Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cast On!

Well, I guess I was getting too cocky, having finished the Tour De Fleece green yarn. I had designs on spinning up coordinating pink merino-silk roving over the next two-to-three weeks, then weaving a shawl. Silly me.

I was quite proud of myself. I had even finally, after all these years, figured out that it made sense to weigh my roving out into even amounts, thereby minimizing the extra length of singles on any given bobbin.

And I got to work spinning. First two ounces completed, I started spinning the 2nd two this morning.

Understand, that I have been suffering tremendously with various autoimmune issues. My left foot has been exceptionally painful at the surgical site from last March; I assumed that it was my Fibromyalgia attacking it. Again, silly me. Apparently I am infected, and to a degree to cause my Podiatrist a little concern.

A Zinc Oxyde wrap, followed by an ace bandage, followed by a walking cast, and my spinning days have come to an abrupt halt for the time being.


My Boyfriend's First Girlfriend

The secret came out. We finally discussed her. Eric's first girlfriend.

I suppose I am supposed to be jealous of his past loves, but frankly I'm not. The way I see it, he may have been in love with them, but it was not a love that sustained itself and he's with me now. Hopefully our love will be enough to last a lifetime.

Anyway, back to his first love. He was in Sixth Grade... Eleven years old. Her name was Debbie R- and she was a nice little blonde girl. In true form for the times, Eric wore a silver ID bracelet and gave it to her as proof of his ever-lasting adoration.

On graduation night (those were the days when Elementary School went through Sixth Grade), they played "Seven Minutes in Heaven." As Eric described it, the two of them went into a closet, shut the doors, and sat in the dark for a while together. He didn't have a clue what he was supposed to do and although I obviously have no way of knowing what she was thinking, I assume that she didn't either.

The party over, summer vacation commenced.

Next fall, they started 7th grade (Junior High School) together. Eric sought her our, or maybe she sought him out. No matter who did the seeking, the outcome was the same. She took his ID bracelet and threw it at him, and then stormed off.

Eric had no idea what had happened. But it came out shortly. He had never called her over the summer break. He was young and innocent and didn't know that he was supposed to call. He was off bogie boarding with his best friend Larry and doing whatever else boys do when they don't have to go to school, and she just didn't cross his mind. And as he explained it yesterday, "What would we have talked about?"

Well, I was hysterical with laughter. Boy, talk about a first love going wrong. Ah, innocence. Sometimes it's helpful, but sometimes it makes you not know what you are supposed to do to sustain a relationship. I think I'd rather not be a kid again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

True Love

I received a phone call from Eric today. He was set up to come over this afternoon and help me with the task of buying dog food, as I am just too fatigued to do it on my own and my boys were getting worried that we would run out. 100% of the dogs surveyed are against Old Mother Hubbard. But I digress.

He quickly explained why he called. We had passed through the hearts and gifts of flowers stage of our relationship very early. We went through the serious gift stage; a camera which I killed by drowning it, a watch which I took off and stored someplace so I wouldn't lose it and haven't found it yet. (I warned Eric before he bought me these nice gifts what would happen to them. I hate to say "I told you so...")

Now it was time for practical gifts. Also, gifts for which, though clever manipulation of store sales and coupons, he obtained for no money whatsoever. That's right. My favorite price. Free.

And so I present the booty that was presented to me by my boyfriend:

Make Up!

Make up Remover!


And I needed a shave, too. Seriously. I mean it. How could he have known?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Los Angeles Times Article

Well, it's happened. I'm published for the first time in the Los Angeles Times effective this morning, Monday, July 28,2008 in their Health Section.

(Click on article to enlarge)

This piece evolved from an emotional e-mail written to some friends a year ago because of frustration in my ongoing battle with chronic disease, undiagnosed symptoms, and the erratic nature of visiting my various "A-Team" physicians who often seem to be engaged as much in a battle of egos amongst themselves as in a pursuit to "help" their patients. The specific event that triggered the e-mail from which this developed was the fainting spell that I had at Slimmons in the middle of an exercise class (I had been fainting daily for close to a week at that point, my personal limit of going down being two times a day) and being forced to go to the hospital via ambulance and paramedic.

Those who know me know that I hate paramedics. I am none to crazy about ERs either or doctors in general either.

Don't get me wrong. I know that the doctors I see are amongst the best in the world and I am lucky to be included in their practices. With most of them, you cannot call off of the street and get an appointment. You must be referred by other doctors to even be considered.

Additionally, most of them are very nice and well intended men. But having been sick for so long and having been on disability now for over 4 1/2 years, I've hit my limit. I'm tired of living in poverty and relying on charity to get by. I'm tired of filling in my day with daytime TV and hiding from those other people who are not working long term and who don't have a brain in their heads or life direction. I'm tired of getting projects and ideas started to fill in my time, only to have my health take a turn for the worse and have to give up even the little progress I make.

I'm tired of my life as it exists.

