Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Special thanks to TheMostImportantGuy for breaking up my state of overwhelm by taking me down the Great YouTube Path of Goat Editions, beginning with this one....

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

i am....


I've been so very busy for so many days, and tonight it has just hit me.

I'm not sure when I am gonna get it, but I owe myself a little bit of a break.  I'm looking at the calendar, and I don't see myself getting one until mid-March!  Between everything that I have going on, and everything MyFavoriteKid has going on, and upcoming performances, and court stuffs, and a few doctors appointments, and the usual commitments.....I do not see much down time for the next few weeks. I'm going to need to learn to carve out some little pockets of time for rest and reflection, because little pockets are better than no pockets.

Monday, February 25, 2013

sts w (the yarn addition)

Hello, gang. Two things before we delve into the pile of yarn!

~ There were some comments to yesterday's post, and I commented back by replying within that very same post (which is not how I usually do things around here).  If you were looking for feedback, there it be ;-)

~ If you're wondering more about what this whole drumline thing is about, there is now a video available of MyFavoriteKid's drumline performance on Sunday (and you can even hear me up front announcing them....hahaha). It's kind of hard for me to point out which one MyFK is when the kids are such moving targets, but at about 1:57 the trio of snares take a solo, and MyFK is on the right ;-)   This is very early in the season....every week they add a new section on to their show, and by the last performance at Champs, it's longer, more refined, and often has new tricks added.

Ok. Yarnward Ho!!

So I did also buy some yarn while at Stitches West on Friday, even though I am sure I do not need any more yarn (but as I keep saying, shopping for yarn and making things with yarn are two entirely different hobbies....right??).

I told myself ahead of time that if I was going to purchase anything yarn or fiber related, it would be something to make a sweater for this cute guy.

That's Myles, and his parents are friends and members of the zen center TheMostImportantGuy and I practice at. Their whole little family has up and moved to become residents at the mother-ship zen center on the east coast (our local zen center here in Berkeley isn't residential), so Myles has sort of become the LittleAbbot there ;-)

Anyhow, I say that baybeh needs a handknit sweater (don't you agree?), and last year at Stitches I had seen these adorable organic cotton sweater kits that came with matching buttons. I was so pleased to find the vendor SweaterKits there again this year.

I love it when baby boys wear "little man clothes", so I picked out this colorwork cardigan kit to make a cardigan pattern called The Moose.

The cuteness is killin' me!! I die!!!

But then disaster struck. While I was waiting to be rung up at the register, I wondered...hmm...maybe his parents aren't into the whole "little man clothes" thing like I am, and maybe what he really needs a fun kiddie sweater. That's when I looked over and saw the Dinosaur Hoodie in greens and blues....

(it's way more of a bright lime and a darker navy than my stupid camera is picking up)

...and this sweater kit came with these crazy cool monster buttons.

Gah! I die again!  SO CUTE!

And the crazy non-related aunt that I am, I walked out of the booth with both kits.  (oops)
The monster hoodie is size 1T-3T so I'll bang that out first. The Moose has enough yarn for 1T-4T, so I'll do that second and make the bigger size.

With the purchase of not one, but two, baby sweater kits, my actual shopping list had been fulfilled, and that is where the yarn purchasing should have stopped.
But of course it didn't.

I bought 2 skeins of Euroflax Sport Weight Linen to make this poncho-ish thing called Kennedy.

Neither the pattern photo nor my craptastic pic of the yarn do this thing justice.  I saw the knitted sample live and in person in the booth, and it is stunning. You could throw this thing on over yoga pants and a black t-shirt and you'd look like a starlet. It will dress up anything. The yarn has a sheen to it, and it is an almost silvery grey once washed up. True to being linen, has a wonderful drape but holds it's shape.  I think it will be a simple and quick knit, and I think it well get worn often.

And, once again, I should have stopped there and I was mentally prepared to do just that....but then the real yarn accident happened when I got to the Miss Babs booth.

Now, I had passed by her booth a first time, and I avoided it like the plague, knowing for sure that if I went in, I'd fall hard and never get up, because I'd be rolling around like a yarn pig in a pile of her very interesting and pleasing colorways.  The first time we passed, I just skimmed the edges of her booth but did not get sucked in. I was so proud of myself.

Then we went to lunch, and when we got back to shopping, we went past the booth again for some reason (maybe we were going up the next aisle and because she was on an endcap? I don't know.  It's all a blur now. Whatever. I was screwed).   Sandy stopped to look at some worsted weight superwash for a baby sweater of her own she needs to make (see how quickly I blame my friends?!), and while she was looking, skein after skein kept grabbing my attention.

Now, one of my friends says she never even stops at the MissBabs booth because she sees that the lines to ring out are too long. Personally, I find they move very efficiently and fast (and long lines are sign of greatness, aren't they??). But here is the real problem with their being a long line for the register.  The line files past some very artfully arranged big fat skeins of worsted, and there you are, just waiting and minding your own business, and the next thing you know, you are basically acting like you are at the supermarket and you are buying up all the Twix and KitKats while waiting at the register.  I swear. It's like it's pheromone laden yarn...or maybe the yarn has yarn crack pixie dust crap sprinkled on it, and once you touch it and squeeze it, the yarn crack gets into your body transdermally and you have to have more or something. I don't know. Something's not quite right though. LOL

The first thing that jumped into my hands was this skein (two photos...front and back of skein):

colorway: Shining City

These are crazy colors, even for me. Light grey, dark grey, shots of a pukey green/yellow and fuschia. And I love it. And I have no idea what I am going to make with it, but maybe a shawl like Brickless or something.

