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28 posts from June 2004

Knitty's Up!June 30, 2004

And I've got a lil article in the sexy mag.....
Whee! I've had such a great day!

And this:

Good grief.

Check:

$3006.

Aiiiiyeeeeaiiiiyowyowyow! That's the sound of me jumping up and down all over my living room and dining room, waving my hands and stomping my feet. It ain't pretty. Both cats are now under the bed.

Sandy and Don were the two who put me over the top. Bless your hearts, both of you, ALL of you. Greta, honey, you were right. It happened. And how.

I'm changing the donate button over there to direct to the Team 911 pledge site ("The only thing we're used to running is a hot bath"). If you'd still like to donate, it'll go to getting my three fabulous wonderful coworkers to the run. And you'll still get my undying thanks and your name listed and some stitch-markers, to boot.

IT'S NOT EVEN JULY YET! I thought I'd be struggling with this until, like, November.

Bless your hearts, every one of y'all. Love love love.

Aaaayoweeyowweeeeeeeeaiiiiiiaaaaaioooooooohooogah! I have to go try to calm down.... No, why bother? Yipppppeeeee!

Blessed.

What a response! At first I have to admit I felt a little chagrined – my pal that got bashed isn’t a good friend, I only see her situationally, when I’m in the City hanging with a certain group of friends. I adore her and think there’s nothing happier in this whole world than her huge laugh, and Cat playing Flip Cup is one of the great wonders of the world, but I wouldn’t call her up if I was having a bad day. I have her email, but not her cell number. You know? I started to feel like I shouldn’t be receiving such lovely, caring comments.

Then I realized that you weren’t responding because she was a close friend of mine, you were responding because you understand that it happened in my world, something that never should have happened, and should never happen again. And yet it does, and it will. Your thoughts do support her and heal her, and they support and heal me, too.

It does suck, though, huh? I sometimes forget how blessed I am to have a family that loves me, and friends that support me, and a community (online and in person) that protects me. I forget that there a whole lot of people who use the word “dyke” as an epithet. I forget that they live so close to me. I picture that kind of ignorant person living in the back of beyond, somewhere far away, having dropped out of school in third grade due to unfortunate circumstances and never having had the opportunity to learn love. I forget that that kind of hatred can be bred in affluent, well-educated families, and that they can live next door to me, and they can smile and let me go ahead of then in the grocery store line, because I don’t “look” gay.

Erg. I don’t want to think about it anymore. Can’t. I’ve always refused, flat-out, to be ruled by fear in any way. We’re all in danger at every minute. When I eat bread, I could choke. When I drive, a drunk driver could hit my car. When I walk, a tree limb could break as I’m under it. Terrorists could attack. Or Bush could start a war (no, wait....). You just have to stand tall and enjoy as much of it as you can. Right? And love.

Have I made it perfectly clear yet how wonderful my readers are? How loving they are? How SMART they are? I am a lucky, lucky girl. And I’m a lucky girl who’s already done her writing for the day, and it’s still early, so I have time to cruise blogs for a bit. I took myself off line this past weekend, almost entirely. Didn’t post, didn’t even check email or any blogs. I need to do that more often. It was quiet and nice. But I missed you.

Have you noticed (of course you have) the lack of Knitting Content? That’s because it’s been slow around Casa Rachael – still working on the Brick Joy cabled DB cardie – only have the back to finish, then joining pieces and picking up and making hood. I find the yarn almost impossible to photograph, so I haven’t bothered. Picture deep red/orange, lots of cables. There. You get it. I sent a pair of RealQuick Socks to a friend recovering from a bad fall – orange and purple Horstia tweed, and I regret I didn’t get a pic of them – they were my first socks made using worsted weight, and they were FAST (just used Wendy’s magic toe-up formula, which works on any size needle, any gauge yarn).

Hey! Bethany’s home. No, I mean it. I haven’t talked to her yet today, but she should be at Mom’s by now. She’ll spend two weeks in California, and then she’s on to settle for a time in Montana where she’ll be working and playing, thanks to an Artist’s Grant that she received from a lovely, lovely, lovely friend. But the road trip that lasted almost a year is over. I’m so proud of her.

Now. Mwah.

Safety in NumbersJune 29, 2004

I found out that after the dyke march on Saturday, one of my pals was bashed. She was beaten up, kicked and punched by a drunk male who broke her nose, threatened to rape her friend, then went on to beat up the same friend and punch three other women. He was arrested, that’s the only good part of the whole story. He’ll have a felony hate crime permanently on his record. Forever. District attorneys aren’t pleading out hate crimes right now, thank god. It’ll stick.

I think a lot of people picture Gay Pride as a parade full of queens wearing boas and tiaras and little else. But that’s the smallest, most colorful side of it, and it’s all the news cameras care to catch. What it really is: It’s the grouping of women and the people who love them on the lawn in Dolores Park on Pink Saturday, before they march through the streets, peacefully and joyously, with no corporate advertising or sponsorship, just regular women walking with their friends, safe. It’s the families who gather on the lawn at the Civic Center on Sunday, dads with their children, grandparents and friends and co-workers who picnic and people-watch and apply sunscreen. It’s seeing the way you love reflected, for the only time all year, back to you in hundreds of different happy faces, faces that look just like yours, or look very different. It’s being able to kiss your girlfriend without doing that tiny look-around first – that safety check that we do without even registering that we’re doing it. It’s being able to dance together outside, in the sun. It’s safety in numbers. It’s pride.

Bashed. In San Francisco. On Pride weekend. No one’s safe, and it makes me terribly, awfully sad.

Post Pride PostJune 28, 2004

Howdee. All right. I’m all Prided out. I’m such a wuss – I could only bear to go to Saturday’s activities. Never even made it to the big parade on Sunday. But I had a blast – met up with some friends at a party in the Castro, and then we walked to Dolores Park where the Dyke March sets up. Didn’t listen to ANY of the impassioned speeches or the angsty music, just chilled up by the swings and tried to coordinate meetings of friends. Lost one group of friends completely when I went to watch the bikes leave, and joined up with another group.

Oh, the power of that roar. The lesbian yawp. They’re getting ready to go:

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And they’re off!

