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…

white is my least favorite color

Have I managed yet just how ridiculous fucking sick to death I am of winter? And snow? And snow in the winter? That’s like the fucking worst ever.

We had roughly 10″ of snow over the weekend and the temps are ridiculously cold. Again. Getting around this morning was dicey to say the least. Here’s what I don’t get, and never have really…

WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU THINK YOU CAN DRIVE ON SHITTY SNOWY ROADS IN A LOW TO THE GROUND SPORTS CAR WITH SLICK TIRES???

I can’t even tell you how many cars I saw stuck in the middle of roads this morning, all of them sports cars. Well, there was that one Audi SUV but it was being driven by an idiot.

I digress.

We started watching the Oscars last night. For a tiny bit of time I had a Garth kitty on my lap, which was nice. He was not that excited about the TV though. Sometimes he watches, no shit.

Today I have made myself three days worth of pasta salad for the rest of the work week. Mom gets her other cataract surgery on Wednesday so hopefully she’ll finally be able to see right. I’m trying to get myself back in gear with my eating habits and everything. It’s a work in progress.

Anyway, this pasta is one that Lancelot introduced me to. It’s  made of five green veggies – kale, zucchini, spinach, parsley, and broccoli. I tossed it with an Italian salad dressing mix, grape tomatoes, sliced baby cucumbers, sliced olives, and shredded mozzarella cheese. It looks and smells pretty good. We shall see.

Time to get back to homework, or housework, maybe both. The manuscript is coming along nicely, almost 140 pages. I need to somehow manage to read another memoir in the next day and start writing my critical essay. This packet of stuff is due on Thursday morning.

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.

love is in the air

I’m actually one who believes that Valentine’s Day isn’t much of a holiday. Why spend $100 on 12 hot-house flowers that don’t smell and shouldn’t be forced to bloom this time of year anyway? Or more than that on heart shaped jewelry that isn’t all that attractive anyway? Nope, not for me. And I told Lancelot this. I am a wee bit practical, sometimes.

He got me the two gorgeous hand-wrapped wire necklaces, one for our anniversary and one for Valentine’s Day, both of which have my birthstone in them. I also got a card this morning that made me cry, happy tears, but still. The pic above is us, in the car this morning. The flower was actually from the coffee shop; they were giving them out this morning.

I love carnations. They do smell, they aren’t crazy expensive, and they last a long time. Quite lovely.

But Lancelot wasn’t content to spoil me with the jewelry and the card, oh no.

I got a box of a dozen chocolate dipped strawberries. I’m not sure if you can see the card or not but it says “It’s a boy!” which is this inside joke with us. Anyway, super yummo and way better than roses.

Things have been going quite well lately. Getting to see him in the mornings is wonderful, though I have to say I’m overdue for a weekend with him. I need time to snuggle.

Work on my memoir is also going well. I managed to get a list of all of the meds I’ve taken from my psych doc so I think that will help.

No rest for the wicked!

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.

 

this might work…

I’m having one of those days where it feels like my brain is not my own. That makes no sense.  Only it does, to me. Let me try…

The weekend was good. We did a little shopping, a little relaxing, a lot of eating. Eating is always good.

So the story here… I got this shirt on Saturday at a funky little store at the mall. The learning management system we use at the university is Canvas. The Canvas mascot is a panda. This panda is boxing and has a black eye. Lancelot is big into various forms of fighting, boxing being one of them. Total win-win.

The fuzzbutts were not impressed. They aren’t impressed with much, to be honest. But last night they both slept with me for awhile which was nice. They are delightfully warm.

You may recall that I had to turn in my first packet for school last week and that it was late. And I was seriously freaked out. Well, turns out I didn’t need to be. I got lots (NINE FUCKING PAGES WORTH!) of great feedback from my mentor. I was in tears by the time I got to the end, but not because it was harsh. He had lots of really constructive and overall positive things to say. It was the last sentence that got me.

Excellent work.

And that, combined (apparently) with the fact that not only is Valentine’s Day next week but so is our six-month anniversary, is why I got this beautiful handmade necklace from Lancelot a bit early.

The stone at the bottom is a raw aquamarine, my birthstone. This has got to be the coolest piece of jewelry I own, hands down. No one has picked out jewelry for me like he has, I always love it and it’s completely “me.” It looks amazing with a new black dress I got on an Old Navy clearance sale for $6. WOOT!

Ok, I guess I should talk about the goals thing…

I did not weigh this morning, there wasn’t quite enough time. I did however make and drink a smoothie, so that’s good. I’m going to try to hit the treadmill when I get home. Wish me luck with that.

I think I mentioned that I had already kind of started with the writing, I’m going to try to spend at least 30 minutes every day on that. I figure that as a minimum should be good.

The craft project goal – right now I do have several shawls on the needles. I’ve been working on a very simple garter stitch shawlette called “Davina” mostly because it’s easy knitting and the yarn feels lovely in my hands. Also, the leaf shawlette thing has directions that are annoying me and the beaded shawl is fussy. But they will all get done. Right now I’m loving Davina and may well get her finished within the next two weeks.

the best laid plans of mice and me

It’s really not cool to turn in your very FIRST grad school assignment late. It’s not. But my laptop at home completely barfed on me last night and so I didn’t get everything turned in until this morning. My mentor didn’t seem pleased but he also didn’t seem pissed.

In all I would have to say that the last few days have been a little rough. The super cold weather is never good and it just kind of feels like I’ve been struggling. I’m hoping that I’ve gotten past that now and that life will improve.

That was yesterday’s knit thing. It’s a more traditional shawl, my own pattern, using a lovely wool yarn I picked up while on vacation in 2016. I based the pattern on my very favorite washcloth which looks like a flower. No clue at this point what the yarn was but it’s soft and incredibly warm. The design means it drapes around the shoulders and sits in place nicely all by itself.

Today I’m sporting my favorite purple shawl with the big flower pin. And new pink bangs. I rock this shit.

Now on to the goals…

In looking over my list there are several that will be taking place each month. Those are:

  1. Lose 5lbs each month
  2. Write more than 30 new pages for my memoir each month
  3. Craft projects

Just based on the number of projects on my craft list I’ll need to finish at least one per month. This month I’m going to concentrate on finishing one of the shawls I have started, just not sure which one.

I have already been working on adding to my memoir and even though the month technically just started today I’m already up 14 pages, which is almost half of the minimum requirement.

The weight loss thing will be the kicker. I’m trying to modify my eating habits to start with, mainly by adding a healthy smoothie back in to my morning routine. I typically use a single serving carton of low-carb vanilla yogurt, frozen fruit (that I froze myself so I know it’s just fruit), and either 100% fruit juice (no sugar added) or milk. Yesterday I picked up some of the V8 Fusion juice that’s both fruit and veggie juice but just tastes like fruit for even more health benefit.

So I still need to make a decision about the shawl and I need to officially start the health kick thing. I’m thinking Monday.

This weekend I have plans to relax and get stuff done with Lancelot. It’s been amazing giving him rides home from work this week, but I definitely need time for good hugs that aren’t rushed.