Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In the Pink

Several weeks ago I found this pattern I so wanted to make for Sunny. When Jennie, Sharon and I went shopping at Skein Lane back in December, I found the perfect yarn (scroll down to the "OF to be created on demand, click on "Country" - it's colour #35).

The pattern is from Knitty.com, I fell in love at first sight with it. It actuall
y went rather fast but I would occasionally lose count and need to frog back a couple rows every so often.

I just love how it came out. The designer suggested a more
symetrical construction but I really wanted to do this easily. So despite being a libra and totally understanding Stephanie Roy's reasoning, I did a continuous length since time was of the essence.

Once done, I realized it would be really nice to make a hat to go with it. So in a fit of inspiration I did my first bit of design work by deciding to use the heart pattern on a hat. Friday I whipped out a basic hat with three repeats of the heart going around the head. I was inordinately proud of myself for conceiving of the idea, figuring out a reasonable count of stitches and doing it with out any problems. Start to finish in about 3 hours!

So happy with it! Far, and I do mean far, from perfect but considering I totally estimated the number of stitches, when to start decreases - quite happy!

Perhaps I should have
blocked it, but it really fits quite nicely.

Here is our Super Model, modeling the ensemble

Several weeks ago I fell in love with some yarn on eB*y, thinking it would make a great sweater for our niece, Leigh - she is SO cute! I bought a ton.

Before leaving for my conference I brought the scarf with me to work on - I had only done maybe two out of tw
enty pattern repeats before leaving. I finished it while there, as I had hoped. Being the optimist, I had packed patterns and yarn for about 3 more projects. Insane I know. I found a simple but sweet pattern from the 2006 Knitting Pattern A Day Calendar that I hoped would satisfy Her Royal Pickiness.

Yes, Jennie I skipped ahead to find possible hats for Sunny.

I started this at the conference and just about finished it there. The decreasing rows were done at home and ends were weaved in. Oh happy do!

Once again, I give you Super Model Bear.

I can't wait to decide on a pattern for Leigh's sweater!
There will be a hat to go with the sweater, that's already decided. There's this pattern, but I don't know. Jennie's in favor of it. In Family Circle's Easy Knitting, Spring/Summer 2005 there's a pattern I really like though it's designed for three colors, I like construction. Also it's sized for 18 months and Leigh just turned 1 year on December 28th. The first pattern would require some tinkering to make sure it is big enough. Of course the pattern I like suggests needle sizes 6 and 8. I made the hat with 8 and would like to go down in size for a tighter fabric for a toddler sweater.

The recommended yarn is 50g balls, each approx 116 yds. The mohair is 53g balls, each approx 131 yds. This is where I wonder how much I like math. I guess that I will have to do a swatch in the my preferred needle size, shifting down from 8 & 6 to maybe 7 & 5, or 6 & 4? It does give the finished size of the back, left front, and sleeve. So as long as my finished pieces are the same it doesn't matter, does it? Jennie? Cari? Okay I don't think Cari reads my blog, but a girl can dream.

So in the month of January, I started and finished 3 hats (all different patterns and yarns) and one scarf. Also started a scarf that will be for Jeriann. Yep, that procrasinator extraordinaire label may need to take a back seat.

Another Loss

(I wrote this already but it disappeared into the ether of the net - damn damn damn)

The month has barely ended and the losses are staggering. Alito has been confirmed, yes expected, but so horrible. This morning while visiting one of my sources of information, inspiration and humor, Pandagon, I found that Coretta Scott King has passed away. This loss is so huge, so hard. I am not capable of being as eloquent as the occasion demands so I am linking this entry. It is not an act of flattery so much as knowing the limits of my writing. With her and Wendy Wasserstein gone the areas of loss are huge. As well, back in December we lost Gene McCarthy, again a link because I truly don't know enough of this man to write a decent statement about what it means to have this example gone from our world.

Winter is a time to reflect, to take stock and refuel for the growth of spring. I am trying to be hopeful that many will find this season a time to renew, to refocus what it means to be in this world and how we all want to act. I hope all of us emerge from the winter cocoon ready to live life out loud.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Unknown Friends

I just went to revisit DED space and saw that Wendy Wasserstein had died. I am shocked by the news, but maybe because I had no idea she was ill. I feel unprepared to have such a talent and an icon be gone.
No matter how lonely you get or how many birth announcements you receive, the trick is not to get frightened. There's nothing wrong with being alone.
Wendy Wasserstein, Isn't It Romantic, 1983
We have all experienced a loss by her death.

New Blog Fav - or I have hopes it will be

I found a new blog that I have marked off as one to go back to if for nothing else, today's entry. When I read her "about me" section, I was sure she was someone I needed to check in with from time to time. Besides, did you see her cats? While some of my dear readers nod out during my knitting content, I am sure I will be skimming madly over her tennis entries.

Before I forget, I found dear DED via another blogger I enjoy greatly, arse poetica, who's entry on the thumb reader give me my morning chuckle today. It is rare that I can trace my steps when finding someone new to read. I have no recollection at all of how I found Ancrene or a.p., nor a bunch of others - fun ride that the web is it's hard to know how one moved from point 1 to point 273.

I have been amusing myself wiht blogs today as I am still frigging sick. This is truly the sickiest I can remember being for a few years. I am not a graceful sick person. Just ask The Girl Friend, who I imagine is ready to duct tape my mouth so I cannot yet again say "Did I mention I hate being sick" one more time. I figure life gave me to her to help her work on patience. She is better than I am, as her time with "the cold from hell" started before mine but she is still very, very tired. Last night I made a gourmet meal for us - Campb*ll's Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwichs using Kr*ft Amer*ican cheese (which we all know isn't actually cheese) and squishy white bread. The ultimate in comfort food. Very satisfying. Only could have been better with some chocolate pudding for dessert.

