Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spinning Raspberry fluff.

I've been working on this pink fiber. I have a batt of it. It was a really big one. So I split it into two and wrapped one half around my distaff. It is working out fairly well. I'm spinning it on my Ashfort Student spindle. I am giving it a Z-twist. I haven't decided if I am going to ply it with a Z-twist as well. I have decided, however, that I am going to spin the other half of the batt the same way I am spinning this one. I will be plying both skeins together.

On the crochet front, I completed a baby blanket for my cousin's new baby. I'd post a picture but it is put by safely until I pack it. I am trying to keep it clean and out of any possible irritants this way she doesn't have to worry about any allergic reactions for the baby. The baby blanket is the most basic of patterns. I used baby sport weight yarn. My first two and last two rows were done with a size H hook and the body between was done with a J hook. The visual interest of the blanket was in the yarn's colors. I was actually using up ends of skeins so I had multiple balls of yarn tied together with the ends hidden in the crochet where one began and the other ended.

Chain 95 st.
R1: Sc all st, chain three to turn.
R2: Dc in all st. Change to J hook. Chain 3 to turn.
R3: Dc in all st.
R4 - 51: Repeat R3. Switch to H hook. Chain 3 to turn.
R52: Dc in all st.
R53: Sc in all st. Break yarn after final st.

Knitting wise, I am still working on that basic top down shawl. I am also still working on Beloved's sweater. It is hard to hold them up and picture them with the laptop. I will get a picture of these two projects a bit later today and upload them via the camera and the desktop computer.

The shawl is a super simple pattern. I am knitting it with Caron's Simply Soft Paints in the Ocean colorway. Here's the shawl pattern. It is a minor alteration from the one I found on Ravelry. That one was entirely knit. The last shawl I knit in garter stitch, I got bored a quarter of the way through. This time, I'm using stockinette stitch, which keeps me a bit more interested.

CO: 5
R1: K across
R2: P across
R3: K1, yo, k2, yo, place marker, k, place marker, yo, k2, yo, k1
R4: P across
R5: knit first stitch, yo, knit to 1 st before marker, yo, move marker, k, move marker, yo, knit to 1 st before end, yo, knit final st.
R6: P across

Continue alternating rows 5 and 6 until shawl is desired length. After final purl row, knit one row. Bind off knitwise. Block.

Beloved's sweater is the sleeveless sweater pattern from WWI that was published by the Red Cross. It was printed in Piecework last fall. If you want to see what it looks like, check out the wonderful stuff on this blog. I had to adapt the pattern some because Beloved is a larger man. Still, it was really easy to adapt the pattern. I have, however, one problem. I'm five inches into making the back and I am already bored. I'm tempted to rip it out and crochet something to the same dimensions. Then I remember how many hours it took to get that done and I find myself reluctant to do it. I'm making it in royal blue sport weight yarn. I think it is something from Bernat but I'm not sure. I don't have the ball band to check what brand the yarn is.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ready for Work

Just derping around and writing about cartomancy.
I've actually been up all morning. I've accomplished a few things. I wrote some posts on my book writing blog, Tales of Evandar. I was really satisfied with how the one talking about my love of writing turned out. It always makes me happy to share the stuff I geek out over. I also think the one talking about wildlife came out fairly well.

On my blog The Veiled Witch, I got the first post about cartomancy up. It is linked under the picture to the right. I thought about writing up the meanings of the pip cards and decided not to. Because a lot of other people have written tons about it. So I found a good site with great information and linked to it. This week's post about cartomancy is focused on using playing cards. I am fond of using playing cards because that was what I learned to read cards from. I clearly remember the day of my first lesson.

I was in sixth grade and one of the older girls in study hall had a pack of cards. I was curious as to what she was doing because it looked like a form of solitaire I had never seen. And I was confused as to why she had so many people talking to her. This girl apparently learned to read cards from her mother and was using her skills for fun and profit. (Because after the first week of doing readings for free, she charged a dollar a reading. Amazingly, she never got caught by the study hall monitor.) She showed me the basics of how to do cartomancy with a pack of playing cards. I was always impressed with how accurate she was and decided she was really awesome because of it.

