Wednesday, 30 April 2008

I could not resist it


And I have made it one of my multiple forum icons:

Monday, 28 April 2008

In search of the feedback

I recently asked for some feedback about my blog in Ravelry (those with a Ravelry account can check the feedback here), and I will be taking some of the suggestions into account.
As you might have noticed, I have increased slightly the font size, as a result of these feedbacks. Another comment I received was to make the blog title more visible, and to perhaps do some more essay-based posts about depression and how it affects my life, as it is the topic that is more personal.
All the feedback liked the simple and de-clutter layout of the blog, which I'm very happy for, as that was my intention. I personally don't like blogs with too much stuff going on, so that I can barely find my way around (I have the attention span of a goldfish). Also, everybody loved the whale.

I was suggested to try Feedburner for the feed, so this is what I'm doing now. Hopefully, all of you that were subscribed before are receiving this, as it has cleverly redirected (I am also subscribed to my own feed, so that I can check how it turns out, and will be able to tell if it doesn't redirect, don't worry!).

As I asked for feedback in a specific blog critique group, maybe some of my readers (you know, the two of you) have some suggestions but haven't spotted that. So, if any of you would like to drop some feedback (layout, posting, themes, what I post about, pictures, things I should do more/less often), drop a comment, or email me with your suggestions, and I will certainly think over them!

Thanks for the feedback!

Edit: Hooray! The new feed seems to be working!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Last meds bag

Last meds bag

Horray! I finished it! I sew the buttons on today on my way back from work on the bus. It is not my finest project, but it is mine and it will be very helpful. I really don't like forgetting to order more meds, the side effects are not fun.
And in use!

I have already put my meds inside, about a week or a month supply inside (depending on the strip). Because I only need to ring my chemist a week before I need meds (they sort out everything with the doctor), this arrangement should be alright.
I'm so proud of my design!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

The designer itch

I am slowly getting the designer itch. This cannot possibly end well :)

I have mostly designed a/the little bag to keep my last meds, which is nearly finished. It is partly influenced by other bags, but I think I can still mostly count it mine, if I turn the page and squint. I should be done with it and post pictures this evening, but don't hold your breath, I don't want my readers dying.

Now I want a belt. Well, sort of. I want some sort of sash/belt/obi to wrap around my waist and give some shaping to some of my short sleeve shirts, to make them look slightly more formal. However, I can't find on Ravelry any belt-y type thing that is a bit thick! Well, there is one pattern (non-Rav link), but it is in a Berroco book, and I don't think I'll buy the whole book.
Ergo, the correct answer here is to design and knit my own!

So, requirements for my belt:

  • about 10 cm thick
  • grey as my normal work trousers
  • ability to close in a pretty way,and "change" size
  • maybe with a little cute pocket!
  • some manner of decoration. I was thinking to small cables along the edges, and maybe some lacy squares along the centre. My trousers have some sort of square-ish pattern (tweed style), so I think it might go nice. I have a book that includes some lace stitch patterns, so I will have a look at it, as I don't think I can make up my own lace yet.
  • some actual obi inspiration? I shall have a look online at pictures of real obi, and see if I can somehow incorporate that design into mine
I am going my LYS today, to browse and get some white yarn for some more amigurumi1, so I can have a look at some dark grey yarn, and get a bit to start swatching and designing the patterns. I am being very good and not buying yarn for my next big project (non-Rav link) until I finish the cardigan, but small project are a fair go because the cardi is too big to carry around.

1: I am having trouble with the magnets for the Katamari. I might have somewhere else to look for them today, otherwise I will have to look for them online.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The White Whale attacks!