But then, while still waiting in line, I saw this:

colorway: Funny Papers

Which I felt totally compelled to pair with this:

colorway: Blackbird

Because these two skeins both need to be knit up together into something I can wear with this (from yesterday):

Again, I have no idea what exactly I am going to make with it. But probably something from the Stephen West files, like maybe a worsted weight version of a Spectra or something windowpane-y like that.

And then I completely lost all self-restraint and also started squeezing this one....

colorway: Try It Out 
(which maybe was the subliminal suggestion that caused me to buy it..??)

...for which I have no rhyme or reason for having in my hands at all. I can only blame the yarn fumes. I just loved the colors. And I don't have a single inkling for what to do with it.  Ridiculous of me. Oh well.

And that was it for yarn. Could have been worse. But it was indeed more than I had planned on, so I had better stop typing and get knitting...right?!!

So there you have it!  I have totally outed myself about my Stitches shopping.

Well, not entirely.

Outing myself would not be complete without my telling you that by mid-morning my bank cut off my purchases because they thought some crazy yarn lady had stolen my card!  The reason for this is because with all of the vendors now running purchases through their phones and iPads rather than on a card reader supplied by the convention center, the purchases do not appear as all happening in the city of Santa Clara where the event is held. Instead, it looks like I am in the home location of each vendor! So the bank thought someone was buying yarn in New York, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Washington State...all in just a few hours!

I should admit to you (because my friend Sandy who I went with who thinks this is hilarious) that I bought enough stuff that when I hung my shopping bags off the back of my wheelchair....? It was heavy enough that when I got up out of the wheelchair, the chair would tip backwards. 


So there you have it. Complete disclosure.
Now I go knit.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

sts w (everythign but the yarn)

The way I see it, What Happens at Stitches Stays At Stitches (or at least that is how it should be...especially if you shopped like I did).  But for the sake of recording this so I can remind myself of the damage I did, I am going to be the big mouthed girlfriend that rats her friends out...except, of course, I am ratting out myself.  LOL  
Here is part one of my tell-all post about my haul from Stitches West 2013 ;-)

I do have enough yarn. Really. I do.
(I know my friends that are indie dyers do not want to hear that, and I am sorry...please know that I do support you in other ways like wearing things I knit with your yarn and sending admirers your direction).
Being the wrangler of an unmanageable stash, when I go to a convention like Stitches, what often attracts me are the ThingsThatAreNotYarn. 

It would seem that I am not alone in my desire to purchase ThingsThatAreNotYarn, and it would seem that the VendorsOfThingsThatAreNotYarn are fully aware of this fact, because this year there were a lot of them there at Stitches, and oh my gosh.....

I maybe had just a little too much fun.
Check it out.

My first FallIntoTheAbyss happened before we even got down to the end of the our very first aisle (we started at end in the 1400's, and worked backwards towards the 100's this time).  I saw Mama Shaman's booth and nearly freaked out when I saw that she had a wall full of shoes looking like these:

I wish I had a camera yesterday to show you the wall of shoes (if you click the link above to her shop, there's a photo of the wall there). I tried on several styles. It was very hard to choose. There was everything from boots and tennis shoes to maryjanes and mules.  My favorite was actually the flat rubber soled zip up boots, but in my size, I wasn't diggin' the color and pattern quite as I bought what you see above. I might love these even more than my wackiest Chuck Taylors, and let me tell you, that's saying something.

One of my knitter friends saw these later and assumed they were paint on fabric, but they are not. They are actually applique and embroidery.

I am in a deep state of Love.
I usually toss out the extra shoe, as I only wear one....but I love these so much, I am sticking a glass jar in the extra shoe and I'm going to use it as a vase or pencil holder or something cool.  

Ok. On the very next aisle (this is only aisle number two mind you), we discovered Tim Arnold's work at Saw Dust Co.

Never in my life have I had a proper sewing basket.  In fact, what I use now is an actual woven basket (duh) where pins and needles fall through the cracks, and my poor loved ones step on them. (so we can say this purchase was for them, not me...right?? LOL)  This sewing box is gorgeous gorgeous wood. Get a load of it.  And that lid?? It is two layers of veneer...and sandwiched in between them is a layer of magnet. Your pins and needles and scissors will stick to the lid, on either side. How freakin' cool is that?!!

I also bought a little organizer tray from him.

Simple. Done in the Shaker style. And just gorgeous. I can already see about 20 different uses for it, from make-up and toiletries to pens and pencil to craft supplies.

Next I bought some olive oil hand cream.

I needed this lotion because boy, my hands were dry! Just ask anyone that spends that day there. You always feel dehydrated at Stitches (actutally, I have this crazy belief that all of the yarn and fiber soak all of the moisture out of the air...hahahaha).  I also chose this lotion because it actually uses the same olive oil I use in my kitchen for finishing dishes or making salad dressings... from nearby McEvoy Ranch!

Last year, I had a really good time visiting with a lady in a charming booth that was full of every possible knick-knack that had a sheep on it.  Just like last year, I still didn't get her name, and go figure, the receipt is handwritten out of a stock receipt book and does not have her shop name on it. I think from looking at the map, she might be "Williams Wool and Weavings" from Washington state, and there is no website listed. Anyhow, she's a doll and her booth is like being a fiber themed vintage thrift shop or something. It's great. Last year I bought 2 pairs of sheep themed socks and a few cotton dishcloths that she had made by hand on a knitting machine. This year I bought two cotton dish towels for the new kitchen, one goat, one sheep.

