Wednesday, May 31, 2006

blowing the dust out of the pipes

With any luck, this post will clear a few blocks out so I can get back to posting about things not quite so heavy.

I've been trying to get this up for days, but my arm hasn't been tolerating anything longer than a few minutes of typing at a time (I need a secretary! LOL). Because it's been written over days, it's choppy, and it's actually two separate entries being posted out of sequence so that it makes better sense to me (have no idea what it will do for you, though).

The Long Weekend

(written Monday night and yesterday)

Well, the Monday wasn’t so grand…but the Friday, Saturday, Sunday part was great. Lots of time with TheMIG relaxing, knitting, watching dvd’s and TiVo, snacking, strolling down the beach (well ok, TheMIG was strolling…I was in the wheelchair, so drop the “st” because I was only doing the “rolling” part).

MyFK was with his dad for the weekend. I love MyFk more than life itself, and I missed him terribly (well let's be honest, it took until Sunday before it got terrible)…but I am always much better positioned for mommy-duty after a little R&R. I read Gift From The Sea 10 years before having a child, and it kind of stuck with me.

Not being a huge fan of holidays in general, typically I only pay attention to the “long weekend/extra day off” aspect of Memorial Day. Period.
I don't do anything to commemorate vets.
Shitty, I know.
But actually, this year was a bit different.
This year I lit a candle in honor of surviving vets.
For their suffering, and how it shapes their futures.


No background story?

(written over days a week or two ago)

I really need to write about something that probably wont make sense without a ton of background story….except I really don’t want to write the background story. But I guess I have to, for context.

In 250 words or less (?--I didn't count)…regarding my car accident and my subsequent life as an amputee:

Recovering from the phsycial issues of a traumatic amputation and the subsequent process of learning to do life as an amputee has been hard work.

But the physical healing pales in comparison next to the emotional healing required, in relation to the time of the accident itself. That healing has not just been hard work. It has been an absolute fucking nightmare.

I can't talk much about the accident itself and how it happened, primarily because I don't remember it.... but also because of current litagation.

I can tell you this, though....after the impact, I was trapped in the car for about two hours waiting for someone to see me and rescue me. And I was awake. And it is those two hours that I have been struggling with coming to peace with ever since.

In rereading that last paragraph myself, I see the words, “waiting for someone to see me” and there’s where my issues with healing this trauma begin.

I wasn’t exactly just sitting there waiting for someone to see me.

I was trying to break out of the car.
I was trying to find my cell phone.
I was trying to find someway to make noise or be seen from the roadway.
I was begging.
I was pleading.
I was bargaining with God.
I was screaming and completely hysterical.
I was confused because I was sure I wasn’t supposed to die like this.
I was thinking about my loved ones.
I was watching the sun come up.
I was watching the cars pass by.
I was feeling parts of my body begin to die in an effort to protect other parts.
I was scared.
I was cold.
I was so very very alone.

I don't mean to get overly dramatic about this...but this is honestly how this experience went down. And this is the shit that I just can’t seem to be done processing.

I am ready to move on. I have been therapized, I've been hypnotized…I’ve talked about it, I’ve journalled about it, I’ve danced about it. I've worked through the required stages of grief about it. Trust me, I'm not the type of person who like to wallow in their shit. I don't mind doing the dirty work.

And I recognize that this event will always be a part of my life story, in some way.
I understand that this event does not "define" me, but that it will always be part of my "definition".
But I really have had enough with the actual effects of trauma.

And it seems no matter what I do to come to peace with it, like the proverbial peeling of onion...there is always some new fucking layer. I've dealt with, and am dealing with axiety, insomnia, depression, flashbacks...yadda yadda.

But here’s the new current layer.

Global sadness.

I was hanging out with a bunch of folks from Dandelion DanceTheater after rehearsal a couple Fridays ago. We were chatting and ended up having a discussion about physical pain, and the myriad of ways in which it can be treated (lots of people in the healing arts in this dance company).

Eric, who is a practicing Buddhist, talked a bit about how one way of looking at pain is to not have it be “MY pain” but “THE pain.” And how if we all come from the same source, and we are all interconnected. Life is a shared experience. We all come from the same source.

This made sense to me on some level, which was good. Wow. Not MY trauma. THE trauma. I'm not so very very alone after all! This is comforting.

At first.

And then I started to think about the time trapped inside the car.

I have often said that I would not wish that experience on anyone. And I mean it. Not even my worst enemy. It was horrific. It has changed me, permanently marked me, and in my opinion, is a deeper scar than the many I now have on my body.

But if we are all of one mind from one source, then that was not MY fear. Nor was it MY coldness, MY hysteria, MY lonliness. It was OURS.

I have been in a deep state of sadnesss about what this all means. Over the past few days I have found myself just breaking out in tears.
I’m sitting here with the a very acute awareness that somewhere on this planet, right now, at this moment, there is one of us experiencing THE fear, THE panic, THE feeling of dying, THE coldness, THE lonliness….and I can’t keep from crying. And there are people who aren't actually experiencing those things, but are witness to it.

I can't understand why there is so much suffering.

I understand the need for dichotomy in life. I get all that. I get that you in order to appreciate the hills you must understand the value of the valleys.

But that much suffering?? WHY??

I am absolutely wrought with empathetic sadness right now.

Nobody should have to experience this or bear witness.



I originally blocked comments to this, because (hear me loud and clear please)...I'm reallllly not in the mood for sympathy.

I do NOT, however, wish to disallow space for people's feelings, should they feel they need to share them...about the general issue. Have at it, if you have something to say.

Love & Light~


Friday, May 26, 2006

a token knitting post

Goodmorning, and thank you thank you all for the support with the last coupla' posts...special kudos to Sara and Jodie who both have a physicality similar to mine (and both knit or crochet...what are the odds?). Seriously, though...your comments were very helpful to me, and it means alot to me to have feedback from other AKA females. *hugs & kisses*

Since I'm too pooped to do back-to-back emotional posts LOL....and since the rest of you end up here because of the knittin' anyhow....

here's a token knitting post!

For starters, let's all have another peek at the beauuuutiful sock yarn, shall we?? :-)

(custom hand-dyed yarns compliments of GoKnitYourHat/BlackBunnyFibers & StrangeLittleMama)

"TeeHee" and "Albequerque Sky" are now languishing in the bedroom, so I have fallen asleep dreaming about them, and I have also woken up having that half-sleepy-dreamy-lovey feeling with them, too (well, SLM did say "Al Sky" was her "yarn boyfriend"...Hmmm...I wonder if the two skeins are up there wouldn't that be cool hahahaha).

My swift and ball winder were out on loan, returned last night, so I'll be winding them up this weekend....but I still won't be able to (read as: I should not) actually start knitting with them until about mid-June when I finish the birthday projects.

I've also just completed a knitted object for my Secret Pal, but now that I've discovered that Secret Pal participants are cruising blogs to see if they can figure out who their pal is...well, sorry. I'm not helping my pal out with any hints.

But guess what else I'm up to....
I'm scheming on that "stump cozy" we talked about awhile back.
I've finally figured out that what I need is something like yoga pants (wide wasteband), only shorts....with a regular open pant leg on the one side, and something enclosed on the other.

Crappy drawing...but I shall treasure it forever...because when I was doodling it as a way to explain my idea to TheMIG, he leaned over my shoulder, took the pen, and put that little star on the waistband. His little contribution to my looking cute, I guess... *giggle* (I love it) (And I love Him).

I wrote "BooBoo" down on the stumpy leg part, thinking I'd do some embroidery or something there, but I scratched it out. I've decided it's stoopid. This girl likes the star better :-)

And I've decided that I'm going to use the Purple Pansies from Black Bunny Fibers for these little hot pants....

