Friday, December 31, 2010

A toast

from one of the first men I ever loved, courtesy of First Milk

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "In Memoriam (Ring Out, Wild Bells!)"
The happiest year to you all and so much love.  Sarge, I just got Jelly Bucket in the mail, and seeing your name in print just made my year.  Keep ringing loudly my dear friend!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another Beginning, or, Are you sure this mirror isn't warped?, or, The Return of She-Hulk

One of the things I will say about my wedding dress is that it is a biiiit form-fitting.  And one of the things I will say about myself is that a have gained a biiiit of weight in the past couple of years. 

My first year as a lawyer and my first year as a lawyer apostate were stressful, ain't no denyin', and when I'm stressed and depressed, I eat too much, and I skip the gym, and I make a giant sprawling mess of papers all over the house. 

Which, you know, happened.

But, god damn, now I have this totally fantastic excuse to start getting back into shape.  I mean, what motivation!  And whether this is realistic or not, I declare right now, that I will use the wedding as motivation, BUT I will not make myself crazy or return to a life of body dismorphia.  I ain't gonna let that shit eff with ma mahnd, yo.

So that's the first part of the plan.  The second has me eating small amounts of good things and exercising.  I've been doing it on my own for a while with medium results.  But I realized recently that my first fitting will be in March, and I don't want to have to pay for a whole bunch of alterations in those last two months leading up to the main event.  Which means, I gotta get things moooving.

So, today, I enlisted a professional.  My first session with a personal trainer was this morning, and I'm tired.  But weights are fun, and the fact that my body can't do the things it could do two years ago (um, hi Balance and Coordination, remember me?) is even better motivation to really work hard at this.

I can't wait to be totally RIPPED!  And in the meantime, since it's fall and all, who wants to go play football in the park?

Monday, November 1, 2010

World Series Champions!

They did it! they did it!  They won the goddamned World Series!  They played fucking fantastically!  gahhhhyayyyyyyyyy!!!  I am off to show my appreciation by drinking and screaming and jumping and trying to get my grin even half as big as Tim Lincecum's when he bounded over that fence like a little gazelle!
Goooooooooooooooooooooooooo Giants!

Monday, October 25, 2010

One more thing

OH SHIT! I also forgot the best news ever!!!! THE EFFING GIANTS ARE GOING TO THE EFFING WORLD SERIES AND HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I stopped watching for a little bit on Saturday because I was worryied that my anxiety was jinxing them and causing them to lose (I also watched Thursday... I'm sorry), but then I started watching again like JUST as Juan Uribe hit that homer and OHHHHH MYYY GOD-DUH could not take my eyes away after that.

CONGRATULATIONS BOYS!!!! You did a DAMN fine job!!  Now let's kick some Texas ASS!

Also, my mom and my sister are going to one of the WS games!  God damn those are some dedicated ladies! I'm so excited for them!

Long Time Gone

I been busy, I guess. I can't believe it's been a whole month since I've posted. October has been a good, productive month, though, and I'm feeling pretty swell. I've been volunteering, I studied for and took the GRE, and we made some wedding decisions, including a dress I lurrve, a fantastic caterer, and an amazing photographer.

The dress I am not allowed to tell you about, except maybe in person. My mom has declared the next 201 days (holy shit 200 days!) the Era of "Bridal Mystique," and I don't want to get in trouble (no kidding, I got a lecture). I will say: it is lace, my sister cried when I put it on, and I am mega-happy.

The caterer Deborah is fan-freaking-tastic, and I am SOO excited to work with her. She not only wasn't annoyed by my totally slippery-la-la-fantasy description of my imaginings, she was excited! And she likes M.F.K. Fisher mayyybe as much as I do (I don't think I have mentioned M.F. before, but I am in love with and want to be her. Probably a topic for another post). Suffice it to say, I'm pretty sure we're kindred spirits, which is good, because food is damn important. We are going with a kind of cold supper-slash-picnic dinner: roast and cured meats, pickles, salads, veggies, cheese, breads, and, don't worry, enough veggie and vegan food for equal-opportunity feasting.

The photographer Patrick Pike also seems like he is going to be an absolute dream to work with. (Man, I never realized how much I like that phrase. Gonna use more.) His images are gorgeous - check out the website - and just feel so beautifully situated in their surroundings. It's probably being able to bask in the amazingness of Yosemite all the time, and I'm excited to get him out here with my hills and my mountain and my oaks and my walnuts. (not to mention poppies and lupine!)

What else? Oh yeah, GRE, done and done. Soooo happy. I took it on Saturday and am pretty damn pleased with the unofficial scores. After spending the rest of Saturday out at Stanford for Phil's undergrad reunion, I got to rest up on Sunday with a lovely leisurely brunch with friends (two of Phil's former roommates, one local and one from far, far away [L.A.]), followed by tea, chatting, not-quite-deep discussion, almost-arguments, and uh lawt of laughing.

Studying has been taking up a bunch of my time, and, other than that, I've been volunteering at Horace Mann Middle School. Every day I'm there (almost) makes me happier and happier with my decision to teach. The kids are amazing.  And being in a classroom -- helping someone understand her math homework or come up with a sentence using the word "erosion," forgetting that I'm supposed to be sushing having become much too engrossed in a discussion about Justin Bieber -- is just... I love it.

In addition to a study-hall type class, I'm helping out in a seminar on Jazz and Democracy, which is amazing. While I try to keep order from the back, I get to learn about music and get so much interesting fodder for thinking about democracy and the process of working together to build a new world.

