Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Leftover yarn...

Well, I whipped out my little digital scale this morning, and guess what. The Vintage Lace Socks are 40g each. The leftover yarn is 47g.

I have ideas about small little projects I could make: another pair of wristwarmers to keep the arm with the metal bits in it from freezing. That comes to mind easily. As does making a little log-cabin something or another chick full of sock knitting memories.

But don’t laugh…I think I’m actually going to make a 3rd matching sock.. I know that seems like a ridiculous notion for most of you, but for me, it makes total sense. Unlike most of you, I know exactly what to do with a stray single. I wear it. I only have 1 leg.

I can wear a stray sock when I’m hanging out uni-pod style, but there is something else you bi-peds probably don’t know we amputees are able to do with a 3rd sock. You see, at the end of the day, we can leave our prosthesis “dressed”. Yup, we often do not take the sock or shoe off of the robot leg. It’s kind of a bitch to get a the socks and shoes on the fake foot in the first place...and why not leave it on? It's not like that foot every gets funky smellin'. So you leave the sock and shoe on the fake leg, and in the morning pull at another fresh sock that matches the one that's still on from the day before. Bulk-packaged commercials sock are great for this, but this plan is not so great for hand-knit socks.

So three lace socks. Not so silly, eh?

There’s one more thought I have been having about handknit single socks. It involves organizing a donation program to get them to amputees returning from the war. There's a slew of them. I’ve been investigating how to set that up (well, TheMIG has been investigating), and I’ve got a plan developing. If any of you have second sock syndrome (and the resulting lonely first sock), I might just have a really good home for your onesies soon. Or you could knit a complete pair and help dress up a prosthesis ;-)

Leftover TeeHee from the weekend...

TheMIG asked me join him at a social gathering this weekend. An old coworker of his (Herb, the guy that recruited him years ago at his current job) was throwing an end-of –summer gathering, which also turned out a be his 50-something birthday.

I went on crutches. On my bottom half I was wearing one of those ankle length crinkly skirts, and a solo black suede boot.

Herb answers the door, takes one look at me (our first meeting) and says, “Hiiiiiii!!!! Wow! You’re just like me!” He points to his foot, which is in sandals, and says, “I broke my toe!”

To which TheMIG replies casually, “Umm, no. Not just like you.” He hands Herb the bottle of wine we brought as a hostess gift, and heads for the kitchen without another word.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

beginnings, middles, and ends

except, let's do it backwards...

The lace socks are now complete. I have a crush on them.

Close up shots were taken when I finished sock #1, and can be seen here.

Yarn: Black Bunny Fibers super-wash wool in the "TeeHee" colorway (custom dyed by Carol herself to match my prosthetic leg--thank you!!)
Needles: US #1, Lantern Moon ebony dpn's (4)
Pattern: Fancy Silk Sock, from Knitting Vintage Socks
1) I only did 5 repeats (instead of the suggested 6) on the leg; I don't like mid-calf length's either knee socks, or they should just clear my hi-tops.
2) The original Weldon's sketch shows a welt of 2-rounds of purl between the cuff and the leg. The pattern was rewritten calling for 2-rounds of knit instead. I chose to keep the purl ridge, but prefered the way it looked with only 1-round.
3) On the toe decreases, I used a SSK to replace the Sl1-K1-Psso. Had I thought about it earlier on sock #1, I would have done that with the gusset decrease, too.

Here's my lunch. Fresh organic black mission figs served with sliced baguette, goat cheese, basil, and a balsamic reduction.

Shoulda whipped out a glass o'wine, but I didn't think it wise to be sauced for the after school pick-up.

Late Summer/Fall is one of my absolute favorite fruit seasons. Every year I can hardly wait to get my hands on the figs, mandarins, persimmons, pomegranates, and the like.

It seems somewhat odd to me that here I am, a trained professional chef, yet I don't ever write about food. Well, that's because there is nothing to write about. I have not cooked the way I like to in a very long time. When I was a chef, I did most of my fun food play while I was at a work. When I stopped cooking professionally, I forgot to shift it back to the homefront. Sharing most meals with a 9-year old who wants nothing to do with a balsamic reduction might have something to do with it, too. Not having the cash-flow to throw little dinner parties doesn't help much either.

I am making some changes in my life in order to correct that. One of them is by making lunch for myself with the ingredients I love that I know MyFk will I did today. My other plan is to introduce the new Tuesday night ritual called, "You'll Eat It Whether You Like It or Not Night." Tonight, my little Tight Lipped Monkey ate cauliflower, and he actually didn't think it was all that bad (butter fixes everything). I'm also going to look around and see if I can find a gaggle of foodies that is interested in regular pot-luck gatherings.

My morning began with the accidental (and untimely) death of my beloved French Press ( glass and grounds everywhere)....

...followed by the 6am rigging of a blender and a chinois* to serve as makeshift brewing device.

It worked, but I think it goes without saying: what a sucky way to start the day. Glad there were good things that followed.


Coming soon on the knitting front....I'm swatching for the next round of socks, and I'm doing the Bunny Hop. More soon ;-)

*Funny thing about the Wikipedia entry for chinois: there is a detailed explanation about how a chinois is not to be conused with a china cap. And the photo of the chinois they provide...IS a china cap. Duh. Here's a real chinois. When I was in culinary school, I was told that there was a famous Saucier (a expert cook that pretty much only makes stocks and sauces), and he slept with his chinois. That's how wonderful they are.

Monday, August 28, 2006

monday, monday (so good to me)

Mail Call

Well. I was totally shocked to get another package from my SecretPal. The exchange ends this week, but she's sent me more than enough stuff already. But she totally outdid herself.

Three skeins of bamboo (a fiber I've never knit with and have been dying to) in sky blue, some Koigu in an absolutely rocking colorway, a scented candle, chocolate (yay!), and my pal knit socks for MyFK!! He loves them...the colors are great. Very happy feet.

About 10 minutes before I stumbled onto the package (literally...the mailman left it on the doormat and I was inside the house...I alsmost broke my neck on the way out the door), I was pretty sure I had figured out who my pal was. I was not trying to do that. I know that some participants spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out who their pals were, but I didn't. I thought the "not knowing" was half of the fun, actually. Mysteeeeeerious.

