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21 posts from December 2006

Runagogo!December 31, 2006

Thanks for all the comments on the last post! I  LOVE THEM, and y'all. So much.

Happy New Year! This post is about running, although it has only to do with health, NOT resolutions. I only make one resolution every year: I will not stab ANYONE this year. I've done well every year with it, so I feel no need to change it up.

But the running. I’ve been running again. I had been, even before I got my new Nike+iPod toy, but now that I have it, I’m unstoppable, people.

So here it is: Wanna run with me? Wanna prove that knitters can get off the couch and into the streets? Show ‘em how sexy, strong, and fit we can be?

Wanna pledge to run 100 miles before April Fools Day? Three months, a hundred miles, that’s nothing, really. That’s a little less than 3 runs a week, 3 miles apiece. You can do that. Or if you can’t, you can get near it. Or do your best?

If you have the Nike+iPod, I’ve set up a running group on the Nike page – just go to the site where the device automatically takes you at login, and search for Runagogo  in the forums and join me.

Or just join me in spirit: send me your name and I’ll make a list of those of us doing it.  Keep me up to date with your progress. At the end, tell me how you did.

And if you finish, I have no great prize for you, but you can steal my idea if you like, the prize I’m giving myself – I’m going to allow myself to buy enough yarn for a sweater with no guilt, with no online price-comparisons, just shopping for yarn I love to make the perfect sweater. Because the next sweater is always the perfect sweater, right? Until then, I’m stashbusting, but if I make a hundred miles, I’m shopping.

Now! Champagne for everyone! Happiest!

Boonie-dogDecember 30, 2006

Two days after Christmas, my sister Bethany left my parents’ house in order to drive home to the Bay Area. The folks live about 4 hours south, on the Central Coast. She drove a bit north, and pulled over in San Luis Obispo for a tire rotation and a lunch.

We’d been having wicked winds, and while she was waiting for a sandwich to be made, the wind blew over a heavy metal table. Bethany’s dog, Boonie, was spooked, slipped her collar, and ran.

Now, what you have to know is that Boonie BELONGS to and with Bethany. Boonie’s a Thai fighting dog, a rescue straight from Thailand. She's named after the jungle dogs that lived on Saipan when we lived overseas -- the fast packs of dogs that act as intelligent units.

Boonie's almost feral, not threatening, but certainly not tame. She’s the kind of dogs who can, and has, lived on street scraps. She runs faster than any dog I’ve ever laid eyes on, and she won’t be touched by anyone except Bethany and Bethany’s roommate. I’m allowed to give her treats (to Boonie, not to Bethany's roommate), and every once in a while I graze her head with my hand, but that’s only allowed because I see her all the time (Clara is a favorite chase-buddy of hers).

But Bethany – Bethany is HER person. When nervous or feeling threatened, which is often, she climbs Bethany like a tree.

When Boonie slipped her collar, she left her tags behind, obviously. She’s microchipped, but apparently the Thai chips don’t talk to our machines here. This is a dog that would take months and months for animal control to snare, if they were ever able to. This dog would run, completely unapproachable.

Bethany was beside herself. She had to leave – had been heading out of town when it happened – to get back to work on the railroad. She managed to wrestle some time from her job to stay and search, and my other sister Christy and my parents threw themselves into the search, driving the neighborhoods and calling.

They papered the neighborhood with fliers, sparing no pole.

But Bethany finally had to drive herself back up north for a job run, inconsolable. When I called her, her voice broke my heart.

Then someone called her cell and reported seeing a dog matching Boonie’s description running fast in the area. Bethany borrowed my folks’ car to head home for work, and left her truck in the area (even though it wasn’t in exactly the same area as where she’d originally been lost) gate open, bed and food in the back. She didn’t hold much hope.

But Dad, yesterday morning, went to the truck and staked it out.

He saw Boonie jump into the bed of the truck!

He approached the truck, and of course, Boonie took off hell for leather in any direction that didn’t have a person in or near it. Dad called Bethany at 11am, and she was in the area by 3pm.

She went up to the truck, looked inside. No Boonie.

She called Boonie’s name.

A small head popped up from the cab.

Boonie had scrambled through the window into the cab of the truck and had been resting on the passenger seat, just waiting for Bethany to come find her.

Isn’t that the best story? Almost three days later, reunited. And Boonie had found the truck, on her own, not even at the sandwich shop where she’d been lost. And she just waited there, for Beth to come. Which she did.

I’m so damn happy for them.

