Friday, March 31, 2006

in like a lion

this lion had better go out like a lamb

'Cuz I've about had it.
This past Tuesday, the report was that it has rained 22 out of 28 days here. It also rained Wednesday, Thursday, and it's supposed to rain later today, too. Personally, I don't mind the rain so much. But I'm extremely sick of "demuddifying" puppy toes several times a day.

I can't get the posts about dancing up because, well...I'm busy dancing. I've got time this weekend, promise.
But I've got something else to tell you.


I have been doing some walking without a cane on flat, even surfaces. Like safe, hospital hallways with a Physical Therapist next to me.

For the life of me, I can't imagine in my wildest fantasies that I will ever be able to be 100% cane free. I know I will get stronger and that things like this take time, but I can't even begin to imagine being without a cane on uneven surfaces, rough terrain, and things like stairs that don't have handrails. I feel like at best I'll need to carry a folding cane in a backpack in case I'm walking along and get stuck somewhere. Like someplace that isn't a shopping mall (and since I like walks in the woods far more than the mall, well...I think that means a cane is pretty much in my future).

Anyhow, even though this isn't the dancing post I promised (I feel guilty), I wanted to post today because I have some big news (well, big to me...and I know at least Sara will be jumping up and down....figuratively, if not literally):

I had a real confidence building day in PT/Gait Training yesterday. And when I left there, I was feeling a bit brazen and cocky. I just decided to walk without a cane (well, I held it in my hand, just in case...but I didn't let it touch the ground at all, and that's one small step for gimp, one giant leap for gimp-kind). And without using the cane, I went up and down the ramp in front of my house (which is steeper than ADA requirements), I walked up a moss covered slope, and I walked on and off curbs.
In the rain.
With no cane.
(The Rain In Spain Stays Mainly On The...)

And I did it by myself (my first words, my parents tell me).

Break out the band.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

another snood?

strangelittlemama wrote:
The Lysol cozy, though.... um that's just plain crazy. (said the woman who knit herself an ice cream cozy!)

I have no idea what you are talking about.

As you can see...I've knit that, too.
Two of them, in fact...both gifts for the same person (different color schemes for different ice cream eatin' moods, ya'know).
Thanks for all the looooove around the dishcloths, gang.

Even though I’ve got some other stuff I’d like to blog about, I’m really feeling the need to catch up on some posts about dance.

So stay tuned, the next few posts will be:
* Notes on the Rakkasah Bellydance Festival
* A response (finally) to Jodi’s question about using meditative visual imagery as a dance technique (aka “private place” work)
* An announcement of upcoming dance events

The Rakassah post will have some stuff for all the Fiber Freaks out there. Seems that one can get their knit on while getting their shimmy on and that people are getting crafty with their costuming...the fun fur was flying.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

already old news

I wrote this blog post last Saturday, but didn't post it as I was planning on including it with my next knitting post.

But now it's already old news-hahaha. MissHarlot posted about the same topic today in response to a new book that's out (that I'd love to have--someday when I have $) called Mason Dixon Knitting.

in defense of…The Knitted Dishcloth.

I know.
It's a pretty silly thing to be knitting.
It's right up there with the Lysol-Can Cozy my grandmother wants me to knit for her.
Even two of my knitting friends looked at me like I was nuts....

I knit a dishcloth.

Let me remind you of why I knit a dishcloth:
* A sore arm/wrtist/hands created the need to test out if it was all knitting that was irritating me or just the small needle sizes of current projects. And the dishcloth was on 7's instead of 2's.
* I only had the coins in my change jar to spend on yarn.
* I wasn’t getting instant gratification out of any of my other works in progress.
* My "something to keep my shoulders warm in summer" thing is going to be out of a (recycled)cotton. I’ve never knit in 100% cotton before, so I thought this was a good way to give the fiber a whirl and see just how (ir)regular my stitches are (supposedly cotton isn't very forgiving).

But that’s why I knit the dishcloth.
Now let me tell you why I love the dishcloth.

* It’s like hand knit socks. Ridiculously practical and something you could buy anywhere. Except that you didn’t.
* How often do I wear something I have knit? Not nearly as often as I wash dishes, I promise you. It’s neat to have my hands on my handiwork at least three times per day.
* For $2.98 I made 3. The damn things were only $1 a piece. I’m sorry, but that’s cheaper than the sponges I usually buy, thee washcloths do a great job getting the dishes clean, and I can sanitize them with one trip to the washer (I don’t wash my sponges. Do you?). I have a hunch the washcloths will last longer than a sponge, too.
* They are coordinated with the colors of my kitchen.
* They are not going to be piled up in a landfill.
* They very fondly remind me of my great-grandma.

So pfffffffft.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

oh hell no

Artificial Mechanical Person Used for Thorough Exploration, Efficient Harm and Efficacious Education

That generator must have a giant psychic webcam eye.

Want one? go here.
I'm not sure how many blogs and links I clicked through before ending up there, but if I've got it right, I should be crediting Rabbitch (who was really going for pirate names, but this is where I ended up...although I need to do the pirate thing and see if "peg legged" shows up in my name), who linked to KnottyMouse, who "stole" it from HockeyMom.

Wheeeeee :-)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

see, i told you so

let me repeat: you really *are* at the wrong blog...
let me add to the list of things that I am not: I am not an expert blogger/writer, either.
(I'm more like a Jacqueline Of All Trades, Mistress of None)

DANG, I really must find a way to translate my voice of sarcasm onto the page.

I queried a few folks who know me "live and in person" who had read that last post. Knowing my conversational style and my off-color humor, they reported that when they read it they completely cracked up laughing.

(although the comments were wonderful and insightful, it seems to me that...) My online friends didn't have the same humorous reaction. And if that's the case, well then, I must really work quickly to find my writer's voice. I'm guessing that because I write so openly and honestly about certain things, that at other times it's hard to discern whether I'm being serious or a complete smart-ass. But let me warn you. My smart-ass is pretty damn big and bootylicious.

