watches me when I leave the house. My mom said, "Ohh, that's so cute!" My dad said, "I don't think it's that cute. She looks like a teddy bear." ?)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"An art, like everything else."

Dear history, thanks for the lulz

"In the late ninth century, the monks at Conques, having no special remains of their own, stole the body of a young female martyr from a rival neighboring monastery."
– my art history textbook
That is all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guest Post: Journal

This post comes to us from another very old blogger friend, Heather of Grab Shell Dude.  I love her blog because I love the way she thinks and writes, and her blog is a perfect window into her head.


I go back and read through my old journals sometimes. There is a big shelf of them, in random assortments: one with Winnie the Pooh on the front, and in it the markings of a gel pen from junior high. One with Peter Rabbit that I'm pretty sure I picked up on vacation along with some colored pencils. My first journal, the spine falling apart, filled with my parent's writing and pages of crayon scribbles. There is the journal with no lines and thick, wonderful paper that I wrote on with a calligraphy pen. There are even computer printouts when I decided I would try journaling with a word processor.

Now, I'm slowly working my way through an ordinary, black, lined book, with nothing on the cover. I've written mostly in ballpoint in this one, though my handwriting experiments have been quite extreme: alternating between cursive and print, between neat large letters and tiny curly, and, sometimes, between scribbles and even faster scribbles. I still haven't chosen between cursive and print, though usually my print shows up more. (My normal handwriting hasn't changed, sadly, since sixth grade. I know. I have the journal to prove it.)

For a while, I wrote occasionally. Then I wrote about once a week. Then I was inspired to write everyday. I've done it for around two years now. Sometimes in the evening, but lately, I mostly journal in the morning, when I'm not so tried and I can get some hindsight on the previous day.

Everyday? Really? To some people, this would be a huge, daunting task. For some, they would stare at the blank page and have nothing to write about, or, they would think, nothing interesting.
But I have never come up with a loss of things to write. Sure, there has been the occasion day where I wrote, "Non-eventful." But those have happened very rarely. More common are entries of multiple paragraphs, day after day. What do I have to write about, anyway?

Life, of course. How I feel. What I do. The people around me. My goals and dreams. My struggles. Those secret things that only my journal can understand. Sometimes it's the dark doldrums of discouragement, but most of the time, I try to instead write positively: I can't ignore the hard things of life, but I can see what I am learning from them. I can be honest, and honesty usually leads me to the conclusion that I have been given a lot and that I'm getting better at this whole living thing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Read in June 2010 (part two)

9. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
Sentence by sentence, the prose isn't exactly my taste, but it builds a good story. I definitely had to wrestle with the main character and the ending, just to decide...what I thought of her.

10. Black and White Photography [Manifest Visions], ed. by James Luciana
Not really an aesthetic that interest me or speaks to me. A bit too...theatrical? There were some gems in there, though.

11. 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, by Susan Albers
This book could have been called 50 Healthy Coping Mechanisms or 50 Healthy Ways to Soothe  Yourself. While it's aimed at addressing emotional eating, the destressing/soothing techniques they present are quite universally applicable

12. Charles Sheeler: The Photographs, ed. by Theodore E. Stebbins
What a wonderfully spare aesthetic he has. One of the old master photographers.

13. A Geisha's Journey: My Life as a Kyoto Apprentice, by Naoyuki Ogino
Brief, interesting, and pretty to look at. [Photographs + interviews with the geisha in question.] For a while back in high school, I used to read everything geisha that I could get my hands on. Old habits die hard, I guess. :)

14. Photographs: Annie Leibovitz, 1970-1990, by Annie Leibovitz
She's so flippin' talented; her pictures just light the inside of my head up. In some of her pictures, you just KNOW that she's captured more of her subjects than they meant to show of themselves. Just brilliant. You gotta check out her book Women too.

15. Adam: God's Beloved, by Henri Nouwen
I love this writer, but this one didn't communicate that much to me. Possibly because he died before it was completely through the publishing process? Anyways, it's about the author's time (he's a theologian) living in a community for mentally disabled people. The main thing I took from it is the idea that because God's love for us depends on nothing, we are freed to simply and peacefully be.

Crocodiles cry for the love of the crowd

It's never felt so urgent to be creating and listening so much of the time. Or so natural. It's a summer of reflection for me. Quiet. Mostly reading and looking.

Ideas: you keep them, they grow leaves, they are existing on light and air.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Things that are making me happy

the macarena.

my mom said, "you were made for the time when people went grocery shopping every day."

one of my friends told me that sometimes when a really insistent guy gives her his phone to put her number in, she uses it to text a donation to Haiti instead.

Susan calling me Tangerine Mama.

Q made up the term "sister-out-law"  for me to use for my sister's husband's sister. I luff it. much catchier than "my sister's husband's sister" or "my sister's sister-in-law" or "my sister-in-law-in-law."

watching video tutorials by even-voiced makeup artists at bedtime. good speaking + the fact that I don't care what they're talking about puts me in a TRANCE. bedtime perfect.

freeway singing.


writing letters during lecture.

my new camera. so, so much.

having the cousin of my first roomie come stay with us while she visited San Francisco.

when you come in from the cold and wash your hands, and you keep your hands under the running water even after they're clean because the hot water feels so good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


At the northern end of my beach, tucked in a little cove between some cliffs, near a posh seafood restaurant with a view to kill for...

There was once a palatial indoor swimming complex. It was built around the turn of the nineteenth century, back when swimming pools were actually for bathing (i.e. getting clean). At the time, it was the largest swimming pool in the world. It was fed with saltwater, I think, and you had to wear a woolen bathing suit.


