Showing posts from August, 2007

18 Today!

I surprised myself today. After a very difficult week both physically and mentally (thanks, by the way, to everyone who wrote in with condolences, etc.) I decided I had better get back on the trike and continue to prepare for the big ride in October. I had low expectations for today but thought I might stick to my original goal to increase my distance by one mile a week. That would mean pedaling 18 miles today. Lately, I've had a few very low-energy days with even less tolerance for sitting than usual, so I was preparing myself for the possibility of going a mile or two and turning right back around. That didn't happen. Normally these rides take the better part of an afternoon. I stop and get lunch. I stop and lie down–– several times. I stop and look at birds. I chat with people on the trail–– I ride a 3-wheeled conversation-starter, after all. And did I mention I stop and lie down? When I reached the end of my ride today, though, I realized that not only had I done th

Mister Firdusi

... Robb and I were living near Johns Hopkins University in the summer of 1992. We had neighbors a few houses down who were students and (as far as I could tell) small time drug dealers. They had a number of cats which they allowed to roam the streets, a very risky activity in downtown Baltimore. I was constantly marching over to their house, with a squirming pussy cat or two under my arm, and delivering lectures on responsible pet ownership. "No, it is not all right to let your cats wander all over Charles Village." "No, dry corn flakes is not an proper diet for your cats." Eventually, these kids moved out, leaving their cats to fend for themselves. Of the three cats they abandoned, I managed to track down a scrawny little white girl. I never knew what became of her handsome brother with the odd-colored eyes or the ginger tabby kitten. Even though Robb already owned two highly respectable cats, I just had to adopt this street cat. Niobe was a malnourished

In Memoriam

... Mr. Firdusi 1992-2007 ...more on this later more photos here.

Blowing off Steam

... Robb and I drove down to Santa Cruz to spend another day with extended family. ( What is the name for one's sister's sister-in-law's family, anyway? ) We rode the steam train through the redwoods at Roaring Camp, which was a blast. I always take pictures of these amazing trees, but the photographs never work out. How can you express the grandeur of a forest full of trees that are often almost three hundred feet tall, and fifteen hundred years old? Not with this crummy taken-from-a-moving-train snapshot, that's for sure. I had hoped to create a letterbox for this place, but what I made was pretty stinky. Hopefully, I can get together with one of my San Jose pals ( hint, hint ) and we can collaborate on something at a later date. I wasn't sure that an hour and a half long drive, followed by an equally long train ride was going to be a pleasant experience for Robb. After the train, we went out to lunch with Martha, Neil and Lindsay and some of their friends

Tell It to the Foot

... Shortly after my injury, I learned two things about my prognosis for recovery: the damaged nerves needed time to relax and, if possible, regenerate and new neural pathways could be formed as the nerve signals find shortcuts around the damaged areas. Since nerves are supposed to regenerate at a rate of a millimeter a day (about the same rate your hair grows) it doesn't make for a great spectator sport, I can tell you. The gains are so gradual, I'm never really convinced anything is changing at all. And while it's nothing to shoot off fireworks over, the re-routing of neural pathways at least has the appeal of novelty. What's more, I'm pretty sure it's actually happening. It's hard to explain but I'll try. If I move my fingers or raise my eyebrows, it's very easy. I've been doing it for years and I've got it pretty well figured out. In fact, just thinking about raising my eyebrows is nearly the same as actually doing it. I almost ca

Putting it all Together

.... Remember this? Well, now it looks like this. We've still got a lot of work to do, but it is nice to see things come together. That's Sheri in the lift (behind the orange ladder). She is painting the seams where the walls come together, so make them disappear. Tonight we stay late at work to apply another coat of sealer to the floor.

Cute and Fuzzy

... We've continued our Must-See tour of kids' attractions of the East Bay with a trip to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. This place has a dual mission. They rehabilitate injured wildlife . And they educate people about our relationship with the natural world. I thought that my little niece Lindsay, who lives in Brooklyn, might enjoy getting an up-close gawk at some of our California wildlife. The varmints did not disappoint.

