Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Beach

Going to the coast has changed over the years.

As a child--Great Lakes or the Bay Area, almost always suffering a sunburn, sometimes stripping so I was naked. There's a picture of me on a raft, with a California bikini tan, with my great aunt holding on so I wouldn't drift off. I was maybe five years old, my hair bleached from sunshine so it was white on the ends and blond underneath and growing in.

As a teenager--with my friends in a tent or sleeping in the back of a Jeep. Never brought enough to eat or drink, no cash, spent most of our time beach combing or sparring on the driftwood, unarmed or with bokken. I had better balance then.

As a quasi-adult--climbing, running, frisbee, teaming up with my friends against Rory in martial arts play duels. We'd split the cost of a room by the coast or stay at a friend's house in Philomath and make the last of the commute to the coast from there. When Orion and two years later, Andrea was born I'd spend most of my time under a sleeping bag on top of a blanket sheltering them from fierce winds, supervising their play or keeping them from eating sand. Pictures of holding a toddling Orion's hand into the shallowest parts of the surf, big with Andrea. We tried to keep the dining out to either lunch or dinner and picnic the rest.

As a maturing adult--Inexpensive hotel rooms on credit card, eating out for pretty much every meal. More kite flying. Rory climbed with Orion, making my heart go pitter pat, but I trust them both. Andrea and I find creatures in tidepools. We window shop and scour through our favorite used book stores. The kids always get taffy and trinkets.

Today--We're going to a resort, part of a flex time share we bought into. We're bringing dry goods because there's a full kitchen, and we can make our own meals. Cushy two-bedroom place, three swimming pools, two hot tubs, tidepools and stormy waters, the must-stop-pirate-shop. The kids want to go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium *again* and the grownups want to go to the Rogue Brewery afterward *again* as a consolation prize, although secretly I love the aquarium. Too windy to kite fly. We'll take off our shoes and freeze in the cold sand but the water feels warmer than it does in summer. Planning to see Narnia at the coast movie theater, but we may end up somewhere watching the sunset or finding treasures in the surf. Art gallery and wine shops on the way home.

It's different, but the same. I like having enough to eat and not being cold at night. I like the fireplace to warm my socks. But I feel most alive when Rory and I climb over some dark rocks and the surf is spraying on the other side. The waves shake the rocks and we kiss, our mouths cold and salty.

It's all good.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cold rain

The edges of my fingernails turn lavender and blue. Transitioning from cool weather to the heat of summer? No problem. Transitioning from moderate fall to winter? My internal thermostat protests.

In the winter there are just as many things to do as in summer, but it's harder to actually do them. The chill slows everything down. Molasses in January. Wanting to stay under the covers in the morning. Snow or cold rain outside to slog through during chores. It's even harder if there's a warmest place in the house situation. The living room with the big fire going is tidy and welcoming, while the cold office in the downstairs on the north side of the house gets worse and worse and worse.

So the pile begins, and by spring, that first flush of warmth inspires a rush of all that accumulated work. The dark corners get flushed with light, dusting and scrubbing. Garbage gets hauled out. Until then, there's the dreary build up like dirt on a car's dashboard. Unless it drives you crazy (har har) it just keeps getting thicker and thicker, and you try not to put your hand on it because once you leave fingerprints, it starts talking to you telepathically. Clean me, Kami! Look, there's a clean spot the size of your hand. Just wipe it off. Five seconds.

Inevitably those little voices grow into a chorus in wintertime. I huddle inside my clothes and pointedly ignore them until the sun can loosen my frozen joints.

Some things can't be neglected, though. Out we go into the cold rain, and when we return, hot chocolate.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

After a long hiatus

Every so often I think about abandoning this blog, because I hardly ever come here, but my reaction is always "Noooooooo!" So rather than let it languish by default, I'll just have to visit more often.

Every so often I get the 'I'm *that* Kami' feeling. It's kinda nice, if disconcerting. Rory tells a lot of stories about me, most of them good. I think. So he tells me.

Okay, so I know they're good stories. But how can I create any tension in this story without hinting at a dark underbelly?

Oh yeah, this isn't a story.

