Lola B! Books! Reading!

Lola, also known as Lola Bird or Lola B, had an early morning appointment today with Dr. Hussian. She was born in early September and I put her spaying appointment off partly out of an unrealistic fantasy that I could mate our little black polydactyl with another guy polydactyl for little polydactyl kittens. Given my present non-farm-like set up and the words of KittenLady (among others) encouraging me to spay her, I bowed to pressure. I also put it off a bit because my husband was between contracts, but he’s gotten something so some of the financial pressure is off.

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“I did great today. I wuv u and see u tonight. 🐾🐈💕

Off to the vet we went this morning. I got a call at 11 from Dr. Hussian saying everything went fine, and then I got a text at 12 with this picture and the caption text.

She doesn’t look too pleased, does she? I picked her up at 5, which brings me to my trip to the bookstore. I had 40 minutes between dropping Henry off at taekwondo and the time I needed to be at the vet. I thought about going to Starbucks for a coffee, but decided not to waste my money since I wasn’t really in the mood for coffee. So I went to the bookstore.

It was glorious.

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Books I’m reading, books I’m going to read

I came out with the middle 3 books in the stack below. I’m currently reading The Amazons by Adrienne Mayor – it’s fascinating and detailed and sometimes overwhelming; I can only read so much of it (perhaps a chapter at a time) before I shut down and stop absorbing it. So I need to balance it with other books. I just finished reading Cults Inside Out by Rick Alan Ross, which I may write another post about. For now, let me just say it’s well written and a solid resource for information. My trip to the bookstore wasn’t entirely needed, though, since I have The Quick and the Dead by Joy Williams on deck.

Who could resist a new-to-you Alice Hoffman or A. M. Homes? And I love the movie version of Something Wicked This Way Comes as well as Ray Bradbury’s writing (I recently read the other two books in his loosely autobiographical Green Town series), so I should really read and own the book, right? I mean anyone in my position would do the same.

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Lola B in a moment of relative peace (or is that resignation?)

Now I just need to pick something to start (or continue!) while I sit with my Lola B tonight. She’s confined to the master bedroom, and while I left her cowering under the bed desperately trying to get the cone off, I can hear her running around as I type this – I’m sure she’ll be fine, right? She wouldn’t do more than what her body can handle right now, right? sigh This is worse than having an injured toddler, I think.

100 Day Project, Site Move, Lil

Today is the first day of this year’s “official” 100 day project. I say official because someone is sponsoring it, but really you could start a 100 day project any time; pick a creative thing to do and do it every day for 100 days, preferably while posting about it on social media and using #100dayproject or something similar. A few years ago, I did 100 days of knitting. Last year I opted to do National Poetry Writing Month (write a poem every day in April, National Poetry Writing Month). After waffling about it, this year I’m going to do 100 days of writing. This will be broad enough for me to revive this blog but also get some creative writing in there as well.

Speaking of this blog … I’m going to be moving it from madgeface.wordpress.com to littlegoldennotebook.com so the domain will match my blog name, not my user name. Also, I paid cash money to get rid of ads and have slightly more control over the appearance. I’m not sure if you read my posts in a blog reader or by loading the whole site, but appearance is finally starting to matter to me so adios, ads. I’ve got some design and migration work ahead of me before I start posting from there and hope you will follow me over to the new domain once I’ve got everything set – I’ll try to make it as easy as possible.

In other news, I have decided to hang my freelancing shingle. My husband started a new contract, which means I’ve been working some, too. I’ve been freelancing for Ky’s consulting company a few years now but it’s time to open it up to more people/opportunities since a) I’m doing it anyway and b) I enjoy it, even though I gripe constantly about how awful Microsoft Office is. So be on the lookout for more about that, too.

In other other news, our dog Lily has had an ulcer on her cornea for about a month now. We tried a conservative treatment, but landed at the dog ophthalmologist today. The doctor ground the ulcer (which is a lot like a blister) off her cornea so the healthy cornea tissue can replace the bad. Poor Lil is looking at at least another 2 weeks in her cone, but at least she’s mostly used to it at this point. She’s obviously not comfortable tonight, but I’m hoping this set back will ultimately mean her eye will heal and I can stop making jokes about us still not getting HBO despite our four-legged satellite.

Time Flies!