No, I will not podcast as a way of sorting this out.
I will see what I can do to be more obvious about the TeeHee part of AmpuTeeHee.
Maybe a disclaimer or something?? Something like: (note--this is where you are supposed to laugh and not take me seriously)

For the record, my last word on the topic of this phobia:
* Personally knowing people who are phobic, I do not think phobias are ridiculous.
* That being the case, I have never in my life even remotely considerred the possibility of an amputee phobia (but being that I know someone phobic of "little people", I can't rule it out).
* I honestly could give a shit if you break down in a conniption fit or go into seizures due to my presence. That is your problem, not mine...I have my own problems related to my "condition", thank you very much.
* I think you are up Shit's Creek without a spoon if you have this phobia and end up being an amputee yourself (which I find hysterically ironic in a very twisted way...kind of like my thought that the people who crave to become amputees should go clear landmines).
* And I think that the website that claims to cure all phobias might as well be selling Castor Oil as their cure. (note re: the Castor Oil---this is where you are supposed to laugh and not take me seriously)

oh, and the visual of a page-full of gimps popping up out of the book of phobias got me so good I had to wipe coffee off my screen! ...thank you Sara!

Friday, March 24, 2006

you really *are* at the wrong blog

I’m not an expert about one single thing I blog about folks.
I am not an expert dancer, knitter, parent...or amputee.

I only have a couple of years practice at being an amputee.
I'm still at the point where I gleen some new information pretty much every single day.

Today’s lesson, is about apotemnophobia.
And the fact that, apparently, there actually is a cure.

Now, I know that people that can form phobias around just about anything. I had a very close friend who was agoraphobic. I'm truly not in judgement of people who develop phobias, not even phobics with a "fear of people with amputations". Honestly, I'm not.
You get what you get in life, and we all seem to get something.
Shit happens.
I know that better than anyone.

But until today, it has never occurred to me once, that as I go about my daily business, I might just be sending some passerby into a complete fit of anxiety.
(Sheesh. Whoops. Sorry. I didn't mean to. I swear.)

And that begs the question...what the heck do I do (if anything) if I meet you? Or we have to work together? Is there anything I can do to help or make it easier for you? And what do I do if you start to flip out?

The other big question that immediately jumped to mind today is (and I'm sorry to be morbid, but inquiring minds want to know):
What happens if you are phobic of amputees and you develop the medical need for an elective amputation yourself? I mean, what if you have this phobia and you get cancer? Or have vascular issues? Or complications related to diabetes???

My agoraphobic friend and I would just order take-out.
Somehow I dont think it's going to be quite as simple of a solution for you.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

i rest

Here it is.
A few things (ok, many things) I've been wanting to say here myself, and for so very long.
I can just never get the words together well enough.
But she did.
So please.
Just. Click. Here.

I'm too moved to even comment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

knit knotes (plus thoughts on that parenting book)

Since folks keep ending up here because I knit, and since the rest of my life usually results in big blobs of text that aren't exactly photo worthy…here ya’ go.
A knitting update.

I haven’t been knitting much in the past couple of weeks.
It usually takes me awhile before I notice the absence of fiber in my life, and then I need a few more days to analyze why it’s decreasing.

At first, I thought I had some lurking poopiness about not finishing the Olympics. I suspected this for two reasons:
* one, I’ve only knit 4 rows on TheOlympicShawl since the deadline passed right by me, and
* two, I had an email exchange with a knitter friend, and when I scrolled down to her signature stamp, it had the big ol’gold medal o’knitting on it.
And it bummed me out.

But I was pretty sure that the lack-of-shining-gold-glowing-upon-me-to-knit-by wasn’t what was keeping me from the needles.

So I looked at my works in progress.
For starters, I have more things in the loop than what is typical for me.

Sitting by the computer is the companion fingerless glove.

(ya'know...just as an aside: In finding the link for this pattern, I just noticed that the sales text reads: Keep your fingers warm at the computer, or even when you're knitting, with these handy fingerless mittens. Aye aye aye.)

In my purse is MyFK’s orange socks.

Next to the bed is Latifa, that just needs her last few ruffles.

Oh, and then the poor dejected Olympics Shawl:

(she sits in the corner…but I don’t know why…she hasn’t been “bad”, in fact she’s been quite fun to knit.)

So in thinking about the recent lack of knitting, I realize that when I knit a few rows here and there and it’s spread out over too many projects, it’s pretty difficult to see progress, and I think my internal instant-gratification-junkie isn’t getting fed.
But I wasn’t too sure that was the cause for the decrease in knitting, either.

And then it dawned on me.
My right arm has been hurting a whole lot the past few weeks (more on why here). I don’t believe the pain is caused from knitting, but rather from doing other tasks…but then the pain oozes over into other parts of my day. And it’s been silently keeping me from picking up the needles.

Latifa’s ruffles are on US 4’s, the glove on 3’s and the socks on 1’s….all needles so small they hurt. The OlympicShawl is on 11’s, needles almost so big it hurts, plus she's getting a bit heavier as we go.

So I decided to whip out a little something on 7’s and see what happened.
Thanks to Rabbitch and Co.,

I'll have a new dishcloth, I’m only $1.49 in the hole, and my arm isn’t barking at me too loudly.

So now my plan is to start another project on medium sized needles (maybe that “something to keep my shoulders warm in summer” thing?), and in between, knit on the projects calling for smaller needles. I do want to get Latifa done, pretty quickly though…somewhere in the knitting process I realized that she isn’t for me, she belongs with a friend…and that friend’s birthday is coming up soon.

Well, I was supposed to pick up that parenting book once my kid-free week was over, and I never did. And it’s still biting me in the ass. Time-outs just aren’t the reliable tool they were with my 5-year old now that he's 8. I get that. But I haven’t figured out an effective replacement that I can live with yet. And actually, it's seeming like it is mommy that needs the time-out half the time anyway.