(note: I have been trying for a loooong time this morning to upload 2 photos of Purple Pansies for you, and blogger isn't being agreeable, so I might edit to add them in later....meanwhile, you can see the yarn here, scroll down to "ShoppingShoppingShopping")

I've designed a couple knick-knack things before (bath mits, scarves, stuffed animals, etc) , but never a fitted garment. I think I understand the math enough to do it. And I've sewn my own harem pants before (for bellydance costumes), so I get the concept of crotches and gussets and whatnot. I have hunch it might take an attempt or two the get the stump side to fit correctly, but it's not so much knitting that ripping out will be upsetting.

So that's what goes on tour with me in June...socks and stump cozies! By the time I get back, I'll be closer to being the most fashionable gimp in town.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

in defense (again) of the prothestitute

Thank you VERY much for the comments to yesterday's post, AND the support.
Awesome :-)

I wanted to address Jodi's comment specifically...about perhaps finding another prosthetist.
Well, Jodi…You raise some valid points!
And perhaps I should become a Canadian…I hear the health care options are fantastic!! LOLOL

Here’s what I’m dealing with as an American, who does not have enough dough to buy her own prosthetic care out of pocket, and who is also currently insured by Kaiser.

When you are someone like me (someone who needs an assload of rehabilitation), Kaiser gets you lined up with a Physiatrist…a doctor of Physical Medicine… and in my case, it should be one that specializes in Rehabilitation.

It might be interesting to note that the first physiatrist I was referred to at Kaiser was indeed a rehab specialist, but he didn't specialize in amputees. He did have a clue, sure...but it was not his forte. He was a "back injury guy".

I had been automatically referred to the closest physiatrist to my home. I didn’t understand that I had options and could make a choice to choose my own physiatrist (up until my accident I have never had to navigate a medical system before--I'm becoming an expert, not by choice though).
When I found out that I had some choice as to whom my physiatrist could be…I did some research and found a really good one, one that worked with a whole lot of amputees, and one that also had a reputable team of specialists behind him. Even if I did have to drive farther to get there.

So what exactly is a Physiatrist. In my experience, a physiatrist is the person that keeps track of your rehabilitative progress, assesses what your course of treatment should be, and then makes referrals to specialists that tend to your specific physical issues. In my case, specialists would include an arm therapist, an arm/orthopedic surgeon, a prosthetist to make a fake leg, and a physical therapist that can provide gait training (ie walking). They are a team. They form a circle.

So a Physiatrist is basically a case manager. They don’t need to be a complete expert about orthopedic surgery or making prosthetics. They need a clue, sure…and my current one definitely has a clue…but they don’t have to be the expert in everything…and there is no way they could be. A physiatrist should manage their patients cases based on reports they get back from these other experts. These experts need to be professionals that the physiatrist can trust, because it is with these reports that the physiatrist that will be making recommendations as to how to spend the Health Plan’s money, basically.

In my experience, it is the Physiatrist that is the link between the medical team and the people with the money.

If the Health Plan People say that I should not be covered for some particular course of recommended treatment, and I am denied a particular treatment, a good Physiatrist will fight for their patients to be covered. They will rebut against denials from the Health Plan. But a Physiatrist seems more prepared to make that fight if they feel they can trust the experts they referred their patient to, and trust the experts’ reports.

Do you follow?

So as it stands today, I now have a reputable Physiatrist who specializes in Rehabilitation. He has developed a team of experts who have proven to be efficient (and unwasteful with plan money…experts not trying to bilk the system), and because my Physiatrist is so reputable and his team is respected, the Health Plan rarely refuses my Physiatrist’s recommendations in the first place.

So for example, in regards to my arm, my physiatrist has referred me to an occupational therapist specializing in arms…and she checked my range and abilities, etc, and created a physical therapy program. I performed the prescribed therapy, she then measured my improvements. She reported her findings back to the physiatrist. The therapist's report was that I be referred to an orthopedic surgeon, because issues still remain. And because the physiatrist sees the physical therapist as a trusting member of the team, so the physiatrist referred me to the surgeon. The orthopedic surgeon in turn, trusts the therapist and the physiatrist, and as I get ready to have a surgery this fall on my arm, the Health Plan probably will not argue the neccessity of the surgery. The circle of players in this medical team has proven themselves reputable.

Still with me?

It’s a very important system. Even though nobody really explains this all to you, knowing that this sublte system of trust between specialists is in place is crucial in your success as a self-advocate within this Health Plan.

So here’s how this relates to the fake leg.
My physiatrist also works well with my prosthetist. And both of them work well with the physical therapist…another circle. It’s a good circle. They are an effective team. I’ve checked their results.

I do have the option to break the circle and get a different prosthetist…but it’s a small list of prosthetists that will work with Kaiser. Secondly, if the new prosthetist says the solution is that I need a new $30K leg, he has to give that prescription to my Physiatrist, and then I have to hope my Phsyiatrist will help me get it though the Health Plan so that it is paid for. Authorization might not happen.

Back to the prosthetist.
Why then, does my Physiatrist trust my Prosthetist??

Well, for all my bitching about his bedside manner, and I’ve said this before…
he’s a fucking genius.

Unlike any other prosthetist I have spoken to (an I DID go visit a few others outside the circle, just to see what was out there…even if it did mean paying cash) my prosthetist is the only one I met that was willing to address each amputee individually enough to include making something completely custom to solve unusual problems (and I have some unusual particular fit problems). He will make something custom, even if it means that it doesn’t follow normal logic, conventionality, or “standard procedure.” He's not afraid to experment. He is his own shop, and he doesn't need approval to get creative or think outside the box. Prosthetists working for corporate O & P companies probably hate him.

But I’m not sure my prosthetist has ever worked with someone quite like me. Besides being an advocate and a tart, my demographics are just not the same as the bulk of his practice.
Most prosthetists work primarily with amputees that are low functioning, geriatric, and have diabetes or vascular issues. He does have a few active folks with traumatic amputations that just kinda want to be able to do "life as usual". And he has also had a couple of hard-core athletes. But if you look at the number, high functioning amputees are a smaller slice of pie on the pie chart.

So here I come in, just wanting to do life as normal, sure…but also wanting to dance. I’m not an “athlete” per se…and I am his first dancing amputee…and I honestly believe that I am one of his first patients who really cares about what my prosthesis looks like. I think his older patients keep things under wraps and just wear pants, I think his more average ladies have just written off ever wearing mini-skirts, and his male gold medal winning cyclist dude patients could probably give a rats ass if their colors aren't coordinated. I have a hunch I might be one of his first patients who wants to look pretty.

Prosthetists beware though. You are about to have a new client base. Sadly, there is about to be an influx of young, strong, high-functioning amputees all around you. They are young war veterans. And you all need to start getting ready and willing to understand the differences amputees have in their needs.

In my first meeting with my current prosthetist, he told me outright (verbatim), “Don’t be afraid to tell me if something is shit. I like a good challenge. I will work with you.”

And he has lived up to that. And I don’t expect this recent row with him to be an unresolvable issue. I will tell him it is shit (he already knows though, I spoke with his office yesterday).

To tell you the truth, I would venture to say that his laughing at me was probably nervous laughter…not mocking…nervous because he saw the wrath of TheAmpuT on my face, and there we were, trapped in a little room and he had no place to run and hide.

I’m not making excuses for him, nor his assholery.
No frickin’ way.
Laughing was bullshit and he is to be lectured by me.
There shall be no escape.

He will address and correct each of my issues, and I have total faith that he will, because he has done so before. He will also listen to me.

I am taking it upon myself to educate him about how to treat a person that DOES care about how their prosthesis looks, and hopefully give him some contructive criticism that will help him grow as a medical professional.

If he laughs in my face again, though…
well, then yes. I’m going to need to consider a change in prosthetists. But that means going back to the Physiatrist, asking for a referral to a different prosthetist (one he probably doesn’t have established rapport with), hoping like hell the Health Plan allows me to go and be covered…do you see the loop here? I'll do it if I have to, but I don't want to jump the gun just yet.

