Monday, 31 March 2008

Meds adjustment

I went to the doctor today for a check-up. My doctor is really nice, and understand what I'm going through. He said today that I looked a lot better since he first met me, and that I was even smiling!
And I do feel better. After many months of feeling completely stagnant, I feel as in the last handful of months I have started to get better. Slowly, and with its ups and downs, but the general trend seems to be up.
He thinks I'm ready to decrease my meds further. In a month's time I will decrease my sertraline (zoloft) from 50mg-25mg on alternate days, to 50-25-25. It has to be done very slowly or I get brain zaps and very sleepy.
I am also geting my propanolol in 2x40mg pills, rather than one 80mg pill, so if I feel well I can try reducing it a bit. He thinks that a reduction might help with feeling tired all the time, as a side effect of propanolol is vivid dreams, which I am having. I have always had vivid dreams, but now they last all night. I feel as if I've been working all night, and they are not letting me rest properly.
Hopefully the spring will make me feel a bit better as well. Sunshine always helps.


Meds, counterclockwise from top: 1000mg flaxseed oil (veggie equivalent to fish oil, which made me feel nasty), 25mg sertraline, 80mg propanolol.

As Edward Monkton says, We must take our tablets or else we'll go mad. I love this card. I found it after I starting taking meds, and it is one of my favourites ever!
See it here in handy little animated icon, made by me:

OK, I think I'm done editing now. *whistles away*

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Revenge of the Nerds

Let me tell you, Revenge of the Nerds is one of the best movies ever made. It is simply made of pure awesome.

I am a geek, and I'm proud of it. I was incredibly lucky to go to a university where nearly everybody was a geek (many of them were still in the closet, but that's ok), but I remember when I was in high school and everybody mocked me because I was a geek.

Watching Revenge of the Nerds makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and it's great. I love how they stick it up to the jocks. Go watch it!

In which illnesses, albeit physical, yield something productive

I was ill on Friday. Physically ill, as opposed to normal ill, and properly ill, as opposed to almost but not quite. I spent the night being sick, and then in the morning decided to call in sick at work. I slept until past 11, which made me feel a lot better, although my tummy was a bit upset all day. As a result, I spent most of the day curled up in the sofa, sipping some ginger tea (ginger is good for upset tummies), knitting and watching Buffy. It would have been much nicer if I hadn't been ill, but it wasn't too bad. And, the day was productive!

Before Friday, I only had the cuff of the sleeves of my cardi. Now I have nearly one entire sleeve! I toyed with the idea of knitting both sleeves at the same time, but having the two on the same set of circulars proved much too complicated for me, so I got my dpns out and will knit them in the round.
This is my current progress of the sleeve:

Healing cardigan sleeve 1

Can you see the stitch markers? I put them as I knit every 10 stiches, and then to mark the start and end of the increase section, so I count more easily, with the aim of making an identical second sleeve (note to self: 74 rows before the start of the increase section).
I made those stitch markers, which I was curling up in the sofa. Using earring clips, some black yarn, and buttons and big "beads" from a bracelet I got as a present (I would never wear that bracelet, so I figured I could at least reuse the beads for something I would use).
Stitch marker
Stitch marker

I am very happy with the way they turned out, and plan to make more stitch markers! They are very simple and simplistic, I know, but they are mine, and I like them.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Eastercon was fun. I wore my Jayne hat and everybody complimented it.

Alex and I got there after a train journey that was mercifully not really affected by the Engineering works. I believe it might have made one of our train legs slightly longer, but not a lot more than 15 minutes or so. We got there at about 11.30 or so, having set out at 9. We registered at the con (OMG they gave us mugs!) and then I checked us into the hotel while Alex waited for our badges to be printed. The hotel room was really nice, with a hiauge bed. The bathroom could have also been nice, if it wasn't because the shower was too low for Alex to stand under it, and, most importantly, it didn't have hot water. At least the bath did, so we got to have a brief bath on Sunday morning.

As expected, the vendors room was full of books and stuff and the hotel was fool of geeks (I do feel sorry for the "normal" people staying in the hotel those days, although it was just an airport hotel, so who stays on those over the weekend? People with funky connection flights? people whose flights got delayed? Someone with business that can't go back home for the weekend? Anyway, I digress, let us go back to Eastercon).

I went to "Fandom: hobby or way of living?" talk. Basically we endded up differentiating between fan (which is a private affair) and Fan (someone more public who, for example goes to cons), and talked about the fan nature. A very good point raised was "what do normal people do during Easter?". Apparently most people do DIY. I think I enjoyed my Eastercon experience as to think of turning it into a regular event.