I sniffed her out because of the StatsCounter on my blog (you know, the thing on my blog that lets me know that someone in Hong Kong is looking for "amputee chef photos"?). I'm particularly interested in watching what hits my blog that is disability/amputee related, and the other day I had several hits from Frou's World, which got me curious. I clicked on over there and found out it was another knitter. Who is part of SP8. Who has me linked in her sidebar. Who lives in the same town where my packages come from. Who is also a highly entertaining read, I might add (so go check her out, kids). AND who was also knitting the same scarf I was at the same time.

Thanks so much for spoiling me rotten, Rebecca (betcha didn't know that as a kid I always wanted to change my name to Rebecca). I'm excited about all of the stash I have to play with this fall/winter thanks to you (the last couple of weeks I've been matching patterns up to what you've sent)..and I'm also very excited that I already have some nice hand-dyed fiber to play with after the drop spindle class I am taking this Sunday. Whee!


1st Day of School, Swingsets and Rollercoasters

I am relieved to have school starting again. I know you are all guessing that’s because I’ll have my precious mommy-time back, but actually, I don't think that's the main the reason. I actually think it's because I appreciate the routine-ness of it all.

I had a zen moment in the kitchen this morning while packing the lunch-box and making MyFK’s breakfast. At some point (probably around March), the drill will become so repetitive I will become a BigFatWhiner...but at this moment, the return of the school year feels like a very familiar and comforting place to me.

As I kid, I grew up with a life that was relatively routine in my early years, and I actually remember how grand it was knowing exactly what was supposed to happen next and what was going to be expected of me. Those were the early years, though. My formative years, however, were more like total frickin’ chaos (sorry, mom & dad…but I don’t believe my humble opinion is news to you, either LOL). My adolescence included a couple of years full of the kind of chaos that has one worrying about opening the door when they come home from school because they are never quite sure what will be on the other side. The sort of chaos which qualifies one for a couple of sessions on the couch in adulthood.

As I've grown older, I’ve had discussions with my parents about this era, and we laugh and laugh at some of the stories. My folks have always retorted with something like, “Now think of what a drag life would be if it didn’t have a few wrenches tossed into it!!! This is more fun!! Wheeeee!!!! It’s like a roller coaster!!!! At least your life isn’t BO-rinnnnnnnnng.”

True. And I do know a wrench when I see one, and I know how to use one. Lemons out of lemonaide and aren't I just a more interesting person. Yah, rollercoasters. This is most certainly why I can lose a leg and then print up a t-shirt that says, "Lucky for me, he's an ass man." Teehee. (by the way, the cafe press store is a disorganized mess, and I'm working on fixing that this week. pardon the dust.)

But I dunno. When it comes to the home front…I think I'm kinda developing a fondness for boring. I don’t think I need my home to be like a rollercoaster. I’d think I'd prefer something more like a swing. You push it, it goes out…you bend your legs, it comes back. Back. Forth. Fun. The occasional weightless feeling. Back. Forth. Soothing. Constant. Goooood.

Now, if you’ve ever been to La Casa de AmpuT, you are probably laughing your asses off. I most certainly do NOT have a home (or a home life) that looks like a refuge. Or a swingset. In fact I think my life might even be wilder than your average theme park. But I think if I had a homelife more like a porchswing I could actually deal with the rest of my life away from home resembling Six Flags. I'd be out there puking on the Corkscrew all day long, but in the back of my head, I know I'd have a safe little nest to crawl into at the end of the day.

Funny how you can notice things like rollercoasters and swingsets while making waffles and waiting for the coffee to brew. Let's see if I can hold onto the awareness.

Friday, August 25, 2006

one very random friday

A fine assortment. Something for everyone.
Be prepared for brain-farts.
Lots of them.


For starters, thank you all so very much for the advice regarding talking to MyFK about the recent kitty drama. It was very helpful, and very much appreciated. My mom actually read the post and the comments, too.

My parenting style typically involves my only giving information that is neccessary or requested. The "just enough but not too much" approach. Like when MyFK was a toddler and first asked where babies came from, I'd basically say that they came out of mommies. You'll never hear me telling a cabbage patch story. And when he asked how babies got in the mommies in the first place, I'd say something about them growing there from parent's love. And he'd say, "Oh. Okay." And off he'd go, toddling away. And I'd not have wasted my time giving him more information than he really wanted or could handle at that point. (I've gone further with that story since he's gotten older, of course).

Anyhow, with the cat stuff, I've opted for the same open/honest/if you ask approach. My mom did have a conversation with MyFK and explained that her passing did involve a trip to the vet and what happened there. MyFK's having healthy expressions of sadness, and he has commented several times about how he can't see her anymore...but his only question so far has been about what happened with her body (I didn't know the answer to that actually, and need to call my mom to find out, now that I think of it). He hasn't asked the barrage of euthanasia questions I was dreading (yet). If he does, I'm really diggin' SLM's version of compassion for animals and will probably just print that out, keep it in my hip pocket, and if I need to, just pull it out and read it verbatim (hahaha...just kiddin').

Anyhow, thank you again...all of you. I am so very thankful.

I need a break from the hard stuff. SO.
Let's talk now about things warm and fuzzy instead.

Knitting: Finished Objects
Pele may have won the sock battle, but back on the mainland, I won the war.
I fixed plain 'ol stockinette sock survives surgery, and I finished the pair.

Plain Ol' Socks
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch (I think color #716)/70% Superwash, 23% Polymide, 7% Elastin.
Needles: Bryspun Bry-Flex Double Points, US2 (2.75mm), 5" shorties.
Pattern: no pattern...but seeing that this is my 4th pair of socks made up in this yarn this year (and I just love it so), I'm tracking this for next time: CO=52 sts; Cuff=K2,P2 rib for 15R; Leg=60R; Foot=45R
Notes: I used Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Knitting Rules! for notes on turning the heel, and I used Charlene's Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks for tips on picking up 2 extra stitches at the gusset. Picking up those 2 stitches is definitley my new favorite thing.
These Are For: me.
Started: I looong time ago. I think in April. My notes show I finished the 1st sock 4/15 , but I then knit pairs for Karen, for MyFK and for TheMIG before coming back to my own sock #2. I also started the lace socks somewhere in there. Get this one--I wore this 1st sock the whole damn time LOL. Being an amputee does have it's occasional upside.
Finished: 8/14/06

The Finished Object template was shamefully and quietly lifted from Kathy's blog (hope you don't mind Kath, but your organization inspires me to thievery).


