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9 posts from July 2010

A Picture is Worth.... July 25, 2010

Please don't anyone admit that they saw Digit doing this:


What Clementine looks like when she's waiting for Lala to get home.


An alternate look: OH SO SAD.


Where Miss Idaho and Clementine wait.


Close up of Miss Idaho while she waits. Her tongue doesn't fit in her mouth.


Our new candelabra (it used to be my mother's -- it makes us feel like we're in the Haunted Mansion):


You see? Spooky:


And now, my darling chickens, I'm off to Orlando! Tuesday I fly to the Romance Writers of America National Convention, and I'm going to have so much FUN. For the first time, I'm only taking the iPad. I'll let you know how that goes. I'm not planning on having much time for writing, and built that into my schedule, and I can check email on my phone, so even if I'm a bit cut-off, that will be all right. I'll take photos! You know I LOVE this convention, so I'll share what I learned when I get home...

An Early Morning ThoughtJuly 21, 2010

This is a small thought, but it feels important. Over the years, I've been lucky enough to meet readers of this blog, and there's a common refrain: "I feel like I know you, but that must be weird. I know I don't..." I usually ask if they leave comments, and if so, what their email is(because I have a strange brain in that I forget names but remember email addresses, so that can jolt me into recognition). I always want to reassure them, and I'm never sure quite how to do it.

Thought: We *do* know the people we read online, exactly as well as we know other people in our lives. Online, I choose the stories I tell you, yes. But in real life, I do the same thing. My family, of course, knows me better than this, because they know how I act when I'm acting badly (hopefully that's not often). But everyone else? Friends, coworkers (happy to have some nice overlap there), they know the me I present to them. It's the same for you.

And just because you know me from the internet doesn't mean it doesn't count. In fact, I tell stories here that I don't tell anywhere else. You listen. You remember. And I remember that you're doing that, and I'm grateful.

Tonight, I started missing my friend Grace. She lives in Canada, and she doesn't have a blog, but she's been commenting for years and YEARS, and I know her, or at least I know what she tells me. And that's enough for me. I love her. She's my friend. I realized I hadn't heard from her in a while, not a proper email, so I just nagged her a few minutes ago, and now I'm blogging about her, so I'm sure she'll pop up soon. (I think she should start a blog. She, like many others, probably thinks I should check FB more often. Which I just did when I realized I could, and I spied on her a bit, and now I feel better.)

But this is real. Remember years ago, when we'd talk about our online circle and people thought we were nutso, talking about invisible friends? We weren't nuts then, and at least people understand it a little better now.

I love this circle, and I'm glad you're a part of it. (Insert Mr. Rodger's theme song here.)


FloatingJuly 17, 2010

Man, I put the internets away, went and washed my face and brushed my teeth, and then came back and got them out again, because you should hear what I did today. Well, I got my hair colored and cut

Photo on 2010-07-17 at 11.28 #3
an I-just-woke-up pic -- see the many layers of colors? Platinum silver on top so I can grow into my gray hair, which was the point, red underneath, brown under that

and went and saw the Mighty Slim Pickins, who were great.

But I also did something completely new:

Sensory deprivation. I went and floated for an hour inside a flotation tank.

Bethany talked me into it -- she'd been floating in Oakland a number of times, but this was her first time to Float Matrix, and it was my first time ever.

Let's start here: It's freaky.

I loved the ambiance of the place -- it was beautifully outfitted, just like a nice spa. The very nice man who owns it, Kane (HELLO ROMANCE NAME), was very knowledgeable and comforting at the same time. I think he saw the wild look at the back of my eye, like a horse getting ready to bolt (except that the only thing I know about horses was the old horse my dad boarded when I was a kid, 20-year old Darby, who wouldn't do more than walk sedately--that's not what I looked like today. Maybe more like a cat caught in a thunderstorm. Enough with the similes!). He ushered us into a nice changing room where we showered and scrubbed and changed into robes and flip-flops, both thoughtfully provided for us.

Kane asked me just before he pulled back the curtain, "Did your sister tell you what these look like?" She hadn't. I shook my head. He pulled back the white sheet to reveal a COFFIN-LIKE metal tank. We all laughed, but my laughter was hysteria. They chose to overlook that. 


It's a flesh-colored swim suit. I know what you thought.

This is where I nearly melted down, although I was SO COOL in person. Really. Ask Bethany. 

Inside that tank is water, heated to body temperature. The air above that is body temperature or a little warmer. And dissolved in the water is one thousand pounds (really) of epsom salts. So  you put in your earplugs, get in, turn around, and shut that door behind you (there's a dim light inside, yes). Then you lean back and float. You really, really float. It's hard to push your limbs down, but you don't need to. Just float. (Nekkid. Naturally.) 

