Working Wednesday, December 27, 2023

One of the joys that moving re-introduced me to is crochet. Crochet kept me sane for a long while until I lost it completely to depression, so moving my yarn and WiPs and sorting through them once I got here has been immensely pleasurable. I have over forty things in progress, many of them from a decade ago, and most of them are great and–this is the part that boggles my mind–almost finished. You think there might be some connection between not being able to finish a book and not finishing forty crochet projects? Anyway, the upshot is that I’m getting a lot of almost instant gratification finishing stuff now. Plus I was looking for something to use in the Rocky Start series and came across this pattern: Ghostober Skull Pattern.

So now of course I’m starting another project. Just thinking about the colors I could use is making me happy. ‘

What work made you happy this week?

90 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, December 27, 2023

  1. Love love love the sweater. I almost bought a book of Lord of the Rings knitting projects. I don’t knit, but they were very pretty. I also have this dragon scarf that I want to learn to make but am totally intimidated by…

    This year the goal is to get more friendly with my sewing machine. It’s a skill that I want to have.

    Right now I am in a sort of no man’s land of recovering from the holidays and trying to get some significant tidying done. Everything is sorta half baked, but it could be worse…

  2. This week I did a deep dive into yoga nidra and proprioception meditation. I haven’t found a perfect guided one, they mostly go too fast, so I may need to build my own. But it is incredibly helpful with neuralgia and focus. I’m having a lot less random stabbing pain, and feeling much more rested and relaxed. A nice way to start the day, and an excuse to lay in bed a little longer!

  3. I am still working on the dragon-egg. It makes me very frustrated. Yesterday I glued 2 pieces and removed about 20. Argh.
    One big part of me really wants to knit, but I feel to brain-tired to read and understand patterns. I was gonna start another project a few days ago that was not knitting, but I discovered I didn’t have the materials I need. This means I need to buy the materials, and I don’t feel like diving into that pond right now. There’s a lot of things I want to do, but right now don’t really have the energy to kick life into. I feel like I’m coming across as SO negative for writing all this, and it makes me angry. Argh. ARGH! I swear I am not trying to be difficult.

    1. It’s still the solstice: time to pause before launching into new projects. (The sun stands still for three weeks, centred on the winter solstice of 20/21 December.)

    2. I know how you feel, looking at complex patterns just makes me feel tired. My way… pick something small and easy to make with yarn you already have. Something easy to start and finish will kick starts my motivation. I try to do one alongside any big projects

      1. Indeed, sometimes something small or something you’ve made before and don’t need to think too much about how to knit can unlock the knitter’s block. I really need to give myself a break. Challenges fine, but maybe I don’t need to look for new ones All The Time. Thanks for reminding me!

    3. Hi Shass, you are not being difficult- it is the challenges you are dealing with that are very real & very difficult. Both your physical health issues & the depression. And anger can be the flip side of fear – fear of what our subconscious decides to hit us over the head with & of course the LYING beast that is depression that only ever wants to tell us how bad things are or will get or how useless we are. I don’t know if it will work for you but when the negative thoughts begin to gain momentum or things start to feel out of control I chant to myself or even out loud – these thoughts & feelings are NOT true, I do not accept them as true & I know my health/life will improve. Repeating it over & over in a calm & measured voice until the emotional overload is somewhat relieved. Sometimes I even find stomping around helps in the beginning when the feelings are really high. Take care Shass & be kind to yourself & maybe just give yourself permission to feel how you really do feel. It can be very tiring always putting on a coping front so we don’t worry our nearest & dearest. I have a strong feeling that 2024 will bring you better health outcomes & I am sending mega healing & support vibes to assist.

      1. Thank you, Elly. I think you nailed something there – I’ve become very adept through the years at ignoring or suppressing what or how I really feel. I have, for instance, even noticed that I’ve stopped writing journal/diary notes to not have to confront it all even inside my own head. At least, that is my conclusion – if I don’t think it or feel it and especially if I do not write it down, it’s not there. Those feelings and emotions eventually bleed into other areas of life however, for you can’t push stuff down forever.
        Thank you for reminding me of all these important things. I hope you keep remembering them for yourself, too. <3 2024 will be a good year for all of us. Let's aim for that!

  4. I finished crocheting a dish cloth this week. Been at it for a year. Maybe two.
    I need to make more because all my dishcloths are falling apart.

    I go to work to do payroll today. Half day tomorrow to make sure all is well, then off until next week.

  5. I’m packing/unpacking into my new craft space – two bedrooms at the top of the house, with doors facing each other – and trying to soothe my frustration at not having time to make with enjoying discovering things (did anyone else buy too much yarn/fabric/books/gin during lockdowns? Just me then?), and planning on how best to lay out my tables, cupboards and tools.