Two ships sailed happily across the sea.
White whale 1

Suddenly, the White Whale appeared.
White whale 2

Quick, man the harpoons!
White whale 3

But the white whale was too much.
White whale 4

It taunted them.
White whale 5

And finally, it om-nom-nomed them!
White whale 6

Here, Whale! A smile for the camera!
White whale 7

Technical notes
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Tiny Whale, by Hannah Kaminsky. (Ravelry pattern page)
Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton
Hook: 3.5 mm (E)
Notes: I enjoyed making the whale! A+ will buy again :o)
I had a bit of trouble with the tale, but I got it explained by the Ravelry ladies. I just didn't know how to start the tail. Here is the answer I got, for other people looking for it too:
(I’m guessing that) because you were working in the round, the sc 4 is to get you to the right place. Then, when you ch 1, you are working a new row. Then ‘sc2 into one, 2 sc, sc2 into one (6)’ adds up correctly and makes good sense for the tail of a whale, where you would want some strategic increasing to get the right shape.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Silence online

Laptop died this morning. Got wiped clean, but the copy I have of windows is legal.honest and can't get updates for it (like the SP2). Currently running Ubuntu of the cd Alex burned for me with it. Struggling to get it installed, as the harddrive is damaged. Looking forward to getting a new computer soon.

PS.- Back up your data!

Edit: Hooray, it works! I am now running Ubuntu. I have a working computer! I will still buy one soon, but I can get by for the time being.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Well, I never made it out

I tried, but a coworker did offer me a lift home and I took it. Social outings are not meant to make you feel so crap! I feel better now, after sitting in the sofa and relaxing with a book.
I still think it is a big improvement, even if I didn't make it there. It is a girl's birthday on Friday, so I can try to go to that one, just for a bit, and hopefully it will create a less bad reaction.

Social events == stress and panic

I am going on a social outing this evening with the people from the office, to go bowling. It's making me as ill as I haven't been in a while.

I don’t particularly want to go bowling, and not just for the people and the panic. I don’t really care for it. However, I very rarely get invited to things at work. Mostly they just seem to forget me at all, I'm not sure they do it on purpose. I have not been to many of the few things I've been invited, as I have not been interested or have been too ill.
Hence bowling. I don't particularly want to go, but I figured I should go to some things, even if I don't like them, in the hope that I will get invited to other things, maybe things I like.

But I'm so scared. I had a small/medium panic attack because of it yesterday, and I've just been crying with stress. As I told Teh Boyfriend yesterday, in a way it is a good thing, as I am panicking because I’m considering going, rather than hiding.

I doubt I will enjoy it much, although at least I have some knitting with me, so I can keep calm. I brought the dice bag and yarn to start a tiny whale. I did start the tiny whale earlier, and worked on while my code was compiling, but I lost the stitch marker and had to rip it all off.

I really just want to go home, take a warm shower, and then go to sleep. But I've worked so hard to go, and invested so many tears, that I don't want to loose them. At the same time, I am probably not going to enjoy it, so there isn't much point on going.

I am definitely not a social animal.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Further decreases

Tomorrow I am going to decrease the dose of my anxiety medication (80 mg/day of propanolol hydrochloride, a beta-blocker). My anxiety is what is most unchecked at the moment, but I have a good reason to decrease it now (I should add that control over my med changes was explicitely passed on to me by my doctor).
My doctor told me last time that one of the side effects of propanolol is vivid dreams/nightmares. My dreams are normally rather vivid, but lately (maybe the last 3 or so months) they've been really intense, and lasting the entire night. Let me tell you, living a double life at night is rather tiring!

I am a bit worried about this, as I don't want to go down again with multiple panic attacks a day. I have now 40 mg pills, so I can alternate 80-80-40, as I started with the sertraline. This does not seem a too harsh decrease, so hopefully my body will be able to cope with it.
Decreasing the dose might also increase the migraines. I got them initially treated with beta-blockers as well, and I worry that after so long on them again, my brain is used to them and will produce pain again for no reason. However, the risk of increasing panic and migraines will hopefully be counterbalanced with better nights of sleep.
Better nights of sleep allow me to be more relaxed and less depressed, which can only be a good thing. Better sleep will also let me have more energy, which is something I'm rather looking for at the moment. It is a bit of a shame to spend most evenings exhausted and wanting to go to sleep since 7, and it is very frustrating. Sometimes that makes me angry, but sometimes it just makes me more depressed.
I do hope it will all go alright. At least the sun is shining and I have got my code to work a bit.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Fierce dragons

Look what I got today!

