Wednesday, August 29, 2007

field of dreams v. hill of screams

Local news here in the Bay Area is going on and on about this newsworthy story (actually, I now see it has even hit the AP).

A Danville family (think land of "Richie Rich"), was feeling like the local parks were just too crowded for a decent little league practice. Besides, Daddy couldn't make it to practice on time to coach (musta been that long winding drive from the hilltop mansion down to the flats, eh Pops?).

Anyhow. So their solution? They build a baseball diamond for Junior and his team on their "spare" lot.

You're looking at $300k worth of the new and improved artificial turf, plus batting cages, and 14 high foot fences to prevent stray balls leaving foul ball territory.

Problem is, Mommy+Daddy never got a building permit, and it their Field of Dreams is not up to code. Especially in terms of meeting the "preserving the skyline" clause.

I'm kind of confused about how the house itself preserved the skyline, but whatever.

So the neighbors are bitching about the view being ugly. The city has decided they need to dismantle the whole thing. Or appeal the thing. I think Mommy is pissed because her idea was to just plant a bunch of trees around it and camouflage it.

This whole thing has kinda made me wonder if my own neighbors are up to code.

Behold. My own little piece of skyline view (not Danville)...

...this being the view I see from the kitchen window and/or from the den-office-spare bedroom.

Yes, folks. Indeed, that would be a trampoline perched on a hillside.

And it's a very steep hillside. And the thing is also quite perched.

No, I have never seen anyone on it. I've been casually keeping an eye on it since we moved here. I'm kinda thinking there was only ever one person stupid enough to take a jump on it, and they are probably still in traction up in that room in the upper right corner.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not eeeeven complaining about the view here. I actually find this whole trampoline thing a fun little oddity. Nice little conversaton piece ("Have you seen anyone on it?"..."Why no, I have not."..."Let's sneak up there and do it!")

And besides. Why complain. Anything beats the view my last neighbor gave me.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

to knit or not to knit?

I suppose I could scan my own blog for the specifics of timing, but since I am a lazy slacker....
let's just say that it was probably early spring when I put my knitting down.

Like down, down. Really down. Like I think I have knit 3-5 rounds on a sock in six-months, down. Like maybe so far down that maybe I have quit knitting, down.

(I bet your mouth is hanging open or you aren't breathing)

I'm guessing it was early March or so, and I had finished my very first shawl. I cast on for a pair of socks just in case I got "the twitch", but the goal was to give knitting a rest once the shawl was complete.

I'd accepted a settlement in the lawsuit about that time, but there were still many legal and financial details consuming my attention. I was on the hunt for a house that a person with a disability could actually function in. I was purging the contents of my old house in preparation of the move. I was purchasing the home itself, and shopping around for contents for the new house. I was dealing with a gaggle of contractors who were updating and adapting the new house. I was dealing with the transferring of personal accounts and services, and getting the documents in order for the school. And let's not forget the packing. I was packing. And packing. And packing.

I told myself that this was no time to get sucked into a knitting project.
I had to stay focused.
And I did.
And now that phase of my life is over.
And still I haven't picked up the knitting.

In spring, when I put the knitting aside, someone important to me said something, and it has been ringing in my ears ever since:
"I bet you put down the knitting and don't pick it back up again. I bet you're going to give it up entirely. It was just a phase. I think it was something you used to keep yourself out of the loonie-bin while you were dealing with the lawsuit stress." (See, she had her own similar experience. She would obsessively stay up into the wee hours make collages and doing papercrafting that involved teensy weensy shapes cut out into silhouettes using teensy weensy little scissors. Oh yes, and gluesticks. By the case, if I recall. --- I actually own some of that art. Which is good, because I like it, and she gave up making them right after her own legal issues settled.)

Anyhow, I told her, "Nuh, no, no, knitting is not like that for me. I knit when I was a kid, and as in my 20's too, if you'll recall. And now knitting is a big part of who I am, and my creativity, and it is how I relax. I just can't knit right now because I can't get distracted by the knitting like I do. I have to get all this shit wrapped up, and it is all time consuming."

The move was in mid-July. I knew things would shift. I dedicated an entire bookshelf to my knitting supplies. The spinning wheel (I still haven't learned to use properly) greets me as I walk through my front door. I started to carry my sock-in-progress with me again. I set out a basket of yarn and waited for them to talk to me about what to make next.

