Showing posts from September, 2008

In One Week

... In one week, Robb and I will be attending the big fundraiser we've been talking about for so long. And we're nowhere near our fundraising goal. We've only raised half the money we raised last year. We know that there's a huge amount of uncertainty in the economy, right now. We know that people are probably sick of hearing us flogging this cause. We understand that people have other things on their minds. But imagine how uncertain things are for the parents of kids with disabilities. Please, if you possibly can, click on the photo on the right side of the blog, and make a small donation. I work as an artist, and because of his injuries, Robb doesn't work at all right now. And we donated three hundred dollars. Robb and I live very, very frugally, but feel that helping out others is terribly important.

Paul Newman

... I was saddened to hear that the world lost a great man, on Friday. Actor, philanthropist, race car driver -- Paul Newman was quite an individual. A story that my friend Chris Botta told me years ago comes to mind. She was running the paint shop for the Berkshire Theater Festival, where Joanne Woodward was working on production of Arsenic and Old Lace . On opening night, Paul Newman -- one of the most iconic actors in America, and Woodward's husband since 1958 -- played the role of the dead body of one of the many lonely old men done in by the spinster aunts. He and the other corpses all shared a bow at the end of the play. This apparently became a bit of a tradition, and he reprised this "role" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, and the Westport County Playhouse which is run by Joanne Woodward. Chris told me that everyone who met him was charmed by his warmth, humor, and gracious personality. Of course, his work with Newman's Own is well k

California Moment

... Since moving out here, Lisa & I occasionally come across what we call a "California Moment." This is usually a sight so stereotypically "California" it almost seems invented. Some examples of this are people doing yoga or tai chi in the park, people rollerblading in bathing suits, the inevitable naked guy at the protest march, mystical doings on the beach –– basically any combination of the earthy, hippie, crunchy, outdoorsy, eccentric, political, free-spirited and willfully peculiar behavior. You get the picture. It has an almost disorienting effect when you experience more than one CM at the same time. As if you've entered a new reality where the unusual is commonplace. Yesterday I was riding my trike around the Richmond marina (yes, we have a Richmond) and spotted my favorite ranger/park cop driving her electric cart on patrol. We smiled and waved like we always do and then I noticed she wasn't waving but steering with one hand and doing

deliver us from ... something or other

... Despite his great attitude and hard work, Robb still needs a lot of Rather Personal Medical Stuff. We get cases of this medical stuff delivered, on a fairly regular basis. And it drives me insane. Not the fact that Robb has to use all this Rather Personal Medical Stuff. If that doesn't bother Robb, I'm not going to let it bother me. What drives me insane is the delivery guys, and the boxes themselves. The boxes are huge and bulky (and not easy for a guy like Robb to drag up three flights of stairs). They are also labeled as Rather Personal Medical Stuff in letters so huge you could read them from the window of the Space Shuttle. And this, apparently, embarrasses the delivery guys, because they ring our doorbell, and then ditch our boxes of Rather Personal Medical Stuff on the front door step and drive off as quickly as they can. Ringing the doorbell and running away, indeed! I don't blame Robb for shaking his cane at these insolent whippersnappers.

Visiting and Revisiting

... One nice thing about living somewhere for a while is being able to say that you have "favorite places." When Robb and I were moving around the country a lot, I had the impression that we were had more of a visitor's viewpoint than a local's. Now, after a number of years in California, we definitely have our favorites. We love Mount Diablo, for example. When Robb was first home from the hospital, I got it into my head that we should take a jaunt up to Mount Diablo . I really don't know what I was thinking, at the time. We were being pretty stubborn, and trying to enjoy the lifestyle we had before Robb broke his back. That first re-visit to Mount Diablo was beautiful, and we saw a coyote, but the uneven terrain was impossible for Robb to negotiate. What we quickly learned is that Robb is not up for this sort of hiking, yet. I don't think this really surprised either of us. After all, two months ago, all he could do in terms of outdoor walking was

Girls....with Hairy Legs

... Robb, Annalisa, Ashley and I went Tarantula Hunting today. We wanted to see the wild spiders of Mount Diablo. But I'm tired, so I'll leave our adventures to your imagination.

