Tuesday, January 31, 2006

comments on comments

sara writes:
(regarding "Rebuilt") Cool! Did they talk about how much it all cost and how the patients paid for it all? Just curious. I don't get anything but the plain old ordinary Discovery channel.
Well, Sara....there was about a 30 second blurb stating that prosthetic care is costly (ya' think??!!). They went on to offer that the ladies in the (featured) office were very skilled at negotiating with (and showing need for equipment to) insurance companies.
They never offered a dollar amount, and they never mentioned co-payments.

Just for the record people, my 2nd definitive socket (and I'm on my 3rd) was NOT covered by insurance (long story), and it cost me $2,500. The socket is only the molded plastic part that fits on my thigh. The part the average person thinks of as my fake leg...the hardware components, the foot, the knee...well, mine is the computerized C-Leg. It was up in the $30k range. Just for the parts.
This explains why Steve Majors was The Six Million Dollar Man.
If you count my hospital bills, I'm pushing 2 million myself. And I've got a few more years left in me, which means I'll be needing a few replacements parts, too.

And the "how they pay for it all" part? I aint even going there......

I really, really want to know how to carry a full glass of champagne across a room without spilling it on crutches. Of course, I've rarely done it on two legs, organic or prosthetic, but the only way I know how to carry beverages across a room on crutches or using a walker is with a thermos or other covered container. They make Tupperware-like covers for cat food cans, even the tiny three-ounce ones. I've been wondering idly whether one of those would fit a champagne flute. Hasn't come up in my life, though, so I've never found out. What's your secret?
Uh -- I don't mean I've rarely carried champagne; I mean I've rarely carried it without spilling it, no matter how many legs I had. Born klutzy. Drinking champagne does not alleviate this condition.
I'm cracking up laughing over here. See, it didn't even occur to me to use a thermos. That would just be too logical hahaha. Very smart, though. I like it.
Actually I've done this champagne carrying trick with hot coffee, too. I didn't bring my no-spill mug to the party with the self serve coffee station.

Well I hope to do a little photo shoot soon, because I'd like to have sequential photos of several different crutch tricks. My sense of things is that crutch skills will help many folks, not just amputees. Lots of us end up on crutches for a small stint at some point in our lives.

Even though I think the photos will be much more helpful than just text, here's something to get you started, because if I know you, you are probably already trying to figure it out:

please note: Although that having crutches press into the armpits is considered to be a very bad thing, I personally dont find it to be a big issue for a few steps, especially when I squeeze my arm in towards my rib cage, holding the crutch firmly against my side, which prevents it from creating too much pressure in the pit.

That being said, I carry the glass in the same hand/side of my body that my amputated leg is on. I am missing my right leg, so I carry the glass in my right hand. I squeeze my right arm in firmly towards my right rib cage.

Now, if you actually stop here for a moment, you'll see that if you lean onto the hand grip of other crutch (for me, my left), the crutch that is only being held by your inner arm and ribcage can just kind of hang there, and it hangs pretty solidly. Move your upper body around a bit and see how it swings.

So here's my trick for going mobile: when I take a step forward, I brush the hanging crutch with the outside of my thigh/stump, using my amputated limb to swing the crutch through to a forward postion. It's kind of going forward anyhow, because the rest of my body is going forward, and the crutch is already just hanging from my armpit. My amputated leg just kind of nudges it along, and it also helps me to guide the landing of the hanging crutch so that it lands in a position that is in tri-pod relation to the other crutch and my sound leg.

As you swing your body through the crutches, this movement creates a momentary, but minimal, amount of pressure in the armpit, but the harder you squeeze your arm into your side, the less this is noticeable. And it's not like I'm a bartender and doing this all night. I don't believe I do this often enough to cause any kind of harm to the delicate pit. I do this maneuver so that I can schlep my own stuff across the room. I get pretty sick of always having an entourage trailing behind me with my food and drink like servants or something. And sometimes it's just little ol' me with no one around to help.

jodi writes:
I LOVE that colour combination. It'll be smashing in lace.
The photos don't do it justice. It's looking like a sunset or some kind of tropical cocktail. I'm really liking it. And my friend K with the garbage bags o'stash was generous enough to give me another big hank of each color in case I need it ;-) She rocks.
I'm not so sure how much Olympics viewing I'm going to get to do while knitting the lace panels, though...being my first time with lace, just the swatch comsumed my entire focus. Thank goodness for the big stockinette section.
I think your custom buttons look pretty awesome. Were the ones you showed us some of the less messed up ones? The sweater looks fantastic too.Sorry I didn't get a chance to experiment over the weekend to try to help figure that out, it's been a freaking hell few weeks here. I'm looking forward to sleeping more than five hours a night sometime soon. . . in a few weeks.
Yes, those were some of the less messed up ones....and I swear if I could get a better picture, you'd be able to see that they are oblong and not round. I would have used them...trust me, I'm not that anal...it's supposed to have a handmade look....but I just couldnt deal with them running in different directions. Sometimes they ran oblong horizontally, somtimes vertically. Looked stoopid. I love them anyhow though, just not for the baby sweater. I'm going to sew them onto the lapel of this little cropped black jacket I have :-)
Oh, and no worries that you didn't try to tackle my dilemma...but I still want to buy one of your shrinky dink bracelets (it'll boost your paypal account--hehe).

