Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Forward Motion

From this...

...to this...

And this...

...to this.

Oh, and there's this...

...although it isn't functional yet and will end up in the spare bathroom...er, bedroom when it's time to lay the vinyl. (At least it isn't on my front porch.)

At this point, the new drywall will probably remain unpainted for a while. (It needs more coats of joint compound anyway.) I am so eager to get the office stuff into the office that I really don't care that I'll have to move it all again to paint. I have no color scheme in mind for that room, so I can let it percolate.

Besides, my sister keeps reminding me how good she is at painting ceilings. I want her to prove it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pajama Day 1

Pajama Day 1 because I expect there to be many more Pajama Days here from the corner of Purl and Intarsia. I was going to change the blog over to that, wasn't I? I still will. Pajama Day was an official holiday when I lived in Apartmentia. I briefly considered trying to incorporate myself as a self-sustained foreign country while I rented, so I could could get foreign aid money. It never worked out, but Pajama Day stuck. And today is perfect for it, as it's damp and rainy, and I'm getting over the back-to-back sinus infections I seem to have acquired in three weeks of school.

So, some catching up:

I went to Rochester yesterday with my dad and his ladyfriend, and we saw Cirque du Soleil's "Alegria" production. Oh my. If you ever, ever get a chance to see one of their productions live, do what you must to get there. I started watching the Bravo channel marathons (usually Thanksgiving weekends, perfect as I was always wiped out from cooking the day before), and while those are pretty fascinating, there is no comparison to live. Breathtaking. I didn't want it to end.

Bathroom progress is slow...and I can't even say steady right now. There's cement board around the tub, and drywall ready to be installed in the room below and one small corner in the bathroom. Except the drywall was supposed to be hung this week, not just delivered to my eventual office; at least, that's what I thought was going to happen. There may have been a glitch in our communications. Either way, Fred said to me, "You're going to be happy on Monday when you come home and the drywall is up," and I agreed...but added, "I will be even HAPPIER when there's a sink and toilet in the same room as my tub." And since they won't go in until the vinyl is laid, and that won't happen until the tile is installed, and that won't happen until the drywall is up...you can see where I'm going with this. Right now, the positive spin on this is if I get my keester over to the paint store (yes, we still have a free-standing small-business paint store in town, and I am devoted to helping it stay open) and get some white enamel for the wainscoting, and the pretty pale pink for the walls above it, I can make a huge mess painting without worrying about the floor.

Went for a medication check-in Friday morning, and it was decided that perhaps we have a touch of the small black dog rearing its little head as the days get shorter. We aren't famous for our abundant sunshine up here anyway, and we're heading into nine more months of it. SAD, anyone? The good news is that the Lamictal is doing its job in the migraine-prevention department admirably; we may still need to up the dose, but we're going to give the Wellbutrin a chance to quiet the black dog first. I'm hopeful that I'll feel some relief before too long. I've been in worse places, but being in a better place is still attractive.

I know that I feel better when I do get out for some exercise, even when it's not sunny; unfortunately, one of things that happens when the black dog comes to call is that I hibernate (not unusual, I know). Any suggestions on how to overcome this part? It seems that if I could just sustain it for, let's say, a week, I'd probably see some results, and therefore continue. Or does it take longer? I tend to think of exercise in terms of forced labor; something you have to say you do before the doctor yells at you, or that has to have a productive outcome (it's OK to ride my bike to the store, but it's not OK to just go for a ride because it's a nice day-that's time wasted and you KNOW you have other things to do).

Hmmm. Perhaps we should investigate these Puritan overtones instead?

Monday, September 21, 2009

In Which Fiber is Mentioned!

Yes friends, for real! I'm going to start with something pleasant for once, and hopefully the trend will continue (until it doesn't, of course).

This past weekend was the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival in Hemlock. It's a lovely little festival, it really is. There's classes and demonstrations, three barns with vendors, and wonderful yummy fair food. I did resist the funnel cake somehow; I'm not sure why. I eat it once, maybe twice a year and I shouldn't have passed up the opportunity. I did manage to eat two different kinds of homemade sausage, and boy am I glad I did. Deeeeelicious.