The incident that spawned this article happened 15 months ago. Unfortunately, I was limited to 500 words for the piece. I had plenty more to report; plenty more to say. In the end, even after my very-good insurance kicked in, I was put through test after test after test, seen by doctor after doctor after doctor, again and again and again, and in the end, told that my issue was "sub-clinical" and that they could not come up with a diagnosis. The fainting spells continued.

I fainted at Slimmons last fall - I can't remember the date but it was the night that Ricki Lake was featured in a piece by - I think - Inside Edition. I knew that I was going to go down before I fell the first time... managed to get myself into the dressing room before hitting the floor. I'm not sure how long I was there, but the first thing I remember was Michelle M with me trying to wake me up. I spent the class hiding in that room for fear of disrupting the filming.

After class was over, I shakily made my way to the front lobby. Sat down on one of the chairs, but was curtly told that the club was closing and I needed to leave. So I got up and started across the street towards my car. Think I remember somebody asking me if I was all right and being unable to respond. And the next thing I remember was being prone on the ground in the middle of the street with a crowd of people around me including Richard Simmons. I'm unclear what transpired from there, but I knew right then and there that I had damanged my knee badly in the fall, that I was already mortified at the attention that I was receiving, and all I wanted to do is get out of there and home. I insisted that they not call the Paramedics, and drove myself home. Saw the Orthopedic Surgeon a couple of weeks later (wanted to give myself enough time to be sure that it wasn't just a bone bruise vs. something serious), and ended up with knee surgery on the left.

Sporatic fainting has happened since then, and this spring, I had a week when I fainted every single day. A visit to my Internist, a referral to my Cardiologist, and again was told that there was nothing to be seen. Frustrating!

And then a trip to my Gynocologist, who thinks that just maybe the issue has to do with Perimenopause. Prescribed an estrogen patch for me. And I haven't fainted since.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not convinced that this is the answer. Yet. Sometimes I have the fainting spells daily and weekly for months at a time. And sometimes I go for several months without one before the cycle begins anew. But for the time being, I have a little hope. At least this doctor, Dr. Rothbart, had nothing contradictory to say about my other doctors. Just quietly went about his business and we'll see what we see.

And as far as the article appearing today in the newspaper? Makes me think of the old movie "Joe vs. The Volcano." I'm very ill again with autoimmune issues. Tom Hanks, in the movie that was awful by the most lenient of standards, made one quip that remains with me to this day. "Bad timing, babe."

Will my doctors even see the article? If they do, will they care? Will they be angry with me? Will they take it out on me? I suppose it remains to be seen.

All I know is that the truth is the truth is the truth. If any of them questions me about it and the veracity of the statements, I can tell them, to the line, who said what and when. I can tell them that the financial cost of the adventure - which I did not want to embark on in the first place - was obscene and I got nothing out of it. Not a diagnosis. Not a glimmer of hope that the issue would resolve itself. But a lot of nasty comments and insults directed at me.

I don't know why I submitted this piece to the Times for consideration. I don't know what the upshot of it is going to be. I received my first congratulatory call about it before 8 am this morning. I suppose that there is some small possibility that it might help somebody, somewhere. I hope so. Because all I've gotten out of the whole thing is a great big headache. And no, I'm not going to look for help with that. To what end would I start that process?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Eclectic Sole

I saved up my energy this entire weekend so that I could go see my friend
Janel Laidman at the Glendale Library today for her booksigning.

The Eclectic Sole is her first book; she let the secret out today that she is well on her way writing her second, "The Painted Skein" about how to work with color in yarns. She gave a lovely talk, and it was nice to see a lot of old friends there as well as numerous people that I didn't know. It was even nicer to hear that the first run of her book on diverse Knitted Sock Patterns was sold out and she is currently in reprint.

I was one of the smart ones... I pre-ordered the book before it's release date and had already started a pair of her socks when Le Tour De Fleece came up. I put them aside for the tour, but it was wonderful to finish spinning this morning and pick them back up. And in such a timely manner! I was able to announce during the question/answer session that not only was I working on a pair of her socks right there and then, but that her patterns were clear, concise, and a joy to follow. I meant it too!

I had a chance to chat with a number of friends including Una Walker after the talk. An extrordinary fiber artist, she was filmed for HGTV's "That's Clever" Season 4, before I was filmed for Season 5. We shared the bad news that I had confirmed with Weller-Grossman, the production company, last Friday. HGTV cancelled the series before our respective segments ever hit the airwaves. Neither of us are making it onto TV with that particular show. Oh well. It was fun to film and an honor to have been chosen. And now that I know that there is no compelling reason to keep the pictures that I took during the process quiet, I'll post them in a few days.

Una, I think, was more disappointed than I. She is a professional artist, versus me who just dabbles in it. Being filmed for me was a lark, but for her it was a professional opportunity. Yet I do not see all as lost. Both of our segments have been edited and are "in the can." As I said to Una, I have a feeling that just about the time that we both forget about the adventure, the segments may pop up in some other show. I believe it, too.

