I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and relationships lately.

It’s funny how some people can be so important in one part of your life but then something happens and you no longer associate at all; it’s weird how people grow apart even though they’re both headed in the same direction.  It’s also oddly uncomfortable to really think about the people you actually keep up with and realize you don’t know what made them different than everybody else.

I saw the image below on Facebook and it really resonated with me and what has been running around in my thoughts lately, so I thought I’d stick it here.

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The only important conclusion I can come up with, through all of my pondering, is that if you ever do find that rare unicorn of a person — the one that you’re unafraid to be yourself around, the one that you never have to explain anything to or apologize to, the one that always knows just the right thing to say in any situation, the one that makes the world brighter just because they exist — hold them close and cherish them for the magical beasts that they are.  They’re once in a lifetime and we only get one of those.

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Fishy slippers

After finishing one mitten, I decided to take a break from juggling four yarns and crochet something.

I’ve been needing whimsy in my life, so decided to make a pair of Goldfish Boots for myself since my last pair of slippers died in the wash.  I grabbed the pattern, as well as the matching yarn, when there was a pretty good sale.  This is the first time I’ve ever bought the suggested yarn for a pattern.  I liked the variegation in it…but I don’t like that both skeins didn’t start on the same color.  Each slipper looks like it’s going to use almost the entire skein.  I’ll know more once I finish the first one but I’m not holding my breath that I’m going to be able to clip the next ball yarn to the same starting color.  I guess mismatched shoes won’t kill me but it still irks me a bit.

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I forgot to turn the photo but it’s coming along nicely.  I started last night after dinner and, with every craft, I work at a snail’s pace.  I have the cuff, fins, and eyes left.  It shouldn’t take too long to finish this one up then onto its friend!

Last night I finally had time to join in an IRC #quiltchat.  There aren’t many of us active lately (illness, no time, etc…) but if you ever want to chat about quilting and other things, you can find us there a little after 10 p.m. EST.  I crocheted the slipper while chatting, so we’re really not a fast gaggle.  😛

Monarchs

I’ve slowly been working on a pair of mittens for my Grandmother.

I finished the first one today, short of weaving in all the bajillion ends.  I hate that part, so I’ll save it for after I start the second one.

The pattern is Butterfly Mittens from Ravelry.  I had to modify and rechart it so that it would look like the butterfly is in the palm of your hands if you hold them together.  I also changed it from fair isle to intarsia so I could make the butterfly a monarch.  So far, so good!

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It’s not perfect, I’ve never made a mitten before…and changing it to intarsia in the round was probably not the smartest thing for a first buuuut it was fun.  I enjoyed it.  The only thing that irks me was having to reverse the work at the thumb, so it looks a little loose there.  I think I can tighten it up and make it look cleaner when I’m weaving in ends.  The photo was when I was testing the thumb length before decreasing.

When I was little, I used to spend hours by the stream at my Grandmother’s house looking for monarch caterpillars.  She used to say I could find them better than anybody;  I even spotted one while riding a bike once.  I absolutely loved raising a caterpillar and watching the full metamorphosis then releasing the butterfly once its wings dried.  If I found extras, I would send them to my uncle for his preschoolers to tend.

Even though I’ve only seen one monarch since moving north, I’ve established one gardening rule:  do NOT cut the milkweed.  I want to be prepared, just in case.  🙂

Do no harm

Well, that last post needed to disappear faster than I anticipated.  Fun times! 😀

Through the years I’ve linked my blog to a few accounts and I started receiving messages through those forums about the content, including one from somebody I know.  Thankfully our association is very limited and they don’t know anybody mentioned in the post…but still.  I was quick to take down that account.  Take no chances!

I did receive some wonderful tidbits of advice and I really appreciate having fresh perspectives and new ways to approach my thoughts. ❤

I still don’t know what to do and probably won’t until I’m forced to make a decision. I do know what I’d like to happen in a dream world but that’s about the extent of it: dreams are just dreams. I’m far too practical to spend my life wishing the impossible.

I would also like to say that I’m amazed at how counter-productive some people can be.  Being hateful, saying there’s something wrong with the person and they need counseling, or saying you went through worse doesn’t help anybody.  Seriously, don’t.

Everybody processes and feels stuff differently. Some things do more harm than healing, even if you think your intentions are in the right place. How would you feel if somebody told you what you’re telling another?

I’m all about delivering harsh realities.  I’m too blunt and lack an empathy chip when it comes to most people…but I’m also a firm believer in compassion.  Think before you speak; there is a time and a place.

Sometimes all a person needs is a safe place to vent.  Sometimes they just need a smile or a hug to know they’re not alone.  Sometimes they just need time to gather their thoughts and muster their courage.  …but they will always need negativity to fuck off.  Who on earth would want more of that nonsense in their life?

