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eenzame katten 孤貓 chats solitaires

9th • (๑ↀᆺↀ๑) • life

stray #43. tuesday 6.6.2024, 12:00pm
I'm so happy. I got pulled into a meeting re : my resignation & they said I could leave as early as today, or at the end of next week, or on my original date ( June 18th ). Since today is the start of Ivy Wochenende, & I have an interview with a ritzy Newport Beach bakery Saturday, if all goes well, I might just shift my employment with perfect timing, then quit in a couple of weeks once I have eaten many treats & pilfered many tasty secrets. Only 16 days before I go on a big trip to scout for leases in the North US. Yaye !

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stray #42. tuesday 6.5.2024, 10:00am
I have an interesting combo of sleep paralysis & sleepbreathingissues, such that I have some control over my troubled & painful respiration during episodes of s.p. To shortcut a longer episode of shallowbreath, I can just hold it in to force myself awake ( & back in control ) through increased heartrate & adrenaline. Of course, this is bad for me, increases my risk for all sorts of unhappy outcomes, but I'm not so sure that it's fundamentally more dangerous than the slower, longer cutscene it skips. In any case, this is all to say I had a rough morning. My dream was even shitty too.
     Still, neither of these facts hold much emotional weight at 10am. I am a world away after a chocolate muffin & with a vanilla latte at my side, typing away at a blond desk under the shout of so many flourescent bars. I read through every single Indeed review of my current role at my current company last night. Someone claimed it was the worst job they ever had. Along many dimensions, that is true for me too. But I do enjoy being sedentary, or at least not being forbidden from sitting down. & I have never managed to flake off so much ( which is to say, do things I think are personally valuable, whether that be read, write, or sleep on the clock ). It's funny : there is a lot of micromanaging here, a complaint often raised in the Indeed reviews, and it has only gotten worse since I joined to an absurd degree. On the bright side, at all my previous jobs, I would feel a lot more shame for slacking off, as if it were some mark on my character that determined whether I should be chosen to matriculate into heaven ; but with this job's demands being so unreal and unreasonable eventually my mind had to give up this notion, which is probably a good thing.

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stray #41. tuesday 6.4.2024, 3:00pm
Salmon nigiri. Mango soda. I saw two finches, darker and lighter, in the grass. One held a bright berry in his beak, and gave it to the other.

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stray #40. tuesday 6.4.2024, 11:00am
Just submitted my very first Letter of Resignation :D I feel lighter already.

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stray #39. three new things
1. Cottonwoods. Never having seen them, & then all at once : a pair, on each side of the path and looming over me, branches covered in their wool- or weblike stuff. I was amazed.
2. Cherries. I guessed that the bright ones were the good ones, as when I think Cherry Red, I think those heartshaped glasses, the old Fender Strat, the sportscar. But then I tried the dark ones, as B. corrected my of my mistaken assumption, and it was much better that way. They tasted like denser and sweeter and less sour grapes, but mostly they look very beautiful.
3. Rae's bird. Hen Hen, startled by their beauty, wondered if its feather-pattern may be a form of mimicry. Like butterflies & moths with big fake predator's eyes on their wings.

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stray #38. monday 5.27.2024
In the evening I saw a crow fly slowly into the wall of a house, then light on its roof as if nothing had happened.
     The night's cold had a bite to it. The grind of my skateboard wheels against the pavement sounded like a loud dog's snarl. Listening to "Born to Run," skating hard and fast, passionately feeling the lyrics & breeze & heat of my body — this was one of the happiest moments of the past few months. Indoors, afterwards, my senescent cat stretched slightly, curled up on the high platform of a kitchenside barstool. I felt a quiet, almost imperceptible wind through the house. A cool, auralike stillness hovered my skin.

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stray #37. saturday 5.25.2024, haircut II
Yesterday morning my dear Pigeon sent me a beautiful painting of an angel with a sword stepping on Satan's bald pate. Seeing this I thought again, as had a number of times since Thursday, that I wish my hair were cut even shorter. I kept in mind the appearance of the angel in the painting, & after a meal of insanely tasty Korean corndogs at the beach, in the night, ~10pm, had removed another 5-7 inches. All in all, I have subtracted so much hair in the past week that, being 25, if I were to grow it back out to it's previous length, it would take until I am 29 or 30.
     Not that I'm planning to. I feel really happy about it. I notice myself gesturing more : I flew myself around like an airplane, arms stuck out ; I jumped up and down. It feels much nicer to move around with short hair. I feel happier about it than perhaps any other haircut I've had.