Nike+iPod Shoe HackDecember 27, 2006

Santa listened to me this year and sent (via Lala, who calls him the Christmas Hippie) me the Nike+iPod kit. This thing is awesome. There's a little do-jobber that you fit into the end of your iPod Nano, and a remote sensor chip that you're supposed to fit into the base of specially designed Nike shoes. Welp, I love my New Balance 855s, and I don't need to buy the special, expensive shoe. There are a bunch of do-it-yourself hacks out there (I found a good list here), but I didn't see any instructions on how to knit yourself a sensor cozy, so here you go.

It's dead easy, and took about 20 minutes. You should be a bit versed in sock construction, since I don't go into details.

Grab some leftover sock yarn (you'll only need a bit) and 2 circular sock-sized needles, whatever you like. I used size 1US, but I knit looser than anyone else, so you might need a 3US, or whatever gives you a nice dense fabric. I chose a bit of KnitPicks merino.

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Following the instructions for a toe-up sock found here (I used, as I usually do, the figure-eight method) to cast on twelve stitches, six on each needle. Do one row on each side, and then increase to eight on each needle by knitting into the front and back of the first and last stitch on each needle. You now have sixteen stitches total. Work six or seven more rows.

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Now try it on for size. Slip the sensor in. You want it pretty snug, but don't worry about getting it super tight. If you like it, now is a good time to turn it inside out briefly and weave in that tail end.

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Keep knitting around until you can just about close the top of the pouch over the top of the cozy with a small tug.

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Break your yarn, leaving a long tail. Put the sensor inside, and then graft (kitchener) the whole thing shut. (Kitchener video HERE.)

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Mine is a little wonky, but come on, it's going on your foot! It's okay if it's wonky. Isn't it weird to sew your new toy into a closed cozy? I think so.

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Use your needle to continue weaving in that long end, drawing it eventually down to the middle of the back (the side of the sensor that's rounded).

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Pick a place near the toe of your shoe that looks likely, and using the same long tail, sew it on. Don't worry about being neat -- make sure it's on there tight. You can always cut it off later and make another one if you change running shoes.

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Keep sewing it. It won't fall off (and if it does, a voice tells you the sensor and the receiver are no longer in communication after two minutes), but you want to make sure it won't, right?

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Look! Cute! Knitting!

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Yay! Thanks, Santa!

(How much do I LOVE that when you link your Nano back up to your computer that it automatically dumps your info to the Nike site that tracks your progress? Tells me my speed and calories burned and average pace.... Awesome. Some would argue that it's too much information that can be gathered, but come on, if you want to track me with a running shoe, you'd be better off just buying a video camera and going full stalker-mode, since the shoes aren't on that much, anyhow.)

Cost: $29, minus the cost of the iPod Nano and the special shoe.

What a Good Christmas!December 26, 2006

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We went to my parents' house -- there was some talk of going to the in-laws', which would have been fun, but poor Lala only got Monday and Tuesday off, and that's not enough time to get to Idaho and back.....

But it was awesome -- one of those perfect holidays where no one fights (I got bratty over a game of Taboo, but that's to be expected, right? Those rules are so VAGUE and I LOVE to win), where the turkey is perfect, and the gifts are FANTASTIC. I mean, really, I ended up with a Tiffany necklace (from sister Christy), gorgeous earrings, new computer speakers, and the Nike +iPod running device, all from Lala. (iPod running! It charts your distance, just by clipping into your shoe! Woot!) And the new Jon Katz from Clara. Talk about a thoughtful border collie. And a spinning wheel which I've already enjoyed, from Mom and Dad, and a bunch of other wonderful gifts that I can't remember now that I'm tired and ready for bed. We spent the day driving up the coast, stopping once in Paso Robles to look at fancy western shirts at the Boot Barn (where a couple of Very Straight women looked at us with slightly quizzical gazes -- why was I so comfortable smoothing the shirt lines along Lala's front? Hmmm).

A short, two-day trip, made perfect by the fact that Motel 6 allows dogs and doesn't seem to mind how many you have as long as they're quiet, which they blessedly were (although you're technically only supposed to have just one, the desk clerk only said "whatever" with a shrug when I mentioned she might see us with more than one dog). And out of all the people I saw coming and going out of the Motel 6 rooms, only one room didn't appear to have a dog in tow. People with pet allergies, beware. Pet lovers, take heart.

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And who would want to leave Harriet behind, anyway?  Not us, that's who.

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    Lala would like me to add that this is not what her hair normally looks like -- the camera distorts things, friends. Better coif-representation can be found elsewhere on the blog.

I got my wife one of the most un-romantic gifts EVER, a spice rack. But she had been begging for one for Christmas, and she was DEEELIGHTED to receive it. Magnetic, and everything! She actually said that I would have been in trouble had she NOT received it. And here I was feeling stupid about getting something so prosaic. She loved it, taking it out of the box immediately and playing with the lids like she was six and they were tinker-toys. Cute as hell.

