Monday, November 27, 2017

Here's a good reason to post more often...

I get hung up.  I don't know about anyone else who may be reading this - maybe I'm not the only one.  But when it comes to writing, I somehow feel that I always need something really important and meaningful to say, and I have to say it right - and then if I don't write, I feel like there are so many things to write about that, if I'm going to write, I need to cover them all - and then (as you might imagine), that's so overwhelming that I just don't start.  This became very clear to me this morning when I sat down to journal.  I always intend to write regularly in my journal; I even carry it everywhere I go.  But then I get stuck in that same ridiculous loop and never start writing.  Earlier this fall, I began to write three pages every morning (some of you may recognize this from The Artist's Way) - three pages, even if all I have to write is, "I don't really know what to write".  After a couple of weeks, it was amazing how much it freed up my mind to really write about what I care about.  And then I fell off the wagon, for a lot of reasons having to do with the various bits of chaos that have been hitting me this year.  And I found myself not writing at all, because there was too much to even start.  So this morning, I committed to my three pages again.  And I think that the blog is like that, too, somehow.  Every day, I frame something in my head the way I would want to write it on the blog, and then I get hung up (I don't have a picture, it's not enough about knitting, whatever whatever whatever), and don't write.

Wanda has been writing every day this month, and I have so enjoyed reading each of her posts.  I think I need to give myself permission to write as often as I want, even if it feels "small" somehow.  One thing that worries me (because who would I be if I didn't find something to worry about) is that many of the things that I mull over and would like to write about aren't specifically knitting-related (not even close); and many of the photos I've been taking lately (thanks to the inspiration of my beloved sister-in-law, who has started her own photography business just recently - I'll see if I can get a url to share) similarly have nothing to do with knitting.  I'd love some input: would any of you be interested in reading other things?  Like those short stories I posted a while ago?  Or my vaguely political musings/indignant contemplations?  I'm curious.

In the spirit of posting in spite of having very little knitting content, here we go.  I did finish a pair of socks for Rick, and he has been wearing them - photos will come.  We drove up to Sacramento last week for Thanksgiving at my parents' house.  And Tess came out from college to join us - you can imagine how glad it made me to see her.  My dear friend also flew up to be with us, which made the short trip even more fun.  On the way home, we took my friend to the airport on our way out of town, which meant squeezing five of us and our luggage - to say nothing of the dog - into the car. 
We managed (and look!  knitting content!  I'm wearing my new hat). 

On the way home, we stopped in Lodi at our favorite winery, Bokisch.  We did this last year, too, and it's a nice treat.  We get to visit with the folks who work there, and take a walk in the vineyards, letting Tilly run in the falling leaves before we really hit the road.  This time, we wandered down to the picnic tables under a big oak tree, and I just had to - absolutely had to - be up in that tree.  A quick boost from Rick, and I was clambering up.
I'd forgotten how very much I love climbing trees.  There really is nothing better than just hanging out in a tree.  For one thing, the views are marvellous.
The tracery of branches against the sky always fills me with delight.
Tilly, however, was less delighted to be left earthbound.
So eventually I came down.  I think I need to find more opportunities to climb trees.

I honestly would appreciate any thoughts you have about blog content - please feel free to share in the comments.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Plugging away

I wanted very much to write a post about the trail that I walk on several times a week, so I took my camera with me on Tuesday, and gave myself the gift of a lingering walk, stopping to take pictures.  I was ready to give you all the grand tour, but when I stopped to look at them, I realized that my UV filter was schmutzy, so the pictures are largely pretty awful. 

I still managed to get some shots of the wise old eyes that watch over the trail.

I think people must think I'm pretty odd, as I make sure to say hi to my favorite trees as I walk by.
Or, as in this case of this cranky old man, drop a wink and a nod as I pass.
You can see that foggy lens, alas.  So a fuller trail introduction will wait for another day. 

I finally took some pictures of a few past projects that I wanted to share.  Here's one of them, the Antirrhinum socks from A Year of Techniques.   These were a lot of fun to knit, and I'm looking forward to wearing them this winter.

I also finished this little beauty for me.
That is the 21 Color Slouch, which I bought as a kit from my favorite LYS, Yarning For You.  It's all Blue Sky Fibers yarns, and it comes with all of those colors in little bitty hanks.  It's a sweet little pattern, and I just loved the colors.  Hats in general are a tricky thing when you have hair as short as mine - I often look like I'm wearing a chemo cap, which leads people to approach me with shock and dismay.  That said, I'm probably going to hang on to this one (I have been known to knit hats because I really, really love them, then give them away because of this issue) in spite of that - it'll make a great trail and barn hat.

