Tuesday, August 31, 2010

an amputeehee guide to: living in a state of denial

I've known about this for weeks but have not been able to bring myself to blog about it. I don't even know if I am ready now, actually....but it's a time sensitive issue, so if I am going to say anything at all here, now is the time.

Do you all recall earlier this year when TheMostImportantGuy's dad had cancer surgery? They removed his bladder. Post-surgery was a huge struggle for him because he is diabetic and his blood-sugar went all wacky-wonky during his healing process, so he was in and out of the hospital. Well, okay. I guess he was never really OUT of the hospital, he was only really IN. If he's not been in the hospital "proper", he's been in one of several convalescent/rehab type facilities. I think he was "home-home" for one day, if memory serves me correct...then went right back in because the of the blood sugar stuff.

Well, somewhere along the line, he developed a secondary issue: a sore on his foot that would not heal. It's been months of treatments, testing, huge courses of antibiotics, and meeting with specialists...and guess what today is.

His amputation surgery.

I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Was that long enough?

It still hasn't sunk in all the way for me, due to varying levels of anxiety, sadness, and denial about it...so don't feel bad if your mouth is still open. I was chatting online last night with my friend Mouse and sorta dropped the news in her lap just as we were saying goodnight (see? so much denial, I'm not even talking about it---it just sorta "splurts out"). I don't remember exactly what she said (more denial), but while the news was sinking in, she got to the part where she was putting together the flowchart of this crazy little scene, and the myriad of ways this touches all of the involved players. If you really take the time to put yourself into the shoes of each person involved, it's bananas.

As for Dad, he seems to be taking it well. I asked him how he was feeling about it, and he said, "It feels like losing an old friend." If there is something going on with TheMIG on an emotional level about all this, I'm not hearing about it. Maybe he's just downright adjusted to having amputees around by now, I dunno. Maybe it's just old hat. He's been mostly busy with supporting his mom (who seems, from the outside, to be her regular perky self--her own way of coping, perhaps), by helping her with researching stuffs and keeping the financial bits in place.

In my own little corner of this, I feel sad lots, and I worry lots. I hope like anything for TheMIG's dad that he doesn't have to deal with phantom limb issues, or nerve sensitivity, and that he heals well from this surgery. I have all sorts of worries that if his blood sugar went all over the map with the bladder surgery, and if he can't heal from a little sore on his foot, then WTF is gonna happen when they do a surgery to take off his foot??

Other more selfish concerns have me fearing that I will be consulted as "the expert" by the involved parties, and...well...I am not. I am only expert (and that is using the term very loosely) of myself. Our situations are entirely different in terms of age, health, amputations, expectations, and pre-amputation mobility. While I am certain I have a point of view about being an amputee, I most definitely do not have the same frame of reference. I am hoping I can be brave enough to be support for him (because I have been behaving sort of chicken-shit so far), but my way of dealing with my own amputation has been to keep a keen eye out for the humor in all of this, as we all know. I have no idea if that's something he'll appreciate.

Some more technical bits:
They are pretty much removing only his foot, just above the ankle. This is good news in terms of him being able to be fit for a prosthesis. It's more like slipping on a boot, really....and he's only really needing it so that he has two legs underneath him for balance when he is vertical. He's really only standing up when he's transferring in and out of bed or on and off "the can", at this point. It's not like he needs to get to a level of functionality where he will be jogging the track or something. This is not to say that he shouldn't aim for walking again, but since the bladder surgery, most of his getting around has been happening in a wheelchair anyhow....and prior to the cancer surgery, it was only short distances with a walker.

The key thing though, is that once you cannot transfer yourself in and out of bed or around the surfaces of your environment yourself (ie if you need to be "lifted" by someone, for example, to get out of bed and into a chair) this puts you at entirely different level of convalescent care. It dictates what type of facility you can be placed in. It's a big deal. For him it will determine whether or not he can ever come home, or if he would be in more a senior care environment, or in a setting that is more like a hospital.

Another big concern is that because the foot is being removed due to an infection settling in, there is some about whether or not this amputation will take care of the situation, or if it has "settled in" farther than they thought it had. There is also added concern about vascular issues and whether or not the blood flow is good enough for him to heal well. In other words, if this doesn't do the trick, he's going to have to go back in to remove more of the leg, above the knee.
We'd be a matching set.

All y'all out there reading this:

Any healing vibes sent, no matter whom involved you send them to, are greatly appreciated.

TheMIG is up with his mom, and surgery is later this afternoon.
It's probably pretty good timing for me that today is the day I make my rounds at the two convalescent hospitals. Distraction (but connection) from a distance.

Monday, August 30, 2010


There she goes!
I forgot to take photos of the new one while the light was still good.
That's because it's so quiet, I forgot it was there.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

clearing out the fridge

Spent some time today emptying the fridge and removing things either on or around it.
The new one arrives tomorrow morning. Yay!

That Prosecco? I cracked it. I didn't want it to spoil.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

i did everything today *except* to take a snap on saturday

Just home from the show and I'm very close to passing out. The show was good and I didn't do too shabby. A couple of small lighting errors, but I was able to fix them in time with the music, and nobody else really noticed but me in the long run.

MyFavoriteKid had an 8:40am dentist appointment about 45 minutes southeast of home, and then after lunch he had an audition for the Youth Orchestra 35 minutes of home. Getting to the show was a whole 'nother direction to drive in.

It wouldn't surprise me if you find me in a lump on the couch tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2010

how it went & hopes for how it goes

In my experience as a dancer, this formula has always held true for me:

When my dress rehearsal goes smoothly, I boff-up on the night of the show. Alternately, when the dress rehearsal runs screwy, the show is great.

Now, I am not a dancer in this upcoming show Saturday night. I am the one doing the lighting and the sound, and it's my first time doing so. Let's hope for everyone's sake that the above formula holds true as I perform in this new role, because last night at the dress rehearsal??

I sucked ass.

And I was an EqualOpportunityFuckerUpper, goofing up at least one thing during each and every piece. Nobody was immune.