No, you did not misread. I did finish Le Tour De Fleece early this morning. According to Katherine who sponsored the Tour, I now carry the esteemed title (along with everyone else who completed their challenge) of Les Champs-Elysées Jaune 2008 and I get to display the yellow Championship Jersey on my blog. Of course, having turned all of the green roving into yarn, I now need to start spinning 20 ounces of the coordinating pink...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Last Leg of Le Tour De Fleece

As late as yesterday, I had given up all hope of completing my first Tour De Fleece. Desperately ill in more ways than I can explain, all I was capable of doing was laying in bed trying to get a gasping breath between trips to the bathroom. Assuming I could even do that since my Fibromyalgia had rendered it difficult to move.

I had 5 ounces of roving left to spin, then if I finished them, 8 ounces of singles to ply. And the tour is scheduled to complete on Sunday.

This morning I started on what I hope is a very short course of Prednisone. I am not going to elaborate on my very special issues with steroids at this point, but just let it be said that my system does not handle them as well as most people's would and while most could take a short course and then stop, my last short course turned into a complete disaster and an Endrochrinologist was added to my ever-growing list of doctors before I was rid of them after two years of weaning off. So keep your fingers crossed. But I digress.

I woke up this morning groggy from having purposely overdosing myself on pain and sleeping medicine last night to try and get a night's worth of sleep. Mission accomplished. Although I was up several times, I got what I think was a full six hours. That, as of late, is landmark territory for me. But through the morning haze I remembered... I needed to take my first dose of Prednisone.

A couple of hours later, I was somewhat alert - not my normal alert, but at least able to respond to stimuli - and also for the first time in about three weeks, I was able to fill my lungs over half way. And so I got up, did not put any make-up on (sorry Richard), but did get dressed. And proceeded to spin.

I am, as of right now, 1 ounce of roving away from finishing up the singles for the 1 pound of green merino-silk that I had committed to. I already plied the first 1/2 pound of yarn before starting the singles for the second half. It's only 4:30 pm. I have the rest of today and all the way through the end of tomorrow before the "race" is done. I think I'm going to make it.

In a sense, I feel like a laggard because of commitments made by other participants of the tour which have been kept. Much more agressive commitments than mine. But then I remember that we were only supposed to take on what would be a reasonable challenge for ourselves, given our own lifestyle and circumstances.

Under my circumstances, I think that maybe I did ok.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chicken Fat

For me, my weight challenged friends, my friends who enjoy exercising, nostalgia, and Robert Preston, and for everyone who exercised to this in Elementary School in the 60's. Talk about a blast from the past!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lion Hearted

Thanks to Vennie for directing me to this.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Note from Cosmos for Dolly Ann

Dear Dolly Ann:

I really enjoyed the photos you sent of yourself a couple of weeks ago. I also like your attitude and ability to manipulate the home-life situation. This picture, in particular, is good. You always want your humans to think you are not getting enough food.

I realize that it can be frustrating when your doormen don't open up the door quickly enough. I can see you understand that they're taking entirely too many breaks from the angle of your tail. But patience is a virtue that can be parlayed later on into them thinking butter wouldn't melt in your mouth, then you can manipulate situations to your liking.
This picture is a special favorite of mine. Remember our motto. "Nothin' says lovin' like somethin' from the oven."
As I hear stories of how you've started to take over the house and have even selected your upstairs bed (don't forget that the sofa also makes a good downstairs one), I am very happy for you. But I must warn you about one behavior that will set all the progress you have made back on it's heels. Don't do it upon pain of being locked up forever.

Trust me, it's a bad idea.

Your friend,


Friday, July 18, 2008

Ruth, also known as "Twisted Ruth" and "Twisted Spinster"

From my Spinning Guild last Wednesday:

Dear Fiber Friends,

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this. Mike Schooley just
called to say that Ruth Schooley (aka Twisted Spinster) died last
night. She and her beloved Roketman were on their way to dinner when
she had a seizure. The doctors think it was caused by a blood clot in
her lungs. He said she died quickly and without pain.

This is my favorite picture of Ruth:

She looks so sweet and happy in it. Never mind the fact that just before I snapped it, she had assisted me in placing the "Fart Machine 2" underneath the chair of David L-, and then videotaped me setting it off during his drum carding demo, only to post the video on youtube later.

I'm going to miss her.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Le Tour De Fleece: Update

I finally finished spinning the singles from the second four ounces of top. That means that a couple of hours plying & winding off, and I'll be on the home stretch. 8 ounces to go.

This Tour has been more challenging than I had expected. Dealing with illness and fatigue has made it so. Even so, it feels good to have made some sort of commitment and to have made every attempt to follow through. I have 12 days left of the Tour... if I am diligent on each of the days that I am capable of doing a little work and also set a mini-goal of spinning no less than one ounce per day, I should be done just about on time.