Now that I've got my blog posts for the day done, I'm considering doing some dishes. I am also debating writing something for Triond. I am not sure what to write, though. It seems that my posts of open letters to Loki got a lot of reads this month. Enough so that the amount waiting for me there jumped from around $5 to $20. It has me reconsidering my ban on writing for Triond.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Me and the Kids!

We're all out in the front yard right now. I have my laptop in tow. So I decided to take a picture to show you who the boys are that I have been talking about. On the left is Snuggle Bug. He is six years old and in first grade this year. Snuggle Bug is a lot of mischief and a lot of fun (most of the time). There is myself in the middle. I made that snood I'm wearing. I'll post the pattern and a better picture of it sometime later today. And on the right is Cuddle Bear. He is eight years old and in third grade. Cuddle Bear is a very active kid who is often thinking up the mischief that Snuggle Bug gets into. 

But, here they are, my pride and joy.

Sunday morning, what is it good for?

My kids have been wired from the get-go. I have no idea where they get all this energy. A part of me wants some of it. Another part of me just wants it to be calm and quiet. I didn't get much done this morning. I am coming to accept that my days for getting stuff done are monday thru friday, with the exception of the kids's vacation days from school. I am not entirely pleased with it because I feel like I've got a ton of stuff that I could be doing right now, but I am attempting to enjoy the experience of my children being small.

My kitchen is a disaster. I suppose this is what happens when you don't do dishes for 48 hours and you have 4 people in your household. I think I am going to take the table cloth off the table and wash it with the towels today. I have another one I can put down, so that won't be a problem. I'll probably clean the fish tank when I am dealing with the table cloth. I keep forgetting to clean it over the last two weeks, so the tank is kinda a mess right now.

Speaking of things I keep forgetting, I keep forgetting to measure my youngest's bike tires so that I can pick up new ones at the store. The back one kept getting soft over the summer. Now it is completely flat and no amount of air will keep it inflated. I have to say, though, it lasted pretty well for a third hand bike. Actually, now that I think about it, it technically is fourth hand. The boys's friend R. had the bike two summer's ago. His mother picked it up at a yard sale.

Then R. got a new bike and the old one was given to Cuddle Bear. Cuddle Bear out grew the bike, so it got passed down to Snuggle Bug. Now, Snuggle Bug is eyeing Cuddle Bear's bike. I think he is planning to take it over next summer. And that won't be too bad, because Cuddle Bear has almost out grown it. It is funny, the bike that Snuggle Bug has now lasted Cuddle Bear two summers. Now he's almost outgrown the bike he got last summer for his birthday.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ah housework.

I'm presently sitting out in the front yard (with the laptop) and listening to the boys play in the dirt. I kinda want to just stay out here and chill. They're behaving pretty good. The neighbors are not being obnoxious. (I think they got that out of their system last night with the screaming argument at 9:30pm.) And the weather is pretty pleasant. I mean, even the mosquitoes are not too bad right now.

I totally do not want to go inside and start work on cleaning dishes and prepping to cook dinner. At the same time, paying bills this afternoon has me thinking I don't want to spend the money on buying a pizza today. It is pizza night and I know there would be a small revolt if I didn't have pizza for the kids to eat. I, honestly, am getting bored with pepperoni pizza.

Still, this is what we have on Friday nights. Just like Mondays are burger night and Tuesdays are tatertot bake night. I a getting bored with the menu. Everyone else in the house seems to be enjoying it, though. So, I'm reluctant to make any changes to it. I just want something... different. Having home cooked chinese food earlier this week was ok. That sauce was WAAAAY too hot for me, though. So I pretty much had pan fried chicken with broccoli and a bit of soy sauce on it with rice.