Now in defense of myself, the only time I have ever touched this lightboard was at last week's tech rehearsal, and most of my time that night was spent taking notes about cues and what levels to set things at. We never ran through the pieces, so I never got to play with the flow of things. It was more of a, "when I put my arms in the air, turn that up (or down). I did not even get to attempt a cue-to-cue (that's where you walk through all of the cues and changes from one to the next rather quickly, just to try them out, but you do not run the pieces in their entirety). As a result of having no actual practice doing my "job", last night I really stunk.

Some of the highlights of my evening were having my finger stick to the sliding dimmer switch that runs the center spot (ie I accidentally turned the spotlight right back off just after turning it on) and having my knuckle bump into the track advance button as I was closing the tray to the CD player (ie I started the piece halfway through the music). Neat-o.

I think I've figured out my flaws though, and I know how to correct them. Let's just hope that there aren't any more out there lurking like tickling little time bombs. Again, I'm hoping that my historic performing formula proves correct that this means Saturday night will be awesome. We shall see.

I did learn one other big thing about myself, and why doing the lights and sound is so hard for me. I have been going to dance class every week for 16 years. Even seeing the floor, or the light of the room...it's like a trigger reminding me that I can turn off the left side of my brain. I can drop into my body and allow my right brain to flow freely into it's creative side.

This is exactly what happened when I walked into the studio last night to run the dress rehearsal.

Not the best mental state for reading linear notes written on graph paper about what sequence to perform tasks in.

I am hoping know this will make a difference. It feels like I need to get my brain in the gear I used to use when catering. I could create and be inspired, but could totally put all the ducks in a row, if you know what I mean.

In other news: today was just good.
I took the stinky dog a self-service dog wash.
Brooke came over for a visit and I made us a nice brunch while she played with the electric spinner.
I got on top of some paperwork.
I got MyFavoriteKid off to his first middle school dance of the year....and need to leave now to go pick him up!

Tomorrow is going to be a bit bananas. MyFK has an 8:30am dentist appointment, then he has a 2pm audition for the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, and then I need to be at the studio by 5pm to set up for the 8pm show.

Betcha all you get tomorrow here is a photograph (which is good, because today I am rambling!!)...but that's perfect because it's "Snaps on Saturday".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

i think i'm just gonna do this right now and get it over with

I'm not particularly inspired to post tonight because I am just feeling downright overwhelmed. I didn't sleep well last night and today has been a whole lot of work and running around...but I don't think that is what has me with that "butterflies on crack" feeling in my tummy.

I think what is really gnawing at me is what is about to happen with the rest of my evening.

I have to leave in 45 minutes to get to the studio and set up for tonight's Dress Rehearsal (our students are performing Saturday night. I'm not in the show this time...I'm part of the production team, and I'm kind of freaking out about it. I'm running the sound system and the lightboard, and I've never done it before. I only got one crack at it last week, and that was during the Tech Rehearsal, which was more about setting the lights and sound, rather than actually doing it...if ya' know what I mean.

The task itself feels more difficult than actually performing, for some reason. I am sure it's just because it's a new skill and it's due to the fact that I'm usually the performer and on the other side of the box. I get that. I think I'm just flipped out that I'm going to miss a cue, or press the wrong button, or (*eek! horrors!*) put in the wrong CD. I'm probably so worried about these things because I have been the dancer at the other end of these errors (every. single. one of them. yes.), and although I am a solid enough to performer to weather them, it does take a level of skill to weather them and still hold my center. I would never wish the situation on anyone, so I most definitely do not want to be the cause.

Anyhow...tonight will go very late, and then I will hit a wall of traffic coming home due to the late night closures of the freeways while they do overnight construction.
I guess the traffic jam will at least give me plenty of time to reflect on what I could have done better LOLOL ;-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

finally finished some knitting

I finally finished up the socks I was working on.

Seems like they took forever, and they are only ankle socks for crying out loud.
I love 'em.

Ravelry Project Page. here.
Pattern: In Season, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, available here.
Yarn: A Verb for Keeping Warm, Creating: Superwash Sock, colorway "Mermaid"
Started: July 18th
Finished: August 24th (In my defense, I'm always working on multiple things simultaneously. Oh, and knitting is "supposed" to be a fun hobby for me, not a contest. It's the path, not the destination. Blah. Blah. Blah.)

I updated my Ravelry page with this project and then "stood back" to admire the project I've accomplished so far this year, which is sadly quite minimal (two pairs of ankle socks, a hat, a scarf, and a shoulder shawl...whoop-dee-doo).

I immediately cast-on for a new hat with the brown handpsun I made a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to lift myself out of the little hole of self-judgement I had dug myself into, based on that realization. Didn't help much, because even though the hat is looking cute and whipping right along, I was working on it instead of cleaning the house, so got on myself about that instead.

I'm so much fun...LOL.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

too fried to type

I'm too fried to type much tonight, partially because it was a very busy day. Convalescent hospital rounds, a quick stop home in the afternoon to meet up with MyFavoriteKid, and then I had to head out to the middle school for Back to School Night.

Note the three minutes to get from one class to the next (I was actually thankful to be in a wheelchair---I was faster than the two-legged folk! A good portion of MyFK's classes are on a second floor, and I have finally learned to stop by the school office in the earlier in the day to pick up a little present they have waiting just for me: my very own personalized elevator key.

The other reason I am feeling fried is because my brain melted somewhere around 12:30 this afternoon. It was 95 degrees out when I was making hospital rounds, and by the time I got home the gauge in the car was reading 106!! I might just be a wee bit dehydrated, too.

Glass of water. Bed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I stayed up too late last night tinkering with the new toy (if you missed it, I splurged on an iPad). I'm feeling mighty tired and I still have the Monday night conference call with the co-dance teachers in an hour or so, and the house could really use some love.

I did do a couple of test-posts/drafts yesterday, and I am indeed able to post from the iPad, but indirectly. Blogger and the iPad dont quite get along yet, apparently. When you are in Blogger, you can't get the iPad's keyboard to come up. You can click on any buttons, though. What I found is that I can email a post (using the iPad/my hotmail account) to Blogger, and have it post directly, or go in as a draft. I can then use the iPad to get into Blogger and click around a bit to add tags (or anything else I can click on that's a button), and I can preview the post, and then publish it. I can also add photos into the post as an attachment, but it don't have any control over where those photos land...and I haven't figured out how to move them around in draft-mode yet, but I bet that where there is a will, there is a way.