I loves me some Rhinebeck, and I have plans to go again, but there really is a decent selection at Hemlock. Golding is there; Jonathan Bosworth is there; The Merlin Tree is there. Ellen's Half-Pint Farm, too. Even Zeilinger's comes, because there is a small fleece competition and sale, and some of the vendors bring raw fleece as well. There's several local folks to support, which is great fun.

Purchasing was restrained, but that has to do more with the current stash than not seeing anything I wanted. I ended up with a pound of dark, dark CormoX top from Foxhill Fibers, and a pound of Merino top in "River Edge" from Clover Hill. Porcelain buttons were added to the hoard, and two beeswax candles found their way into my bag. Lovelovelove beeswax candles. I almost had a falling-down at Just Our Yarns, but I have a beaded shawl kit from them that I keep losing and finding, and I really want to do that first. If they're at Rhinebeck, I may have to pick up a hank of their cashmere. Maybe.

I also test-drove a couple more folding wheels for eventual decision-making. So far, I've tried the Ashford Joy, a Majacraft Little Gem, a Spinolution Bee, a Kromski Sonata, and a Bosworth Journey wheel. I'd still like to try a Louet Julia in the name of science, and a Lendrum is probably not on the radar as I don't think there's a dealer around here. If there's one at Rhinebeck, I'll give it a whirl.

So far, I've ruled out the Joy, the Bee, and the Sonata. The Sonata is a great wheel, to be honest, but I want something smaller. I see it more as a house wheel that you can tuck out of the way when you need the guest room. The Joy just didn't turn me on. Too low to the ground, maybe, and I'm pretty darn short. Whatever it is, I wasn't terribly comfortable sitting at it. The Bee....wellllll. The dealer had a great sales pitch. It's definitely compact when folded. It spun OK, and is double-treadle, which is what my Jensen is. (I don't compare these wheels to my Tina II. That wouldn't be fair.) It's an accelerated wheel and has an unusual but easy-to-work tensioning device (don't ask me to explain it). But it felt wobbly when treadled. Granted, it wasn't exactly on a flat surface, but I had a very hard time getting it to continue spinning in one direction. So I figured I'd come back around and if it was available, I'd take it over to the concrete pad in the barn and try it.

The Little Gem was next, and I was pleasantly surprised! I usually spin in double-drive, and the Little Gem is Scotch tension, but I don't think that's a huge problem. It treadled easily and was stable, even on the same sawdust surface. The delta orifice is interesting, and user-friendly. (The Bee has no orifice. You could spin kittens into your yarn if you wanted.) The carrying bag looks like tinfoil, but I bet it would be easy to make something more compact and attractive. It was easy to settle in to this wheel. For a small wheel, it feels very solid.

After a little more browsing, mom and I came back through the barn with the Bee in it. Another spinner was doing what I had intended; she took it over to the pad to try it out (and she had a lovely long-draw going on, too). I watched for a bit, and then heard what I wanted to hear: "This feels wobbly in the lower ratios." It looked wobbly side-to-side, too. Check that one off the list.

My favorite remains the Journey wheel. Le sigh. It is, by far, the most expensive of all. Totally worth it, I think too...but close to 300 some-odd dollars more than the Little Gem. I can't exactly afford another wheel right now anyway, so the point is moot. And when you buy a Journey wheel, you actually order one and put a deposit down. The current orders are scheduled to be finished in the spring of 2011. I could save up before then, right? I may have to do it. And if I miss this batch, I'm pretty sure there's another round of ordering in the spring.

I love spinning. At least as much, if not more, than knitting. But don't ask for dibs on my yarn stash just yet, OK?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Slight Redaction.

So after crabbing about pledge drives, last night's offering from the local PBS? Pete Seeger's 90th birthday celebration from Madison Square Garden last May. It made up for...um...some, just some of the other baloney that goes on during pledge drives. I distinctly remember being FASCINATED by "Riverdance" the first time I saw it. Possibly even the second and third. After the 7536th time? Not so much. Talk about beating a dead horse. (And we won't discuss "Lord of the Dance," OK?)