    I’m using two rooms because they are both small and there’s no bathroom on this level, so no good for either of my possible guests. Oh, and the view over the garden is wonderful. When I’ve got the time – and the ground has dried out – I’m going to explore the bottom of the garden, which apparently is a creek winding through tree ferns 😍

    1. The first time I got an actual space in my home to work in I almost broke down and cried. It is so wonderful. Now my spaces are overrun. I just bought a copy of Where Women Work and In Her Studio. Hopefully those lovely spaces will inspire me to treat mine with more respect. But the space is just so validating to begin with.

  6. I spied a small quilt kit in my craft space (don’t know how I found it, since that room is crammed full with all the things). It was for a little trio of three quiltlets displaying a nativity scene. I got it done in time for a gift exchange. It didn’t go to who I thought would get it, but he seemed pleased to have it.

    We bought a couple of things for the cats – making jokes about hiding the presents from the kids. The first picture in that set is Teddy exploring the new donut. I think he’s probably more pleased with the new cat tree, but this is photographic evidence that the donut is not too small (we purchased the extra large one – but I had doubts)

    Working today, then off til next year!

    1. We got a cat bed that is circular with a center portion that is stuffed softer than the outer circle. I read about them as a tool for comforting nervous dogs, but read the small print to discover that they are good for cats as well.

      Mr. Fluffypants was in love with it for the first two months — curled up in the middle with his paws over his eyes and sleeping for long naps. However, as winter temps arrived and static electricity became a danger, he abandoned it for other nests. We covered it with a short-pile bath towel, and he’s been back on it, but the fluffy surface underneath will have to hide away until springtime comes.

      I’m intrigued by your donut, though!

      1. All three of the cats poked their heads in the donut. Two of them backed out -only Teddy crawled all the way in and came out the other end. Of course, I haven’t seen him in it since that first night, but it’s early days yet. He likes sleeping in other enclosed spaces, so this may still work out for him.

  7. I’ve been enjoying a peaceful hibernation, mixed with a couple of exploring walks with my camera ( and deciding to post the photos I pulled out to make tree decorations as the Twelve Daisies of Christmas – it’s the Third Daisy today –

    Back to work today: I’m sorting out my workspace. I’ve realized I need to do a drastic sort-out of my photographs urgently, since my Mac’s clogged up with them, and I’d like to avoid having to keep them on an external drive. I’m going to be at this for the rest of the winter at least, I daresay. But it’ll feel great to get it done.

  8. Trying not to work on anything this week. But what made me happy is that for Christmas my husband’s parents sent him a shirt with pictures of both our dogs on them. And neck handkerchiefs for the dogs with pictures of us on them.

  9. Jenny, I, too, have started crocheting again, after a respite. Not ten years, but several. I found some yarn hidden away that was perfect for a hat I wanted to make. I have other projects that I hope to get to. We are having really cold weather the next ten days, at least, and it will be hard to walk very far without getting frostbite, so I will be staying inside most of the time. It feels good to get back to it.

    It boggles the mind that you have 40 things going!!! Amazing!

  10. Jenny you are not alone in rediscovering unfinished crochet/knitting projects. I too came across a few unfinished knitting projects and am enjoying the almost instant gratification as I finish them off. One of them was a really nice hat with only three rows in the round needed to complete… I cannot remember or even imagine why it was relegated to the bottom of my knitting bag and forgotten for at least 4 years. It will make a great birthday gift for my daughter in law in January. I’m sort of wishing I too had 40 unfinished projects to play with!

  11. That cardigan looks awesome! You’ve inspired me to pull out my counted cross stitch projects. I had set them aside due to my eyesight but now that I’ve had my cataracts done, I may try finishing the ones I had started.

  12. Well…I was thinking of all the fabric and that I might need lining material…and the fabric store is closing again, for good this time, so I bought Bemberg lining in many colours, half price, yesterday. Also have printed fabric which I thought would make great lining too. I have white/pink stripped pjs cut out forty or so years ago, I should really finish those.

    1. Barbra Streisand’s movie “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” was a fashion lover’s candy. The clothing was fabulous and the linings were gorgeous. Love that movie.

  13. I will be cleaning house later today and early tomorrow as my neighbors who moved away last month are back in town and will be stopping in to see me. That’s about all I have the energy or desire to do as my Fergus passed away on Christmas Day. He had become unexpectedly sick just a few days before and the vets couldn’t figure out what was wrong. All his bloodwork and urine samples came back normal. He died while I was holding him on my lap. He had been quietly purring, his head in my hand, and then he was gone. I still have my other cat, Pippin, so I am not completely alone, but I miss Fergus desperately.

