Monday, January 30, 2006

What sleep will bring

Tomorrow I should wear my sensible shoes and wool socks cause they bring out my prudent tree-hugging humanist side but instead I will be in an irresponsible pink shirt and youthfully tight pants which can only mean trouble. Let your hair down Gertie, always so bunned up and precise.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Just another day

Today was, in part, a bit of every day. An eighth of Sunday last week, a fifth of the Saturday a week before that (the part about the park and twinkling lights).

As of 1/28/2006 7:35:22 PM PST I am...
31 years old (fast closing in on 32)
383 months old
1,667 weeks old
11,669 days old
280,078 hours old
16,804,715 minutes old
1,008,282,922 seconds old
I am the equivalent of a dog that is 4.56712328767123 years old.

Today was also very similar to day #9,842 if I remember correctly, the part about the Art Museum, minus the ennui and vertigo of close-up art exposure and plus one persistent glass-toucher/sculpture-almostknockerover. But those are minor details.

Today was violently unlike Fri/Sat/Sun of week #940 during which I cried a lot and was not once out of doors, but that was a good weekend for me in the long run. I learned some things about having grace and dignity where there are neither in abundance.

Today was not like yesterday... well, it was if you minus the sleeping in, and subtract the six hours of class during which certain classmates annoyed me greatly by living without compassion, nor with the skills for to think critically... and also take away the monthly meeting, pizzafeed, rainy rush-hour... minus all that and you have today.

...but add soulful heart lurching in chest, baleful skies full of all the compassion I cant find anywhere else for you and me and for everyone I don't even know.

And plus fantasies about walking in my skeleton. Less the layer of skin, which, in its entirety seems to weigh more and have greater mass then one would imagine, and this is not even counting the subcutaneous layer of fat.

Of course, skin as a whole, without a body of form is creepy and alarming so I took great pains to hide it behind a stick.

And then walked further into the park just stretched over with more then 600 muscles and pockets of pearly glistening fat. White fat in the pockets of my cheeks, on my tummy, thighs, even light streaks on my forearms and calves. Under that I kept walking till I shed all muscles, but the racks and hollows of my bones still cradled my organs. I stowed them on the wayside.

(I hope secretly I can put them back cause I always messed up with the stomach and liver and pancreas and all that weird stuff with the interactive model they have in the doctors office and its all backwards and upside down and shit)

After that there wasn't much left but bones so light for walking I fairly dreamed my way through the park, not even viscous enough to resist the flow of motion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

These things happen

I was driving across the Sellwood bridge during rush hour today when my car smashed through the concrete railing and plummeted into the churning flood waters, still receding far below. Even as it came I said to myself STILL THERE IS HOPE... yet knew.

Then wondering if I had had the time and wherewithal to unroll the window on the way down, I almost rear ended the vehicle in front of me. In the sky clear and blue one lone gull circled and I felt the company of that moment close to me right then. In the company of my own death the world is unfamiliar and spooky.

I wont think about the window is there not hope?, not the revision of my spiritual philosophy, not regrets.

All day am listing sideways because my consciousness is about two inches to the left of center. Am looking skyward for heavy machinery.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Then again, it could have been any cliff I jumped off of...

I have been thinking all day about family and love and belonging because before I drove off to Eugene my BF, who was there already called and said WELL THERE IS A NEW KID IN THE FAMILY and I said WELL CONGRATULATIONS TO YOUR FAMILY and he ignored my tone which thankgod he is able to do always when I use my tone.

And when I got there we all sat around with deep and resonant glasses of wine, put our feet up on the furniture, congratulatorily. This is not my world and I don't get it. I wont pretend this is my family.

I feel anthropological, detached and curious. No one ever toasted my childhood, dirty urchin, and so I insist this familial sentimentality is lost on me. I had faith. Back then I kicked rocks all the way to the library, misty-eyed in daydreams about long-losts who loved you more then anything, bended-knee proclamations, heartfelt sacrifice, deathbed revelations and unwavering hearts.

In real life it never panned out. People are unreliable and selfish, brutal and infinitely fallible. They will let you down. I get frailty. At least, am homesick for the frailty I know. Am terrified of grand sentimental gestures as foolish and sloppy, most often cooled with quizzical apologetics. The tocsin rings. If nothing else I learned all along the way, love is fickle. Keep your feet planted.

After I moved out on my own I dated a redhead boy simmering with deep dissatisfaction and romantically inclined towards sorrow. I wore bright colors and turned his face to the sun. He sang Let Me Let You Down by Mudhoney. He did.

