Monday, February 27, 2006

why wood is good

As much as I complained about TV commentators for this XX Winter Olympics, I did hear one very funny thing while watching the coverage:

“….and Joe-Blow-Athlete of Such-And-Such-Country will finish this race in fourth place, taking home…the Wooden Medal.”


Well, I brought home The Wood, too…with my Olympic Knitting.
(although I should be given a frickin GOLD for the lesson I have finally learned)

I hate it so much, that it can actually keep me from being able to pick up the needles at all.

No, I did not finish the Olympic Mohair Shawl before the flame went out. And I had plenty of time to get it done, too. I passed up many an opportunity where I could have sat and knit. And I chose not to.

It would seem that during the two years prior to these Olympics, I’ve developed some interesting habits while training for these games.

First year of training:

* A company that sells kits for felted hats and bags hires me to knit a display bag (I knit, they felt). I am given no firm deadline. The yarn and patterns are delivered to me, and instead of the agreed upon bag, I am sent the components for two fair-isle hats. I’ve never done stranded knitting. And for those who aren’t knitters, felted items are knit HUGE, because felting is basically shrinking your knitting during the washing to make it thick and warm. So these aren’t your normal sized hats. They are giant. Hats like this. Along with the yarn is a note that I need to return the completed hats within 3 days. I am leaving for vacation in two. I almost hurt myself trying to get them done on time. Lots of teeth grinding. I am paid something like $12.50 per hat for my work (slave labor?). I swear that never ever again will I knit on a deadline.

* It is my friend’s 90th birthday. For some insane reason, the day before we are to meet and celebrate, I decide to knit her a small, shaped shawl. I stay up all night getting it done. I can barely see straight, weaving in ends right up to the last minute. She calls to cancel our date, and the finished gift sits in a bag in my car for three weeks until we can reschedule. I swear that never ever again will I knit on a deadline.

My second year of training:

* I negotiate a small job from my local yarn store. I am to knit sample swatches that they will use as displays. In exchange, I’m to be given hours toward classes. I also have the added bonus of sampling new yarns. I picked up a bag of skeins they have waiting for me, and I’m not given a deadline…but it’s assumed that I will do this kntting in a reasonable amount of time…like ummmm, before they sell the inventory and there is nothing left to display. I take the bag home and knit not one single thing from that bag. In fact, the bag never leaves my car and makes it into the house. Feeling guilty about shirking knitting responsibilities, I also do not pick up my own knitting. This goes on for about 6 weeks until I finally return the bag of perfectly undisturbed skeins and apologize profusely, saying you’d think I’d have learned by now: I hate knitting on a deadline. I swear that never ever again will I knit on a deadline.

* My mom asks for sock for Mother’s Day, two months early. Mother’s Day is in May. I only finish one sock. I promise to get the pair done by her birthday. Which is in June. I hate the colors of yarn she chose (what an eyesore), and therefore avoid picking up her project whenever possible. Every time she sees me knitting on something else (which was often), she makes some offhand comment about her cold feet. She finally gets her socks. In December. And I swear to myself that never ever gain will I knit on a deadline.

2006, now my third year of training:
* I finally understand that while I do love a knitting challenge, I am not in love with the time challenge. My version of challenging myself is to learn at least one new technique or skill with every new project (and I have successfully and progressively done that over all three training seasons).
* Yet still, in 2006, I set myself with the New Years Schmezolucion to knit one pair of socks per month (it’s February and I’ve already blown that one off).
* And then, sign up for the Knitting Olympics.


Now, for the Olympics, I do pick a project that includes the challenge of a new skill. This is going to be my first lace, and I am (stupidly) going to knit it up in (not-so-lace-friendly) mohair, which is a fiber I’ve never worked with before.

Here is why I should be given Gold instead of Wood:

By Day 4 of the Knitting Olympics, I realized that I’ve set myself up for failure, and instead of continuing to knit myself into insanity, I begin to very frequently, and very happily, put my knitting back in its bag. And smiling about it.

As a result, I ended up having time to do some wonderful things.
Like sleeping. Like eating. Like taking MyFK to an afternoon at the bookstore. Like taking him and a friend on a tour of the JellyBelly Factory. Like birthing a new dance solo that I will perform next week as a work in progress. Like trying to use my prosthesis a bit more (no, I haven’t figured out how to knit and walk yet--I couldnt do that when I had two legs). Like keeping up with housework (welllllll, sorta). Like spending time catching up with friends. Like going to see TheMIG's band play when their tour rolls through town. Like going to see Axis Dance Company's new work. Like taking some much needed downtime to do some deep thinking about some major overhauling I’m ready to do in the area of my emotional growth.

I am at complete peace with my Wooden Medal. I scored The Wood for knitting how I like to knit. I knit my first lace. And I tamed mohair and made it obey. And now that the REAL deadline has passed, I think I can finally pick up the needles again and finish this shawl. On my own terms. And I will be warm and cozy with it when it is done. And stress free. And happy with myself for finally shaking a bad habit. And I’ll be sporting The Wood (something I've always wished I could do).

There is nothing worse I can do to myself than taking something I absolutely love (because it relaxes me, allows me to express my creativity, and brings me peace)….and then turning it into something that I dread doing.

I think I have finally learned not to knit on a deadline (PLEASE, if you see me doing it and writing about it here…slap me around a little bit…you have been granted official permission).

I suspect maybe I'm in good company donning The Wood. As of this entry, Miss Harlot (who started this whole Olympic thing in the first place) has not posted that she completed her item either. But she's amazing with a deadline. More than likely,...she DID finish it, and is just sleeping it off ;-)

**update: Hail the Mighty Harlot...she DID in fact finish, and just in the nick of time. She totally deserves The Gold. Totally gorgeous sweater.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

a day in the life of a gimp at the airport

For those of you who haven’t experienced traveling as (or with) a disabled person…I shall now shed a little light on what you can possibly expect from Airport Security (aka The TSA—Transportation Safety Administration).

In my own personal experience, since becoming a gimp, every single time I've flown, I have ended up in the super special we’re-going-to-pat-you-down-and-pillage-through-your-bags area. It doesn’t matter what kind of mobility equipment I bring along with me. They all have metal components, and therefore I am to be pulled aside.

If I arrive in a wheelchair, I’m patted and pillaged.
If I wear my prosthesis, I’m patted and pillaged (I’ve even heard that some amputees have actually had to take their limbs off).
I’ve even tried to slip through on just crutches (sans prosthesis), hoping they’d x-ray the crutches and let me hop through the metal detector...but no dice. Apparently hopping is completely unacceptable airport behavior.

So I get patted and pillaged every single time. This means I also have the added bonus of having to wait around while they find a TSA approved female to do the pat down search. And every time I travel with MyFK he asks, “Mom, why does a woman have to do it?” And every time I never know how to respond. When I try to explain that perhaps some women might feel uncomfortable being inspected by a male, I then get drawn into a discussion about societal gender rules…and once that discourse gets under way I have to be the type of mom that explains that this “comfort concept” is completely moot if either woman is a lesbian, but isn't it odd that nobody ever considers that?…to which MyFK questions, “Well then shouldn’t they send over a boy who likes boys to pat you down mom?? (heeheeheeeeeeee…I love my kid. What a crack up.)

