Saturday, December 30, 2006

In which our heroine went to the bar

Finally, after being asked almost every Thursday after group supervision at The Agency if I would accompany the rest of them to the Mallard, I accepted this week. It helped that there is a new employee that I instantly took a liking to who was going. I have known about this place since I moved to the Bay Area over 5 years ago. As in I have been driving by the entire time on jaunt up or down San Pablo. But generally speaking I do not "do" bars.

Though it is December we sat outside so The Caz (my coordinator) could smoke but the weather wasn't too bad and they have these great heaters thingys, which I wisely sat close to as I hadn't a jacket. I had a decent, not great but huge and cheap ($4.00) gin & tonic. It truly was a great way to learn more about the place I work, partake good gossip, and have intriguing conversations about time/space continuums, along with learning more about coworkers.

After avoiding invitations for a good six months, I do believe that I will go more often.
1 - the drinks are cheap and I only need one, so it's an affordable event
2 - socializing with coworkers not a terrible thing, and with only one drink in me I can certainly keep my boundaries
3- very good way to learn more about the inner workings of The Agency because not everyone is so careful about their alcohol intake!
4 - I actually like some of these people

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Our christmas

It was quiet, sweet, and simple. If you did anything special that day, I hope yours was joyous as well.

On christmas eve we went to Albany Bulb for our usual dog walking adventure with Ruth and Piccolo. From there we decided to attempt a visit to the Tokyo Fish Market which we had been wanting to check out. Luckily they were open and it was great fun exploring all the packages of goodies that were total mysteries. Together we
conspired and made a decision to purchase half a pound of shrimp and half a pound of halibut, some veggies - all set!

TGF had decided in advance that breakfast would be biscuits with sausage gravy, a particular favorite of hers. We had not really decided about dinner but a few days before she had mentioned "seafood" as possibility, in part because she knows I think there is entirely too much meat eating going on around here, and also because it was her tradition to have beef stroganoff on christmas day thus she wanted something that was ours. Since I was quite hungry I voted for breakfast first, then presents! As the present unveiling took awhile I was very happy with the order of events.

TGF already covered her haul a few days ago. Though I have no idea how to use one of these things I am delighted nonetheless with this adorable teeny tiny SanDisk MP3 player that she got me. It also works as a voice recorder and a jump drive - how cool is that! In a continuation of themes from last year she got me the 2007 version of Knitting - A Pattern A Day calendar.

Also I got Romantic Knitting, the cover photo drew her in because she thought I would look good in the cover outfit. Isn't she sweet? I am so not waiflike thus the dress would look, well, quite different on me! Sweetheart that she is, she included the receipt in case I think a different book would be more to my liking. It's like she read that article in the Chronicle that I giggled over the day before our present exchange.

Again, just like she read something, cruising my way is a ball winder! I am terribly excited as I could really use this, though my skill at creating center pull balls with no equipment other than my hands has grown tremendously.

TGF has proved she has excellent taste on many occasions but truly a telling of her talents is that she was able to purchase a handbag for me. Yes, of course it's black -don't be silly- but it takes more than that to please this woman! I haven't had anything close to professional (read not a backpack or hippy tote thingy) to use for interviews or work since Wyatt chewed the strap of my last great find of such an article when he was a baby. This lovely little number is large enough to hold my wallet, phone, lipstick, dayrunner, and a small knitting project (like socks perhaps?). How perfect is that? I ask you.

Oh and dinner? Sauteed shrimp with garlic butter, roasted vegetables (shiitake mushrooms, red pepper, japanese eggplant, and red onion), brown rice, and halibut poached with l
emongrass from our garden with some garlic and ginger. It was all so good. I had somehow never roasted shiitake mushrooms before - OMG so good, meaty (ha!) texture and smoky flavor, wow. Breakfast today was some of the rice and veggies, two days later still really good.

Yeah, it was a good day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

An ode to DFA

Sometimes the memories just come, sometimes I conjure you up in my mind's eye because that is the only place I see you anymore. One day recently a random link from not martha led me to here. I have no idea when you gave me my origami pin, I am guessing it's close to twenty years now, lovely paper folded into a kimono, laquered, beautiful colours. Mostly it sits in a jewelry box but because you gave it to me, I do not think I will ever part with it. Nearby in another box rests with the silver necklace from Italy, the Venetian glass pendents also from Italy. You really loved Italy.

Today it is six years since we spoke and I have no idea why we do not any more. I no longer call every week as I did for years, during other periods of silence though none of them were as long as this one. I even called every week during that time when you had no answering machine or voicemail because I hoped, I prayed, I feared that you would answer. My finger still itches to call you more often than I do but since there has never been a live voice at the other end, I save the dialing for days when I can stand to your recorded voice, when leaving a message that will never be returned will hurt just a bit less.

Except for your silences my memories are filled with love and laughter. I still tell our stories, I hold you as a savior of my childhood on many levels. You helped me discover pieces of self I did not even know where missing. Going to your apartment for weekends during my adolescence was my oasis of fun, the place where I felt wholly loved, my safe place.
I cannot believe there is nothing but silence now.