I cannot remember where I found this picture and couldn't find it online again, but I love it.  It's been my desktop background for several months now.

Other randomness:  a few pictures from our camping trip in September to Henry Cowell.  I finally got them developed a couple of weeks ago.

Soooo many trees - I was in heaven!

And one from a Sunday at Montara State Beach in early October:

My goal is to start posting at least once a week, so I'll see you soon.  Love and love.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Feeling Earnest and Inspired

Sometimes I try to play it off like I'm all cool and cynical.  That is bullshit.  And I'm bad at that game. I always squeak excitedly at something and give myself away, because, really, I am a sap.  And I am earnest as hell.  I believe in rousing speeches and the power of the people to do anything.  And the power of a person, with fire in her heart, to kick some ass.

I believe you do too, cynical as you are, because it feels so much better to be that person, and because you are awesome.  And I proclaim here and now that, deep down, all truly awesome people are earnest and sincere.  So push your inner cynic face down into the couch and sit on him, and listen to these words, from, as is so often true here, APW, about fighting for your own dreams and fighting for the dreams of others:
It was about always saying yes to each other, about saying, “Not only do I believe you can do that, I believe you can do something ten times bigger. And I believe you have a responsibility to do it, and to help change the world, and I will personally do everything I can to help you accomplish your dreams.”
          . . .
I want to see women standing up and saying I will fight for your dreams, not just for mine.
So, tell me what I can do, or tell me what you want to accomplish, and I'll figure out how I can help.  I promise to start sharing my dreams and asking for help, which is damn hard for me - and probably everyone else.  It's hard to open up those tender places.  They get hurt so easily.

I'll be thinking about your dreams and you'll be thinking about mine, and we'll have double the power of thought behind them and double the intent and double the energy and double the talents and tools and manpower.  And, shit!, we'll create an awesome world!

Think about it.

And here's something to muse on whilst you do, from First Milk:

I Wish I Had More Sisters
Brenda Shaughnessy

I wish I had more sisters,
enough to fight with and still
have plenty more to confess to,
embellishing the fight so that I
look like I'm right and then turn
all my sisters, one by one, against
my sister. One sister will be so bad
the rest of us will have a purpose
in bringing her back to where
it's good (with us) and we'll feel
useful, and she will feel loved.

Then another sister
will have a tragedy, and again
we will unite in our grief, judging
her much less that we did the bad
sister. This time it was not
our sister's fault. This time
it could have happened to any
of us and in a way it did. We'll
know she wasn't the only
sister to suffer. We all suffer
with our choices, and we
all have our choice of sisters.

My sisters will seem like a bunch
of alternate me's, all the ways
I could have gone. I could see
how things pan out without
having to do the things myself.
The abortions, the divorces,
the arson, swindles, poison jelly.
But who could say they weren't
myself, we are so close. I mean,
who can tell the difference?

I could choose to be a fisherman's
wife, since I'd be able to visit
my sister in her mansion, sipping
bubbly for once, braying
to the others, who weren't invited.
I could be a traveller, a seer,
a poet, a potter, a flyswatter.
None of those choices would be
as desperate as they seem now.
My life would be like one finger
on a hand, a beautiful, usable, ringed,
wrung, piano-and-dishpan hand.

There would be both more and less
of me to have to bear. None of us
would be forced to be stronger
than we could be. Each of us could
be all of us. The pretty one.
The smart one. The bitter one.
The unaccountably-happy-
for-no-reason one. I could be,
for example, the hopeless
one, and the next day my sister
would take my place, and I would
hold her up until my arms gave way
and another sister would relieve me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Fall

Today makes it official.  Autumnal equinox. 

Today, Night and Day stand shoulder to shoulder, perfectly balanced.  Tomorrow, Day will bow to Night and turn, relinquishing her power for another round of the seasons, stepping into the shadows.  She has had a glorious reign, and we pause now to give thanks for the bounty of it and to reflect on balance, on thresholds, on ends, and on beginnings.

Happy Fall, my loves.  May you find yourself cozy and warm until Day steps forward again.


by T. E. Hulme 

A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm floating upstream

Fantastic video by the Chemical Brothers.  The Salmon Dance.  Sadly, unembeddable, but watch it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I went camping this weekend, and Fall was there. In the crimson strokes on the poison oak, in the falling leaves, in the crisp air. The first day was clear and sunny and perfect for a hike over the changing landscapes of the Coastal Range.  On the second morning, we awoke to trees draped in mist like lace,* brides to the changing season, and were stilled, reverent.

There will be pictures soon.

In the meantime, and while we are in the mood to greet Fall with quiet and nostalgia, please go see and do this interactive video by Arcade Fire, The Wilderness Downtown. Discovered here.

You must use Google Chrome, and I suggest minimizing all windows but that one for the full effect. Let them dance for you, like Salome and her veils.

*Incidentally, I have had a hard time coming up with a better descriptor than the old standbys “shrouded in mist” and “veiled in mist.” They just seem more accurate than anything else. “Mist” is right; it was mist not fog. And though the mist turned a slow dance, like Salome and her veils, the trees were so still as to forbid a metaphor of their dancing. Same for swimming. “Enrobed,” perhaps, or “swathed;” “mist hushing the trees in a lullaby.” “Mist pouring over the trees as the ocean pours over a drowned man,” “like a baptism,” “like water from a baptismal font.” 

(tree picture from

Friday, September 3, 2010

I don't think Emily had much of a crew, though.

The XKCD mouseover today has tipped me off to something wonderful:  Because Emily Dickinson's "Death" is in ballad meter, it can be sung to the tune of "Gilligan's Island."  What other treasures are out there, waiting for just the right tune to bring them to life?!

