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24 posts from July 2004

AmazingJuly 30, 2004

Bethany called and left me a message yesterday while I was sleeping. It said, "I wish you were awake, because I'm on the ferry back from Bainbridge Island and I just went to Churchmouse Yarns and Tea."

Ooooh, the little....

She was with her friend Kevin, who is absolutely crazy. Besides being crazy, his best party trick, he's also the worst knitter I've ever met. He once went from twenty stitches to fifty-five stitches in one row. And on the next row he was back down to about seven. It's like he he holds the yarn and two needles and then waves his arms in the air really really fast. What happens, happens.

Oh, hey, the marathon site's back up. Heartfelt thanks also go to these shin supporters:
Rachel T.
Catherine M.
Wendy W.
Krista S.
Sharon

(Have I missed anyone? Have I missed a link? Please let me know if I have.... )

I continue to be blessed and amazed. I work in job in which I see the worst of people. I drive on freeways where people will flip you off as soon as look at you. But I'm surrounded by The Amazing, all the time. Like you all.

And I saw it happen again today. I need a little cushion of money in my bank account in order to shop for a condo, just to sit there and make it LOOK like I've got money just resting there. Yeah. Right. Let's just say this: The only cushion I've got is what I'm sittin' on at this moment. I'd been debating asking one of my best friends if she'd loan me a little for the next six months. It took me a long, long time to get the gumption and the nerve to ask her, and when I did today, she said "Of course. Do you need more?" No, I didn't, but it was so nice to be asked. She's getting a sweater, I can tell you that.

And Daisy-Winifred sent me the nicest email.

And my coworker Gina bought me Atomic Fireballs, one of those weird cravings that I've had for the last week.

And one of our volunteers brought dispatch a box of Krispy Kremes, still warm.

It's a good life. Food helps. So do friends. Love someone up this weekend, okay? It sounds cheesy, and like I'm tossing that phrase off lightly, but I'm not. Love on someone. Enjoy what's right in front of you. Oh, and go see Cari, because her photo-blog ROCKS.

Em, Forgive Me,July 29, 2004

but I went to Starbucks yesterday (I went for a group of people at work, I swear), and they were playing Emmylou Harris.

I was so sad. It was bad enough that I was there. But Emmylou? C'mon, honey, you didn't have to. Or, no! I know it was your label that must have sold you out.... The horror. The shame. We'll pretend I didn't hear it at all, okay?

With Chandra's permission, may I present my favorite Knitting is Sexy shirt picture?

goodsport

Of course, all proceeds from the Knitting is Sexy Cafepress store go right to Team911, which leads gracefully (don't mind me shoving) into a Running Update.

Shin splints SUCK. Have you noticed my feelings about them? Have I been as clear as I think I have? Oh, probably. You're most likely rolling your eyes right now and stretching your legs. Sure, stand up and bounce on your toes a little, feel your strong healthy calves, enjoy the feeling of sheer power. Or something like that.

Me? I'm getting up every hour or so and walking around, taking ibuprofen like it's illegal, doing my stretches. But I gotta tell you (and I might amend this tomorrow), it's not too bad today. I ran the 3 miles yesterday afternoon before work, and while it hurt with each step (but not bad, Mom, I swear!), it wasn't that bad. And tonight I only hurt a little more than I did yesterday. I think I might be getting stronger. And the new wedges in my shoes might be helping, too. Who knows? All I know is I did it, and aside from the whole leg thing, it felt fantastic. (I realized while running how ludicrous that statement is. Yeah, running feels GREAT. Except that my legs hurt. Dur.)

And I *really* wanted to shout out my folks who have recently supported Team 911 by clicking on that little link over to the right, but when I just logged in, they were updating the site, and I couldn't get all the names. But John in Seattle, thank you! Not only are you Mariko's pal, but you're mine, too, babe. Who else was on there? Hmmm. Oh, I think Ann was on there again! And Rosenblum's big ole contribution showed up yesterday, too! Seriously, go buy one of their bottles of wine. I can't believe how much they've supported us, and I couldn't be any happier about them. The rest of you, I'll thank you publicly as soon as the site comes back up.... We're getting closer and closer to getting the team there!

Yow!

Happy dance! I mean it, stretch those shins, darlings!

I have to go change. Digit just drooled ALL over me. Yuck.

FixedJuly 28, 2004

Dude, I fixed the computer! Actually, WE fixed the computer. I installed Spyware Blaster, SpyBot S&D, AdAware, and moved to the Mozilla Firefox browser (which is totally faster, you're right). Take THAT! So in celebration, here are some pictures!

Ann, me, and Bethany, Bay Bridge behind us.

DSCN6sfk9851

These next pictures require explanation. Bethany and I had heard of a South Pacific product store in San Leandro (Mangal's on E. 14th) and we've been trying to get there during store hours for a while. (Mom's from NZ, and the parents met while they were both living in Western Samoa. I know way more about taro than I ever wanted to.) We got there yesterday, and boy howdy. We found a bunch of things we wanted (PavlovaMagic in a plastic egg, TimTams -- they were out of Vegemite, but I have another source for that) and saw a bunch of things that we assuredly did NOT want.

Like these:

lambsbrains

Lamb brains. Yum! Not just for dinner anymore.

