Friday, October 26, 2007

See, I'm trying to be better at this blogging thing even with a grey cat curled up in a ball asleep on my left arm. I am going out to lunch today and am just trying to catch up before that happens. Yesterday passed as days do. Work included a meeting about authority work, which is a topic close to my heart but I am also not ready to stand up and pound the table with my shoe and shout "Do more authority work!" even tho it needs to be said. After work I dropped the clothes off at the Salvos, went to 2 chemists, the dry cleaners and the post office and IT RAINED. It had been thunderstormy all day but then it settled into a good old fashioned rain and the plants I got in the ground look super. I have 2 bales of sugar cane mulch to spread and a bag of gypsum. I managed to vacuum and dust the living room which may be the total for housecleaning for today.

Progress is being made on all WIPs: down to the heel in the cotton socks, but the black yarn is very difficult to see stitches in, but then who's going to be looking at the heel of my socks? Cast on and knit an inch of the red cotton top and my hands don't like knitting with this yarn. One inch and they were complaining. I opted for a 4 x 1 rib instead of anything fancier because of the fluffy nature of Portofino. Spinning lace weight merino to ply with mohair and maybe to ply with alpaca. Someone suggested using a non-chlorine bleach to whiten stubbornly discoloured wool and I may encounter the same problem with the alpaca because it is pure white (or ivory) some places and the washing didn't help other spots. Yes I know I've got tons of the stuff so throw it away but I'm not ready for that yet.

I've been having late night crying sessions again. Not as gut wrenching as before but mostly just missing him and thinking of all the plans we had and how they will not happen now. I know I'll have a future doing interesting things but it's not going to be the future we planned. He just left too soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wow! A friend returned from one of her epic backpacking trips that included Peru and Bolivia (as well as hiking Hadrian's Wall). She brought me three outstanding weaving presents which she tried very hard to get from genuine sources and not commercial, possibly mechanically produced, items. The band is double weave and is differently coloured on each side. The bag uses (I think with my very primitive weaver's brain) supplementary warp for the white motifs. The book is Textiles of Ancient Peru which is a visual treat and I haven't even delved into it. I just went to try and find a link and could find none probably because it was published in Peru so I feel very pleased that I have it. I am getting so consumed with the desire to weave and am so frustrated my inability to do so because of lack of time and trying to force myself to pace myself and NOT be exhausted. I have multiple issues of Handwoven and I want to do everything in them.

When I managed to drag myself into work yesterday after firstly being forced to go to the medical clinic pharmacy because I ran out of MS Contin and park illegally because it was busy and I couldn't walk from where I could park legally and hauled myself in to work and my boss immediately told me I looked horrible; later in the morning she shanghaied a colleague to go get me a cappucino! This morning I have done one load of laundry and sent the greywater out the back, I managed to get most of what I had already packed of the Bear's clothes into the car to take to the Salvos, but when I opened his wardrobe to look further I felt the big bubble of grief begin to form and I said to myself, "Stop now." The box of beer I found was one from his workplace where they had replaced the photo of the local wine merchant on the side with photos of The Bear. I cannot part with the box and neither can I part with the socks I knit him. I can stand have the door to his bedroom open, which also helps now that it's warm. I have had a rubbish removalist in clean out the back shed. I need to get to get to financial place where I can hire assistance for the yard and housework.

In reading All About Fibromyalgia I keep reading case studies where someone had some event that eventually diagnose them with fibromyalgia and their treatment involved taking some ibuprofen and taking a mild sleeping aid for a few weeks/months and now is fine. I want that kind of fibromyalgia. I don't want the kind I have where I am exhausted after 5 hours of work, after doing the amount of "housework" I have described above and may have to rest the rest of the day. The book is full of advice on pacing yourself and avoiding doing some things that are too tiring (vacuuming). This may mean that the vacuum cleaner is always out and simply moves from room to room in a progressive task that never ends.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I was greatly heartened from the comments made about my blogging. Maybe I should stop feeling as if it's an obligation and do more what's on my mind, whether it's fibre related or not. It's a warm sunny Saturday here but I am incredibly tired so I am going to limit myself to household duties today. I went looking for the fan for my bedroom and instead found another box of home brew (beer)! This is very old by now but I stuck a bottle in the fridge to see if it's drinkable before I pour it either on the garden (is beer a fertilizer?) or down the drain. I have not yet found a beer bread recipe I like (and I have tried a lot and they all end up like bricks) so unless it's either drinkable or useful in another way it will leave me with a box of empty bottles. I found a box of sewing patterns in cleaning out and since they were mostly 1980's style dresses, they went out. A large box I had wondered about for a long time turned out to be full of jigsaw puzzles. The Bear and I loved doing puzzles but I can't imagine trying to one with the Imp zooming around. The puzzles went to D. A bit more free space found.

