Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

This Week

Posted 14 Mar 2017 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

I was in a small group where there was the option to share but I realized that if I shared, I wouldn’t be doing this later: blogging.

We were supposed to talk about what we were struggling with — but I always interpret every question to be, “What highlights can you remember from this week?  And how do they relate to your meditation practice?”

For people like me who for the larger part of my life, was too eager to do / become to meditate for squat — even the words “meditation practice” might be disappointing already!

WTF / Let’s optimize!  GET OFF OUR

Anyway, that’s where I am at at present.  I meditate now and I meditate some more.  I do it with my husband, I do it with strangers, and it’s become this weirdly important facet of my life, and the lessons are quite different than what I expected.  Unto itself, it’s a different thing than it seems.

Much like:

  1. Jesus.
  2. Beef.

Words frequently used to describe persons / meats to which is attached a wide range of applications, abuses, and lack of agreed upon standards of hygiene during personal encounter.

So. . .meditation is apparently about becoming more observant about the phenomena of thoughts and opinions and feelings such that you can know what you are feeling, and then also know that it will pass, and that you will still be there, respirating.

Meditation is about accepting the full range of human consciousness, with all its victories and discomforts and bringing it all into a flat open field of non-judgment, so that it can dissolve into the grass much like a dog turd on synthetically treated fibers,  the good and the bad, in equal part dissolving, such that you don’t try to hold on to or suppress either — and this conservation of energy makes for someone who can chill out in the presence of all things happening, who can water all phenomena with their sprinkler of acceptance.  ;)  In fair recognition that any certainty about the nature of any thing or instance or event is tomfoolery, that a staunch sense of cause and effect is an aspirational device of the ego!

Furthermore, apparently, through meditation, you can welcome the hostile, angry, bitter, sad emotions experienced in response to the conditions in your life, into the supple caverns of the quieted heart and send peace into the world as you acknowledge and witness your own pain and let it go.  In your experience of yourself, fully received, breath by breath, you come away with knowledge of every human heart and with some luck. . .solidarity and empathy for all fellow human comrades.

During the sharing time during which I did not share:

I wanted to mention how I made space for Matt’s needs when we were fighting and didn’t demand relief through conversation, but was able to weep a few tears of discomfort and go to sleep knowing that we would talk in the morning.

I wanted to mention how I’ve lived in a sort of fear of my experiences past — and in fear of God — which this being the proposition.  What is good for you, may feel terrible for you.  And that the death of the self — while the greatest thing one can attain — doesn’t always come via rapture in the creative act of artist, musician, dancer — but that it sometimes comes through the annihilation of expectation, which. . .hurts.  Especially when it comes to expectations related to your sense of basic cause and effect.  The order of the universe in which you have some known position.  I was comforted by the words I read yesterday in When Things Fall Apart — the idea that the kind of pain I experienced — was because I wasn’t hip to reality!!  That my fundamental conceptions were wrong and withstood the pain of correction.

I wanted to note that I woke up with a deadly sniper ripping to shreds various free-agents in my path, and I could feel the mental shrapnel flying, and I stepped out of the way by saying to the machine gun, “You’re doing that again.”  It was a clear demarcation between self and mind.  I turned my attention to other things, like dishes that needed to be done, and the bullet spray quickly subsided.

I’m tired now.  But I did write something and I’m glad.


Alanna Lin Ramage



P.S.  The last thing I wanted to note – is that the release of tension and anger – is the prerequisite for the receptivity and attention of meditation.  I’ve come up with some methods.

Heh heh.

Bagel Man I Forgive You

Posted 20 Apr 2015 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

There were only so many things she could stomach.  Mostly they were bagels of the sprouted wheat variety.  But even then, she reached a limit and with the aid of warm water sipped slowly in intervals of fifteen minutes, she would without much fanfare; truly, without a sound, purge them from the trunk of her being into the non-judgmental silence of the toilet bowl, which then held what she couldn’t.