    1. Hugs, and lots of sympathy. I’ve had cats go downhill fast, and it is often some kind of cancer that doesn’t show up, even on scans. Cats rarely tell you they’re sick until the very end. And glad you were with him, but I’m so sorry for your loss.

    2. Sending all the cyber-things you might need right now. <3 It's always so, so hard to say goodbye to the furriest family members. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  14. That’s so cool! I’m a knitter (of sorts) but have gotten away from it in recent years. Crochet is harder for me, but I have aspirations for making a granny-square throw one day. Depression is a B. I’m in the midst right now, and it makes writing (okay EVERYTHING) super hard. I’m so glad you are finding your joys and finishing projects again. Cheers!

  15. I’m actually getting writing done for the first time in ages, so that’s good.

    And trying to chase down an emergency vet for the toothache I’ve had for 5 days, which is especially tricky at this time of year. Not so good. I’m hoping it is something minor (or even something annoying like sinuses pressing on things, which will eventually clear up on its own.)

    And now I have to go grocery shopping. Don’t wanna.

      1. PS. I had a terrible time, years ago, with what turned out to be neuralgia – cured after two dentists and loads of painkillers by a homeopath!

    1. Hee, hee! That reminds me of Mixed Nuts, the movie that ends with a woman giving birth under the giant town Christmas tree, helped by a veterinarian, and attended by a pack of pet dogs.

  16. I’m on track to finish Secret Project #1 this week (second draft, but the third usually stays on track, and it’s the second where I can go way off the rails), and it was only a secret because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish it in time, so Arghers can be the first to hear that it’s a Helen Binney novella, to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the series’ first book’s publication. A Dowry of Death (assuming all continues to go well with the final draft and editing and Amazon uploading, and I haven’t just jinxed myself) will be available in April, ten years after the publication of A Dose of Death.

    Beyond that, I’ve been doing a lot of puttering and decluttering, including fixing the snags in a wool hat I made and love, but I’d forgotten I REALLY can’t wear wool, so now it can be donated and no longer qualify as clutter and a thing I need to do someday. Sort of like finishing old projects that are almost done.

  17. Eldest grandson harvested my currently fruiting jalapeño plant of another dozen peppers. I was too lazy to stuff them and wrap them in bacon, so I cut them all in halves, stripped out the seeds, and stuffed them with a mix of cream cheese and chopped cooked bacon. Much easier. Picture, so it did happen. (There’s a couple of little yellow sweet peppers in there, too.)

    1. I have a couple of poblanos in the freezer. That picture may have inspired me to do something with them.

      1. Part of my impetus to make them now was that my poblanos had withered from neglect, and I didn’t want that to happen again. I still have some cubanelles begging to be turned to food and eaten.

  18. I’m trying to do lots of end of year tasks (charity donations, ordering the last presents, paying estimated tax, dealing with mom’s finances). I am not doing the day job!

    And I’m working on keeping mom safe and the world safe from her. I was unable to get the road test people to make a note in mom’s the file about her medical conditions before her Jan 2 driving road test. Some medical person must have written a letter saying she is safe: what is disturbing is that her primary care doc said to my brother he would not do it, but we know she was going to ask a specialist who only treats one of her impairments. Not good.

    She did flunk a test with a driving school so I’m hopeful she won’t pass the official road test but I’m also infuriated that some doc made it possible. She has a vision field cut in her good eye, a dropped right foot (which makes it hard to control the gas pedal and brake), is extremely cane dependent and struggles to get in and out of cars. What were they thinking ?

    On a separate note, I talked with the minister of the church that the SDW victim belongs to. She made it clear that she couldn’t tell me everything because she had to protect other people’s privacy. She did tell me that when victim met SDW she isolated him from friends and church, (typical abuser behavior), that his friends who are now caring for him see no signs of dementia (mom’s first explanation for why he said SDW battered him) but does show signs of trauma, that she is absolutely convinced that SDW battered him, that there was financial as well as fiscal abuse, and that since victim walked many parishioners’ dogs SDW had access to their house keys and she thinks there was pilfering and they should change their locks as mom changed hers.

    I learned yesterday that the SDW gave her jewelry in return for putting up the bail money. So I now think it’s likely mom has received stolen property.
    (SDW said her aunt gave it to her so she has funds in case of emergency but I’m not buying it.)

    I am planning to do an actual craft project soon—sewing a strip of muslin on the backs of two navajo rugs so we can hang them by running a stick through the muslin. They are too dense to be able to use the preferred Velcro approach.