There are times when it hurts so much to have been disappeared by you, there is never a time I cease to miss you. I imagine conversations that could happen, the stories you don't yet know because you've been gone. Now, as the years slip by I wonder how I would ever tell you everything that I've been storing away for you. There are days when I am angry, not sad. Mad, so mad I could yell at you for hours, screaming at you for not being there, not responding, causing me worry, deserting me. It confuses me how you could do this, desert me, everyone really. I have stopped calling your friends because their story is the same as mine - you left us all. But you were there when I was born, I had no life where you were not alive. With the silence I wonder if this is really what it will be like if you had died. Only it is not because I still call you hoping, while I drip with anticipatory sweat, that you might pick up the phone, or that later that day, or week you will return the call.

Six years have passed and every time I dial the phone my heart beats faster and I hold my breath.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Late latkes, Gifts waiting for the morrow

Last night we created another tradition, celebrating hannukah with Ruth, Piccolo's mom. Before heading to Albany Bulb I had the sufganiyot dough rising in a bowl on the stove, having used my tried and true recipe from The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden. My potatoes were prepped and draining in the colander, and the chicken had been rinsed, air drying in the refrigerator (a trick I was trying from Cooks Illustrated's thoughts on how to get a crispy skin on turkey).

It was the perfect time to get to the Bulb yesterday, immediately I regretted not grabbing the camera. The sky had this beautiful variegation of blues into pinks, with an incredible mirror image on the water's surface. San Francisco's skyline etched beautifully with the buildings a soft dove gray. The air was gentle, the softest of winds caressing our skin.

Coming back the house was warm and welcoming as we all piled in. I took to the kitchen to finish prepping the meal, music playing, dogs carousing, conversation flowing - definitely a very modern Norman Rockwell evening. In between meal prep and sitting down to dinner a gift break was decreed by TGF. There was a lavender theme to our gifts from Ruth - a calming lavender bandanna for Wyatt, a large lavender heating pad thing for TGF (for her shoulder), and lavender booties for me and my bad feet. Very sweet of her.

All the food was wonderful and we all ate from beyond full. There was much lolling about after dinner and talk of doing this again next year.

Tomorrow, actually in about 12-14 hours we get to tear into this! I am getting very excited. Earlier this evening I was trying to remember the last time I had "a christmas morning" but I have no recollection. It would have to be at least 5 years? Certainly it has never been an every year event. I am feeling a bit like a kid, contemplating if I could ask TGF if I could open just one tonight, or at midnight.

What ever you do during this season, one holiday, none, or many I wish you joy and hope for the new year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Family is gathering

The other night, for the first time ever, all of our furry children (remember there are 7,yes I said 7) were in the living room with us at the same time. TGF and I were on the couch with Grace, Atticus, Saana, and Marcel. Wyatt was on the floor, Joia on one of the orange chairs that compliments her calico coat beautifully, and Gemma on another chair. TGF noted this and said, "That may be the best gift of all." I have to agree.

We moved into this house with just Grace, TGF's cat who made the long car trip from Ohio. As the baby of her previous household this was Gracie's first time to be an only child and I think she liked it. For three weeks. Yes, that was as long as I could contain TGF's desire for a dog. (For TGF's take on these early days go here.) The search for the dog that Saturday was quite successful resulting in a rambunctious addition to our previously sedate almost zen like home. In addition we, okay, TGF volunteered us (without consulting me) to foster a mama cat and two kittens. That day our family went from three to seven in a blink of an eye. Three weeks later in the course of another weekend six more foster kittens were added. Some of these amazing creatures are still with us (suckers? I have no idea what you are talking about). We continued to foster a small array of critters for a few months with the number of four footed creatures varying between six and eleven.

With the arrival of Wyatt and the first felines, Gracie started to rebel by separating herself from all of us, rarely coming into the house proper. She roamed in the backyard (okay the area is smaller most master bathrooms by half but it is yard-ish and in the back of the house so it counts). Lolled in the garage. Occasionally sat on the back counter or window sill in the kitchen.

Joia, the mama cat we took in early became a permanent member of our house by TGF's decree (seeing a pattern here?) but once she finally cut Gemma (okay that one was my choice to adopt) off nursing, she also retreated a bit and had a limited range in which see deigned permissible for her presence. Slowly Joia started showing up in a few additional places, though she has not returned to sleeping on our bed, even during the day. Starting in maybe late spring, early summer she started hanging out in the living room more regularly which was delightful.

Grace still stood her ground though was friendlier from her perches in the kitchen, rubbing against Wyatt, trilling to us to stroke her. In September, Grace started attempting entry into the living room, going to TGF, sitting next to her. We were stunned but happy by the change. A few weeks later it was clear to me that Grace the Empath knew TGF needed some extra care since Elliott was dying and TGF was quite sad. Losing Elliott has been hard but the silver lining has been a precious gift to us.

Friday, December 22, 2006

In which our heroine demonstrates her adaptibility

Today (well technically yesterday as it's now after midnight -how did that happen!?!?) was to be our lighting party but due to two families needing to cancel, and as it turned out the third would have never pulled it off, and one of the gracious hostesses being sick yesterday, the gathering was canceled although dates are being bandied about for next year. Nothing like a little advanced planning.

While still a bit less than what I like to call well, I was feeling better today but rather grateful that I did not have a party to prep for as the day crept on. Rainy and a bit gloomy TGF and I nonetheless bravely walked about a block to this great paper discount place to do some holiday shopping. This place has been a lifesaver for many events at Casa de Cedar. Finally we have wrapping paper which is handy as TGF's gift are piling up and I cannot wait to make them pretty and pile them under the tree. I still have a bit more shopping to do and am awaiting another delivery.