We were able to pass up the chicken flavoured potato chips, but Bethany couldn't resist trying these:

DSCN69861

Yep, tasted like burgers. She would have chucked them in the nearest bin, but I wanted a picture first. And yes, that's my small haul from ArtFibers. Kyoto, and it just gleams.

And are you ready for it?

bethleavemt2

That's Bethany leaving.... (See Tach's cool new flames?) Wave, everyone! (And think good thoughts for me -- I'm trying to psyche myself into running. I'd taken the last week off, as the shin splints were getting SO bad, and I'm off now to try the Lake.)

Laundry DayJuly 27, 2004

Had a wonderful, awesome time with Ann yesterday. Unfortunately, haven’t had time to fix my ‘puter, so no pictures yet, but know that yes, she really is that sweet. We shopped at ArtFibers (I only got two balls of red silk that actually GLOW, their sheen is so bright) and we walked to the ferry terminal and then came back and had lunch with new friend Janine and old friends Kira and Rachel. Then we came back to my house and had my favorite part of yesterday – we sat outside and knitted, talking and drinking tea and eating my mother’s AMAZING fruitcake (which was a surprise b-day gift to me, and it couldn’t have come at a better time). Just swinging on the porch swing, just talking yarn and little boys and cabbages and kings.

Miss you already, Ann. Hope you found your way to the next house o’fun....

So I’m sweeping this morning. Okay, afternoon, since I get up so late on my Monday. I’ve already been doing laundry, washing all my stuff and a few things Bethany asks me to wash before she jumps back on the road.

I’m sweeping with a vengeance. I hate cat hair and it’s a constant battle. At least hardwood floors show the dirt and are easy to clean. Bethany’s on the couch under her blanket, the one I made her years ago that I’ve been watching for her, the one that’s going with her to Montana. She offers to help by lifting the living room table. Fabulous. She lifts, forgets her glass of chocolate milk that’s on TOP, which hits the couch and then the floor, breaking into a gajillion pieces. We’re both, of course, barefoot.

So I stay in place and yell at the cats, who decide that broken glass is cool, while she jumps into the only shoes at hand, snow boots (from always-thoughtful Greta), and clomps through the house, getting broom and pan for her hyperventilating sister. She helps me sweep for a while, wearing a tee-shirt, clutching the blanket around her waist, tripping over the tassels in her huge snow boots while she pokes the broom under tables.

It finally hits me.

“Are you WEARING anything under that blanket?”

Sheepish. “You’re washing all my clothes.”

“All?”

Sweep, sweep is my only answer.

That was so funny to me I wasn’t even annoyed anymore. Heh.

She gets on the road today for Montana, her wintering spot. Hopefully she’ll be able to blog from there, ‘cause I’m personally gonna miss the crap out of her. And her blanket, too.

Pop-up HELLJuly 26, 2004

You know in Impromptu when Emma Thompson says, “stupid, stupid rain”? Well, that’s what I’m saying about my laptop. Stupid, stupid computer! I can’t bear to work like this – I type a few letters and then my cursor disappears and lands on an effing pop-up, so this is a very brief entry. I need a five hour block of time to fix this stupid thing (and you all ROCK for the suggestions), and I’m not going to get that until tomorrow, I think. Oy.

So, two quick things: I saw The Producers last night. Wow. It deserves the hype. It brought back memories of high school and college, of being SO into musicals, and traveling long distances to gaze at the boys draped on the Les Mis barricade. Of course, last night's show was loud and funny and farcical, but it brought back that glitz and glam. I was in small musical productions when I was in college, and because of that I can’t help catching what I think are knowing glances between cast members and speculating on which dancer hates which singer the most. It really was fabulously well done, and we had a blast.

And today, I’m seeing someone very special. And we’re going shopping. Heh. It’s going to be a flipping good day.

VinesJuly 23, 2004

There are these blackberries outside my window, wrapped around George, the giant aloe vera (wait, it's not a metaphor, I swear) that are the sweetest damn things I've ever tasted. They're like magic. I can't seem to pick a bad one. Even the ones that have cobwebs on them don't bother me. They're best warm from the sun (like tomatoes). I think I ate one with a bug in it yesterday, and I didn't even care. Just kept chewing.

They're not mine, actually. They belong to the house next door. Their yard is almost my yard since they don't have a fence up yet. When talking to the neighbor one afternoon (why won't his name stay in my head?), I asked if it was okay that I steal some berries from time to time (read: every morning when I get home from work). He said sure, that they weren't very good anyway. Then I made the classic mistake by telling him the truth: "NO, they're INSANELY good." He tried one, and agreed. Darn it. Now he knows, and there are fewer berries for me.

In my future, way down the road, when I get settled, when I move into a place where I can put things right into the ground without thought of transplant, I'm planting blackberry vines. I know they're a noxious weed, but I have to have 'em. That and a sheep.

I don't have much weekend coming up -- I have to work Saturday night, and the rest of the weekend is filled with to-dos (including one fun one: going to The Producers on Sunday). I need to spend some time working on my dang computer. (I realized I spent 18 hours yesterday looking at computer screens -- 12 at work, 6 at home dealing with the crash and subsequent discovery of the spyware nest.) You've all given me fabulous suggestions of downloads, so I'll add a few more and work on killing those bugs. Such a major pain. Clear your cookies, folks. And eat some, too.

