Spring Petit Fours

petitfours1petitfours3 poured fondant  leftover messpetitfours2

I made petit fours for spring! Chocolate, almond, and creamsicle cakes layered with apricot and ginger jam and almond paste. The baking and assembly were really quite easy; the tough part was the icing. You can see I made a mess of extra fondant, but the colors are so pretty (and the cakes are so yummy!) the mess was definitely worth it.

Wanna try it yourself? Recipe here.

beast coast

I am absolutely alone in an empty bar, drinking gin while it rains outside. feels like Seattle, but it’s queens outside.
this morning I was in Boston, waking up on the spare mattress of a college friend, petting her dog atop her dog’s double-decker, window-facing throne, admiring her mother’s apartment: 10- foot ceilings, yellow walls, bay window (dog’s window) facing the street.

art too. books. I peeked at their tea.

Celia’s room was hot. Celia is my friend. good for her: she’s always cold. but my furnace runs strong. I went to sleep fearing sweat. I went to sleep fearing the tick Tick TOCKing of her clock right where her head would be, if she was tired when I was. how could she think? how could she breathe? when I was a little girl, a good little girl, I broke a clock that tocked too loud in a fit of sleep-deprived desperation. but now I’m an adult, and a guest, and can no longer break clocks on purpose.

I did however feel entitled to take the clock off the wall and put it in the living room. I strained my ears–can it tick through walls? then I did sleep. and I did dream.

I dreamt of gumbo diarrhea. as in, rice spewing out of my butt, and then sauce and roux and sausage and crawfish and okra spewing out of my butthole. all whole, unchewed, undigested, lookin good. I’m sorry to be graphic and gross, but that’s the dream my brain invented.

I haven’t had gumbo in a while.

yesterday Celia and I walked a lot–that’s why I could sleep. I’m used to bike-commuting up and joy-riding down the hills of Seattle, and the transition to Boston family visit–long drives and lengthy couchtime, lots of food and little energy burned–led to a few sleepless nights in my dream of a hotel bed. at least it was the coziest spot for thinking thoughts. I cried over an ex-boyfriend and tried to pick a fight with my current boyfriend (he’s unfightable). had some me time too. my wandering thoughts passed the bechedel test i promise.

yesterday Celia and I walked from Brookline to Cambridge. I just tried to google map the distance.. calculating.. recalculating.. her family said wow.

I ate a lemon-sugar crepe and Nutella-covered strawberries. we poked around some thrift shops and I bought a perfect sequin top. I tried on a too-tight high school cheerleader outfit but decided not to be excessively ridiculous. we saw fluffy seed pods and an inflatable Santa and a live jazz band.

today i walked a bit too. my 4 hour bus ride from boston back to ny took 7; we spent a while broken down at a gas station, where i ate a tim horton’s donut and jumped up and down. back in the city i didn’t want to climb underground and rush to astoria to do what? locked out of my friend’s apartment while they continued to work. so i decided to walk.

i walked from midtown to the 35th street ferry. i walked past a sample sale and pastries and pizza and $2 leggings and christmas trees. i saw a lot of things i would have liked to snap, but my phone was almost dead, and when it goes i die too.

i sat and waited for the ferry. i thought of the 35 minute ferry ride to bainbridge. i thought of the skyline from the water. i plugged in my phone and gawked at the view and 30 seconds later we had arrived. long island city is just across the river.

in long island city it rained, so i got on the train after all.

everything back east is easy. i can walk till i want to jump on the subway; i can easily find myself with friends. I can talk without thinking and interrupt without worrying and always laugh loud. in Seattle I’m petrified. home, or at least east, for 3 weeks, I’m trying to get this comfortable feeling into my body, deep into my bones, remember. REMEMBER, so maybe when i get back to Seattle I can act regular.

stop talking

I sit on my butt for money.

the energy I feel is equal to the energy I put out. I’m a self-powered machine. I’m powered by inertia in both directions. I can put up with anything. not everything can put up with me.

can I put up with staring at a computer screen 40 hours a week? can I put up with sinking more and more deeply into my seat?
until I’m horizontal
until I’m two-dimensional
until I am the horizon

I eat a lot at work. at work I slump in a chair. at work my body is useless. I remind myself I’m alive by chewing. sometimes every piece of my body gets individually itchy. I remind myself I’m alive by scratching.