We finally bought holiday cards which will go out after "the holiday" but are perfect for the new year so that satisfies the requirement of not specifying "christmas", nor having santa or other clear symbols of that holiday but also does not sport a menorah, and makes seem like we intended all along to send a "new years" card (which is really my preference given the wide variety of friend's affiliations). Whew.

In a slight twist on jewish customs I reconstituted Chinese food leftovers with a few additions into a yummy single dish. While watching Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (hey, I never said I was totally consistent on this stuff. I have a serious soft spot for the holiday specials of my childhood) TGF and I decorated our tree compliments of Ruthie's beautiful ornament cast-offs. Each of us had been concerned that there would be enough baubles and TGF moaned that we had forgotten to get candy canes while out grocery shopping earlier, but in reality our tree looks positively festive! The bottom few inches do not have anything but the pre-strung lights because there are six cats and a dog living here and one needs to be practical. Hopefully by late afternoon Friday there will be some gifts under there and I am going to pray that none of the animal crush the packages.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And then there was one

In a blizzard of disappointment it looks like our Lighting Party won't be happening. I suppose it is not the worst thing as I apparently have the flu - one day before the dang thing.

Seriously I have felt like crap all day but I was totally ready, unless I felt much the same or -horrors- worse, to shop, clean and cook my meant for birthing babies eastern european hips off (this is my way letting the new readers know I am not some petite, fragile flower). I am still wanting laktes and sufganiot so maybe Friday or Saturday I'll get busy in the kitchen. Yeah I know the holiday is technically over on Friday but so what? I mean it's potatoes and grease there's always time for that in my book. I just found a recipe for apple fritters which is making my mouth water just a bit.

I have already looked up the dates for the holiday for next year and proposed a date. I figure a year's notice might work. What do you think? Yeah, me too, we make plans and the universe laughs.

Well I'm going to go get a big glass of sad and wallow for a bit and start fresh tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


TGF just told me about the 60 Minutes episode yesterday which aired while I was at a board meeting. Sixty years after the fact and long buried records of holocaust prisoners, survivors, and those destroyed at the camps are now accessible. Sixteen miles of cabinets containing pages upon pages of details about prisoners' lice, illnesses, and for far too many their torture and death.

There was a conference recently in Iran where the concept of holocaust denial is a center piece, however this is a tricky confluence of issues, including Iran's refusal to acknowledge the existence of Israel. Iran and the holocaust is a completely different conversation.

The topic knots my stomach, brings tears out of nowhere, and logic fights with emotion when trying to form a sentence. It also makes me wish I had found a way to coax any words, memories from my grandfather before he died. However that is a hollow wish as I was told from the time I was a toddler that he "never speaks about it". My father cautioned, bordered on threatens for me to never broach the subject. To the best of my knowledge he never did talk about it, any attempts to draw him out were shot down. The reality that he was in Dachau didn't sink in for a long time. I remember being in my maternal grandmother's bedroom when I was, um, maybe nine? I really am not sure. Perhaps there had been something on television about it, I do not remember the lead in for the exchange but she mentioned the numbers on his arm. I had never noticed them, I never did. My grandfather was a believer in being very tan, maybe after the war it became a way to ward off questions. When I say tan, I mean dark enough that he was refused service in restaurants that did not "serve coloreds".

Many, many years later I saw letters my grandfather wrote on Dachau stationary. Stationary, they had frigging stationary like it was the Ritz Carlton or something. The letters are in German so I don't know what they said but I do know not only the content was regulated but the number of words on a line. Here is an example of what it looks like though I would swear my family letters look different.

It is hard to imagine what it was like for my family, I have nothing to compare the experience. I have a cousin who, just once at a family sedar, mentioned his memory of when they came for my grandfather. His daughter and I made visual contact, mouths agape- this was completely unknown to us. I did not follow up on that opening for learning more, for soaking up what that was like for him and time is running out as my cousin ages more rapidly than I can bear. My grandmother was hidden by a family during the time her husband was imprisoned. In hushed tones there is reference made to money changing hands which resulted in my grandfather's release from the camp. I don't know the specific of when and where everyone was taken but it's possible my grandfather lost siblings as well as other family members. I do know my grandmother came from a sibling set of 13 and some were lost in the camps.

I have always acutely felt the loss of the large family that I was sure would have been intact and could have surrounded me with the cloak of a family that would have protected me differently, that would have offered a myriad of role models if there had not been that war. In my dreams my grandmother would have lived past my first year of life, but even if she hadn't there would have been aunts and cousins that would have wrapped their arms around me, telling me stories about their lives in Vienna, taught me the family recipes, and scolded when I stayed out too late. Instead I received the splintered family, bitter by the new life in the states, unsure of whether under the cover of night a new force would rise up to shatter dreams, force them to rebuild again.

Tonight on the fourth night of chanukah, I take comfort in the tradition, in knowing that thousands of other families are lighting candles during this time. My family today is small but mighty in my heart and I know that those who died before I could meet them have left their mark on me.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Blending the house

Friday night, after a lovely albeit noisy dinner with some friends, TGF and I came home and lit the menorah. Technically one of the, um, 5? menorahs we have. Okay double technically, I own, but whatever you know? They are in our household. Of course first I had to clean out the wax that was filling on the little holder part thingy. Love having skewers in the house for such tasks.

