Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A finished object! New yarn!

No, really! It has been for-ever since there has been any productivity on this front (or any other really). I have been making progress the Secret Project and will have photos of the finished thing soon.

As I noted my dear friend Glamour Girl has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Treatment for such things requires chemo which means hair loss. Poring over patterns in my collection of magazines, xeroxed sheets, and of course the internet resulted in a lot of ideas and some hesitation. Which one, what yarn do I have in my stash that would work.

Finally I settled on the New York Hat, which is appropriate as she lives in NYS. The flower and bow options did not inspire me so I knew I would have to search out a button. Oh, and of course yarn. This yarn was some I purchased off eBay eons ago in this colourway as well as a pink version (which I used for Tigger). I had no idea what I would use it for but evidently I bought it for this.

The pattern called for size 10.5 needles which of course I don't have. But no matter. I used a size 10 circular to cast on and switched to some nasty vintage white plastic double points. Gauge was a funky thing as mine didn't match the pattern in stitches or rows so there was some knitting, ripping, knitting, and fudging. The pattern is a fun, fast knit. But then came the really exciting part - shopping for a button. Stone Mountain Daughters, a store that is way too much fun. It took a little while as there were some lovely choices but then suddenly it was an easy decision.

Is that not a great button? Here is a not great shot of the hat, modeled by The ever patient GF.

I actually popped into the mail quickly and Glamour Girl has received it already. Yeah me.

Saturday Jennie and I went to Lambtown for a day of chatting and fondling fiber. It was a fabulous day
and yes, I bought yarn. Jennie is such an enabler! We stopped at Carolina Homespun where we learned about long draw spinning. Jennie had great time playing with the wheel and even made me sit to give it a go. I certainly can see doing this in the future! We spent a lot of time over at Yarn Place where I found this yarn that intrigued me but I said, "I have no idea what I would do with it." It was then that The Great Enable struck her vulnerable prey. "Oh, there's enough yardage to make Cozy!" A pattern she knew I wanted to make. Curses! I was ruined. The ten hanks of what turned out to be banana fiber fell into my hands. Sorry for the lousy photo, it was hard to shoot and I wasn't able to capture the accurate colour and the sheen in one shot. I really hope it works for the pattern. It has taken all my control to keep working on the secret project (the finish line in sight - finally!) and not ball up this stuff to swatch.

On the way out I saw some soft lovely yarn in great colours for my next secret project... It was on sale too, only $4 a ball so I picked up 3, just in case though I think I will only need two. Alpaca with a Twist "Punch", in Gooseberry. In person the colour is pinker, again not a great day of shooting here at Casa de Cedar.

We also stopped at Maia's booth, Sincere Sheep. Oh the colours, all natural dyes. Also Maia was so friendly and easy to chat with it was hard to move on to see other booths. She invited me to a spinning potluck on Sunday and I am trying to figure out if I can go!

So now I have some new things inspiring me. Oh, I got suckered in and signed up for Ravelry. At this point it will be mid-late October before I get my invite. Just as well since I will be up to my eyeballs in boxes and hopefully renovating a house until at least then.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Doing the proverbial cartwheel

It is a relatively small thing, it really is when one considers all that is going on in my world right now. Between watching a clip on YouTube of a guy dancing (they are both so graceful) that reminded of an old pal and suddenly hearing an old song of "ours" that we used to dance to, I developed the itch to find him. We haven't spoken in almost exactly four years. We lose touch, reconnect, fade out, reconnect. It's a cycle.

We met about twenty years ago, give or take at Barefoot Boogie, a continuing tradition of which I am a founding mama. Yes I was 12 when I started this. Shut up and do not do any math. I have many fond memories of us dancing together, hanging out, talking on the phone all night while we pretended to study - I had just started college (I was also a child genius. Again, shush!) and he was a consistent student. Since that time, when he finishing a BA with a double major, he also received an MPIA (Masters in Pacific International Affairs) and then a JD. He passed the New York Bar on the first try. I knew he was still playing competitive bridge from trying to find him on the web over the years. He was also involved in Model United Nations stuff for years and years. Did I mention he's a bit of a genius? And a classic Gemini.

So the other day I tried emailing him at the address named for his penchant of creating frozen alcoholic yumminess. Today I got an email back from him. If I could do cartwheels I would have done them across the entire house. Because of him I have started a Skype account though I need to buy the headphone thingys. It will be handy because he travels a lot. Really. In today's emails he told me is leaving for London later this week and then he's off to Bulgaria. Sounds like the same old guy, never in one place for long.

