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Showing posts from February, 2008

Facing My Fears

Theater can be a dangerous business, and I've seen my share of workplace accidents. I've never been proud of the fact, but in the past, I've been a fainter. I tend to over-identify with the injured person, and also feel really helpless, and up until now, I assigned myself the task of being the person who called 911, and then waited on the sidewalk to meet the ambulance. Considering how out-of-the-way most of the places I've worked have been, this really was a useful task. I always worked with people who knew first aid, so I was never walking away from an unattended injured person. The funny thing is that if I ever get injured, I keep my head and do just fine. Back in college, I dislocated my knee (the kneecap was sticking out of the side of my leg), and I decided that I would do well to knock the patella back into place then and there, rather than waiting who knows how long for a doctor to see me in the emergency room. I'll never forget how green my friend La

Discipline? Determination? Plain Old Stubbornness?

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... Call it what you will, Robb's got it. He said to me last night that if he hadn't become so stubborn since his accident, he is certain that he wouldn't be walking as much as he is. Robb is at the pool three times a week, and cycles on the remaining sunny days. He's moving those muscles around, and hopefully stimulating more nerve regeneration. The odd thing is that during the last few months, when I was laid low with hepatitis, I was trying to exert myself as little as possible, to speed my recovery. So, while Robb was being as active as possible, I was being a total slacky lay-about. Strange how our two afflictions should have such different treatments.

A Bunch of Rats, Racing Around in a Maze

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... Despite intermittent downpours, the San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt was great fun. Our team solved all the clues, and finished a full hour before the deadline (without the use of wireless technology). We did not, however, place in the top five of our division. The Hunt covered a huge area, and I am very curious about how the limited mobility competitors fared. San Francisco has rather narrow sidewalks and loads of hills. Had it not been pouring, the city would have been jam-packed with spectators. I plan to contact the Hunt's organizer and see what sort of feedback he got. I really don't think that this game would have suited Robb. I, on the other hand, did quite well. It would seem that I've finally beaten the symptoms of hepatitis. So, even if we didn't win, I had something to celebrate! Because of the rain, I took very few photographs. At one point, I stopped to get a few pictures of the Chinese dragons, and a gust of wind snatc

Balance

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... While many, many normal daily activities continue to be quite challenging for Robb, both he and I have noticed that his balance has definitely improved. The other day, Robb dropped an orange that he was carrying, and since bending over is so difficult, he treated it like a tiny soccer ball, and kicked it into the living room. I was delighted! This morning, we has bringing me coffee in bed (yes, I'm the most horribly spoiled woman on this planet), and Linguine ran across his feet. A year ago, this would have caused a terrible mess, with Robb tripping, Linguine panicking, me feeling terribly guilty, cappuccino flying all over the bedroom. Instead, Robb just laughed. Nice try, Linguine!

Purple Rain

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... For whatever reason, Prince keeps popping up in conversation at work. We bought some paint to match the theater's catwalks, and it was called Purple Rain . That sort of thing. I finally gave Sheri the fingerless gloves that I knit her, and they were declared to be " Very Purple Rain ." Prince would be pleased, I think. This just in -- it seem you can be jailed for impersonating Prince . I had better warn Sheri.

The Year of the Rat

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... Tomorrow is the San Francisco Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt! Who cares that there is a a hundred percent chance of rain and high winds? We've got clues to unravel! Even though I didn't do much to help our team conquer the Summer of Love Treasure Hun t, I did demonstrate my talent for really bizarrely unconventional thinking, so they asked me back for the big hunt. I'm a bit worried about my hepatitis symptoms slowing me down, but I'm going to do the best I can. I only wish I had known that there was a limited mobility division in the hunt when we signed up. Perhaps next year, Robb will be part of this game. Like my rat? I created that print for my team's t-shirts.

a dragon is going to devour the moon

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... There is going to be a total lunar eclipse on February 20th. Go outside and check it out, and then tell us about your experience, please.