I'm shameless

I adore Ancrene so much I do whatever she suggests.*

You can do your own here. I have to admit I wouldn't mind having this as a t-shirt, though I can't imagine where I would wear it, and also it would be fun to do this again in 6 months and see what words would appear. It is making me wonder when and why I wrote "oscar" though.

*imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, except when it means one is actually a psychopath (see Single White Female).

Friday, January 27, 2006

The sweetness of friends

Some time ago I wrote about some friends, IRL and online, who had offered to make things for my mother. My online friend, Kim, was perhaps the first one. While at my conference, I receive the package from her. The gifts and notes brought tear to our eyes. I can't wait to send this on to my mother. But first, I had to take pictures!

This was the first set she make which are totally Sunny's colors, but she was concerned the yarn wasn't soft enough.

Seeing the yarn in person, she may be right, but I suspect it will get worn quite a bit nonetheless as the brightness will cheer Sunny so much.
It was amazing to see someone nail the colors so well.

The next scarf and hat combo had another admirer.

Elliot woke from his little light sleep below and had to investigate item!

Elliott couldn't help to reach out and touch this stuff. It is SO soft. He firmly approves.

Kim sweetly included a few other things.
ree bracelets that she made. The O-rings for the rainbow bracelet is of NASA quality so as to appeal to the geek that is The Girl Friend

The two matching bracelets are for my mother and me. I know this gesture deeply touched me, and I am sure it will do the same for Sunny.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Yes G, it's another quiz

I found my way here courtesy of a dear friend, Scott, whom I just saw at Conference. I have no idea which of his blog sites to link with him as they are each interesting, quinesstenially him and all different. Maybe he will tell me which one to use. Anyway.

This one was "The Religion Founder You Resemble". I really like the answer even though I have no idea who this fellow Kabir is, never heard of him. Perhaps that is appropriate given the description says:

Not a religion founder in any true sense, instead felt that everyone should follow their own path to God. "There is nothing but water in the holy pools. I know, I have been swimming there. All the gods sculpted of wood or ivory can’t say a word. I know, I have been crying out to them. The Sacred Books of the East are nothing but words. I looked through their covers one day sideways. What I talk about is only what I have lived through. If you have not lived through something, it is not true."

Truly telling about me, I think. I'm sure some will chime in to let me know if it is reflective of me or not.

In fact it was my buddy Scott that gave me the of my last lesson of the conference. I was showing him my blog and he pointed out that perhaps I should change my description around. While I enjoy the wiseass aspect of labeling myself as a "procrasinator extraordinaire" it may not be in my best interest to lead with it. Compelling headlines be damned. Scott gently suggested I move two of the other descriptors to the forefront. He really has a point. Do I want that to be my primary identity, even more than it is? Do I want to create that reality or something else? Am I ready to step out of the definition, which in part requires further separation from my mother? Maybe I am. What a concept.

Thank you Scott. I love you.

Two Recommendations

As part of my course work, there was an experiential piece to finish during my residential conference, Multiculturalism and The Family. We saw two films that were so powerful as part of our face to face conversation.

The first was The Color of Fear, which extracted critical moments from a two day intensive conversation between men - 2 white, 2 african american, 1 japanese american, 2 latino, 2 chinese american. It was so incredible to watch. Hard, hopeful. Mind blowing to watch someone's paradigm shift. So powerful to be present in the anger, passion, confusion, the blocks.

The second left me feeling so powerless, so small in the world. But in a good way. Yeah right!
Nuyorican Dream follows a family for a period of years, again condescencing what must have been at least 10,000 hours of film. It was particularly poignant for me, the streets were familiar to me, shots of streets that I swore I could smell, as New York City native.

This course left me hypersensitive to how white things can be, therapy, tv, movies, advertising. More than usual. Lucky Girl Friend. How stereotypes, while often based in something resembling truth, are used by all of us to remain blind, to make easy choices.

This morning I am flipping through a book that arrived while I was gone, Hip Knits, by Better Homes and Gardens. Yes, I know, that should have warned me, I should not have been surprised. The Girl Friend and I are going through it, because, well I'm trying to see what she likes with the intention that sometime in the next decade I might knit something for her. Not half way through, I stop, look at her and say, "All the models are white. Really white." She of course is used to these outbursts (though I must say I remained fairly controlled during tonight's repeat of Charmed where Piper is diagnosed with toxemia and gives birth), nods and says, "Yes they are." As we continue through the book, I find one asian model where the text exclaims "Exotic!". The designs are so not exotic, it took enormous self control not to hurl the book across the room.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Relearning the same damn lesson - again

So I am my residential conference which always is SO good to be at. It makes me happy just to be here - this school is such a great environment in so many ways. I am feeling inspired and have started to develop a plan for how to move from being a first, second and third semester student, to a third and fourth semester student (spring will be semester 4).

Since I dropped out of Practicum 1, because I didn't have a practicum (really clear decision that took a little too long to make, upon reflection) I have time today to sit in my plush room catching up on blackboard (our online classroom) discussions. I had so much blockage and fear because I was so behind that I didn't delve in as often as I should have throughout the semester. I was immobilized a lot of the semester. However, sitting here I realize how foolish that was, that it's not so bad, that I can be a good student albeit not a great one and that's fine. I finally read my prof's comments on a paper that I felt was a complete failure - she's not even going to ask for a rewrite! Though in truth she should so I may do it anyway. I did some of this for another class last night and today as well - again WHAT THE HELL IS MY PROBLEM!?!?