Now, you reach to your right and click off that dim blue light. Now it's completely pitch dark, not a speck of light, and those walls that just surrounded you fly away, and you're suspended in an enormous realm, somewhere completely unknown. And SUDDENLY YOU ARE IN THE TOMB. Wait, I mean WOMB. Whatever. I had a sketchy couple of seconds at the beginning where I was all like, get-me-out-of-here-right-now-are-you-fucking-kidding-me-with-this. But Kane had warned me about this -- the brain is programmed to receive lots of stuff, and we constantly have noise and images and smells around us, and suddenly we're plunged into this deprivation -- it's anxiety producing. He said to focus on my breath. I can do that. I did.

And it got okay. More than okay. It felt amazing. It felt like a massage, only you know how sometimes massages hurt? This didn't. Everything felt great. It was like lying on a bed, only without any pressure anywhere -- just perfect support. Warm. Calm. Dark. SCARY OH GOD SCARY and then I'd breathe again and it was great.

Also, Kane mentioned that epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, and I've been trying to work more magnesium into my diet for the migraines -- this was a great way to take it in, through the skin. And I've been fighting a migraine for a couple of days now, and guess what? The low-grade threatening pain is gone.

Bethany was in a tank near mine, and she said when he knocked on hers and turned on her light, it felt like she'd been in for twenty minutes. She might have fallen asleep. Me, the sixty minutes felt like two hours. Time elongated. Also common, apparently.

I'll do it again, if only for the post-massage high feeling. I have a goal, also, of trying to meditate a little more next time. But an hour is a long time to focus on one's breathing. I focused on a couple of To Do lists, because I'm incapable of not doing that. And I think the second time, I'd know what to expect, and that would make it easier. But I love trying new things, and this was completely new, and terribly awesome. You should go and tell me what you think. 

Squee! July 13, 2010

I have GOT to tell you about this.

I've been asked to be Miss September in a knitting pinup calendar.

(I just sat here and looked at that sentence for a while. I never thought I'd write anything that awesome.)

It's being being produced by Steph Whiteside (you might know her as QuirkyKnitGirl's Ivy) & The Gray Lady Artists Collective, and they're fundraising for backing right now over at Kickstarter. Here's how it works: If you pledge $20 to help them reach their $3000 goal, then you get a copy of the calendar when it comes out (you're not charged until they reach their goal, when everyone is on board). $25 gets you a signed calendar, $30 gets you a copy of the calendar and a 5X7 of the pinup of your choice (more at the site).

From the site, "We're a group of knitters who decided to show the world that knitting can be sexy! We're all real knitters and real people in all shapes and sizes." I love that! Yay knitters!

I got the chance to ask Ivy a couple of questions and thought you might like to hear the answers.

1. What inspired this idea? 

I was inspired by this because I realized one day that, you know, I spend a lot of time in a world and culture that tells me that people who knit and craft and do otherwise domestic things are really boring and unsexy. Now, I also spend a lot of time with some pretty amazingly talented and hot knitters and crafters, so I know that's not true--but it seems a shame to have that stay a secret. I mentioned the idea to a few people, and they all loved it, so I sort of tossed it around for a while. Then I met Erin, who is the photographer and owner of the Gray Lady Artists Collective, which is a new artists collective based in Oakland, and she thought it was a great idea as well, so things just took off from there. I'm super excited to get going on this, and bring the sexy side of knitting to the public.

2. What makes knitting sexy?

For me, knitting and crafting is a very sensual experience. Not necessarily in the way that people automatically think of the word, but in the true sense--when I'm knitting, it's all about the color of the yarn, the feel of the fiber and needles. It's very much grounded in feeling and being with your senses, that kind of experience.

Plus, I mean come on. We take sticks and string and then we make CLOTHES. How cool is that?

Me, I'm just sitting around trying to decide what sweater I should wear. Miss September! It is ridiculous that I'm so excited about this.


I'm talking about zeitgeist over here, and I've put up a GREAT link. You'll love it. I'll see you there!

(Boy, I'm sleepy.)

Lala Shows HeroismJuly 8, 2010

in the face of terror. From an email:

I was attacked by a bee and am injured. I was sitting on the swing and a bee came along - just a regular bee, not a wasp but not a bumblebee. And Miss Idaho spotted it and I was afraid she was going to bite it, which would have been bad. So I was trying to get the bee away from her, and it flew right in front of my face. So I got up to go inside in a rapid fashion, and tripped on the torn fabric from the swing, and tripped and landed on my knee, which hurts a lot. It's gonna be one of those big bruises that stays for months. Ow.

She does not like bees. (And while this is very sad AND HEROIC DON'T FORGET THE HEROISM, it is also very funny.)

For Fear the Hearts of Men are FailingJuly 7, 2010

Hey! Remember two posts ago, when I told you about the show that made me feel old (but was so fun anyway)? Here's video proof! You can watch those kids start to dance! (Plus Lala's great on the bass.) I'm knitting somewhere, invisible to the camera.


