Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Alright. So I'm a gimp. And I'm a gimp that knits.

What does knitting have to do with being an amputee??
I guess if I was missing an arm and knitting with my feet it would have everything to do with being an amputee. I guess the only relation between my knitting and missing a leg is that I am often sitting on my ass. Finding something to do with idle hands often seems important.

Here's my knitting story. Selfishly published. Because I'm not about to start a separate knitting blog.
So get over it.
Or skip it.

When I was seven years old, I taught myself to knit from a little book. I remember making "egg cozies" (litte sweaters for soft boiled eggs) for my grandparents. When I was ten or so, I joined an after-school knitting class and made a babydoll sweater. It was a something like a varsity sweater, and it was Charlie Brown Yellow with a couple white stripes. I remember being instructed through armhole decreases and seaming, but I must have gotten more than just a little help because I didn't retain any of that information.

I didn't pick up the needles again until my mid-20's. I was often stuck in meetings that had the air conditioner set to "ice-box", so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and knit a BigFatScarf for myself. I made friends with another trapped and frigid attendee, I taught her to knit, and we'd sit there knitting and looking like freaks. This was in the early 90's, near the close of The Dark Ages of Knitting. I bought the yarn for the BigFatScarf at a Payless Drugstore. It was a variegated acrylic. I wished I'd known there was probably good wool available by mail order. There was no one to tell me. All the seasoned knitters were hiding out at home with their imported yarn.

So anyway....after my BigFatScarf, I got bold and decided to attempt my first garment. A very simple, but boxy looking, tank top. And I was going to try to find some nice yarn for it. I discovered that there was a yarn manufacturer that also had a store front. Most of the yarn was in bulk on cones. I felt like I was a foreigner in some strange land and I definitley did not speak the language. I fumbled my way through picking out probably the ugliest mauve colored ribbon I've ever seen.

Back at home with my needles, I failed. I couldn't make sense of the Family Circle sweater pattern and figuring out how to get gauge was something completely beyond my understanding (reflecting back, I think I tried doing a swatch in stockinette, but the sweater was in a different stitch pattern). I didn't know that knitting is mostly basic algebra. There wasn't anyone to ask for help. No classes. No knitting groups. No internet resources. It didn't take me more than a few inches into the project to know that this thing was going to end up being huge. I was also pretty sure I didn't have enough yarn, but I couldn't tell because the cone offered no yardage information, and I had only guessed it would be enough. So I stuffed the puke-peptobismal-mauve tank-top in a bag and never knit another stitch. At some point I must have unravelled it because I found the yarn last year and, believe it or not (if you knit, you believe it), it still sits in my current stash.

Enter Fall 2004. Several of my various doctors are telling me to take up a small task I can do with my hands. My right arm was severely injured in the same car accident that claimed my leg, and the arm isn't fully functioning. So I decide that for physical therapy, I'll pick up some needles and yarn. And I began to knit. And I knit and knit and knit. I make a lot of stuff in a little over a year, most of which is knit in the waiting room of doctor's offices, which is a very frequent occurance. Sometimes up to thirteen appointments a week. Really. Believe it.

I pick up some knitting books, I learn how to do some shaping, and I graduate from scarves. I learn how to use double pointed needles, make a few neat things by just winging it without a pattern, I accomplish sock making, and I start my first sweater (it's almost done...I'm seaming it right now).

I go to a local Stitch-N-Bitch when I can (which sadly isn't often, as it collides with dance rehearsals), and I regularly attend a weekly workshop at my favorite Local Yarn Store (LYS), Skein Lane. I love this class. We can bring along whatever we are working on, knit and chat, share ideas, successes and failures, and if we get stuck on our projects, there is a teacher there to help.

* Pink Long-n-Fuzzy-n-Skinny Scarf
* Boy Scarf
, for TheMIG
* The Kitty Hat (from Stitch-n-Bitch), and that's me in it, above
* Picot Gauntlets/Fingerless Gloves from the first issue of Knit1
* Two Snake Scarves ("HissyFit" was for MyFavoriteKid, he picked the green yarn and yellow eyes himself...and "Acidophilous" is mine); I made up the pattern, see pic
* The Frothy Red Scarf that I sold to Laura the bartender who admired it while I was knitting and sipping
* Socks...a pair for me, and a pair for TheMIG
* Two intarsia hats, samples I knit on comission for a company that sells felted hat kits
* Two Stuffed Toys for TheMIG (Stripe & Yellow--characters from one of his favorite books as a kid) own design
* Two Ice Cream Pint Cozies for my dancer friend M. Because if one should desire to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's, one should not have to wrap a towel around the container *smile*
* The Little Noro Purse (lined, thanks to a class with Lorna Miser of Lorna's Laces) given to K's for her b-day
* Coffee Cup Holder for TheMIG (so his hand doesnt get hot; like the cardboard sleeves, only better), my own design.
* Bath Mit, another gif for TheMIG, my own design...inspired by, but nothing like, bonbon.
* Kitty Tortellini (cat toy for Tad)...It was supposed to be a wonton, but I dunno. Whatever.
* Shape It Scarf (from Sally Melville's book) knit in recycled silk for a very spirted woman's 90th birthday.
* The Silver Keyhole Scarf, winging it again, but c'mon, it's only a scarf
* The Rockstar Scarf (from Knitty), here