Diana writes:
I love all this knitting talk - I don't know anything about it, probably never will, and it impresses me to death to hear you rattle off these fancy terms.
I find this hilarious given you often impress me with your legal-eze. And by the way, what the heck is a "torte"?? In the culinary world, it's a cake, but I know you aren't in law school learning about desserts.

Since you find knitting speak so fancy, I reprint here, for your enjoyment, row 1 of the lace pattern I worked on last night:
*(p1, k2tog, yo, p1), ssk-L-pnso-R, k5, yo, k1, k3, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl 1-k2tog-psso. Repeat from * to last 4 sts, repeat 4st panel.

Maybe someday you'll knit me something...
Hahaha. Of course I will knit you something. Right after the Lysol Can Cozie my 90+ year old grandma just asked me to knit...in mauve. Sheesh.
Seriously though, I'd love to knit you something...you just have to promise to send me a photo of you modeling it, Ms.Photogenic!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

way too many knitting photos

Well, I spent my free time this weekend finishing all of the knitting stuff, not finishing the unfinished blog side-dishes...
so you're getting a knitting post.
I gave up on the damn shrinky-dink buttons. They come out of the oven slightly oblong instead of evenly round, and they dont come out pointing oblong in the same direction, so screw it. Sorry for the low light in the photo, I'm still trying to figure out the new camera and I don't have a clue yet how to edit photos.

I ended up using regular buttons, and I actually like them better, anyhow...which is kind of a riot considering the sweater didn't get to the baby before it was born because I was trying to figure out how to make the custom buttons.

For those who aren't familiar with The Baby Surprise Jacket, it's a pattern that was written in 1969 by one of the grandmothers of knitting, Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Here's what she has to say about the pattern:
"I call it the 'Surprise Jacket' because it looks like nothing on earth when you have finished knitting it. ....Funny looking object, isn't it? ...."

"...join with a neat woven seam, and hey presto eureka and lo -- a baby sweater! ...."

"...The baby will probably be unmoved by this offering, but the mother may well be charmed, and your friends will be AMAZED."

*the main color is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in "Mineshaft", and the stripe/border is Cascade 220 color #8013
I also finished January's socks (viva la schmezolution!) :
* Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton Fun color #325 w/blue reinforcing thread

I thought this was a grand accomplishment given that I had very little time to knit these past few weeks, and the socks were knit up on size 1 needles. I'd heard about the 2000 Socks thing and decided to add my two socks to the list. I started to compare myself to other posters who have already knit 9 socks by mid-month, and then I realized comparing is ridiculous. This is my hobby and I've been in dance rehearsals and classes 5 days a week most of this month. It's amazing I knit anything at all!

I also knit the swatch for the shawl for the Knitting Olympics:
This has been washed and blocked and is about 9" wide. It's got a nice drape to it, but I might work a swatch up on needles one size bigger just to see what happens.

I knit a few more color changes on the Latifa scarf. Last Thursday the owner of Skein Lane asked if she could take it with her to Stitches West to hang as a sample in her booth. So now I feel like I gotta finish it (although she said she'd be fine taking it as a work in progress and hanging it from the needles). We'll see. I'm not really dying to knit hours of garter stitch right now. I'm itching to get started on some new socks and to whip out something to keep my shoulders warm while I'm in between sets at dance rehearsal.

Speaking of rehearsal...that's where I need to be heading off to right now........

Friday, January 27, 2006

wants & needs

What I wanted to do tonight is some blogging for you. It's Friday night and MyFK is over at Nana and Papa's for a slumber party, so I finally have the living room (and the computer) to myself.

I also have the making for margaritas.

As a complete and total aside, MyFK (who I've also been referring to lately as HisRoyalHighnessOfTheLivingRoom) was given a TV/DVD player as a holiday gift (from a smart mommy), which should have successfully moved him and his game systems into his bedroom. This should have been a big bonus for me, because the cords on the controllers were previously strung across the living room from the TV to the couch, directly across my walking/wheelchair path. Moving the PlayStation, it's cords, and the annoying sounds of Star Wars Battlefront out of the main room of the house was something I couldn't wait to have happen. I almost gave him the gift a week early.