Of course, I've decided that the pink Top with the green blended through that matches the green with the pink blended through that I'm spinning right now would make a lovely handwoven Log Cabin Pattern shawl. A big one... like 3 feet wide and 6 to 7 feet long. So when (not if, but when) I get the green done, my work is not completed.

In a sense, I feel like all life should come to a halt right now because of the passing of Mary, but in fact, I've spoken to Sandy & Christiane and they are just pushing on. If they can do it, I can do it too.

I may feel lousy but I am not gone yet. I plan to leave a small legacy behind, and a life - however long or short it might be - dedicated to creative endeavours of one sort or another would be a good one. I'd like to be known for pursuing my passion to the end.

Viva Le Tour de Fleece!

Monday, July 14, 2008


I received the call this morning that I have been dreading. My dear friend Mary has passed.

Last week, after I heard that she was nearing the end, I posted something about her in Richard Simmons's Clubhouse. I'm going to repeat the story here and now. I hope that I am not violating any terms of agreement, but since I am making no money from this post, if I am, I'm willing to take the chance.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I received a call last night. My dear friend Mary who lived two doors down from me for many years is dying. She's 88 years old and has been suffering from severe COPD for many years. She was a smoker until her diagnosis... she gave up the cigarettes immediately but it was too late, the damage had been done. She has lead a very full life. Mary had to move to Escondido (about 1/2 hour north of San Diego) a few years back because her health was declining and it was important to be near her daughter who could take care of her in case of emergency. We talked every day for a while and then the calls slowed down, but I never forgot her.

She was a sucker for every practical joke in the book. When Mary turned 81, for her birthday celebration I strewed rubber cockroaches on her kitchen floor. Her kitty went along, playing with the fake bugs like she would play with the real ones. Never a coward, Mary came out of her bedroom and saw them, walked directly into the kitchen, and started stamping them dead. Except that they wouldn't squish, of course. She finally realized she had been had - again - looked at me and sarcastically in a very fake trembling voice said "Dearie, you know that I am an old woman. You are going to give me a heart attack and kill me." I laughed my head off. So did she.

There was one day that she was very upset. Her daughter Beth had decided that it was time that Mary know that she was a child abuser. There was only one story of abuse that she could come up with, though, and Mary recounted it to me.

When Beth was 8 years old, she was terribly afraid of the monster in the closet. Mary was a single working mother in the 1960s as she had been widowed early. Every night she would go through the routine with Beth of checking under the bed and looking in the closet and showing Beth that there was nothing in there. Then she would position the night light just so, leave the hall light on, and run back and forth to Beth's room until she fell asleep.

Well one night she was just too tired from work to go through the routine. Beth started up. Mary looked under the bed and in the closet and assured her that nothing was there. Beth became more upset, and Mary just wasn't up to it. She looked at Beth, told her that she was not going through this on that particular night, looked at her and said "Good Night." Then a streak of vindictiveness came over her. Just before shutting the bedroom light off and leaving, she poked her head into Beth's closet and said "Good Night" to the monster. Beth was permanently scarred according to Beth.

I laughed my head off. Mary was quite upset that she had been the cause of years of therapy, but I assured her that this one instance was not the pinacle of abuse. I told her to have Beth call me; I would explain to her what real abuse looked like. And then every time I saw Mary after that, when I was leaving, I would open the door to her coat closet, poke my head in, and say "Good Night."

I called Mary this morning in the hospital. She sounded terrible. Like she was in a wind tunnel. As I understand it, her family is gathering and while she still has her wits about her, she has decided to refuse all further treatment and is only taking morphine for the pain. I had considered driving down last night but my health issues make that impossible. It was the right decision.

It was clear that this was our last conversation. It was short and to the point. Mary assured me that "I was a good girl." And she advised me to take good care of my mother. (She is quite aware of what the situation is there.) And then she said good bye. I know that it was our last good bye.

Whether she will last a day or a week is anyone's guess. She is a strong lady and a strong-willed lady. But she has decided that it is time and I have too much respect for her to try to disuade her from the decision.

After I became permanently disabled, we often discussed whether it was worse to fail physically or mentally before dying. We were both failing physically at the time and it's terrible to know what is happening to you and to know exactly what is going to happen. But after the incident of 2006 when I was left mentally incompetant due to dehydration and was unable to communicate with the hospital even as I understood what they were doing and the misassumptions they were making about me (thank goodness for Adele who set them straight), I called Mary. Reminded her of our conversations. And assured her that it was far worse to be mentally incompetant than physically failing.

I take some comfort in knowing that she knows what is happening, she is fully competant in making her own decisions, and she is in charge of her own fate.

Mary left the hospital last Saturday and passed on Sunday. A lot of people are crying for her. And more for ourselves.

