Pairfect socks

I am not a knitter of socks. I am a knitter of fingerless mitts, hats, scarves, sweaters, cowls, shawls, and more. Several years ago I knit my very first sock. And that’s it. I finished it and never knit the second sock. I still have the first sock. I long ago used the rest of the yarn for a couple of pairs of mitts.

Mitts and socks have much in common. They come in pairs. They include miles and miles of plain boring knitting. And yet I have no problem knitting many, many pairs of fingerless mitts. I have not even considered knitting another sock since I finished the first one. Last week I developed the urge to knit socks.

I went to my local yarn store and browsed the sock yarn. I picked up this yarn to make this sock.

#07115 midnight color

This sock yarn is designed to be relatively fool proof. It looks fancy because of the stripes, but it is a self-striping yarn. Meaning that all you have to do is follow the pattern on the ball band – knit, knit, knit – and you end up with two perfectly matching socks that look like this.

With my sum total of one sock-knit-experience, I decided that the pattern on the ball band, which starts at the cuff (top down) and is just plain knitting the whole way, wouldn’t work for me. So, I decided to find a different pattern to use for this yarn. I chose this pattern. I wanted a pretty design and I wanted a toe-up pattern. This pattern meets both of those criteria.

I started knitting. I got to the second stripe and I realized that this self-striping yarn was designed for top down socks only. By choosing a toe-up pattern, I had taken idiot proof sock yarn and made a large mistake. I fluctuate between being the kind of knitter that fixes mistakes and the kind of knitter that adapts mistakes to make them look on purpose. I’m not sure how to make this look on purpose, but I’m not fixing it either. So there.

The leg of the sock will be perfectly plain in color – the better to see the lace pattern. Yeah, that’s why I did it.

A basket of habanero peppers

Trying to lose weight was designed to mess with a person’s stability. Take an otherwise well-adjusted, well-rounded, level-headed, emotionally even person, remove a large number of calories and require them to work out every day. You will end up with a grumpy, irritable, generally dissatisfied person, who would eat a basket of habanero peppers if you put it in front of them and told them they didn’t have any calories.

Now consider that the person you start with is not generally well-adjusted, well-rounded, level-headed, or emotionally stable. Take away a large number of calories and require them to work out very day. What do you think you’re left with?

It’s a miracle I can get out of bed. Whoever invented losing weight should be strung up in the street.

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In other news, behold my sock yarn incompetence. Can you see it? If it helps, the yarn is Regia Pairfect and I noticed my error as soon as the first color started to change. I kept knitting anyway. My mistake will be spelled out tomorrow for the non-knitters among you (which, is probably most of you).

I knit, therefore I am

On my darkest of days, I lie in bed all day and all night long. I don’t read, watch tv, or surf the internet. I lay in bed, sometimes asleep, sometimes awake, with the covers pulled up to my chin and sometimes over my head. These are the worst of all days; the days when my will to live has all but vanished.

I have not had a day like this in a long time.

Dark days, two or three steps above “my darkest of days”, are marked by my ability to get out of bed, if only to move to the couch. These are most days. The worst of the dark days involve only one thing on a consistent basis: knitting. It is how I know that somewhere in my imbalanced brain, there is hope. I knit, therefore I will continue to be and do. I knit, therefore I am.

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This phase has come at a very good time. Eighty-eight sleeps until Christmas and I have quite a lot of Christmas knitting to do. We won’t discuss the fact that this hat is for me. 😡

Blue Light Battle

blue ight

Most of us have heard about the disruptive effects of blue light. The health website Mercola explains it like this,

Among other things, melatonin acts as a marker of your circadian phase or biological timing. In a nutshell, this hormone influences what time of day or night your body thinks it is, regardless of what time the clock on the wall displays. Somewhere between 50-1,000 lux is the activation range within which light will begin to suppress melatonin production. Melatonin is a regulator of your sleep cycle, and when it is suppressed, there is less stimulation to promote sleepiness at a healthy bedtime. This contributes to people staying up later and missing valuable sleep! (How the Cycles of Light and Darkness Affect Your Health and Wellbeing)

Reading a book, talking to your partner, listening to an audiobook or music, etc. These are all ways to eliminate blue light before sleep. It boils down to this, at night blue light bad, darkness good. Not that complicated, right?

You don’t have to be particular intelligent to understand this concept or manage to avoid blue light exposure before bedtime. But even if you did, E and I are both fairly intelligent people.

Every morning E has trouble waking up. His alarm goes off. He shuts it off and goes back to sleep – waking up an hour or two later to actually get up and go to work. Every afternoon he calls me from work or comes home for lunch and complains about how tired he is. When he gets home at the end of the day, he is exhausted. When we go to bed usually some time between 9 and 10pm he spend an hour or two surfing the internet on his phone. (As do I, but I’m not complaining about being tired.)

He has heard just as frequently as I have that blue light is bad for him. Actually, he has probably heard it at least twice as often as I have, because of how often I pester him about it. And yet, he continues to spend a minimum of an hour on his phone every night and wake up absolutely trashed the next morning. He appears unwilling to give up his “wind down time” as he calls it. Unwilling to change his wind down routine.

In addition to messing with his own schedule, the bright light from his phone in an otherwise dark room is often extremely disruptive to me. It is a point of frequent contention and so far, I can find no way clear of the issue.

