sareini: following my fish (delirium)
I have a fair bit of sock yarn about the house, because of my Sock Yarn subscription. I tell myself I have plans for them - shawls, scarves, maybe even socks! - but I make so many plans and start so many things that the poor skeins are still waiting to be used.

Well, the other day I heard about a thing called the Tour de Sock. It's based on the Tour de France, only with sock knitting instead of cycling. The idea is that you pay $7.50 (which goes to Doctors Without Borders) and you get six sock patterns to knit. The idea is to knit them as fast as you can, and the fastest knitters get prizes.

Now, I have no illusions about my knitting speed. I knit like glaciers used to move before global warming. But Doctors Without Borders is a good cause, and six sock patterns for $7.50 is a good deal. And I have sock yarn. And I've been meaning to work on my sock knitting skills. So I signed up.

The whole thing doesn't start till July, along with the cycling, but I'm mildly excited. Should certainly be interesting and a learning experience, at the very least.
sareini: "Did I mention that my nose was on fire? That I have fifteen wild badgers living in my trousers?" - Babylon 5 (Nose on fire)
I've decided I'm going to try to be somewhat more organised for June. To that end, I've set myself a few goals for the month.

1. Write at least 15k; fiction and movie reviews. Should be pretty easy, right?
2. Publish at least 8 movie reviews; that works out at two a week.
3. Write at least 250 words of fiction a day.
4. Finish at least two stories - perhaps my biggest challenge as I'm great at starting things, but not so good at finishing them as the self-doubt creeps in.
5. Finish the Shawl of Secrets - probably the easiest one as I'm about 90% done as it is. A couple of days sitting mining/watching stuff should do it.
6. Finish Rachael's birthday cardigan and possibly my own (fingers crossed!)

I don't think those goals are too bad or stressful.

I've also started work on my brother's birthday present - his birthday is in August so I figure starting now will give me a good chance of finishing on time. I'm doing him this, as he likes to put up 70s and 80s album covers as art. Also last Christmas I made my niece a cross stitch picture of Harry Potter spells which was remarkably well-received, so I figured I'd continue the trend. (It should be noted that I was stitching that thing up to 11pm on the 23rd December.)

***

In other news, Lily is much better today. No vomiting and her mood has perked up considerably. I'm going to keep an eye on her for now but no longer feeling the need to rush her to the vet when there would be very little they could do other than tweak her meds and hope that worked. I am looking at making her diet more strict to see if a blander diet might help - duck, turkey, chicken; occasional treats of tuna loin and scrambled eggs (made with water). Thankfully that's all stuff Lily already loves, so she'll just have to get used to not getting bits of grated cheese or the cream from doughnuts any more...
sareini: (creative)
The past couple of days have been good for yarn, as I've had two separate packages of the stuff delivered to my door. First off was yesterday's delivery, which consisted of the last ball of yarn I needed to complete the Shawl of Secrets (the shade is called Secluded Lake) and a ball of the new Scheepjes Whirl yarn, which is 1000m of 4ply cotton/acrylic that has long colour changes all the way through it, making it great for shawls, scarves and anything else that you might want that kind of effect with.

Two balls of yarn

The name of the colourway I got this time is Melting Macaron. It's not the kind of colourway I would normally have gotten - I generally prefer darks, or blues and purples - but most of the colourways were out of stock and I wanted to try working with some new colours for once. With the Whirl I'm making a Mandala Cardigan, using a pattern designed specifically for the launch of the yarn, which can be found here. And of course I started it already despite having a ton of other prokects to be getting on with, because I like the instant gratification and playing with new things.

The beginning of a mandala cardigan

Then this morning I got my monthly yarn club delivery from Devon Sun Yarns. they're an indy yarn company who specialise in hand dyed yarns in numerous and striking colours, and I've been in love with them for ages now. They have several yarn clubs but I'm a member of the Sock Yarn Club, which delivers me a skein of 4ply yarn every month to do with as I please - although right now I've got several months' worth sitting waiting to be used because I haven't decided what to make with them, need the time to start them and because Callie bit through my bamboo sock needles (she has a powerful chew on her). This month's colourway is a gorgeous blue-green.

A skein of yarn

So I have plenty to keep me busy for a while.

