i finished reading a book and other things that really aren’t exciting to anyone but me

Before I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder back in 2006 I was a voracious reader. I’ve always loved books and a good story is actually one of my preferred drugs. Back then I was only sleeping a few hours a night because I was almost always hypomanic so I would read a full length novel every few days. There was a book case in my living room that was easily eight feet tall and four feet wide. My husband made extra shelves for it and pretty much all of them were stacked double deep. I had read 99% of those books.

The medication to control the symptoms of Bipolar made it so that reading wasn’t enjoyable, it felt more like a chore. Books no longer held my attention. In the time since 2008, when the second husband and I divorced, and quite recently, my book collection had dwindled to few enough that they all fit on a single shelf.

Now you kind of see why actually finishing books is a big deal in my world.

If I’m counting correctly, the book I just finished is the fourth book I’ve read this year. (don’t trust my math, I never do) I can concentrate again and I find myself getting very into the stories, which is amazing. I’ve found a few authors that I hadn’t heard of before and I’m totally loving this. Yay me.

Still life with scarf and dog

I am still knitting, mostly on this scarf, though the dog makes it hard some times. She thinks I should sit on the couch at night so that she can rest her head on me. There are several things about this that make knitting difficult. First, I end up all contorted with the arm of the couch on my left and her very solid self on my right, making it hard to get the wings to work. Second, she puts off body heat that is roughly equivalent to the temperature of the surface of the sun. And finally, she expects me to pet her. Constantly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love her, she’s a good pup. But I have realized that for any knitting progress to be made I have to sit in my chair. I am starting to wonder if this scarf is going to be mine or be gifted to someone. I’m waiting for it to tell me.

getting closer

You may remember that I made some goals for myself for 2021, six of them actually. I’ve already achieve two of them and I am now Super Duper Close to achieving a third. That would put me half way to what I see as a successful year, and given that the year is about half way through, I see this as excellent progress.

TA DA!!!

Those are the cabled fingerless mitts for K that I started last January 20th. I finished them on June 21, 2021. I’m very pleased with how they worked up and even more pleased that they’re done. And I was totally right, more than enough yarn left to make the basic beanie pattern I love. They look great and she seems quite pleased.

This is making me very happy because there is now only ONE project left from last year, and only two other projects currently on the needles. One is a feather and fan scarf that’s my “I don’t have to concentrate on this” project and the other is a shawl made with mohair and short rows. Don’t ask; I have no earthly idea what I was thinking, but since I started it I feel compelled to finish it.

Oh so yummy

I am still trying to be more mindful about what I eat and drink, which is another goal. To that end I have discovered that I really like making steel cut oats in the slow cooker. That was this morning’s breakfast and that batch of oats were cooked with mashed banana, salted caramel honey, and plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. I use half water and half almond milk for the liquid, so 1C of oats and 4C total of liquid is enough for four breakfasts. So easy and so tasty.

There is a whole lot of hurting going on right now, and I wish I could do more to help. I have several friends who are struggling, all with different things, and I know there are a whole lot of other people struggling just as much but who aren’t saying anything. I want y’all to know that it’s totally ok to ask for help when you need it. Even if what you need is someone to say that you matter, your presence is important, you have a place in this world. Because you do.

make. it. stop.

Honestly, were it not for the fact that I have a work commitment until noon I would not have gotten out of bed this morning. But if I hadn’t gotten out of bed I wouldn’t have realized that the water heater is playing games again. I’m really not sure when all of this FUN is going to end, but I’m hoping it’ll be soon.

I did get a plumber out to the house and he did something to it, in addition to getting the pilot light back on, and he said to see if that helps. While I appreciate that this only cost me $69 I can also read a calendar and see that we are dangerously close to a weekend, and not just any weekend but a Holiday Weekend. So if that fucking water heater goes out I have the potential to be well and truly FUCKED.

Anyway, we’re waiting to see what happens. I hate feeling like I don’t have any control, but it’s a damn appliance so truly, I have no control.

I’m supposed to go meet with a group of knitters tonight, friends, in a park not far from the campus. Our weather today is supposed to be lovely. Unfortunately my hip is bothering me, to the point where I’ve gotten out my TENS unit and have plugged myself in. Not sure sitting in a camp chair for several hours is a great idea at this point, but we’ll see.

Regardless of whether I go, I did start a new project just for the occasion. Does anyone else do that? Let me attempt to explain my madness…

I have several projects in the works at the same time. Some of them are much more complicated and require quiet or just music in order for me to keep up with the pattern. Some are just complicated enough that I keep the project and row count handy but I can still talk to someone or watch TV, providing there isn’t a hefty plot to follow. And then there are other projects that are so delightfully simple that I can almost do them in my sleep.