July 22, 2004

We lost this round.

Addressing Democrats, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay summed up the arguments on both sides at the start of the debate. "You think this bill is cruel and we think same-sex marriage is a contradiction in terms," DeLay, R-Texas, said.

Yeah. It is cruel. I have to move to Canada.

*** Added later, on second thought. Screw that. While I still want to move to Canada someday, I will not be driven out of my country by people who think I deserve fewer rights than they do because they don't fully understand love or its different manifestations. Let's keep fighting, shall we? Togther.

Questions

Go, Marie, go! She finished her wave-along stole! Check it out, isn't it gerjess?

waveshell_stole_004

I love how alluring it looks, leaning provocatively on the fence like that.

All right, so I ran AdAware and Spybot S&D (thank you for your suggestions!), and I'm hoping that's all I need to do for now. I ran 'em at work, too, on the shared computer, and the pop-ups are still happening. Blast it all.

Eh. Enough complaining about computer woes. We've all got them, haven't we? Why can't it just be easy? Why can't there be life without crashes? (You, Mac people, put your hands down. I know you know the answer.)

Instead, I gotta show you this:

photo_041

Best? Fire?

It's on all sides of the building, and I've wondered about it/at it for years now. Was it someone with limited English skills who just liked the way question marks looked? Or perhaps the printer mistook exclamation points for question marks? Perhaps it was meant to be Best! Fire! But in that case: Huh?

Dunno. But it rocks Oak-town, yo.

DickensJuly 21, 2004

I’ve spent the last two and a half hours reinstalling my operating system, which had somehow become corrupted, and now I’m having the dickens of a time logging on to the internet. I’m finally in, but I think the nefarious spyware has latched on to my computer’s innards. I have a strong feeling spyware is a catchall phrase, much like shin splints. My computer keeps throwing all these OFFICIAL, IMPORTANT, READ THIS AND CLICK THIS LINK TO GET RID OF SPYWARE SO YOU DON'T DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH pages at me from my System Administrator, only I can’t help thinking my sys admin would have better grammar. So I ain’t clickin’, but if anyone’s got a good way of dealing with this, lemme know. I need to find a very very small, very very smart child and send him into the depths of my HP Pavilion with a scrub brush. The 21st century American equivalent of the chimney sweep child labor force of 18th century England.

Erg.

But while ye olde laptop was chugging away, resetting itself (bless its electronic neurons and CD backups), I was forced to use the phone. I got a ton of things done, those phone calls I’ve been putting off, like calls to credit card companies. My mortgage broker (isn’t it funny that I have one of those and yet have no mortgage?) thought I should call my credit cards and ask them to raise my credit limit without checking my credit score, as a courtesy. I need to get my score raised by one measly point. Welp, those phone answerers answered the way you might think, with incredulity and a remarkable lack of politeness. Providian and CitiPlatinum, bite me. Just because I don’t know the rules doesn’t mean you should scoff at me. Simply explain that it doesn’t work that way (even though I bet it COULD, iffen you wanted it to). Don’t get so bitchy that I feel horrible that my silly question has had an impact on your personal and social life.

Double erg.

I believe this calls for ice cream.

Brick JoyJuly 20, 2004

So. Anyway.

Ahem.

See, I’m finding it hard to think of what to write today, because I had a good date last night. I know, I’m not dating. You’re totally right. Completely anti-dating, me. But come on, she’s a knitter who plays the banjo in an old-time band. I had to meet her. I was surprised I hadn’t already.

I had fun. That’s all I’m sayin’. (I ‘fessed when I found her blog and anted up with mine, so this is not a secure channel, as we say at work.)

And as we return to our previously scheduled broadcasting, I present to you Brick Joy:

DSCN69771

Specs:
Yarn: Fairy Hare Softie: Merino/Angora blend, 4 skeins
Pattern: Debbie Bliss pattern, Cotton for all Seasons
Size: 38in
Gauge: Let’s call it 20st/4in, since I’m too lazy to look it up (to pattern specs).
Needles: 5US

Then I got distracted by the purdy flowers:

DSCN69761

And my favorite (for so many reasons), the nicotiana:

DSCN69731

Digit tried to help with the photo-shoot:

DSCN69631

She ain’t being modeled, not for any shyness factor (you know me better than that) but because she needs a zipper, and I haven’t got around to picking up one yet. And I might not today, either. Today, I’m throwing myself a little Alone Party (at least until I go to work tonight). Yeah, not that anyone would remember this but me, but last week I said Saturday would be my alone day. Then I agreed to work for a friend, all good. Then I said, firmly, assuredly, that Monday would be my alone day. Bethany was supposed to be on the road home to Mom’s that day, and I would hide away, watching TV and knitting and not answering the phone or checking email.

Bethany, however, was such a sweet loving little person yesterday, and did NOT want to leave. We had lunch with Christy and Kira and Rachel at Cafe Colucci (best Ethiopian this side of Harrar), and then went shopping (the other thing I swore I would not do yesterday) at the East Bay Depot for Creative ReUse, which is a fancy name for Place With a Lot o’Junk for Real Cheap.