I went to a talk by the Director of Science at ESA on fictional vs factual space programs, and how what we considered fiction and fact in space changes over time, and not that long ago. So, while I have always known that Venus has sulphuric acid clouds, he grew up thinking that the clouds hid vegetation, some sort of paradise. He mentioned the COBE mission, and I dare you to guess what T-shirt I was wearing. Yes, you've got it right, the Science T-shirt! xkcd has *always* the answer. Has anybody founded an xkcd church?

I also went to a pannel on last year's SF movies. Apparently some crazy people don't like 300. Go figure. However, some movies were recommended, like Enchanted (which will also unleash the girly girl inside me). I have downloaded it already, and will watch in on Sunday when Alex is away.

We didn't do much more on Saturday, except buy some more books and fill out the quiz, with the help of some nice passers-by. One of my coworkers, Sean, was helping a friend sell his collection, and said hi and bought 3 books from them, at their recommendation. We went to a pub recommended by a friend for dinner (walking to it the roundabout way, 3 sides of a square). We were planning to go to the night quiz, but we were so exhausted (remember our crazy time to go to bed on Tuesday at 4 am) and were in bed really early. Appropriately, we read in bed before going to sleep, and that was really nice.

Sunday morning saw us tired, and with a disappointing breakfast. We shopped a bit more for books, and then Alex went to a talk about the death of RPGs. I had a bit of a panic, and decided that I could not possibly go into Charlie Stross' talk late, so I sat in a corner crocheting and feeling a bit sad. I think I was just really tired, and there were lots of people. Although I didn't know them, the numbers didn't bother me, because they were also geeks, but having gone to a party had made me a bit too tired. Talking of geeks, they were lots of little geeks. Lots of babies and toddlers, some of them dressed up too, and they were soooooo cute. Ooooohhhh, the little geeks. And so very well behaved as well, you could barely tell they were babies about. Several people were dressed up as well, including two Kaylee's dresses!

We then went to the "not Clarke's awards" panel, which was rather fun. Our main conclusion from it was that we should get Brasyl, by Ian MacDonald, because it is apparently awesome, although it was not in the Clarke's short list. We left early and went to one of the proper hotel bars (as opposed to the convention bars) and got nice sandwhiches (not that you care about what I ate, but never mind).

Then it was Gaiman's talk. I sadly was not lucky enough to go to his Kaffeklatchs (basically, have coffee with him), but I really enjoyed his talk. He read us a short story and the first chapter of his latest book, and talked about stuff. I got very excited when he was talking about the community, and how if suddenly SF were to disappear, we'd all... take up knitting, and keep coming and meeting. Yey, knitting! There were several other ladies knitting about, including people I've previously seen at cons knitting. Talking of ladies, there were lots of us. I mean, it was still majority male, but there was a healthy number of women, and that was very nice to see. It was rather disturbing, however, how lightly people talked about their first cons in 1984 (Gaiman's first con). That is the year I was born.

What else? I went to a presentation on Greek and Roman mythology in the Sandman, and to another about Physics mistakes in SF movies, which was rather entertaining and fun! Sound in space, etc.

After that, there was not much we wanted to do before it was time to leave, and, as the vendors room was closed and we were really tired, we made an exit an hour earlier than our train tickets. We didn't get home too late, and it was nice.

Oh! I bought a badge that says "I gave my books their own room, now they want the whole house". It amused me. However, on Monday Alex and I realised that we are starting to run out of shelve space! We thought about it, and we think we can fit without too much rearranging 3 more full size Billys and 2 small ones. We can fit smaller bookshelves in other places as well, but if that is the case maybe it might be time to look for a bigger place. What do older people that have more books than we do do with theirs?

Anyway, Eastercon was fun. I've rambled, haven't I?

Monday, 24 March 2008

FO - Airy scarf

For Charlotte's 21st birthday, I decided to knit her something. The problem was that I had decided this only a week before her birthday. So I reached for Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and proceeded to knit the Airy Scarf. It is meant to take 4 hours for the size in the book, but I knitted for longer (basically until I had time) and made it longer.

The scarf is knitted in 6 mm straight needles with Kidsilk Haze, and it looks beautiful. You won't find any modelling pictures because I can only touch animal fibers with my hands, the rest of my body is very sensitive.

The scarf was very easy to knit, and very quick. It turned out very elegant, and very delicate, and Charlotte was delighted with it. She has been amazed at my knitting before, so it was a very nice suprise for her.

