Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oh, yeah. And I'm an aunt now.

[all photos courtesy my little sister/co-aunt]


My niece landed on Tuesday. Her name is Chloe Isabella. She and I are gonna Skype soon. I'm pr'y excited for that. I'm going to try to swing a real-life meet-up with her sometime before Thanksgiving, though, because otherwise I'll have to wait until CHRISTMAS (ridiculously distant, right?).








Saturday, October 30, 2010

A picture I wouldn't have gotten

except for the fact that I had my camera clutched to my chest as I was walking, with the lens cap off and the exposure already set, so as soon as my brain registered woman panhandling in fairy wings I whipped around and TOOK IT! otherwise, I probably would have walked past and been too hesitant to walk back and get my camera out and get the shot.

this one was definitely the picture I was most anxious for while I was waiting to get the roll back from developing.

speaking of street photography: this guy's approach seems nuts to me, but it seems to work for him...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Repost, a beloved autumn poem

Today after class I went walking through this windstorm; when I stood still I could feel the sun warming the back of my legs and when I looked up I could see leaves sailing straight through the air, thirty feet above my head, because they would get whipped off their branches and never get a chance to set down. I had one of those strange pause moments, a moment of arrested glance across the street and you see a scene holding its breath for you, a linger of one second and some strange electricity in the holding-still and the indiscernible pause between picking your own foot up and putting it back down in front of you (do you know what I mean?), and it made me remember this poem.

Not working, not breathing,
the beehive sweetens and dies.
The autumn deepens, the soul
ripens and grows round;

drawn into the turning color of fruit,
cast out of the idle blossoms.
Work is long and dull in autumn,
the word is heavy.

More and more heavily, day by day,
nature weighs down the mind.
A laziness like wisdom
overshadows the mouth with silence.

Even a child, riding along,
cycling into the white shafts of light,
suddenly will look up
with a pale, clear sadness.

-Bella Akhmadulina

Monday, October 25, 2010

home last weekend / the colors of San Francisco

are green, and gray. gray is the ocean and sky, with a degree of blue depending, and green is the mild rainy winters.

I was actually kind of pleased that the weather was a bit inclement during my visit, because I was in a mood for indoorsy doings: sewing, baking, watching movies, eating good food, and just sitting around talking.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Home last weekend (farmer's market)

Last Saturday my mom and I went to THE farmer's market. I didn't know there was such a thing, but yes, there is, in the southeastern side of the city. It was a different atmosphere. The best way I can explain is with an analogy: this farmer's market is to the other farmer's markets I've been to as Buffalo Exchange is to Goodwill.

(does it get much better than being a small child with petticoats, your mom, and a bagel?)

Also there was this interesting building across the street...
I assumed it must be abandoned, but it had signs on the "front" door and a security camera!

I'm enjoying imagining that it's the headquarters of some anarchist collective.
Whose members require the freshest fruit and veg.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Zombie./Fall is a tide which is coming in

October light is the hardest for depressive brains, I have heard. I will be glad when it's over. In some ways the blue light and long nights of winter are easier than the heartbreaking fall of light we see lately here in the evening. I can't explain what it is, but you know. Other things: leaves falling like snow when the wind blows, bright skies, the first chill in the air, dry leaves chasing their way down the street. An insistent longing to be on my way, an overdose of memories. My face gets tired of moving and making expressions like normal people's do, and I worry about becoming a zombie. I grow too many realizations, and I grow afraid. I hope it will pass, and I believe it must. I find myself out on my bike late at night riding to the supermarket, except I don't need anything, so I walk laps through their aisles and test enough nail polish for all my fingers, and iTunes tells me I have listened to their album 147 times since downloading it two weeks ago.

Every time I see ginger, I feel compelled to make a little dig in it with my fingernail to release the scent.

Backyard tea. (And she is so wonderful.)

Allison took this picture of me.

I am looking forward to maybe seeing this lake frozen over in a few month.
The largest body of water I've ever seen frozen is a backyard fish pond.
(Nikki gave me $.75 for Haiti to hop the fence and go walking on it, or rather, in it.)
AH. No, not quite true. The City Pond in Reykjavik froze over while I was there.

I saw a girl gathering these red leaves in her fist. 
She had arranged them and twisted their stems together to make something like a rose.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Empty lot

In suburbs like these, you need to find the places where people aren't expected to go, because everywhere else is meant and primped to be seen...brand new or pristine, somehow lacking in personality and completely uninteresting to look at, let alone reproduce on film. You must go poking around the alleys and empty lots, wandering along the railroad tracks.

I was riding my bike back from meeting with my canon at Caribou and I rode past a squirrel with its head blown off by a car, bones flattened. My guts had been twisting with emptiness and the world's strongest green tea already. I doubled back and left my bike on the sidewalk, took out my camera and arranged the squirrel corpse within my frame, more interested in its frozen dancing body than its gorily gone head. Its tail flapping gently in the wind. When I took my face away from my camera, there was a line of SUVs waiting for me. Suburban Mom in the first one giving me a look of disgust — Why are you holding us up? Why are you taking pictures of a squirrel corpse with its head blown off and its limbs arranged dancerly in your frame? Who do you think you are, standing here? Who do you think you are?

and This One for those who do not mind gory squirrel corpses

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Read in September 2010

Mrs. Mike, by Benedict Freeman
An old novel (fifties) in an even older setting (Canada in the early 1900s). It's difficult for me to describe the tone, but the differentness of the style and mood are definitely a fifties thing. I started it looking for a cozy bedtime read with some vintage charm. Somehow it does manage to provide that despite(/but there's) a lot of pioneer-type tragedy in the life of the main character, a Mountie wife. (Only realistic given the harshness of the setting, I suppose.)