But dude, I fully scored. Check:

DSCN69661

(The chair, not the cat.) And the backs in the sun:

DSCN69831

I’ve been eyeing chairs like this to go with my formica table (given to me by my friend Laura), and they usually price out at around fifty bucks each. Kitsch is in. Vinyl is hot. These puppies? I led the green young man up to the front and outside, where five of these were languishing in the sun and dirt, and asked how much. “Geez. I don’t know. Two fifty each? Or all five for ten?” This is the same place I got the Cascade Sierra for fifty cents a skein. Just like last time, I nodded slowly. “Oh, all right. I suppose I’ll take them.”

Rachel helped me spit and polish them—lord, they were dirty—and I’m in love. Look at those legs! Hooray!

Oh. Tangent, sorry. Alone day. Anyway, around five-thirty yesterday I started to ask Bethany what time Mom expected her to arrive (the folks live four hours away).
“I still have to call her,” Bethany said.
“So call her,” I said, sitting on the couch, icing my shins.
“When I get up and find my cell phone.”
“Let me get it for you. Here. I found it for you. Want me to dial?”
She tells Mom she’ll leave in another hour. One hour later I say, “Won’t Mom be upset if you’re late?”
“I just wanna hang out a little longer here with you.”
“But you don’t want to let Mom down.... She’d be so sad.”
“She won’t mind.”
“YOU HAVE TO GO NOW OR I’M GOING TO LOSE MY FREAKING MIND!”
“I’m out.”

Beth’s such a good egg. She didn’t mind that I kinda flipped, and she got out of my hair pretty darn quick after that. Of course, I only had a couple of hours alone before I had to leave for said date, but I regained some composure in those few hours. That alone time, man. I don’t know how you mothers do it. I firmly believe that’s why bathtubs come standard in most homes. They’re an escape. Hey. Good idea. I’m off to escape right now. (Long-ass post. I guess I thought of something to say.)

Eight milesJuly 19, 2004

I can NOT get over that. The first two miles were horrible, as they usually are, and then the next six were a breeze. I mean it. We’re doing a 3:1 pace right now in my group (run three minutes, walk one), and it just felt right. I didn’t mind running when the walk breaks were over (nor did I mind the walk breaks, heavens, no).

It was dark in San Francisco yesterday morning – that deep heavy fog that drips like rain. But at least it was cool. It’s been too warm here in Oakland recently, and it can’t have even hit eighty. I’m such a heat light-weight. (And I want to run a marathon in Hawaii?) And Bethany was a water volunteer, so twice I got to see her smiling proud face, which the run even easier.

The shin splints were uncomfortable, but they’re feeling better already today, always a good sign. It’s going to be an aqua-jog week, unfortunately.

Eight miles. Wheee! And yet, only about a third of how far I’m gonna have to go. Holy crap.

Bethany’s knocking about the apartment, talking and singing, so I’m laughing at her rather than thinking of coherent, clever sentences. (I can’t believe she hijacked my blog! And the perm was bad, yeah. But thank god she didn’t mention the bifocals I was wearing at age six. Oh. Whoops.) And Kira and Rachel just arrived on my doorstep and we’re headed out for Ethiopian, so I’ll just blow you a kees. Mwah!

This is Not RachaelJuly 16, 2004

Super Stealth Mode

Bwah hah hah! Little sister Bethany here, gleefully taking advantage of the fact that Rachael has left me alone in her house with her computer, while she's off seeing her Girls. So I'm hijacking her blog for the night.

Which still leaves me with the sad fact that I have nothing to write... hmmm. Secrets from childhood? In highschool, she had a really, really bad perm. That's it, that's all I have. Guess I'm a pretty pathetic hacker. Johnny Lee Miller I ain't.

This *is* Rachael

Claudia is my sock twin.

It's Friday. Even when Friday doesn't actually mean very much to a person whose schedule is kinda crazy, the word "Friday" just has that feel-good feeling. Doesn't it?

I'm a little confused, though, timing-wise. I took tonight off (nights off have to be arranged two to three months in advance, so you gotta be a planner) and I'm going to a concert. I'd tell you what the concert is, but you'd either be jealous of me or think I'm an idiot. Okay, quit it. I'll tell you. I'm going to see the Indigo Girls again. Ahem. What can I say? I lurve them. And I *have* to see them with my sister Christy. She and I have had mad IG love forever, and it's just not the same seeing them without her.

And I usually have weekend nights off, but I'm working both Saturday and Sunday nights this weekend. We're so sorely understaffed right now that the only way to take time off is to have friends work for you. I don't mind working for anyone, really, but there are some people that I actually enjoy working for -- they're the type that not only work for me but do it with a smile. Luckily, though, I'll be off by one a.m. on Sunday morning, which leaves me enough time for a good little (five hour) sleep before our long run (eight miles this week).

Wait a minute, that was parenthetical, but I have to write more on it. Eight miles! That's just silly. Dang, I just mapped the distance from my house to work and it's 7.6 miles. I am at once impressed by that and at the same time completely underwhelmed. Eight miles! Wow! Oh, just eight miles.

