Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Reader's Digest Version, Part II

So last we left our trepid caretaking daughter, she and Sunny had successfully come home with a huge bags of hoovy groovy pills.

Wednesday was another day of phone calls, computerized research for shops that sell fake boobs, more calls to the insurance company to find out about coverage for said boobs (each call elicted yet another answer!), and further searching for some kind of therapist for Sunny. On this day I got to meet yet another of Sunny's witch doctors that she has been seeing forever, Dr Nykwest, the comedian chiropractor. A very tall man with a non-stop banter, he has somehow managed to keep my mother laughing for about 16 years. We engaged in a conversation about many things, most prominently Cheney's hunting incident since Glen is a hunter and Lindsay (Sunny's husband) has been obsessed about the details around the shooting. I learned that more hunting accidents happen while quail hunting because of the way the birds take flight. Would have never known that had I not taken Sunny for her appointment. Glen was kind enough to give me a short adjustment as well, which was quite nice as I haven't had one for months.

Returning home we made plans to meet up with her neighbor, Barbara and her family, at Wobbles. Once more with feeling! Nope, closed again. Luckily Barbara had already bagged so we didn't drag them out to the Brigadoon of restaurants. So back to Justin Thyme, luckily their menu is on the large side and the food is really good.

Thursday morning we headed out to a shop that promised a reasonable selection of protheses in the fairly ritzy town of Mount Kisco. We had discussed the option of her driving on the out bound trip since she hadn't driven since the mastectomy in November and she thought it would be easier if she drove for the first with me rather than Lindsay. Luckily she was up for in the morning because I was going to make her do it because I was only there a few more days.

(Oh by the way, yes this was the day I was supposed to see Greg but we changed plans to Friday.)

This store was very upscale, the prices insane, the saleswomen had classic New York accents - just perfect. However the prothesis and bras were not. We left without one (though we did not leave the shop empty handed), but simply traversed up Main Street (literally) a bit and visited Entre Nous. Fittings of fake boobs are all they do. First one out of the box and the first bra - success! I mean it totally rocked. Sunny was wearing a tight t-shirt (and dammit all to hell, she still has the figure to pull this look off!) and it was nigh onto impossible to tell which one silicone and which was flesh. She pronounced, "Now that looks like me!". This purchase was one of the best things the entire trip. I do believe it made a huge difference for her.

From there the plan was to find some food and go to Lee's Yarns, whose website I had been drooling over as a form of escapism on the carpet of the office space that for anyone else living in this house would be the living room. We found a totally new place with fabulous food. It was even easy for her to find gluten-free food, amazing. If you are ever in the area, visit Myongs in Bedford Hills. I had my first caffeine since getting on the plane, a soymilk latte and it was good. It was a quick few blocks drive to Lee's, I was seriously drooling. But wait, could it be, it was... gone. Closed up, bear and bereft. Too late to go elsewhere, and apparently we had plans to meet up with Barbara, so home we went.

Lindsay and I had had a chance to touch on the "episode" that prompted Sunny's request for my presence. She had told me very little before my arrival and we hadn't really talked about it since. While visiting with Barbara I heard Sunny's account. I would classify it as some bizarre melding of a manic episode and a panic attack. Either way not pleasant. Sunny's mania is usually rather benign - insomnia, complusive shopping, actually cleaning. But every so often she has another kind and it's not fun for anyone including her - she gets very angry, bordering on full rages. This event was this way, and included vague suicidal gestures in that she was walking in the hospital parking lot "daring cars to hit me". What I also found out is that she told no one I was coming, not Lindsay, not Barbara. She is exceptionally close to Barbara, and well she is married to Lindsay. She told Lindsay to "keep Sunday open" and I don't believe she told him until that morning that he needed to drive to Kennedy Airport to pick me up. Very odd behavior in my opinion, seems kind of related to "magical thinking".

Friday I was practically jumping out of my seat in the car as they dropped me off at the Metro North station. Out of the house! Not attached at the hip to Sunny! I get to see Greg! We had a lovely visit never leaving Grand Central Station. A lingering lunch at the Oyster Bar - great food, a lovely glass of wine, and some of the best coffee ever. We examined the food mart, which displayed all sorts of lovely edible - breads, fish, sausage, petit fours, crab legs, wedges of cheese, glistening peppers and delectable pineapple. Us being us we of course couldn't not browse at Posman Books. We each made purchases, mine of course was a knitting book as I haven't read any fiction but one books since starting graduate school.

(This is getting frightfully long and so I'm going to wrap things up!)

We did at last eat at Wobble Cafe, not once but twice, and it was as fabulous as they said. Again, if you find yourself in Ossining go hungry! I did also manage to buy yarn by going to Goldman's, which is going out of business. I found the perfect colour of ribbon yarn for my niece's sweater. OMG it's name is Dharma - it's fate! Or rather karma. Found a lot of wonderful deals, but really tried to be frugal since I have no yarn budget. It was a very bittersweet experience shopping there as it was close to the end of a legacy and shoppers where telling stories all around me.