Yesterday I knew I was getting a new mattress delivered for my adjustable bed, so I stripped everything off it and washed the cotton blanket and my heavy cotton bedspread, collecting the greywater and distributing it on the young plums and my berries (the loganberries are in bloom). I was hoping that by request to have the old mattress removed had been passed on, but when the delivery guy came he said all he did was deliver it, full stop. So I had to man-handle the old mattress out of my bedroom and into the Bear's, unpack the new mattress which was in a very heavyweight cardboard box with plastic over the box and plastic around the new mattress. This was not fun, but I eventually got the mattress out of the box, and re-made my bed and laid down and fell asleep for 2 hours. Called rubbish removal place which hasn't called me back, but I want my old mattress, the 2 old mattresses for the bunk beds we had an eon ago I found in the shed, and 2 pieces of old furniture removed and they can't fit in a skip. I also emailed about getting rid of the Bear's CPAP machine and will give it to someone who needs it but can't afford it rather than trying to sell it. I ended up exhausted for some reason.

I spent the evening knitting on my latest project, the Sakioro II vest from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests. I am using some yarn BFLB gave me which is an Aran weight in blues, pinks and purples. I am having some problems with colour pooling but I don't think there is a solution. I've tried changing balls of yarn and got the same pools. The panels of the design follow the Japanese weaving of narrow panels cut and sewn together so there are 2 30-stitch panels sewn together to make the back.

There was an interruption in the middle of the last paragraph which went something like this: Ants! on my computer, on the floor--go down to the cupboard in the laundry to get ant spray--notice I have 3 mesh bags of alpaca to wash--fill tub with wash water and immerse bags--clean cat boxes (next to laundry sink)--take ant spray into living room and spray--come into kitchen & notice dishwasher has finished--remember it's 2 PM and you haven't had lunch--eat a mandarine and 2 pears--return to what I was doing. Realize I am tired and this is my week of recharging my batteries. Tomorrow I will do gardening stuff. And write a list of power tools to advertise on work classifieds. Now I will take a nap. I am reading All about Fibromyalgia which is so supremely comforting in knowing that what I feel is what other people feel and I'm not some freak or that I am making it all up. They know a lot about neurotransmitters and what they do and how they do it but not so much on a cure. I am hoping some of the genetic research being done will shine a light on this, since they've managed to find genes for a lot of disorders (look up the research done by the Iceland genetics team).

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A lot of stuff about blogging lately led me to ponder what blogging is and what it means in our online society. I have no delusions about the idea that all the world is online; it isn't but it grows constantly worldwide. There was a story on the news this week about the purported oldest blogger in the world, the 108-year-old Olive Riley. But she doesn't actually write her blog, just feeds comments to the person who puts it online for her. Then there are the feminist, or post-feminist bloggers who don't know what life was like pre-feminism. The Australian civil service used to force any female employee to leave the public service if they married. I never really thought seriously about feminism until I married the first time and found that it didn't completely fulfill me despite what society had led me to believe (it must have been subliminal advertising because my parent's marriage was certainly no shining example of marriage being loving harmony). While the glass ceiling is not as impenetrable as it once was, the salary difference between males and females in comparable jobs is still there. There are blogs talking about everything (and on occasion, nothing). I just listened to Brenda's interview with Crazy Aunt Purl who used her blog to get through the pain of being left by her husband and the subsequent divorce (and I just got my copy of her book Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair). Brenda's summer camp badges include "Knitting got me through my divorce" but not as yet "Knitting got me through the death of my husband."

You all know how I've talked about things that have happened to me recently. I can't tell yet whether blogging has gotten me through the depths of the feelings I've been through since I lost my Bear. My rheumatologist told me today that the loss of a spouse is the top of the list of stresses that can occur in a person's life and that the physical pain I am living with is a part of the grieving process, just expressed by my brain through pain. He offered upping the dose of my SSRI which has helped when I self dosed (and I don't want to go through months of waiting to see a new psychiatrist when I went through so many anti-depressants that did nothing or worse to finally find this one) and extra dosages of Neurontin as I need, but to watch out for the drowsiness and other side effects we are both familiar with. He also predicted it would be two years before I would feel like myself again, but I don't know how to feel myself while living alone in Australia. It's a new life I will have to figure out for myself. I need to keep my social network alive, and I worked a little on that today by meeting a friend for coffee. I know it's a pro-active thing that I must work at and not sit home pining, but get out and keep existing contacts alive and make new ones. I need to make plans for me without my other half. I have never liked the eternal flame type of mourners, who never move on and continue to grieve 25 years after an event. I will always grieve for my Bear but he would never want me to become a recluse because if his loss. He would want me to go out and continue my life and follow my interests. I also spoke to both my dr and my therapist about feeling guilty of not sufficiently honouring Brien's memory by thinking about moving on, even while thinking with the other side of my brain that that's absurd. I can't imagine ever having another "love interest" after having my soul mate, even tho many of the self-help widow books seem to go from grieving to dating.

