Reasons why I don’t really mind spending Turkey Day as a guest of non-foodies:

1. No overeating.
2. No exhaustion from crazy cooking marathon, or the least dot of pressure to show up with the perfect side dish.
3. More appreciation for the fact that I eat like a fucking empress the other 364 days of the year.
4. Mashed potatoes are always good!
5. Budget-friendly! No extravagant ingredients, not even wine.
6. More time to build gingerbread houses with silly tots who end up eating half of the candy… I guess I’m not much of a disciplinarian, heh.

For some reason I was still really tired the next day, & after a hot bath crashed out for a FOUR HOUR NAP, the likes of which I haven’t seen since, I dunno, my college days? (Those big naps when you have the flu—or a doped-up broken pelvis—don’t count the same way.) It was kinda stunning really. Who knows how much longer I might have slept if my dear spousette hadn’t woken me up to drink some water. After that I was afraid I might be up all night, but no, I nailed it with another 7 hours! How decadent is that? I felt transformed! My skin even looked better. Now if only I could figure out how to make that happen on a regular basis, like maybe quarterly would be good.

Other leisurely 4-day-weekend activities included cleaning out the fridge, going out for brunch (blueberry pancakes!), loafing around the kitchen with the Sunday paper, swimming, & an overdue hair trim, how satisfying!

The only misstep I made was trying to watch Manufactured Landscapes, which follows photographer Edward Burtynsky as he documents some of the environmental horrors of China. I was awestruck by the opening pan, which tracks continuously, inexorably, through a ginormous factory for over 8 minutes. Unfortunately I only lasted another 7 minutes after that, not because there was anything wrong with the documentary, but because watching the factory workers doing their insanely repetitive jobs actually made my hands hurt! Truly these folks have jobs from hell. I totally get why you would want to run far away from that & fry eggrolls in Wyoming instead. Someday when I have a little more fortitude—or more emotional distance from my Bad Hand Ordeal—I’ll have to watch the rest of this thing.

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See, I told you I was gonna be scarce for a while. I still am, but I thought I’d give you a little Hand Update. It’s easy to forget when I’m in a fit of premenstrual, pre-election crankiness, but overall I’m pretty dang cheerful these days, because I recently realized that my hand is no longer the defining limitation of my daily life. This is truly amazing. I can actually do a lot of things without thinking too hard about how, exactly, to do them. I ironed some clothes the other day! I cut an Asian pear in half! (Those cores are very dense & hard, much tougher than most things I have occasion to cut through.) I schlepped that Asian pear & its brothers & sisters home from the farmer’s market all by myself (along with sweet peppers, eggs, apples, lettuces, pasta & ROMANO BEANS oh my gawd romano beans!!! & dry-farmed tomatoes & so forth).

Part of this blissful freedom from microscopic hand awareness & “oh well I can’t do that”-ness is due to great improvement of actual hand ability. Part of it is because I have been living with this problem for long enough now that a lot of those initially-annoying adaptations have become habit, so I don’t have to concentrate so hard on every little thing. I have learned how to open jars (there actually is a process & a technique to it) & I have also learned how to assess very quickly whether a particular jar is un-openable, in which case I just move right along to asking somebody else to open it.

There are still plenty of things that trip me up. Vacuuming is my Challenge Of The Moment: can I vacuum more than one and a half rooms (including crown molding & odd little corners & crevices) without my hand getting all tuckered out & anxious? Driving to Montana is still out of the question. Getting a job, ha Other things too just have to wait a little longer.

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Hmm… if Indigo’s hands are getting better, why isn’t she blogging?

1. Other computer activities (that would be Photoshop, Photoshop & more Photoshop) are claiming my still-scanty keyboard & mouse quotas.

2. More cooking! Salads galore! Strawberry ice cream! Strawberry everything!

3. Much pondering about writing. It would seem: the more pondering about writing, the more writing. This has been quite assertively not true lately.