I also did well with sister Christy:

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I gave her a shiv. Yep, a knife. A wooden one, carved by one of the guys from the Old Crow Medicine Show. He carved it backstage when they were playing in Tahoe with Lala's band, and while her bandmate Camilla had her hands on it for a while, it was headed for the trash when I lifted it at the end of the night. It was meant for Christy. I loved her reaction.

Bethany is getting a stereo for her truck from all of us:

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And the little Mama is getting a dryer from us kids. For the first time in her WHOLE LIFE, my mother will use a dryer to dry her clothes. She is pretty happy about it, as she, ahem, hasn't gotten any taller, although I will not say out loud that she has shrunk a tiny bit, and the clothesline that Dad put up in the backyard fifteen years ago, well, those trees are quite a bit taller now, ain't they? Yes, they could lower the clothesline. No, we don't like that solution and approve of Mom staying indoors in the inclement weather. Yay!

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And she got socks:

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Please ignore Miss Idaho in her party dress, trying to steal the limelight away from the possum/merino socks that the little Mama got for Xmas (patten: generic toe-up, with a lace rose-leaf panel thrown in once the toe is done). Soft, soft, soft, and just what Mom needs -- she had darned the last pair I made until they were screaming for mercy. Just pathetic, for the mother of a Knitter.

And then, of course, we had to go for a Beach Walk. It was a lovely sixty-eight degrees in Pismo Beach, and the dogs were happy to feel the sand between their toes, although they were sad to have to wear their leashes (stupid laws. Whatever).

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The sisters were there, too:

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Of course, a better, more accurate picture of the proceedings can be seen HERE.

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Lala found a quarter! Hooray!

Okay, we're home now, and I'm listening to my FABULOUS new Joan Osborne CD, Pretty Little Stranger. No, really, go check it out. Besides that unfortunate God song that was so unreasonably popular, she has an AMAZING voice, and this is her country/Americana album, produced by Dolly Parton's guy, with backups done by Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Dan Tyminski. It's really great stuff -- old-country sounding, with the warmth and strength of her voice at the front. It's awesome. Another gift.

Yay for Christmas and family and holidays and drives with dogs, especially long drives with small dogs who keep your lap warm. Enjoy the rest of the week, won't you?

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Google KnittingDecember 24, 2006

The holiday Google graphic that's been changing has been SO CUTE. I mean, come on, knitting kangaroos? What could be better?

Graphics can be seen HERE. (As I post this, only the first four images have gone up, and it looks like Mama and Baby Roo were doing a little knitting, and then gave a strange-looking sweater to a kangaroo friend. Do you think she'll be seen wearing it in the next image, with two heads, a big mama one and little baby one, poking out?) (Hey! I think Reader Garnprinzessin is right -- that IS a Kangaroo Papa and Baby Roo knitting FOR Mama. Oh, that's even CUTER. And say hello to Rachael's gender-stereotyping. Sheesh.)

Okay, I'm home for the holidays in a few hours, so enjoy your family and whatever you're doing this weekend, hug on someone, knit a little bit, and laugh a lot. Be kind. Knit a sweater for a kangaroo. (And a special hello to Reader Maria who hugged me at Royal Coffee yesterday -- you made my day.)

Yay!

Pachelbel is Following HimDecember 23, 2006

Found via Jill, I leave you for the weekend with this. It's brilliant. A second-violinist joke! Hahahaha! Never not funny! Plus, the end is wickedly funny. Good music-geek stuff.

December 22, 2006

Why does it feel like Christmas is about ten seconds away? It’s still only Friday. Oh, I know why. Because with driving time, I have worked EIGHTY SEVEN hours this week. Today I had eight hours off between shifts. Excuse me while I yawn eight or nine more times.

So. 

If you were here, you’d see me looking up at the clock, shifting around in my chair, biting my pen, taking a sip of water. Can you imagine? Have you ever heard of such a thing?

I am BORING. I am trying to think of some way to amuse you, some trick that I can pull out of a hat for this long drive to Grandma’s house. You kicking the back of the seat is NOT going to get us there any faster, young lady (or gent). 

So this: What’s your accidental favorite handmade sweater? By that I mean this: I have a few favorite sweaters. I love the recent Central Park hoodie, and the cashmere one with the Venetian buttons. I wear my purple alpaca quite often. I’m proud of them – they fit and they look good. (Click the Finito sweater on the left to see iffen you want.)

And then there’s the orange one. Remember Orange Alert?