I'm also coming to understand that if I’ve only got time to read one book, it might just need to be “boy specific”. Or possibly “only-child specific.” Especially since these are both things I know little about personally (ok, well I know a bit about boys—hehee—but probably nothing I can toss in to my parenting toolbox). But seriously, I wasn't an only child (I had a younger sister), and there were no little boy cousins or whatnot running around.

Although growing up, most of my friends were boys. Hmmm.

Anyhow. Here’s case in point for why I need a kid-boy-primer:
Last night my third grade boy told me that some of the jock-types have been making fun of him, telling him he’s weak.


Because he's (these are MyFK’s exact words, not mine)…“delicate...and can’t handle being rough.” (I love that—delicate).

So I ask MyFK to define “rough,” and he says that he can’t handle it when they punch him in the stomach.

Holy crap.

So there I sit, in parental shock….and I’ve got many thoughts running around in my head. About his new dumb-ass principal. About the new school building and how the layout isn’t effective for lunchtime patrolling. About how the import of (hate to say it, but--ghetto) kids into the school has not included any process for integrating them socially.

And I realize that none of these thoughts are going to help MyFK get through tomorrow’s recess.

And I realize that MY solution to the situation is pretty much a GIRL solution to the situation. Maybe it is just a solution and not actually a girl solution. But I dunno. I have no way to compare. And maybe boys don’t actually need a boy solution for bullying. But I think they do. And I don’t know what that solution is.

The best I do with MyFK while tucking him in last night, is to share with him how I was bullied (by both boys and girls) when I was kid, so that he doesn’t feel alone in it all. And the best I do is let him know that it didn't last forever, although at the time it felt that long. And the best I do is tell him that I feel like I’m not really sure what I can do to help, but that I am definitely putting some thought into it. And the best I do is to ask him if HE has any ideas about what might help.

All good things, I suppose.

I even ask him (in thinking about the few conversations I have had with boys and dads) if he thinks that maybe he needs to punch them back. To which he replied, "No. Hitting someone has never really worked out for me all that well." (yay)

So then I pull this little gem out of my ass:
I tell him that this probably wont make any sense to him now at 8 years old and in 3rd grade, but…
I think it’s important to note that once these bully kids get older, they are going to have a difficult time dealing with people in the real world. The kids who deal with everything by bullying might grow up to not do so well in the workplace. And in the very long run, the fact that MyFK is learning to deal with people without being a bully himself will count for something.

MyFK got quiet, and I was pretty sure was about to fall asleep (nothing like a boring lecture to get you dozing)…but then he says:

“Yeah. And I’m going to pull up in my fancy red convertible and they are going to be standing there with a ‘will work for food’ sign."

"And I’m just going to laugh and not give them any.”


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

in defense of the prosthetistitute

mmm…ok, so let’s start with a little teehee.

Last Thursday I ran into an acquaintance at a local market. We’ve met through the dance community twice, for an approximate total of 7 minutes. Almost all of those 7 minutes have been entirely filled with her asking me about my amputation. And all of those minutes have been with my not wearing a prosthesis. I dont wear it when I dance yet.

I wasn’t wearing it when I ran into her at the market, either….because, well…see the previous post. It was “in the shop.”

Anyhow, she was stuck at the market due to car problems, so I offered her a lift somewhere, and during the car ride, we had another 4 minutes to play the Amputee Q & A game…this time, about whether or not I have a fake leg.

So she asks me if I have one, and I say:
“Yeah, but I had to leave it at my prosthetist’s, because…blah blah blah (and I start the story) …”
and I look up to see her face pale slightly and become riddled with worry lines…
and she’s sort of half-mouthing half-mumbling something to herself…

So I shut up.
And listen.

And she’s muttering to herself, very quietly,
“Prah-sta-……praw-stahhh….praw-steh-tic…prah-sti…what do you call your leg doctor???????”

“A prosthetist.”

“Holy crap. I could have sworn you said you left your leg at your prostitute's. I just could not figure that out.”

I got my leg back yesterday. And in defense of the PROSTHETIST, it wasn’t the cutting of the leg/pipe that caused the problem. He detached some wiring to move it out of the way while he performed his little surgery, and then reconnected it. Apparently when you do that, you have to “zero everything out again” in the computer component of my bionic leg.

We have still yet to determine if that little hack job will affect my warranty, though. ‘Cuz if it did, it’s getting replaced anyhow.

But I have the thing back now, and something must be shifting with me, because I was actually glad to have it back…like I missed it. And that was a first. And I seem to walking a bit smoother with that little height adjustment.

Of course, just when I get used to it, we’ll make more adjustments to it, probably. The next one is bigger though...we'll have to be making me a new socket in a few weeks. I’ve been the incredible shrinking woman, and even though I can tighten it up and make it smaller, I’ve about maxed that system out.

It’s too bad the rest of me hasn’t shrunk proportionately.

Now wouldn’t that be rad.

Friday, March 17, 2006

little snippets

I feel like I've got a kazillion things spinning around in my head right now, and no time to fully explore any of them.

So here's a list (probably incomplete) of little brain snippets.
And it doesn't come with pictures (sorry for those of you who hate seeing a blog-wall-of-text).
Oh, and I'm sorry, too that I haven't written much about knitting lately. Seems like a dumb thing for me to be saying given this isnt a knitting blog...but it seems like that's how most of you are ending up here.

* This week I was forced to plan out the months of June, July and August. And it’s only March. I hate that. Day camp registration forms were due yesterday, and that meant several days of coordinating several people’s summer schedules.

* Watching several pages of a day-planner get filled up feels extremely constrictive to me and has me feeling a little bit of panic. Glad to say that it is booked with wonderful stuff (like going to perform with Dandelion Dancetheater in Hawaii), instead of being filled up with things that I’m not looking forward to doing.

