Thinking & writing: about how that last decade kicked my fucking ass, but I did some kicking right back too

Eating: Taco Grill’s pozole de pollo (thank you, Peggy)

Re-reading after many years: Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Mitchell translation (thank you, Shahara)

Drinking: sencha (thank you, Birgit)

Knitting: wristwarmers that match the sencha

Listening: Furthur (thank you, Bobby & Phil)

Swimming: as always

Trying: not to get sick

Happy New Year, blog readers!

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Will report soon about Day of the Dead fun with the Witch & her witchy posse, but right now I’m dangerously fixated on these smileys doing chores. Some people have way too much time on their hands, & apparently I must be one of them. Rationalize all you want about ongoing fascination with repetition & the mundane, but this is messed up!



Uh, yeah, I do have some real-life laundry to do, why do you ask?



Okay. Are you having a hard time? Depressed? Struggling through a rough patch? I swear, I thought it was just me, or just me & some of my friends, or how about just me & almost everybody I know? After getting off the phone with yet another pal who had recently fallen into a pit of gloom, I finally realized, hey… something’s going on here. I don’t think it’s just the economy, although they don’t call it a depression for nothing. (Recession my ass!)

I think we are all in some kind of weird anticipatory Bush post-trauma. (Anticipatory, because he’s not actually gone yet.) I mean look, the past 8 years have sucked & we’ve all tried to put a brave face on it & just keep going, because what else can you do, & really I can’t be the only one who thought that if McCain had won the election, it would basically mean the end of the fucking world, & so here we are now like in some action movie where we were dangling over the precipice hanging on by one cracked fingernail for the longest time, & someone finally threw us a couple yards of dental floss, just enough to pull us up & over where we now lie panting & sweating on the ground—just inches from aforementioned cliff, mind you—trying not to faint because [fill in your preferred action flick menace] is rapidly approaching & may end up throwing us back off the cliff anyway. Am I right? How can a person not freak out a little bit in such a situation? (I mean unless you’re Xena or someone of her ilk. Last time I checked, I most definitely was not anything anywhere near that ilk. My ilk is more like this or this.)

So cut yourself a little slack & remember the big picture, if that sort of thing helps you. Way back when we worked in adjoining offices, Michele K-Tel kept her famous Perspective Duck always near at hand. Whenever necessary, coworkers could run into her office, squeeze the duck, & it would dispense its little squeak-quack for us, along with some much-needed perspective. The original Perspective Duck didn’t sound anything like this, but why not give it a try anyway?

If that doesn’t work, make yourself some popovers.

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You wanna know how pathetic I am? I just put in a load of laundry that’s almost all pajamas. Think about it.

But guess what, you can get a lot of knitting done when under House Arrest By Common Cold.

The second pair of socks!

Now if only I could knit myself several boxes of kleenex to replace the ones I’ve decimated, we’d be in good shape.

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Remember Irene? My pal who famously played sidekick for me in Wisconsin? She’s over there in the sidebar. Over there >>>

One of Irene’s many many talents is always finding the coolest shit going on anywhere, & the latest thing she’s turned me on to is the Crochet Coral Reef, which is blowing my mind with its crafty-geeky hyperbolic fabulosity.

As it happens, I was calling her to cancel our plans for tonight because, well, I fought the cold & the cold won. I was resigned to schlumping around the house all bored, but now I think I’ll crochet some coral instead! Thank you Irene!

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Why I Love the Web Dept: Apparently I’m not the only person who abhors evil Christmas sweaters. Actually, in my vision of hell, everyone is wearing them. Plus it’s always cold & the TV is always on & the only lights are those old flickering flourescents, & there’s rats & mice everywhere. Oh & there’s never any food.

Aren’t you glad you’re not there? More food soon, I promise.

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I had a great weekend. We went to the beach, where there were all these teeny little jellies that looked like perfect glass marbles. They were all washed up along the surf line & dusted with a fine layer of sand that made them hard to see until the lip of a wave washed them clean. Then they would roll optimistically down the beach toward the water until the wind covered them with another layer of sand, which stopped them from rolling. The ocean reclaimed them a few at a time, in a slow process of lapping & washing, waiting & rolling.

Then, of course, there was salad (isn’t there always salad?): little gems (from Blue Heron), artichoke hearts (from Riverdog), & I don’t remember what kind of tangerines (from the Bowl), with chevre & sherry vinaigrette.

Unfortunately, the same wind that blew sand onto the jellies also blew something in my eye, which got all puffy & goopy with a pesky eye infection. Disgusting!