Since I’m feeling rather ornery after some of the things said today, I’ll just leave a link to my favorite song to listen to when I’m angry.  It’s pretty apt right now and it always cheers my crass self up.  A fair warning to people who are upset by certain language, this song is sure to offend your sensibilities:

Fucked With an Anchor by my favorite pirate metal group, Alestorm.

I had a small order to whip out this week: a lunchbox and two mini wallets.

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Nothing major but I’ll admit to stretching out sewing them as long as I could because my in-laws were visiting and I needed an excuse to be away from them.  I don’t mind my mother-in-law, I even enjoy being around her, but my father-in-law is all that I dislike in humanity crammed into one person.

All things considered, it has been a nightmare of a week.  Insults, being belittled, blatant disregard for my home and property…and it all culminated with our poor mailman being bitten in the penis by a dog.

I’m too mentally exhausted to get into the details now but the mailman is okay other than being sore (no punctures, thank goodness), my father-in-law screamed in the face of the USPS supervisor, and the cops ended up getting involved.

Any suggestions on a way to permanently ban my father-in-law from visiting here *ever* again?

I’d prefer a way that doesn’t involve divorcing my husband that never intercedes with his father…but at this rate, that option is starting to look acceptable.

 

 

All over the place update

Well, it’s been about a month since I posted anything.  I’ll take that as a good thing — it means I’ve been insanely busy and blogging has been an afterthought entirely.

So what exactly have I been doing?

I went to my new neurologist and she took me off of the horrible Topamax.  It took a few weeks to phase out but it has been awesome having me back.  I spent over a year wandering around in a fog and not sure why or how to do anything.  All of the side effects faded about 2-3 days after I took my last dose, including the eye twitch that my former neurologist swore up and down couldn’t be a side effect because “this medicine is used to treat Tourette’s.”  The twitching was so bad it would actually wake me up…and it’s gone!!!

Also along medical lines, I had my first real exam with my dermatologist.  She said my morphea is really softening and looks lighter thanks to the medicines she has had me one and the eczema on my hands is almost fully controlled now.  Yay!  The full body exam revealed nothing other than a skin tag I asked to have removed…in my armpit…and she froze it off.  It felt like I was carrying a very pissed off bee under my arm for a while.  Otherwise, I was told I have remarkably clean and clear skin.   Who would’ve ever thought that?!

We did our spring migration south to visit with my husband’s friends.  It was the best gathering we’ve had in years there and it seems most everybody agreed.  It’s crazy how one person not being there caused all of the tension and drama to evaporate.

Our little dog has been having unusual episodes.  We took her to a doggy neurologist and had the follow up appointment.  She had a MRI (yah, wrap your mind around that for a minute) and it was determined that whatever is going on with her is a functional disorder — either partial seizures or a muscular disorder – so she’s on medicine now for it.  To completely determine what it is that’s wrong with her, we’d have to take her to Cornell University for an EEG.  The MRI was insane enough, but there’s no way.  They also did an x-ray of her chest while she was there because she has a slight murmur.  It checked out well and the vet said if we didn’t have videos of her odd symptoms, he’d never believe it because she’s perfectly healthy otherwise.

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Spring finally arrived and we have a robin nesting in the little vestibule outside of our laundry room door.  It was a blast watching the entire process, including the mama coming back to lay an egg every day.

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The chicks hatched yesterday!

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We’re all doing our best not to disturb them, so I only grab photos when the parents are off the nest and searching for food.  Hopefully in the next few days I can get a photo through the door’s window of the chicks being fed — it’s adorable.

Entertainment wise, we saw Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (from Who’s Line is it Anyway?)  last week at an improv show.  Logan wasn’t familiar with either of them, but I’d spent many sick days as a teenager watching them on TV.  They certainly didn’t fail to impress and the show was hilarious.  I laughed so hard my sides ached.

I’ve been doing an insane amount of food preservation.  Our freezer is almost overflowing.  The good news is, that means we have fun meals!  I don’t take too many photos of food buuut:

Since we went south we came home with more country ham than anybody should legally be able to have and a really great batch of green tomatoes.  You know what that means!

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Fried green tomatoes.  Logan likes to top his with my pimiento cheese and bacon jam.  He’s not wrong in that combination.

Last night Logan asked for smørrebrød.  I haven’t made them since I lived in Denmark over a decade ago, so it was a bit of an adventure trying to find some of the harder ingredients around, especially the bread since I didn’t quite feel up to baking my own.  But I did manage to pull it off last night.  He wants to visit the Nordic countries even more now.

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I can’t say how happy I am to have a real fish monger in the area — I can get sole!  😀

Finally crafting things!  My favorite!