Here are, for your singing pleasure, the lyrics.  You're welcome.

Death, Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Speaking of things ripening outside my back door...

My FIRST tomato of the season (sitting on what used to be a stop light lens) (or would that be a go light?).

There is Good, Part Deux

An addendum to the list of things that are good:

Willie Nelson

I love the chugging guitar at the beginning and the phrase "like a band of gypsies we go down the highway"!

Also, because of the title of this post*, Lloyd Bridges.  Lloyd Bridges is awesome.

*A reference to that cinematic marvel, the second film in the Hot Shots series

There is Good.

Listen to Sgt. Baker.  Girl knows what she's talking about.
A non-exhaustive list of good things* includes, in no particular order:
New iphone
Taking pictures on said device
Finding delightful things around the house to photograph with hipsta!matic! effects!

bike rides with my baby
stretchy kitties
sweating a LAWT cuz yer running so! hard!
late summer tomaters
things ripening right outside my back door
making decisions (being able to make decisions)
tart frozen yogurt
anticipating a weekend with my parents in Disco Bay
swimming pools
knowing that people you love are happy
Quadrivial Quandry
country music
lots of other things.  Really.

I'll be volunteering in a middle school very soon.  My first job: talking about being a lawyer.  Hmm . . .

*not capitalized because I'm not Martha.  Hard to believe i know

Addendum to the above list: inconsistent capitalization

Friday, August 27, 2010


Downs just pop up sometimes, unexpected, uninvited, unwanted, unwelcome.  I've had to entertain one for the last couple of weeks.  So I've spent quite a bit of time hiding under blankets and pretending to sleep, hoping it will get bored and leave.

Tahoe seems so long ago, and I don't feel like writing much.  Suffice it to say there were many gorgeous hikes, a glut of delicious food and drink, rafting and boozing, loving family (by blood and by luck).  I've been trying to relearn to use my nice film camera, with mixed results.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


The freedom to marry, beautifully argued.  It lit up a little long-dark love-spot in my brain for lawyers and had me fist pumping at the screen.  Why can't politicians just lay it out like this? Efffff.  A surprising thing, perhaps, but:  Fuck yeah Ted Olson!

From APW


from the comments at APW.  I guess this is a couple of years old, but I'd never heard it before.  Lovely.
On June 12, 2007, Mildred Loving issued a rare public statement, which commented on same-sex marriage, prepared for delivery on the fortieth anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision of the US Supreme Court.[12] The concluding paragraphs of her statement read as follows:
“ Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.
I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Alternate Wedding

Tahoe still prolly coming, but, dude, if I wasn't having the wedding I'm having, I would totally have an Elvis Wedding in Vegas.  And I don't even like Vegas, but I do love Elvis, and there is something immensely intriguing about a small wedding away away.

From A Practical Wedding.  And I would love to ride a roller coaster and screeeeeeeam the day before.  I really would.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Video Interlude

I still want to recap about my lovely week in Tahoe last week, but I want to get some photos developed first and take some time to sit for a bit.

In the interim, here are a couple of videos.

One, sent to me by Lizbeth D, about poker chips and children and self esteem.  I love the dude doing the talking.

The other, sent to me by Phil, is about being alone, and it is beautiful.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

They flee from me

Words escape me.  I stuff them full with the meaning of my thoughts, but they thin, empty, dissipate like smoke over time or water on the way out of my mouth.  And, hanging there in mid-air, they bear such little resemblance to their former selves that I cannot believe them to be the same. 

I look around, wondering where they came from:  floating there, wearing my voice, dressed up for all the world like my thoughts.  But they are none of mine.

Changeling, perhaps.  Or child swapped by an envious nurse while I was sleeping.  Or maybe, having drunk too much, I passed out and was assaulted, deprived of my long-guarded meaning and left with this rape-child in my arms.

Can I disclaim it?  This partly-of-me thing?  There's nothing else now.  And much as I stare and strain to remember, I cannot say what happened.  No res ipsa here, for who would believe this outlandish story.  Better I intended it.  Better I claim the thing, monster or no.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I missed Pacey-con this year.  I gotta book my tickets early for next year.  True fact:  Joshua Jackson only does Fringe to support Pacey fan fic.

Not sh*tting you

Actual quote from the NYT guide to submitting a wedding announcement:
Couples posing for pictures should arrange themselves with their eyebrows on exactly the same level and with their heads fairly close together. 
Not that we are even considering this.  I just saw the quote joked about here on Broke-Ass Bride and had to see the crazy truth of it for myself.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Musings discovered in a journal

In my grandmother’s house there are many rooms.  If it were not so, I would have told you.

Can I find them again?  Those rooms, as they exist in my memory, full of the smells of childhood, full of running, full of hiding, full of pouting, full of screams and laughs.

A giant toad lived out in the garden, amongst the day lilies and nasturtiums that grew at the foot of the lemon tree.  A great grey and green thing, with shining eyes and a fat ruby buried deep in his head.  If I could only catch him, he would grant my wish by the power of that ruby.  Or he would give me the jewel, belching it up like the girl in the story whose every word showered flowers and precious gems on those around her.

At that house, my grandmother created life all around her; her garden overflowed with green and growing things, the flowers of my youth that I crave—roses, nasturtium, calendula, grape hyacinth, cosmos, calla and canna and easter and day lilies, dusty miller, hydrangea, pinks, fuschia, potato vine, camellias, gardenias, Shasta daisies, hens and chicks, impatiens.  The oleander I hated for some reason.  I thought it ugly and out of place.  It is only recently that I have been able to appreciate the beauty of an oleander bush in bloom, its lush and softly drooping swaths of blossoms.  When I was allowed to choose a flower from the nursery, I chose and planted cocks’ combs in vibrant jewel colors. 