With all this, we enter a new, even more stepped down phase of the blog. I realize it’s been quite thin already for the past year or more, but it’s gonna get downright onionskin for the next little while. I’m not gonna kill it dead though, because I might stage a mighty comeback sometime, & besides, the archives are still getting plenty of traffic. (I can’t figure out why people are googling “fat thumb” so often, but hey, whatever works.)

The rest of the website remains frozen in time, circa mid-2004. Someday when my hands are really fiesty & tough, all shall be updated. Until then, my advice is to get off the dang computer & go cook something divine, preferably involving basil. Or peaches.

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Finally my hands are somewhat recovered from that last round of yuckiness. In order to stave off further yuckiness I’ll get to the point of this post quickly:

With food so much on my mind lately, I’ve been pondering some of my food choices, especially when it comes to seafood. In my vegetarian 20s I used to make an occasional exception for seafood because I love it so much. Now, years later, I find myself in the odd position of eating poultry much more often than seafood, not because I love poultry so much, but mostly because of a horrifying documentary I saw last year about fishing practices. In an attempt to reconcile my principle-driven desire to avoid fish altogether with my tastebud-driven desire to enjoy eating fish, I have been perusing the very excellent Seafood Watch site where you can download wallet-size guides tailored to different regions of the USA. It’s a little overwhelming, but for now, I’ve decided that I will eat salmon once a year, on my birthday (which happily falls in the middle of salmon season), making sure that the salmon is wild-caught in Alaska.



If you tried to look at my website on Friday, sorry, the venerable Well went down & took me with it. Everything back to normal now. Meanwhile, I shoulda known those last few posts were sounding a little cocky. Both hands are very tired, sore & achey right now. It sucks. I’m gonna go curl up in a little ball until it gets better. Two steps forward, one step back. Kinda like the weather… a sweet dose of sunshine & warmth, now back to torrential downpours. Color me Eeyore.



Good hand news, part one: a while ago I said that I could have spent all this hand-time writing poems about hands, but it just wasn’t like that. Also, toward the beginning of the hand ordeal I had tried to read various, more obvious kinds of writing about hands & hand injuries, & they just weren’t what I needed. They were too much what was already going on in my head: what does the hand do, how does the hand work (or not work), how important is the hand, blah blah. It was all so tedious, so I gave up on such reading pretty quickly. I didn’t realize that what I needed was poetry about hands, written by someone else. Well, I found it & I’m so glad: The Book of a Hundred Hands by Cole Swenson. It’s great. I’m not up on the lingo of how to describe poetry, but it has certain things in common with two other poetry books I’ve really liked recently: Crush by Richard Siken and Facts for Visitors by Srikanth Reddy.

Good hand news, part two: I found a very nice wool coat on deep, deep discount for $29. As may be expected from such a screaming bargain, it required some attention: 2 buttons to be sewn on. Just a few weeks ago I probably would have felt that I could not accomplish such a thing, or would have tried it with my left hand. But no! My right hand said, “I can do that!” & it did! Not only did it, but did it with ease & grace. This made me very, very cheerful. That plus the weather easing up ever so slightly—we have had moments of actual warmth & sunshine in between the continuing rain.

Light at the end o’ the tunnel, perhaps?



I was attacked with a severe bread jones last night. I think it’s the granola’s fault. We’ve been making our own (an adaptation of the Tassajara recipe), so breakfast lately has been granola, strawberries, & Straus maple yogurt—displacing my longstanding toast habit. Lo & behold, 2 or 3 whole weeks went by with nary a loaf of Acme in the house. Suddenly yesterday I needed a slice of levain. So fortunate are we to live in Berkeley, where such an itch can be scratched almost quicker than thought. I ate it first with butter last night, then just now for lunch with Brebiou from the Cheeseboard. Aaaah.