The menorah was lit and safely atop our enameled top dining table, to keep it safe from our Pyro Kitty,

We then proceeded to unpack our new to us artificial tree. It really is quite a nice tree and was very easy to put together. Though we had said we would exchange gifts on christmas day this year, I just had to give TGF one thing that night, in honour of our tree. I had found a C*ke Cola ornament that appears to be slightly vintage so despite her protests she received the gift. Last year we did small gifts for each other every night, and considered a "house" gift our christmas gift to each other but that didn't work very well for her as she felt a bit hollow not having a distinct celebratory act on the that day.

We are trying something different this year as we continue to sift through different ways to celebrate holidays together. We then dug though our "holiday" bin to find our ornaments only to realize that we had no hooks! Of course we only have about 7 ornaments total in the bin. A friend saw mention of the pitiful state of our decorations and offered her spares which I picked up today so our tree will not remain quite so bare.

Right now I am feeling very blessed and happy in our mingled confused path to forging traditions. Thursday will be our second annual Lighting Party, as I write that I realize that I wrote about that event a year ago on this blog. A year has past, the same members of our family of choice will be attending and that feels just so sweet. Also it feels so different from anything I have ever done, having a tradition. Not just a thought of forging one, but the actual repetition of an annual gathering. Yes we had a harvest blessing this year and last, but all hallows eve does not carry the same weight of meaning, commercials and movies demanding you pay attention to the holiday, the implications of family gatherings. It feels fragile still, appropriately so, given the newness but so lovely.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Clarification to yesterday's rant

I have not yet switched my blog to the beta version, it's that the blogs I read have and thus the problem ensues. I have "opened" a gmail account. As has been made painfully clear after reading scads of blogger info, I will be required to switch to the beta version eventually. I suppose I will give in sooner rather than later, but I am wondering if those who are on beta now have problems commenting on those folks, like me, who have not switched.

Back to your regularly scheduled blathering of Dharma.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Rail against the beta version blogger/gmail/google machine

Once upon a time I was content with blogger. I began my blog last October after casting aside lj because it just did not link up with my brain, I did not know anyone on wordpress that I could beg for help and guidance. My good friend Jennie was on blogger and knew she would hold my hand, which she did, when I had basic questions. Okay, so perhaps I used her before really spending time figuring it out myself but what else are friends for?

Enter beta-blogger. I know enough about the tech world that I wanted no part of a beta crap anything, so waited for it to be released as blogger 2.0 or whatever. I am not geek enough to deal with bugs I wisely ascertained. Well blimey every other blog I read (and I read A LOT of blogs) seemed to be going to beta and soon I couldn't comment if they were a beta blog. Then it appeared that I could only I couldn't. The comment box would say I could log in and comment with google OR blogger account but it wouldn't let me. Now I have to say that I am a decent blog reader and like to comment on the majority of the blogs I scan sporadically because like Heather and I like say "comments are like crack".

Then recently I noted that when I in my blog, like right now writing, the dang tab tag is all messed up. It no longer proudly states my title (dharma's universe) but "dharma''s universe. What kind of insanity is that? Just because I don't want to beta test your danged product for a lot of headaches and no pay?

Finally the loss of my ability to comment on blogs caused me to give in and open a gmail account. Granted I was considering this road because I am hating on c*mcast big time for not allowing the forwarding of alias addresses (something I use with one of my jobs and they stopped doing right in the middle of the event!) and declaring things like my mail from Berkeley Parents Network as spam. I am not as concerned that they have decided my weekly mailing from Li*n Brand Yarn is spam; really there are far worse things. So now I have a gmail account which is fine, I may wind up with several since I like to have different addresses for my different personalities, er, businesses and interests. Yeah, that's what I meant. Anyway. So now I can comment but it sometimes leaves my identity as something other than “dharma” which is so NOT what I want. But worse, now that I think I have fixed that glitch it says I have do not have a blogger profile which means people can’t find me.

Yesterday I went over to google and blogger but don’t you know there is absolutely no easy way, certainly none that I found, to lodge a complaint. Isn’t that con-frigging-venient? So I went to a google forum for blogger problems or something like that and found a number of people writing about similar problems.

Today I went to comment over on Rashenbo’s blog and saw a change in the comment section that seemed like it would make it easier to sign in with my blogger identity and solve my problems. But nooooo. Hell on wheels it was, though it did finally publish with the name “dharma” but says I have no profile and therefore looks like I have no blog. Luckily Rashenbo might actually remember me and realize the problem but damn. So I am searching for some way to meld my gmail identity and my blogger identity. You would think they would have resolved this since they are making it so hard to exist on blogger without a gmail account. However this is really making it painfully clear that TGF is right, I need my own website. She has wanted me to have one for sometime, though it certainly won’t be about doula work as I had dreamed about years ago. In theory it would be nice if it can become a place where I can put myself out there in the cybersphere as a therapist but most immediately it will be a place for my blog and other interests. And yes, it will link to my gmail account.

In the meantime, if anyone knows how I can become one person as far as blogger and google is concerned, please please please let me know. There’s a gift* waiting for you.

* Gift to be determined with imput from the intended recipient.

In which our heroine plays doctor

Now get your heads out of the gutter!

For my loyal 12 readers, I realize I should update you on the state of lumpiness that freaked me back on about November 26th. Sure enough I was mere days away from the start of a new cycle. The tenderness diminished as P-day crept closer. The lump got less intense in it's prominence but was still seeming a bit large. It is close to two weeks since P-day and the occasional dull ache has disappeared as has a great degree of the tenderness but there is still a lump. The good news, as I the self appointed doctor sees it, is that the lump seems diffuse rather than like a distinct marble which encourages my thinking of a cyst rather than something more dire. My research indicates that since I am a woman of a "certain age" cysts are common.