I didn’t have any projects on the needles that would be suitable to working on outside and while talking to people, so I had Lancelot help me wind up some yarn yesterday and I cast on a Feather & Fan scarf to work on. If you aren’t familiar it’s an old pattern that has a four row repeat and is quite easy to memorize. I am using a row counter on my phone just to help my feeble brains.

And of course it’s in another part of the house and I’m tied to my desk right now…

Currently on the needles in my house we have:

  • Sunset shawl – it’s just about to the lace section and needs to have the second skein of yarn wound so it’s in a pleasant time out
  • Fingerless Mitts for K – the pattern is fussy so they’re in time out until I find more patience
  • Niji vest – really just needs to be assembled, the knitting is done
  • Skewed Shawl – the pattern is interesting so it’s in the “front of the line” but it’s mohair so…
  • Ilo Shawl – gorgeous lace pattern that requires some attention, also in the “front of the line”
  • Feather & Fan scarf – this will likely stay within easy reach but since I don’t have any real plans for it I’m not worried about when it gets finished

I did go through my yarn inventory spreadsheet the other day and try to make notes of which yarns were being used for projects already, namely the ones above, and which I had purchased specifically for certain patterns. I was rather amazed to see how many yarns are already “spoken for” and I was equally impressed with myself when I went through my collection of patterns and was able to start matching patterns with yarns. Now I just need to remember to check that spreadsheet the next time I want to start a new project.

never have i ever

If you’ve never had a Bad Brain Day you might want to just keep moving; you won’t relate. If you have, then I feel for you my friend.

I would guess that anyone who has a mental illness or has dealt with mental issues has had one of “those” days when your brain feels like an enemy, maybe your Worst Enemy. Tasks that you know should be basic are anything but, coordination is non-existent, and your native language might as well be Martian.

Shit just Does Not Work. At All. Even a Little.

I’ve been dealing with this for a while now, and so have several of my friends. We’ve been having a lot of nasty rainy weather which doesn’t help. And I think we’re all just tired of the pandemic.

At any rate, yesterday had mostly felt like it was going better. And then I decided to go make dinner after my therapy appointment. And then all hell broke loose.

my kitchen doesn’t typically look like that

That ended the day’s streak of healthy eating. This morning when I went to boil water for my matcha smoothie thing I broke the handle on the tea pot. Bye bye adorable black and white enamel tea pot. And then when I went to shake the carton of coconut milk for the matcha smoothie I hadn’t screwed the lid on tight enough and that whole end of the kitchen got a delicate bath of unsweetened coconut milk.

CHECK PLEASE!!!

Backing up to last night – I made a killer veggie stir fry with rice noodles, fried tofu planks, and a home made sauce

Needless to say, I made it until approximately 1pm today before saying “fuck this shit” and putting on PJs instead of work clothes. In spite of things being rather rough here lately, I’m still alive and kicking. It took until this afternoon but I’ve finally managed to get some things crossed off my lists. I’ve gotten myself a little organized, and that always helps.

Bad Brain Days are often made better by furry friends

Tomorrow is another day.

trolls

There’s something about the anonymity of the internet that seems to bring out the worst in people. Don’t get me wrong; in some cases it brings out the very best. People can contribute to charities from the comfort of their living rooms, they can make connections with others who share the same interests, they can practice random acts of kindness easily and many do on a regular basis.

But then there are The Others; the ones who get emboldened by the fact that the people they drop their nasty little bombs on won’t ever have the opportunity to look them in the eyes and see them for the cowards they really are.

I made a comment on a friend’s post on Facebook last week. I was agreeing with what he said, actually more than he was agreeing with what the image he posted said. We engaged in civil discourse about it, each speaking our piece in respectful language and finding the commonalities.

Cue THE TROLL…

One comment, one single short sentence (that needed editing at that) directed at me, in the form of a sarcastic question. This person doesn’t know me from anyone, knows nothing about my background, and will never meet me. So by all means, ask your shitty little demeaning question meant to put me in my place. And why?

Because at the heart of it all, I am an optimist. I still look for the silver lining in every single situation, no matter what. I want to see the good in humanity even when it proves otherwise. And so I ended my part of the conversation on my friend’s post with a hope for humanity to show me the goodness, and The Troll couldn’t just let that lay where it fell.

But I will.