It burned down in '66. Pieces of it still remain. I'm not sure what they used to be; it's hard for me to see how to superimpose what used to be over what's left. It now belongs to spiders, ducks, and seagulls.



One time last year when I was clambering around them, I met an old man who told me that during the Summer of Love ('69), he used to come to these ruins sometimes to get some quiet, to get away from the streets.

Here's a Flickr group with more pictures, since I don't have any showing the whole thing.

Read in June 2010 (part one)

Super late, because the list was so long it intimidated me every time I looked at it...

1. As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial, by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan
What are you supposed to take from this book? A conviction to become an eco-terrorist? No, seriously. It does make the good point that most environmental problems are caused not by people taking showers that last too long, but by corporations.

2. He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, by Jessica Valenti
Pretty light in tone and structure. A good primer on those itching day-to-day sexisms that you aren't supposed to take issue with.

3. Feminist Perspectives on Eating Disorders, ed. by Patricia Fallon, Melanie A. Katzman, and Susan C. Wooley
BRILLIANT interdisciplinary anthology. It's no secret that my own framework for understanding eating disorders is heavily influenced by feminism, and if you're curious why or what that means, this is an excellent and engaging work. It does get off to a somewhat slow start, and there are one or two chapters that are very dense and academic.

4. Model: A Memoir, by Cheryl Diamond
Entertaining, doesn't take itself too seriously. She seems like a likable and unique person, and narrates through eyes clear enough to be amused/surprised/etc. by her industry.

5. Revolutionary Letters, by Diane di Prima
This is originally from the seventies, with letters (poems) added on up into the noughties, so it gets to talk about The Man without the phrase being historically flavored. I find that pretty amazing. There's also some dated stuff about sticking it to said Man by doing drugs, but most of it, even if you don't agree with all of the ideas, kind of put my brain on fire. In the good way.

6. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
Feminist classic, of course. I highly recommend it for her ideas about art and creation, fiction specifically. Though she's quite earnest, she has some lovely humor too.

7. The Reason for God, by Timothy Keller
Highly logical, and maintains a respectful, fair tone throughout. A good intellectual apologetic.

8. The Business of Fancydancing: Stories and Poems, by Sherman Alexie
I actually liked this better than The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Poems and short prose-poem pieces. Captivating.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ache and gray

Dreary sky. I read the last 300 pages of The Ghosts of Ashbury High (Jaclyn Moriarty) sitting on my floor after lunch after class. It's a brilliant book, so good and so tangly and a bit heartbreaking, and I just read something from my astronaut sister that also made my heart hurt. Both in that vicarious sort of way. So I think now I might watch a movie down here in my room and deal with those in my head later. I have V for Vendetta, The Triplets of Belleville, and Inglourious Basterds out from the library.

Last week was exhausting. I did an inordinate amount of socializing with new people this week, even some mingling, and it took its TOLL. All cool people, mind, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm an introvert who reaches sensory overload very quickly. I climbed in the shower and turned the water on and covered my face with my hands. Take away the people pls. I thought maybe I would spend the weekend with my eyes covered up and noise-blocking headphones on, lying on my bed listening to my thoughts bounce off the fabric of the blindfold? Instead I just slurked about the house, slept, and declined all unnecessary conversation. Gotta do what you gotta do.

Some more pictures from Muir Woods:

I had a scare with my new camera the other day, the shutter wasn't firing and I thought it was broken, but it turns out it's just some wrongheaded safety mechanism to prevent double exposures which went to work because I wasn't advancing the film quite far enough after each shot. I did lose most of a roll from the beach, but I went back and retook a bunch of the shots yesterday after class.

Everything feels right when I've got my feet in the Pacific.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


[see the ask/tell box here]

How is a raven like a writing desk?
Shoot, I've already heard a really good answer to this. ["Poe wrote on both."] Um. Depending on their age, both may contain feathers? Haha. It's a stretch.

how many countries have you been to?
Four outside of the US: Germany, Switzerland, Iceland, Australia. Technically Austria and Liechtenstein too, but that was only half an hour or so and we didn't get out of the car.

what's your favorite romance in a novel?
Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth's in Persuasion.

what is your best cure(s) for unhappiness?
I like this question. I think I will give its answer a post of its own, in fact.

Will you record yourself singing a song and post it? Please?
I cracked up when I read this. (I have a very weak singing voice.) I'm really curious what prompted this request, though. Come back to the question box and tell me.

Summer under the fog [playlist]

Summer here tastes like cold chamomile. Drink up and have a lovely Tuesday.

p.s. surveysurveysurvey

Monday, July 19, 2010


I have made a survey for YOU about the content here on Eating a Tangerine. Please click on over; it'll take less than a minute and your responses will be really helpful for me.

Takk takk.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

All you have to do

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know."
- Ernest Hemingway

Read that at the head of a chapter in Writing Away and had to try to do so.

What is the truest sentence you know?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Baby deer in Muir Woods.

I have a herd of glow-in-the-dark sheep on my ceiling since seventh grade.

Koala from the Perth Zoo has lost his "I <3 Australia" vest and his arm's a bit dislocated but he's still there.

A girl in a rabbit hat playing wine glasses. Yes, of course!

Hipster tracks in the line for the bathroom.

A sculpture at my summer college that I liked.

Waking up from a delicious, too-long afternoon nap.

This wall was really high on one side. Too scary to walk out any farther with a camera in my face.

My space heater is one of my favorite non-persons.

Community college looks like my high school, basically.

I like bicycle shadows.

Long summer evenings...sometimes the fog even goes away.