Speaking of the barn, we've gotten to what is now a funny time of the year for me.  I used to absolutely adore the fall time change.  Not only did I get an extra hour of sleep on a Sunday morning (huzzah!), and more light in the morning which makes it easier for me to get up, and which also makes the aforementioned trail feel a bit brighter and safer, but I actually like(d) the early evenings, cozying up at home, all of that.  Then I got a horse.  And now I just really really miss daylight in the evenings.  That said, sunset from horseback is one of life's good things.

I hope you are all enjoying your good things this weekend, too!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November, and I have been knitting

So, I mentioned in my last post that this past summer was a reminder that I Am Not In Charge Here.  I don't think that's a bad thing, by the way - it's useful to keep that in mind, I think.  These reminders came in a number of arenas in my life, one of which is health-related.  In August, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.  I'm going to be honest and say I still have some trouble putting that down in black and white - there's part of me that looks at that and thinks, surely we're still really just spitballing here?  Because my RA is seronegative (meaning that there are no blood markers of inflammation; this is true of about one-third of RA cases), it's really easy to fall into the thinking that maybe we've just gotten it wrong, and at some point, we'll figure out what the "real" problem is (and it won't be a chronic autoimmune disorder)(hope springs eternal, right?).  However, the rheumatologist is pretty darned convinced.  A large part of that is because I responded to the ten-day course of prednisone that he put me one as part of his differential diagnosis (and by responded, I mean, all the joint pain went away, and I felt like I could rule the world)(at least, I did until I went off the prednisone, and then I kind of wanted to lay down and die; steroids are a cruel mistress, which is why they are NOT the course of treatment that we are going for here).  And I have also maintained most of those pain-free gains on methotrexate since then.

However, the fact that I'm a strong responder to drugs comes with a down side: I also tend to get the nasty side effects.  And this is why I've been largely blog-absent since then.  Methotrexate kind of kicks my butt for a couple of days a week - I can live with the queasiness, but I also get significant brain fade, and you can imagine how much not-fun that is.  I really like my brain, and there's nothing worse than losing words or trains of thought and not being able to find them.  So this week, the rheumatologist agreed that I need my brain, and we're trying something else.

What this means is that, when I am feeling good and I have a brain, I'm either catching up on work, or I'm trying to make space for time outdoors, and to spark and embrace some creativity in my life.  I'd kind of lost that habit, and then my beloved sister-in-law tagged me in a seven-day black and white photo challenge, and I started playing with my camera again.

I went to the beach at sunset with Rick and Kivrin and the dog. 
I took it to the trail on my morning walks.

I went to Coronado with Rick and just spent some time wandering around.
And I went to the Mingei (my all-time favorite museum) to see an exhibit of (get this, people) horse tack, and one of knitted jewelry and other objects.  Yes, the museum had simultaneous exhibits involving horses and knitting.  Rick laughed pretty hard when I suggested we go together.  It was an awesome day.  I immediately went home and dug out a wire-knitting kit I'd stashed away ages ago:
I turned out a beaded bracelet in a few hours (Kivrin snagged it before I had time for photos).  It was so much fun that I went out to a local bead store and got...  well, let's just say a got a LOT of 26 and 28-gauge wire.  I'ma knit myself a giant jellyfish, which Rick has agreed to string a lightbulb into to make a hanging lamp.  There are other wire-knitting plans afoot.  This may get entirely out of hand.

But first, I had to get a few things off the needles.  I finished a mosaic cowl that I thought was going to be for me.  But as I was wrapping it up, I realized that it really needed to go to my friend Jill.  That thought was clinched when I brought it to work on Tuesday, unbeknownst to her, and found that she had dressed to perfectly match the colors in the cowl (you can't entirely see it here, but her shirt is the exact same purple as the cowl, and her stockings are an exact match for the blue).
Yup.  That's where it belongs.  I also finished another project from the Year of Techniques:

Another cowl.  This one will go to Tess.  And I finally got some socks for myself off the needles.
I have been SO into stripes lately, that I cast on for the 21 Color Slouch hat, which probably won't look good on me (when you have hair as short as mine, most hats end up looking like chemo hats, which I don't mind in principle, but which other people tend to find distressing), but I wanted it anyway.  I can always give it to one of the girls if it's just unwearably hideous...

So, there it is.  What are you doing to spark your creativity these days?