But for the holidays he also got a cd-Rom version of "Lord of the Rings Battle for Middle Earth." When MyFK says the title, it's a run on sentence and he sounds a bit like an auctioneer. Anyhow, the point is, it's a computer game, and the best time for mommy to be on the computer is when her kid is enjoying his allotment of video game time...usually a win-win....except now the video game time is on the damn computer. *sigh*

So back to needs and wants. What I wanted to do is wrap up and post the partially written side dish stuff I wrote about yesterday. Unfortunately, as you will see, I now have a need. Almost more of a have to, actually.

TheMIG has a friend he used to work with who is (well, was...but we'll get to that) pregnant. Baby is due to arrive in this world in February. In hear this good news late last August, and I decide to knit up a Baby Surprise Jacket. The whooooole inspiration for me for making this jacket is the fact that the parents of this baby are on the gothic side, and what goth wants light blue baby shit, right? So what I decide to do (inspired by Jodi) is to make buttons with cartoon skulls on them out of shrinky dinks, and put them on an earth-tone looking sweater (the buttons really being the focus).

Easy, right? I finish the sweater in early September. I didn't seam it up, but there are only two straight shoulder seems in this jacket, so that's no biggey. My problem is the buttons. Since September I've made a couple of attempts with the shrinky dinks, and they aren't turning out how I want them to. I'm having trouble getting the buttons to melt up evenly (they come out oval), and so I just kind of stuffed the whole project in a box until I felt like playing with the plastic and colored pencils again. I've waited to finish the gift and have been stalling at finding a solution to the buttons issue because, well, I have until February, what's the worry....and I work well under pressure anyhow.

Now just so you'll know, I've been asking TheMIG every few weeks if he's heard about a baby shower, and I have not been given a yes. But this week, I ask him twice (because it IS the last week of January, and the baby is due in February, and I need to melt plastic here). He forwards me an email with the tag "here's her address," but the content of the email he forwards me is actually for the baby shower that was November 1st! The email also reads that the baby is due in January. ACK!!! So I email the mommy-to-be, figuring she's probably in labor while I'm clicking send. She emails me back that BabyGoth was born 3 weeks early, DECEMBER 18th!!!!!!!!!!

I want to blog, but I need to/have to have a date with the toaster oven and figure out this shrinky dink button shit. Or I need to just seam up the sweater and sew on standard buttons.

I also need to get to finishing the 2nd sock because it's almost the end of January and my goal was for 1 pair of socks each month, and I've only just finished the instep decreases (I haven't had a whole lot of knitting time this month), and this is a schmezolution.

So I gotta go get busy.
I'll post photos of the results tomorrow.
Which could be knitting photos or photos of empty margarita glasses.
We'll see.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

i need a blogging instructor

I have had a whole lot on my emotional plate lately. No emotional entree takes center plate, though (once a chef, always a chef). It's more like a plate full of little emotional side dishes. It's like going out for Indain food or something.

For me, my most interesting side dishes are emotions related to dance. I have feelings that are intense and fascinating to me, and they are feelings that I believe other artists or amputees (or human beings) can probably relate to.

I just can't figure out how to blog about it.

I'm quite skilled at doing process oriented, stream of conciousness, emotional writing...like in a personal/private journal. But I'm not skilled yet at creating a public post out of that kind of writing, and I'm not sure how to turn the raw information into something that could be read and clearly understood by others.

I have another challenge that makes me hesitate while posting, and that is the concern of drawing unwanted internet attention by certain key words in my writing. For example, I am currently in rehearsals with a dance company that performs naked. Putting certain words like naked and amputeee in the same post could potentially draw the attention of some googling idiot, and that is not the kind of attention I desire to have. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I had someone instant message me who found me via this blog--the person was claiming to be a female amputee. I immediately and correctly guessed that it was a male, and nailed the prick. While I'm not surprised by this kind of sick behavior, but I still find it unsettling, and I'm not really into attracting more of it.

I actually put together an entry for the blog containing the afore mentioned IM chat, along with some thoughts of my own, but I didn't post it for fear I'd gain more unwanted attention. As I sit here typing, I'm having the feeling I'll post it anyhow. I also did quite a bit of writing last week about some really stong feelings of resistence I've been having about wearing the prosthesis. Stuff that gets me crying and angry and a ton of other stuff, but I'm not sure how to write that up in a way that makes sense. Dance it for you?..yes, I can do that! But writing isnt my strong suit.
Maybe I'm not born to blog.