why not plug in
my body is useless
but I am a person a body & a mind I am strong. I am alive!

in the last few months I somehow made a shift from feeling most myself irl to feeling most real online. on the internet I talk to people. on the internet I talk. in real life everything happens so fast. people say things and they want me to listen and they want me to respond too! and relevantly! and in a timely fashion!
but don’t interrupt

I feel like real life is the place where I do things I don’t want to share on the internet. real life is the shameful secret. I mean only sometimes. I mean like today I ate a donut & 3 mini cupcakes & I “wasn’t even hungry.” yesterday I didn’t know what to do so I went to qfc and bought those mini cupcakes literally left over from the 4th of July and I biked home and ate half of them and they tasted like plastic but also sweet and also I couldn’t sleep.

I like to read. I don’t like to watch and I don’t like to listen but I like to read. I’ve given it a lot of thought and the thought that I thought is about pacing. when I read a book (especially beautiful blessed long-form fiction yes please I am shriveling without a book) I control the pace. I am a fast reader; I can read fast. I usually read words and sentences out of order but I’m alone in my head so I can do what I want. I can zone out at the window if I need to. I can zone out at the wall. and I miss nothing.

take yr time
go at yr own pace
everything will wait for you

but tv plows right along. thank goodness for commercials! thoughts must be gathered.

worse than tv, worse yet

people

why do people talk so much? I don’t get it. don’t you realize you’re taking up time & space & are maybe unwanted?

like if I’m reading a book or avoiding eye contact or staring off into space or talking about how “I really have to go” at every brief yet beloved lull maybe take a breather? feel the room

when I was in college I had an experience of dating someone I really loved and trusted and then it was suddenly ripped from under my feet. yea maybe I was “changed forever” but I think I’m better off.

I used to talk more

when I was in college, after but honestly maybe even before the above heartbreak, I went thru this phase where I just didn’t get verbal communication. specially, I didn’t get why people say things people already know. like “did I tell you this story?” “yes you told me that story” “well I’ll tell you again anyway”

“did you know this fact?” “yes I actually know that fact” “well I will continue to explain it to you in minute and patronizing detail”

I can be a little vague sometimes, but it’s a hell of a lot better than explaining basic things to the world. as if the world didn’t know! as if the world needs to be taught by the likes of me!

but seriously. seriously. seriously! I don’t get it! are you just filling space with words? covering silence with meaninglessness? silence sounds good you know. sometimes u can hear the wind

maybe it seems incongruous to stay quiet to the world while obsessively over-sharing on the internet, but here my audience is self-selecting. here my audience can check in and check out and check their phone and I am none the wiser. I don’t give a FUQ!

this week I had an experience I was enjoying & had looked forward to for a while ruined/at least tainted by one person’s incessant chatter. I mean yea I have “difficulty connecting” or “getting close to people,” maybe in part because I refuse to disclose anything real or true or honest about myself or even sometimes speak at all, preferring to laugh at every joke & eat every pastry in sight, but silence is golden u guise

salt the ice my wounds (a poem)

I didn’t come here alone

I came here alone

I came with a raccoon cat Koala

my one true love

I promise you this all is true

it’s not my fault

 

They warned me about the rain

Where I’m from snow is a season

snow is a crow

snow, heat melted, is everyday ready to quench my first thirst

What is rain but less?

I never learned to listen

 

You think bones are hard? bones are sponges

they soak

they freeze

they crack

 

New in town, grocery store’s a museum

dinner a can of Rainier

I can’t find the bus, I can’t find a quarter

but now I can climb

I can walk miles

 

In Madrona I lived in a room with pink walls

and words and stained glass and flies

till the owner sold it and kicked us out early

 

On First Hill I lived with bars on my windows

I tried to escape

I tried to burn but walls are tenacious

I tried to destroy but life is tenacious

I tried to escape but love is tenacious

help crept unannounced

they don’t use their sirens at night

 

On Bainbridge I lived in a log cabin mansion

I got my food for free

day-old pastries

overripe fruit

lettuce from lush Bainbridge gardens

I can say that I’m grateful

 

In Magnolia I watched cats

I watched railroads and cats and I cried

but I cry everywhere

 

Have you ever been mad?