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stray #36. friday 5.24.2024
I spent with Mira. From what I can gather, I have an unusually high tolerance for traffic, but my trip south really tested that. The frustration was more conceptual than temporal, as even though I took the toll road on a Friday during regular work hours, there was an enormous patch of slowdown, indicated by my phone's GPS as a string of red and yellow segments in an otherwise blue path. Seeing an unsirened cop shoot through the tiny, illicit shoulder between the fast the lane and the median only to U-turn at a breach with a big sign indicating No U-Turn was pretty much the icing on the cake. I am perpetually hopping from cheap cell plan to cheap cell plan, so naturally my reception was also spotty & I resorted to restarting songs over and over so they would load. Traffic & reception issues cleared up about halfway through my journey, though, and my drive home was at 12am and barren, so I wasn't left with any bad taste in my mouth.
     I was surprised to find the road from San Diego to Lakeside was an unexpectedly pretty one, passing right through the San Clemente Canyon, which looks to me like a series of weirdly tall & undisturbed hills topped with desert-y shrubs. Once in Lakeside itself, you'll notice it's rimmed by tons of hills like these, notably not the Rolling variety, but gawky & jagged things, beautiful in their own right.
     We drank tea, & I showed her lots of my favorite perfumes ( at least those that were available in the department stores at the ritzy outdoor mall we went to ). We went to this very strange movie theater. It looked like a toy version of a castle, with weird '80s colors paintcantooled on the different structures. The architecture was so sophisticated and immense to house the number of shops it did, so it gave off this weird, desolating impression, especially at night with few people. We watched I Saw The TV Glow ( which made me cry again twice ) and after the film I still felt lingeringly heavy & sad & we hugged. Apparently she cried then, though I didn't notice until she told me later. I felt really glad that the film touched her too. When I started my journey, I thought I wouldn't see her again, probably ever, but I enjoyed my time with her more than I expected, and by the end of the night when she invited me to do something again, I wanted to.

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stray #34. thursday 5.23.2024, 9:45pm
On our way to lunch, Hen Hen recommended a film to "[ me ] from 3 months ago." Who am I now ? I wondered to myself. Later, my dear Pigeon told me the clouds were strange & new ; this morning I felt these same words in reverse order filter through my mind, suggestive yet cryptic like soft perfect light on the wall through the curtain. I feel new and strange.

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stray #33. thursday 5.23.2024, haircut I, 8:30am
Yesterday I, somewhat impulsively, asked Rae to chop my hair. I had been growing it from shoulderlength for three & a half years, so it was down to my hip. Now a foot has disappeared, vacuumed & disposed of into a trashcan a few miles away from where I now type this at work. Which by the way, still doesn't actually mean working for the same reason I outlined yesterday, thank god. Rae's mother, who feared she wouldn't, & her sister, seemed to like the cut, but I'm wishing I'd've gone shorter. But, like it or not, the change is so sudden & dramatic that it's enough for me to feel renewed, in some way like a different person, which I'm happy for.
     I stayed up late & am disproportionately tired. The breeze this morning felt chilly & inhospitable. Isn't it strange how exhaustion can dull some senses and yet sharpen others to fine, needlelike points ?
     My mind is scattered. I keep thinking of this Friday. I'll be seeing Mira the last time before moving, taking a walk in nature together & watching I Saw The TV Glow. Even though I've seen it before and she hasn't, it was my enthusiastic suggestion as I wanted to see it again while it's in theaters anyways. Plus I do want someone else to go through it & talk to about it. The other night I came home at 2am and had that same feeling, but with no one awake to meet that description, I stayed up way too late reading random reviews of the film, recollecting the feeling of it & imagining the soundtrack. I'm really looking forward to seeing it again even though it's very painful & made me cry.

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stray #32. wednesday 5.22.2024, 1:11pm
Today's my first day back at work post–Medical Leave. For work I sit in an enormous and by-% mostly empty office answering inbound calls on a two-monitor set-up. At least, that's what I was hired to do but this company is so slow-giant-beauracratic that I haven't been capable of receiving any all day : see, the person responsible for assigning me to a queue is on the other side of the country at HQ and has more important things to do. This is certainly not a complaint. I can only hope that tomorrow, my Friday, goes just as well as today. I'll be heading out a few hours early in just a couple minutes here.