My flight home went smoothly except for knitting. Thrilled that I finally had the yarn I needed, I began the sweater. I had knit, oh about 5 inches of the back, when I finally decided to check my gauge as I was increasing sure it was too small. I was right. I frogged the whole thing and recast. I need to listen to my gut earlier and I need to check gauge. {sigh}

Can I even begin to tell y'all how happy I am to be home!

I don't always feel so wise

The magician

You scored 75 change, 86 wellbeing, 78 wisdom, and 67 truth

The magician represents the conscious mind. With focus on an idea or
goal, the conscious mind sets into action these ideas and brings them
forth to the material world. The magicians hands are stretched forth,
one to the sky holding a wand, and the other pointing to the ground
below. This is suggestive that as is "as above, so below". The table in
front of him has all the tools to make this possible. The wand, cup,
sword, and pentacle, which are representative of all the suits to the
tarot cards. The mage has an undergarment of pure white, showing his
pure wisdom and is held shut by the serpent around his waist. The outer
garment is red, symbolic of desire and passion, which has no belt
holding it shut so it can be removed if necessary. The flowers in the
garden represent things as well. The red roses are symbolic of desires,
and the white lilies represent pure thought, untainted by desire. This
card is under the vibration of the number 1.

some extra words:

taking action

doing what needs to be done

realizing your potential

making what's possible real

practicing what you preach

carrying out plans

producing magical results

using your talents

acting consciously

knowing what you are doing and why

acknowledging your motivations

understanding your intentions

examining the known situation


having singleness of purpose

being totally committed

applying the force of your will

feeling centered

setting aside distractions

focusing on a goal

experiencing power

making a strong impact

having vitality

creating miracles

becoming energized

feeling vigorous

being creative

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 84% on change
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 98% on wellbeing
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 77% on wisdom
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 70% on truth

Link: The What tarot card resembles you Test written by KamikazeParrot on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Is anyone surprised?

You are a

Social Liberal
(75% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(8% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Reader's Digest Version, Part I

I am endlessly behind on notes of my trip east. So here goes an account. You might want to get a drink of something, far be it for me to suggest exactly which liquid you might need during this event.

In addition to going over my clipboard of shipboard activities that first night, I set up the wireless router because I hate sitting on the floor in the bifurcated living room that forms two offices spaces. It seemed a delightful notion to be able to sit in relative comfort on my futon bed set up with a closed door while surfing the net for delightfully erotic cards to send The Girl Friend research for school, for Sunny, and um, you know, useful things. Well, it seemed to work out great. Except come morning.

Ah yes, morning, which came too soon. Probably the first time I obtained consciousness was because the sounds of retching coming from the nearby bathroom (did I mention it’s a small house?). The still present effects of the chemotherapy rear its lovely head. Once really awake, Lindsay is at me with a question about the internet connection having problems. Great, just great. He lives by this stuff (he works as a consultant from home). Thankfully they still also have dial up service (just for such emergencies, I’m guessing. Like their barely computer literate daughter comes home and confuses the hell out of their router with no idea who to fix it.). Of course it’s way too early to call The Girl Friend. We flounder about trying various things until he has a conference call, whereupon I head back into my cave like room and begin making telephone calls to set up various appointments for Sunny. Being technically a holiday (president’s day – whoopee!) some offices are closed but I have a fair bit of luck, key amongst them being getting an appointment to see the infamous Dr. Hoffman the next day. Lindsay somehow fixes the router, by taking down the wireless. Foiled again, back to the carpet I go.

At 2pm we have an appointment with her surgeon for a follow-up. The scar is healing really nicely, but her chest still looks a wee bit hollow and, well, simply odd, it’s so bare, not even a nipple gracing the skin. The surgeon pronounces her just dandy, reviews when she is with treatment. Naturally Sunny had some questions. The one I had an inkling of because of the clipboard, but was still mind blowing, was about a preventive mastectomy on her remaining breast. While looking over my clipboard I passed over this tidbit and didn’t ask anything about it. I was poised, tottering between feeling like she was over the top and dramatic, and thinking, “oh my god, what if she does need that that makes this all the more serious”. In reality neither is true. Her surgeon said there are cases where it’s clearly a good idea and others where it’s ridiculous. Sunny, because where else would she be, is in the middle of these extremes. Dr. Wertkin, if pushed, wouldn’t recommend it, but he wouldn’t refuse to do the surgery if she did the research, really thought it over and wanted it. Frankly I think it’s way too soon to really be making a decision like this, Lindsay and I agree on this.

