Saturday, October 18


The fact that it is nearly 12am on Saturday morning, making this post already a day late, attests to my desperate attempt to catch up on a week that beat me to the finish line.

It's been a full one of excitement, sadness, challenge and liberation. But at this late hour, I will just leave you with the following from Kathleen Norris on the tension of being fully alive:

"Between these two poles, it seems to me, we seek to become complete: between shedding our self-consciousness and taking on a new awareness, between the awesome fears that shrink us and the capacity for love that enlarges us beyond measure, between the need for vigilance in the face of danger and the trust that allows us to sleep."

May we all continue to fight the good fight.


Friday, October 10

successful suffering

"You can't pity someone you're in awe of," a priest once said of the first resident in his home for AIDS patients.

I read this today in Kathleen Norris' Cloister Walk, which I am proud to say I am just two chapters from completing. It struck me as precisely the ingredient to successful suffering.

Successful suffering? Yes, I said it.

In the midst of typical lunch serving mayhem at the Friary yesterday, an older woman stopped to tell me how frustrated she was with her son when he was younger and seemingly unable to lead a productive life.

"I see people dealing with so much and working so hard," she confided, "and I'd think 'What's wrong with my son?'"

"I guess we all have our own journey," I considered aloud, remembering my own harsh lessons.

When I was younger, I refused to allow anyone to feel sorry for me, warring against pity with personal achievement grenades. It was never good enough for me to survive, I meant to conquer. Thus motivated, even self-pity rarely entered my fortress.

Unfortunately, this drive opened the door to an achievement addiction that I'm still trying to kick. But that's another story.

Managing two mugs and a pot of coffee for a table of presumably homeless people, one woman piped up "I'm so sorry about your arm."

"Really?," I said, "I'm not."

In case you missed it: a homeless woman was feeling pity for me.

The truth is, I don't mean to inspire awe, though it's a nice side effect. But there does seem something special about pain that can inspire greatness--greatness which, otherwise, might have remained undiscovered.


Friday, October 3

odds and ends

It's been a busy week here at OAG headquarters.

The riding season is coming to a close soon, but we are hot on the trail of a new home and new horses for next year.

It's strange to think that last year, at this time, I was a month into my Connecticut training to be a therapeutic riding instructor. Now here I am, with nearly a year of experience to call my own.

I'm happy to be home this Fall. Autumn in New Mexico means the end of endless hot summer afternoons and the beginning of roasting green chile.

The next aerial dance show is around the corner, with just over a month to go. Partner Zach and I are working on a lira (hoop) piece this time, with loads of unintentional creativity as per our usual enterprise.

And somewhere in between all the other goings on, I've taken Keeper the dog back to school. Agility school, to be precise. She's a very apt student, when she wants to pay attention. I imagine I'll be called in soon for a parent/teacher conference where I'm told she's very intelligent if she would just apply herself.

Dragon Boy's Mama and I decided to stop eating sugar for one week. I've only almost fallen off the wagon once for a pumpkin spice latte, but I called my sponsor and persevered. I'd like to think my tummy is already receding.

I feel bolstered by the progress I see in my life, if only in small increments. And the bite in the air reminds me that change is invigorating.

For the first time in two years, I want to cut my hair.


Thursday, September 25

you did it

Congratulations! In the past week, the OAG Facebook page reached and passed 300 likes. I called and you answered. I summoned and you came. Now follow me, you 300+, into the fray, onward to victory! We rise at dawn! We take the Persians! They may take our lives, but they will never take OUR FREEDOM!

Uh, we should probably stop for coffee first.

I would like to take this occasion to announce that, henceforth, I will try posting to this blog on Fridays, rather than Thursdays. I say 'try' so as not to set myself, and you, up for disappointment.

But I will certainly do my best. It's really the least I can do considering the growing number of my supporters.

A big thanks to all you faithful readers who have hung in there for the long-haul. It's just so much nicer writing to someone. If it weren't for you and a debilitating case of writer's guilt, I don't know where I'd be right now. Probably log-running in a lumberjack competition.

Here's to you!


Thursday, September 18


I don't know if any of you have noticed, but we are nearing a momentous milestone here at OAG headquarters; we are a mere four likes away from 300 on the OneArmGirl Facebook page!

For the scoffers out there, I know 300 likes is inconsequential to most popular blogs, but considering I started this thing for my mother, I guess we're doing alright.

In addition to Mom, my fans have grown steadily over the years, like by precious like, only ballooning once over a certain 'appearance' I made on an amputee fetish site. Thus I have had the chance to appreciate every one of you, even those of you still holding your breath for some soft core amp porn. I'd start breathing, if I were you.

Can we do it? Can we reach 300 likes this week? With or without guilt-tripping our closest neighbor into believing she needs to know  all about the life and times of a certain one-handed blogger?

I think we can.

If you haven't already, become a OneArmGirl Facebook fan.


Friday, September 12

going circus

Last week I took part in an outdoor benefit performance. Partner Zach and I re-enlisted some of our moves from the last show, developed some new stuff, and let it fly.

Here is my signature feat:

I am able to climb the fabric and hold myself with one arm weaved between the two ribbons because Zach is basing me at the bottom, creating tension. Thus, it is called a tension climb.

Here I am climbing the fabric. Notice the little girl in the foreground mimicking our moves. I used to be that little girl, triple-axel-ing around the living room during the Winter Olympics. I climbed around the trapeze bar my dad hung on our homemade swing set, holding 'dangerous' poses for the imaginary audience below. Did my dad ever imagine what seed he was planting?

Dreams do come true.


Wednesday, September 3


I am often told I have a good attitude for someone with a disability.

I know people mean well, but it's a little insulting when someone assumes the physical difference that I was born with must be the greatest tragedy of my life. 

Unhappiness is not rationed to a select few. It's readily available to all. You only have to pick your reason. Heck, you don't even need a reason.

I could get down about my disability, but why be so narrow-minded? There are so many other things to choose from: breakups, rudeness, and famine, to name a few.

Lately my attitude has been less than optimistic. It hasn't been exactly bad, just sort of stuck in the doldrums. I've stopped expecting good things, which is almost worse than being angry or upset, signs of passionate feeling. This dispassion is hard to kick.

I don't feel like I have a legitimate reason for my disappointment. Sure, there are a handful of things that haven't gone the way I would have liked.

This week I was excited to find a horse that would be perfect for our therapeutic riding program, only to learn it had been sold the day I made an inquiry.

I'm responsible for some of my blues. I've hurt people I care about because of my own selfish needs. And the worst part is I'm mostly upset because of how it makes me feel.

I took a picnic lunch to share with my cousin yesterday. He wasn't home, but his tenant Ramon was. I sat with Ramon under the shade of a cottonwood tree as he told me about his life journey from Cuba where he was nearly aborted before he was born, to working for Sears as a delivery driver. It certainly had not been easy, but happiness and contentment seeped out of him. Sitting next to him, I felt like the most negative person on the planet.

The only cure I've found for a poor outlook is looking more closely--examining the small, simple pleasures in my life. I will never forget how when I was struggling with physical illness and feeling strapped on every side, the one thing that I looked forward to each day was a bowl of yoghurt with raspberries and honey. To this day, I have never tasted yoghurt so good.

On Monday, Father Daniel called to invite me to a baseball game.

"We are taking the bikes," he said. It was all I needed to hear.

On the back of a motorcycle driven by a Franciscan priest, the sun and wind blessing my cheeks, I wondered how I got so lucky.