I spent all my time with the boy from mars. He tormented me by living in his imagination, no matter what I wanted from him. When I finally got up to leave he cried out, baffled BUT I MAY HAVE THE HOLY GRAIL IN MY BACK POCKET AND YOU WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW IT. I flung myself out the door.

The second time Brandon came to visit I told him that I thought maybe my ex-boyfriend was one of the most important influences in my life. That, to qualify, is not a compliment, though not entirely disparaging, and is uniquely his gift to my life. Others have rent holes in my universe, but he alone with my consent. I took all the parts so broken and disappointed and learned with my bare hands where each bolt screwed in, how to rethread the nerves through the column of my spine.

And so, by cumulation distance builds up like heavy minerals. Eventually the drama of heartache becomes simply annoying to endure. There are few times when I am so low on peevishness that I am indefensible against sadness. There are times I am no good at living in my microcosm... hurl outward to the miseries of the world the children murdered by American trained despots in Central America like some astral traveler when confronted with my own grief and sorrow.

What right to I have to grief? What do I know of sorrow?

And all weekend I have been thinking. Do I have the nerve to get drawn into this family without hurling myself out of context and scale, to the cosmic injustice of disproportionate wealth, war and undue privilege? I never did want to be a dirty urchin, but I just don't want it said outloud... ya know? It just seems so vulgar to want.

And still, and yet... I find myself inexplicably drawn in by this charming boy, baffling so crusted over with my mineral layers as I am.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Today all classes, canceled. Cut loose, wandering to bookstores and coffeeshops. I have a package, littlegirl-shaped, to pick up at 6pm and am to take her to Eugene. In the meantime maybe I should go interpret ASL videos, keep my hands and their tendons flexible. Elbows, shoulders, knuckles, joints all the way up to my neck, vertebrae, rhomboid and pectoral muscles. Keep my brain processing, focused on interpreting, receptive and expressive.

I am totally ice cold and out of practice. Vacation, too long. This term hardly started. They keep canceling classes. I don't know what to do if no one is holding my hand.

*desperately thinking for a valid excuse to not go to the video library*

I guess one hour wont hurt. I have at least three hours wandering still.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vitamin D

I have to say with a great arrogance that I have heretofor not borne that I nailed that Tom Kah soup with secret ingredients and the knowing of great depths to which I will mine the hearts of sick friends.

We thought the floods were abating, and in the meantime the rain still falls. My schedule, part weakness, makes the roads unrunnable and heavier with traffic then I can bear to breathe. I have been in the gym everyday lately and know now that my love of running has little to do with my desire to be physically fit because I can run 8 miles in the vast wilderness, yet not strain like I do against the challenges of cablebarmotors. I am totally weak. I am going to die with fifty inch quads and English-teacher underarms. You know what I mean.

My latest food fetish, which must be a winter thing so fetishized with food I am, is the Thousand Year Old Egg. This passion I must say I am trying to nip quickly reading the cholesterol in one egg is 117% a daily allowance.

Categories: Eggs, Chinese
Yield: 12 servings

2 c Tea, very strong black
1/3 c Salt
2 c Ashes of pine wood
2 c Ashes of charcoal
2 c Fireplace ashes
1 c Lime*
12 Duck egg, fresh

*Available in garden stores and nurseries.

Combine tea, salt, ashes and lime. Using about 1/2 cup
per egg, thickly coat each egg completely with this
clay-like mixture. Line a large crock with garden soil
and carefully lay coated eggs on top. Cover with more
soil and place crock in a cool dark place. Allow to
cure for 100 days. To remove coating, scrape eggs and
rinse under running water to clean thoroughly. Crack
lightly and remove shells. The white of the egg will
appear a grayish, translucent color and have a
gelatinous texture. The yolk, when sliced, will be a
grayish-green color.

To serve, cut into wedges and serve with:

Sweet pickled scallions or any sweet pickled vegetable

Sauce of 2 tablespoons each vinegar, soy sauce and
rice wine and 1 tablespoon minced ginger root.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

An ending nice and tidy

Turns out I am a mediocre sushi chef and the whole endeavor deteriorated into me dipping the raw ingredients into the wasabi and finding that it was quite good enough. The crux of the matter being that the BF was called in to work all day Saturday, into what is, at this writing, the 14th hour of a very lame shift. And the fun of making sushi is the goodtimehaving which is significantly detracted from in the absence of good company.