The Infernal Equinox

... Today is the autumnal equinox , the day in fall where the sun spends and equal amount of time above and below the horizon. From here on out, the hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere will be getting shorter. We will officially say farewell to summer this weekend. Legend says that you can balance eggs on their pointy ends on the vernal and autumnal equinox. Is this true? Well, it always works at our house.

Our Good Deed for the Day

... Annalisa surely never expected that we'd be roping her into picking up trash along the San Francisco Bay when she came to visit. We filled up two huge bags of trash along a tiny stretch of shoreline, and tallied every single bit of it. Cricket and the worms. She looks like Amelie with the creme brulee , only she's holding up the discarded packaging from some Jumbo Red Worms. We picked up over two hundred shards of broken glass. But the fake sushi grass really cracked me up. I wonder how many fishing lures end up in the gullets of diving birds. It will be interesting to read the statistics on the outcome of Coastal Cleanup.

International Coastal Cleanup

... Many of you leave awesome comments on our blog, but the bestest of the best commenter is my college friend, Annalisa. And right now, Robb and I are hosting her, in between her globe-trekking adventures. So, what adventure are we offering Annalisa? Well, this morning, she and I are meeting up with my friend Cricket and we're participating in the International Coastal Cleanup . Robb and I have done this almost every year, since we moved to California. We clean the beaches, and document the crap that we find. And then all the data is sent to our lawmakers, to help them formulate legislation to protect streams, rivers, and oceans. That's right....when you come to visit our house, we make you pick up trash on the beaches. We've got other adventures planned for the rest of the weekend, which we'll write about later. This poor seal was found at a Coastal Cleanup event with a plastic jar stuck on its face. I'm unsure of how this story played out. We&#

Pins and Needles, Needles and Pins

... I know it doesn't make any sense at all, but if I ever mention that my feet have "gone to sleep" in front of Robb, I feel terribly, horribly guilty. I can't shake the notion that since Robb never, ever complains about not being able to feel or move his feet, I have no right to, either. For some reason, this brings to mind a strange road-trip game my sister and I used to play as kids. We "had to" hold our breath when we drove past cemeteries. When I had this explained to me, I was told very matter-of-factly that since the dead couldn't breath, we weren't allowed to either. That makes about as much sense at my guilty feelings about complaining about pins and needles. I do wonder if holding one's breath while passing a cemetery dates to the pre-automotive age. Did the kids on long buggy trips pass out from oxygen deprivation? Or were previous generations of bored kids less credulous than I was as a child? I did not take this bri


... Back when my workplace's landlord gave me access to the junk-filled plot of land that would become my garden, I had the idea that my co-workers and the people at the businesses in our little compound would enjoy hanging out there during lunch. This has been a miserable failure. I'm the only one who uses the garden. Well, me, and all the wildlife. I have a female hummingbird who regularly joins me for lunch, and who hangs out with me after work and watches me as I tend the garden. I'm convinced that this is one particular bird, because she has a stripe on her beak, and I don't think this is a typical marking. Besides, hummingbirds are notoriously shy and aggressive. They don't like sharing territory with anyone. I feel completely honored to have the company of this tiny bird. She perches on her favorite twigs and we quietly keep an eye on each other. I'm more ambivalent about the local mice. I stopped feeding the birds when I realized that the


... These are from the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games . More (and larger) photos can be seen here . I have to say that tears poured out of my eyes when I first viewed these images. I had two parallel wet streaks running down the front of my shirt.


... There's a huge, national letterboxing event going on this weekend which, sadly, Robb and I aren't able to attend. The travel and camping are more than we can handle, right now. It would have been so nice to have hung out with our friends, and met some of the people we only know online. Oh well. We're there in spirit, anyway.

Middle of the Road?