I set aside the sock because I was getting frustrated with the endless cycle of impossibly small cables.  I love cabling normally but this was getting ridiculous.  Instead, I decided to make a pair of mittens.  What’s with me and small needles right now?!

I chose Butterfly Mittens by Emily Bujold from Ravelry.

They’re Fair Isle, which I’ve never done.  I’ve also never made mittens.

Me, being me, I decided to change everything and make it harder.

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I’m mixing in intarsia in the round so I can make my butterfly a monarch.  AND I just finished altering the pattern so that the thumbs are by the butterfly’s wings, so the butterfly looks like it’s being held in the palm of your hands.

Nothing like having to completely rewrite and chart a pattern, eh?  Her instructions and stuff are fine but just didn’t give the result I wanted in the end.  I didn’t realize this until I got to the butterfly and had to tink back a bajillion microscopic rows.  The designer promises to change the instructions for a palm-held butterfly in an update — it’s a bit deceptive on the Ravelry page because people have changed it before and are featured in the photos, so it looks like it’s an option when it’s not.

So far I’m loving the color work, even though I was worried about it at first.  I’ve never had to float yarn before because all of my pieces with two colors have been double knit.  Lots of fun stuff in this one!

I’m using Cascade 220 yarn because it was cheap, 100% wool, and had the colors I wanted available.  It’s not the best or softest yarn, but it’s working well with these mittens so far.

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Hopefully I’ll remember to update in a more timely manner (and catch up reading blogs!) next time.

We’re going to three shows this weekend, (Mastadon, Hammerfall/Flotsam & Jetsam, and Apocalyptica) so I’m in for another busy one!

Gettin’ Crafty

I finished the scarf for my mom:

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She didn’t want it super long, only about 56″ so she could tuck it under her coat and nice and wide so it would cover all of her shoulders.  Mission accomplished!

I also pulled out my serger and had fun finally learning how to use it.  I’ve only had it since Christmas.

I repaired everything around the house that needed repairing in record time and with no cursing.  It was magical.

Then, I made a shirt.

That fit!!!

Again, without cursing.  Normally sewing anything with any stretch leaves me wanting to burn my entire house down.

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It was getting late and I was getting tired by the time I finished, so I hadn’t ironed it when Logan held it up for me to photo.  It fits though.  I’m not modeling anything.

I do want to swap my machine over to coverstitch and try that — I did overlocking and blind hemming with it today oooooh! — but for some reason the chainstitch looper kept getting wrapped with thread so I figured I was tired and threading something wrong.

I’ll play with it again tomorrow to see if I can make the coverstitching work, that way the bottom hem won’t want to roll up at all.  🙂

All in all, I’m really happy with my first made for me item.  🙂

Now, I can get back to trying to knit that first pair of socks….I’m almost done with the ribbing, that has to count for something, right?  XD

Secrets and friends

Does everybody have that magical set of friends that they talk about everything with?  Where nothing is off limits and everything can be laid bare?

I’ll generally blabber here about whatever crosses my mind — it’s pretty moderated and what I do say, I don’t care if it’s out there for the wider world to know — but there are some things that I’ve guarded in my deepest, darkest of hearts for as long as I can remember and every now and then, there are new things that I stash there.  I do it completely unintentionally at this point.

Am I alone in that?

How do people even find friends they can talk about everything with?

 

When I was in school, I never talked to my friends about who I had a crush on or what problems I was having.  Those were my delicious secrets.  When you’re in Kindergarten and a group of girls ask if you want to be their friends and it’s promptly followed with shrieks of “APRIL FOOLS!”, it quickly adds to your growing distrust of people.

I’d listen to my friend’s relationship (or usually lack thereof) troubles, their bully problems, their family issues, and move on with my day even if I was screaming in agony inside or jumping with joy over something.

The few times I tried sharing things about me, it backfired spectacularly.  As it would turn out, most of the people I hung out with weren’t truly good friends or people, but in an area as small as the one I grew up, you didn’t have many choices.  If they didn’t actively trip you in the hallway or steal things from your locker, they were good enough to be a friend.  Our standards weren’t that high.

My escape, if you will, became the internet as soon as it became available.

It was there that I forged friends from all over and could, for once, let the bits of real me trickle out.  I could let my geek flag fly.  I could complain about the assholes at school without it ever getting back to them, thus amplifying the bullying (because it did…oh, how it did).  I was able to tell people things I would never dream of whispering out loud otherwise.

…and for the first time, ever, I was relatively comfortable in my own skin.

But now, decades later, it is causing is bit of a conundrum.

I have things I want to talk about and, more annoyingly, probably need to talk about.

…but I have no idea how to broach those topics with people, much less who to talk to them about.

I’ve kept certain parts of my life so isolated and locked away from other parts that it would be disorienting to mix them.  There are still certain things I don’t want certain people knowing or I don’t think they’d ever understand, mostly because I’ve just never shared any of the information so it would be really confusing for somebody who was there during that part of my life to suddenly hear about other parts.