I was flabberghasted when my blog stats passed 5000 and seem to continue to increase. I don't know who reads my blogs outside family and friends but whoever you are out there, thank you because you have somehow validated my babbling to know that I do reach somebody, although I'd probably blog even if I only had one reader because that's why I started this adventure 18 months ago. I read a lot of blogs and could spend all day following links and reading what other people are up to. I sort of feel that Ravelry has taken the pressure off posting on projects although I'll still post regarding FOs or when I take photos. Not everyone is interested in exactly what yarn I used for what. There isn't any equivalent for spinners or weavers and some of us chafe at that because it's such a powerful tool for knitters. If anyone cares, I am spinning some merino that was the free fleece given to me eons ago. I intend on plying it with mohair, just spun, for sock wool. Both are now white so dyeing will happen. And I still haven't got to my loom. Sometimes social networking takes time, as does grocery shopping, visiting doctors and life in general. Thank you all again for electronic hand-holding. I need all the help I can get.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My only excuse this week is that I fell into pieces and had to call on reinforcements in the form of my dear MIL. Thursday I went on a crying jag in my boss's office, in the counsellor's office, on the phone... Well you get the picture. Somebody told me that you run on adenraline for a while then crash. Well, I crashed. All said to take another week off work, to ask my MIL to come an stay with me a little while. I need rest, sleep, and a little light gardening. The skip I spent the week filling has gone. I now need to weed the veggie patches and plant my seeds. The pear tree has suddenly covered itself in leaves and the logannberries are in bloom. But no rain; I had to use grey water again today on trees and berries.

And FOs: The cardigan I knit for my penpal J's grand-daughter from my handspun is done minus the buttons. Some miraculous 4-footed thief made off with one of the buttons I bought so I'll have to hop that there are more. The yarn spun up at the top is Masham from All the Pretty Fibers and even if it's not too soft, it's strong for socks.

I have spent far too much time on Ravelry but need to actually start knitting on my projects!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

OK, OK. What can I say. Another week taken off work and I have been working my big butt off (as if) trying to clear stuff up and out. A skip just arrived to give you an idea of the scope of this. I was also intending to do garden work but it has been colossally windy the entire week and not the kind of weather you want to be out in, even tho it is warmer now. Yesterday I finally planted peas (way too late) and filled the wheelbarrow full of ivy from around the pear tree. I found that but cutting off the wild shoots that appear on the pear and leaving them where they landed I now have wonderful store of pea stakes. But my trashpack is full and I'm not done. I also earlier attacked the mint and the area around the steps is clear. I went to the lengths of lifting pavers to get the mint runners. In cleaning I also managed to get into the old shed and found out there were not books (Cheer!) but one box was my high school yearbooks and I am annoyed that they were in that shed and not the clean dry one. Dead TV, old ironing board, get my drift?

I have also been inspired by Ravelry and stash diving to get back to knitting. The baby cardigan is finished bar sewing it all together so Next Project looms. I was listening to Stash and Burn and they got me thinking as well. I really like their podcast because even tho they have considerable humour (usually at their own expense), they also tackle real problems like, what we wish knitting pattern designers and publishers would put in their patterns, when yarn substitute doesn't work, etc. One mention of sock-knitter's block and talking about how big your sock yarn stash made me seriously look at my stash. Enough for 59 pairs of socks. While that might seem a lot, I did today almost run out of socks. I always wear wool socks except for really hot days and the wool & cotton blends suit working in an air-conditioned building. Some of the sock yarn was chosen specifically for the Bear. I am going to try and unload some of it. I took this (yarn strewn all around me) as a good time to add it to my stash on Ravelry

My 2 new projects (not counting the Panda socks I'm knitting) are a summer top and a wool vest. I am trying to find Cheryle Oberle's Folk vests which I know is here somewhere and I know there are several patterns in it I wanted to knit. Yarn options from the stash are many, Naturally Guernsey. handspun, etc. I also have an idea for a knitted Browncoat. When I heard that Jenny & Nicole are Battlestar Galactica and Firefly fans, I knew why I liked them so much. I got tons of both the tan merino and moorit corriedale handspun and a tightly knit coat would come in handy. Something like what's on the cover in the latest Interweave Knits, but not so funky. Funky, I ain't.

And (drum roll) I sold my car. My little red Corolla now lives next door with the evangelical Methodist Tongan teacher. I don't get what I think it's worth but I always overvalue my car in my mind. It has so few kms on it considering it's 9 years old. But she needed a car desperately and she's been nice to me so I let it go. Empty garage syndrome. Aside from the rubbish which is going into the skip.

Actual Swans content: There are mutterings and comments made by Roosy that he is going to do some shake-up to the side and may trade some senior players. I think we need it. There are some players who I think are just not playing to their best, or we need somebody better. Ironically (for me) Roosy said
For us I think we need to try and get an outside skillful running midfielder…we lost Paul Williams a couple of years ago and I think it’s a Paul Williams type of player that we miss." I said the same thing early in the season, that his retiring left a big hole in our midfield and there hasn't been anybody to fill it. I think we need a stronger, bigger defense. But we'll see.

Back to cataloguing my sock yarn...