I'm not quite sure what to do next. I'm thinking I'm just going to finish up what I've started writing and throw it up on here and let y'all just deal with it (or not...I mean hey, it's like TV--if you dont like it, just change the channel). So expect me to post some babble this weekend, and then next week I'll tell some more funny gimp stories or pictures of knitting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

a big ol' tangle of mohair

So, I'm on the list to knit a mohair shawl.
Here's my prep work, thus far:

Some time last year, my friend K gave me a huge pile of mohair:

And yesterday I spent most of my time turning that pile into this:

These colors are not normally one's that I'd consider to be "mine," but I've had these skeins hanging on my studio wall for what feels like a year now, and I've actually really learned to love the two of them together. I've considerred dyeing either one or both, but I think I'm just going to go ahead and knit them up as they are. My plan is to do the lace panel in the reddish color and the larger stockinette panel in the orange.

While winding the yarn, I did a little measuring and weighing, and by my best guess, I've probably got about 860yds of each. This means I could possibly run short on the orange. Maybe. I have still have to work up the swatch and see what's going on. I started fiddling with swatches yesterday and to get the drape I want with this yarn I probably going to be on needles much larger than what the pattern calls for. My next step is to decide on my needles, see how much yarn it took to knit the swatch, and then do some more algebra to see if I have enough yarn to finish the thing. You'd think from looking at the pile sitting on that table that I have plenty, but I sure would hate to find out later that I don't.

K has more of these skeins lying around (a family member brought her back huge bags of it from China), and has offered another contribution, but it might be a different color. So maybe my ruffle border will end up being a third color? Who knows. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 20, 2006

knitting knews

There actually IS a correlation between being an amputee and knitting!

You see, we don't have to knit socks.....
We can actually just knit:


Seriously, though....even though I only have one leg, I still do knit the companion sock. I'm starting to use the prosthesis, and it feels really nice to dress her up in something special...and even if I'm not wearing the prostheisis and am only wearing one sock at a time, it's always grand to have an extra handknit sock to wear. The special knitter's bonus for me though, is that when I'm sitting and knitting one-legged style, I can legitimately wear the finished sock while I'm working on it's companion. I completely bypass that dreaded "second sock syndrome" knitters often get when they get excited by the success of finishing one sock, but then have the let down when they can't wear it yet. They are actually only half way done.

small note for other leg amp knitters out there (should you exist and be reading): I highly recommend using a reinforced thread in the heels and toes...especially in the heel...my "plastic barbie doll foot" does some serious wear and tear

I would assume that the "how an amputee relates to knitting thing" also applies to upper extremity amputees, too...because hey...you can always just knit:

GLOVE! right??

I shall be knitting the companion to this...but YES, I am wearing it already, too. Yes, both of my arms are still intact. And yes, I probably look silly with just one glove. I end up with some kind of 80's Cindi Lauper look. But my arm is FREEZING. Want to see why?

THAT is the hardware inside my forearm, kids. Two plates, eleven screws. Believe me...when it's cold out, my arm definitely feels it. So I'm wearing one glove while I knit the other. Wacth out Cindi. The fingerless gloves are in the same Koigu as my Rockstar Scarf, so I look flashy.

Speaking of scarf, I'm also about halfway done w/latifa:


In other knitting knews, I signed on for the the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics . Not quite sure what the hell I'm thinking...sheesh. As of this week, I am now dancing 5 days a week, swimming for three, trying to get used to living without a housemate, and then of course there is the rest of my life. But I figure once the Olympics are on, I'm going to be parked on my butt for several hours at a time watching them anyhow, so what the heck. But a mohair lace shawl?? And I've never knit lace OR knit with mohair?? I must be nuts. And of course, I'm trying to talk my knitting friends into joining me in this challenge....I mean, I don't want to have to look like I'm the only nut. hahaha

Also in the knews, the digital camera arrived yesterday...yay! I haven't used it yet (the above shots were taken by TheMIG a week or so ago), but I should have it up and running, instructions (sort of) read, by tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

rebuilt rehash

I caught the first episode of "Rebuilt: The Human Body Shop" last night, a program about amputees. Well, not really. It's a bit more specific that that, actually. It's about amputees and prosthetics, really. Maybe they'll one day feature an amputee who chooses not to wear a prosthesis, but I doubt it. The central "plot" of the show is based around a motivational prosthetist.

