Thursday, October 20, 2016

Indian summer sea

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Home is here, always. Anywhere where I am standing in this ocean. (Any ocean).

On a warm, warm day in San Francisco, the beach can't be missed. I took the train out after work and was too late for sunset, but the light took its time fading, and I still got to enjoy the soft water on my legs and the soft fine sand under my feet.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thoughts of winter

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First thoughts of winter, and first preparations for winter. I like this herbal remedy to aid against colds and flus. It's a tincture - a very simple way to extract certain properties in alcohol.

The herbs looked so beautiful, with the mixture of flowers and berries and leaves looking like sand art, that I needed to take  a picture before I filled the jar the rest of the way with vodka.

Here's the recipe. I added lemon balm and thyme, increased the quantities of ginger and orange peel, and left out the honey.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy

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  • Cut freesias on the dining room table - so many scent memories
  • Ocean Beach during Indian summer
  • And more chances than usual to walk by the water recently
  • Revisiting the natural foods co-op that I first started going to with my mom when I was 13 and a brand-new vegetarian :')
  • Brass's dresses
  • The way a fresh pen glides across paper
  • Writing in my journal sometimes instead of tweeting, and journaling more in general
  • Navratan korma
  • The smell of dried spearmint
  • Watching the original Step Up movie with my sisters, and noticing (and lauging at) how RIDICULOUS everything about it is
  • That I got my nerve up to try something new, hard, and fun recently

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

More Justin Peck; daydreams of travel


I find the things he designs for arms to do, in particular, so deliciously surprising, expressive, and utterly original. If I ever go to New York City, I will plan it so that I can see another of his ballets while I am there.

How rousing it is to consider a trip, the combination of remembrance and anticipation. I start thinking in packing lists almost immediately. I have a hostel membership card. I have a lot of Delta miles. Perhaps I shall do it.

I have never cared too much about seeing New York City, but I could care quite a lot about some of the dance companies and art museums there.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Freewrite

Once I had the face of a worried bird, alone in a cave of a dorm room for months. The snow blew thick against the windows and the dim string of Christmas lights never faltered and the desk scissors grew dull from cutting hair.

Once I lived in a goldfish bowl of golden-hour light, and every movement was ease. For a day, for an afternoon. I said it was so beautiful here, I would always be coming back.

Once I was a drunk, sad and collected in the daylight, using other people's eyeliner on trains and airplanes, cooking other people's eggs, angering other people's neighbors, photographed in a fractured mirror, promenading down a long tree-lined stretch of marble.

Once I was a woman standing in a fountain in a lightning storm. Eating ice cream.

Once I saw the face of a barn owl in a dream, wheeling in broad daylight across I-280 on the peninsula, in those few miles high above the reservoir where there are no buildings to be seen, a flash once, and twice, and I called for you to look, and our car went on barreling north as we gazed backwards.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy

  • The brand-new ballet my mom and I saw last week - small excerpt above! Invigorating and just delightful
  • How the sand felt under me when I sat cross-legged on the beach in the evening of a hot day
  • Cozy socks and a cozy beanie
  • Finally getting a bike helmet, as a birthday present - and a nice one, at that, for the first time
  • Letting myself read and enjoy books which do not require a lot of effort and concentration
  • Hours of snacks and tea and feminism with friends
  • Going to bed early enough to sit up against my pillows and read before I reach the point of drooping eyelids
  • Beginning to build my own "I'm a Grown-Up with My Own Home" Harry Potter set
  • Wonderful springtime clouds
  • That one of my kindred spirit friends from college will be moving to the Bay Area soon, and that I got to hang out with her while she was visiting to check out apartments
  • Sitting down and drinking a full glass of water mindfully
  • An invitation/a thought of visiting an old friend in LA
  • Having letters to reply to (the positive flip-side of feeling behind on replying to letters?)
  • Wandering around a yuppie retail part of Oakland with my dad, admiring the wares in all the yuppie stores (graceful stoneware, adult coloring books, exceedingly precious locally made baby clothes, etc.)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

For myself, stitches

I have had a rough week. So all day long in my head I'm admiring - my surroundings, the circumstances of today. Forming thoughts carefully.

The formula is: "How..." or "What a...":

How nice the air feels here. What a beautiful city to work in. How lucky to work near a place that makes tasty burritos. What an energizing walk to be able to take on my lunch. What a wonderful view from the top of this hill. What good memories I have from that summer. How beautiful the landscape was. What a precious opportunity that was. How very many interesting and excellent things there are to think about.

And so on, and so on. This is what I'm doing today, as if I were knitting to keep my thoughts busy instead of my hands. When I get to the end of my rope, there's another rope, something new to try, something old to try. And when I get to the end of my knitting, there's a scarf to keep warm with. And so on, and so on.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

NaPoWriMo #6

My grandpa at the beach
said, "We say it
smells like the sea
here, but sailors
say:
'It smells like land.'"

And I wonder:
Is that how it is here
on the coast
of you, of me?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Accidental dreams photojournalism

I went to the natural sciences museum here in San Francisco with only a toy camera - not really suited to indoors. The photos came out dark and confusing.

