Friday, March 31, 2006


That's what they said about Sunny's brain following the MRI. She was quite rightly a bit in a snit about that given that she was composing a poem while enduring the hum of the tunnel. Given her remarkable talents and the great complexity of her neuroses, unremarkable hardly covers that mass of gray cells. However, in the context of looking for beastly cells capable of doing great harm, we are all very delighted with that pronouncement.

She also does not have an ulcer. It is either duodenitis, or something else I can't remember that should essentially heal with time. There are remedies to deal with the symptoms. Again, we are all very happy that there is nothing horribly bad happening.

More good news is that she is cooking, will be doing "yoga therapy". Which I guess is something like this.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The not very good, not terrible but almost awful day

Not today such much as yesterday. Well today too, sort of. Yesterday was a very hard session with my client, I wanted to shake her until the sense that I know must be there but has unfortunately congealed from too much ear wax or something burst free and allowed her to see the light, as it were. Yeah, the honeymoon that never was is officially over with that session. If she answers another question with "I don't know" I will scream. On the inside. To her face I will smile, beaming with magnanimous patience, and say something deeply profound, like, "Oh Cara*, I'm sure you have more of a real answer than "I don't know". You are a smart young woman." Yeah right. Actually she has some great insight and is on target about how some of her teachers see her. If I had to give myself a grade on yesterday's session I would say I started out a strong B, maybe even B+, but by the end, well, a D.

And then there's BirthWays. Somehow some ads didn't run. Yeah, I'm organized. Sometimes. But there have been many obstacles, some of which I hope to have solved, soon. Most I had hoped to have solved by now. But, well, obviously that hasn't happened. Some of them are not in my control - dammit all to hell! I just hate when I screw up. It makes me feel, well, like it's not my Universe. In all seriousness it makes me have to face my limitations, not a pleasant task, I assure you.

The good news, is a took BART into San Francisco to get my hair cut at the recommended salon, Festoon with not the owner (good thing she isn't taking new clients - $115 for a cut! Sheesh). A lovely woman named Cally cut my hair. I do have before and after photos, but I'm shy. Walking back to BART I looked upwards just a bit and thought I saw...why yes I did see, the word "YARN". Did I have time for an impromptu stop, hell no! But, but it was yarn! There is was, a tiny doorway, up a flight of stairs (there is an elevator I found out later so it is accessible), down a long hallway decorated with collage art of photos where the garment is excised out and underneath is actual knit fabric. Thus was my entry into Artfibers. What a joy to behold. Every yarn has a sample knit up. Every one, sometimes more than one, different colours, different stitches. The Celtic yarn is absolutely scumptious, if they had the right colour for The Girl Friend I would have walked out with 100 yards to whip out a warmer scarf for her walks at Point Isabel. After much discussion and disappointment about recycled sari yarn on the GLBT Knit list, I was delighted to see lovely soft hanks of the stuff. I don't see it in the yarn catalog online but there is mention of it here. Luckily for my bank account I didn't have enough time to roll around in the yarn and see what stuck.
The woman who was there, I think it was the owner, was lovely, so enthusiastic about the yarn it was hard to leave without any. Empty handed I did leave the luscious store, vowing to return.

Another good thing, I actually read a text book on the train. I know! It's incredibly dull so far. It is one of the books I should have read last semester. Understanding Race, Ethnicity, & Power: the Key to Efficacy in Clinical Practice by Elaine Pinderhughes (reading this I found out she has a connection to Smith School for Social Work - I used to work there) Sounds like a page turner, doesn't it? Well it isn't so far. Maybe it's because so far it isn't telling me anything I have thought about, read about.

So maybe yesterday and today wasn't so bad, but I feel kinda bad anyway. It's that vague but heavy sense of dread, something being wrong somewhere in my world. I can't put my finger on any one thing. It's many things.

To really succeed with school this semester I need to churn out 6 back papers, and complete 3 other classes. Now I realize it's doable. And it would mean that I finished about 1.5 semesters worth of work in one semester. It means about a paper a week (because I have at least 4 other papers due this semester) from now until early July. Work is hard. For lots of reasons. I have mixed feelings about the intensive amount of time I am supposed to spend with my client. I also am running out of ideas about how to stretch out the time. Then there is the little detail of not getting ANY feedback on my notes. I mean none! My supervisor hasn't read my work yet. I am hoping she has by tomorrow meeting. And that she's on time for once. I've had two individual supervision meetings and she's been late both times. Is my frustration showing?

Another minor concern is that my mother continued to have symptoms of wretching way after the chemo treatments ended. This meant she went to see her oncologist, after swearing she would never set foot in that building again. She did take a friend with her (Lindsay was out of town that day), took valium and since she was sick was additionally doped up on cough syrup. It all worked. There were two possibilities that the doctor came up with. One, an ulcer which is one of the side effects of chemotherapy. The other, is "remote, remote, remote" - brain cancer. Yesterday was the appointment with the gastroenterologist. Today was an MRI. Sunny and I have also talked about it just being a learned physiological habit and that she simply needs some body retraining - de-Pavlov'ing in effect. So maybe that is part of my vague but debilatating sense of dread and the world falling in. Oh yeah, I just remembered that I just passed the one year anniversary of declaring my other relationship over and done. My dear love, this is not a reflection on our relationship or my great joy therein. I have a seasonal cellular memory thing, so this makes sense.

Yeah, there are a lot of reasons for dread.

* not her real name

Friday, March 24, 2006

Nice to know

That at least one online quiz thinks The Girl Friend and I are well matched. At least in one area.

You scored 100 imagination, 100 confidence, 54 dominance,
and 58 generosity!