There was always an odd feeling of accomplishment: of having taken action, of not having been bested by the enemy bagel, or enemy bagel manufacturer / profiteer.  And then there was the guilt of not being an original thinker.  The guilt of someone who reads books about teenage bulimia, and who as a grown woman nonchalantly adopts techniques eschewed by Judy Blume, or if not Judy Blume, another trustworthy guide to the YA (young adult) experience, name less memorable than Judy Blume.

So, yes, there was that guilt, and then the guilt of probable waste of action.  That bothered her, too.  Why eat only to uneat?  Why chew and swallow only to set it all into violent reverse?  Better to have eaten and gained weight than to not have eaten at all.   Better to have loved that baked potato than to have never loved anyone.

And so it was by this bulimic method, she reflected on her last relationship with a man named Charles Dickie.

A man whom she had been certain was the love of her life, but who turned out to be just a bagel.  Bagel forward, bagel backwards.  A wheel of man, a doughy man.  A man with the brown hair the color of toasted bagel.  With eyes hollow like a bagel, with a body roughly shaped like a bagel and with a hole at the center of him where a heart should have been.  Not an evil man, but a lacking man.  Why ever did I roll with such a total turd? she asked her self sullenly, and rose abruptly from the toilet bowl where she had been sitting for the last half hour to rinse her mouth.

She had rolled with him because he had rolled into her.  He had that kind of momentum.  She had mistaken it for strength of character; she had mistaken him for someone who got what he wanted, when as it turned out, he had movement because it was simply the nature of his personality, to roll forward, or up on anything or anyone in his path.  They met at work.  He hadn’t particularly wanted her, but her hand, pale and unpreoccupied, was there for the seizing.  She was, at the time, not quite formed inside.  She conformed easily to his tread.  The insubstantial tread of a bagel man.


Cafeteria Bacteria

Posted 23 Jan 2015 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

The Colburn School has a good cafeteria.

Weirdly, there have been two incidents in one week that I want to note about my visits there this week, because it’s 2015 and I can — on my blog– where who else cares, but me?

I was getting my food and this pretty young lady was grabbing utensils and drink and then crossing the floor to the salad bar to meet her friend.

The space isn’t large.  Maybe 5-7 steps?

In the process, she dropped a black plastic fork in the middle of the off-white floor.  It clattered.  She noted that it had fallen, but she swept across the space and joined her friend.  The fork lay there.

Moments later, someone almost slipped on this random black fork in the middle of the walking path.  I bent down, in spite of my hernia, and picked up the fork and waited for a minute behind the friend of this girl in order to return it to her, as in, “You dropped something.”

As I stood waiting to return the fork, I realized, the young lady knew perfectly well she had dropped something, she just decided it wasn’t worth the interruption of her life flow to pick up after herself.

Soon she and her friend disappeared to the checkout line.

I threw the fork back on the floor –in a performance art type of way.  It clattered lightly as it slid to the wall.  Then I had to walk over and pick it up, because it’s rude to drop a fork on the ground when no one else knows it’s performance art.

Shortly thereafter, I found myself standing with Matt in line a few people behind this young lady, with her stupid fork in my hand.

I couldn’t help myself.  I dropped it.

The clattering sound was familiar.  She turned her head.

I noted that she wasn’t deaf.

As she joined her friends in the dining room, obviously not in a rush to get to a lunch-time surgery appointment, I thought, I wonder if she was someone who grew up a definite idea of wait staff or body servants.

She had very nice hair.  Probably very talented, too.

That was incident no. 1.

* * *

A few days later– I don’t know why I’m spending so much time in this cafeteria — when incidents such are these are giving me indigestion to counter the tastiness of the food and  pleasantness of the environment. . .

I’m at the grill.  A young man is there with his parents. He has headphones around his neck and is highly impatient.  Maybe because he’s irritated that he’s going to have to pay for his parents dinner again.  Every time they visit him at the conservatory.


They’ve all ordered something with fries.

When the boy takes his tray, some fries fall from his tray onto the ground.