Next stop:  Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods. I barely made it into the booth as I was in my wheelchair and it was packed...and honestly, that is good thing, because I could do some serious damage if I was in that booth long enough. Every single thing in there is charming and also charmingly presented. Definitely Nifty (maybe not so Thrifty, but hey...LOL)

The white buttons will be converted onto some barrettes or pony-tail holders. The green buttons are going onto the brim of  hat.  I'm not sure what is going on with the big plastic button that looks like it has metal rings inside of it, but it's crazy cool, and will probably go onto a hat or be turned into a brooch of sorts. And the pendant...well...I think it's just so neato. Vintage lace in a modern soldered glass setting? I love it.

My last beautiful disaster of the day was right near the end (which would have been the beginning if we weren't going backwards).

In the back there is a turquoise ring from "Wendy Lee - Petroglyph" (no website). She had a booth full of all sorts of interesting foreign vintage items, especially from the east. The ring I picked up has a very high gallery setting which allows me to hide something secret underneath (which I do with almost all my rings, and I also have several lockets for the same reason as well...but that's another post.)

The other two pieces were made by my new best friend Harlan Simon (actually, he's not that new to me...I bought something from him a couple of year ago, too).  The pieces I bought are both vintage glass cabochons that he set in silver. The bracelet is f$%#ing AMAZING, and the ring...OH MY GOD THE RING (does it not match the shoes in photo #1, or what?!!).  It's a huge chunky statement piece and I think you are going to be seeing it on me LOTS. I lllllllllllllllooooooooooooooovvvvvvve it.

I really tried to resist these pieces of jewelry, but he worked with me on the price, and I am honestly just infatuated with them both pieces (and him a little bit too).  He is a flirt of salesman, reminding you how fabulous you are so therefore you need fabulous things (paraphrased LOL). 

He told me that when he bought the cabochon for the ring, it reminded him of Jospeh Stella's Brooklyn Bridge...

....which to me, means that Harlan "just sold me a bridge in Brooklyn" (and Harlan could probably sell ice to an eskimo, too.  hahahahaha)

There it is. The non-yarn booty. I'm proud of it all, although it was indeed a little much, and I will be behaving myself for a few months in order to make up for it ;-)

Tomorrow?  The yarn.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

snaps on saturday

My whole day looked like this:

Volunteering at the high school as they hosted their very first winter drumline percussion competition. I was the announcer for the whole day.  There I was off in the corner with my time clock and information forms and cd's for the color guard gigs.  It was a bit trickier than I thought. I figured I'd have time to knit, but it really didn't work out that way at all. I had a good time though, but I am indeed exhausted.

For some reason I woke up this morning at 4:30am and couldn't get back to sleep, and now it's only 10:20pm but it feels like I have been hit by a truck.

Off to sleep, but before I do, here's a photo or two of MyFavoriteKid's crew (as seen from my crappy corner and with a crappy camera).

Friday, February 22, 2013

shop. drop.

Ok. Super long day at Stitches West. Long drive there, a long drive back, and lots and lots of shopping.

I know, rough. 

But it is a little. Ask anyone who goes there. There is something about this convention center that just sucks the life out of you.  You are already over stimulated by too many colors and too many textures and too many choices...but then there is something about this lighting in this place. It's like your eyes are about to slide out of their sockets or something!  And then you get unusually and intensely dehydrated (I have a theory that all of the yarn in the building sucks the all the moisture out of the air. Hahahaha.)

Anyhow. Seriously good time. Got some great stuff.
And I have photos of none of it, as I have no camera at the moment.

Soon! Booty! I will show you booty!!

Now. Off to bed I go, and tomorrow I put in a huge day at MyFavoriteKid's high school as a parent volunteer for the first drumline competition of the season.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I am betting that the next few posts are going to be wimpy.

Today was  hectic. I've been running since the moment I woke up, and I am just about to head out to dance class, which wont have me home until almost 11pm.

Tomorrow is Stitches West! Woohoo!  All day Yarn-Fume inspired madness!  I am heading down with friend Sandy around 8am through commute traffic for a 10am-6pm shopping extravaganza, then drinks with the ladies of Friday Knitting, then back home by what...9-ish?

Saturday I am volunteering allllll day long at the first of many drumline related things for MyFavoriteKid. This is the season opener with performances from 2pm straight through to 7pm, plus an awards ceremony...and I am the announcer for this one.  (I am hoping that means I can knit a bit between announcements, but honestly, I get so into these performances, that I usually watch every single one of them with quite a bit of focus).

I will try to post pics, so at least I am not posting air ...but my camera is broken, so I'm going to be a the mercy of friends with iphones or something.  Speaking of iphones...I have never had one, and I am due for a free upgrade as of this week. Cant wait to find a free moment to go phone shopping!

Mkay, you have a good couple of days. I'll be here. Sorta ;-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Makes me so happy :-)

Sometimes the video window is cut off by blogger. If that's happening for you, click here to see the video directly ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

miles and miles of garter stitch

I finally finished my very long garter stitch project last week. I went on and on for what felt like foreverrrrr...

But it was totally worth every stitch.
I love it.

For the specifics, click here to get to my Ravelry page.