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The woman above was dancing on top of a phone booth, clearly having had a little too much to drink. At one point she slipped off, and thousands of women gasped. At any other event, no one would have noticed her fall. But with that many women in one place, even the toughest looking mamas on their bikes stopped revving their engines and asked each other, is she okay? Everyone stopped having fun and stared until she was lifted back up and started to dance again. A great roar went up and the party started again.

After the bikes left, we walked around and set up our dance area up the street. We handed out kisses (mostly Hershey’s) to the girls walking by. We were lucky enough to be standing right in front of a building that had people hanging from every window throwing beads. I say no more.

photo_0321

May I just add that I learn VERY slowly? I left early in the evening, back on BART by ten thirty or so, and I only had a couple/three beers over the course of the afternoon/evening (oh, and a little vodka cran, but that was an accident waiting to happen). So, tell me. How did I feel in the morning when I woke at 6:30 to go running with my pace group? Like hell. Yeah. Huh. And I have a master’s degree.

But hangover aside, the running went great – splendid. Not one pain from the shin-splint area. They’ve got hot spots now, so I did strain them a bit, but I’ll rest them some more and do a little more pool-running (sigh) this week, but I’m so THRILLED that what I’m doing is working.

And check:

DSCN68071

This is from Chrissie, who rocks! What a spoil of gifties in the mail! I’m going to sit on the couch and read them now. Chrissie, send me an email again – I’ve lost your email address.

I’ve added to the list of sponsors to the right. If you’ve donated, please make sure you’re on the roll, that I’ve got your name spelled right, and that I’ve attached your website, if any..... And email me with your address if you’d like those stitch markers (when I get my butt in gear and make them...) The marathon website has fallen way behind, and I know that at least two people (Mandy and Shobhana) have had their cards charged, but the money hasn’t shown up in my account. I’m going to be calling the marathon this week to straighten it out, so let me know if you’re not on my list.....

And know that you are loved and thanked and thought of, all the time!

Really. This is true. Mwah. Happy Monday.

(PS -- just had to take my tagboard down -- got zapped with a spammer thing that made pop-ups hit my site.... sorry if you got zapped before I closed it.... ugh.)

Be ProudJune 25, 2004

It’s hot today. Hot for Oakland, that is. It’s got to be at least eighty out here in the shade. I do realize that’s nothing compared to real heat, but heck, if Oakland got real heat, I’d move. I hate being too warm. It’s kind of a problem sometimes. Most of my life I’ve actually rather dreaded summertime, for the sole reason that it’s soooo far from fall and winter and the brisk cool weather that I adore.

This season, however, I’m kind of digging this whole summer thing. I’ve been outside more, maybe that helps. I haven’t had a garden in so long that I had forgotten how nice it is just to be outside, yet still in your own space. And I’ve got so many fun things planned that when I open my calendar I’m kind of overwhelmed. In a good way, mind you. Diamonds on the soles of my shoes, I know.

THIS weekend, party people, is Pride. I’ve got several parties lined up tomorrow before the Dyke March, which to me and my friends is what Pride is all about. You can keep the big scary parade on Sunday with the millions of people thronging to watch men in very little leather, but the Dyke March, oh, yeah. Especially Dykes on Bikes. Cliched, yes. But there is NOTHING like standing on the sidewalk, watching them line up, and looking down the street and realizing that you can’t even see the end of the women on motorcycles, they go for so many blocks. You can’t talk to your friends because of the roar that shakes the ground, but you can point and whoop and jump up and down. Then they all roar off in a wondrous thunder and thousands of women say, “oooooohhhhh,” all in unison.

It’s a lovely thing.

This year, a group of friends and I are doing the same thing we did last year. We’ll watch the bikes leave, and then go around the march by walking back streets until we get to the strategically parked pick-up truck. We’ll open all the doors and windows, crank the stereo, get in the back and dance as the marchers go by. This time, I’m telling you, I’m bringing candy to throw.

Basically it’s lesbian mardi gras. What could be better?

On Sunday, we have a training run, though, so I can’t/won’t drink very much tomorrow or I’ll be HURTING. And then we hope to go down to the parade afterwards and shake a coffee can for marathon donations. I kind of hate fundraising like that, and I kind of like it. I’m good at it. It all goes into the Team 911 fund, along with the awesome Rosenblum Grant (I like the sound of that). I’ve been doing a lot to try to raise the money for the team, so all four of us can go. It sucks to fundraise (how is that even a verb?), but I wasn’t raised by a grant-writer for nothin’. I’m dedicated enough to this marathon that I’m happy to work hard to help my friends.

But in my personal marathon account, dear friends, I’m up to $2701.20. Yes, you DID read that right. Is that amazing? I am still in AWE. Kind of an odd total, though, isn’t it? I shouldn’t spill what someone donated (tacky, I know) but I hope my friend Hedi (of Mariko fame) won’t mind that I tell you that she donated $26.20. I sat at work and just stared at that amount, willing it to make sense. Was she adding tax? Then I got it.

26.2 miles = marathon. Isn’t that the best?

Where was I? Oh, yes. I’ve decided that all this street-pounding work I’ve been doing for Team 911 is great, but it’s all going into the team account. My personal account will be made up of knitters. It’s YOU. My own marathon is backed by friends I’ve made through this very blog, and I feel so lucky and so happy and so blessed that I can say that. And so proud of my little on-line family!

I still have those moments in which I think, “What the hell am I doing? I’m not athletic. I don’t run. I barely (hah! Typo: barfly) walk. I can’t ever ever ever run a marathon.” I actually had this conversation with myself this morning before my bath. Then I thought of you all. You believe in me. I will, too.

(And check OUT my new sponsor button on the right that Melissa made for me. How cool is she? Go ahead, baby. Steal it!)

Have a Proud weekend! See you Monday. Love.

CatSleepJune 24, 2004

The cats and I sleep better together during the day. When I sleep nights on my weekend, I’m up at 5am to feed them, separately. Again at 5:30 to pick up the bowls and un-separate them. And then solidly awake to their morning yowls until about 8am, when they finally settle down and want to sleep again.

But during the day, I hit the bed at about 8am, and they’re right there with me. Digit used to sleep by my head exclusively, since he HATED Adah for years, but now that he tolerates her, he’ll sleep like this.