Now that I’ve regained some of my bread molecules, I must also report that slicing the bread was noticeably easier this time! I think the hand may have to share the blame for the bread drought… granola is much easier for the hand to face, first thing in the morning. It was so upsetting not to be able to slice bread (or, more recently, to slice it in an unenjoyable, anxious, struggling way), I guess I had subconsciouly decided I’d rather not eat it at all. Terrible. Hopefully that’s over.

Plus, it’s not raining today!



I’m only about to say everything that everyone else around here is already saying, so if repetition bores you, stop reading. But I can’t help it, & there’s a reason why everyone is wailing: what is up with the fucking rain??? I swear I’m starting to mold. Half of the plants in our garden have literally drownded. (That’s not a typo. I like “drownded” better than “drowned”.) Notwithstanding jokes about Seattle & clever references to ark-building, we are all truly going insane here in the Bay Area. All I want to do is eat & sleep. I’m not a coffee drinker but I’ve been hitting the Scharffenberger & the organic genmaicha pretty hard. I’ve become convinced that my hand would get well if only it would stop raining. Or more like, how can my hand possibly improve in this weather? I am so fucking impatient.

I did, however, make gnocchi the other day. Remember that French Laundry cookbook from the library? When I checked it out I swore it was only for my reading pleasure, that I was not going to be so foolhardy as to attempt any of the insanely complex recipes. Well. First of all, some of the recipes aren’t actually that complex, & second of all, I am a total sucker for gnocchi, but for various workaholic reasons hadn’t made it in probably ten years, & third of all… see above for weather-induced stircraziness.

My hands did everything they could manage, but in the end my gnocchi inevitably turned out to be a rustic, chunky variation of the recipe. (Hey, you try mashing potatoes with a weak left hand.) It’s actually fairly interesting textural contrast; you get these whole chunks of unmashed potato in the middle of your gnocchi. & since it’s fresh pasta & the sauce calls for half a stick of butter, who’s complaining?

Well, maybe the dishwasher (who, for the record, did not actually complain even though she had every right to). By the time I got done I had used every pot, pan, mixing bowl & utensil in the kitchen. I even thought of making a list of the specific implements for you, but I had too much gnocchi dough stuck to my hands.

Fortunately, the recipe makes a lot of gnocchi:

It’s leftovers heaven!

So, to recap coping mechanisms for interminable, torrential suckiness:
1. Complain (this includes cursing a lot)
2. Eat chocolate
3. Drink caffeinated drinks
4. Sleep
5. Undertake time-consuming, starchy, fatty cooking projects



The bad news: my drive n’ swim adventure last week exhausted me so much that I am now trying to fight off a cold. (Well, the bizarrely freezing weather might be a factor, too.) I guess I won’t try that again for a little while. It’s kind of strange how such a tame-sounding experiment can wipe a person out, but Feldenkrais Goddess explained it to me in terms of how the nervous system (already stressed by injury) gets kinda overwhelmed because you are—at least subconsciously—aware that driving is actually a dangerous, potentially lethal activity. Very different from cutting cabbage, which, even if you fail miserably at it, does not kill you.

This brings me to the good news: I passed the cabbage test! I figured out how to cut a cabbage in half! You have to be very mindful, very in-the-moment, very flexible. Just like with the cauliflower, except even more so. Actually I attribute this success more to mental skill than to actual improved hand strength, but both do count for something in my continuing Kitchen Hand Olympics.

All this cabbage-halving is due to my continued love affair with Orangette’s user-friendly braised cabbage recipe, which has proven to be downright elastic in its flexibility. We’ve been tucking in artichokes (the little heart size), as well as whole, slim, young carrots (in multi colors) instead of the chopped ones in the recipe. Also, bulk sea salt seems to do just fine instead of fancy Maldon, & a mixture of red & green cabbage adds to the variety.



