Under the night's lights

"Homesick" in German is Heimweh: home-pain or home-hurt, like you're hurting to be back home again.

A good word, but my absolute favorite in the whole language is its opposite, Fernweh. Far-pain.

I think a lot of you know what it is to hurt with wanting to be somewhere faraway.

More from SoCal

Little Sister and I took many pictures in the car to stave off boredom.

The Emmasaurus

I'm happy I got a picture of her smiling for real.

I did not drop my camera in the pool. Go me!

Fro-yo was had. This is not vanilla, by the way, it's the peanut butter from Golden Spoon and it was wonderful.

My littlest cousin made my dad draw with her for a while. They both did speed drawings of me watching them over the top of the couch:



The Central Valley, once again...



Things that are making me happy



The super-macro setting on my camera.

The cellist at Powell Station yesterday. I stopped and listened for a long time. I've never heard a busker play so beautifully before. Second week in a row I've fallen slightly in love while in the public trans system.

Grace Cathedral in the fog.

Pondering baking school.

"Skinny Love." This song owns my soul lately. Spesh the guitar.

Being on roofs.

The beach at night. Stars and the lights of ships on the horizon and the breaking waves white under a big moon. And somehow the air smells saltier at night.

Postcard, anyone?

I'm going to Arizona next week to hang out with the incomparable Miss Erin and Faith, and I thought I'd start a new [for me] traveling tradition. [Credit for the idea goes to Sarah Von, who did this when she went to South America, which is maybe a slightly more interesting destination than Phoenix.]

So anyway, here's the dealio: I will let you know when I have travel plans [like I am right now], and if you want a postcard from wherever I am going, let me know and I'll write and mail you one while I'm there.

You can email me with your address at wie.ein.lied[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Or if I already have your address, you can let me know in the comments that you want a dispatch from the desert. Non-USians, you too.

Day-late confessions

Odessa was telling me about a woman she knows who will go hungry in order to save up more quickly for a new handbag. Of course I was thinking, How shallow...but then I remembered, I still went to Iceland even though the only way I could afford it was by missing enough meals to come back seven pounds lighter. [Which I don't regret, but it was stupid. It made me weaker and way colder and more neurotic, and screwed up my metabolism and appetite for a couple weeks.]

Although, travel really is cooler than a handbag.

I really hate being out with a kid I'm babysitting when it starts acting up. Then I end up being the one dragging the screaming kid around. It always makes me wish I could announce to everyone else present that I am not a bad person, and in fact usually get along fine with children.

Summermoon made me a mixtape, and it is a very excellent mix. However, there is one track on it which is from a children's singalong CD, this little chant about liking your boots and skirt and I like YOU! which I thought was kind of amusingly alternative until she told me where it was from. Now I don't like it as much. I'm not sure what to think about myself.

More from August [I'm working on forgiving you]

1. Truth, like other aspects of God,
has weight—
too much for one person to carry it alone.

2. You know the truth needs to be told
when it resists the telling so strongly
[how it digs into the sides of my throat...]

3. Listen, I am
no good at asking things of people;
I do it halfway and uncomfortably,
but here is what you can do
[difficult but simple]:

There is something true
that I don't want to tell
and you won't want to hear.
Listen to it anyways.

K. who told me all her stories

August 2008

At seven years old, she is the baby of the family, the youngest of fifteen cousins. She has the energy and charisma that come from fighting to keep the attention of a large family on her, the wildest and most serious of all our performers. She is full of awe, glee, affection, horror, delight, wonder, mirth. While the cousins watched a movie inside and the adults talked long past dinner and dusk on the deck, I saw her whirling and leaping around the kitchen, stopping only to scoop a spoonful of ice cream into her mouth.

She is the skinniest kid I have ever seen, with knobby knees and big eyes that smile more than her mouth can, so solemn and hugely unblinking when she was a baby that they worried there might be something wrong with her vision. When she comes back from playing in the surf, she gets so cold (her little legs shaking and her teeth chattering and her hair dripping) that you have to pile sand over her limbs before she stops shivering.

Today she stood on the edge of the stairs with me looking over the ocean. In an urgent fit of seven-year-oldness, she shrieked and gripped my elbow, begging me through giggles not to go away. She has wished for a very long time to sneak into a box of mail and come visit me in San Francisco, she tells me with her fingers fluttering across my arm. I replied that I would love to get her in my mailbox, and she exclaims, "But I couldn't do that! Fifty days in a box, no food?"

Thoughts?

I've made some layout changes once again, though I've been working off the same theme. Much as I liked the look of a single-column blog, I missed some of the more functional sidebar widgets.

It could probably use a little more work, so let me know if anything about it looks off to you.

Blogging from the city by the bay once again

Maya Ganesan, that sly poetic soul, has very graciously interviewed me. Iceland, internet friends, and more discussed here. If you don't know her already, her blog is home to some beautiful original poetry, so do yourself a favor and explore her archives a bit when you click yer way on over.