Beloved suggested that we have indian food for dinner earlier this week. And the day I had it planned out was the day that he didn't get to eat anything until 5pm. So, there was no point to making it. Because the kids are not exactly adventurous with their food choices. And I didn't want to deal with fighting to get them to eat anything. I know this is the challenge of making menus and cooking dinner for a household with small children.

Most days, I am pretty indifferent to it all. But tonight, I find myself wishing for something more unusual. Like a veggie pizza with artichoke, green peppers, olives, and hot peppers, on a white sauce with extra cheese. But,I know that would be a pizza that only I would eat. So, I never order it when the idea or the craving for it hits me. I don't think I am going to make indian food for Beloved and I tonight, because I don't want all the extra pots to wash.

So, we're having pepperoni pizza with cheese tonight. At least I have a pizza peel so I can get the pizza out of the oven with out burning myself this time. (I have a little scar on my left hand from where I burned it on the oven door a few months ago. Second degree burns suck, y'all.)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yay fiber!

Here is a picture of one of my latest fiber finds. It is a super soft blend of 50% merino wool, 25% bamboo, and 25% silk. If you can't tell in the picture, it is a lovely range of grey that I think looks like storm clouds. I bought it thinking about spinning it up nice and fine to make a snood and add to a scarf that I started with the pink blend of this stuff that my mother in law gave me a few years back. I picked it up at Finger Lakes Fiber Festival on Sunday (9/20/15). I love the way this stuff feels in my hand. It is really wonderful.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why must adulting be such a pain?

Yep, I went there. I have been feeling unwell. Lots of exhaustion and depression. I'm still working on ferreting out what started this depressive episode. My thought when I was a kid was that being an adult meant no restrictions and that I could do whatever I dreamed of without critical commentary. Now, I look around and I find that I have critical commentary going on at the back of my mind. I have restrictions from my illnesses. It is a disappointment, to be honest.

I have also been spending a lot of time doing as this one meme said: being tired, wondering why your back hurts, and worrying about my bank account. I realize that as a kid, I romanticized being an adult. I am working very hard not to romanticize the past, because there is a lot that really shouldn't be romanticized. I just feel like I'm losing my edge because I'm getting old. And then I get ticked off with myself for feeling that way because I'm turning 38, not 88 this year.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I just peeked at my account at Triond. Apparently there is twenty-one dollars and change sitting there waiting for me. I need to have fifty dollars before they send me a check. I looked over the statistics for the last year and noticed that my posts were starting to get readership over the last few months. As in, one post had over a hundred hits. It has me considering if I want to start posting on there again. I know the format is still somewhat buggy.

Still, there is potential for making a little money via posts. I know that I have about seven blogs I have out on the internet. I am seriously considering combining a few of them. I also am looking at what I have been producing and trying to decide just where I want to go with this. I know that I tend to write very specialized stuff. It lands me in niche markets that don't get very wide readership.

As I look at the trends that pop up on Facebook, I am wondering if I should start writing things to those trends. I am unsure of how to approach this. If I start posting again on Triond, I don't know how much readership it will get because Triond isn't very high ranking. I don't want to argue myself out of this but I want to make the right decision. The fact that I have a little money waiting for me at Triond after not writing anything on there for a year makes me think that perhaps I should resume writing for that format again.

I want to write stuff that gets read but I struggle to figure out where my efforts are best focused. I think that if I am going to write for Triond, I am going to stay within one subject area. The scattered shot focus that I had before contributed to my frustration with Triond. I want to get my work out there but I can't figure out what to do. My fiction is where a lot of my strength lies but it is hard to get much readership with out having a recognizable name behind it. I just can't figure out what to do. And that is a big part of my problem.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I hate allergies.

I know it is autumn when my allergies go nuts. The last two days have been particularly bad. I am feeling a bit spaced out right now and I suspect it is because of the Benadryl I took earlier. I think it is the goldenrod that I'm allergic to because when they started blooming, my sinuses started bothering me. Now, most of the goldenrod around my apartment building is done blooming. Still, I feel like my sinuses are packed with wool and my eyes itch horribly.

