so there I was, up to my ears in pop tops and kitten tears when all of a sudden…

I would like to think that this far into my recovery, 13 years post-diagnosis, that I know a few things about myself. Evidently I still have some shit to learn. For example…

Yesterday morning after breakfast Lancelot rubbed my head while I was laying in his lap, sprawled on the couch, and that is apparently the very best way to put me to sleep ever. He confessed to keeping up with the rubbing for a good 20 minutes because I looked peaceful and it didn’t seem to right to stop and possibly wake me.

On Saturday I mentioned to him that I’d seen a bead expo advertised on Facebook. Not only was he willing to go, but he said it sounded like fun, and he then proceeded to help me pick out treasures. I didn’t know that men did this. I also didn’t know how much I could enjoy that.

I’ve also realized that grad school is maybe not the thing for me right now, at least not like this. I’ve been mulling this over for awhile. In some ways the lack of structure and the freedom to work at my own pace is good, but I really am a person who needs (and thrives on) some structure.

I’m also fairly sure that the two big trips this semester haven’t helped with the school issue. My regular routines have been knocked too far out of kilter and life is just, well, it’s just not grand right now. In all fairness, this last weekend, the eight-month anniversary, was better than grand. Good food, lots of laughter, snuggles, massages, just a great time. I love that boy. But I didn’t do any homework this weekend beyond some reading and I know that made a difference.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is be gentle with yourself.

falling apart

I am not well. I spent Friday seeing my regular doctor, having blood drawn, and having an x-ray taken of my ankle. This morning I went and saw an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I’d like to say I know more now than I did, but that’s only partially true. All I know for sure is that I’m ok to fly to Dubai on Wednesday, and I guess that’s the really important thing.

In hindsight, having these two major trips so close together was maybe not an ideal situation. There wasn’t much I could do about it, though, so I’m persevering. I will say that the Ireland trip was so much fun that there’s no way I’d have passed that up. The Dubai trip is purely work, but will hopefully still have some opportunity for fun.

I’m just about ready for the trip, there’s only a little last minute packing to be done. I’m still debating about which knitting project to take with. I’m concerned that the shawl I started on the Ireland trip is too close to being finished. We shall see.

Until then, I will leave you with this lovely little picture I took with my good camera while we were in the gardens on the grounds of Dublin Castle.

fake it ’til you make it, right?

I got my hair done last night and this picture doesn’t totally do it justice. The cut is the same, it always is, but the front is now a silver-lilac color. This is what I had actually wanted last month. I love it, and Lancelot seems to approve.

I’ve made some progress with things, which is good. I’m mostly caught up on laundry, the bed got made this morning, I’ve been finding bits I need to take with for my trip, I finished one of my school books this morning, and I’ve been emailing with my mentor about ideas I’m having for the memoir. All good stuff.

The weather is still (trying to) kick my ass. This morning I decided that I am well and truly over this bullshit. No leggings or tights under my jeans, no boots, no extra layers. I’m wearing flats with NO SOCKS because I am a REBEL. I’m also wearing the utterly gorgeous tree of life necklace Lancelot got me.

I’m hoping that today is productive at work. I was out yesterday because of the weather and shot nerves, something that is happening entirely too often because of snow storms. I’ll kick some ass and take some names today to make up for it.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my beverage cup this morning. I stopped and got a chai latte at my favorite local coffee shop.

the countdown has begun

Less than two weeks until we leave. I am not feeling very prepared. In all honesty, right now I’m not feeling much of anything.  I think I’m still fighting off some kind of viral nonsense and it’s sucking my will to live like a toddler with a milkshake right before nap time.

It ain’t pretty.

I’m trying to stay on top of my school work, and my stuff around the house, and my tasks at work, and being a good kid for Mom, and being a good girlfriend for Lancelot…

Have you ever watched a circus monkey trying to juggle too many things and they call come crashing down on his head? Yeah, that’s how I’m feeling right now. Too many balls in the air and I’m not handling any of them well at all.

And I’m starting to have issues with the Humira injections. When I first started I didn’t even notice the needle let alone feel the medication going in. Now I feel the poke and it burns. Granted, it takes a whole ten seconds so we’re not talking about hours of agonizing pain. But still. And then the day after I do the injection I get wicked itching, right around the spot the needle went in. I have an appointment when we get back from Ireland so I’ll talk to him about it then.

I have been making reasonable progress with my reading, though I had hoped to be finished with the first book of the month by now. I’d really like to have all of my homework done before we leave but I’m not sure now how realistic that is. I’ll keep trying.

of all the hobbies i’ve loved before

Before my official diagnosis in 2006 I was a voracious reader. I lived in a townhouse with husband #2 and we had bookshelves in damn near every room. The one in the living room was the largest; easily eight foot tall and four foot wide. R made extra shelves for it and I had every single one of them double deep. I read every damn book in the house, at least once.

When I was manic I could read a book in a day, two if it was really long. My favorite genre was, and still is, science fiction/fantasy. My dad introduced me to some of the OGs that he loved and then R hooked me on more. Reading was a drug for me.