In any case, as I was saying, every so often I meet someone who realizes I'm *that* Kami. I think for the first time in a long time, if ever, I introduced a friend of mine as *that* (privacy protected friend) and I'm really not sure what she thought of that. Hopefully the same complex mixture of sensations I get, like the layers of yum in a really good mixed drink.

People have a strange coexistence with their reputations and the way their friends see them. Those shadows remain for awhile after we're gone, and sometimes they become more concentrated. My father has been refined and concentrated to brilliant engineer, devoted husband and stern but very loving parent. All the other parts of him have evaporated with history. It's a terrible loss, one that happens daily. And yet those parts that remain become stronger, more focused, and they can last for generations if they're strong enough. I don't worry about immortality in most senses of the word. However, if I were to be remembered well beyond the span of my immediate descendants, I'd hope it would be for art, or writing, or something I'd done that I'd be proud of.

And this of course ties back to being *that* Kami, or in your case, *that* you. We won't be around to modify *that* self after we're gone. So while we're here, it's good to find out what *that* self is like, and if it's who we want to be. Not important, just good. Not everything good is important.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


A friend's blog had the following two games in it. I thought I'd give them a try.

Ris wrote: Holly Lisle posted this fun little exercise, similar to the game I did below:
1. Delve into your blog archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas…
5. Tag five people to do the same.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

First exercise I used the 23rd post from my other blog, the May 5th entry:

Where is the light coming from?
It makes me think of inspiration. I've been reading James Herriot again. His work is inspired by his own life and the people and animals he's known and loved. I think when I'm writing at my best, I do the same. Without that sense of warmth, and fragility, without the fear of someday (or immediately) losing the precious things in your actual life somehow getting transmitted onto the page, the work is without soul. There's no risk. The writing (or art) is too safe, and the inspiration is just a shadow on the page. It might still be interesting, but it's not compelling.
Note to self: write real

For the second game I grabbed a Writer's Book of Days. It's so easily at hand at my desk I would have had to move it to reach for something else. It happens that page 123 is a chapter break.

"Anyone can become a writer. The trick is staying a writer." -- Harlan Ellison

That's okay, I guess, but I like the actual sentences on the next page:

Tell the Truth. Every time you write you have an opportunity to tell the truth. Sometimes it's only through writing that you can know the truth, which may be one of the reasons we write in the first place.

I haven't read up to this part in the book yet. I'm behind by several months. If I do the exercise for today, I'll be writing about a pillow. I like that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


My uncles came to visit from Prague, just in time for my birthday. We met them at the airport. They're not as tall as I remember, and uncle Petr complained about how fat he'd gotten (not that fat). It's so good to see them. They have warm smiles and crow's feet wrinkles by their eyes from laughing all the time. They were the last two passengers released into the US, due to some sort of trouble in immigration, so they kept us in suspense for an hour and a half past their arrival time.
They'd probably disagree, but they haven't aged much. I expected frosted, even white hair. They're still healthy, vital, big men, men you'd expect to be ex-football players, with heavy jaws and meaty shoulders and big hands. My mother is very small between them, but she's the eldest of the three, though not the oldest sibling. Her sister is in South Africa. I've never met her, my aunt, but I've seen pictures. That part of the family is far away.

The Czech Republic is far away too, but they managed to find their way here, and we've managed to visit them. I'd like to take Rory and the kids sometime.

My mother's side of the family is originally from Moravia, specifically, Polna. Polna is a simple place (mentioned briefly in the link on 'day 6' of the bike tour). When I went there last, someone was still using a horse-drawn cart. It's not exactly a tourist town, though it's a stop for some folk of Jewish faith, as there's a very old synagogue there, an interesting ghetto, as well as a grave of a Jewish girl murdered in the forest outside of town. That should tell you something ... that although the murder happened generations ago, people still talk about it, still feel it as something shameful that never should have happened. Well, that may be my idealized view of it. My family still talks about it, and what an awful thing it was that the poor girl was killed by some creep passing through, and when they go mushroom picking they have to stop there to place wildflowers on her grave. When we visited just before the Velvet Revolution, there were already fresh wildflowers there. That probably explains why we didn't find much in the way of mushrooms.