I’m more for trying to work it out with this prosthetist. He has been the one and only who was willing to make me something that would at least stay on my leg….and I think I can help him grow with the bedside manner shit. Most geniuses aren’t great conversationalists, ya’ know??

He knows I have a blog.
I have no idea if he reads it.
One of his prosthetist buddies has read it once or twice, but I don’t know if he reads regularly or not (Hi, Ken!...dude, if you are reading, would you call him for me and tell him about the gold tooth thing from yesterday for me?? I'll bet you explain it more nicely than I will.).

Even before reading Jodi’s comment, I was thinking that yesterday's post was one that I should print out and bring to my next appointment with me. An appointment I just made for next Wednesday.
So stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

emotional fodder, round one

So let me give one of these emotional topics a whirl.
I'll start with an easy one.
And let us all cross our fingers and hope it makes some sense.
Or at the very least, maybe it makes no sense, but it clears up the blogging block I'm having.
If it works for all of us, I'll consider continuing....

Last week I wrote something very honest about myself in relation to being an amputee, how I am accessorizing my wardrobe as part of my healing process, the admission that I have a closet full of unworn shoes, and the gift of gorgeous sock yarns.

The very next day after writing that post, I went to my prosthetist's office for a new socket (the socket is the part that fits on your residual limb--in my case, my thigh).

I walked into his office wearing a leg with entirely blue and silver leg hardware, plus pink high tops (hence all of the effort by GoKnitInYourHat/BlackBunnyFibers and StrangeLittleMama to gift me with matching sock yarn).

I took off my prosthesis, the prosthetist took it back into the shop, and then brought it back out to me looking like this:

See the widgets connecting the socket to the actual mechanical leg below???
They used to be silver.
For some reason, they are now gold and green.

Now, I know this seems minor. And I almost feel ridiculous being so picky.
But it doesn't match.
And it foils my plan.
My plan to try to be more comfortable with the way I look.
My plan to create a wardrobe that is prosthetically functional, AND fashionable/coordinated.

I can't always wear exactly the clothes I want, nor the shoes I want...and, least I should be able to get a color scheme going. The offending widgets are throwing a wrench in things!! The blue-green-gold-silver-pink color combination is ugly to me.

But being shown the bad color combo was not what created the big emotional stuff.

The emotional part was that when I told the prosthetist that I didn't like the green and gold parts, he laughed at me.
I know.
How. Very. Professional.

Ya' know....I could pop him in the mouth, take out a front tooth maybe....and then he can see what it's like to explore options like these. He can leave a gap there, he can get a bridge, he can get a gold tooth with a playboy bunny and a diamond on it, or he can get a a tooth with a porcelain veneer dyed to match his other teeth.

When something like this happens, YOU HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT HOW YOU WANT THE WORLD TO SEE YOU.

Maybe it is important for me to remind you all that I'm still in the stage where I feel prettier, less restricted, and more comfortable with myself when I don't wear the fake leg. I still move more fluidly on crutches or a with wheelchair than I do in a prosthesis at this point. I'm in less discomfort. And my shoes match my outfit.

My prosthetist should NOT be giving me another reason to leave the leg at home propped up in the corner. I'm sorry, but his job is not only to make a leg that fits, but also to understand how prosthetics play into the emotional process of each of his patients. He should not be laughing at them for having preferences (especially given how much these things cost...mine is more than what I put down to buy my home. I kid you not).

And his laughter pushed the same button in me as kids laughing at me on the playground through my entire elementary school experience.

I was angry, and I had made my mind up that before I left the appointment, that the parts were going to be changed to something satisfactory to me, even if meant he had to call and order new parts and I had to come back later...but I didn't want to get too stuck on the widget topic, as I hadn't even gotten so far as to put the leg on yet and check out the new socket. So yes...I told him I was pissed, and that it was unacceptable....but I dropped it and moved on to checking fit (which is far more important, honestly). I warned him I'd be back to the widget issue momentarily.

So I don the leg.
Well, okay. It fits.
This is good!
My last prosthetist had made me a beauuutiful leg.

But it didn't fit. It did make a great vase, obviously. But I couldn't walk with because it fell off me as it didn't address my bizarre fit issues.

This new prosthetist has made me something that fits. It is not beautiful, and that is okay. But it's not even ordinary. It's a step below ordinary. It looks like I stepped out into the shed and made it myself with a glue gun and duct tape (actually this new one is better than the last one...but it still reminds me of a crappy attempt at making a homemade mummy costume for Halloween that you gave up on and slapped some tape on).

But it does fit. And I AM able to walk.

Wouldn't y'all think there is some middle ground here though, people?? *sigh*

So back to the appointment. The leg is on and I walk around his office for awhile (basically in my skivvies) so that he can assess the fit and tinker with the alignment (which actually created another debate...because we disagreed on the aligment...his argument being that the alignment was crappy because my muscles were weak...the same muscles that I walked through the door with 27 minutes earlier...I won that battle and the alignment was fixed...but ummm, why I am battling??).

So I'm parading around on the leg okay, and the consesus is that I take the leg home, walk around on it, see if anything is pinching or rubbing or whatever...and then come back in a couple of weeks. He agrees that at that point we will address the ugly colored widgets, and make any minor adjustments to the socket itself if need be.
Fair enough.

So I put my pants on to go.

And that's when I see this:

The lip of the socket on the inside of my thigh is so flared, it looks like I'm packing.
Or have ambiguous genetalia.
Or something.

And to this I get upset again.
And to this he laughs at me again.
And says he'll addresss it later.


So let's see......I get to walk around like this for weeks??
If I wear pants to cover up the ugly color scheme, I get to look like I have a penis!?!
If I wear a skirt instead, to hide my bulge, I get to feel uncomfortable with the widget thing!?!
And I'm being laughed at???

Somehow I completely ran out of self-advocacy juice at that moment.
I barely made it to my car...and when I got there I just sat and sobbed for a moment.

I honestly don't expect my description of this appointment to make sense in writing, but it just wigged me out. I'm not asking my prosthetist for a leg that looks and feels like a real leg and matches the skin tone of my organic leg (and believe me, many amputees do--and if that WAS what I wanted, he should be doing that too!). ALL I WANT IS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH MYSELF. AND I AM NOT. And it is MY decision as to what will make "comfort" happen for me. In my opinion, it is half of the prosthetist's job to understand this fact, and to provide a service that delivers a product that satisfies the customer. Without ridiculing them for their choices in regards to costmetics, or any other need for that matter.

I needed a good cry and a few moments alone to gain the fortitude to set him straight. And you can bet your ass that he will be set straight. My plan was to settle down, call in later that day, tell him to get the parts ASAP, none of this couple of weeks shit, and be prepared to fix the penile flare...sooner, not later.
And that's when I remembered that he was leaving for and O & P convention or something right after our he's been out of the office, and I still have yet to talk to him.

After I left his office that day, I wore the leg, crying...penis...widgets...and the post office and then Costco. Within an hour and half of having the new socket, I developed an open sore on my butt cheek (yes, Sara...girdle time...I know). My prosthesis also kept rotating inward so that I became pigeon-toed.

So now he has to fix the "cosmetic" and the mechanical, too.

Not sure when that will happen...and it's kind of moot because the sore needs to heal up before I can do a ton of heavy walking anyhow.

So. What's the verdict. Onto the next topic........?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

emotional blog fodder?

Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out how to approach blogging. I frequently find myself struggling with what is acceptable to be blogging about, or what translates onto the written page well...and as a result, I get some sort of writers block and post nothing at all.

