Posts

Showing posts from September, 2007

Bummer of Love

Image
... Well, we struck out on our Summer of Love Treasure Hunt. Even though the team I was on had previously taken fourth prize in the advanced division of the Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt , we didn't even bother turning in our answers. We tried to solve all the clues, but gave up after hours of searching and went out for tapas instead. Despite frustration, we had a lot of fun tromping all over the Haight. And, no, I did not wear anything that had been tie dyed. I wore black.

Nine Minutes and Seventeen Seconds of Fame

Image
... The Bay Area Backroads segment on letterboxing aired today, and I thought they did a wonderful job. You can watch it online by clicking here . After viewing the show, I am left with one nagging question. Are my teeth really that big?

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Image
... I am (and Robb used to be) a theatrical artisan. I don't mean the title to sound snobby or elitist or unnecessarily obscure. What I mean is that I make things by hand. We try to be very efficient in this pursuit, but some projects are just time-consuming. At the moment, we're working on a new play by the writer and director Mary Zimmerman (winner of both the MacArthur "genius" award and the Tony award). The set for this show, which is designed by Dan Osling, seems very simple and elegant -- just a huge wooden box -- but, oh boy, is it labor-intensive. I started wondering just how labor-intensive one part of the project was and just why my feet hurt so much at the end of a day. We are custom-staining hundreds of poplar planks, which will become the main surface of the show's set. For each board, we pick the board off the stack, and lay it on sawhorses sand the board, walking up and down the board four times wipe off the dust, walking up and down

Bay Area Backroads

Image
... Back in the spring, I was part of a group of local letterboxers who filmed a segment for the television show Bay Area Backroads, which airs this weekend! If you are in the Bay Area, you can watch it at 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday. And if you live farther away, you'll be able to see the show online. I believe the episode will be up on the website on Friday. The filming took the better part of the day, and we all had a lot of fun. The show's producer was a sweetie-pie and a delight to spend time with. When he called me today and invited me to be part of his team this weekend at the San Francisco City Guides' Summer of Love Treasure Hunt , I jumped at the chance. The yarn show and the How Berkeley Can You Be Festival (and art car show) will have to be scheduled around, so that I can go treasure hunting. According to its website, City Guides is a non-profit organization (sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library) with more than 200 trained volunteers w

Bikes and Birds, that's all we ever write about...

Image
... Robb and I made a pact to go cycling together, not just on weekends, but also during the week. So, he took it easy yesterday, and after work we went for an eight-mile ride. Usually, Robb and I ride at a similar pace, but last night I kept having to circle back for him. We couldn't decide if it was because by five-thirty, Robb has run out of steam for the day, or because I wasn't carrying my usual absurdly-heavy basket. (Contents: two water bottles, camera with two lenses, one huge, binoculars, bird identification book, fruit, jackets, et cetera, et cetera.) If we go out cycling again in the evening, we agreed that we would go to a loop trail, and I would go around twice as many times as Robb. Maintaining his slow pace really doesn't give me any exercise at all. (These were birds from the past weekend. Above is a Turkey Vulture, and below is an American Wigeon. The wigeon picture is pretty lousy, but he was too cute not to share!)

Bay Area Knitters

Image
... Who wants to join me at a fiber expo in Oakland, this weekend? I'm thinking of spending Sunday morning, gawking at yarn. Click here for more information.

damned if you do, and damned if you don't

Image
... Robb was having a rough day last Saturday, and other than a visit to the vet, spent the bulk of the day in bed. The next day, he told me that he thought he was "paying the price for laying low." He was particularly troubled by muscular spasticity on Sunday. Despite this, he and I biked twenty-one miles. We really exerted ourselves, physically. And the next day, Robb was completely wiped out. He was barely able to lift his feet off the floor on Monday night. We're still trying to find the balance between these two extremes.

? ? ?

Image
... How can a cat as frail and sick as Niobe be such a stinkin' trouble-maker? I called Robb from the grocery store, where I was buying baby food and canned fish for our sick kitty. I had been close to tears as I was looking over the jars of baby food. Niobe hadn't eaten in days, and I was so worried that she wasn't going to be alive when I got home. Niobe, however, is a cat full of surprises. It seems that while she hasn't managed to find any interest in food or water, she found the inspiration to jump out the bathroom window, and go cavorting on our roof. Niobe is, under the best of circumstances a spazzy, uncoordinated cat. Our roof is two stories up, and she has already fallen off of it once, when she was younger and more spry. Robb encouraged me to hurry home, because he really couldn't climb out the window and retrieve our silly cat. After the conclusion our little roof-top adventure, I spoke with our vet. Niobe does, indeed, have a urinary infection, a