I have figured out part of it, I have no structure whatsoever. That's not news, I have been irregularly self-employed for over 9 years so why is it so bad now? One thing I realized is that neither The Girl Friend nor I have a schedule. Previously, my partner had a schedule so there was something implicit in the ether about time. Now nothing. Having a job, that while also not totally scheduled and predictable, I think will help. There will be regular meetings, paperwork due weekly, etc. I think that will help. So will groveling to my professors, one of who I am quite sure is ready to have me walk the plank into shark infested waters.

But, ultimately I feel a bit inspired, if not thoroughly exhausted. Last night stayed up late with friends laughing, telling stories, and just having fun. Of course being that we are all studying psychology there were lots of words that ordinarily wouldn't be used to describe things, behaviors or people. Projection, transference, narcissistic (used correctly!), countertransference, and calling people in a loving way on their bias was all part of the fun.

Speaking of bias. I tell ya - there are a lot of really complimentary prejudices about lesbians out there. Did you know that we are instinctually better lovers (if only!), that we are more comfortable in our identity (internalized homophobia anyone?), and more open to be sexually adventurous (my twitch started in earnest here)? Luckily I was able to cut down these lovely but false notions about my sistahs (with help from the other lesbian in the room). The looks we shared when these things were being said, well the eyes were rolling so hard I thought for sure I'd be looking heavenward for life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Life is getting busy, blog will suffer

I am so sorry dear readers, but entries may get awfully sparse for a bit. Tomorrow I get driven by The Girl Friend to the Marriot in San Mateo to attend my grad school intensive piece. 9AM my classes start. They keep us so fricking busy, here's the schedule. Anywhere it say MFT, that me. After all the committments then there's the hanging out with friend who you only get to see twice a year, it all equals very little sleep and precious few moments for blogging.

The upside is that I am staying in a deluxe type space for a great rate, yeah right, for the first 3 nights, the other 2 nights - totally off the charts! I am trying to finagle something else. Given that I will be in the room for almost no hours while awake it's silly but it's all they had left by the time I did something about reserving a room. The cool thing is the dance, I love it. It's so fun to see people letting go. I usually get some dancing time in which is always a good thing.

Today I had a training for my new job, I am now a certified Therapeutic Behavioral Services counselor/coach/whatever. Woo hoo. I will probably have to squeeze in a PART training next Wednesday and Friday, with luck squeeze in an observation on Thursday, and attend the weekly Thursday meeting 4:30 - 6:00pm.

Oh yeah, in the next day or so I need to compose an advertising email to send out for the next newsletter for BirthWays.

Anyway, I hope you can stand the empty space that will probably become my blog for the next week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gemma doing her

Kim Novak impression. Bell, Book, and Candle remains one of my favorite films. Missed putting that on my 4 movies I can always watch list, along with Princess Bride (a popular choice, I know. Bring It On (Eliza Dushku being called "uberdyke" cracks me up every time)`is a serious guilty pleasure that I can watch over and over.

Gemma stole my heart when we went to pick up our first set of fosters. Tiny, gray, and tail-less - just a fuzzy little bit of fur (she's a manx) where the tail usually starts. She has the nickname of "bunny legs". Miss Gemma Rae is full of attitude, sweet, and smart. Kind of like Kim Novak....

My first finished project of the year!

Can you believe it? I can't. Given that I excell at procrasination, well this is stupendous. Okay, I have really good motivation as this is a hat for Sunny. Granted it is not one of the designs she chose, that will be the next one.

The inspiration came from Knitter's, Spring 2004, page 60. Yes, I realize it's a spring/summer thing but Sunny gets cold easily and one loses a deal of heat via their head, and, well, it's cute!

Several months ago I was the lucky recipient of a Freecycler looking to unload a TON of yarn, including the plastic drawers.
Checking my stash I realized that I had this incredibly soft cotton yarn that would be so sweet.

While watching Graham on Thursday, so Jennie would enjoy a evening out, I casted on the
blue yarn. Her company treated the employess to a night at Teatro Zinzanni. Afterwards I looked up the price of tickets, since both this year and last Jennier raved about this how - but OMG! Way out of my budget but it sounds like great fun. I was about to add the second color (a skill set I had only done before on the Baby Sweater from Hell, which I didn't care about all that much so what if I screwed it up), when Jennie came home. The next evening I added on the lavender color and started the eyelet pattern - SO easy. Yeah. This project moved fast and looked good. The yarn helped as it's lovely, has a bit of a sheen to it that isn't quite apparent in the photo. You will have to trust me on this, it's a bit like polished cotton, or pearlized, or something.

Last night I finished it. It was a bit tricky with the double pointed needles, particularly at the end with very few stitches divided over 3 needles and I am sure that a stitch or two is not quite in a perfect round but it still looks good, I think.

Since we don't use live models often in this house I present Bear wearing the hat.

The hat, ankle warmers and a cute note pad with zebras on it will be in the mail to her soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Not Felix and Oscar but....

I would have never, ever used the words perky, chatty, morning person to describe myself. Until now. Life with The Girl Friend gives me new viewpoints on my personality.

She is definitively NOT a morning person. Waking up is the most god awful experience for me, because while I view sleeping as a huge waste of time in which I might not be procrasinating, I love sleeping. A dicotomy if there ever was, I grant you.

For the past nine years or so, I haven't been working a regular 9-5 job, and thus spend inordinate hours alone in my home. Until now. Both GF and I haven't been working much, my summer job happens at home, except while I'm in Maine for the actual event. I teach childbirth preparation very sporadically for San Francisco Kaiser and am loathe to return as I hate the hospital system even in the teensy tiny amounts I have to kowtow to it. School, is online. All of this to say I am home A LOT. So is the beloved GF.

Apparently I wake up talking and in a good mood. Who knew? Before a cup of coffee and a cigarette (smoking happens outside for those of you worried about my asthma!), GF is really not ready for human consumption, and even then most days it takes a second cup of coffee and relative silence before grunting responses are given.