I've decided, by the way, that Monday is for me. For ME. I'm not doing anything except sitting on my couch and watching all my TiVo'd TV that's waiting for me, right now, as I type. I actually had to go to work last night with ten minutes left of last week's Six Feet Under. Isn't that awful? I love that show *so* much. But I haven't had much time to sleep lately, and that wins over TV every time. Duh.

All right. See you Monday. Have a happy gazelleish weekend!

SplintsJuly 15, 2004

I forgot to tell you that I did my long run while in San Diego. See, in training we have to do two three-mile runs during the week on our own, and then the long group run on the weekend, which I do in San Francisco on Sundays.

I talked my friends into running with me, to make up the run I was missing. They’re athletic. They didn’t mind. They’re still in shock that I’m moving my body in ANY way besides small upper body motions (knitting, typing), so this was new and novel for them. They kept glancing behind them while we ran, just to make sure I was really still there.

San Diego was hot. Not super-duper hundred degree hot, but just uncomfortable enough to make me really sweat and feel icky. I didn’t eat before we ran, and I hadn’t been running for the previous ten days in an attempt to let my shin splints heal.

You know what? Neither of those two things worked for me. T took us through Balboa Park, up and down dirt hills, through gullies and ravines. At first I thought it was novel and picturesque. But then I decided it was about four inches from hell.

In order to get our seven miles in, we did one large loop which led back to T’s house, and then we were going to do it again. Oh, no. I collapsed on her lawn and proclaimed to passersby that if I were to ever get up again it would only be to go in search of ice cream and a massage. Then J looked over at me and said the words every wimp hates to hear: “Okay, I’m going to finish the run, I’ll see you later.”

Damn it.

I heaved myself up, cursing and swearing, saying things about camels and various people’s mothers (but not mine, of course), and we started running again. I did put my aching foot down, though, and said that I would not go back into the ravines. I am not hill trained yet, nor do I really wanna be. So we ran around the park, where it was cooler and flatter. They encouraged me by running ahead and then doubling back. Always an esteem builder.

And the splints were killing me (you like how I’m shortening the name now? From posterior tibial tendonitis to splints. We’re pals like that). Ten days off did nothin’ for me, so I’ve decided to throw that whole rest thing right out the window. I’ve got orthotics, insanely good shoes, I’m icing, I’m arnica-gelling, I’m ibuprofening, I’m elevating, I’m compressing, I’m stretching, I’m exercising the muscles that are so gosh-darn weak. I’m not going to be stupid, I promise, but I’m just going to keep running.

I ran yesterday around the lake, and I tell you, it felt awesome to be on home turf. Pounding around the water, I felt so good. The pain wasn’t very bad at all (it usually kicks in later), and it felt great to be moving. Yesterday wasn’t a rhino day. It was all gazelle. A gazelle with a slight limp afterwards, but gazelleish nonetheless. Bring it.

Whew.July 14, 2004

WASHINGTON - The Senate scuttled a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Wednesday, handing a defeat to President Bush yet assuring the issue renewed prominence in the fall campaign for the White House and control of Congress.

Forty-eight senators voted to advance the measure — 12 short of the 60 needed — and 50 voted to block it. Defeat came at the hands of dozens of Democrats joined by six Republicans.

More HERE.

Way too close, though, huh? Sigh.

San Diego:July 13, 2004

All right, I kind of hate recapping. Don’t you? It’s fine and dandy to blog about the day, what just happened, or what you think might happen tomorrow, but filling in the blanks (Saturday we did ex, and then Sunday we did why, Monday was zee) is plain ole boring.

So I’ll be quick. The Indigo Girls rocked the house, in a big way. Amy’s voice has always been strong, but raw. That was part of her allure. But her voice is insanely great now, and their harmonies are something else. Oh, I get so happy listening to them, especially outside, on the water, under swaying palm trees and a shooting star or two.

I’ve never lived in San Diego, but sometimes I feel as if I have. I was sitting with my friend T and her wife, and in the row directly behind us were L and her wife. I read in T and L’s wedding seven years ago. I’ll give you a second to work that out. Okay. Uh-huh. And now, everyone is either friends or at least cordial (I made the whole trip with an ex of mine), so it was the typical everyone knows/has dated everyone else kind of night in southern California (and I live in the north).

It was a relaxing weekend. T and E live in my dream home. Really. I wonder sometimes if E doesn’t mind my co-opting her house so much. It’s what I’ve used for my main character’s home in my novel, and I can nap on her couch in the front window and dream my character’s dreams. It’s nestled in Hillcrest, an old craftsman, and it’s painted the best shade of orange. They’re involved right now in redoing the guest bathroom – placing the tub up in an arched window and laying tiles in art deco patterns on the floors and walls. There are little nooks all over the house, clean and organized and lovely. I wander around when I’m there, just dreaming. Kind of annoying, I’m sure.

We napped a lot. We ate a lot (oh, San Diegan Mexican food). Then we boarded a plane (hopped an earlier flight – it was the first time I’ve ever walked into an airport and right onto a departing airplane), and I sat next to a young guy whose fear rolled off his body in palpable waves. He held a tiny prayer card in his hand, crossed himself repeatedly, and whispered the prayer for the first twenty minutes of the flight. I relaxed. He was doing all the work for me.