* Under The Hoodie, from Stitch-n-Bitch (my first sweater--all of the knitting is done, I'm seaming the sleeves as we speak! As I type! Whatever!)
* The Gothic Baby Sweater, aka Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket (also just needs to be seamed, and I need to finish making the custom shrinky dink buttons with funny skull cartoons on them)

CURRENTLY ON THE NEEDLES (I actually cant believe I only have one thing on the needles! Wierd):
* Mom's Sherbert Colored Socks (on the 2nd sock, top down & past the instep). It's taking me forever to get these done because I can't stand looking at the colors. Sorry, mom.

NEXT IN QUEUE (and I've got the stash):
* The FishBone Hat for MyFK, from the Mission Falls book "Just Kidding"
* Some kind of fingerless gloves or gauntlets made out of the same Koigu to match the Rockstar Scarf

* Jessica, seen here (I have some left over yarn from Under The Hoodie, but need more--shopping. Darn.)
* Latifa, seen here (I have the Koigu in a gorgeous in a blend of peacock purples, blues and greens...but I need yarn for the body of the scarf)

UFO's (unfinished objects):
* The Inca Hat (Mission Falls, "Just Kidding"): it's done, but it's not as cute as it could be because it's just a tad bit too big. I need to decide what to do about it. I'd love to full it, but I can't--it's super wash. My idea was to sew in a casing for elastic. My knitting teacher's idea is that I should unseam it, steek it, cut an inch or two off and reseam it. Yeah right. Steeking. That'll be the day. I have a feeling I'm going to rip it out and re-do it. But I'm open to suggestions.


Now you know alllllllllll about my knitting.
Probably wayyyyyyyyyyyy more than ya' needed.
But now I feel like I can plop in a brief knitting update and feel like there's a background (why having a background established is so crucial to me is something I should reflect on, because really. Who cares. Hmmm.) I don't have a digital camera, so knitting posts wont be all that interesting, I'm sure. But TheMIG has one and I'll try to have him snap a few every once in awhile.

Happy Knitting and Gimping

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

things that change in an instant once you are missing a body part

I'm sure I could make a very long list of things that have changed now that I cruise around town with only one leg (I'm not currently wearing a prosthesis, so it's not something imperceptable). Most of the things that have changed are things any of you could guess, as they seem relatively obvious. But some are things I wouldn't have expected, some are just plain fascinating to me, and others are things I'm not particularly happy about having in my reality (but-whatcha-gonna-do).

* Identifying Features
This falls in the "not so happy having this be in my reality" category.
It drives me nuts to know that if you were sending someone to go find me amongst a room full of people, that it now only takes one sentence to describe me. "Oh, she's the lady with one leg." It used to take more than that. "Oh, she's brunette, about this tall...yaddayaddayadda..." I just cannot stand that having one leg is my primary identifying feature. (That's kinda funny. I can't STAND it. hahaha.)

When I was a kid, I remember my parents filling out a form they would keep on hand in case I ever went missing. It had a recent photo, my height, my weight, and any "identifying features". I have a little birthmark on my left cheek. THAT was my identifying feature if I were to turn up in the morgue.

No more need to hunt for a mole on my cheek, that's for sure.....although I was relating this to someone the other day, and he was very amused with himself, suggesting that TheMostImportantGuy in my life should still use that description. "Oh, my girlfriend?? She's the one over there--the brunette with the birthmark on her cheek." HA

* Homeless People Don't Ask Me For Money Anymore
This one falls under both "fascinating", and "I wouldn't have guess it".
People no longer ask me for handouts. It was a trip the first time I started to notice the silence. It's quite pleasant. And quite disturbing. Simultaneously.
But jeez, people, really. Like missing a leg means I'm poor?! Sheesh. (I mean, I AM basically poor, but how presumptious!)
And what's the deal? Is it that because I'm missing a body part, I'm now in some secret society, or something??? I mean homeless people now wink and say hello and call me "sister"! And I don't look homeless! (At least I don't THINK I look I need a reality check and a makeover??)

Actually, I wouldn't say they don't EVER ask me...because they do. In fact, I was hit up for spare change once a couple of months ago. And right after he asked me, the guy looked down and saw my leg and APOLOGIZED because he didn't "see my condition".

Bell-ringers, outside a store collecting for a charitable organization, still ask me for money about 50% of the time. But the other half of the time they just "god bless" me.

I've thought about seeing what happens if I stood on a street corner with a "Need Help--Hungry" sign. Just as an experiment. And a free dinner. Seriously. I'll bet I'd rake in bucks. Sometimes I think I should carry an empty can in my backpack for certain occasions. Like recently--I was strolling Haight Street with TheMIG and he darted into bar to use the restroom, and I decided to wait outside. So there I was, sitting on the sidewalk in a wheelchair, with lots of foot traffic, and I was equally spaced between two characters asking for change. I bet if I had a can someone would have plopped something in it.