I do realize that given that I am a woman of a "certain age" that mammograms are something I should be seeking out and I will. I will. I just make no promises as to when but again, I will.

Okay, now to the gutter thoughts, a good friend, opined that after putting up the pre-lit artificial christmas tree (kinda like this one) that I scored from Freecycle, one should decorate and have sex under the lights and pretty shiny things. Sounds like a good idea to me. Damn, a tree skirt would help matters but we don't have one. Blankets to the rescue.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

In which our heroine perseveres

It seems that I have not updated on Miss SoS lately. When first introduced her appearance was less than, dare we say, pleasant? The next time she was mentioned it was more for plot device. (I cannot believe I reference my own entries so much. There was a time when I thought that was, well, let's just say I judged it harshly. Damn I've become the mocked!)

Where was I? Oh yes. The next session was at the house and went fairly well. Miss SoS even showed me old photos, which seemed like a good step in terms of letting me in a bit. Last Thursday I picked her at school and drove her home. Yes that was our entire session but it was the first time alone with her. As she got ready to leave the vehicle she actually reached over to give me a little half hug. Yes, the same child that cursed at me for over two hours the week before. Yes, if I was into deluding myself I would suggest that I was the next miracle worker but I am more humble and far far less sure of myself so I won't be saying that except in jest.

As they say, that was then. Yesterday she cast the evil eye in my direction sporadically for two hours and barely spoke to me. Today, she skipped out on the session which on the positive side gave me lots of time to chat her grandmother. Tomorrow should be a blast. {sigh}

In the last six weeks she has had a CASA (an organization I considered volunteering with a few years ago- ironic) worker assigned to her, started with a new therapist and had me assigned to her. It could be that there are too many new adults in her world so it is still a wait and see deal as far as I'm concerned. Of course my final treatment plan is due tomorrow. So tomorrow morning I will finish yesterday notes, edit the treatment plan and write up today's session then see the little beast again.

A major agenda item for the weekend is to do my weekly sheets for the BBS and school dating back from February. (Shut up. I say right there on my description that I am working on becoming less of a procrastinator which implies that I am a big time put-ter off-er type person.) If I have enough, it gives me an additional out in terms of graduation requirements. Somehow I live in the sate with some of the most ridiculous number of hours needed for licensing - 3000 hours before I can sit for the exams. Perseverance, my life is all about that right now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Really touched

Yesterday as we were loading ourselves into the car after a romp at Albany Bulb with the ever lively Wyatt a really sweet thing happened.

(Yes all of his paws are off the ground in this photos. Lucky shot.)

TGF realized that she was missing her head band thingy that I made for her. She left us to go look for it. I had thought, oh well I need to make her a better one. No biggie. She returned rather quickly with a smile on her face. It seems someone had already found it and had placed on the gate. It turns out that TGF is sentimental! She really was concerned that she had lost the head band because "it was the first thing you made for me". Awww. How sweet is that? I mean I really never took her as sentimental. TGF said, Of course I am, I'm southern! You go to cotillion and get your sentimental badge." Me, I was thinking good motivation to get started on some new ones that fit better and really do the job of keeping her ears warm.

In the future I plan to make her this one from Garn Studio, which is a great site for pattern hunting.

This one below is from t
he new knitty that I spoke of the other
day and looks really cute.

This other design would look cute in the Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool, in colour #31 I have in my stash. I bought two hanks of this stuff during the closing sale at Skein Lane. The colour is SO her I had to buy the measly two hanks left because I figured there would be something I could do with it.

The reality is she will soon (okay, defining soon is tricky) have three more of these beasties and yet it seems she will cling to the measly early knitting of her partner.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Camera Cable - Huzzah!

Picture day, to celebrate finally finding the cable that goes from the camera to the laptop. Since we switched to a compact flash drive from smart media I have had to go through way too many steps to get photos loaded. Today I was able to dump photos directly to my computer, which yes, is nicknamed "the lotus".

We have one tiny blueberry bush, actually until this summer it was more of this spindly thing that hoped one day to resemble a bush, that has been turning the most amazing colours with the onset of autumn. The leaves are turning red and bronze with the sunlight gliding them in the afternoon.

Our sibling set Marcel and Saana continue to bloom, growing like weeds. There are days when it seems they grow an inch a day. Marcel doesn't seem to be able to take a bad photograph. Atticus, our special needs cat, is the gleaming gray one on the right.

Saana is our loving, comedic girl. She bounces around the house and runs up our bodies to give us kisses. She loves to take Wyatt's treats and nibble at them while he just watches in disbelief.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Good thing all my plastic is melted

As one could guess by my image on this blog and a favorite link, I am enamored with pin up art. Well tonight I was looking for bunny jammies for my friend's son and it is a wonder what comes up on searches. "Bunny costume" is a dangerous thing when you forget to also put in "children". Actually even if you do you still links for more, um, risque sites.

Anyway, I found this site and OMG, do I wish I had money. And damn is it motivation to get into better shape to wear this stuff! I am loving their checkbook covers. Right now I have George Petty art on my checks which still have my old address - I really need new ones, with a matching checkbook cover but hey, variety! How can one ignore greatness like this!

Can we talk about the dresses!??!?

And the shoes!!!

Of course for the real deal Vintage Vixen is a great place to browse and the details they provide on the items is great. This one is just too awesome in it's brightness.