So. Tonight I have photos, and a couple of other things to get off my chest...and I need them placed where I want them...so here I am, on the laptop.

Ya' know, I held a blog contest recently, and one of the winners was KathodeRayTube. I sent her her prize, and she sent me back stuff! Silly (because that isn't how contests work!), but super-duper sweet! :-)

Some of her favorite goodies from Maine, she writes. A wonderful woodsy smelling air freshener, and some yarn. I have two skeins of something very similar that I picked up when I was back east visiting Plimoth Plantation (seen here, scroll down). The labels are different, but by gosh it is so similar that I think I can put them all together and do a project of some sort. I've been wanting some try some felted bowls or baskets for a long time.
Thanks, Kathy!

Some not so great news next.
I lost another person last week. I got the call while I was in the middle of tech rehearsal last Thursday night, and I know it's been days and I should have posted by now, but....
I've got all this guilt going on.
So time to spill the beans, I guess.

My Uncle Milton passed away. I think the was 92. Milton was my Grandfather's (my mom's dad) brother. I don't ever remember meeting him as a little kid. I might have, but if I did, I don't remember. I do remember meeting him when we moved to Northern California my senior year of high school. I remember going out on a boat with him into the bay and sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. I remember his wife Odette, too. I remember his daughter, too. I also remember going to her wedding in the Berkeley hills. I remember getting news of Odette's passing.

The guilt? I remember little else. And I don't recall ever seeing him again past my early to mid-twenties. And I liked him. A lot. And he was family. And he lived only an hour or so from where I live. And I just never saw him. And I'm not quite sure why. And it's been eating at me ever since I heard the news. Why didn't we visit??! I mean, it aint like he was calling me either, but....why??

I am confounded. And full of very strange feelings that I can't quite sit still with comfortably for long enough to put my finger on.

Ok, onto something better (I am the queen of avoidance techniques).

Yesterday TheMostImportantGuy and I ate for the first time at a Napa institution:

(psssst....I love TheMIG's hands *grin*)

The ButterCream Bakery
(do click the link if you are into vintage photos)

It was on the good side of okay. It was kinda like a greasy spoon, sans grease. Not sure how else to explain it LOL. What I will say though, is the pastries?!?! Oh. MyGosh. To die for. Next time I have to show up anywhere for a breakfast potluck, I know just where to go. Best I have ever had. Ever.

More food (more avoidance?), with a side of "friendship".

Today I had lunch with Donna after going to the midday practice at the zen center. Our plan today was to hit this gourmet food cart guy that parks near her office. Like, grilled asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes on a little food cart, that kind of guy. I was so excited.

And he wasn't parked there today! Gah!
That's when Donna spotted "The Bun Truck".

There's Donna's buns ordering her buns ;-)

Now, I was skeptical, lemme tell ya'. I think I have had a steamed pork bun only once in my life ever, and apparently once was enough, because I have never had a steamed bun again since. I'm so glad I got over myself because this was one of the best things I have ever eaten.

One was duck confit with asian spices and sliced mango, and the other one was garlicky greens with a this slice of crusted tofu and some sort of cheese. And the bun wasn't all doughy and tacky. DANG so good.

Even Donna's cow liked it.

She's slurping on a "Salted Carmel and Pineapple" tapioca sort of drink, with lots of crushed ice. SOoooo good.

Then I laid back on the blanket we had laid on the grass in a shady spot near the truck, and looked up at the trees for a bit.

Pretty awesome.

Everywhere I went today, people commented on the weather. It's finally hot. It was 95 up here where I live today, and only just a bit cooler where we had lunch today. Tomorrow is supposedly going to be hotter, but I think once we head into the weekend it's back to being "unseasonably cool," so I'm hoping to get out and enjoy it as much as I can.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


This has been one expensive day, kids.

The first big purchase I made today I have been planning on and saving up for. I wrote a few months ago about really needing a new refrigerator. The one I have now came with the house, and was put in when the hosue was first built. It's over 20 years old, which I suppose is not ancient, but it's the basic of the basic of models, too. The last year or so it's been freezing foods on the top shelf of the fridge, and not keeping things cold enough in the freezer. The deal breaker though (for me, at least), is that it makes this horrible buzzing sound when it is in chill-mode. It's kinda like chinese water torture or something. It is seriously making me grind me teeth.

Over the winter, TheMostImportantGuy had done a bunch of research for me. He found a model that would fit in my kitchen without making changes (I have low overhead cabinets), had the features that I wanted (yay! an ice maker!), had a good Consumer Reports review, good feedback from owners, and was rated the most quiet in it's category. We went and looked at it in person a couple fo months ago, but I didn't buy it because I couldn't work out a good delivery date with the sales guy. I missed a big 20% off sale at Sears last month, but today was their 15% version, and I walked right in knowing exactly what I wanted and plunked my money down. I am just thrilled to bits that come a week from Monday, I will no longer be gritting my teeth until I am in a state of lockjaw.

The second big splurge of the day was a bit more of a surprise. My laptop has been giving me greif for months, but I wasn't quite prepared to do anything about it right away, and I was trying to decide whether or not to ween myself off the PC habit and jump on the Mac-wagon.

I went in to Best Buy today to just play with the MacBooks and see how I liked them, and I somehow ended up walking out with iPad and I keypad docking station.

From which I am blogging from now.
I hope.

I am having so much fun experimenting with pressing buttons (that are not really buttons), and sliding pages around, and tilting screens this way and that way, and...well... who the heck knows what my posts are going to look like for the next week or so!

Tomorrow I will try adding some photos.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

snaps on saturday

the zen center bell
beginnings of painter's tape in the background

This weekend is a "work retreat" weekend at the zen center. No formal practice, just a lot of painting and cleaning and gardening...but also a chance to get to chat and get to know people as we work ('cuz normally we are silently staring at the floor!).

In addition to painting, I became the unofficial photographer for the day. Took a pile of shots of people, but lots of artsy-fartsy ones, too. Everything I take is just as it is, uncropped, untouched (because I'm really lame, and I don't know how to use photoshop--LOL). Having zero-skillz has forced me to learn how to crop in the frame.

