Friday, August 21, 2020

Taking a Deep Breath on Friday

Thank you all for your kind words of support. They really helped me as I moved through the week, which was a hard one. My jaw was damaged when I was born. When I'm under stress, I clench, which causes terrible headaches. (Yes, I have a bite guard, but that just protects your teeth.) For the first time, the jaw problems are causing severe earaches. Apparently this is a common issue with jaw problems.

I saw two doctors this week. They both said I need to reduce stress as much as possible. Since that's not really possible, they upped my pain and sleep meds.

Still, I hustled all week. I have a lot of freshmen on my caseload this year, so I've been getting to know them and their families virtually. I completed a mountain of paperwork -- and I think I did it correctly! Now we have two weeks of professional development before the students come back virtually.

In the midst of all that, it seemed reasonable to indulge myself, so I started knitting the Annalise Shawl that I was gifted by Bridget:

Clearly I will have to block the heck out of the edges. Nonetheless, it is the perfect antidote to this trying week. Easy, fun, and beautiful.

I also picked up a project that I had cast on and lost track of months ago:

This is the beginning of a fingerless mitten. The pattern is About Town Mitts by Bonnie Sennott, who is one of my favorite designers. It's also an easy knit, which is all I am capable of at this point!

And I squeezed in another sketch of a house in the expensive part of my neighborhood. As you can tell, I really enjoy doing the stonework. The stone here is lannon stone, which is largely found in southeastern Wisconsin.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is glad that it's Friday!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Suviving the Pandemic

 I am foggy after another bad night.  I wake up four or five times a night in the middle of terrible anxiety attacks. The bad news is they have been so intense that I can't even get out of bed to take medication. The good news is that I can't get out of bed and eat.

Usually, my panic attacks are very specific, focusing on specific worries. These have been completely general, so  I'm not sure what actions I can take to calm myself. Very frustrating!

I'm assuming they are in some way a response to the pandemic and to work. I have to work at least one more year, so there's not much I can about that. It never occurred to me that any parent would think I should die so that their child could go to school. The threat of opening schools is the only thing I am conscious of worrying about -- that and my son working in a veterinary hospital with hundreds of employees. 

I think I am doing what I can to make my life pleasant -- I'm almost done with my Pandemic Quilt. I'll take a full photo when it's hanging on the wall:

I've been biking and walking nearly every day. Today I saw these hibiscus flowers on my walk. I just love that there's a variety of hibiscus that can grow in Wisconsin!

I am thoroughly enjoying my Sue Spargo-type project, which I am calling "Happy Fish." I'm learning lots of new embroidery stitches. Wool is so nice to work with because it has structure and it's easy to get a needle through.

And my dear Kola makes me happy. The other day she thought she was recycling:


I Zoom with friends, hang out with my husband, talk on the phone, read. I'm not quite sure why I'm having such bad nights!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Best Present Ever!

 It's not my birthday or Hanukkah or Christmas, but I got the best present in the mail this week:

Yes, 6 skeins of incredibly luscious Koigu sock yarn. And they came with a beautiful and easy shawl pattern: Annalise Wrap.

I have to thank Bridget. I am the beneficiary of one of her Christmas in July give-aways, and I could not imagine a more fabulous package!

Even though I'm supposed to be knitting monogamously on a poncho, I couldn't resist getting started on my Annalise:

The timing could not have been better. I'm working half-time at this point, and I'm sad to miss so much summer. When we had full union rights, we didn't work until the contract year began. But those are bygone days now in Wisconsin. I am enjoying seeing and talking to my colleagues. I've been doing a lot of meetings with my special ed team and the freshman biology team -- and I enjoy those. But mostly we have a lot of paperwork, and that isn't as much fun.

Still, I've been working for 40 years now, and I really love knitting and embroidering and drawing. I will be very happy when those things are my "work"!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

This and That

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. I suspect that has something to do with going back to work -- even part-time work interferes with the fun parts of life! I suspect I will be glad for the human contact once winter arrives -- so I shouldn't complain. Still, I am beginning to mourn the end of my summer break.

I apologize for boring knitting content. I am making good progress on my 3rd (and last) Kate's Poncho.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1FAklrNIj5SPsAeBoRe-njGJQ2iFL5PHE

I can hardly wait to cast on something new!

My Summer Quilt (for lack of a formal name) is coming along. It was looking kind of dull so I added more appliqued leaves. And I just love the hand-quilting because it is so meditative.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1-0EatwP5hawi1l0b4TOaCDY_FLbGM7QR

There has been a bit of sketching. There is little part of my neighborhood that has modern, really expensive homes (every house is expensive in Madison!), so I tried drawing one of them:

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=14LZ2rj8Jv7WDzSywetteDEZvlK_nEVmV

Next time I'll pick a house that isn't a big brown blob! It's a lovely house, but not much fun to paint!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Tiny Needle Tuesday

I've made quite a bit of progress on my embroidery but...

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=15jyG9Y6NU6GT7e5nY-4QDYSMfO3lzCQV
... the remaining lines disappeared! I'm not sure if they were supposed to disappear or if I didn't iron them on correctly. I'll have draw them in and hope for the best!

I had a full day of work today. For special ed in my district, summer is over. We have to do a mountain of paperwork to comply with federal law. I just want to say: Betsy DeVos could have relaxed the paperwork requirements. Instead, she added to them.

The next thing I need to do is set up a functional workspace. First, I have to get rid of this crap:

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=10RwizeINeDqDKgoPnpPUV7BZCMFESqtJ
That is my son's equipment from his days as the lead guitarist for a death metal group called An End to Flesh. He found the name in the Torah. Not quite what I was hoping for when I sent him to Hebrew School. They were moderately successful; even toured both coasts. Still, I think that veterinary medicine is a better career.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Fun Summer Project

Every summer I swear that I'm going to declutter my craft room; it hasn't happened yet. 

However, I did empty one bin by doing a fun and easy project that has been languishing for close to a decade.
I've been collecting Altoid Tins and all those little do-dads for years -- on clearance, of course!

The first step was sorting out all the do-dads. As you might guess, I sorted them by color. Also, you'll want to cut off the button shacks with a wire-cutter. Cover the button with your hand so the shank doesn't fly into your eye.
It's a bit messy, but very easy. In a small container, you mix gel medium (I use Golden, but I don't think brand matters) with cheapo acrylic paint. You don't need a lot of paint to tint the medium. I stirred it with a popsicle stick. Then you spread a thick layer on the lid of the tin.
Now the fun begins: Start sticking stuff down. Sometimes I started in the middle; other times I started in a corner. Either way, it went fine.
They need to dry for at least 24 hours. I gave mine more than three days -- just to be sure.

Most of my nieces and nephews are in their teens and 20s, so I'm going to give them cash in one of these cute little boxes. That takes care of a lot of my holiday "shopping"!

One bin down; 30 (at least) more to go!