February went by in the blink of an eye and it feels like the Ides of March & St. Patrick’s Day 2018 will quickly be a thing of the past while I carry on privately writing, knitting, and doing other crafty things. I suppose I’m starting to come out of some kind of hibernation now that the days are getting longer again; I’ve started doing things that I’ve been putting off for a long time, like:

  • Submitting poems and a short story to Narrative magazine, which of course I’m anxious about, thinking “I submitted it ___ ago! Why haven’t they gotten back to me yet?” which started the day after I sent the email, of course. Also, I haven’t been writing the last few weeks, but I have a plan to start again.
  • I cleaned out my yarn stash for the first time ever and am handing off bits and bobs to a local knitter in another knitting group. The oldest yarn in there I bought in NYC in 2000 or 2002 – if I haven’t knit that Dale of Norway Baby Ull by now, I don’t think I’m going to, so it’s best to send it on its way to fulfill its destiny.
  • Updating my Ravelry stash pages. The yarn clean-out was spurred by two of my knitting friends giving me yarn, spinning fiber, and a stack of fair isle books they inherited, so there was a lot of updating I needed to do.
  • Finishing off embroidery pieces and listing them in The Yarn Office, my etsy shop: The View from Mt. Peg and Firecracker).
  • Adding handspun yarn to The Yarn Office: a set of handspun naturally dyed cormo that I’m incredibly proud of, some sunset-colored yarn that was fun to spin but so not my color, and some natural brown wool that I’m not quite sure what to do with. In looking at my handspun, I also realized that I really prefer making 3 ply yarns for some reason.
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Handspun, naturally dyed cormo yarn set

My knitting has been focused on using yarn that I got from my friend Lisa, who received almost the whole stash of a friend she met on Ravelry. Unfortunately for this friend, she can no longer knit (I hope that day never comes for me) and knew that Lisa would appreciate her colorwork-focused stash and library. Lisa was overwhelmed and so I happily stepped in to help take some of the yarn off her hands, starting with enough Sandness Garn Peer Gynt to make 2 sweaters. I’ve long admired Knit.Love.Wool on Instagram, and found that she (Jennifer Steinglass) not only has patterns that I got gauge for with Peer Gynt, but that for all of 2018 she’s having a buy 2 patterns get 1 free sale on Ravelry (info on her designer page). I just finished Starfall and started on Seachange.

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My Starfall Sweater with some slightly tweaked colorwork

I need to catch up with a lot of the blogs I follow (sorry friends!) – I’ve been reading The Internet and books instead of blogs lately. I’m currently reading the second book in a really fascinating trilogy by N. K. Jemison, The Broken Earth series. Before this, I read Octavia E. Butler’s Lilith’s Brood, which is also a trilogy that I really enjoyed. I find myself longing for female heroes and the female perspective and although both of these are sci-fi/fantasy, they deliver and they deliver on being diverse (another thing I’ve been craving) since both authors are African American. I’m also working my way through The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World. Yes! Those Amazons! They were real! This book is a bit more scholarly and so not the most compelling read, but it’s still really fascinating.

Oh! I almost forgot! I started another Instagram account, LittleGoldenNotebook, for inspirational quotes. I know, that sounds cheesy and probably like tons of other “inspirational quotes” quote account all over the interwebs. But these were all selected by me (and all have authors, which was important to me) to help me get through tough times right after I was diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder. I collected them and printed them on 3×5 cards to help a dear friend going through a rough patch, shared them with another friend, and then decided I should just share them with Everyone In The World. Here’s the quote for today, International Women’s Day:

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Note that this is probably the most feminist quote I’ve posted to the account, though I sort of modify this in my head to apply to humans in general, you know? How can I really be free when anyone is enslaved or doesn’t have full human rights? I’m guessing Audre Lorde would agree with that, but women – especially minority women – have been long neglected and that’s more what she was driving at (though I’m not Audre Lorde or intersectional feminism scholar by any means). Anyway. I’m doing that too and would love to have more company!

2017: The Year in Review

Hi friends! It’s been a while. After Spinzilla my will to blog – or do anything with any regularity – kind of disappeared. After some reflection, I don’t think my posts are working as well for me as they once were, though I may change my mind about that and go back to the schedule I set last February, which I was pretty consistent with until October/November.

Looking over my posts from last year, I entirely forgot that I did National Poetry Writing Month in April. Though I started a few days late, I made those days up in May so I’m patting myself on the back for that accomplishment. I was going to submit some of them to a contest run by Narrative Magazine, but then never actually got around to it. Maybe in 2018 I’ll do something with them.