This is not coffee, it’s powdered eyebright in a coffee filter. Apparently, the whole herb is no longer allowed in the state because it’s an invasive weed, so you can only get it in powdered form.

I am now doing Everything With Eyebright. After pouring boiling water over a spoonful of the powder in the coffee filter, I drape a dishtowel over my head & steam my eyeball over the whole assemblage while the infusion drips. Once it’s all gone through the filter, I pour some on a face towel & hold it over my eye as a compress. Then I drink a cup of it. Finally, when it’s cool enough, I dip a cotton ball in it & squeeze it into my eye. Is there any application method I haven’t thought of? Anyway, it seems to be helping. I’m trying not to fall into any stupid narratives about paying for a good time. Instead, rolling around in my head the enjoyable idea of how those jellyfish were so eyeball-like.

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If you’re in the Bay Area, check out Activist Imagination. That clever Donna Ozawa is 1 of 3 artists showing new work. I forgot to say before, it was her idea to use “Indigo Schmindigo” as my new blog title. Go Donna!

I’m finally feeling better. About fucking time. It really is a wonderful thing to sleep through the night without waking up to cough!

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I have put myself under lockdown. Quarantine. Whatever it takes. I am not leaving the fucking house until & unless I feel well enough to go swimming. I’ve had it with these ridiculous relapses.

However, as a result, I am stircrazy enough to come in here & wanna mess with my blog. For one thing, I’ve had to admit that I blog about salad other things much more than I blog about Chinese restaurants; hence the desire to change ye olde blog title into something totally open-ended.

As for Indigo Schmindigo? That actually came from a long fight I had with a certain dental insurance company (let’s just call them Schmelta Schmental) a few years back, in which they refused to get my name right—& if the name doesn’t match up, well then they can’t pay for shit, of course. We went back & forth about 5 or 6 times while they scrambled & rescrambled my name into every possible permutation (Indigo Somindigo, Som Indigo, Indigo Chihlien, &c.) except the right one, until finally they sent me a postcard saying, per your request we have corrected your name to: INDIGO SCHMINDIGO. Remember, this is a true story. I called my dentist’s office in a fit. The insurance wrangler there could not believe it either, but she agreed that this was more than I should have to handle on my own, so intervened on my behalf & got it all worked out. I don’t know what she had to do, but I surely had new respect for her after that. She still likes to call me Indigo Schmindigo, which is fine with me as long as I’m not catching no grief from no insurance smartasses.

So I don’t know if you’d file this under reappropriation or making lemonade out of lemons or what, but at the very least I hope it’ll keep me (& you too) from taking my blog—& myself—too seriously. Not that there was any real danger of that, heh.

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I just heard the first robin singing! In fact, as I type he’s still going at it, loud & clear from the tippy top of our neighbors’ tree. Dude, isn’t it a little early for that? Don’t stop though; it’s cheering me up on this gray rainy day after 3 weeks(!) of stupid sickness. May many fine robin lasses come & reward you for your effort.

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I must be feeling better if I’m back on the salad thing. At some point in this illness we had run out of food (not surprising for 2 whole freakin’ weeks) & I ventured out to the Bowl to stock up. They were having a major clearance on mâche, a good-size box of the stuff for under $2. I’d never seen it so cheap, so I nabbed a box & brought it home. I don’t really know mâche; it’s one of those foodie lettuces that always seems unreasonably pricey—even for me & my spendy, nothing-but-the-best salad ways—so I’ve only eaten it in restaurants.

First, I tried it with some slices of blood orange & bits of Iberico cheese, dressed with a simple shallot & sherry vinaigrette. This was just okay & felt kind of funny in my mouth. I don’t know how to describe it; it wasn’t astringent like spinach can sometimes be. The best I can do is to say it was strangely mealy for a fresh green leaf. Maybe it had to do with being sick & my mouth was the problem, not the mâche? Or maybe there was a reason it was on sale? But it looked fresh enough.

Okay then, the next evening, mâche take 2: I decided to apply the wilted spinach salad approach, plus throw some sweet, heavy things at it. I also hedged a little by using half mâche & half baby spinach. I sliced 5 or 6 mini chicken apple sausages, a like number of Deglet Noor dates, & an Empire apple, & sauteed them in olive oil until they cooked together: the sausage browned, the dates got nice & gooey, & the apples softened almost to mush. Added some pine nuts, & then spooned the same shallot-sherry vinaigrette over it all. This smelled really delicious, & I thought for sure it would work. I poured this hot cooked stuff over the mâche & spinach leaves, tossed it & ate it.