I did it! I did it! Yesterday I drove myself to the pool, swam, showered, got dressed & drove myself back home! This is Major Hand Progress. On the other hand (er… no pun intended…) I was totally exhausted for the entire rest of the day, could not do anything but lie on the couch under a down comforter, watching Oprah, & ended up in bed before 9pm. In fact I am still tired today. So maybe I shouldn’t make this a habit quite yet. But it was totally thrilling to realize that I can, in fact, choose to take myself swimming when other modes of transport are unavailable. I’ve been relying heavily upon the generosity of Swimming Kitty’s Swim Team Carpool—Swimming Kitty is so sweet to cart me back & forth all the time, & she won’t even let me give her gas money!—but of course, she can’t always go swimming when I can/want to, & as all swimmers know, sometimes you just gotta swim!

On my way back from the pool, wanting to flex my newfound driving independence—& also knowing I would be too tired to fix myself lunch at home—I stopped at Bakesale Betty’s. Betty’s chicken pot pies have been the subject of great speculation & fantasy, ever since our first visit there many months ago, when we witnessed the piemaking in progress. (That was also the time Betty’s husband gave each of us an entire slice of banana bread!) For one reason & another, I never got to taste the elusive chicken pot pies until yesterday, when I asked, “Is there anything lunchish?” & heard the wonderful, music-to-my-ears reply “We have chicken pot pies, fresh out of the oven!”

So, any time you anticipate such a thing for so long, there is always the distinct possibility of dissappointment, is there not? Well, good news: Betty’s chicken pot pies are everything a chicken pot pie should be, & those are not words you should take lightly, coming from me. First of all: the crust. This is real live, genuine pie pastry, not some shortbread/cobbler/whatever kind of cheaper & easier excuse for pastry. You get the real deal both on the top & on the bottom thus preserving the entirely-enclosed integrity of the pie. How many so-called chicken pot pies out there try to pass themselves off with only a top crust? Feh!

Okay, then, the filling: the chicken is not (as you find too often) overcooked cardboardy white meat. On the contrary, it is perfectly done, in nice big plentiful chunks. You also get nice big chunks of carrots & celery, & the rich sauce is blessedly cornstarch-free. Best of all for me, Betty has a very restrained hand with the pepper. Don’t know why, but a lot of inexpensive lunch foods, especially soups (I could go on about this) & basically anything with a sauce (which includes pot pies), suffer from way too much pepper—perhaps an attempt to compensate for the lack of actual, authentic flavor?—so it is rare indeed to find such unpeppered perfection.

The size is right: enough for a hearty lunch, but not so big that you feel stuffed, & the price is right too: $5 for Everything a Chicken Pot Pie Should Be. I was very, very happy indeed.



I am so pleased with my thumb today. It looks so un-fat. Healthy wrinkles of all kinds abound—from the deep creases at the joint to the fine network of ittybitty wrinkles that characterize normal finger skin. I would go so far as to say my right thumb actually looks almost the same as my left thumb! We have come far from the fat thumb days, my thumb & I. We’ve been braving all kinds of new adventures. Last night we sliced up a cauliflower, carefully applying lessons learned from the cabbage-cutting incident. Flexibility is key. If the knife gets stuck part way, change the angle a bit, move around on the knife handle & try a slightly different position. What might have been one continuous motion for a regular-strength hand turned into a somewhat wiggly series of several small motions for my weak hand, but in the end I got what I wanted: a nicely halved cauliflower. (The slices that come next are not as difficult because you’re not going through the dense, hard center of the stem.)

We also tried driving a little ways up a curvy hill street in Kensington, which wasn’t too bad, but I was glad not to have to go any further. Then yesterday, feeling extra brave, I let my left hand turn the mouse over to the right hand for a few experimental clicks. Pretty exciting stuff!

By the way, you can thank Textism’s Textile for the lovely em-dashes, smart apostrophes & other treats that finally allow this posting—& all future postings, I hope—to look decent, upstanding, & typographically correct. At long last! Hallelujah!