So it's a short list for now.
Just a beginning. I'll be adding on, I am sure.
But I wanted to get it rolling while I'm thinking of it...and who knows. Maybe some other gimp will read this and share.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Something like a Soap Blogpera

I’m such a retard about computers and the internet. So retarded actually, that about this time last year, I actually sent an instant message to TheMostImportantGuy in my life to ask, “What’s a blog?”.
I didn't know.

From TheMIG I get back an IM:
"Short for WEB-LOG"
and then:

My then 7-year old was hanging out in the same room with me, and since I’d already learned the hard way that opening a link from TheMIG might net me some kind of ass shot that I might not want my kidlet exposed to, I thought to ask first what the link was going to take me to before I clicked.

“It’s my friend Emily’s blog.”
“You mean like your EX-GIRLFRIEND Emily??”
“And why on earth would I want to read her blog?? I don’t want to know anything about your ex-girlfriend, and I especially do not want to bump into anything about you!”

Maybe it’s worth mentioning what our relationship looked like at this stage. We’d been seeing each other for about 9 months or so. We were an item and nobody knew about us. Our lives were completely autonomous. I had gone to see his current band play once, but nobody there really knew who I was or why I was there, and I don’t think any of his friends (except one) knew I even existed, and not a single member of his family knew he was seeing somebody new. He wasn't involved in any of my circles, either….well, until he was basically forced to during the time of my accident. He stayed in contact with one of my friends to keep abreast of my lengthy and unconcious stay in ICU.

Anyhow, the point is, TheMIG and I were very intimate, but our lives outside of our time together didn’t overlap. And we liked it that way. Quite frankly, I didn’t really want to know a damned thing about his ex-girlfriends. Now this was a first for me. For the first time in any relationship ever in my life, I honestly did not need or want details, nor did I have a single curiosity about his life before me. And I didn’t feel the need to get too involved with his current life beyond me. It was like we were super secret special friends, and it was really fun that way (and it still is a bit that way, and it still is really fun).

So back to my asking him, “WHY would I want to read this blog,” because it seemed like an especially good question.

“I sent you the link because her blog is good. She just writes well and it’s an entertaining read…a good example of a fine blog. She never writes about me. ”

So I click.

And I get this entry, which not only mentions TheMIG but also links to his photo!!!…..and I completely flip out. Because I KNEW this would happen, right? And I get overly upset about it...probably because I was pms-ing or something….but guess what?!?!
I keep reading the blog.
No, I don't mean I just finish reading that entry. I mean, in a few days I get over my initial shock, and I go back to read it some more. And I keep reading it. For days. And weeks. And months. And honestly, I know it sounds hard to believe, but I read this blog all the time and 99% of the time it never occurs to me at all that I’m reading the blog of my boyfriend's ex.

Why do I read it?? Well because she just writes well and it’s an entertaining read….a good example of a fine blog. And TheMIG is right, she never writes about him. Okay. Well. There was one other time. It was the day his band’s cd was released, and she posted an entry that included their high-school prom photo. But seriously, her blog really is about other stuff.

Here’s the Soap Opera part.

TheMIG is a dummer in a band, right?
And who do you think is the guitar player in his band??
The ex-girlfriend’s older sister.
Yes. I know. Small world.
And who’s getting married this Friday?
The guitar player in his band.
And who’s coming to the wedding?
The guitar player's little sister, TheMIG's ex-girlfriend.
And who’s also going to the wedding?
TheMIG....and me.
Is it a big wedding so I can kind of hide out?
Of course not. That would be too easy. It’s under 50 attendees.
Am I going to feel awkward meeting TheMIG’s ex-girlfriend??
But NOT because I’m meeting my boyfriend’s ex.
I'm going to nervous because I feel like I’m meeting some famous person that I’ve been reading about in tabloids. For crying out loud, I know where she works and when she’s been out of work, I know what kind of meds she’s on, I’ve read a few great ideas and a few brain farts, and I’ve seen a kazillion photos of her cats.
And I’m not exactly sure how to handle it! (any ideas out there???)

I’m not sure what she knows about me. If she knows anything, it probably comes from her sister I guess, and I can't imagine either one knows about this blog because I dont promote it. If she’s ever seen anything of mine, it would probably have been my ass.

Well, here’s the next car in the train of thoughts. The other day I was reading her blog and she was complaining that she had gained weight just in time for her sister’s wedding and that’s when I was hit over the head with the reality that I could be reading her blog the day after the wedding and what if there's some danged entry about how she met her ex-boyfriend’s current girl?

I am
cracking up
because it's
so funny.
So I guess I need to find a way to introduce myself and not come off like some kind of spy, which I'm not, but I resemble. Oughta be interesting, if nothing else.
Or maybe I keep my mouth shut so if she does post soemthing like that I get it nice and unedited.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!