Friday, August 20, 2010

do tell

Oh man, was this morning hard.

Our dance students are putting on a show, and the three of co-teachers are not performing this time so that we can do a more thorough job of the production work and helping the students prepare. The process has be AWESOME great, and I will be writing more about that soon (famous last words)....

...but last night was one grueling tech rehearsal that didn't get me home until just after midnight (there is roadwork every night on the only route between my house and the studio).

I woke up this morning, got MyFavoriteKid off to school, dropped my car off for it's 60k tune-up and headed over to a coffee shop to re-write my notes from the rehearsal (I am running the lights and sound for the show). By the time I was done, I felt like I was gnashing my teeth due to the combo of caffeine and details and fatigue.

I had plans to meet Brooke for lunch (woohoo! we've been trying to connect for the longest!), but I had time to kill between the auto shop and our meeting, so I decided to drive around a bit on unfamiliar roads. I somehow stumbled upon a dead end near the Napa River, and discovered the whereabouts of the local animal shelter. I almost came home with another dog. Thank god she was already spoken for and they had just forgotten to tag her pen with an "adopted" sign.

Lunch was great, and now I'm making dinner for MyFK and his buddy who is here for the evening.
Adjusting to this first week of back to school has been a bit grueling.
Very much looking forward to the weekend.

What are you all up to??

Thursday, August 19, 2010

planning is everything (or at least something)

Allow me to set the scene:
It's 1:05pm. I am at the check-out counter of Whole Foods in Napa, which is about 20 minutes north of home.

*ring ring!*

Me: Hello?

Hi, this is Helen!
(Helen is a good friend and neighbor of my mom and dad's, and I swear she feels like she could be related my dad's side of the family. She's like my Jewish auntie or something. I adore her.)

Me: Hi, Helen! Hey, can I call you right back? I am in the grocery store checking out.

Helen: Oh, no need to call me back...I'm just calling to tell you that I'll be about 15 minutes late for your class.

*crickets chirp...loudly...if only for a moment*

Me: Umm, what class?

Helen: Your knitting class! At the senior center!

*another loud brief cricket interlude*

(See, back in May sometime, I met with the director of our newly built local senior center. Helen had referred me to the director to teach a "knitting class", or at least facilitate a weekly gathering. The director and I agreed it best for me to start after school was back in session, and I offered a couple of different days and time slots that would work for me. She was to check the center's availability and also the schedule of the knitter's that had expressed interest, and she would get back to me. She never did, though. I had thought about this earlier this week, and had already made a mental note to call her next week about it.)

Me: Helen, Lori never called me back to schedule it! What time does it start?!!

Helen: 1:15!!


I pay for my stuff, go outside, track down the right number for the senior center, and call Lori, the director, who basically says, "Oops!"

I tell her I can come, but I'm going to be late, and she has to let me put my perishables in their big reach-in, otherwise I have to go home first. She agrees. I tell her I don't have any supplies with me, but she says they all brought their own projects. As for my knitting? Well, that's easy. My just happen to have my knitting bag is with me (it almost always is). In it I have a sock in progress, and a shawl.

*sound of a battle horn replaces crickets : TaTaDaaaaa!!!!*

I hereby welcome myself (and you! because you are certain to hear more about it!) to volunteer gig number three....and a whole new "cast of characters"!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

not the brightest crayon in the box

It's MyFavoriteKid's first day of school, and he has homework.

TheMostImportantGuy is on his way over for our regular Wednesday get together.

And I have decided that right this minute is the perfect time to rearrange the furniture. Really.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

pencils? check. pens? check. paper? check.

Tomorrow is MyFavoriteKid's first day of school. We've been making attempts at getting up earlier and earlier for a little over a week now, and I cannot say we've been all that successful.

Tomorrow ought to be FUN.

Yah. Right.

MyFK are also both feeling a little sick. It might just be allergies. We are both still adjusting to living next to a big open field o' weeds. But I have a hunch we're on the fringes of having mild colds. Grand.

Everything else is going okay, though. His backpack is all set and ready to go, I've cleared the decks of last year's papers and saved a little folder of all the really great stuff that I can use to embarrass him with when he is dating or has kids of his own. I cleared out my own binder that I use to keep all the junk sent home from the teachers, the office, or the district.

I'm signing off and going to bed early....will be sitting in bed knitting (socks) for a few, and maybe watching PBS. But I'm forcing myself to an early "lights out" tonight.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I feel horribly over stimulated today.This has been happening to me pretty regularly these days. Maybe once or twice a week, for a couple of hours. Today it was relentless though. Every little noise seems too loud, too grating. Everything is getting under my skin. Every little sounds feels like an irritant, and I cringe at certain noises that dont normally bother me.

I don't feel like talking, and I dont feel much like listening either (and I have more of both of those still to be done tonight---it's the Monday night co-dance teacher conference call in a minute).

I even found myself searching on sensory deprivation tanks today, that's how desperate for silence.
Maybe I just need some bodywork. Some QUIET bodywork.
It's been awhile.

Really what I think I need is a few days in the woods.
By myself.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I finished that yarn that I'd been working working on.

I actually finished it Wednesday, but I've been having so much fun thinking about what to turn it into that I forgot to post about it.

Now, as much as I dig the final outcome, it wasn't exactly what I was aiming for, either....but what I did get (aside from yarn I am pleased with), is that I learned quite a few things that I hope will help me next time.

Thing I learned #1: Don't look at the fiber all twisted up in its nice little bundle and make a plan of what to do with it. Open it up and play with it first.

A Verb For Keeping Warm, 100% BFL, 4oz
WoolyWonders! Fiber Club, colorway: Burnt Ember

I had already made my mind up that I was going to spin this fluff up into a 3ply semi-solid/mottled sort of thing, because it looked like it was dyed that way. Then I opened up the fiber and saw that what was really going on was two 2-oz strips of different colors---one more orange, one more red.

I had a conversation with myself about making a 2-ply instead of a 3-ply, or about carding the fibers together, or about holding both strips side by side and drafting across them both, blah blah blah....but in the end, I decided that more yarn was better than less yarn....and so I decided to spin each 2-oz strip on its own, and then do a 3rd single in a separate fiber that I already had in my stash.