It's hard for me to explain 'different culture' in the depth that I'd like to. You can see a different culture, maybe even intellectualize about the whys of a different culture, but I've *lived* in two cultures and it's hard to express the Czech feeling my uncles inspire in me when I see them. Because I wasn't raised in the country in which I was born (past age 1 1/2, anyway) there are a lot of mysteries, as well as a sense of being shipwrecked on a tiny island surrounded by native born Americans. We were always different, and by learning to be more the same (though never wholly the same), I am missing key nuances to Czech life. But the stories I grew up with were Czech, and when I go back to the 'home country' I don't feel like a foreigner. I feel like a dummy, but not a foreigner. We speak the same language. Not in words ( have the halting vocabulary of a four year old), but with our hearts. We like to sing and dance, we create art without a sense of shame, inadequacy or without being raised to believe that if you aren't a professional artist your work is crap. There are a lot of differences between individuals, huge differences, but we're more alike than we're unalike.

So imagine, if you can, a very small country of people like you. Is it a good place? If you go there, would you find yourself at home?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


My eyes are closed, and I'm writing by feel. Rory, Ris and I killed two trees today. Well, more like euthanized them. They were dying from fireblight, a particularly nasty disease that really does a number on pit fruits, especially cherries like the ones we destroyed today. We left large stumps where a bird bath, bird feeder and birdhouses will perch someday. The sky is strangely empty where they once stood.

It's quiet now, and my body is tired and very heavy. I'm hypnotized by a chemical cascade that says keep your eyes on the watch. Now your body feels like it weighs too much to hold up. You're getting sleepy ...

The wine didn't help.

Speaking of wine, I'm late in taking care of my wine. It probably won't hurt anything, but tomorrow at some point I really have to take out the giant tea bag of plums, stir things up, and even decant into secondary fermentation containers. I also said I'd volunteer for the SW Humane Society tomorrow. I'll go, but maybe not all day. There's just too much to do, and I'm so beat. Not defeated beat, but battered, tattered, worn threadbare. Committing a whole day, even to a worthy cause, will shuffle aside too many other worthy things that have to happen, like laundry so my children have clean clothes to wear.

So I'll leave this blog short. Sleep fast, everyone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Pip. Pip. Pip.
The champagne yeast is doing its work in a 3 gallon jug of sugar and plums. It's the sugar plum fairy, yay! The steady rhythm of pip, pip, pip as bubbles of carbon dioxide flow through the air lock fascinates my daughter and myself in the morning as we go to check and see if the airlock was blown off by the pressure again.
Meanwhile, next to it, the five gallons of plum cuvée has an entirely different rhythm. Bloop-bloop-bloop. Bloop-bloop-bloop. Bloop-bloop. Bloop-bloop-bloop-bloop. In threes, twos and fours, it bubbles in a mad rush and then is quite for a breath. Yesterday, when the champagne popped its airlock, sometimes complete with cork (sterilize, grumble, replace) three times, leaving splashes of bluish purple on the walls, the cuvée didn't offer a single comment. It sat there with a thin layer of gooey foam and sulked. But apparently now it's happy.
So the liquid yeasts do start faster. Maybe too fast.
Meanwhile, Beast, our airedale, is whining and limping around. I called the vet and it's okay for him to take Nikita's arthritis med, Rimadyl, for any pain and inflammation. It may go away, she said. Let him limp around for a couple of days, see if he improves. She's really good about not wasting our money. So I have to watch to make sure he's still putting weight on it (he still is) and try to figure out if he's getting worse or better. He got a bath (he had such a cute, bummed out look in the tub!) and got dried off (and had way too much fun playing with the towel), ears cleaned, toenails trimmed, and while I was down there I checked each pad and between the toes. Nothing. Nada. Looks gorgeous and whole, no hot spots. I felt some heat along his leg while bathing him, but it might have just been him working that muscle trying to balance on the slippery tub floor.

Hmm. Maybe I should get one of those no-skid mats for when I bathe the dogs.

Kami envisions Beast having the ability to brace on said no-skid mat and vaulting out of the tub, soaking wet.

Maybe not.

That'd make one helluva bloop, though. Or maybe more like a SPLOOOOOSH!