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stray #31. thursday 5.16.2024, 12:08am
Well I survived & I'm recovering well. Was hells of fatigued the first few weeks, & my energy isn't fully back, but I'm doing good all things considered. Still pretty awkward to eat, but every day my mouth opens a little wider. Tomorrow's my brother's birthday dinner at this AYCE steakhouse – that'll surely be some kind of trial for my postsurgical jaw but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless. Worst case scenario I can just cut the meat up with fork and knife and swallow it like pills lmao.

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stray #30. sunday 4.21.2024, 12:59pm
Dizzy, half-nauseous with anxiety @_@ Scared they're going to find a tiny scratch on my knuckle and ask me to take more tests and cancel my surgery. So ready for tonight's valium.

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stray #29. sunday 4.21.2024, 9:38am
Not much to say as my thoughts are predictably swirling but I figure I should write something down before going under for 6.5 hours of anesthesia. Let's see. Woke up ~5 to 6. Easing into getting up at 4am tomorrow. Finished up some editing this morning. Even though I got stuff done it's hard to view today as anything but a tedious countdown until tomorrow. So close I can taste it. That is to say, I am already halfway delirious off drugs I've yet to be administered.

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stray #28. tuesday 4.15.2024, 11:31am
"dreams" by the cranberries

The rug has continued to not be meaningfully pulled out from under me. I guess I'm sort of in disbelief that things are going smoothly and I'm on track for my surgery. I will be departing for NorCal in 16 hours, in the lightless pre-dawn. I'll be going it alone, and at 6 - 8 hours, this will be the longest drive I've ever done by a super wide margin — the most I've done before is a couple hours to the Antelope Valley to visit my friend TR. I'm a bit daunted, but excited too. That's all, time to cross off the dregs of my to-do list.

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stray #27. saturday 4.13.2024, 10:53pm
Writing my grandfather's card finally made it all seem real. The last words I will ever say to him. Tears and tears. As an elementary schooler, many times, he would take me to breakfast at 5 in the morning. Foggy roads and empty. Old people hours. We would wait outside in the cold until the place opened, warm with light and French toast, meet with his friend who took Tai Chi classes, there was a waitress who doted on me. These old, good times will never happen again. I am grieving. I am okay. There is an emptiness inside of me. When my cat flees the counter, I will boil some pasta.

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stray #26. saturday 4.13.2024, 11:50am
Antsy, excitable, happy. I am not sick, which is to say today was as good as I could hope for. Every time I wake up this is what I think : am I sick, or am I not sick ? So far so good. Please please please god just let me remain well a little bit longer so I can get my surgery !
     Anyway lots of stuff to be excited about ! Only three count 'em one two three more days of work and then I quit foreva ! After an extended Medical Leave mwehehehe. Just a few days until Rae and I take the trip to NorCal for my surgery. Even though we live across the street from one another I haven't seen her for more than a month. Thankfully she has been understanding of my irrational infectionfears and there hasn't been any friction during this temporary deprivation. Anyway solitude has been sort of enlightening : I find myself both more sensitive ( in a good way ) and less needy than when this started.
     Alright here're some things I have to do today :
     1. Lots of laundry
     2. Clean, clean, clean
     3. Pack for my trip
     4. Draw two cards for my Nana and Grampa
     Alright I hope everyone is doing well bye !! Also to those it may concern happy 4/13 — Solradia 4ever !!!!!!!!

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stray #25. monday 4.8.2024, 9:23am
Haven't written in here for a bit as I have been working pretty singlemindedly on a piece of fiction, which is in the editing phase now. Also, my surgery — a very major one — is in two weeks, and I have to be very careful about my health ( eating the right thing, not getting sick ) in the meantime to ease recovery. On top of that the death of my grandfather has started to look more imminent than before. Even without my grandfather's terminal illness, this would be one of the most stressful periods of my life, I think. So yeah. One of those not-so-cute paradoxes where you are in a bad place but too overloaded to do much about it. I say I'm in a bad place, but each day feels like a good one, both in my emotions and my sense of purpose. I just feel in my body and my soul this stress that I know will not take leave of me until my surgery is over.