Calamity Jack, by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale
Graphic novel! By one of my favorite fantasy writers ever! And her husband! Aaand an unrelated illustrator man. Cool. The plot was a titch predictable, but the aesthetic was so awesome, and it really was fun to read.

Lord Sunday, by Garth Nix
Crazy ending. Craaazy ending. (I love Elephant so much.)

The City in Which I Love You, by Li-Young Lee
Poetry. I really liked one of his later books, but this one was just not accessible to me.

The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, by John H. Walton
Mind-blowing application of the historico-cultural hermeneutic. If you are interested in the Genesis creation account or the creation/evolution debate, you must must must read this interpretation. (We read this for my physical anthropology class.)

The Grey King, by Susan Cooper
I've already told you how much I love this series, the The  Dark is Rising sequence. Strangely, most of my bookish kindred spirits who have tried this series have given up partway through the first book. But I just adore it. The grounding in Celtic mythology, the seamless blending of the magical elements into our own world and time, the austere, almost anti-popular style...I wish I could explain it better. Anyway, I did deeply enjoy reading this one.

Monday, October 11, 2010


she took the bus north, I took the train east, and we met by Lake Michigan. I wore my heels bloody in a new pair of flats, and in the rain the dye seeped through my tights and into my skin. black velvet dyed with a very dark green.

we called some mutual friends and harassed them for directions. hunted down some department store shoes that made me taller than her. (glittery with plastic pyramid studs on the heels. classé.) sat on the floor. (favorite.) ate some tasty generic Asian food instead of the $22 American Girl dinner.

at the end of it all, after parting and walking to the train station and waiting and falling asleep on the train and walking back to my dorm, I was so, so tired and cold that I experienced a transcendent gratitude for having a place to shower, bandage my blisters, and lay my head like a fox in its hole. amen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I'm interested to know what feminism means to you, because you mention it fairly often in your posts but I'm not entirely sure what kind of feminism you believe. (It seems to me that feminism can vary widely.)

short version: I believe that many of our ideas about gender are not only wrong, but used to perpetuate inequality and oppression. and that women have gotten the shorter end of the stick in most cultures for a long long time. showing my opposition to these ways of thinking and working to eradicate them from my mind are essential to my concept of justice and my own free existence.

I know this is the complete opposite of your intention, but I think your occasional posts about body image (among many other things) have gotten me frequently (and negatively) obsessing over my own. Advice?

saaad. but moving on: clarification and deets first, advice second.

obsessing over your own body image, or over your own body? (is there a difference? I kind of do believe in meta-body image; sorry if that seems a stupid question.) what have the other factors been? what about the posts had that effect?

(The Box is not in service at present, but anonymous commenting is always enabled. or email me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I decided to just lie on my bed for a while and stare at the ceiling for a while. It seemed necessary. Ever since I read this post, I have been worried that I would be incapable of it, and positive that I needed to try it.

And in my do-nothing time, I determined that I think too far ahead and too much about doing. The end of everything is the question What to Do. What will I do? What will I do? What will I do? And when I am in the middle of doing something, my brain is besieged by thoughts of other things to do. Write that down. Check for response to that email. Text her about the anthro assignment. Remember to get that book from the library. Do I have a stamp for that postcard? They whittle away at my attention and my presence.

The other thing I realized is that I have too much of other people's voices and words in my life and head right now. They are taking up all of my space and thoughts. There are too many excuses for avoiding what's going on in my heart. There's not enough room for my own thoughts, and there's no quiet at all.

I need to make some changes. I am going to make some changes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

(my) piercings, part two

I don't have them anymore. Two small scars instead.

The piercings had been migrating since the spring at least: the posts stuck out further and the ends weren't flat against my skin anymore. I noticed at the beginning of September that I could see the metal of the back (the part that lies under and parallel to the skin) through the hole and knew it would be coming out soon.

Migrating? Essentially it's the same process as when you get a deep splinter: the body recognizes it as foreign, so it works to push it out. That doesn't always happen with this kind of piercing, but that's what my body decided to do. It could have been that they just got one bump too many. Who knows.

I intended at first to go to a piercer to see if they could do something to reverse the process. But even I could tell that one of them was almost ready to fall out, and the piercer would have charged me money for fixing or proper removal, so I just...plucked it out. The first came really easily. The second one still had some skin around it, so I tugged and cut at the back part a bit and then gave it another day to finish on its own, which it did.

You can see what they look like now/how big they are, the back part together with the top part that's visible on top of the skin when they're in. The little metal things by the acorn.

I was really, really bummed and shocked when I first realized they were coming out, even though I had noticed them migrating. I thought they'd be gone in a day or two, and seeing as they were an important part of my appearance, it would have been kind of like waking up without freckles, or with a different hair color. I would have felt disoriented and somewhat...unfamiliar. And of course, because I got them with my very beloved Ellie, who still has them on the opposite side, it would mean losing the most immediate reminder of our time together. Luckily, I did have time to prepare myself mentally for not having them, to go through a bit of grieving. Once they were finally out, I wasn't sad, since they'd been looking kind of wonky.

So they're gone, after a little over eleven months. I probably won't replace them, because it's expensive and it wouldn't be the same. I've toyed with the idea of getting two small white-ink tattoos over the spots where they were, but I kinda like the scars too.

[part one]