Re: Migraines and suchJuly 6, 2010

For those of you bored by talk of migraines, I give you my almost-annual reminder that Salt and Vinegar potato salad is AMAZING. Enjoy. Now for the other six of you still reading:

A reader pointed out to me that I owed you all an update on how the migraine diet was going.

Uh. It's not. I made it about two weeks of eating AIR, and gave it up. I found it almost impossible to avoid everything that particular diet wanted me to.

BUT: I switched daily meds (to Nortriptyline) and I've started eating 1oz of dark chocolate every day. I know. Rather than treating it as a trigger, I'm using it as medicine. This makes MUCH more sense, no? This is on advice from my friend Theresa, for whom the practice has really worked -- perhaps she will chime in in the comments with a little bit about what she told me? Basically, you eat it on an empty stomach when you first wake up. Nothing to eat for the next hour. The dark chocolate has to be very simple, and include four ingredients: cocoa, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar. Absolutely no milk or protein of any kind (no nuts, etc.); the protein leaches away the . . . (help me out here, Theresa) the good stuff, the phytochemicals. I know you're BLOWN AWAY with how much I know. Oh, stop.

I buy the 100 calorie packs of dark chocolate from TJ's -- one and a half bars is about 1oz, but most days I just have one bar.

The chocolate, I swear to God, seems to be helping. In the last three months, I've had only one migraine, and it was mild and easily treatable by medicine (and it was totally my fault, because I felt it threatening and had a glass of red wine anyway. Dummy).

And get this: The other night I felt one coming on, and I realized it had been a few hours since I ate, so I had a relatively empty stomach. I ate an ounce of dark chocolate. Within 45 minutes, I was fine. People. Whoa. I don't usually GET fine. I usually circle the drain.

Oh, I also gave up caffeine (except for what I get in chocolate). No coffee, no green or black tea. Let's not talk about it. Wah! But honestly, giving it up wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, not at all. Not sure why. Maybe it's just what my body wanted.

Also, THIS IS BIG: I gave up all the meds I was used to taking for headaches. For two and a half months, I restricted myself to Tylenol and Advil -- no rebound drugs (see this NYT article-- includes anything with caffeine, like Exedrin,and my prescription meds like Fioricet). If you take pills for headaches more than twice a week, you might be at risk for rebound headaches. Right after I wrote here about my migraines, I decided to try this. I was popping Exedrin Migraine easily three or four times a week to push back headaches that waxed and waned. As soon as I stopped taking them, I had a 48 hour migraine that was so bad I was halfway convinced I would die. No joke. Every thing I'd read said you have to NOT take your meds for at least two or three months so your body gets over the rebound effect that keeps headaches going. However, going through that migraine was pretty awful. I felt like a junkie: all I could think about was how close my meds were to me -- I could just take one...

But I didn't. And I didn't die. Now, theoretically, my medicine should be useful to me if I take it only when needed (less than once a month, hopefully). And when I did pop a pill for that last migraine, it worked that way. The pain lasted for less than six hours, and it was relatively mild.

To sum up: YEEHAW!

*obviously, I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. Consult with your doctor before doing anything different or weird.

Oh, My Creaky BonesJuly 2, 2010

Well, howdy! We just got home from a punk show at Nabolom bakery where Lala played music that the kids freaked out and danced to. And when I say kids, I mean the 20 year-olds who comprised the audience and many of the other bands. My friends were all sitting in a row, and one young gal looked at them and said (audibly) to her friend, "It's interesting to see how we'll turn out." She was lucky she said it in a nice, actually interested voice, or Kris might have had WORDS to say about POLITENESS, YOUNG LADY.

And Lala wore one of her favorite shirts which says, "I guess I was punk once." The shirt was a hyooge hit, to the point where at the end, one young queer punk came up to her and said with a voice of utter admiration, "I think I'm going to be like you in twenty years." I started laughing behind her, but she was very nice and said, "Well, I guess I was like you, twenty years ago."

I'm thirty-seven, people! (Oh! Thirty-eight on Monday.) Lala isn't much older! (See, how tactful I am? Kids, take a lesson! And get offa my lawn!) All my friends lament about how young the kids are today, but I'd never felt it until tonight. Good lord. The ENERGY. And the cuteness! The earnestness! (Okay, I'm still pretty earnest. But I can't dance like that. Maybe I never could.)

It was when Lala was in her car searching for sunscreen to give to the circus punks who played accordion and washboard that I mentioned that she was in danger of becoming the band mom. "Too late!" she cried. "Did you see how burned they were?"

But the very nice thing about playing a show in a co-op bakery? Free challah and other pastries. Also, no one was a drunk jackass.

And now, completely unrelated, a very short video of my nephew Isaac, who is learning baby sign -- he knows please, and thank you, and I love you. That last is signed by crossing your arms over your chest, and he does a modified version, seen here: