Ravelling

I went to knitting last night, and I cast on a new project, and I knit–slowly and carefully–until my elbow politely went ping and I decided I should stop.

It did that after a hundred stitches.

For the non-knitters among you: this is not a lot. I ended up producing a swatch of fabric about as long and slightly wider than my index finger.

This is after a month of treatment and a lot of not-knitting. So I think knitting needs to get put away again. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get back to it in two months, six months, or ever.

The “not ever” option makes me a little sad, but since there’s not much I can do beyond waiting and seeing if treatment and exercise make it better, oh well.

(The number of UFOs I have hanging around will irk me a bit, though.)

On a lighter note, I got the executed contract back for my story “The Gannet Girl”, so that has a home! Expecting it to be out 2016-ish.

Myriad shades of green.

Morning glory vine climbing one of the gladiolas. If either or both of them were in bloom, it would be lovely.
Morning glory vine climbing one of the gladiolas. If either or both of them were in bloom, it would be lovely.

Several weeks ago, the light of my life and I went out to breakfast after talking about the state of the back yard, and came back past a garden supply outpost in a parking lot, and then there was several hours of digging things up[1] and re-bordering a flower patch and putting in soil and new plants.

I am not sure if I like gardening (which I am fairly sure is usually more complex than what I do), but I found out that I actually really like removing plants I want gone and digging holes in the ground and putting in more and different plants and watering everything. It’s very relaxing.

Over the next week, we also removed half of the raspberry bush thicket and put in some assorted wildflower seeds. And then about a week later, I succumbed to the lure of a box of eight gladiola bulbs placed in the checkout line at the grocery store.

The grass isn’t getting any attention this year, but the two flowerbeds are doing pretty well; everything we planted and transplanted (except for the bleeding hearts) has actually grown. The trouble is that nothing that wasn’t already flowering is really flowering yet. The perennial sage is fine, the sweet tea is finally not dying, and the wildflower seeds are a solid carpet of green. But the only new flowers that have shown up are three tiny white five-petalled things on one of the wildflowers.

Still, it was nice to go out there yesterday and see that the morning glory vine has decided to start climbing a gladiola. I’m hoping one or both of them will still bloom this year.

[1] We had hostas, put in several years ago. Taking them out required a pitchfork and a lot of levering. The root balls were not quite the size of my head. I am very proud of getting them out.

If not silence, then rarer posts

On top of being horribly sick on Wednesday (and recovering for two days), apparently I’ve gotten an RSI in my elbow. This is putting a serious crimp in both my typing and my knitting. (And it’s my right elbow, so I can’t even take this as an opportunity to learn crochet, since while I am up for many things learning a new crafting skill with my off hand just does not seem like a productive use of time. I do want to learn crochet, though.)

It’s fairly straightforward to treat, involving an elastic joint support and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. I’m going to speak to work and see how they feel about my working at home more often, since my setup here is better for me. (I’ll also need to speak to them about getting an ergonomic assessment done on my workspace, but since I’m technically a temp I am not sure if it should come directly from me or from the temp agency. I’ll figure it out.)

Ergonomic assessments are things for which a medical professional hands you a prescription. I was previously unaware of this, but I find it rather neat. I always think of prescriptions as being for things, not for services.

But overall I am doing fairly well, and it’s been a good weekend, and I am having fun playing with the Last Court now that it’s out. I didn’t expect to–I have generally gotten the impression that Dragon Age is a fairly generic fantasy setting–but Failbetter Games has done a stellar job of making it interesting to play as the lord of a small fiefdom in such a setting and not boiling it down to All Those Mechanics I Have Seen Before.

A simple enquiry into what he has been eating or drinking…

Among the many lovely thing Roald Dahl wrote was Matilda, and among the many lovely scenes in that book is one where the evil principal finds out that a boy has stolen a slice of her cake and forces him to eat an entire chocolate cake. It is an amount of cake which should cause him to explode. (It’s Roald Dahl, so this might not have been purely figurative.)

But he doesn’t explode. He eats the cake. He eats the whole cake, and when the Principal loses her temper and smashes the platter over his head, he just shakes it off and keeps grinning. The line that describes him is something along the lines of “by now, he was so full of cake that he couldn’t have been hurt with a sledgehammer.”

The light of my life made a dinner tonight, modifying an existing recipe to be cooked in a crockpot. The end result is about as awesome as you might expect anything to be when it contains that much butter, cream, bacon, and cheese.

And having had dinner, I am really feeling very… equanamous. I mean really calm. Sedate. I feel mellow enough to catch up on some of the things I’ve seen online in the last couple of days[1], and the thought of reorganizing my office is considerably less tension-inducing than it has been for the last few days.

I recognize this isn’t a method that always works to ground a mood, but right now, I’m having a good night.

[1] Which have been fairly ugly in some cases. Moving on!

Juggling vegetables

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If we ever get this in our biweekly basket, I am leaving.

We’re subscribing–I think that’s the word?–to a Community Shared Agriculture program this summer. We’ve decided to go with only once every two weeks, since last year we got a weekly box of produce, and it got a bit overwhelming.

(Kale. I had no idea there could be so much kale. And I pretty much gave up on hand-carrying things back from the pickup point after they started giving us watermelons.)

We got the box last week. Wednesday, I made a concerted effort to use up as much as possible, and made a dinner of garden salad, oil-citrus-garlic dressing, roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese, and rhubarb crumble. This only used up half a cucumber, the mixed package of spring greens (five plants and seven herbs!), all the rhubarb, and some of the asparagus. (I mean, it used up more, but I’m strictly discussing things which came in the produce box.) There was enough salad for a second meal since then, and we’ve also used up the tomato.