So, how about you? Were you aware of the problems with blue light at night? Do you avoid blue light after a certain time? If you share your bed, how do you manage this issue with your bedmate?

Reboot

Does a blogger with mental illness exist who does not occassionally drop off the radar? Is there a blogger with mental illness out there who is always reliable and religiously regular with their blog posts?

Perhaps, but I haven’t found them yet.

So why do we even try? Well, for me, it’s because I am fighting my mental illness. I am still learning to live with and manage my mental health. I am trying to be better about it. This is a daily battle.

Motivation. Energy. Inspiration. Desire. Hope. Drive. These are things that people everywhere often struggle with. But most people don’t also struggle to get out of bed every day, to leave the house, to meet basic levels of hygiene and self-care. Do you remember Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs?

People with mental illness are frequently stuck in the bottom two or three levels of this hierarchy. And if you remember from your college psych class, if you don’t have the bottom levels of the hierarchy under control, then you can’t move up the pyramid.

People at war with their minds are at war every minute of every day of their lives. Well, I’m back here, raising my white flag again, looking for allies, friends, and fellow members of this very individual and personal fight.

-T

Down came the rain

In an interesting turn of events, it has been raining all morning and is supposed to rain the rest of the day. After experiencing a monsoon season where it literally rains for 5 to 2o minutes at a time before and after which the sun shines without a cloud in the sky, I have grown very used to a great deal of very bright, very hot sun.

I have been complaining about the sun since we arrived in the middle of June at the height of the Tucson summer. If I really tried, I could probably count on one hand the number of hours I have spent outside in the sunlight in the last three months. I am a breed of creature that hibernates through the summer and when forced outside endeavor to be as close to water and shade as humanly possible.

I love cloudy, gloomy, windy, breezy, chilly, cold days. I love to wear layers, hats, gloves, thick comfy socks, warm shoes. I love hot cider, Autumn leaves, snow, hay rides, pumpkins, Christmas, Fall festivals, and more.

So, you will imagine my surprise when I walked out of my bedroom this morning, into my living room, and thought to myself, “Where is the sun? It’s so gloomy. I need sun!” And then I walked around the house opening up the blinds as wide as they would go to let in as much sun as possible.

So here’s what I’ve decided, while I still love the cooler weather (and passionately hate the 95 to 110 degree Tucson norm), I also love the warm sun. Actually, it is the combination of these two things rather than simply the cold, that make Fall my favorite time of year. The best part of Fall is wrapping up to go outside and then being blessed by both the cool air and the warm sun at the same time. The key, not freezing and not melting.

I am told that there is some chance of experiencing this sweet spot somewhere between November and February. Check back in March. If this sweet spot hasn’t made an appearance, I will be packing up my dogs and driving north for the Summer. Who wants a seasonal roommate?

I’m not who I thought I’d be

My husband and I watched a really interesting documentary the other day called Makers: Women in Business. It’s a documentary series and this one was about the evolution of women in the market place. It featured groundbreaking women, most of whom I’d never heard, but there were some familiar names: Oprah, Carly Fiorina, Martha Stewart.

The day before we watched this my doctor told me I need to lose 30 lbs (no shit sherlock) and my husband and I had a very intense conversation, which ended with me feeling undervalued (not entirely his fault).

This is by way of explaining why, after watching the Women in Business documentary, when my husband invited me to talk to him about whatever I happened to be thinking about, I said, “I’m not who I thought I’d be,” and then burst into tears and cried for almost the next hour straight with very little in the way of coherent words.

I have been depressed since a very young age and in my teen years I figured out it wasn’t normal, not everyone felt that way all of the time. This realization somehow gave me hope; it wouldn’t always be that way. I was an intelligent child, someone who got straight A’s without thinking about it too hard. I never did have a clear idea of what I wanted to do or be, but everyone always said that I was young and I would figure it out eventually. I believed them.

I spent a lot of time in bookstores during this time. I loved to read and because of my mental health issues, I loved to read psychology books about mental illness. As a result, when it was time to go to college, I decided that, despite the fact that I loved to write creatively, Psychology was a good major for me. It was practical, useful, and interesting. And I was doing fine my freshman year of college in my Psych classes. But then over Christmas break, I went home and visited the highschool English teacher that I adored and she asked me why I wasn’t a Creative Writing major. Honestly, at that time, it had never occurred to me.

I went back to school and switched my major the following semester. I graduated with a degree in Creative Writing. I had no practical skills and college-taught marketable skills. And I didn’t even really want to be a writer. Writing is hard. It takes an incredible amount of self-discipline. It is an incredibly solitary endeavor. And it’s not even remotely financially stable. I went to work for a tutoring company working with students with learning disabilities.

I was really good at that. I advanced quickly, in less than a year becoming a training director. I loved this job. I started to think that this would be what I could do. It was a franchise. I could work there for awhile and eventually, in ten or fifteen years, buy my own. And then my mental illness stepped in and two years after starting there, I was fired for interpersonal problems with my coworkers and my boss.

I was devastated. Quite literally. It was difficult to leave the house. I started to have panic attacks in public. I couldn’t get out of bed. My mental illness took over. I filed for social security disability. I have not been able to work full time since then.

My husband and I regularly have heated discussions about our “contributions to the marriage”. He’s right of course. I feel like a thorough failure. I am an accomplished knitter. At the moment, that is the best I can say for myself.

  • T