Tuesday I make a few more phone calls before we head into Manhattan. We have made arrangements to meet our dear friend Deborah before the appointment. We had a lovely lunch, with Deborah nibbling on Sunny’s plate at Franchia. Lovely food, quiet atmosphere, but The Girl Friend would have a terrible time finding things to eat. Far too healthy a menu for her. From there we walked to Dr. Hoffman. I was finally to meet the man who has guided her health for, well, I don’t know how many years but I’m thinking at least 20 by now. It’s a pleasant space, nice staff but what truly impressed me is that he recognized Deborah who hadn’t seen him about 15 years. Despite my inclinations to think of him as a bit of voodoo doctor who makes far too much money, I liked him, though I still think his fees for his time and his concoctions are exorbitant. We walked out with a pricey bag of capsules, tablets, and powders for her to add to her daily regimen. Being practical we walked only about 2-3 blocks out of our way to check out a store for breast prosthesis. The store was inside an NYU medical building and very lovely with a helpful salesperson. The woman suggested that before we proceeded we check with Sunny’s insurer to see if purchases would be covered. We sat on comfortable stuffed chairs, Sunny on her cell, me flipping through a magazine. The magazine was Vogue or Elle, something like that, with a cover story about a model with cancer and her fight for life. Given the magazine I figured they were being dramatic, but compulsive as ever, I read the article. It was actually a good article (August 2005 of some fashion type magazine). The model had breast cancer and recovered well. But at some point later, she developed brain cancer. Wow. Okay maybe not the best choice of reading material given everything. I said nothing to Sunny about the article.

Oh I totally forgot. In one of those bizarre coincidences that only happen, well when they would be considered a bizarre coincidence I ran into someone I know that day. We are getting out of the car at the Metro North Croton-Harmon Station in the morning (Lindsay dropped us off) and I look at the car and folks behind us and it’s someone I know from Dance New England. It’s my buddy Judith G who lives in the East Village. What’s she doing up here? Turns out she grew up in the area and her mother still lives there. Too weird. Too cool.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Trip back east

My flight was lovely, I am quite please with Jet Bl*e. Even with the lack of sleep I managed to be quite productive on my flight and didn't sleep one wink. I read about half of the articles I printed out, and started my niece's hat, which went quite well. Using two strands of the mohair gives a totally different look as compared to when I used it for Sunny's hat, rather than forming stripes it give a more blended watercolour look of colours. Perfect!

The woman in my row was also a knitter, which I knew just by looking at her. Do you think that knitters can have purl-dar like lesbians have gaydar? Anyway, a cool feature of Jet Bl*e is that they have tv screens with D*rect TV so you can watch all these different channels. I was so pleased when I found Project Runway, they were showing an episode I hadn't seen yet, it was down to Santino, Chloe, Kara, and um, Daniel. Can you believe the programming shut down because we were so close to landing that I didn't even find out who had to leave! Talk about frustrating. I was thinking it would be Chloe though I didn't want it to be. Okay I just looked it up, Kara get axed. While I am sorry she got booted, I am psyched that it wasn't Chloe. Whew.

Now on to less trivial stuff. Sunny looks older, tired, and it's clear she has bald under her various head coverings. We talked about what she needed help with, it was all the sorts of things I figured. Time consuming but fine. I then said, Well I would really like a few hours off on Thursday to meet up with Greg for lunch. Very tersely she said, we'll see. That was truly my first clue that she had been in a bad way if she was so unwilling to conceive of parting with me for a few hours. Being the consummate zen student, I didn't react and merely responded with something along the lines - I just thought I'd give you lots of advance notice. From there I tried to keep the patter light, mostly telling stories about my animals. Since Sunny and Lindsay are animals lovers, I figured this was a good game plan. Before I had even got on the plane Sunny had raved about this restaurant so we proceed to drive straight there as I was starving what with the most substantial thing I had eaten was a slice of cold pizza before leaving for the airport. It was closed, the nerve. We settled on a place near them, where I had a terrible time deciding what to eat because I was so hungry and things sounded so good everywhere I looked on the menu. I finally settled on the Crispy Asian Style Calamari Salad. It was perfect.

Waiting for me in my room was a clipboard with each day having a sheet of potential tasks to accomplish. Well, Sunny does like lists. It was fairly extensive. A lot of it was making various doctor and doctor type appointments for her. Even though Monday was a holiday I knew I would try to make calls, because, well you never know.

Somehow I wasn't tired enough to sleep and stayed up very late. I could say that I was just trying to adjust to the time zone but I think it was adrenaline.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ode to my love

(Okay not truly an ode, since unlike Sunny, I have no idea of the form.)

My love, otherwise known as The Girl Friend, has pointed out that nowhere did I talk about my feelings about leaving her, missing her. I have been remiss. As I noted in my comment to her posting, I toyed with the idea of writing something about our little love session before I left and how it was wonderful, and not nearly long enough and how there weren't simply enough hours left to have repeat before I left.