I’m usually really good about keeping myself to myself on flights—I hate that whole polite chitchat thing—but at one of his more elongated gasps, I had to ask, “So are you a little nervous?” We had a lovely talk. He’s 23, in total complete love with his girlfriend of four years (he wrote her a love letter in between prayers), is buying a house (good for you, kid), and was all smiles once we started talking. We talked all the way down, and he barely noticed the landing. I actually really hate to fly, and it’s only alleviated by someone being MORE scared than I am. If I have to (or choose to) calm someone else, I’m fine. I remember all the statistics (you’re more likely to die by being kicked to death by a donkey than in an airplane crash) and I don’t mind the bumps.

But I’m glad to be home. Bethany’s on the couch watching really crap TV (From Justin to Kelly or something just as awful) and I’m doing laundry. Back to work tonight. I love having a job that pays the bills and allows me to write, but that I don’t have to take home or prepare for. I just show up. Man, I never even give work a second thought when I’m not there. I just realized how lucky I am to have that....

Back to knitting Cromarty. I’m a happy gal.

Quick PSAJuly 12, 2004

San Diego was awesome (except for security check-in woes -- today it was the guy who held my driver's license and said, "This is expired." Yeah, since my birthday SIX DAYS ago. "Do you have another form of ID?" "Here's my police ID." Grimace. "Don't you have something more official? Like a Costco card?" I could do nothing but gape).

I'll tell you more tomorrow. I swear. I'm just too sleepy right now. Must turn computer off again.....

But I leave you with a public service announcement. (That's not very much fun, is it? But it's important; please sign the petition!)

In less than 48 hours, Congress will vote on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would permanently deny marriage equality to same-sex couples. This is unprecedented -- never before has our Constitution been amended to take away anyone's rights. We've got to fight back.

July 9, 2004

Okay. Deep breath. That wasn't so bad.

Actually, her face WAS a little horrified a couple of times. There was a point at which, and I swear this is true, I considered sweeping all my papers off her desk and into my arms, and running away as fast as is possible with shin splints. Throwing over my shoulder as I left, "Psyche! I didn't want to buy a condo anyway!" Or better yet, yelling it out the car window as I sped away.

But I didn't. I stuck it out. And it got better as we went along. She realized that my insanely high student debt was from a school that just charges a damn lot, and she saw that my credit card bills, while high, aren't totally crazy. I've got money, stuck though it is, in a state 401K and deferred compensation. Give me about six weeks or so, and I'll be poking around Oakland for a cheap little condo. And I do mean cheap, and I do mean little. With our market, we're talking easy $225,000 for a 500 square foot place. And I would have to leave my new sweet wonderful huge apartment and garden (thank god I left everything in pots). Ack. That would break my heart. But only a little piece of my heart would chip off, and a whole 'nother part of it would grow, because it would be MINE. Mine and the cats', that is.

Oooh. Orange walls. Hmmm.

It's all up in the air. I'm finding myself to be in a fabulous place, actually, because if I buy a little place, I'm thrilled. If I can't, I love my present home. It's all good.

(whispered.... i really want my own own place, though....)

On another note, Very Big News. Astounding phenomenal news.

The Koigu has landed from the WonderBoys. Remember the *more Cr0marty I was making? This gal?

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And then I ran out of yarn because I'm a dumbass when it comes to calculating my crazy yardage, and this is what I got from the next dyelot?

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Welp, Rob is magic (but you knew that) and he had the Koigu divas dye this just for me. (Truthfully, this is the original Koigu photo, from back in February, but no one would ever know. It's the darn same.)

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I have to sleep with my Koigu again.

AND, it's flying to San Diego this weekend. So am I, for that matter. I have a date with the Indigo Girls at Humphrey's on Sunday night. Well, this time I'm not actually going to get to hang out with Amy, like last time (sigh....) but I'll be dancing in the early evening sun next to the ocean and singing along. You dance and sing, too, okay? I'll be back Tuesday, brown and happy.

DreamingJuly 8, 2004

No time to "really" post today. I'm off to talk to a woman about a house. Well, I'm actually off to discuss financing a teeny-tiny condo. She will most likely laugh me out of the office. Listen for her -- you might be able to hear her in about half an hour. Even you, La Brainy.

I have high debts (school and credit). I have no savings. (I have two very darling cats and lots of yarn, but somehow these aren't treated with as must respect as a, say, down payment would be.) And people still say, eh. Go see what she says. Okey doke. Watch me roll. At least the meeting this afternoon is free.

StopstopstopJuly 7, 2004

Dear Reader Allison asked me a great question:

I have a question for you- though it's actually about running. I saw in your earlier posts that you started recently. The thing is you make it sound like so much fun, but when does it become enjoyable??? I've been doing couch to 5k from coolrunning.com. I'm on week 4 and my brain is still screaming "stopstopstopstop" the whole time. How do you get from there to running in the pool because you're hurt but want to run anyway? Sorry if this is a weird question to ask a knitting blog. :)

First, this ain’t no knitting blog. Had you noticed? (Anne killed me a couple of days ago: “Knitting content: I have been knitting. Ok, now on to other things.”) I’m so knitting, I swear. I’m almost done with another pair of socks. I’m almost done with that Brick Joy, the cabled Debbie Bliss hoodie. I’ve just lost all motivation to photograph yet another sweater in progress. Here’s what it looked like, here’s what it looks like now, two inches longer. I actually enjoy seeing this progress on other sites – I just bore myself silly with photographing such activity.