Monday, February 18, 2013

amputeehee's birthday ~month~

My birthday dinner on my birthday proper was a bit of a flop, so when I got an email from Benihana gifting me $30 off for my birthday, well....why not have another dinner :-)

It's MyFavoriteKid's favorite place for a special treat, so he was happy to join me.  We had a nice group sharing the table with us. The grandpa of the family was seated close to us and he was a chatty guy full of lots of good stories. 
Fun night :-)


Time for some comments on comments:

Lynda in Oregon asks (regarding the chaos post):
Very, very powerful. I'd like to share with a couple of friends in the field. May I link to your post?
Yes Lynda, you may. And that goes for all of you. No problem ;-)
(sorry for not replying to you directly, Lynda---blogger didn't give me your email addy!)

Pickyknitter says:
I vote you yarn bomb your crutches, if only for the sake of a blog pic.
I've been considering that for years, actually....and just a couple of weeks ago, I was out to lunch with the Friday knitters, and there was a lady in the restaurant who had done just the very thing. Both of her crutches were entirely covered with remnants she had put together.  It was very inspiring. One of these days I will do it!
I won't do it with those crutches I am dancing with in the photo, though.  I actually love this pair of crutches just the way they are. They are very very old....estimated early 1900's.  It was before crutches were adjustable. The length cannot be changed and the handgrips are fixed. They would have been made specifically for the person who used them, and they have a lovely patina to them.  The hand grips have this lovely bit of wear to them. I find it charming. A woodworker friend of mine found them at an antique flea market, and re-sized them just for me (shortening them and relocating the handles).  I just adore them. I'd never cover them.
But my ratty old every day adjustable metal crutches?? Well, that's entirely possible :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

a day full of dance

The ensemble had an early morning rehearsal for an upcoming festival performance.  Directly after that rehearsal we headed out for an afternoon performance at the memory care center of a local convalescent hospital...

(do I need to point out that that's me on the crutches? prolly not.)

....where one of the newest residents is a years-ago former member of the our very own dance troupe.  Her name is Connie and she is now 97, and even though she is in a memory care center and may or may not have known some of us individually, she still knew who we were as an ensemble having been a member herself at one time.  I came late to the troupe, and although I had met Connie at several events, she had already stopped performing by then. But the other dancers there today had indeed performed with Connie before, and some of those shows were actually at convalescent hospitals, because our teacher did that sort of thing often. It was an incredible full circle moment, really.

Connie said something to us after the show, and it was the very same thing she had said to me when I ran into her a couple of weeks ago while visiting the facility for a look at the dance space. She said she was so glad someone was carrying on our teacher's work.

I am so honored to do so.

It was a fabulously good time and a very special day for us.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

snaps on saturday

miniature things on kitchen windowsill

Friday, February 15, 2013


Ok, let's do this thing before it slips away.  I can only assume that dragging this thing out has probably been no fun for you, dear friends...and delaying has actually been a bit emotionally disastrous for me, it turns out (more about that at the end of the post). 
So, without further ado, her we go.

Last Sunday the 10th, I participated in a staged emergency event called Rolling Chaos.

TheMostImportantGuy is an exec at a private training company that, among other things, has nursing and EMT courses. Rolling Chaos was a disaster drill they hosted.  The more senior students acted as rescue and hospital staff, and more junior students were there as accident victims. Students came from all over to participate as there are multiple campuses in Northern California.   Branches of the military were also there to train, as well as medical helicopter transport and ambulance companies.

There was no real reason for me to be there. I just sort of inserted myself ;-)  LOL

Actually, when I first heard about this, I thought it was just so awesome. I have in the past been paid to do role-playing scenarios for medical students, acting as a patient that has a set of symptoms that needs to be diagnosed. It was really very interesting. So when I heard about this, I asked TheMIG to introduce me to the event coordinators (which he did at the company holiday party) so that I could ask them if I could participate in the role of....waaaaaaait for amputee. (ba-da--bum) 

I was pretty sure I could add to the realism (although my personal goal, I admitted, was to freak out some poor unsuspecting student). They though it was an awesome idea.

So Sunday morning TheMIG and I got up at 4:30am, left the house by ten minutes to 5, and were at the campus by 6. I signed in and was sent directly to "moulage" so I could be made up to look like an accident victim.

I knew I didn't need much help.
What they gave me was a nylon stocking that I put on over my ShortSexyLeg. At the end of the nylon stocking was a pretty horrific looking rubber chunk made to look like the meat and bones.  It was gruesome.  I have a photo of me standing there on one leg smiling and laughing even though I am standing there with my meaty leg ripped off, but don't dare post it here. I fear it would upset your delicate sensibilities.

They also gave me a big sports bottle with a squirt hose that was full of fake blood, and I rigged that up down into my pant leg so that I could squeeze it during the simulation and spurt blood everywhere when I was being rescued. 

After being made up, TheMIG and I went out to check out the drill site.

These photos represent just a very small bit of the entire scene. There were many many vehicles involved in this massive car pile up, and there were hundreds of injured people.  The drill was run twice, and both times I was in the white overturned vehicle in the first photo there.  For the first drill, I wedged my short leg underneath an overturned backseat of the car that had another injured body in it, so they'd have to lift him off me, and then the chair off me, and then, when they could finally get me out, they'd see...SURPRISE! I missing leg! And I'd be spurting all over.

I know. Sorry. LOL

Ok. Here's me trapped in the car.