Fierce dragon

From JB at Catharsis. I've been wanting one of this since she made the first one, and finally I managed to get a comission in! So happy!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Sometimes I am grateful for my depression. Weird, I know.

Sometimes I am grateful that I had my breakdown when I did, and that I went horribly depressed for a while.

There are multiple reasons why I had my breakdown when I did (16th August 2006), and I think I might have had some depression before then,but one of the long term causes was that I am a workaholic and a perfectionist.
My breakdown forced me to look at my life and think about it. Think why my body and my mind have given up and decided that if I wasn't going to give myself a break, they were bloody going to take one. It was a hard task to face the life-style choices that were, well, not exactly wrong, but not exactly right either. I had no work-life balance. I had work, and then I relied on people to occasionally get me out of it. When they didn't, I worked. I wouldn't even notice I was hungry or needed the loo.

I take much more care of myself now, and have reached a work-life balance. To be fair, this is helped by the fact that now I don't have to go to lectures, and then study/do coursework when I get home, so I can separate work from home. But I do have more hobbies now (yey knitting), and take more pleasure in doing other things.
Part of it is, I know, that I am not at full capacity. So, even if I wanted to concentrate so much that I didn't notice I was hungry/needed the loo, my brain can't physically do it. It's still too weak for it. But now I know (and knowing is half the battle). So even when I regain fully my capabilities, I will keep taking care, and use that capacity partly for work, and partly for fun.
I have the feeling that I will be all my life watching for it; I know I have a tendency to depression, anxiety and workaholism, so I will have to be careful, always. However, that is a small price to pay to not be ill.

Depression sucks, but it will in the long run help me reach a better way of life. It also got to me early in my life enough that I could still do something about it, I could still change. It sucked having to learn all this the hard way, but at least now it's learned (mostly), and hopefully I will not have to this again.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Have *you* fed your local vampires recently?

Well, have you? I did today. And by "feeding the vampires" I mean donating blood.

I have been donating blood for a while, encouraged by my father, who has been donating blood as long as I can remember. I am O+, which means I can give blood to a staggering 84% of the UK's population. I am a bit jealous of my father, who is O-, and therefore can give blood to eeeeeverybody in the whole world, but I figure 84% will have to do :o)

If you can, I recommend that you do. Giving blood helps many people, directly (for surgeries, nasty illnesses, accidents, etc) and indirectly (it is also used for research). Many people owe their lives to donors, and I am very happy to help. It is only a mild discomfort, and they give you cookies when you are done! I can even do it on my meds, so that shouldn't stop you. And, for your advantage, they do check your blood, including your iron contents, so I know that my blood is healthy on a regular basis.

If you are from the UK, check the blood page here.
And when you go, remember to tick the "give my blood to vampires" box, so they can get their food there and don't come and bite our necks!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

How NOT to crochet

I've been having some trouble crocheting the katamari. On Sunday, I tried to have one more go at it, and this time I checked stuff online. I found a helpful video on crocheting on the round, although it wasn't the on-the-round technique I found most helpful.
I discovered that I had been crocheting wrong all along.

Let me say it again.
I had been crocheting wrong all along.

A simple crochet is made out of 2 steps. First you draw a loop throught the next stitch. Then you draw the thread around the hook and bring it throught both loops on the hook. It was this last drawing that I did't do. I would draw a loop through the sticht and pull that through the chain stitch, without the "yarn over".

And, suddenly, I can crochet!

And I have some pictures, to show my stupidity to the world. I do deserve to be mocked. Can you tell which is which? (link for those not familiar with how a katamari looks).