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stray #24. ee cummings
i love him because he makes you feel that anything is possible. its that simple. you can split the word or phrase however : space, break, parenthesis, bracket. think of a gutter full of rainwater. and think of a tire screeching through it. and think of the giant wave after. if more formally constrained poems are the still gutterwater, ee cummings is the leaping wave : fragments, dirty droplets. spraying you.

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stray #23. sunday 3.31.2024, 1:56pm
Not a thundercloud anymore, but still strange and efficacious. Now I'm narrow as a laser-beam. At one point I kept thinking, 'I feel like Anna Trapnell.' My experience of life feels so different, and it's all downstream of my heart, which is fixed on a single task. Another image in my head : the heart is connected to many veins, but right now it's forcing all its blood through just one. I feel so concentrated, I'm a rush of blood, but I am living in a way that is imbalanced : focusing on anything but my writing makes my head fill with clouds, or to borrow Vashti's image, makes me feel like I'm seeing through my peripheral vision. Naturally, I am not doing a fantastic job of being a human being in this time. I would like to be kinder to my mother, to my grandfather, but I feel I need to see this through. I went about 27 hours without eating yesterday. Hunger did not feel painful, it felt like a hollowness or insubstantiality. The thing I've been writing has sometimes been agonizing to get down and reread because it touches on a deep trauma. I think part of my intense focus is that I really want to escape this agony. I am running not away from it, but through it, the old ruined city of it. Imbalanced, I said, like my humors : I'm all blood now, and my writing is an intense series of bloodlettings. I feel that I am so close to the end, perhaps even tonight I will be able to put it down and rest. I am at work on Easter and I don't really mind at all, because I am writing.

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stray #22. saturday 3.30.2024, 11:50am
Wrote till the sun began to rise, then slept in short bursts. It's all I could manage. No caffeine, hungry but not terribly. My mind is still racing and wants to write. My actual body feels a way it's never felt before like a cloud holding thunder. In my bed, fully awake though trying to rest, I felt myself electric, light, and undulous.

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stray #21. friday 3.29.2024, 9:17pm
I have more feelings, but I don't need to give voice to them here now. I just want to hold up for me to see and know the fact that I am feeling strong. A variation on John 23:10 has been echoing around in my head lately : When I have been tried I shall come forth as gold.

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stray #20. friday 3.29.2024, 8:28pm
Yesterday night I found out my grampa — my only living grandfather — is going to die of blood cancer. He’s starting treatment next week, but he will not make a recovery. If you asked me if I loved him even a week ago, I wouldn’t have known the answer. It wouldn’t have come easy to say either no or yes : frittering a few minutes until I landed on a sort-of would have more accurately reflected my feelings. But immanent death puts everything in perspective, simplifies certain things. I woke up very early, slept little, to try to call him and my grandmother, but my calls didn't get through to him. Despite this, it managed to shape my whole day.
     I've just awoken from a dreadful, overlong midday nap, what Bryn and I call the devil's nap. The question of love doesn't seem as pertinent to this situation now ; I just know the work to be done : pity.

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stray #19. thursday 3.28.2024, 11:51pm
The 25th was one of the worst days of my life : a horrible nightmare. The words I had to go on were vague and foreboding and I saw catastrophe and thought my surgery was cancelled. I sobbed at my desk. I thought over and over that I wanted to hurt myself, to kill myself. I counted the whole way home to keep those words out of my mind and my mouth. I was in no sort of danger. But I truly hated my life, and I despaired.
     It turned out I was mistaken though : my blood test had not been "failed." Everything is back in it's place : the surgery is on. Yes, that day really was a nightmare : and I woke up. God, what a relief. Victory though uncertain still lies ahead.
     I am deeply grateful to Pigeon for helping me through that day, for being my friend in circles and in holding. I won't forget your immense kindness that still touches my soul.

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The dead leaf was a sparrow,
but the sparrow was a dead leaf.


Please god be merciful to me.


I failed my blood test.

stray #18. monday 3.25.2024, 1:39pm
Waiting, more or less patiently. To learn my fate, I told my friend. Called the doctor, sent an email. I saw a leaf fall and twirl and rise in the wind : what I thought was a leaf was a sparrow, brown.