I look pretty peaceful, don't I?  Almost like I'm sleeping. Actually, this was taken between the time we were put in place and waiting before the drill begin. I was just chillin' when this was taken. Literally chillin'. It was 34 degrees at that point, I had removed my jacket because of the fake blood squirting on me, as I wasn't sure the goop would wash out.  Not only was I cold, I was damp from said goop, and I am positive that this contributed to my coming down with a cold by Sunday night. Being handled by so many people in a fake hospital environment prolly didn't help none either ;-)

I'm assuming you know this about me, but if you are new here, maybe you don't.

I lost my leg in a car accident. A real one.

Of course it wasn't 'til a day or two before this staged event that I wondered silently to myself (and out loud to others), "Hmmmm....maybe this wasn't such a good idea for me."  Even MyFavoriteKid was like, "Are you sure you should be doing this?? Isn't it going to stress you out?"

Well, I was fine the whole day. I didn't have flashbacks or anxiety or anything, and I like to think I did a really good thing by performing my civic duty and preparing these EMT students for the real goddamned world.

I milked the roll, lemme tell ya'.  Like I said, most of the  other accident "victims" were first semester nursing students.  Several of them were trapped in the car with me.  They were really good at playing the role of moaning or screaming in pain, and if that didn't work, they played unconscious. But I worked it a little bit differently (mwahaha). My goal was to say what really gets said by someone (well, me) in this sort of situation, and I was most positive that I'd be saying things the EMT's would not be prepared to hear. I'll try to illustrate, but much will be lost without the tone, I fear.

So when drill number one started running, here's how it went. The EMT's ran around tying tags onto each of us that they circled with how bad off we were.

That would be me. IMMEDIATE. One level below dead.

So I got tagged, the EMT's ran, so they could keep on tagging!  I hate to say it, but ohhhhh brotherrrrrrr!  I am dying! I need help! And, like...Now!  I do not need a piece of paper tied to me that says I have a life threatening injury! I need you to do something so my life is less threatened!

Just my own humble opinion. LOL

So since they left me laying there bleeding out, I hammed it up.  My cohorts in my car were howling and moaning, but every time I saw uniformed legs running past the car, I'd say something loud enough for the rescue crew to hear. Something like....
"Pleeeeeease. Please don't leave me."
"Help me, I'm stuck."
"My leg is stuck. Come back! Just help me move this! I can't feel my leg."
"I'm scared. Don't leave. I don't want to die."
Shit like that ;-)

The poor EMTs who had been instructed to tag every patient first (?) could only give me this horrible look, and they'd try to say something comforting like, "we'll be with you in a moment," and they'd look positively freaked, but they'd keep moving and tagging.  Now, at some point during one of my "I'm stuck" rants at one of the uniformed legs walking by, one instructor stuck his head in the car and said, "Yah. You are stuck alright. And I'd say pretty screwed, too."  LOLOL  And somewhere in one of my "I don't want to die," speeches, another one of the instructors was walking through the scene, and he looked in the car, and whispered to me, "You probably will die. I think A LOT of people are going to die today."

I was trapped in the car a loooong time.  And when the EMT's finally came to get me out, I pulled the same routine about being scared and whatnot, but I also added that I didn't want to be separated from my sister who was still in the car. Then I kept rambling on asking where I was, asking what happened, and going on and on about where they were taking me. All the while I was twitching and going into shock. And then I'd add nonsensical things like, "Ohhh I see birds in the sky!"  They did really good at talking to me while getting me out and to safety. Almost. The one they all failed at was responding to was, "Am I going to die?"  There were four guys carrying me on a stretcher when I asked that, and one of them said, "We don't know yet, ma'am," and the other three groaned, and then one of them chimed in and put a hand on my shoulder and told me that they were getting me to a safe place and that I was going to be okay.

And that is exactly why I volunteered to do this drill. If they are gonna be EMT's they are going to hear all sorts of nonsense, so they'd better get grounded now.

So the EMT's delivered me next to a military staging area. One EMT stayed with me while waiting for a medic to come over so he could relay my vitals, and this guy was awesome. He held me hand, got me a blanket, talked calmly to me.

But it's when the military folks came through that things really shifted. I was brought to a staging area for helicopter transport.  Me, and about 30 other people. And I was left there.

That's me on the right. Dying.  I was left there for almost an hour with just a piece of gauze wrapped around my leg as a tourniquet. After some discussion with nearby victim/nursing students, it would appear that I was deemed too far gone to try to save in this particular scenario.

I was finally brought to the helicopter which is where my role playing ended (no helicopter ride, drats), but it was clear to all that even though I wasn't "tagged dead", if this was real, I would have been. I was left too long without sufficient treatment.

Well, there must have been some discussion amongst all teams after scenario number one before they set up for the second run. What this exercise was all about was not just training the students, but also having all entities there, military, civilian, professional, they could learn what it's like to work together. Some of these agencies have a real different way of handling emergencies, it would seem.  I was told that medical teams operate more on a triage system. Most life threatening injuries are the first to be dealt with. The military is different. They treat the walking wounded as quickly as possible so they can send them back out to help with the rescue. Interesting! Makes total sense to me for a real disaster. Except people like us in the helicopter line were goners.

Anyhow, scenario number two was much different.

I was pinned underneath the car this time instead of inside of it. The EMT's got to me right away and a real tourniquet was applied, and I was rushed out of there STAT.  The EMT's walked me right past the military staging area and got me into the military hospital, where it was quite intense.