As you see, I have survived my foray into deep suburbia, thanks to my suitemates and the saintly amigas of Twitter who beamed regular doses of SMS sanity into my phone. Pictures to follow.

Enchantment in the Central Valley? Yes, even in the Central Valley.

I'm going to be in the Los Angeles area (AGAIN) for my older sister's graduation until Sunday afternoon...and the relatives I'm staying with don't even have wireless! Tsk tsk. Until then, I leave you with some pictures I snapped on our trip to L.A. in April, at a fruit stand just off the freeway in the Central Valley.










Ha. Caught you.

I read The Miner's Daughter last year, so the cover of After River caught my eye at the library. Oh, stock photography.

Slip

This swing is tracing beautiful shapes in the air as it untwists itself.
(I lay on the tanbark next to you and my throat was sore with silence)
My sweet puppy who isn't mine, gnawing at the lawn to my left.
(I made up prophecies for each of you in the kitchen)
Slapping the back of my hand where it itches, and my bones are there, fading and red.
(I watched the stars wheel back and forth over my head to avoid looking at you on the next swing)
And believed I knew what was going through your head
and flying and further from our tiptoes we swing loose into stillness

Afternoon girl


Two-day-old writing on the soles of my feet; faintly green wrists; making myself sick with wishes.

I typed up what I wrote in August ("This is the prayer I never prayed..."), and it was earnest but bad.

I feel like a fake girl today.

Also, did I ever tell you about the monster under my bed? I never got around to reselling it on Amazon, and now it's looking at me again. Ponders smashing versus reselling.

Gelato and smoke and wisteria, all on a Saturday morning

Odessa reminds me that I meant to post the pictures I took on our original rendezvous in April...

On an inbound streetcar, passing fire escapes and sun-cast stucco and our huge forest of a park, all along with my drowsy fellow public-transportation patrons. I am never out this early on a Saturday morning, so it felt new and I thought, Good morning, good morning! to all of them.


We met up in North Beach, where laundry hangs from windows and fire escapes like I've never seen in San Francisco before.

Also where books fly and the words fallen from their pages tattoo the pavement.




Odessa initiates me into City Lights fandom. I took this from the window of the poetry level.

St. Peter and Paul Church on Washington Square.

P.S. I'm planning to do a giveaway soon. Sound good? Good.

Heads up to the wanderlusty and travel-bug-bitten

I first heard of the Postcrossing project from Sonia. It's so simple, but I think it's one of the best things I've ever found on the internet.

Here's how it works: Once you make an account on postcrossing.com, you are randomly assigned another user from somewhere else in the world to send a postcard to. For each postcard you send to another user, someone else sends you a postcard from another country.

I've already sent three postcards and received two.

One from Finland:


And one from China:


Mailing a postcard internationally from the U.S. costs ninety-eight cents, FYI.

Follow me, children!

Tash of Little Flutters asked me some questions about writing poetry, and I answered. Bitte hinklicken! [Click on over, hmm?]

Things that are making me happy



Interesting abandoned objects. Recent sidewalk finds: shards of a record, sparkly butterfly ornament made of feathers, a puzzle piece, a sheet of smiley stickers.

Real mail.

Walking back from the produce store with my groceries on my head. Just like a third-world-country woman returning from a distant water source, right?

A photo shoot I had with an old porcelain doll that I was about to give away. I'm vair pleased with the pictures, and yes, I used one of them for the new header.

Work and potential work. This weekend I temped for one of those places that does bouquets of fruit. It was tiring (among other things, I dipped somewhere around 1500 strawberries in chocolate, no exaggeration), but the other Mother's Day temps were great, and income is good. And right now, I'm still in the running for a position at a doggy daycare, which to me sounds way too fun to be a real job. Anyways, I must have applied for twenty jobs by now, so it's nice to have some real leads.

The photos that I ordered from PinkAppleCore's Etsy shop came in the mail, and they are such the best on my wall.

I found the ending for my letter to my astronaut sister. And it was one of the winning entries in Beth Kephart's contest for a signed copy of one of her books. :) Congratulations to Maya, Q, and Erin, good friends of mine who are also the other winners. [I feel like this validates my sense that I have excessive good luck in bloggy friends. Like if two people from the family won a Nobel Prize? You would have to say, They must be doing something right.]

Mother's Day cupcake


I used Martha Stewart's one-bowl chocolate cupcake recipe, and for the frosting, I mixed 3 T butter, 6 mashed strawberries, and about 3 C powdered sugar.

It's the drippingest frosting ever, but that's the only way I like strawberry frosting. You can add more sugar to thicken it up, but with a sweet fruit like strawberries already in it, it's really easy to for it to get disgustingly sweet.

A very tasty combination. Originally I was going to do chocolate-dipped strawberry cupcakes, but I'm glad I took this route.