Anyhow, these discussions with MyFK always end up with my reminding him (and this is my speaking my truth when I add this): that I am very thankful that the airport security is doing such a fine job of thoroughly checking. It makes all of us feel safer travelling.

To tell you the truth, this pat and pillage routine has actually proven to be a benefit to me almost every single time I fly. By now, understanding that it is senseless to waste time in the “regular” security line, I just go straight to the pat down area and get it over with. On most occasions I have made it through security faster than my able-bodied traveling companions. And on most occasions I am treated with respect and consideration.

Except today.
No benefit. No respect. No consideration.

And, oddly enough, today I’m not even the one flying.

Today I am going to the airport to pick up a friend’s son who is flying alone. TheKiddo has some sort of overnight layover in my town, and then he travels on again tomorrow. So MyFK and TheKiddo are having a slumber party.

Driving to the airport, I hit major Bay Area traffic (yes, we have traffic on Saturdays). The flight had been delayed 2 hours, but while I’m en route to the airport, I call in again, and the flight is now only 1-1/2 hours late instead of the previously stated 2 hours. We’re going to be late, and I can only warp time in the car when I’m driving solo.

TheKiddo’s flight had already landed and was disembarking as we arrived in the airport parking lot. I am stressed and very very cranky. I take my prosthesis off and switch to a wheelchair because not only am I hell on wheels, but I’m also aware that at some point I may possibly need to take my leg off for some bozo to x-ray it, and I’ve got no time for that shit.

This is my first time dealing with a kid who is flying alone, and as instructed by TheKiddo’s Mom, I check in at the service counter to sign paperwork, and I ask if TheKiddo can be brought down to me outside the security checkpoint. The agent tells me that this is no problem, he radios ahead to the gate to advise, and I proceed to the checkpoint.

I am met by the TSA people who pull me aside to a waiting area.

Hey! This was easy!
Just wait for TheKiddo!
With time for clearing the plane, we must have made it on time after all!
I guess we did warp time after all!

We wait.

And wait.
And wait.

Finally, the guy holding me at the checkpoint says into his radio (in an exasperated tone), “We still have another one….”

Hmmm. A this point, I question him about exactly what it is I am waiting for, only to find out that I’m not waiting for TheKiddo to be delivered…no. I’m waiting for the female to pat me down.

I guess they want me to pick up TheKiddo at the gate, not at the checkpoint.
Because somebody blew off the instructions to bring TheKiddo TO me at the checkpoint. Instead TheKiddo is stuck waiting at his gate…not alone, mind you, but with the same airline attendant that was previously radioed the instructions. Apparently the attendant is either deaf, hates his job, is killing time entertaining TheKiddo until his shift is over, or is just plain stupid.

Grand. Here comes the female TSA-Bitch, and she isn’t going to listen to one word I have to say.
Nope. She’s on a mission, and she’s going to pat me down. Period.

I say: I’m not flying, and I’m not attempting to go to the gate. I've already signed the paperwork to have TheKiddo brought to me.

…but the TSA-Bitch is going to pat me down and scan my shoes and swab my wheelchair and…

…allllllll the while, I am being probably the biggest disabled smart-assed snot I have ever been in my life. (so much, in fact, that the stuff in the colored text you are reading is actual quotes, verbatim, to the best of my memory, unembellished...only names changed for *ahem* security's sake)

MyFK: But MOMmmmmmmm!! TheKiddo is waiting ALONE!
Oh, I know, but I have to wait while this lady has her way with me.

I stand up to be patted down, and TSA-Bitch tells me to sit down.
So I do.
And then 20 seconds later she says she needs me to get up out of my wheelchair, and asks if I am physically capable of being in a standing position.

I say: Ummmm I think I was just standing a second ago when you told me to sit. No? Am I confused?

I stand up but hold onto my chair to stabilize myself while being patted, because sometimes someone pushing against me can cause me to lose balance (duh).

TSA-Bitch says: I need to move your chair. I have to get all the way around you.
(and before I can answer pulls the chair out from under me and pushes it way out of reach)

I say: Well jeez, you didn’t ask me if I was physically capable of standing without something to balance with. So...isn't my holding onto something and rotating or turning around acceptable?


So I’ll balance on one leg for you.
Want me to juggle for you at the same time?

MOMmmmm!! What is taking so long??!!!
Well, once you are disabled, you lose certain rights, son. People are allowed to touch you when and where you don’t feel like being touched, which would be fine IF I actually wanted to pass beyond this area. But I do not.

So the TSA-Bitch begins to do her pat down, and let me tell you…I’ve been patted down a whooooole lotta times by now, and never have some of these particular nooks and crannies been patted before. AND she took her time. And THEN she decides that my under-cleavage is suspicious and has me raise my arms in 20 different positions (while balancing on one leg for several minutes by now) so that she can get under there again. And again.

She asks me if I have a problem.

Yes, as a matter of fact I DO.

Great. Here comes DickWad. A fucking idiot who couldn’t pass the police force exams because he’s a moron, and so he ended up working the airport. But I need to show respect ya’ know, because, well, he’s boss of this tiny little world, and he has a uniform and shiny badge to prove it.

The TSA-Bitch is now telling him that my wheelchair looks fishy because it hasn’t passed the swipe test.

Mr.Dickwad, Sir. Could we PLEASE stop examining me. I do not need to be inspected. I’m not flying, and I’m not attempting to pass this checkpoint to get to the gate. There has been a miscommunication. TheKiddo I am retrieving was to be sent down here to the checkpoint. Can you please send TheKiddo down here?

DickWad says: Well, that’s up to the airline.

Well, then can you please call the XYZAir desk and have them send TheKiddo here, because that is what I asked for, and that is what they agreed to do.

Yes, I will call them. What’s your name, what’s TheKiddo’s name, what’s the flight number?
I give the data.

He leaves, and while he’s gone the TSA-Bitch is starting to furtively take notes about my hair color, what’s in my purse, and that my sock (singular) matches my blouse. And now allllllll my personal information is being entered into some database that probably now catalogues me as suspect for the rest of my frickin traveling life (not that we can't all be eavesdropped on at this point, anyhow, mind you).

MOMmmmm, are they done yet??
No, apparently mommy's wheelchair is possible suspect for high treason.
(actually, it is my REMOVEABLE wheelchair pad that is supposedly coated in bomb-goo…mental note: do not picnic on the newly fertilized park lawn and then sit your ass down on a fabric wheelchair seat)

DickWad comes back to help TSA-Bitch do the cataloguing.

Ummmm, excuse me DickWad Sir, but when you left, weren’t you supposed to be calling XYZAir and remedy this situation??
I didn’t hear you ASK me to do that.
Maybe that’s because you aren’t actually listening?

Turning to TSA-Bitch: Make her stand up and swipe her seat pad again and her backside again..

MOMmmm!! What is TAKING SO LONG?!?!?!
They aren’t done humiliating me yet.

But MOM!!!
Honey, shush. The fake police aren’t through exercising their weak little power trip muscles.

Bitch to DickWad: Her pants pass but her removeable seat pad does not.