I cannot wait to hear his voice again. I so want him and TGF to meet!!!
Doing a happy dance all day over this.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A very late tag response

As I have mentioned I have been neglecting reading my blogger peeps. While just now I visited my dear 'net buddy Wen and not only did she tag me two frigging weeks ago (slacker, right here on my forehead), but she sweetly implied a desire to help me out with my move. Made my eyes tear up, she did. Given that the Purple Beast suffered a cardiac arrest today, just knowing people care like that means a lot.

So I give you the Fiver:

1. Five favorite days of the year
  • Set up at Dance New England camp, while it's quiet.
  • Hanukkah (really 8 days, but...)
  • TGF's birthday
  • Christmas because TGF loves acting like a kid that day, it's fun to watch
  • I'm partial to Wednesdays.
2. Five things I watched this week
  • My dog running and swimming
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • My yard get majorly pruned!
  • A snippet of The Catherine Wheel, choreographed by Twyla Tharp
  • Burn Notice
3. Five things you don't want to do but should
  • Get a mammogram
  • Pack my house
  • File papers with the Behavioral Board
  • Clip my cats claws
  • Back up my computer
4. Five things you want to learn
  • Ballroom dance with TGF (2-2 above)
  • Spin yarn
  • Find balance in my life
  • Set tile
  • Speak Spanish
5. Five animals you've had as or have pets who impacted you
  • Max the first. The dog I don't really remember but acted as a nanny. Or so says my mother and why would she lie
  • Sybil. When Ninia moved to Hawaii she said if she had children I would be their guardian so of course it was a no brainer to give me her cat who she couldn't transport across the ocean. She would spoon with me.
  • Scully who demanded he come back to his house which I had bought. He communicated like no other cat I've ever met.
  • Wyatt, our puppyman. He makes me laugh everyday. I never would have gotten a dog except TGF is a dog person. It is next to impossible to imagine life without him.
  • Saana. Thoughts of her still make me cry. She touched my soul so deeply in the nine montha she was alive.
6. Five favorite pieces of clothing
  • Black and white sundress that I bought from Kimberley at camp a number of years ago.
  • Anything I've bought from Tienda Ho on Telegraph Avenue (the best dressing rooms. Ever!)
  • A pair of Joe Boxers mens' black pajama bottoms
  • A big gray Henley like top
  • An olive green mesh silk sweater
7. Five things you enjoy in the summer
  • Dance New England camp!
  • Longer periods of day light
  • The fog
  • Warm weather
  • Cool evenings
8. Five foods you don't like
  • Liver
  • Sea urchin
  • Soft boiled eggs
  • Chocolate covered candied ginger
  • Over cooked spinach
9. You are given $50,000 to give to 5 people as $10,000 cash gifts, who and why
  • My friend Adrienne, who is always struggling and always gives more than she has
  • Sunny, my mother, because she has been more than generous and I really want to repay something to her. Maybe she could self publish her poetry
  • Set up a college, or run around the world for six months fund for our niece, T'Mane
  • My foster daughter Michelle so she can make choices she believes in rather than ones she can afford
  • Ruth, so she could do her art more and work less, even just for a little while.
10. Five things that are not where they belong
  • 30 extra pounds (on my body!)
  • Bush (in the White House - stole this one from Wen, couldn't help it!)
  • My academic record (it's in the toilet)
  • The Purple Beast, stuck on the street refusing to start
  • Veronica Mars (off the air)
I won't tag anyone specifically but feel free to do this. Just let me know so I can read your lists!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two sides of the same coin

A few weeks ago, on the same day two books came to me, both reflecting passions of mine. Really.

I give your my studious, loves to debate side:

No I haven't read any of it yet but it is on my very long list of books I really want to dive into on this and related subjects. I acquired this through a friend who was cleaning out to move.

That same day while I was assisting at her garage sale, my love bought home this sweet book for me.

It's true I adore pin-up art. Seriously. My checks have four designs by George Petty on them and the cover is embroidered with a glorious woman. The new versions of these checks do not thrill me (different artist) and luckily I am not out of checks yet. I just scratch out my old address. That won't work for much longer as I will be in another state soon so my hunt for great new checks will begin anew. When Jennie first saw my checks a few years ago she looked at them, looked at me, looked at them again, and said, "You're not the average lesbian, are you?" Apparently not.

