the delicate art of saying NO

I am not one who likes conflict, of any sort. I want people to like me and if I can be helpful then I will be. But sometimes that just doesn’t work. This was one of those times.

We had a faculty member come in on Monday wanting us to create a flyer for them for an event. Do I have those skills? Yup. Do I have the time? Not really. Do I have the responsibility for doing this? Not at all.

We have a whole department that does just communication stuff for the university. In fact, this faculty member was wanting to use a template that department had designed. But didn’t want to work with them. So, either they weren’t wanting to play by the branding rules or hadn’t allowed enough time. Either way, not really my problem.

On Monday this person wouldn’t take no for an answer and said they’d come back today so we could work on it, even going so far as to say that I was their “buddy and pal” and could surely do this simple thing. Yes, yes I could, but I don’t do that stuff. So I had been stressing about it, trying to work out how to handle it today.

I did run it by my boss to make sure I had the backing of someone in a higher pay grade than me and he said yes, I was right. Making flyers for anyone other than our own group is outside our scope of responsibility. Done deal.

As soon as the faculty walked in today I started speaking, not letting them have a chance to argue with me.

“I did some checking and we can’t help you with this. You can go to the [communication office] and they can help you but we can’t.”

No argument, no trying to sweet talk me into it. It was just that simple. And let me tell you, it felt fucking fabulous.

In other news, the new pants and shoes fit great. I’ve got just about everything assembled that I need. I’ll be doing a practice pack soon but I think I’m in good shape.

Now, does anyone have a suggestion for something interesting to do with a 200yd skein of lightweight silk yarn?

istanbul not constantinople

Have I bothered to mention that the trip to Istanbul is back on? Like, we’re leaving November 13th. The tickets are being purchased this morning, or so I’m told. All I know is that this is not much time to get ready for an international trip – almost five weeks exactly.

So I’m making my packing list, purchasing supplies, trying to get my “poo in a pile” as my pal Dr. K would say. I ordered electrical adapters, which is awesome because now I’ll have three entirely different sets. I also ordered some new pants and a pair of shoes. I’ve done dresses for the last two workshops but decided on tunics and leggings this time. I think it will give me better flexibility for doing things in the evenings.

At any rate, I’m trying not to freak out about any of this and to concentrate on controlling the bits I can. I’ve done this three times already, I might not be an expert but I do at least have some clue as to what the hell I’m doing.

welcome to the “things I’m not super excited about” episode

I try not to bitch too much. It’s pointless and it just makes my mood even worse, so why bother? But sometimes you just gotta. So here goes…

I have a cyst that is draining, bleeding actually, and it’s in an even worse location than usual. It doesn’t hurt but it’s annoying.

Lancelot is working overtime tomorrow so I won’t get to really see him until Saturday late afternoon. On the plus side with this, I picked him up from work this morning and was informed that I was a “sight for sore eyes.” That was super sweet. And he’s coming up to have lunch with me tomorrow, so that will help.

We’re having a bit of a monsoon. Again. The last thing we need is more rain and yet here it is.

I got up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and not only did Garth get on my lap but he bit me, in a delicate place. Perv cat.

And the trip to Istanbul is back on. I’m excited, but with the political climate in Turkey right now I’m very cautious about the whole thing. Plus, I’ve got just over a month to get ready. Yikes.

The Stormy Skies shawl seemed appropriate for a stormy day

and now I’m SAD

Among the many other things I deal with I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, lovingly referred to as SAD. This time of year when there’s less sun I get lethargic and depressed. No bueno.

Fortunately the treatment is simple enough – a full-spectrum light that sits on my desk. I’m supposed to use it every morning for a few hours. Amazingly enough it really does help.

And right now I need all the help I can get. It feels like every time I open my mouth I stick my foot in it, clear up to my hip. I’m afraid I’m doing damage to my most treasured relationships.

On the plus side of things I’ve got enough yarn to keep my busy for possibly the next several years, so I’ve got that going for me. Over the last few weeks I’ve gone on a bender buying yarn from Etsy. There’s a purple skein with a metallic silver thread, white with a metallic silver thread, a skein that’s the prettiest combination of pale blue, pale purple, and very light pink. Oh, and then there’s the mini skein pack that has five coordinating skeins in shades of dark pink.