From the moment I made my flight reservations, if not earlier, I would look over at her with the knowledge that there would soon be a hollowness that is usually filled by being able to look over at her, see the light play upon her face. Suddenly kisses became sweeter with the thought that they would absent for too many days. Each night I crammed against her body trying to soak in the touch of her skin, her smell, just the comfort that comes from lying against here, as if I could create reserves for the empty nights coming too quickly.

This morning as I showered in the behemoth bathroom my mother designed, I imagined The Girl Friend's delight with the radiant floor heating (not evident however this morning, not sure if it was on), the towel warmer (which I don't bother with), and the ceiling heater. I could almost hear us laughing at the level of ammenties in this room - cd player, television on a wheeled cart, a coffee maker (whose existance down there is a mystery as Sunny doesn't touch the stuff) and a microwave. Yes, all this in the bathroom! I know.

So, my love, I do miss you madly, envision you in each cramped room here, pictured you cringing at the cacophony of wires that abound around the various electronics. Yes, I miss my babies terribly but no amount of their kisses or snuggles could make up for your absence.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sleep where art thou?

It's not like I am not tired. It's not like starting this adventure with a decent sleep wouldn't be a good idea. It's not like I hate sleeping. But I can't seem to sleep very solidly, so here I am at 5am editing the second of three papers for Developmental Psychololgy, printing out three articles that need to form a significant basis of the last paper, which needs to include a casual interview, at least one primary source and should be 6-10 pages. Did I mention I had really planned to have this done by the due date of the 20th, which may I point out is TOMORROW! Planning, I don't need no stinking planning. Yes, I have already written to said professor while attaching the file for the first paper.

I slept, if one can call it that, pinned by a kitten on each side, Atticus and Gemma. Dreaming about packing, BirthWays, knitting and who know what all - but they were all colliding. Tossing and turning going back to the same sort of dream if not the same dream, bladder kicking me. Finally at 4:20 or so I took care of my bladder and returned to bed, minus Gemma. My mind kept racing, with one point of obsession. Remember the sweet matching bracelets Kim made for Sunny and me? Well mine is missing. Yep, totally gone. For about two weeks now. Right after Sunny told me she had problems with it unlatching, a problem heretofore I had not experienced, it disappeared. The universe has sucked it away from me. I have been beside myself the entire time. So here I am about to board a plane to see her and I don't have the bracelet. So I am lying in bed thinking about getting up and printing papers and trying to envision exactly when it disappeared (which at this point is entirely fuzzy), and where in this house it might be hiding. I have somewhat convinced myself that it is somewhere tangled up in the bed (not overly likely that it would still MIA if that were true), under the bed (I've looked but...), under my dressing table (cats you know), or possibly in the backyard because Wyatt took it and buried it (charming). Since The Girl Friend is still sleeping I can't perform the gymnastics and lighting that would be required to perform a search mission.

I have just sent the third article to print - 29 pages. In straightening out the second article, which is apparently a series of articles from a journal, I am thinking that perhaps a primary source I could use is that damned book I was supposed to read first semester and never got through, Evolution's Rainbow, by Joan Roughgarden. But would that count as "read a particular theorist's writing"? I think so, and since I am choosing to write on is gender matters:
In general, understanding gender identity becomes linked (confused) with sexual orientation. Selected readings have been included that exemplify current thinking in the literature. In your paper, be sure to address this issue and your position. I am thinking this could work, plus it would be a two for one kinda deal. It would mean that I read the book, or at least seriously skim it, which give me the basis to write that other way over due paper! Or would it work. Damn I don't know. Roughgarden is so far from the benchmark of developmental theorist such as Mahler, Piaget, Bandura, right? Maybe with sleep there would be greater clarity.

Well the sort of good news is that the articles are done printing, I just check my flight and it's on time, so I take off about 8:30am. Time to look for the sweater pattern as I think I might start with that pattern even though I don't have the ribbon yarn yet. I am bringing yarn for Leigh's hat and sweater, and for scarf pattern from Knitty.com (not fuzzy yarn at all so who knows if it will work, I'm totally winging it on the yarn choice, my stash is limited, unlike some folks! So envious!!!!) . Because you know, I only am writing at minimum one paper while I'm there, even though I am bringing the materials to do at least one more for another class, cooking Sunny whatever her heart desires, making about fifty business calls for her I figure, taking her to some appointments, trying to get her out of the house at least once a day. Oh and I'm going to try to make my dear friend Greg at Grand Central Station for a meal at the Osyter Bar because I've never done that and I miss him like crazy. Yeah plenty of time for knitting.