My favorite author of all time is Robert A. Heinlein. His style, his philosophies, his universes, all of it appealed to me. Well, most of it. There were a few books and short stories that I just couldn’t get into, but the overwhelming majority of it spoke to my soul.

He wrote strong female characters during a time when women weren’t supposed to be strong. He wrote about sexuality in ways that were considered taboo at the time. And he wove messages of love and acceptance in his universes that we, in 2019, are still struggling with.

My favorite book of his is Time Enough for Love, the story of Lazarus Long, the oldest human. I’ve read it at least ten times, I love it that much. The story spans his three thousand years of life and is told through a combination of flashback vignettes and straight storytelling. It’s masterful. If you have any inclination to read something different and new (old actually), this is the book.

I find the philosophy of life that Heinlein espouses in that book highly appealing. It’s essentially “live and let live” and there’s not judgement of what love “should” look like or how it should be expressed. Children should be protected at all costs, assume the other guy is decent until he proves you wrong, and don’t be afraid to do what needs to be done. It’s truly one of the least judgemental books I’ve ever read.

He wrote other books and short stories, tons of them. Some of my other favorites are Fear No Evil, Stranger in a Strange Land, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. If you want recommendations for other amazing authors, I would try…

  • Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series
  • Patricia Kennealy Morrison
  • Patrick Rothfuss
  • Piers Anthony’s Xanth series (corny as hell but really good)
  • Brian Jacques’ Redwall series (kind of young adult lit but also really good)

Here’s a sad confession… At the height of my reading frenzy I owned several hundred books. When I was diagnosed and started meds I lost the ability to concentrate long enough to read. I gave away my books and stopped reading except for work. At the moment I own fewer than thirty books.

But –

Thanks to starting the MFA program I’ve found my reading mojo again. I’m able to sit still, concentrate, and enjoy what I’m reading. So hey, at least I’ve got that going for me.

In other news, life is mostly going great. I know I should follow up on the goals I had sort of set for February but, to be honest, I can’t be bothered right now. I can tell you that I finished the Davina shawl and made three headphone pouches (not on the list, but necessary). And I did well with my finances, though I can’t recall if that was part of it. And I submitted sixty new pages in my manuscript and everything got turned in a day early. I think that’s admirable.

This month I’m working to finish a shawl I started sometime last year. The construction of this one is very different than ones I’ve done previously. It’s made of shell shaped pieces and then sewn together. The pattern says to make 36 and I think I have five done so far. It’s going to be quite lovely though. The yarn has long gradients of green.

Eighteen days until Dublin…

february be damned

Our temperatures here are well below average. WELL BELOW. And we’ve had much, much, much more snow than we typically would. All of that combines to mean that I am so ridiculously fucking sick of winter that I can taste it. Only I can’t taste anything right now because I STILL have a cold.

*end whiney ass rant*

I did manage to get my entire packet of homework finished and emailed out last night, a whole day early. YAY! Today we were reminded that we needed to complete a midterm thingy by March 7th so I went ahead and just plowed through that, too. And this morning while I was waiting for Lancelot to get out of work I sat in the car and read one of my books and made notes of bits I want to do for the manuscript.

I am at least back to being productive, which is good because I’m mostly still exhausted most of the time. I’m 100% blaming the lack of real sunlight right now.

I’m working on ways to get things done without totally screwing up my schedule. Reading in the car in the morning is good in the same was knitting while I watch the morning news with Mom is good. I like to be productive while I’m screwing around. Hard to explain. I’ve also talked to L about setting aside time on the weekends while I’m there for both of us to read, which he agreed was a good idea.

This morning I’ve been doing some other adult things like paying my bills and buying new music for our trip. I can’t believe it’s coming up so quickly. I still don’t totally feel ready for this. I have one last shipment of stuff that’s coming this weekend and then I think that’s the last of the “raw goods” we need. I know I need to start thinking seriously about the specifics of packing but I have at least started a generic packing list, which always helps me.

nurse erin

Mom had her second cataract surgery this morning and is doing great. I’ve taken the day off to help take care of her and to get some homework done. She doesn’t require much, I think she might be napping in the other room right now. The homework, on the other hand…

I just shit out a six page critical essay in less than four hours. I think it’s ok, maybe? It should be. I really liked two of the books I read this month, the third one not at all.

Now I need to make sure I actually fixed the stuff my mentor pointed out last time and make notes on where the major additions and changes I made are so that he can find them more easily. And write a cover letter. And then decide what I’m going to focus on next month.

And finish some laundry. And maybe clean the bathroom. And finish packing for the weekend. And water the plants. And…

has anyone seen my mojo? i seem to have misplaced it

I am not doing so well right now. Sleep isn’t coming easy, or at all the one night, and my body is starting to complain quite loudly about that. I’m also a little out of sorts and not wanting to do much of anything. This is particularly NOT GOOD considering I have another paper due next Thursday.

As an aside, if I didn’t know for sure what that noise I just made was I would have sworn it was canon fire. It was actually some part of my back. Maybe that’s the sound vertebrae make when they say “thank you?”