Medicating our Kitty

Image
... Our elderly kitty Niobe is not doing very well, and so we have started her on a round of antibiotics, in addition to the subcutaneous fluids that we give her for her kidney disease. Robb is a real hero for doing the Cat Stabbing. And Niobe tolerates this better than you might imagine. Robb did the math, and if I were to have the same proportions of liquid pumped under my skin, I would be having to absorb a two-liter bottle of water every single day. Got Milk? Originally uploaded by shesnuckinfuts We haven't worked out a method for getting Niobe to accept the antibiotics. She's barely eating anything at all, so we cannot add the medications to her food. At the moment, we're just squirting drugs into her mouth. Robb read up on techniques for medicating a cat, and found the following: The prize for the most ingenious method of pilling a cat has to go to the reader who long ago shared his Screen Door Method. He lifts his cat onto the screen, where the animal

A Moment of Silence

Image
... I was exposed to theater at an early age, but of all the performers I saw live or on television, Marcel Marceau, who died on Saturday , is the first one I remember by name. I think that because Marcel Marceau became such a cultural icon, in some ways he has become almost invisible. When you think "mime" his characters are the ones that spring to mind, and yet, I wonder if most people understand the depth of his work. Like so, so many of his generation, Marcel Marceau was affected by the Holocaust. His father was killed in Auschwitz, and Marcel and his brother Alain were active in the French Resistance. I was struck by something I heard recently, that how in the not-so-terribly-distant-future, there will be nobody alive who lived through the Second World War, and our understanding of it will no longer be transmitted by people who experienced it, first-hand. Will we understand the powerful, political and poignant work of Marcel Marceau, or will we only be vaguely

In the Dumps? (Not really.)

Image
... Although I feel terribly guilty about having a social life that doesn't include Robb, he has not been feeling up to a lot of extracurricular activities. So, I've been going out with other friends. I saw the amazing, stripped down version of Sweeney Todd at ACT with the girlies from the scene shop. Gotta love a musical about canniballistic revenge! This production was particularly impressive because all of the actors were also the orchestra. Everyone sang and acted and played instruments. It was a bloody good time. (This photo is -- I think -- the London cast. The San Francisco cast played slightly different instruments.) Yesterday, Ashley and I went to Nemo Gould's opening at the San Francisco Dump . There's a long-running program of artists' residencies at the dump. (Our friend James had this residency about two years ago.) We really loved the artist's use of found materials. (For those curious, the top piece is made of the follow

"That man's riding a tricycle!"

Image
... I've been spending so much time out riding my trike lately that tend to forget what an odd contraption it must seem to the casual observer. The typical responses I've noticed fall into categories. The kids, for the most part, either call out "Cool bike!" or whisper to themselves " cool " or, if they are riding a bike, they stare with their mouths hanging open and put themselves on a collision course with me. Then there are the true zealots, like the nine-year-old last weekend who chased me on foot for an eighth of a mile shouting out questions all leading up to "How can I get one?" (For the sake of his parents, I told him it came all the way from Florida and was hopelessly expensive.) The adults are more subtle in their reactions but their faces speak volumes. First, there are the people who smile indulgently, aware I'm probably missing a limb or something and consider me brave for soldiering on. Then there are the smirkers who seem to t

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Image
... We were back on the trail today, continuing working toward the BORP Revolution fundraiser, which will take place on October 6th.

Letterboxing on the American River

Image
... On Friday, Robb and I drove up to Sacramento for a letterboxing party. We had thought that driving up the night before would give Robb more energy for the party itself. We brought Robb's car, which meant that he had to do all of the driving. (I can't use the hand controls.) By the end of the drive, Robb was in a lot of discomfort, and his gas/brake hand was going numb. We might have been lost and a bit over-tired, but we were certainly less of a menace than the woman we spotted who was knitting while driving on the freeway during rush hour. Both hands off the wheel, eyes on her project, drifting all over the road. Words cannot express my dismay for the stupidity of her behavior. The letterboxing event was perfect. The weather was lovely and the park was pristine. It was a delight to spend time with old friends, and make some new ones. Robb brought the trike, so for the most part, we were able to keep up with everyone else. He is still trying to figure the be

Round and Round

Image
... Robb and I love the fact that we live in Cycling Heaven. Much of the Bay Area is beautifully set up for cyclists. And this is a darn good thing, because if all the people who cycle to work suddenly started driving, the traffic congestion would be abysmal. On any day, half my co-workers cycle to work. Having traveled in northern Europe, where bikes are ubiquitous, and having been car-less in the American south, where bikes are not welcome, I have the highest regard for any government that makes a commitment to encouraging cycling as a form of commuting. So I was terribly dismayed to read this article at Salon. Apparently, our nation's Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters concluded that the cause of the recent tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis/Saint Paul was the wasteful use of federal dollars on such things as bike paths and lighthouse repair, which rob our nation of much needed bridge-repair dollars. According to Ms. Peters, projects like bike paths and trail

I could have told you that!