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stray #17. monday 3.25.2024, 9:02am
In my dream I was visiting Chloé, who I haven't seen since highschool. I crossed the street to her small firstfloor apartment in the middle of some strange metropolitan area, a palimpsest of NYC, SF, and Tokyo, where she lived alone. She prepared a Taiwanese dish on the stove, which we ate and enjoyed. I tried to make conversation, but it went nowhere, and she walked me out to say goodbye while I hid my disappointment.
     I began to feel some sort of energy well up in me : I flapped my arms up and down like wings and kicked my legs as though I were swimming, and began to fly. She wasn't impressed, nor did she even seem amused, so I flew away, higher and higher, exploring the city from the vantage offered by the air. I lighted on a mountainside castle, enormous and empty, which overlooked a neighboring suburb, so tiny below.
     Another dream of flight.

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stray #16. saturday 3.23.2024, 4:41pm
This morning was the blood test I've been waiting for ; fearing the results of, as it's on these results that my ability to undergo surgery depends. It went fine, though its taking place in the same building as an Urgent Care didn't ease my worries. After lunch, I was coughing, overly conscious of phlegm in my throat which I had not felt until then, scaring myself that I might be sick or getting there, even though I didn't feel that way. Apparently it's normal and doesn't necessarily index illness : someone told me she's had phlegm in her throat nearly all last year, that it annoys her, but she's not sick. Which was good to hear. Still, I took another shower. And since I only slept 6ish hours last night, I took a nap. I awoke with an arm asleep, adjusted positions, slept again : dreamt I could fly.
     I'll know my results Monday or Tuesday. I'm going to clean, do some writing, exercise.

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stray #15. friday 3.22.2024, 4:14pm
Yesterday I went to a park after work, one I'd never been to. Saw pigeons, coots, Canada geese, Peking ducks and one ancona, a Swedish Blue, mallards — one drake had eclipse plumage : a bright teal band on its wings, white primaries, and soft shades of caramel up its neck and head. In the parking lot a great-tailed grackle perched on somebody's sideview mirror hissed and screeched its passionate song. Soon after I arrived, I caught a lucky image of a pigeon volant, looking powerful, which I sent my friend.

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stray #14. sunday 3.17.2024, 2:42pm
Yesterday I saw a crow carrying a twig in its beak. I don't think I've ever seen a bird do that before. The crow flew away & I felt refreshed : there are still so many new things. Struck by the image, I gave the bird I drew for my friend today a twig to carry too.

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stray #13. saturday 3.16.2024, 12:14am
i need to be more resilient in the face of uncertainty. this isn't the same as ignoring my emotions. it comes from real inner strength, a deep well of feeling. distraction is no replacement for something like that. i used to think the best thing to do with the knowledge of death was to repress it but i don't think that anymore. that goes along with this.
     hen asked me, “how are you gonna create that strength?” but i haven’t gotten much further than identifying what i need, at least consciously.
     when i was praying the other night about something else, i received the words : “You don’t need an answer. You don’t need to hope for one.”


     thinking of hen’s question again after skating around my neighborhood, soft gold sun going through the clouds, light rain on me, the feeling of those words came back to me :
“You don’t need an answer. You don’t need to hope for one.”

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stray #12. thursday 3.14.2024, 10:32am
I'm signed up for a virtual QA group training sesh at 11:30. Thankfully I can do nothing for an hour. And I have permission to leave early. I'll have a healthy lunch on my way home, then write : a letter ; an essay ; fiction.

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stray #11. thursday 3.14.2024, 9:38am
Sobbed with miserable anger on my way to work, sun lacerating a thin stripe on the windshield. Sometimes when I go to the bathroom, there's so much blood it looks like a crime scene. That alone doesn't bother me, almost at all : I've dealt with the underlying issue since I was an elementary schooler. But I have a lab test coming up, and I'm afraid that this — or some spontaneous infection — will spike my whiteblood count so the surgery I've been waiting almost a year for gets postponed, putting me in a period of Hellish unknowable delay. In less calm moods, like those I've felt today, this outcome feels certain like doom.
     Lately I've been imagining — scared of — how bad I'll feel should a cancellation like this happen : I think it will be a new low for me. This morning I thought that even now, by one measure, I have never felt worse. Driving through the city, pulling into the parking lot, passing in through the doors, standing by the elevator, I wanted to hurt myself. ( I won't. )
      I've so far dealt with my medical anxieties by keeping busy. The issue with this is, once my psychic pain rises above a manageable level, that's not possible anymore, and then I have nothing to serve as a bulwark against the flood. It's odd how when it's other people's pain, it feels like a sin that I should not attend to it in a considerate way. There's probably something to learn from in that.
      Arriving late, I sat in the parking lot of my workplace for another twenty minutes ; I ended up clocking in later than ever before. As I write parts of this I perform some sort of demure service voice over the phone. I wish I were at home, but if I miss work altogether I could be fired.