6:10am, I guess it's time to clean up a bit, worry about what I might have forgotten, drink coffee, eat cold pizza, kiss all the animals good bye (so hard), and get in the car.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Because I think y'all can read my mind

A comment I received on a recent entry pointed out a huge jump that reflected that I think you people know what I'm talking about without me having to explain. In the post titled, Would it still be heart if she were he, I neglected some, hm, transitional phrases. I was bitching about the commentators on NB* saying that Zhang Dan has "a heart as big as the rink she skated on" and matched it against Dee Diverision's elegant commentary on the subject of having heart, an entry under February 14 2006. As was pointed out to me, my posting reads as if I was misreading Dee, something I would be loathe to do. I clearly, upon rereading forgot to specify why I was posing these two together. Dee, please accept my mea culpa.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I like this result

Because, well I like to think I'm kinda hip even if I am older than I can ever remember. The graphic isn't bad except it should be a cat or three. The definition isn't quite accurate, because I must confess my first project was a scarf out of some very featherly type of stuff - it went to my sister.

(Anyone know who the Tiny Diva is???)

Hip knitter
You're a hip knitter! Anything in style, in vogue,

in fashion, or expensive is your thing! I

bet you're a big fan of the Tiny Diva....

Are you a knitter?
brought to you by Quizilla

Leaving on a jet blue

Yes, it's true, I am flying east on Sunday. Sunny called today while I was out, asking The Girl Friend, apparently very firmly for me to call when I got out. The Girl Friend was concerned that Sunny was pissed off. I thought perhaps she was ticked off because she got the hotel bill from the RC last month, but then I thought nah. It was her idea that I do whatever was necessary to stay where the conference was. What I did remember was that today was her doctor's appointment.

Bracing myself for anything, I called. She didn't want to go into details, but said she had a severe panic attack or something bordering on a manic doohickey when she got to the hospital. Apparently she is having trouble coping and needs help so she wants me to come out asap. I do mean asap as she was not pleased to find out that I had the second part of the training to attend on Friday. From now until I arrive I am to call her daily. I did a bunch of research and found the best deal for short notice travel on Jet Bl*e, which I've heard good things about. One way big bonus - no transfering, no stop overs. Yee Ha! After barely flying for twenty years I have started to lose track how often I have flown since moving here 4.5 years ago. It's surreal.

However, this means that once again I need to leave my beloved and the animals to fend for themselves. I am thinking this is not a good time for The Girl Friend to meet Sunny. Besides the amount of manuvering for animal care on short notice is insane. It feels like my world has been turned upside down again. It's totally ridiculous and quite besides the point but still I wonder how "normal" this response is and how much of this "breakdown" is because of who she is. It really doesn't matter and I suppose that the wondering is because I want to put some order, structure to this, for there to be an explanation that fits into the realm of normal and not in the realm of crazy.

Now I start the list of what needs to be done before a morning flight on Sunday, with Friday being taken up with about 6 hours of training on PART, don't ask.

Tis reversed

The Girl Friend claims to have gotten this quiz through me, but she is wrong. But of course since she posted it, I had to do it. Competitive much? Nah!

Your Blogging Type is Kind and Harmonious

You're an approachable blogger who tends to have many online friends.
People new to your blogging circle know they can count on you for support.
You tend to mediate fighting and drama. You set a cooperative tone.
You have a great eye for design - and your blog tends to be the best looking on the block!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Would it still be heart if she were he?

Zhang Dan was said, in last night broadcast of the Olympics, to have a heart as big as the rink she skated on. My first thought, because I am a cranky broad, was would that word have been used if it had been a guy. I would love to find an example of a male athlete trudging forward, limping back into his arena and performing magnificently, as this woman did, and have the announcer say he had a big heart but nothing about strength, determination, or a strong will.

This followed on the heels of watching women's snowboarding where the announcer called the athletes "girls" even after Kelly Clark blew the announcers away with her ride on down the half pipe. I realize some people out there in the world say these words are meaningless and the impact is so much less meaningful than 40 years ago when complaints started cropping up everywhere, but I say that semantics matter. The intent is to lessen, to minimize when the word girl is used rather than woman. Girls are still dependent, still need to mature, still need help. Women are out in the world, capable. That the announcer could call Kelly a girl after waxing orgasmically about her performance about the fact that she had just "blurred the line between men's and women's snowboarding" did nothing to quell any thought that the language was inherently sexist.

I am sure, dear reader, you can see what a joy it is to watch televsion with me.

**For examples of more inclusive language go here and for just some good things to think about go here.

About sums it up

Your Candy Heart Says "Get Real"

You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)

Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic

What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays

Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get

Further Proof that it is 1954 again, but with a twist

In my morning leafing through the paper, as it were, which really is a finger gliding exercise through my favorite blogs for news, I found futher evidence that, as my dear friend Gwendolyn said, we have have all been taken in the way back machine to the fifties. Twisty, everyone's favorite raging feminist, had her newest entry on shoes. Sunday's Chronicle actually saw fit to research and print an article on pubic shaving and the extras one can opt for such as dying and applying rhinestones to one's vulva, just in time for valentine's day. A long time waxer actually said that all of this bizarre preening was another example of "women excelling and doing as they please".