A Verb For Keeping Warm, 100% Targhee, colorway: Transnational Fury

I twisted the three strips together to get a bit of an idea how it might look as a yarn, and it really did look like I'd still get a semi-solid yarn at the end. If you can see from the top photo, that's not the yarn turned out. It's got more of that barber-pole thing. Again, I still like it a lot, but I'm trying to learn how to make what I envision, and that's not what I envisioned, is all I'm sayin'.

Thing I learned #2: I lost my consistency on my singles, especially on the 3rd bobbin (the Targhee). That gave me a bit more thick-and-thin than I wanted, it gave me less yardage than I wanted, and it gave me a thicker yarn that I wanted (a sport/dk when I was going for a fingering).

3-ply ~ 5.2 oz ~ 236 yds ~ 11-12 wpi (dk/sport)
~ spun worsted/short Forward ~

Still, not bad lookin' at all.

Thing I learned #3: I need slow down considerably when I ply. I get so excited about being near the end of a project that I rush and get sloppy. I need to focus more on the process than the product.

Thing I learned #4: I need to find a way to hold the plies that works well for my wonky metal-laden right hand (that was also part of rushing--it hurt and I wanted to be finished). Next time I might try a using a diz (that's a little gadget with several holes in it, and I could run each single through a separate hole; it would keep the strands separated, and I wouldn't need to use my hands in a way that hurts).

Thing I learned #5: Even if I had worked 1 through 4 out, number thing #5? One of my bobbins is wonky! Because this was my first time ever doing a 3-ply, I had all of my bobbins in play, including one I had not used yet. It turns out that it barely rotates on the plying rod, and this just happens to be the bobbin I used to spin that ply of Targhee. I had no idea it was sticky until I went to ply and could barely get it on or off the rod, and the thing would barely spin. It explains why I was having such a hard time spinning that bobbin and why it was so thick-n-thin. This also explains why that single kept snapping while I plied, too. It explains why I have so much of the Targhee single left, and it also explains why the plying is so uneven (because it wasn't under the same tension as the other two). Gah.

I've been chatting with the eSpinner guy and he's been awesome. He gets the bobbins from the WooLee Winder folk, and sure enough, they had received a batch that had failed to be reamed properly. Mine must have fell through the cracks. I am to send it back, and it shall be fixed.

First, I was thinking I'd use it for fingerless gloves. Then, I was thinking some sort of cowl. But now I'm actually thinking I might make some sort of boot-topper, leg-warmer sort of thing to wear with my skirts and boots this winter. I wouldn't have enough yarn to do that normally, but being that I only reallllllly have to make one.....

I have enough.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

snaps on saturday

Last night at the goth club.....

For the record, my clubbin' days are long gone. Last night was a reunion event for a goth club from the mid-to-late 90's, and TheMostImportantGuy's band performed. The shot above was taken during the "Fashion Show" that took place just before the band took the stage.

Friday, August 13, 2010

a follow-up

A follow-up to yesterday's post.

Me: So, how did the WEB Leader training go today?

MyFavoriteKid: Good! I have to call 4 kids that will be in our group to introduce myself and remind them to come to orientation on Monday. My partner has to call the other 4.

Me: OH YEAH! I forgot about that! Who'd you get matched up with?? A hottie?!

MyFK: Actually, I got matched up with a guy.

Me: Hahahahahahahahahaha.

MyFk: It's because partners need to be in the same advisory class (ie homeroom), and the Leaders from my advisory are all guys. But actually, this is great. Most the other groups have three Leaders, two girls and one guy. And the girls just stand around blah-blah-blah-ing, and then the guy stands there looking an idiot!! I'm glad I got matched up with a guy. We'll be the only ones that get anything done!!

Me: Hahahahahahahahahaha.


I do understand that laughing is not always the best parenting technique, but sometimes I just can't control myself.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

last minute post

Just got home from dance class and sitting in an arseload of traffic due to nighttime construction. Had me a little midnight snack. Was all ready to go to bed, and then..whammo! Realized I had forgotten about posting. Ugh. Blogging365 is mostly a really good thing for me, but on nights like tonight, I just don't know.

Today was quite full, and one of the things on my To-Do list was to hit the office supply store. I went in to buy a ream of paper for MyFavoriteKid's school (they have humbly requested paper as a donation...but it would not surprise me one bit, given the state of things these days, if this request is just the first of many). I also picked up some basic school supplies for MyFK, because there aint nothin' like the smell of a fresh pack of college-ruled paper to ring in the new school year.

I cannot believe summer (well, summer break) is almost over. He goes back next Wednesday, but there are already school functions this week.

* I just had a wicked case of de ja vu. Did I write this exact same post the same time last year??*

Last night we spent a couple of hours at registration night. Today, tomorrow, and Monday MyFK is participating in an 8th grade training program called WEB. That stands for "Where Everyone Belongs". It's a program where a group of 8th graders step into a mentor role, and they assist small groups of incoming 6th graders to feel welcome. They give them tours of the school and whatnot. The WEB Leaders become a resource for younger kids for the first few weeks, and actually throughout the year. It really helps smooth out the normal kinks that occur when there are new kids on the block. It keeps the big kids from picking on the little kids. When MyFK was in 6th grade, he felt so welcomed by his WEB Leaders that he vowed to apply for the Leadership team once he was old enough, and sure enough, he did.

Today they had some basic training, and tomorrow they will match up the WEB Leaders into pairs, one boy and one girl. Each pair of Leaders will get a small group of 6th grade kids to work with on Monday, which is when the 6th graders have their orientation. The WEB Leaders also show up early on Wednesday, the first day of school, to be of help to kids who get lost getting to their classes.

Me: So how did it go today?

MyFK: Good. Tomorrow they match us up in Leadership pairs. I hope I get someone hot.

Me: Hmm. Ok. Well, do you really think that's the most important thing? I mean, if it were me, I'd rather be paired up with someone who will do their share of the workload. Seems like a much better than being paired with someone who is hot but makes me do all the work. No??

MyFK: Oh. Yah. Good point. I guess I should wish for that, too. But I don't want to just wish for helpful. I think I'll wish for hot and helpful.

He has a point, I suppose.
But still.
Lordy, please get me through the next few years of parenting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

like nothing ever happened

It's just like I said.