One year for my birthday my then sweetheart got me a leather miniskirt and a sawzall. Both thrilled me though it's true what with owning a home and fluctuating weight the saw has seen more use.

Truthfully I loke that I have more than one side, that some of my interest surprise people. TGF was initially quite surprised that adore old Bond movies, but I do. I can (and do) watch them over and over. Sean Connery, seriously the best Bond ever, though Pierce Brosnan gives him a serious run for his money. Many "date movies" bore me though every once in awhile.... Of course I can't think of one that fits that bill right now.

I love restaurants like, Aureole, where TGF went on our first date (Yes we traveled to meet in person, to Vegas. It was a several day, luxurious "first date".) At the same time I really dig finding cool diners (been there too) and eating "old school" food.

So that's a little bit of me and the supposed dichotomies that exist in this person.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Another chapter closing

Last night was my last board meeting for BirthWays. Tomorrow I go to the printers to check the blues for the final newsletter I will oversee. For the last time. I believe I officially joined the board in late spring 2003 and have overseen, often poorly, seven newsletters. I wish I had done a better job though I had some challenges which added to the disorganization.

The graphics person I inherited was challenging and I was involved in the decision to fire him. Then I located Pete, who was fabulous, through another volunteer organization (which has since gone under). He was incredibly competent and took good care of our publication, but he needed to relocate. I was distraught. After much searching, agony, and prayers I found Theresa, who is the sweetest woman I have never met. She is a hard worker, a beautiful designer, and incredibly patient with our chaotic structure.

I will try to help out with the mailing party, and I suspect I still forward emails that might be of interest to the board member from my new base in the mid-West. Several weeks ago I told TGF that I would not be joining any boards, at least for awhile. She smiled sweetly and said "the first all volunteer, drowning in work and chaos, do-gooder board that turns up will have your free hours taken before the dishes are unpacked." I am going to try to make a liar out of her. But I can't promise I'll succeed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An easy goodbye

The other night I decided that today should be my last day at Stars R Us. There haven't been all that many leads lately, probably because it's summer so there have been a number of shorter days, certainly no extra time. So today as my lead pile was dwindling, I walked over to Iris's office space which she shares with Nancy, the office manager. They are both really nice women. I summarized the whys of my leaving, which as I ran things down sounded so reasonable I was shocked.

The DNE new database is so freaking buggy that I find myself sending emails to Charlie, the database guru every time I do data entry. This year's flyer is gorgeous and for that I honour the designer, however she also decided to hack the hell out of my registration form. Any time I have look at the damned thing I feel the fury of a thousand angry bees. So there's that.

I am finishing up the last newsletter for BirthWays that I will be overseeing. It went to the printers today. There is still updating I need to do with the address excel file, and a board meeting Wednesday.

In just over 5 weeks I need to head to the east coast to do my DNE job. Between now and then I need to keep working on registration duties and pack about 70% of my house, sell or otherwise get rid of books, clothes, and other sundries. Probably hold a tag sale in early August. Plan and host a house cooling party less than a week after I return from the east.

And an unexpected wrench was thrown into things today when I was shimmying into a parking place at work when apparently the ball bearings on the Purple Beast went. The front passenger tire is now all catty wampus and it's not drivable. Tomorrow morning I will be calling AAA to get it towed to the repair place. You don't want to know the estimate amount and I can't tell you because I'm putting my head in the sand about the whole dang thing. But I digress.

Iris and Nancy were very sweet and seemed sorry to see me go. Aerin (yes that's really the spelling, I am making an exception here) gave me a big hug which was lovely. Dee was less than pleased because she was losing her "fastest data entry" person. Maggie, my only buddy like person there, gave me a really nice hug. I would like to try to stay in touch with her for a little bit, maybe invite her to the party.

That's one brief and easy chapter that is now closed. Seventy ga-jillion more to go.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The last time here

All day Wednesday I played the waiting game. It started at about 6:40a.m. when my cell phone rang with my client voice at the other end. Contractions had woken her at 4:30a.m. and there seemed to be a rhythm that felt promising. I roused myself completely, threw my sleepy body in the shower (I hadn't gone to bed until about 1:00a.m.), and readied to leave. Kissed TGF who had fingers crossed that this would a nice and rather quick birth. She has only heard tell of births where I was home in less than 12 hours and has only seen ones where I was gone for 20 hours or better.