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Heh. Adah is a stretched-out cat. She’s naturally trusting, and assumes this pose without thinking. Digit, however, would rather die than see this photo. Him? Stretched out like that? No. He’s too tough for that.

Went to yoga for the first time in a long time last night before work. And ohmygod, it kicked my ass. I swear, I sweated more doing yoga last night than I do on a three mile run. And it ain’t even bikram. It was a new studio, and the teacher, a wonderful new-age-skinny kind of man with a deep voice read us poetry during the rest time at the end. I got into my first handstand ever. Of course, that’s only because in the pairing up of partners, I looked to my right and left a little late and I was odd girl out. So I got to work with the teacher. It is weird, folks, to meet a man, chat a little, and then put your hands on the floor between his feet, lean into his knees and have him balance you at the waist while you kick yourself up. Weird. But really super cool, too.

And now I gotta get going, ‘cause I’m meeting Christy at the pool to run. It’s a lovely afternoon, and having her with me will prevent me from dying of boredom. Perhaps. I hope.

I love Rosenblum! Soooo excited....

The Knitter's Reading List

If you haven't seen it yet, it's at Cari's place, permalink HERE. It ain't knitting books, folks. It's fabulous. Print it out.

Have Some Wine?June 23, 2004

Okay. Let me tell you this:

ROSENBLUM CELLARS ROCKS!

They’ve agreed to be our corporate sponsor for Team 911, and they’ve donated a generous chunk of change (what are the niceties here? Do I say the amount? Let me just say that it’s enough that I’ll be advertising their excellent wines by wearing their tee shirts for the next six months while I’m running around the Bay Area). I talked to Kathy Rosenblum herself, and she couldn’t have been nicer. I tell you. Experience comes in handy sometimes. I’ve been drinking their wine ever since I became aware that they were an actual LOCAL winery, right on the island of Alameda, and now they’re doing this amazing thing for the AIDS Marathon and Team 911.

I’m a little giddy. When I get home from work in the mornings, I always turn my ringer off to sleep. She had left me a message while I was sleeping, and while I try never to check my messages when I wake up until AFTER I’ve done my writing, I saw on the caller ID that the Rosenblum had called, and I couldn’t resist. I checked. And she said right on the message that she would like to be our sponsor.

Now tell me. Aren’t you proud of me that I STILL went out into the garden and did my (addled) writing first before calling her back? That was so hard, but I know that when I first wake up I sound like an idiot on the phone anyway, so it wasn’t actually that great a sacrifice. It was very hard to keep my mind on the novel, though. I kept wanted the main character to pop a bottle of red. Even though it was ten in the morning, her time.

ROSENBLUM! Hooray! Would you like a drink?

Oh, I did my water running yesterday. I think it’s officially known as “aqua-jogging” but that sounds lame, doesn’t it? Water running has a slightly better ring to it. And I’m here to tell you, it is The Most Boring Form of Exercise In The Whole Wide World. Bar none. I told that to both lifeguards, but they didn’t really seem to care. It was lovely for the first five minutes. I strapped that flotation belt on, leapt into the cool water, enjoyed the sun on my face, and just ran through the water. Just like you’re running! It’s easy! Five minutes later I couldn’t imagine how I would occupy my mind for the next thirty-five. I was even grateful when a huge group of children arrived and jumped into the lanes next to me. At least they were distraction, even though they tend to spit. I drove from the pool to Longs, where I bought a ten dollar AM/FM headphone radio. It only picks up AM, apparently, but that’ll be enough. I’ll keep this up this week, and in the future I’ll use it as cross-training.

I can sure feel it working, though. I could hardly stand when I got out of the pool, my muscles were so tired, but it felt great. And my shin splints didn’t hurt at all. I think I’ll be good to go on Sunday when I get out with my pace group again.....

I’m just so excited I can’t stand it. Yay Rosenblum!

MoviesJune 22, 2004

I saw a double feature last night, Saved and The Day After Tomorrow. Goodness. What a juxtaposition THAT was. People I love who live in/near New York City, don’t see TDATomorrow. Actually, no one should go see it. The wolves killed me. Puhleease.

I know that it has a good message – the world can’t keep using up its resources without great repercussion, and I loved it when United States had to flee to Mexico and Mexico closed its borders until the US forgave its debt (fabulous), but honestly, a movie like that is not the way to Wake America Up. How about just raising every utility/petrol product to its actual cost? That would do it. We would wear only wool and walk to where we needed to go.

I know. I’m SO late to the complaining-about-this-movie party. Forgive me.

But am I early in touting the wonders of the movie Saved? Dude, I loved it. I know some churches are trying to get it removed from theatres, but come on. That only served to get me to the show that much faster.

I have this theory that kids of high-school age have to have a passionate outlet for all those feelings. They turn to sex, drugs, theatre, music, or religion. I was a religion gal – Pentecostal, arms in the air, the whole thing. Then when I was eighteen, I admitted that I wasn’t straight, and knew that the god of my church would cast me right out onto the pavement with a thump. I didn’t think (and still don’t think) God made me like this only turn his face away from me, so I left, taking what I knew of my God with me, and leaving the vicious god to bluster and blow with them. And the movie, light and fluffy as it is, shows exactly that progression. And it was cute! And funny! If you’re deeply religious, it will probably offend you. If you’re deeply spiritual, on the other hand, it won’t mean anything to you. If you’re like me, though, you’ll laugh and remember and be glad you’re a grown-up.

I got a lot of a second sock, done, too, especially in The Day After Tomorrow, when the knitting got furious as I stared at the screen in disbelief. The effects were pretty cool, though.

Dang, I’m SO not a movie-reviewed. That’s our Em, not me.

I’ve got a cat (Digit) kneading me and two loads of laundry going. Soon I’m off to the pool (didn’t get there yesterday) to try pool running. Wish me luck.

Wow.June 21, 2004

And courtesy of Greta:

Running Rhino Venice Photo Album.

I kid you not. How DOES she find these things?