As much as I would love to find some nasty, shitty things of my own to say in return, I won’t. As much as I would like to point out just how wrong this person is, I won’t. As upset as this has made me, it ends right here and now. Posting a reply would give that fire more fuel and this jerk has already taken enough of my time and mental energy, he doesn’t need to be fed with my reply.

It ends, right here and now.

Nerd Princess, at your service

yup, dat’s me

Life has not been super smooth around here lately, and that’s a bummer. Lancelot has been working overtime every weekend, it actually snowed yesterday, and Dog Blossom is as needy as a toddler on a sugar binge. So if you guessed that maybe I’ve been crying you’d be right. My poor little brains are not doing so well right now, but I’m still trying.

I always seem to have trouble when the seasons change from Winter to Spring. There’s something about the longer days with more sunshine that throws me for a loop for a bit. I’m doing my best to help with the sleep issues, mostly by knitting to music for an hour before bed. It’s helping, and it’s helping me finish projects faster. I got my mom’s crocheted blanket done and a shrug with beaded sleeves finished. All that’s left on my list of “carry-over” projects are two shawls and a pair of fingerless mitts. Not to say that there won’t be more projects, but those are the ones that I really want to finish.

The one shawl I’m working on has been on the needles for OVER A YEAR. How crazy sad is that? And it’s not like it’s hard. But of course it is the lace one that would look like odd colored spaghetti.

Speaking of knitting, L got me a set of Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles and I am absolutely in love with them. I switched that shawl over to those from the Denise interchangeables I was using and the difference is just amazing. Pricey, for sure, but totally worth it.

On Sunday L and I “recreated” our first date. Because he has worked overnights the entire time I’ve known him we went to breakfast when we first met. It worked really well and I would definitely recommend breakfast dates to anyone. We hadn’t been back to that particular restaurant since before the pandemic started, mostly because we just don’t go out for breakfast much anymore. But it was really nice, we even sat in “our” booth.

Twenty-seven pounds lighter and decked out in my moonstones. Also, sporting a fresh manicure and pedicure. I felt reasonably pretty. And not overly cold, which was good. It has since snowed. Did I mention that? I think I also mentioned something about being a Nerd Princess. Ok, here goes…

I’ve been trying this app thing lately that’s supposed to help you build positive habits and it does appear to be helping me. I realized this morning that part of what’s helpful is that I think about my time differently. And then I realized that one of the few things I really miss about having to physically leave the house and go to work is the externally imposed schedule. So…

I wrote myself a schedule for my week days to help with mini-goal setting and to help ensure that I have the structure that my brain needs to be happy.

I cannot freakin’ even right now

That is the bracelet I helped to make this weekend

Is that not absolutely stunning? It’s moonstone and sterling silver, and yes, I actually did parts of the construction. It was beyond wonderful to spend time with my friend Saturday morning and see first-hand what goes into making this kind of jewelry. Not only was it informative as hell, but getting to be with another human who I haven’t seen in absolute ages was totally wonderful. So I now know a little bit more about the process of silversmithing, I have an even deeper appreciation for the amount of work that goes into a piece like this, and I have a one of a kind wearable work of art that coordinates with the other beautiful moonstones pieces I have from her.

If you are interested in your own truly beautiful jewelry, and she does custom work too, you should visit her website at https://www.whirlsofpearls.com/.

I also got to see my friend N and deliver his holiday gift, only four months late. He didn’t care. (he got that cabled scarf) We also went for lunch which was a lovely little bonus.

I still don’t feel like I’m totally back on track, but I’m trying. I have my clothes for the week organized, I spent time in the kitchen yesterday doing some food prep, I made cookies (healthy ones), and the laundry is essentially caught up. So yay!

The kids have been a little feisty lately

I do have some fun stuff to look forward to this week. I’m going to do a session at the glass studio and try to make a little something for myself, just as another creative outlet. And on Saturday I’m going with Mom for mani/pedi time. My feet are very excited.

Keep doing what you can to help keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. L gets his second shot at the end of the month and we are excited as hell. WOOT!

awkward and paranoid about it since the mid 1980s

I need to start with a total aside here. Why the fuck is the word “awkward” spelled so damn, well, awkward? I mean honestly, am I the only person who has to completely stop typing and force my fingers to punch those letters in that order by using every iota of force I can muster? No? Ok, moving on.

I’m out of it. Still. And I don’t like this. I feel like nothing has been “right” since last weekend and this morning – JUST THIS DAMN MORNING – was able to put my finger on it.