Driving briskly along since there was little traffic, what with it being a holiday and all, my cell phone rang with my client's lovely voice at the other end. She was literally at her door about to leave and decided she needed to reassess things, meaning she wasn't going to the hospital. We discussed everything, it really did seem like the right thing as I trust gut intuition. Exiting off the freeway and I zig zagged my way through the streets, returning home to surprise TGF. Throughout the day my client rang me and we talked about how she was doing, which was always great if a bit tired of being pregnant. I puttered and pondered the purgatory of being on-call; on one hand happy to do and sad this would be my last birth in California, grateful call would be over soon and a small sense of panic that this would my last ever.

We met up with Ruth and Piccolo for our walk to be followed by dinner at our place, a very low key 4th celebration. We headed over to Point Isabelle to watch the fireworks as we had done two year prior. This year however it was amazingly crowded and we were absolutely stunned - what had happened to our private, quiet little spot. Later TGF remembered that Oakland had canceled their light display which is what brought the crowds to our little oasis. Of course I had left my phone in the car and when we made our way back there was a voicemail. Gah! John* had left word that they had gone in for a check where they found her to be 3 centimeters. They had decided to augment and get things cranking. We drove home and I gathered a few things so I could turn right around and leave. It had been freezing by the water but as I headed to the hospital I found myself wondering if I had the heat on in the car. I looked at the thermometer in the car and saw it was 80 degree. People it was 11p.m.! This is not normal weather for "the flats" which is where I live, where the evenings are typically chilly even in the warmest seasons. I worried that I was dressed too warm but quickly remembered that hospitals are notoriously cold in the middle of the night. As it turned out I froze the entire time.

I ran into John in the hallway as I cruised through the halls looking for Amy's room. Amy* and her best friend Amy P were in hanging out when I walked through the door. It was nice to have the same "team" again. Amy P and I were additional supports for the birth of their first child. Amy was in a great rhythm and I held fast to TGF and Ruth's wishes for a fast birth and the goal of my getting home by 3am. The doctor we worked with was one of the best OBs I have ever had the honour of attending a birth with. This is not compliment I give often, though I wish I did. She was lovely, gentle and time constraints never mentioned.

There was a change in the intensity of contractions which cause a twinkle to be exchanged between Amy P and I. When there was an exam done, alas and alack she had progressed 1 centimeter in four hours. It was now 1:30a.m. and all parties were tired. I believe it was sometime around that point that Amy opted for an epidural, in part so she could get some rest. By around 3:30 she was pronounced 5 centimeters. Oh my. I fought doing the math while acknowledging that she had cut the time in half for the same amount of progress. This boded well but I knew too much about the vagaries of the body and birth to wish for anything in particular. Though continously cold, I nodded off here and there, the longest "nap" being probably 20 minutes. Three hours later she was completely dilated. Amy was a bit concerned because she didn't have any urge to push but the doctor was totally relaxed. "Well we will do a practice one or two and see what happens. If nothing then we'll wait a bit." I could have kissed this woman. The doctor got "suited up", saying I may not need all this if it's going to awhile but you never know. Well the baby was right there! Amy had pushed out her first baby in about 20 minutes. This time? it was about 4 pushes, 10 minutes total from first push to baby. Awesome. Beautiful boy born at 7:03 a.m. on July 5th.

It really was a lovely birth in many ways. Amy and John are a wonderful couple. They were my only repeat client in the Bay Area (I haven't done all that many births in the nearly six years I've been here, maybe 20). I felt very entwined with this family, a kinship with Amy - the first time I met her the connection was instantaneous. Also the birth I attended in February was for her brother's daughter, Amy's niece. That is a first for me, doing two immediate family members. A special privilege, it is hard to find the words to really describe the feeling that accompanies this experience. All ways around a lovely way to end my time here for this part of my identity, my life.

*no real names are used

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A bite too large

The photos of the house that TGF has been obsessing about finally came via email. I found it awhile ago, I think via realtor.com - a frequent haunt of mine these days. Now I am not foolish, by the price and neighborhood I knew it would need a lot of work. However it smelled of potential. I did start to think about things a bit more and how large a project it might be. TGF and I had a serious talk recently about the impact of taking on a such beast for our first project together. If it was a gut job there was no way we could live there and do the work, so that would mean covering the loans on the house and rent - still would be way less than our current rent but seriously, you know?