As far as knitting projects go, I finished:

  • 3 hats, including a pussy hat
  • 2 sweaters (A Bohus sweater kit & a cabled sweater – I’ve been wearing one or the other daily now that the weather is cold)
  • A sleeveless summer top (which I wore all summer long)
  • 3 pairs of mitts or mittens (2 pairs for a friend’s baby, 1 for Lola the kitten)
  • 1 scarf for Lola (every kitten needs a scarf, right?)
  • 4 shawls, one of which was a commission
  • 1 blanket square for knittingthestash’s Knit Together Project
  • 1 blanket for the Welcome Blanket Project
  • 6 hearts for Hearts for Cville
  • 1 Calcifer

As for spinning:

  • I participated in Tour de Fleece, which was interrupted by getting the commission for a Wonder Woman shawl.
  • I participated in Spinzilla for the first time.
  • I had 12 spinning projects. I could calculate length spun, but that’s a bit too much effort.
  • I spun some of the fleece from Shenandoah 2011.
  • I have 2 FOs from one spinning project (a hat and Lola’s scarf).
  • I used singles from another project to embroider an explosion or fireworks (which is an explosion, but I’m getting nit picky, I suppose).

And embroidery:

  • I finished 2 pieces.
  • I saved leftover spun singles for more project.
  • I have a potential future commission based on one project, The View From Mt. Peg.

Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

  • I published one new pattern, available for free on Ravelry, This Is My Heart.
  • I consistently went to my Wednesday knitting meet-up and went several times to a new-to-me meet-up at Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio.
  • I blogged relatively consistently from February – October.
  • I continued to keep my toe in the tech writing waters by editing presentations, project plans, business communications, and other miscellaneous project documents on demand.

In personal news:

I feel like I had my best year mood-wise in a long time. I took all my meds, saw my therapist about once every 2 months or so, psychiatrist quarterly. I also made an appointment for & went to a checkup with my GP. (However, I should have made an appointment later in the year because my BP started creeping up despite meds. Next year.)

I kept my family alive, again. So far my record for this is A+, 100%.

  • Ethan graduated from high school and started college at JMU. The transition was difficult because of some drama that exploded in August, but he has adjusted and is doing well.
  • Brandon started his sophomore year at WVU and, since really breaking up with his girlfriend who goes to VA Tech, is finally settling in and making more friends and doing what college kids do (party, but not too much). He barely passed Calculous 2, but is now done with Calc forever.
  • Henry finished 7th grade, went with Ethan on a big trip to S. Korea on their own for 2 weeks, and when he came home, his voice dropped – his hormones have come in. He’s grown at least 3″ and his feet are now bigger than mine. He’s in 8th grade, made Honor Roll, and is on the leadership team at tae kwon do, which means he’s helping to teach classes and has cleanup duties.
  • My husband is a contractor; he was commuting to Denver during the week, flying home every weekend. That particular contract ended at the end of June and he’s been looking for a new one since then. He’s an IT Consultant with a lot of experience in telecommunications and the healthcare industry – here he is on Linked In if you’re curious/interested. He has a lot of irons in the fire, but none of them have led to his next gig. Hopefully next month something will turn up!
  • We lost Moose, our retriever mix that was a rescue that we rescued from Florida. And we gained Lola, a black polydactyl kitten born in early September. She has an extra toe on all 4 feet and has brought a lot of positive energy to the house.
  • We rearranged our family room, which involved some construction, but it has opened the room up and given us more floor space. Sitting on the couch gives you a view out the windows now instead of walls, which I love.
  • Edited on 1/1/18 to add that I started tae kwon do in February and just earned my light blue belt, which is halfway through the belts to get to black belt.

If all goes as planned, I’ll post tomorrow with some goals and plans for 2018.

 

 

 

 

lol Friday: Woman, Marionette, Squirrel

I saw a tweet this morning and was instantly enamored:

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I would now like a marionette of myself to feed squirrels and bunnies and other small animals, and I also wouldn’t mind having a movable mini-me to knit for. Just imagine how quickly FOs would fly of my needle for mini-Mandy/mini-madgeface! Think of all the small animals I could feed with mini-me safely bundled in hand knits!

I poked around a bit more and found an unoriginal article on Laughing Squid, from another unoriginal article in The New York Daily News – the pair were first featured in Humans of New York, not once, but twice! In a nutshell (ha ha – a pun!): the woman in the photograph is 85 year old Doris Diether, who lost her voice; the marionette maker is a professional puppeteer and street performer, Ricky Syers; and the photographer is Nathalie Kalbach. As I read the stories behind the picture, I went from chuckling to myself and imagining a mini-me, to feeling truly touched, with some of my faith in humanity restored: I hope you have time to read them and that they do the same for you. Happy Friday!

TBT: My Middle Son

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This guy graduates from high school this weekend and then jets off to South Korea Monday with his little brother for tae kwon do training. Here are 2 TBT pictures taken June 11, 2011, right after the boys earned their white belts (the first belt you earn in TKD), Ethan is on the left. So proud of him and the funny, unique man he is becoming – the Hawaiian shirt and pineapple were his idea for his casual look during his senior photo session.

Give em a good belting.
 Say cheese. No, really, like this: CHEESE!