You are a KINKY, CONFIDENT, DOMINANT lover who prefers to give.
This means that:
You like relatively kinky sex, and you have the great imagination that
will always keep your partner guessing and excited! There's no getting
bored with you around, you could never settle for dull sex, you want
something fun and new all the time. You aren't afraid to try out
anything you hear about. You might just be an intelligent lover who
needs to be mentally engaged, or perhaps you have some dirty dark
secret kinky desires, but either way, you're never boring. You are
pretty confident in bed. This means that you know you can please your
lover. Maybe you've read a lot of sex manuals, or have the experience
from previous lovers, or just tend to be skilled at whatever you get
your hands on, but you're good and you know it. You can really get
results and know that you have pure talent, so you won't be hiding away
shy, pretending to be all innocent. Your partners love your naughty
self assurance, you don't hesitate and this makes you a sensational
You tend to be dominant in bed, so you prefer to be the one giving the
orders than taking them. Maybe you like the power, or just like
controlling the pace, perhaps your partner likes to be dominanted, or
maybe you get a kick out of the whole master/slave relationship, it
could be something as small as liking to be on top during sex and tie
up your lover to tease them, or it could be as kinky as them having to
ask your permission to do anything at all. Either way, you are firm and
you enjoy it! You prefer to give than recieve. This makes you a very
unselfish lover, devoted to the needs of your partner rather than your
own. You get your pleasure from seeing them get theirs, you are a model
sex partner. I'm sure plenty of people would love to have someone like
you in bed with them! Remember though that if your partner gets
pleasure from returning the favour it's okay to let them, they might
love giving as much as you do! WE SUGGEST YOU:
get into some slightly more hardcore fantasy territory. Go for bondage
in a not so light and fluffy way and discover just what you really
like. Want to play master/slave games? Want to be tied up or tie
someone up, in just enough discomfort that they don't quite relax? Want
to try a threesome? Maybe you'd even like to try out sado-masochism.
It's your call. Whatever you do, unleash that kinky thing you've always
really wanted to try and give it a go, you're a great lover, and you
know it, up for anything, generous, imaginative, confident, and happy
to go for what you want, so enjoy.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on imagination
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 90% on confidence
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on dominance
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 29% on generosity
Link: The What's your sexual style? Test written by lu-mina on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Grassy Knoll

A commerical aired tonight, that I've seen before. I can't remember the name of the product because I am the an advertiser's worst nightmare - I ignore tv ads wildly, remember visuals but can't name the company, sometimes it takes dozens of viewing before I remember the general product. Yep, it's not a coincidence that my nickname is Dharma (yes, as in that show).

I can tell you what the products purports to do - predict pregnancy even earlier. Part of the ad copy says "Imagine knowing within days if you're pregnant". Now tell me what that will do for women. Really. What? Aside from further removing them from listening to their bodies. Yeah, I have a problem with ovulation kits too, at least when used without learning anything about one's body. Yes, it's true I think all women, actually adolescent girls should read Take Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I took a course in "natural family planning in my early 20's - it was revolutionary for me. Regardless of whether a woman is trying to avoid pregnancy or trying to get pregnant this is important information to know about oneself.

Tonight, I registered that fateful line in my brain and decided precisely why I hate this concept. It's a conspiracy. The Girl Friend in response said, "Everyone has their grassy knoll." Embarrassing as this is to admit I had no idea what she was talking about. She told me, I looked it up. Coloured me red-faced. My mother worked on Kennedy's campaign even though she wasn't old enough to vote in his election. She sent my birth annoucement to Kennedy and saved in my baby book is a form letter postmarked November 11th 1963 congratulating my parents on my arrival. Somehow with all that, the phrase never sunk into my consciousness.

Spontaneous miscarriages, early ones, before standard detection occurs is estimated at about 20%. That's 1 in 5, with many occuring before detection. Now of course if women actually know their bodies via temperature, cervical fluid, other body changes, twinges, etc, many would know without any tests that requires a purchase, which puts money in who's pockets? Not women. The earlier women know they're pregnant the sooner marketers can target the tender dears to part with their money even earlier.

If 1 out of 5 pregnancies spontaneously end, what does that do for women to know how many times an egg and sperm have met but decided it was an ill-fated romance? Not so many moons ago couples (I am talking about heterosexual couples, lesbians and others without access to fresh sperm on a regular basis are a whole 'nother category though I still strongly recommend Toni's book) were told to give themselves up to 2 years of trying. Of course this recommendation was given without informing women of how to realistically actually get pregnant (yes I'm still harping on TCOYF). Around the time I became a doula in 1996 it was changed to 12-18 months, after which the couple were advised to seek out fertility counseling, which leads to testing, which often leads to assisted conception, which takes what people? Money. Yep. Now it's been skilled back to 12 months - half the time it used to be.

I do see this as a way to encourage women to spend money earlier and earlier in their journey to become mothers. A way to discourage women from knowing their bodies. A way to further distance women (and men) from exploring what it means to chose to become parents by investing them in the goal and not the reality. The companies that market these kits, the drug companies who produce fertility medications, the doctors and staff at "fertility" clinics, the insurance companies (those who cover infertility - I still haven't made up my mind on that issue) - all make money.

Conspiracy theorists were never the people I sought out at parties, but somehow I have become one.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So Sad, So Predictable

Yesterday, or maybe this morning I read this post on The Dees Diversion, which spoke about the B*shWacked Administration cutting 1.4 million dollars from a program that screens low-income women for breast and cervical cancer. First of all, as Dee points out, how does this ultimately save a dime, since these women will not get treated when the cancer is in the early stages, but will drag down costs with desparate measures offered too late, their income earning ability limited by disability which means they will need to access more special funds, which, duh effect other budget line items.