Let’s see…ME AND MY CHAIR are okay to pass through, but the REMOVEABLE PAD is cause for suspicion. Does the concept of REMOVING THE PAD and leaving it here work for you (so I can blow yer asses up with it and rid the world of a couple of idiots?)

DickWad to TSA-Bitch: Well, she’s basically going to have her wish granted….
(funny, I don’t remember wishing on a little star or anything)
…because we can't let her through. They will have to bring the kid to her to the checkpoint to meet her..

I sit there reminiscing about this Bill Cosby stand-up routine. He gets kicked out of bed to feed the kids breakfast. He gets busted for feeding them chocolate cake instead of scrambled eggs. He is sent to his room.
Which is exactly where he wanted to be in the first place.

* sigh *

Well TheKiddo is finally brought down to the gate.
And then we need to go hunt down luggage, because by now, it has been stowed away because it wasn’t picked up quickly enough and is now suspect for high treason.

Best part? I get to do this allll over again tomorrow when I bring TheKiddo back to the same airport for the 2nd leg of his flight. YAY!!!!!!!

See?! having a 2nd leg can, in fact, be bad ;-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

no, it's not me

Well, at first I had thought it was just me.

Then a few of you commented and emailed telling me that in fact, no, it was not just me. Others heard it, too.

The NBC Olympic's Figure Skating commentators are doing a mean, nasty, and negative job with their coverage. Period.

This is what I heard today once I finally got to sit down and (knit) watch the Women's Figure Skating Short Program (and I wish I could load a sound byte here, because the tone was definitely part of it..let's see what I can do with itallics):

**said in review of Yalena Liashenko, skating for the Ukraine**

Sandra Bezik (twat): "You know, to compete for 12 years for Olympics, you just have to looove to go to the rink and train every day."

Dick Button (asswipe): "The problem is, that over that period of time, her skating hasn't changed that much!
Maybe it would be more helpful if she went to the rink and not only trained but thought about it a little bit, too."
(longer pause)
"I hope that's not being unkind."

(silence from the other commentators)

ummmmmmmm I dunno, DICK...what do you think??!?!
Sort of hard to vote for your being "kind," that's for sure, DICK.

As a contrast, I offer to you commentary between myself and the 8-year old MyFK:

**said in review of (couples) Ice Dancing, Free Skate (I dont recall which couple)**

MyFK: "That's two girls."
Me: (mumbling over my knitting and under my breath) "That'd be the day."
MyFK: "What do you mean??"
Me: "Well, it's never been two girls before."
MyFK: "What about two boys??"
Me: "Nope."
MyFK: "WHY NOT??!!??!!"
Me: "Good question. Maybe by the time you get older, the rules will change."
MyFK: "So the rule is that it has to be a boy AND a girl?"
Me: "Right now, yes."
MyFK: "I don't get it."
Me: "Me neither. And just to confuse you more, in the bobsled and the luge and some of the other sports, it can only be boys with boys and girls with girls. Interesing, huh."
MyFK: "It's not that the rule is right or's just.....WHY is it a rule??"

and that, my friends, began a discussion that ended up becoming the record longest bedtime story ;-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

knitting knerd

Last weekend was a Mommy & MyFK weekend...but MyFK spent a huge chunk of Saturday figuring out how to get me to take him to a place that he frequents with his dad. He wanted to go to this store where "gamers" of all types congregate. They play trading card games and computer games and what-not.

I reallllllllly did not want to go.
It was a major battle of wills.
But he's sharp for an 8 year old.
And apparently I've done a fantastic job teaching him that negotiating with logic and reason is far more successful that whining and pouting.

He knew I had a chore I needed help with, and he knew that I was behind on my Olympics Knitting, so I went down in defeat when he offered that not only would he help with the chore before going, but that I’d be able to sit and knit while he played games at this store. He insisted this game place was "quiet", but since we clearly do not share the same definition of what "quiet" really is, I was doubtful.

I agreed to be there for one hour.
I was there for three.

He was right. It was quiet.
And I got a bunch of knitting done.
And I’m such a sucker.

But I felt like a total freak at this place!

To the right of me were 35 or so computers all filled with nerds playing on-line video games. The computers had headphones, so it was true--it was relatively quiet. Yay.

MyFK was in heaven. He was networked up with a group of 3 other kids to play LordOfTheRingsBattleForMiddleEarth (remember, this must be blurted out like a run-on sentence), which is his favorite game, the one that lately has had him commandeering my computer.

Across from where I sat were the card collecting dudes, playing a game called VS. I only know about this phenomenon because MyFK's dad plays it...and by the looks of things, when he plays there, he must be the oldest guy in the game store. Yikes. Anyhow, the card game involves a whole lot of discussion about being a Super Hero. It was hilarious listening to these guys “battle” each other. Apparently Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk are not friends. Who knew.

Sitting to my left was a gaggle of nerds gearing up for a game of Dungeons & Dragons. I could have sworn that game died out in the late 70's, early 80’s. Apparently it’s stood the test of time. This group of gamers included the only other female in the store...a very cute, but extremely nerdy girl in glasses. She kind of looked liked Velma going under cover at the Renaissance Faire. Anyhow, if this girl fancies cute nerdy boys, she’s a smart cookie…at this joint she's pretty much going have her pick of the litter, sans competition.

And in the middle of all this gaming action, sat me. Gimp Knitter.

For awhile, I just sat there gawking, while rating and ranking the nerd level of every single person in the place.

My greatest source of entertainment was checking out all of their nerdy paraphernalia. Stacks and stacks of D&D books, the special little score pads (one gamer was even keeping track with pen that looked like a magic wand), the little boxes and binders of carefully sheathed and protected trading cards....all organized and such (I’ll bet their rooms look like pig stys). Oh, and then there was the guys with all the fancy 18-sided dice and their shiny little trinkets and tokens for keeping track of lord-knows-what.

What nerds!!

Meanwhile, I am preparing to knit, so I am:
....sorting and organizing my index cards that has each row of my lace pattern printed them
....putting on the little row counter that I wear on a chain around my neck.
....spreading out my lace panel, fondling it, scanning for errors, admiring my genius.
....wishing there was another knitter present so we could hold it between us and wave my in-process-shawl around like a flag of infinished triumph.
....settling in with my knitting and the current issue of Interweave and a pile of stitch markers and a bag of Corn Nuts and a bag of Whoppers, all of which is artfully arranged around me like a little nest.
It is at this moment that I realize I am a complete knitting knerd.
And that I am in the wrong store.
This is not a yarn shop.
I need a yarn shop. Quick.

I look up and all the nerds are staring at me.
I am probably completely disrupting their fantasyland.
Hand knitting is far too practical an activity for a land full of wizards and goblins and super heroes.

I almost jumped up and shouted, "If someone you love made you hang out at the Local Yarn Store, we’d never ever look at you like you were a freak for sitting at the back table with your laptop and playing StarWars!! We’d be happy you gave us an uninterrupted chance to be swimming in yarn. SO. SHUT. UP."

But I didn't say anything.
I just sat down and ate my corn nuts.

And knit.
I got a ton of knitting done.
And MyFK told me I was better than Wonder Woman for taking him.
But let’s hope I don’t get suckered into spending too many days there.