It’s been a little while. The hand has made it clear that I shouldn’t have cut that big cabbage in half last week while making Orangette’s braised cabbage, but I have to say, it was almost worth it. Next time I’ll have Donna make that first cut, & next time is coming soon, because this cabbage was divinely comforting. Gas bills be damned, hot food pulled from the oven is infinitely more winter-perfect to me than almost anything you could do on the stovetop. Fortunately I was not stupid enough to attempt hefting the six-ton Le Creuset roasting dish in & out of the oven.

I had Donna repeat her weight-lifting last night for my first-ever macaroni & cheese. Wow, what a revelation! I’d never made mac & cheese before—unless you count Annie’s, which you shouldn’t, I mean I really don’t know why these two things are called by the same name—but, whatever. Not only have I never made it myself, I realized I’ve never eaten homemade mac & cheese from anybody anywhere. There was some kind of invisible, unconscious boundary between Outside & Inside; mac & cheese belonged to the Outside world of cafeterias & restaurants. It seems my friends & relatives all share in this division. Weird!

Until now! (Fanfare please….) I recently read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which among other things contains a detailed & mesmerizing description of a woman making macaroni & cheese. I happened to be very hungry while reading this section & instantly developed a serious jones for the rich stuff. Even then, though, it did not occurr to me to make it myself; instead I remembered that a friend had raved about the mac & cheese at a nearby deli, so vowed to go asap to satisfy my craving.

I couldn’t get there until yesterday; I was on the verge of buying a large hunk of it when Donna pointed out, “hey, it’s $7.49 a pound, why don’t we just make our own?” Oh. Duh. Of course. So, organic cheddar in hand, we walked on home & she hauled out the anvil Le Creuset.

My! What a tactile treat for the hands! First of all, the best way to butter a baking dish is with your fingers. Whee, fingerpainting! Then there’s spreading out the macaroni—your fingers are already all buttery, so why not just use your hands to pat the warm, squishy pasta into a level layer? Cool, fatty shredded cheese comes next, then another layer of al dente goodness. More cheese, then the roux. Wait! I must rant about roux: it’s been years since I made a roux. I don’t know why I have deprived myself in this horrible way, because the roux is pleasurable kitchen magic at its best. A little lump of butter melting in the pan, a little flour, whisk whisk whisk, pour in the innocent milk, whisk whisk & then poof! the most velvety, creamy, yummy, fragrant stuff you could ever lick off a whisk. (Okay, so maybe hot fudge sauce is good for that too.)

Anyway, the mac & cheese was bubbly & crusty & gooey. I consider my itch well scratched.

Now I’m going to disappear for a while more. Karen is coming to visit from Chicago.



So. You wanna know how the hand is doing? It's getting a little cocky. This is good because it means there is something to be cocky about, but, of course, bad because of the risk of reinjury. Nevertheless I have done the unthinkable & joined Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. I was inspired by her friend who'd had to quit knitting because of arthritis but is going to knit one stitch a day for the Olympics. I thought, hey, I can do that too! So every day I'm going to knit one cable repeat (approx. 23 stitches) on the hat I had to abandon when I screwed up my hand.

Knit bloggers are so wacky. They're coming up with all these crazy buttons, like for USA Cable Team or Canadian Sock Team. Lo & behold, someone made a button for my team:



Happy Year of the Dog! I am so glad to see that damned Chicken go, I can't even tell you. I was wondering, have chickens always disagreed with me so? I don't remember having a particularly tough year 12 years ago. 24 years ago did pretty much suck, but that can be blamed on the ever-angsty adolescent years. Let's just say this last year was the Chicken From Hell & let it go at that.

The Dog has brought this very exciting piece of progress: you know how you use your thumb as a guide to peel a piece of fruit? That was me this morning, doing that totally thumb-oriented process on an Asian pear! I couldn't believe myself, but it was real! I couldn't do the whole pear, only a couple slices' worth, but that was thrill enough for me.