Have you felt that clench in your chest and that heat

Do you know how to scream?

I can say I lit fires to show you

but I already promised the truth

 

They warned me about the ice

I just wish someone would fight

 

Have you ever felt

that anger so righteous

that needing to crush in your fist

that glass so sharp you almost forget

holding that feeling so tender

marking what’s yours with a bite on the neck

Ice the pain away

 

They warned me about the freeze

Have you ever felt nothing?

 

the freeze is not a cold shoulder

the freeze comes in for a hug

the freeze invites you to parties and then,

forgets to include the address

the freeze wants to be your best friend until,

you do something wrong

 

Back home freeze we salt and we chip and we crush

we skid and we crash and we brake and we laugh

but here freeze and ice are never not nice

at least I know how to feel

 

When I was young I learned not to trust

I never stopped learning

Forget

 

I’ve learned nothing yet

oh hey… you

that awkward moment when you run into your ex’s ex and she’s super friendly and you can’t remember her name, can’t remember who she is until she walks away.

I maybe hold up a conversation, the whole time thinking: why do you know where I used to work?

no I don’t work there anymore. no I don’t know why.

no I haven’t kept in touch with my ex. our ex. no we don’t talk much.

I smile maybe when I’m supposed to? I’m glad to hear your roommate made applesauce. that sounds great.

what am I supposed to say when I see a stranger that knows my name? it’s been a rough month. oh hey… you. august sucked, but I’m still kickin.

not dead yet

this week was a rough week. this week was an exercise in holding my breath. this week was an exercise in counting to ten oh so slowly. one number per day. stretch out the sound.

1. every day I woke up wanting to die. it would be cool if I could sleep the day away, but despite my feelings I’m up with the sun. all like, now what? all like, this again? all like, why bother?

why bother I don’t know, but somehow I managed to summon the 1 molecule of energy I had deep within me to bike to yoga and continue existing.

2. this week I tried to apply for writing gigs on Craigslist. but instead of doing that I spent 2 days in a cl wormhole responding to all the ads for egg donations and sex work. for some reason for me that’s not unusual. for some reason for me that’s effective stress management.

3. except this time after emailing and emailing I wanted to never leave my apartment. I had plans to go to a protest with a friend but I told her I couldn’t go outside. she texted back 😦 and I guess that’s all I needed to hear cos it got me outside of myself.

4. if you follow feminist news or Al Jazeera maybe you already know, but in November 2012 a student at Garfield hs was raped and sodomized on a field trip. she was brutalized so badly she had to go to the hospital, was diagnosed with PTSD and never returned to school.

the school district did nothing for 6 months, and only then at the victim’s parent’s insistence. the school district found the boy not guilty, even tho he changed his story several times. even tho he said “I did not pay attention to her that much” when asked about consent.

even tho “he acknowledged to law enforcement that she told him to stop several times but said he persuaded her to ‘roll with it.‘”

so we protested the district school board meeting with Garfield alum
and neon signs. we listened to testimony from local sex activists and also from parents whose children’s bus service was cut because it was a board meeting for all current issues. we maybe helped.

5. all summer I’ve been helping create a show with poet/friend Ed skoog. this weekend is THE weekend of the triggering town review! if you come to Hugo house at 7 tonight/tomorrow I can guarantee at least 1 laugh per person. guaranteed!

so this week was a busy final week before the show. I decorated a mask. I hated the mask. I cried next to the mask. I wanted to smash it oh how ugly what a horrible job I did.

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I have always been a bit high strung for arts n crafts.

6. but I realized the mask is bigger than me (figuratively and also literally) so I decided it would be best not to smash it. my golden prize is that I was invited to write and perform an original poetic monologue as a part of the show! about being new in town, about the Seattle freeze, a confession / explanation / exoneration of my sins.

i wrote something quickly while stresseating pizza and will perform it quickly while stresseating donuts don’t you want to come now?! working title ‘salt the ice my wounds.’ working title ‘I hate you / it’s not my fault.’

seriously I got so stressed writing that I ate 6 slices of pizza like air. I had a new life experience — not all peanut butter cookies are delicious — but still I unhinged my jaw and ate 1 in 1 bite. then I tried to throw up then I couldn’t stop crying then I biked very fast then I finished the poem.

