I went to my Dad's house for Thanksgiving. Slept over Wednesday night on the fold-out futon under a tiger blanket, then woke up the next morning to coffee and clouds and the smell of things cooking. Dad is big into Thanksgiving: we have about twenty people over and spend the day dicing, basting, peeling, mashing, chopping, boiling, and rest-taking in accordance with his typed schedule. 

Ellen made pumpkin and cranberry bread. Dad made mimosas. I made "orange cups", a strange mixture of sweet potatoes, juice and unscientifically measured spices in empty orange rinds. 

Gramps with mimosa.

The cooking continued until about five in the afternoon. There was an overall smell of citrus. Every few hours, I snuck down to the den to read Robert Bolano in a big chair.

Oh--I also arranged the (water) bar. This required the skillful cutting of orange and lemon slices, the arrangement of wine glasses, etc., etc.

Ellen did the table.

Around four-thirty, guests arrived!

I returned to my apartment with two slices of pecan pie and a desire for a long nap.


how small i am

I want to go to an observatory, to the Planetarium. I want to see the face of the moon and Neptune up close and all of Saturn's rings. And the dark bellies of black holes. And stars. There are a lot of things I can imagine, but I want to see the things I can't. 

Outer space is a good antidote for excessive introspection. Sometimes, it is nice to stare up into a thing infinitely older and vaster and deeper than you. When I was little I made my Dad quiz me on space facts: the order of the planets, which moons belonged where, that sort of thing. I have forgotten most of it now, but looking at photos of these places still gives me a feeling of vertigo. 



Here are some things I wish I was good at:

- Sudoku

- Running

- Not getting ahead of myself

- Editing my own work

(The first two are hopeless and the third is the most difficult, so I am going to start by tackling the last one.)

This winter weather makes me want to write lists. Also to:

- Knit scarves

- Read stories

- Walk, bundled up in sweaters and mittens and tall socks and two layers of jackets and a hat, as far as I can.

It also makes me think of my winters at Vassar. I remember feeling surprised when I realized that the snow lasted for over four months. And running from my dorm to the dining hall to the library in leggings and a sweater because I didn't like to lug a puffy winter coat around with me after I got indoors. Once Ali carried me across a melted snow puddle because I'd refused to wear boots and had already soaked my sneakers straight through. 

And then, of course, comes the domino effect: memories triggered by memories triggered by memories. I've been thinking a lot about Vassar this week. These photos are from the Alice in Wonderland shoot. We were so cold--it must have been about twenty degrees out. In the first picture, on the right: here comes Brian with a blanket. The wine jug is as big as I am!

This one reads like an I Spy of my freshman year. Town House crackers. Ty's belt. Sophie's printer. Ballet posters. Embarrassing use of Photo Booth to kill time...

Today, on the bus, I saw this. A good thing to remember:


i dream of:

Now that I've been cooking my own meals for a little while (read: making 5-minute ravioli with Prego sauce and calling in for Ebisu takeout), I've become obsessed with the idea of finding the perfect X. In the past, this X variable has been supermarket pesto, lettuce leaf, and pasta brand. (My conclusions, respectively: Classico, butter, Eduardo's Egg Noodles.) 

Anyway--right now I am on the hunt for both the ideal avocado and San Francisco's best granola. Bell Market is winning on the avocado front. This is a big upset. I had expected Trader Joe's to have the best everything, but it seems they only have the best of everything except avocados. On the other hand, Bell, the ridiculously overpriced and disproportionately shitty grocery store around the corner from my house, has surprisingly excellent avocados: creamy, unbruised and the same pale color as the inside of a lime. Things are not so clear, however, when it comes to the granola. Cascadian Farms: too sweet. Bear Naked: too stale. Kashi: disqualified due to lack of oat clusters. ("Fiber twigs" are not the same thing.) 

I see: my C mug! Do you c it?

Last night I had a dream in which all of my professors were taking part in a debate. They were sitting in a room that looked like something out of one of the Oxford University scenes in "The Golden Compass" (the movie, not the book). I'm talking mahogany furniture, flames crackling in a gilded fireplace and outfits too decadent to be truly collegiate. So: there we were, though I was in more of a fly-on-the-wall position. I remember feeling as though I was doing something very wrong, listening to the way all of their voices changed when they were talking to each other instead of their students. 

That might have been a waste of a paragraph. Isn't it funny how nobody cares about anyone else's dreams? We talked about this in my Narrative class last year, and I think it's true. Don't you ever just want to skip over a dream passage when it comes up in a novel? Or when a friend is telling you about a dream they had the night before--do you really pay attention? I used to be obsessed with my dreams. I had this big glossy book that talked about all of the Dream Symbols and what they meant. Now, usually, I am either amused or weirded out by the things I dream. I am too sleepy to figure out what that says about me. 

Oh! Went to a reading the other night at the Bazaar Cafe. The cafe itself seemed too fitting for such an occasion to be real: mismatched wooden chairs, windy strung lights, found art, mugs the size of my head. As usual, I was all wound up beforehand, but really enjoyed it when I began to read. It made me want to look into other open mic/spoken word nights in the city, though I guess those kinds of things can be pretty hit or miss. 

Last night I saw my first lavender sunset:



Wanted: a cure--or at least a bridle--for the helplessly overactive imagination.


rabbit's foot

I am being very bad right now: doing everything but reading "The Plague" (looking through The Believer online, thinking about things I'd like to make, writing a blog) when I really should be reading "The Plague", as I have to write an essay on it tomorrow. But. Anyway. 

This November has been alarmingly lucky so far. It's been so lucky that I am worrying about some kind of reverse effect, an allergic reaction, an unlucky byproduct of all this charm and serendipity and goodness. I don't really know how to describe the way that I feel about the Obama win without veering into cliches (euphoric, relieved, hopeful), so I can only say that I am all of those things. I was a nervous wreck all Tuesday, and at night I listened to the returns with my 6-to-9 P.M. poetry class from the top of Lone Mountain. There was no T.V., so instead, we streamed NPR from a laptop and refreshed CNN like crazy. I made my Dad send me constant updates with the electoral count and called them out between Ginsberg and Whitman and Langston Hughes's "I, Too, Sing America", which took on a new poignancy and squeezed something in my chest. 

It felt secret, somehow, nestled up there on the mountaintop, surrounded by trees and the blue-black of the sky. When McCain conceded, we could hear shouts from the street below. There is something different in the air now--I know that sounds silly, but I really can feel it. On my way home, everybody on the bus began to talk together. I mean that every single person joined in. I'd never seen anything like it. Patriotism has always felt like a dirty word, and it is fresh and wonderful to think that it doesn't feel so bad to be an American now. It feels kind of good. 

Another lucky bit of November: my birthday! I guess that is not lucky so much as it is unavoidable, but it made me feel lucky. It was as though I had everything I could ever need. I made everyone play Scrabble. I lost. This was okay. 

To go backwards in time, Halloween was last weekend. Nora and I were Dead. Since we both own mostly black clothing, it was a very economical choice. 

Nora was down with this:

The most recent lucky thing that has happened is that a great little San Francisco boutique has placed an order for the strange stationary I make. I was really surprised--I started doing it only because I can't sit still while watching TV and wanted something to do during "Jon and Kate Plus 8" episodes with Nora. Now I am kind of obsessed. The cards will be at Japonica on 19th and California. They have all sorts of good things, and they're currently expanding--after Thanksgiving the store will have an attached coffee shop.

Another good thing about November (see? they just keep on coming) is that it is finally beginning to rain. I love the way the city looks after a bath: so fresh and so clean. I went on a walk to appreciate it. 

Oh, how I would like to live in this house.