In terms of blog fodder, being able to share the things in my life that are funny and quirky is a no brainer. And I think that I have moments of artistic creativity that might prove to be an interesting read. But frequently in my life I find myself wading knee deep in some intense (although I believe, interesting) emotional process...and I just can't figure out whether or not it has a place here.

Right now I have so much "knee deep" stuff going on, it doesn't even feel right to be posting the funny quirky stuff. Sure, I have some funny photos, and I could tell you about knitting, and the dance show I saw Saturday night....but it's not an accurate reflection of the person sitting here at the keypad at this moment. And I've never been much of a poser. It's not that the funny-quirky-creative things aren't a part of me,'s just that it feels extremely disingenuine (is that a word?) to not be including the other, more emotional, parts of myself.

The challenge for me in writing about things emotional, is that I can't always get emotions to translate easily onto the written page. It kind of reminds me of how Eskimos have some large number of words to describe "snow".... it's as if I just don't have the right vocabulary sometimes. It also reminds me of my belief that the distance between the head and the heart is "the longest 18 inches." Two points relatively close together in space, but sometimes so very far apart. And so even though I might be in touch with my feelings, turning them into words seems to be a challenge.

Does this make sense??

So I was just about to give one of these emotional topics a whirl for you, but it's in relation to prosthesis...and will make much more sense if illustrated with photos.
Except blogger is being a pain and uploading isn't happening right now.
I'll try again later today...stay tuned ;-)

**quickie note: thanks to all of the commenters who have said hello or come out of lurking!! It's so nice to hear from everyone! Your email addresses don't come along with your comments to me for some I'm not able to quickly reply back (which I'd like to do), unless I start clicking around on your profiles and blogs. I haven't had the time to do that because I've been maxed with extra appointments in the last two weeks (related to the prosthetist issue mentioned above), and I haven't had time to keep up. But hello!!! And thank you!! :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

mail call

I'm going to try to perform some sort of bloggedy-blog-blog-game of catch up over the next couple of days, so I'll start off with a post about all of the cool stuff that's been flowing in-and-out-and-around my house, the mailbox, and the in-box this week.

By exact order of arrival.
Not importance.


A new t-shirt from the previously featured, personal favorite: explodingdog.
Better image here.
Sam, if you ever read my blog...I think you are neato.

Another Flower

Ok, so this is from the "around the house" category. It was on my front porch (last time it was my windshield). I'm pretty sure this is "Juan the Garbage Guy Take 2". I'm not sure if he has a crush or if he's a perv or if he feels sorry for the poor gimpy lady or if he's just simply being a kind soul. Either way, as much as I like flowers, between this and the drive by honkings, it's beginning to creep me out.

Lamb's Pride Worsted. Woohoo!

Except I can't tell you what it's for yet. It's for a superduper secret (birthday gift). And it rounded out this previous purchase.

I'll bet some of you knitters-in-the-know will be able to guess what I'm up to, but please don't leak it as the recipient might read your comments and figure out my little plan. And that's the only way they'd figure it out, 'cuz the recipient isn't a knitter and I've been hiding the pattern. Don't make me delete yer arses.

But DO let me say some things about where this second batch of LPW came from. Because they deserve kudos.
It came from The Yarn Exchange.
These folks rock.
For starters, they stock every color of LPW (and had I known that, I would have ordered from them in the first place). Secondly, I got what appeared to be a personal confirmation (in addition to the automated/generated one) from a person who's email address is "yarngeek". Gotta love that. I placed the order on a Wednesday morning and the yarn arrived that Friday, standard shipping. Gotta love that, too. And then they threw in this freebie little bracelet, which I adore, because I've always wanted the silver version (but can't seem to rationalize buying it for myself), so I'm quite happy to be sportin' the rubber. Thank you!!


A short while back, The Sweater Project Guy posted about some "throwies" he'd made with some buddies and shot up all over town. They are basically little LED lights with magnets. After a few email exchanges, we negotiated a yarn swap in exchange for some throwies that I can attatch to my "various metal parts".

I stole this photo from his blog (sorry...once a pirate, always a pirate). I haven't figured out how to take a night-time photo with them lit up yet. I'm working on it. I think I need to try it again, just at dusk maybe.

My idea is to use these so that people can see me coming in the dark. And I am definitely decking out the wheelchair when I go to the Nine Inch Nails/Bauhaus/Peaches gig in a few weeks. But I'm also forming some ideas about using them in performance. And I've been playing around and found out they stick to certain bits of hardware on my prosthesis, too. Hehehe.

SweaterProjectGuy. You rock. I looooooove them! Thanks for keeping me safe and fashionable.
Yarn and goodies are on the way ;-)
(the internet is so damn cool sometimes)

Oh. By the way. I lost my leg. Not my glasses, man. I'm a little young for needing the biggey print.



Email from my SecretPal

I got a couple of emails from my Secret Pal last week!! (Thank you!!)
The person I have been matched up with to shower with gifts isn't very responsive (nor is she a regular blogger it would seem), and I'm feeling a bit at a loss about how to proceed. It's still early (in fact, even though we had names a week or so ago, the official start was yesterday), so we'll see what happens. But I'm so thankful that my Secret Pal is making the other side of this experience a fun one already.

I still think it kind of sucks (in the best possible way) that she is a spinner and is luring me down the garden path with little tufts of roving though ;-)

Speaking of Tufts
Also new around the house this past week:

I am not going to start a new hobby. I am not going to start a new hobby. I am not going to start a new hobby.

In Through The Out Door (I know, I'm dating myself)
I got busy with some crafty gift stuff this past week.

First, some Mother's Day gifts for MyFK's two Grandma's. Family photos, a current school pic, and some artwork. They came out great.

I also tried my hand with wire and beads, making some stitch markers for friends...

Bad photo, but I'm blurring it on purpose (they are a surprise).

Sock Yarn
The power of the internet never ceases to amaze me.

Two very wonderful women in the world of yarn dyeing (both cyber-acquaintances via the internet/knitting blog connection), offered to dye me some sock yarn.

Not just any sock yarn.

I have been on the prowl for sock yarns with sky blue colors for months now, and haven't had any luck.

Get a load of this, though:

Meet "Albuquerque Sky" by Strange Little Mama.
She even snuck in the pinks to match the high-tops. You are awesome. I cant wait to see how these knit up.

And this would be "TeeHee" by Black Bunny Fibers , aka Carol of Go Knit in Your Hat.
(I still can't get over having fiber named after me) . The yarn just arrived today and it is gorgeous and soft. Yumm!

Ladies. I'm blown away and very full of heartfelt gratitude. It's so great of you to offer...and I don't want to get all mushy about this, but here's something about me I've never written about before on this blog.

Before I lost my leg, I was a shoe harlot.
I mean, seriously.
Not quite an Imelda Marcos level harlot, but definitely a shoe to match my every mood. Believe me when I tell you....I had shoes.

I am no longer able to wear any kind of shoe I want to.
My kind of prosthesis requires my choosing a relatively flat heel height, then staying within 3/8" of that choice.

It's been over 2 years since I lost my leg now.
I still have a closet full of old shoes.
I haven't been able to give them away.
I have a closet full of shoes I will never wear again. It's ridiculous.
And although I'm not all that self concious about having a robotic looking leg, I am very self concious about how I can't seem to "accessorize my new look".
Socks that match my prosthesis are a very big deal to me.
I mean it.
Don't make me cry and shit.

I have to finish up knitting for June birthdays right now, but when I go on tour with Dandelion for 2 weeks at the end of June the sock yarns come with me. I assure you, when I return, you'll be seeing photos of happy, fashionable feet :-)


Stuck with Chucks

Given the aforementioned shoe issue, I can say that The Goddess Of Footwear has at least blessed me with the gift of being able to always sniff out the coolest Chuck Taylors on the planet.

Behold, my new shoes....

A mother's day gift to self (I'll find any excuse).

