Saturday, December 31, 2011


Come talk a walk with me, amiga. It is a December afternoon in San Francisco, heading towards evening. The air is cool and soft, and when we reach the top of a hill, you'll see it's clear on the horizon, no haze as on warmer days. The trees and gardens are greener than ever, soaking up the wet of our mild winters. People are wearing their coats and scarves because they like to, but they're unlined, and it's really only fifty or fifty-five degrees. A gentle season. We'll stop by the post office to drop off these packages (belated Christmas gifts) and maybe see how the pomegranates are at the produce store across the street...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Second winter

It used to be hard for me to understand how a single being could contain both happiness and sadness. I learned that it's not a paradox.

The paradox now is doubting with faith. Or doubting faithfully.
Considering: Perth, Berlin, Munich, Sydney, Santa Fe. The next two years.
"What was it I was going to ask you?....Oh yeah. Are you a—" "Lesbian?" "No—" "Oh." "A pothead."

A couple different people have called me chill this year. I like it because it really surprises me.
Having graduated, there is a fantastic spaciousness to my life, something I would dance around in yelling "sixty years, sixty years, free free free anything I want, anywhere" but even that wouldn't really communicate to you how I feel. There is just so much time! I mean, what can't you do, with that amount of time? I've never been one to talk about "life" or "the real world" as something distinct from life-before-college-graduation, but at the moment it really does feel like the beginning of something truly mine.

I've been sick for the past week and a half, but it's pretty great to be alive/me/here.

There is no season like winter in San Francisco.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Strip mall

In January, we are all going back to Maui together: swimming in the ocean + TEN DAYS with these dears.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy

• hot lemon water

• halving the number of Tumblr blogs I follow

• a possible loan of my DREAM camera from a Flickr neighbor and acquaintance-of-a-friend (which is slightly making me freak out)

• and speaking of amazing internet folk, the gift of a Flickr pro account through 2013 from Erin and Will, jeez!

• being done with school

• waking up with the Pacific on the horizon

• my first cup of green chai, courtesy of Ellie

• possibilities and freedom

• retrospect

free Beach House tracks including my addiction "Zebra"

• our little me-sized Christmas tree

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another Thanksgiving cemetary

"My sister thinks it's so awful that I sit on the graves when I read here..."  
Noel putting some juniper, I think, in her hair  
the oldest headstone in the graveyard  
accidentally looking like a sour hipster

Monday, December 19, 2011

From "A Long Conversation"

All kinds of language fly into poetry, like it or not, or even if you’re
as we were     trying
          to keep an eye
         on the weapons on the street
     and under the street

Just here, our friend L.: bony, nerve-driven, closeted, working as a nurse when he can’t get teaching jobs. Jew from a dynasty of converts, philosopher trained as an engineer, he can’t fit in where his brilliant and privileged childhood pointed him. He too is losing patience: What is the use of studying philosophy if all that it does for you is enable you to talk with some plausibility about some abstruse questions of logic, etc . . . & if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life, if it does not make you more conscientious than any journalist in the use of the dangerous phrases such people use for their own ends?

You see, I know that it’s difficult to think well about “certainty,” “probability,” perception, etc. But it is, if possible, still more difficult to think, or try to think, really honestly about your life and other people’s lives. And thinking about these things is NOT THRILLING, but often downright nasty. And when it’s nasty then it’s MOST important.

His high-pitched voice with its darker, hoarse undertone.

At least he didn’t walk out, he stayed, long fingers drumming.

– Adrienne Rich
in Midnight Salvage

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thanksgiving was like this

first I hosted

then we drove

there were dear kittens

lovely siblings-of-my-friend

we celebrated in a big house on the prairie

(I wish I'd been thoughtful about this light, sigh)

and then some more in the suburbs

Additionally: hymns / parents / grandparents / slouching / pie crusts / hummus / tea / tea / reading aloud...

You can see my hostfriend Noel's pictures here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Read in November 2011

1. Dear Germany: Eine Amerikanerin in Deutschland, by Carol Kloeppel
"An American in Germany." Meh eh. I don't really like her voice; it has a (culturally) patronizing tone.

2. The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
Recommendations as to what recording of it to watch now, anyone?

3. Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray
Definitely froth. (Liberal USian) Feminist revenge fantasy? Some of it's kind of profound, some of it's eye-roll-inducing. On a micro level, the voice reminds me more of Meg Cabot more than of the Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Goodbye, Chicago

I don't love this city, and of course it feels better to leave than to be left, but still it's not simple leaving it.

I'm returning to San Francisco today. My home-city. Maybe for a few months, maybe for forever. I don't know — we'll see.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You / I

"do you remember the way the girls
would call out 'love you!'
conveniently leaving out the 'I'
as if they didn’t want to commit
to their own declarations."