I love finding vintage stuff for a good price. One thing I notice looking at Vintage Vixen's careful measurements is that it is clear that many of these frocks are constructed to be worn with a girdle. Just a good glance at the bust-waist-hip ratios make that clear as glass. Well this femme may score high on some tests but a girdle? I am too much of a comfort queen to do girdles. Yes I wore gorgeous but horrible for walking to Broadway some months ago with agony that was worth the ohs and ahs but even I have a limit. Okay, so maybe for the right dress and special occasion but really it would have to be fabulous beyond fabulous.

One day I will have a real income and my closet will groan with weight of glorious clothes and shoes. One day.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Knitty Review

So the new Knitty is out and each time I find patterns I love but I especially love looking at the new patterns that just leave me speechless. In a bad way.

I seriously cannot fathom taking the time to make the Slingshot. Then there is the matter of the wave pattern reminds me distinctly of a knitter's pattern that was rejected a number of places and now lives in Island of Misfit Patterns.

As an aside, can I tell you how much I love the play on the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Island of Misfit Toys - how brilliant is that!)

However this Antifreeze would be perfect for Greg, even down to the ponytail hole.

I actually know the perfect person to make the "Babe" f
or and she would probably appreciate it, but I find it hard to imagine making it. But if she asks nicely I would do it. For her. Though I would wonder how well the blade covers would really hold up.

As much as I love TGF and she is a HUGE geek, I will not be making her Binary. Zeros and ones indeed!

As usual there is a pattern that I cannot decide whether I like or hate. They never fail to do that to me. I was rather disappointed that there was only one that really caught me that way. Are they losing their touch? Am I getting easy? Your thoughts on this top are welcome. I really have no plans to make it, I just wonder what y'all think.

In the meantime I finally finished the sweater for T'Mane, just needs snaps. Next I have to finish the second leg of the matching pants, since I whipped out the first leg. I have started on another slightly mystery project. I won't post it until it's done because while I don't think the recipient reads my blog, one cannot be too careful. But I will say I am using Paton's Classic Wool (in Harvest) which is labeled as Merino. After using a nylon/acrylic blend for T'Mane's outfit (wash and dryable, important for toddler wear dontcha know), and a ladder/railroad for mystery project number one, it is a sheer joy to feel the spring of wool in my fingers. Even the Berroco Softwist, which while soft had a more slippery feel. This stuff is delightful.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Good times, sad times

I wish I could be witty for y'all tonight but it's just not flowing.

It has been a long time since I worked somewhere during the holiday season but given that I am still employed by The Agency, currently to work with Miss SoS, apparently it is still au courant to have holiday celebrations. Last week we picked names for "secret santa" gifting purposes. Before reaching into the hat (yes it was seriously a hat) I prayed that I would get someone I knew well enough to get something appropriate without resorting to a gift certificate. Luckily I got Moon, who I really like. I was tempted to get something from Good Vibrations for Moon because I thought it would be taken in good humour, but since it was to be a public event I vetoed my own idea. In the end I shopped at T*rget and choose a cool picture frame doodad that holds 4 photos.

The gathering was held at Unicorn, a restaurant I had been interested in trying for, oh, about 4 years, but had never gotten around to going to in all that time. Um, I had a lovely Chardonny/Viognier blend that was very tasty and a nice compliment to the dishes I tried, which was several! The food was really very good and it would be worth going back for a nice dinner date with TGF.

The sad times involves a friend of mine, one of the first people I met when I moved here. We clicked, I mean really clicked - it is rare that we can do a breakfast meet-up that takes less than 2 hours and it's been like that since our first meeting. She and her partner are in the process of splitting as I found out tonight. I feel so sad for her it actually hurt earlier, now I just wish there was more I could actually do. They have been together for about twelve years (if I remember correctly) and there are two adorable kids in the mix. As hard as my split was with CHL, it is impossible for me to fathom adding children into that sort of choice. As I have many friends with children, some of whom are not sure of their relationship it is so much easier to sit over here, childless and council about being happy as a valuable model to offer your children. Staying or leaving when one is not happy has an impact on children, certainly I know about that from my experience as the kids in the mix, but staying involves less change, a different type of adjustment - one that is quiet, a bit hidden.

Sending my friend a strong cyber hug.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rode Hard and Put Up Wet*

Since yesterday I have driven over 150 miles and unlike living on the east coast, I never left the state. Hell I was only in two counties. Two counties, that's it!

My drive to Miss SoS's school is along Route 4 which is nice because part of the ride is just rural landscaping of undulating hills which are still dried straw coloured as the rains have yet to appear enough to bring the greening of winter. In the distance I get to see a piece of a small wind farm off to the south of the highway. Also along th
e route I pass an exit sign for the Port of Chicago which always disorients me when I come upon it. First, ports mean water and water is next to impossible to see or even smell so I find it odd to see a port referenced when there is nothing but dried out hills. Then there is the matter of "Chicago" not being in Illinois. Just freakish if you ask me, I mean this is California. Sure there are street in the Bay Area like Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama but Chicago? That's a city name, a city in the Midwest, ffs.