They have the blues...and the pinks...and they too shall go well with the sock yarns. YAY!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

please stand by

I have so much to post about, it's overwhelming.
I've had gifts and treats flying in and out of my mailbox this week I'd like to share, plus a few oddball experiences, too. Lots of photos to upload, too (which as we know, can take forever).

And I haven't the time to do it right now, even though it's really what I'd prefer to be doing *pout*.

In addition to my standard commitments this week, I have three visits to the prosthetist (I am being fitted for a new socket), I have some appointments with attorneys regarding some legal matters, and I have offered to help Eric (the director/choreographer of Dandelion Dancetheater) with some administrative tasks so he doesn't get buried. All of these things are required, and all are time sensitive.

So I can't blog quite yet.
If I get everything done and I have energy left at the end of today, I will do some posting tonight.

In the meantime--thank you ALL for your comments and emails and the super cool things you have been doing and making for me. Please do not mistake my delay in response as lack of appreciation. It's all been VERY much appreciated!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

self portrait saturday


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Celebrating 25 Years of Physically Integrated Dance

(Axis Dance Company peforming "Decorum")

Stuff Stuff Stuff going on next weekend in Oakland, California kids!
(and it's also going on this weekend in Cleveland, OH with Dancing Wheels....and the weekend of June 3rd in Atlanta, GA with Full Radius Dance)

Three physically integrated dance companies are touring together and hosting events in each of their three home venues.

If you are an arts enthusiast, an dance enthusiast, a dancer, a dancer with disabilities, a dancer without disabilities (that would like to enrich your dance experience trying something new), just plain old curious...hell, whoever you are....then you really should come check this stuff out.

Aside from being a beautiful art form, if you haven't seen it before, physically integrated dance can be a real mind bender.

Here's a little tidbit about my own exposure to physically integrated dance:
I saw Axis peform maybe 15+ years ago (long before having a disability of my own) and it totally changed me. I betcha you never look at a person in a wheelchair the same again. I sure didn't. And my having seen Axis is probably a huge reason why when I woke up in the hospital with a leg missing, it never even occurred to me that I would have to give up dancing. In more recent years, I've been bold enough ask able-bodied members of physically integrated dance companies why they would choose to do this work (when they have the option to dance with a fully able bodied company). Personal reasons aside, the general consensus is that this work is extremely rich and challenging, more so than what is found in an all able-bodied ensemble.

So next weekend, Axis will host a Master Class for only $15 (and that does not mean you need to BE a master, it means it's being taught by one! and in my experience, all levels are welcome at Axis classes, so dont be intimidated)...and there will be a performance by all three companies Saturday night. I'm particularly excited about this showing, not just because I get to see two dance companies I haven't seen before, but because they are also presenting "Pheonix Dance", a short film about the late Homer Avila (he died a few weeks after my accident...and I'm so bummed I never got to see him or write to him...he's my hero).

So come check it out.
And if you do, look for me and say hi...I'll be there in the audience for the show, and I'm hoping I'm able to attend the class (waiting to see if I can duck out of Dandelion rehearsals early that day).

Here's the full details:

Saturday, May 20, 2006 @ 8pmHosted by AXIS Dance Company.
Tickets are $20 General, $16 Seniors/Disabled, and $10 for youth under 18 years of age.The festival will feature a performance of “Terre Brune” (2004) choreographed for AXIS by Sonya Delwaide with an original music score by former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud; the world premiere of Dancing Wheels' "Echoes of an Angel" choreographed by Rebecca Darling of Pilobolus; and “Both Sides Now” a premiere work by Artistic Director Douglas Scott of Full Radius Dance. Also included on the program will be "Phoenix Dance", a new film by Karina Epperlein. Winner of a SF International Film Festival Golden Gate award, this film chronicles the life and artistry of dancer Homer Avila who had been dancing with Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones, Mark Morris and Momix among others prior to losing his right leg and then his life to cancer. "Phoenix Dance" is a heroic journey from loss to faith, trust & beauty.
To order tickets call the box office at: (925) 798-1300
For more information call (510) 625-0110
(or go to the Axis website to order tickets online)

Master Class
Physically Integrated Dance Technique & Choreography -
taught by members of Cleveland's Dancing Wheels & Full Radius DanceFriday, May 19th, 2:00 - 5:00pmMalonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice Street, Oakland, CA, Studio E
Dancing Wheels will provide an overview for students on the basis of its technique, which is a traditional classical/modern technique that is adaptable to wheelchair dancers or enthusiast who are interested in this specific integration. The class begins with a warm up and moves to center and across the floor combinations. Specific partnering techniques are discussed, demonstrated and put into practice. The class is open to students who are 14 years and up with and without physical disabilities. Experienced dancers, dance enthusiasts and those interested in the therapeutic aspects are welcome. For more information on Dancing Wheels visit
Full Radius Dance will lead participants in a choreography workshop centered around the creation of a short dance work utilizing the principles established in Dancing Wheels' technique class, as well as through the use of improvisational movement. This workshop will focus on adaptation of movement, body awareness, physical and emotional relationships with other dancers, and musical and rhythmic awareness. For more information on Full Radius Dance, please visit
Class Fee is $15. Limit 30 per class. To register, please call (510) 625-0110, or email


Also, save the date!
Physically Integrated Dance Summer Intensive 2006
August 26th - September 1st

I'll post more about that soon.

Monday, May 08, 2006

west valley alpaca + knitting knotes

I have to say, I was getting a little envious reading the blogs of folks headed for Maryland Sheep & Wool. I haven't been able to go to either my local SnB or my regular knitting class in awhile, and I've really missed talkin' fiber with "my people", you know?

So I was really glad when the new moderator of our SnB group (Miss Erin--Mama-to-Be, and Lady of the Baby Blankie), posted to the group that there was a little shin-dig going on up at West Valley Alpacas this weekend. She ended up carpooling a load of us up there for the day.

We got to tour the little ranch,

watch some shearing,

and see some spinning.

I watched the spinning for awhile and asked a lot of questions. There was a volunteer that was teaching another woman nearby how to work with a spindle. She kept asking me if I wanted to try, and I kept refusing. As I've stated on this blog already, I have a feeling I'm going to fall in love with spinning if I try it...and I'm fairly obsessive when it comes to hobbies. And me and my wallet don't need another obsessive hobby.

(* blank space*)

What I had planned on inserting up above in that blank space for you, is a photo of my not doing too shabby with my first attempt at a drop spindle.

I asked the lady spinning across from me to take a photo of me, because I thought you all could use a laugh. I figured I must have had a hilarious look on my face of excitement mixed with dread.
It turns out (go figure)...
Spinning is Fun.

(who the hell knows where the photo went...the lady snapping the photo looked at the digital screen and said she got it, but I failed to double check)

So the volunteer lady asked me why I don't want to spin...and I explained because I know if I start with a spindle I'll eventually (read as "quickly") get myself sucked into wanting a wheel, and what I like about yarn and all things knitting is it's portability. She of course told me a story about a woman in South America she heard of that had a wheel in her barn but never used it because she was more productive with her spindle. She could take it everywhere she went, tending sheep and children, yadda yadda.

So I flee the spinning area and make for the store, at which point Erin is quick to point me towards the ever so portable Ashford Joy, which I could easily carry on my back if the house were burning down. She even did a little demo.

I tried to spin on it, and I'd get the wheel going the right direction but then it would spin backwards, which actually made me very happy because....see? Spinning wheels aren't for me. But then the saleswoman stopped me later to tell me that it was probably doing funny things as so many folks had been tinkering with it all day (what an enabler). She even pointed out that I'd save $$ because I would only need a single treadle (takes two working feet to work a double...hahaha).

She also showed me where the spindles were, of course, but I decided to ingnore her and just made way for the yarn instead.