(that's me on the cot there)

The military was running the show in this area, but they had civilian nurses helping them.  Some military guy took off the tourniquet and put some crazy cap like thing on my short leg, right over the fake ham bone. Yikes. I was trying to tell if it was freaking him out, but they guys in this room were all business, let me tell you, and it was ridiculously reassuring.  From there I was brought to an ambulance where I was driven around a bit to simulate a trip to an ICU. It was there they stabilized me and prepped me for surgery.

See?  I'm happy about that!! LOLOL

One of the funniest moments for me was when the nursing instructor was walking through my stabilization and prep for surgery.  They checked my vitals, gave me a (fake) IV, pain meds, etc...and then they guy says "And now that she's stable, you need to think about making a phone call. Who do you call."

The students came back with, "Family!"  and a few other incorrect responses. After every single one of them got it wrong, I broke out of my role and said, "the orthopedic surgeon."  The instructor laughed and wanted to know how I knew that, but didn't wait for me to answer, and told the students, can't send her off to surgery unless you know the right surgeon has been called to be ready for her.   I'm full of useless information (well, useless because it's information I will never actually use, right? LOL)

So this is where I left my post last night.
But there is more to be said. 

I am the AmpuTeeHee.  I do find laughter to be the best medicine,  and that's why I can LOL my way through this post.  The truth is, there is a spot deep inside of me that knows this is no laughing matter.

I have now been "rescued" three times from a car accident resulting in amputation.  One time for real, two times in a staged drill. I have only survived twice.

I have really been struck by the realization that I didn't survive this one time, and I've been avoiding looking at my feelings about that all week.  I still haven't processed my feelings completely, but at least I have realized that I am avoiding them, so that's where I start.  What I do know for sure, is that the not processing of feelings has had me spiraling down a path of not caring for myself this week.  I have not been following my diet as I had been prior to this, and I feel icky.  I have been uppity and a bit of a pest.  I've been easily upset and have had several feelings of being let down. I haven't rested enough, and I haven't taken care of everything on my to-do list because I've opted to sit like a deer in the headlights a few too many times.

What I also know for sure is that I am super lucky to be alive, and even though I have always known that, this really brought it home for me on a whole deeper level.  When people tell me I'm lucky to be alive, I agree.  But when I was in the real car accident, I really felt that there was no way that dying at that moment was meant to be my fate. It just felt...not possible. On some level, I've never seen any other possible outcome, because surviving was my outcome.  But in reality that is not true. There was indeed another possible outcome, and even the paramedics that rescued me couldn't believe I survived...they told me so when they came to visit me at the hospital because they just couldn't believe it.

This drill made me realize I really truly am lucky. That my being here may truly be just luck.
That freaks me out a little bit. But mostly I just feel more motivated than ever to not take my time on this planet for granted and use it to motivate me, every. single. day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

close, but no cigar

Mkay. I am back up and running full speed ahead. Woot! 

This afternoon I wrote the blogpost about the disaster drill thingy. Lots of text, very photo heavy, and very much in need of editing.  I thought I had just enough time to get it cleaned up before heading out the door to dance class, but then my editorial time was sucked up by MyFavoriteKid having an impromptu change of plans requiring me to play Mom's Taxi.

By the time that was over, I had to go teach class, and when I got home from class (at 11pm) I had to take care of some urgent class emails regarding an upcoming show, and well...blammo! Now it's just about midnight.

The post is close, but no cigar.  And I am exhausted. 
It will. It will. Be posted tomorrow. I just need to clean it up a wee bit first.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

second verse, same as the first

I am feeling much better, thank you.
But today was the day to play catch up. Big time. (so very behind thanks to being ill)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

placeholder post

Still not myself.
An artsy-fartsy photo I took of a dilapidated building on Mare Island will have to suffice as a placeholder.

Now, pass me the tissues and a bowl of chicken soup, please. Thank you.

Monday, February 11, 2013

i know, i know

I realize this is still not the post I owe you, but I am definitely sick, stayed home all day resting, and am still exhausted and not up to par.

I at least started a sock.

(fingering weight) in the colorway: Cocoa

But aside from feeding the kid and the pets, that was all I did.

Off to bed. 
Hopefully I will be up to speed tomorrow and can play catch up.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

i owe you one!

Oh, I am so tired, I am going to have to make it brief tonight....but I owe you one!  We had to be up at 4:30am to drive to the disaster drill exercise by 6am, and then by the time we got home and decompressed, the two-hour Downton Abbey won my focus entirely.

I have a little show and tell planned for tomorrow with some great photos taken at the event today.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

snapless saturday

I can't give you a snapshot as usual today, because my camera is broken :-(   I probably shouldn't be replacing it when I still haven't figured out whether I am repairing the existing broken clothes dryer or if I am kicking it to the curb for a new one.

So. I'll give you a video instead.

This is what I am getting up at 4:30am tomorrow to go participate in:

This non-profit, one-day special event is a mass casualty training exercise designed to equip participants with tactical procedures to respond to potential disasters. Unitek Education is collaborating with military EMS to familiarize our local community with a response protocol.

I am going to play an accident victim ;-)

 I hope it's fun and not flashback material. 
I didn't really consider that until after I had signed up!

Friday, February 08, 2013

550 sweaters

I am not feeling quite myself. Totally exhausted, actually...and already had fallen asleep while TheMostImportantGuy was working on catching up on Downton Abbey.

So this post is thanks to KarenTheDancingLurker who sent me a link to this cute video a couple of days ago!

Since 1955, Loes Veenstra has knitted over 550 sweaters and stored them in her home on the 2nd Carnissestraat in Rotterdam. The sweaters have never been worn. Until today.