***

In other news, I finally accepted that my computer chair's hydraulics have died, after only a week of sitting on a chair only 6-8 inches off the floor and developing a constant pain in my left leg from it. So I've swapped out my dead chair for Nick's old computer chair, which involved moving half the stuff in the front room around to move a chair four feet and confused the cats greatly, but right now Callie is sitting behind me in the chair while Lily is boxhopping, so they're happy enough. Hopefully my leg will stop hurting now as well because it was starting to affect my sleep.
sareini: (cat)
I woke up this morning to find Callie licking my closed eyes. Apparently my role in life now is to be a salt lick for a kitten. It's the hay fever, of course; now that it's May and the weather is grudgingly admitting that it's springtime the pollens are really getting started, and of course I was already allergic to all of them even before the news of "super pollens" (pollens that have mixed with diesel fuels to be extra sticky in the mucous membranes) hit last week. Already my nose is getting runnier, my eyes more sore and prone to sticking closed in the morning (cat licks aside) and most annoyingly, the roof of my mouth itches more and more of the time. At least my life as it currently is minimises my contact with random free-floating pollen in the outside world.

In other news, I managed to be relatively productive around the house today. Did some small amount of tidying, typed up and published a review for the movie blog (The Void, in case you were wondering) and got as far as I currently can with the Shawl of Secrets. I'm now at the point where I have to buy the missing ball of yarn before I can continue, and depending on how things go on Thursday (another vet visit for Lily) will determine whether I can get that this week or at the end of the month. Still, it's a good thing it's not able to distract me right now, as I still have to finish that cardigan for my niece.

Possible Criminal Minds spoilers if you've not seen Season 11 yet )

Knitted shawl in browns, reds, oranges, yellows and greens

On Anxiety

Apr. 25th, 2017 03:40 pm
sareini: "I'm sorry, I'm having a bad century" quote from Neil Gaiman's Sandman (Bad Century)
My weekend actually turned out pretty crappy. I ended up spending most of it in the throws of a major anxiety attack, one which left me alternatively just sitting in bed shaking, being physically sick or suffering problems at the other end. Oh, and we can't forget the sleeplessness either. Things didn't really get any better until Monday noontime, when I received something in the mail - but we'll get to that later.

I often find that trying to explain to people what anxiety and/or panic attacks are like is a lot like trying to explain what yellow smells like. The first thing people usually ask is, "Do you know what caused it?" which, on the surface, is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. If you know the cause, you can maybe do something about it. Unfortunately for me, my anxiety attacks are often completely random and with no obvious cause - sometimes I actually wonder if they're triggered by something in my subconscious going, "What? We have nothing to panic about? Let's fix that!" and just panicking for the sake of panicking.

The physical symptoms don't help matters either. Much as with any stressful situation, when you have an anxiety or panic attack your body produces more adrenaline than you really need, to prepare for a "fight or flight" response. And one of the other things adrenaline does is slows down or even stops your digestive system as part of this. But of course, it can't stop forever, which is why I end up backing and forthing to the bathroom with disturbing frequency. And if you're being sick, you can't really get your mind off the anxiety, can you? It's a particularly vicious circle.

So I spent the weekend a panicking mess. I could barely even talk to people, which then started a whole new anxiety loop - "What if they get mad at me? I can't face them after this!" - and on and on it went. Because I can't really explain how bad my anxiety makes me feel, I worry that my friends don't or can't really understand the way I am sometimes; why I disappear randomly, stop replying to them, run away from conversations online - I just randomly reach a level of my ability to cope with things, and the moment things go over that level I'm gone.

But like I said, things got better on Monday. I received a package of yarn for a shawl I've had the pattern for for a while now - the Shawl of Secrets made with Scheepjes Secret Garden yarn. I originally got the pattern several months ago when I was "helping" my niece get free shipping on an order of her own (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it) and last week I decided that I had the excess money to actually buy the yarn - well, most of it anyway, as one colour was out of stock. So I was able to start work on that and finally I had something I could focus on to bring my anxiety down. And it works up really quickly as well - I'm already on the second colour, which makes me slightly bothered that I'll have to stop rather quickly when I reach the part of the shawl that needs the one colour I couldn't get at the time, as I'll have to wait a week and a half before I can get that last colour (I have to put limits on my yarn buying, or the house would be full and we'd be resorting to eating the stuff). But it's very pretty, and it feels very nice - it's 20% cotton, 20% silk, and 60% polyester, which I realised perhaps too late translates to "Bugger to clean, best not get this dirty". But that's something to deal with when it's finished.