Sunday, September 11, 2005


The season is flowing into the extra layers of clothing time, the hot chocolate time, the shivery morning time. Yesterday Rick and I made must for plum wine. The plums and sugar and honey made an incredible hot fragrance. Tomorrow, assuming the pectic enzyme did its work, the yeast goes in, Champagne and Cuvée. The ash trees are already yellowing, giving up on the long dry and heading into winter early. The garden is past its fullness but not rotting yet, like Dumbledore's phoenix really needing to go up in flames so it can return with spring's youth.

It's seed collecting time: nasturtium, echinacea, sweet peas, poppy, honeymelon sage and lion's tails, oregano and gentian. While I tap the monarda heads, bugs fall out. They love the seeds, and there aren't many left.

If you're a short story writer, now it's time to write about spring. The chill in spring's air is different, and the rain is a too-ardent lover. The novelist is lucky; s/he can jump ahead or revisit what's happened, impregnating the scent of air at first light into the setting.

It's also the wandering, time to explore. The migratory birds aren't the only ones that want to fly. The horizon is someone you see from behind who might be a friend. Tap them on the shoulder and even if they're a stranger, you may merrily meet.

Time to write.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Getting it right

Sometimes you just have to get it right.

I opened up my laptop this morning expecting to make a few entries and balance my books. When I was 'done' I called the bank to take care of a clerical error they made to the tune of $8. That amount wouldn't break me, but hey, I'd done more work clipping coupons to save less.
Our bank is on an automated system, so before I could talk to a person I had to sign in and jump through the hoops. I'd done this often enough that I was through them lickety split. I got my balance, as usual--and almost dropped the phone.
What do you mean zero?
Adrenaline bled into my bloodstream. Thankfully it's a relatively slow build up and hopefully I would calm down as soon as I figured out what happened and fixed it. I went over my purchases over the weekend in my head. No ... no ... not all of them combined and doubled could zero me out. So what happened?
It's almost 11pm locally and after phone calls, more bookkeeping, and finally succumbing to the necessity of online banking, I have a non-zero balance and a new commitment to daily bookkeeping. This once every month is not cutting it.

Sometimes you just have to do it right.

I learned a lot at the convention I just came from, Cascadiacon, as well. After talking to editors and professional writers, I found out that doing it right was exactly as I'd been told ... sort of. There were subtle details that opened my eyes to what I'd been doing wrong and were quite likely partly responsible for why I hadn't been published yet.
The reason you don't mention your lack of publishing credentials is because as far as the editor knows, you could have all kinds of publishing credits and choose not to mention them. Because of this, I now fully realize that putting in minor publishing credits really is a bad idea. If I spell them out, they know that's all there is.
Mentioning that you're tight with famous writers or editors, again, only makes you look like you're coming from a weak position and need something to make yourself look like a pro. A real pro doesn't mention who s/he hangs with, even if it's a professional relationship. Duh. [Kami bangs her head against a wall]
If there's already lots of it out there, don't bother sending it unless they request it. If your character is a vampire, a ghost, an alien, a hot shot pilot or whatever favorites you've seen, don't pretend that character is special. It's about the story. The more 'specialness' you can strip from a character, the better. They're not kewl because they suck blood or because they're the best. Their purpose is to struggle, to succeed on the page by the barest margins, or fail but keep fighting until they've met the ugly end you've devised for them. The more bells and whistles they have, the harder it is going to be to get the readers to care, and to worry.
Plot twists are not a silly contrivance. They're a necessity, otherwise (duh) we're going to know what will happen, and that's boring. You shouldn't be amazed by how easily an editor is bored. All the flowery language and pretty setting in the world won't make your story interesting if it's a flat, straight road to the end. I'm not just talking about everything going as planned. I'm talking those twists that surprise the character, the reader, the editor--the plot twists that surprise you as you're writing. They should make you stop writing a second and think 'oh crap!' at minimum, and not necessarily a happy 'oh crap!'

You have to do it right.