Lace Scarf

Branching Out
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, color #35 -Ocean/65% wool, 35% silk/ 190 yards/1 skein
Needles: US 8, Denise
Pattern: Branching Out, Knitty
Notes: I would totally make this again. And again. And again. $7 for a really gorgeous gift, and it was joyful to knit.

Started: I dunno.
Finished: 8/20/06

What's On The Needles

I have successfully rescued (from Knitting Hell) the vintage lace sock, which is being worked up in Black Bunny Fibers. I've turned the heel, finished the gussets, and am making my way rapidly (I just typo'd: rabidly, HA!) down the foot. (sock#2=70%)

I have a Mason-Dixon linen handtowel in the works. (20%)

Cleo is stalled because I'm reworking the pattern to be an A-line instead of a Baby-Doll, and I'm also insterting a lace panel either running down the sides, or down the back (10%).

The dreaded Olympics Shawl that I never finished is now out of cold storage and back on the needles. I was SOoooo wishing I had it to cuddle up in this week while I was sick. I'm also sitting here watching that fall fog rolling in and simultaneously reflecting back on the pain of last winter's heating bills, and guess what. I'm starting to knit winter gear NOW. (75%)


$ Fixed $

Just for the record, the past couple of weeks have really been tough. Y’all know I’ve been sick (still am, actually), and you know that two cats have crossed over to the other side, but I never did mention that my clothes dryer went kapoot. It ate the leg of MyFK’s zip-off pants. It ended up being a very costly visit from the repairman.

I also never mentioned that my plumbing went haywire. Contents from the kitchen sink/garbage disposal made an appearance in the bathtub (yumm, soup). I ended up with another very costly visit from a different repair service, and it took two visits for them to get it right. So first there was soup, and then there was stew. I'm glad to report that it has been fixed, and the soup is back in the pot where it belong.


A Little TeeHee

The 2nd plumber that came to my house had me rolling (not laughing, I mean literally rolling--I was whizzing around in the wheelchair) back and forth between the bathroom and kitchen many times over as we ran faucets and shoved food down the garbage disposal to test things out.
At some point he says to me: “You amaze me.”
Me: "Why." (not that I don’t already know what’s coming…I am such a frickin’ inspiration) Plumber: "Well, you are so fast! Even with your…your…your "condition." You are so MO-VILE!!"
Great. I'm movile.


This Week's Best Google Search

Somebody got here by googling, "hip amputee lady," and I shit you not--I sat here smiling away just thrilled for myself and the fact that if you go looking for a cool, hip, amutee're gonna find...ME!

It took me at least a full 5 minutes to realize someone (probably a perv) had googled to find a female amputee with a hip disarticulation (ie: missing her leg all the way up to her hip).

I'm such a dork.

Do Any Of You Fiber Folks Know Where To Find This Pattern?

Miss Sharon emailed me asking me if I knew of any toe sock patterns for kids. I sent her a very long email about toe-up socks. The virtures of them. My resistance to them. Brenda Daynes' current thoughts about them. Links to patterns for them.

Only to get an email back saying, “No no no…not toe UP socks. Just TOE socks. For kids.”

Oh.The silly socks. With the individual toes. Like gloves.
No. I don’t know of any. Do any of you?? Please pop me a comment or an email if you do.

Mail Call

When I came home from Hawaii, waiting for me was these absolutely adorable stitch markers that I’d ordered from Mouse’s online shop. I crack a smile every single time I look at them.

If you don’t know why a 2 Lllama’s and a Duck belong together, you absolutely MUST click here.

Showing the stitch markers and linking you to the shop is a pretty big “Neener neener…" though, although not intentional. I think poor Mousey just might be sick to death of making this particular set, and she is no longer taking special orders for them. But DO check out her shop anyhow, because they may come Mouse has lots of other really neat stuff for sale, too.

Also Available

Also selling useful goods for the knitter would be the handsome geek blogger from Sweater Project. If you’d like to have a blog (one that I suspect doesn’t piss and moan when you try to upload photos), and also get some extra features and customer service, do check out his offer to host your blog on his server.

Gear for Gimps

Wheelchair users…there’s a new gadget called the Wijit.
It seems like it kind of turns your wheelchair into a rowing machine or something. Benefits (as stated) include a reduction of strain on upper extremeties, propelling from an upright position, cardiovascular improvement, and CLEAN HANDS (that alone should make it worth at least investigating...ask any wheelchair user what it's like having everything on the streets potentially ending up in the palms of your hands. Ugh.)

The group Stumps R Us is going to be having a demo of the product at their September gathering in San Francisco if you are interested. I know it's a gathering for amputees, but it's a really nice bunch and I can't imaging them asking you to leave if you aren't one.

Best On-Line Order Form I've Ever Seen

I recently ordered from one of my very favorite places to shop: T-shirt Hell.
During checkout, it offered the folloing payment options:

O Credit Card Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover
O PayPal pay using your Pypal account
O Money Order U.S.A. and Canada only
O Gift Certificate ID Pay with gift certificate (enter your ID on next page)
O Sexual Favors short on cash?

Well you know I just HAD to check off that last box...for which I got back:

You’re joking…right?
Do you actually think we’d accept sexual favors from you?
Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?
Now, go back and choose a payment method that actually makes sense for someone like you (hint: something that involves you giving us money).


One Parting Thought

Pele told me, “You will go heal people.”
And I’ve basically sick pretty much since I’ve been home.

I guess now that I think about it, I didn't really win the battle or the war.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

another death in the family

My mom phoned last night. My parents had to put their kitty "Bits" down yesterday. Kitty had not been doing too well. Earlier in the summer she swallowed a fish hook. She had surgery to remove it, but she's never quite made a recovery.