We both like to write, hence my blog (and in theory that stack of papers I owe which have due dates starting in October of 2004 - that is NOT a typo). She has always written. Alone. No one even home except animals, preferably in the middle of the night. In other words no one could possibly interrupt her with their words. It has struck us as rather miraculous that she has managed to write anything, even emails in my presence (we cut quite the post-modern picture, two lesbians, sitting on their futon couch, each with a laptop and at least one cat also on said couch).

So what's the Felix/Oscar reference? Well generally speaking it is easier for me to write and have GF break in with a comment, but for her - well it totally wrecks her train of thought. Today she listened rather patiently while I recounted someone's tale about their '92 Chevy Caprice
and then asked me to try to check in first before regaling her with snippets of blogs that crack me up. I understand completely but I did feel somehow like an overenthused 7 year old who's mother is trying to balance the checkbook and keeps finding no money left in the account. Okay, I can do that, really I can.

Or maybe not. I seem to have a perky personality that requires frequent, extraneous bits of verbosity to errupt from my mouth. I never knew! You ask how that can be? Well somewhere in my lifetime I have moved from being a very shy (bordering on pathologically shy) to someone who has conversations with strangers in a clothing store about how to create rituals for their impending menopause. I am a bit unclear when the shift happened, but I have changed. The reality is that I am more upbeat than I used to be (think Pig Pen and the cloud of dirt is depression - that would be me). One downside to the New and Improved Me (I know Jennie, it's either "new" or it's "improved" in reality) is I talk too much for The Girl Friend's taste in the morning, when she's writing, when she's reading, and even occasionally when she's watching TV.

After finally finding my voice it seems my next lesson is learning to use it more wisely. Sigh.

Knitting Content - FOs of 2005

As promised I am finally documenting the knitting accomplished in 2005. I didn't pick up the needles until, um, October sometime.

First up was Sunny's beret. I used Brown's Sheep Superwash in Japanese Plum. I bought this yarn two years previous, when I took up knitting with the intent of making her a beret back then. Never happened. (Have you seen my profile? Does the word procrasinator ring a bell. Well here it is, Sunny modeling the hat (that's Lindsay, her husband).

At the same time I worked on a headband/ear warmer for
The Girl Friend.

I took this yarn and added

Which resulted in a
beautiful mix that sets of The Girl Friend's stunning blue eyes quite well.
This was worked in a seed stitch and just arbitrarily created. I guessed at everything, width, length, yarn. I think it came out quite nicely. GF really likes it.

Through out all of this I worked on the oft-mentioned "baby sweater from hell". Well h
ere it is, on the teddy bear it will live on. This is a top down sweater meaning it was made in one piece, the only sewn seams are the ones forming the sleeve shape. The stitch is the "gull pattern". I found this pattern in a very old issue (Fall 1990) of Vogue Knitting, titled "The Best Baby Sweater" by Elizabeth Zimmerman and Meg Swansen.

It's hard to see but I am very proud of my switching yarn where the sleeve started to separate out from the body - I didn't screw up the pattern at ALL here. Major for me. However this is what it supposed to look like. Maybe if I had blocked it...

In the midst of finishing the beret, and working on the sweater, and while I was hanging with Sunny after her surgery I busted out my first pair of booties. I was, and kinda still am, inordinately proud of them. The stitches are very even.

The final finished object are ankle warmers (modeled by The Girl Friend, because her feet are much prettier than mine) which Sunny requested. The are made from the same yarn as the beret and again, no pattern. I just did some 2x2 ribbing, stockinette, 2x2 ribbing. The photo is showing up much darker then on the camera, sorry about that.

It should be noted that I tried to make the baby sweater from hell in different yarn - twice before starting over with this yarn (hellish acrylic, the blue practically ripped the skin off my finger while working it, the black was better). Sunny's beret was made first using a different pattern and was so small it would have fit Wyatt, so I frogged in and did it in the pattern linked above. So a fair amount of knitting in a short time I think. Very minor compared to many of the knitters out there but given my imaginary school work committments, 1 puppy, 5 felines, The Girl Friend, applying to jobs, and many hours of fluffing off, rather productive.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Okay already!

Do you know who bothers me the most about updating my blog? Go ahead guess who out of my loyal readers, all 5 of you.

Give up yet.

The Girl Friend. Seriously. She Who Lives With Dharma, wants to hear more of Dharma. So is that love or is her brain still scrambled from the car accident almost two years ago? Says she learns new things about me, which, when you think about it is really sweet. Right? Tell me it's sweet and not stalker-ish.

Well the package from Sunny arrived.

Yep, her humor is still intact.

I expected a lock of hair, you know, like she mentioned, just a bit for a locket. What did I get?

It's enough for three Barb*e dolls and not enough to make a bootie. What the hell I'm I supposed to do with that?

I will confess that a blaze of shock and fear ran through me when I opened the package and saw that amount of hair. Yes, she told me it was coming out. Yes, I knew other folks lost their hair in clumps. Yes, I realize this is a side effect of chemo. But, but, this is my mother's hair, quite a bit of it, in a plastic bag on my table. OMG. You know? I mean, wow. She is bald. My mother, bald.

So if you have any ideas of what I can do with some very dark, almost black hair with quite a bit of gray, let me know. Deal?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

That Sinking Feeling continues

Still feeling out of sorts. Chicken for the cats is on the stove, making the windows fog up, filling the house with a warm, cozy aroma but still my eyes feel sticky, like physical emotions are blocking them up. The coffee this morning was toasty and full, tried dried cherries and walnuts in the oatmeal, tasty but I'm still not full. I suspect that it's not just a stomach hunger. The gray, damp day isn't helping either.