Happy Sigh

All righty then. I’ve just spent two hours clearing out my email boxes and catching up with things that needed to be caught up. I hate doing that. At heart, I’m really a lazy person. I’m not GOOD at being lazy, but I wish I were. There’s nothing like that message “There are no message in your inbox.” Sigh. Happiness. It’s like a countertop with nothing but a toaster. Or a kitchen table with nothing but a lamp (we’ll see how long that lasts).

While we’re sighing with happiness, I have to give a quick shout out to MJ in Nantucket, our wonderful host of two days, the woman who greeted us with hugs and the keys to her car. She just sent me wind chimes. Like I wasn’t already feeling guiltily spoiled, I just hung them in the garden, where they’re in exact tune with my first pair. Only they’re sweeter, because they were sent with love. Double sigh. This will be a short post, because I have a date with my swing in the garden.

I am a wee disgruntled today, though, because my shin splints are gettin’ on my nerves. Or on my muscles, as it were. I’ve got the classic posterior tibial (mumble something mumble) tendonitis, and the physical therapist I saw says it’s normal for a first time runner, and I just need some rest. I don’t WANT rest. (I’ve been doing everything right, though, rest, ice three times a day, elevation, ibuprofen.)

I ran four miles with my pace group yesterday in the City, and it was truly wonderful. I had a ball. It hurt some to run, but not really badly, and it just felt great to move like that. Four miles! That’s farther than I’ve ever run in my whole life. I was high off it for hours.

It hurt a lot more later, though, and I’m not going to do my maintenance runs this week while I heal up. I have, however, been reading about “pool running” and I’m going to do that tomorrow and Thursday. Being an alum, I’ve got access to the pool at Mills and I’m well prepared (and well practiced) to look stupid running in the deep end and not moving anywhere. I think I need a flotation belt, and I’ll find one of those today. They say plenty of marathoners train this way – no weight placed on the downstrike, like in running, but all the same muscles used (and the cool water keeps the swelling down). And then I’ll run again next Sunday in the pace group and see if I’ve healed enough to go back to maintenance runs.....

Oh, and might I add?
$2520.

A-freaking-mazing. I may be recovering from running, but I’m not recovering from your generosity.

Thank you. Again. Day-uhm.

Bad MomJune 18, 2004

I may have received the sweetest present I’ll ever receive yesterday. It came in a shiny gold envelope from Wales. Inside were these:

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Tiny leetle running shoes! With rainbow roving smokin’ from the heels! And a wee Italian flag to sew to something, probably my water bottle bag. I can’t even tell you how happy these made me. Can you imagine? Thinking of these, while I’m running? I could probably run all the way to Wales, just thinking of these. Well, there’s all that water in the way. Perhaps a cruise ship, then. I could run the track between meals.

I actually wondered for a few minutes, where would one GET such a perfect gift? Then I realized that Daisy-Winifred put the baby shoes together with the roving. Duh. And it made it even better. Sigh. I LOVE these.

Speaking of babies, can I tell you real quick-like why I don’t have one? I was writing to Maggi earlier about this week's trauma. You see, a while back, I decided Maggi’s Wee C needed the Frances books. You know, Bread and Jam for Frances, Best Friends for Frances.... A highlight of my trip was knowing that I would get to read them to her. She climbed up in my lap one night, and we read several of them, ending with Bedtime for Frances. There’s a scene in which Frances watches the crack up above her head, and in her insomnia-induced terror, imagines all sorts of creepy-crawly things wriggling out of the crack. Of course, she later realizes that nothing could fit through the crack, but that’s not what stuck with Wee C. She woke screaming several nights later, convinced cracks had terrible things in them.

I traumatized a three-year old.

Maggi said they worked it out, and she’s not scared anymore, and these things happen with three-year olds, but I KNOW it’ll come out in her therapy in thirty years.

And something even worse happened this week. My little two-year old love came over. Here Winter is with Adah (can you see her tongue sticking out?).

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And with his fairy godmother:

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He loves him some Adah. And Adah’s a patient cat, wanting nothing but to be touched, even if it’s by a two-year old who was built as a runner. They ran and played all over the apartment, and it was wonderful to watch. Then she slapped him in the face. True, he had pulled her tail, but I was horrified. My cat! Attacking a baby! I swept her up and locked her away in my bedroom (where Digit was already, being a rather bitey sort of fellow around small people). I apologized like crazy. I was a bad, bad cat mom.

And then? We were playing on the couch? You know, that “I’m going to bite your hand, look out, here I come....” *play bite, play bite* Then I looked away and closed my mouth, just as he stuck in his fingers.

I bit Winter! There were tears. He cried, too. I told Monica to take him home, to get him out of the bad lady's house where cats slap and people bite.

It was awful. In a funny, pathetic, weak "har har har" kind of way. It'll be funnier next week. Maybe. I may need therapy myself.

But hey, can I tell you? Drumroll, please.

$2370

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Off for the weekend, see you Monday!


Running/WritingJune 17, 2004

Cari always says things that make me think. She writes short sentences that mean a hell of a lot. I admire that. I’m more of a rambling writer, and good ideas can be hidden in all the other stuff. Cari’s clear, and to the point. She’s the one who made me realize when I started running that it could be meditation that would directly profit the writing. She’s been right already. When I just can’t go another step, I think about my work and it gets me a little farther around the lake. The characters run along with me. Well, that sounds creepy. But it's true. And I have to admit that running to train for a marathon, and running as meditation are both great reasons to run. If I were running for increased cardiovascular health, I would do it as often as I wash my car (about once a year and grudgingly).

Yesterday, she gave me another truth. Sometimes the run (like the one on Tuesday) just sucks. Just like sometimes the writing just feels awful, like I’m composing nothing but canned phrases from a dictionary of cliches. But she wrote that in looking back, it’s how many cumulative miles you’ve done, how many pages you've written that ultimately matter. And looking back, it’s hard to tell which were the good days and which were the bad. You just did it, that’s all that matters.

Of course, she said it in, like, two lovely short sentences. But they’re just what I needed.