(blogger is notorious for cutting off part of the frame, so click here for a better look if you need to.)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

deer in the headlights day

I had a very poor nights sleep last night.  I kept waking up and tossing and turning, and around 4am one of the cats was howling like crazy. It was at 6am that I realized what I was tossing and turning to was one of the cats pounding on the dog door that was locked shut because he'd been locked outside! No wonder I kept waking up. Poor thing.

So I started my day already exhausted.

Then.....well....I'm still dealing with the court crap regarding the BadManNeighbor who shot my dog with a bb-gun in the eye.  Every time I get close to a court date, I get wiggy.  Actually, I get DeerInTheHeadlights-Like.  I get sort of "stuck" around the house. I get to where I am not functioning well.  Not getting anything accomplished. Frozen.

Today was another court date. Today was the twice-rescheduled Pre-Preliminary (I still cant get over how stupid that sounds).  And if BadMan didn't accept the plea bargain or change his tune today, the preliminary was going to be tomorrow, and I had received a subpoena to appear.

It turns out that today at the pre-preliminary, BadMan changed his tune. Or more specifically, he changed his plea from non-guilty to guilty, and has now pled guilty to felony animal cruelty. He'll be sentenced March 11th, and he's supposed to pay restitution for my vet bills before then. On the day of sentencing, if restitution has been paid, his attorney is going to request that the conviction be reduced to a misdemeanor. Because it is a first offense of any type for the BadMan, the court will likely give it to him.  I am told that even if they reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor, what will still stand is the punishment of a couple of weeks of in jail, 3 years probation, and some sort of anger management course. 

I somehow don't feel secure in that actually happening, but I guess I'll know more on the 11th.  It sounds like terms of his probation can also include him having no contact with me, which would be great, because then if he does anything stupid, he'd be violating his probation. I'm supposed to be given more information by the probation department soon.

But to my day today....there I sat. Deer. Headlights. 

I did make it out for my commitment to teach knitting at the local senior center.  I also managed to make it to dance class, where we opened up the class to new students for the first time in months.  I led the first portion of class, KarenTheDancingLurcker led the second portion, and then, in honor of my birthday, I performed a solo.  It was a rather emotional solo to go with my rather emotional now...

I'm emotionally wiped out. 

Off to bed and very happily will go to hook up with the Friday morning knitters tomorrow where I can laugh and be with friends and forget about it all as I bury myself in garter stitch. :-)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

it's time to talk diet

I've been putting this post off for ages because every time I write in out inside of my head it just gets longer and longer.  But seriously, it's about time that I tell you what I've been up to with my diet.... because it has almost been two months now since I made the change!

Let me start by saying this: I'm not dieting. i am not on a diet.  I am changing what I eat and how I eat it. I am hopefully changing my life.

Most of these changes have been made within my own home, as I have been eating out less.  But every time I am dining out with friends, I am asked why I am eating like a freak. As a result of needing to explain myself over and over again, I've now got the reader's digest version down pat for you:

During the car accident in 2004, I had antibiotics pumped through me so hard while I was in the ICU that I broke out in a full body rash and I am now allergic to penicillin. Knowing what we all know about antibiotics and probiotics and what goes on in our intestinal tracts, I can only assume that my system was thrown out of whack.  Honestly, I swear I have never been the same since.  Since the accident I have had skin conditions, a sluggish digestive system, migraines, and fatigue. After years and years of researching and reading, visiting doctors, having allergy tests, tracking what I eat, etc...I have finally come to my own conclusion.  I believe that all of these symptoms are somehow linked to my digestive track being out of whack, and that my system needs me to hit a big fat re-set button.


Since just before Christmas I have removed from my diet:
Sugar (including high glycemic natural sweeteners like honey or agave, and I have even removed fruit). I have removed Gluten. Dairy. Soy. Vinegars. Caffeine. Alcohol. Some of the starchier vegetables. Anything artificially processed.

I'll let you digest that for a minute (pardon the pun), because surely you are trying to figure out what the heck is left. What on earth am I eating?!! Right??

Well, there ends the short version of my story.  Here comes the long version.
Lemme tell ya' about eating.

Lots of rice and quinoa, lots and lots of roasted or steamed vegetables. Salads. Soups.  Eggs. Fish. Chicken, either sliced over the rice and veggies, or turned into a chicken salad by way of aoli with scallions and a few chopped nuts.  Rice cakes topped with guacamole. I've even learned how to make gluten free muffins.  I have been writing down the recipes and tricks I've come up with and have been taking pictures, so I'll be posting about what's worked for me and what has not.

You might find this hard to believe, but I have not suffered from intense cravings. I cannot tell you how this has happened, except just to say that I was so ready to embark on this way of eating (finally), and that my desire to feel well is greater than my desire to eat foods I know do not make me well.  But truthfully, I honestly have only had just a few intense cravings.  And they passed without my eating what I was craving.  I was clear enough to observe that the cravings were coming at times of emotional distress or habit.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help not feel so deprived and will post about those in the coming weeks as well.