One day crazy...?

The next day...yarn!
(well, almost yarn...I still plan on plying these together)

L to R (in both photos)
1st bobbin: 2oz 100% Targhee, colorway "Transnational Fury"
2nd & 3rd Bobbins: 4 oz BFL, colorway "Burnt Ember", divided into two 2oz strips, the redder half on the left, the more orange on the right.
~~All fiber from A Verb For Keeping Warm~~


special note to Lorena: thank you, sistah ;-)
(yours was the only comment yesterday! ROTFLMAO)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

in which i talk to dead people

If you don't believe in this stuff, just move along. Come back tomorrow when I'll be talking about yarn or something normal. You wont miss much. Hey, and don't send out the guys with the funny buckling jackets to take me off to the rubber-room, deal?

I firmly believe that if we shut the f#%k up long enough to listen, that we can hear people who are no longer on this plane. I've had these little chit chats with deceased folk since I was in my late teens, beginning with my grandfather. I have heard from "the other side" in the few days after a passing, and sometimes even a day or two before (if they were ill and "transitioning").

If you missed it, I already wrote a great deal about my friend Frank here. He passed away last Wednesday, and I found out about it Thursday morning.

That was Frank.

Now, I'm sorry for the craptastic photo. It's a snapshot of a snapshot taken at his memorial. There were decades worth of photos on display, but this one most looked like the era that, "was the Frank that I knew."

The only photo I had ever taken of Frank was when he was wearing Pocahontas pigtails during the neighborhood's Halloween Dog Parade. The pigtails really belonged to his dog, Layla...but she would have none of that.

Which also makes for a very Frank-like photo, especially if you knew him, but I thought you'd might like a non-costumed shot, hence the fuzzycrapPhoto above ;-)
There's Frank & Layla parading in front of us.

And here's the photo Frank took of me, MyFavoriteKid, and Riley.

Anyhow. I digress. Talking to dead people. Right.

The day after Frank died, he talked to me.

I have been struggling for days now with how to write this down. Aside from worrying that you'll think I'm insane, I also worry that I cannot capture Frank's voice (and what I heard was definitely Frank's voice). I can imitate him just fine audibly, and I did just that when I repeated this little conversation to his daughter (I nailed him so good I had her cracking up with laughter). But for days now, I have struggled with how to type like he talks. My own tone of voice I can capture. Not so sure about other people's sometimes.
This is the best I can do.

Round One, shortly after his dog had sat on my foot and looked up at me with that sad face.

Me: You there?

Frank: (making a sound that was a cross between Uh! and Oh! and Aw!...very guttural...and with a surfer-dude "accent")
Oh!! It's BEAUUUUUUUUUUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Round Two, later that day, when I looked up and saw the oddest formation of sun and fog I have ever witnessed.

Me: Frank. What is it like.

Frank: (spoken with the energy and tone of voice one uses when they are riding the same rollercoaster for a second or third time, and they are telling/yelling something to you just as you are going up and over the top)
It's AWESOME, man!!! It's like being EVERYWHERE!!!
ALL at the SAME TIME!!!
....and NOWHERE!!!!!!!

That's all I got.
But 'nuff said.

A couple more photos from the memorial (which was a huge turnout of the most diverse crowd I have seen in one place in a good long while).


Another time I am going to need to tell you about Frank's daughter.
I have a hunch there is a new friendship in the making :-)

Monday, August 09, 2010

this is a total crap out, but...

...I am TOTALLY out of steam.

Frank's memorial was today, I just got home from a dancer's business meeting/potluck thing, and I still have to have a conference call with my co-dance teachers (and one of them is already 30 minutes late for the start).

I am very tired, mentally and emotionally, and having trouble putting sentences together, so more tomorrow.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Ooo, I need to add onto yesterday's list of what we did. We also went to IKEA yesterday. It was a very quick mad dash to the section of the store with bed linens.

For ages now, I have wanted to try getting rid of the king-sized comforter and replacing it with two twin-sized comforters to use instead. I've heard of lots of people doing this, but it has always seemed a little strange to me to make up a bed this way (I can almost here Martha Stewart telling me that I am not using the, "proper linens"....which is odd...because I am not at all in tune with the Martha in me or anything). I actually love using a king comforter when I sleep alone (which is actually most of the week), but unfortunately TheMostImportantGuy and I sleep so differently, that on the nights he stays here, it has been a problem.

He starts off the night feeling hot, so he either flops his side of the comforter right on top me (making it so that I am then too hot and "comforted"), or he lumps his side of the comforter into the middle of the bed making a big fat bulge of a dividing line between us, or he shoves the blankets all down to his feet pulling it off of me, too. Somewhere in the middle of the night, he retrieves the blanket, covers himself back up again, all snuggly-like. Sometimes he even flips it over his head like a hoodie or something.

I start off the night wanting to feel all cuddled up. I need my blankets to have a bit of weight to them to be happy in the first place, and I like them scrunched all the way up under my chin. In the middle of the night I turn over a lot, so they flap around a bit.

In other words: we don't really sleep together as well as we could.

So now we have two comforters. His is rated "cool" (rated a 2), mine is a "warm" (a 4). We have separate but matching duvet covers so I can still make the bed and have it sorta look like a unit.

Sorry so dark; I took that at 10pm!
And yes. I still sleep with stuffed animals. shut up.
L to R: PurplePony, BunnyMan, George

I'm still not sure if this solves our problems or not yet. We've only done one night together this way. He seemed to dig it. My "warm" seemed a bit too warm, and I might need to get a lighter weight option (perhaps I should have bought a 3?)....but the colder weather is coming. In fact tonight...here it is....the early part of August. It should be baking hot here. But instead it's so cold I needed to put on a sweater and I am considering a hat. Usually this time of year I am in a tank top and shorts.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

snaps on saturday

* up at 5:35am
* zen center by 7am
* breakfast with zen center peeps
* TheMostImportantGuy gets a new hairdo
* to the Vivarium for worms for the gecko
* to the party store looking for masks
* drive up to Sacramento to see TheMIG's dad & family (more on that soon, he's back/still in hospital)
* dinner out at our favorite restaurant

Friday, August 06, 2010


"Hobbies are apt to run away with us, you know; it doesn't do to be run away with. We must keep the reins."
~ George Eliot
(aka Mary Ann Evans)

Not sure how tightly I've got those reins. I can't seem to stop spinning today.