I’m hungry now, and I’m mentally reviewing the contents of my kitchen. Tomorrow’s payday, so I’ve been putting off shopping. I think I may possibly be out of coffee, which might make me cry. Thank god for green tea. And I believe my toast today will be the two heels of the loaf. I hate that. I’m completely out of honey, so I’ll use jam with my peanut-butter. I realized last week that during my work week, I’m at work for such long hours that the only food I eat at home is the toast I make when I wake up. That’s it. All other meals during those four days are eaten at work at my terminal. I feel kinda silly toting in bags of food on my Mondays, as if I’m bringing all my groceries to work with me, but that’s the way we have to work it. Odd, that. I like eating at home. I like my new table!

*later -- just enough for one shot of coffee. I'm all right.

$2020!June 16, 2004

Can you believe it? I’m going to add the new donors to my list over there, and if I’ve missed linking your site, please email me. And please send me your snail mail address iffen you don’t mind and if I don’t have it, because I want to drop you a note and those stitch markers, when I finally get around to making them (I will make ‘em before the run, I promise!).

I’m still astounded. Seriously. I’m kind of struck dumb now, actually, something that’s very unlike me. How do I say thank you in a way that will convey the thanks that I actually feel? I’m all right with words, but not THAT good. Let’s put it this way. Right now I’m sitting in my backyard. The wind is blowing, making the wind chimes sing, and I can hear the far-off roar of the freeway and one siren in the distance. The water fountain is running. The orange tabby that lives next door just skulked through the garden, shooting guilty glances at me. And while I’m out here, I’m thinking of y’all. You all were already part of my life, and now you’re part of this run. It might be silly, but to me that’s big, and it makes me feel wonderful. It should make you feel good, too.

And hey, my friend and co-worker Brandy joined up, so, along with Marama, we’re Team 911! Three dispatchers, out of our chairs and in the streets, running with a cause. Dispatchers don’t exercise as a whole, you know. We just don’t. We sit for twelve and fourteen hour stretches. Now we’re runnin’. That’s half the excitement, I think.

Okay, I’ll try not to belabor the fundraising/training thing. I swear I’ll try not to. It’s just that it’s so much in my mind right now....

But I did write. I got up and wrote. Thank god. Even if I write crap, if I write first thing when I wake up, it reaffirms to me that yep, I’m still a writer.

Thank goodness.

And that means you.

RhinoJune 15, 2004

I started running, what, almost a month ago? I had images of being little and light and skimming around Lake Merritt, barely a ruffle of the sweet scented breeze following in my wake. People would smile, babies would laugh, and old men would recall the days of their gloriously misspent youth. The rowboats on the water would lift their oars, and I’d wave back generously, running lightly on.

Oh, hay-ell, no.

Today was the worst day yet. I thumped like a geriatric rhino and probably wheezed like one, too. I turned beet-root red and dripped sweat. I never thought I would make it the three miles around, and that was with four little walking breaks. It was hot as hades (anything over 75 degrees to me is too hot) and I was miserable.

I have, however, learned what NOT to do the day before you run. Do NOT drink two and a half beers and a glass of port at your friends’ home the night before. And perhaps more importantly, do NOT eat a McDonald’s Number Two (two cheeseburgers, fries, and a Coke) two hours before running.

Ach. Speaking of twos, it did feel like I was two people out there – one had to heave the other one around, and the one heaving did not like it at all.

It’s my Monday, back to work in about an hour. Had a lovely garden (MdDonald’s) picnic with my friend Monica and baby Winter (pics tomorrow, perhaps). Did laundry. Obsessively checked the marathon webpage where the total has not changed since Thursday. Did not write. Have you noticed that? Haven’t written in almost a week. I will do absolutely anything sometimes to get out of writing, up to and including sign up for a damn marathon.

Lord. I like myself, sure. But sometimes I just wear myself out.

(I did have a lovely, lovely moment last night – I was early to the dinner party, so I drove down to Ocean Beach and just sat on the sand, directly in a bonfire’s smoky path, and watched the waves and the sun goin’ down. Just was. You grab a minute today, too, okay?)

Now I’m a REAL grown-up.June 14, 2004

I have a table. A real one, with a leaf and everything. Look:

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My friend Laura gave it to me. I love the formica top, and the red/orange stripes around the side. It’s perfect for my house – I adore it. I’m going to make breakfast in the morning, real breakfast with eggs and toast and if I feel like going crazy, maybe some bacon, just so’s I can eat at the table, legs underneath and everything.

Digit likes it too.

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(I am not, nor will I become, one of those people whose cats Never Go On The Table. For those of you are, I hate to break it to you, but your cats go on the table when you’re not home. They have small card parties and get quite drunk and manage to leap off just as your key turns in the door. The countertop is a different question – I *do* keep cats off the countertop. When I’m home.)

I can have that dinner party now. Sheesh. Now expectations are running so high about that proposed dinner party that I’ll prolly never even have one. Way too much on the line now. (Ironically enough, Digit is washing his bottom right now on said table. That knowledge might prevent some people from accepting the invitation to the dinner party, so I hope that gets out.)

I actually went to a dinner party tonight at The Girls’ house. See, they know how to do it. Kira whipped up an eggplant pasta thingie (and then disappeared for no more than six minutes and came out with a mixed fruit cobbler from scratch, I kid you not). And we just sat around a chit-chatted. No stress, no muss, no fuss.

Me? Muss. A given.

Now Digit’s chasing Adah and making her emit high squeaky noises that don’t sound right for a cat to make. Oh! That reminds me of a game I used to play with a friend. We’d put Adah on the couch and then push her off. She would make an odd “OOOFSH” every time. And she loved it, purring the whole time. It would be cheaper to buy a squeak-toy, but way less fun.

Severely disjointed, this post, but I must say: Six Feet Under is a brilliant show and last night’s season premiere was stunning. Running a close second in my affections is Deadwood, which I’ve adored from the first episode. I love TV.

UpDownJune 13, 2004

I’ve had the oddest tired/energized feelings today. I woke early and picked up Marama by 0715, and we went for our first real training run (which went great, by the way, running alongside the Great Highway, next to the ocean, my new favorite place to run. Okay, I only have two places I’ve EVER run. But it’s my favorite of the two).

Then I came home after a good lunch out (I’ll be the only marathoner to gain weight while training), and SAT on the couch. Stared. Thought about nothing. Just was. Felt a mite guilty about it, then I got over the guilt, turned over, and took a wee rest. It wasn’t a nap, because I’m no good at napping, but I’m getting better at just resting. With the sliding screen door open to the backyard, and a cat pressed up against my side, a wee rest doesn’t get any better.

