Saturday, June 03, 2006

(probably too much) catching up

A little Saturday night game of catch-up for you, including stuff about knitting, being the spotted blogger, Secret Pal 8, rheeming the prosthetist, and a few comments on comments.

Knitting Knotes
June birthday knitting. *sigh* (Hey! Didn't I ask y'all to stop me before I made the mistake of setting another knitting deadline again??!!)

Well, it's happened again. Knitting for (early) June birthdays proves, once more:
I can't knit on a deadline.
Honestly, now. How many times do I have to repeat this lesson before I get it through my thick skull???

I have three Gemenis in my immediate circle, but I was really only knitting for one of them...TheMIG. All through May, there I am, working on two projects for him (except for when he's around..and then I'd be stuck tinkering with a scarf for myself, a washcloth project with MyFK, or the little gift for my Secret Pal, which is actually done--Yay).

The first of the two birthday items for TheMIG was a pair of socks (I know, getting socks from me would be some sort of surprise. Shut up.). Anyhow, I had one sock finished, except for the grafting of the toe...and I had plenty of time to get the second sock done. I had an entire kid free, no commitments, 3-day weekend left ahead of me. Completing the pair on time would normally not be a problem at all. Except that I was spending almost the entire 3-days with TheMIG, and I didn't want him to see me working on the socks. And of course it took me until mid-day on Sunday to recognize this as a conflict.

And so all I have to show for the birthday knitting at this point is a lesson.

Knitting Rule #42
These two things do NOT go together:
* you want the knitted gift to be a surprise
* the free time you have avaialable to knit the surprise gift is spent hanging out with the intended recipient

Ok. So I finally just gave in and let go of the surprise part, and showed him the darn sock so I could knit the second one in front of him.

Tadaaaaaaaaaaaa! See?? Finished sock. Second one on the needles and cuff done within minutes.

Since the surprise aspect was blown, that's when I decided I might as well at least have him try the first sock on and feel the fuzzy lovey goodness, right? Remind him how grand it is to have socks that are a custom fit.

And it DID fit. Once he managed to WRESTLE it on, sure. It fit great. (*ahem*)

I don't know what went wrong. The circumference of the leg seems perfect, and if I went any looser would probably sag. But the instep seems tight. Not once it's on, but just while he's pulling it on. Which he says he can live with, but it was really hard to watch him almost breaking a sweat putting on socks (I'm cracking up over here just thinking about it).

Oh. And the length of the foot was short, too LOL. So at the very least, I need to rip back and add some length (I'm thankful I hadn't seamed it up yet, although I did cut the yarn and now I might have striping issues to contend with now that I've begun the 2nd sock). But to tell you the truth, the more I think about it, the more I think I need to rip back farther and redo the gusset decreases and make it more gradual so the instep is wider. Or something. I dunno.
Back to the drawing board.
Or the frog pond or whatever.

The second gift I'd begun for TheMIG is still a surprise (and this one I want to remain a surprise), so once I put his socks down on Sunday I couldn't pick up this other project last weekend either because we were hanging out is also unfinished. It's just a wee little something, and a very quick knit, but it includes intarsia, and I'm not sure what is going on with me and my aching hands, but I'm having alllll kind of tension issues where the colors change. I'm on my 4th pass with this project. I hope to have another crack at it next week.

So by the end of last weekend, I just gave up.
I put down the birthday knitting and instead whipped out an alien washcloth, inspired by StrangeLittleMama, pattern found here. Nothing like a little instant gratifaction.

Aside from the birthday knitting, my other projects (and soon to be projects) are all about everything blue, and I'm not even part of Project Spectrum.

I'm about halfway done with Branching-Out, which I am thoroughly enjoying working on, but I can only work on it when I really have time to pay a bit more attention than I've had lately. It's not all that difficult, but it's not mindless...and I need more zen knitting in my life right now.