Still, I prepared more then I can eat in a week and though am not yet making rolls tight enough for to smack a homerun on a soft pitch, there has been marked improvement in the general appearance and deliciousness of my sushi.

I have to find a place to pause, try something twice till I get it down. I think I should try the Tom Kah soup again tomorrow. I have secret hidden thoughts about how to do it right and lots of birdseye chili for the love of flaming hot food. Which I have.

But now I am tired with weary legs, having hiked four miles into and four back out of Forest Park with Edison who is a total chick magnet and they were all over it, and honestly he is how I got got. I saw him, fed him and the rest is history. I was moved in and shacked up in less then a year. Really, Edison has a beautiful tail and ladies, we are both spoken for... even if we excurse alone, gloveless in the rain.

We hiked above the city, emerging from the park after dusk, minutes into the full darkness of night, twinkling lights. Forest park is deep and woodsy, yet merely etched into the hillside above the trainyards and shipping industry of Swan Island. Back in the s-curves around the creek ravines the illusion is complete. Even on a Saturday afternoon one can strike a balance of isolation in the connectivity of urban life.

Tonight Edison was so muddydirty I showered him, polished him down with a creme rinse conditioner I cant myself use, one that makes my curls go frizz. This was not ideal dog handling he thinks, or even manly but he loves me. The second morning I ever woke up next to my BF I told him I had a dream THIS MORNING I WAKE AND I KNOW MORE THEN ANYTHING I NEED TO GO BUY DOG BISCUITS, WITH GREAT URGENCY I FEEL. Edison knows this, we are kindred.

Now at the end of my evening, frog-gazing them balanced on the tip of a water fern, Willie stalking to get cozy on my lap, Edison hiking in his sleep, I am not so much wanting for good company. Just sushi-making company maybe.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Last 24 Hours

Last night I had dreams that I was hanging with Ronald Reagan, me and the prez, and we were just chillin' in our hotel but I had to go catch a flight to see my Ma so I was like HEY YOU WANNA SHARE A CAB TO THE AIRPORT? But he didn't really say anything so I go THAT'S COOL CAUSE YOU PROLLY GOT THAT LIMO THING GOIN' CAUSE YUR LIKE, THE PRES.I.DENT.

So I leave but the Alzheimer's is setting in and Mr. Reagan wanders back to me and doesn't know where he is or what is going on, as least it seems that way cause he isn't really saying much and we have to dodge all these zombies and living-dead guys who are running around with their arms out in front of them, clothes in tatters and everywhere I go I have to tug the ex-prez with me but its fine cause the zombies aren't moving very fast being that they're dead and all... and I decide we are safest if we stay near the Japanese tourists who are taking pictures cause they love cheesy horror so they are moving slow enough to get caught before us.

And I am running up and down these steep snowy hills with a boy from Chicago I used to have a big crush on till we run back into this town which is all dark and medieval and dingy... try to find a bar, some place where we can just be happy to see each other, where vampires and cranks and creepy dead automatons wont bug us by killing us. And I still have to go see my mama.


Today am consumed with an irksome and onerous weariness of life. Always back where I started, cant force myself into bed, dislike waking, feel fleet footed like an iron diving suit 54 gazillion trillion gallons deep under the water. That is some heavy water man, laborious and unnerving. Maybe I can do a little wiggle and a shimmy and it will all make sense. I bought a little black book to write in. I wrote MEDITATE. POSTURE. SING.


The owners daughter wants to be a waitress when she grows up.

She takes her empty juice box, cuts the top off, drops in a pink carnation leaf, a red carnation leaf and a rose petal from the flower arrangements in the restaurant. She takes one green-tea candy and a tamarind candy, sucks on each briefly before dropping them in with the flowers, one toothpick, a corner of a dinner ticket, a tiny slash of soda. She works intently with the scotch tape sealing the top then shakes the box vigorously.

To keep my attention the box becomes a yesorno box (ask me anything), a fortune telling box... a wish granting box! I ask a few easy questions, get a few yeses... figure I got it made, then she frowns.

WHAT? WHAT NO? WHY NO? That was not the no I wanted.
HE SAYS NO *shrug*
(I am terrified of this NO).
She shakes him again.
OH I say casually trying to look like I am just trying to look interested to be polite.

She shakes the box a few times and then pretends it is walking across the counter, a sauntering pretend walk, then a few hops. She shakes it at me. I whisper my wish to the box this time, instead of asking my fortune to be predicted.