But I couldn’t get up. And couldn’t get up. And couldn’t get up. I even called a friend and desperately asked her to come over, so I would Get Up. But she had plans that were a bit more fun, I suppose, than watching a girl sink so far into the couch that she comes up with double-point needles she forgot she had. Huh.

Then I got up and cleaned the entire house. How DOES a house get that dirty in just a few weeks? I don’t even wear shoes in the house and the cats don’t go outside. But the dust bunnies in the corners! And the grime on the windowsills! Incredible.

Now I’m tired again. But I just noticed the new season of Six Feet Under has started, and has been captured by my best friend Ovit (TiVo backwards), so I gotta go. I’d make dinner if I wasn’t so lethargic.... Maybe it’s a mac’n’cheese night. Or we can skip right to ice cream if you’d like. Okay. Let’s.


Still fiddlin'June 12, 2004

Okay, just added a list of my wonderful perfect beloved sponsors. I tried to match names with sites, but I think there are several people that I just couldn't match instantly with their site. If your name is over there without a link, please let me know. If you've donated, and you're not on the list, it's just that the list from the marathon webpage is about three days behind, so hit me next week if you're still not listed.

I want to make sure to THANK EVERYONE! Damn, I adore y'all.

PS - I just clicked around to make sure all the links worked, and Lorette wins best Rachael-shot photo, ever. Still giggling.

Let's Get Back to Business, Shall We?

Knitting content.

Here’s my LacyChickami. (Can you see the edge of my new windchime?)

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I used about three and a half skeins of.... Oh, that's embarrassing. I can't find a ball-band. I bought it in Downtown Yarns in NY with Em and Cari and Iris -- anyone remember what it was? I think it started with an A. Lord. This is why I don't have children. The lace pattern is just one I liked out of a book, started at inch 12 and carried up to the top. Tres simple, tres BonneMarie!

Oh, and here's a bad shot of me, but good of garden:

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I have an unexpected and delightful reprieve this afternoon: I was going to work a twelve hour shift for my friend, but she just called and cancelled me, meaning I have all afternoon and evening off! I didn’t mind working for her, because she’s one of those Wonderful People that you’re lucky to have in your life (and she’s the other imperative half of TEAM 911, my marathon partner! You'll be seeing lots of Marama in the future), but with this unexpected time off, I’ll have a chance to rip the straps of this tank. Somehow, even with trying it on first, I thought I got the straps right, but they’re about an inch too long, just that much too big that it creates the bra gap right under the arm. Not attractive. And I hate to do this kind of fixing, because 1) I hate to rip and 2) I hide the yarn ends REALLY well. It’s going to be a challenge.

But I have sleep! I have time! Straps, here I come.

The Debbie Bliss hooded cabled thingie, hereby known as Brick Joy, is coming along. The cables have been pissing me off – she wrote it so that the wee cables that stand alone wrap one direction, and the cables within the open cables wrap the other. I just get that kind of thing wrong. Yep, wrong on a consistent basis. So after doing both sleeves and the left front, I’ve switched the cables to all going the same way on the right front.

And I don’t care.

I had messed up a cable on the front, just like I did on the second sleeve, and noticed it only four rows up. Did I rip? No? Do I consider that a failing on my part? Kinda, yeah. [Okay, I just had a sleepy couple of moments where I stared outside at the blackberry bush that’s wrapped around the aloe vera monster (George) and I realized that were I working on Cromarty, which is Important, I would have ripped. But Brick Joy is going to be a play-sweater, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Not the same thing at all, and I CAN be a perfectionist when it’s called for. So I’m fine with this, and the conversation is over.]

Sorry to subject you to the whole thought-process thing.

Tomorrow is our first day of training! I’ve been calling it “The Sorting” in my head, because they’re going to have us run three miles at our own pace and then sort us into pace groups (houses). I’m so excited I can’t stand it. I’m happy I’ve been doing the three miles regularly already, so I know I can make it. And I’ve been developing shin-splints, so yesterday I went to see a physical therapist who said, basically, that there’s nothing wrong with me the right shoe won’t fix. Now I have new NEW shoes, and I’m READY. Bring it.

(And so’s you know, I’m going to have a sidebar list of all the people who donate, with links to their website, if they have one. If you’d rather NOT be part of this, let me know, but I’d love to honor you in this way, if you’ll let me.)

(And more: The donate link in the post below or to the right isn't working for me, either... Weird. Hopefully they'll get that fixed! That's worrisome...)

And just for fun, Adah sleeps on TOP of her basket:

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$1600June 11, 2004

$1600!!!!

Can you frikken believe that? I am amazed and soooo happy. And that only reflects back donations made Wednesday or before, so if more has trickled in since then, I wouldn’t see it yet. On second thought, that means that money was raised in THREE DAYS. Holy sheep.

Frankly, I’m stunned. Really. I thought, eh. I’ll get a little change from people, maybe a couple hundred. Nope, sixTEEN hundred, baby. And really, while my bottom line goal (and requirement) is $3000, I had kinda said if I only get $2300 or so by the end of fundraising, that’s okay, too. I’m happy to kick myself $700 to make up the difference and call it My Hawaiian Vacation, since the AIDS Marathon provides airfare and three nights hotel stay. So, really HOW CLOSE AM I?

SO close. Thanks to you. I’m amazed by your generosity.

Listen, if you don’t mind, I want EVERYONE who donated to please send me their address (unless you wish to remain anonymous, but I can already see your name on my list....) so I can get thanks out there. Hit my email at writerach406@yahoo.com -- I’ll be listing you by first name on the site, so include your blog, if you have one. I probably know what/where it is, but I don’t trust myself, in this excited state, to find it. (And hey, if you want to donate, there’s still plenty of time.)

You really are the most wonderful, amazing, generous people in the world, you know that? I have to go run now, to burn off some off this nervous energy.... And oooh, barbeque smoke is coming from somewhere into my windows. Yum. It’s a happy, happy afternoon.

Thank you. Thank you!