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Three years ago, I made it with a panel of five-stitch stockinette running down the middle, because I was going to make it into a cardigan. But I never did, just wore it occasionally as a pullover, usually while camping. 

It’s Paton’s Classic Wool, so it pills something fierce, and it looks all raggedy now, in any light. And for the last two months, I have been living in it. Ever since the weather changed, it’s my dog-walking sweater. I pull it on over my tee-shirt on my way to the dog park or the beach, and unfortunately for those around me, I don’t usually take it off when I get home. It’s the most comfortable, lightweight, warm-but-not-too-hot sweater I’ve ever worn. And because I don’t care about it, have never Loved it, I’m not concerned about the dogs jumping up all muddy or sandy on me. I don’t care about pulling the sleeves up past my elbows to do dishes. It’s just right.

I keep a hat, and some big clunky mittens (have I shown you those yet?) and a scarf and a big zipped hoodie in case of rain in the back of the car, and I pull them on as I load dogs in or out of the car. But the sweater, it stays on, and now I capital-L Love it.

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Walking dogs, in the cool sun.

So, tell me about your favorite sweater, the one you wear the most, even if it's not the best one, the most elegant one you ever made. Send me a link to a picture. Entertain me. Please?

DiagnosisDecember 20, 2006

Last week, something strange happened to me. Lala noticed it first, I didn’t. She asked, one evening, “Are your hands blue?

No, of course they weren’t, I said.

Only, hey, check it out, when I really looked at them and quit telling her that I had blue undertones to my skin naturally, it kinda DID kind of look like my hands were blue. I felt fine. A little cold, but it was cold in the house. My hands didn’t hurt, weren’t tingling. They were just blue.

I did a little online research, only a bit, I swear, because I know that madness lives at the end of that road, and decided it was nothing to worry about if it didn’t happen again.

But then Sunday night, Lala noticed it again. “Your hands! Are blue!”

“Are they?” I wasn’t convinced, but they got rapidly bluer as the night wore on. A friend came over and told me my hands looked as if they had been dyed. Both Lala and she were worried, and they started me worrying a bit. My hands were SO blue. Grey-blue, that moldy-blue look that skin gets when there’s not enough oxygen going through it. 

And I felt fine. Completely fine. Again, quite cold, but dude, the house is cold and I’ve been really tired, which makes my susceptibility to chills that much greater.

So I got in the tub to warm up.

After a while in the hot water, I’d warmed up. I put the book down and planned on just lying there for a while, but I glanced down at my legs poking out of the bubbles.

My thighs were blue. I called Lala in and she confirmed: my legs were that ashen grey-blue all the way down to my sock line, below which my feet were happy and warm and pink.

What the hell?

And you know what? It still took me a few minutes to figure out.

Then it clicked. I started scrubbing my legs and hands. I HAD washed my hands before this, of course, but now I scrubbed them with all my might. The bubbles turned blue. My skin went pink.

Dude.

New jeans, from Gap. That I’d worn twice without washing first, the first time a week ago and then again on Sunday night, when our friend had been over. I’d been standing in the kitchen talking with her, my hands shoved into my back pocket, my hands getting bluer and bluer as the night and the dye wore on.

Best diagnosis ever.

 

December 18, 2006

BEFORE:

Messyroom

AFTER:

Cleanroom

Those boxes on the right are all Christmas things, so they won't stay there. The dogs are usually cluttered like that, nothing I can do about them. Oh, this felt good to do. I worked for HOURS in my room and still didn't get everything done. It isn't even that evident in these pictures, but my room had gotten out of control. I maintain a pretty tight rein on the rest of the house (Lala, of course, has her room to mess up just like I do mine), and it's usually pretty neat and clean, but my room was filling up with clothing and yarn piled up on the floor, papers piled in leaning stacks..... 

You can see in the top photo above the printer my horizontal filing system. I have a method that works for me -- I stack all completed paperwork and get around to filing it maybe once or twice a year. In the meantime, the pile leans and pushes against the sock yarn basket, making skeins jump behind that bookcase, which I hate, because it's always the skein I need next.

Instead of simply filing that pile and starting over, I went to Ikea and bought pretty paper boxes to maintain my system. Isn't that kind of sick?

I didn't touch the yarn, though. I was recovering from being sick. I'm not crazy. That's a big commitment, one I'm not sure I'm yet ready for.