This evening I click onto Yaho* and find this. Now it is no surprise to those people with even a vaguely reasonably sized brain to figure out that a large percentage of women who used the about to be cut program are not white. It begins to feel like a conspiracy, you know? Several years ago I did a certificate program at Boston University's School of Public Health, in Maternal and Child Health. (As an aside when I came across this program I was honestly shocked at how few schools of public health had a concentration in Maternal & Child Health. Why I was shocked I don't know, I really don't. Maybe it's my idealism that doesn't seem to age even as the years rage on.) We spent a lot of time on the differences in outcomes based on race. We spent a lot of time discussing how studies often found, even after accounting for socioeconomic status, timing of diagnosis, etc, that african american women and children had worse outcomes than white women and children. Latina and asian women didn't fair too well either. Just existing in this culture of racism weakens people, that's the only explanation. Add to that the stress of sexism, classism, and possible gender issues - wow it's amazing any of us survive without major illness. As someone who believes in a powerful mind-body-spirit connection it makes total sense to me. The low level assaults, the everyday reminders of discrimination cannot be good for one's health.

I don't know what else I want to say, I have no brilliance, no compelling links (they exist I simply don't have the energy to search them out). I feel so beaten down by all the bad decisions, bad policies, the lack of compassion this nation exhibits on a daily basis. I am humbled by folks like Dee, Arse, Molly, Pam who write daily, go to demonstations, have powerful words to express their outrage. Tonight I only have exhaustion, a weight on my chest and a bed calling my name so that I can attempt some refuge by sleeping.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Wasn't I just saying

that I haven't had motivation to cook?

Well there I go making a liar out of myself again. Now don't go thinking I made anything of real import or anything that took any talent at all. But I will say that it made me happy to do just a little bit of simple cooking.

It is true that the vegetables at Albertson's hardly inspire the way th
e produce section at Berkeley Bowl can cause absolute gushes and impulsive buys of things I've only read about but never seen in person. However the leeks were thick and rich, the tender white ends looking like they had just had a visit to the dentist for a brightening treatment and the dense green ends, while not exactly lush were not a dusky gray straining at an appearance of green. Potato leek soup, how lovely and simple that would be, if I actually made it unlike the last time where I was inspired but without follow through, leaving the leeks to wilt in the fridge until they were uncermonially dumped in the trash. (Yes, I know I should use the compost, but I really need to move it because it gets in the way of the garage door where it is now.)

While perusing the aisle, The Girl Friend bemoaned that they didn't stock any of the boxed pudding that one had to cook, only the dump and stir. I, of course, said once again that I would make her chocolate pudding from scratch. She was distinctly suspicious, noting that I had said that before and it still hadn't happened. Naturally I found the appropriate box and threw it in the shopping cart despite my silent promise, or was that a threat, that I would damn well make her real pudding. Aloud I debated if I needed cocoa for such a task, thinking of my beloved dutch processed bitter powder that I usually buy from the bulk bin at Berkeley Bowl. The Girl Friend said "don't be silly, of course we have some" she meaning the mass produced dusky powder, sits on the shelf for goddess knows how long box of Hersh*y's which has been sitting on the market shelf, that she uses to spoon into her coffee, only if we don't have chocolate milk, and then only if we are out of chocolate syrup as well. Oh alright.

Sunday late afternoon rolls around and soup it is. I consult my favorite source for this soup, Julie Child's The Way to Cook, for proportions. I do, not surprisely, amend the recipe just a tad, moving from vegan and simple to about two tablespoons of cholesterol to enrich those leeks just a tad.

Once that gets to simmering, I proceed to the pudding without informing The Girl Friend of my intention. Now first I had to consult a number of cook books, a surprising number of which did not have a recipe for chocolate pudding. Can you imagine? My long time favorite failed me as their recipe was exceeding complex and called for eggs - sure to be rich, probably too rich for The Girl Friend. Finally I settled on the recipe from the new Joy of Cooking, deciding to add the additional bit of solid chocolate, culling from my stash one ounce of bittersweet by Scharffen Berger, after deciding the semisweet would be too much. As the pudding thickens a knock is heard at the front door. "It's Candice", I call to TGF. Greetings are exchanged and Candice heads to the kitchen to see me, quickly peering over at the pots, asking what I'm making. Moments later I pour the pudding into some Fiesta teacups. "Mom, can I scrape the pan", Candice whines as if she's six. "Of course you can dear" said I with the exasperation only a tired mother can express, obviously channeling my alternate reality self who is a very exhausted mother who longs for my life. At this point, TGF chimes in with a "Huh? What pot?" "I made you chocolate pudding, dear, just like I said I would." TGF beams appropriately.

Once Candice leaves, we sit down to a simple dinner of soup, salad and some reheated biscuits. The Girl Friend declares the soup delicious and is quite pleased with the simple bowl of potatoes, leeks, water, and just a pat of butter. Later she recalls that there is pudding for dessert. Gleefully she marches to the refrigerator and brings the cup to the couch to enjoy while we watch Crossing Jordan (why
does Jill Hennessy insist on overplucking her brows?!?) I also retrieve a cup. I remark that it's a bit too sweet but seems like a good starting place. "Whatever. I like it just fine", say The Girl Friend. All is right with the Universe.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Just the other day I read a blog post that I took as extremely misogynist – written by a woman. When reading the comments, I saw that I was not the only one to read her phrasing this way. I also saw a lot comments which seemed to entirely miss that part and went on to the humorous section on which to dole out praise. Even the blatant humor part was, well, not funny to me. There was too much stereotyping in the humor without enough creativity to really get my laugh-a-meter going.

I wrote one of the commentators privately, giving her a “brava” for her statements. She wrote back feeling a tad sheepish for taking the blog author to task. I wrote: “You were expressing your opinion just like her. When we write a public blog we risk open disagreement.”

Don’t you hate when your own words come back to bite you on the ass? I know I do. I should have added, when we write a public blog we risk being misunderstood; having people read their own feelings into our post and taking it in an entirely different direction; we risk feeling righteous indignation for all and any of the above.