A picked up a couple of skeins of lace weight alpaca (a total of 874 yds for $ can you beat that?), and a couple of scarf patterns, one of them Estonian Lace.

Here's the kicker for the day, though.
As we were leaving, they were doing a raffle for a door prize good for a $10 purchase in the store.
Guess who won.
C'mon guess.
And I'd already bought and paid for what I wanted.

So don't laugh when you see what I picked out:

I know. Shut up.

(for those who aren't into the fiber...that would a spindle)

Next event at West Valley Alpacas: Saturday, October 7th, 2006 10a-4p
Fiber on the Farm, free admission, but 1-hour classes in spinning, knitting, weaving, needle felting and crochet for $10 each.

Knit Knotes:

For weeks now, it's been all about the socks.

I've been trying to figure out how to blog about it, because the bottom line is that it is hilarious to me that I somehow ended up with three separeate pairs of socks in progress at the same time, each pair with only one sock finished....but it probably won't be all that hilarious to you. Every time I try to write about it, it either ends up being way too long or not as funny as I seem to find the situation to be. The whole saga is one of those, "I guess you had to be there," kind of moments.

I'll just do my best with some pics.

Here's the three singles.

From L to R: socks for me, socks for Karen, socks for MyFK.

Yes, all three pairs are out of the same kind of yarn (Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch).
Yes, they are all knit on the same needles (US#2 Bryspuns plastic new super duper favorite thing, which is a surprise to me as I thought I was married to wooden Lantern Moon dpn's).
Yes, I think it is silly that at this point I had knit three socks, but hadn't even completed a single pair.

I finally finished Karen's pair last week....

And I just finished MyFK's pair yesterday on the road trip.....

Now I'm trying to figure out if I should get my second sock on the needles (out of all three pairs, my single was the first one finished, but mine will end up being the last pair done), or if I should be focusing a bit more on the birthday knitting (which is probably the case).

Also on the needles right now is Branching Out in Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool:

MyFK's Spiral Socks, stalled right about here (I can't stand this yarn, sorry KnitPicks):

And then there's the sad and lonely MaybeByThe2008SummerOlympics? Shawl (which I really should get done soon, as it would come in handy for keeping warm backstage during the performances this summer):

The other stuff on the needles are things I can't talk about because they are gifts. And I've got some crafty stuff I'm working on, too...but also gifts.
(edited to add: whoopsie...forgot about the Mason-Dixon washcloths...the little knit-along project between MyFk-n-me. To see, go here.)

I can see that I am in a bit of a sock and scarf rut. I'm milling around the idea of starting my second sweater. My first sweater was "Under the Hoodie" from Stitch 'N Bitch (and I just realize that I never posted a picuture of it when I finished it! I didnt have a digital camera then. I'll do that soon). It fits me great, lands in all the right places, but it's not shapeluy--it's a drop shoulder sweatshirt, basically. I'm wanting to try my hand at something more fitted.

I'm considering knitting "Bombshell" from the Big Girl Knits book. I have some gorgeous Rowan wool left in my stash that I'd love to use, but I don't think I have quite enough of one color. I'm toying with the idea of knitting the body in a deep navy blue, and then knitting the neckband and the ribbing at the waist in a soft light grey. I'm not so sure about where that will pull they eyes when it's on me though. My hope is that it would bring the eyes towards my rack. I'm pretty sure the grey at the neckline will do that, and also make my waistline look smaller than it really is. I'm not as sure about whether or not doing a grey waistband would actually create the desired illusion, though. I'm not much for understanding garment design and how color plays into things. But if I can't use the grey through the waist, I'll probably not have enough of the navy to finish the damn thing. So like I said, I'm mulling it over.
Any thoughts?

Friday, May 05, 2006

say it with pictures

Right after I wrote the last post (the part about "The Necklace" and trying to find the goodness in my heart), I went out to the Volvo to hang the necklace from the rearview mirror.
Look what was on my car:

It made me go "awwwww!" at first....

but to tell you the truth, I think that this is the handiwork of Juan the Garbage Collector, and I think that he has a crush on me (he drives by and honks even when it isn't my collection day...a little wierd, huh...should I be worried?).

I went to the Japanese Dollar Store...which actually, by the way, is called:

different things!

Here are the remaining bags, buck fifty each, and I'm sorry...although the remaining bags themselves are quite handy, the really funny coveted black ones are all gone. I'm willing to send them out if y'all want them though. Just pop me an email!

The tan says: We spent hours in the garden. That sounds romantic. Who loves a garden, love a greenhouse too.
The burgundy says: This is a delightful bouquet.
The navy says: The gift of flowers express "pleasant thoughts" and "greetings".

I've been using the little black one and I love it...except I realized that I didn't like having my "tools" just floating at the bottom tangling up in the skein, and possibly falling out as I shoved the little bag inside the big dance bag or whatever.
So while at the dollar store, I looked for...different things!

I picked up this little zippered pouch for a buck.
And it has engrish.

I have a hunch you guys are going to want some of those, too...huh. Hahaha. They came in red, black, and if I remember correctly, yellow (I would have taken a photo of the pile to remind myself, but by that point the store owners were looking at me like I was a nut).

So tell me what you want, and I'll try to do it.
If a kazillion of you ask and it starts breaking my piggy bank and I have to eat noodle soup for more than I week, well, I'll let you know *giggle*. But I think I'm good ;-)

Best yet...I got some photos of dance rehearsal today.

Eric decided he wanted to choreograph this one-legged dance he wants me to perform. Now this approach is new to me. So far in my disablity dance career, the choreography is shown to me first and then I, or we, figure out how to adapt it for my own physicality. But this time it was the other way around. Eric wanted to put together a little one legged jig.

He started to work with me alone, off to the side, and realized that he wasn't sure how to figure out how to show me what he wanted me to do because his own leg was in the way.

So he tied his leg back with his belt.

And then everyone else started messing with it.

And the next thing you know, it's developing into a peice. A piece that involves moves that are totally not found in my bellydance vocabulary. It kind of looks like a mixture of yoga and breakdancing.

Add rap music and you could call it Gimp-Hop.

It was a wonderful treat for me to have movement tailored to fit my own body...even though it is so acrobatic it's kicking my ass. And it was incredibly validating to watch the other dancers trying to figure out life on one leg. A few times Eric went to stand up and fell over because he forgot it wasn't there anymore (been there, done that). It was incredibly validating to hear dancers commenting on how tired they were getting, how sore their working leg was getting, and how hard it was to figure out how to move.

Not that I like seeing my friends all tortured and shit. Well, okay...I guess I've just recently copped to the fact of enjoying watching people have to work through stuff.

But seriously. It was just validating.
I don't get that every day.

Walk a mile in my shoe.

secret pal 8...the questionaire

Welllp, a few weeks back, I signed up for Secret Pal 8.
It's my first time doing anything like this. I'm really looking forward to it to giving the swap thing a whirl ;-)

Here's the questionaire I'm supposed to leave somewhere obvious for my buddy!

Hi, Secret Pal!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I'm not a big fan of acrylic, but I am not opposed to man-made fibers. I'm cool with novelty yarns and blends, but as a general rule I prefer natural fibers. I'm pretty new to using cotton, but enjoying it...and fibers I have not tried yet, but would like to, are soy silk, linen, and hemp. If I'm knitting for TheMIG, I avoid silk or silk blends as he's a vegetarian and will not wear any products that harm an animal (and yes, they kill the silkworm to get the silk). But I like it.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Oddly enough, they are always put back in the original packaging they came in...and they are all together in one basket. Completely organized. Totally unlike the rest of my house.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Detailed description of how I started knitting, blogged about here. I'd consider myself an intermediate knitter.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Nope. But thanks to beanmama, I recently catalogued all of my knitting books here.
I've had my eye on "Handknit Holidays" (Falick) for awhile, the Elizabeth Zimmerman books to complete my library, and "A History of Hand Knitting" (Rutt).

