Showing posts from June, 2007

Robb is going to be hurting, after all that beer!

... No. No. No. We didn't drink ourselves into oblivion. Robb bottled a batch of home-brew beer (Kolsch, for those who wondered). He did this while I was at work, and he suspects that his back is going to be unhappy tomorrow.

Fire Update

... Our friend Kel dropped us a note to let us know that everyone she has heard from -- lost home or no -- is doing fine. The fire seems to be getting under control. Things must be less hectic, because she sent me a link to the super-cool helicopter that has been picking up water at a nearby lake, and flying over her home to fight the fire.

a cost of war

... I find myself thinking, often, about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and particularly how our society will be affected by the huge numbers of injured soldiers and contractors returning home from these conflicts. Given our experience with traumatic injury, Robb and I stand in awe of the toll -- economic and emotional -- that this is going to extract from our nation. Robb hopes that there will be gigantic advances in medical technology, particularly in terms of neuroscience and prosthetics. Me? I just worry. I worry that these people will fall through the cracks, and that as a society, we will not be prepared to deal with caring for them.

The Lake Tahoe Fire

... Robb and I have been closely following the Lake Tahoe fire , which changed directions yesterday and is burning dangerously near our friend Kel's home and nursery business. Our hearts go out to all the people who have lost their home, and to everyone -- like Kel (that's ArtTrekker to you letterboxers) -- who has been evacuated, and must be sitting on pins-and-needles, watching the course of this huge wildfire. It seems that this fire may be a symptom of global climate change (changing rain patterns) and the way we " manage " our land. But that is a discussion for another day. For now, please send good thoughts out the the families in the Lake Tahoe area, and to the brave firefighters. If you are feeling charitable, consider a donation to the American Red Cross .

Gone to the Dogs

Regular readers may have noticed a drop off in my blog entries. Left to his own devices, Robb seems to have given up on writing brave heart-warming essays about his recovery (which nobody comments on, anyway) and has gone off into Rear Window-ville . I've been busy with a weird painting project (outside of work). I'm painting custom-made dog kennels to look like Victorian houses. What can I say? It pays the bills. This project is hugely complicated because while the drawings that I'm working from look very thorough, they need a lot of adjustments to make them work, full-scale. This is cutting into my getting-photos-organized-for-the-blog time. I'm not getting a whole lot of laundry done, either.

A Sighting

I offer this photo of my neighbor's neighbor's guest house with no comment or explanation.

The Yard

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a comedy in two inexplicable acts: The Neighbors' Yard

A Tiny Film

Add on to this drawing or make your own at Sketchfu! I have been doing these drawings on my lunch hour at work, and struggling to make the marks I want with a mouse. So, Robb bought us a computer drawing tablet. Oh, boy! This could be a lot of fun!

Neighborhood Watch

We're not spying on the neighbors. Really, we're not. Maybe it's a performance art project and they want us to watch and wonder. We thought for a while they were auditioning ideas for an M. Night Shyamalan film. Whatever is happening, we can't stop staring and wondering. It started when the landscapers arrived. They tore up the whole back yard, installed a sprinkler system, planted a border garden, and laid a new sod lawn. It all looked nice and normal. It looked, in fact, like someone was trying a little too hard to be nice and normal. But maybe that's just me. Before I go any further, I just want to say: I am not Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. I don't sit at home in a wheelchair and watch my neighbors through binoculars. For one thing, I keep the wheelchair in the garage and, also, I don't wear pajamas all day long. So now... to get back to the neighbors... A few days later, a long yellow extension cord was dragged across this perfect little arca

The Next Hill

Robb, somewhere in the Nevada desert, August 2002. I think I've always had two things going for me in my approach to work and life in general. {This is Robb writing} One is: I'm a pretty good problem solver, especially when there are tight parameters. Restrictions and limitations help keep me focused. The other is: I'm good at rewriting those parameters, pushing beyond the limits when necessary. I've been thinking about how these qualities have served me well lately. It's surprisingly useful, for instance, to come up with five different ways to pick a quarter up off the floor without bending over. (Hint: Number Three involves a magazine insert. Number Five requires a ruler, a neodymium magnet and a piece of string) It seems like ten times a day I need to adapt to some new challenge. The hardest part, of course, is when I try to push beyond the restrictions, to reinvent the circumstances. There are, after all, physical limitations. I am constantly questi

The New York Times...