Yep, righteous indignation is about where I am sitting right now. Yesterday I wrote a post about my connection with cooking, about my magical belief about what we put into our food that cannot be measured. I wrote about my current phase of not cooking much and feeling bittersweet about it. I wrote about being reminded by my mother’s sweet statement about how special food becomes, no matter how basic, how simply prepared, because someone chooses to make it for you. Well that’s what I thought I wrote about. The Girl Friend saw something else entirely, you can see for yourself. We have an ongoing discussion about food, preparation, how it’s served, what it means and doesn’t mean to each of us. She felt she needed to defend herself. The reference I made to her, I thought, was part of the ongoing joke we have and I make reference aplenty to here on my blog. But it was not in anyway pointing a breadstick in her direction to explain my lack of culinary inspiration. Like many artists (granted I am using that word very loosely when talking about myself), I am having a dry spell, a gastronomic block, if you will. Does the fact that she and I think so differently as to what constitutes a meal have any bearing on this? Yes. But it is such a small piece of it; her Midwestern appetites are a challenge to me most of the time.

Here I sit pondering whether I need to defend myself in response to her post. Isn’t that just silly? Especially since she is right here and I can simply have a conversation with her about my feelings. Yes, damn silly it is. Yet, isn’t that what I’ve just done? No, not really since I have not written about the things that made me feel like I need to explain, things that I believe caste a less than positive light on my {ahem} dining habits. This could easily devolve into one of those horrid she said-she said dueling blog entries, if I were a less charitable sort. Being that I am charitable, I will converse – OMG – face to face with her on the points that truly pushed my buttons and save you, my dear readers, from the un-Buddha like statements that are sure to issue from my mouth.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Like Water for Chocolate

Cooking is an art form to me. Laura Esquivel’s novel moved me so much when I read it, over a dozen years ago. It spoke to me, to my art, to my expression of love. Now that I reflect back on it, I’m not even sure when I read it except I know I was living in Massachusetts. It is one of those books that I’m afraid to reread, what if it doesn’t cast the same spell on me? What if the lyricism of prose doesn’t wrap me like a soft blanket as it did all those years ago.

Several years ago I found a quote in a cooking magazine, “A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” ~Elsa Schiaparelli. This quote lived on my fridge for years, in Northampton, in Oakland, it’s only now in Berkeley that it doesn’t grace the pebbled surfaced of my ancient and greatly dislike side by side refrigerator. I know I packed it, I just don’t know where it is located in paper form, but it lives in my heart.

I haven’t been cooking much in the last year, though every once and awhile I get greatly inspired. Yes it’s true I have felt hampered, just a bit, by The Girl Friend’s great love of Rice-A-R*ni, Mir*cle Whip, and Fr*tos (though not necessarily together). In fairness she has been adventurous and brave, tasting everything I have made, except for my magnificent Cranberry-Pineapple-Orange Relish with Walnuts. It is truly, deeply, madly amazing but The Girl Friend is a confirmed cranberry avoidant of long standing.

It is also true that we have had quite a busy life since setting up housekeeping last April. First there was the glee of living together able to fight at will, launder at will (don’t laugh this had me jumping with joy for months!), and well, you know, at will. Then came our Puppyman and foster cats. And more foster cats. And more foster cats. And a few foster pups. A couple of parties, a wedding, and a working vacation in Maine, school, and Sunny’s diagnosis.

None of that is a good reason for abandoning one’s art. It is true that I have taken up a new art – knitting. Again, how can I abandon something that makes me so happy? I haven’t truly abandoned it, but it is on the back burner, please do excuse the pun.

In conversation with Sunny, I was reminded how cooking with love does really change the taste. While I was visiting last month, I made mochi. To say that I cooked it is really stretching the definition of the craft. I cut the stiff glutinous mass into manageable squares, placed the blandly beige coloured pieces on a baking sheet and place said sheet in the oven. Sunny hadn’t had mochi (it's made right down the road from in Emeryville!) in eons, neither had I. She usually fried the mashed rice taffy-like sustenance. Being health minded, and really not wanting to wash the pan afterwards I baked them. When exposed to heat the flat hard quarter-inch thick boards puff up into these glossy brown Stay-Puff chewy gooey blobs. She has been eating mochi since I left, usually with blueberries (why blueberries you ask, especially given she lives in Westchester County NY and it’s March? Because the infamous Dr. Hoffman believes they have special nutrients that her post tumor, post chemo body really needs). But she says, “somehow they never taste as good as when you made them, even when I bake them.” The magic of love seeps through your fingers, even to the most basic equipment so that fingers and knives contaminate the food changing the taste forever.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Femme Bonding Experience

I mean "femme" in the a general sense of a woman who identifies in her physical expression, and some emotional qualities with the feminine stereotype. Yeah that makes a whole lotta sense. Okay, what I'm trying to say is I don't think the other woman in this story is a lesbian, so I'm using the term to describe a type of woman that has nothing to do with sexual identification. Does that make a bit more sense? No? Oh well, on with the tale.

Friday, in between a million and two other things, I scheduled an appointment at Benefit to get my brows done. Yes, I do that. Wax and tint thank you very much. I think it looks great, I just forget to do it regularly enough that it's not noticable and people think I just have great brows. While driving there I was thinking I should ask Beth, the best brow person ever, for a recommendation for a new hair person. I love Kimberly, don't get me wrong, but I haven't been inspired by her and my hair is boring me to death. While I'm in my chair waiting for Beth, this woman walks in with a great haircut. She has a great cut, beautiful skin (jealous, jealous, jealous), my style of jewelry (okay one of my styles of jewelry) and looks comfortable in her body. Not great as in "if I had an hour a day to spend on my hair" great. Or even great as in "fabulous cut but nothing my hair would do". I mean great as in "I could wear that!" So I said, "I love your hair cut". She thanked me with total enthusiasm - another great plus in my book. She then went on to offer that she gets her hair done at Festoon (cha-CHING) by the owner (double cha-CHING). Then she comes closer to me and say, "I know I don't know you but..." and proceeds to move my sunglasses from the top of my head, runs her fingers through my hair and proclaims that I absolutely had the type of hair that would take to this cut. In addition she tells me that I have great hair. How could one not love this woman, I ask you? She then says, I'll write down the information for you. Like I could forget! But still, so generous. On the back of her business card she writes the information, says that Melissa might not be taking new clients but to call her and tell Melissa that she (Dayna) referred me. Dayna assured me that even if Melissa couldn't squeeze me in, that she would be able to recommend someone great.

