Thursday, January 31, 2008


Carpal release surgery was performed on my right wrist on Jan 17th--and the healing curve has been much different than that of the left wrist. The left surgery healed quickly and neatly, and feeling came back into my left fingertips immediately. This right wrist incision was icky and oozing for two weeks and is still very painful and puffy, but ice works wonders. I have no tingling and pain in the right fingertips any longer, but the feeling hasn't come back yet either. My doctor says to give it time.

In the meanwhile, I've been researching and testing and messing around with a screenprinting lightbox setup. With rain and clouds for the past weeks, I've had nearly no chance to sun-develop my expensive little StencilPro silkscreen units. I also decided I wanted control over the process so a sunprint doesn't get ruined by a cloud passing by and blocking the sun's UV light.

I spent $40 at OSH on a fluorescent light fixture and then had to try to figure out how to wire it. I finally spliced a cheap lamp plug onto the "hot" and neutral wires in the shop unit with its two 20w cool white rods. I use an extension cord to turn it on and have the unit lying in an Ikea storage box usually full of my grandson's wooden blocks. The covers slide over it and I use that to hold the image and StencilPro unit. I can later use it for real, grownup silkscreening when my wrists have healed and I have enough control to coat a screen evenly.

My first lightbox test was with the Dotted Horse image up above. More on this later (if it works and I don't flip all my circuit breakers).

For the last weeks, I've been driving around to and from physical therapy, paying bills, visiting used bookstores, and watching things on the street. While in Emeryville, I thought I saw a new fountain shooting water into the air near Harlan Avenue. Then I realized this wasn't a fountain. A car had hit a fire hydrant and the water was gushing straight up into the air 10-15 feet. Which was why when I'd flushed the toilet at Home Depot a few minutes before, there'd been no water pressure.

There are so many interesting things going on in the street, but when you work inside an office, you miss it all.

Hooray! The lightbox worked. Now I've got to complete the process and I'll write more about it when it's completed. Glad I did it, because it's pouring outside again today.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


My little house is my own again. My beloved visitor has found his own place and has been straight for awhile. Every morning I wake up knowing it wasn't just a nightmare, and say a quick prayer that all remains smooth for him, for me.

I'm back on my "sabbatical", icing/massaging my post-op left wrist each day and preparing to get the "release surgery" of my right carpal tunnel. What is this surgery? The large, tough tendon stretching over the base of the palm is severed, completely cut. That releases the nerve bundles and blood vessels that have been constricted. The tips of my right hand have been without feeling for years. It's like wearing gloves.

After the left surgery in November, I was thrilled to feel texture again with my left fingertips. The surgery on the right wrist will take longer to heal since the damage is much more advanced. Thank God for Workers' Comp. (But then, the work damaged my wrists in the first place.)

I'm looking through my graphics books collection for goodies to print onto babies' and children's organic cotton shirts. Graphics like this:


Years ago, when a friend adopted a baby, I sent her a fancy little girl's sleeper. She wrote back thanking me, saying now she wouldn't have to wrap the baby in newspapers. To me it was such a thrill to buy little girly clothes after raising a boy myself. All he wanted was blue, blue, blue.

Now that I have two grandbabies age almost-2 and almost-5, I am disheartened by the lack of natural fabrics and unique design in kids clothes. Living near the Temescal District of Oakland, I see lots of babies with Jimi Hendrix teeshirts and such like. I'd like to add my own twist to the younger generations in natural fiber clothing.

If I'd had a daughter, I'd probably have dressed her like this:


And she may have hated me for it. But especially for children, I think clothes should be comfy, warm and fun. Also adorable, as if kids aren't adorable enough.

I'm exploring stencils and silkscreening techniques. More to come. Time for bed.