* There are some people (believe it or not) that are not amputees, but wish they were. Some of them have even gone so far as to do things to their bodies that would require them to have amputations (close your gaping mouth, and if you don't believe me, google it). Is there any way we could send these people to the countries that need their landmines cleared??? Seems to me we could kinda kill two birds with one stone.

* Stray pictures taken of my car after the accident were unearthed last night during a purge of an old desk drawer. Stuff like that always gets me a bit unsettled. I can’t believe I’m even still here on the planet. Thank you Spirit.

* At the moment, I am finding sympathetic comments (about things that require no sympathy) incredibly annoying and unsympathetic.

* Every morning, I am waking to the immediate spin-cycle of my brain rattling through details and issues. I think I need to resume the writing of “Morning Pages” (a stream of conciousness brain-dump process developed by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way).

* The thing I am missing the most in my life right now is silence.

* My child is a constant source of sound.

* Last night in belly dance class we carried out the time honored tradition of “Circle Dancing” (in honor of the Spring Equinox). The dancing I am allowed to witness and the dancing I am given space to share are some of the greatest gifts in my life.

* Credit where credit is due: I think it’s important to note what contributed to my being so grounded at last Sunday’s showing with Dandelion. I showed up an hour early so that I could do the complete series of warm-up exercises that I’ve been doing in bellydance class every Thursday since 1994. This series was developed by the late Jamie Miller, my mentor, and was being taught decades before I became her student. Thank You Jamie. I miss you, and I love you.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

measure twice, cut once

Ya' know, I am forever reminding MyFK of the concept that just because someone does something stupid, it doesn't mean that they are stupid. I also frequently remind him that just because maybe someone does something that I don't like, that this does not mean that I completely don't like them.

We all make mistakes.
We should all be okay with none of us on this planet being perfect.
And we should all be okay with not needing to like every single thing about another person in order to like them as a person.

I tell you this because I'm about to tell y'all a little story about my trip to the prosthetist yesterday.
And I want you to apply the above lessons, so as not to have a bad impression of him.

He did something stupid.
And he did something I didn't like.
But it doesn't mean he's stupid.
And it doesn't mean I don't like him.

I don't think he's incompetent, and he's the only prosthetist thus far who has been able to resolve my unique fit issues. As far as I'm concerned, he's a genius (or at the very least, a creative thinker/problem solver).

But yesterday he.....
(well, let's call a spade a spade)...
fucked up.

I dropped by his office to merely pick up a new waist belt (I use one that wraps around the thigh of my prosthesis and then straps around my waist, and it really helps me feel like the leg is more "attached" to me).

My plan was to also mention a couple of other things I've noticed with this test socket, so that those adjustments can be taken into consideration when the definitive socket is being made soon.

I also wanted to have him make the lenght of my prosthesis a tiny-tiny-TINY bit shorter.

As an aside, this might seem hard to understand if you have both your legs, but for me, I have been operating without two legs or a prosthesis for sooooo long now, and I spend sooooo much time standing on only one leg, that when I put on my prosthesis, it's often quite difficult for me to answer things like, "Do you have your weight evenly distributed between both legs?" Beats the hell outa me. And things like, "Does one leg feel longer than the other?" Well, sometimes I just cannot accurately assess that.

I've had the physical therapist watch me both standing and walking, and she thinks the prosthetic leg seems to be the correct length. But the more I walk with it, and the better I get at walking with it (the less I am waddling like a duck with my legs farther apart, and the more I am walking with my legs directly underneath me), the more it feels like the prosthesis is just a tad bit too long. This past weekend, when strolling with TheMIG we noticed that I really lurch up and down when I take a step onto the fake leg, so I'm kinda thinking it's worth checking out.

I've had the leg's alignment tinkered with before. They have to do it every time they make me a new socket. They don't just tinker wiht the height...actually there are all kinds of angles and rotations that can be tweaked. And let me tell you, sometimes just a 1/8" adjustment can change your whole world. It's a very strange thing.

So yesterday, at the prosthetist, we agreed to try shortening my prosthesis by a 1/4". That plan is that we'd let me walk on it for a day or two, let the PT see me walk on it, and then reassess.

I'm not a prosthetist.
I do not know all there is to know about the methods by which a prosthesis can be shortened 1/4".
I'm not a seamstress or a carpenter, either.
But I have heard, "measure twice, cut once" a few times in my life...
and as a knitter, I certainly understand the logic of knitting a gauge swatch before embarking on a sweater....
and as a chef, I certainly understand the logic that you can't take salt out of a dish once you've added it.

Anyhow, I think I know enough about prothetics by now to be able to say for sure, that there are at least two (and probably more) places on the prosthesis where you can make the adjsutment to change the length of the leg. And I think I also think there are ways to make that change in length by only adjusting something or interchanging parts.
Not by cutting them or permanently altering them.
(y'all see where this is going, dont you??)

I think that one place you could make a change is with the little connector pieces that bolt the top part (the socket) onto the mechanical lower limb (the C-Leg). I think those connecting widgets come in different sizes, the same way you can go to hardware store and find both 1/8" and 3/8" screws.

Another place you can make that change is on the mechanical limb itself (ie: the $30K part of my prosthesis), down near the ankle. See, the "ankle" is really just a pipe, and that smaller pipe slides into the slightly larger pipe of the "calf". Kind of like a collapsing telescope. So to shorten the leg, you could just push it together another 1/4". Right?

Well, apparently, my pipe could be pushed in no deeper (that sounds dirty), and rather than go back up to the widgets up near the socket and fiddle with those, the prosthetist took it upon himself to take apart my "ankle pipes".

And trim off 1/4".

With a saw.

I dont know enough about the C-Leg to know why that shave job was such an issue (because I guess that's how they do things all the time with a more manual/less computerized prosthesis).....but apparently with the C-Leg it IS an issue. And now my leg doesn't work. That little trim job made the computerized knee no longer able to bend for some reason. Big problem.