We were lucky to have known her through good times and bad. For her wicked sense of humor and her ability to fall for pretty-much every joke on the face of the earth. For her unending sense of curiosity of the world. For her ability to laugh at herself (ask me sometime about 'Team' Cereal).

She is to be, at her own request, creamated. I don't know what is happening to the ashes, but I understand that the memorial service will be sometime in August at Westlake Memorial Park. That's where she wanted to go per our many conversations, so I'm happy about that.

My thoughts and prayers - for what they are worth - are with her family. I am comforted by a couple of things. First, Mary was in charge the whole way. And second, I spent some time with Beth while Mary was recovering from hip surgery in her condo a number of years ago. I had never really talked to Beth for a long time before that night, but Mary was sleeping and it just seemed to be the thing to do.

I remember walking out of Mary's condo with a sense of disbelief. Talking to Beth was exactly the same as talking to Mary! Her expressions, her mannerisms, her attitude, her take on life. I know that in Beth, Mary lives on. I kind of wish I had gotten to know Beth a bit more and that she lived more locally, but it's comforting to think that the tradition is continuing, and that somebody, somewhere, is going to have the benefit of the wisedom and good sense that Mary eminated.

The Difference?

So what is the difference between this:

June, 2007

And this?

October, 2007

And this?

July, 2008 (Thank you, Iris Goldman)

Seven pounds by the scale. Very little as I see it, visually. At least in the pictures.

I can't see it when I look in the mirror, either. I do feel it in my clothes. But only a little. I'm still wearing the same size. I'm not even convinced that the difference in weight is truly a fat gain vs. bloat from the Crohns, or from my hormonal imbalance, or water from the meds that I am taking, or .....

So why do I think it's so important to get my eating more "under control" and lose those seven pounds again?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

For Sale

Everyone is for sale, and each of us willingly and by our own terms. Some of us (very few) are willing to sell our bodies. Some of us, our souls. And most of us, by virtue of having to make an "honest" living, our time.

This past weekend has been a very disquieting one for me. Coming into it in a weakened state from treatments earlier in the week, I found out only on Thursday that the theme of Richard's birthday party this year was Bordello. Hooker. Whore.

This is a theme of a party that I would expect out of high schoolers or even college age kids, but from full fledged adults? I was dismayed.

It's not that I have a moral objection to the trade of Prostitution. My feelings are much more complicated than that. You see, I have a family member that played an active role in the adult entertainment industry for quite a number of years. Extremely mentally ill, she was also subjected to abuse (physical and emotional) far beyond that of just her defecit. If I had to qualify what she experienced, I would have to say that it was pretty-much the same thing that the obese have suffered. It was certainly similar to my own background.

That's the thing about Adult Industry Entertainers. Everyone - at least in California or at a minimum Hollywood - says that it is a victimless crime. It is not. The entertainers themselves are the victims and they - based on the experience of having met them - are too emotionally ill to recognize what is being done to them. They are so desperate to change their personal histories that they relive it over and over and over again, hoping to have a different outcome. Of course they don't, and the cycle continues. At least until they are too old or broken down to pursue it anymore and then they are cast aside for the next generation.

Having been asked to show up as a "hooker with class" at Slimmons, I responded (and I again recognize that I have given up my right to have an opinion there and know that I may be asked to leave by virtue of this blog post) that "is there really a way to sell your body for strangers to discharge bodily fluids over in a classy manner?" Yes, some prostitutes wear fancier clothing, are better educated, command a higher price, and are even more discrete about what they do, but fundamentally it is the same thing. They are prostituting themselves, and I doubt that they understand the full implications of what they are doing, at least as they are doing it. Some figure it out later, and have a difficult time living with themselves.

I agonized over what to do about the situation. Should I show up and go along with the theme? Should I just stay home and pretend to be ill? Should I make a statement when I - for reasons that I am not discussing right now - do not have the right to have an opinion on anything that goes on at Slimmons? In the end, I went in the least prostitute-like fancy clothing that I owned. Partially because of Slimmons politics. Partially because there were people who were coming to the party who I have never met in person and who wanted to meet me (and I them) badly. Partially out of morbid curiosity. I feel like I sold my soul.

I will give you that it turned out to be a cartoonish event rather than a full representation of what the 'industry' is really like. I had the feeling that I was pretty-much the only one there that was disturbed by the premis. But all I could think was that we were selling out our sisters and brothers in abuse, those who have experienced the same past and expressed it in a different format, without even a thought to the pain that they must feel. And given that we have partaken in such blatant disregard and disrespect, do we now have the right to protest when others make fun of us, fat people? I feel like, by virtue of having shown up, I sold my soul.

It wasn't just the party that upset me, either. Time is a precious commodity to me too. There was a woman who I have spent some time with on prior trips who came in for it. I have some stark things in common with her and also recognized her for being very insecure, and since she seemed to be a nice person underneath the bluster, I was happy to dedicate some to her.