That's probably a good thing.
Let's not discuss the amount of fiber I have in my stash.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

My original plan for this post was to tell you about my dog, Mr. Stoopid McStoopington. Oh. Sorry. I meant Riley.

Riley has broken out of the backyard three times in the last 24 hours, and thank goodness for me that those kids were visiting actually, because I could not have fixed the problem myself. I have a big huge open hill behind my house that is full of weeds (note that little pile in the photo above---that is from one hind quarter, so multiply that times 4 legs, then multiply again for each time he has gone AWOL). The kids helped me to catch him, and they also have helped set up a temporary block in the fence. I could not easily have done that myself. The fence is up on a steep hillside above a retaining wall.

So that was my original plan. To tell you about the dog, and make it funny, because well...chasing a dog around a hillside at 11:30pm in a quite neighborhood is humorous in its own little way...

...but instead, I have a downer.

The neighbor that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, has passed.

a candle today for Frank

His name was Frank. He moved into the neighborhood just a couple of months after I did. In fact, he bought one of the houses I had looked at. We met because he would walk his dog Layla in the mornings, and Riley would go bezerko every time they passed. I finally just invited them in, and so for awhile there, Frank and Riley would come in for a visit. We'd let the dogs run around in my yard, and Frank and I would talk over coffee.

He was a neat guy, and we always had plenty to talk about. He was in his late 50's, we enjoyed a lot of the same music. He knew a lot about gardening and food. In fact, he used to have a garden in Berkeley that was one of the early suppliers for Chez Pannise. He would sometimes give me a hand picking fruit I couldn't reach. He also had a daughter that was born with a disability, and she uses a wheelchair. She has always been a very active person in general, and when she was a kid, Frank often hooked her up with groups that had activities for people with disabilities. He had been a great informational resource for me for as a result. Plus he also inherently knew how to laugh at my stories about life as a gimp. He totally got it.

I hadn't seen as much of Frank in the past year. When I'm bump into him, he'd tell me that he hadn't been feeling all that well, and had also been having insomnia, so he'd been walking the dog at some seriously irregular hours. I still saw him every couple of weeks or so. The day after MyFavoriteKid and I returned from our trip to Seattle, there was a big sign taped to his house that said, "Welcome Home Frank! We Love You!". His son and ex-wife were in the front yard (she lives nearby and she and Frank still get along well), and she told me what had happened. While we were gone, he went to the emergency room with stomach problems. They found a blockage in his intestines, and when they went it to remove it, they found cancer. EVERYWHERE.

They told him he had about a month.
Hospice came immediately.
It was less than a month.
He died yesterday (my dad's birthday, so that will stick with me).

I did get to see him before he went. TheMostImportantGuy and I brought him the last of the peaches from the tree. And I know it's cliche to say that I know he is in a better place, but he is. I am sure of it.

I got the news because a flyer had been taped to the bulletin board at the community mailboxes. I went to the house and his son was the only one there...and the dog, Layla. Layla very slowly and very quietly (which is unusual for her) came up to me, sat down on my only foot...and looked up at me very sadly. I cried, she was so sad. Frank's son said she was there when Frank took his last breaths, and she totally knew what was happening. She put her front paws on him.

I am just completely bummed.
More for myself than for Frank, which may sound shitty...but this feeling is in line with my buddhist/spiritual belief system, and I can't help but say it. I have a hunch he is suffering about this far less than than the people he left behind. I believe much of grief has to do with our own loss. And I belief he is now suffering much less. Physically, and in every other way.

The thought that flashed through my mind as I left Frank's house today was:

One Less Friend.

Off to dance class.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

no wine, but no whine

Maybe she does read my blog (she showed up 30 minutes early). Maybe she doesn't read my blog (if she does, I couldn't detect it). The only big surprise was that she hadn't told me that they were also traveling with their dog.

I could milk a whole bunch of bloggy-haha out of how strange it is not to warn someone who has pets (or not) that you are showing up with your dog, but truth be told, she didn't even ask to bring the dog in the house. I offered. And her dog behaved like a complete LoveBucket of an angel. It was my dog (who once had to protect me from an attacking pit bull at a dog park) that was full of bad manners.

Knowing that she has lots of other friends that live in the Bay Area, I had offered to her the option of dropping off the kids so she could have a night out with her friends...and that is exactly what she had cooked up. She's spending the night elsewhere, with the dog, and I will bring the kids to her in the morning. Before she left we had a nice chat for awhile, she left behind a cheesecake for us to have for dessert, and she even brought me a little hostess gift (so maybe we are back to the notion that she did read the blog...and she is a much better person that I...LOL). The kids are now off doing their own thing with minimal interference on my part, and I now have no solid reason for cracking open those two bottles of wine (although that sure didn't stop me from cracking open an ice cold beer). And this has been easy-peasy. I made up a yummy but simple dinner, the kids ate everything I put in front of them, and they even washed up their dishes. Too easy-peasy, actually.

This whole shift had given me free time I didn't plan for, so I figured I'd play more with the spinner. I did some sampling to see if I could get a 3-ply sport weight (which I have never been able to do), and wow:

Get a load of that.

Can't type anymore.
Hands too busy patting myself on the back.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

cake & comments

So the friend (whom I hope doesn't read my blog) has decided to come with the kids tomorrow, Wednesday, around 3pm (except that historically she is usually 3-4 hours late...and now I really hope she doesn't read my blog). So we celebrated my dad's birthday tonight, a night early.

My folks and I have had a difficult time finding good Mexican food since we moved up here, but TheMostImportantGuy and I scouted out a place about a week or so ago, and it's not half bad.

Even if they do put whipped cream on flan.
But the dinner was yummy, and dad seemed pleased, as he hadn't had a good plate o' mexican in awhile.


I'm know I am ridiculously erratic about replying to comments. I'm going to take a moment and respond to yesterday's though....and if any of you out there have ever asked me a question that you'd wished I had gotten off my slacker-ass to answer, please do ask me again.