Everyone called her Bitsy. Super duper big huge fat orange tabby kitty...hardly what I'd call a "Bits," but I think my dad named her for computer Bytes, actually (my dad was The Original Geek...but I didn't get that gene).

I'm pretty bummed out. Bits wasn't my childhood cat while growing up or anything, she came along after I was out of the house....but I did live at my parent's house for a year when Jacob was a born while I got ready to buy a house, and I also spent a few months at my folks after the accident while I was recuperating. Bitsy was a total sweetheart. What I loved most about her was that she was ridiculously tolertant of MyFK when he was little and didn't know his own strenght (whereas my cranky kitties were not). Actually, come to think of it, she was tolerant of his big-kid love, too.

Anyhow, last night mom was too upset to really even be able to talk about it...she just called to let me know that it had finally happened. The big dilemma now is how to tell MyFK, who was totally attached to her. We all think he's going to be very upset, even though he is amazingly at peace with the whole "circle of life" concept. My concern is having to explain the concept of euthanizing to him. I've talked with him about death quite a bit, but I don't think I've ever gotten into a discussion about preemptively putting something to rest, nor have we gotten around to discussing "right to die" issues or anything at this point (and he's the type of kid who will make the leap to wondering if anyone is ever going to put him asleep, and then he'll start asking about people's rights and suicide, and and and...)

So I'm open for suggstions.

It's a been a rough year with kitties :-(
One thing I have not discussed on this blog is that one of my own two kitties went missing in April. I've kind of been in denial about it. It's been too upsetting for me to discuss, and half my brain still believes she'll come home some day.

I spent quite some time this morning pouring through my digital photos. I have not one single photo of Bits. I have hard copy, sure...but no scanner. But I have nothing digital. I haven't had the camera even a full year yet, but you'd think in a year I'd have at least one picture of this cat. I had this same predicament with TheMIG's kitty New Mew last week, too--no photos.

So the other day I took out the camera and took shots of my cat, Tramp.

He aint exactly Mr.Photogenic.

He was not happy with this sitting at all. Damn crank-pot.

But at least I now have something.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

hawaii, part (ummm?)

Alrighty. Let me wrap up this Hawaii sightseeing stuff before it drags on so long that neither one of us cares anymore. Oh. That's already happened. *sigh* Ok, well let's just file this in the Memoirs-of-My-Life-For-Me-To-Read-When-I-Get-Senile category. Oh. I don't have categories. LOL. Whatever. More than likely none of this will make any sense to me in a few years anyhow ;-)

In this post I have some info about Volcanoes National Park (with notes about accessibility), my little chat with The Goddess of Fire Pele (heavily sprinkled with new age granola and fairy dust...there's your warning), and how that meeting feeds my suspicion that knitting on The Big Island is different than knitting on the Mainland.

Volcanoes National Park

Our caravan of rental cars first stopped at the information center right past the gate, which I highly recommend doing. There's a big fat easy to read presentation board showing the highlights of the park. It suggests which sites to see if you are on a longer visit, and which to skip if you are whizzing through. It also indicates which sites are accessible, and how long or strenuous the hikes at each stop will be. Very helpful. We decided to see the Steam Vents, the Jaggar Museum, the Halema'uma'u Crater Trail, and the Lava Tubes.

The Steam Vents were interesting but not overly exciting. The vents you can access with a wheelchair are basically right there as part of the parking lot. There is a short hike down a dirt path to see other vents that are out in a more natural setting. It's not labelled accessible, but I think might be do-able in the right kind of chair with a buddy just in case. I can't be sure, though. We opted to skip the trail because it was muddy that day and we kinda figured if you've seen one vent, you've probably seen them all. We were all itching to get to the rim of the volcano anyhow.

Our next stop was the Jaggar Museum. The views from the outside are incredible. The museum loaded with information and is fully accessible. The videos shown as part of different exhibits were interesting. I watched one detailing the last big flow, showing an entire village being consumed by lava. Aint no messin' with Mother Nature. Do chat up the docents and the rangers that run the gift shop. They have some really cool insights into life in lava-land.

Our last full stop was at the Halema'uma'u Crater Trail at the Kilauea Caldera. It is not listed as accessible, but I dunno. I think it might be, at least part way down the trail. I went in on crutches without a problem at all, so I can't say for sure how a wheelchair would handle it, but in my opinion it would be well worth giving it a try. I know my crap-ass hospital style hemi-chair definitely would not make it through, but I have a hunch if you were in a lightweight sports chair and were proficient at going up and down curbs and such you'd do just fine. A buddy to spot you wouldn't be a bad idea. And don't hold me responsible, this is just my very uneducated guess as I don't even own a schmancy wheelchair.

The Dandelions spent a really long time at the crater's edge, so we didn't get to make a full stop at the Lava Tubes (bummer). We made a pit-stop for a potty break, and two of the gang ran through real quick while the rest of us were in the bathroom. I heard it was amazing, but I have no idea.

Here's a couple of links: The National Parks Services official site; here's some notes about accessibility; and then there is this other site that I really enjoyed because it seems to have a bit of a local spin on things, plus links to current flows and eruptions.

A Message from Pele (granola alert)

Ok, this is the fairy dust part. If you are the type who thinks this kind of spirituality is some sort of voodoo or mallarky, skip the rest of the post (actually, now that I think about it, the knitting portion is coated in a fine layer of dust, too). You either get this kind of stuff, or you don't. Whatever. Love ya, but I'm not explaining myself any further. It would just get silly.

If you are still here,

Whoa. Dudes. Did I ever have a discussion with Pele!!!

Once our group got out to the rim of the volcano, we kind of naturally split up and wandered off for a bit. The Dandelions are a very spiritual bunch, though our spiritual practices run the gamut and we all practice in many different ways. Whatever it is we each into, it seemed on this day that we all felt a calling for a little alone time in this very special place.

My version was to take a little stroll and when things "felt right," I sat on a rock looking away from the crater. The view was both amazingly desolate and stunningly beautiful. A charred, scarred, and empty land...a big sky, the scent of new earth, and little signs of new life everywhere.