Other exciting news: In addition to having gained two pounds since her spaying, Miss Idaho, now eight little plump pounds of spazzy love, can almost not fit in my yarn bag. It amused me to make Lala hold it on the sidewalk:

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OOOH! I forgot -- I also got the organizing bug for the front sunporch. It's been a completely unutilized room in our house -- a dumping zone for boxes and things we didn't know what to do with, a broken toilet tank lid (now that I think about it, why the hell didn't I just throw that out?), a rope swing still in the box, a tent, boxes of papers and books to recycle, boxes that need to be kept but had no other home. It was ugly and I hadn't ever gotten to the point where I could completely go blind to it, and it was visible from the living room through the inside window (which I love), making it that much worse. So I took a bunch of junk out, covered the stuff I can't move yet with pretty fabric and set up a writing spot.

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The chair will eventually be replaced with a comfy armchair from the thrift store or Craigslist, but I haven't reached that point yet. Soon.

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This room now makes me happy. That's so cool. I love home.

Saturday PicturesDecember 16, 2006

The Whoreshoes played the Bottom of the Hill the other night, and they were awesome, as usual. The place was packed, and apart from an unfortunately offensive performance artist who acted out the part of a "hillbilly," it was a fine, fine time. Lala's friend from the old days, Ron, was there (hi, Ron!) and he was aDORable. I'd never met him before, and he came up to me in the club and said, "You're even more glamorous in person." I looked over my shoulder, sure that he thought I was someone else. A sweetie-pie, and he's a great knitter -- check out his first hat:

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I didn't get many shots of the show, because I only had my cell camera with me for most of it, but I like this one:

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Lala uses a walker to hold her lap-steel guitar, and that's just so punk it kills me. And do you KNOW how hard it is to find a used walker? Those are in demand, people. There must be lots and lots of lap-steel players out there, because those walkers don't hit Craigslist that often.....

And our marathon-running gorgeous-sweater-designing Emily was there. This is a great picture of her:

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Me, I look a little drunk, which I decidedly was not. I was the driver, and I was also the babysitter. Yay babysitting in a bar! Prior written consent granted, and of course, there's no smoking in bars in California, so it's almost as healthy an environment as a coffee shop. We just had to make sure 9 month old Dylan didn't knock back too many tequila shooters. He didn't. But he does play a mean game of pool.

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Oh, my GOD, how cute is that? That picture is the screensaver on my phone, and it makes me happy every time I look at it. Ask Lala. I keep going, "Look! I turned my phone on! Look at him, just LOOK at him!"

All right. I'm at work, and I'm going to finish up a little Xmas knitting for that little boy up there tonight, if it stays quiet. Also, I'm going to try to not walk much. I went on a three-mile run yesterday, which was sadly longer than my recent runs, and also, the run included hills. My thighs, they don't like the hills so much. They're yelling at me today. Remember when I could run seventeen? Twenty? Twenty-six twice? Not so much anymore. Three felt like fifteen yesterday. But surprisingly, I haven't lost any speed (because I really didn't have much to lose, but I'm still at the same pace I was last year).

I found this amazing run RIGHT near our house, just drive up the hill (no, really, it's an incredibly steep hill), park at the dog park, run a mile and half through pretty hilly Oakland neighborhoods with Clara running at my side, then run back and let Clara run off leash a bit at the park while staring at the silvery bay below. Excellent.

Enjoy your weekend, y'all. Mwah.

A Knitted TankDecember 15, 2006

Yes, sure, a knitted tank. We all do those, right?

No wait.

How about a MILITARY knitted tank, and in pink!  This blog is one you should be reading. I've been thoroughly enjoying her writing and her style, and she also digs up really cool things in her garden.

Extra, Extra!December 14, 2006

Chihuahua Eats Border Collie's head.

   

This is what they do, all day long.

You all may be well and doomed, now that I know how to work Youtube. Those of you that aren't dog lovers, I swear I would take more video of the cats, only they're BORING. I do not have kittens. I have a cat that sits on the table and yells at me, and one that purrs at me from the top of the fridge. That is not good video, people. Neither is me sitting around knitting, so you'll have to make do with dogs. And they're such CUTE vicious dogs.

Also, anyone else having an issue with that new Visitor stat counter? It's causing some readers' internets to freeze, and we hate a frozen internet. I'm moving it to my Knitting page, because no one really goes there, but if you really want to see yourself represented, go over there! (And I like to be able to see where y'all are. It's cool.)

December 13, 2006

I haven't been writing because I haven't been well. But I'm better now although still sniffly and tender-headed, so I'll say a quick hello. Couldn't sleep late this morning (a good sign, I think), and I was up before the sun was. I made coffee and did my writing (hello little Nano! You're going to grow up to be a finished book soon!) and now I'm futzing around with computer things while I squish Harriet on my writing chair. Neither of us will give an inch. But at least one side of me is very warm.