Hi.June 9, 2004

Turns out I can’t just NOT write. I feel like I’ve abandoned ship and left the sailors on board gasping for financial help while I drink a hot toddy in the nearest pub. Well. You know what I mean.

I confessed to Christy that I hadn’t been able to help myself, and had cheated by looking at my personal marathon webpage, the one they maintain. But they’ve been so shortstaffed that fundraising updates are at least three days behind schedule, so *I* can’t even see what’s been raised. Darn it. That’s what I get for cheating. But I can call on Friday afternoon when I wake up and ask the office, and they’ll be able to look it up for me. You KNOW I’m tempted to do that now. But I won’t. I’ll wait. I’ll be good. Promise.

And you’ll be the first to know. I’ll add to the marathon webpage when the total changes in the future, and I’ll make some kind of progress bar on my site to show how close I’m getting to $3000. August 31st (the fundraising deadline), here I come! I can do it, I can do it.... When I DO hit that $3000 mark (‘cause I will, you know), we’re havin’ a party. As Becky would say, kir royales for everyone! BBQ at Rachael’s! Everybody knit!

And for those of you who’ve given, or who might, I thank you, from the bottom and top and sides and middle of my heart.

Oh, and Bethany's in Jersey!

June 7, 2004

***ADDED LATER -- I freaking hate asking for money. Please know that if you can't (or just simply don't want to) donate anything, I still adore you. And every pledge, even if it's $3.75, is vastly, incredibly appreciated. Okay, just had to add that. Back to it (and to my break).******

Marathon!June 6, 2004

10151

Okay, this is difficult to write. And harder to post. But I’m going to do it anyway.

I’m running the AIDS Marathon. And I need your support. That’s the simple, bottom line. If you’d like to click away now, please go on. I won’t mind. I won’t even know.

You know that I’ve never been a runner. And I mean never. Several times recently I’ve told friends about the marathon, and the response has been an uncontrolled bout of hysteria. I hate having to hold my friends up while they laugh.

But last month, my body told me it wanted to run. And I don’t do anything without a reason. That can be a fault, but not in this case. While I’m learning how to run, I’m doing something important. I’m raising money that will go to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other national HIV/AIDs clinics to assist in furthering HIV prevention programs and assisting in food, housing, and health care for those living with the virus. A portion of the funds raised will go to global care, for treatment and an eventual vaccine.

I think I feel so strongly about this because it’s my community. In the United States, without a doubt the gay population has been the hardest hit. One million Americans are living with this disease. Half that many have died, and thousands more are infected every year. In the world, twenty-five million have died, and forty-two million are infected, most of whom have no treatment options. Read those last few sentences again, if you don’t mind. It’s a war, and it’s still being waged, and what’s hard is feeling sometimes like people aren’t paying attention anymore. I want people to know that we still care! That a difference can still be made.

I figure this training is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can’t make it all the way around Lake Merritt yet, only a three mile run. And I’m thinking about waking up early three times a week to go run long distances? About putting my body to a challenge that seems almost ludicrous in its intensity? About running 26.2 miles? Me? Couch-potato knitter extraordinaire? I only knit because it’s an excuse to sit in one spot. Are you crazy?

But when I think about the men and women in this world who wake up every morning, knowing they’re infected, or knowing they’re sick, then I figure that running a marathon is a freaking piece of cake, and the very least I can do.

Raising the money, though, is the hard part. I need to raise $3000. I can’t even imagine raising that kind of money. Will you help? I’m going to put up the link to my running webpage, where you can donate online. It’s tax-deductible, and it’ll make you feel good, knowing you’re making a difference, no matter how large or small the amount.

And hey, if you donate $50 or more, I’ll send you two rainbow stitch markers. I’m not sure how stitch markers are made, but I’ll figure it out. Heck, if anyone donates $500 or more, I’ll make you a sweater of your color/design choice. That’s a promise. (Can you imagine?)

Regularly scheduled blogging will resume on in four days, when I get back from my trip-south-to-mom’s slash blog-break. I’m not even going to look at how much is raised until Friday. I know it’ll be somewhere between $30 and $3000, and any amount in between will be PHENOMENAL.

In advance, I thank you. Peace.

DONATE HERE.

Mwah!

Wind ChimeJune 5, 2004

I’ve got Slaid Cleaves cranked on the stereo, and I’ve been puttering for about an hour – putting away old things and finding homes for new things, like the wind chime that I bought earlier today. I’ve been wanting one of those NICE ones for, let me think, almost ten years, since I first brushed up against one at Sycamore Hot Springs in Avila Beach. Before that, wind chimes meant the nice tinkle of random bits of metal. But dang, like the Avila ones, my new ones are TUNED. I stood in the store for a good fifteen minutes, playing each of the different ones. People were considering assassination. But it was important.

I hung them on the end of the house, where I’ll be able to hear them from the living room, the bathroom, and the bedroom. Of course, it’s an almost perfectly still day today. I’m going to go blow on them again.

Okay, I’m back.

I’m driving home on Monday to see the little mama for her birthday. This was a secret. Dad and I had been plotting – he had asked her to lunch in SLOtown, saying he wanted to try a new restaurant for her birthday – she had turned him down. We were in the middle of plotting again today when she picked up the phone, right when I was saying, “So I’ll just meet you at home at one?”

Dude. There’s no recovery from that. So at least she has time to pick a movie to go see after lunch....

I’ve actually rented a car, since my convertible’s getting WAY up there in miles, and it doesn’t have air-conditioning. I know that’s a dumb thing to say about a convertible, but convertibles are good for nice weather, not hot weather. They SUCK in temperatures over a hundred degrees when the drive lasts more than a couple of hours. And to get home, there’s a three-hour corridor of heat to be navigated through Steinbeck country. Ugh. So for less than $20, I’m driving something like a Ford Probe there and back, air-conditioned all the way. I swear, I’m so excited about that part.

Off to sit on the porch. And to blow on my wind chime.


June 4, 2004

Freeway thoughts:

*In a metropolitan area as large as the Bay Area, why isn’t there a bluegrass/Americana/celtic music radio station?

*I dislike it when someone cuts me off on accident and then waves their cell phone in apology.

*I very much like it when a 1971 VW bug passes me in the fast lane.