In preparation for the Dog I also attempted to vaccuum my studio. I managed to get about 75% of the way through before my hand pooped out. Pretty good, huh?

I can almost dare to imagine that soon I'll be blogging about something besides my hand problems.... Chinese restaurants??! Knitting?!



Nail clipping victory!!! I went & bought a new nailclipper, realizing that the one I had must be dull since I literally can't remember ever having any other one. I mean this thing had to be at least 25 years old. Duh! The new one was $1.99, made in Korea, & noticeably easier to use when I tried it out with my left hand. Thus encouraged, I carefully, cautiously took it between right thumb & fingers, breathed deeply, gave it a few experimental squeezes, & then, oh glory! I clipped one nail on my left hand! This was a bit scary & produced a small twinge in the infamous thumb joint, so I stopped there for the time being. A couple days letter my hand felt much better & I tried it again. This time I cut all 5 nails on my left hand! Wheee! Cowabunga! Look out world!



Bay folks know that the size of San Francisco Bay has shrunk considerably over the years, but nobody ever seems to know where the original edge of the bay was, especially when discussing topics near & dear to our hearts, such as earthquakes, liquefaction, foundation & drainage problems, or just real estate in general. Recently the question arose, yet again, as it periodically does: when the Big One comes & all the landfill falls back into the bay, will our house fall with it, or will we be teetering on the edge, or will we be sitting snug as a bug, a convenient couple of blocks from the new beach? This cool 1899 map probably does not exactly answer the question, but it sure is fun to look at.

If you know where to find a map of the original bay, please do let me know. Best would be a comparitive illustration with, say, the new bay-as-we-know-it superimposed or something. So we can know once & for all, where is landfill & where is not?

Thumb update: sometimes eating with my right hand now! Able to write semi-legibly with skinnier pens! (I had been totally dependent on the lifesaving retractable Sharpie.) Used an Xacto to cut a piece of paper the other day! Still can't use that nailclipper though.



So, you know, the silver lining in not being able to drive barely at all (because of the hand, of course) is that I get to feel all virtuous taking public transit all over the place. How liberating, too, to forget about gas prices, bridge tolls, parking tickets.... Not so fast! I have just discovered that there is, in fact, a public transit equivalent of the pesky parking ticket. It's when you (feeling smugly forethoughtful) add $20 to the $6 left on your BART ticket, & then promptly lose it. !!$&*#@!

Now the good news: the neurologist informed me, after a series of unpleasant shocks on various parts of my arm & hand, that I have no nerve damage. All nerves fine! She says I have "complex regional pain syndrome", which, if you google it, turns out to have unknown causes & unknown treatment (& also some very scary extreme examples). Fortunately, in this case, for once, the doctor is more helpful than a google search & has instructed me to gradually start using my thumb normally again. She illustrated this prescription with a sort of dramatic demonstration of how strong my thumb actually is when I take several deep relaxing breaths before trying to use it. Trippy! Hey, I have a thumb again (sometimes)! I've been playing (cautiously) with my new toy. It's very proud of its ability to cut easy things with scissors, help with some zippers, pitch in with the eating, &c. So if you hear me exhaling loudly, it's because I'm trying to get my thumb muscles to work right.



Yes. I am still here. Well, actually, I went away & came back. Barcelona!!! What an amazing city, bursting with jaw-dropping architectural wonders, swoon-inducing food (existing side-by-side, I mean actually on the same menu, with dull mayonnaisey or brown-sauce stuff), truly enviable public transit, awesome Roman relics, friendly people, & way too much dogshit. How can people live like that? My neck was a little freaked out, what with my looking constantly up (to admire the sights) & then back down again (to avoid the shit), repeat several times a minute, for hours at a time. I guess all that sitting around in restaurants helped. Lobster & sea urchin stew. Extra-thick, yummygooey pear tatin unlike any I'd ever had. Pile of fried sardines that made me feel like a cat. Screamingly good soup with trumpets of death, aka black chanterelles. Drinkable olive oil. Marrons glaces, candied fruit, endless permutations of goat & sheep cheeses, chocolate, good wine for cheap. Then giving the thighs a good workout getting to & from our 6th-floor walkup apt.