Right from the opening scene, I began to get worried that this show might possibly stink. I swear to god that the opening credits that introduces "the cast" (the prosthetist and his crew, most of whom is his family) looks dead ringer like the intro for the Seymore Butts' "Family Business" series (Showtime). The TiVO failed to record the final credits of Rebuilt, so I couldn't compare the who's who, but I would not be surprised one bit if the same folks that made Family Business produced Rebuilt. Same producers or not, whomever is working on Rebuilt basically stole the opening scene (if not the entire show concept but with a gimpy spin), and maybe they were banking that we wouldn't notice! I mean, there's no crossover between those audiences right? The amputee audience and would never be into perverted reality humor shows. Right? Or maybe it's the other way around! Maybe they think the amputee audience IS perverted, and they've seen plenty of Seymore, so this will feel nice and familiar!

I also got concerned when right out of the gate they focused on a patient with a C-leg. And actually, let me rephrase that: they didn't focus on the patient, they focused on the C-leg itself. They went right past the patient into something that looked like an infomercial for OttoBock. It made me wonder how much of this program was going to be driven by the giants in the prosthetics manufacturing industry.

After a couple minutes into the show though, they started to focus on the patients. There was also quite a few segements of watching what goes on in the back rooms of the prosthetist's office which was actually quite interesting to me. I've never gotten to see the inside components of my C-leg, and I've never actually seen a socket being made.

I liked very much that there was a wide variation in the patient stories (for this episode, at least). There was a middle-aged athetic male, married with kids, traumatic above the knee amputation of the left leg, who was working hard to restore his life by taking up cycling again and tackling the swimming segment of a triathalon. There was a young woman, traumatic amputation of her right arm below the elbow, who chose a cosmetic prosthesis over a functional one, and her issues in this episode were mostly about dealing the emotions around being uncomfortable in public (in my version, I call it "feelin' like a freak!"). And there was a teenage boy who was born with no hands or feet (facial/palatte issue as well), who just did everything and everything he wanted to do, and successfully. The show was quite well rounded.

All in all, I really enjoyed the show. For me personally, it was really great to see the man with the same amputation as me (basically), in the same prosthesis as me, doing his daily getting around. It was good to see how he moved through space, and it was encouraging to hear that it took him close to a year before he was fit for his prosthesis, and after 3 months (of what appears to be MUCH more committed effort than my own), he was really active and getting around without the aid of a cane. And by getting around, I mean, handling uneven surfaces while cleaning out the horse stables. It made me feel like if I actually applied myself, maybe I'd see results more quickly than I think. And I woke up this morning actually wanting to put the leg on for a change.

I'd love to know what other people think about the show, if there is anyone out there...both friends or family members of amputees as well as people who've never had any real life exposure to life with or as an amputee.

So I have one last comment, and it's got nothing to do with the show, but with the Discovery Science Channel itself. MAN THEY HAVE SOME FREAKY REALITY SHOWS ON THAT CHANNEL!!! The commercials completely flipped me out. One of them was for a program about life in the critical care emergency room....except it was RIDICULOUSLY bloody and graphic. I know I'm personally sensitive to those kind of images now because of my own experience of it, but I have never seen that level of graphic reality before. Right down to the bloody gorey details, and that was only the commercial!

I think they are rerunnning this episode of Rebuilt a few more times this week if you missed it. I think it's worth the watch *smile*.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

tip #27 for crutch users:

When woken up from a dead sleep by, let's say, a crying child having a nightmare....
Do not begin to make your way across the room on crutches before checking to see if either or both of your arms are asleep.

(unless you also want to end up crying)

One of these days I'll post a full list of the other (give or take) 26 tips....

To give you a little preview:
#25 Do not wear your newly hand-knit wool gloves when using crutches. When your palms begin to sweat, they will felt.
and #6 is a little lesson on how to carry a full glass of champagne, across the room, without spilling, on crutches.

Friday, January 13, 2006


On New Year's Eve, TheMIG and I were channel surfing while waiting for the countdown to midnight. I could have sworn I saw a commercial for an upcoming televison series about amputees, but I wasn't paying full attention, and I even thought maybe I was imagining things. We were pretty sure we had been watching The Discovery Health Channel at the time (I know, hot stuff for a New Year's Eve, eh?!). I thought I caught that it had something about being "rebuilt" in the title.... but in the days following, I tried to search for it and couldn't find a thing. I checked the on-screen cable guide, the Discovery Channel's website, and just plain googling it, but I couldn't find any information.

Well, the information finally found me.
The ACA (Amputee Coalition of America) just emailed me a press release:

New Television Series Features Amputees
Discovery Health Channel will launch a new series on amputees titled “Rebuilt: The Human Body Shop” beginning Wednesday, January 18, from 10-11 p.m. (ET/PT).

“Rebuilt: The Human Body Shop” follows the remarkable personal journeys of men, women and children who are overcoming tragedy and introduces the dedicated professionals who are helping them rebuild their hopes, dreams and ambitions.