When looking up this Port on G**gle, a link popped up via, a favorite site of mine in part because the address amuses me (Yeah, I'm a nerd. What of it?) their city page had a link for wineries nearby and I admit, my face lit up a bit thinking I could combine some pleasure, partake of some lovely libations after a session. I click gleefully to find 26 winerie
s. Ah the pay off for all the driving to see my client who reads a bit like tourettes meets ADD meets bi-polar rage. Such nice thoughts I was having until I see that all of them are about 25 miles away and a serious deter between hell and home. Sigh. All drinking will have to be done closer to home. I guess it's safer that way.

Today I visited my client at home, not quite as long of a drive as yeste
rday or tomorrow, but damned if I don't need to add more gas to the Purple Beast again before embarking tomorrow. One good thing about this gig, I don't have to set an alarm or even contemplate awaking anything near the crack of dawn. So my late night ways continue. There are already some christmas decor snaking around the the television unit and presents have already begun to multiply in tribble-like fashion. For a child who hates to wait I cannot imagine the underlying torture being perpetrated by her grandmother. It will be really interesting to see how this unfolds.

My lovely partner had dinner ready to go when I walked in from the boonies, which was spectacular since I was starving. For breakfast I had coffee and a packet of instant hot cereal from Kashi, for lunch a can of soup with some crackers and now I had less than an hour before heading back out. Tonight I had an interview for my old work - a potential doula client due in early February.

For long time readers you may remember that I had gone through a purge of my birth books as an outward symbol of the changes in my world but I also have never said that I would not attend another birth. Yes, I was incredibly burned out but birth work is extraordinarily compelling. Witnessing a baby take her first breath is the closest thing to seeing g*d that I have had the honour of being near. Am I in love with this couple? No. I wish I was so that even if they choose someone else, I would touch that place inside of me again that loves that immediately with no expectations.

So our heroine is a bit tired and her tires probably need rotating.

*Nods to Gwendolyn for the title - it's one of her favorite phrases.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

In which our heroine learns new vocabulary

With a nervous stomach and a disposition that wilted TGF's smile, I left this morning to see my client only barely hopeful that I would last more than about fifteen minutes in the same room with her. I had a plan, an escape route mapped, and a fortifying phone call with Greg on the drive over. Did I mention her school is a 42 minute drive from home, with no traffic? Luckily the school hours are a good match for free wheeling driving.

Armed with a plan I wavered as I arrived at the container classrooms, do I go to the office first or right to the "classroom". I voted for the brave course and saw "Matlock" at the door as I strode over. He informed me that Miss "SoS" (Spawn of Satan) was in the office after all. Apparently they had watch "Lord of the Flies" (eww!) to follow up the reading of the novel. Miss SoS was in no mood to stop watching television and begin on history studies. From here there is some disagreement about whether she shoved or threw a chair but the point is clear. Miss. SoS was bitching and complaining when I walked in the office. I basically ignored her and with the help of my new best friend at the school, the lovely and patient "Bethany", we three sat a table and actually had something resembling a conversation. I know. Clearly hell had a cold snap. We developed a schedule for this week and a contract. Miss SoS ended the session on a good note, leaving to go eat lunch. I took this as a cue to leave and not try anything further for the day.

Oh right, vocabulary lessons. During the conversation some words were dropped that I was unfamiliar with and simply played along, guessing somewhat accurately as to the specific meaning. Somehow this drug slang does not get sent to me in my daily e-mailing of A Word A Day, where I get words more like "flummery" or "bodacious" (go look them up, I can't do everything for you!) Once home I consulted the ultimate source of such knowledge - Urban Dictionary.

Until today I thought I understood all the meanings and shades of definition of the word "purple". I was so wrong. There is so much more than the colour of half my wardrobe and Tinky Winky - the gay icon. I
f you don't live in Northern California you might not come across this usage so consider your regionally broadened. Then there was "thizz" which I had initially heard as "fizz" which left me momentarily concerned about my buddy's blog. But no, it was thizz, as I discovered both by hearing the word more than once, and watching Miss SoS scribble it on paper. Essentially this part of the conversation left me feeling quite old.

So my dear readers if you have any arcane knowledge of teenage vocabulary especially for Northern California which seems to create it's own lingo as distinguished from anywhere else, please inform me. Thanks.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Not exactly surprising

This was just about my favorite card in the Rider-Waite deck when I used to read the tarot.

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Lacevember Photos - Finally

I casted on for this project before Lacevember, well before I knew it was happening but it lagged. Early on I ripped the inch or two I had done and started over but I was timid about proceeding. Lacevember spurred me to learn how to read the chart and finish this project since I knew I wanted to send it to NY as a gift.

Unfortunately the photos are not great, and thus I will only post two (happy Greg?).

Here is an expanse of the scarf with lovely afternoon sun coming through the windows.

Over all it blocked well, though not totally straight. I suppose I should measure it but I would estimate it to be about 40 inches long and about 7 inch
es wide.

Unfortunately none of the shots I took really captured the colour of the yarn which is a rich very dark green. But this close give you a feel for the pattern at least.

The stats:

Pattern: Liesel by Mary Joy Gumayagay.

Yarn: 2 skeins of Berroco's Softwist in a colour not list in the link I just provided! I think the colour has been discontinued. Oh well.

Needles: started with vintage aluminum - waaay too slippery. Finished with Clover circulars size 8.

Start date: First attempt sometime in October, second attempt late October. Really started working on it first week of November. Finished Sunday November 26th.

The pattern states that this is a good pattern for those stray skeins, but had I had only one of the skeins I used, I would have been bummed by the length. I know I got 13 repeats out of the first hank and I am guessing I got the same from the second.