The rest of the blue goodness in my life went from skeins and into balls (I've got blue balls!! bwahahaha!!). These twins are now ready to head out on tour with me in a couple of weeks.

I also bought this over the long weekend....

Gems Pearl in Carribean Blue...which at some point will be a third pair of socks knit to match my prosthesis. I am far more excited about the hand dyed yarns I've been gifted than this stuff, so it will sit in stash for awhile I'm sure, but I've been keeping my eye out for a solid sky-blue yarn so that I can also have one pair of socks to match the prosthesis in some sort of lacy pattern stitch.

10 seconds of fame
Speaking of that Pearl sock for it was the very first time I was spotted by someone because they have read my blog. Not like I don't stick out or anything. I mean, just how many one-legged ladies are you going to find in a local yarn store fondling sky blue sock yarn?? *giggle *

I bought it a store I rarely get a chance to pop into...the (not-so-local) Local Yarn Store called Yarn! (I have been told by Alameda knitters that is major-bad-juju to leave off that explanation point). I suppose the store really isn’t all that far from me as far as the crow flies, but there is a huge traffic zone referred to as "TheMaze" between it and my home, and that’s enough to keep me from that neck of the woods during business hours. But whenever I'm in the neighborhood, I always make some excuse to swing by. It's a lovely little shop, and there is something about the colors of the yarns in there that just harmonically true with my own personal inner palette.

There I am in the shop drooling over the sock yarn, when the owner says, “Umm, do you keep a blog??” It was pretty funny. We've spoken briefly before, basically just shop-owner to customer, but I suddenly became very aware that she could potentially know quite a bit about me! It actually took me a little off-guard, like my anonymity was blown or something, and I found myself kind of doing a mental rewind and trying to remember what it is that I've written lately! It was very nice to talk to her, actually...and it actually opened the door to a pleasant little chat. Neato. Had never had that happen before. Got me wondering what it must have been like when all those bloggers got together at Maryland Sheep and Wool!! Strangers, but not strangers??


Secret Pal
If I had a clue at all about how to geek my way into setting up one of those little poll thingies on my blog, I would querie:
If you were my new Secret Pal, and were new to reading my blog, and were only reading my blog because you have been assigned to me as my knitting buddy....would you have read the last few instense posts and then run screaming for the hills?? O Yes or O No

Whoops. Sorry, chica!!!!!!!!! (I haven't heard from her in awhile) I swear, I really am a nice person (albeit intense and a tad bit of a freak). And I swear, even though I haven't written about it much lately, I actually do knit, too LOL.

As for the pal that I have been matched with to spoil...I still haven't quite figured her out yet. She only started blogging a few weeks ago, and she only started because blogging is a requirement to participate in SP8. She doesn't do the required "must blog weekly" thing, so I don't have a whole lot to go on. I actually get the feeling that she isn't all that interested in the "pal" part of any of this, but is mostly interested in the swapping of gifts. Which is fine. I can do that. The first package is going in the mail before I head out on tour. But I'm this how it has been for other secret pal participants in past rounds? Is it just about the stuff? Are my expectations more getting to know the person off track?

I think in signing up for SP8 I had some silly expectation that this would be so much better than my childhood attempts to have a PenPal. When I was about 8 years old or so, I had signed up to be matched with a pen pal through some kids magazine (was it Highlights? Remember that one??!). I remember sending off a letter and daydreaming about what it was going to to be like when I got a letter back. Checking the mailbox. And waiting. And waiting.
I don't think a letter ever came, actually.
Guess that didn't really work out, either LOL.

The Return Visit to the Prosthestitute
I had called the week before my appointment to see if I could explain myself and my feeeeeeeelings prior to the actual appointment. He wasn't there, so the receptionist took a message.
When I arrived for my appointment, the receptionist said, "Did he ever call you back?"
"No. He knows I'm not happy and probably is avoiding me...but there's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, this time."
"Well, to tell you the truth, I think he's a bit intimidated."
I said, "Good."