Mom and Dad freeze for a second, look at the fries on the floor, then both awkwardly bend down to pick up the fallen food –Dad first, then mom.  The boy hasn’t made a single muscle move to retrieve what has been jostled to the ground with his ungainly movements, although he turns his head and shoulders frequently to release contempt for his parents.

Mom takes the two fries in her hand that belong to the boy and tries to discreetly put them on his tray.  He shrugs her away, what are you doing? don’t put that on my tray, it’s been on the floor, he says.

Mom holds the fries in her hand.

Momentarily, she has her own tray.  She slides the fries onto her tray and waits for her food to be handed to her by the chef so she can have dinner with her husband and their satan spawn.  Later, I see them all sitting around a table at the far end of the dining commons, a family eating their ten thousandth meal together.

Very talented, no question.  But satan spawn all over the Colburn school.

I take that back.  Generalizations of this nature are of the type from which spring much unnecessary ill-will and negative stereotyping.

There are many incredibly talented and sensitive young artists in that cafeteria who give the environment its charm and good energy!

These two were the satanic spawn-like aberrations that I just happened to come across this week.

I’m sure it will never happen again!

Dog Daughter

Posted 14 Jan 2015 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

I got up today at 4:30am. I returned to my bed at 7am and panted like a dehydrated animal for 1 hour. I woke up greatly refreshed. Am I a dog?

Later today (like 10 minutes ago) I got a concerned but loving email from my dad asking if I was alright. Hmmm? Apparently my mom has been sherlocking my profile on Facebook (I didn’t know she had an active account) and after seeing my post about my delayed face experience (emotionally happy, but facially stoic / non-plussed for a couple of weeks) she had forwarded my post to my dad to confirm that I was indeed in trouble and needed their love, should they intervene? How nice is that? I am more than a dog. I am a daughter!


Posted 29 Nov 2014 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

After a Summer Camp Wedding, Visit to Monastery

How high the swing goes up
Depends on how far the swing goes down

But the violent heart
Hears itself best
On monastery grounds

Deer look up
To see who is coming
A car pulls small rocks
Along the road
The world is combed
By mistake
Metal spokes
Churn the multitudes

Moon in the Redwoods – Draft 1

The crickets wave
Their sleighbells
The darkened queens
Who stand tall
But frozen
With apprehension:

The cloak of Her presence
Stops every parade.

In the aisles of
Those who wait
For the ascent of light
Into the leaves

Monastery Gnats

I am the prisoner of gnats
Nightly, they seek me out
And rape my neck with their stingers,
Biting my legs with small bit teeth
With tiny pincers they pull at my cheeks
They’d have me
Scratch at my breasts
But they are monastery gnats–

They do not dare.

Crumbs from the Table

Something that has

broken off the cracker

before it has a chance

to be eaten

still has a chance to be


Taken up on a fingertip

a morsel of crisp

dies on a single tooth

melts and vanishes

and is forgotten

by the mouth

Professor of the Spheres

The trees here
Can’t compete with me
For publication or tenure
I have to think down
So they can
Meet me at eye level

I know their vulnerabilities–

I could have coffee
On the reclaimed vertebrae of
A peer, more than
One hundred years old,

Talk without fear–
Press my hands upon dark
Fur not yet polished
And hear no protest

You can’t steal my
Husband, you will
Own property
Or rent
In a nice neighborhood

Theirs is not to swim
Unless the earth ends
And then, maybe,
Tenure would be a possibility–
A permanent position
Sailing through the galaxies

Monastery Bear

The monastery bear
is smoking
behind the tomato plants

He is wearing a hat
in the shadows,

taking a break

Reflections On Mary

I would like to be virgin like that

–a single kiss

and she was filled

with His likeness

we didn’t even go to second base

What Can Be Learned From Walking Through the Woods

That an uneven quilt

can be beautiful

shaded wooded swathes,

brooding swatches, and then —

a burst of light over there!