I’m going to be a busy girl.


I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2006, shortly before my 30th birthday. I’ve been in what I consider “active” recovery since 2009, shortly after my 4th (and final) suicide attempt. Most of the time I’m pretty good, like stable enough that your average stranger wouldn’t notice anything unusual about me. Well, nothing unusual aside from the strange hair and my unique fashion sense.

But sometimes I’m off my game and I need to hit my own reset button. This seems to be one of those times.

The doc started me on a new med to try to help with the tremors that I have, caused by Lithium. Maybe it’s the slowed heart rate that’s resulting from that.

Two years ago I had a breast cancer scare. I just went in for my mammogram last week and was rather nervous about it. Maybe it was the anxiety from that.

Work is getting ridiculously busy again, a little earlier than usual. Every time I think I’m going to get caught up I feel like yet another paper avalanche happens. Maybe it’s the stress from that.

I did something to piss off my back and I’ve been entertaining a headache for several days now. I’m still not sure what caused either, but that could be the culprit.

Regardless, I’m not feeling like myself and I don’t like it one bit.

I’ve been redecorating my office a bit. I’ve been buying new clothes, changing up my look. I’ve changed some of the bits in the bedroom.

I’m not sure what else to do, but I’ll keep trying. Something will hit the reset button in a meaningful way and I’ll be back on track.

taking out the trash

I’ve mentioned several times recently that I’ve been on this “clean out all the bullshit” kick. I’m loving it. Clothes that didn’t fit or don’t make me happy, jewelry I never wore, some shoes, a few books, candles… I realized just now that there’s another stash of clothes that need to go, hidden under the stairs.

But there are other things that need to be removed. Yesterday I ended up cleaning out my closet at work, the one that primarily houses snacks and stuff. That was a disaster. Today I’m going to spend a little time on my desk. Too much clutter, too much nonsense in the drawers.

I can’t really say what it is that gets me into these moods, but it’s a cyclical thing with me. Kind of like Spring Cleaning on steroids I guess. All I know is that I feel better once it’s all done.

This afternoon I’m meeting with one of the program coordinators for the writing program I just left. I feel good that I was able to finish the semester successfully, but I know that I just can’t take on that kind of workload and stress again right now. I want to finish the memoir one of these days but I already know that my Fall semester is going to be too busy. There’s at least one international trip planned so that right there is enough to make me not interested in school.

I’m going to try to add back in a hobby/creative outlet that I haven’t done in ages. I’ve signed up to take a fused glass class at a local studio where I’ve taken classes before. I’m excited, it should be great. The last project I made, I think, was last summer. Not that the knitting and jewelry making aren’t good enough, but a girl shouldn’t box herself in too much when it comes to being creative.

oh the things i want to do!

That was me this morning, in the car, waiting for Lancelot to get done with work. Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” was playing on the stereo. That is just so very much me.

So many ideas right now, things I want to do. I was contemplating a possible new project for my bedroom that would let me display my necklaces better. I’ve also been thinking about making jewelry from some of the pieces I picked up over the weekend. And knit projects with the yarn I got in Ireland.

Notice anything missing? I just really don’t feel like doing any writing. And that’s not good. I’ve got one packet left to finish. I need to buckle down.

In other news, I saw the dermatologist yesterday. I’m starting a new topical ointment and three new pills. I’m not thrilled, but she seems optimistic. Oh, and I need to put some serious effort into losing weight. I told her that I could lose 8lbs by the time I see her in four weeks.

I’ve got to do this. I’ve been suffering with this nonsense for too long. And I know I’ll feel better if there’s a little less of me. I know what I look like doesn’t really matter to Lancelot, but I also know that he wants me healthy.

Step one – no more sugared beverages. Anything sweet must be zero calorie. Fruit juice must be 100% juice and not have any added sugar. Just doing this should help. But I’m also going for more raw fruits and veggies, portion control, and less junk. I can do this.