I have indeed diverged from the eating plan on a few occasions.  When Christmas and New Year's Eve rolled around, I stuck to my eating plan like glue.  I was just in the first couple of weeks. Now that it's February, I've allowed myself a couple of special treats. At Birthday Dinner #1 I ate a few bites of a profiterole dessert.  It was delicious, and to quote Chef Bobby Flay, "The fifth and sixth bites don't taste any better than the first two or three, so why bother."  He is so right.  At the Birthday Crafternoon, I ate about a third of one of those cupcakes. I didn't even want more than that, because I didn't feel so great afterwards, and while it was tasty, it wasn't like it was so good that I had a spiritual experience or anything (unlike those profiteroles...yum!).  I also diverged at Birthday Dinner #2 when I had a cocktail. And then a couple more cocktails at home. Vodka with tonic, so not quite as bad a sugary rum fruit concoction, but that was probably the farthest I have diverged....and it was great fun, but I paid for it the next day, to be sure.  You wont see me doing that often.

There have been a few other times I have diverged.  Like I have thrown a couple of blueberries into the muffin mix, or like the orange juice in the dressing for those scallops and quinoa I made last weekend.  Extremely minimal amounts of the more tolerable substances, and we are talking like maybe once every week or two that I have done something like this. I am rarely eating out, so I can control what's going into my food.  And when I do eat out, I have figured out how to spot what will work and what wont, and how to ask for adjustments without being a pest (at least I don't think I am being a pest LOL).  I will be passing those tips along over the next few weeks, too.

I've made a few other changes, like starting to take some supplements, taking some probiotics, drinking more water and starting to exercise.

So how do I feel?  Well, I'd say the most obvious shift is that I have not had a single migraine in six weeks. That is a personal best.  It's almost unbelievable, really.  Weight loss was not my goal (health is my goal), but I have lost 17 pounds. Not hard at all to do, as before I started this, I was eating cookies for breakfast at times, and occasionally skipping dinner and eating candy. For real.)
Yes. I know.
I hid it well.
My joints don't ache, my stomach doesn't feel so "thick" (if that makes any sense) and my gut is less sluggish. I am sleeping better. I have more energy.  This skin condition is starting to clear.

Basically what I am doing here is following an anti-candida diet.  To give you an overview, you can click here...but let me tell ya', if you google candida diets, you are going to find a ton of conflicting information out there. Information varies widely from site to site and book to book, sometimes there is even conflicting information within a book or website. It's sort of crazy making really, and I'll be blogging about that as well, and about how I have figured out how to take what makes sense for me and make this work.

Will I stay on this restricted of a diet forever??  No.  I truly am a believer in the notion that everything is okay in moderation.  Except in cases like mine, when the system is damaged and needs repair, due to the fact that moderation was not happening in the first place. In cases like mine, I believe a hosing out is in order.  So I am giving my system a rest. I have committed myself to 3 months of eating this way before reassessing.  I've felt so sick for so long, that it is entirely possible that I may continue a bit longer.  Or I may start reintroducing some foods very slowly.  The healthier foods.  Like the occasional potato. Some fruit.  I'd like to get the vinegar back into my vinaigrette, so to speak...hahaha.  My goal is to not eat the same way as I did before. I'd like to be able enjoy a good piece of artisan bread from time to time, but not sit down to a pile of poor quality crackers.  I'd like to enjoy the occasional bakery made cookie as a treat, but not to make the box of store bought cookies a breakfast staple.  I'd like to eat fruit and use natural sweeteners like honey and dates from time to time, but not dip deep into the sugar bowl.  Make sense?

So there ya' have it.  A grand update really, as this has already been happening in my life for 7+ weeks now!   Hopefully this will help my future posts make sense as I start to share the occasional recipe or dining strategy.  I don't think doing a phase of restricted eating is something that will interest all of you, but even if you are just trying to get more veggies into your diet and more crap out of your diet, I think you'll find some of the tips and tricks I have tracked down interesting.


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

how i did it

Several people have emailed or commented asking about the dish I made for the birthday potluck Crafternoon.

Here's what I did.

I used Giada De Laurentis's recipe for Orange Scented Quinoa.   I made a double batch of the quinoa so that I could pull some out and set it aside for vegetarians. I also doubled the dressing, but when I poured the dressing over the quinoa salad, I reserved a small amount.  The dressing by the way, was made ever so wonderful by some Cara Cara Oranges I found on sale at the Asian Fish Market where I bought the seafood. Daaaang, they were fragrant!

I grilled the scallops exactly as directed in that same recipe, but because scallops were a bit too expensive that day, and shrimp was on sale, I only used 1 lb of scallops and then roasted up a pound of shrimp Barefoot Contessa style (I also think the shrimp/scallop combo was awfully pretty and tasty, too). My shrimp were 16/20 per pound, so I only roasted them for 8 minutes.  Then I tossed the warm shrimp and scallops in that dressing I had reserved.

And that was it! 

This was perfect served at room temperature, making it a perfect candidate for a potluck dish. The seafood went quickly of course, so there was leftover quinoa...but the quinoa was delicious the next day. I ate it as a cold grain salad that I served over mixed greens and roasted vegetables.

The only think I'd do differently next time would be to toss in a bit more parsley into the quinoa (I was running short of what was called for), or I might consider adding some chives or thinly sliced scallions.


Monday, February 04, 2013

me. 46.

It's getting to be habit, this taking a photo on my birthday every year.  One of these days I'll line them all up ;-)

I'm feeling pretty good about myself this year. More comfortable in my skin than I have been the last few years.

At dinner Dad asked if I felt a year older. 
I think it might be because I've been telling people I'm 46 for awhile now, even though I had really been 45. Not quite sure why I was doing that.  It might be because in some crazy way I've stopped keeping track.   I'm sure I'm very soon going to be the age where I just start telling people I'm turning 21 (again) as a way of avoiding the question entirely. LOL