The C-Leg is manufactured by OttoBock, a German company, and most mechanical things from that nation require strict conformity to the rules and regulataions.
(Say it with the tone of an Evil German Nanny/Ballet Mistress): "Vee vill not varrantee your produkt if you do not adhere to auer protocols and if you do not use auer replacement pahrts!!! Your varrantee shall be void!!!!!! Mwahahaha."

Well. So. I have no prosthesis for a little while.
Luckily it is no fault of mine, and it's not my problem (or expense) to fix it.

As for the prosthetist? Well...
he feels bad and I feel bad that he feels bad and so we all feel bad...but whatchagonnado.

Hopefully I'll be up and running (okay, well, walking) by Monday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


For fast-acting relief try slowing down.
~~Lily Tomlin, comedienne

Monday, March 13, 2006

on yesterday's performance

I’m feeling very proud.
Proud of what I did, proud of what we did, and just basically proud to be a member of this dance project.

During the performance itslef I felt grounded and supported and connected and beautiful.
Can’t ask for much more than that :-)

Only one person (that's a record) approached me after the show to tell me how brave I am and that I am such an inspiration (and we all know how much I love that).

**if you dont know how much I love that, please reference yourself to Monday, December 12, 2005 "a label I can live with". I've made several attempts at trying to learn how to link you to an old post, but apparently I'm too much of a moron to figure it out


Turns out that five days was just about the right amount of time to be away from MyFK. He wasn't gone so long that I was suffering withdrawls, nor was he gone long enough for me to forget I have a mommy-life. SO I got some projects done, slept in, had time to relax, time to play with TheMIG, time to hang out with friends old and new....oh, and I was able to have cookies for breakfast and not have to worry about setting a bad example... hehehee.

My first chance to see him again was this morning as he was waking up, and it was really sweet...then made him breakfast and off to school he went.
Picked him up at 2:20 and by 4pm I'd pretty much had enough already hahaha.

Ok, so NOW I'm ready to dive into that parenting book.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

break a leg (?)

Today Dandelion Dancetheater is performing at ODC Theater in San Francisco. It's a showing of works-in-progress so that people
(people = potential funders of the project)
can see what material is in development.

This is not my first time performing publically, by any means.
But it is my first real modern dance performance.
And it is my first time performing completely naked.

Wish me luck.
(You never tell a dancer to "break a leg.")
(And you should especially not tell an AMPUTEE DANCER to "break a leg.")
(Breaking a leg would be bad.)

Incidentally, dancers say "merde"...
which is the French word for "shit".

Don't even get me started.

early morning coffee/computer time revealed this interesting interpretation of the origin of the phrase "Break a Leg":

It has also been peculiarly suggested that the origin of the phrase dates back to Shakespearean days. Apparently at the time, the poor and uneducated (often slow and dimwitted, and referred to as Groundlings) unable to afford real seats, would crowd the front of the theatre, right up against the stage. Transfixed by the performance, when they got really excited the Groundlings were customarily known to drool! Prior to their performance (on a stage besieged by eager Groundlings), actors would wish each other good luck by saying, "May you give such a stirring performance that you fall on the ensuing spit of drooling groundlings, and break a leg!"


AND I also found this list of "good and bad luck superstitions of actors."

Number 15 on the list of bad superstions is:
"People should not knit near the stage"


Saturday, March 11, 2006


Carol comments: Now I wonder what would happen if you went into a big box craft store and when they asked you for help, you told them you were looking for a pattern for a knit prosthetic cozy?

hahaha...very funny!
Actually, I read that and asked myself why I hadn't already thought of pulling that stunt!!

It only took me about a second to answer that.

See, to be totally honest, the reason I haven't tried pulling that particular shennanigan is because (unlike the fake need for lubricants and springs), I actually DO have a need for a cozy.

And I've actually considerred knitting one.
Not a prosthesis cozy, exactly.
But a Stump Cozy.

Let me tell ya' "residual limb" (often referred to by The One who cuddles up next to it as "a fricking iceberg") would definitely benefit from having some sort of warming garment. And I doubt I'm going to find a Stump-Cozy at a department store. So, like most knitters obsessed with our craft, I thought....I'll knit something myself!

Except I haven't figured out exactly how to do that yet.
I'm not a pattern designer.
Not that a Stump Cozy should be rocket science. I can knit socks, and I obvioulsy wont be needing a heel on this contraption. In fact, I've figured out that whatever kind of Stump Cozy I'd knit up (being an above-knee amputee) is probably not going to be sock-like at all. It will probably be more like a handbag.

One cold night, when neccessity was being the mother of invention, I! My stump is about the same size as my head!

And looks great in my kitty hat.

But seriously, in my novice pattern designing mind, I cant seem to figure out how to get a stump cozy to stay on my leg without cutting off circulation, which would just increase the iceberg factor. My residual limb is very short, so ribbing at the top would be right on the femoral artery. I've considerred an i-cord drawstring, knitting in an elastic thread, using Cascade Fixation, and I've even thought about attaching some kind of waist belt (which just sounds miserable). So I just dont know.

My Cozy thoughts have extended to covering these, also:

See? That's what I need to knit! I need Crutch Cozies! (the grey fake sheepskin is pretty ugly)
Last year I even went out and bought this lovely Koigu for them.

See all the colors? They will go with anything I'm wearing!
(....which will do just fine while I knit a matching pair for every outfit)

But then I did the math of warm/damp armpits, plus the friction of swinging crutches, with the addition of wool....(the equation being felt) and I realized I really needed to rethink this project a bit.

My friends have suggested that I must knit a cozy for my wheelchair seat.

Sure. That'll be the day. Right after I finish that Lysol can cozy for my 92 year old grand-mother.

But here's my latest cozy obsession: the covering of the socket.
THIS is my temporary socket.