I went to Ikea and bought pretty boxes yesterday, and as soon as I can pry myself off the computer, I'm going to Organize things. Yawn. That sounded so great yesterday. Today I want to make a quilt out of old shirts. You canNOT let me get sick and bored. Terrible crafty things happen as soon as I'm well.

And while I'm thinking about it -- what's your favorite home organization blog? Do enough exist for you to have a favorite? The only one I'm aware of is Apartment Therapy, and that's pretty cool. Tell me more?

And look! That sitemeter on the right now shows cities. Can you see your city on there? Hello, Bainbridge Island! I think you're pretty and you have such a nice yarn shop.... (Ack! I kept wondering who in Union City was online every time I looked at the site and then I realized this -- it thinks I'm in Union City. I'm not! I'm in Oakland! SUCH a difference. I don't want to be in Union City. Really, thanks.)

The Whoreshoes tear up the Bottom of the Hill tonight (as seen in, yes, SPIN magazine!). Get your sass-grass on -- I'll be there, babysitting my godson.... you should come.

Clabs!December 10, 2006

You already know that I'm an EMD, an emergency medical dispatcher. We're the ones who give the medical instructions before the paramedics get on scene. And while that sounds cool, sure, all we're really doing is reading instructions from a computer screen. I ask if you're breathing normally and depending on your answer, the computer (or flip chart, when the computer crashes) tells me what to ask next. Choose Your Own Adventure medical instructions. It's not difficult. Freaky and hard to control sometimes, sometimes sad and difficult to hear, but I like it.

I enjoy talking people down. I like being the calm voice, the person who's helping, the one who reminds them to breathe. I love hearing babies being born. I love telling a kid they've done a great job when they call for help. I love reassuring people that if the baby is crying like that, he's getting enough air and isn't choking anymore.

I don't like it when I could be helping give CPR instructions but instead they're holding the cell phone away from their body, screaming and running in a circle around a parking lot. I don't like being the last person someone talks to. I don't like Vonage phones. (Remind me to do a post on Vonage sometime soon.)

But I learned something new and interesting tonight.

One of the questions for a person with chest pain is whether or not she is clammy.

Which, if you have a bad cold, comes out, "Are you clabby?"

There was a long silence, as the patient tried to puzzle that one out.  I suppose I would worry, too, if someone vaguely medical wondered if I were clabby. Crap! Clabs? Have I got them? I don't know! Maybe? I bet I do! Oh, crappity crap! Clabs! I just knew it! That's what that was!

(My second favorite recent one was when I asked a woman if she had a history of heart problems. She was exceedingly affronted and said, "No! But I'm planning to." You can't make this stuff up.)

December 7, 2006

It’s one of those nights at work where I’m glad I brought two books. The wee small hours are normally quiet, although nothing is guaranteed, and I’m too far away from the television to really hear it, and I can’t be bothered, anyway.

I’m fighting major cramps, the kind that make you want to curl up in a ball and cry until the pillow is all wet and soggy and cold and gross. I’m also fighting a minor cold. My throat hurts and nothing feels right. I’m bummed, also, because I have new drugs, new, really powerful drugs that if I were at home I could take and then curl up in that pain-free drug zone, but really, you don’t want the person answering 911 to be in that zone. You want your cat in that zone, not a public servant. And the Big Pain this month is landing smack dab in the 12 hours that I’m at work. So I ball up by myself over here in the corner and squinch my eyes shut and wait it out. By the time I get home at 7am, I’ll be human again and won’t need the meds. That’s a good thing.  But it's no fun right now.

Bah. I need to go back to acupuncture. I’ve been running, and taking my calcium, and avoiding caffeine, blah blah blah. Acupuncture is the best thing for this – I just have to get back into it. Need to find a good acupuncturist in Oakland. Know of any?

Hey, I’m going back to dayshift! Did I tell you that? On dayshift, I don’t get much knitting or reading done, but a twelve hour shift flies by. And it should be pretty permanent, as I’ve got the seniority now to keep it. Thank goodness. My two to three hour daily commute will be a thing of the past; it’ll be a 25 minute door-to-door trip. Dang. That’ll save me hours a day, in travel time alone. It pays 5% less because of differential pay scale, but I’m sure the gas savings will make up for that. And time! More time!

Oooh! I have no pain right now. Isn’t that the best feeling? When the pain abates for a moment? Mmmm. 

In comments, Lisa asked,

You have a good time a lot of the time -it must be a gene! I think it's wonderful to have that. I'm not jealous but mildy curious as to how one can engineer their life in order to achieve that. I haven't a clue.

In answer, I’m not totally sure. I work at it. I really do. Also, it really might be a gene, or a chemical composition in my body that I accidentally inherited and really like – maybe I got some positivity gene. Not so much Pollyanna Syndrome, but I can find lots of things to be glad about, even in the midst of frustrating times.