HE SAYS NO I am devastated, my future shattered by the whims of a 7 year old girl. She shakes the box again.
(in my little black book I add the word VISUALIZE)

She stares at the box for a second with a pensive look
The juice box saunters up to me, takes a tentative hop on my forearm.
I straighten up, stretch a bit, arrange a stack of menus, swab the counter. For a moment we forget the box. She runs into the kitchen to get something. I look around, pick up the juice box and give it a little squeeze under my arm, incognito like. I cant take any chances.


Still earthbound. I went to the gym after work, the out-of-doors still under flood warning and severe weather alert. Back in my car, a new voicemail. JUST CALLING TO SAY I AM MADLY IN LOVE WITH YOU. When I got home he was listening to rock opera in the dark. I opened all the windows and doors, burned incense. Then kissed him.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Three Frogs

I got one more frog, and now feel like my frog family is complete. I am not sure the frogs have much care for this business with the names and all, being that they are perfectly zen frogs. They can share the two names that they already have and I think that should be quite good enough.

After the pet store I drove around in the rain aiming for puddles, eye on the riverbanks. I cant go out and run in this downpour, which is showing no sign of slowing. There is a point where it just becomes unreasonably wet, and more then a couple miles can hardly be done.

Still, quite alright because this is the best time of year to be in the gym, before the steely resolve of the new year gives way and the crowds are seduced back to the couch where the good life is lived. Last night I climbed 201 floors directly behind a girl reading her Holy Bible, ascending the stairway to heaven. I can hardly resist saying so.

But me, when I stepped down I and walked back to the locker room, I was just as earth-bound as ever.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I have two hands and I wouldnt cut either one of them off

We talked for one hour, fourty three minutes and twenty four seconds. I called just to cozy up to the sound of her voice, by chance finding her in the sadness of my brothers early morning departure back to Montana.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Classes resume tomorrow. Noon sharp. I dont know how I am going to drag my ass out of bed. Much less show up on a campus swollen with undecided and feeble students, feeling for the direction of the wind. I need a parking spot gottamnit.

I spent the day legs tangled with my girlfriend reclining on the couch. Tofu pate and hot tea, cartoons and long silences. The goodness of life is so good, so good a respite from anxiety and consumption. Sunday afternoons used to depress me. Maybe they would still, but if there was ever a time for meditative alonelessness it is not on a Sunday afternoon. Discipline, perspiration and aspiration another day. Sunday, I am the luckiest girl. Ever.

(very much later)


You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day night, as though a fire were raging in your hair -Taisen Deshimaru

Later we watched Grizzly Man. Definitely troubled, definitely suicidal this man projecting his emotional utopia with starving need, but touching still. I wonder to myself as he speaks prophetic on death... (his own)

on the bottom of the screen the subtitle reads A FEW HOURS BEFORE HIS DEATH. He turns. The subtitle BEHIND HIM, THE PLACE OF HIS DEATH...

I wonder to myself how I could die doing what I loved best, loose a clot of thought, maybe the sentence itself keels me over, maybe I die writing the words that finally and divinely communicate. Maybe the weight of my thesaurus hurls me over a cliff. I am not very glamorous. A tower of unfinished books and trailing philodendron vines, my death trap.

*oblique gaze. zazen. fruitful.*

(and think) I am enchanted by my frogs, Muriel and Seymour. They are extraordinary and mezmerizing. They are African Dwarf Frogs, very active and fully aquatic. They are no bigger than a quarter, if they sat on their legs, but they sprawl and float, then swim like mad. Maybe I will be one of those crazy old cat ladies but with a house full of frogs, rich frogs, trust fund frogs, supported by the wealth of my stuffed mattress upon my demise. (Oh how far a Thank You card goes.)

My mother extolled the virtues of the Thank You card as the golden ticket into the FINAL WILL AND TESTAMENT, those crazy North Dakota settlers. Norwegians don't die easy. They were like, 98. All of them. And in the end I can hardly stand the hospitality of a handshake without sending a Thank You card. Childhood scars.

But I am lifted up and not dark, though all the talk of death. Perhaps I am in a last minute panic to write before the school bell rings. Only 12 credits...

It is 2am and this is always my finest hour.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Apropos of nothing

It is time to feed the frogs again. I was thinking about this artificial food chain thing. When I went to the pet store the other day the woman at the counter had a large puffed up bag of live crickets she was securing closed for a sale. As she led me to the frogs we passed a row of other feeder animals, ones you purchase live to sustain a creature whose life you value more than its own. Even though the bloodworms aren't live, and I am not out the champion their cause, I am still not all that comfortable with the arrangement. But I do like crickets, believe it is good luck to have one singing in your home and have generally never felt wished them ill.