Today was particularly unpleasant because my mold allergies jumped into the mix. Unlike my other allergies, the mold one makes me have an asthma attack. One of our landlord's employees was here doing repairs in the lower level. The floor was rotting out and there was a very strong, pervasive odor of mold. So, when the guy showed up and ripped up the carpet, he found a LOT of mold. I wasn't aware of this until I stepped out into the entryway and the overwhelming stench of mold hit me. About five minutes later, I was starting to wheeze. To say the least, I used my inhaler.

I don't know if having new flooring down there and new carpeting is going to resolve the mold issues. I sincerely hope they do. Because it has been an established problem in this building since we've moved in, if not longer. Talking with some of my neighbors, the trailers have had problems with mold as well. I know that the current landlord bought the problems along with the buildings. I know that much of these issues come from the slap dash way that the previous landlord handled maintenance. It still doesn't change the fact that this is a problem that needs to be resolved and I'm not exactly happy that it has taken months for the floor problem got handled.

A side from this, I am disappointed that my not feeling well got in the way of going out and seeing friends. I don't trust myself not to have wooziness problems for the rest of the day. I am not entirely sure if the wooziness was due to the Benadryl or of I'm coming down with something. I hope that I'll be doing better tomorrow. My mother in law will be stopping over to bring me with her to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival. I'm not sure what exactly I'll be up there aside from looking at fun stuff. I've put aside a little bit of money to spend on something fun.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

First post!

Well, I am still getting used to this keyboard. Still, here is my first post ever from my new laptop. I am having some frustration trying to find an older version of MS Office that would  be compatible with the version running on the desktop computer. It turns out that I would have to buy Office 356 in order to get MS Word. That really annoys me.

Quite a few of my fellow writers in the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook have been recommending Scrivner. I haven't had the chance to really do anything like look at it yet. Beloved has a copy of it on his machine. I may ask him to load it on mine. I don't know. The only reason why I want Word is because all of my other stuff is in that format and I am roughly familiar with how to use it. Also, the self publishing programs that I work with accept that format. I know that with out any doubt. I don't know how Scrivner would save documents or how it would effect my ability to self publish my work.

I am totally unfamiliar with Google Docs. I'll be using it soon as part of a collaborative writing project in the near future. I am a touch nervous about that. While Google has an excellent reputation for the security of their programs, I feel uncomfortable with the idea that it could get hacked. Still, one of my friends who is Mr. Privacy (This may become a new nickname. The other option is Mr. Pervy.), feels that the platform is secure enough for us to use.

I am going to stop this post now because how small the font appears to be on the screen is bothering my eyes. Something else I am going to have to figure out how to resolve. My goal, however, is to eventually get to writing actual novels on here rather than just blog posts. Blog posts, however, are going to be how I get familiar with this keyboard and the device as a whole. So look for more with potential misspellings and funny spacing.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hanging in there.

It has been a busy week. We had some behavioral issues with Cuddle Bear. I'm not entirely sure what to do. We're trying out this rotating toys out and seeing if this resolves the 'I want new toys, so I am going to take them.' I am running out of ideas. We've grounded him but that made no real effect on his behavior. We've taken away toys for a while. But that just hasn't worked either. We've told him that if he kept stealing, that we were going to give away one of his favorite toys. He did it again, so one of his garbage trucks is now going away. (It's going to be the broken one.)

I have been working on Beloved's sweater and have only 5 inches knit on the back of the sweater. It makes me concerned that I won't have it done in time to give it to him for Yule. My plan to knit sweaters for the boys has been scratched because I'm only 4 hrs into working on this sweater. It is going to take me quite a while to get this thing done. I have been feeling like I bit off more than I can chew. I am worried that the rest of my Yule gifts will have to be purchased at this rate.