Next Thursday starts the Residential Conference for school and as usual I am nowhere near ready. I wonder what it would be like to complete just one course in a semester. I have taken lots of courses, finished, um, none? I owe papers that would keep a writer as prolific as Stephen King up for months.

I set goals, every day, for all sorts of things, accomplish few. Okay, the laundry is fantastic. Hot spots are pretty decent. One can eat at the dining room table. Kitchen is tidy. Lindsay's legwarmer (for his bad leg) is coming along. Haven't photographed my finished objects for 2005, maybe today, but there is no sun. Thinking after yesterday's phone call with Sunny I will cast on for the hat she doesn't want today.

The Girl Friend offered up that perhaps I really do need to cry. I bit her head off and she retreated, not to be really heard from again since. Can't imagine why.

Finishing the last of my cold second cup of coffee, looking at the clock, knowing that in about an hour GF will ask if I want to go to the dog park, and as usual I will be torn. O1H - I get out of the house, walk for about an hour, possibly see our friends Ruth and Piccolo. OtheotherH - stay home, get some alone time, and in theory study. Sigh. The daily dilemma.

The Art of Making Oatmeal

Please don't scoff. Apparently there is one, and it's one I am learning. Quaker Quick Oatmeal, bought in the large 42oz canister now, is the way to get The Girl Friend to eat breakfast, as mentioned sometime last month. Recently I asked her if she wanted some, as I was going to make it. Well, she very timidly (for her, so rather brusquely for the common populous) asked if I could make sure it was well cooked. It seems that by her standards (did I mention she is very particular about food?) that I hadn't cooked the oatmeal long enough a few occasions. How does one undercook instant oatmeal. The water boils, you dump said rolled oats, stir, and let it simmer. Oh well. So now I very carefully check that the oat flakes are suitably soft, if in question I add a tad bit more water and cook the mess into a soggy mass. It pleases her, I can still eat it. There you have it - art.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wyatt is a loving

if bull in a china shop kind of dog. Him and Piccolo at Point Isabel on Sunday.

Not conducive to studying

that's what calling your mother, to check on how she is doing post second dose of chemo, post losing most of her hair and giving new meaning to the phrase "tender-headed" is, in case you had any doubt.

I had been thinking about her a lot the last two days, hadn't spoken to her since Friday, which was a great conversation, so rather than read chapter two of a really book download that I should have finished at least 6 weeks ago, I called. Big mistake. Somehow for the first time I found it really hard to find things to talk about, felt uncomfortable in my own skin while on the phone. Hearing her talk about finding the most gentle baby shampoo (California Baby in case you're wondering) was just itchy making, which of course was what she was trying to cure. She hasn't let her husband see the extent of the hair loss yet as she wants to adjust to it first and right now she thinks it's rather horrible.

Yes, she made sick jokes about looking like a young jewish boy with just side curls when her fake bangs went askew, waxed happily about her spa tub set up and how it helps but somehow I couldn't keep up today with the witty comebacks, or story telling of our zoo. I just wanted to get off the telephone. I felt bad that I hadn't made the hat I picked out (nevermind that she is being terribly picky about hats - I have sent her no less than 14 different web links with hat ideas!). There should be one in the mail already. As she told me how the bath today removed most of what was left of her hair, I worriedly inquired whether she had gotten my message that, yes, I did want a locket. I have no idea what I will do with, or why I feel I need, but I do. I heaved quite the sigh of relief when she told me it was already on it's way (sure this time she doesn't procrasinate putting something in the mail for me).

As soon as possible I got off the phone and felt totally unsettle, so I went to finish the soup I was making. The Girl Friend had been craving "chicken and corn soup", something her mom makes. No pressure there, none at all. She had gotten a rough recipe from her dad reading her mom's notes and I just took it from there. One detail was that there this thing, like dumplings (which I have never made) but called rivells. Okay I can do that right? Essentially it's spaetzle. Actually it came out just fine. Big pot of soup. Yesterday I made a big pot of soup that I was craving, Indian Spiced Squash soup. I invented this recipe while at a client's house (I was working as a postpartum doula) and I hated squash, as in never ate, but this changed my mind a bit. So if you're hungry for soup, come on by.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Four Things

I have been officially tagged by someone for a meme. Because I really, really like this person, and it seems like a fun one, I am doing it.

Four Jobs You've Had

1- Managed Eve's Garden while in college
2- Market Research, pre-coder (don't ask)
3 - Doula
4- Vet tech for two different vets.

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
1- Chitty Chitty Bang Bank
2- Ten Things I Hate About You
3- The Big Sleep

Four Places You've Lived
1- A convent in Brooklyn
2- Cottage house in Massachusetts
3 -A prewar building in what is now the "Upper West Side", in NYC
4- Craftsman style house in Berkeley.

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch
1. Law & Order, the original
2. Charmed
3. CSI, the original
4. home makeover shows.

Four Places You've Been on Vacation
1. Las Vegas, NV
2. Poland Spring, ME
3. Chicago, IL
4. The Middle Ages

Four Blogs You Visit Daily
I agree with the wise Ancrene Wiseass, this could be tricky but
1. You Knit What??
2. Pandagon
3. My Soft Spot
4. lots of others.

Four of Your Favorite Foods
Gosh this is hard. I love food, all sorts
1. ice cream, that's as specific as I can get
2. asparagus
3. artisan bread
4. pad thai
(mac n cheese, home fries, tofu, peanut butter, salad!, mangos, green beans, etc, etc!)