She is purportedly very wealthy. She does spend money like she has it, but whether it is real and inexhaustable or if she's blowing through a fortune and ultimately will end up like Ed McMahon is anyone's guess. I don't know her well enough to ask, even as I am concerned about the latter scenario. I have known very few people who could throw money around like her and get away with it forever.

Anyway, we were supposed to get together late last week. We set a time and date, and also a time to confirm. (My health is such that last minute confirmations are necessary for almost all social engagements.) When I called to confirm, she had made a beauty appointment and was going to be a couple hours later than we had originally planned. To me, that was fair. I was unable to commit earlier and to expect her to sit around 'picking her nose' if I was unable to get together would not make me much of a friend.

I got a call from her at around the time that we were to meet. Her appointment was taking longer than expected, but she would be over in another hour or so. Again, I understood that. Not a problem.

But the hour passed, then another, then another and another. Eric came and went... while he was here, I told him that I believed that I was being stood up. Finally, around 5:45 in the afternoon, I left a rather sucinct message on her phone, telling her that I presume that we were off since I knew that she had another engagement planned for the evening. With people that I know she considers more influential than I because of their 'business contact.' I heard back at around 6:30 with an apology, and an explaination that she had to run because she needed to by R- a present before the evening's activities took place.

All I wanted to do was get off of the phone anyway. And not discuss it again. She was at the party on Saturday, and indeed tried to apologize to me. But I didn't want to talk about it at the time. It hurt too much. Of all the commodities that can be stolen from us, time is the only thing that can never be replaced.

Time is precious to me anyway; I have very few hours in which I am not too ill to pursue activities that normally would have to go by the wayside. It was not that she didn't make it to our engagement. I could have lived with that. But the idea that she had such little respect for me that a phone call could not have been made to release me from the obligation when it became clear that she could not make it is repugnant. I am not one of her hired helpers who is paid to wait around for one of her whims. I am not the type of person who is friendly for the sake of presents or monies or contacts. Like I said, my time is something that I give with thought, and sparingly, and I feel like I've had something valuable stolen.

But do I have the right to feel that way? I'm not completely sure. After all, I sell my time in my creative pursuits. When I sell a piece of jewelry, or even when I am giving it as a gift, it is not as much the finished object that is the focal point. It is the time and creative energy that I put into it. So just because I did not have the intent to make money on our liason, does that give me the right to be upset that it didn't happen? After all, she knew that I was available to her and if she is as insecure as I suspect, just the idea that I would want to associate with her - even and especially with no monitary expectation in return - should be a pay-off in and of itself. In good feelings that I did the right thing... went down the high road.

I do think that I am in the right for being upset, but if I am, then why do I doubt myself? I've proven that I am willing to sell my soul by virtue of my attendance at the party. I've proven that I'm willing to sell my time by having a job, a career, a creative business. Am I now riding a moral high horse and am afraid that I am going to fall? Or maybe I'm afraid that the only thing that's left (and I already dressed the part) is to sell my body?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Le Tour De Fleece: Update

I am spinning. And not just because I am dizzy. I finished the first 4 ounces of singles that I had committed to for Le Tour De Fleece today. Loosened the fibers of the 2nd 4 ounces... they're ready to go.

My spinning wheel's bobbins hold 8 oz of fiber with room to spare, the way I spin. So I need to spin up the 2nd 4 ounces, then ply.

I still don't have a camera although my new cell phone has one and if I get a chance this weekend, I'll read the part of the instruction booklet that tells me how to send a picture inside the camera to my e-mail address, then take a few for the Tour.

Meanwhile, while I still know that getting the entire pound spun by the 27th of July is a reasonable expectation, I'm nervous about it. If I have another week like this past one when I was deathly ill by virtue of medication for days on end and not able to get out of bed before 2 PM or so, I may fall irretrievably behind.

I must push on. I think I may take my wheel to the Concert In the Park on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Lest you think that all of the highway hijinks in the Silverman Family involved Lisa, I do believe that I owe some cyber-time to Adele. Yes Adele. I'm thinking about that little ol' trip to Yosemite.

I was 19 years old; Adele was turning 17. Our friend Kathy F. was also on the trip, age 18. Adele's best friend Tammy couldn't make it. That's a whole other story. (Adele, stop laughing - lol!)

Anyway, it was the mid 70s. And it was the middle of the craze for all things Citizen Band Radio, all things Trucker, and of course, the Convoy.

We were young and cute and somewhere in my disaster of a photo drawer, I'm sure that I have a picture of the three of us, posing by the rear of my Gremlin with the giant banner advertising our CB Handles to any trucker that might happen to drive by us. And want to talk to us. Not. (I'll look for the picture and when I find it, I'll scan & post it. I promise!)

Anyway, we were heading up the highway towards Yosemite. We'd talk on the CB that Adele had temporarily installed in my car, trying to get truckers to talk back. But it was all radio silence. Until...