Not even a tree, barely a bush

but a million small leaves in flame–

Farther in, a splotch of illuminated grass

patchwork done


unpredictable light,

radiant blades–

We walk


admiring pillars at

human height

until our eyes rise to this sight:

The dead

in the arms of the living,

how they lean, together,

Reaching for the sky

Mysterious God

I don’t know why I find it so interesting

the subtle migration of birds

through the chapel twilight

the nuns, they never sleep–

They breathe

and believe;

Breathe and believe.

Periodically, a bell rings.

And one begins to sing in an ancient warble

God hear our prayer

Over the pines, hear our prayer

Forever and ever, hear us

From the time in our minds, free us

Grant us peace, Jesus

In your love, breathe us



We shuffle and bow

in solemn configuration

Someone’s stomach resurrects

And we listen to the groan of the once dead,

Underneath a sweater,

Lava squeals on a steaming rock,

A bubble escapes and is reabsorbed

By flesh, bone,

The cushion of bodies in the sanctuary. . .

A candle flickers.


Is this spiritual hunger

being born?


[gurgle, gurgle, blip!]

Forgiveness is a Four Letter Word Most of the Time

Posted 07 May 2014 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

Checklist to Forgiveness

5:00 am, 4/21/14


Forgiveness is choosing to see someone’s potential to contribute to life (their capacity for goodness and love) in spite of their having been a real dickhead.


  1. Remember it (the grievance) is over and doesn’t deserve the attention of being remembered.  Your synapses are formed according to the thoughts you allow to develop.  Don’t inadvertently create a matrix of sorrow in your mind to live in indefinitely.
  2. Consider lessons learned and imagine ideal responses to similar conflicts / situations, such that in the future you can manage a better outcome.  Rehearse and prepare, so you don’t find yourself in the same predicament and / or feel only helpless and victimized.  All experience can be formatted to benefit future experience.
  3. Treat yourself to a nice manicure or pedicure, and then put yourself in the person’s nasty shoes.  Are there acute stressors at work in their life that might be overshadowing their consideration of you and others?
  4. Remember something positive / lovely about the person who has the inspired you to seek out this checklist.
  5. Remember something else positive about this person, preferably of a time when under better circumstances they showed they cared for you or when they showed kindness or empathy towards an animal.
  6. Remember your desire to be in relationship to this person and be decisive about honoring all the positive qualities they have not exhibited in this most recent instance, but which you have known in them and hope to know again.   Remember your love for this person.
  7. Think of a 3rd irrefutable way in which the person adds value, meaning, benefit to the world.
  8. Every time a negative reflection encroaches upon your consciousness, respond with one of these positive memories of the person to counteract the build up of pain, resentment, and self-pity that comes from repeatedly examining sources of dissatisfaction.
  9. Reflect on the age of the universe—13.8 billion years and consider the brevity of your own life and how you really want to spend your time.  Is bitterness a life expertise in which you hope to build your legacy?
  10. Imagine that the person dies suddenly before you can tell them how much you love them.  If you prioritize telling them how they suck, you will both have only a distasteful memory as your last living impression of each other.
  11. Remember God loves them and they are on a journey
  12. Breathe deeply and harden not your heart, and avoid self-inflicted arteriosclerosis.


* If you find that you have no positive memories to apply, you can either sever the relationship completely, or modify your expectations.   Flexibility may save your relationship.


Let’s See, Joke I Make In Private

Posted 04 Jan 2014 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

I was at the pool today, the big one up by the Rose Bowl.  My hubs bought me a one month membership to try out some fitness for the new year.  There is a heated pool in which the old can swim without breaking their bones.  There is another pool full of nubile youthlets, and much colder water.  I don’t even know that the old people are even allowed in this pool.  Not between 4pm – 7pm at least.

I should be commended for swimming in January.  The journey from the locker to the room was very much not heated.  After I fell into the water (a graceful easing of myself into the pool was not possible today), I swam maybe 20 laps and did some underwater breathing, and felt like I had done a good deed.

Afterwards, l gingerly made my way back to the locker room with my towel around my shoulders.  Upon opening the door, I found myself in a locker room full of young girls — I would have to guess mostly pre-teenagers.  It seemed they were at every locker and at ever shower-head.  In all their nubile glory.  For a minute, I thought, what am I going to do?  Just stand here and be wet forever because this legion of chittering chattering young females will carry on in the locker room like some kind of eternal damnation?  Then a girl dashed past me, grabbing her towel from the hanging rack, and I knew that a shower head was open for me.

The shower room was an open, tiled space without walls.  Shower-heads pointed in from the perimeter and all the girls were showering in their swimsuits, faithful to some first-world Pasadena Rose-Bowl Aquatics Center notion of modesty or body consciousness.  I didn’t know what to make of it.  As I’ve traversed a lot of gym locker-rooms over my life time, I’ve gone from shy-undisclosed-body to being pretty comfortable rub-a-dub-dub-naked in front of others.   The girls were all absurdly young and firm and most of them had long-hair.  I felt like I did when I was in junior high school in an ugly swimsuit, because I was wearing an ugly swimsuit.   It was an old familiar feeling of not being like the others.  In this late in life iteration of long ago junior high school sadness, I was still Taiwanese not like the others, but I was also a full-grown woman not like the others.  I washed my hair and wondered at what kind of bizarre social pressure I was feeling that I was standing in my swimsuit still?  I almost said, “Girls, do you mind, I’m going to take off my swimsuit even though that is not of your culture; it makes it easier to wash the chlorine out.  Capeesh?”  I scrubbed the top of my boobs with my suit still on.  While I was awkwardly trying to maneuver around my shoulder straps to wash the rest of my body, I realized I was feeling terribly self-conscious and reprimanded myself.  As an adult female I needed to give that sh-t up and set a good example to these unseasoned, inexperienced, self-conscious youngsters.  For the love of God and womankind!  So I shucked my ugly swimsuit and showed all the girls my somewhat troubled, stretch-marked butt and ascertained that if they could see my womanly pubes, all the better.   I guess as good way of describing this would be– imagine you are a crumpled brown paper bag with some grease and food in it, and you’re in a locker room shower with untouched xerox paper.  I needed to show them 1. it was okay to be naked.  2. it’s okay to be a brown paper bag — crumpled, but not without charisma!

The two tweens who had been loitering at the shower heads next to me quickly departed.  I didn’t think it was me, but maybe I wouldn’t know because I was averting my gaze.  That would have been too weird, to be naked (when others weren’t) and making a lot of eye contact.  I tried not to make a big deal of it, since it wasn’t a big deal.  After I finished rinsing I grabbed my toiletries, grabbed my towel and wrapped it around myself and walked to the locker area.  My locker was blocked by at least four nymphets.  One was trying to put her training bra on over her towel.  A dressing room full of girls who managed to get dressed while maintaining the appearance of being dressed already.  Crazy.

I don’t know that this story is a good one.  At least I didn’t have my horrible pre-marital underwear hidden in my locker.  I had some sheer undergarments that were age appropriate to me and no one else!  I got dressed and allowed that process to include moments of being naked-ish.  As I toweled off my hair, an older lady magically appeared a few lockers down from me. . .I noticed her just as I was finishing up.  She had a swimmer’s tan, and a toned, lithe body for a seventy-five-year-old.  She caught my eye and smiled.  Young f*cking nubile nymphs!  What do they know about womanhood!  This she did not say, but I knew it was what she was thinking.

Outside of the aqua-plex,  I waited for Matt (my husband) to pick me up, and was subjected to youths flirting with each other.  I watched as they teased and harassed each other in obtuse expressions of puppy love.  Pupply love. Lots of mock-anger and quick snatching, grabbing / hugging.  It made me want to go back into the pool and drown myself.   I thought about teen pregnancy  and used my phone to google: “Does it suck to be a mom?”

Going to the pool is a real work-out.


