Thursday, June 30, 2011


So I left the Chicago area and I thought it was for good. For indefinitely, anyway.

Nope. Eight more weeks of class (starting October). I'll rent a spare bedroom from an old lady and take three more half-semester classes. Those plus one online class plus the one joke of a class I'm taking in-person at present here in California will get me a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in German. (Finally.) (It hasn't been as long as it feels.)

Which also means that studying abroad next year in Germany is no longer in the cards. I'll find a way to get back there, though. My German is zang good right now but I'm not fluent and I want to be. I will be. Which means I'm going to have to live in Germany for a time. I'll figure out the auspices...later.

And I turned down the internship in Uganda that I told you I was taking. If I hadn't, I would currently be in the air somewhere between Amsterdam and Kampala.

I'd like a job. It's not in my control whether I get hired or not, but I'm applying to a couple each day, and I'll keep doing that either until I get hired or until my classes start.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

North Main

I always love oncoming headlights. The low angle. They make for stunning shadows and call unexpected things to your attention.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Read in April & May 2011

1. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Sweet, kind of old-fashionedly odd. Made me even happier for spring and reminded me again how very much I want to see Yorkshire.

2. The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World, by Roger Lundin
Wicked interesting; really picks up in the second half. Read for my culture theory class (anthropology).

3. Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of Favorite Stories About Jenny Linsky, by Esther Averill
I love the Jenny Linsky picture books. They're from the fifties; the illustrations and characters are so darling and she manages to feature talking cats without anthropomorhpizing them. Bless her.

4. The Hotel Cat, by Esther Averill
And apparently she wrote at least one early chapter book about the Jenny world, too

5. A Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L'Engle
Where does she get these ideas? A children's sci-fi/fantasy about love that takes place in a mitochondria? It kind of works. "Kind of" as in, I couldn't stop being aware of how deeply funky the whole book was and her characters irritate me with their flatness and their all-sound-same dialogue, but "works" as in she has interesting ideas and knows how to tell a fast and absorbing story.

6. A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L'Engle
I liked this one a little better—unicorn and Charles Wallace, time traveling, Welshness. Yay.

7. Expect Resistance: A Field Manual, by CrimethInc
Anarcho-primitivist? Doctrine told in an alternating mixture of fiction and non-fiction. I recommend reading it ready to critique it and open to having your assumptions challenged by it. Definitely engrossing. Free pdf  [here].

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ocean Beach in black and white

Four winter prints from this same roll, which I shared in this post, are one of the prizes in a virtual raffle my friend Sui is holding to benefit Red Cross disaster relief work in Japan. Go have a look! Lots of blogger art—think of it as a reward for making the $5 donation you already wanted to make. :) It lasts through July 4th.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happiness and gratitudes

• riding my bike.

• that when I fell off it yesterday, the scrapes weren't as deep as the ones from the previous notable accident.

• giving things away.

• amusing pretty dreams about friends I miss.

cooking breakfast for myself today. tofu scramble. it was actually more fun to cook than to eat...I need to work on the seasoning. note to self: peanut sauce next time. mmm...

• actually, cooking anything. the ritual of it, taking the time, paying the attention. the ballet teacher I had in eighth grade—her name was Molly Rose—i still remember this thing she said: "pulling up to the drive-through window at mcdonald's isn't sacred. taking the time to make the salad, to wash the lettuce and slice the carrots, that's sacred."

• the way supermarkets stay open super late for people like me [Anne Sexton: "haunting the black air, braver at night"].

• rereading the last Sally Lockhart book.

• going to good will to get some new clothes instead of accepting a pissy anxiety about the ones I already own that don't fit anymore.

• using the enormous voucher that southwest gave me in January for letting them switch me off an over-capacity flight.

• sake served hot.

• miso, always.

• driving to class. except for my environmental conscience, I don't mind Northern California commutes at all, not even the part where I have to leave the house by 7:15. having a commute is actually a most effective safeguard for my sanity.

• idiolect is one my favorite words; have you heard it? go know it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jeanima (June) + letter (3/15/11)

edit: Thank you, Shannon, for covering the rest of Jeanima's sponsorship fees for this month.

Hallo friends,

A new letter from Jeanima, and we need $15 [edit:] $0! to cover her sponsorship this month (you gave some extra last month). Text of the letter below, or you can click the scans to see them larger.