Even though I still don't have an appointment and Melissa isn't taking new clients in the Berkeley salon, this is a public thank you to Dayna Macy, Communication Director at the Yoga Journal for being so wonderful.

A completed project and more fiber

Several weeks back I finished the scarf and hat for Jeriann but never took pictures until the other day. Since The Girl Friend is heading back to the homestead in early April I think I will send it off with her to hand deliver.

Remember Tigger? I
started it on my trip home when I finally found the perfect ribbon yarn.

I seem to have a theme going with this project. Remember how I frogged everything I had knit on the plane? Rather quickly I knitted up the left front, started the right front, and discovered a miscount in the rows and frogged all but the first 16 rows!

The back still is good
. Progress has been made of the left front. The sweater must be finished in time for The Girl Friend to hand deliver as well in early April.

Here is the booty collected* during my frenzied shop at Goldman's Yarn before leaving the east coast. The lovely fushia yarn on cones is a totally unknown entity! I was thinking of using this yarn to make Odessa.

I had found this adorable pattern that to make for Leigh, The Most Adorable Niece in the recent issue of Knit It! - they call it a kimono set, which of course is misnomer. The colours published are ridiculous, a toddler in white. Absurd!

I found something
much more interesting at Goldmans. Sirdar' Snuggly yarn. There is not one bit of natural fiber, but at least it can be washed and dried by machine. My version is going to be green (shade 378) with lavendar (shade 393)trim (this link has the closest to true colours I can find!). On my monitor my photo is closer to the true colours.

Has anyone worked with Berroco's Softwist (again the web colours don't really represent their gorgeousness)? It seemed so yummy, the stock was limited and I was only able to find two skeins each in the this fabulous forest green (viridian #9426) and a wonderful almost shimmery deep red (Alizarin # 9478). I have no idea what I will do with this stuff, but I had to have. Ya know? I don't want to use them together because well, way too christmasy.

There was one only hank of Reynolds's Mandalay in colour #35, which is called Indigo. Not enough to do much, I realize, but it was only $5.00 and just wanted to know what it be like knit with this type of silk. Okay, any silk.

Then there was this one lone ball of Trendsetter Yarns Muse, in Plum Passion (#1477). Deeper than this example, but crisper and more red plum than this one. I have a few lace scarf patterns in mind for this ball. It will probably be a gift. Big surprise as I have yet to knit anything for myself. Ever. Not 2.5 years ago when I took it up for about 3 months, and not this go round which started in October. One day I will make something for me.

I need to take some photos of some other yarns to gather ideas from all 5 of my readers as to what to do with it.

I am very excited to finish Tigger, and start the Kimono Set, though there is no way in hell it will be done for the upcoming visit. I did finally finish that alpaca scarf for The Girl Friend and the hat is almost done. Today she was wearing the scarf and I took a close look - I did really good work on it. I'm feeling really good about it. I want to make her another scarf, but one out of a warmer fiber, a thicker, plusher pattern to gaurd her against the chilly winds of Point Isabel.

*If you look carefully there is a photo of Leigh, The Most Adorable Niece behind the yarn.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


No, I'm not talking about cleaning. Me? Dusting? Don't be silly. On Friday, I was driving at an ungodly hour to pick up my client, coasting up 580. Lo and behold I glance over at the landscape before me and to the left is Mt Tam dusted with snow! This truly is an occasion to be marked. It doesn't happen all that often, visible snow in the Bay Area. It lighted my heart to see that mountain top looking like a pointy cupcake heavily dusted for confectioner's sugar.

Inspired by the of snow at high elevations, another blog, and well, just what
I see every day I took to outdoors and took some photos.

One of the charms of living in the Bay Area is all the citrus trees, trees in backyards their branches reaching over fences daring you to pluck the fruit, dreaming of the juices running down your chin.

I love roses at the early stages, like this one. The contrast of colours always strikes me. The sense of
breaking free from the safe womb of the sepal leaves. This one looks like a burlesque dancer dropping her sheaths, one at a time, offering glimpses of what lies beneath.

This is our dropping plum tree in early bloom. Actually all of these photos were taken in our fruit yard, which is planted with a lovely assortment of botanical beauty, thanks to Rebecca who owns this house. Somehow last spring we entirely missed the plum harvest. Shameful, I realize. It won't happen again, I assure you. Feel free to call me on this promise in about, um, two months to remind me. I'm afraid last year was the bountiful year and this year will be a palty showing. I don't actually know if plum trees run in this type of cycle but the apple tree in Brooklyn that I grew up with did. Our apple tree produced very tart green apples which my stepmother turned into the most wonderful pies. These apple were definitely cooking apples, straight off the tree they were extremely tart but had a nice crispness. When we had a large harvest Fran would became a one woman apple pie factory and the freezer would be stocked. Every so often, usually when company was over, one, or if we were lucky two would emerge from their frosty home, the oven warmed and soon the aroma of a hot summer day would waft through the palour floor of the house. Sometimes it would be served with a scoop of Breyers vanilla ice cream, which when it melted would create a creamy river speckled with cinnamon. A few years ago the tree had lived it's full life, produced bushels of apples over many years, began to wither and was carefully removed by an arborist. Now great amounts of light fill the back end of the yard, offering a better view of the neighbor's yard space, not as lovely a sight. I miss the flavor of those pies - sweet, a biting tartness, cinnamon, a buttery crust and that unmistakeable scent of youth.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Public Thank You

Like my new blog design? I love it! So much more me. The old colours weren't me. And as I mentioned earlier I am not a joiner and somehow having the same template as so many others (as wonderful as they might be) is like being a joiner.