I am slowly cleaning up my notes and organizing my materials from my multi-volume book of shadows. I don't know where this is going to go. I have a ridiculous amount of stuff and I'm somewhat overwhelmed by it all. I didn't realize how much writing I had done on this matter until I started to organize it. And I still have piles of research that I've done to organize and write up that I am finding in with my notes. I suppose I keep my nose to the grindstone and I'll eventually get it all done.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why am I so tired?

I thought that with the beginning of school, I would magically have more energy. Instead, I have been feeling more exhausted than I was during the summer. I was so tired I was stumbling this morning when it was time to put the kids on the bus. I took the opportunity that was presented by the kids being at school and fell back asleep as soon as Beloved was out the door and on his way to work. I slept for 3 hours and awoke feeling a bit groggy but no longer like I was going to fall over my own feet.

After I woke up from my nap, I took a short walk. I thought it would be refreshing. Instead, it was just taking a walk and not really anything else. Once I got home, I started cleaning. It took me about 2 hours to get the kitchen mostly clean. I had the boys clean up the living room and their bed room. It was like trying to bathe a cat. All but impossible and extremely frustrating. Right now, they're screwing around and being loud. I just looked over and saw that they dumped out their toy box. The room was clean for literally 15 minutes until they dumped it out.

A part of me wants to weep with frustration. I have been trying so hard to keep this place clean enough so that I could walk through with out stepping on something. But as soon as it is clean, the boys dump stuff out and I'm stepping on things again. I try to stay on top of the housework but I get so tired, so worn out and feeling hopeless, that it just piles up as I stare at it and quietly wonder how I landed in this situation. I suppose you could describe what I'm feeling is quiet desperation, though I don't know what I am desperate for.

I applied for disability a little while back. I got their decision in the mail today. It was upsetting and I keep trying to look for a bright side but I can't find it. They denied my application. They said that the information from my doctors wasn't enough and that my four hospitalizations didn't count. And they've said that I am beyond the window of time where I could apply again. Basically, Social Security said no and they're not going to talk to me. I am trying to take it as a sign that I'm not as bad as I could be. But I just come away feeling defeated and upset.

It didn't help that it happened while I wasn't feeling well. I know I should be seeing my therapist more often but even with the fee reduction, we really can't afford my going as often as I was. Right now, I still have a past due amount of almost $200 from when they initially did the rate change and I was in limbo not knowing if my application to have my fee reduced was going to be applied or prorated to include the time I was on the hook for the full amount.

I feel like I need to do something to bring in more money. Beloved tells me that my not having a job out of the house is not the problem. He tells me that I save us tons of money being home with the kids and taking care of all the household stuff. I try to remember it. But then I screw up the check book and suddenly we have huge overdraft fees and the balancing game of paying the bills gets completely screwed up. When my student loan was forgiven at the end of last year, I knew it was going to change how much our health insurance is going to cost. Because we are not going to have that debt hanging over our heads, the amount of credits given to us to help reduce the cost of the health insurance are going to go down. I am afraid that the cost of the insurance will double and we won't be able to afford it. The mess that is the ACA health insurance stuff, I was burned a bit by it last year. I was with BlueCross/BlueShield last year. Then, when it was time to renew my premium suddenly jumped to $800 a month compared to the $50 it was before. I am afraid of that happening again.

With out health insurance, my medication is prohibitively expensive. We burned through all of our savings on the cost of medications. We're trying to rebuild that but it is slow going. There is so much about this mess that I just don't understand, other than everything is expensive. I panic some when I think about it. This is one of the things that keeps me up at night. I wish I wasn't so afraid of interacting with unfamiliar people or of rejection. This way I could get my foot in the door on professional writing stuff. Gods, I hate my anxiety. I wish it would just go away so I could do stuff like I did before this Bipolar business began. At least then I could manage it somewhat. Now, it shakes me around like a terrier with a rag doll.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Victim blaming is bullshit.