... ...has wonderful things to say about Eurydice, the show I recently painted in New York. Click here for a review. And here for a little multimedia thingamajig that features an interview with Eurydice's set designer, the always-wonderful Scott Bradley. (There are a lot of pictures of the set, as well.) Here's a taste: In her weird and wonderful new play, “Eurydice,” the gifted young writer Sarah Ruhl has adapted this mournful legend with a fresh eye, concentrating not on the passionate pilgrimage of Orpheus to retrieve his bride but on Eurydice’s descent into the jaws of death. What she finds there, and what she learns about love, loss and the pleasures and pains of memory, is the subject of Ms. Ruhl’s tender-hearted comedy, which opened last night at the Second Stage Theater in a rhapsodically beautiful production directed by Les Waters.

Oh goodness, this is rather addictive



I recently stumbled upon a silly little online drawing program. The drawing tools are anything but subtle, but the fun part is that once you've finished, you can watch your drawing process as a short film. When I'm teaching scenic painting, and my painters are starting out painting with their brushes stuck in the ends of bamboo poles, I assure them that working this way won't always feel like painting with their feet. I must admit, that this is how drawing this vulture felt. Very clumsy. Of course, I seem incapable of doing a "pretty" drawing. Nope, it's nothing but carrion-eaters for this girl!


... If you haven't hear from Lisa lately, it is because she lost all of the numbers stored in her mobile phone when she drowned the danged thing . Give us a call, won't you? 510-299-DAMN. (Really.)

knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care

... Annie Modesitt is a knitwear designer and teacher whose work I have long admired. Her designs are lovely, and she has a fearless spirit that I find hugely appealing. What's not to love about a woman whose books include, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic , or Men who Knit and the Dogs Who Love Them ? And the fact that she's got a book on knitted millinery ? That makes her some kind of textile super-hero in my mind. Oh yeah, and she's got a degree is scenic design. My kind of woman! So, as you might imagine, I was really excited to stumble across the doorstep of her blog last week. My excitement turned to dismay, which quickly turned to awe, as I read Annie's writing about her husband Gerry's diagnosis of multiple myeloma , a particularly complex form of cancer. Annie's writing is beautiful, funny, and heart-wrenching. And something about it really struck a chord with me. She wrote about the particular challenges of going through such a difficult time, aft

Y... because we like you.

... I just started a membership at the local YMCA. I already go there once a week for aquatic therapy and my doctor thought it would be a good idea to exercise in the water on a regular basis. It marks a big change for me. Yesterday I took a water fitness class and it was the first time since my accident that I've done physical activity led by someone who had no details of my history or condition. It was entirely up to me to judge what I could do and how much was too much. I did fairly well except for the part where I completely over-did it, got massively overstimulated and couldn't get to sleep last night. So now I know better.
... Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad!


... We were cycling today (Robb's most recent doctor's report instructs him to do this three times a week), and I shot off this photo. Without being too horribly corny, I have to say that I liked the contrast between the bird of peace (or in this case, the bird of mourning) and the razor wire. Maybe, there's a lesson in here somewhere about learning to balance. Or maybe, like this spunky footless bird, you lose a piece of yourself, and you just adapt and keep going. Oh, who knows? Maybe the lesson is about finding a joy in simple activities.

At Wit's End

... The blogging has slowed down, because I've been feeling really lost for a while, now. I have learned that I tend to get this way when I'm not very, very busy. But more than having a bit of a lull at work, I'm just plain scared. There are so many unknowns about Robb's condition and our future. Robb has been working so hard, in the hopes of a good outcome, but lately I've been spending a lot of energy in worrying about how we are going to deal with our long-term future. What happens when we part ways with the insurance company? Will Robb ever be able to get through a day, without having to spend several of his waking hours laying down? Will Robb ever be able to return to work? Considering that virtually every job Robb has ever held involved some kind of physical exertion, what would he do if he could return to work? What does any of this mean, in terms of our finances? What if Robb's recovery stops at exactly this point, and he is in pain for the rest o


... Until very recently, Robb was like a block of wood when he slept. He didn't move an inch. I think part of this was Robb being a Model Patient (even in his sleep, he obeyed his "spinal precautions") and part of this was weakness and paralysis. When he needed to roll over in bed, he would grab onto the bookcase and haul himself over. It wasn't graceful or easy, but it got the job done. Lately, Robb's legs have been twitching spasmodically while he sleeps. Last night, neither of us slept very well. When Robb did manage to sleep, the twitching was keeping me awake. (Such a strange thing, it happens like clockwork, about every forty-five seconds.) I suspect that this is another sign that Robb's legs are being re-enervated. The nerves continue to send messages to the muscles, and the muscles are beginning to "hear" these messages and are trying to respond. I recall that some of the earliest experiments involving electricity and the body involved making