***

In other news, I've temporarily renamed Callie to "Bitey McMoglet" after she's spent the last few days on a renewed assault on my feet while I'm in bed. Perhaps the most amusing thing is that she actually responds to it (although to be fair, she also responds to, "Leave your sister alone," and "What are you doing in that bag?").
sareini: default (Number 13)
It is cold. -6 degrees celsius (that's 21.2 degrees fahrenheit) to be exact. As a result, Nick is wearing socks on his hands a la Jeff Hardy (I've threatened to get some brightly coloured fabric dyes and paint stripes on them) and Jelli, once she's on our laps or in fact anywhere where there's a duvet or chance for warmth, refuses to move. She's perfectly happy to employ her claws in this as well.

In trying to keep my hands unfrozen and have the blood keep running through them, I'm trying to knit gloves. Only I don't have any sircular needles and I don't know how to shape fingers, so they're likely to end up as some sort of freaky handwarmers or something...

Oh, and there's also snow. I hate my country's weather.
sareini: default (Sandman - Trouble)
I spent Friday and Saturday sick and mostly in bed. Nick made me warm Ribena, which I haven't had since I was in single figures.

Today I felt better... so it was Nick's turn to get sick. Thankfully he hasn't gotten it as bad as me, but now I get to repay him for all his fussing over me by making him lots of coffee and Quorn (although admittedly not at the same time).

Continued with my knitting. The scarf I'm knitting for Kerry (if you want an idea of what it looks like, it's similar to the scarf the girl is wearing on this page, except mine is pale purple and more pastel in colours) is now just over a meter long... it needs to be 180cm before it's done.

Passed my trial period with my RP supergroup on CoH (I didn't even know there'd been a trial period!) and got promoted. Which made me feel like I was actually doing well, and therefore made me happy.

Also watched a lot of one-hour documentaries on serial killers with Nick on the Crime and Investigation channel.

And that's about it.
sareini: default (Number 13)
So today, if you remember, was my interview with an advisor down at the Jobcentre about this 'Pathways to Work' thing.

Things didn't get off to too auspicious a start when, after walking all the way into town to get to the JobCentre, the first thing I see is a sign in their car park/outside area telling me that they have a rat problem and could people please not stand around out there. The JobCentre itself is abattered and rather manky-looking blue-and-white/grey prefab that looks like it was meant to only be a temporary thing but the money ran out.

Inside though, everything is high-tech and new, with touch-screen consoles for jobseekers to access and all the latest computers for the staff to use, which raised my spirits somewhat as I tend to judge how efficient something is by the state of its tech (the SS office, for example, spent over a year supposedly upgrading its computer systems and look how bad that is).

Waited a short while, then the advisor I was seeing came to get me. There weren't any private offices or anything like that, but we went to the back of the building, which was quiet and rather under-populated. This was the disability advisor's section.

First thing I found out was that I'm not actually due for my Incap check till December of this year, which surprised me as I was sure it would be April. Still, no matter, I could still get all the help I wanted, it just wouldn't be under the 'Pathways to Work' name.

We discussed the types of work I'd like to do (anything but manual, I said, but with emphasis on IT, office, admin and secretarial as I think I'd be good at them - certainly at IT), and the options available to me. There was doing voluntary work, which gets you experience but no cash, 'permitted work', which is under 16 hours a week but you can take home up to £86 on top of your IB, and part-time and full-time. We also discussed CVs, career guidance and the possibility of getting qualifications.

All in all, it wasn't too bad an interview at all. I certainly didn't feel pressured into signing up for anything or dropping my IB to go back to work, and it was made very clear to me that everything would be done at me own pace. I went away with the promise that someone called Samantha would be calling me to help me with writing a CV if I needed one (I freely admit that I can't remember how to do half a CV any more) and with the number of a college scheme that could help me get NVQs or equivalent in IT and web design and/or anything else I thought would be good for possibly getting a career. I'm going to look more into them this evening and possibly call them in the morning.

Now I'm home, tired but not feeling too shell-shocked, and working on Kerry's birthday present - a scarf whose pattern I found in the new knitting partwork I'm collecting. Her birthday's at the end of Febuary; I'm hoping it'll be finished by then...

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