And the magic hasn't happened.

I still haven't knit.

I keep waiting for that compelling urge to create with my hands, and at least I do I get it...but I use it to cook instead (not a bad thing, because cooking had been on hold for as long, if not longer, than the knitting--and I have been entertaining once or twice a week, yay!).

But still, I'm not knitting. I find myself stuck somewhere with 20 minutes to kill, and it never occurs to me to pull out the sock and knit on it. I go into book stores, and I don't even visit the knitting section anymore. I have visited my new local yarn shop, but only because a friend that was visiting had to get some needles. I hadn't even made a bee-line for the shop on my own. And when I got inside the store with her? I didn't have that know...that thing...when you see the yarn, and you have all these fantasies about what you would make out of (whether you buy it or not), or maybe you don't even know what you'd make out of it, but you just know you have to have it because it is gorgeous and'll figure it out later.

Dudes, the yarn store was a good one. Loaded with gorgeous stuff.
I didn't drool, I didn't fondle, I didn't covet.
I didn't even feel the pull of sock yarn. WTF???!!!

I've been kinda wondering if this is the end of the road for me and knitting.
Last week I was even thinking that I really could use that bookshelf full of knitting stuff for something else, and that I was certain there were a few people in my life that would be glad to help me unload my stash.

Well, Thursday something happened.
I had a massage.
The closing of my escrow was such a bugger, that the realtor gave me a gift certificate for a massage in a card thanking me for my business. I had decided to make the appointment for this week, since MyFavoriteKid started back to school on Monday.

The massage was awesome, and without my going into my beliefs about the magical powers of bodywork, I will say that she definitely moved around some stuck energy. I knew it was stuck in my big achy muscles for sure, and I wasn't too surprised when she found it in all of those tiny little crevices and those odd little places where I am always surprised to be holding tension.

Well, after the massage was over, the massage therapist and I chat for a bit, and I'm not even sure how we got on the topic, but it turns out that she knits. A lot. And she felts. And she's obsessed fiber.

I'm sitting there drinking water, all happy and rubbed down and blissed out, and I'm listening to her talk about Koigu and cashmere and something about lace and shawls and who-knows-what-else-because-it-all-kind-of-ran-together-because-I-was-still-floaty....

....but I sorta had the colors of Koigu all spinning around in my head like a kaleidoscope while she was talking, and then I started seeing images of all of the things I have knit in Koigu, and all of the things I would like to knit in Koigu.....and, well... here I am, less than 48 hours later....and I feel like knitting.

I am woke up early this morning because I couldn't sleep, so I started flipping through the copy of Stephanie Japel's Fitted Knits I bought last night. Of course, I'm wondering what time the yarn store opens. The sock I am (still) working on is sitting here and I am doing a few rows while I read knitting blogs. But what I really want to be doing right this very second (ie NOW) is casting on for that little cardigan with the leaf ties, and if I were at home (but I'm not...because I am at TheMostImportantGuy's for the weekend) I am certain I have enough of some yummy Rowan stashed away that would be perfect for it, so who needs to go shopping for yarn...but hey, now I do want to go yarn shopping, and hey...while I'm at it maybe I should pick up some of those Addi turbo's for lace...gee, I haven't tried those know, just to have them around in case I want to work with that deep read alpaca laceweight I bought awhile back...and hey, you know, fall is coming, and over the knee socks would be really great so I should make some out of the Socks That Rock I have stashed...and ooooooooo!! I have a solution for my bathroom window---I really should create some sort of window covering for it....and and and....

I have a hunch the massage therapist did a little more than just massage my weary muscles ;-)

To knit or not to knit?
Is it even a question?

Friday, August 17, 2007


It is a rare moment to see me pimping, promoting, or reviewing any sort of product, book, or movie on this blog. I choose to leave that to folks have that talent.

So hear me loud and clear: If I am telling you about something I have used, read, or seen, it's because it has had a deep impact on me and I don't want you to miss out on a great thing.

You need to go see this movie.
I mean, you really need to go see this movie.
It's called "Once".
I went just because it was billed as a "modern musical", and because it got a 97% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes (TheMostImportantGuy's favorite site for deciding whether or not a movie is worth his $10 and his time).