Dear Miss Holly Orr

Jeanima is very glad to write and greet you in God's name who gives life. How are you and your family? She and hers are well with Jesus. She succeeded in the 2nd control with 5/10. What's your favorite sport? Soccer or basketball?

Here's a verse for you: Romans 3:23.

Her mom sells rice, sugar, beans, cooking-oil... She tells you to pray for her so God can take part in all she does. She's praying for you so God can always protect you.

She wishes you a good Easter 2011!

Oh, gracious...she seems like such a gem of a girl. Wish I could meet her. Wish you could meet her.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Closing remarks on summer classes in Wisconsin

Even though there were kind of a lot of us in one room with not much privacy, my cabinmates made a cool thing happen with all of us. It makes me hopeful about the possibilities of Christian community and female community. And I learned some things about meeting people, especially about the rewards of accepting and respecting and being patient with people I don't think I can like: namely, glimpses of who and why they are, and some returned respect and goodwill.

I got to study by headlamp, which was a strange and excellent experience.

I loved the lake best.

I couldn't choose what to eat, or when; I couldn't prepare my own food; I couldn't eat alone (and I knew only one person when I came). These things freaked me out at the beginning. But I got through it.

And my anthropology class, which met in the little one-room library, was the awesome cake underneath all these toppings. I pwned some discussions, chewed over some important new brainfoods with my classmates, and got to ask my professor some personally urgent questions.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nights in the sauna with our books

The agenda:

*lazing around underneath the ceiling fan
*fanatically hunting mosquitoes around the cabin
*we also became rather fond of backrub exchanges

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Diptych in diary entries

I woke up at seven, left around 8:30...stunning snowflakes, bitter cold. My fingers numbed on the suitcase handle, inside the gloves. Trampling perfect stars, piled delicately on the sidewalk, not packed. It was astonishing. I share that and feel that I have shared my heart. I am transparent at times; the simplest poem is a list, a window. To just see and luxuriate. I am becoming more of a sensualist every week. Only the simplest things are necessary, because they are not, at all, simple — the smell of rice. the six points of a snowflake. fingers numbing on my camera and my one knee dirty from kneeling. Amen.

[Saturday January 22nd, 2011 — 11:01p]


*give very freely. human relations are not a conflict between mutually exclusive interests.
*purge my speech and writing of capitalist metaphors (e.g. invest, worth, value)
*reconsider abstraction — a rose is a rose is a rose; a snowflake is a snowflake, there is no such thing as a boyfriend, nothing stands for anything but rather only is, but not only which suggest impoverishment, an is is is, language and classifications to make things simpler but less beautiful and true? look, the snowfall. the sunlight. or both. nothing but. but so much.

[Saturday, June 18th, 2011 — 9:01p]

Sweet hands in the evening

White girls dreading each others' hair in the woods.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Empty mornings in the cabin

I did not speak to the first group of cabinmates much. They were underclassmen and knew each other already, and I am quiet with groups of new people. The fact that I dropped my first class halfway through meant I was the only one remaining in the cabin after breakfast. I slept, cleaned, and felt restless and desperately bored. The quiet and empty space and morning light pleased my eye, though. Looking at the things my cabinmates had left out on their dressers, the way their sheets wrinkled, I felt I knew them in a strange way from these small things.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Studying by the shore

I'm back in California, my friends, and I have two rolls of 35mm from Wisconsin to share. We students returned to the Chicago area on Saturday, and I took a few days there to see my friends. And that was so lovely that now I'm kind of sad that I'll be away from them until October, even though San Francisco is the city I love.

These I scanned in the living room of the apartment where I slept, which belongs to a beautiful dreamy Christian sistren. (Sistren, yes, it is a word! I was pleased.) Their place reminded me of some of the things that second-wave feminists wrote about the need for women-only spaces, about the potential of communities of women; they had realized some of that on a small scale in their apartment.

But now I'm in California, and looking towards another summer class, and I've promised to buy myself a certain amazing and expensive book [this] once I find a job. And here for the next few days, there will be Wisconsin scenes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week in photos (173-179)


174/365. Raw Great Lakes copper.

175/365. Soccer Cabinmate's rice cake snack. I was impressed.


177/365. "Guys, come help me burn the last three years of my life."

178/365. Amy.

179/365. This is a quote that doesn't mean what it used to.