Now I have to get a splinter out of my thumb. I'll get all the necessary tools (it's deep) and do it right so my thumb doesn't infect and fall off. Afterward, maybe I'll get some writing in.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Needing to sleep is an ache, an almost amorous longing to close the eyes and surrender. Too many fight this sensation. What is it they dread? Deadlines. Missing out on something fun. Getting caught. Getting killed. Losing their job. The plane taking off without them.

The price of losing sleep is disregarded. There's always another hour, or another day, to sleep. Sleep is so undervalued, until that first baby is born, or you get sick, or you work two jobs to make ends meet and nap under a desk all week. Sleep begins to mean something again when it's denied night after night. It's not the same as intentionally staying up late and getting up early. That self-inflicted slow destruction doesn't teach like an outside force suspending you from hooks, always out of reach of that full night's sleep. The body adapts, and so does the mind until sleeplessness becomes normal, but you don't feel healthy until a good long run of deep sleeps. The parched body soaks up the rest like water into dehydrated tissues and youth returns to old, tired carcasses.

So, on that note, I'm going to bed. I hope all of you get a good night's sleep.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Impending. Pendulum. Suspense. Pensive. In four days they'll be here, a tremendous number of people we like gathering to celebrate the birthdays of several people we like. The roots of the first four words are linked through a concept of something about to drop, something held up that will fall. In four days we can celebrate until it hurts, but up to that point we're doing all we can to prepare.

Meanwhile, the honey watercolors call to the brush, demanding to be stroked and applied. They're so kinky.

It's past time to go back to work, back to the sweeping and weeding and mowing and laundry and dishes and all the other things that need to happen Before. I wonder what I'll do with my time After.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Return from Hades

I looked over my shoulder many times, but my blog didn't vanish into Hades. It came back to life. I thought about just leaving this blog behind in favor of my old blog, but I figured I could handle writing on two. Sometimes writing something twice brings out new insights. Sometimes just writing more of anything opens new doors.

We're back from Cape Cod. Things are forever changed. I'm slightly different than when I left, slightly but noticeably, and it's kinda kewl. This is still home, but it has new life and new potential. All this freshness from four airplane rides, a martial arts seminar and two nights in a friend's house in Providence. So maybe nothing shattering or extravegant has to happen to make someone a better, or worse, person, to realize how good you have it, or how bad things have gotten. Maybe it's just the change of routine, new challenges, an occasional drop of adrenaline to keep the blood young and the eyes eager and alert. How many days have gone by with eyes half-closed or even shut because you know exactly where you're going? Have your feet retraced the same path so many times that you don't even have to think to do it? It's too easy to let happiness gray over into boredom. Happiness doesn't stick around in that situation; it doesn't like to be taken for granted. The shadowed side of the same world, a life of suffering, also becomes rote. Too soon it's hard to imagine doing anything else.

Time to sleep. The phone is going to ring early tomorrow. I'm looking forward to bed. I've remembered all the reasons I like it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Chocolate cake

He's about five foot nine, broad in the shoulder, with smiling, terrifyingly clear blue eyes. He keeps his hair short so that no one can grab him by the hair and slam his face into the wall or the floor or into their knee. Where he works, this is a consideration. He claims he's an ordinary, average guy, and sings the song with a sweet voice somewhat out of tune. Someday, when he starts feeling his age more he wants to be a curmudgeon, but for now he's just a brat and a warrior and a lover that romance writers invent but never believe are really real. When he travels alone, the cities sometimes seem the same because all he sees is the inside of a gym and a lot of sweaty men in workout clothes or in martial arts gear or in armor and uniforms. He trains for the things no one likes to think or worry about, keeps us safe, but blushes and denies it when someone tells him he's a hero. Tough luck, babe, you are a hero, though not the kind that rushes into a suicide charge. He's more interested in getting the job done. The bad guy in the cell, the friend back in the raft, the woman through the tight spot in the cave, the medical care to people who desperately need it.

It'd take a really long book to describe all the things he's survived and done and enjoys, and hardly anyone would believe it anyway. We've been married for fifteen years (egad!) and there's never been a dull moment, at least not for me. Despite being a fantastic father, provider, and mover of massively heavy things over long distances, he still asks me if I believe he's worthy of me.