At the Pool

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... Robb was telling me about an experience he had this week at the pool. He got into the water, and was struck with the feeling that something was different . While the sensation was notable, he couldn't identify what the difference was. (He did actually check to see if somehow he had forgotten to wear his swim trunks.) What seems to have happened is that Robb has crossed a tiny invisible barrier in terms of neural regeneration, and now has slightly more sensation in his legs. He's aware, for the first time since his accident, of the movement of his leg-hairs in the water. Of course, any time sensation starts to return, it fails to do so in an orderly fashion. Right now, Robb is going through another period of increased muscular spasticity. His butt, in particular, is not happy.

Valentine's Date

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... What did Robb and I do to celebrate love? We went cycling and bird-watching at some local Sewage Reclamation Ponds . My, but we lead a romantic life! We wouldn't have it any other way.

Finally!

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... I think I'm finally beginning to recover from hepatitis. Three months of nausea and organ-cramping has been no fun. This past week, I actually had three days in a row without any of these thrilling symptoms. So, can someone please tell the vultures that while I find them winsome and adorable, they can stop following me around, and look for carcasses elsewhere.

"Hey you kids! Don't go playing in traffic!"

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GOAT PARTS Originally uploaded by unaesthetic The traffic reporters in the Bay Area are remarkably thorough. In addition to telling radio listeners about the locations of accidents and stalled cars, our local traffic reporters give updates on the foreign objects in the road. This has amused and delighted us since we moved out here, and we keep a list on the refrigerator door. Here's just a tiny excerpt: someone's garage door a man in a gorilla suit, waving at motorists a bathtub a turkey a bunch of metal a bunch of garbage ten baby ducklings 45,000 gallons of water a big roll of tarp that is unrolling a ladder hot tar a refrigerator box live wires metal pipes rolling around a ladder oil a momma duck and her baby ducklings a ladder fiberglass a shovel some wooden palettes a sod clean up an alligator it isn't a christmas tree, it's a garbage can plastic bottles metal grates cats off to the side of the road the first ladder of the evening a load of previously sma

"Hey you kids! Stay off my lawn!"

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... The stage floor of the show we are currently working on has to look like a sad, suburban lawn. So Sheri and I are in the process of teaching ourselves to make said sickly lawn. We ordered six hundred square feet of raffia matting (known in the trade as "funeral grass") and an assortment of textile inks, and have been working on color samples. Our pathetic grass has to look as realistic as possible. Since no dying lawn is complete without bald spots, we are also experimenting with ways to create fake dirt. Of course, our dirt has to be the kind that doesn't soil the actors' costumes, and it can't be the home to bugs. As you see from the above photos, we are very methodical in our research. Strangely, this isn't the sort of thing that I learned in Art School.

Under the Baked Potato Tree

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We've been having a little taste of springtime around here lately which can make it very difficult to stay inside on a beautiful day. I remember when Lisa and I first moved out to California from the east coast, for a long time I held onto the notion that a mild, sunny day was wasted if spent entirely indoors. Today is one of those days. I find myself torn between hitting the trial on the trike and heading over to the pool. Those are my two major activities and I usually expend all my energy doing them and have little leftover for anything else. I still can't get used to this strange physical condition I'm in. If I don't have the weightlessness provided by the pool, the reclined adrenaline supplied by the trike or the slow, steady repetitive motion of either, I feel just awful. Yesterday, I didn't have to choose between land and water. As I was leaving the Y after a swim, I got a message from Lisa to meet her and Sheri for lunch down by the marina. After a quic

At Last! The Burrowing Owl.