In chronological order...

Blocking. The carpet makes an awesome blocking board, as it holds the scarf nicely in place. It was pinned to the carpet then sprayed and let dry overnight.
Blocking scarf

The more beautiful pictures (I am specially fond of the first one):
Scarf Airy scarf

And the present!
Packaged airy scarf And the box is closed

Friday, 21 March 2008

Back for a bit

I am back temporarily home after some days away, although I will be off tomorrow again (to Eastercon).

The party was nice, as I managed to secure a small group of people to talk to, rather than being lost in the 90-odd people in the party, although 3 am is waaaaaay too late for a party to finish. I spent the next couple of days tired and headachey, and I am a bit sad today, but I handled the lots of people rather well.
Charlotte liked her scarf lots, and there will be pictures soon.

I think I finally learnt how to crochet. The bad news, however, is that I had made 2 halfs and 2 starts of a half of the katamari wrong. I have a new half that I think is ok, and one nob. I might take it to Eastercon. I do really want to work on my cardigan, but it might be a bit too bulky.

Back again in a couple of days!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


I'm going to Eastercon!

I wasn't really planning on going, it hadn't really occurred to me. But two days ago at night, Alex and I had a look at places to go for Easter. Because it was so late, and because we weren't sure what we wanted to do, we couldn't really find anything we liked, and it was all rather expensive, especially for something we were not sure about. Alex got rather sad and a bit upset, because he wanted to do something nice with me, but nothing was happening.

Something clicked inside me. Seeing him so sad about it was like a good kick in the butt, and the organiser Cristina came out. I calmed him down and then found us a pln1 (play, restaurant; zoo, forest).
Then yesterday at work one of my friends mentioned online Eastercon, and that clicked to. After confirming with Alex an interest, I found dates, hotels, prices and other information, and phoned the theatre anyway to check if they'd still had tickets that evening rather than book them then (it turned out that they were already sold out). I even secured a temporary booking (until today) of a hotel room, just in case we wanted to book tickets for the con.

In the evening, when both of us went home, we discussed it, and suddenly Alex found himself with a plan I had made, including with emails and phone calls to strange people, something I hate dread hate dread doing. I then booked the con tickets and the hotel, and he booked the trains. I had a bit of a shake prior to booking, but I had managed got get an idea all the way to a plan without panicking!

So now Alex and I will be at Eastercon Saturday and Sunday, staying Saturday night at the con hotel! I feel very proud of having dealt with and planned things. I also want Alex to know that I can step up to the challenge if it's needed, that he doesn't need to help me be up all the time.

I'm off to Alex's siblings birthday party this evening, and probably will be out of contact for a couple of days afterwards at his parents. I'm a bit scared about the birthday party, because it involves 90-odd people I don't know, so hopefully I will be ok. Alex has volunteered to help me and, if I feel bad, I can go back early wit Alex's parents, who are not staying for the full party until 3 am (it's a rented venue).

Have a good Easter if I don't see you earlier!

1A pln is a plan that is not fully developed yet. Even below a pln is a pl. You don't want to carry out those.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Draconic mittens - FO

Done and with pictures!

As I said yesterday, I blocked my mittens, with cardboard and ductape. The blocking tools worked really well, much to my surprise, and the lace was brought up, making them look even more beautiful!

Blocking tools Blocking mittens

Behold the Draconic Mittens! Fear the Dragon!
Draconic mittens

Scales detail Finger detail

I'm very proud with how they turned up. I like that the do not have ribs like the Fetchings, as soy stretches lots and it widened the mittens too much to be worn comfortable.

The Draconic Mittens are knitted in Sidar Just Soya in green, using 3.0 mm needles. Pattern is dapper gloves by Oceanwidnknits.

Their ravelry page is here

On working and enjoying it

I used to be a workaholic. It was a problem, and was causing me to have a mild depression back in the day (ironically, when I tried to stop being one was when I had my breakdown and went severely depressed, but that's another story and has more factors into it).
Changing from a workaholic to a more normal person has been a long process, paired with picking up new hobbies (knitting, mainly) and learning to relax. I don't think I am one now, although I know that it might be something that I need to watch out for all my life. It might possibly ran in the family (both sides), and it's a "good" escape technique, so I'll have to fight it. But I know that, so I'll watch out for it and it'll always be alright in the end.