He walked in, and I started off by listing the three "mechanical" issues that needed to be adjusted. The abrasive spot ripping up my poor little bumm, the adjustable buckle seemed wonky and wouldn't tighten (that was was a user being the user), and the anti-rotation device mounted on the inside the socket needed to be tweaked.

He mistakenly seemed relieved those were my only complaints.

And then I reminded him there were two "cosmetic" issues.
The crotch o'bulging ambiguous genetalia.
And the widgets.

To which I told him he needed to sit down an listen because I had a few things to say.

I know him well enough that I knew his response would be to roll his eyes (not at me, but more in the "I don't want to do this, and here we go!" fashion), so he was mid-eye roll when I told him that he could roll his eyes all he wanted to, but that was fine by me and he needed to be prepared to listen.

And I told him everything...and, I'm almost surprised to say, very constructively and with love in my heart.

I really like the guy. Trusting my intuition, which is pretty in tune most of the time, I actually believe he is genuinely a big hearted person himself...but he's just a fucktard when it comes to bedside manner and (especially) all things girly.

Once he heard that my tone was one of him really wanting help him to understand some of the emotional aspects of prosthetics for amputees, he really listened. I also think he could really relate to the missing front tooth analogy (thank You for that, TheMIG!). We had a full discussion about everything, and I think in addition to understanding the importance of trying to find out in what ways his patients differ emotionally (not only just the differences in the size and shape of their stumps), I think he has a better understanding of why some prosthetics end up collecting dust in the closet. And why sometimes you'll see an amputee wearing a prosthesis but sitting in a wheelchair.

SO. All things mechanical were addressed....the chafing, the buckle, the rotation. And the cosmetic stuff has been addressed. The crotch bulge has been substantially trimmed (it still shows a wee bit, but it's not nearly so bad...and since this socket is temporary, it has been duly noted how to correct it for the final, definitive, socket). The widgets are still the wrong colors for now, but he will swap them out in a couple of weeks when we make the final socket. I eventually shall be color coordinated ;-)

Comments on Comments
Thank you ALL for your comments to that last big post so very very much.
I'm feeling the love, and the love feels good :-)

There are a couple of comments that I wanted to address here, within a post.

Gimpy Mumpy said...
I also find that people, no matter if they are total strangers or people I've known awhile always want to bring up my injury, how it all happened...the long story. Do you get this too?
Oh, lordy, do I ever. I've written about a similar issue here, but Sara has addressed it (and better than I ever could) here.

My personal solution to this annoying phenomena?? I wear a t-shirt that says:
Leg Story: $10.
Within a few weeks of being a gimp, I realized that I would a rich woman if I had $10 for every time I was asked to tell my story. So TheMIG made me my very first CafePress shirt.

But get this one...the first time I wore the t-shirt, there was one very noticeable, but unexpected, result.

I went a whole day with nobody asking me.

When I wear this shirt I am guaranteed that not a single person will ask me what happened to me. Seriously. Not a one. No shit. The most I've ever gotten has been, "Jeez, I wish I had ten bucks..." or, "I like your shirt," and then they keep on walking. They don't ask. It has now become my "I need a day off from talking about it " shirt, because otherwise...I DO get asked. Every. Single. Day.

I've asked TheMIG to think about making one that says "Gimp Story: $10" or something like that so it's more generic, so stay tuned...and if anyone out there has a better idea for comparable text, let me know.

Oh, and is ok to link to my blog. anytime. ;-)

jenkaal said... I am really open to suggestions about how to deal with this sort of feeling, so if you hear anything that helps, please post!

Yeah. Funny you should ask.
I actually brought my sadness right back to the person whose comment kicked it all up for me in the first place, my director/choreopgraher the wonderful Eric Kupers. He's been a practicing buddhist for many years. I don't know much about buddhism, but every reading or opportunity I've had for exposure has pretty much rung true for me. I somehow have remembered some story about how the buddha was shielded from seeing suffering as a child, and how it affected him when he saw suffering for the first time and how it propelled him down his spiritual path. Eric told me that there there are different sects of buddhism that deal with the suffering issue in different ways. He sent me a lovely email (which I haven't asked permission to copy, but will, because it was wonderful), and he referred to teachings of Buddha, the bodhisattva path (central as I understand to Zen and Tibetan Buddhism), as well as the teachings of Ram Dass, and Stephen Levine.