    1. Maybe you should document the jewellery and check it, just in case. Potentially receiving stolen goods is not good. Also the way things are going SDW.. may turn up with a smudgy signed power of attorney/will for your mother at a later date. Maybe you should get the bank to notify you if any large sums are requested on her accounts

      1. I’m going up Jan 11 and will ask to see the jewelry then. In the meantime I will call the police to see if there is a public list of stolen objects —I think they circulate a list like that to pawnbrokers.
        I don’t think SDW is savvy enough to do a forged will or power of attorney—I have mom’s real ones. But I will try to keep an eye out for that . And fortunately I’m on all mom’s accounts except her IRA and have internet access and check them periodically, except for one that I have to set up with it on Jan 11. She can’t get added to the accounts (which is what she did with the victim I believe ) without my knowing. And you can’t add a second person to an IRA.

        But I welcome any additional precautions I can take! This woman is clearly trouble.

        I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she has pilfered stuff from mom. I will try to keep an eye out for missing stuff when I’m up there.

        1. If she’s petty level, she doesn’t have to have account access, she can “lose” one of your mother’s cards and then she just needed to watch her for a pin number. People usually don’t notice small regular withdrawals.

          1. Yes, that’s definitely worth looking for although I don’t know that mom has debit cards. She withdraws at a teller. But I’m going to get online access
            Jan 10 to the only other bank she could make debit withdrawals from and I will check then (I am already on the account). I can see from the ones I’m on that she isn’t doing it there.

    2. It just gets worse and worse. That SDW is terrifying. It would be good if the law caught up with her.

      1. She is out on bail for the felony abuse and the minister implied that she may well get charged with the pilfering. I mean, they are on to her but like everyone she has rights and processes take time.

        I think she may just head out of town to avoid her next court date and that would be good for mom but not for her next victim.

    3. It baffles me that people like SDW exist, let alone are allowed to roam free. Sheesh. Stay safe Dbbie, and hope your mom stays safe too. Sending sabertoothed ghost-cats to guard you both from SDW!
      On the driving: We’ve had a similar thing going with Sven’s grandpa, who’s 92 going on 93, can barely walk, falls over a lot, is occasionally distracted/confused/detached from reality and sometimes forgets where he’s going when he’s driving. The family has tried for several years to get him to stop driving, and now when his license expired, we hoped the doctors would put a stop to it. Nope. Both they and the wassname-place that okays and gives out driver’s licenses have given him the green light. This happened just last month. What are these people thinking? He’s a walking accident waiting to happen for goodness sake! So I understand your frustration.

      1. OMG. I’m so sorry to hear that. The only way we got mom’s license taken away (at 86) was when she put a 9 inch hole into her house by driving into it plus all four kids writing a letter to the police saying she wasn’t safe and had four medical conditions.
        It’s really scary that doctors do this

  19. I have over 2 dozen quilt tops to quilt. I also have probably a dozen QTIPs (quilt tops in progress). We shouldn’t count all the ones I have intentions of making eventually. I’m happy that I can sew again but longarmming will have to wait another month or more until my shoulder improves enough.

    I’m not working on much as I’m still visiting family. Traveling tomorrow. Recovering afterward.

    I am hoping to work on my Arcadia Ave. I have the blocks made but am pondering on the setting.

  20. I have one stalled crochet project and two to start. Maybe tomorrow.

    I’m off to my progressive group’s holiday party. I am contributing a farro, green bean, mushroom with Asian dressing dish. And it’s vegan!

  21. Slowly putting the kitchen back together now that the reno is done. I’ve brought up most of the dried food that was stored in the basement but still need to organize it. Kitchenware’s in boxes in our shed – I need a find a lasagne pan to make dinner for my nephew and his GF tomorrow. I only got about half my Christmas cookies baked before the 25th, so will bake the rest of them this week. I was craving homemade soup so made a big pot of spicy black bean soup. We have no snow but soup is a good antidote to wet, dreary days.

  22. Today I witnessed an older man jump in front of a woman in line at CVS, because apparently he felt he had waited long enough. The woman turned to me and we mouthed the words ‘Oh, my God’. The Christmas season is getting shorter and shorter. I wonder if he would have done that to a man. I doubt it. Getting myself into a more pleasant mood, I found the 50% off Christmas candy aisle. That was so much better.

  23. I worked Friday and Saturday at the drugstore, which was interesting. Friday we were run off our feet; it was so busy that the manager actually didn’t get to leave for her lunch until well after 1:30. I didn’t get to leave my till for almost 2 solid hours.

