both useful and decorative

A friend of mine has this legitimately delightful habit of gently (ahem) correcting people who are exhibiting negative self-talk. “Are you saying mean things to my friend Erin?” And she’s right, we shouldn’t do that sort of thing to ourselves. It’s not helpful and often just makes things worse. The most important thing here though is that she listens and then offers this support immediately. It’s another way to tell someone you love them without using that word. Food for thought for us all I suspect.

Mildly remodeled plant area

My plant area in the sunroom was feeling Very Cramped, but since there are kitties in the house I have to be careful with what’s where not only because they are destructive little fuckers, but also because some plants are toxic to them. Lancelot helped me select and then assemble this very modular solution that fits in the space on top of the cabinet where the plants had been living. There are no new plants here they’re just arranged differently. I think everyone will be getting better light now and it certainly doesn’t seem as cramped. L even commented that the whole room feels different now.

psych update

I met with my psychiatrist last week and it went very well. She agrees that being off the Lithium seems to be going quite nicely. She also agreed with my thought that I might have been a tiny bit overmedicated. However, the entire support network has rightly been concerned about me not being medicated enough for a hell of a long time, so better safe than sorry.

I’ll meet with her again at the end of November and, assuming things are still smooth, we’ll talk about possibly lowering the dose of one of my other medications.

This is a paraphrase from something I said to someone last week, and it’s utter truth: If you had told me in 2006 that a time would come when my life would feel “normal” and I would be “happy” I would have laughed and called bull shit. But here I am. A mental health diagnosis is not a life sentence, it’s a call to arms.

no catchy title today, we are sold out

I’m going to guess that I’m not the only one starting to see shortages at the grocery store again. It’s possible that this is something different than the issues we were experiencing in the height of the pandemic, but whatever it is I find it a bit troubling. Because of that Lancelot and I have decided to “beef up” our pantry and freezer staples just a bit. No, I am not hoarding toilet paper or cans of tuna. I’m trying to shop the store sales and have a few extra cans/packages of the things we normally use, just in case.

I’ve also started gathering holiday supplies because last year I waited too long and then wasn’t able to get a few things I really hoped to have. So far I’ve ordered a few gifts and some Christmas decorations. I also picked up a rather large skeleton decoration. I have learned that if I see something I really want, that fits the budget, I should just freakin’ get it.

Alpine Meadow hat

I had to buy yarn this weekend, and yes, I really did have to buy it. My friend’s sister is fighting cancer for the second time and is anticipating losing her hair, again. And the weather here will be getting cooler. I love this pattern but didn’t have any bulky yarn, nor anything in the preferred colors. So Lancelot agreed that this would not mean I was going against my own goal of not buying new yarn because in a way this is a commission. (no, I am not planning to accept payment for this – the yarn was not expensive and I’m enjoying this)

The hat pattern (Ravelry link) is one I’ve knit at least three times before and is just lovely. I actually purchased it because they had the suggested yarn and a sample on display at my LYS several years ago. I find it to be well written, easy to follow, and it’s a quick knit.

Psych Update

In other news, last night I took my last Lithium capsule. This taper has taken four weeks and was done under the supervision of my psychiatrist. Please keep in mind that I would not ever suggest anyone muck around with medication doses, of any kind, without talking to the appropriate doctor. I would suggest that having frank conversations with your medical team periodically to see if what you’re taking (for any condition) is still the best thing and the best dose. Medical science advances every day.

I’m feeling pretty good really. I would say my motivation, concentration, appetite are all about where they usually are. I am experiencing the full range of normal human mood in a normal kind of ebb and flow. Nothing feels too hurried or too cumbersome. I do feel like I’m experiencing more enjoyment and excitement at times, but those are what feels like “appropriate” reactions to specific situations. I’ve discussed this with Lancelot and some of my support network and no one has noticed anything untoward.

I have an appointment with my psychiatrist Wednesday morning to follow up on all of this. I anticipate having blood work done sometime soon. Probably the biggest bummer from all this is I have five rather large bottles of Lithium capsules in the cupboard that I almost certainly won’t be needing. I plan to ask doc what’s the best way to safely dispose of that quantity of unneeded medication.

critter update

Sleepy baby

Garth has a visit with the vet lined up for tomorrow. He’s got a few tiny “naked” patches that I’m concerned about. There are two little spots on his face above his whiskers and another one behind his ear. Truly it looks like the fur just fell out; the skin that’s exposed looks healthy, no signs of scratching or trauma, no ringworm or anything like that. Who knows. So we’ll go get him checked out.