I must (and will) investigate further.

ann said...
I have never heard of the idea of "the pain" - I suppose then that it is "the happiness" too ...

Yahhhh (*blissful sigh*)...I know. Isn't it neat??! And what's an even more profound concept to me is that this also means that there is "THE Love" too.



strangelittlemama said...

It seriously floors me that people ask you about your leg on a regular basis. I mean, even my four year old knows "there all all different kinds of bodies, and we don't ask people why their bodies might be different than ours..." When my son was three, he had a friend who was born with partial fingers on one hand and he, of course being THREE and curious, asked him about it, and the sweet boy cried. He learned right there and then learned that people like to be regarded as their whole, not the sum of their missing parts or their exterior packaging.
My take is--- it's YOURS to discuss if YOU want to.

My favorite cafepress thing is the "ixnay on the aringstay". Perfect!

Anonymous said...

I know that a lot of people allow children to ask them the how, why etc of their injuries, so that the kids understand and see them as the same as everyone else. My own personal experience has shown that it also teaches the kids that it's okay, even expected, for them to ask, so it doesn't surprise me that these children grow up into adults who think it's okay to do the same thing.
Have people started pumping your son for the story yet? I find people won't ask me questions but will ask my kids about me, which royally pisses me off.

Mouse said...

The whole scene at MSW on blogger-hill was sort of surreal in that respect. People would come up and say "oh.. you're.. so and so" and start talking to you about what you are knitting.. or something that happened to you. I recognized some people by the garments they were wearing but couldn't place their names vs. their blogs. Blogland is a strange, strange thing!

Anonymous said...

Too bad about those socks. They sure are pretty. :) Oh, well; they'll be pretty when you've reworked them, too.

About poking around in other people's business: The thing is, anybody can ask what happened, and all kinds of people will. It can be very surprising. Someone I've worked with for six months who had never seen me in shorts before practically freaked out all over me the other day. "But I thought you just had a birth defect!" I paraphrase, but still. Heh.

Personally, if it's a kid asking, I'll probably explain it as kindly and nonthreateningly as I am able. Enjay has a point, and toward that end, sometimes I also explain that it was okay for the child to ask me, but that s/he should be careful about stuff like this because sometimes it upsets people to think about things that have happened to them. I think in the future I'll explain it the way strangelittlemama has, that sometimes it hurts people's feelings if all you see about them is what's different about their bodies.

If it's an adult, though, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I'll just make nice. However, I'm not above lying or pretending I don't know what they're talking about. ("What hump?" as Igor would say.) I do not feel I am under any obligation to answer questions, except from children who ask nicely. I would certainly never feel under any obligation to be the entertainment at anyone's party.

It must be weird to be recognized from the web based on one hobby and one leg. I think I'd panic.

BeanMama said...

Janis is a great lady. I love my conversations with her - and she blogs, too. She reads mine and will often pull me aside and "comment" in person about one of my posts, LOL! It's kind of fun. But I have had someone approach me because they recognized something I was knitting on from my blog and that was a little strange.

Gray said...

You and your keyboard were very busy. Thanks for taking the time to write so much.

It sounds like "TheMIG" was gracious and game when he tried on the custom sock. It will just another memorable experience.

I appreciate your persistence with your prosthetist and you ability to talk with him "constructively and with love in [your] heart." I imagine that the other reason why there are so many unsatisfactory prostheses is that most people cannot muster the chutzpah to be such an active partner in you care. But part of me is disappointed that you didn't use my original green and yellow prosthetic tooth analogy- I liked that one.