7. I went to compline for the first time and it made me feel like a bad Jew. compline is a meditative choral service performed by an all-male choir at st. marks episcopal church. I’ve been meaning to go forever. I meant to go with my ex a few times but we could never get off the floor.

I went with my friend from the protest; she goes every week. inside was a nice scene: stained glass, old people sitting in pews, Seattle punks stretched across the floor, tight harmonies, some dude prostrating himself in front of the Virgin Mary.

I’m down with Catholicism in theory. Catholicism is my favorite sect of Christianity in theory. I mean not for the no birth control part and maybe not for any of the actual religious tenets, but I’m down with stained glass and ritual and smoke. I’m down to confess. I mean what is this blog but?!

but I’ve been really wanting to find some Seattle Jews. I miss Shabbat dinners at my rabbi’s house. I miss Ithaca. I miss community. I can say I went to compline for the music, for the experience, but missing connection in an episcopal church made me feel like a big bad fake.

8. also my friend and I were having a heavy conversation when then suddenly we were there! quiet please! I may or may not have been silenced mid-sentence! so instead of being able to process together we were alone together in a holy place. she left pretty quick to chain smoke outside so I think she was feeling stressed too.

after compline we went to a pinball
bar and the guy I’m dating is a pinball nerd and there was an article about him in a zine in there so that was cool to see.

9. I got to actually see the guy I’m dating after he was gone for a week at a big pinball tournament (see pinball nerd, above). I was so excited I got pimples on my thighs and my period came a week early. I was so stressed about showing up depressed that I hopped up on caffeine and showed up late in a whirlwind. I ruined not one but two sets of his sheets with my blood. I cried a little but not exclusively. we didn’t drink at all.

10. so yes I’m a little stressed & depressed, but protesting things like ferguson and rape help remind me that life is much bigger. plus friends. plus exercise. plus art. sometimes I need to grit my teeth and remember things will get better.

is imperfect action worse than no action at all?

I had a mixed experience last night at a march against the murder of Michael Brown, but it appears that a protest that happened earlier in the day had the organization and rhetoric I was looking for.

Hands Up Don't Shoot!Marching from Downtown to Central Districtspeech at the protest marchThese screenshots were taken from the Michael Brown to Eric Garner — This Has to Stop NOW! Seattle Stands with Ferguson, Missouri! Facebook event page.

The Michael Brown to Eric Garner protest started at 4pm Saturday in Westlake Park. The protest I attended started at 8pm Saturday in Capitol Hill. At 4, I had just biked to Bothell and was reading Middlemarch eating blackberries on a bench in the sun near a stream because I have the privilege of coming in and out of political awareness and action when it is convenient to me.

I mean I’m challenging my privilege and struggling to make change but also acknowledging it.

My problem with the march attended last night was the lack of organization and consistent messaging. I am not ok with violence or threats of violence and did not feel comfortable when protesters started shouting those messages. I am not ok with breaking the law and did not feel comfortable when protesters decided to take to the streets.

When I voiced my discomfort with law-breaking, someone replied that the worst thing that would happen was that the Seattle police would ask us to get back on the sidewalk. That was a weird opinion for me to hear because we were literally at that very moment protesting the murder of an unarmed black teenager who had been walking in the street with his friend. Like I know we’re in Seattle and we’re white and we’re privileged (the protest I attended was mostly but not all white) but we’re also educated and informed. We KNOW a polite request from the police is not “the worst thing that would happen.”

Casual law-breaking is a position of privilege. Michael Brown could not walk in the street without violent consequence. Dr. Ersula Ore could not walk in the street without violent consequence. 

But the march last night happened, in all its imperfection. We took the streets without consequence. I acknowledge the protest had positives: It let Capitol Hill know its friends, neighbors and peers are politically aware and inspired to make change. It made attendees feel less alone in their knowledge and anger. It inspired me to read and write more on this topic.

But also maybe Capitol Hill now thinks its friends, neighbors and peers are ready to make change violently. Maybe people uncomfortable with violence will be less likely to get involved. If last night’s protest was someone’s first experience with political action, and they didn’t like what they saw, will it be their last?

But would it have been better to stay home and stay silent? At least we got inspired and active. Is imperfect action worse than no action at all?