Showing posts from August, 2008

Why We Do It

... I've been riding my trike out on the trail lately, trying to prepare for a very hilly 25 mile ride. Very soon we'll be doing the BORP Revolution ride. So far it's been hard to feel ready for the physical challenge. Some days are easier than others when it comes to hitting the trail and putting in the miles. I've even entertained the idea of switching to the much easier 10 mile ride. On reflection, removing the physical challenge has no appeal for me but there would be one very good reason for riding the 10 mile course: we would be with most of the people we're doing this for. We hope that some of our blog readers will support us , as we raise money to provide fun recreational activities for people with disabilities!

No big deal

... Maybe this is my residual exhaustion speaking, but I'm convinced that nobody will have anything positive to say about the sculpture I carved over the weekend. Why is it that I only ever hear any feedback on my work when people aren't happy? My studio regularly creates magic, and nobody seems to notice. Bleh.


... I'm so tired that I can barely see straight, but I wanted to share some photos of what I've been working on. I spent the weekend carving a six foot tall Art Deco figure out of styrofoam. The theater bought a glorious new computer-drive router table, and we debuted it on this project. The machine did a beautiful job of carving our the basic shapes of our artwork, but it also rather flattened the image. See how the figures arms and legs don't seem to have any muscles? When technology doesn't do the job, we rely on the work of the artist. This picture was taken on Friday, when my intern Mike and I glued the three big slices of this project together. You can see the seam of the two largest pieces of foam, running diagonally through the figure's torso. Mike demonstrates how huge this project is. (He's six foot five.) This was how far I got on Saturday. I've started work on fixing the drapery, and have built up the thickness of the figure with paper c

More Adventures with Urban Nature

... I was drinking coffee this morning and making my plan for my day of work (I've got to crank out a large art deco sculpture this weekend), when my phone rang. It was my friend Kathy calling, to see if I could identify the bird that was walking down her sidewalk, and being stalked my a cat. I wonder what it says about my life that a call like this, at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, didn't seem weird at all. Kathy emailed the photos that she had taken, and Robb and I scratched our heads. Clearly the bird was something in the chicken/grouse/pheasant family. But none of those birds should be sauntering around the neighborhoods of Oakland. The mystery bird was allowing Kathy and her family to touch it, which did not bode well for the health of the bird. Kathy had a morning appointment, so she put the bird in a cat carrier in her garage, and we met up a little while later. We drove the bird up to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum's wildlife hospital , where we were informed that

Our New World: An Old World

... Last Saturday, Robb was standing in the kitchen looking out the window, and commented on the beautiful globe for sale at the yard sale across the street. This prompted a conversation about the antique auction Sheila and I went to years ago in rural upstate NY where a totally crappy falling-apart globe sold for six hundred dollars. The auctioneers offered no special provenance on that particular globe, and I left the auction convinced that everyone there had lost their minds. But dang, that globe for sale down on the sidewalk sure was pretty. And half an hour later, I was storming down the stairs with a wallet full of cash. Robb and I spent the next hour or so trying to figure out when this globe was produced , because, strangely, it didn't have the usual printed copyright date. There are some really perplexing questions posed by this globe, which shows Israel and Newfoundland and Labrador as part of Canada (1948), but not a divided Germany (1949) or Korea (1953). Things ce

Taking a New Tack

... On Saturday, Robb and I went out for an afternoon bike ride. There was an astonishing volume of traffic on the freeway, so we drove "overland" to where we planned to park. Part of this drive took us along the shoreline service road that parallels the freeway, and offers a fantastic view of the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Trail. We both spotted someone zooming along using a hand-cycle , and wondered if we knew them. When we were unloading our bikes, I kept half an eye out for the hand-cyclist, and sure enough, it was Kristi , who is the president of the board of BORP, the organization that we're raising money for . (See the right margin of the blog for more information.) Kristi pulled into the parking lot, and we got chatting, and at the end of the conversation, she invited us sailing. Robb and I had been out sailing once since his accident with the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors . Robb was newly injured and wearing a full-torso brace, that we may ha

The Adventure of the Strawberry-Headed League

... Lisa and I have been having a chuckle over the thought that this picture of our dear little Linguine is, unbeknown to us, an internet meme – a fad, which becomes almost inexplicably popular on the web. This picture was taken about two years ago. I remember at the time, it was a major achievement for me to stand and balance well enough to take a picture while holding a camera in one hand and a bamboo-skewered strawberry in another and convince a cat we like to call "Fidget" to cooperate. We posted the picture on Flickr and since then it's been viewed thousands of times and bookmarked by hundreds of people, including dozens in the last week or so. Current theory: Linguine has secretly begun blogging. What's not so easy to see in this photo are the genuine kitty whiskers that Robb shoved into the strawberry. I'm such a weirdo, that I pick up shed whiskers, and don't throw them in the trash.