So we had chocolate cake with his equally remarkable mother and the beloved Cajun family friend and cast sarcastic remarks around the table, laughing, grinning, wishing him happy birthday. A new oak tree shades the meadow below our house, his birthday present. Of course it was too heavy for me to manage on my own, so it was Rory, the birthday boy who had to drag it down on a heavy sled while I merely balanced it, Rory who dug the hole and rolled the tree in. I scraped fertile earth around the roots and watered it is about all. Rory dedicated it to a good friend of his in Montreal, a fellow warrior.

Tomorrow we leave early in the morning for Cape Cod. We'll watch silly movies on a portable DVD player and write and sleep if we can. No one around us will think there's anything much to notice about the handsome man just starting to go bald sitting next to me, unless they happen to meet his gaze. They'll see the strength then, the depth of intelligence and spirit, and wonder who that is.

That's Rory Miller, half Irishman, half myth. Well, I guess that makes him all myth. May the sun and stars smile upon him today.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Found My Feet

I'm already missing the old blog, but this will do until it returns. The old blog's hosting website has been down for days. My brain and my fingers are rebelling, wanting that time in front of the computer. So here I am.

After days of sunshine and heavy heat, we have morning fogs. For the first time in a month my hands and feet get icy cold, and that's with wearing the big, plush, purple bathrobe on. The plants are loving it, staying moist and cool. The tomatoes aren't having to pour all that heat into ripening fruit (unfortunately for us) and can lazily let it yellow while they rest. The cats are playful, the dogs happily nap and chores don't seem so Aegean stables-ish.

We're flying out on Thursday early in the morning. All the good and bad that comes with flying is rising up. Fear of plane crashes. Our tenth anniversary in Belize. 9/11. Seeing friends on the other shore I've seen in person only once, a year ago. Security checks. Fantastic food, training martial arts with good people, breathing Atlantic breezes. Leaving the kids and animals behind, fretting about heat spells that may wither our garden.

May. Ah ha! That word gives away what's really going on. All these things are in my head, mays and mights and once was-es. The kewl thing about getting out of town, about doing different things, taking classes and learning, is that they get all those mays and mights out of my head and don't let me lean on what I used to do. You can worry about what may and might happen or live in the past until the the seasons all pass into a blur, but it's what actually happens that counts.

When the mind is not paying attention to what's going on because what's going on is part of an expected, usual routine, the mind makes all kinds of nasty things up. Maybe it's an addiction to adrenaline. Maybe it's a symptom of a human survival mechanism, to always be worrying about what might happen and trying to prevent the worst from coming by some clever means. Well, that is worth about crap when someone else is flying the plane, and it's even worse when those made up scenarios keep you from doing all the kewl stuff that will get you out of the predictable life that allows you to come up with all the evil fantasies in the first place.

It'll be good to actually be on the plane, and even better to actually be in Cape Cod studying martial arts, taking photos, eating fabulous lobster and real Boston Cream Pie. It's one thing to plan, and another thing to let anxiety ruin every blessed moment. Just think of what our trip would be like if we started worrying about flying back home and what we'll find when we get home as soon as we end up at Cape Cod?

I've found my feet again, not just with the blog, but with the trip. Now I can walk. Sweet! Do you know where your feet are?

Trying this new blog out. Alas, my poor, now-inaccessible old blog!

There's a basketball under my heel.
Stretching the leg, rolling the pebbly, rubbery and underinflated ball helps return circulation to too-long bent legs.
Cupped under my other foot, a so-called quart nursery plant container, black. It holds more than a quart but I guess they allow for settling? It doesn't matter, really. It means nothing to the plant. Some plants fill the quart completely with roots and should have been in a gallon or bigger, others just sit pretty in the top or dangle their roots through the middle. When the plant comes out, the dirt falls away from the loose roots and you're left holding something that could have fit in a 4" pot. Age matters. Size matters. The quart container? Eh.

So the blog site matters only so much as the container limits how far my roots go. So far there's plenty of room, but I haven't had much luck planting. The two blog titles I tried to set up but was told were not available are now my only two options, and the one that's supposed to be waiting for me is MIA. Maybe I can search for myself. Meanwhile, I'll roll this basketball under my foot while the blood tingles and prickles its way back into my legs.