In my 'hood, it's finishing a run at a small local "art" theater, so it may be hard to find where you live. But if you can find it playing, GO. And if you can't find it playing anywhere, keep an eye out for it on video.

I'm not going to tell you much about the content of the movie. You can get a good taste by visiting the Official Website of the movie, or something.

But I will tell you is this much:

Usually if a movie is going to make me cry, it's because the character development has been super solid and rich. Then when something happens to the character, I am connected and touched and I somehow relate, so I get all choked up.

But with this movie, it was the actual character development ITSELF that had my eyes watering, and I don't think I have ever had that happen (it was a happy cry, actually---ever have those?).

For me, this movie spoke about that precious moment in life when you meet someone who actually "gets you", and it captured that elusive thing both magically and powerfully, primarily through music.

Since the movie has sort of been swirling around me me for days (I saw it Sunday)....and since I loved the music so much....I bought the soundtrack. I popped it in the cd player while driving home from the music store....I got a few tracks in, and all of the sudden started bawling my eyes out so badly that I had to pull over and stop the car LOLOL. Now, I didn't have that sort of sob session in the theater, so who the hell knows where that came from. But it was a good feeling cry. Maybe I should have a therapist analyze that.

Now go.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

takes one to know one

my favorite T-shirt, at present
if you want your own, get it here

MyFavoriteKid: How come when Nana and Papa come over, you make them a snack without them even asking...and when IIIIIIIIIII want a snack, I have to ask for it.
Me: Because the are guests.
MyFK: But I am a guest, too!!
Me: (laughing) No, you aren't!! You live here, dude!
MyFK: Yeah, but I GUESSED that I live here.

Reading this post, I am betting that what made it such a hilarious punchline was it being delivered orally.
Or maybe you just had to be there.
But I was there, and I split a gut.
Then I promptly made up a plate of cheese, crackers, and apple slices.
Without his asking.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

tulips sure, but it's not all wine and roses over here

I need to tell you about Monday, because I just can't seem to shake it.

I took MyFavoriteKid to camp for the day, which used to be about 20 minutes away, but is now a 40 minuted drive since the move (he has one week left--he begged to hold on to something familiar during the move/transition). Rather than drive him to camp, commute back home to the new house while he is in camp, and then drive back again later to pick him up, I have been trying to find things to do in the old 'hood.

On Monday, I decided to kill the day window shopping in and around Berkeley. I started on 4th Street, which is not a place I typically frequent. It's fun and boutique-y, but a little snobby with high price tags, which is not how I like to spend money. I did, however, want to go there to visit this one little shop that sells Japanese paper for this framing project I am working on.

Now, I don't know how this happens, but I will go for weeks without people reminding me (directly or indirctly) that I am a gimp. Weeks. Instead, you see, the universe seems to save it all up for me, and then bitch slaps me with it about once a month or so.

Monday was my day.

Encounter Number One, while leaving a ridiculously overpriced shoe store:
Salesman: Here, I will get the door for you.
Me: No thanks, I have it.
Salesman: (literally climbing over my wheelchair to get in front of me and open it anway...he then bends down, putting his face near mine as if to whisper, but announces loudly...) "I know about you people. You people don't like anyone doing anything for you because it makes you feel disabled."
Me: If you know that, then why are you doing it.
SalesAss (ignoring me entirely): You know, I had this one guy once yell at me for opening the door for him because it makes him feel disabled, but I open the door for everyone.
Me: Well, I can't speak for all of my people but I think as a rule, it would be nice if you asked us if we need help, rather than telling us we are going to be helped. Like maybe if you tried, "Can I get the door for you?" that would be better than, "I AM going to get the door for you." That way we can choose yes or no. Sometimes my hands are full and help is welcomed, and other times I am fine on my own, and prefer to take care of myself.
Ass (still ignoring me entirely): You know, every year this man comes through on a wheelchair and sells Christmas cards, and every year I buy them and give them to my family, and I tell my children, "Do you know who made these cards?? I man in a wheelchair! He does something, and you do nothing!!"
Me: Have a great day, please excuse me.