Sibling Revelery

... We had a very nice visit with Robb's brother when he was in town last week. But alas! I did not take any decent photographs. This week, my sister and her family are on the West Coast. I have been running around with them, enjoying some of the local attractions. There is a charming children's park near our house, that Robb and I had never visited (they don't allow you in without a child, and we never seem to have one laying about). Robb wasn't up for the walking that a visit to Children's Fairyland would require, but the rest of us had a blast! Fairyland exists somewhere between Delightful and Demented, a place that I enjoy very much. Because we don't see rain, except during the rainy season, some of the decorations can get a bit dusty and cobwebby. Check out the spiderwebs on Alice! This White Rabbit reminded me of Donny Darko or Sexy Beast, or something. Of course, not all the animals were quite so odd. Martha and I (of course) located the creature

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Silly

... We have been under a lot of pressure at work, trying to complete the scenery for our upcoming production of Heartbreak House. Today was our last day in the shop, before everything gets loaded into the truck and transported over to the theater. I knew that tempers could be running high, so in an attempt to keep the mood light, I bought all of my staff furry animal ears. This is Andrew. You just have to love a man who will wear fuzzy bunny ears all day at work. I did not get a good photo of Cristina, which is too bad. Yesterday, her car was rear-ended, and today her insurance adjuster came out to our shop to assess the damage. She had the entire meeting with him without realizing that she was wearing sequin-encrusted white tiger ears. The insurance guy didn't bat an eyelid. It was only when Cristina was coming back into the shop and happened to see her shadow that she realized what had just happened. Did the insurance guy burst out laughing, once he was out of "ear sho

Revolution Update

I knew we got off to a fast start with the fundraiser (and it is still early) but I just had a look at the team tallies and found to my amazement that we are currently the top fundraising team for BORP's Rev '07! Thanks to all of you who made a contribution, we have now raised more than all but the top five teams combined . In addition, our 70+ donations are from all over: The U.S., Britain, France, China, Australia, Canada and one quite possibly from outside our space-time continuum. More about the Rev `07 fundraiser.

Shooting Stars

... About six years ago I was traveling around the country in a touring show produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. We went to 41 states in eight months. In November 2001, I found myself in a seaside hotel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Hearing that the Leonid meteor shower that year was likely to put on its most spectacular show for decades, I got myself out of bed at 3 am, dragged a hotel bedspread down to the beach with me and laid in the sand to watch. The Leonids did not disappoint. As I laid there in the dark and cold, my cellphone pressed to my ear, I shared the experience with Lisa as she reclined on the hood of the car a thousand miles away in central Connecticut. As it turns out I got the better show, looking out over the ocean on a cloudless, moonless night, the meteorites went streaking by one after another. I stopped counting at 300. Yesterday I heard there would be particularly good viewing of the Perseid meteor shower after midnight. I thought about the pos

How To Make Fake Wood

... Right now, the Berkeley Rep Scenic Studios are working on a production of George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House. This show is going to feature huge, monolithic scenery. We've finally finished all the blue walls, and have moved on to the wood trim for these walls. In theater, we spend an awful lot of time painting one material to look like another. (Although, we also seem to spend a fair amount of time painting steel to look like steel, and making one kind of wood look like a different kind of wood.) I have been referring to our current project as Franken-Wood, because the final creation will be pieced together out of pine, plywood, poplar, medium density fiberboard, styrofoam and steel. And the goal is to make it all look completely unified. We start by priming our "wood" (in this case, medium density fiber board) and then figuring out the best base color for the wood we are trying to match. It seems that in our shop, we tend to refer to our colors with foo

Most Delightful

... One of the interesting and unique things about my recent doctor's visit was that the doctor, having been chosen and agreed upon by both parties in my case (plaintiff and defense), issues a medical opinion which is considered legally unassailable. What he says, goes. Imagine, then, my satisfaction on learning what this unimpeachable source has entered into the public record. On physical examination, he is a most delightful, cooperative and highly credible, average weight gentleman who was in no acute distress. I liked this doctor right from the start but never dreamed he would be such a keen judge of character, a man of refined and discerning taste. There was a lot more in his report –– eighteen pages of me falling down and what hurts and what's numb and which part bends more than another part and then a lot of math, but I think I covered the most important bits.