Oh...there was this one really funny picture up on the wall there. Have to share it:


The Olympics Update:

Who knows if I’m going to make the rush for gold. I have noooo idea at this point. I was about to throw in the towel the other day because I was so far behind. I'm thinking maybe I'm a bronze or something.

Based on the pattern, I need 11 repeats of the lace pattern. Based on my gauge (I am using a heavier yarn than what the pattern calls for), I was thinking maybe I’d do 10.

I’m only into my 7th repeat right now, and I think I’m getting ready to stop. Not because I’m trying to cheat and speed skate the 500-meter instead of the 1000-meter that I signed up for. But because I think if I go any further, this thing is going to look more like a blanket than a shawl!! It already reaches from my neckline to my butt at 6 repeats, and unlike the lace-weight the designer used, this isn’t going to drape the same. I still have yet to add the top edge and the bottom ruffle.

So I might be okay timewise.
Who knows.
This morning I tried to reread the section of the pattern that calls for picking up the provisional cast on to knit the border, and suddenly it looked like it was written in Greek.

We’ll see what happens.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

putting the teehee back in amputeehee

One of the original intents of this blog was to record all the incredibly stupid shit people say to me that relates to being an amputee.

Things like:
"WOW your hospital bill must have cost you an arm and a leg!"
"I have no idea what it would be like to walk a mile in your shoes."
(yes, people have actually said these things to me)

Well, I haven't been posting things like that lately, if at all.
So here you go.

Well, ok, at least I get a "teehee" out of this....but do keep in mind that I'm a little twisted and that a good portion of the "disability community" (and then some), finds my humor and insights bizarre and innappropriate.
So beats me if you'll get a chuckle.
But I did.
So there.

Today, while waiting in line to ring out at a register, a complete (dumb broad with way too much blue eyshadow on) stranger said to me:

“Ooooooooooohhhhh have you been watching the Olympics??? I just loooooove the Olympics, don’t you???!!……and isn’t just graaaand that even people like YOU can be included? I mean, people like YOU get to go be in the SPECIAL Olympics!!!!!”

No, Dipshit.
Actually, "people like me" go to the PARALYMPICS, NOT the SPECIAL OLYMPICS.

The Paralympics are for athletes with physical disabilities.
The Special Olympics are for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Both are "just graaaand," true...but they are entirely different organizations for entirely different types of athletes.

I dont care much that you dont know the difference and make that mistake when talking to me, but I strongly suggest you understand the difference between the two before you go congratulating the US Wheelchair Rugby Team (featured in the movie Murderball) for their achievements at the "Specical Olympics". You wouldnt want one of these guys accidently mistaking your head for a soccer ball.

And if you still cant figure out the difference, try reading this.

Friday, February 17, 2006

at least this much

I am knee deep right now in:
an emotional growth spurt
and a huge pile o' mohair

I dont have time for much, but I wanted to at least respond to this comment:

Ashlupa writes:

I'm with Full Radius; we'll be out there in May.
I checked out your website and your calendar, and I'm going to try to make it to your May show!! Please let me know if I can help with anything locally (promotion or what-not).
For those who'd like their link again, click here

Is Dandelion officially an integrated company, and how long has it been around?
I was stalling on replying because I was hoping that the director (Eric Kupers) would have a moment to answer this one for me (I'm such a slouch LOL). Unfortunately he's swamped...'tis the season for him to be knee deep in grant-season paperwork, amongst other things.

So here's my take on things:

Dandelion Dancetheater was founded in 1996, and no, it is not "officially" a physically integrated dance company. I know that over the years there have been other people with disabilities as cast members. I know of a below-the-knee amputee and at least one wheelchair user. I think in this way the company ends up being physically integrated, but I dont think that's the goal. I would say that the current project is not about integration, but that instead it's primary focus is on using naked dance as a vehicle for exploring the body, death, and impermanace (amongst other things). But with such an extremely diverse cast, one cant help but have integration be part of the project (not just integration of abled/disabled, but of many differences).

My personal defintion of the physicality of this company (and I'm not a big fan of labels), is that it is inclusive.

I think this line from the Dandelion website says it best:
"We teach and create with people of diverse sizes, shapes, ages, cultures and abilities, so that viewers of all walks of life can find themselves reflected in the work."

That's my short answer.
I have a longer answer.
I started typing this reply this morning (pre-coffee), and found myself going down a road that looks like a rant about labels within the dance community. I need to consolidate my thoughts a bit more before I open my big mouth and stick my only foot in it, but stay tuned and I'll post it :-)

As it turns out, Eric just sent an email with a link to an article about Dandelion that was just published online. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

it's me

I have done some catching up. Based on my calculations, I ended last night about 6 rows behind on the lace, and about 24 rows behind on the stockinette portion (but's that's fast and easy knitting). Goddess-of-Knitting willing, I've got more knitting time over the weekend than I've had during this week.

I may or may not get a gold for my knitting.

But I think I should at least be awarded gold for:
* the most used paper plates (to avoid doing dishes)
* the longest run without going to the grocery store
* the largest pile of laundry ever created by a household of two (extra points for technical merit: most consecutive days a load of wet clothes has been left sitting in a washing machine)
* the most hours sitting on my ass (but I'm sure I have a bunch of contenders for that one)

I had started to write a COMPLETELY different post this morning, and it's title was to be:
"is it just me??"

It was to be about my experience of watching last night's Olympics Figure Skating (the Men's Short Program). The announcers were dishing out this endless negative commentarty about the skaters, and it had me sinking into some kind of funk...a quasi-mini-depression. I had been half knitting and half watching, but my ears were listening....and their disapproving remarks were trickling in like a diseased interaveneous drip. The things I heard them saying, and the tone in which I heard it said, was so upsetting to me that I actually grabbed a pen and started to write things down.

What I'm used to hearing commentators say are things like, "he landed on the inside edge, so he couldnt grab the ice," or "he has still to develop maturity, but that was an excellent showing for this 19 year old's first Olympics." Technical things. Sprinkled with opinion.

What I was hearing instead were comments like, "He's more like a soccer player trying to do a tapdance, " and, "You want to wring his neck!! There is an OBLIGATION to work that talent."

Now, those two comments above actually WERE made....but I swear to you that I heard just about every single comment made last night in that same vein....said with the kind of horrible parental tone that sends people to a therapist for few years on the couch. The "it's never good enough" stuff. The inadequacy stufff. The stuff that pushed people to be over acheivers. Like the kid who gets all A's and B, and then receives the reward of "that's good, but you could always improve, dear."
(we aren't talking about me or my childhood, by the way *ahem*)

SO. Thanks to the power of TiVO, a cup of coffee, and the need to catch up with my knitting, I decided to replay last night's Men's Short Program this morning...and my plan was to jot a complete list for you of all of the evil things stated by the commentators.

Except today I didn't hear any of them.
I heard common critique and a coupl unneccessary jabs, but I didnt hear the incessant criticism that I heard last night.