Hmm… much better, but it still needed something else. Something pungent & zippy. Maybe a fresh herb like marjoram? If I were really 100% well, I probably woulda tried harder, & figured it out.

Lemon zest? I don’t know why I didn’t think of it…

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Still coughing. Still dragging around the house with no energy.

I wish I could just pop up & be well again!

Oh, to be the picture of robust health, sigh…

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Southern California folks: One Way or Another is opening at JANM this weekend, & will be on view till 4 May. I was gonna go down there for the opening, but if you can believe it I am still sick (almost 2 weeks now, wah!), so I’m staying home & keeping my coughs to myself.

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I’m cheating. That up there is yesterday’s date. The 3rd Annual Brigid in Cyberspace Silent Poetry Reading was yesterday, but I spent all of yesterday in bed, no exaggeration. I seem to have been struck with a flu-within-a-cold, because yesterday felt like a whole different type of bludgeoned misery than the painful throat of earlier this week. Anyway, through the indulgence of Blogger I shall date this post with the proper Brigid date, even though it’s a big fat lie because I’m posting a day later.

This poem is from the tantalizing Kim Vaeth, who published one beautiful collection & then disappeared into other activities that are even more obscure than poetry, like musical scores that get performed only rarely, & always in faraway places.

Pencil and Blue Crayon

Let the last drawing I make with pencil and blue crayon be of you in the bath.

Let the weather be fine in February and August.

Let all of us belong to the sunlit now and move from surprise to surprise.

Let the yellow dining rooms where we drink wine have red tablecloths and balconies.

Let all I cannot say open me in your arms.

Let me sit in an old beachchair touching the green present.

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Hey, look what I found! House numbers meet the Evil Chinky Font! Or, perhaps more accurately, house numbers sprang from an ECF. Truly I never would have figured this out on my own, because as the designers point out, the house numbers have “gradually softened” to the point that they don’t seem to resemble any ECF at all, but inhabit their own house number world. My pal the Triathlete has been obsessed with house numbers lately, so I’ve been looking at them more, & wondering where the hell they came from, because they are so typographically odd. Mystery solved, & who ever woulda guessed the answer would strike so close to home?

I can’t help but draw a parallel between the house numbers &—wait for it—“American Chinese” food (aw, you saw that one coming). They both started out as weird misinterpretations of something Chinese, then evolved into their whole own reality, becoming ubiquitous & integral staples of American culture. Arguably the house numbers travelled much farther than the food; the numbers started as racist caricatures (not designed by Chinese typographers, we can safely assume) & are now no longer recognizably Asian in any way at all, racist or otherwise, whereas the food started through gradual adaptations by Chinese cooks themselves trying to figure out what white people wanted to eat, & can still be described the same way.

I love smart type designers. I love them even more when they explain things so clearly.

In cold news, today my throat was still sore enough that an apple was too hard & lumpy to swallow comfortably, but I did have enough energy to make applesauce, which felt quite soothing, both to make & to eat.

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About those lemons? Forget it. I realized the lemon juice was actually irritating my throat more, so I switched to a vile red syrup called Tylenol Extra-Strength Adult Rapid Blast Liquid. Could I make this stuff up? Who exactly comes up with these names? It’s like they want you to think you’re taking a shot of some sports drink or Red Bull or maybe even some nasty form of alcohol that I wouldn’t actually know about (cause I’m sheltered like that). Oh, & it’s supposed to be “cherry-flavored”—don’t even get me started. It does seem to be working though; I was able to swallow solid food for dinner, even though it still felt a bit odd going down.

Do I not do my best to entertain & enlighten you, dear reader?


I’m sick. I have that disgusting wretched cold. All those Meyer lemons I was planning to make lemon meringue pie with? They go straight into hot water with honey & garlic for my miserable throat. Meanwhile, whenever I am not asleep or moping around in a foggy stupor, I’ve been surfing the type blogs (don’t ask me why), which eventually led me to this endlessly amusing timewaster P22 Music Text Composition Generator. Check it out, they have many instrument choices, including some of my favorites: banjo, accordion, bagpipe… the acoustic bass doesn’t sound very convincing though. Anyway it’s much more suited to my current condition than trying to appreciate the fine differences between various Garamonds.