Oh really? Stripping hair and looking like overgrown prepubescent girls is something we long for without any prompting from the state of the union? I think not. A much beloved client of mine told the story of her waxer telling she was going to take extra care to remove every little hair since, well the doctor was going to be "down there" and it should be "extra neat". Excuse me? Did my client ask for the extra service, no. Did she pay for it, yes. Many articles state that it is women getting other women to try it saying that men don't care.

It also has been said that the increased popularity of the thong has driven requests for hair removal since obivously no one wants hair sticking out around that strip of gauze masquerading as underwear. Eww. Right? The popularity of the thong is a whole separate but related issue. It seems to me that in interesting turn of events that items and habit of strippers are now the providence of the average Jane. G-string, the predecessor of the thong, was the required uniform of strippers, being sold only in darkly lit sex shops back in the day, with the occasional outing being the candified version sold for wedding shower gifts. Somewhere in there it was decided, decreed even that at the very least trimming of the hairs made for a better aesthetic. I'm thinking since it was the men viewing and paying for the visual they had something to do with the wielding of scissors to tender parts.

In our quest of ever more, the urge to push the edge further, came the thong leaving the g-string in it's wake. Oh sure there are discussions about how much better and less visible the panty line is, but if one wasn't wearing pants that essentially had been sprayed on, who would notice the panty line. If there is a visible panty line it says that there is another layer separating the man from his conquest. Yes I realize that I am sounding like a raging lesbian separatist, which I am most staunchly not, but I am merely putting down what goes on in some minds. We have a culture that is focused on possession, on the concept of the trophy wife, that is youth obsessed. The thong is so frail, a gossamer of fabric that the item doesn't even need to be removed for intercourse to take place. If the woman is wearing high heels, well how fast can she move? (I bet you think I forget what stated this rant, ha!) The extra inches make the positioning so much easier as well. It's two for one bonus!

What was my point? Hell if I know. The idea of a cardio stripping class is as amusing as it is scary. A class that teaches women how to suffer more gracefully is painful on so many levels. I love makeup and own several pairs of f*ck me pumps which I wear with great relish on few but memorable occasions. Yes, I own quite a few pairs of thong underwear because well frankly I found it more comfortable to have a narrow strip of fabric planted in my rear, then the crinkly mass that regular underwear provided. I have not succumbed to the seductive whispering of the masses to get a brazilian wax. Would I ever do it? Maybe, just to see what it's like, maybe if The Girl Friend asked very nicely after presenting me with a lovely robin's egg blue box. I suspect whether I did it for curiousity, mine or The Girl Friend's, the nakedness would fascinate me in the softness of my skin, and horrify me that one part of me would look like I was twelve surrounded by the cellulite and sag of an over forty body.

Next topic is...

I have no idea. Really. I called Sunny today to check on her, given the nor'easter that had hit the east coast. Years ago we used to speak weekly, but after moving out to the west coast, well, we had some fights and the contact became less regular. The reality is that I am glad we fought during the time we did. I needed to get angry at her, and distance myself, figure out my boundaries. Without the work I did I don't think we would have had the visit we had in November, which was without exception amazing and left me feeling blessed to have her for my mother.

Lately we had some conversations that I feel are less than flowing, something rather unheard of for us, as we are both loqucacious, witty, and interesting folk. The reality of being a cancer patient is hitting her hard right now. Her anger is rising and her patience is thread bare. I do think this is totally reasonable, appropriate and all that stuff. But it's hard to know what to say in the face of those feelings. I felt my shoulders tighten and my breath get constricted when she mentions the beginning steps of a manic episode coming on. On one hand I am so grateful that she can tell one is coming on, and amazed that she can interrupt it. However it is a deep reminder that she will never not be manic depressive (yes I realize that's a double negative, I was reaised by an english professor!). Even with medications, even with the spector and reality of cancer, she is who she is. Who she is is an amazing, humorous, scarily smart woman with passions that keep her running and brimming with life, whose shadows add a depth to her character that make her more admirable. And still I can't find enough to say of late. Again, I ask, how can that be?

Is it because our conversations are have the forced proximity of illness? My suspicion is that this is the answer. So the next question is when is it reasonable to go to a more realistic rate of telephone calls, oh say once a week, or week and a half? That is our normal, but nothing feels normal anymore. Will things be normal again? If so when? The answer is it will never the normal we once shared, there will be a new normal I'm sure, in the future.