What do these four memes have in common? 1. They're pseudo spirituality/philosophy. 2. They're surprisingly popular. 3. They blame victims and imply that the victim is in collusion with that which is victimizing them. To say this makes me angry is like saying that Vesuvius only popped a little smoke when it buried Pompeii. To say that this makes me disgusted is like saying that the Atlantic is a bit damp. Now, some may look at these memes and say, "I don't see the blaming? It's something uplifting and stuff."

You can take things and make them look acceptable and pleasant. These memes are beautifully composed with an elegant type font, most of the time. Some come with stunning pictures (no.4) and some come with charming ones (no.1). Appearance does not add legitimacy. They are as false as the memes putting Adolph Hitler's quotes with Taylor Swift's pictures.*  We're going to break these memes down one by one. Brace for a wall of text coming soon.

Meme No. 1: Image - a 'stained glass' heart done in shades of red and pinks on a grey background with a ruby colored border. Text - You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are.

Problem number one with this meme is it places the onus of responsibility for all events happening on the reader. In the case of happy or pleasant events, the reader believes themselves to be good and a happy person. In the case of hostile and distressing, if not traumatic events, the reader believes themselves to be a person who is hostile and distressing (if not abusive). Additionally, the meme encourages what psychologists call magical thinking** and leads the person to believe they are responsible for the events that happen to them. It sets them up for the scenario of insanely high self expectations because they believe that they must change who they are to prevent the hostile and distressing experiences from happening.

Problem number two with this meme is that it is generally taken to be affirmative of the 'good' interpretations. There is no consideration for the alternate views, which are equally valid because they're built upon the same premise.  It encourages outsiders to tell the person in the situation that they are solely responsible for what has happened, thereby reinforcing the dangerous message of this meme and encouraging the outsiders to take a position of false security. Consider the following scenario: person A is in an impoverished state. Person B perpetuates meme no.1. Person B then moves on to other circumstances falsely believing that this 'gem of wisdom' they have provided person A with a solution to their problem and believes themselves to be absolved of the responsibility they have to person A as per the social contract that implicitly tells them that they must provide assistance when in their means to those who have need of it.

In the case of poverty, this is a rather disgusting scenario.  This is related ideologically to the 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' meme, by the way. In both cases, the meme places the onus of resolving the problem solely upon the victim by way of the passerby denying the demand of the social contract that says they should assist the victim. This can be especially dangerous in cases of abuse and violence. It can add to a victims sense of despair and guilt, which work to keep them psychologically trapped in the abuse cycle.

Meme No. 2: Image - Male figure, back lit by the sky, looking upon an ocean scene. Image is in black and white, with greater emphasis upon the white elements of the picture due to composition. Text - Never blame anyone in your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad people give you experience. Worst people give you a lesson. And the best people give you memories.

This is one that made me so angry I started to feel a little bit sick when my eyes lit on it. My first argument is with this idea that blame is somehow wrong and to be shunned. Blame is another word for demanding someone take accountability for their actions. It is how we seek redress of our grievances. Yes, it can be used in a fashion to imprint the idea that a certain individual is responsible for circumstances that they did not create. It is a bit of situational irony that this meme does just that with how it is constructed. It oversimplifies people into four arbitrary categories. And those categories don't make sense.

You can gain experience from interacting with a good person. A bad person can at times give you happiness. Those kinds of experiences come from all walks of life and all kinds of people. Memories are formed every time you experience something. The strength of emotion and the force of the experience is what determines which memories are lasting. And lessons... Oh, lessons are everywhere. But not everything is a lesson.

Sometimes terrible things happen because people choose to do them. I guess if you stretch the concept a little bit, the lesson you get from that is to stay away from those sort of people. But that turns into the victim avoiding people who are not necessarily the ones that do terrible things. And the assumption that the people who do terrible things are something obvious like Snidely Whiplash. A better version of the people who do awful things would be Delores Umbridge. She looks and seems to be a pleasant person. Until she decides not to be. And this idea that the worst people are teaching someone a lesson makes it sound like the victim *needed* to go through the experience. No one needs to be victimized. If you argue that victimizing someone is a tolerable way to teach them something, you are well on the road to being a monster yourself.