However, I have just noticed today how much work influences my mood, even now that I'm not obsessed with it.
I had been doing for the last couple of weeks some coding. Fairly mindless code, to be honest, but still moderately entertaining, allowing me to listen to music and podcasts at the same time (the other code I enjoy is the difficult thinking code, and my bosses have decided that I should do more of that, so I'll be starting something challenging after Easter). The code work that I can do has finished now, because people are ill (and are working on things I need) and away (and can't explain to me the next project step). I reluctantly started working on the end of the last project I was working it. It's only doing the last corrections to the final document, not more than a day's work at most, but I can't do it. It's so dull, the company that sent the stuff can't understand that their code is bad, the stuff has failed catastrophically, and it's just dull and boring and I don't want to do it. It's dragging me down. It's making me feel depressed. I can't just get on with it, and I know being down won't be staying here with the document, I will be taking that home :o(

And it's not even that I've been working on this for months without hope. I've been working on it for *checks clock* 3 hours. And I'm already down, wanting to go home. At least I know that I will never be able to work in something I don't enjoy. Not for any idealistic reason, but because I doubt my depression will let me. Which, if I keep being lucky enough to do something I like, I guess it's not so bad a thing: I will be working in something I truly enjoy :o)

PS.- The mitten blocking was very successful! Keep tuned for when I upload the pictures this evening, I don't have them at work with me :o)
Also, I really like the little smiley with the nose. It's making me happy :o)

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Of illnesses and tails and blocking soy

Alex is ill today, with a rather bad cold. He was home and in bed yesterday when I came from work, which is something he *never* does, no matter how tired, so he is really not very well. He did come out of bed yesterday for a bit, while I was ironing, to play Shrek III in the Play Station, and he was looking much better. Only then he felt crap again after a while, and today he is staying home. I spoke to him at lunchtime and he is feeling better (and he sounded so much better), but he is still not 100%.
It made me a bit sad that I couldn't to anything to help, and I think part of me is a bit sad still. The manic happiness of the weekend is now past. That was so weird. I was ecstatic, bouncing around, with this uncontrollable energy inside me, and I had no idea what to do with it. It was nice, but in a way I'm glad it's now past: it was too much and uncontrollable. I would like to be just normal. I've never gone manic before, just depressive, but I guess it's never too late to develop bipolar disorder. Which I doubt is the case, but the word "manic" earlier brought it to mind.

While he was ill yesterday, I worked on my Draconic Mittens, discovering that I had not written down the needle changes I had done. I'm pretty sure now that the finishing edges are knitted with different needles, but it doesn't look too bad or different, so it doesn't really matter. The knitting is done now, and I need to block them, to bring out the diamonds.

I'm not entirely sure how to block soy. The ballband says not to iron it, but I do plan to iron it, just at very low heat and through a piece of cloth. There is not need for molten green soy on my iron, thankyouverymuch. My current blocking plan involves digging out some of the old moving cardboard boxes and cutting some strips from them, in the width of the mittens. I will cover the longitudinal edges with ductape so that the cardboard doesn't catch on the yarn (and maybe all the cardboard, so it doesn't soak and get messy). If I damp the mittens, slide the cardboard inside them, and pin them to shape with pins onto the cardboard, and then let them to dry, that should hopefully keep the diamond lace into place and pretty. I really hope it works out, because the mittens are really really pretty. Pictures will be up soon, most likely when Alex feels well enough to take some pics. Sadly, I do not have a tail to hold the camera while modelling my mittens. Evolution cheated us there. We kept the monkey hairy armpits but not the tail. I want a tail!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Knitting lesson 4219

Knitting lesson of the day, courtesy of my Draconic Mittens

If you are going to do any modifications to the pattern, write them down. Here, in Ravelry, on a piece of paper or tattoo them on your skin, but write them down. Particularly if you then have to make *another identical* piece afterwards.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

My house has more geek now

Yesterday Alex and I had to rearrange the DVD bookshelves because we had finally more than 4 shelves. Behold and be jealous!


This included tidying up my knitting supplies, which you can see here:
Knitting supplies

In the topic of tidying (or maybe not), here is the forces that defence my house. I'm slowly getting tempted by the idea of painting one.
House defense

Also, I'm happy. I've been all weekend ecstatically happy, and it's fantastic. I haven't been so unconditionally happy for quite a while. I don't know how to make it last, but I really don't care at the moment.