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stray #10. thursday 2.22.2024, 12pm
A dream from yesterday. My mother and my younger self of maybe 10 years old are in the ex-room of my late grandma on my dad's side. She lived there from my early childhood up till 7th grade. I guess in this timeline she left us earlier, whether for Washington state or the grave I can't say. In my dream I am not my younger self. I am in my messy bedroom alone, struck by paralysis, and know what's happening elsewhere only by some kind of second sight.
     My mom and youngerme are seated, making happy conversation while waiting to be served food by an unseen swanky chef who should come up the stairs any minute now. I can sense how big and how uncomplicated my mother's love is for pastme. In my dream, I have a very childish understanding of her in general, not tinged in the slightest by personal struggle or bad memory. It looks like she's never known unhappiness.
     Sometimes I get the feeling my parents preferred me as a child. To make sense of this sad feeling, I usually grab the most familiar explanation : that I've done something wrong to merit it. ( It's an easy enough thing to believe, given how many times they've raised complaints about me since highschool. ) Sometimes this understanding gets so generalized that, when I'm lonely, I wonder, "Why am I being punished ?" I don't think this is a great way to think unless you have a good reason to.
      I think the perception I had as a kid of my mother, which this dream brought to the fore, is in part due to the inescapable egocentrism of my mind as a child, and children's minds in general. I envisioned her mental universe as, more or less, completely harmonious, resonating like the music of the spheres, because that's all she let on. She did a great job of inculcating this amazing impression in me, but it couldn't have been entirely true, could it ? She, like me, took part in life, and life is maybe best described by words like vagary and dream.

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stray #9. tuesday 2.20.2024, 7:08pm
I had one of the strangest dreams I've ever had. My coworker Abril — a mother so younglooking everyone acts surprised when they find out she has a kid in highschool — invited me to a party. After that a different, fictitious mother held a glass box. The box, open at the top, looked like a small aquarium I had as a child. In it, a tiny unmoving statue of a baby made of I don't know what sat, completely unmoving, unbreathing, unanything, atop a sort of dais. At the bottom of the tank : a shallow puddle of I don't know what. Both of these mystery substances, I intuited, were composed of biological material of some kind or other.
     She treated the two-inch-tall figurine exactly as if it were a child of hers, watching it carefully. She adjusted it when it wobbled off its platform, growing visibly fretful. Others informed me that this baby, on the day of its birth, would die. The mother knew, too, but still chose to care and fuss and love and bear the child.
     Not really sure what to make of all that.

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stray #8. tuesday 2.20.2024, 6:58pm
Sunday, two days ago, I got crème-brûlée thai tea with Rae & watched Azumanga Daioh with her and Mia, all the episodes on the second disc of five. Between episodes we sampled the leftover Valentine's candies I'd given Rae. Everyone agreed the winner was the chocolate strawberry cake. Well, really it was less of a cake than you'd think ; it had the consistency and shape of a Twix. Not that I'm complaining, I really liked it. The supposed New York Cheesecake bar, though, was universally despised : too much fakecheesy flavor. Rae compared it to Cheetos. Bleck.
     The next day, the 19th, I left work early. I was dreadfully tired and wanted to rest before going to the cinema with 04. Trying to nap, I woke up three times from trouble breathing, so I just gave up and read more poetry from the collection Anna got me for Christmas. I have a study coming up in a couple days for my sleep issues, thankfully.
     It was nice seeing 04 though I'm afraid I was a chore to talk to in the stupor of my sleepiness. I mean, even with sufficient rest, I've been kind of in my own head, in some dreamy mode of focus on art stuff that is hard to toggle off. Anyway, last time I saw 04, the 16th, he invited me again to see Cassie and her fiancé at a bar. I can't say the prospect of a bar is especially appealing to me, but I would like to see Cassie again before moving this summer. She's messaged me a couple times about hanging out, but we've never followed through. So I think I'll try to go this time.
     Moving. I can feel the bittersweetness of memory approaching from the future, but I don't mind. I like it, even.