Linnea made a very good comment a couple posts back. She mentioned that perhaps the reason that my usual coping mechanisms don't work is because they also bring you to a place that invites introspection, which is in direct conflict with the anxiety screaming for full steam ahead. And she also described what I do in those situations as well: power-surf. In my case, it may not even be surfing, because I pretty much hit the same five or six sites over and over and over again.

I spend a lot of time in my head. A very dear friend used to say (wryly) about both me and herself, "If only other people were as self-aware as we are." I generally agree with whathisname who said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I work pretty hard at staying present. Unfortunately, when anxiety figures into this, it becomes a ferociously spinning hamster wheel of thought instead of rational introspection. If I allow myself into that introspective place when I'm in anxiety's grip, I won't find any solutions; rather, I'll just torture myself with all the what-ifs and how-could-I's and not-agains.

I didn't remember always being like this. I tied a lot of it to that awful man-boy experience I described earlier. That experience didn't cause my anxiety, but it was so extreme that it totally tipped the boat in that direction. Even then, I never grokked that this is a chronic condition in me, until the day (quite some time after that awfulness, enough time for an un-anxious person to be over it) I was on my feet in my counselor's office, screaming at her. I felt as if my head was going to blow off if I couldn't just get someone to LISTEN TO ME, for mercy's sake. This was so completely out of character for me that I knew there was more to it. I agreed to see a psychiatrist for more help than she could give me. THAT first visit was more than enough to convince me that yes, I am a pretty intense person, but intense in the extreme, and that the extreme was damaging me.

So now that I have something like a grip on the situation, I can look farther back in my life and say, "There...and there...ohYEAH, there..." and find many, many situations where my actions were anxiety-driven. I always thought it was "just me" (not that it isn't) and that was all there was to it. There wasn't anything to do about it, I just had to fight like hell against it. As a musician, and having to do solo recitals to graduate, can you imagine how hard I had to battle stage fright? Now that it's clear that there is help for this, I can't help but wonder (briefly...this is something I manage not to dwell on) how things would have been different if I had been able to put the effort of fighting the anxiety into my performance instead.

Thus...returning to Linnea's point, part of dealing with this is understanding that sometimes I just need to let my brain shut off, because under anxiety's influence, I am not making progress. I do need to keep an eye on how long the shut-down period becomes; you can tell by my abnormally regular posting that the recent shut-down period has ended. It is an effort to get going again, but once I do, then I have productive thinking that I can trust again. I always believed that just because I was thinking it, it must be so. (Where I thought I learned to be omniscient, I don't know.) I didn't understand that something else really could be influencing my thought process, and that I would need to become even more self-aware to be able to know the difference. Honestly, I think this weekend is one of the first times I've been at anxiety's mercy AND been able to pull back from it just enough to see what was happening, and have just the smallest bit of control over it.

I'm still uneasy over the situation with my friend. Communication has been spotty, and it is still taking a fair amount of effort to not immediately believe everything I think. It is possible that I'm mistaken about the whole thing; it's possible that I'm right. Tt is possible that something else entirely is taking place; it's possible that I'm not mistaken but the outcome will be different than I fear. It's possible that he's as anxious about it as I am. (At my calmest moments, that is the one that makes the most sense.) I do wonder, and would love to hear more of your thoughts about this:

I know now that when I'm anxious, I'm not thinking clearly and instead invent all kinds of drama that leads to the End. When I come down from that, the situation has many more possible endings, and I feel a lot calmer, even though I don't know what the ending will be. Is that telling myself a story to soothe myself (aka denial, I think)? Or is it more trustworthy than that?

I'm hoping to return to musing on bathroom construction again soon. And maybe, just MAYBE, talking about knitting, spinning, and fiber frivolity in general. Thanks for sticking with me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finally, A Place to Lay Blame.

If you check out my comments from yesterday, you will see two fine pieces of wisdom. I'm chewing them over some more; perhaps savoring is a better term. Good stuff.

But on a lighter note, I think I know what brings these little episodes on:

PBS pledge drives. The television ones, not the radio drives.

I'm not kidding. I can look at the biggest examples of life-crap in the last few years, and gosh darn it, there is ALWAYS a pledge drive on when they happen. I am even a MEMBER of my local public broadcasting station. What do they have against me???!!! Why must you break my heart, Antiques Roadshow, why???