There are many defining moments in life, and this is one of them. Some are more joyful, like getting married, some are crossroads in life like when you choose one job over another, or when you fall in love with someone good or someone awful, and of course those involving illness or death. Sunny's cancer brings up the possibility of being a half orphan (as long as my father is alive), being a motherless child in the most literal way. This is a subject I have glossed over at will even as the years have been piling up and the odds increase that one day I will have to face this. Instead I have moved blithely along, speaking about base realities of details that would have to be managed. If anything I have discussed the wonderful burden Sunny would become if Lindsay predeceased her, waxing poetic about finding a place large enough, with enough psychological space to contain our two formidable egos and neuroses. Once in a blue moon I have given voice to the possibility that she would go first and whatever would I do with that stubborn Lindsay, the one who will not accept any help. Ever. This has been done without spending any time on what it would mean to have Sunny no longer breathing, taking 45 minutes to eat a breakfast of yogurt, apples and pecans which took an additional 45 minutes to prepare.

How does one stay a daughter when there is no mother? That is the question that hangs over me in a way that I foolishly believed was decades down the road. Life would like me to at least contemplate that and I am dragging my feet, getting bogged down in stilted conversation with the object of my of fears. So I am taking suggestions for conversation fillers, for new ways to talk to cancer patients who happen to be your mother.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I don't know what they are talking about

Fit fit fits.
You will perish of fits. Repeat this to yourself:

"Things can work out even if I don't get

my way. Things can work out even...."

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

Things work and I get my way. Don't I?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Decisions, decisions

During the monthy Contra Costa county meeting/training for TBS folks I finished the first ball of alpaca for The Girl Friend's scarf. Later that day I went back to the baby blue scarf for Jeriann, but gosh that acrylic feels so nasty after the natural fiber. I have enough of that blue yarn that I think I will add a hat to this gift, maybe that hat I made for Sunny in January. Or maybe a different to keep the challenges a-rolling.

Today, through Jennie, I learned that alpaca will stretch, perhaps a lot, especially if knitted loosely. Granted this is my first time working with alpaca (I am very new to knitting) but I can't imagine knitting this stuff tightly. I will use at least 2 hanks for the scarf, make a hat, and see where I'm at.

I think I finally found a pattern for our niece's sweater. Thank goodness! That was driving me nuts. Of course I don't have any ribbon yarn, so first I will look in my stash and see if I have anything that would combine nicely with the mohair. Then, oh dear, I might have to go shopping.

On top of all that (finishing two scarves, making a hat, and the sweater) I have been contemplating joining in the Knitting Olympics, because well, frankly I don't have enough on my plate (academic probation anyone?). Leigh's Tigger sweater could be a reasonable enough challenge for me, I would have to do it in 16 days, the last sweater took two months. However, I was thinking of challenging myself by making my first pair of socks. Jennie has been, well, frankly, a big naysayer in this idea. Today, on the GLB Knit list, someone mentioned making these. Well that would be a little less work than full out socks. Right?

Of course the problem with this idea is not that I have schoolwork up the wazoo, a bathroom to paint, an office to finishing decorating, a large crew of four-footed creatures to care for, a Girl Friend who requires attention, the messiest garden ever, but that it would make me a joine
r {shudder}. I am so not one of those! Such a dilemma. The idea of the challenge is good, really good. There also is a matter of not being able to find a Team Austria button anywhere! But again, a joiner, me?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

And the count continues

This morning email rather blogs told me of another passing, Betty Berzon. I used to have a copy of Permanent Partners. I feel like the losses of late have been so huge, so powerful and leave such a gap that it scares me to think what the world will look like without these voices. My friend Ruth, Piccolo's mom (since I know a Ruthie and another Ruth I have to specify) spoke about deaths happening in groups, and that maybe it's time for these spirits to be reincarnated. That thought does give me some feelings of hope but we have so long to wait before those soul inhabit the earth again.

The Girl Friend fears that we don't have voices that are as strong to make up for the space these deaths leave. Sometimes I wonder if maybe if being in the middle of these times we don't recognize those folks who will be those voices in the future. I suppose that's the optimist in me. I read some of the great blogs out there and wonder if those folks, some of whom are currently anonymous right now, will turn into those voices. I wonder which writers and political power houses will stand the test of time. Obama? Once upon a time I had some hope for Hilary, but no longer.

Who are the writers and poets that inspire today? For me there is no substitute for Audre Lorde for example. The Girl Friend would offer up Dave Matthews, whose lyrics are truly great. Okay, tangent, the Superbowl half time show - The R*lling Stones????? WTF. I mean really. The Knitting Curmudgeon had a great quote about this today (Feb 6 if you read this later).

Another tangent, just saw a commerical for a CBS story on Louisana titled "Flooded and Forgotten". It's about healthcare down there. There's nowhere to go, the doctors are gone, etc. In stark contrast to yesterday's glowing announcement during the Bowl, that the Superdome would have it's first game September 24 2006. At the time I thought, great what about the housing situation, what about the 9th Ward. Do other countries use sports as the markers of success the way the united states does?