Four Places You'd Rather Be
1. Morocco
2. New York City
3. Greece
4. Thailand

Four Albums You Can't Live Without
1. Joss Stone, first cd
2. Angie Stone, first cd
3. Afro-Celt Sound System, second cd
4. Nina Simone - I have to choose just one!?!
5. Jill Scott, first cd
There really is a lot more than this.

Four Vehicles You've Owned
I haven't owned four, only three and none of them are great loves
1. 198? grey Dodge Omni hatchback, it was a gift, don't hurt me {no name}
2. 1989 red Chevy Nova sedan, again gift (I have a great mom and stepdad) {Ruby Red Frog}
3. 2002 Tundra Green Ford Focus sedan (co-owned with an ex) {Svetlana}
Oh actually I have on in my name right now
4. 1989 red Toyota Corolla coupe, another gift, from some else this time {Red Car}

Four Taggees
I don't know many people who blog, or read my blog. This sucks

1. Jennie
2. Rox (can't link her though)
3. The Girl Friend (can't link her either) {sigh}
4. I'll have to get back to ya!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

He Broke the Law, and the Law Won

Yep, it's true, Wyatt, aka Shawshank, aka Wyatt Earp got busted yesterday. He is the original escape artist. The Girl Friend, Jennie & Graham and I left to got breakfast, because well one needs to fortify themselves before a major yarn shop. A lovely breakfast was served to us at FatApples, as we wrapped that up, GF excused herself to head home, because well, she doesn't really get the yarn thing.

Jennie and I are fondling yarn, gasping at prices, complaining about the lack of knitted swatches - in other words enjoying ourselves immensely, when suddenly one of the shop girls walks over to us and ask if there is a Dharma in the house, you have a phone call, a bit of an emergency apparently she says. Jennie and I exchange somewhat horrified looks of great concern. I dash to the phone, and the GF says, Wyatt has been impounded.

Apparently he escaped, wandered, not to his usual spot at the Cafe where he is petted, offered mochas (like this dog needs caffeine!!!) and bits of biscotti, no, to the other corner. The animal jail closes at 4pm and it will cost about $50 to free him. Jeez. My headache comes back but Jennie and I agree that really it could have been something much worse.

So there I am dreaming over yarn with "My dog is in the hoosegow"* running through my brain. Crazy I tell you. The dog is going to drive me to drink. I mean it folks. It appears that he escaped from under the house, an access panel was not in place so he must have used that for the break to freedom. He hates being alone, like The GF says, he must have been a Shiner in a previous life, loves to run up and greet people. But really, we weren't gone long before he was rounded up, the ticket on the door said something like 12:30pm. Jennie didn't get here until about 11, then we unloaded the mobile basketball hoop that The GF picked up off of Freecycle (which delighted Jennie no end as she was considering it for their house), chatted in the house a bit and then left. Seriously we couldn't have been gone more than 45 minutes before he was picked up! He obviously didn't get any of the "I vant to be alone" genes that we both have running through our veins.

Wyatt the juvenile delinquent. I asked him last night, "Is it because your mothers are lesbians?" He had no response other than to give me a kiss, The Girl Friend was laughing so hard she started sprouting tears.

*I had no idea where this word came from. Stunned I tell ya! So cool.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The generosity of the people

is overwhelming sometimes. I wrote earlier today about an email friend, Kim, who is offering to make a scarf for Sunny. Well this evening I received an email from Mimi, which said:

"wondering, strange maybe, but would she be tickled or disgusted if your moms
list pals knitted/crocheted a few swell hats for her?

there are a few of us you know....we crave the 'textile work for a reason
beyond just our own enjoyment'. you would likely get some pretty wonderful
and pretty crazy comical hats from this group. some of us don't have our
moms to do these things for anymore...."

This woman is from the same list. Then I hear this from Jennie:
"Oh, um, sweetie? I'm perfectly happy to make your mom's scarf, or hat, or whatever. I know you want to knit your love into it, but if you want her to have it sooner (or two things at once), I'm here. K?"

Wow. You know? Really wow. Sure I know Jennie in real life, though I met her originally from the same fantastic list that is supporting me and my mother right now. I just keep tearing up all night.

How did I get so lucky?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Love Under Pressure

In a shocking coincidence, both of us had our "big" channukah gifts delayed. The Girl Friend's gift hadn't arrived via the us post service by the last night, and apparently my gift was back ordered.

Well yesterday as we left the house to shower at Jennie's, a small but eagerly awaited box was on the porch. I snatched it up, hoping GF hadn't noticed. As we drove off I pondered when to present it to her. Jennie's shower was wonderfully warm. Then, off to the dog park, where we finally saw the reappearance of Piccolo, Wyatt's best friend. Yes, our dog has a best friend. Poor Piccolo had had a wretched ear infection which kept her away from the park for almost 2 weeks. Wyatt and Piccolo were SO happy to see each other. They played hard while we caught up with her human, Ruth who makes her living as a bartender, does sculpture, and in the past before, as she says the eyes went, did absolutely breathtaking embordiary work (saw my third example of these mandala-like pieces she puts on jean jackets).

After doing our best to wear out the Energizer Bunny, otherwise known as Wyatt, we went to Se*rs to purchase a wet/dry vac which was on a great sale. As we were making our way to the appropriate section, The Girl Friend stops and is studying carefully shelves which are in the kitchen department - a totally unexpected place for her to pause. I ask what she is looking at, as I can't be sure and I am still trying to reconcile the fact she is in this section and there is no Fiestaware in sight (she has a vintage collection from her grandmother - another bonus to hooking up with her). Then she tells me that this pressure cooker was on back order and that's why she didn't have a gift the last night. I almost started to cry, right there in the Richmond Hilltop Mall Sear*.

"Well you said you missed having one." I can't believe she remembered that, heard it, took note - any of it. How sweet is she? Apparently she had been corresponding with Jennie about which one to get me because of course she doesn't know anything about these things. So as of yesterday I am the proud owner of a 6 quart Presto Pressure cooker.