This leaves us with

  • half a cucumber
  • Lebanese cucumbers
  • beets and radishes (I suspect I will make these into the backbone of a lunch at some point)
  • spinach
  • arugula
  • a yellow pepper
  • two more asparagus bundles
  • a squeezy-bear of fresh honey
  • some of a dozen eggs (we hardboiled some right away)
  • a beeswax tealight

Pretty sure we can get through that before the next box comes in. (Maybe not the honey, but honey keeps.) And having them around does make it a lot easier to eat well. It’s kind of like the fridge is gently nagging me to empty it, like a cute little inversion of “feed me, Seymour.”

Deadlines and recalculations

A story I recently submitted got a lot further than I’d expected it to before coming back with a personal rejection. I’d submitted it very close to the deadline, and I told myself that when[1] it got rejected, I’d revise it one more time before sending it out again.

Now, though, I’m kind of unsure. It’s apparently a sounder story than I thought it was, and I’m wondering if more revisions are just procrastinating. (I’m not saying it’s perfect! I’m saying it might be as close to really good as I can get it, if you see the distinction.)

Therefore, on the horns of the dilemma of “do further revise an already good story” or “don’t revise a story which I felt needed more”, I am picking the obvious option. The only sensible option. The option which stands out as clearly as if spotlit from above with “Thus Spake Zarathustra” playing in the background.

To wit, “find an umbrella and go out for some form of fluffy beverage which incorporates both coffee and whipped cream.”

The rest can get sorted in a bit (possibly while keeping this in mind); right now it’s likely the warmest part of the day, and I always feel a bit odd if I don’t get outside at least once.

[1] This is how I plan for such things.

Cheers.

Well, the bleaching and dyeing went well! My hair is now purple–mostly a blue-purple, some parts reddish-purple, and a few bits of bleached-but-not-dyed hair wisping around in front of my ears. The Vaseline got on them, it’s a resist, it happens. 🙂 I wasn’t sure using the two different dyes would actually make a difference, but it seems to’ve done so.

(In comparison to the other vegetable dyes I have used–Manic Panic and SFX–Punky Colour seems to bleed not at all. It comes out a little with shampoo, of course, and I had to use cleaner on the bathtub when I first rinsed it out. But it only comes out with shampoo, doesn’t stain the bathtub after the first rinse, and the first night I put a towel over my pillow and could not actually find anyplace my hair had stained it in the morning.)

(It also smells like Grape KoolAid, or at least the two purple dyes I used do. I have no idea if this is a nod to the old… tradition? method? …of dyeing hair bright colours by using KoolAid, but I would not be surprised.)

I’m feeling like a bit of an ass for waiting so long to do this again, to tell the truth. I keep thinking about an old joke about the woman who gets a nose job, feels great, takes a cruise, goes mountain-climbing, deep-sea diving, has a wonderful time. She runs into her plastic surgeon at a party or something several months later, he asks her how she’s doing, and she bursts into tears.

“What’s wrong?” he says, confused. “I thought you’d had a wonderful time since I saw you?”

“Oh yes, doctor,” she says. “But I could have done it all with my old nose, and I feel so stupid for waiting.”

(Let us not unpack why this is expected to be funny, I am in a good mood right now. But the waiting. The maybe-it-won’t-be-right, the bloody inertia. I get that.)

In other news, my work contract is done, and spring is here. I am contemplating shovelling some of the snow off the lawn–the pile is currently only four feet high or so, but it’ll melt down to the grass faster if I take off a little. And Elise has posted a tease of names for some of her earrings, so I expect to be able to see some lovely shinies within the week.

Very few colours, I think, are unnatural.

I need to dye my hair this weekend, or possibly Monday evening. Because I’m using vegetable dyes (as opposed to dyes-in-a-box-that-come-with-developer), and because my hair is fairly dark, this is a two-step process. First I’ll need to bleach, then I’ll need to dye.

The dyeing is not the stressful part; I put it in and comb it through, and then I can leave it in for… well, there’s probably an upper limit, but IME six hours does not even come close to hitting it. Washing it out  takes mild effort to minimize the skin staining, but I had that down pretty well. I’m fairly sure I can still do it.

The bleaching… I haven’t bleached in ages. That bit I’m actually a bit uneasy about.

(I have asked the light of my life to promise that, if I burn all my hair off and he is moved to laugh at me, he will at least hug me while doing so. He agreed to this, and suggested he might call me Ms. Luthor and ask about my plans to destroy Superman. I told him I would rather not have DC references, and he could call me Charlene Xavier.)

Because it’s been so long, I am kind of tempted by the idea of only partially going blue-purple, but the two-stage nature of the process means I would need to first bleach in a streak and then dye in the same streak, and that seems rather more difficult that just treating all my hair at once. Maybe I will feel more optimistic about it tomorrow; will see.

Unwell

I have a few words for people who come in to work when they are snorking and wheezing and letting out those ragged velvety coughs that just make sure you know that their lungs are laced with muck.

I am feeling polite, so I am not reproducing those words here.

I am also (for reasons which I feel are not completely unrelated to being exposed to the current office plague) at home feeling drained and exhausted and needing to give serious consideration to whether I am up to looking at a computer screen instead of napping on the couch.

(I was going to go with sleeping on the couch, but Angus abandoned me. Without him, the couch is just this padded expanse of old fabric instead of a warm and comforting dispenser of purrs, which is much less appealing.)

(…I’m still using it, mind. I’m just not dozing on it.)

It’s being an unproductive day. I am mostly making my peace with this, and trying to recover.