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I typically don't wear or use synthetic perfumes. Not that I mind them, I just tend to be drawn towards essential oils. I occasionally wear amber, which is actually a resin, and sometimes a vanilla/sandlewood essential oil.
With scents for the home, I usually opt for any type of citrus or "fresh" kind of thing (tangerine, grapefruit, "ocean breeze", "fresh linen", etc). Also like roses, freesias, jasmine...but a word of warning: I really really cannot stand lavender.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Sweet tooth?? It's more than just a tooth.
I like almost all candy, but I love anything thing chocolate.
Preference to dark chocolate. But I've never met a chocolate I didn't like.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I dont have much time for other crafts right now. I don't spin, but I've been considerring trying my hand with a drop spindle. Once I get into something I get fairly obsessed, though...and I know a wheel wouldn't be too far off in my future once I got started. I can't afford to get into that right now, nor do I have the space in my postage stamp size home for a wheel and a pile of fiber. But the drop spindle could be something that could work for me, provided I can control myself (yah, right).
Aside from crafts, I'm a big time foodie who is seriously into cooking gadgets, and I'm a dancer.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My favorite band is Radiohead.
My cd collection is eclectic. I've got everything from Shawn Colvin to Dead Can Dance, Diana Krall to Nine Inch Nails, Dire Straits to The Crystal Method.
The radio stations I listen to most often play Indie Rock, Pop Rock and Classic Rock. I also listen to world music on a local public radio show.
Music just kinda has to "move me" in some way...emotionally, or physically. Gotta dance.
Yes, my computer can play MP3's.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
My favorite color in general is a deep sky blue. In terms of clothing, I have been deemed a "winter" (in the color family/season thing), and I primarily wear jewel-tones. I only wear pastels or dusty colors if I'm trying to convince someone that I'm sick. I really despise butt-brown/tan. In the past year I've developed a fancy for wearing lime green and some pinks, separately and together...and both of those used to be off my list.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Single mom with an 8-year old son living with me...two dogs (Roxy & Lily--sisters), a cat (Tramp..he's the brother of the recently and sadly missing Lady), and a gecko (Flash).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves, I love hats (and when I knit hats, I like 'em silly). I don't wear full gloves that often (because of the crutches and wheelchair) but do wear fingerless gloves. I'm not a fan of the traditional poncho (more of a capelet/wrap/shawl kind of gal).

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

13. What are you knitting right now?

And a shawl.
And a lace scarf.
And a some secret birthday gifts I can't mention here.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes, but I've never been given a knitted gift.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
My needle collection is pretty damn full, so please don't send more....unless they are unique in some way...but to answer the question, I try to match the project and the fiber I'm working with to the type of needle.
I most often knit with circular needles (or for socks, double pointed needles).
I'm actually not a huge fan of bamboo (not because of the bamboo itelf, but because the bamboo circs I've tried all have had joins that aren't very smooth). I own a set of Denise Interchangeable Needles (plastic). I have Addi Turbos in pairs from size 1-4. I have dpn's for socks in wood (Lantern Moon & Brittany) and plastic (Bryspun). I also have a few pairs of vintage aluminum straights, mostly just for looking at ;-)

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How did you learn to knit?
From a kids knitting book I bought from a toy store in Solvang when I was 7.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
February 2006. The cursed shawl for the Knitting Olympics.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
I'm a big fan of birthdays....but I'm horrible at keeping track of them. I'm working on that.
I'm not a hardcore practicing pagan, but usually do something to honor the changes of the seasons (solstices/equinoxes). Holidays have gotten a bit too commercialized for me.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
I collect whistles. Toy whistles.
And when people go on vacation to places that sound interesting to me, I ask them to bring me back a rock.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I'm about ready to start looking at a book or two about sweater design. I think I have enough knowledge at this point to just start winging it and customizing my own stuff.
For books on my want list, I answered that in Question 4.
I do not subscribe to any magazines, but I do buy Interweave and Vogue pretty much every time they come out.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Next on my list is felting.
But the big thing I need to learn next is how to make a fitted garment. I've made only one sweater..and it FITS (really well, actually), but it is not FITTED. It was a drop shoulder hoodie. I'm now ready to make something more shaped.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Size US-8 shoe, foot length=9-1/2", circumference at ball of foot=8-1/4", narrowest part of ankle= 8-1/2"
And I only have one while I do need two socks for when I wear my prosthesis, when I'm lounging around the house in socks or slippers, I only wear one.
A little odd. But whatcha gonna do :-)
Just thought I'd mention it because giving me felted slippers (well more than one of them) would be a complete waste.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
February 4th....and I know they didn't ask, but next year I'll be the big Four-Oh.

Looking forward to "meeting" you...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

ohhhhhh yahhhhh...that's why I do this.

Last night's performance went well. I had a really good time. I got to see work by people I've heard about but have never seen before. There were so many other performers and such a great backstage area that I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, too.

Most importantly, dancing last night answered for me the big distressing question of the day (ok well, yesterday), "why perform?"

At the end of the night, I was loading my wheelchair into the car, and these two ladies were getting into their car next to me. They were maybe 65+ and 75+....and the younger of the two stopped to talk to me. She just loved the Anicca piece Eric showed (that I danced in). She said that the whole evening of dance last night was wonderful, but that it was Eric's piece that would stay with her forever. She said that there were many images from the piece that were already burning their way into her brain and she was sure that these images would stay with her for a very long time. I explained that I could relate, because when I first saw Eric's work with NightMarsh in 2004, it haunted me for so long that I wrote him about it, and that's pretty much how I've ended up being part of his new work.

So silly me. That's right. I forgot.
I forgot why I perform.
I forgot about what art does to me.
When I see other people's art...when other people create often forces me to think. Sometimes in my witnessing art, I am challenged to grow.
Art has an affect on me.

And I love being able to give that back and be a part of the cycle.
Partially just for the sake of giving something back.
Partially for the "emotional twister" game I discussed here the other day.
I'm intrigued by how we all play off of each other in this little game of life.

I was very glad to be reminded of this...because driving over to the University last night, I was feeling exactly the opposite. I having one of those "what the hell is it all for, are we all just rats in a maze, then we die?" kind of moments.

Ok. Enough of that.
We have important things to talk about.
Let's talk about those little Engrish knitting bags ;-)

For starters, I had no idea y'all would like them so much. You guy are neat. Yay!

I'm sorry to report that there were only two of the black "mind goes to seed" bags at the Japanese Dollar Store. I bought both with the plan that I'd give the second one away to the first person who admired mine (there is a story behind that plan, it will follow). That first person was Jodi, so once I figure out where to send it, off it goes.

There was a bunch of the tan ones about romance, and there was a pile of burgundy and navy-blue ones. I can't remember what they said, though. I don't recall them being nearly as funny as the first two, but I'm driving past there today and will stop and snap a few photos. If you guys want them, I'll get them. My pleasure. (I just had this hilarious image, like a commercial for jeans or something, a slow motion shot of a row of knitters all walking down the middle of the street laughing and knitting with their little bags on their wrists. Man, it's way too early in the morning for me to be blogging).

The Necklace.
(an essay on the fly, so please excuse any lack of editing)

I've had this necklace for a very long time. I'm guessing about 16 years or so.
It was given to me by a complete stranger, a man I met once briefly, and then never saw again.

I used to sometimes visit a church called Glide Memorial. It's in this interesting neighborhood in San Francisco. It's kind of right between Union Square (high end shopping destination and theater distrcit) and the Tenderloin (seedy neighborhood, heavy on the sex industry and the homeless ).