(read more about this plant called "Ohelo" here)

I meditated on these incongruencies for a good long something so shockingly stark and ravaged and empty can be so gorgeous and powerful and full of life.

Then the messages started coming. They were audible (to me--I don't think there's a need to call the in the guys with the little white coats, though. But thanks.)

The first was:
Destruction is Beauty.
I see you, and I cry. For it is the same beauty.

and then, right after I heard that, it started pissing down rain for about 2 minutes and stopped. I was soaked.

I asked if she had a message for me, and I heard:
I will help. I will hold you.
and then, right after I heard that, the wind kicked up...not just a breeze, but a solid hard gust, and then stopped.

I asked in what direction I should head next (life/career), and I heard:
You will go heal people.

Now, the tone of this message was important, and I can't really convey that here in text, but let me try to put it this way: I have, on occasion, been know to ask the Powers-That-Be for some sort of guidance, and I am often met with a message that resembles something like what one would pull out of a fortune cookie or something. Usually I get a message of suggestion, a sort of foretelling. A fluffy, "I see on your horizon that....(blah blah blah)."

This message from Pele was nothing like that.
It was far more directive.
It was an order. "You will go heal people." It was as if there was almost a, "NOW," after it.

I asked Pele if there was anything else, and the sun came out.
I left an offering on the rock for Her, and I turned around and there was a rainbow.

Pretty damn cool.

end of granola.

(fyi--the day after most of us flew home, this volcano had an eruption. woohoo!)

What I Think Happens to Knitting in Hawaii

I think Pele fucks it up. She who is Queen of Destruction...I think she may possibly be the Queen of Knitting Gone Wrong. I've only been to Hawaii once, so I am definitely no expert. But knitting there was a miserable failure for me. Not for lack of trying, either. I would love to hear if anyone (locals or visitors) has ever managed to get any knitting accomplished while on the Big Island. I never made it to the local yarn store (which I also believe was Pele's doing), so I never got to ask the experts.

On my trip to Hawaii, I brought with me four small projects (still overpacking, but nowhere near the overpacking I did on the LA leg of the tour...remember this?). I brought two socks in progress--one plain, one fancy. I brought a lace scarf in progress. And I also brought 1 skein of linen to make one of those hand towels from the Mason-Dixon book just in case I needed something uber-simple.

I started off working on socks. My hunch is that Pele thinks socks are ridiculous (I actually believe she finds all knitting ridiculous...whos' going to use knitwear in that weather). I suspect that Pele prefers her children go barefoot. I had VERY bad mojo with my sock knitting on the Big Island. Both my lace sock and my plain stockinette sock came back completely screwed up and in need of surgery sessions.

I broke two needles while knitting the lace sock. Two. And it was less like my breaking them, and more like them snapping all on their own, just from looking at them. Dropped stitches all over the place both times. As luck would have it, I had a few extra needles with me in the same size (I learned that lesson back in Venice Beach, too). But my ounce of prevention?? At this, the Goddess of Fire, she laughed in my face. The last straw was when I was knitting along, and went to rotate the sock around to the next dpn, grabbed the wrong needle, pulled it out, and had an entire row of yarn-overs smiling at me. I swear I heard a distant cackle from up on the mountain when that happened. I tried to get it back on the needles, but it was during rehearsal and the lighting wasn't with me.

So I picked up the plain ol' stockinette sock. I was rolling merrily along the gusset decreases when I looked down to see that I had dropped (get this one) FOUR stitches in various places, and had cruised along maybe 15-20 rows without even noticing, even though I swear to you I was counting and checking my work. Of course 2 of the dropped stitches were along the line where the decreases were happening, so fixing it up with a crochet hook was going to be a royal pain in the arse, and if I did fix it up, it probably would make for some sloppy looking results.

After those two events, I did not dare pick up the lace scarf in progress. So I started the only other thing I had brought with me, a linen towel. I was thinking Pele might not favor socks, but she has to want her kids to have something to wipe their brow, no? But I wasn't enjoying the knitting at all. I think it's the linen. I'm not sure it's my bag. So I put it down. End of knitting in Hawaii. Grrr.

Next post I'll show you what I've been able to fix and finish.

Monday, August 21, 2006

i'm sick

Again. I felt the tickle coming on late Thursday night while at TheMIG's for the kitty incident*. I spent all afternoon Friday in bed and by that night I had a fever and a bucket and a tossing-o'-the-cookies. Saturday and Sunday I actually thought I was on the upswing. But Sunday night, everything just kinda dropped down into my throat and now my glands are so swollen that my every swallow comes with an accompanying wince. Poo.

All weekend I felt too wiped out to sit at the computer and think, and type, and hence no bloggin'. And I have so much more I want to finish up saying about the touring season, too...dangit.

I did have enough stamina this weekend to read a few blogs, though...and I've caught up on all of my faves that I was behind on. If you are here for the amputee stuff, do check out Sara's blog...she's an amazing source of information and one highly entertaining read. I also caught up on my friend Kathy's knitting blog (if you want to see something neat, check out her over-dyed self-striping yarn...she did the math to figure out how to make the stripes match over two differently sized objects, clever girl.

I'm happy to report that I had some knitting stamina, too. I have FO photos coming (da lace! she izzz blocking now!), and I finished some socks, too. I was also perky enough on Sunday to go on a recon mission for more tissues and orange juice, and on the way home I stopped by Deep Color Studio and registered for (shut up) a drop spindle spinning class to be held in couple of weeks. I'm ready to do some justice to that hand-dyed fiber my Secret Pal sent me.

There is something that has been on my mind for weeks now. I've been have been suffering the guilt of knowing that I have been horrible about replying back to comments and emails. I would like to apologize for those who have emailed or commented that I have not written yet. Some people have emailed me some really wonderful and touching letters, and I owe a several of you some very long overdue notes. I'm hoping that next week's return of the school schedule and the run of the shows being over means time for me to catch up.

*btw, the tombstone on the last blogpost is not real. It was made here.