Eric the Red continues to be the most mellow kitty in the universe. His latest trick is to “steal” the critter bed positioned between the chairs in the living room where Lancelot and I normally sit, and where Dog Blossom normally conducts her neighborhood watch shifts. Dog is not pleased by this. Cat has no fucks left to give.

Talk to the peet

a slightly different kind of thing

One of the classic symptoms of mania is starting All The Things, All At Once, and then not finishing a damn thing. I freely admit that I am notorious for having multiple knitting projects on the needles at once, mostly because I’m not sure what mood I’ll be in when I sit down to knit. This tendency stuck with me and we’ve decided it’s just a part of me, so we leave it alone.

Lately rather than starting a bunch of projects I’ve felt compelled to try to finish as many of the things I have started as I can. I’m enjoying this, honestly. I’ve recently finished two knitting projects – the Carmine cowl and the Japanese Leaf Lace Shrug – and I’m feeling determine to get the rest of the knitting projects I’ve started this year finished before the new year rolls around.

What I have left currently on needles:

  • Sugar Stick scarf – it’s my first two-color project and I love it, but I decided to use sock yarn so it’s SLOW.
  • Ennis Lotus Cowl – I love this, but it’s a beast. Also sock weight yarn, plus it’s lace, plus there are beads. This one was actually started last August.
  • Lace scarf – again, this is a scarf and I’m using lace because that’s what the pattern calls for. It’s pretty, it’s portable, and the pattern is pretty straightforward.

I’m also working on a small counted cross stitch of a cat with flowers and I’m trying to figure out how to make two old glass plates and some random beads become yard art.

In the “next on deck” category there are six knitting “kits” that I’ve put together for myself, plus a variety of bead related kits, and then a bunch of other random stuff I’d like to do.

Plus the holiday gifts.

I should probably go get started…

Close up of the leaf lace, desperately needs to be blocked

week two – second verse, same as the first

Today is the last day of my second week of the Lithium taper, which means that this week I took my normal 600mg nightly dose but nothing in the morning. So far I’m not really noticing anything one way or the other, and I honestly think that’s fantastic. I’m very hopeful that this is a good sign and that I may indeed be able to come off of, and stay off of, the Lithium.

I feel compelled to remind anyone reading this that I am doing this under the supervision of two doctors and that I have my entire village of family and friends keeping an eye on me. I would not ever encourage anyone to adjust medications like this without consulting their doctor first. Medication, particularly psychiatric medication, is nothing to trifle with.

But I’m feeling good, getting good sleep, trying to eat better, and starting to exercise a bit. I have more energy and motivation right now, but this doesn’t feel like that creep of hypomania sneaking in. This honestly feels like me but without the tinge of depression that can sneak into any of our lives. It’s a nice feeling.

week one check in

I started the taper last Tuesday which means that today I took my last morning dose of Lithium. So far so good. I’ve had a reasonable amount of energy – not too much – and things seem to be going well. This long holiday weekend (Labor Day in the US) has seen me trying to capitalize on the motivation I have and get some things done outside that I’ve been putting off, among other things. So, since I got off work on Friday we have:

  • Gone to two grocery stores (standard for us)
  • Went to the farmer’s market
  • Cleaned up most of the flower beds in the yard
  • Fell and hurt myself (not badly)
  • Cleaned up the garage and swept it out
  • Cleaned up and organized the storage space out under the house
  • Screamed when I found a dead mouse
  • Had my mom and step dad here for dinner (and they loved the Indian red lentil dish I made!)
  • I made a Christmas gift for a friend
  • Finally hemmed a pair of pants
  • And I cleaned up the closet in the guest room so it could actually be used by a guest

There has also been a reasonable amount of knitting. And this morning Lancelot was kind enough to start work on our skull army. I think this has been a pretty good week.

planning and scheming

I’m going to get the business out of the way first – I’ve started a four week taper off of lithium. I met with doc yesterday and she was willing to give it a shot, as am I. If I don’t need the lithium and that gives my kidneys some relief, awesome. And as my therapist pointed out when I met with her, perhaps no lithium will mean no tremor. That would be nice.

So Lancelot helped me get my med management trays setup for this, which is super convenient given they’ll handle that much time, so all I have to do is take my meds as per usual because the right bits are in the right containers. Things that make it so I don’t have to do heavy mental lifting are Very Good indeed.

So now I’m trying to do some “normal” planning, like working in the flower beds this weekend and trying to get the landscaping around the house in general in order. I have a planter in front of the front door that the squirrels have demolished so I’m going to get a different planter for next year and load it with flowers they allegedly don’t like. I’ll use the big planter that’s there now for veggies on the deck next year.