SO what in the F%&# was wrong with me last night???!!!!!!!
"is it just me??"
Ummmmmmmmmmm YAH.
It's just me. LOL.
I'm trying to figure out if it's because I'm pms-ing, if it's because I'm missing TheMIG, if it's from lace knitting frustrations, or if it's because I'm watching the Olympics instead of getting my usual nightly relief with The Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

Monday, February 13, 2006

no time for titles

Don't have time for much of a post....I'm on my way to a "Mixed Abilities" dance class taught by Eric Kupers at CalStateUniversity EastBay/Hayward. The Oakland Tribune is coming to interview him and do a photo shoot. I'm going to help fill out the shoot (it's a small class), but I'm glad to be there...I've really wanted to check out the class (I couldnt commit to it for the whole semester this go round).

I wish I had the time right now to reply to recent comments, especially "ashlupa" of FullRadius...but that's going to have to happen later this week. This AmpuT must talk about her prosthesis issues and, her knitting (go figure). But ashlupa, I will get to your to your question...promise!!

Yesterday my day got derailed because I needed an "emergency" appointment at the prosthetist, which stinks because I was just there Saturday getting several things adjusted. (fyi: I spent a record 14 hours with the prosthesis on Saturday night, and about 8 hours on Sunday. Sunday also included a whoooooole lot of stair climbing.)

So, guess why I had to go for this emergency appointment!

I cracked a portion of my socket! Wheeee!

The damage is the long crack right underneath my thumb that runs from the rim to that little silver brad used to attaches the grey buckle to my socket...the other little splits to the right of the big crack are intentional...they give my socket some flexibility underneath my pubic symphasis (aka pelvic bone). I need that flexibility for comfort because during my accident my pelvis separated at the symphasis, and there is now a metal plate and screws holding those bones together. Anyhow, clearly that brad (which was installed on Saturday) created some weakness.

How I cracked the plastic: Sunday night I was backstage at the Thrill Kill Kult show (oooo...doesnt that make me sound so cool!--I've never been backstage before*giggle*). It happened when I was going up the kind of stairs that have that little overhanging lip, and the toe of my prosthesis got caught. I didn't actually fall, I just did a little jig and then dumped my LemonDrop all over Probeuluxx (from Space Vacuum from Outer Space) as he so valiantly tried to catch me.

Immediately the leg felt wobbly and after that it kept making a loud popping noise when I took a step. Upon colser inspection, I'd cracked the adjustable panel in the front of my socket. Not a huge deal, but I had to go get it fixed.

Which was a problem. Because I needed yesterday's time for knitting. Not gimping.


Olympic Knitting Update (notes from my little knitting notebook):

Notes from Friday the 10th/Day 1.
The Olympics rules stated that we could start at 2pm.

I had dance rehearsal from 12-5, I sat in Friday commute traffic, I picked up MyFK from the sitter at 6, then we went out to dinner (cuz I was too pooped to cook). We then raced home to watch the opening ceremonies (and get me to my knitting basket).
So maybe I started around 8pm-ish.

I don't know how I did it, but I managed to do a provisional cast on for both panels of the shawl (I've only done a provisional cast on once, and just for the few stitches of a toe up sock...I'm not very experienced with it). I also somehow managed to knit 6 rows of lace on each panel. Doesn't sound like much but, a) it's my first lace, and b) I could barely see straight I was so tired.

Things I Learned On Friday:
* I'm a fool for waiting until the 4th row to use markers to indicate pattern repeats
* Wrinting each row of the lace pattern on a seperate index card is much a much easier than working from the pattern
* I have a sneaking suspicion I've bitten off more than I can chew with this project because of what else is on my calendar during these 16 days

Notes from Saturday the 11th/Day 2
I woke up in the morning in a bit of a tiz. I immediately grabbed calculator so I could do the required algebra and see if there really is any realistic way to get a gold medal.

Not that you care, but each repear of the lace pattern is 12 rows. At my gauge, I need to knit 10 repeats for a total of 120 rows. 120 very long/wide rows. Especially for a novice lace knitter like me, and especially for a mommy knitter that is constantly interrupted and distracted by her FavoriteKid.

So back to the algerbra. We started with 16 days total. Aside from knitting the body of the shawl, I also need to leave time for picking up and adding the ruffled edge, for seaming, and for blocking (the rules state the blocking has to be finished).

So, I developed this game-plan:
Starting today, day two, on days 2 through 11, I will knit 12 rows/1 repeat of the lace pattern on each of the two panels (and this should get easier very quickly as one of the panels will switch from lace to plain ol' stockinette). 10 days, 10 repeats. No sweat, right?
Then days 12-14 I do the ruffling.
Day 15 I do the seaming.
Day 16 I block.
tadaaaaa. Yes, I see gold in my future.
SO! Here we are, the end of Day two, and do you think I've finished a pattern repeat?!
I wont even bother showing you a photo of my progress.
ONE. That's 1/12 of what I needed to accomplish.

My day was spent:
* picking up more t-shirts for TheMIG's band to bring to their gig (they are selling out!)
* at the prosthetist having several adjustments made to the leg
*driving up to Sacramento and spending the day with TheMIG's family before the show
* seeing the show, and then driving back home, arriving around 2am.
No Knitting Time.
I knew this I'd have a hard time squeezing in knitting time, I always do, but when I signed up for the Knitting Olympics, I thought they 16th (after this crazy tour weekend was over), not the 10th. Major mistake.

Notes from Sunday the 12th/Day 3

It's another day of not having enought knitting time. I'm hanging out with TheMIG while he's in town for the SF leg of his tour. He's done the bulk of the driving today though, so I could knit while we were sitting in traffic. I also stayed in the car knitting while he spent an hour shopping for drum toys at the local Guitar Center. Then I knit as much as a could between sound check and the show....check me out knitting backstage:

I'm not caught up yet, but I'm learning more about the lace pattern, and I'm learning more about how to fix mistakes as I I'm picking up speed.

Here's the knitting at the end of the day:

Notes from Monday the 13th/Day 4

Today I'm supposed to have 5 hours of uninterrupted knitting time while MyFK is in school. Supposed to. But I'm at the emergency appointment with the prosthetist. I thought I'd catch up today, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I think perhaps I've done something to anger the Goddess of Knitting. I must do a little ritual tonight to appease her.


It's bedtime, and here's where I'm at:


I've got two repeats on each panel, I should have three.

and here's a close up of the lace:

it's so pretty :-)

Today, Tuesday the 14th/Day 5

Who knows what knitting is going to get done today. After the Mixed Abilities/Oakland Tribune thing, I've got a playdate thing happening over here when MyFK gets out of school. If they are low maintennance, I might actually get some time. My plan is to tuck MyFK into bed, ignore all household obligations, park myself in front of the tube for the real olympics, knit lace until I cant stand it, then switch to stockinette and knit until I pass out.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

the first of the emotional side dishes--dal (?)

So here’s one of the emotional topics I’ve been meaning to get on “paper” but haven’t.
I should probably call it “The Bearded Lady Syndrome” instead of "dal."
I think there are times when some amputees might be faced with feelings of "being of less value," due to missing a body part. For me, in terms of my being a dancer, this has shown up as the self-awareness that I will probably forever more be referred to as “The Amputee Dancer” rather than just seen as “A Dancer.” I am probably going to have to work very hard to get you to see beyond my physicality.