At a Loss For Words

... There's a lot going on, but for some reason, I can't formulate my thoughts into words. Maybe the act of saying that will open things up again.

Parting Gifts

... The Bush administration has been putting together some really dandy parting gifts for America. Like the changes in the rules for workplace safety , which will increase the levels of hazardous chemicals that American may be legally exposed to in the workplace. And re-writing the Endangered Species Act , so that developers -- not scientists -- can decide the impact of building roads (for example) through critical habitats. God Help America.

Everybody - Into the Pool!

As part of his therapy, Robb works out in the pool three days a week. He's a "regular." Robb thinks that everyone has been watching the Olympics and thinking, "I should get back into swimming," because the place was packed today. People he hadn't seen in six months showed up to work out in the pool. Those Olympics certainly are inspiring!

The Dock of the Bay

Robb and I celebrated his birthday by taking the ferry into San Francisco and going to the Aquarium of the Bay. This was low-key fun, although maybe a bit more than we each could handle. I woke up feeling weirdly nauseous, which I notice that I do more often since my bout with hepatitis. And Robb just isn't up for a lot of walking. Still, it was a lovely day. Somehow, I'd never ridden any of the San Francisco Ferries, so the trip into San Francisco was a fun little adventure. Cruising through the Port of Oakland is fascinating, because it is very much a working port. The Aquarium of the Bay looks very modest when compared to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but it was exactly enough for us. The underwater tunnels are incredible, but we both found them a little dizzying. Something about the combination of the visual distortion of the walls of the tunnel and the water, the vibration from the moving walkways, and the hysterically sobbing children made both of us a bit light-headed


I shamelessly love spectacle, which is why working in theater and opera can be so gratifying for me. And I totally love the no-holds-barred spectacle of the Olympic opening ceremonies. I particularly loved that printmaking was a huge symbol in the opening ceremonies. Love. Love. Love. Say what you will about the Beijing Olympics, the opening show was mind-boggling. Check out the performers, running around the globe. They each seem to be suspended on their own rigging track. Totally cool. I think that every set designer lighting designer on the planet was drooling over last night's spectacle. So, can anyone tell me where I can get my hands on a copy of the whole event? Robb and I missed the first half, because we were hanging out with friends after work. I should also add that I'm also a terrible sucker for the parade of nations. I just love watching the athletes from the tiniest nations, resplendent in traditional clothes. And I loved seeing Natalie Du Toit , carryin

Happy Birthday, Robb!

... I wish you a year of happiness and laughter.

Routine, Regime, Rinse, Repeat!

I'm discovering the hard way how important my daily exercise/physical therapy is to my overall state of mind. These past few weeks I've had some major interruptions in my normal pattern. The result has been I've been as run-down emotionally as physically. Today, I had to kick my butt out the door and down to the pool and I'm really glad I did. The surge I get from moving myself powerfully through the water is as much mental as physical. I always seem to leave there feeling a little bit stronger and a little more hopeful. Now I just need to get myself back on the pedals. We've got a big ride coming up ...

Not the Night Out I had Planned

... Robb and I were looking forward to getting together with a high-school pal of his who is in the area, attending a conference. We were going to drag her to the Musee Mecanique , and then go out to dinner. But Robb just wasn't feeling well enough. Every spinal cord injury has a urological aspect, and Robb gets violently ill from infections. This is actually one of the greatest risks to his health. He's been sick with this infection, and his body also can't seem to shake off the lingering cold that we've both had. He's coughing all the time. So, no night out in San Francisco for us. I was really sad that Robb wasn't feeling well enough for socializing, but I'm always able to adapt to what life throws my way. Instead of going across the bay to San Francisco, I wandered down the street to the Annual " Night Out " neighborhood block party. I had a lovely time chatting with my neighbors, who included a philosophy student, a hospice worker, a bu

More Secret Stuff

... I'm designing and knitting something my friends' Paula and Aaron's impending baby. But I can't share what it is, because it is supposed to be a surprise. This is killing me!

Don't Tell Anyone, But....

... ...Saturday is Robb's birthday.


... Both Robb and I have been sick for days with some kind of icky cough. It's weird because we both a had a slight cold, and then once we were feeling better we came down with this other cough thing. I've been dragging myself into work, attending the mandatory meetings, and then coming home and passing out. Robb is claiming that cough medicines don't work for him, but I think that's because I bought him some particularly vile-tasting medicine, and he's afraid I'll force him to swallow more of it. Actually, the stuff takes pride in its nastiness, and has a website full of photos of the unhappy faces people make when they take the medicine.