This series was filmed at the Orthotic Prosthetic Center, an ACA member based in Fairfax, VA.

ACA also provided Discovery Health access to “The Body Electric: Recent Developments in Bionic Technology,” written by ACA senior editor Bill Dupes, for inclusion on its Web site. Join Discovery Health’s ½ million daily Web visitors in reading this article at http://health.discovery.com/convergence/rebuilt/bodyelectric/bodyelectric.html

I am SO making use of the TiVO for this........
reviews to follow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

yay!!! boooooooo.....

Well, I'm sure this isn't much to all the amazing nerds out there, but for me this is big: I finally figured out how to edit the links sidebar (even so they'll pop up in another window). Being that I accomplished this ALL BY MYSELF, and being that it was done in HTML (read as: Chinese), I am very pleased with myself. It makes up for a few of the other feelings of inadequacy I've acquired this week while trying to keep up in dance rehearsals. I've been attempting to learn many new techniques, and when I catch myself in the mirror it looks like I have a looooong way to go.

So I know this blog-task I've finally accomplished isn't all that grand, but hey, it IS progress. And even though I dont really understand how I made it work, I do finally know how to read the instructions. And hey, I can knit a sweater just using string and a couple of sticks, can you nerdy?? (and I know some of you can, so I'll just shut up now) Anyway, maybe next I'll figure out a better way for replying to your comments.

Oh! I finally figured out how to get a photo into my profile, too! It's probably kind of hard for you to really see the details unless you click on the photo to enlarge it, but that is a portrait of my "Leg As Vase". It was used on a flyer for a benefit dance concert for, guess who...ME! The money raised by all of the wonderful performers who danced with (and for) me, paid for the expenses so that I could go study with Axis Dance Company at their summer intensive in Seattle.

There is a story behind the "Leg As Vase" photo, and it is two fold:

First, if I were playing a television gameshow, like "Let's Make a Deal," for example, (I know...I'm dating myself) never in a million years would I have put "losing my leg" behind door number three. I had a feeling that something big was going to happen in my life eventually, probably sooner rather than later....loss of a loved one, cancer, who knows what...but I would never have guessed I'd be losing a limb. "Door Number 3" then became the title for a solo I choreographed and performed marking the 1st anniversary of my amputation.

Secondly, I've often found myself saying that my life is very full...like a big beautiful bouquet. I often feel vibrant and blooming, just spilling over with energy. But I also often say that I have no container to put that bouquet into. I've spent many years of my life seeking a vase I could put me and my energy into, and while within that container, feel held and, well, "contained".
I'm not sure my prosthesis is "it". Kinda leaky. But this photo tied several metaphors together for me.
FYI, the leg in that picture is NOT the current duct-tape glue-gun prosthesis. That's the older "sexy" leg....but very soon I will have photos of the new one for you, because....
There really is a Holiday Elf!! TheMIG's folks gernerously gave me a giftcard, and I ordered a digital camera yesterday. It should be here in a few days.

Other than just getting a call that I'm in collections for another three grand in medical bills I had no idea existed, I'm pretty happy.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

comments on comments, take two

I'm still frickin' lame and haven't figured out how best to address/reply to comments...
so here ya' go:

jodi said... :
This may be a stupid suggestion, but I'm a sewer and not an amputee. Until the new prosthesis is perfected, could you open up a section of the outer leg seam in some of your trousers and install a zipper (the blind kind that's covered up by the cloth)? Then you'd have easier access in case of public slippage. Of course, that would be a lot of hassle too
I didn't know you sew, too. I supposed it shouldn't surprise me one bit, given all of the other amazing tactile arts you create, but dang.....you are SO my hero. Knitting, sewing, printmaking...shrinky-dinks!

SO. In response to your comment. I can sew a little bit, but sadly installing zippers is not in my repertoire.

Last year, when I had the 6 month run with the prosthesis, I did buy three colors of these zip off pants, though. They're great for easy access for some quick fixes (like when the leg started to spin around in the back of Costco). I was able to open the zipper, release the locking pin near the knee that helps hold on the leg, then I could rotate the leg a little bit so that I could hobble over to the bathroom.

Unfortunatley though, "slippage" usually requires taking off he prosthesis completely. Often the slippage is due to a build-up of sweat inside the socket. I know. Gross. Additionally, one of the added security measures I use with my prosthesis is a waist belt (and it sucks--it fits like a very unsexy corset). It's an ugly 4 inch wide velcro closure in the same tan/butt-brown color that the medical industry thinks matches everyone's skin tone. Anyhow, in order to take off the prosthesis, it pretty much requires my taking off the pants (or my new favorite thing, flinging up my skirt) to get the belt off.