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stray #7. 2.17.2024, 10:36pm
Had a dream last night where Caroline and Hen and I were in school together. In the dream, Caroline is chatting after class to a person I don't know. This guy has a rectangular leather bag with a bunch of colorful drawings of crocodiles on it. ( For context, crocodiles are one of my favorite animals. ) It looks like they were done by hand. Pretty sweet.
     Caroline compliments his bag with excitement and reaches out to touch it, smiling. The guy who owns it acts annoyed because, somehow, her short nails have left scratch marks on it. They are implausibly deep, like those left by claws. Still, watching this go down from the sidelines with Hen, I can't help but feel he is being unduly unkind to her. She hadn't meant to hurt him at all. And how could she have known ?
     When I woke up, I immediately understood the dream's meaning. I was washed over with a feeling of gratitude for the friendship she had given me and an acceptance of the scars her death caused. How could I have been so angry ? My eyes are wet as I think it now.

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stray #6. 2.16.2024, 1:40pm
Showered, ate my first meal of the day : the tablescraps from my mother's breakfast : potato slices with coriander and thickly grated parmesan. The kind of dish to make you appreciate cold water. It tasted really good, salty, subtle. The taste of hints. Tonight I'm seeing 04 for dinner at 7, one of the friends I mentioned a few strays ago. I think I'll read and write till then.

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stray #5. 2.16.2024, 10:00am — not knowing
Yesterday I saw a patch of sky with a few white clouds and one, darkgrey, floating a little lower. "Black sheep, black sheep, have you any wool ?" I didn't know skies came like that.
     The other day at work I heard the scream of a bird over the phone — a bleating, bloodcurdling note. It was among the most grating noises I've ever heard but at the same time kind of amazing. I immediately asked the woman I was speaking with what kind of bird it was : a macaw.
     At work a man calling in from Arizona, upon asking where I was and learning it was California, accused us of sending them a lot of rain. I stupidly replied, "It rains in Arizona ?" I'd never really considered the possibility before.

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stray #4. 2.15.2024, 4:28pm
Yesterday I drew two 4-panel comics for my girlfriend using her characters. I'm no cartoonist, but lately I've been reading through Peanuts in chronological fashion and I think it's really improved my sense for comedy in the medium.
     On my way home after work, I stopped at the Japanese grocer and picked her up some chocolate. The most interesting/highconcept thing I bought was a candy bar flavored like New York Cheesecake. I also picked up a package of mini chocolate strawberry cakes. This year's Valentine's Day was determined to be a cashlight one, seeing as I have a big, pricy surgery coming up this April.
     Lately I'd been thinking of the fragrance Musk Deer. I'd guess the reason is a combination of the cold weather and how the smell conveys the impression of a coat of fur or a warm pelt. So I rubbed a tiny daub of the oil on each wrist before Rae took me to dinner. This time, the scent came across as somehow brighter than I remembered.
     Reservationless, we were turned away from JBBQ, so we returned somewhere we hadn't been for years. Sort of. According to the internet, the restaurant we'd once been to — one of my favorites in THE OC — had "permanently closed," but a place bearing a similar name offering a similar menu now occupied the address. As we drew near, some light traffic collected around a church : Ash Wednesday.
     We seated ourselves in the long, sparsely peopled hall of the chicken 'n' pizza shop and the same server from years before waited our table. The kitchen wall was white washroom tile with stripes and strands of light showed changing colors along the top of it and the corner where the ceiling met the wall opposite. Unseen speakers issued live pop music, the audiostream of a flatscreen television, which displayed footage of a girlgroup concert involving a number of costume changes. The lyrics kiss, love, and saranghae topically filled the tiled room. Rae ordered halfbulgogi–halfsweetpotato pizza ( which comes with mayodrizzle and corn and pineapple ) and chicken ( fried, boneless, honeygarlic ). The pizza was even sweeter than I remembered.
     After getting some icecream — a single scoop each — we watched a DVD of I Love You, Man ( 2009 ) I got from EcoTown for $1. I liked it a lot, though I'm not a fan of how sometimes gayness itself stands in for a punchline. Created at a time that may have been the highwatermark of popular interest in so-called bromance, it holds up as a fun, decently fujoïsh movie that thoroughly explores its concept.
     All in all, a nice weekday Vday. As I write and reflect, I can still smell the quiet remains of yesterday's fragrance on my wrist.