But the burning question: DID THE THUMB LIKE IT?

Yes! It did! The thumb feels quite a bit better. Still nowhere near normal, but a glimmer of light appears, way off there at the end of the tunnel. About fucking time. I'm sick to death of this trudging along in the pitch dark. The challenge: not to tear off at top speed hoopin & hollerin toward that speck of light, thus risking injury, setback, waking up the bats (or giants), you know what I'm talking about. Oh, impatience! I must take a deep breath & continue to proceed with caution, lest I trip & fall on my face again. Pray for me.



The thumb & I are going on vacation. Hopefully this change of scenery will be so beneficial that the thumb will not mind the sudden absence of accupuncture & other expensive professional attention. Is it possible for a thumb to get spoiled? Will Princess Thumb throw tantrums after a couple days abroad? We shall see. Full report when we get back just in time for Unthanksgiving, or Thankstaking, or whatever subversive name you wanna use. Tofurkey Day?



I just heard about this book, Richard Loranger's Poems for Teeth, which is exactly what it sounds like: a book-length series of poems all about teeth. This sort of obsessiveness has great appeal for me. (I can hear y'all saying, No kidding, really??) I want to read this book. I'll be happy if it's even half as good as this other book-length poetic obsession I chanced upon in the Anderson Center library when I was there a couple years ago: Blind Huber by Nick Flynn, inspired by the life & work of a pioneering 18th-century beekeeper.

In theory, I s'pose I could have spent this year writing a book of poems about hands. Instead I have just learned how to say "I have an injured thumb" in Spanish. Tengo un pulgar herido. How's that for ambition?




I don't think about my thumb at all while I'm eating this stuff.

Accupuncture is also good, but I think a lot about my thumb while that's happening.

I'm not sure what that proves exactly.



Alas, since I last blogged, Katrina turned out to be way, way worse than she first appeared, but by now you knew that already. Among millions of possible Katrina items to comment upon I choose this: if you plug in "refugee" & a recent date in an ADS-L archive search you'll get some interesting discussion. Also here.

As usual I can see both sides of the debate. Folks don't want to be lumped in with some other group they really don't identify with. On the other hand, I can't help but smell some American arrogance in here... it's the same irony I have noticed in the course of doing the Chinese Restaurant Project. (Hey, wow, you mean this might actually be on topic?! Hang onto yer hats, blog readers!) We (some people of color) get so preoccupied with defending our American-ness, i.e. "we belong here too" or "we deserve these rights too" that we seem to forget to question why it's so dang desirable to be an American. What about the other questions like: Isn't it embarrassing (& getting more so all the time) to be an American? Don't non-Americans also deserve respect, rights, resources, &c? What's so special about being recognized as an American? Of course I'm asking these questions in terms of conceptual identity, not in the context of, for example, the real daily crap that undocumented immigrants have to deal with.

I mean, part of my motivation in doing this project has been to demonstrate how we (Chinese Americans) have been here all along & are an integral part of American food culture, & dammit, why don't we get some credit for that? But really, does it matter on that pride/identity level what so-called "real Americans" (i.e. dumb white people who elected Bush) think of us & our restaurants? Why should we care?

Just wondering. Sorry if I'm rambling. I'm a little rusty at this blogging thing. Anyway, here's my suggestion for what to call people instead of refugees or evacuees or IDPs or hurricane survivors: Katrina Americans (smirk).

If you've read this far, reward yourself. I did today & it's almost enough to make me forget about my poor sufferin' hand.



Why I Haven't Blogged, or
A Synopsis of My Life Recently

Fat thumb.
Fat thumb.
Fat thumb.
Fat thumb.
Fat thumb.
Fat thumb.
Fat thumb.
Horrible cold. Flat in bed for days. Lost voice. Cough syrup.
The thumb at least appears to like this.
Chubby thumb. (Progress!)