I think I've told you guys about this looks like I made it myself with a glue gun and duct tape (and there IS actual duct tape on it). Now, I aint complaining, because this is the first socket that has stayed on my leg so I can walk. But DAMN is it ugly, and in the few warm days we've had here since I got this new socket, I've worn shorts, and it looks reallllllly bad.

So I want to knit something to cover it.

And I just realized, that this WOULD be a prosthetic cozy, after all, now wouldnt it (?).

I'm on my way to that big-box craft store right now to ask for that pattern.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

comments on comments

But first...
a little ampuTEEHEE for you:

Yesterday I had to make a pit-stop at one of those humungous hardware/home supply stores. Just to set the visual stage for you, I was wearing my prosthesis (my prosthesis looks robotic and mechanical) and I was wearing capri length pants. I was also wearing a poker face, because I have pulled this shennangian many times.

This is my routine:
I wait until someone comes up and asks me if I need help finding anything (and if I have to wait long enough, I not beyond approaching the customer service desk). Then I tell them one of the following:

* that, "my leg has been making this really squeeky noise, and could they suggest something other than WD-40, because WD-40 is not recommended and will void my warranty..?"
* or that, "I broke this little small spring thing inside my fake knee, and I need to jerry-rig some kind of replacement until I can get it into the shop. Can you help me?"

There are other versions, but you get the gist.

I've gotten really good at not laughing while the poor sould stands there, mouth hanging open and/or fumbling for ideas. I've also gotten really good at making them feel bad when they ask me if I'm joking. If I'm really bored, I've even let them go ahead and call the manager for help.

I only pull this crap when I'm alone.
Anybody else with me would have to be quite the actor (one of these days I need to have someone lurking to catch this on video, though... "Smile! You're on Candid Camera!")

I don't just do this in hardware stores, by the way....
sometimes when I'm not wearing my prosthesis, I'll go into a shoe store, go through the whole fitting process, and then ask them how much it is for just the one shoe.
Highly entertaining.
Ok. SO. Comments on Comments.....

Janey writes:
In fact, I am going to join "other Olympians who didn't quite finish, but are still running toward the finish line nonetheless", at the Turtle Along.....
I thought about joining you, but I'm having serious issues sticking to one project since the Olympics. I've the got the 2nd glove sitting next to the computer, MyFK's socks in my purse, Latifa is done and being ruffled, and the Olympics Shawl is next to the bed (where I am mostly sleeping for a change and not knitting).

But thanks for letting me know...I'm watching you guys!

Anonymous gave me the mathmatical answer to the decibal question regarding children on a field trip bus...
I love geeks.

Gray...thanks for all your kind words of support ;-)

Jodie said...
Have you frogged any sweaters before. I tried to recently, but it ended up being a ton of work. One of the sweaters is a nice dark blue wool, but the sides are surged together so they are really hard to get apart.
Yes, I've frogged sweaters before, and some are easier than others....but I wanted to warn you that you cannot frog a sweater that has been surged (well, you can, but you will end up with lots of short little one yard pieces of yarn!).
When sweaters are surged, the manufacture is basically taking a huge bolt of machine knitted fabric, cutting out the pattern pieces (much like sewing), and then sewing/surging the pieces together before the fabric unravels all over the place. THERE IS NO CONTINUOUSLY KNIT PIECE OF YARN!
You need to rip apart sweaters that have pieces that are knitted separately (either by hand or by machine), and then SEAMED (they same way a hand knitter would do finishing).
There is a really good tutorial for ripping out a sweater here (this is how I learned):

I really like that shirt! I'm going to have to think about getting one of those for me since I'm an amputee knitter myself
YAY gimp knitters unite! hahaha
I just ordered my shirt yesterday. Can't wait to wear it!

jodi writes:
When you say that you improvise movements in response to ideas, I can't really get my head around that at all. (did I ever tell you about the six months of bellydance classes, after which I still can't shimmy? pathetic).
You know, I really want to answer that, and I really don't know how, because I'm a dancer who doesn't do the visual art piece. I feel like it must have something to do with having a visual impetus for creating something, and then using those images to feed your artwork (whether it be dancing or printing or knitting)...but I'm not sure that's all of it. You've really got me thinking.

However! My co-teacher IS both a wonderful painter and beautful dancer, and I mentioned this to her last night. She says that over the years she's been examining the connection (and sometimes lack of connection) between her painting and her dancing. We have a date to talk about it tonight after stay tuned, and with any luck I'll have something for you tomorrow. Or who knows...maybe she'll just comment *cough-cough* (she's a lurker here *giggle*).
Oh, the pressure.

As for the shimmy thing? Wellp, I know you are going to have a horrible time understanding this...every student of mine does...but this is a fact: it's almost impossible to LEARN how to shimmy. Shimmying is not an actual dance move. Shimmy comes from release....realease into a dance move. A (real) shimmy is literally the tissue and musculature releasing from the skeleton, and it happens almost as a reverberation of a movement. I've never seen it work when only comes when you completely relax, and when you completely don't think about it. I think it took me just over a year before a shimmy found its way onto my body.

And no, I didn't know about your taking bellydance classes! I was wonerdering if you'd ever gave it a whirl. You seem like the type of gal that would dig it ;-)
If you ever get out to California on a Thursday, look us up...we have a whole lot of fun.

Carol writes:
Oh boy, do I ever sympathize (or do I mean empathize) with the kid thing! My oldest is 8, too, and he is very much as you describe. The kind of kid who says "Mom, I'm going to play a video game. Will you come watch me?"

Good grief, I thought I had the only kid on the planet who asked me to to that. It's comforting to not be alone.
But I'm almost ashamed to admit this...I cultivated that beast allllll by myself.

See, MyFK and I used to share a video game interest in common. I loved to watch him play Animal Crossing. I initially patted myself on the back for being such an interested and involved parent, and for choosing such a wonderful game!
No violence, very have a little house and you have a job so that you can save to buy stuff to decorate it. You dig for fossils, and go fishing, and collect bugs, and donate to the write letters to the cute little towns people, and you help them run errands. VERY CUTE GAME.

