Showing posts from September, 2009

Abby, Abby Someone

... About a month ago, I started having the strangest sensation that someone was poking me with a crayon. A crayon inside my skull. I called my health plan right away, and was told to stay the hell off of ladders and to schedule an appointment with the neurologist. This freaked me out, more than just a little, because of the cyst full of spinal fluid that was found in my brain six months ago. However, when I met with the neurologist, he didn't seem particularly worried. Interested, perhaps, but not worried. We scheduled another brain scan, which I was due for, and which I'll be having tomorrow. Sometime after the crayon-poking started, my ears clogged up. It was annoying, but I really didn't have time to deal with it. Today, I finally met with my primary care doctor, and she had some really interesting ideas about both these issue. She suspects that I have horribly inflamed sinuses, and that's causing both of these sensations. The scan tomorrow should


Yesterday Lisa was really down on herself for getting overheated on the ride. I think of it like this: When it's 100 degrees and the sun is beating down, I usually won't even go outside. To ride for miles and miles, mostly uphill, on a day like that requires a lot of determination, devotion and craziness. I'm proud of her and of us all for having done it at all. As we were relaxing after the ride, lounging on the lawn at the vineyard that was our start and finish line, I gained a different perspective on the day. A red-faced cyclist who obviously had just finished a much longer ride than ours was lying on his back and complaining to his friend that he had blown all his energy at the beginning. "Man! Those last forty-five miles were rough!" It's all how you look at it...

A Few Photos from the Ride!

... Yesterday's fundraising ride was the most difficult one that we've done. But "easy" hasn't been a frequently-used word in our vocabulary for quite some time. In fact "easy" might be contrary to the whole spirit of BORP. There's sometimes quite a distance between "fun" and "easy." Learning to ride tandem, when one of the team is blind (as is the case in these photos) can't be easy, but it must be a hell of a lot of fun! Handcycling isn't particularly easy, and from what I heard, the proximity to the broiling asphalt was rough. It got up to 99 degrees yesterday. Half of our team suffered from Heat Exhaustion . Let me just say that that's a GRIM experience, and one that I don't hope to repeat. We were all drinking water, as if it were our job, but that wasn't enough. I actually didn't finish the ride, and I still feel really conflicted about this. My body and brain were completely s

The Big Day is Here!

... I'm writing from the hotel room, the night before the BORP ride. Fundraising was really difficult this year, so we want to particularly thank those of you who donated to this cause. Almost everyone gave a small amount. If you had been thinking about making a donation, it isn't too late. (Just click here.) Can you spare twenty bucks to improve quality of life for people with disabilities? Please consider helping out. Your gift really means a lot, and goes to such a good cause.

Big Hairy Spiders!

... It's tarantula mating season in the Bay Area! The male are roaming the slopes of nearby Mount Diablo , looking for ladies. Of course, we had the join the fun. My new intern Alex meets her first wild tarantula. Jeff is fearless. I think our next outing will involve scorpions? Anyone want to join us?

Help us Help People with Disabilities

... Although we're woefully behind on our training, our big BORP ride is this weekend. This has been a really difficult year for fundraising. Won't you please help out this excellent organization? Click here , and then select Lisa Lazar or Robb Bauer Not sure what all this BORP stuff is about? Here's an excerpt from their website. Cutting-Edge Programs BORP offers year-round sports and recreation programs serving a wide variety of ages, interests and abilities. BORP's Youth Sports Program offers year-round competitive and recreational sports activities for disabled children and youth ages 5-19, including wheelchair basketball, power soccer, track & field, and handcycling. Under the guidance of caring volunteer alumni, coaches and staff, young athletes build confidence, self-esteem and independence while developing lifetime fitness habits. Youth teams have opportunities for travel to local and national tournaments. The Adult Sports Program