Image
... According to a recent poll , 8o's television icon MacGyver was the fictional hero most people would prefer to have at their side in the case of an emergency. He beat out Indiana Jones, John McClane (Bruce Willis in the Die Hard films), James Bond, Jason Bourne, Lara Croft and Jack Bauer. I wouldn't argue with any of these. Friends of Robb know that he's a natural MacGyver. He's brilliant, resourceful and nonviolent. And as far as what haircut he might have been sporting in the 80's? Who knows? The book on 80's fashions is best left closed. And the others? Let's just say that a quick bit of snogging with James Bond is not worth ending up dead and naked two scenes later.

How's everyone else?

Image
... I thought we would take a break from talking about Robb's health today and mention some of the other denizens of our humble home. Niobe, despite her advances in driving technique , is succumbing to kidney disease. Robb gives her subcutaneous fluids every day, but she has -- quite suddenly -- become an old, frail cat. We're giving her all the love in the world, and she seems quite content. She has slowed down, measurably. I'm a bit frustrated because we caught this kidney problem quite late, and because it is keeping her from getting a stinky tooth removed. (She is too fragile for kitty anesthesia, it would seem, and I guess there's no way we can convince the vet to tie her tooth to a doorknob, and just slam the door. And heck no, I'm not sticking my fingers in my cat's mouth.) This is tearing me apart. Niobe is my Special Cat. Having Niobe get so suddenly sick is hard enough, but having just lost Mister Firsdusi makes this doubly difficult. I'm

Driven to Distraction

Image
... As I drove our Niobe cat home from the vet this morning, she apparently decided the view from the cat carrier was inadequate. Of course, she chose her moment perfectly as I was on a particularly tricky section of freeway and was thus powerless to prevent her unzipping the top of her soft-sided carrying bag and making her way to the passenger seat. Ah-ha, I thought, at least I don't have to worry about her getting down into the footwell and interfering with my feet on the pedals -- I've got hand controls. She must have been reading my thoughts because the next thing I knew she was in my footwell figuring out the best way to get up on my lap. She found it, and a moment later, just as I turned into our street, she discovered her ultimate target -- my arm. Realizing, of course, that the only truly consequential thing in the car that needed messing with was my left arm, she proceeded to first cling and then climb on to my sleeve. By the time I steered us into the driveway, sh

Join the Revolution!

Image
... Robb and I are delighted that our friends Kara and Ellen will be joining us for our upcoming cycling fund-raiser . We met Ellen in Baltimore when we were all working at Center Stage. She, subsequently, was my boss at the Gimmerglass Opera , where we all met Kara. Kara, like Robb, has been in the midst of a long term recovery, in her case from a severe hand injury. She has concluded that after her most recent surgery, a long bike ride puts too much pressure on her palm, so she may end up being the pace car for Team How's Robb. Ellen will be flying in from Minnesota, and will be riding with us. Good thing we have a guest bike at our house! Anyone else who wants to join us in Wine Country to raise money for disabled athletes just has to say the word, and we'll make you a rider on our team! Don't want to cycle twenty five miles? You could always help out by sipping wine at the finish line.

I've got Hairy Legs, and I'm Looking for Love!

Image
... A year ago, I learned that our part of the San Francisco Bay Area is home to tarantulas and that autumn is mating season for these fine furry fellows. For my birthday last year, I dragged everyone out tarantula hunting. Sadly, though, we went out too late in the season and saw no tarantulas. I had to wait a year, but today I got to see my first wild tarantula. I went out hiking with Ken-ichi (a Flickr friend), and some of his pals, with the goal of seeing amorous male tarantulas. The weather was blazing, the hike was done at a good clip, and we didn't see a single tarantula on the trail. Failing that, we drove up and down Mount Diablo, scrutinizing every single thing along the side of the road. I'm proud to say that my "bright eyes" did not fail me, and I spotted our one and only tarantula, sauntering down the middle of the road. Tarantulas weigh almost nothing. They feel like velvet. They are quite docile and very fragile, and we were extre

Training for the Revolution

Image
... In preparation for the cycling fundraiser we're doing in October, Robb continues to spend as much time as possible, testing his physical limitations, and when I'm not drowning in a sea of blue scenery , I actually get to join him. Today we spent part of the afternoon on the San Francisco Bay Trail, cycling. Robb is trying to increase the distance he is able to cover. I'm realizing how out-of-shape I am at the moment. Now you would think that heading out on the trail, and stopping occasionally to gawk at the flora and fauna would be a great way to pace ourselves. In fact, Robb has learned that when he's on a long bike ride, taking breaks doesn't always help out. It seems that he just has to keep going, or else. I'm trying to wrap my brain around this. Right now, stopping for lunch and gawking at the blackbirds saps Robb's energy. Likewise, pausing to notice the butterflies is also not currently a good idea. We compromise. I pause for

Feed the Head

Image
... Click here to enjoy a beautiful, creative, absurd game. No race-the-clock, no violence, no creepy sexism, just a lovely bit of dreamlike surrealism.