I think the internet/blog savvy readers are completely boggled at the fact that I have to point this out, but hush hush, now. Some of my real-time-peoples who read my blog aren't all that geeky (ummm, and neither am I), and well....we don't always know what is real and what is not in this big webby world.

One of my non-savvy friends called me up confused about timing because she couldn't figure out how TheMIG had arranged for burial and a tombstone that quickly LOL.

Don't be embarrassed my lovely, it looks pretty real to me, too ;-) That's the point.

Here's one of my other faves... the ACME Heart Maker

Friday, August 18, 2006


Thanks for asking. Flash The Gecko is fine. We are to treat him like a patient and not a pet for awhile, and we have instructions on how to do so. No signs of illness.

New Mew, however, did not fare as well.

After teaching dance class last night, I turned my cell phone back on at around 10:30 to see 17 missed phone calls from TheMIG. When I got through to him, he could barely speak...and his poor sweet New Mew was dying in his arms. By the time I got there, she was gone. We sat with her for a very long time, it was just so hard to believe. He put her in a box with one of his t-shirts and added some catnip for her....he is off to bury her this morning right now as I sit here typing this.

Sadly, I don't personally have any photos of his kitty to share with you...but she was a rust-ish and white colored tabby-ish sort of cat, except she was somewhat exotic looking. I'm not sure if she was some particular breed. She had one of those big round moon-faces with fluffy cheeks. Her head always seemed too big for the rest of her. She had lots of extra toes, too...I think 7 on each her front paws and 6 on her hind legs. One time I brought her into her vet for her regular shots, and the vet had her name listed as "Ginger." I think TheMIG said "New Mew" was too hard to explain. TheMIG always called her "New-pis Poo-pis," and sometimes just plain old "Poopis."

She was always basically nice to me, but she was very fickle with her affections towards me. She would lay it on very thick....
whenever TheMIG wasn't around.
He'd leave the room, and she'd sashay right on up to me and bonk her head into my hand like a harlot, but when she'd hear his footsteps returning, she'd turn away like she had no idea who I was. Her other talent was giving me the SquintyVoodooEvilEye when TheMIG was more focused on me than her. There were many times of snuggling when he'd have one of us in each hand.

She is survived by her "brother" (although not littermate), Tad....and she will be missed.

Feel free to shout out to TheMIG in the comments, if you like. He's a regular reader.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

what we were up to

(the large cold plunge at Harbin...fuzzy photo hi-jacked from the Harbin website because you aren't allowed to take photos near the pools)

MyFk and I went on a little trip to Harbin Hot Springs. It's about 30 minutes outside of the well-known (ie: commercial and overpriced) Napa Valley Wine Country and Calistoga mud baths and spas. Harbin is a rustic retreat center, and might be on the new age tooty-fruity side for some of you...but it really is quite the treat if you aren't bothered by the heavy crunch of granola. I'm sort of the "urban" version of "hippy-chick", so I fit right in.

Harbin has several lodging options ranging from $25-$200 per night. You can camp, stay in a dormroom, have a room with various European bath options, or your own private cottage. I try to get up there once or twice a year, and in the 10 years I've been going, I think I've tried just about every option. There are also many options for dining, from a full service restaurant to use of a large fully equipped kitchen.

It's not often that I get up there with MyFK, though. Kidlets aren't allowed in the rooms. If you are there with kids overnight, you have to camp. When MyFK was 2-ish, we camped up there with another family (hi Diana!!). But Harbin is supposed to be relaxing. Relaxing and single-handedly camping with a WildMonkeyChild seems a conctradiction. As a result, when I go with MyFK it's just a day trip. I think MyFK is now old enough and strong enough to actually pull off camping gig with me. I decided to test it out this time by having us either just sleep out under the stars on a redwood deck, or by converting the back of my station wagon into a bed if it was cold out. If that worked, I figured I'd try bringing the tent and more gear along next time for a longer stay.

So we packed accordingly, and off we went. The cool news was that when we got there to check in, we found out that there had been a cancellation and the new tent-cabin was available. This is a new thing Harbin is testing out, and it is currently the only structure they offer where you can have kids. So we snagged it.

Pretty damn cute (photos of the cabin interior are on that link above).

We even had our own private little patio overlooking a stream.

The trip was a fun time. My mom has been teaching MyFK how to swim this past year, so he looked like an ashy prune almost the whole time we were there. There were lots of other kids there and I got to swap life-guard duty with the other parents, so all of us got a few minutes of quiet time, too.

I even met four other knitters while I was there ;-)

For the record (if you landed at this blog for the gimpin'), Harbin is not even remotely wheelchair accessible. If you are gimpin' and goin', drop me an email and I can give you some pointers about how you could pull off a visit despite their lack of ADA ammenities. There a few places you can get in and out of if you know to look for alternate entrances, and there are some things you can manage with a little assistance. Because I usually go on crutches, I have been too self-centered to notice the wheelchair issues before...but now that I'm beginning to pay attention to those details, I'm seeing a few places where they could make a few simple minor changes. I filled out a feedback form.

We got home to some bad news.

Flash (MyFK's leopard gecko) is now an amputee, too:

We're not quite sure what caused it, but he dropped his tail. We are headed to the East Bay Vivarium this morning with him to get some advice on the subject. Geckos usually only drop their tails if threatened or ill...and we're hoping he's not ill :-(


I’m working on another post right now...trying to finish up the touring Hawaii stuff. It's about the volcanos and sock knitting (I swear, they actually do relate). If there isn’t too much Kiddus Interuptus, it will be up soon.

Repeat after me:
School starts the 28th…School starts the 28th…School starts the 28th…

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

be right back

I'm taking MyFk out of town for a couple of days...the last hurrah before school starts. When I get back, more about Hawaii, volcanos, gimping and performing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

remembering jamie

Jamie "Sabah" Miller
May 13, 1942 - August 14, 1999

It is the 7-year anniversary of the passing of my mentor, Jamie "Sabah" Miller. I have missed her since she left us, but this past year more so than ever. Jamie had done some naked dance performances, and she had also lived in Hawaii for a few years and spoke of her time there often. I think it was her "real" home. I have felt her presence in my work with Dandelion Dancetheater this past season many many times.