And then there were her magnificent trees.  The birch in the front yard – that lovely, graceful lady surrounded by boxwood who oversaw our picnics on the front lawn.  The peeling paper I was sure would be useful if I could only determine how, the crumbly little seed men, the delicate quivering leaves.

The sweet gum that dominated the back yard was a marvelous spreading thing that held a swing and that created the most delicious sun-dappled shade over the back lawn on summer days.  Its branches were mingled with the branches of a plum tree from the neighbors’ yard.  It was tall enough that Gramma and Grampa had to pick the plums for us, which made them a special treat, just like the jam Grams made from the fruit.

On the other side of the back lawn was a giant avocado tree that, unfortunately, never really fruited.  Grams had planted it from a seed she had sprouted in her kitchen and by the time I can remember it had grown taller that the shed by which it stood.

The shed was scary and fascinating.  It smelled of old wood and fertilizer; it was dark; it had spiders, including black widows, which crawled out of Grampa’s wood pile behind the shed.  I stood in constant mortal fear of black widows and so stayed away.

The wood pile was enormous.  It covered more space that it rightly should have.  If you stood near the door to the shed and looked toward the pile, it stopped, properly, at the neighbor’s fence.  If you looked straight into it, though, from the side of the shed, under the plum and the sweet gum, you saw the true size of it.  The wood went back into infinity, deeper and darker every moment.  A portal to some other where.  Dark and disturbing.  The birthplace of black widows.

The second back lawn housed an apricot tree and an orange tree.  Small and neatly trimmed.
Apricot jam is shining golden ambrosia to be eaten reverently and by the spoonful.  On toast with butter it brings upon ecstasies.

The side yard, deep in the back, overgrown with large, tropical looking plants was another portal.  A liminal spot, fairies dwelt there, and if I could only pick the right time, I could pass through into the land where the stories were born, because they happened there and were real there.

Dusty miller is a kitten, and I loved to stroke it.  Soft like rabbit ears and a frosty silvery color.

Strawberries. Tender jewels hidden beneath the leaves.  You must approach quietly and reverently
You must clasp the berry tenderly in your fingers and twist.  Take a moment to gaze at it lovingly before passing it between your lips, like a kiss.

Lovely Little Bit

How lovely is this porcupine pin from miki and nora on etsy?  It reminds me of a sweetgum pod.  I just might NEED it.

They have lots of other lovely organic-looking little bits, too.  Like this:

via my absolute favorite, the fascinating and beautiful a desert fete.

A prophet, a wise man, a king

"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe."
(Neil Gaiman, From A Game of You, Sandman No. 5)
Thank you, my darling, for alerting me to the quote.  Time to get back to Sandman, I think.

Hey Suburbia, Hey Suburbia, Hey Suburbia . . .

I'm in love with you.

Yesterday was a lovely day.  After getting all pumped and sweaty and, gah! pumped! woo! at the gym, I realized that my bathing suits are about eleventy-million years old and that I'm due at the beach in t minus three days.  (t for Tahoe.)  So I washed and dressed and primped and posed and betook myself and my beater car to Colma for some wandering 'round Target.  The sun was shining, the air was warm, my windows were down, and Thin Lizzy was blasting on The Band.  I drove too fast, reveled in the wind, and sang about the boys and their recent reappearance in town at the top of my voice.

Because someone is a GENIUS, my Target now has a Starbucks planted inside like a little fetus throbbing with caffeine.  You pat your belly and are filled with a sense of well-being, overwhelmed with an outpouring of love, and then you order a ventinormous cup of iced black tea.  God's in his heaven, all's right with the world.  I have a cold drink the size of a toddler, a sound and sturdy cart, and bright fluorescent lights to sail her by.

Because a mermaid winked at me and it was just that kind of day, I got to sail lazily past the cleaning supplies and hardware and multi-sized tubs for organizing one's home.  My gaze swept over the home decor, the camping supplies -- Bright splotches on the horizon all.  My destination lay farther on:  Cheap, brightly colored clothing.  Perfect for summertime.  I loaded my cart and headed with my treasures to a tiny mirrored room.  Clang.  Hammer.  Bang.  Crash.  Squeak.  Crank.  Pop.  Success!

No bathing suit, sadly, but a jumper with stars like a flag, a practical cardigan, and some too-big-super-comfy-perfect-for-the-beach navy shorts with a tie.  I later added a hairbrush with dual! bristles! and disgustingly-delicious lime-melon gum.

Next, I popped over to the mall at Stonestown, and a similar voyage into Forever 21 yielded some additional booty:  a geometric-patterned dress, a soft blue jersey dress, and a three-dolla bra tube thing.  Oh! and a pretty tee shirt with day lilies on it that has to be worn with an under-thing to avoid revealing side-boob through the big sleeves.  Praise the lord on high for bandeaus.

The fog rolled in soon after that, and I made my way back to the land of narrower, dirtier streets.  Home -- and happy -- but dreaming of bright, distant lands.

Friday, July 23, 2010


"It is all about moderation. Everything in moderation, including moderation itself. What logically follows is that you must, from time, have excess. This beer is for those times."

Damn good beer.  Damn high alcohol content.  I only sampled out of Phil's bottle, but yum yum yum - and I'm not even a huge stout fan.  It probably helped that they basically had a dissertation written on the side of the bottle.