Meme No. 3: Image - Grey background, upon close inspection looks to be Aida fabric. Text - A negative thinker sees a difficulty in every opportunity. A positive thinker sees an opportunity in ever difficulty.

Ok, my argument with this is grounded in two things. First, your attitude has literally no reflection upon the circumstances you are in. You can be pessimistic and still be standing in a rain storm. You can be an optimist in the SAME rain storm. That rain may pose a difficulty to both persons regardless of their opinions or feelings about it. If you're going to say that your feelings can cause rain to fall, you need to look long and hard at the statement and consider if you're going to commit to it. Because that opens up a whole different can of worms. Some magic(k) practitioners I know and a few govt. agencies are going to want to have a conversation with you.

The assumption that opportunity is a good thing has always irritated me. The word opportunity is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

1:  a favorable juncture of circumstances opportunity
for rest and refreshment>
2:  a good chance for advancement or progress

No where does it say it is a good thing. That favorable juncture of circumstances can apply to everything from growing flowers, violent crime, and the timing of hurricane landfall to cause the greatest amount of damage.

So, in brief, my argument with meme no.3 is that it is placing the onus of being responsible for the situation upon the mental and emotional state of the observer. It implies that positive situations arise because of positive mental and emotional states. And that negative situations arise because of the negative equivalent. It also paints a false picture of what opportunity means. It doesn't mean that the situation with suddenly transform from the proverbial rain that the optimist and the pessimist are standing it to a bright sunny day if the pessimist becomes and optimist or a howling blizzard if the optimist becomes a pessimist.

Meme No. 4: Image - A lush fantasy scene featuring mountains in the foreground and a celestial body (possibly a satellite but equally possible to be another planet) in shades of red and white, with touches of deep purple. Text - Accept what arises in this moment and surrender to it. Enjoy it and see that it is you. Everything that arises is your awareness - It is you - but you can sculpt what goes on. You can sculpt the human experience when you accept what is. Become aware of what is now and step back.

This meme is a mishmash of concepts. Some useful, some not so useful, and some that are dangerous. Let's start with the useful concept presented here. Becoming aware of what circumstances you are in and pausing to reflect before engaging in action is a wise thing to do. I don't have argument with this concept that the meme is presenting. I think they worded it too vaguely but I think that is because of all the other concepts they try to hang off of it.

Accepting a situation and surrendering to it is not a good standard operating procedure. There are times where you simply can not accept a situation, because accepting implies that it is tolerable and there are things in this world that are intolerable, things that would be lethal if you simply accepted and surrendered to it. It's a fast way to die of hypothermia, for example. Encouraging us to enjoy the moments we experience is foolish optimism. There are going to be experiences you are not going to enjoy. They're going to be ugly, painful, and quite possibly traumatic. You need to acknowledge this fact, not try to hide it behind some blissed out argument that we should 'enjoy the moment.'

You are not the situation. You are not the moment. You are an observer. You are a participant. You may be a victim. To say that you are the situation and/or the moment robs you of your autonomy. And more repulsively, presents that you are the one victimizing yourself. The assailant is completely absolved of responsibility from this worldview because according to the worldview, the assailant is part of you. The only circumstance where you can have the assailant be part of you is if you are engaging in self harming behavior. That is literally the only circumstance that can happen.

The supposedly empowering statement that we can 'sculpt' human experience is pablum. There is no real density to this statement. Yes, we can make choices and we can, to some extent, choose how we feel or what our reactions to a situation are. But we have no control over the total experience. There will always be factors beyond our ability to quantify that are going to impact each moment. And 99.9% of the time, all of the external factors are ones that we have limited control over, at best. But that limited control can fail because of yet other external factors. We can set the thermostat to 72o and the heater can break or the temperatures outside be of such a high difference from indoors that the thermostat setting does not reflect the ambient temperature of a room. If we can not have complete control over indoor heating, why would anyone think in their wildest dreams that they have complete control over anything.***

The worst thing about these four memes is that people trot them out on a daily basis and use similar ones to present this picture that we are in control of the world and our minds, that 'bad' and 'worst' people are recognizable immediately, and that victims are victims because they choose to be. No one chooses to be victimized. Let's drop this feel good bullshit, because it only makes other people feel good about turning a blind eye to the inhumanities of the world.