Once my ankle heals a little more I can get back on the treadmill and that should really help. Right now just isn’t the time for that. But I’ll get there. I have to.

the week of knitted things

It’s a whole 24F here right now and I don’t think the high temp for the day is much higher. Over the weekend we got 6 or so inches of snow. This is Winter, and winter in the Midwest frequently sucks. So I’m going to combat the suck with some lovely handknits.

The plus side of Lancelot working overtime Friday night was that Mom and I went shopping together. I got a few things for my nieces for Christmas and got myself some solid color, long sleeved T-shirts. I find these to be ideal for showing off knit shawls.

That was actually taken on Friday. Not only was I sporting a shawl I knit but also a beautiful shield brooch Lancelot got me in Weston as well as a pair of Josephine knot earrings I got in Branson. Beautiful outfit all the way around.

This morning it’s navy blue with a different shawl. Today is also blue jeans and knock-off UGG boots because of the intense cold and the snow.

My plan is to wear something I’ve knit every day this week and post a picture. It’s not like I’ve got a shortage of choices. I have at least one I can think of that I haven’t even worn yet, and I know that because it still needs the ends woven in.

I took that picture the morning I left for India. I was petrified. All of the potentially horrible things that could happen while I was gone just kept swirling through my head. I think maybe you can see the sheer terror on my face.

But not on Lancelot. He’s grinning like a fool. He (and everyone else in all honesty) knew that I was capable of doing this and doing it well.

Everyone but me.

One of the most cruel jokes the mental brain plays on us is stripping away our confidence in ourselves, making us feel that we aren’t deserving or capable. But one of the greatest gifts it’s given me is empathy for others and the ability to be a champion for someone.

Life is not always perfect, and the world is not always kind, but I will strive to enjoy what I have as long as I have it.

and for my next encore…

I’m working on getting all the last bits and pieces wrapped up at home and at work. I feel pretty solid about the packing. I’ve got a few more things to do at work but I feel good about that, too. Right now I’m eating what should have been breakfast even though it’s after 1pm. But honestly, rice pudding with blueberries can be eaten anytime.

I actually feel pretty calm and collected right now, at least about this trip. Yes, this trip. There’s another trip in the works now. It’s hush-hush right now because I’m not sure about the funding but my colleague and I submitted a proposal to present at a conference and we got accepted. We actually got the email this morning at the same time and collided mid-hug in the hallway. Nothing like a couple of girls hugging and jumping and screaming in an office. It’s going to be another amazing trip and this time over my birthday. And Lancelot is going to try to come with me.

Speaking of Lancelot, I’m going to be taking his cat stuffie friend Daryl with me on my trip. You’re familiar with the roaming gnome? Yeah, like that only with a small smartass looking cat. I’ll be photographing him all over the place. Brace yourselves.

I will do my best to keep updating here during my trip. If I can’t you can rest assured that there will be a metric shit-ton of pictures when I get back.

Be good to each other….

the first of the lasts

“just to warn you, mama is about to get weird”

I don’t even pretend to understand why my strange little brain works the way it does, why bother. But on the drive to work this morning (thank dog that only lasts about 15 minutes or else we’d be in serious kimchee) I realized that I’m about to embark on a series of very minor “lasts.” Minor in that they aren’t permanent. Oh hell, let me illustrate…

Tonight is the last night I’ll sleep in my own bed until November 25th.

I put gas in the car for the last time this morning until (not sure with this one).

Tomorrow will be my last day at work until November 28th.

Friday is my last day in the US until November 24th.

And the biggest one right now… Friday is the last day I will see Mom and Lancelot until November 24th.

I’ll talk to both of them every day, I know this. I’ve setup to be able to call from India and both of them have schedules such that it shouldn’t be an issue. But I’ll miss them both terribly.

I will also miss the little orange menaces. They know something is going on because of the suitcases and the near perpetual mess on my bed in the evenings. I think Eric has maybe been trying to figure out how to stowaway in my bag. He’s got a thing for getting into bags and boxes.

At any rate, I think I’m in pretty good shape. I did decide to switch to the tiny carry-on suitcase and the backpack. It’s a lot more flexibility and it means I don’t have to pack an empty bag in case I buy too much stuff. Mom is going to help me do a double-check tonight to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. I think all that’s really left are the few bits that can’t be packed until the last minute.