Encounter Number Two , buying a magazine at a bookstore:
RegisterLady: Can I get you anything else?
Me: No thanks, that's all.
RL: What happened?
Me: (knowing full well what she is asking) Well, you didn't have the magazine I was looking for, so I picked up this one.
RL: No, I meant your leg.
Me: Oh, I thought you were asking me something relevant to my purchase.
(long pause, long silence)
RegisterLady:'d it happen?
Me: *sigh*

Encounter Number Three, at the Crate & Barrel Outlet:
I was looking at (handling) a glass serving dish that was at (my) eye level (your hip level). I was just about to put it back on the shelf, and a saleswoman swoops---I swear---out of nowhere, grabs it out of my hands mid air so she can "help"me put it back on the shelf.
I'm ruffled, but I don't say anything, because I'm already pissed from encounters one and two, plus I can tell she's the type that ain't gonna get it anyhow. So I leave.

On to Z-Gallery for Encounter Number Four:
I just ambled about the store looking at this and that, and kept going until I had made my way clear across the other end of the store. Once I got there, I realized I could not get back. Apparently, I had somehow taken the one and only route through the store that a wheelchair could fit through, and I forgot to leave a trail of breadcrumbs. I tried retracing my steps (ok, wheeltracks), but all other possible paths were too narrow. I didn't get to look at probably 70% of what was in the store. But that was fine, because at that point I was too pissed to ever want to buy anything there anyhow.

Encounter Number Five:
A man does a little side-step-sachet-dance-move and finally comes to a complete halt to the side of me. So he could get out of my way. As I went down the sidewalk. Which was 5-feet wide. And there was nobody else on it but the two of us.

Encounter Number Six:
Realizing people on the street are scared of getting their toes squished, and that I can't get into half of the stores anyhow, I ditch the wheelchair and decide to try this again on crutches. I next make a small purchase in a card store, which has a high counter (good thing I was on crutches, eh?). The lady hands me my change and says, "I hope you get your cast off soon! Feel better!!"

Encounter Number Seven:
No adult in sight, a little girl of about 7 or 8 walks up and says, "What happened to your leg?"
Me: (this is old hat, I like it when kids ask, so I'm actually quite comfortable with this one): "Oh, I had an accident and my leg got really broken and they couldn't fix it."
(I test the response, checking for how much more info to give)
Girl: "Ohhhh that is sooooo sad!! It must have hurt!!"
Me: "No, actually I am just fine, and it didn't hurt. I didn't feel it. It was like a surgery, where they put you to sleep and you dont feel anything."
Girl (looks up, closes her eyes, puts her hands together, and starts to pray REALLY LOUDLY): " Dear Lord, Please let the one legged lady not hurt and not be so sad, and I hope she feels better soon. Amen. "
She spins around on her heels and leaves.
My mouth hangs open.

Encounter Number Eight, back at Crate & Barrel, apparently a glutton for punishment because apparently that serving platter was apparently just that important, and screw that platter-snatching-employee, because it was on sale 40% off:
As I walk in the store, YuppieMom and her two girls go ahead of me and mom lets go of the door and it slams me in the shoulder and almost knocks me down. The youngest girl sees me (she's about 7), but rather than be shocked that the door hit me, she's gawking at my leg. And now there I am, hoping like hell that the little angel doesn't say anything to me, because who knows what wrath she will encounter. I've already reached my limit for one day.
I do everything humanly possible to stay on the exact opposite side of the store from YuppieMom and her offspring, but NOooooooooo......
I hear from across the store, "But MOMMMMMM, I need to SHOW you!!"
I try to run for the door, which is a bad idea when you are on crutches and you are in a store that is basically a room full of glass objects, floor to ceiling (an honest-to-goodness bull in china shop).
I go behind a big display of summer stuff on sale, but the little gawking girl heads me off at the pass, dragging her mom behind her by the hand.
LittleGirl: See, mom? Look!!! She only has one leg!! WHY does she only have one leg?!!!! She only has one!!!
**Note to all parents: This is the part where you should say something like, "Why I'm not sure, dear. We could ask her, and then see if she feels like talking to us about it."
YuppieMom makes a loud hush, spins on her heels and drags kid away from me.
Me: (loud enough to make sure she hears me, and potentially scarring the child for life): Yeah, well I might only have one leg, but both of my ears are still there, and at least I have half a brain!!!

OMG, I cannot believe I did that.
I am so twisted that I actually felt like shit and felt happy about it all at the same time.

So, I kid you not. This was actually how my day went. I am not making up one single bit of it. None. And I will go weeks without another episode (aside from the usual gawking, which is daily). But then--wahbamm!! I will have another day like this.