We spotted a live one. "Come On, Good Buddy!" we chided into the microphone. "Talk to us!" Nothing. So we started telling jokes. I suppose that to our innocent ears, they were probably pretty dirty jokes too although I cannot imagine what they were and also would imagine that they were nothing to the sophistocated ears of a roadsman. But we could tell that they were listening to us. We could see them out the rear of my car and they were laughing at all the punchlines.

"Come On!" we exclaimed. "We know you're listening to us. We can see you laughing at our jokes!" And, to our amazement, they picked up.

Well, at that point, we were not far south of Bakersfield, so they suggested that we all stop and have breakfast together. We did exactly that. And had the time of our lives. They were "Bud" and "Perry" and hailed from, I think, Oklahoma. They ran cross-country trucking jobs and traveled through California quite frequently. We managed to turn a short breakfast at a roadside diner into a 4 hour event.

Finally, we all realized we needed to get back on the road. But Adele had an idea. She had never ridden in an 18-wheeler truck. Could she go on up with them for a stretch down the highway? "Sure!" they replied with glee. And so she climbed into their cab and we set on down the road. Never thought, even for a moment, what could have happened if their intentions were not good. We were just too naieve for that.

Before long, we were engaged in CB chatter. And suddenly, other trucks were joining in. And others and others. It was a CONVOY!

Now we were in for it. Bud & Perry joined right on in. After all, why drive down the freeway alone at 55 mph if you can go along with all of your good buddies and burn rubber at 100? So there we were, 20 18-wheelers and smack-dab in the middle of them, a Gremlin with two scared girls.

We couldn't drop out, even though the speeds were terrifying to me. After all, Adele was committed in that cab. And so we charged up the highway, making speed towards Fresno and arriving in less than one hour. Anyone who is familiar with that stretch of road knows that it is an impossible task to do for any law abiding citizen in a 1970s era economy car. But we did.

Finally, it was time for us to pull out. Bud and Perry pulled over and Adele popped out of their cab. We all exchanged phone numbers "for the next time they were in Los Angeles" and parted ways. You would have thought that we'd never hear from them again, but we did!

They frequently traveled through L.A. They would call us out of the blue and we'd meet them for dinner or a movie and for one memorable late night encounter when we convinced them that it would be a dandy idea if they were to pull their gigantic truck in front of Mom & Dad's home. You have no idea how big those trucks really are until you put them into perspective in a residential neighborhood.

I still remember waking Mom & Dad up from a sound sleep in order to come out and meet the boys. And of Dad climbing all over their truck in an old Terrycloth Bathrobe and his bedroom slippers. He was fascinated and never thought he'd get the opportunity to look at this way of life. And when it was finally over, we convinced them that they should blow their horn as a good bye salute.

Now Richardoften has truckers that call into his radio show "Lighten Up with Richard Simmons" blow their horns over the air waves. And it's amusing and everyone really likes it. But you just can't have a real appreciation for how loud they really are until they wake up all of your neighbors at 1 am in the morning. The entire neighborhood shook like there was an earthquake. Helen Mooney - the neighborhood bitch - looked all ready to call the police! And we were very happy.

Bud & Perry stopped calling us after a while. Even though our relationship was completely innocent, I understood it to be because their respective wives back home did not approve of us. At the time, I was very angry at those women. As I've matured and become more worldly, I understand their upset.

But I often think of those guys as I travel down the freeway. Are they still in trucking? Are they still partners? Do they ever come though Los Angeles? And do they ever think about the girls they met in the Gremlin?

Le Tour De Fleece Update:

I have spun 3 1/2 ounces of the first 1/4 pound that I committed to, and think I will finish up the last 1/2 ounce tonight. Since I am feeling a bit better, I'm gonna "Put the pedal to the metal" and see if I can get the 2nd 4 ounces done before the weekend is out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Leave it to Cleaver

Jerry Matthers was the Beaver. Mr. Matthers was my High School principal. Yes, they were related. Mr. Matthers was the Beaver's real father.

The Beaver had the ideal family, and it couldn't be farther than what I experienced when I was growing up. I rarely talk about Lisa, who struggles with issues both medical and emotional as the subject is just too painful to broach. But there is the occasional funny story that she inspired or provoked, and just such a rememberance came out when I was reading Mrs. G at Derfwad Manor's post last week about her highway hijinks as a teenager. Kind of hit close to home even if I was not an initiator of the sequence of events.

Lisa was not the favored child in the family. For right or for wrong, she got less than Adele or I did in material goods. Where we were accepted into the colleges of or parent's choice and were rewarded with new or semi-new cars with which to commute, Lisa's ability to get into any college - given her track record of nonperformance in high school - was in doubt and she ended up with a very old and decrepit Dodge Dart. She decked it out appropriately... with a rubber bat on an elastic string hanging from the rear view mirror. That bat would bounce up and down, flapping it's wings at every pothole.

