Monthly Archives: September 2008

perpendicular to geese


While the geese are flying south for the winter…I’ll be flying east! Not for the winter. Just for a few days. I’ll be in London/Paris/Edinburgh.

Hello, Indian curries! And L’as du Falafel! And macarons! And gorgeous cathedrals! And cool accents!


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Shana Tova minus 777

Hello and Shanah Tovah/ Happy Rosh Hashanah / Happy New Year!

May your year bring you great blessings, joy, knowledge, happy memories and deep fulfillment.

I was hoping the new year would start off with a successful bailout.  But it did not.  We ended up with a dow that fell 777 points instead.  The bailout was not going to put money in the pockets of CEOs (the negotiations took care of that), but to bail out the entire mortgage mess, the banking mess…I was hoping it would happen. But it did not.

So we’ll wait for what tomorrow might bring.

And what the near year may bring as well.  Wish for me a completed, well written, soulful novel (and no more family deaths or illnesses and continued stability and happiness).  I wish for you the same.  (well, if you’re not a writer, I’ll leave the novel part out).

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10pm.  Husband fell asleep at 8pm.  I’m wide awake.

I’m not only wide awake, but I feel alert.  Feeling alert at nighttime has become a very foreign feeling for me since the stroke, something that has forced me to become a strict morning writer.  Even if I am physically energized at night, my brain is utterly exhausted by dinnertime.  I can only do complex thinking and idea generation in the mornings.  But I feel different tonight!

Was it my friend’s visit last week?  I made good on my vow to giggle for two days straight.  We had a hilarious time, two days of elation–an elation that sort of reminds me of cocaine binges (I know, it’s kind of a bad comparison)…like when you totally deplete a month’s worth of endorphins in a fifteen minute high.  It was like THAT.  Nonstop laughter and giddiness and joy.

(I mean, not that I would KNOW what a cocaine high feels like…!)

I wondered at one point, why my husband was not joining us at the table for conversation–but then I realized how SCARY we must have been to a lone, introverted man: two cackling, giggling, nonstop talking, inside-joking, hyper women.  Kind of an exclusive club.

And I was baaad.  I left stuff out on the kitchen counters to spoil, I left other things in disarray, I got a speeding ticket!  (Because we were laughing our asses off in the car and I didn’t notice I was going 85 mph through a KNOWN speedtrap in Marin). I call myself “baaad” with a smile on my face. Sorry! (with a smile on my face).

I was exhausted for days after she left, thinking, “Oh. She’s gone.” I had residual giggles and when you giggle by yourself, it makes the room feel a LOT emptier. No one thought I was hilarious anymore!

And then when the exhaustion seemed endless, “Shouldn’t I have my energy back by now? Oh crap, this is when it becomes obvious to me that I had a stroke somewhere in my past.”  I slept until noon for a couple days, fell asleep at 8pm a couple of nights, dragged myself to work, had to chug caffeinated coffee to survive. For about a week.

But now?  I feel this renewed energy, I feel buoyed!  I feel ideas chugging in my head.  I guess I took 2 steps backward with my energy…then 3 steps forward.  I hope I hope I hope…?

We did joke about that–what if after we hang out, we each get a burst of writing?  It’s happened before to us–we hang out, we’re TOTALLY unproductive while together…then afterwards: jetfueled creative writing power.

I’m trying my hand at night-time writing.  If I can get some writing done tonight, what a landmark!  I haven’t been able to write at night in nearly TWO years.

I love my friend!

p.s. Happy Autumn!!!!!


Filed under Fiction Writing Links, Life, The Stroke, Writing

workout! spa! friend!

what a brutal week, what with the stock market and all.  even if you don’t have money in the stock market, it affects you.  the insurance companies and all the other companies that affect our livelihood, invested their dollars in the stock market.  now those dollars are gone.  and so are AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and it looks like, WAMU.

i’m taking a day off tomorrow.  going to work out.  then i’m going to the spa.  then i’m going to pick up my friend from the airport tomorrow.  we’re driving to sonoma (and back).  we’re going to eat good food. and i’m going to giggle my ass off for 48 hours.


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Reminder: Randa Jarrar’s book tour

My friend, Randa Jarrar, whose debut novel A Map of Home released earlier this month, is on book tour!

She won’t be in Berkeley/Oakland, but will be in Sonoma and San Francisco this week. Her book rocks. She rocks. Go see/hear her read. I’ll see you there!

September 18
Readers’ Books
130 E. Napa Street
7:30 PM


September 19
Books Inc. in Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness, SF

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in another life: rituals


My husband is not a coffee drinker. It is, thanks to him, that I no longer drink caffeine–I fell so quickly and madly in love with him when we first met that my entire life’s routines were disrupted. Including my morning coffee routine. I forgot to drink coffee. Because we spent every.minute.together. We would wake up and even decide to miss work so that we could spend more time together! (It all worked out in the end, we both eventually started going to work more regularly).

I had headaches everyday, but nevermind! I was in love! But man, love came with a headache! It wasn’t until the headaches lifted a couple months later that I realized I had gone through some severe caffeine withdrawal.

I’ve searched far and wide for a perfect cup of decaf coffee–I may not drink caffeinated coffee anymore, but I’m still a coffee snob! When I discovered Blue Bottle Coffee from a friend, I was elated. “What IS this?!” I exclaimed. She told me it was Blue Bottle Decaf. I immediately ordered some online.

It is part of my writing ritual to brew myself a cup of this coffee. I write in the mornings (when I can), and so it has become a part of my morning ritual as well.

This morning…it is foggy, in the way that it becomes foggy in the late summertime here in SF/Berkeley. The sun has just broken through, casting a flourescent light, but as I began the cup of coffee, the world was enveloped in a cold and tingling fog. Have I told you how much I love fog? I’ve loved the notion of fog ever since I read “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and when I moved up to San Francisco/Berkeley, I really fell in love with it.

I don’t see it as gloomy at all, but romantic and quiet and comforting. Kind of like my husband.

My fondest coffee drinking moments are associated with fog–getting up in the City to a mug of coffee made for me, sipping it with stale toasted bread in the Haight, or in my Berkeley apartments my toes combing the 1970s era shag carpet. I didn’t go to college in the 1970s, that’s just how old the carpet in these apartments happened to be. It is a very meditative time, this drinking of coffee.

And today–for a moment, I wished my husband were a coffee drinker too, so that I could share this sensation with him. For this whole coffee thing–it’s a solitary thing for me, precious and holy as solitary things can be…but once in awhile, I’d like to share it with someone.

And. I’m pondering going back to caffeinated coffee.


Filed under Life, Memories

do not eat dim sum if you want to write


I thought I might get some writing done today, in between a dim sum lunch (we debated between chaat at Vik’s and dim sum–dim sum won) and a Margaret Cho show (tonight! finally!).

Nope. The dim sum, while delicious, has put me in a stupor, akin to a dose of benadryl. The deepest thought I’ve had all day today is pondering the word “shampoo.”

Shampoo. Shampoo. Shampoooo. Sham.poo.poo.sham. Shampoo. SHAMpoo. ShamPOO. Shampoo. Cute word, isn’t it? It sounds nonsensical after awhile. What a neat word for hair soap. Cute. Neat Cute. Neat. Neat. Neat. Neat.Neat.Neat. Cute. Shampoooo. Shampoo. SHAHM-poo. Shaaaampoo.

Well. At least it’s a beautiful day outside. I can stare out the window and make the most of this dim sum haze.

p.s. got two rejections in the mail today. One of them apologized (in handwriting) for the delay.


Filed under Abstract Thoughts, Life