Monday, September 14, 2009


Did you read that post yesterday? Didja? Amazing, wasn't it? Can you imagine sitting in a chair across from me listening to that instead of reading it?

Don't. It's kind of scary. It's chronic anxiety. It's overwhelming, I think; it certainly is to me. Today is better. I need to talk to my PNP, because as the seasons change and the days get shorter (thanks a lot, Northeastern US), we often need to adjust the medication I take to help control it. I need to take some other steps too, but oddly, one of the consequences of anxiety for me is my mind saying, Go!Go!GO!GO!!! and my body freezing up. This has probably saved me a lot of grief, because it keeps me from doing some really dumb stuff. But it also keeps me from engaging other coping mechanisms. Crazy shit, yanno...walking, knitting, spinning (at a WHEEL, not my own two feet). Anything that would discharge some of the anxious energy, really, or at least safely distract me long enough to let the energy dissipate. It's very frustrating.

And what's worse is the feeling I get if I have acted while in anxiety's grip. I said something to a friend over the weekend; it could change the nature of the friendship. Some would say that this person isn't much of a friend if they can't understand what's going on, and listen to me again when I've had a chance to relax. This is true. This friend knows this is part of me. And really, what I said is not of outright meanness or such like that. But I can't shake the feeling of impending doom, that this is THE END of something. What I brought up, in my own obsequious way, needs to be discussed; how I brought it up is cringe-worthy, in my mind. My belief is that friends can work things out. I have many, many friends who have stood by me when things have been exponentially worse. My intuition says that this person is a friend of that caliber. Anxiety tells me hell no, you're kidding yourself, you've screwed up again and you deserve what you get for what you said. Funny thing is, that sort of thing has happened only once in my life, and the man-boy who used it against me knew exactly what he was doing. (That's a textbook definition of something, isn't it? Certainly cruelty.) Experience should be my teacher: out of hundreds of thousands interactions I've had with people, only one has been a total schmuck. That experience was almost indescribably painful. Yet I am fortunate. (And perhaps sheltered, but we won't discuss that today.) I honestly can say that I can recall no one else ever treating me like that...yet it's the first place my brain goes during a conflict. Even though my experience has been otherwise, I expect to be unloaded for minor transgressions. Hmmm.

So I will continue to fight against it, to listen to the true teacher instead of the relentless pedant. The work goes on. Thank you for "listening."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Fred Said

So, the bathroom...this past week's work should have been to frame in around the tub so that the tile guys can come in and do the surround. White subway tile, by the way; a little more spendy than the usual 4x4 square, but worth it given the age of the house. Perhaps I shouldn't be so worried about aesthetics. But perhaps I'm almost 40 years old and it's OK to want what I want.


The tub is shorter than the actual opening allowed for it, if you look at grout marks on the wall from long ago. To keep from moving all the plumbing so that the tub would be centered and THEN framing around it, there's about a foot between the back edge of it and the wall. Now, the last tub was in the same spot, and the solution was to bring the wall up to the edge of the tub. No big deal, but of course I can't keep my fingers out of it. I thought, wouldn't it be a nice thing to have a little shelf/seat at the back of tub...a place to sit whilst shaving one's legs? A spot to place my liter-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner? I mentioned this to Fred earlier in the week, and he let me know that it sounded like a good idea, but that he'd need to come look at it with me. (Just because I can visualize something doesn't mean that it'll really work.) That made sense to me, but he didn't come Thursday and he didn't come Friday, and he didn't call to let me know that he couldn't come those two days.

Now, this ties into my general anxieties and insecurities. I mightily resisted the urge after school on Friday to call and make something of a fuss. I usually believe that people are doing the best they can, and if something doesn't happen, there's probably an understandable reason why, even if I don't know the details. That being said, I also tend to feel like I'm at the bottom of way too many lists, including my own. As I've worked to raise myself up a few notches on mine, I feel more sensitive to perceiving that I'm so far down on other's. I walk a tightrope on this...not wanting to be a demanding harpy, but also needing to know where I stand. I decided to wait until Monday morning to call again.