I don't know if I can paint an accurate picture of Glide for you or not, but let me start by saying that it is a spirtual place, it is a religious place, and its walls exclude no one. On any Sunday I could sit down in a pew and have a woman in a business suit to my left, and a homeless person to my right. There was every color person and nationality you can imagine there, and every sexual orientation, as well. I don't belong to the Christian faith, but I've never felt out of place there. Instead of crosses on the wall and bibles in the pews, there were inspirational banners flying. When services would start, the most rockin' choir you can imagine would come out, and the vibrational energy of the whole room would make me feel like a human tuning fork, and I'd almost always get teared up.

Anyhow, one day there was this beautiful man...I'll never forget him. He was wearing this sort of hemp like shirt and a safari hat. He was there with his partner....they were in the row to my left and across an aisle...and they were talking with friends about their recent trip to Africa (eavesdropping, I was). Our paths crossed in the aisle at some point, and I stopped him to comment on his necklace. It was a braid of leather with cowry shells hanging off it, and it looked so amazing with his dark skin and his ensemble. I asked him if I could look at the necklace closer to see how the shells were mounted onto the leather...and he took it off and let me look at it, while telling me about where in Africa he'd picked it up, and about how much he loved it because of all the things it reminded him of. It was a beautiful necklace with a beautiful story.

About mid-way through the service....coming down the aisle towards me, handed from person to person, was a package. It was wrapped in tissue paper that had an old weathered map printed on it, and it was tied with a braid of green cord (I still have the wrap in a specail box). I peered down the aisle to figure out who the package was being passed to, and the man with the necklace was signaling that it was for me. I opened it up, and it was his necklace...and he mimed that I should put it on.

After the services I said, "I can't keep this! This is special to you!"

And he said, "Yes, you can. You see, I loved it so much, that when I bought it, I bought two...and I made a plan that the first person that admired it would get the second necklace. You were the first person who admired it. And I held back from giving it to you. I think somewhere in my head I had planned all along that it would be one of my friends that would admire it, and that it would be some kind of special symbol between us...that as time would go by, I would see my friend wearing the necklace and it would mean something to me. But my rule to myself was to give it to the first person, and I realize now that by not giving it to you, a complete totally takes away the reason I bought it. It was meant to be something I would give. It's not supposed to be a mirror that I can see my generosity and happiness reflected back at me."

I love this necklace. Not because of the way it looks, but for what it stands for. I only think I've worn it just a few times, but it has hung from the rearview mirror of every car I've driven since it was given to me. I wanted to be sure to see it every day as a reminder to be a one who gives and spreads love.

But the last few years it has hung from the rearview of a car I dont drive anymore. My dead '71 VW Bus with the pop-top that sits lonely backed into my driveway. The one that needs a new engine so it sits there being a storage unit for my camping gear. The one I'll never be able to drive again if I do get her fixed, because I can't drive a car with a clutch now that I only have one leg.

I see the necklace out the corner of my eye every once in awhile as I park the Volvo.
And recently it's been haunting me.

A few weeks back, my best friend asked me for help. Big help. Daily help with her kid until the end of the school year. A big commitment. A commitment of time. And in this age of high gas prices, a commitment of finances.

In trying to decide whether or not I could accept the responsibility or not, I was talking it out with another friend, and I acutally heard myself say, "Well, it's not like I can just do this out of the goodness of my own heart or something...."

And I was stunned.

I could not believe I was actually saying that.

My best friend needed help, and I can't help out of the goodness of my own heart???
My best friend who lied and said she was my sister so she could get into the ICU so that I wouldn't be alone when my family left to get some rest?
My best friend who has supported me through thick and thin (and we're talkin' both viscous and watery here) and through all kinds of joys and sorrows?
My best friend who was with me while I gave birth to my son?
My best friend of 12 years??

And if I wont do something out of the goodness of my heart for my best friend, how on earth must I be treating everyone else??!

I've been thinking about this for weeks.

And I've been trying to make slow and very concious choices to give instead of being greedy with my...well, with my everything. I mean, for awhile there, after the accident, "hoarding myself to myself" so I could harness that energy and use it to heal seemed important.
And legitimate.

But I'm still doing it.
Like some paranoid fight or flight mechanism.

"fear of lack"

I dont want to live this way.

So when I fell in love with the little Engrish knitting bag, I bought two.
Small thing. Big thing.
And one I hadn't planned on writing about...I just kinda wanted to mail it out quietly. This is not about me tooting my horn here. This is not about seeking a mirror for my generosity, either.
So shhhhh about my giving of dollar store knitting bags. I'm not sharing bags, I'm sharing a message.

It's not often I get to spread the good word.
And it is a good word, I think.

And today I've taken the necklace out of The Bus so that it can hang in the Volvo.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

yesterday sucked

(today's t-shirt brought to you by explodingdog)

I spent most of yesterday trying to avoid an emotional entanglement with the Love of my Life…and failing miserably.
It was a shocker to discover that while I’ve been thinking that things have been going not just smooth but exceptionally wonderful…that meanwhile, my Beloved is feeling "...un-special, un-appreciated, and not taken seriously...".
I am just realizing this morning that my attempts to postpone this discussion until after the show tonight actually reinforces that.
I am doing a bad job :-(

After school, MyFK had a friend over and it was the playdate from hell. Lots of bickering about what activity to do that both would enjoy (people…why can’t we just all get along??).

Another highlight of my day was a trip to the orthopedic surgeon to discuss yet another surgery. Some of the hardware in my forearm has to be removed. It is irritating tendons and nerves.
But this will mean six weeks (at least) of healing, and I shudder to imagine what six weeks with no knitting will look like. Break out the incencse--I'd better start that meditation practice now, gang…because if there is no knitting, there will be no peace.
Not to be ignored is the notion that this surgery has potential risk of further damage to the arm.
I’m trying to not even go there.

Then I got the call from Axis Dance Company that I’m not exactly what they’re looking for at this time. They did say it was a very difficult decision, and I was strongly encouraged to stay in touch.
I’m dying to know who got the part(s)…but was told that an email would be sent once they made all the calls. I’m crossing my fingers for everyone (I met so many totally cool people), but in addition to my fingers crossed, I’ve also got my toes crossed for Wheelchair Dancer (hope it counts that I only have five toes).
It was funny timing when I got the call. “Real time” folks have been asking me how the audition went, and although I’ve been answering those questions individually, I hadn’t blogged about it at all. I somehow was feeling that writing about it would jinx me. The funny timing part was that I was literally sitting down at the computer and writing about it when the call came in.
I wasn’t prepared for my wave of disappointment.
But I was already pretty raw from the points listed above.

My day ended with a bang at the tech rehearsal for tonight’s show. My timing was off. I was unfocused and rushing things and I couldn’t sink into the work to merge with my partner (the segment I’m in tomorrow night is a duet).
Historically (for me), a shitty rehearsal means a great performance...and vice-versa…a good rehearsal means that I gave it all up and the actual performance will suck. So I’m probably ok for tonight’s show.

But not doing well in rehearsal last night just put the icing on the Man-Do-I-Suck-Or-What? cake.

I had hoped I’d wake up today all fresh and shiny and new, but…
No such luck.
I actually woke into a dream-like sleepy-state wondering why on earth am I performing dance anyhow? I dance because it is part of my creative and emotional process...but I can achieve that dancing in my living room. Why do I need to perfom?? Performing for people turns it into entertainment. Entertainment for "you". I woke feeling like nobody really "gets it" anyhow, so why the fuck bother? This isn't about me pleasing you with a really good show, is it? Why do artists create art?? Why do artists and dancers and musicians and and and...why do we have this need to show our work and be seen?
Too big of a question before coffee.
And now that I've had a cup, it still feels too big.

MyFK asked me why I was so bummed this morning, and rather than give him full disclosure, I figured it would be good parenting to at least share my feelings about the audition and not getting the part.

His response was, “You know mom, you can’t get everything you want. If you did, you’d be spoiled.”

Yeah. Right, kid.