Naked Ladies on a Hot Summer's Day

... Today, we heard that the City of Oakland approved our application for the permits needed to replace our foundation. This means that the jack-hammering commences tomorrow! And that means that the plants growing next to our foundation needed to be moved, pronto! Of course, today was hot, hot, hot, and not a good day for transplanting anything. But it was either move the plants in the heat, or watch them get trampled and jack-hammered. The soil next to the house is the stuff of gardeners' dreams, black, friable, just lovely. Digging out these plants (which I think are Calla Lilies) was insanely easy. Replanting them was another story. The soil in my back yard is hard-packed silt, with the density of stone. I think that digging through the sidewalk might have been easier than digging in this soil. But it had to be done. While I was at it, I also tackled the pathetically overgrown mass of Naked Ladies. (What did you think this blog post was about, anyway?

American Idiot Opens!

... Click here for a local news piece about the opening of Green Day's American Idiot at Berkeley Rep. I'm not entirely certain that the local reporters who covered this story had much context for Green Day. Click anyway, you can see some footage from the show, and it's really freakin' awesome. You can finally see images of those forty-foot tall walls that we plastered with punk rock posters. (I'm waiting to hear if I can share clearer images, yet. This show is a Pretty Big Deal, and we're treating it very carefully.) Rolling Stone weighs in. San Jose Mercury News. SFist.

Oh Mickey, you're so fine...

... This is the site I was treated to when I came home from work, two days ago. Our house, with the beautiful 85 year old redwood siding ripped of. I wasn't sure if I should cry, or throw up. These are the emotions not discussed on all those home renovation television shows.

A Moving Experience

... Robb and I stayed up way too late last night, packing (Robb) and re-plastering and painting the front bedroom (me). We got up bright and early, to meet the movers. While we were waiting, I took Linguine over to the house, so that she wouldn't be underfoot. And there were no movers. Robb left phone messages and emails. I bought shower curtains. And there were no movers. Finally, they called with all sorts of really lame excuses. There was another client named Robert. Their phone wasn't capturing our phone number. The fact is that they forgot about us, and then they didn't admit their mistake. Seven hours later than we expected, we had movers. Tired movers who hadn't planned on doing our gigantic move. The workers were really sweet, even though it was raining, and they were clearly exhausted. Linguine didn't run away, and she wasn't particularly traumatized. I didn't get lunch or dinner. We had to miss the welcome-to-the-neighborhood part

The day before the big move

... Linguine is very helpful.

Renewing Oak Floors -- Before & After

... When we were looking at houses, we saw a lot of places where the wooden floors had been ruined, either by neglect, or inept re-finishing. (We also got really good at finding the loose spot on the wall-to-wall carpet, so that we could peek underneath. But nevermind that.) We were blown away by the beautiful condition of the floors in the house we ended up buying. The wood looks even more beautiful, after a little "spa treatment" doesn't it? For those who are curious, the floors are white oak, and we believe that the decorative border around the edges of the room is walnut. The wood isn't particularly fancy, by 1920's standards, but as they say, they don't make things like this anymore. The carpenters and floor guys who looked at the place were all really impressed by the board lengths. Because the floors were in basically good shape, and because we were being a bit frugal, we did not opt to have the floors completely re-finished. Rather we h

Head Aches

... I got an over-the-telephone diagnosis of migraine, and an appointment for a follow up with the neurologist. So, my freaky head sensations are merely unpleasant, and not dire. Every time we clear off a shelf or a drawer, the cat leaps in to occupy the empty space. If either Robb or I sit down for a second, Linguine jumps up on our chests and starts kneading biscuits. I'm trying to stay calm about this move, but I worry that we're no going to be ready for the movers.