– David Berman (via)

My thoughts as I read this:

1. I do that.

2. It does feel more comfortable and less meaningful.

3. Resolved: no longer. Subject pronouns or bust. Let words have weight; I love you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing / kiss

These are from October. My sister and her daughter. It never felt weird to say that she was expecting a baby, but thinking that she was going to be a mother did. It still surprises me when I phrase it that way to myself.

I find them fascinating in stills — it makes me notice the way they relate to each other, the faint human electricity that you find between people who are really close to each other. The force of their mutual awareness. In their attention, the opening and closing of space between them, their eyes — and they in particular have spent so long in each other's company, with one of them still mostly wordless...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happiness and gratitudes

• good memories that give me energy in the present

• my public speaking prof. told me in my assessment, "You seem quite comfortable in front of an audience," which surprised me

• the times when I'm able to take pleasure in studying

• the many, many uses of apple cider vinegar

• the odd, non-idiomatic English that I speak when I'm tired

• smirking

• fresh guided meditations

• bundled-up walks during the last hour of (cold, still-golden, deeply angled) winter sunlight

• that I get to hang out with Little Sister soon

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Food and time

I wrote on Wednesday:
I've thrown so much time away simply because I thought it wasn't mine — time when I was "supposed" to be doing other things. Why is it a rule that when you're procrastinating, you have to be numbing your brain, bouncing around from website to website or similar? It's not. It's stupid. It results in nothing worth remembering, and it's not even enjoyable.
and I wanted to elaborate on that and connect it with eating as Sui did in her comment.

In Intuitive Eating the authors mention several adolescent clients who had gotten into the habit of overeating after school because as long as they were eating, their parents didn't make them do homework. In other words, their right to nourishment was acknowledged, but not their right to leisure time, and the result was that they tried to suppress one need by oversatisfying another.

I've realized that I can fall into a similar trap. When I'm willing to acknowledge my need for, say, an internet break "just to check my email" (ahem) but not my need to do something ACTUALLY enjoyable, like have tea with a friend, or ride my bike, or do some pleasure reading — then I overdo the internet surfing in an attempt to satisfy my chocolate craving with rice cakes. Falling into the black hole that is the internet can take longer than a real break would have, and it's way less satisfying.

I think this also has to do with the fact that I can avoid some of the responsibility for "procrastinating" by blaming the internet's addictive and time-warping qualities. (One earth hour = sixteen internet minutes, to quote my high school government teacher.)

And yet all that's needed to make taking that responsibility less dreadnacious is to accept that taking breaks is allowed — yes, even long unscheduled ones — and that I don't have to guilt-trip myself by labeling them "procrastination." That it really is okay to set aside a paper in order to go for a bike ride. (Appeal to pragmatic side: After all, if that's what I'm craving, then that's probably what will best refresh me and and re-energize me for more paper-writing later.)

Back to the food. I'd like to propose an analogy:

Unrealistic dedication to productivity is to wasting time as dieting is to overeating.

And what is the way out? Intuitive living, something like intuitive eating but bigger? Are there thoughts as trustworthy as the body's hungers?

I think so. I'm experimenting.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

With love and vigor

Not long till solstice and still no snow.

This year when I'm deciding what to do with my hours, I have been thinking about what will be worth remembering and what the vigorous thing to do would be. (I love that word. I love vigorous people. I hope I am one.) It often runs contrary to what would feel most comfortable, but it doesn't feel like fighting with myself; it feels more like clearing away the junk from around my intuition.

I've thrown so much time away simply because I thought it wasn't mine — time when I was "supposed" to be doing other things. Why is it a rule that when you're procrastinating, you have to be numbing your brain, bouncing around from website to website or similar? That's not how it has to be. It's stupid. It results in nothing worth remembering, and it's not even enjoyable. More about that later.

Tonight I walked home at a leisurely pace, in the middle of the street and singing. Twenty-five degrees. Orion has swung to the south, and my voice was echoing off of...something. I went past my house to the end of the block before turning back, because it was a good song.

I might remember that someday. I might remember this fall as the one I spent singing, because I was finding out that my voice is not as bad as I'd always thought. I wouldn't mind that.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happiness and gratitudes

• hospitality

• winter

• that a shower and stepping outside for a few moments makes everything better

• a care package of tangerines

• sleeping on campus during the day sometimes instead of in my room at night

• my new pets, which are two star-shaped foil balloons

• how many options I already have for next year

"Near Town," by The Amazing Broken Man

• bike rides when I get cabin fever late at night, and the combination of emptiness and dark in the streets

• soccer-field stargazing for too long and my toes going numb

• a feeling of soon-will-have-smashed-something-edness

• emailing with Sui

• long Skypes with my Bostonian contesserate

• pesto/tomato grilled cheese

• soon I'll have my degree

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cat and Contesserate by the sea

August, because a fine glittery snow is dusting down tonight and I just talked to that Cat. We hadn't seen her in three years until that day. We picnicked and I stepped on a fish hook, which was exciting, and we watched a seagull smash a quahog. I'm not sure why I had difficulty exposing these correctly, but I like them anyway.