* This site is absolutely brilliant satire. There is also one out there putting Taylor Swift quotes on pictures of Hitler. That is equally hilarious. If your sense of humor is as bent as mine.

** Yes, I am a witch. Yes, I perform magic(k) but this is entirely different. The magic(k) that I perform is not based in assumptions that I am the primary cause of all events happening to me.

*** Yes, I recognize the irony of my stating this given my difficulties with the urge to control EVERYTHING about myself.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Pushing forward.

I haven't been feeling well. After several months of feeling relatively well, I find myself sliding into a depressive episode. Growing anxiety, paranoia, and depression make it harder for me to go out of the house and do stuff. It makes me look at the stuff I have been working on and feel despair over finishing it. A part of me is angry because I feel like I've been robbed of something good and wonderful.

That anger is part of what keeps me pushing forward. A part of me growls 'I'm not done yet." at the part of me that says I should give up on everything. I am beginning to suspect, however, that the anger is keeping me from dealing with the vital elements of my condition that impact my life. I can't just ignore my problems sleeping. I can't just ignore when I skip meals because I don't have the heart to make myself eat. I can't insist that I am fine when I'm slowly falling apart.

I don't know what to do about this anger. I don't know what to do about how my mood keeps steadily dropping. I have so much that I wanted to do as soon as the kids went back to school. Now I find myself ready to throw in the towel on it before I have even reached the threshold. And that makes me feel ashamed and a little sick.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Knitting and stuff.

I have been busy working on projects. I started a sweater for Beloved. I haven't worked on it much because I'm honestly rather bored with it. The back is going to be straight up garter stitch. I have many rows to go until I'm at the shoulders and I can switch to a pattern of some sort. He was kinda difficult to get an answer as to if he wanted cables on it. That is part of the reason why it took so long to get started on this.

I am adapting a pattern from Piecework's last issue. That is a pattern that dates from World War I and was distributed by the Red Cross for civilians to knit up as doing their part for the war effort. I had to change the dimensions of the sweater because as it was written it would have been two sizes too small for Beloved. He expressed a desire for the sweater to not be 'boring' and that lead to my trying to pry out of him what he meant by not boring. My plan, as it stands now, is to knit up the back in garter stitch. The front will have alternating rows of garter and stockinette stitch. There will be a center panel with a knotwork design on it. I am debating drawing out the knotwork design on paper and converting it into a knitting pattern or if I am going to use a cable that I saw in my big book of knitting stitches.

I have started a new anxiety project. This is something I work on when I'm feeling anxious. It is a basic top down shawl. The pattern called for it to be in garter stitch but I've been doing it in stockinette because I prefer the smooth feeling of stockinette.

I have three balls of this colorway. I expect it will be enough to make a fair sized shawl. I don't know if I am going to keep it or not. Beloved has expressed appreciation of the colorway. He looked at me like I had lost my mind when I said he could have it when I was done. So, I guess I'll have to get someone else to take it.

Then there is my anniv. gift to Beloved. It isn't finished but it will be a messenger bag. I'm going to line it with blue felt. If I can find it in royal blue, that would be fantastic. I haven't decided how I am going to make the strap. The last messenger bag I made, I did a basic crochet strap and it stretched out a LOT. I don't know if Tunisian crochet will work for this or not. I was amused, however, that Beloved didn't realize I was crocheting this for him until I hit the point where I knew it wouldn't be done in time for our anniv. When I hit that point, I decided I'd tell him what it was and that I'm trying to finish it up quickly. This Friday (9/4) marks 11 years of marriage.