When we got home, I presented her with her box. It hit three things she loves, watches, Tigger, and purple.

Bitterness walks with sweet (african proverb)

Sunny can leave me laughing and crying sometimes, like today.

Her email today:
I'm not sure if this is a disgusting or a sentimental idea. Your call. Would you like me to send you some of my hair to put in locket, your journal, whatever?

This is also my gentle way of telling you that all of my longest hair has fallen out. With a sort of limp buzzcut, I look like a waif dyke or something. ;-)

Love and kisses,

Every time I think I have successfully avoided my feelings about this, every time I have clarified that this isn't a big deal, that things aren't really happening, reality has the unmitigated gall to slap me down. The wind completely leaves my sails, as it were. Every freaking time. Yesterday was her second chemo treatment. I am finding it hard not to be living closer to her right now, ya know? It sucks, even when yesterday was so incredibly beautiful and Wyatt's best friend, Piccolo, was at the dog park after being gone due to an ear infection, I just want to be able to drive to see her when I whenever I want.

Guess maybe the plans for her scarf will have to wait, and I'll start a hat for her sooner than later. It's cold in Croton on Hudson NY these days. I wish I was a faster knitter.

A friend has offered to contribute a scarf. (I should state this is someone I have never met face to face, only know her online, so she certainly hasn't met Sunny.) So sweet.

So hard. I want to do everything for Sunny and I can't. I never really could but I had a good delusion going for a very long time. Today as I was taking chicken off the bone (for our homemade cat food) I flashed on Like Water for Chocolate's notion of the cook's emotions being transfered to the food and affecting the partakers of the dish. I was wondering if I could stretch that even further - by putting love into the chicken and rice I prepare for my cats, also thinking of my mother at the same time, could I send some of that love across the continent and into the food she is actually consuming? Honestly I don't see why not, if I am conscious about it. (See how the name Dharma fits me?) If I use this an an additional motivator, I may get some serious cooking done around here, which would benefit all of us.

Time to cook the rice.

The Proof is in the Padding

For those not well acquainted with me, let me tell you a secret - I am no Kate Moss, even pregnant, Kate has nothing on these hips. I am round, have soft spots, places jiggle. My bosum has been referred to as "ample" by a good friend after meeting me in person (granted this friend has maybe an A-cup, so there may be something to that perspective thing).

Magazines that say they have found the best top/skirt/bathing suit, what have you for "your figure problem spot" have neglected to take note that many of us have more than one. On top of being zaftig, I am short. Yes, that's right, I'm short - 5 foot and a hair. It is true that people are shocked to find that out, even people I know in real life think I'm tall. I guess I give off a tall aura. So while a skirt style might be great if one is short, it is not so great if one is short waisted (raising hand -"what's a torso?"), small waisted (yep), large of hips (see above). Have you noticed that "petite" clothing is designed for those women 5'4" and shorter. Let me tell you they are designed mostly for women who are still taller than me, and rarely can one find petite plus sized clothing. Especially if one doesn't want to wear polka dots, small print florals, navy or other hideously unhip clothing.

Yes I, according to these lovely fashionistas, have many problem areas to disguise with clothing. And I am not alone, I argue. So do I pick the skirt for full hips, or the one for us height challenged women, or the one for plus size dames which ignores my height issue. Such a dilemma, I tell you. What do I do, you wonder. Well, for one thing, I rarely wear skirts so that cuts that dilemma right out of the picture. Another thing is I rarely shop in the stores that the magazines are shilling for, preferring for many reasons (okay damn it I'm cheap) thrift stores, discount places (like Ross) and the DNE camp store once a year.

My conclusion is most of these magazines suck. For further evidence that there is a conspiracy going on I draw your attention to this site which clearly depicts all that the magazine do to make us feel inferior, Sisyphus-like in our struggle to work toward an ideal that doesn't exist. It is a world wide campaign to gaslight women into ignoring the greater ills of society, asking them instead to spiral inward. Yes, I know I confessed recently to having great hordes of magazines that I don't subscribe, ones that just arrive at my mailbox. One would think I would toss them out into the recylcing rather than leaf through any of them. One would be wrong. I dream over the jewelry, the shoes - oh the shoes! Yeah, I know. Of all the sinister things of the patriarchy, I drool over high heels, impractical mica-thin soled images of glamour.

However, every so often there is a gem of an article. Okay not in Glam*ur. Certainly not in Eb*ny - good lord! Redbook, sigh, tries for something but simplies misses every time. But Jane is irreverant, fun, and a bit outside the regular culture. And surprise of surprises, Elle in most issues carries at least one article of real import - who would have guessed! Color me shocked. Not enough to subscribe, or to miss it's delivery when it stops magically appearing, but it brings a small smile to my face which almost cancels out the sting in my eyes and the ache in my lungs from the perfume samples the rag is riddled with.

I am thinking of starting my first magazine subscribe in years however. Bust is something I could really get into on a regular basis. The website has me laughing, yelling, bobbing my head in agreement and threatens my funds when I visit their online store. Along with lurking on blogs (don't even ask how many I have bookmarked) their forum pages require regular visits.

Oh, yes the title indicated proof. Yesterday morning this is how I woke up. Lying almost completely on my belly (unusual as I am committed side-lying sleeper) there was Elliot between me and the edge of the bed and between my legs was Wyatt, resting his head on my ample butt. Did I mention that Wyatt loves resting his head on a pillow whenever possible - well it seems clear that my butt is as soft and cushiony as a pillow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I got up for this?