When I was 22 I worked weekends with a man who had MS, and was exceedingly nice even though I dropped him on the floor once and a while. My job duties included simple things, putting out a bowl of cereal, washing dishes, occasional wheelchair transfers, loading and lighting his bong, mixing drinks, and accompanying him on errands. Across the back of his motorized wheelchair we secured a board atop the arms of two stabilizer wheels. I would step on, gripping the handles and we would zoom down the street, wind in our hair blasting Jethro Tull from full sized stereo speakers strapped to the sides.

He had a medium sized Savannah Monitor that required live food twice a week. The task only fell to me once. We cruised to the mall on his wheelchair, purchased a gallon of cheap vodka and a feeder mouse. The woman at the pet store asked me if I had a color preference and I could only look at her in horror. Back at the house I was even more horrified to realize it was my job to dump it into the terrarium. Me the executioner. I opened the box and with a few hearty shakes loosed the terrified mouse onto the back of the lizard. The courtship lasted a good fifteen minutes, maybe longer; a leisure lizard hardly starving, a frantic mouse. I think if I could do it again I would hit the bell, grant that little mouse his freedom, so valiant and cunningly he avoided death. I mean, those are the rules of the real game right? Death inevitable comes to us all, but if we are wiley enough we earn a few extra sunsets in the meantime.

I am not all that happy about these microcosms, and artificial divinity. Maybe its just a random line drawn in a vast sea of sand, but I think the whole arrangement is a little creepy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I bought a new frog yesterday, and decided go with the frozen bloodworms for food, thinking the pellets are so impersonal, and quite probably tasteless.

I didnt realize those little crimson icecubes, which I have to cut into thirds would melt so fast at my touch, would be so melodramatically indelicate, would have me rushing through the house crying as the frozen solid between my fingers rapidly reconstituted to what can only be called Blood. Worms.


Anyway, I settled on naming them Seymour and Muriel, which may be a little macabre but we live in suspended animation here. Besides, bloodworms... you know what I am saying??


Gail at Open Brackets posted a link and summary to this article by Eliot Weinberger, What I heard about Iraq in 2005. Unsettling, to say the least.


Last night... Tom Kah Tofu. Served up a stunning and scalding imitation of the real thing, along with the realization that I am constitutionally incapable of following a recipe. Against my own will am adding dashes, specks and splashes. The slight imbalance of flavors is probably due to the fact that I am tweaking with a recipe the first time I ever make it.

Add this one to my list of resolutions.


And finally, let it be said, I dont care for bullies. I dont care for aggressive, swaggering belligerance, and I hate conservatives... So whatever abusive shit storm ensues, I am delinking youknowwhoyouare.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Kin phet dai mai?

No new love was sparked on the eve of this new year, though I cued neither party in and so neither abided my wishes. I think maybe I was not devious enough... back to the drawing board.

I spent New Years Day at Powells City of Books bumping and glaring my way through the crowd. There is never one single running log left on the shelf January 1st, so many new runners resolved on that day. I am going to remember next year, like I didn't remember this year, or last year.

For consolation I bought myself a Thai cook book and elbowed my way out of the store, drove home swerving dangerously in traffic rubbernecking the flooded river. Today, after a long afternoon walking in Forest Park, we shopped the Asian Market for lemongrass and galangal, tamarind and kaffir leaves.

Yam woon sen is a glass noodle salad that I eat with big deep feelings of love and need. I tried to make yam woon sen tonight. The noodles went wrong though I cant imagine where, and for my BF I left out the birdseye chili, and think maybe I should have used chili paste and maybe more sugar. It actually was very good but the bar has been set and simply nothing else will do.

There are a few recipes I have made it my goal to master. Quite simply, I do not like the vulnerability of need and if it ever comes down to Tom Kah or Die I need to know I wont suffer that long dark night.

I made sure the cookbook had a few essential recipes: pad see-ew, som tum, peanut sauce, curries, chaa yen, tod mun pla, and mango sticky rice... though there are some dishes I have eaten in the back room of the restaurant that I doubt will ever be found in any cookbook written in English.

In the meantime, Piyada is coming back to the United States this month so she say to me in November and she says, will help me cook with greatness. Im Jai.


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