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The healing pelvis likes to sit around & watch movies. Lots of em. Recently rented The Story of the Weeping Camel & loved it, but you know what I just can’t get over? When the baby camel is born, it comes out with its humps all flat & folded over, like Tab A & Tab B. This is one of those obvious things that you just never think about (unless you regularly hang out with camels), I mean, of course they’re folded over, otherwise ouch for the mom camel, right? My brain just has not been able to let go of this insanely cute factoid ever since I saw the movie. It’s like camel origami. I even found some baby camel photos if you wanna see what I mean, but you should really see the movie, which, to tell the truth, has a whole lot more going for it than just the folded-over humps.

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Further adventures of the temporarily disabled: Donna found out that you can borrow a beach wheelchair at Crab Cove in Alameda & also at Crissy Field in San Francisco. These are wacky-looking, dune-buggy-evoking contraptions & they definitely grab a lot of attention from everyone on the beach, so if you’re feeling shy it might not be the best thing. Anyway, we have now tried both.

The one at Crab Cove worked out much better:

I’m pretty sure the one at Crissy Field is meant for a child; it’s really narrow & if we hadn’t brought our own cushion it wouldn’t have worked for me at all. It was also much harder for Donna to push than the one at Crab Cove. I think I was just too big & heavy for it. Fortunately, Crissy Field is liberally sprinkled with benches, so I ended up walking quite a lot (that’s a relative term), with frequent sitting breaks.

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It’s been 11 weeks since my ass so painfully parted ways with horse & saddle. At looong last, leaving the house has gotten easy enough so it no longer has to be all about doctor’s appointments & physical therapy. I guess you could say the terms of my house arrest have gotten more flexible. Maybe I’m on parole now?

The latest example of this delicious freedom: Last night I got an urgent phone call from Eve, reporting breathlessly that Bakesale Betty is now making lemon slushies out of neighborhood lemons! (We can only assume this heartwarming micro-localism is a legacy of the recently-decamped Temescal Amity Works.) If I had gotten this message even a couple weeks ago, all I could have done was sigh wistfully, shrug, & add it to the long list of Deferred Delights Of The Outside World.

Instead, this morning I took cane in hand to accompany Donna on a studio-scouting mission in the neighborhood, after which we walked (walked!!!) up the block to Betty’s. How happy I was just to be there again! My delirium only increased upon discovering that the famous chicken pot pies, which went AWOL last winter due to kinks in production logistics (ironed out by sacrificing cakes!), have made a comeback, now in take-and-bake form. The instant gratification factor is gone, but I am willing to wait & bake the pies for dinner tonight. Besides, this also meant we were not forced to choose between the pies & Betty’s even-more-famous fried chicken sandwich, that irresistable bundle of banh-mi-meets-downhome-Americana.

But what about the lemon slushy?? Well, I’ve always wished that we had streetcorner frozen lemonade carts here like they do in New York. But now… Betty & her Temescal lemons kick East Coast frozen lemonade booty, & hard. Best of all, my stomach uttered nary a complaint. Thanks to too much ibuprofen & other such drugs, I’d had the most non-acidic early spring in memory. An entire February & March suffered without benefit of blood oranges! I’ve been testing my recovery with tart early strawberries, & now with the lemon slushy I can declare the battle is won!

For those of you suffering from ibuprofen-torn stomachs, the very excellent advice I got from my herbalist is: marshmallow root. You take a handful of the dried herb, throw it in a quart mason jar with cold water, & stick it in the fridge overnight. Drink it throughout the day, squeezing the herbs to get as much of the viscous goo as possible. I was drinking this stuff for weeks, & it really does help.

There, how’s that for a comeback food post?

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Oy vey. Where do I even begin? My excuses for not blogging just get better & better, but trust me, I’d rather be blogging. Back in February I got bucked off a horse, fractured my pelvis, & I think you can imagine the rest from there. I’m hobbling around with crutches now & doing physical therapy exercises of various kinds, & gnashing my teeth with impatience. If you can walk, be fucking grateful!

Speaking of gratitude, here is a particularly blogable tidbit: in the East Bay (that’s San Francisco Bay Area), if you have old medical equipment you’re not using, or if you are in need of free medical equipment, Home CARES Equipment Recyclers is the place to go. Obviously a shoestring operation, they work out of a church basement on Broadway & 27th in Oakland. They’re only there on Thursday afternoons between 1-4pm. You drive into their parking lot from the 27th Street side, go down underneath the building, & there the good people are on your left. You can get a tax deduction receipt if you’re giving them stuff, or if you’re like me & want a cane, they’ll bring out a selection for you to pick from. Too cool!

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