I like that all this writing fits to the right of the picture of the bottle, which is from the Brew Dog website, which is a pretty damn fun website.  There are dead rodents on beer bottles on the front page of the blog.  You have to press play on that video.

On Reaching Out

This blog has opened up in steps, tiny itsy bitsy baby steps.  It was set to private for a long time and was just for me.  Somehow even that had something that a journal lacked.  My tone was different, less secretive.  It felt like something bigger than talking to myself.  Even though I really was just talking to myself.

Eventually, I created a password and gave it to Phil.  Some time later I got rid of the password and opened it up.  But no one knew about it, and I relied on the big, big internets to keep people out of my quiet little corner. 

It went on that way for a long time.  It felt good, like shouting from a deserted mountaintop.  And I was too skeered, too shy, too full of self-doubt to let anyone else in.

Then a friend (who now lives far, far away and recently came to visit) suggested I start a blog, and said that she would happily read it.  Her name is Julie. 

Now, over the past year or so I've been trying to open up more, to be less afraid of being honest about myself, the things I think, the things I like.  So, nodding and hmm-ing and letting it pass didn't seem like the right thing to do.  I screwed up my courage and my face and sheepishly admitted my dirty little secret.  I had a blog, I hadn't told anyone but Phil, but maybe if I got real brave I'd send her the link.  She was, as always, tremendously supportive.

A couple of days later, my heart dropped into the nether regions of my stomach when I opened an email alerting me to the fact that I had a comment.  I looked around and crouched lower in my seat; I got quiet and alert.  Someone had found me out.  I checked the comment, checked the profile.  This was not someone I knew.  The internets were shrinking! 

Somehow, though... I didn't throw up.  I didn't feel terrified.  In fact, it felt kinda thrilling.  Someone else was on my deserted mountain and wanted to yodel along!  Hell yeah!  Littleoldladywhooooo!  So, Julie got the link.

A couple of days ago, an APW reader posted this comment with some quotes on fear, and I got to thinking.  “Many of our fears are tissue paper thin and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” (Brendan Francis)  Maybe this was just the push I needed.  In other aspects of my life I have begun to “accept[] fear as part of life– specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back.”  (Erica Jong)  Yeah.  That's right!  I HAVE been doing that.  Why not do it betterfasterharder?

The next day, high on my plan to engage with the world, I stopped at an accident scene and gave out my name and email and phone number.  I know this might sound like a small thing, but I gave out information about myself.  To strangers.  Of my own accord.  And it didn't feel weird or scary at all.  Dude.

“There are very few monsters that warrant the fear we have of them.” (Andre Gide)  True dat.

I don't want fear to rule my life.  I want to be brave, decisive, spontaneous.  I want to live fully and to engage with life and with all the people in it!  I want to take one step forward, eyes closed, faith engaged, like Indiana Jones on the invisible bridge.  I'm gonna trust the path will appear.  I'm gonna keep moving.  And, just maybe, I'm gonna tell some folks about this site.

from, yes, cheezburger

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mt. Diablo Ranch

We have chosen a venue and are in the process of booking it.  As Martha Stewart likes to remind me, we have 304 days to go.  The photo above is a view of the lawn behind the bunkhouse on which the reception will be held.  Over the back of the house is Mt. Diablo.  I have high hopes for a fabulous sunset.  The bit in the foreground is the pool, which I hope to float sh*t in.

Here is the tree.  My walnut tree, under which I hope Phil and I will be married.

A close up of the underside of the tree.  Some twig clearing may be in order.

The path to the ceremony area, just past that olive tree on the right is the entrance to the paddock.

According to random sources on the internets, which I've now lost, Walnuts are associated with fertility and smooth transitions; ancient Roman bridegrooms threw them to guests to bring good health and to indicate their passage into manhood.  It is said that the gods feasted on walnuts, while mere mortals ate acorns.

Fecundity and feasting, good health, smooth transitions.  Happy days!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Smokey, iced lapsang souchong tea with lime and an oregano blossom * garlands of paper butterflies * working on the patio under the shade of the umbrella * anticipating the arrival of an out-of-town friend

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dearest Dairy

Brown Family Dairy from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.

Billy Ray is effing rad!  My dream is to move to the country, to have some cows and chickens, maybe ducks, kitties galore, horses to ride, a giant garden, and fruit trees everywhere.  And, of COURSE, giant oaks.

Things I love from this video:

Billy Ray talks not being officially "organic."  People are always asking about this, he says, but he really just wants them to come to the farm and see for themselves how their milk is produced.  I know that's just not doable for everyone, but how awesome is that?  I want to make that happen.  I want to know the people who make my food... and the animals.

The girls: "I like the milk!"  "I love [helping to bottle the milk]! That's even better!"

The one dude talking about "the lack of antibiotics goosed up in those cows"!  Goosed up!

I'm definitely going to have to read the book.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Lost Art of Democratic Debate

Michael Sandel discusses about how we should talk about justice, looking at PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, the case in which a disabled golfer wanted an accommodation allowing him to move between holes on a golf cart. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Archetypal Wife

I have been reading the archives of Reclaiming Wife on A Practical Wedding.  I love it.  Everything Meg has to say.  All the amazing comments from smart and thoughtful women (I've seen no men so far).  It just fits in so well with what I have been feeling and thinking about lately:  What does it mean to be a grown up?  What does it mean to me to be a satisfied, fulfilled, generally happy person?  What do I want to be (when I grow up)?  And, now that Phil and I are getting married, what do we want our new family to be like, how to we want to be as husband and wife?