But back to the zippered pants I bought... I do love them... but the ones I bought last year are now a size too small. I went up a size sitting on my ass for a year waiting for the new leg to be built. I hope that now that I'm moving a bit more I'll be back in them sometime soon.

I found they were REALLY helpful for:
1) Trips to the physical therapist. When cold or rainy, I wanted to wear long pants, but the therapist wants to be able to actually see the prosthesis in action. Rather than change into shorts in the office, I could just quickly zip off a pant leg.
2) Getting dressed in the morning. Unlesss someone has forgotten to teach me some tips for dressing, I was taught to kind of dress like a fireman. They take off their pants and shoes in one fell swoop and leave them there so they can jump right into them. Before I put my leg on, I literally dress it. I put the pants on it, the sock, the shoe, etc. Once it's all dolled up, I put the leg on, then I can pull up my pants and put the other shoe on. What was cool about the zip off pants, was I could dress the prosthesis in just a pant leg, sock, and shoe. That way I could basically be fully dressed (and not tripping over a dangling empty pant leg to boot) and then when I wanted to put the leg on I would only have to just pull up the pant leg and zip it onto the shorts I was already wearing. It was neato. And it also decreased the amount of time I spent around the house in my underpants hahaha.

3A Gurl said...
Hi Hi. (etc....)

Hi back! Goodluck on the rehab yourself, enjoy your multiple plumb lines, and thanks for the encouragement!

Sara said...
(lots of good stuff)
Sara, thanks, as always for being my biggest cheerleader...and more importantly, for all the information. Whether it applies or not (and it usually does), it always gets me thinking.

Friday, January 06, 2006

slow grind to a halt

Well, so much for getting back to the grind.
Guess I worried about that for nothing *frown*.

I caught TheMIG's head cold, and MyFK has had some kind of flu since Monday night, which has changed my entire week. The poor little guy has been up most nights with a fever as high as 103F, so no sleep for this exhausted mommy...and no return to school for him (which is a bummer, because Tuesday was the grand opening of his newly remodeled school...they've been in portables for 18 months...he's missing things and feels left out).

My commitment to swimming?...squashed.
Rearranging stuff to make use of the new space the departed housemate left behind?...nada.
Depositions?...rescheduled (no new date yet).
Teaching dance class last night?...nope (thanks K, for always being there).
Studio time for improv with T before she leaves the country for 9 months?...*sigh* cancelled.
T's going away party tonight?...probably not.

I did manage to get out for a 2 hour rehearsal with Dandelion Dancetheater, though. The director is working with smaller groups on Wednesday nights. He started to structure a segment with the four of us that were there, and I had a blast. I actually got picked up and passed hand-to-hand, cartwheel-style, down a line of dancers....then I blended back into the line so each of the other dancers can get passed along in some fashion. Much fun for me, as being spun upside down is most certainly not something we do in bellydancing hahaha.

Unfortunatly, we didnt end on that high note....we closed the rehearsal by revisting a duet with myself and another dancer, and it sucked. I'd forgotten everything since our last rehearsal in December, I was ridiculously clumsy, and I felt like a big dufus. Hopefully now that we're back to regular rehearsals, it will smooth out quickly.

The larger group rehearsal process begins today, which is basically all of us, for four hours every Friday.
And I'm a little nervous.
This group has been working together with this material for years, both in rehearsals and performances. I'm one of only a few new dancers to the company, and of the newbies, I have the least formal dance training. What little training I do have is mostly in bellydance or improv, not modern. I'm also still pretty new to dancing with one leg, and let's just throw in the fact that I'm sick and completely exhausted on top of that. Hard to say what today's rehearal is going to be like...it ought to be just grand. Oh, I should also mention that working with the prosthesis has my body really confused about where it's center-line is, so my balance while standing on one leg has been a little wacky, too.

I'm used to feeling more confident and less whiny.
Now I think I'm actually looking forward to the grind.

Monday, January 02, 2006

viva la schmezolucion!

I never make New Year's resolutions.
Resolutions, schmezolucions.

But this year, I am offering myself a challenge.
I'm going to knit 1 pair of socks every month this year.
I dunno.
Cuz I feel like it, damn it.
If I had to come up with logical reasons, I'd probably tell you:
I like knitting socks!--mindless in places, challenging in others; double-pointed needles, for some bizarre reason, soothe me; I want to experiment more with color and lace, and doing it on smaller projects seems wise; the yarn isn't expensive and I'm on a yarn diet; I forsee the need for portable knitting projects this year; I looooove wearing hand knit socks; and I realllly looooove seeing them on the feet of people I care about (and not all twelve pairs will be for me).