(These are some of those blogging thoughts which you think will make good blog-fodder, but when captured later land rather flatly. Thud.)

Sitting at home thoughts:

Okay, I have none. I’ll go photograph the Thing I’m Working on That Needs a Name. “Cabled hoodie by Debbie Bliss” is BORING. Standing up. Oh, I don’t WANT to stand up. All right. Here I go.

Dude, that was harder than I thought. Sleepy....

Here you go. A sleeve (note the wrong-way cable third repeat up on right -- my trotting horse):

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And I just like it seen this way:

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Hi, Adah! (At present she's keeping watch at the sliding screen door for rats. Ew. But she looks so happy.) (And I know from reading comments that I have to do something about them, but... sigh. They're so big-grin cute in a really ugly way. Anyone know a good piper?)

I've got both sleeves done, and I'm five inches up the left front. And I'm about five minutes (literally) from finishing the last strap of the green ChicKami with the lace front panel, but I've been lazy. It's laughing at me from the work basket. I do want to wear it this weekend, so I think I'll finish it now.

Happy Friday!

Shucks,June 3, 2004

Y’all rock. I’m not even going to address the comments yesterday because I’m embarrassed by the richness. I thank you, though, from the bottom of my heart (and on top and all in between, too). I am truly blessed.

I’m in the back yard, and there really ARE the biggest rats you’ve ever seen out here. Cheeky beggars, too. They come out, grin, and dart back into the overgrown ivy. The weird thing is that I don’t even mind. I think I’d mind more if my cats were outdoor cats – these look like the kind of rats that would beat up a tomcat and then take his wallet. The two juvenile cats who live next door consider my backyard theirs (as well they should), but they haven’t figured out what to do about the problem yet. The rats make this crazy weird chattering/shrieking noise and the kittens scatter.

The tomatoes are coming along. I had wondering at their growing straight up, as opposed to the normal out, but right now I’m watching the sun go over them (they get direct sunlight for perhaps only an hour a day—doesn’t bode well for the fruit), and I’ve figured out that they get more sun the higher the leaves reach. So they’re reaching.

Yesterday I wore myself out. In a good way, but I was exhausted by the time I got home this morning at 730. I woke yesterday at 2pm. I did my writing in the garden. I blogged. I checked email. I went for a run around the Lake (3 miles, and I only walked for three or four minutes right in the middle! Yippee!). I went to Trader Joe’s (where I ran into my sister Christy—I swear I never run into anyone in the Bay Area, but if someone passes me on the freeway and honks, it’ll be her) and did a whole lotta grocery shopping. I went home and made dinner. I dyed my hair. I sat again in the garden while I waited for the hair dye to take, and read my mail.

I got a letter from Daisy-Winifred who told me to Just Be. The whole amazing letter had been written while she sat in her Welsh garden, and I read it in my California one, and it said that no matter how wonderful a full, busy life is, it’s important to Just Be.

It couldn’t have been a better letter to read. I’m still not quite over the shock it gave me. I think it was the timing of the whole thing. Sure, I had been incredibly industrious on a day in which I still had an upcoming twelve hour shift, but where did that leave me? I was practically panting. I had brought with me into the garden not only the letter, but a book and a notepad for some ideas I thought I’d jot out. You can do a LOT in the twenty-five minutes the hair dye needed.

But I left the book next to me, and I didn’t pick up the pen; I just put my cheek on my hand and closed my eyes and listened to the garden (and the rats). I Just Was.

D-W, it was just what I needed. A reminder. And today, instead of hitting the ground running, I slept in a little (!). And now I’m going to go inside and post this, and then maybe watch a little TV. I’m going to make espresso and mix it with soy milk (my new favorite delight, thanks, Ma!). I’m going to laze. Isn’t that a great word? And then I’ll go in to work, and I won’t have that CrazyNeedCoffee feeling.

Oh, I’ll have to show you what I’m working on.... it’s that cabled jacket from Debbie Bliss’s Cotton for All Seasons, in a red/orange (of course) angora/merino I picked up in Maryland. I’m in love with it. But that would mean getting the camera out, and doing all the fiddly camera things, and I’m Just Not In The Mood. Tomorrow. Maybe.

Oh, and Bethany has a stash. Heh. Living in her PICKUP, she has a stash. That just kills me. All my fault. I take full responsibility.

Dear ReadersJune 2, 2004

Yesterday was a fantastic mail day here at ChezYarnagogo. Just lookee. Bethany (reader, not sister) sent me this! Out of the goodness of her heart, and nothing more. And I swear, I had NO idea what a really cool book it is. Updates, schmupdates. I like MY version the best.

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Thank you, Bethany. That was so thoughtful, and so sweet.

And from Maggi, completely outtadablue, a Richmond bag (because I *heart* that city) that’s destined to carry many partial sweaters, and stitch markers that she made her very own self. Is there anything happier than those little things? I think not.

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Thank you, Mogs. You are darling. (Digit-tail sold separately.)

Lemme just take a minute and say that I love my readers. Seriously. There are good readers/commenters out there, but mine are the best. The BEST. I used to blog because I wanted to jumpstart my writing. It was just for myself. I didn’t care who did or didn’t read. I actually preferred that no one read it. I suppose I could maintain that line and tell myself it wouldn’t matter if no one came to visit my old glass house, but honestly, it would matter to me. It’s like (how to say this without sounding cornier than all get out?), it’s like I have this fountain at my fingertips, and it’s full of good wishes and love and wisdom and advice and empathy. I don't feel like I deserve such wealth. But know that I’m grateful, and happy, and so proud to have people like you, reading my silly ole words and dropping me these fabulous comments and emails that make my heart sing.

Why, just today, MaryB in Richmond (of course), wrote me an email giving me a name for my running style. It’s been suggested that I was SLOGGING, SLow jOGGING. I liked that. But MaryB has an even better one. She says,

Well.

I think that you are a beginner, who is thus being careful getting started. Yes? So you are a Beginning LOw-impact joGGER.

Get it?
You’re a BLOGGER!!!!

Priceless. I’m a blogger, all right. And proud of it, too.

So, thank you. We’ll leave the light on for ya. (Not sure why that needed to be said, but it did.) Mwah.