    On Saturday, my newest co-worker was learning the opening/closing protocols (dealing with the lottery reconciliation, making up the bank deposit slips, entering the previous day’s data into the corporate accounting system, that sort of thing) in anticipation of her getting a set of keys and being able to do that on her own. Please note that I do not want this, not in the slightest. She thought for a brief moment that having this extra responsibility made her the boss.

    A very brief moment.

    She also thought that, in a town with 3 retail stores two days before Christmas, we would be dead. She and the manager were busy with her learning the paperwork side of things and neither of them were on the floor until nearly 11 (we open at 10). After the manager left I went to the back because I needed to use the washroom and for the first time since we opened there was no one in the store. She proceeds to tell me that we are going to do all this restocking of shelves and cleaning and that it’s going to be a very dead day.

    I’d already done $1000 worth of sales through my till.

    After I told her that she started laughing about how stupid people were for shopping in town and why didn’t they all just go to Edmonton? Seriously. She couldn’t stop going on about why would people shop in town, like somehow the idea of supporting your community and doing your best to keep your town from dying was a bad one. All this contempt from a person whose job depends on people shopping in town.

    Honestly, some people’s children.

    She was also pissy because I have 5 shifts in January and she seems to think that she should get the bulk of the shifts because her husband is sick and off work and they have little kids. I had been feeling bad for her but when she was snotty to me about my January shifts and acted like I was deliberately trying to take work away from her, I changed my mind.

    Oh, the joys of working with other humans.

    1. I’m sorry you have to put up with that. We had a coworker like that for a while but he fortunately left to join the navy. And dropped out before basic training was over, as expected, poor snowflake. Hopefully yours takes a similar route.

  24. My week consists of not working except (hi Natasha) going in briefly to do payroll.
    I have been really looking forward to the time off. I am now done with all extra activities until new year eve and may do nothing but read and eat nice things Thursday. Maybe a walk. Maybe not.

  25. I had my first ocean swim of the summer yesterday. I know that’s not work, but it definitely made me happy. It was so glorious – reminded me of that wonderful line from Mary Oliver’s poem ‘Wild Geese’: ‘You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.’

    Second swim this morning. It’s an incredible way to start the day.

  26. Still moving. I’m /the family is clearing out the old flat. Too much stuff had accumulated.
    Also unpacking the boxes in the new location.
    Not all stuff will be unpacked as the next move is scheduled for in 4 years.
    I’m set on weeding out stuff until then.
    Not all books will be placed in the shelves. I don’t want to store them in 2 rows anymore.
    Also trying to catch up with laundry. For once we have a basement room for the washing, but stuff dries soooo slowly. But is soft when it’s dry. Interesting.
    What made me happy? Not much as the last months were beyond stressful and will keep on being stressful.
    And sad: the funeral for f-i-l is scheduled for early January.

    Soothing moments: Sharing my taste in books with kid no. 2 who’s got almost hooked on hockey (so far books). She got me tickets for a home game of our local team for xmas to which I’m VERY looking forward to.
    Plus she’s not annoyed when I share hockey news (currently on the U20 chamionship in Sweden).

  27. I’m on holiday, visiting my family up north. We had our belated Christmas lunch and present swap today, and it was lovely to have everyone together again. My work for the next ten days is getting my resting heart rate down to a healthier level (it’s been slightly elevated since the allergic reaction last year) by doing only relaxing things. Nothing but good times ahead.

  28. The past week of work has been mostly ‘adjusting to remote work from satellite home office’ which was kind of a circus to set up. After the circus, though, I’ve been able to sign on and get the job done more or less as usual. The ergonomics are imperfect, adjustments must be made for the next time I do this, but sister & her wife are having a nice vacation Away and none of us have to worry about The Olds being alone and unsupervised after their scary multiple-trips-to-the-ER autumn.

    Also on the plus side, I’m getting a look at how our folks go through their day under normal i.e. not Hosting Guests circumstances (it did take a couple days for Mom to get used to the fact that she doesn’t have to Play Host). They are highly functional 80+ yr olds which is great. And it’s very nice being in a neighborhood where I can go outside on a break for a five-minute walk and see maybe one car on the street.

    Having given myself permission to not even think about trying to write on this trip, I am enjoying Idle Brain.

  29. I cleaned, not enough, but more than I have in a long time yesterday in anticipation of an inspection today. When the knock came today, it was a maintenance man without any administrator. He took a look at my lock, which decided to cooperate today. And I found where I had stashed the light bulbs the last time I rearranged my closet, but I still can’t quite reach the ceiling light fixture to change the burned out bulb.
    Progress is coming in baby steps this week. But the space made by last week’s book donation is still very encouraging.

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