I need a shower. And I mean right now. There is an oil spill masquerading as my hair, I went to the dog park yesterday followed by an excursion to Cost*o which entailed pushing a cart containing 50 pounds of cat litter up and down the food aisles making careful decisions about our food choices (trying for healthy, compromising with things like a HUGE bag of Ruffl*s for The Girl Friend), making huge financial decision, like is $2.00 a pound really a good price for Quak*r Oats and do we need SO frigging much of it.

These items were besides the essentials we came in for, which were:
* chicken thighs, so we can make our own cat food (yes we really do that)
* pigs ears, Cost*o has the best price and we spoil Wyatt in this way
* cigarettes, Cost*o has the best price and we spoil The Girl Friend in this way
* coffee, organic, shade grown 3lb of manna from heaven for less than $12.00!!!

In an uncharactistic fashion, because it's a tad chilly in the homestead this am, I gather up the clothes that are going to pass as dressed a la Fly Lady this morning, prance happily into the chilly bathroom and turn the faucets. Because I am smart, I stick my hand in to test the temperature, a trick I learned somewhere and deemed a good idea - ACK freezing cold water.

Yeah, yeah, I am from hippie stock (hence my name, Dharma) but it has been at least one spin of that karmic wheel since I took cold showers between yoga postures and meditation. They were short and didn't involve hair washing! Yes, I could take a freezing cold shower and get something resembling clean hair, but, but.... Okay a clue here - The Girl Friend nicknamed my desktop computer "Princess".

We cleverly deduce that the pilot light must be out since we have heat and electricity. A phone call to PG&Hell reveals that they will not be able to come out until tomorrow to relight, and it's a frigging all day appointment - 8am - 8pm! God Lord. The Girl Friend bravely goes to investigate the situation and discovers that the cement padded cell that contains our hot water heater and furnance in this niche below ground level (one can crawl under the house easily) has standing water of about 2-3 inches. Viola - explanation found for no hot water. Sump pump anyone?
Right at this moment she is searching for deals on wet/dry vacs online. I remark blithely that she wanted one of those anyway. Sigh.

Here I sit, half dressed in the clothes for the day, with hair that has Chevron begging.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Beasts of Cedar Street

Wyatt, he looks so sweet and well behaved, doesn't he? Believe me, this is not how he is all the time. Not even close. A frequent refrain around here is, "Boy, it's a good thing you're cute!"

Grace came with The Girl Friend. She is a regal, loving feline who is the queen of the house.

Atticus you have already been introduced to in a previous post. His nickname is Stitch, as in "Lilo & Stitch". One moment he is the sweetest thing, the next he is in attack mode. He was very sick when we took him in as a foster and we really didn't think he would make it but his is growing into a beautiful cat.

Joia is our mama kitty. She arrived with her daughter, Jewels, and orphaned Gemma, both of whom nursed from her. Joia has some of the most striking face marking I have ever seen.

Gemma is our gray manx, bunny girl is a nickname. She has the greatest personality, very sweet and independent. She stole my heart so fast that it blew me away.

Elliott stole my heart almost the minute we brought him in to foster. He is the most elegant looking cat with his black and white fur. He has one of the best personalities ever!

As you can see we fostered animals and though you wouldn't know it from the crew above we didn't adopt every animal we fostered.

We didn't keep: Jewels (Joia's daughter), Orion, Calliope, Shenoa, Clown, Carson, Reno, Nevada or Laylu. Henri had a home though we were tempted to steal him. Trying to think, was there anyone else... There were two kittens who died also - Larissa and Robin.

We planned on adopting a puppy, which is how we got Wyatt -he was the only planned child.

Enter 2006

I suppose it seems that given the time of year that one should have something of import to write about, but I don't. The last week has been lovely in so many ways and I have taken time since solstice to reflect and ponder. This past year has been full, very full, emotional in stunning ways, revealing, with periods of grieving, and great eras of joy.

This time last year I was recognizing how much I needed to reorientate my life, almost against my will to be with The Girl Friend and move away from the partner I had been with for almost 12 years. We three tried all sorts of things, planned great plans, dreamed of unique ways to be a unit that was whole and connected. In the end, everything showed my path was elsewhere despite the pain it caused me, and ultimately others, especially my other partner. The transition period was rough, mostly because I entered it kicking and screaming for an easier way. Through it all I never questioned the ending of my long term relationship. Terror would run through me when I realized how much I was changing everything for a woman I had been with for less than a year. However I would remind myself that growth is hard and worth it, that your life has a path and as it is walked, you have to make choices, all choices have consequences - that very often there is no wrong choice, just the one that you make.

I moved to a house that is the closest to my dream space as I have ever had and we have filled it with animals, love, and possibilites. Along with a truck load of stuff. In many ways I feel more myself than I have in a long time. I am more social. I am in a couple that is capable of being social. We have already had two large-ish parties, created a special tradition for this time of year - that is amazing to me.

My mother's diagnosis of cancer has yielded some incredible moments for me. Many of them are within myself, in my ability to grieve, to be angry, to delight in her. I remain awestruck by our visit in November. It was one of the best times I can ever remember having with her. My love for her, my ability to simply be with her was such a gift, I hope for both of us.

I have rediscovered deep love of my animals that for some reason was a bit locked away for a very long time. The attachment I have to some of the other species in my household blow me away - the vast of love I feel is incredible. It is like I have been able to access something buried that I didn't even realize I was missing. Again, I feel so blessed.

Last night, at about 20 minutes before midnight, we and Wyatt, went off to the dog park. From Point Isabel one has a lovely view of the city and we wanted to see the fireworks. They were beautiful. But more beautiful was sitting, cuddled into The Girl Friend, Wyatt in the back seat and just being there, in the moment. It was a short, quiet, semi-private (there were a few other cars there) celebration and I hope to do it next year.