... We've written before about the silly amusement we get from the local traffic reports , which feel compelled to tell radio listeners what foreign object is blocking traffic. We have a list on our fridge of all the road obstructions we hear about. Apparently, we're not the only ones who pay attention to this. Sheri sent me this link to a Perspective on our local public radio station. And for our blog readers, who might not be paying close attention to Bay Area traffic reports, here's a sampling off the fridge: metal pipes wooden pallets an injured goose a rocking chair a sign a chair plywood a bicycle a big bag of debris a huge bumper a couple of mattresses a large black rubber mat sand, and pieces of chicken a box spring large boxes of ... something a couch

Helping Kids With Disabilities

... About two and a half years ago, Robb was working in the theater department of the University of California. He was working with a student, taking down some fluorescent fixtures. Apparently, the light they were moving was hung in a non-conventional manner, and as they were de-installing it, the entire unit broke loose from their control, and swung directly at the face of the student worker. Robb did what anyone would have done: he pounced on the light, and in doing so, disrupted the balance of his ladder, and fell to the ground. He landed on a concrete floor, shattered one of his vertebrae and suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury. His career as an actor and scenic artist ended abruptly that morning. Luckily, we live in a part of the country that understands that a disabled person should have the chance to live a full, fun, adventure-filled life. And that's what Robb and I have been trying to do, since the time of his accident. Shortly after Robb got out of the ho

Mmmm, Winglets...

... I ran across this a week or so ago. This is one of those products which, at one time I might have scoffed at. **What possible, legitimate use could anybody have for a self-balancing personal people mover? Surely, this is only for the lazy...** Now I'm wondering if it isn't just tailor-made for me. You stand on it–– something I can do; it balances for you–– something I can't do very well; it moves you along at a brisk walking pace–– another thing I can't quite do. It's call the Winglet, which I sounds to me exactly like a soy-based chicken substitute. Now all they have to do is start building and selling them. I think Toyota is test marketing them in Japan.


... We've written a lot about the fundraising ride we did last year, and the one we're preparing for now. And here are those words, in a new form. Imagine being the parent of a child with disabilities. Maybe you have great insurance, or maybe you don't. Imagine how quickly this child grows, and how often you have to replace all the specially adapted gear your child needs every day. Imagine the how much that must cost. Imagine wanting to get your child an adaptive bike, which you know won't be cheap, and then think how quickly your child will outgrow that bike. Now imagine that there's an amazing local library where you can check out a bike for your child. This place is BORP. And we're raising money so that they can continue to offer fun, challenging recreational activities to people with disabilities. Won't you help?


... Robb and I are always interested in the intersection between the natural world, and the all the spaces we have paved and built up in the name of "development." I recall reading about how the contaminated land around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor has become a haven -- albeit a potentially deadly one -- for wild animals. Wild boars and lynx have moved into abandoned villages. And this morning I read about a family of bobcats taking advantage of an empty foreclosed home outside of Los Angeles . The bobcats and kittens are lolling around in the yard and on the walls, and possibly taking advantage of the koi ponds. Bobcats are not a threat to humans, so this family is being treated with interest, rather than fear. The top photograph is the bobcat that Robb and I watched when we were tidepooling earlier this summer. The bottom image is by the cats' neighbor .

Go! Go! Escargot!

... It has been hot in the Bay Area. Despite the recent installation of insulation, my studio was sweltering today. I told the painters that if the indoor temperature went over 95 degrees, we would all go home early. (It only got to 92.) After work, I gave my garden a good watering, and as I was messing with the compost pile I noticed a strange sensation on my ankle. A snail was climbing up my leg. Considering how sweaty I was, I think that snail must have been trying to use the salt on my legs to commit suicide.


... Remember how we wrote about our kitty Linguine's popularity on the internet ? Well, she's just gotten even more popular. She made it onto Neatorama. Click here to play the "caption Linguine" game. Dang. What does it say about us, that our cat is the most famous person in our home?