This morning I intended to post a poem by Marge Percy that Jamie loved...but when I went to my room to get it, I ran across something else of hers that has had me weepy all morning.

Jamie was first and foremost a dancer, a performer, a teacher...but like many artists, she worked other jobs to sustain herself. There were many, but her last career was teaching English to inner city Middle School kids in Oakland. A good number of her kids were English as a Second Language kids...and in this Bay Area melting pot, that meant having kids with an array of primary languages.

Jamie used to come to our dance class every Thursday night with school stories...and even though I recall stories of success and joy, what I remember most was her venting frustrations with the school district, with the system, with the kids, the parents, and the general state of things. Jamie's rage and anger and her ability to use that power to create change and things of beauty were unparalelled.

What I ran across this morning was "Poems for Ms. Miller," a compilation from her kids at Roosevelt Middle School. It was printed in May of 1999, just after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and it was clear that she would not be returning to her classroom. The tumor compressed the portion of her brain that allowed her thougths and words to connect accurately. Jamie couldn't speak well...but she danced and sang all the way to very end.

What Ms. Miller Taught Us by Emi Dip

What Ms. Miller taught us...
was to just express yourself
Whenever we have to do some writing
she'll tell us, just try to imagine
how it will be like you're really there.
She taught us how to listen to the
things around us.
She'll tell us to listen closely
for they will tell you a story.
She taught us many exciting things
She'll always tell us to just aim...
aim for you goals.
She taught us to just be ourselves
And don't let no one control it.

Grow by Joe Everhart
You are the only teacher that are
nice to even care if I was
going to be dropped out of the school.

You Taught Me... by Andy Pang
You taught me to be a better poet.
You taught me how to be a better person.
You taught me that life is a treasure.
You taught me how the walls talk.
You taught me how to find the
dark side of the sun.
You taught me that all races are not
that bad, once I got to know them.
You taught me not to be shy or scared
but to be courageous.
You taught life could be bad and down
at one point, but sooner or later,
life could be happy and the best thing.
You taught me life is forever,
Even when you die.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

where did i leave off

Oh, yeah. Tide pools.

I honestly cannot believe that I'm about to post this next photo, but I really want to show you what is in the background, and I apparently completely lack the ability to edit photos during the witching-hour over here in blogland.

First off...try to ignore the hat. Just keep it to 'yerself LOL. It was frickin' hot, my arse was frying on black volcanic rocks, and it felt like the sun was going to singe my scalp I used my bathing suit as a toque. One of my travel companions told me I looked cute, and being that there were no mirrors for miles to confirm that statement, I took a self-portrait to see for myself.
I think I look ridiculous.
But it's the only photo I took that shows the type of terrain one needs to muck through to get to the tidepools we visited.

The tide pools we went to are not the tide pools that you might find in the travel books. I think there are some of those called the Kapoho Tide Pools near Puna (it's a bummer we didn't make it to those...they were actually close to our second lodging and performance venue at Kalani Resort). Instead, we went to some pools closer to Hilo earlier in the week that only the locals seemed to know about. From downtown Hilo, if you take Kamehameha Dr (which turns into Kalanianaole Ave), it dead ends at a dirt parking lot. From the lot there is about a 1/4 mile hike to the pools.

We had to forge maybe 3 or 4 streams, some waist high (even deeper on the way out once the tide came in). We were in a large group, so I gave my pack to one person, had another person do the Save-Me-If-I'm-Falling-Wedgie, and a third person scouted the stream in front of me to warn me of submerged items of caution, like slippery moss and drop offs. There were a few places where the streams got so deep I just gave my crutches to the WedgiePerson and swam. I should mention that the banks of these streams are not actually solid earth, but rather floating reed beds. Whee. Crutch that, baby ;-)

There was another amputee along for this adventure. He's a very fit and active BK (below the knee) amputee and he was primarily wearing his prosthesis. He stayed closer to the lava rocks and away from the reeds, and I think when he absolutely had to cross deep water he was carried over. I think. My focus was pretty zoomed in on my own path.

SO. There was that marshy stuff behind me...and here is what was directly in front of me when I faced in the other direction.

The place was basically stream fed marshland lined with some kind of pine trees, butted right up against lava rock. The pools were slightly brackish. The ocean was a very unusual blue that, of course, the camera did not capture at all. Little fishies and crabs were swimming about. The water was deliciously warm. It was grand.

At the tide pool's ocean facing edge, the spray from the crash of the waves was enormous. And in my opinion, quite dangerous. Not that anyone ever listens to me. The nagging den mother. I mean, c'mon....I'm the one that had to suggest we all fill out emergency forms before know, medical insurance info, who to call in case of emergency, that kind of unimportant shit. When I suggested the forms, almost the entire company looked at me for a moment like I was nuts. Then I pointed to the vacant space where my leg used to be and said, "You just never can predict when something bizarre is going to happen." And then they all filled out a form.


Anyhow. Here's my naked dancer friends acting omnipotent and tempting the fates.

I'd have kept snapping photos but it didn't take long for a big wave to take a couple of them down...and they didn't come back up for awhile, either. I was kinda twitching with fear that they'd been swept out to sea (they wisely chose to lay flat until that set of waves completed). So I have no more photos after that. Which is too bad, because I should have snapped a few shots of their backsides once they made it to safer ground. It looked like Pele and Posiedon gave them an ass whoopin'.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

hilo random fact-oids

I have finally recovered from jetlag. Either there must be some time warp between the Islands and the Bay Area or I'm just getting old. There is no other explanation for why a 3-hour time difference would throw me that far off track. I've been exhausted since I got home. I only feel back to normal today because my folks took MyFK for a sleepover last night. This morning I slept in until 10am.

Every morning my head swirls with the various points of interest that came up during my trip, but I can't seem to organize them into a coherent outline. The next couple of posts will probably be a shameful mish-mash about our performces, sites seen in and around Hilo, gimpy travel crankiness, an accessibility review for other Hilo-bound gimps, an accessibility review of our performance venues for the entire tour, and some odd Random Fact-oids.

Off we go....