The Girl Friend had been mentoring me through redoing the blog on FrontP*ge. But, well, life got busy. I had started it before I flew east. Then nothing. She got inspired and started working on it for me. She is the best. Don't you love it? Well I do.

Thank you honey. Look for her blog to be updated and personalized soon! Mine was the test.

Time for Fur

It has been quite awhile since I posted any photos of my babies, so without further ado….

This is one of Wyatt’s favorite places to nap, particularly after a vigorous romp at Point Isabel with his best friend Piccolo. We have discussed writing a book, Wyatt Has 3 Mommies, because he really does look to Ruth as another parent. I don’t know that we would become as infamous as Leslea Newman if we do this. I used to live in the same town as Leslea, where I was often complimented by people saying I looked like her. We definitely have the same opinion on never having too many black shoes (can't find the article online, but if you read it and are a femme or dearly love one, you understand). Somewhere in my files I probably still have a standard rejection letter from her, with a handwritten note about my work. I had submitted a poem for an anthology she was editing. That is my singular claim to fame with regards to my writing. Staggering I know. When next we meet you should kneel at my feet.

Here is my sweet Elliott. He’s our Greta “I vont to be alone” Garbo kitty. Elliott is also a great story teller, regaling us nightly. I only wish I understood cat better. It’s on the calendar right after I learn Spanish, which I should have done eons ago because I need to know it RIGHT NOW for my client’s family. Lately he and Wyatt have been playing together more, but Wyatt has no concept of sharing. Not. At. All. A new toy came into the house recently. One of the tennis ball type things with a squirrel tail attached (not real, despite the title of the post. Of course the two parts were immediately separated by Wyatt the Destroyer. Well, Elliott LOVES this tail. Great gusts of kitty glee emanate from him when he romps around the house batting at this tail, waves of triumph roll through when he strides into the living room carrying it. Until Wyatt spies him. In a heartbeat it is over, the joy has disintegrated as Wyatt, without a shred of empathy, wrenches said tail from Elliott, carrying to the opposite end of the room. Poor poor Elliott looks confused but amazingly seems to bear no grudge as moments later they are relaxing next to one other, each grooming, mimicking the parallel play of toddlers.

And lastly here are two gray kittens curled together. You know it 's even hard for me to tell which on is which in this photo! Isn't that terrible. Bad Mama! They are so far from identical. Really. Okay, I think I have it now The one behind is Gemma Rae,and the one with his head on her haunches is Atticus. Each has a very distintive profile, very different fur texture. Both have the very faintiest of stripes. The most obvious difference is that Gemma is a manx. In looking at some sites, I just found information that I didn't know about manxs. Gemma has the trait of an almost inaudible meow. She is so quiet in that way, but has one of the best purrs EVER. She doesn't quite have the standard body type which is interesting, she is far from stocky. Of course she is still a young 'un, so time will tell. Atticus has a very flat triangluar face, is highly verbal, and a tad clingy. Okay, very clingy. At least he distributes his time between us so that we both get to suffer the blue screen of death when he walks across the laptop trying settle on our chests for his multiple cuddle sessions each day.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On the cusp

Random things.

Yesterday first several of us went to the monthly county meeting. The topic was an introductory session on The Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser. I didn't learn any new therapeutic techniques, but as my colleague Michael said, it was a good reminder. Following that I went back to the "office", I use that term very loosely, where I wrote a preliminary treatment plan where I mostly guessed what M needs. I don't think I'm far off but it's still good that I excel at making shit up.

Tomorrow I have my first individual supervision, followed by my first "session" with my client, whom I feel I know very little about. Thursday we have our administrative meeting followed by my first group supervision.

Yesterday Theopia called me, to ask if I would be on a current student panel on Saturday during the Residential Orientation to speak to incoming students. Wow. Cool, huh? Then today she called with another proposition, and this one pays! More demo stuff for incoming students, this one on how the online blackboard system works. I am not sure I can do the Friday thing but told her I would definitely be there on Saturday. I feel like I've been flying under the radar (except for that little threat of academic probation thing) at school and all of a sudden, I'm not.

Of course before I could even say yes to Saturday, I had to figure when my presence would be needed for a multiple agency fundraiser for BirthWays, Waddle and Swaddle, and Sistahs of the Good Birth. I found I could do both, but it will be a busy day.

Somehow suddenly my time is busy and fuller.

Sunny is doing so much better. Her dematologist suggested that she get the wisps of hair cut so that her hair, which is apparently starting to grow, would grow in more evenly. Well she called her salon, Eclipse. The gave her the last appointment of the day, so it would be fairly empty, put screen around her - generally were incredibly respectful and loving. To prepare for the visit she put on full makeup so that at least part would look good (her perceptive). Well it went so well that after she got home, she took the hat off and looked in the mirror for the first time since she started losing her hair. While she was telling this tale, I teared up. I tell you, I really did. This is huge. Then today, she told I don't have to call her everyday. Wow. I think I will tailor the calls down, go to twice a week, then once a week - which is about our normal happy mother/daughter ratio of contact.

The new semester starts on Monday. I haven't completed all the papers I had wanted to yet, but I know I can do it.

Much to Greg's dismay I will be doing some knitting entries as I need to finish The Girl Friend's hat so I can post photos of her hat and scarf. Jeriann's hat and scarf need to be captured digitally and then sent to Ohio. Leigh's sweater is coming along quite nicely! The back and left front are done and I just casted on the right front. Two sleeves, a collar, blocking and seaming together. I have to have it done by early April as The Girl Friend is going home to surprise her dad for his birthday. If I am truly a wondeful auntie I will make the other outfit in time for hand delivery as well. I also need to show y'all the yarn I bought, as Jennie reminded me.