Gopher It, Dude!

... When I first got my urban garden, it was buried under garbage and riddled with tunnels . Having lived in Baltimore for years, I naturally assumed that the place was crawling with rats. "Oh well," I though, "if they don't bother me, I won't bother them, either." But I never met the neighbors. I would occasionally hear some scrabbling in the compost pile, and think "if you are going to compost in West Oakland, you had better expect some rats. At least they help break things down, and leave behind fertilizer." Imagine my surprise, when after a year, I finally spotted this guy. I think he is a pocket gopher. From what I've read, he's a solitary creature. He doesn't seem to be doing any harm. When I showed this photo to Robb, he laughed uncontrollably. Robb appreciates a tough, funny vegetarian, after all!


... Happy Birthday, Robb! Have I ever mentioned the fact that Robb is a great guy, or that we're really happy together? Life with Robb is not unlike the life that people who write personal ads describe. We enjoy long walks in nature (okay, nevermind that the walks take a bit longer than they used to), cycling, trips to the museum, romantic evenings at home, great friends, and laughter. In fact, I don't think that we've spent a day together when we haven't laughed ourselves silly. Robb is brilliant, creative, resourceful, caring, witty, and a has a fantastic outlook on life. Happy birthday, Boy-Oh. I love you.

Tomorrow is Robb's birthday

... He has come so far in a year! I remember Robb joking that he could entirely by-pass any midlife crisis, since he had already gone through a genuine crisis. The photo is from Robb's brother's Paul's wedding. Paul is, unexpectedly, in the Bay Area on business, so he'll be able to see Robb. What a nice surprise!

My Kitty Niobe

... Robb has had to come to terms with the fact that not ever fiber of my heart is devoted to loving him. The rival for his affections is my sixteen year old kitty, Niobe. Niobe was a sorry bag of bones when she found us, and surprised everyone by giving birth on our couch a week after a vet assured me that she was too scrawny to be pregnant. Niobe may not have a lot going on in the brains department, and her son is a terror, but I love her more than I have loved any four legged creature. And right now, Niobe is having health problems. Her kidneys are out of whack, and until we get those better under control, we cannot have her dental problems attended to. Dental work for cats involves general anesthesia, which is risky even for young healthy cats. We've got to get things sorted out, because Niobe has at least one rotten stinky tooth in her mouth, and also has an abscessed gum. We have tried to modify Niobe's diet, but she's such a lunatic that predicting what she will

Moving Along

... The doctor's appointment came and went. I finally realized that the designation of permanent and stationary was merely a legal designation, and not what I had feared. All along, I thought that when Robb was declared permanent and stationary, it meant that the doctor was saying that Robb would not be getting any better. I can't believe I was walking around with that hanging over my head! Robb and I went cycling on Sunday, at a park we hadn't previously visited. We have been slowly working our way around the San Francisco Bay Trail , mostly the portions of the East Bay . I told Robb that I wanted to go out somewhere we hadn't been before, and he picked the Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline . This park is on reclaimed landfill, with an impressive view of the bay and the Oakland Airport. While most of the rest of the country is is the middle of summer, it feels like autumn, here. This is our dormant season. Most of the plants are dry, but there are a few beauties t

Blue, Blue, Blue

... Robb's full time job, as far as I'm concerned, is his recovery. I, on the other hand, run the paint shop for a large regional theater. Right now, we're building gigantic scenery for a production of George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House . Lots and lots and lots of blue scenery. I featured photos of an earlier phase of the project here . Unlike our old shop, which burned to the ground two summers ago, our new scenic studios are wonderfully airy and spacious. Still, we have to think creatively when we go to "pack" the shop. After we painted the stage floor, we left it in place, covered it with protective paper, brought in a herd of sawhorses, and textured and painted the smaller walls. Once those were completed, we stacked them against the shop walls, and brought in the "header" pieces. These things are huge . We wanted to paint the headers all at once, so that they would look essentially seamless when we installed them in the theater. Thes