And yes, suffering comes to everyone, so, dude, I believe in having fun whenever you can. By that I don’t mean by throwing parties and going out to functions and being social – I mean by knowing what you like to do and planning time to do it. I do a lot of that. I’m selfish about it. I alert Lala when I feel like I haven’t had “my time” to do fuck-all, and I claim the TV. Or I go into the city and look into windows. Or I throw cheese at the dog, or spin, or sit in the sun on the back porch, whatever makes my heart happy.

You gotta plan that stuff, you can’t wait for happiness to find you, because it while it sometimes surprises you and sweeps your off your feet unexpectedly, usually it’s hanging out in the side yard, digging holes, burying bones. You have to call it. You have to court it, plan for it, woo it when you wake up in the morning and kiss it goodnight. Or maybe I mean woo yourself, kiss yourself. (I swear, I’m not dipping into the pain meds; perhaps it’s the exhilaration of the pain subsiding, natural endorphins kicking in, that’s making me write like this.)

But do it, do plan for your own happiness. That means taking care of yourself, physically. Giving yourself small nice things. Knowing what you like best, whether that’s a color you put on the walls or the kind of tissue that makes your nose happiest, and giving yourself time to enjoy them. Sit on the floor with your fabulous dog (and she is fabulous, I know she is) or rub the pretty cat’s belly or drink your really strong (or weak) coffee and look at your yellow (or blue or green) walls and blow your nose with soft tissue and enjoy the moment. 

I’m trying to meditate more, too. Do you KNOW how good that is for you? All juju aside, it’s just good for the body, period. 

Lisa also asks: I was wondering if you rented your apartment? And what happened with the difficult man next door? 

I did rent the apartment, to a lovely ex-Peace Corps volunteer turned high school teacher. The difficult man next door is still damn difficult. But things are slowly getting done and resolved at the place – the roof is fixed, and we’re working on the deck as we speak. And it’s all good.

I’m going to read now. You do something nice for yourself, okay? 

UpdateDecember 6, 2006

Dude! That casserole was good! Huh.

So here: Boil some shell or macaroni pasta for five minutes. Drain, lay in the bottom of a 9x13 glass dish. On top of that, add a can of drained beans (I used white, you could use black or anything you like), and then a can of drained tuna, then a can of mushroom soup (I like Amy's because it has no MSG, which I'm deathly allergic to, unlike most other brands), then some frozen green peas, a chopped scallion, then top with grated sharp cheddar. Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered for 5 minutes. Weirdly good.

Scary Cooking

I have in the oven right now either a miracle or a disaster. I layered pasta shells (cooked), white beans, Amy's mushroom soup, green beans, tuna, scallions, and cheddar cheese. It's either going to taste great or horrible, and I have no idea which way it will go. I love casseroles. I just don't know how to make them with things lying around in the freezer and cupboard. How do you do it?

While you think about that and while we wait for that to cook (oh, I HOPE it's good -- it has to be dinner all week at work), why don't I show you a few pics? I've been hanging with my godson Dylan quite a bit this week. I just remembered that perhaps it's my knitterly godmom duty to make him another sweater for Christmas, since he's almost grown out of the cabled one. I'm broke, so I hied me down to Michaels (gasp) and found some adequate wool (Lion maybe?). Green and brown, soft enough for a baby, anyway.  I headed with my goods to the counter. I was buying six balls, so I'd be able to make Mom a scarf/hat set to match, if I have time. I mentally calculated what I thought it might cost on my way to the checkout. Thirty bucks, I figured, for six skeins. I hadn't actually looked at the price. Then the gal rang me up. $15.25. Dude. For six balls. Why am I so addicted to The Nice Stuff? This cheap stuff doesn't suck like it used to, huh?

So pics (I almost forgot):

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    My baby Pickle

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    Pickle with his mama

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    My baby with a tiny hat

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    My baby's baby, Harriet

Casserole beeped! It's done! I'm scared!

Chez Hehu PartayDecember 4, 2006

We had a little music party over the weekend, and it was FUN! We invited strictly musicians and a smattering of fiber folk, so we would keep the party small. It didn't work. Musicians know lots of cool people, and the house was packed.

I felt like such a grownup. I remember a long, long, LONG time ago, I must have been five years old, maybe less, I wandered out in what was my middle of the night and found my parents having a small soiree in the living room, one that I had been unaware of. My mother wore an elegant short sheath, and she held a cigarette in one hand, and was leaning back against the couch, laughing. I was STUNNED at how cool my mother was, and a little offended that the woman who wore jeans and cleaned up vomit (I was a throw-uppy kid) could be so glamorous. She swears she remembers nothing of this, and if she was holding a cigarette, it was only a prop. More power to ya, mom. You looked awesome.