We have only just started talking about those last two things.  And we got this book to help us out since we're not religious and won't be required to attend pre-marriage counseling at a church or temple.  We've barely begun it, but it has already sparked some good discussions.

At the same time, I just finished Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore, which is a fabulous book and has helped my thoughts on ALL of the above areas start to crystallize.  This morning, because I didn't feel ready to put it down, I was flipping back through Care of the Soul, looking at some of my underlinings and dog-ears.  I came across the following passage in a chapter entitled "Jealousy and Envy: Healing Poisons," which discusses Hera, wife of Zeus and taker of vengeance against his paramours.
In a culture in which women are oppressed and all things feminine are undervalued, "wife" is not as honorable a title as it might be.  When this anima image has no place in the psyche of men, then wifehood becomes literal dependency, and the woman is given all responsibility for home and children.  Men are free of the restraints of home life, but they also suffer a loss, because care of home and family gives back vast amounts of feeling and imagination to the soul.  Typically men prefer the adventurous path of business, trade, or career.  Of course, the career woman also loses anima if she devotes herself to the myth of culture building.  Both men and women can look down on the image of wife and be glad to be liberated from her inferiority.  In this context, the mythological image of Hera reminds us of the honor due to the wife.  Her mythic figure suggests that "wife" is a profound face of the soul.

There just seems to be so much important in this passage about the roles married people take on or refuse.  Of course, there has been much argument around whether feminism should seek power by embracing traditional male roles.  I am not knowledgeable enough about those arguments to rehash them here, nor is that my point.  What seems to be so important here is that it has become verboten for anyone to be the wife, for anyone to gladly and proudly take on that role--male or female.  No one wants to be subservient, no one wants to feel that they have given up themselves.  But what this passage seems to be saying and what I think is so right is that both the husband and the wife must practice taking on the roles of both "husband" and "wife."  There is room for each to be inferior, subservient,  at times without either becoming an Inferior.

This passage also hints at the importance, in a marriage, of not allowing each "I" in the marriage to thrive at the expense of the "We," and it asserts that an individual can work to serve the "We" without losing her "I."  Moore goes on to discuss this in more detail:
In Hera, a person is most an individual when he or she is defined in relation to another, even though this idea seems to go against all our modern notions of the value of independence and separateness.  In our time it doesn't seem right to find identity in relationship to another.  Yet this is the mystery of Hera.  She is dependency given dignity and even divinity.  In ancient times she was given great honor and was worshiped with deep affection and reverence.  When people complain that whenever they get into a relationship they become too dependent, we might see this symptom as a lack of Hera sensibility, and the tonic might be to cultivate an appreciation for deeper union in love and attachment.

It takes special skill and sensitivity for a man or woman to evoke the wife within a relationship.  Usually we reduce the archetypal reality to a social role.  There are ways that Hera can be drawn into the relationship so that being an attentive and serving partner is vitally present in both people.  Or Hera might be evoked as the atmosphere of mutual dependency and identity as a couple.  In the spirit of Hera, the couple protects the relationship and values signals of dependency.  For Hera, you make a phone call when you're on a trip or out of town.  For Hera, you include your partner in visions of the future.

Feelings of jealousy may well be attached to this dependent element in the partnership.  Jealousy is part of the archetype.  Hera is loving and jealous.  But when the value of true companionship is not taken to heart, Hera leaves the scene, and the relationship is reduced to mere togetherness.  Then the individuals split themselves into the independent one who stands for freedom and the "codependent" one, tormented by jealousy.  If in a marriage one of the partners is clearly the wife--and it's not always the woman--then Hera is not being honored.  If you are faced with symptoms of a troubled marriage, look for her distress.
. . .  
The problem is, Hera cannot be evoked without her full nature, including her jealousy and her wifehood, which may at times be accompanied by feeling of inferiority and dependence.  To find soul in relationship and in sex, it may be necessary to appreciate the inferior feelings that are part of the "wife" archetype.
From Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore

Feelings of inferiority and dependence were something I struggled a lot with when, a few months after leaving my job, my savings ran out and Phil and I decided to pool our finances early so that I could take more time to figure out where my career was going next.  At the same time that I felt so thankful to be in a position where I didn't have to run back to law--to be in a relationship where I could receive this amazing emotional and financial support, I was resentful of this new dependence.

Money had always been a tricky thing for me, as I know it is for many people, and having my own income meant freeing myself from power struggles within my family.  It meant getting myself out from under the control of someone else's money and the unhealthiness that fostered in my relationships.  It meant independence and the ability to take care of myself, myself, men be damned.

The possibility of being "kept" was terrifying.  I imagined having to pass every grocery purchase by Phil, not being able to leave the house for lunch with a friend without permission.  And cautionary tales I had been told by women in my family about the need for secret savings accounts ran incessantly around in my head as I did the household chores that had become my sole domain now that I was off work and out of savings.

Eventually, I realized that these visions were not prophetic and that those fears were pretty out of control.  Phil and I spend "our money," we discuss big purchases and financial goals.  I am not ruled with an iron fist; I am part of a partnership with a budget.  We are, for the most part, a team now when it comes to money.  Do I ever feel dependent and worthless because I'm not making money (or much money, now that I've taken on some contract work)?  Hell yeah.  Do I ever resent not being able to buy what I want and having to do all the housework?  Absolutely.  Do I need to work on speaking up more about my opinions regarding our finances? A thousand times yes.  Does Phil resent that he can't pay his loans off as fast as he had planned because he's the sole breadwinner?  I'm SURE, though he insists otherwise.  Am I stuck in a too traditional role? NOOOOOO!