I would like to know if there is something I am doing that causes this to happen. Am I wearing a Gimp Sticker on those days?? A "Kick me--I'll roll or fall down" sign?? Is it just me PMS-ing or something and being more sensitive than usual? Who knows.

Actually, Monday I was wearing pants. When I do that, I tuck the leg up in the waistband. Prior to Monday, I'd been wearing mostly skirts and dresses, which seem to make me a wee bit less obvious. Is that it? Do the pants attract more attention??

I will say one thing.....coming home at the end of the day made the whole Eight Part Experience go away. Prior to moving, I would be out in the shitty world, and then I would go back to my shitty home, and life was shitty inside and out.

This time, I came home to my new house with the fruit trees and the birds and the big bubble bath and the fireplace....and to family coming over to watch a baseball game, and toast with champagne.....and the earlier part of the day just went away (for a little while, then I stewed about it some more...which seems to be my practice).

But I can see that having a sanctuary to come home to is going to make facing the world a whole lot easier.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

a note from the prophet

snagged from John over at Napkin Please ...

Your Life Path Number is 11

Your purpose in life is to inspire others

Your amazing energy draws people to you, and you give them great insight in return.
You hold a great amount of power over others, without even trying.
You have the makings of an inventor, artist, religious leader, or prophet.

In love, you are sensitive and passionate. You connect with your partner on a very deep level.

You have great abilities, but you are often way too critical of yourself.
You don't fit in - and instead of celebrating your differences, you dwell on them.
You have high expectations of yourself. But sometimes you set them too high and don't achieve anything.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I get up every morning
determined to change the world
& have one hell of a good time.

Sometimes this makes
planning the day difficult.

E.B. White

I can't even tell you how many times I have tried to post something and then been sidetracked by the whispers of items still in misssss me...unpaaaaack neeeeeeed me.....


Well, it has been paying off to keep unpacking. Lookie! No more boxes in the livingroom.

Okay, well....except these two boxes (but they have a purpose):

Like my coffee table? Hahahaha. Yeah, well...for now...IT WORKS.
See, if you go back to that first photo, there should be a bookcase in that corner there where that basket is. The bookcases aren't here yet, and I haven't found a coffee table I the boxes full of books, plus a piece of glass left behind by the last owner...? Viola. My "new" coffee table.

Actually, that first photo was taken before I created my designer coffee table. I took it so that I could show off the hardwood floors I had installed before I moved in. If you recall, the floors used to look like this before I moved in:

OoooBoy. There was no way I was keeping white carpets being a wheelchair user who lives with a 10 year-old little boy.

But I lamented over the floor selection. LAMENTED.

I knew I loved the darker woods. I knew that when I looked in magazines, the rooms that made me oooh and ahhh were the ones with darker floors. I also knew that I didn't know squat about decorating, and had lived with white walls my entire life. Here I was about to plop down a very big bundle on something that I couldn't replace or just paint over if I made a little "whoopsie" with my color choice. I had this huge fear (instilled in me by many) that the floors would be too dark and would suck the light out of the house. Some people told me that it would be too dark in here, and that it would make the room look too small or make it feel like you were floating, even.

I wasn't posting during that period of time, and be very glad, because every single person within earshot of me(or available on instant messenger) heard me freaking out about the floors. I mean, like really freaking out. It had the potential of being the biggest financial mistake in my entire life, because I have never spent so much money on something I wasn't entirely sure would work for me.

Well, as it turns out, the floors are gorgeous. The wood I chose is called "Tiete Chestnut". What makes it work in here is that it has a finish on it that actually shines light back into the room, so even though the floors are a bit darker, they actually make the room a bit brighter. The whole space is now very warm feeling, both to look at and to the touch.

I am very thankful for all of you folks who encouraged me to trust my gut and go with what I knew I loved, even though I wasn't sure it would work or not, and that it might be a costly mistake that I would have to live with for a verrrrry long time.

Thanks also, to all who commented about the orange kitchen. I love it, too!!

As for the dishwasher, well....I just had to kiss it. I have never lived in a place with a dishwasher before. This is a first for me! Growing up, my parents said they didn't need a dishwasher, because they already had TWO (my sister and I, hardy har har).

I am off to bed, but here is a shot of where I sat to type this post.

at the diningroom table

G'night ;-)