Also the Clover tips were a little too dull for this yarn as (I guessing at the terminology here) the pile is loose and a bit similar to embroidery thread in it's texture and the points separated it more than I would have preferred. I have two skeins in a nice bright red so I will use other needles for it, once I decide what I am going to make with it.

I have a skein of Lion and Lamb in Pewter which I had considered using to make a second scarf, for me but one I am not sure I love the pattern enough and two I am concerned how long an item it would make. So if any of y'all have suggestions for that skein let me know.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Through the looking glass

Several weeks back I pulled the Style section from the Chronicle because of an article on Amy Arbus, daughter of Diane Arbus. There is a book coming out featuring her photos from 1980-1990 called On the Street, images culled from her time doing a weekly photo spread for the Village Voice. The article speaks of the 80's being "in" again and sure enough the day I read the article I went to Point Isabel to let Wyatt romp and there was young woman in a tiered mini skirt with leggings. It looked horrible I confess, if for no other reason than her colour choices {shudder}.

It occurred to me, as I read the article, that I probably poured over the photos when they were fresh as I read the Voice regularly in those years (hush I was a child prodigy obviously since I'm only 26 now). As I was invested in fashion and steeped in stop bath and fixer in those days I probably spent an inordinate amount of time critiquing her work with all the wisdom of a twit. If I was to view those photographs now I would hope that I have gained enough respect to discuss what is amazing or timeless or poignant (or some such collection of pompous words) about her work as well as seeing how I might have done something different but hopefully at least as effective.

Arbus says that today people aren't able to afford the time to construct "outrageous outfits. They don't feel like being visually noticed is a key to their success". When I read that a few weeks ago I vehemently disagreed. I think I still do but for a different reason than my initial response which was "Have you been to Berkeley?" I think people still think being noticed by their appearance is a key to success but the measure of success has changed. There does seem to be more of a push to blend into one or another of the genres that are "popular" which is definitely removed from the edges, as I saw it in the 80's, where the idea was to push boundaries, to step outside of any of the boxes. It was easier to feel like an outsider because the punk images, for example, were relegated to the corners of the country, their images not as easily spread in those days before the ubiquitousness of internet flooding people consciousness with images near and far.

The other side of this piece was section about her and her mother in regards to competition, what with both of them being photographers. The was some resonance there for me as well as I started constructing poems and short stories while in elementary school (told you I was a prodigy, sheesh). Did I mention my mother was an English professor? That she graduated Phi Cappa Beta from Hunter College? That she scored a post-doc fellowship in England. Somewhere in my high school years she started writing, poems, short stories and damn it they were good. Not the style I worked in but still freaking good. For a few years in there we were both writing a lot, me more closeted, her submitting things right and left, getting published, doing readings. I was proud but silent about my work and fairly content about my status. This blog is the most public my writing (and my photography) has ever been. It's also the most disciplined I have ever been about my writing and while it is a tad embarrassing that it took an essentially public journal to tap into something (not sure what) I am grateful for it nonetheless. Sunny is writing more lately too, mostly political satire songs for the Raging Grannies, so once again we are side by side, this time separated by the width of this country, working our crafts in our own way.

But this time, no more tiered mini skirts, not even hanging in my closet.

In which our heroine rests on her laurels

I survived NaBloPomo without missing one day. Not. One. Day. In addition to not missing a day I only had one day that I really bagged out and posted a quiz, I am too lazy to check my archives, just like my dear friend Rabbitch, but I would hazard a guess that I have never gone that many posts without a quiz before. Unlike some of my horde, I never wrote a post that whined about how I had nothing to write about, nor did I keep track in titles how many days I had done or had left. I am proud of this, perhaps a bit inordinately so but so what.

In addition I finished Lacevember which was the other November event and got my blue star despite still not posting a photography of said project. Really it looks good! Still pinned to the towel so I holding my breath a bit about how well it blocked.

Also this month I finished a paper, started and finished another paper for school. Am behind but less so than ever in a semester. Cooked my ass off, saw friends, had out of town guests, voted, reached out to school colleagues who graduated. Wrote a treatment plan for my hellish client. Applied for a job and got an interview for said job. Made progress on the mystery knitting project, and significant progress on T'Mane's knitted outfit. Made some headway on the BirthWays newsletter.

It goes without saying that there was much animal loving, most days included walks with Wyatt at our two park spots, at least one cup of coffee a day, and of course endless hours per day blog-spotting thanks to the Randomizer. I have found a few new really good blogs that have been added to my favorite blogs folder (which is separate from my favorite knitting blogs folder). My sidebar would run forever if I listed all the blogs I check in with every day to every few days. And damn it if there aren't more of them thanks to this NaBloPoMo thing.

Tonight while TGF and I were eating out, a rare treat just the two us like a real date or something, I had a moment of semi-panic thinking, "I have to remember to blog when I get home" followed by an immediate relief of "I don't have to!" Last night I wrote my entry and shortly after I was inspired to write some more - it's a piece in progress. I am beginning to suspect that I may have developed a writing habit which on some level was the goal of this blog when I started it 13 months ago. The habit was in it's early stages and November may have cemented it. Now do not, dear readers, take this as any sort of promise that I will continue to write every frigging day. Let's not get crazy here.

I am starting December with some really good motivation based on previous success which was the theory I had constructed and wrote about earlier this month.

For any new readers that may have come by via the Randomizer, I hope you stick around and also feel free leave comments which Heather and I say are like crack, in a good way.

Onward and upwards.