I didn’t feel good because of the shot so I was off work on Monday. On Tuesday there was a chunk taken out of my day to take Lancelot to get his first shot. On Wednesday I went with him for a doc appointment (nothing serious but the kind of thing that I kinda just needed to be there for). Yesterday we had to see our lawyer again to sign papers (again, nothing serious or bad just one of those “adult human” things). Then this morning I got all three of the kids in my office for awhile so we could have a new ceiling fan installed.

At one point Garth had kicked Dog Blossom so many times that he had a big tuft of her fur stuck in his toes

Needless to say, I need a rest. And a drink. But L works overtime again this weekend. So I’ll have to push through a little more before my life goes back to where it normally is. There’s the rub – nothing about this week, not one fucking thing, has been anywhere near normal and my poor little brain cells cannot cope.

As someone who has been living with a mental illness for a LOOOOOONG time, and been in remission for some time, I’ve figured out how to make life work. But a big ol’ piece of that is having routines and being able to rely on those, particularly when life gets wonky.

No routines right now = brains feel yuck = I am a grump = NO DAMN BUENO

On the plus side, tomorrow morning I’m going to visit a friend who does silversmithing and she’s going to show me/help me make a bracelet. That will be super fun. Also, the vest is still coming along nicely. I had a more experience friend confirm that my plan should work. This pleases me. I was also able to acquire a lovely bit of leather hardware stuff to serve as a closure. More on that when it arrives.

For now, I’m going to relax somewhere. Like maybe under my desk. With a cocktail.

why i love avatars, emoji, and bitmoji so freakin’ much

First, I feel like I should do an update of sorts. My current weight is at 251.5lbs. I have been down at 250.5 so I will claim that I have lost 16lbs. Hey, my game and my rules. The weight loss is rather slow and I’m alright with that, mostly because it feels healthy. And I’m still sticking with my ultimate goal of being more mindful of what food and drink I put in my body. Like right now, I have a morning snack of 1/2C of fat free cottage cheese, 1/2C of fresh blueberries, and a clementine. Very tasty and nutritious.

Lancelot and I did our celebrating on Friday because that was our six month wedding anniversary. We actually got dressed up – that’s the jewelry I wore when we got married – and ate sushi at the dining room table. It was wonderful.

The kids spent most of the weekend sleeping, as usual. In their defense, it’s been ridiculously cold here. As in the windchill yesterday (and again today I think) was something like -32F.

So, my love of avatars and such. There really is something to that, and you’d likely have to know me fairly well to understand it. That or maybe if you ever saw me try to eat soup with a spoon.

I have wicked tremors most of the time and so typing, or doing anything with my hands, sometimes requires monumental effort.

But there are all kinds of really cute little pictures and things that convey what I’d like to say and I can click or tap on one of those and that takes care of it. Besides, my avatars are adorable.

The tremors are caused by the lithium I take for the Bipolar Disorder, but I mostly don’t mind. Even though it’s been 15 years since my diagnosis and the start of treatment I still remember what life was like without the lithium and I have absolutely no desire to ever go back to that place. Ever.

stuff and things

I’m trying to keep from losing my proverbial shit, but it’s a struggle some days. Actually, lately, it’s a struggle every damn day, it’s just worse on the days that end in Y. Thank you Rona, you bitch.

Why yes, I did knit that shawl, thanks for noticing!

Anyway, today has been a better day. Oddly enough I have to give thanks for a webinar that wasn’t a webinar (but still sucked) for giving me nearly an hour of time right smack ass in the middle of day during which to knit. I got several rows done and I feel good about that. (the shawl is getting bigger every row so you get the idea)

I’m also at a point in the semester where my workload just isn’t that bad, and I’m always grateful for that. I did some office-y things today that have been neglected during busier times and getting that stuff caught up feels good. I was also able to throw in a load of laundry this afternoon, another bonus. And I have a sorta plan for dinner tonight.

I might just regain my momentum, things are looking promising. The other thing looking promising was today’s delivery…

Ah yes, yarn and dissent… And the goat screams if you press on his stump…

That’s two skeins of Cascade Alpaca Lace, two skeins of Cloudborn Merino Worsted Twist, and a single skein of Cloudborn Highland Fingering. I have shawl patterns picked out for the lace and the worsted, the skein of black fingering weight was kind of a bonus that I’m thinking might work really well with a skein of something wild in my stash.

But none of that for a while. I really do want to (try really hard to) finish the projects I’m currently working on. I’m totally willing to admit that I get bored with projects easily, especially when I get that itch to change something. In a past life it would have been my hair, but there’s just not a ton I can do with super short silver hair. So knitting it is.