That's a bouquet from the Hilo Farmer's Market (Wednesdays and Saturdays at the corner of Kamehameha and Mamo streets). It's chock full of wonderful local produce, as well as treats and trinkets made by local artisans. You might not get to see many of them if you are a gimp, though. The market is primarily inaccessible...and I'll bet the city doesn't even know it (now that I've googled the market and I see there is a feedback button, I'll drop them a note).

A wheelchair can cruise the circumference of the market, but the stall "floors" are unpacked layers of that really chunky 2-inch angular gravel. It is all too easy to get bogged down in that stuff. I was in a manual chair aided by a strong helper buddy, and we couldn't push me through it. I got so stuck that I had to exit on crutches and have the chair carried out to the solid dirt perimeter. I did manage to make it through on crutches. I have no idea if a power chair would have fared better. Perhaps.

More pleasant memories of the farmer's market (like coconut ice, fresh lychees, and a new fruit for me "jaboticaba") leads me to Random Fact-oid #1: If you are in Hawaii, you absolutely MUST eat a pineapple.
It’s nothing at all like what we get on the mainland. My friend Michelle impressed this upon me before I left, but I thought she was exaggerating. She was absolutely correct, and it tasted like I was eating flowers. Being the resident trained chef (I can cube a pineapple faster than you can find a container to put the chunks into), I sampled many. My favorite was the white pineapple variety. Yum.

Hilo is quite charming. It feels old and weathered, but not uncared for or rundown. It's clean. It feels like a favorite pair of well worn shoes. It feels lived in and loved.

The town of Hilo itself was surprisingly accessible. I didn't run into any corners without curb cuts and I don't reacall having trouble getting into any shops or requiring assistance. That was a pleasant surprise. On the Venice Beach leg of the tour, many street corners and shops had me bitching.


The Hilo Bay Hostel where we were lodged however, as charming a place it may have been, was not accessible.
It occupies the 2nd floor of a historic building that has no elevetor and a whole lotta steps. Once I got up into the building (with much assistance) the place was relatively accessible. The rooms, the common room, the kitchen....all good. I could get into the bathroom with a chair, but there was no stall big enough to pull the chair into the stall with me. I was able to use the shower room, but the showers are stalls with a very small seat for a very skinny butt (ie not mine), and there are no bathtubs.

Staying at the hostel pushed many buttons and kicked up several major thoughts and issues about having a disablilty that I will get to in the next post or so.
But screw that. I don't want to do that now.
Back to random fact-oids!

Random Factoid #2: Cocunut syrup tastes a lot different than it looks.


I can't imagine a trip to Hilo being complete without a trip to Ken's House of Pancakes. We ate there often as it's one of the few places open late (24 hrs, actually). We'd go there after rehearsals or performances. If you order anything "Sumo-sized" they ring a big bell and the whole restaurant whoops it up for you. It kind of reminded me of going to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour as a kid. (fully accessible, but when crowded it might be hard to be seated anywhere but near the front of the restaurant if you are in a wheelchair).

My favorite spot to eat, however, was Bears Coffee.

I wish I would have thought to take a picture, but the image on the t-shirt I brought home caputures the details finely. If I lived in Hilo, this would be my local hangout. I miss it already. Especially the eccentric owner and the souffled eggs (they scramble them using the steam wand of an espresso machine). Oh, and the place is fully accessible ;-)

This is Rainbow Falls, just a few minutes outside of downtown Hilo.
It is completely wheelchair accessible to the viewpoint shown in these photos.
Can you see the three teeny tiny white dots on the rocks at the top of the falls? There is two on the left and one on the right? Those are people. I tell you that just to give you size perspective, and to point out that there is a way to get up there and do a little swimming in the river.

Just over my right shoulder in this photo, there is a foot-path to the top of the falls. It has many stairs. Many. The stairs can be avoided by heading up the main road and looking for a small footbridge that allows you to meet the path again at the top of the stairs. I'm stubborn (or stupid) and took the stairs. I was able to navigate up to the top of the falls using:
a) Underarm crutches
b) The help of a strong friend at the rear ready to give me a wedgie with my overalls if I fell, and he was also willing to hold crutches while I did some bouldering.
c) Jean overalls. Lava rocks are VERY unkind to one's bumm when bouldering. If you are going to boulder, wear something sturdy. My jeans held up fine, my bathing suit did not.

Random Fact-oid #3 : The jungle is not the forest. (quote compliments of Princess April, Dandelion Dancetheater member)

This is a true statment for many reasons...folliage, scents, creatures, etc etc...but one thing noticible to me with Hawaiin jungle was the lava rocks. I was thrilled to discover that lava is not at all slippery when wet. Usually crutches plus a damp, slick surface equals one major drag. And Hilo is the rainiest city in the US, so I was worried. As it turns out, lava rocks (and walkways paved with lava bricks) were some of the best surfaces for crutching I have ever encountered.

My brand new crutch tips didn't like the lava so much, though.

I think that happened crutching through tide-pools, which I'll take up in the next post, too.

Keeping the above photo in mind, think back to what I just wrote about jeans, bouldering, and bumms.
Heed my advice.

More tomorrow....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I got home last night, and today has been all about adjusting to life on the home front (ie going from kid-less into mommy-mode at full throttle). Oh, and I also spent some of my day falling asleep in the middle of sentences.
I'd like to write an actual entry, but I can't.
I'm wiped out.
Too tired to post.
Only. Enough. Energy. To. Make. This.

Inky got me clickin', but not before I first kvetched in her comments about how these avatar places never have a wheelchair option.

I stand (ok, I sit) corrected.

The wheelchair didn't even end up in the "wierd" category. "Wierd" was surfboards and bikinis. Funny.

Meez-girl almost sorta kinda maybe just a wee bit looks like (a very skinny) me, except missing the nose ring and a baseball cap. Tiaras, but no hats. And eyebrow and lip piercings, but nothing for the nostrils. They even have tattoos.

They have so much pirate stuff, I kept thinking that if I dinked around long enough I'd find a wooden leg. But no luck.

Wonder if they'll ever have the option to just lob off a body part. *grin*