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand or thirty thousand words.

Offers a whole definition of indoor/outdoor plumbing, no? Yes that is outside plant life festooning the inside walls of the bathroom. Our Ohio connection friend Jer called after seeing the place which left her a bit speechless. Upon just stepping through the front door her realtor pal said "offer half the asking price". From that call it was clear that we would need to get a dumpster to rid the place of trash - and which from the few photos we have there's a lot of garage. A lot. It needs a new roof. Patches of the stucco are falling off the back of the house - lathe is showing. Not good.

I am sure there are some awesome details in this place but seriously we are talking a gut job here. I'm sure. It could be a fabulous home. But as our first renovation/flip property? I'm thinking no bloody way. I want our first couple of projects to be successful. Successful means we haven't killed each other, we make a little cash, and we are happy with what we produced.

So back to the drawing board as it were.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I couldn't help it

Blame Heather.

You scored as Albus Dumbledore, You are Albus Dumbledore. Calm, perceptive, forgiving, and wise beyond your years.

Albus Dumbledore


Hermione Granger


Luna Lovegood


Harry Potter


Remus Lupin


Neville Longbottom


Sirius Black


Oliver Wood


Ron Weasley


Draco Malfoy


Severus Snape


Percy Weasley


Lord Voldemort


Bellatrix Lestrange


Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with QuizFarm.com

Monday, July 02, 2007

How to fall in love without even trying

People meet on the internet everyday. There are plenty of friendships developed over those cables and phone lines. At some point people developed something that moved beyond personal ads like the one I used to read for hope and amusement in Village Voice too long ago to count. In fact that is how Sunny met her husband of, dang, twenty years! She answered his ad, a xerox copy of that ad resides in a plastic red heart-shaped ad. To this day she laughs over his "nices" and "vices" list on that piece of paper.

TGF and I met over the internet but not at a site like mat*ch.com, and certainly not e-hypocrisy given their policy of not working with anyone who does not identify as heterosexual. She joined a listserv that I had been a member of for the better part of eight years. We bantered mostly onlist but eventually a bit off as well. At some point we spent more and more time off list emailing. She wrote about craving chocolate and I offered to send her some excellent stuff (some argue that since being bought out the quality has gone down. She freely sent me her mailing address 2500 miles away. Then realizing her potential mistake emailed me back asking if I was a stalker or a serial killer. My reply that I was no serial killer but being a stalker was always a possibility. See, bantering.

It's hard to explain how we went from emailing a few times a week, to every day, to the first phone call, to talking 5-6 days a week in a span of less than two months but that's what happened. On the phone and over email we talked about relationships (she was just leaving a long-term one, I was in an long-term open relationship), our families, passions (her include muscle cars and all things Coke), yearnings. Everything really. The attraction built incredibly fast, she has one of the best voices ever which is a big thing for me. We also fought during this time, a foreshadowing I'm sure of what our therapist calls our "core issues".

The draw was so intense I think it fueled some of our fights because we saw, or more accurately sensed that we represented big changes for ourselves, each other. But I do wonder how many couples who meet over the internet fight as intensely as we did before they have looked into each others eyes. Oh those eyes. Did I ever mention her gorgeous blue eyes? Her eyes are so expressive, I can call up about a dozen visions of her eyes representing a dozen moods. The first time we met, we each flew from our respective homes to Vegas, one of her favorite places. We flirted, touched, walked in the opulence that is Vegas, and had tense moments, probably out and out fights. All in the three and a half days. I remembering thinking that that weekend would be my only chance to actually see her. There was an irrational set of fears that she and all that could be would disappear so I searched endlessly through many shops seeking a charm for the bracelet I didn't own that would represent her somehow, some tangible evidence, a fetish item that I could look at, touch long after she had evaporated.

Neither one of could say what we knew before Vegas, nor could we speak those three little words in person. I fought within myself the entire trip, "say it, don't say it". I could have stripped a field of daisies in those three days. The first meeting only confirmed what I knew: that she had my heart; it also confirmed that this was not going to be a mellow, low key relationship. I was right and that's just fine by me. It is a relief to yell with emotion and not have to turn right away to comfort the other person. Just like I have never been as open hearted,
I have never been more in touch with my anger which is a good, if challenging thing.

It is so true that love comes when you're not looking at least as often as when people haunt the halls of love.