Well, Fred called on Saturday afternoon, wondering if I was available to check out my bathroom idea. I was, as I didn't go very far from the couch. He came right over, we figured out a way to make it work (it involves a small piece of solid-surface material on the seat-a horizontal surface-to eliminate the problems of water pooling on a tiled and grouted surface). It also means some logistics for the framing, which Fred couldn't know until he saw it. I'll get what I want, just not on my schedule. And Fred assures me that this is my week for work...generally, that means I'm at the top of the list for the week. (Hopefully the tile guys will agree. After the tile goes in, the rest should be pretty quick: vinyl sheet floor goes down, toilet and sink installed. Done. I think.)

I have had many situations where my anxiety causes me to rush into something that I regret later. Not huge regrets, mind you, but ones that could be avoided if only I'd held myself steadier for just a little longer. At least to the point where I won't cry and instead can state my needs in a clear and calm way. For instance, not calling Fred in yelling haste on Friday, and I still got the result I wanted on Saturday without the drama. Too often I feel like I must do something NOWNOWNOW and it soothes the anxiety temporarily. But then I'm left feeling rather ashamed that I behaved the way I did.

How do you know when something is worth getting worked up over? I spend a large portion of my day being more patient than most, as an elementary schoolteacher. Am I just wrung out of patience by the time it comes to my personal stuff? Is my perception of what's important so screwed up that I don't know when it's OK to strike hard and hot, and when it's better to stay steady? When does staying steady turn into being a doormat? Is it possible to stay steady and still take care of myself? Why don't I have the confidence to make a decision and not second-guess myself for the following week? (I'm almost not exaggerating there, depending on the situation.)

These feelings aren't all about a bathroom, of course. I know that compared to a large percentage of the world's population, the fact that I have running water in my home means I am very fortunate indeed, even if it doesn't include a very convenient shower. But lately, I seem to assign the same importance to matters like this as I would to matters of grave concern. I don't seem to know the difference. Am I just inventing drama for my own weird entertainment? Is my life so empty?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All I Want is to Sleep Past the Time I Get Up During the Week

But nooooooo.

On Saturday, after a week that kind of spiraled down into a perfect storm of crap (would you like details? TMI: got my period, then as I figured it was over, I got whatever was left ALL AT ONCE; sinus infection in time for the first day of school...yes, the antibiotics are helping; roughly four hours of sleep every night this week, delivered in two-hour blocks; absolutely no bathroom progress this week, despite scheduled promises; possible, yet unconfirmed disappointment in a friend, leading to confusion and self-doubt; that kind of fun stuff)...after THAT kind of week, I bounce wide-awake at 6:30 this morning, just like I should during the week, but can't.

I loathe waking up to an alarm clock, even though I have a rather pleasant one. It actually starts turning my lamp on about 20 minutes before the chime, so the room is light when I open my eyes. I also have it set on back-up for about 10 minutes after the chime goes off, and that turns on the radio. I need to move it over to my dresser rather than my nightstand, to make it harder to hit the snooze button. (This is effective, because once I'm vertical, I must pee, and currently the only functioning toilet is downstairs. Try going back to sleep after that.) THIS, my friends, should tell you how difficult it can be to get me out of bed in the morning.

Unless, apparently, it's Saturday and I have turned all the settings off. I've even tried setting the clock for the latest time it could possibly wake me up and still get me to work on time, so that I could wake up when I naturally do. But I don't wake up naturally when I do THAT, even. The damn clock still goes off. I don't get it. (And then I have to rush some too, and that leads to additional crankiness.) I'm not a particularly late sleeper either; left to my own devices, I'm up around 7:00, maybe 7:20 (or, if it's the week after school lets out in June, 8:30, but that's an anomaly and a well-deserved one at that).

So in the end, I guess I don't mind waking up at 6:30 if that's when I wake up without my clock. I just don't understand why I can't do it during the week.

I also don't understand why there is pizza delivery, but not doughnut delivery. Now THAT's an idea I could get behind, especially if I could place my order at 6:30 on a Saturday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Week of School...

...sapping will to live....

more this weekend after I sleep until noon...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Could It Be?

Yes, it could and it IS. Pardon me, I'm verklempt.