I was really good at compartmentalization and apparently still am.

Oh, deer

Our yard is finally starting to wake up from its winter slumber!  I’m so happy that I don’t see any casualties (yet) from the very harsh conditions this year.  I think it was the 3rd snowiest year on record, ever, for our area thanks to the back-to-back-to-back nor’easters that hit in March.  Up until today, we also had fresh snow every day in April.  Spring as been fun for those of us who enjoy snow!  🙂

The one issue I did notice when I was trampling around in my yard yesterday was deer damage.

Do any of my fellow gardeners and plant lovers have any good suggestions for ways to discourage the pesky deer?

They really chewed on just about everything this year, even plants they normally don’t bother that much.  I don’t know if it was because winter seemed so much longer this year or what, but they’ve nipped almost every bush I have down and stripped bark off of trees.

I was proactive this year and put a wrap on my pink magnolia — they always nibble and strip it, so at least the base of it was saved and I still have some blossoms higher up.  They chewed anything else they could reach though.  My rhododendrons look like they’ve been a buffet, as do my mountain laurel and azaleas; all of them have been stripped of leaves.  They’re still supple and green, though, so I’m hoping they can recover.  I have quite a few rhododendrons and they’re all really large and would be hard to cover, so the deer have been really at it recently.  The ground around them is churned up badly and covered in scat.

Thankfully, my new-ish berry bushes have been completely unscathed.  I think the deepness of the snow spared them from unwanted attention (usually the rabbits are what get after them anyway).  They look healthy and happy and I’m looking forward to adding some blueberries, black currants, and lingonberries this year to our normal blackberry and raspberry crops!  I hope!  🙂

Aside from deer damage, Logan and I have had a busy week.

Three doctor appointments, one vet specialist, our anniversary, and two shows at our local theater!

We were supposed to have contractors at the house this morning but they had to reschedule for next week.  They’re installing air conditioning!!!   Other people lost heat and that seemed more important to all of us; it’s still way too cold for air co and the need for heat is very real since it’s still dipping into the 20s at night here.

The doctor appointments all went well.  The end results are I have new glasses — I’m getting less and less far-sighted as my optometrist of yore predicted when I was little.  Logan has to have a skin biopsy next month but we’re not too worried about it.

Our little doggo Mitzi has been having a really odd leg thing since December where she’ll randomly draw one leg up for no longer than a minute and whimpering slightly like it’s hurting her.  As soon as it’s over, it’s over.  It repeats every couple weeks.  Earlier this month, she has three episodes in a day and we took her to the vet.  He couldn’t figure out what on earth may be causing it, so referred us to a neurologist.  Who would’ve thought those existed?  The neuro said her evaluation was great but he thinks she may either be having partial seizures or have a muscle contracting disorder, which usually presents when they’re younger.  He’s leaning towards seizures right now but we’re watching and waiting and trying to gather more data before diving into a very expensive MRI or a risky drug trial.

I found a video of another Mini Schnauzer that was having the exact problems that Mitzi was and the dog is the same age, so I left a comment but I don’t have any hopes of hearing back from them.  For the sake of interest or if anybody else has had a similar experience, the video is here.

The shows we saw were lots of fun.

We saw Wrath of Khan, followed by a Q&A with William Shatner.  He was, as always, full of personality.  The last time Logan and I saw him was years and years ago at Dragon*Con when he did a panel with Leonard Nimoy.

We also saw a really odd amalgamation of things — poetry, music, interpretive dance, dramatic readings — performed by Bill Murray.  I think my favorite parts were when he chose to sing, sometimes off key.  …or maybe when he decided to run out in the audience and fling the bouquet of roses somebody gave him at audience members.  That was super entertaining.  So was his playing the piano with his butt, but that’s neither here nor there.  😛  It was an all around entertaining show and not entirely a comedy as one would expect from the likes of Bill Murray.

Amigurumi

We’ll not talk about the fact that I sewed his head on backwards this morning.

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My fix was to add more chain to the belt and have it wrap around and retie in the front.  Thankfully the arms were centered really well so it didn’t make much of a difference from that regard.

I also spent more time sewing on this little guy’s eyebrows than I have ever spent grooming my own.  That’s definitely a reflection of how much I don’t care about my eyebrows versus how (not) hard it was to attach his brows.

Pattern is Mind Flayer by CraftyTibbles on Etsy.  It went together super quickly and easily.  I would suggest having made a few more complicated crocheted things before, though, as some of her instructions are a bit scattered around (some are under pictures instead of typed out) and they start to peter off towards the end.  I didn’t have any issues at all with it, though….you know, other than not paying attention and having him check out his own ass this morning.