Professional Help

... Moving day is Sunday. (eeeeeek!) Our house is a hive of activity, with contractors (who I've still not seen in action) scurrying around. We're having our beautiful old oak floors "screened" and re-varnished. And we're having a new roof put on our (formerly) falling-down garage. Also, the caving-in steps are being replaced. I've had a really weird head-thing going on since last Friday. First, it felt like someone was repeatedly poking a crayon through my skull. Not painful, but annoying. For the last few days, it has felt like a very deep bruise, and it is uncomfortable when I lean over. I've spoken to the advice nurse and an urgent care doctor at my health plan, but haven't managed to schedule and actual appointment. Remember that brain scan I had in the spring? Well, I can't remember if I actually wrote about the outcome, but I have some kind of cyst -- a pocket of excess spinal fluid in my temporal lobe. I'm trying not to f

How to make Lisa Laugh Uncontrollably

... This week we had a new fridge and a washing machine delivered. Over the weekend, Robb had made some unpleasant discoveries about the state of the floor and roof in the laundry room. "Hey cool! When you look inside these cabinets, you can see the sky!" "Oh dear, the floorboards seem to be somewhat rotten." Our short term answer was to park the washing machine on a furniture dolly, until we found time to repair the floorboards. Robb had a story to tell me when I arrived at the house, after work. Robb: "So, I did a load of wash today.....And do you know what happens when the washing machine is sitting on a furniture dolly?" Lisa: (uncontrollable laughter) Robb: "... and it goes into the spin cycle?" Lisa: (uncontrollable laughter) ..."It spins itself around the floor?" Robb: "It walks itself across the room..." Lisa: (uncontrollable laughter) Robb: "...until it unplugs itself..." Lisa: (unco

Renovation Update -- the back bedroom

... This was the state of the back bedroom, after the painters patched the peeling paint. I'm not sure why they thought they were obliged to spackle over the peeling wallpaper. I really wish they hadn't, because it was a nightmare to deal with when I was removing the paper. Here's another shot of the wallpaper, for everyone who said "save the wallpaper" to ponder. It really was in horrible condition. This house is full of mysteries. Under the wallpaper is a layer of unpainted plaster. Oh, so lovely to the touch. I'm guessing that whoever painted the trim knew that someone was going to be following right behind them with wallpaper. What else explains the fact that the trim painter wiped their painty brushes on the pristine plaster? (See those horizontal bluey-green lines to the left of the door? Weird, huh?) Even more of a mystery is why the plasterers only finished the lower 4/5 of the walls. The upper portion stops with the scratch coat


... We've been thinking of renting a wood chipper to help reduce the growing pile of wood debris in our yard. Here's what we found on Yelp! when we googled "wood chipper, rent, Oakland."

Underneath it all...

... Robb is my hero. No really, Robb is a pretty amazing guy. Yesterday, he spent the better part of the day crawling around underneath our house, making all sorts of interesting discoveries. For instance, the reason that our foundation needs to be replaced may not be entirely due to the movement of rain water under our house. It might have something to do with the fact that the drain from the kitchen sink wasn't actually seated properly, and so all the water that left our sink drained under our house. I'm trying not to be upset about this. Thousands and thousands of dollars in foundation repair seem like no biggy when we realize that this plumbing idiocy will make our conversion to a grey water system easier. Right? Right? Anyway, Robb has already fixed this. The sink now drains into the lateral drainage pipe, instead of pouring into the dirt. Robb also discovered that our pipes are not, in fact all copper (good) but mostly galvanized steel (less-than-ideal). D


It's been frankly impossible lately for us to think about this year's upcoming charity ride for the Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program ( BORP ). Have we been training? Nope. Have we made hotel reservations? Nope. Have we even mentioned it here recently? Well, now's the time for us to roll up our sleeves (and pant legs) and get down to it. This is such a great and worthy cause, the sacrifice of our time, money and effort is well rewarded. So... We promise that our feet will touch pedals at least twice in the next week. We promise to rekindle the fervor for helping this amazing program. And we promise you'll hear about it here. Now... Can you help? The donation pages are different this year: Follow this link , then click the "Select A Participant" box. Scroll down to find either Lisa Lazar or Robert Bauer. You can type an "L" or an "R" to move through the list faster.