The interesting twist for me though, is that not only do I need to face feelings of being of LESS value because of my amputation, but I also have to face feelings of BEING of value, because of my amputaion.

To explain….
I am currently a member of the core cast of Dandelion Dancetheater for the 2006 season of The Undressed Project, aka “Anicca” (pronounced ah-NEE-cha, defined as the Pali word for impermanence). I love this dance company, and I love this project. One of the primary concepts of the company’s director and choreographer, is that dance is for everybody (read as: Every Body). The cast is extremely diverse, made up of people of many cultures, shapes, sizes, ages, levels of dance experience, and abilities/disabilities.

I am also currently studying with Axis Dance Company, a physically integrated dance troupe. I have been studying with them for maybe a year and half now, and I have been encouraged by a few dancers in the company to apply for a position in the troupe, because…a) these dancers have said they’d love to work with me, and b) because the company is in need of more disabled dancers. fyi: if you are an interested dancer, they just posted a casting call this week...but expect fierce competition...from ME! hahaha

Both of these dance companies are modern or post-modern or contemporary or whatever the appropriated label is that should be applied to it (I’m not well versed on the subject of modern dance). What these two troupes are definitely not, is bellydance troupes. I am a very accomplished performer of bellydance, and teacher of bellydance….but up until recently, I have had no formal training beyond this particular dance medium. I am not a modern dancer.

Now, not one person has said this to me directly, this is only my assumption (but I believe it to be a very honest and realistic assessment, and an opinion few would argue):

If I were an able-bodied dancer, I would not be qualified to perform with either of these companies. I lack the experience and the skillset. There are trained and interested dancers ready to fill the positions. I am however, welcomed because I fit the bill of being a person with a disability (who also has at least some movement experience), and I've proven to be relatively trainable (not to mention willing to do the work).

These companies want their casts to be diverse. I therefore fulfill a need, their need for dancers with disabilities. There is a place for me because I am a novelty. I would not be a good fit at this time if I wasn't an amputee.

This showed up in another big way for me during a Dandelion rehearsal about 3 weeks ago. We were working with a visiting artist who dresses in black and then uses body parts (like hands and feet), and a few simple props, to do something like a puppet show (think Mummenschanz). Our director wanted her assistance in helping us to create something like living statues out of our body parts, with the emphasis being on making statues that look like strange creatures, and not resembling body parts. The idea is that if you looked at the pile of people, you couldnt discern what was an elblow, what was a leg, etc. We had started working on the sculptures the week before on our own, and she was to come in and help make them look even more "creature like."

Now, if you were tasked with making a creature out of a pile of body parts so that you couldn’t really tell which body part you were looking at, and you had an amputated limb in your midst, wouldn’t it make sense for you to capitalize on that resource? I mean, I knew it made sense...I was fully prepared for this to come up during rehearsals...I've offered my parts as artistic material...Yes, my stump was a key feature a few times (and mine were not the only body parts of interest that were capitalized...we are all shapes and sizes, remember?).

My amputated limb became art.
Art is a beautiful thing.
But not without layers of feelings for me.

I’m still trying to make sense of my feelings at this point. They really are a mixed bag. And it's a process. Yes, it’s grand to find usefulness, purpose, and beauty in my uniqueness. But at the same time, it’s difficult for me to be valued for being novel.
Like The Bearded Lady.
She probably would not be in the circus if she didn’t have the beard.
And she's a bit of a freak.
I would like to say, that my emotions regarding this issue are being well tended to by my director/choreographer and my fellow dancers. There is definitely a place for all of our feelings to be shared as a part of our creative process. My feelings have been welcome. In no way do I feel exploited or used, nor do I feel required to do things that are uncomfortable to me.
But I can see that working through layers of feelings regarding my value as a dancer are definitely a part of the process and personal exploration I will be doing while working on this production.

I haven’t completed my thought process around the comment the “anonymous/devotee” left the other day, and this post is not meant to serve as a reply. But somehow I think all of this is related.

There is something in all of this about choice.

There are some acts of perversion that require choices and consent by all interested parties.
For example:
If you posessed masochistic tendencies, and wanted complementary attributes present in a romantic relationship, the above board way to find a match in a mate would be to choose to act on those masochistic tendencies and seek out a party who had made a similar choice regarding their sadistic tendencies. For these types of folks, their perversions have become more mainstream and (unlike our friend the devotee), there are numerous resources for meeting each other. This couple's choices about their tendencies can become a match.

The difference to me with the amputee/devotee issue, is that amputation was not a choice (elective amputations for cancer and diabetes dont count as a choice in this context).

I don’t choose to seek a relationship based on my physical configuration. My amputation is not a tendency. There is no desire I have that needs to be matched by another person. If a devotee seeks me out, it is not because I made a choice.

Maybe there are other amputees out that feel differently.
For me...?
I will be valued within a relationship as a person, as a partner, not as an amputee.

And whether you agree or disagree with the above, it’s entirely unacceptable to lie to me as a way of getting to know me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

how it relates

I know I write an awful lot about knitting for one who has a blog about being an amputee. Whatever.

What I did forget to mention in my post yesterday, is the amputation related reason for why I chose to knit this particular pattern for myself. I made this "something-to-keep-my-shoulders-warm" do-dad because it solved some amputation related logistical problems for me.

note: the pattern for the Knit Round Scarf (seems more like a capelet or poncho to me) to be worn with the reverse stockinette side out (see yesterday's photo). I've decided I like it better inside out (see above). I think the yarn looks prettier, and I also like the way it rolls when worn this way, giving it a sort of reverse stockinette neckline.

Oh yeah, how it relates, how it relates (I get all sidetracked with talk of yarn and such).....Anyhow, I spend a whole lot of time on crutches. Please note that this "poncho" is short enough to allow my crutches to clear the poncho and access my armpits. A longer poncho wont do that for me. Also, unlike a scarf, this "ponchette" (?) does not come loose, untied, or unwrapped (when I crutch around, my upper body leans forward a bit with every step, the body makes a swishy-swingy motion as I move forward, and my scarf often shakes loose). This new thing also keeps me from having long scarf ends getting tangled up between myself and the crutches. Another thing is that I often wear a backpack when I am on crutches, and this thing has clearance for the backpack straps. Another big difference between this do-dad and a scarf is that it keeps the crutching parts of my body warm between crutching around sessions (the muscles in the upper back & upper chest/scapula & sternum). Sometimes crutches are work out. Cruise the hills of San Franciso sometime, or climb some stairs with them. It's like bench pressing your whole body weight. If I then sit down in the cold, sometimes I start to cramp up.

I've only had this thing one day and I love it. All of January it's been cold and rainy here, and go figure that the day I finish this thing it is announced we will have a week of early spring with temperatures in the 70's.....but I love this thing so much that I'm throwing it on over a tank top. I've decided that when the Olympics dust settles, I'm going to knit Stephanie of Glampyre's "Boob-Tube" (the one with the lacey/open-work from the Stitch-N-Bitch Nation book), probably in a cotton. Then I'll have one I can use for spring and summer.

Knitting and being an amputee.
I know I'll continue to find a way to tie it together ;-)

Monday, February 06, 2006

the cold shoulder

Last night MyFK was reading an email from his Nana (my mom). She was reminding him that the Olympics start this weekend.