The Girl Friend and I have realized that it is almost a year since we moved in this house, since we became a couple rather than part of the triad-ish dynamic we started with two years ago. Staggering. A year! A dear friend, Susan, has suggested that we turn our home blessing party (held last July) into a yearly event to "keep the mojo going". Maybe we should. We are due for a party. Let's see, we had one in July, October and December. Yep, time indeed. Hm, what should our theme be this time. House blessing, Harvest blessing, Chanukah Lighting Party - check. Missed Ground Hog's Day, Super Bowl, Fat Tuesday. What's coming up next on the calendar. Hm. "Dharma has a Client" celebration. Nah. Belated birthday for Wyatt (he turned one year on Feb 10th)? Nah. Maybe early May for Happy Adoption Day to celebrate Wyatt's homecoming? Maybe. We know lots of other "adoptions" we could celebrate with that day.

If you have any ideas for a good party them, let me know. In the meanwhile, I have a lot of work to do, and places to be for a change!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sometimes I think the net exists to enrage me

I mean it. I know my friend Greg thinks all I do is read knitting blogs and skims my blog for fear of being forced to read about non-edible fiber, but in point of fact I read a LOT of political blogs, mostly written by women who find stories that raise my blood pressure. Like this one. Which leads to this one. I just discovered Molly, thanks to my dear blog friend Ancrene (hiya honey!) While Twisty has access to some wonderfully annoying information about the world, she and I disagree about sex big time (I agree about the surgery, I most emphatically do not share her opinion of heterosexual sex, and certainly not about BDSM, while Molly and I seem, so far to be on the same page.

Reading about Victoria's S*cret's campaign really ticks me off, and not only because I can't afford to shop there as often as my less steely feminist desires would like to, but because it's wrong to target young girls in this way. It's hateful, it borders on brainwashing and perhaps some even less acceptable things (oh, like pedophilia, the oversexualizing of youth which could lead to the lowering of the age of consent - oh yeah, I'm getting extreme here and I haven't even poured my coffe yet this a.m.). I did say something about enraged, did I not?

It's true I read Cosm* as a 12-year old. It's true that I was no longer attached to my virginity in the biblical way by the time I was 14. It's true that I took great pleasure in sex early on (though so much more so as I age - let me tell you!), yes I wore real stockings with a garter belt while still in high school, but it thrilled me more than anyone else because I knew what was on underneath my clothes, I wasn't showing it off to the masses. Do I look back now with regret at some of my behaviors, yes and no. I don't have many regrets, okay maybe about not going over my perfectionism and insecurity so that I could really excel at ballet rather than hide in the back of the room or leave early so as not to do floor work. About my first boyfriend? Again, yes and no. I learned a lot from the psychopath - I suppose I should change his title now that I know more about psychology, but suffice it to say he was controlling, abusive and a very messed up young man. To use today's verneracular whether he was really a gangsta or just posin' he constituted a serious threat to my well-being. Now I clearly see that information about sexuality and sensuality was not given to me in a healthy way (okay, I've known this for decades but you get the point) but at least the clothing targeted to me as an 8 year old, or a 12 year old couldn't be mistaken as a hot to trot 17-year eager to show how powerful she thought she was around sexuality. It is normal, at least in the united states for youngsters to want to be older, mostly be we want to feel like we have some control, we crave the freedoms this country purports to offer it's citizens. We have cheapen that freedom down to have sexual behavior be the only viable expression said freedom. As a nation we have forgotten that with freedom comes responsibility. That actions should be carried out after some thought about consequences, only we don't teach about consequences since it is harder and harder for there to be access to information about, oh I don't know, contraception and sexually transmitted infection.

In addition to my usual frothing at the mouth over these things, which usually only The Girl Friend has to sit though, I suppose another thing bringing this to blog is I just met with my client for the first time yesterday - a 13 year old girl who is turning 14 in a matter of days. Soon I will be hanging out with this young woman-child for many hours a week and hopefully having her really talk to me about her life and her inner thoughts. It terrifies me what she may say about such things and how I can calmly talk about sexuality, cell phones (she wants one for her birthday, to fit in), and educational goals with a latina girl whose family is suffering from extreme financial distress, racial bias (her mother had been a social worker in Mexico - goodness knows what career opportunities she has had here), and who knows what else. I did note that she was wearing sweat pants (I can guarantee they didn't come from Victor*a's), sneakers, a sweatshirt with a big jacket over it. But I can't help to think that her clothing choices are as much about finances as another version of required uniform - she lives in a very poor area in the Richmond/San Pablo neighborhood, which is predominately latino from what I could see.

It's not that I haven't dealt with a number of other adolescent females, but I have never been formally counseling them, an additional set of protocols are going to be in place this time. I am practiced at straddling boundary issues, of balancing a fine line of mentor who can talk their language, but somehow getting paid, having a supervisor, needing to write progress notes adds a dimension that makes my stomach churn just a bit. Other times I have been much more open in conversations about sexuality, out and out discussions about sexual practices but I realize this may be very different. Supposedly M isn't sexually active, but the reality is that it is probably just a matter of time so conversations about how to make choices should happen, though it's not necessarily anything I am going to put on the treatment plan.

Somehow my temper has simmered down now. Probably something to do with picturing M's somewhat placid face of yesterday making very limited eye contact, uncomfortable with the attention being focused on her, having all these people in her living room who want to help her have a future while she can barely conceive that there is a life past next week. Especially if she doesn't get a cell phone for her birthday.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sputtering into my coffee

I just saw a post over at The Dees Diversion that has me speechless. It is amazing to me that the government is so micromanaging our world that a relatively measly amount of $6000 can inspire a Homeland Security investigation. I mean really how much firepower of any real import can be purchased for 6K, or who can be bought off for that paltry amount who could really affect world domination.

If your money is held up during an investigation, my question is, are you still accruing interest on that account, and if so who pays for that?