Where was I? Oh, back to the excellent question. Allison, I’m not sure WHERE the craziness that inspired the running came from. There’s never been anyone more anti-running than me. Completely unable to hide my disdain, if someone said to me, “I went running this morning,” I would howl in disgust. “Why do you DO that? How awful! Are you all right?”

Then I woke up one day and wanted to run. Quite literally, my body said, RUN. Not from anything, there was nothing I was avoiding, it just wanted me to move. I called Marama and told her I needed her help in buying running shoes, and she said, “Wanna run the AIDS Marathon?” I said, “Okay.” WTF?

My body screams “stopstopstopstop,” too. Loudly, in an annoying whine. But one day when I was going around the lake, I realized that it was full of crap. Shin splints aside, I don’t have to stopstopstop. Even though I felt like I was gonna DIE, I just kept running and eventually I forgot about that voice for a minute. I just tuned that part out and starting thinking about my writing, or what I wanted for dinner. I’m not saying that I’m not terrified to do the marathon. Actually, I’m terrified to do the seven mile run this week, since I skipped the six mile one last week so my legs could heal. Aargh. It’s kinda like when I quit smoking. I would throw myself on to the couch and absolutely Know For Sure that I was going to die if I didn’t have a cigarette. Then I would forget about it and have an okay evening. All mental, baby.

Thanks for the question, Allison.

And might I add, I was right. I’ve gained five pounds. Don’t anyone tell me that’s muscle weight or nothin’, because I know it ain’t, it’s all the ice cream I’ve suddenly felt much more free to eat. Well, I’m running a marathon! Pass the cake.

Sheesh.

My MondayJuly 6, 2004

Whew. I had a marvelous birthday weekend (the celebrations rolled all the way over the three day weekend) and now I’m exhausted. On the fourth I went to a great barbeque up in the Berkeley hills at my friend Christina's house, and we had a little impromptu knitting party -- here are Amy and Christina.

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We watch the fog roll closer, and then I went down the hill to a party in Jack London Square, where we stood on the roof and watched the fireworks in the harbor. Then we turned around and looked into the heart of Oakland, E.14th Street, and watched the same size fireworks, none of them sanctioned by any city manager, and therefore MUCH more exciting.

I’m ready to go back to work, just to get a rest. Bethany’s in town, too, house-sitting a coworker’s house, so we’ve been playing. Yesterday she and I drove out to Marin where we did a little yarn-fondling at Dharma Trading, followed by clam chowder on the deck of Sam’s in Tiburon, watching the boats rock and the fog bank swell over San Francisco. It was a gorgeous sunny convertible-top-down kind of day. Followed by a fabulous dinner with both sisters and friends, and Baskin Robbins sundaes for desert, who could ask for anything more?

Here’re some of my favorite parts of my haul – Christy framed this strip of photos we took, and it was perfect, one of those things I had completely forgotten about and that utterly delighted me when I saw them again. And Bethany got me real Shaker yarn (and a color card, she’s no dummy). Look at these edible colors! Whoo hooo!

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Today is devoted to getting ready to go back to work – things like laundry and grocery shopping. Ew. And I’m throwing in a little pool running, with Bethany. I’m letting my muscles heal, giving them a good ten days. I don’t like it, but I have to quit being stoopid about it. I just worry that when I go back to my pace group on Sunday I’ll be so far behind them in the training that they’ll all laugh at me and leave me crying in the dirt. Well, I don’t really think that’ll happen. But it’s a midnight fear.

Bother. My head will not cooperate with the rest of my body. I’ve just been sitting here, staring. I’ve got the second load of laundry in, but I’m going to have to skip doing the sheets today, because the kitties are on them, refusing to let go. Of course they’re sleeping now. They weren’t at 5am, but now? Sure, out like two little lights. Usually I like to wash the sheets and put them right back on the bed, since I only have one set I like. Oh, it’s worth sleeping on the second best set, I suppose. They look so happy. In a zonked out kind of way.

I am so hopelessly boring today. Post-party dullness. Yawn.

Happy Birthday to Me!July 5, 2004

Hah! Snuck that in on ya, didn't I? (Most of you, that is....) I'm 32. And may I say that I LOVE my thirties? The twenties were cool. But the thirties rock.

And that dinner party? Yep, it was a birthday party. And I'm gonna photoblog it, because really, who doesn't like a photoblog?

It was.... ready for it? Awesome. You know how I worried and fretted and stressed? Two people kept me sane and made my party fun for me -- my sister Christy and my friend Marama. Christy came early and went shopping with me (and paid for the Safeway run even though she shouldn't have). Then she came home with me and started cutting up things and didn't stop for a LONG time. She gathered blackberries for the fruit salad, and chopped heaps of things like garlic and tomatoes and other things needing chopping. She made things pretty while I showered and fretted. Then Marama came over with her daughter Kalea (who was the best party favor EVER; I wish you could all have Kalea at your parties). Marama took over backstage. Every time I looked, I caught her wiping something down or washing something with nice soapy water. I felt awful about it, but she kept smiling and pushing me back into the mingling fray, with sweet wishes for me to have fun.