I kinda felt like her the other night. I'd been in sweats all day, cooking since ten in the morning, hanging white lights in the sunroom. At about four, I went to the store and bought masses of potted flowers, took the dogs for a walk, then came home and Got Glam. I have this dress I got at a thrift store a couple of years ago and have never found the opportunity to wear. I busted it out. It's kind of hard to see in this shot, but here:

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It goes just below knee, and I love it. It fits like a dream, and back then, they knew how to make a dress that had room for hips, chest, AND belly. It had a little belly pouch, and I definitely have a belly to put in it.

Lala got appropriately schmancy, too, see?

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This was Before Party. (Man, I'm glad I didn't take an After Party pic. It took four hours to clean yesterday.)

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The food! (Lala set all this up, this and the drinks table, while I was primping, so she gets major bonus points.)

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The drink!

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Aren't we FANCY? Cut limes AND lemons! Toothpicks! People, the parties I've had in the past have involved Tecate and one jar of olives of unknown provenance, dug from the back of the fridge. Maybe a half-eaten bag of chips and some Oreos. I exaggerate, but not much.

There were also party dresses:

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    Miss Idaho in Mizrahi (really, Target, dude)

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    Cousin Fondue aka Noodle, in Santa.

Harriet wore a lovely little number that accidentally matched my dress, but she avoided the camera. She's the smartest one. Clara was crated for most of the party and didn't have to wear anything. She's not fond of crowds, and she'd already eaten all the feta, so she was good with her bone in there.

And there were musicians:

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Even very young ones:

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A good time was had, I believe. I think the last folks left at about three, and because we live in Oakland, if the cops were called, they wouldn't have had time to check on it until the next day, so we're good. And the floors are now mopped. I'm happy.

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Ack!December 3, 2006

lala sent me this link, from the Los Angeles Fire Department blog. (Isn't it fitting that they have one? Cute. It probably has hair and makeup people, too.)

You know that whole static buildup thing at the gas pump? That you thought was crap? Like how you're not supposed to get back into your car while fueling, or use your cell phone?

It's not crap. Check it. Scary stuff. (Not gory, though, safe for the fire-phobes like me to watch.) Even though I work for a major metropolitan fire department, I never knew this could actually happen. And I'm one of those that always carries a major charge, shocking myself hugely every time I get out of any car, open any metal door..... Yikes.

Kureyon GoodnessDecember 2, 2006

I am in love with Michelle's sweater. Isn't that brilliant? Isn't she smart? I want one, JUST like it.

December 1, 2006

I’ve had mild insomnia for the last couple of nights – not too badly, but annoying. I'd call it hyper-wakefulness, rather than real insomnia. I finally fall into sleep and wake a few minutes later. I change position, lie there for a long time, staring at the backs of my very interesting eyelids, fall asleep, and wake again fifteen minutes later.

But tonight, now that I’m at work, of course I’m exHOSSted. I could sleep like a log. Even the fact that we’re watching Narnia on DVD isn’t helping. What a good movie this is. 

I haven’t written much of anything since “winning” Nanowrimo two days ago – I think I’ve earned a little rest. Not much of one, though, or I’ll lose the momentum, and I want to push through this book and finally END something. I never end my books. This time I would like to, and I would like to try my hand at editing a book. I think I’ll like that.

Also, I’ve become supremely lazy in the last two days. I don’t want to do ANYTHING. I would like to lie on the couch and then get someone to carry me over to the bed. Unfortunately, I have quite a lot to do. (Quite a lot of partying and carrying-on, also, and it’s nice that I’m only working ONE DAY (night) this week and being paid as if I’m here all week – gotta love a job which has shift-swaps, especially if people owe you.) 

I apologize: None of my thoughts fit together. Like this one, which I’ll share, even though it’s all non-sequiturish. I am thinking about maybe not watching so much TV. Or getting rid of it altogether, if Lala doesn’t mind. I haven’t asked her yet, but she’s said in the past that she doesn’t need it. I like it much more than her. It’s my relaxation – my Tivo saves all my little indulgences, and then I curl up and watch, and even if it’s only ten minutes a day, I feel all pampered. But then other days, days off in which I could be writing/exploring/adventuring, I spend all day catching up with TV shows. I don’t need that.

I must, however, wait until Heroes and the Amazing Race are at their end-of-season before I really think about that crazy move. I may be considering going clean, but I’m not ready to go cold-turkey yet.