Really I think there’s just been a lot of ignoring things I probably should have been taking care of, and so I would like to try to get more on top of that. I would imagine that a lot of people are dealing with this as a leftover from the pandemic being so intense and lasting so long. Regardless, it’s unpleasant and I finally feel like I’m at a place where I have the physical and emotional energy to deal with it.

numb, but not like that

It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of the dentist. Dentists, the human beings, are just fine. They’re generally delightful people, actually. It’s the profession and what they want to do inside my mouth that I take issue with. But I’m trying to get back to doing the regular, big kid sorts of things I should do to take care of my teeth so this morning found me in a dentist chair getting a filling. I’m very proud to say that it only took the addition of nitrous to get me to tolerate the shots. But now one side of my face is well and truly numb.

I’m also trying to get on top of some other health issues, like my weight and my sleep and the fact that the nephrologist thinks the lithium I take for the Bipolar may well be causing kidney disease. Yeah, super not excited about that. So I’ve had a bunch of blood work and now tomorrow Lancelot and I are going to talk to my psychiatrist to see what can be done.

I am also working on my diet to improve it and I bought one of those fitness tracker things to help keep track of activity and sleep. Hopefully the combination of all this will make a difference.

I continue to work on creative projects, though a little slowly it seems. Over the weekend I finished the Crest of the Wave shawl which turned out lovely. I also started working on a Sherlock Holmes LEGO kit that is almost done. I definite need a balance of “productive” time and “play” time. And I think I’m going to try to get back to some of my old hobbies, like blogging. I’m going to try to write once a week.

Garth says it’s all about him anyway

from the depths, she emerges…

Proof that Garth and I are still alive

It’s interesting how priorities shift over time. Once upon a time it was crucial to me to write on my blog on a very regular basis. It helped to keep me centered and grounded and it was Very Important to me.

These days I find that I spend less and less time with technology in general, and apparently it’s been more than a month since I’ve blogged. Perhaps this is good, perhaps it’s not, and perhaps it’s one of those things that Just Is.

I will say that I’m spending a fair amount of time working on creative projects and hanging out with Lancelot. We took a road trip a few weeks ago, something that is becoming an annual thing, and had a wonderful time together.

The weather was lovely, the scenery was fantastic, and the food was awesome

It’s kind of an odd time of year to be thinking about doing some introspection and contemplating what kinds of life changes I’d like to make, but here I am. I know that my health, and L’s health, aren’t fantastic and that changing some of our habits would be helpful for both of us. So that’s certainly something I’m working on.

I’ve also been trying to work with what I have in terms of supplies for my creative projects. I’m working on stash busting with the knitting/crochet projects and I haven’t purchased any new beads for a while. I really would like to make use of what I have before I just blindly add to what’s here.

Not at all made with things on hand

That’s been my most recent, large scale project recently. Maybe this year. That is a fused glass serving tray that is slightly larger than one of our placemats. I hand cut most of it – except the circles and the dragonfly – and I think the result is fantastic. The ladies at the shop were impressed.

I am hoping to get some of the glass I have here at the house cut so that I can fuse it in the little microwave kiln L got for me. So many projects, so little time.

Until later, I do hope that y’all are doing well. Please be kind to one another.

quiet whispers

I haven’t been writing much because, quite frankly, I don’t feel like I’ve got much to say. There’s so much going on right now in this country and everyone seems to be screaming about how they’re right, and I just don’t like trying to have to talk over people, ever.

I’ve also been keeping to a fairly quiet lifestyle right now. We go out some, but not much. This weekend we went out with some friends, but that isn’t a regular thing right now. I actually have even stepped outside since we got home from dinner last night and it’s now after lunch here. It’s not all that uncommon for me to not to leave the house for several days, sometimes if I do it’s just to water plants on the back deck.

So what am I doing? I’m cooking, knitting, making jewelry, and doing LEGO kits. I’ve actually completed two holiday gifts already and have plans for several more. I’m still working to “bust” my yarn stash by not purchasing any new yarn and I’m doing very well with that. I purchased and knit Romi Hill’s “Autonomy” pattern last week with a lovely skein of olive-y green Koigu I found in my cupboard.

Garth kitty is doing well with his asthma treatments. We’ve reached a point where I can just hold him while Lancelot administers the medicine; we don’t have to wrap him in a towel like a kitty burrito anymore. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that he gets his lysine gel after the inhaler, which he thinks is a treat.

“Autonomy” in progress