Once my worst fears were not realized, I could peek out from behind my hands a little bit, open one tightly clenched eye.  I started to appreciate the position I was in.  Because we had together decided I needed some time away from work, I took on some different roles both dependent and independent.  I am creating a stronger "I" by allowing myself this time and space for reflection and exploration, and I am contributing to the strength of the "We" by keeping our home, by cooking dinner.  I get this time to be creative, to write, to craft, to read, to sit.  In exchange, I take on the temporary role of housewife.  It is part of what I am starting to identify as the ebb and flow, the rhythm to our relationship.  I'm still working out the nuances of how I feel about it, but the working out has been enlightening, inspiring, opening, so many good things.

For me, the fact that I can see this as temporary is key.  There would be a whole different thought process going on if there was a question of me permanently giving up a career outside the home.  From where I sit, I imagine I would not be okay with it.  But, one of the other things I have learned (slash come to terms with) over the past several months of unemployment is how ideas change.  Opening yourself up to the possibility that you can feel different ways at different times, that you might end up doing something you never thought you would, is liberating -- and a lot less painful than holding firm against the inevitable.

You can't at once credit the enlightened, without calling out those who stumbled around in the darkness

In Ken Burns Civil War doc, historian Barbara Fields argues against giving people an "of their time" pass, because often there are people in that time who are on the right side of history. You can't at once credit the enlightened, without calling out those who stumbled around in the darkness--especially those who did so willfully.
From Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic.  I have had a tendency to write things off by indiscriminately handing out these "of-their-time" passes that Mr. Coates is discussing.  I may have to go back and re-read Kim, which I love, with a more critical eye.  What I love about this passage is that it is a demand for nuance; it insists that we do something more than shuffle people into categories of right and wrong.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I made a doll.

His name is Carl, and I think he looks like a mystic from The Dark Crystal.  I really like his hands; they give him gravitas.

Ok, Mystics are a little more bent over than I remembered.  But kinda?!
photo from here, via Google image search.

P.S. please ignore all the shit behind Carl up there.  For some reason I can't stop saving empty cardboard boxes.   Hoarding?  Squalor?  Not sure.  Please just look away.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Memory

Last night as I was laying in bed, I remembered a meal I had when I was fourteen.  I was at a taco stand in Tijuana with my church group.  We all sat on stools at a large counter to order and eat.  I remember being fascinated watching the chef grab a ball of dough from a huge pile of similar little balls and flatten it between his hands.  He moved quickly, barely seeming to touch the dough as he spun it around in his hands, yet it got flatter and flatter before he flung it onto the grill to sizzle and covered it in shredded cheese.

I think there was meat -- I hadn't become vegetarian yet, but what i remember most was the soft tortilla and the oozing cheese.  The tortilla had the thinnest, glassiest outer shell that shattered almost imperceptibly before giving way to the warm, soft, chewy interior, sandwiching stringy, salty, milky cheese.  It was perfect.  The homemade salsa made it divine.  The platonic ideal of a quesadilla.

After eating (and drinking my first jarritos - fresa), we walked back to the home we were all camping in.  Walking through the town square in the warm night in another country, I felt very grown up, very free, and very cultured.  My belly was comfortably full, I was surrounded by friends, I felt very warm.  My arms and legs tingled with the stars shining down on us.  My mind was quiet.

Later in the trip, we would travel to a shanty town built by flood refugees.  I remember the millions of sunflowers on the sides of the road dancing in the wind from the van as we drove by.  I remember the scrawny dogs and cardboard houses.  I remember holding hands with beautiful Cristina, who looked like Lumi Cavasos, and her cousin--two girls who were not much younger than I was, maybe 10 or 11, but toward whom I felt protective and motherly.  I remember teaching them to sing "Jesus te amo" and "Yo tengo allegria, allegria en mi corazon."  I remember not wanting to bother them with the conversion speech we had been taught.  They took me to meet Cristina's mother and invited me into their house.

Some of the men in our group built a house, and we had a picnic of hot dogs in a nearby park.

Cristina wrote to me once after we left.  I think I forgot to write back (I suck.), but I kept the letter for a long time, along with the picture of the three of us girls that one of the youth group leaders took.  I haven't thought about it since long before we moved from Pittsburg to the big, new house my dad built in Clayton.  I was 17 when we moved - I had probably lost it long before that.

And on top of it all... what was I saying?

Several months ago, my darling superhero boyfriend and I got engaged.  We've been kind of half-ass wedding planning, looking for venues here and there (mostly just wine tasting), becoming obsessed with wedding blogs (me, not him), chatting occasionally about what we want (me: "cowboy boots!" him: "hell no! Since when are you a cowboy?").

It's now about a year out, and I'm afraid things are about to start ramping up -- at the same time I am ravenously job hunting.  Awesome.

My mom is planning an engagement party, and we've chosen a venue, basically:  this really lovely private ranch out near my parents' house.  It's a bit of a drive for everyone except my family, but it's got some really really gorge!gorge! trees, a view of Mt. Diablo over the back of the farm house, and they don't have a lot of restrictions as to which caterer we can use, where we have to buy booze, etc.