Who are today's voices? Where are the young, up and coming Corettas, Bettys, Gene McCarthys, Rosas, Martins, Wendys, Audres?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Same Scarf, Different Yarn

Awhile back Jennie was looking for a scarf pattern and being the searching/surfing queen that I am I went on an expedition to find possibilities. Well I found one she liked and it turned out The Girl Friend liked it too. Here's a link to Jennie's working of the scarf.

In the vast stash I acquired via Freecycle I had this icy blue acrylic that I had no idea what to make with it. But then I was reminded by The Girl Friend that a friend of ours loves baby blue - AHA! I thought, well why not use that yarn to practice said pattern.

This pattern knits up pretty fast. There are definitely a few dropped stitiches on this one as the purl side stitches are very close together and easy to lose track of, but I have pretty much solved that as I've worked it more.

During that famous yarn shopping experience in December I picked up yarn for The Girl Friend to use with this pattern. I pondered, I fondled, I questioned, I rubbed various yarn against my face. Finally I settle on Classic Elite "Inca Alpaca", colour #1182 (it's in Color Board 3 - Heather Violet).

Last night during my very short work meeting I decided to c
ast on with this yarn and get her scarf started since she has been very patient while I knit all this other stuff before her scarf. It did help that with Jennie and Sarah's help I finally got the hanks into balls this past weekend.

Here's what happened so far. I wish the shot showed the color better. Oh well, next time. This is so soft. The drape is so different with this yarn than the blue of course, but it is so fun to have such a direct comparison! As I said, this pattern goes very quickly. I suspect GF will have a scarf very soon to wear when walking the dog. Of course today, we were both too warmly dressed. A beautiful day at the park. Unfortunately Fridays have no Piccolo attendance as Ruth is in an all day sculpture class for the semester. As usual I took my knitting with me for the drive to the park and back - completed another 7 or 8 rows total during drive time. I can't wait to see how this looks after blocking.

The honeycomb patterning will become more distinct I expect. Not sure how much yarn I will use, I bought 4 hanks, and wound three. That should definitely be enough for the scarf and a hat. Since I have left one hank intact, I may be able to return that along with the extra ball of the fantastic Ornaghi yarn for credit at Skein Lane - that would give me about $20 in store credit! Oh my.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It comes in waves

Yesterday was Sunny's last chemo treatment. She has decided not to do the second round with Taxol. It is amazing how fast it seemed to go, for me anyway. Four treatments every two weeks and it's over. Luckily she got the package of Kim's goodies on Monday so she had gestures from unknown people to help get her through. She wrote me the loveliest note about the package - including instructions for me to forward the email to Kim, which I did.

In part she wrote:
I came very close to crying. I rarely cry anymore, beyond a token. I think that when I get to the verge of tears, I hold back for fear I won't be able to stop.

These gifts were unimaginably touching. I've only seen gestures like this on television, sometimes reality (news shows, talk shows), sometimes fiction. In real life, they are overwhelming. Last night, when the emotional surge made me sleepy (at 7 PM!), I fell asleep wearing the soft hat and scarf. Later, I went to bed for the night with the soft hat on for comfort and warmth.

The matching bracelets: weeping, weeping, weeping (inside). And so beautiful. When I showed my bracelet (and the hats and scarves) to Lindsay, he said I must wear them (well, not both hats) to the hospital for chemo, and indeed I shall. The bracelet is lovely, and knowing that you wear an identical one--I just can't describe how that makes me feel. And then Kim made a special one for (The Girl Friend! If Karma works, Kim can expect infinite rewards to go with my undying gratitude.

I can't thank any of you enough. I'll just say thank you from the bottom of my heart,

I only wish I could have seen her face. We spoke today and she said that she did finally cry, yesterday, at chemo. Lindsay went to park the car and when he came into the room to see tears streaming down her face. He rushed over to her, asking what was wrong. Sunny replied, "I ran out of strong." So eloquently put. So simple. I am glad she finally cried. Release is so important.

So often as I walk at Point Isabel with water changing colours as you watch, or drive looking at the sky swirled with fog and spots of absolute clarity, the quickly greening hills, I wish she could do her recovery here. I know she deeply loves her house, but I selfishly I want her here. I want to show her my world, I want her to breath the air touched by the salt of the bay, to be hounded by her grandanimals. I want to cook for her daily, to take walks together, I want hear her and The Girl Friend laughing in the living room.

Once again I have sent off a package without telling her. Yesteday I put the hat/scarf ensemble and the swirls of pink hat in an envelope - a package with love embedded in every stitch, hair of every animal here at the Cedar Street Zoo woven with mohair, alpaca, and wool. Once again I wish I could be there when she opens it. Instead I will await the phone call or email.