This challenge isn't a ridiculous stretch...I can certainly knit one sock in two weeks. No sweat. The question is whether or not I can do it and still manage to get other knitting done. That will be the real challenge. From where I sit, 2006 looks pretty damn busy, and I have a feeling I'm not going to have much time for taking up the needles.
So here's what I have been knitting since my last knitting post:

* I finished seaming "Under the Hoodie". I'm very pleased with it. It fits great, which I suppose isn't saying much because it's not a fitted garment....it's an oversized/drop shoulder sweater. But it really does fit great. It hangs great, it lands on the body correctly, has a nice drape, etc. And it's my first sweater. It looks handmade but not homemade, so goal accomplished. A deep bow of thanks to Merrily from my local Stitch-N-Bitch for pushing me to wash the swatch before casting on. That swatch got surprisingly shorter and wider once it hit the water. Significantly. And if I hadn't known that, I'd look like a clown in my $100 sweater (yes--$100 worth of wool/merino, a joint birthday gift from Michael & Pam--thank you guys!!...because no time lately have I had that kind of dough to plop down on stash). I haven't had a (decent) picture taken of the finished product yet, but when I do, I shall post it.

* I finished my mom's sherbert socks. I know the stripes don't match. Shut up. I tried. Every time I knit something new, I learn something new. Guess what I learned this time? Yarn and zippers are not friends. The yarn got caught in a zippered bag and had to be cut. I lost track of what the self-striping pattern was doing right in the middle of turning a heel. Whateverrrrrrrrr. Oh well. The legs/calves still match. And the instep and toes are going to be inside shoes anyhow, right???

* I knit Boogeytime for TheMIG. I made it out of the left over sock yarn that he chose himself for the pair I made him last year. What you can't see from the photo is the super cute watch face. It's a kid's Timex with a rocket that flies around on the second hand. Wheee! Even though I thought this pattern mades great use of those little leftovers, when I first saw it on knitty, I thought it was pretty silly. But about two days later, I was knitting while TheMIG was playing tennis against a backstop (his new choice of exercise), and he kept asking me every five minutes how long he had been playing....so a watch on a sweatband made perfect sense to me. I am actually quite pleased to see that he wears it around even when he's not playing tennis...especially because he hasn't played tennis again since the day I decided to knit it. So much for exercise... heehee! But truly, I love that he wears it, and it makes me warm and fuzzy to see him warm and fuzzy. It's been cold here, and it's been doubling as a wrist warmer. He's a vegetarian who doesn't wear animal products, so leather watchbands are out. I'm going to knit him one more that can pass at the office (less wide and solid black or charcoal).

* I started Latifa, and this picture was taken as we were leaving for about 8 hours of road tripping. It's now more than half way done, and I've been ruffling and sewing in ends as I go. I like it a lot, but it feels like it might belong on someone else's neck.

* Socks...para la schmezolucion!. I'm on Sock#1, top down, past the heel and now working the gusset decreases. Still no elves, and still no digital camera, so close your eyes and use your imagination.
I'm not following a pattern this time, as I'm testing myself to see if I can take everything that I conceptually understand about making socks and just wing it. This, of course, would be totally feasible if I was making the same simple stockinette socks I always make. But nooooooo....I have to not only try to make socks without a pattern, but I have to also add a pattern stitch for the first time. It's just a simple mock cable rib, but it's one more thing to think about. And just to be fun and add another variable onto that, I decided to try out using two circulars, instead of my regular soothing dpn's. The sock is coming out great, but I'm having to think about things more, which stinks, because I caught TheMIG's head cold, and, as I write this, MyFK just woke up with a fever of 102. I need eeeeasy knitting. Nooo thiiiiinking please. The sock is now on two ciculars "in profile", which has the instep pattern split up and the gusset decreases in the middle of the needle instead of at the ends, and I keep forgetting that.
I am not having fun.
Maybe I should go back to knitting a square or two of garter stitch on the scarf for awhile.
I have really been thinking the past few days about "getting back to the grind" now that the holidays are over.....
But I'm looking at the calendar, and "the grind" I have ahead of me in January is about three times as great as the grind I set down mid-December before moving into holiday mode.
What is up with dat??
I hope I can handle it. On my plate this month are depositions and legal issues, financially adjusting to not having a housemate as of this week, learning to walk with the prosthesis on (which means lots of physical therapy appointments and about double the time or more to get around and do things because I move slower), and a shit load of dancing (teaching my own class/bellydance, taking up an 8-week class series with Axis, and Dandelion Dancetheater related rehearsing 1-3 times per week).

Can I get back to the old grind instead, please? This one looks a litte bit too busy.