Mouse asked about the weight of the yarn in yesterday's photos: Both skeins are somewhere between worsted and aran. The lighter color is about 90 yds, the darker is 100 yds (which explains it being more thick and thin, I am sure). I am thinking a hat with a little colorwork maybe...?

Pickyknitter asked about why it would be difficult doing a long draw on an electric spinner:
Actually, what I had heard was that I would have trouble doing a long draw, not because of the miniSpinner, but because of the WooLee Winder. I had never used a wheel that was outfitted with one before, and the miniSpinner that I was allowed to play with for the spinning class at the retreat had a standard flyer with hooks. Most of what we were doing that day was a short forward (worsted) draw anyhow. The only Spinners that she had available to sell that weekend all had WooLee Winders on them. What I had heard was that some people find it difficult to do a long draw with a WooLee Winder because the Winder is...well...winding the yarn on! I was told that the Winder may pull the yarn on pretty aggressively, making it difficult to do a longer draw. But this was someone commenting on the Winder, not the Spinner. If that makes any sense. Anyhow, I did not find myself having any trouble at all.

I must just say something about Gretchen's comment, even though she didn't have a question:
I met Gretchen on the retreat, and she chimed in on yesterday's post to say,
"People - this is really her, as far as I can tell." I am so glad to hear this. Greatest compliment ever. Folks, I am not a writer. My grammar sucks and we all know I have a fetish for unnecessary parentheses (and ellipsis)...ha! But what I do believe I have a knack for, is writing so that it sounds pretty close to the way you would hear things come out of my mouth. The way I put odd breaks and use one-line paragraphs? And the way I insert odd pauses or italics? These are in the exact same places I take a breath or pause or whisper something under my breath when I speak. Which of course you would not know if you have never met me in real life. It really means a lot to me to hear that I am even remotely successful in presenting myself just as I am, and yes...what you see is what you get.
Blog = Me.

Kirsten didn't ask a question either but:
Yes! Two bottles of wine are ready and waiting for tomorrow night, as are some extra knitting supplies. Even if I drink it myself and knit solo...it will be a good evening ;-)

Monday, August 02, 2010

I'm a little punchy tonight, so why don't we just start with something warm and fuzzy, eh?

I spun and plied the darker brown fluff that came from the same place as the grayish-brown fluff. It's got a bit more of the thick-n-thin thing going on in spots, but all in all, I'm really pleased. The things that please me most are:

a) that I proved I can indeed do a long-draw on the electric spinner, with a WooLee Winder, and with no problems
b) that I have finally learned to get enough twist into my singles
c) that my plying is improving
d) I made a soft fluffy yarn and not rope

I am positive that "B" came about from taking the spinning class at the retreat with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, and that "C" came from watching her plying video.

The punchy part of my day??
Well, we are about to have house guests, you see...

(I am never quite sure of how much I can kvetch about people here...y'all sure proved to me during the blog contest that I have no friggin' idea who lurks here)

Remember when MyFavoriteKid and I were in Seattle, and we ran into his longtime buddies on top of the Space Needle?? Well, the kids were there because they were on a trip with their dad (mom and dad are divorced). Now, the kids are about to take a vacation with their mom.

(oh lordy, please do not let her be a reader of my blog)

They are about to travel from the most northern part of California to the most Southern, to see her family I believe. It's a long enough drive that stopping midway is not a bad thing, especially when midway is the San Francisco Bay Area, because they used to live here and know lots of people. Her two boys often beg her to stay here. I love having them, all of them, even though it's really about the kids. The mom and I aren't really close friends or anything. We are definitely friendly. I like her. It's just that except for the kids, we pretty much have zilch-o in common. When they come to stay, it's almost always that we are an overnight pit-stop for them, and so the kids want to be left alone to do their own thing because their time is so limited. She and I then sit on the couch, catch up for about 10 minutes with news since the last time, and then sort of look at each other. It's kinda like a bad date. (I should maybe teach her to knit or something, no?) I like her enough and can be entertaining (or entertained) enough to enjoy time with her. No problem. We usually crack open a bottle of wine, and it's a good time. I also do not mind one bit that she's basically inviting herself here (seriously, it's not a problem...I do the same thing when MyFK and I head north and he begs to visit them...so we're even)

The problem is that she can't tell me WHEN she wants to come.

So here is how this whole visit this week started. she texts me Friday that they are heading south either Tuesday or Wednesday and that the kids would really love to see MyFK, and she wants to know if we free. I text back that we are free, except that my dad's birthday is Wednesday and we really wanted to take him out to dinner....but that my dad is willing to do dinner a day earlier (on Tuesday) if they want to come Wednesday. In other words: PICK ONE. Pick one, and we will do dinner with my dad on the other. Easy Peasy, no??

No. No Peasy.

It's 5pm today (today being MONDAY)...and she still has not told me if she coming TUESDAY or WEDNESDAY.

(oops, am I YELLING?)

Now, I know I am (a bit?!) of a control freak, but honest to goodness, I have calmed down considerably in the past couple of years. To be honest, if it were not for the fact that it was my father's birthday, I wouldn't feel so pushed to have her make more firm plans. But seriously....if the tables were turned...I do not think I would EVER:
a) ask somebody to stay at their house with less than a week's notice
b) then not know which day I wanted to stay
c) not be extra diligent with figuring out my shit if my hostess said their was a conflict, especially a family event
d) make the hostess push for an answer because the impending visit is less that 24 hours away.

Man, I'm all about the bullets tonight, aint I.


So maybe when she comes, we open more than one bottle of wine. I dunno.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

weekend scorecard

Fri-Sat-Sun recap:

2 house guests
2 lovely weekend breakfasts prepared
2 meals eaten out
1 bottle of Prosecco
1 friend bumped into I haven't seen in awhile, but was just thinking about
2 trips to the dog park
2 costume drama mini-series dvd's watched
2 external hard drives purchased, one for my laptop, one for MyFK's desktop
1 bunch of basil from my mom turned into pesto
1 argument with kid who decided 10pm was a good time to redecorate bedroom
1 bobbin of singles spun up
28 rows of a non-lacy shawl knit up
1 favorite/finished lace shawl washed and re-blocked

How was your weekend??

PS...holy crap. It's August.