WHAT?!?! Already?!?!?

Now, I don't know HOW I got it in my head that Opening Ceremonies were February 16th (maybe because the Olympics are 16 DAYS long??)....but they do NOT start the 16th. They start THIS Friday THE 10TH. Ack! I am supposed to start knitting the shawl in less than 4 days!

The thing is, I thought I had a week or so to knock out a pair of socks. My plan was to knit the socks MyFK has been begging me for...he has much smaller feet than TheMIG's, and I'm making him spiral-socks anyhow (it's a kind of tube sock). Kinda bending the rules on the "pair of socks a month thing", but whatever. I dont think I have time to knit them now. In fact, I am certain I don't. So either I need to knit two pairs next month to keep up with my resolution, or I have to address the fact that resolutions are resolutions no matter what the resolution (made to be broken, in my opinion), and give up on it.

So at the very least I've scurried and finished the "something to keep my shoulders warm"

Sally Melville's Knit Round Scarf from her Knit Stitch Noro Silk Garden, color 226

I figured I'd better get it done and put the needles down Tue-Thu and get my house clean. I have a feeling not much is going to get done around here after that.


Diana: ummmmmmm, you stick to torts, I'll stick to tortes. But you know I'm going to be calling you to help me decipher the legal-eze soon. And if you need to know what a bain marie is, I gotcha covered *wink*.

Sara: that is very good advice *smile* ....and YES, older is definitely proving to be much better than bleeding out on the side of the road. For sure. So far, actually, everything has proven to be much better than that (thanks for reminding me). I am thankful for every day I have. Even if it's my birthday and I have to flush my arm down the toilet 20 times to rescue a bracelet. teehee

jodi: thank you for the birthday wishes! I thought my 30's were going to be great, and while it has mostly been great, it's been a rollercoaster. My girlfriends who are 40+ tell me I'm in for a treat. And YES...I rescued the bracelet. That photo was of the soggy thing back on my wrist where it belongs.

Anonymous (the devotee): thank you for being brave enough to post (even if anonymously).

Saturday, February 04, 2006

happy birthday to me

A couple of decades ago, when my birthday would roll around, it would be my "birthday week" (and sometimes I'd really milk it, and it would be more like my "birthday month"). Total party girl, was I. For me, birthdays are the most important holidays (not just my birthday, but everyone's).

Today I am 39.

Sure seems an awfully lot closer to 40.

MyFK is was at his grandparents overnight last night, and TheMIG is very busy getting ready to go on tour.... so I woke up alone.
Not a bad thing (peace and quiet in this house is a rare thing), but I dont think it was a good match for me today.

Yesterday, pre-birthday happiness came in the form of members of Dandelion singing a beautiful rendition of "Happy Birthday" to me. And then my partner for the duet we are rehearsing guessed me to be 28. That totally made my day...

...until TheMIG says "....and tells her she looks 10 years younger than she is on her b-day ... that's on page 22 of the Guy Manual".
He's probably right.
Maybe on page 23 they should have put "if your female partner is told she looks young for her age, agree with the commentor."

The 2nd thing I did after waking (and visiting the little girl's room) was to blow my nose and toss the tissue in the loo. In that same tossing moment, the jump ring of one very important bracelet

broke, and the bracelet flew into, and sank to, the depths of my toilet.

So the first 20 minutes of my birthday were spent alone, and cold, on the bathroom floor, trying desperately and with much frustration and disgust, to fish out the important bracelet.


Let's hope the rest of my day goes better.

Today I'm going to the Renaud-Wilson Dance Festival. I'm helping out by volunteering a bit, but supposedly I'll be able to attend master classes and see the show tonight.

A full day of dance on my birthday is a wonderful thing :-)

Friday, February 03, 2006

wha-bamm! (hats and devotees)

wha-bamm #1/whip out a hat:
The other day I wanted to start knitting up that "little something to keep my shoulders warm in dance rehearsals" and I couldn't find my size 8 needles. As it turns out, they already had knitting on them. I forgot that I had started a little beanie for MyFK. Not that 9 rows is much of a start. But I wasn't about to take it off the needles. If I did that, knowing me, I'd never finish it. It would end up in a tangled mess at the bottom of some bag.
So wha-bamm!

I knit a hat. Quick knit, just a couple of hours. It looks adorable on him--you'll have to take my word for it (until I can figure out how to blur his face using photoshop or whatever). The yarn is Mission Falls 1824 and the pattern is from their "Just Kidding" pattern book.

wha-bamm #2/catch a pervert in a lie:
At TheMIG's request, I present to you an entry I wrote the first week of January, but never posted:

TheMIG and I think lots of funny and sometimes offensive thoughts in relation to being an amputee. The(VeryWonderfully Geeky)MIG formats our silly ideas on t-shirts at café press, so that I can order them, and wear them. I like wearing t-shirts that say silly things about being a gimp. And I don't care if it's not PC. For kicks and giggles, we have decided to leave the shirts on café press so that other people can order them if they want to (and they actually do).

Within the first few months of being both an amputee and (*ahem*) fashion designer, I was warned that other amputees would probably deem our shirts not only offensive, but that the shirts could especially push the buttons of female amputees. Apparently the shirts could potentially attract “devotees”.

“Well, what, in good lord, is a devotee,” I asked when told that (because honestly, I did not know). And what’s so bad about someone being devoted?? That doesn’t sound too bad. It's maybe a term I’d normally use when describing a religious nut, but isn’t being devoted typically associated with loving-feel-good things?? Why wouldn’t I want to attract someone who would be devoted to me?

Well apparently, there are people out there with the fetish-level desire (primarily sexual, I assume) to be with an amputee. Fetishists as in like right down to seeking out amputees and stalking us. And they are called “devotees”.

I honestly thought this was a joke at first, some kind of urban legend, but I guess not (I also thought the notion that someone would have the fetish-level desire to BECOME an amputee was an urban legend as well, but apparently this is a true fact as well, and that is whole ‘nother post, probably one I will never make).

Anyhow, one night I bring up the discussion of this fetish concept at the beginning of one my dance classes, and a student of mine says, “You know, I felt like I didn’t know a thing about amputees, so I decided to do some research because I wanted to understand you better. I googled 'amputee', and the entire first page of hits were for amputee porn!”

NO WAY. I was shocked. Seriously. SERIOUSLY??!?! You have GOT to be kidding me. This could not possibly be true.
I immediately phoned TheMIG to query, and he’s like, “Oh, yeah…you could make a fortune.”
I couldn’t believe it.

Now, let me say this: I am certainly no prude. I am open minded to the extreme, and I even have a few perversions of my own. But I simply could not wrap my brain around this devotee thing. I mean, I am definitely thrilled to know that someone can accept another one’s body exactly as it is, imperfections and all, finding them erotically attractive no matter what form the body takes…and I don't have an issue of calling that kind of love or affection “devotion”. But to actually desire being with an amputee to the point of fetish??? To the point of needing to track down an amputee?? Aye aye aye. And then of course comes my next question: Why oh WHY has the amputee community decided to call these prowling fetishists “devotees"??? Doesn't that seem just a little bit FLUFFY to you??? Let’s try STALKER.