I paid a visit to Trudy the Titan today. She wasn't stinky anymore, but it was still kinda mindblowing. That flower is as tall as me!

My thumb is slowly getting a bit tougher, thanks to lots of Feldenkrais, walking, & patience.



I switched from my hand specialist (he of the electric gizmo) to a physical therapist, who diagnosed me with DeQuervain's syndrome, more glamorously known as Washerwoman's Sprain. I'll leave y'all to ponder that for a while until the next time I feel like typing. Don't hold your breath....



My horoscope recommends the dullest blog in the world as role model of the moment. How pleasing, then, that this blog was already starting to resemble it!

I had a very bad hand flare-up this week after I spent a day on the computer tying up loose ends for the Creative Work Fund grant. Doesn't diminish the enormous gratitude I still feel for all that fabulous support.

Now the self-sabbatical continues.... The sweet peas (red & white streaked heirloom "America", in case you want to know) continue to flower & have begun podding. My left hand has not complained about snipping the pods off in addition to harvesting blossoms. But I don't do it every day.

Galia melons!!!

Back to the ice. Will try to make next post duller.



So. It's been a while. I'm trying to train myself to type w/o my right thumb, hitting the spacebar w/ my left thumb instead. I get more typos this way, I'll tell ya that much.

Continuing the walking campaign... people's gardens segue into summer. I love the smell of tomato leaves. I was thinking this could become a repetitive, seasonal-cyclical blog: Every May I write about Bing cherries (a Chinese American point of pride; thank you bro Bing!), Rainier cherries (like eating tiny nectarines) & the singing robin. Every June, the smell of tomato leaves.... It could loop around & around & be a life-long project. By the time I'm like 80 I'll have to be super-creative coming up w/ new ways to talk about the same stuff.

Just an idea. You know I've always had an unusually high tolerance for repetition.



A week or so ago was the first time I ever spotted a Western Tanager in our backyard. Could have something to do with being sick & spending a lot of time looking out the window.

Yep, in the winter it's a knitting blog. In the spring it's a bird blog. When I'm sick it's a sick blog. (It would be a cooking & gardening blog sometimes too, except for the *$#!!% hand.) Who can fit in Chinese restaurants between all that?!

Listening: Jolie Holland, Scrabbel.



My body is in total rebellion. It's not enough for it to have a lame hand. I have now had this weird coughing flu for over 2 weeks now. I guess the silver lining is that I get to make my own contribution to the irresistable & charming genre of Sick Blog Postings.

So. This one started out pretending to be hay fever. It was like that for 2 days & then suddenly I felt like shit. That, plus I began coughing up gunk in bad colors. I had such violent coughing fits that I thought I'd gag or choke to death or something. Or at least throw out my back. Misery.

After about 10 days, I thought I was getting well, whereupon I had the audacity to actually go out to get some dinner. It didn't seem like an extreme act at the time, but my body decided it better let me know who's boss. I was slammed flat into the bed then, only dragging myself up to hobble slowly to the bathroom every few hours. I was hot. I was cold. I didn't want to eat anything except broth & some cubes of cantalope that Donna cut for me. I slept like the dead.

Mercifully, that flu-within-a-flu ended after a day or so, & I returned to my regularly scheduled flu: low energy & plenty o' coughing. By this time my throat is so fucked up from all that coughing that I can't really talk; whenever I raise my voice above a whisper, it sets off more coughing. In this condition, on Friday I ventured out to fetch snake bile from Chinatown (hey, only $1.25/box!), which is helping me cough less but I still can't really talk. Ventured out again yesterday for acupressure, & to get eggs to satisfy my jones for medium-boiled eggs with soy sauce.

& now I must stop typing before I draw down the wrath of the Hand Gods. Pray for me!