Anyway, the weekend was not so stellar. It’s not entirely my story to tell so I won’t. What I will say is that it was rough emotionally and I’m hoping things settle out soon.

I have been working on the shawl and I’m hoping to finish it today. I haven’t made a ton of progress with any of my homework, which is seriously not good. I’ve also been eating pretty much anything that sits still too long, also not good.

So if anyone sees my mojo, or my mind, out wandering around, could you please send it back this way? It’s small and tends to get lost easily.

oh the weird

I’m not sure why I ever think my life is going to be “normal” but I do and then it’s not and I’m all “well what the fuck anyway” and then I get a little “meh, so what” and then Lancelot kisses me and I get so totally “well that’s worth the price of admission” and then it’s all good.

Exhausting, right? But yes, well worth the price of admission.

That was on Saturday. He surprised me with another absolutely stunning wire-wrapped aquamarine necklace, this time with a very delicate dragonfly in it. You can’t really see it in this picture, I’ll try for a better one tomorrow. But will you look at the grin on my man’s face? That is a grin of pure bliss, I assure you.

Today is the six month anniversary of our very first date. Not much of an anniversary, you say. Shut your damn pie hole, I say. It’s important to us and so we celebrated just a tiny bit this morning. I picked him up from work and surprised him with a leather love knot bracelet. (my matching bracelet should be here today, I think) He loved it and said that I have now “blinged him all out.” Yes, I have. And he loves it.

Anyway, in other news (is there other news? really?) I spent a fair amount of time yesterday typing up all of the journal entries I had written by hand when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar back in 2006. I think they help to tell the story I’m going for in the memoir. It’s amazing how much of what happened back then that I have absolutely no recollection of. Like none at all.

I’ve also been knitting, with a little help of course.

We’re watching my sister’s dog while they’re out of town so the cats have been a little more affectionate with Mom and I. Garth actually curled up on my lap just to snuggle, he wasn’t the least bit interested in my knitting. The knitting is coming along nicely. I’m on the downhill slide with this one. The colors are primarily hot pink, grey, and black. I’m curious to see how symmetrical it ends up. The pattern is deliciously easy and satisfying and I am definitely on track to finish it before the end of the month.

working (from home) for a living

We’ve had quite the snowy winter this season. I know we’ve had years in the past with more, but this seems like more. Not sure why. Probably because I’m thoroughly NOT FOND of snow. Yes, quite likely.

I have been picking Lancelot up from work in the mornings and delivering him to his apartment and that’s quite lovely. Hard as hell most of the time, but lovely. The hard part is the whole “I must be an adult and actually make my way to work in a timely fashion” thing. That well and truly fucking sucks.

At any rate, this morning it was snowing rather ferociously so I picked him up, we sat in the parking lot at his building for a few minutes and watched traffic on one of the main streets struggling, and I made the executive decision that today was a fine day to work from home. Home was (usually) about a 10 minute drive away whereas the office was (usually) at least 25 minutes at that time of morning. I opted for the much shorter and safer route. Quite pleased I did, too.

I did wear something knit today, for the hour I was actually dressed. As soon as I got home I changed into pjs. Yay for working at home!

It’s been a pretty productive day, actually. I’ve gotten work stuff done, naturally, and I’ve gotten some “house” stuff done. My personal laptop keeps barfing on me, and by that I mean locking up at random, and I find myself just waiting for it to be done with it’s fit so I’ve found other things to do while sitting at my desk.

I got my Valentine’s cards together, got a few things done for school, paid off two credit cards, and put together Lancelot’s anniversary package. On February 12th it will be six months. Silly? Perhaps. But I’m excited and so is he.

Garth has decided that he prefers spending time in kitten jail (a.k.a. Mom’s laundry basket).

He jumped in there last night while I was doing laundry. He is a crazy little critter.

I have also been trying to get some idea of what I actually have on hand for yarn. I have no delusions about getting a handle on what I have on hand, that’s just ridiculous, but I’d like to know. So, where does one start with such a project? With the partial balls of sock yarn that need to be wound up, by hand of course. I think it’s safe to say at this point that I could make a very large shawl with partial skeins of yarn. It would be the ugliest shawl in all recorded history, but still. I am very excited to say that I’ve found a fair bit of Koigu in my stash, both full skeins and partial.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

Anyway, one of my unwritten goals for the year is to not buy more craft supplies of any kind, but no more yarn in particular. I have stuff squirreled away in three different locations, and that’s just yarn. I have a whole rolling drawer thing that’s almost exclusively jewelry supplies, plus a significant portion of my desk drawer space is taken up with more supplies.

My name is Erin and I am a craft supply hoarder.

Hi, Erin.

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, craft supplies. I have to say, I’m glad this whole being in grad school thing is so incredibly interesting or I might be pissed off that doing homework seriously cuts into my knitting time. But now I can drop suggestions on y’all like, “you should totally read Carrie Fisher’s memoir Wishful Drinking. It’s amazeballs.”

No, really, go read it. Now.