Happy Mother’s Day To Me

Posted 14 May 2013 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

Happy Mother’s Day-to-me the day after Mother’s Day. Mostly because my mom is like the anti-mom, in only good ways. Today, after talking wedding stuff with her and my dad into a total vortex of shared hopelessness, she didn’t even really pause before she cheerfully suggested that I just decide what to do on my own without consulting them.  “Will that make it better?”  Um, yes.  “Do whatever will make you happy!  You’re big enough to know at this point…We’ll just come and enjoy! Make planning easier!”

What?!!! Where are the fights? The CRYING! The NO-MOM-I-DON’T WANT-A-BIRD-THEME.

This is too easy. . .

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 9.12.45 PM

Hey now. . .wait a minute.  Them some cute birdies!

What’s even cuter, is that during most of the earlier part of the conversation, the two of them had been interrupting each other quite a bit.  “Are you done?”  “I’m not done!” has become their style now that they qualify for senior discounts.  But when my mom was explicating the benefits of trusting me to make these decisions as I best saw fit, Dad didn’t say a word, but I could tell he was silently approving of his choice for wife and mother-of-his-children.  He didn’t marry her just cuz she was good-looking (she was beautiful!), he married her because she was unique and would say something like this when she was in her mid-sixties.

Maybe I completely imagined it– like I said, he was quiet the whole time, but…


Makes me think marriage is okay and that I’ll go through with it.

Lil’ Libretto

Posted 02 Mar 2013 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

I am experimenting with social responses.  So, for example.  This woman next door was screaming and cursing at someone in her house, “what (*&(*& bull((*&*!@!! &what do you want me to do (*&(*&1!@#”–  but her aural explosion was highly audible from where I was standing, up until then, peacefully folding laundry.

I’ve been a little sleep deprived lately, but I also have been singing a lot of high notes in choir lately — so I tried a high volume operatic response through the open windows.  Mostly improvised:


I know she’s going to find me and strangle me later (this is always my fear — angry responses to unsolicited performance art), but there were a few more lines of obscenities exchanged and then the yelling stopped.

Chairmeowww Laments >!!< Facebook's Promote Option

Posted 12 Jan 2013 — by alannalin
Category Uncategorized

See "Promote" next to SHARE?

I’ve been having a hard time posting to Facebook lately.  I don’t know why, exactly, but I find myself more willing to comment / like others’ content and more cautious about posting my own.  Also, I appear to be going through some kind of horse activism phase, and in my own dislike of others’ use of Facebook for causes, I am vaguely, but definitely, chagrined at myself.  So what if a horse is trapped behind bars at a county fair whilst depraved excessive humans stroll about gnawing on barbequed turkey legs and drinking beer?  The world doesn’t have to be fair.

Be Happy Mr. Horse, At Least You're Not On Facebook

In any case, my dearest friend’s mom died and I got engaged TO BE MARRIED on what seemed to be the same day.  So I didn’t make an announcement on Facebook.  Also there was something strange about even thinking about FACEBOOK during a life milestone.  When someone has a baby in 2012 /13 — do they think, I’m crowning! Can’t wait to post this to Facebook! I guess to the degree that the F is a stand-in web file for all the friend and folks you choose to keep in touch with, it makes sense, despite the over-exposure of private life and self.  But lately, with the small fiddle faddling from Facebook Management with my side of the web experience, I’ve felt loathe to occupy a living room that I am leasing.  Specifically, a living room in which I am leasing small peepholes that allow for the measurement of the diameter of my uterus as I type my daily updates. “I’m having Starbucks today, feeling jolly!”  — 10cm.

The idea of addressing the web and friends through the web is a.o.k. by me.  I love the idea.  I’ve loved Facebook for making it possible.  But the appearance, disappearance, and reappearance of the “PROMOTE” option updates about personal life to personal friends has literally make me feel. . .sick.  Oh entrepreneurs of the web!  Offer your services, but don’t offer them for free, because then you have to come up with stupid ways to monetize.  It’s always been okay to charge folks for a decent service provided.  IDIOTS!!!!!!  or should I say Eeeeediots! FEEECESBook!  Wahhhhh!

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