But did I sit and knit while he played??
Yeah, for awhile.
But then I ended up getting addicted just watching.
So much so, that when MyFK asked me to get my own memory card and make my own little town, too (cuz you can go go "visit" each others towns and shit), I practically ran to Toys-R-Us.

I should mention that TheMIG turned us onto this it aint just for little kids (there's a whooooole bunch of big kids out there playing, too)...and I used to snag TheMIG's memory card and MyFK and I would go visit his little town, too...picking his weeds and stuff).

But then the bad parenting thing happened.
MyFK and I got to playing so much that I actualy bought a 2nd Game Cube because we weren't sharing well.

I know.
Not so good.

After awhile, MyFK moved on to other video games that I didnt want to watch (or listen to, for that matter....have you heard some of the sounds tracks on these things??)

And I kept playing Animal Crossing.
It was eating up knitting time, eventually I gave up interest. But not before buying the Nintendo DS version last November. That lasted about a month and then I got burned out, thank goodness. Which reminds me, I need to sell the 2nd Game Cube and maybe the DS...nobody uses them.

So there you have it.
The ugly truth..hahahaha.

jodi also writes:
I have to say that reading a parenting book during your five days off from parenting is like being given a week's worth of homework for what they call spring break here

You know?!
Thank you very much.
Back to knitting I shall go.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

i'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Don't get me wrong.
I love my kid.
And I even enjoy (most of the time) doing the "work" of parenting.
And I'm sure I'm not the only parent with a kid like this, but....

MyFK is extreeeeeemly high maintennance.
(wonder where he gets that from)

And he is also GONE for the next 5 days on a trip to the snow with his dad!

Mommy time!!

I remember in my very early twenties reading, "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindenburgh and not completely comprehending it (even though I thought I did)....but I most certainly get the picture now.
(damn! that book just celebrated it's 50 anniversary, and it's still relevant)

The last book about actual parenting I read was somewhere around MyFK’s 5th Birthday.

He is now coming up on his 9th Birthday.

It has become ridiculously clear to me that I am dealing with a person in a completely different age group (ummmm, duh), one that is far better skilled in the art of manipulation (funny how certain growth spurts have kinda snuck upon me when I'm not paying attention).

It has also become ridiculously clear to me that I am in serious need of an upgrade in my parenting skills. Certain tactics are just no longer effective.

So reading a new parenting book is on the list of the many things I want to do over the next five days.
Along with knitting (go figure).
Finishing up some purging of cabinets and corners and piles around my house (I'm actually more than 50% done!).
And just listening to the sounds that I can't usually hear under the din of the contstant chattering of my fantastically articulate and incessantly inquistive child (who also has such a knack with sounds effects, he should put "becoming a foley artist" on his list of what he wants to be when he grows up).

Monday, March 06, 2006


The last 24 hours have turned out to be full of fun little treasures and surprises.

First, I finally made it to the thrift store Sunday (going Saturday didn’t pan out). I bought some sweaters to frog (for the non-knitters, that means to "rip-it" out...get it?):

The purple-ish thing is a cotton, and my plan its to reknit it into the summer version of the“something to keep my shoulders warm” .
The brownish thing is wool, and it’s kinda ugly, but I think it’s going to make a couple pairs of really lovely felted slippers (and I’ve never felted before—on purpose, at least—so I wasn’t about to blow a wad on new wool for that experiment).
The forest green is a soft lambswool…and I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet, but it was just too lovely to pass up. I’m thinking of maybe knitting a sweater for MyFK next fall after I burn out my sock obsession.

The next treat was the best…TheMIG bought some very special pampering-kinds-of-things yesterday, and then spent a chunk of the evening pampering me with them (use your own imagination, but I’ll bet you get it wrong).

I'm so in love.


For today's first bonus, I got to have breakfast with another member of Dandelion Dancetheater. We got to know each other personally a bit, outside of rehearsals. I’m working with some verrrry cool people ;-)


After breakfast, I arrived home to find these in the mail from jodi:

I fell in love with these right away when I saw them in her new shop, but sadly, I’d already burned out my “fun money” for the month of February. What was great though, is that she offered a trade, so I sent her some yummy yarn in exchange. Thanks, Jodi!!

There’s one more thing I’ve been dying to splurge on, but it will have to wait until I have $$ at the end of the week….you MUST click here to see this shirt of Franklin’s… (and DO click "view larger" and get a good view of the image) This shirt would be so very fitting on this amputee knitter :-) I can't wait to order it!)


The last bonus thing today was reading this:

"Another dancer makes a partner of her wheelchair, deftly twirling it in an elegant pirouette."

Dude, that's a quote about me!! (found here)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

the day after

When I made the anniversary post yesterday, I’d intended to block out the comments option (but spaced out, as I was flying out the door on the way to rehearsals). I wasn’t pimping for kind words y' really was just a post for me….but thank you all so very very much for sharing the warm sentiments ;-) It was a nice thing to wake up to this morning. Because as it turns out, yesterday was somewhat bizarre.

In order to explain yesterday/Friday/The Anniversary Day...I need to describe to you what happened the night before/Thursday/The Anniversary Eve.

Thursday night, after the bellydance class I co-teach, I decided to do a dress rehearsal of a little solo I'd created to mark the anniversary of the accident. My plan was to actually perform the piece on Friday (during rehearsals with Dandelion Dancetheater), but I also wanted to share it with my class and have a chance to run it through in an actual dance space.

I wouldn’t exactly call the dance a “work-in-progress.” I’m not planning on dancing it again. The dance was more of a “work-barely-worked-on,” and I was fine with that…this dance was merely a process piece that I wanted to share with friends as a way of exploring two recent feelings I’ve been having.

The emotional context for my dance solo was:
* I can’t control how you see me.
* I am a bouquet. I am my own vase.