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stray 3. sunday 2.11.2024, 8:52pm
yesterday i finished my stationary bicycle tour of virtual alaska. over a span of 4 nights, taking 3 routes through various parts of the 49th us state, i pedalled 20km.
     i found anchorage's "scenic ride" — to speak the argot of the machine — the most appealing. it had a lot going for it : following a narrow band of trail through a corridor of closeby pines really makes you feel like you're just flying by compared to the crawl through wideopen, though mountainous, expanses that characterizes hatcher pass. time's passage is sped along by the number of things that flit past us.
     anchorage also featured the most fascinating direction : there's one moment where a group of eyelevel branches intersects the path and our camerahelmeted cyclist has to veer way left to avoid getting scratched up ; with the first person pov, it was reminiscent of action/horror arcade shooters of my youth, the kind featuring pixelated, lowpoly dinos or zombies and that were played using plastic guns of blue and red affixed to the cabinet with curlicue telephone cables.
      and on top of that, a lake to your left. and numberless flowers growing : yellow flowers shining like tourmaline on grass that's emeraldbright.
     they may have been alaska-native dandelions, which grow in bundles with a wild sort of explosive shape to them, shooting out and away from the ground like the spray of bottle rockets. more kinetic a form than the posturally upright ones i grew up with.
     or they may have been narrowleaf hawksbeard, which the national park service goverment site describes very prettily as "stalked and lanceshaped." what if the blade of all lances and stingers of polearms and swords were dressed so colorfully, in patterned coats as lovely as a flower's  ? and as harmless ?

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stray 2. saturday 2.10.2024, 11:30pm
watched another episode of kadocha on dvd with rae and mia last night. i wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the cartoon gas station mascot buc-ee, a souvenir from texas that my brother gave me. they both thought it was alvin, the chipmunk. not to look a gift beaver in the mouth but would that it were ! as we watched, we dined on butter parmesan spaghetti with shrimp. it was so good. compliments and gratitude to the chef, rae's mother ariana.
     later on, rae and i were laughing over the word quenched. like imagine your friend offers you a root beer, and you really love root beer, but you must decline : "sorry, i'm quenched, i just put back half a pitcher of lemonade."
     maybe this speaks to some moral failing ( = blithe laxity toward hydration ) on my part, but i don't think i've ever had so much of a beverage that i felt like i couldn't have more. from where i'm standing, it seems about one hundred times easier to feel unpleasantly full from eating than drinking. so the word quenched strikes me as kind of hilariously precious.
     after discussing hunger and thirst, we spoke about the senses. we began with smell, considered proprioception, and then rae asked : is thought a sense ?
     well, why not ? i couldn't really come up with a compelling answer myself, although she became convinced of the orthodox reading in the end. we stayed up till around 4am.
     a friend had invited me to go to some bars or something tonight with another friend i haven't seen in a long time and her fiancé. considering the proposition, i felt tired, insecure, curious to see my affianced friend again, and a small sense of obligation to either my selfesteem or my ego.
     ultimately i opted not to go and i feel okay with that. after working on artsy things ( this website ) most of the day, walking outside in the evening i felt a sense of accomplishment and happiness, seen by no one, in the wide hallway of our highwalled street.

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stray 1. thursday 2.8.2024, 11:33pm
rode my mother's peloton for the first time last night. she got it from my aunt when my aunt and her family moved overseas. the stationary bike sits by a secondstory window, which is greyed-out by plastic wrapping at the moment.
i requested the peloton's screen show me an alaskan hillside. while biking i listened to the opening songs from illinois for the first time. needless to say i really enjoyed what i heard. don't want to finish it during tonight's workout though. "casimir" is too sad, a bridge i dont want to cross.
     the exercise itself was uncomfortable and after i completed the ride, the speed and strength of my thumping heart kind of scared me. but a little later, standing in the shower, i felt a boost in my spirit.

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shelter for stray thoughts






« Rain falls hard on the city / On every homeless kitty . . . » — Jens Lekman