I have this plan in my head for the feeling of the wedding that I'm not sure Phil approves of or even totally understands yet.  Maybe it doesn't even make sense except in my head, but it goes like this:

A kind of old-California style: a lot like an afternoon MFK Fisher would spend outside her SoCal house in the summertime, a little bit of the laid-back-ness-hand-out-the-window of a summer road trip, some rock and roll, some fun 60's jazz, awesome 70's country rock, some spanish-colonial-mission-style prettiness, some "earth's the right place for love"

flowing white fabric in the trees
and a bright flowy banner for the kids to carry to lead the guests from one area to another
blowsy pink peonies + pretty cool-colored succulents + herbs + tree branches + citrus blossoms

herby-bourbony coolers

poppies and lupine overflowing the edges of the world

owls and quail hanging out and overseeing everything (gog and magog, my blue-green quail buddies have got to sit somewhere)

pressed glass (clear and green and blue and maybe milk)
white candles
white lace
mission-style wood furniture

“Earth’s the right place for love:  I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.”  Robert Frost, “Birches”

“There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.” M.F.K. Fisher, Serve it Forth

oh la la.


"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nothing of him that remains but doth suffer a sea change...

This blog and my life have been such a hodge-podge the past several months.  I had one thing that really felt productive and forward-moving, something I was working toward.  Everything else was a distraction during the time I had to spend waiting.  I was confident it would work out and would sift all the tumbling bits of my life into place.  And, I was really excited about it.

It seemed perfect.  I didn't have to spend time in school - I would get to start working immediately, getting my credential on the side.  I would be working with kids who most needed resources and really living what is developing as my philosophy of teaching.  And, I was really excited about it.

I found out yesterday that I didn't get in.  Thank you for the time and effort you put into your application, but... not so much.  Well, fuck, said I.  And, NUH-UH, and what the hellllll?????  And, then, Now what.

Now what, indeed.

Sea changes don't come easily, I guess.  "Suffer" wasn't lightly chosen as the verb of transformation in that passage.  That one program, that one job couldn't have done all the things I was wanting it to do, even if I had gotten in.  No one thing is life transforming.  That would be too easy.  Work is required of me, sweat is required, thought and difficult decisions, working toward understanding.

The next few days are reassessing days.  I have some other options for teaching, but that can't be it.  I sloughed off a lot of the rest of my life while trying to make this happen.  I ignored a lot of things that I shouldn't have ignored.  There is more to me than this one application.  Remind me what that is please?...

A plan is required!  No matter how much I doubt my abilities, I never doubt my ability to make a plan.  So, here I go.  Or, more accurately, here I keep going.

Now what, indeed.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Ok, this is a wish list post.  I have been lusting after cowboy boots and a vintage typewriter for some time now.  Random, yes, but these are pretty near perfect.  I love the colors of both.  I mean, a baby blue typewriter! Come ON!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Beautiful book by Neil Gaiman, read here by him

Friday, March 26, 2010


Last night I dreamt of cab drivers and LA -- a dreamy, over-saturated, warm, and wonderful LA that I've never experienced -- a Hollywood-bungalow-cartwheels-on-the-beach-rollerskating-vintage-dress LA.
I dreamt of road trips and freedom.  I dreamt I was open and alive.  Creative and full of the ability to remember and capture -- full to bursting with the mountains and the desert and the road.  I dreamt of climbing on top of my car and taking photographs oozing color.  I dreamt that I could see the energy charging everything around me and that it filled me and spilled out my eyes in laser beams and all I could do -- all I needed to do -- was just to stare.  It understood.  It came to me.  Bursting!

I would kiss the cab driver if I found him and he had my phone.  In my mind I have already.  In my mind I have my phone back again.  It is a great comfort.

This summer, I will get up early and practice cartwheels on the beach until I can do them well.  Until I'm not scared to throw my arms down and my legs over.  To invert my world and tumble headlong.  I will tell myself that I'll come up okay every time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm writing!

I'm writing! I'm writing!

I am ravenous! Fecund! Burgeoning!
Feed me I grow and want more!

The sounds of words are enough sometimes.
The feel on your tongue, the weight in your mouth is meaning enough.  Read a poem out loud.  Read a novel.  Let the hisses, clicks, gutteral glottal gaspings flow over you.  Pictures come sometimes.  Meaning hard to escape.  Let them flow too and dance to the noise.  The noise! and celebrate their meaninglessness and meaning.  Celebrate that you can't escape either one.  Try to sit with one in each hand.  You'll find yourself juggling, dancing to keep your balance -- moving ever to avoid falling -- onto your face, into a pit.  Lose the meaning, hold the meaning, hear the sound.  Jazzy, jazzy improvisation of words.  Hey, Aqualung!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Indonesian Rice Salad

Ok one more recipe before I go to work.  I made this last night for dinner and am eating it cold for lunch today, and it is just so good.  So many little bites of flavor.

Step One:
Put two cups brown and wild rice mix on to cook with four cups water and some salt.  Keep covered.  It will take between 35 and 50 minutes.  Pour into bowl discussed below whenever it's ready.

Step Two:
Pour 1 cup raisins, 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, and 5 sliced green onions into a bowl.

Step Three:
Sautee about 1/4 white onion, chopped, in a little olive oil.  Add a chopped red bell pepper and a chopped red jalepeno and cook a bit more.  Add some chopped sugar snap peas and cook a bit more.  Take off while everything is still crispy and bright - pour on top of raisins and everything else.

Step Four:
Toss about 1/2 can of garbanzo beans into the pan you just emptied.  Warm up.  Pour into bowl.

Step Five:
Toss about 1/2 cup peanuts into pan and brown them a bit before pouring into bowl.

Step Six:
Make dressing:  2/3 cup rice vinegar, a couple tablespoons of lime juice and soy, a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger, a couple teaspoons of chopped garlic, a couple glugs of dark sesame oil, little bit of salt.  Pour it on over everything and stir.

Serve warm or cold.