The article says:
And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted. So when I go online in a few days to pay a significant balance of my credit card off, an amount that is many times over my usual payment, am I going to be investigated? The Girl Friend thinks not, as my overall credit line is so small, relatively (smaller than the Soehnges payment in fact). But still, it galls me to think that someone with no other hinky behavior can be investigated, have their financial life put on hold because they are paying down some debt. The article doesn't say how long the investigation took, how long the couple had to wait to have their credit line reflect that payment, but for some people it could make a huge difference. What if their roof collapsed during that time and this was the only credit available to them? What if their care broke down and they needed to get to work in order to draw an income to, I don't know, live?

I am shocked that I was able to construct a sentence over this item. I am appalled.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Something else I need to research


You scored 60 intellect, 22 prosperity, 37 sexuality, and 54 goodness!

Gayatri, the many-headed symbol of Devi, or the divine feminine. As you
can see she is closely associated with the lotus and with feminine
beauty. She is a wise and good goddess and carries the weapons and
items carried by other gods in her many arms. She is a reasonably good
goddess and intellectually inclined, as she can see in all directions
from the eyes on her heads.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 33% on intellect
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You scored higher than 38% on prosperity
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You scored higher than 95% on sexuality
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You scored higher than 57% on goodness

Link: The Which Hindu Goddess Are You? Test written by mirchini on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

I am so lucky

As I said, my flight home was fine and dandy except for that little knitting thing. It was wonderful to see The Girl Friend. She had arranged for Piccolo's mom, Ruth, to pick up Wyatt and take him to the Point so there was no hurry for us. Such lovely forethought. We splurged and got a nice very late breakfast at Jimmy Beans, after hitting two other places which were closed (like I said it was very late, even for brunch). Scrambled tofu, yum.

We had apparently just missed Ruth dropping Wyatt off as he was home when we got there. Let me tell you - The Girl Friend had worked her butt off while I was gone. The house was so clean, she had rearranged some things in the living room in a lovely way. There is now some artwork up in the house! And, and, and the best thing of all - she and Ruth had painted the bathroom. I am in so much heaven. The bathroom had been this very blah blue when we moved in, which clashed terrible with the border tile next to it and the cream tile below. After about a dozen paint chip samples, I had finally decided on a colour and even bought the damn paint way back in July but never gotten off my ass to do it and it nagged at me. (Well dang it, I can't find the colour anywhere on the web. It's Martha Stewart {stop snickering, I looked at a lot of companies} and it's called, I think, First Frost, a barely green with a hint of blue. It reminds of sea glass. It looks SO good. It lightens the room up, which is good since it's a small bathroom. I love it.

This was exceptional for me in that usually I am the one that does this sort of thing and to have it turned around, well, damn! I don't even feel the need to change things around. Too much. Okay, okay I moved the chairs in the living room slightly. And the wooden stand in the dining room, just a few inches. But that's all. Really.

Such a nice homecoming.

But was it successful?

My dear pal, Ancrene, asked whether I thought my trip was successful. The answer is, yes I do think it was successful. I manged to get a bunch of relatively simple things in order, mostly phone calls to set up appointments, some organizing of papers (always a good thing to regain a sense of control, IMNSHO), made some headway with Minerva from Reach to Recovery (if you search that phrase you will find this programme in other countries as well), and really made some strides in finding her a therapist (no, no one is lined up but found some excellent avenues and leads, which again was part of the block).

One interesting source I found was the American Psychosocial Oncology Society. As as a future therapist I was quite intrigued by this concept. Which reminds me, I need to see if they called Sunny back with referrals yet. I don't know if I would want to specialize in this type of work, though I am so much more aware of the dimensions of impact cancer has on family and friends, but it's a great resource to know about.

Sunny asked that I continue to call her daily for a bit of time, which I have been doing. I called on the late side yesterday (Tuesday) and she sounded really good, proclaiming to have had a "successful day". It really was too. She drove herself to an appointment, which marks the first time she has driven by herself since maybe early November. Personally I cannot fathom not driving for such a long period, but Sunny doesn't really like driving, has a terrible sense of direction (she calls herself "geographically challenged", and isn't a very good driver. Following the appointment she had enough energy to do some food shopping at her favorite place, Mrs Greens, again since even before the cancer her energy level wasn't the best, this is fantastic.

So at this point I am trying to plan for a return visit, with (drumroll please) The Girl Friend, for Passover, on or about April 13th. This would mark the great meeting of The GF and Sunny, also The GF and various others (including my father - who really wants to meet her as well) when we attend my family's seder (which will be the first time I've attended since moving to the left coast).

Wish us luck in this endeavor, both in making it happen and it being successful.

I think I need to look up the definition of erudite

Indeed, you are 87% erudite, 87% sensual, 41% martial, and 45% saturnine.

This Egyptiansupreme Goddess is certainly the most influential deity on subsequent cultures. She was the ideal figure of womanhood, usually compared with
the Greek Goddess Demeter or her Roman version, Ceres.

Isis was one element of a Holy Trinity, the remaining two figures being her brother and husband Osiris and their heroic son Horus. She was the Goddess of Magic for her brilliance, as well as the Goddess of Love because of her tenacious devotion.

She is often shown with wings, curving to caress coffins and sarcophagi of many a king. In certain papyri she is shown with her falcon wing headdress, covering her ears. One of her sacred symbols is the sistrum, a musical instrument that was believed to ward off evil spirits. Isis's sistrum was carved bearing the image of a cat and was representative of the Moon.

Isis was the High Priestess and an omnipotent magician as well as the only being ever to discover the secret name of Ra. She invariably carries the ankh, the symbol for eternal life. Her name is, by the rules of numerology, adding up to the number �2� and she just so happens to be depicted on the tarot card �Key 2 � The High

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 80% on erudite
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You scored higher than 60% on sensual
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You scored higher than 14% on martial
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You scored higher than 32% on saturnine

Link: The Mythological Goddess Test written by Nitsuki on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test