Thursday, 6 March 2008


Two things in which my guilt was wrong, to remember:

  • Elena was not upset for not having reached her in a while. I have to start the contacting process all over again with Alex, but she has still been trying to contact me, so she can't be too upset.
  • The librarian wasn't upset that the books were a month late. She said that it was ok when I apologised, but that sadly I had to pay a fine (£12.60, but I'll gladly pay that in exchange for not being scolded). She was really nice about it, and she said that next time (I had told her that I had been ill and unable to get them back) I can just ring them, and they'll renew them for me without a problem. She was so nice!

Therapy was a bit difficult and cry-y this morning, but I feel better now. We talked about guilt, which is one of the key factors in my depression. However, I haven't been able to deal with it properly yet. Because it's so at the root, there are always other urgent things to deal with, and only now I am well enough not to have anything too urgent in the way.

You see, for normal people guilt is a mechanism to help them do things they should, and they only have it in moderate amounts, so it's a healthy guilt. My guilt, however, has gotten out of control. It paired up with an unrealistic expectation-acquiring monster, and both of them are having a blast in my brain. Me, I'm enjoying it a bit less than they are.
I cried, and was irrational, and talked childishly, which is what I do when I go down, and he didn't get upset, or hurt, or anything (actually, I think nothing short of holocaust can quench this man's cheerfulness and energy). He was indeed very proud of me because I haven't been doing the exercises he set me perfectly.

For next session, he wants to know all about how I started knitting. With details, diagrams, pictures, everything. I'm not entirely sure why he wants such a detailed plan, but maybe it's because he knows that it will keep me entertained for a while, doing things I seem to enjoy. I wonder what he will extract from it. I shall make a pretty diagram, with my colour pens, and possibly report here.

I'm only now starting to reach some normality after crying, I've been a bit dazed, but I think it's normal.

My jacket is going rather well, I've nearly reached the armpit. I'll buy today some more yarn to finish my Draconic mittens, and I will look into some cheap wool for felting for Alex's bag, as alpaca appears to be magic and can turn water into hair. And the some more hair again. And, after felting, it turns the air it touches into even more hair. And you can't even wash it to get rid of the hair, because it will turn it into more hair :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Pick up 148 st, p tbl

Yesterday I managed to fix the picking up of the stitches along my healing cardigan. I had to do it almost twice, as I purled normally the picked up stitches, instead of purling them through the back loop to close the gaps. There were 148 stitches to tink, and the yarn is sturdy and doesn't like to tink, but it was so worth it to purl them tbl. It looks so much better now. I'll be knitting a couple of stockinette stich rows extra to make the jacket slightly longer, but I think I can start with some of the bust increases later today. So at least one of my knits is going forward1!

1: Because sure as hell the rest aren't...

Monday, 3 March 2008


Not feeling very well, just a bit lonely and mainly overwelmed by the amount of housework that needs to be done (a weekend of dishes, 3 loads of laundry to iron and at least 3 more waiting to be washed). Hence the startitis, although I'm not sure how they are related. I guess I'm in dead-zone in all the rest of the projects (having to make up a pattern for the balaklava, having to start a mitten, having to pick again the jacket stitches, needing yarn for the dice bag).
It's not bad depression, just a bit blue in the air, so hopefully I'll feel better soon.
I should put on a jumper and another pair of socks, it's a bit cold in here.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Oh noes, the pictures are clogging the tubes

Picocon. Picocon was awesome, and here are some pictures of the DoDM (destruction of dodgy merchandise).
Here is Alex about to golf a frozen snitch, and then me with the golden snitch wings in my Jayne hat (which everybody loved).

IMG_5057 IMG_5058

Some more general DoDM: the enjoying audience, Owain destroying a Darth Vader mecha-TIE fighter, the abomination that is Highlander 2 (sorry for the profane language), and Peter making sure that the abomination doesn't survive.
IMG_5061 IMG_5066 IMG_5070 IMG_5072

And Miranda!

Draconic mittens!
Draconic mitten (front 2) Draconic mitten pre-sewing

And, as said, I finished the tummy piece, and redid the neckline of the Blue Tomato. Now it's 4 rounds rather than 8, and I think it looks better, and doesn't buldge so much at the shoulder pieces.
Tummy piece New neckline

Jonathan was here this weekend. Alex has just left to drive him home, and then he is off to a course on rockets (lucky him). I was a bit sad yesterday, and I realised it was jealousy-based, because Alex had spent a lot of the day with JJ, while I just was on the side. But he paid a bit more attention to me today, and I was a lot better. On the other hand, I think that he passed me his cold. While he won't be here this week to take care of me, it is nice to be alone sometimes, and I can just lounge around being ill. And knitting!