Late-night rantings, an Inspirational Call to Action, all that good stuff

1. Isn't that a great face I'm making?

2. I have decided that for me, vlogging is going to be for when I just need to get things out. If I want to do drafts and be articulate, I'll write a normal post. Bah.

Storytime

When I was in eighth grade, I got a pair of Pumas, which were vair popular at my middle school. So I thought they were really cool, because that's what popular usually means when you're thirteen.

The front of them was suede, and I was really paranoid about the suede getting messed up. I remember sprinting inside when it started to rain during lunch.

One day on the yard I was standing around talking with my friends and eating applesauce. A guy I knew bumped into me, which made me spill applesauce on my shoes. I looked at them for a second and was filled with horror and anger beyond the powers of speech to convey. I turned to stare at him, and he said sorry, and I guess he saw the look in my eyes because he started to run away, and then I threw my applesauce at him. And then he said what the hell? and somehow I ended up with applesauce all over the front of my sweatshirt, and my spoon stuck in it somewhere around my collarbone

And after that I couldn't call him by his awesome nickname anymore—Bagel, if you are wondering, a reference to his last name, hometown, and Jewishness—because that was what his friends called him. The end.

Now it's your turn.

Freewrite, from three semesters of college and Tuesday night's dream

Darling, you closed your eyes and I painted butterfly wings on your eyelids. How beautiful you were, how tired we all were, and I was crazy with the lateness of the hour, with hunger and with the heat of Christmas lights on my skin. You're typing so loud, she said, and the thundering of my keyboard came out of a speaker with her voice somewhere on the other side of the ocean. The smell of incense under the door into the miles of asylum-straight hallway, hell-fluorescent even so many hours after midnight, but in here, dim and my knuckles smudgy with color, now is now is now.

Seconds

The cherry trees are more green than pink now, and the gutters and cracks in the pavement are full of cherry blossom petals. They get tangled in the weeds and turn translucent in the rain.

Rainy-day sweetness


Can I say "Goodness!" as an observation, a descriptor? A verdict?

Here is where I live, in my parents' house, which is full of space and creaking floorboards and cool daylight, which is slowly changing color on the outside in the rain.

And here it is a day for humming, for wearing thick socks, for making my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe carefully, for listening to Yael Naïm for a while.

My cat is sleeping in the pale gray-day light that she believes is warm, and on streets I can't see from this kitchen, there is the sound of cars rushing through the rain.

This is free

And each of us broken and put back together,
now finally with no thoughts for ourselves except
to be here, together
singing in the sun-sweet wind.

Read in April

1. Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer, by Lynne Cox
Not an autobiography; strictly swimming tales (e.g. "And then there was that time when I swam from Catalina Island to mainland California and broke the men's and women's world records for time even though I was only fourteen..."). I generally don't like sports books, but her descriptions of her training and her swims are scintillating.

2. Book of My Nights, by Li-Young Lee
An introspective and abstract collection of poems. Often puzzling, but beautiful at points. I posted one of his poems previously.

3. The Field Guide (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1), by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
Meh. I might have liked it when I was younger.

4. Thirst, by Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver's voice is simple and her outlook joyful. Quite spiritual. Read it outside, somewhere green. (Poetry.)

5. Breaking Bounds: The Dance Photography of Lois Greenfield, by William A. Ewing
Interview: really interesting. Photography: not really my cup of tea (and I am a lover of dance; I think I'm a little too removed from her era to appreciate her innovation), but still cool. I posted a bit about this book a couple weeks ago.

6. Apologies to an Apple, by Maya Ganesan
Evocative and sensitive, at times enigmatic. (Again, poetry.)

7. Glacial Period, by Nicolas de Crécy
A graphic novel with rather dull frame action, but a very clever premise: it imagines a team of archaeologists in the distant future, exploring the frozen continent of Europe for clues of its former civilization. They stumble upon the Louvre Museum and begin hypothesizing about the culture that produced the works they see.

8. On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea, by Pablo Neruda
It didn't take my breath away, but I do appreciate Neruda more after reading it. I think his style is subtler than what I usually like in poetry, but it's probably good for me.

9. This Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen
Oh, this is contemporary realistic YA fiction as I like it. I'm making Dexter my role model.

10. The Book of Nightmares, by Galway Kinnell
A long poem. Not pretty, and not always the most graceful in its phrasing, but rather brilliant. When I finished it on the subway on my way home from German, I immediately turned back to the beginning and began it again.

From Upland

I took these pictures early in the morning at my uncle and aunt's house in Southern California.

It is an old house that used to have acres of orange trees all around it. Even on the small piece of land that is left to it, there still grow more oranges and grapefruits and lemons than my aunt knows what to do with.

My sister (the one who went to Mauritania, yes) will be married here in July.



Camellias are the ones I like so much that I wear them even after they have wilted.


There is the trampoline that I was on when I videochatted with some of you.


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