Well here for you, my friends…is the text of an IM chat that came to me yesterday (reminder: this post was drafted in January).
It is loooong. My apologies. I wanted to include the chat in it’s entirety…scroll down if you only want the punchline. But if you can stand reading the whole thing I would love to know at what point you begin to figure out that something is wrong with this picture....

I wish like hell the first line of the IM archived itself (like the entire rest of the text did), but for some reason it did not….however it was something very close to:
pieter65nl: HI! I am female RAK, 30, from Holland…and would like very much to conversation with you…would you do this?

Here is what followed:

Me:'d you get my contact information, please?
pieter65nl: i looked for blogs of other amputees and found yours!
pieter65nl: actually reading it now and I saw you have a yahoo account too...
me: great..hello...nice to meet you.
me: I was curious. There are strange people everywhere.
pieter65nl: oh yes I know... *frown*
pieter65nl: i was just reading that you are getting up on two feet again! great !
pieter65nl: how is progress? My name is Petra btw
me: Slow going. It's raining here and I am sick with a cold, so I've been inside a lot.
me: You have a blog, too?
pieter65nl: no i dont..
pieter65nl: i lost my leg 10 years ago to an accident

me: sorry to hear it, are you using a prosthesis or not?
pieter65nl: yes i am; i try to wear it most of the time
me: I'm sure I'll get there eventually.... so Holland, yes?
pieter65nl: yes, Holland Europe, not holland michigan *wink*
me: I figured. What time is there?
pieter65nl: just after midnight
pieter65nl: how long ago was your amputation and what was the reason?
me: auto accident, march 2004
pieter65nl: so very recently!
me: coming up on 2 years
pieter65nl: i was in a car accident too, and lost my leg about half thigh
me: me too
pieter65nl: its tough right....
me: what do you mean
pieter65nl: its tough often to be an amputee....both fysically and emotionally
me: oh, yes. sorry...true. sometimes it is tough. but I'm adjusting.
pieter65nl: it gets less tough over the years, less frequently that you are confronted to it so much, it becomes part of your life
me: that's what I've been told. I've been told that after awhile it just becomes an inconvenience.
pieter65nl: yeah thats right. You dont think about it anymore
pieter65nl: a prosthesis didnt work after rehab?
me: My rehab was long as I had multiple injuries. I was fit with a prosthesis about 4 months after the accident but we discovered that I needed a second operation to my limb, so I was delayed another 5 months or so. I got my first prosthesis Dec 04 and used it occasionally for about 6months, but it never really fit well. It was usually back at the doctor'soffice being adjusted.
pieter65nl: okay, i understand!
pieter65nl: i really hope that it will fit well because its so good to have your hands free
me: yes...I walked and held hands with someone New Year's Eve. It had been awhile. * smile *
pieter65nl: wonderful!
pieter65nl: is there a reason why it shouldnt work out this time?
me: My residual limb changes shape in terms of size very quickly. The second surgery left me with a lot of swelling. In the morning I would put the prosthesis on and it would be too tight, I almost wouldnt fit into it. After a couple of hours it was perfect, but by the afternoon, it was falling off of me. I would shrink.
me: but this new socket is adjustable, so I can tighten it as I shrink . I'm doing well with it, provided I can keep at it
pieter65nl: is your stump still fluctuating so much?
me: yes, quite a bit, but not as much as it used to. it's slowly beginning to stabilize with the compression of the new socket and all the walking
pieter65nl: mine is quite stable as long as i keep my weight exact on the same level
pieter65nl: and i have problems with swelling around the start of my period
me: yes, women will talk about how the prosthetist will tell you to try to stay within 5 lbs, but how women can change 5 lbs in one day just from water weight

* now at the very beginning of this chat, I’d received a request to add each other to the one's “friends” list. I've left the dialog box just sitting there, without either accepting or denying, because while chatting, I was simultaneoulsy checking out this person's user profiles and following links to try to get more details. There was little to no information available. It was at this point in the chat that I hit “deny”.

pieter65nl: why are you denying me as a contact?
me: because your profile is vacant, sorry
pieter65nl: i had more on it but was attacked by jerks too often
pieter65nl: so i keep it intentionally left blank
me: I dont blame you, but I dont feel comfortable adding you without knowing more about you, sorry. nothing personal
pieter65nl: well, i told some pretty intimate things right now....but i hope to gain your trust....
pieter65nl: i always retain a lot of water when my menstruation starts
pieter65nl: that has always been the case but its uncomfortable even more now
me: and you have access to my blog, so thanks for sharing, but that doesnt allow you onto my contact list. nothing personal
pieter65nl: how old are you btw?
me: I'm in my 30's
pieter65nl: is it you on the picture on your blog?
me: I dont know which picture you are looking at.
pieter65nl: with the knitted hat?
me: yes, it says it is me in the text.
me: and it also says how and when I lost my leg, too
me: sure you are READING the blog?? lol
pieter65nl: i havent been reading it all
pieter65nl: lol
pieter65nl: I ask you a you have any questions?

* it is right around here that I begin chatting with TheMIG. He is so amazing at finding anything on the internet that his boss even refers to him as "The Secret Weapon". I ask him for help in finding any possible information about this person, and why I am asking for help, and he comes to my rescue.

me: no...and I'm sorry, but I'm carrying another chat simultaneously, sorry. I'm distracted.
pieter65nl: ok!
me: I wouldnt be sure what to ask you anyhow!
pieter65nl: prosthetics, adjusting, everything you would like...i am an open minded person *wink*
me: well, ok sure.... I have one for you go out dancing?
pieter65nl: yes i do! but only with my leg on, i dont like it very much going on the dancefloor with my crutches
me: tell me about the first time...because I havent gone yet (to a nightclub), and I'm going to give it a whirl soon. I've danced at a wedding on crutches or leaning on someone, and I dance professionally on one leg.
pieter65nl: the downside is you have to wear nonslippery shoes
pieter65nl: in a club its always wet on the floor
pieter65nl: best is to keep your weight entirely on your good leg, but that is quite exhausting when the song is long *wink* and swing a bit without weight on your prosthesis
me: 1 sec please

* it is at this point that My Hero TheMIG has hit pay dirt tracking down information about this person (he finds a link their profile on an online dating service). and the TheMIG is now coaching me on how best to use the information

me: I should play psychic and try to guess your height and weight
me: ready?
pieter65nl: yeah
moon_woman247: 190cm 80kg
pieter65nl: no
moon_woman247: am I close?
pieter65nl: no
moon_woman247: really???
pieter65nl: really, why?
me: because it says you are a MAN Pieter
me: so dont pull my leg, I only have one as it is
me: it's been nice chatting with you
me: have a nice day
pieter65nl: have a nice day

So wha-bamm! That's how to nail a pervert. Super Duper Special Thanks to TheMIG for keeping me safe.

FYI, it only took me the very first sentence to smell something fishy, but mabye I'm a little jumpy ;-)

hoppy? ;-)


Thursday, February 02, 2006

poem for imbolg...

we are mid-way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, call it what you will (Groundhog's Day, St.Brigid's Day, Imbolg, etc...)

as inspired by Grace's Poppies :

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.

going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

~Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Robert Bly