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... Ever since James told us that Burrowing Owls could be found in Berkeley, I've been a bit obsessed with the idea of seeing this elusive little bird. The fact that we failed to see one for so long just made this weekend's sighting all the more thrilling. Robb needed to get some exercise, so we took his trike and the camera gear and went out owl hunting. The Burrowing Owl looks remarkably like a baked potato on legs, and skinny legs at that. Burrowing Owls live, not surprisingly, in tunnels in the ground. Around here, they seem to favor the burrows dug by Ground Squirrels . Like so many birds, Burrowing Owls' populations are in trouble because of habitat destruction and predation. You wouldn't think that these tiny little fellows had anything to fear, by the way they behaved. They proudly perched out in the open, much to the delight of bird-watcher and photographers. The swarms of Ground Squirrels didn't seem bother them, nor did the joggers or (ah

Around the House

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... Despite some lovely weather, Robb and I stayed home yesterday. I worked on a new sweater. The stitch pattern is from Barbara Walker , but I'm improvising the actual sweater pattern. Yipes. We spent some time bottling the beer that Robb brewed. We made this batch as payment for whoever is going to help us carry our new couch up the stairs. I still can't drink alcohol, so this is a bit like torture. I am, however, slowly slowly slowly recovering from the symptoms of hepatitis.

Wishful Drinking

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... What can I say? I get to work on crazy projects like this. I love my job.

On the Trail, or on the Sidewalk

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... After a long stretch of rainy weather, we finally had some sun yesterday. Robb took the opportunity to go cycling. He has been using the trike on the stationary "trainer" which is good therapeutic exercise, but isn't much fun. Robb voted early in the day, and then headed out on the Bay Trail. I think today was the first time that Robb and I did not voted together. Our polling station is in a little room at our local library, with the best dinosaur carpet imaginable. Robb needed a place to sit while he voted, and the only seat they could offer him was one of the kindergarten chairs. (Who says doing your civic duty can't be entertaining?) Robb got chatting with a binocular-wielding woman along the Richmond shoreline, and she pointed out where the elusive burrowing owls are supposed to be found. This bird has become a bit of an obsession to me. Robb did not pursue this owl, which is probably a good thing. He tells me that his back had started to hurt.

Pins and Needles

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... Robb told me a strange story last night as we were listening to the primary election coverage. It seems that he was sitting on the couch, with his feet on the coffee table, when he realized that his feet had "gone to sleep." This is the first time he has experienced this sensation in the two years since he broke his back and injured his spinal cord. He said that not only was he feeling pins-and-needles in his feet, but he wasn't feeling pins-and-needles in his feet. This sensation was spotty, due to the fact that Robb's neurological damage only gives him partial awareness of his feet. I suppose it is also worth mentioning that if my feet ever go to sleep, and I mention it to Robb, I am instantly wracked with guilt for seeming to complain about having uncomfortable tingly sensations in my feet. I apologize profusely and feel like a real jerk, even though Robb laughs at me for doing this. I can't help it. I feel that considering what he's going

Be a Super Hero!

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... Today is Super Tuesday -- primary elections in many states. I want to hear how y'all were Super Heroes and voted!

How to Write in Latin

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Who says Latin is a dead language? Last week, we had to paint several Latin phrases on the scenery for our upcoming show . Because time was short, and because we had access to a plotter, we opted to lay out the text on the computer, and print out the phrases, full size. I've done other projects where we hand-lettered everything. But in this case, using the computer and plotter was simpler. Even with a computer, there's always a bit of finessing that needs to be done by hand. Cricket (who had the dramatic fall last week) and Erin (who is new to our shop) worked on perfecting the layout kindly given to us by our in-house graphic designer. Robb also gave us a hand, long distance. I really miss working with Robb whenever we end up doing fussy layout. He really relished projects that made most scenic artists want to tear their hair out in frustration. Once the layout was to our liking, we poked tiny holes in the paper, set it on top of our scenery and then rubbed po

Carl Sandburg would approve

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... The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. Each winter, our kitty Linguine grows a thick layer of insulating fur. She's a barn cat from Upstate New York, so those furry genes must have served her well when she had to survive outside. It has been raining and foggy-cloudy for quite some time. The weather weighs on both Robb and me. Nothing ever bothers Linguine. She's always content with her situation. I could learn a thing or three from that cat.