Which I did.

I had SO much fun. I couldn't decide who to invite, so I invited a select group of my favorites from all the different segments of my life. I think thirty or forty people filtered through the house over the course of the night, which went from five till almost midnight. And I loved looking around and seeing A from work talking to B from the bar, who actually knows C from knitting, but didn't know that they both knew D from high school. Much, much laughter. I tried to mingle as best I could, but I would find myself deep in conversation with one person, only to realize I was neglecting a whole group. Then I just decided to never mind it and keep having fun.

Without further delay:

Marama and daughter Kalea, setting up for the party.

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Kalea with my sister Christy. Kalea fell in love with her, and fast. But who wouldn't?

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I am so happy it's my birthday!

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Strange people were doing odd things with my camera:

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It was at this point that I gave my camera to Kalea, and appointed my five-year old friend my staff photographer. It thrilled her to her sandals to have such an important job, and I got a brand new look at my house. Like my purse, for example:

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The best part was how people had to bend down to her level. (This picture made me howl.)

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She took lots and lots of pictures of her feet. I don't think this was on purpose.

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Some photos are centered:

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Some are not so centered:

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Scary thing is I don't know whose hand this is around my waist:

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My favorite boy Winter was there, seen here with Kira (in her fab new tank):

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My dude is WAY high on sugar:

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I, on the other hand, have had a LOT of champagne (seen here with Don, of the Dude sweater):

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See?

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Kalea's still snapping shots, but now people are coming down to her level:

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And even posing for her!

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I think Kalea might have gone a little sugar-happy too (or it might have been the booze), because the shots become at this point more avant garde:

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My pre-Marathon gams, in my fabulous Diner Floor shoes:

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Finally the camera is reliquinshed at the end of the night, and we're looking at a very happy Kalea:

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And some of my favorite gals are still hanging out at the end of the night:

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It was the best birthday party EVER. Oh! The clock just clicked over to Monday! Officially, happy birthday to me!

Friday! (I can think of nothing more creative.)July 2, 2004

THIS is funny (thanks, Amy!). I’m in Portland’s Craiglist!

I’m also, let me admit, in a wee bit o’pain. I pushed myself running yesterday, and I KNOW I shouldn’t have. I should have been doing the pool running but I missed the road running (that’s the craziest phrase I’ve ever written) so I went around the lake. I thought I was doing great, but I could feel the shin splints hurting again, and when I stretched at the end, I think I pulled something. Damn it.

So I iced all night and arnica gelled and ibuprofened (let’s see how many other irritating verbs I can create), and I’ll do the same today. Sigh. I know once they heal I’ll be fine. It’s just having the patience to let ‘em heal. (Where the hell can I buy some patience? Right now!) So no running for the next ten days. Pool running, yes, which they say is 90-100% as effective as real running. But honestly, it feels like cheating to me. For one, you don’t sweat, or at least you don’t notice you’re sweating. Ew. For another, it’s so flipping BORING! The only thing I can pick up on my headset radio is the local right-wing talk show which makes me run all the faster. Again, ew.

It’s Friday! One more night o’work, and then I’ve got a fabulous weekend planned. Fourth of July is my favorite holiday in the whole wide world – I love fireworks like I love cashmere. It’s something about that boom and that report and that glug you feel deep in your chest when a great big one explodes and lights up the faces of the people next to you. I’ve got a friend with a loft in the embarcadero in Jack London Square, so we’ll hang there and walk down for the show.

And tomorrow I’m having a Real Party at my house! My first one! I’m not thinking about it. Really, I’m not. Not even a little bit.

(Okay, I’m making pasta with veggies, and garlic bread, and a big salad, and Christy’s bringing devilled eggs and a cake. None of that a-little-bit-of-this-and-that, because I’ll end up spending a hundred bucks at the grocery store only to have a fridge full of leftovers that no one will eat. This is what I want: a dinner party where people can fill a paper plate with simple food (no barbeque, too complicated) and then take it to the backyard and balance it on one knee while they drink their [beverage of choice].

I need to: Clean the house, string the outside white lights, wash the outside chairs, oh hell, wash the INSIDE chairs, or at least de-fuzz them for the more allergic guests, go grocery shopping, and NOT freak out.)

But honestly, I’m not really thinking about it. Ahem.

Enjoy your weekend. Mwah!

Learning CurveJuly 1, 2004

You know what I’ve learned through this blog? Or rather, what I’m in the process of learning on a daily basis?

How to say thank you.

It’s never been easy for me; I’ve always been the “oh you shouldn’t have” or “what I got you isn’t half as nice” kind of person. But lately, with the donations, and the compliments on the article, and virtual hugs, and all that dang love that I feel from all sides, I ain’t got no choice. It whittles my words down to just:

Thank you.

(After being whittled, she just goes on typing, doesn’t she? Yep.)

Now. Go see Bethany. She’s at the end of the chapter, and this last entry made me get a little weepy. I’m so proud of her, so proud of both my incredibly accomplished sisters.