Trouble and Lisa went together. Sometimes Lisa provoked the trouble. Sometimes trouble just found her and she was an innocent victim. But no matter what, you always knew that something interesting was going to happen where she was involved.

I received a number of well-past-midnight calls from her, needing rescue from this venue or that. She never wanted to call my parents for help and frankly, I understood her reticence, so I might grumble to myself (or sometimes even fall into a fit of foul language), but I always came when called.

One night, I received a call at maybe 1 AM. Lisa had been visiting a friend in Lancaster (the Antelope Valley, CA) and her car had died. She had had trouble with it earlier in the day, and at that time had put two new (or maybe retreaded... I just can't remember) tires on the thing. She was parked on the side of the road, in the middle of the night, in a very deserted portion of Highway 14, in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Come save her.

Well, Lancaster and the surrounding areas did not have a good reputation. It was where criminals went to live when they got out of jail. It's where radical and neo-nazi groups held their dune buggy practices. It's where people disappeared and their body never found with only their car left on the side of the road as a testiment that they were passing through. I did not underestimate the danger to her. I speedily got dressed and was just about to leave and pick her up, then it occured to me. She was a woman alone in the middle of the desert. Defenseless. If I went, we would be two women together but alone in the middle of the desert. Defenseless. It was not a good idea. But how to protect us?

I looked around my apartment. (This was pre-condo days.) I did not and still do not believe in firearms (for me) and did not have any kind of weapondry in my home. But, as luck would have it, I had just bought a Wok Set from Cost Plus.< I loved that set, but it came with a cleaver that was so dull that it wouldn't even cut through mushrooms. On the other hand, it was big and shiny and would make just the right roadside impression. I fished it out of it's drawer, carried it to my car (I believe I was already past my Gremlin and into my Datsun B210(yes, Datsun... they hadn't renamed themselves Nissan yet), and slid it under the front seat. And set off for parts unknown.

Fortunately, I had no trouble finding Lisa. This was a time before cell phones and she had found her way to a service station from which she had called me. (I don't remember how she got there.) We drove off together and found her car on the side of the road. And I hurridly gave her instructions.

"Lisa," I said. "We both know that your car is crap. I'm guessing that it's completely dead and will never be revived again. We need to get everything out of it."

Lisa agreed.

"Here's the plan. You will quickly open up the car and trunk. Then you will take this cleaver " (I gave her the cleaver) "and if anybody drives by, you are to wave it in the air and look completely crazy. Got it?"

Well, looking crazy was not much of a stretch for Lisa. The plan went off without a hitch. I transfered all of her worldly posessions (including the rubber bat) into my vehicle. Any time a car drove by us, Lisa stood on the side of the road and waved the Cleaver around. Some cars slowed down at the sight of us but not a one stopped.

I was right. Lisa's transmission had failed. Dad was really angry with her, but I quickly pointed out to him that this was not something which she could control and that if he thought about it, he knew that the car was about dead when he bought it. He calmed down although I do believe that he still held her responsible. (His and Lisa's relationship was not great.) Lisa ended up with a newer car... I think the Toyota although I could be wrong about that too... she's been through so many cars.

I don't know how the Dodge was removed from the roadside, or if it was just left there to rot until the state took action. But I never saw it again.

And Lisa? She and trouble went together. That was not the last call after midnight that I received.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Le Tour De Fleece

After learning about Le Tour De Fleece through the blog of The Yarn Harlot, it didn't take much of a leap for me to subscribe. My energy, especially my creative energy which while on the face of it seems an essential in my life but compared to things like eating and wearing clean clothing takes a back seat - is low. I've tried beading and weaving and even knitting, but I don't seem to have the fortitude to get it done right now. So it's back to basics. Spinning yarn.

Spinning is a good activity for somebody who either is or wants to be brain dead. I remember the last time I was on mega doses of steroids. Spinning at a furious rate in 3 in the morning for a couple of hours because I could not sleep and was too aggitated to even watch TV. Fortunately, I am not in that high state of anxiety at this point, but the ongoing treatments leave me weak and lethargic. Spinning at a lower intensity is a good - and productive - way of filling in time.

Which brings me back to Le Tour De Fleece. It runs simutaneously with The Tour De France bicycle race. Spinners from around the world are welcome to set their own challenges for the time frame - July 5 through July - I think - 29th, and if we complete the challenge, we receive a button to be posted in our blog. This year's Tour's only requirement is that we have to use fiber that we already have in our stash. That's not a problem. I have a lot of fiber.

I settled on some green merino (wool for the uninitiated) and silk top, having started spinning it around a year ago and then getting waylaid in other projects. I had completed about 12 ounces before abandoning it... I have around a pound left to go. Although getting it done in the time frame may be challenging for somebody in my state of health, it is do-able, and I am going to do it.

I'm planning to do something about my camera next month (next month starting on July 8th when my check arrives). I will be supplying photo documentaries as soon as I have one.

In the meantime, happy spinning.


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