The dance was a performed to two pieces of music. The first half of the dance piece was loosely choreographed, and was based on a dance phrase that came out of a recent improv exploration done with Dandelion. A few weeks ago, our director had us do some stream of conciousness writing about “something that we could not control.” We then created a movement phrase that represented that thing. My thing was “I cannot control how other people see me.”

For the second song of my solo, I did a complete improvisation, leaning more towards (but not completely) bellydance. As an improv, it did not have any choreography, but it DID have something that we call in our bellydance class “a private place.” During this part of the dance, I imagined that I was dancing in the woods on the side of the road where my accident happened (except there was no car or accident). There was a carpet of yellow leaves and the sunlight was coming through the tree branches. I could smell the earth, and hear the sounds of nature. And I was gathering a bouquet of flowers.

The bouquet image is pertinent because for years now, I have used the bouquet image as an analogy for my life: I have often felt like I am a big, beautiful, blooming, bouquet.
But a bouquet without a vase.
Most of my life I've searched for a vase.
And in some pretty ridiculous places, I might add.
I've even tried turning things that arent vases into vases.
Somehow I've managed to keep the bouquet looking fresh over the years...
But since my accident, my flowers have withered a bit.

I think what I'm finally figuring out is that it is my own reposnsibility to keep my flowers blooming, and in order to that, I need to be my own vase (rather than seeking containment from sources outside of myself).

So back to how Thursday's dance became Friday's Funkiness.

So Thursday night I dance. After I dancing, I get some feedback about the piece...but the one person I really wanted to "see me" the most, to really “get it” the most, I felt... did not.
And I was okay with that at the time, and I even went to sleep feeling okay about it.
But I didn't wake up on Friday feeling okay with it.

So now, it is Friday morning, and I'm half asleep.

During my sleep, I woke FIVE TIMES because of different versions of the same exact dream…of a car or truck running me off the road.
That wasn’t a happy way to wake up.

So I try to shake that off, and that shifts to realizing I'm feeling sad because the person I wanted to “get” the dance piece, did not…and that seemed REALLY ridiculous and interesting to me given that the dance was about how “I cant control how you see me.” And THAT seemed ridiculous and interesting because I was letting that sadness wilt my flowers as a result.

So I try to shake THAT off, and get about my day....and then MyFK wakes up and tells me he doesn’t like living in our house because it isn’t clean enough....and that's why he likes going to visit at Nana and Papa's... and by the way, did I know that at his friend's house it's so clean you can eat off the floor??

Well, that pretty much drained the water of the vase (the one that wasnt really there anyhow).

So I try to shake THAT off so that I can make it to Dandelion rehearsal, because guess what…it IS The Anniversary, and I'm performing today for my peers.

So I dance my solo again.
This time get NO comments.
No feedback.
Not a word.
(which is out of character for this group).
So beats me.

I went to bed early.
When I woke up this morning I was so glad to find that yesterday was over.
And I'm considerring tossing my calendar.

MyFK is at his dad's this weekend....and I've got a huge chunk of "me-time".
I'm on my way to the thrift store to buy a sweater to rip apart so that I can recycle the yarn and reknit it into the summer version of "something to keep my shoulders warm."
This should be highly theraputic.
I get to shop (without the guilt of spending more than $2)
I get to tear something apart (gently, but it's beautifully destructive)
I get to repurpose yarn (YAY purpose!)
and I'll get to knit (can't beat that)

Who needs therapy.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Life is fragile.
Everything can change in a matter of seconds.

Two years ago, my car was bisected by a guardrail that speared through the full length of my car.

It’s path travelled across my lap.
I thought my leg was only pinned.
I learned later that the guardrail had amputated my leg upon impact.
The rail was damming the flow of blood.

My car was spotted off the side of the road two hours later.

While trapped in the car, I was awake.
Feeling many many things.
Like organs shutting down one at a time to protect one another. Like determination to find a way out of the car. Like plotting to catch a passerby's attention. Like refusal to die this way. Like complete and total panic. Like a lonliness I have never found the words to accurately describe.

Healing from those moments has been far more difficult
than healing from my injuries.
That's the truth.

I am glad for every moment I have, for every feeling I have, for every experience I have, and for every path I get to cross.

Life is fragile.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

3rd grade science and math

It was storming last night. The sounds of high winds had me up at 5am, and MyFK climbed into my bed around 6am because he couldn’t sleep either.
(man, how I’d wanted to doze until 7!)

“Mom…will you scratch my back?”
“Only for a minute. I’m reallllly tired and I’m trying to fall back asleep. Mommies need sleep, too ya’ know…”
“Nooooo. Mommies don’t need sleep.
I learned that on Nova.”



Q. A teacher invites 3 parents to chaperone on a field trip with his 3rd grade class. How many adults will be in attendance?
1+3 = 4

Q. The class has 20 students, how many children is each adult responsible for?
20 divide by 4 = 5

Q. Three 3rd grade classes are going on the trip, each class having 20 students, 1 teacher and 3 chaperones.
How many students will be going, in total?
3 x 20= 60
3x1 = 3
3 x 3 = 9

Q. If during snack time, all three teachers walk away, and 8 of the 9 parent chaperones are busy picking their noses, or staring off into space, or chatting with other parents while the kids are arguing over gummy snacks and all the wrappers are blowing all over the picnic area and the kids are pushing each other into a mud puddle.....(*ahem*, sorry, I digress)... WHAT is the ratio of children to adults that are paying attention?

60 to 1
(in case you couldn't tell, it is this AmputT that is the only 1 paying attention…and it made for a very long and hectic fieldtrip on a 6-acre working farm)

There is one last math problem I was not able to compute (I think it's algebra with a bit of physics maybe?):

Q. If there are 60 children on a bus, and all are screaming as loud as they possibly can, what is the decibel level inside the bus if all the windows are closed?

Anybody know? Just Curious.