 I was pleased with the textures and shapes and shadows, though. These actually remind me of how my remembered dreams look.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Islands, again

"Many years ago I had a hermitage in a wood about two hours' drive from Paris. One morning I left the hermitage to walk in the woods. I spent the whole day there and practiced sitting and writing poetry. It was very beautiful in the morning, but in the late afternoon I noticed that clouds were gathering and the wind was beginning to blow, so I walked home. When I arrived at my hermitage it was a mess because in the morning I had opened all the windows and the door so that the sunshine could come in and dry everything inside. The wind had blown all the papers off my desk and they were scattered everywhere. The hermitage was cold and miserable. The first thing I did was close the windows and the door. The second thing I did was to make a fire. When the fire began to glow I heard the joyful noise of the wind and I felt much better. The third thing I did was to pick up all the scattered sheets of paper, put them on the table, and put a stone on them. I spent twenty minutes doing that. Then, finally, I sat down close to the wood stove. I felt wonderful, and the hermitage had become warm and pleasant.

"When you find that your conditions are miserable because the windows of your eyes are open, the windows of your ears are open, the wind from outside is blowing in, and you have become a victim -- a mess in your feelings, your body, and your perceptions -- you should not try hard. You should go home to your hermitage; it is inside you. Close the doors, light the fire, and make it cozy again. That is what I call 'taking refuge in the island of self.' If you don't go home to yourself, you continue to lose yourself. You destroy yourself and you destroy people around you, even if you have goodwill and want to do something to help. That is why the practice of going home to the island of self is so important. No one can take your true home away."

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace Begins Here

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Returns

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A return to ballet classes means also: a return to hand-washing. Muscle memories and plain old memories.

When I was fourteen I took my first ballet intensive, which meant not enough leotards to make it through to the weekend load of laundry, especially with the sweating of a second-story ballet studio in the Castro with minimal ventilation, at mid-day, in mid-summer...

 My mom showed me how to plug our little porcelain bathroom sink, drizzle a little Woolite in, fill it with warm water and swirl my leotard and tights around. Swirl, swirl, let them sit. Rinse, wring, and she'd tell me about hand-washing in Greece when she was a student abroad without a washing machine, how she and her roommate would fill every available vessel in the apartment on their designated day, including the otherwise useless-to-them bidet; how hard it was to wring their jeans out, how the lines of drying clothes filled the apartment (or did I imagine the last part?). Lay the garments out flat on a towel, roll it up lengthwise, twist and coil it up to wring out even more moisture, and let it sit for five minutes before hanging them up to dry overnight.

I acquired more leotards, and class decreased from six to four days a week during the school year. Hand-washing remained the summer evening ritual, and is locked away in the same part of my brain as the late sunsets, hot afternoons on public transit home fading into western San Francisco fog, and the Brahms CD I carried around in my Discman.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Recitation: an archipelago

Once I lived on an island
where I knew I was loved  /  Once I was an island
and I trusted beyond reason  /  Almost floating
though I had no reason not to.  /  my feet alleged to be
 resting in volcanoes, but still I  /  Once, on an island where I lived
was senseless of my roots  /   I sat on the beach
I was alone under the sky for  /  and hurt was all the weather
as far as I could see  /  hurt was in the wind
I was full of light,  /  and a current
and the farthest thing from God  /  moving at an angle to
suspended, /  the line of shore
inviolable,  /  and I was the sea bottom
myself a place where  /  being moved but
silence answered  /  little changed.

itself for days.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A good Monday

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As in, one on which I wake on time, and Brianna and I catch the right train. One on which I have a bagel to toast at work, and enough time to do what I need. $2 miso at lunch, and ballet class in the evening. "Are you a redhead? Show me with your eyes. Your head is in the right place, but your eyes - YES!" Not much luck with the pirouettes, but satisfying work with the rest of the exercises. It is important for me to be absorbed, especially by things that aren't work, and to be moving. Right now I have both.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2015 in books

I read 52 books in 2015. You can see the full list here. (You might have to be my friend on Goodreads first - not sure.)

My favorites:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman (2013)

The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith (1952)

Rat Bohemia, by Sarah Schulman (1995)

Between Us: A Legacy of Lesbian Love Letters, ed. by Kay Turner (1996)

Spinster's Rock, by Caeia March (1999)

The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1), by Maryrose Wood (2009)

A whole bunch of Dykes to Watch Out For, by Alison Bechdel (1986-2000)

I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb (2012)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Last light, 2015

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My friend Odessa and I met up for tea/coffee in Japantown yesterday and then drove to Land's End to watch the last sunset of 2015.

I chose to ring in the New Year with a late-night yoga class. Notes: dark studio, the streetlights outside + battery-powered "candles" for light. I hadn't been to yoga in about two years. The instructor murmured, "And happy new year..." at the end of the set of instructions she happened to be giving when the clock struck midnight.

 My sad tired mantra these last few weeks has been "What would winter be without struggle?" but part of the opening quotation for the class was: "Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration."