Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Shadow Syndromes

Now that I'm about over this bout of depression - still a bit down at night, I read an article that I think came from Nina at Dancing Through Doorways. John J. Ratey teaches and researches in psychiatry at Harvard, and his article and book, Shadow Syndromes: People with Mild Forms of Serious Disorders, is reviewed here. As a result of new developments with echo planar magnetic resonance imaging (what a mouthful), researchers can watch the "mind boggle". I suddenly have a picture of all these lettered dice being jumbled around inside my skull while someone watches and tries to predict how they will land.
An MRI image
Anyway, the conclusions drawn so far indicate that when we change the chemical action in one part of the brain, other parts of the brain are affected also. And, sometimes the changes in the other parts of the brain return to change the area being medicated. For instance, he says, Prozac immediately raises the serotonin levels in the brain, but several weeks may pass before the depression lifts. So something else is happening here.

He says that timing and the geography of the brain and what he called recursivity (the feedback to the original change) are being investigated. He mentions that the biology of our brains are not fixed at birth; the brain responds to environment, for instance, traumatic incidences can "cause" post traumatic stress syndrome. We acquire dents and scrapes along the way even if we don't acquire such traumatic scars.

Lately, however, neuropsychiatry is discovering that genetics, brain structure and biochemistry heavily influences those mental/emotional diagnoses found in DSM IV. And, the thinking is that we really can have a touch of schizophrenia or bipolar or obessive-compulsive disorder without being much out of the ordinary (if you can define ordinary).

So, I presume it's like having a slight cold. The virus is there, but it's not affecting you much. So, I might have a touch of bipolar syndrome to go along with my ambient anxiety and together they may manifest themselves as depression. Or the depression and the panic may manifest as manic. Or some of one at one time and some of the other at another time or various stages in between. Not a very far out idea. We look at ourselves as being somewhere along a spectrum in many behaviors, beliefs, and choices, from insane liberal to middle of the road to insane conservative. And, each of us fits in different places along that particular spectrum at different times. And beliefs affect politics and politics affect compassion and ....

So, environment does shape heredity in that the environment (say a traumatic incident, and I've had a number of those) can affect brain chemistry in one area that filters through to other areas and eventually changes the functioning in the brain. Age, apparently can do the same.

No one is normal. There is no Jane Doe against which to compare ourselves. There may be a median or a mean or even an average on some spectrum of behavior or function of the brain, but nothing that even remotely qualifies as normal (and I challenge you to define either normal or ordinary). Ha!

I'm sitting here using the back of the Yale Alumni Magazine as a mouse pad, and the picture on the back cover is Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on a business jet. Gates is laughing and Buffett looks as if he is telling some tall tale with slight upturn of his mouth. He even has laugh lines. But, I'm wondering where does each fit on the spectrum of schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD? And, if you're not near the mean, median or average, are you at a disadvantage? Or, did being OCD have a positive affect on their financial success and fame?

If we give up or medicate away our end-of-the-spectrum behaviors, how will it affect our creativity, endurance, persistence? How much medicine is enough, and how much is too much? Too many new medicines on the market haven't seen long-term testing. And, I'm taking some of them...a number of them. I'm taking medicine that affects my serotonin levels, my dopamine levels, and whatever that is in panic disorder. I use area specific steroids to help my breathing. How are they interacting? I strongly suspect that no one knows. Drug manufacturers test for trace chemicals in urine and blood, but what about how those trace levels that stuck in my brain are combining to form a different me.

The question I used to ask my therapist is, "But, will I like the new me?" Sometimes, I do. Sometimes, I don't. And, I still throw tantrums, jump for joy, get fed up with stuff and dislike secrecy....among other traits along some of those brain spectra.

We thought I might have sleep apnea until we realized that A: I was taking two medicines together that make me sleepy and tired in the daytime, and B: the cats were walking all over me at night and waking me up. So, I changed the medication times and kicked the cats off me; now I'm doing well, thank you.

Still, the depression kicks in sometimes. Therapy helps. Medicine must be continued even though I don't want to take anything. Music helps. Activity helps. "Acting as if..." helps. "Pretend you're happy when you're blue...."

And, all of it may be some complicated recursivity from taking my medicines at the wrong time, or the synchronicity of memory triggers and dopamine/serotonin levels, or the alignment of the stars.

That's it. I'm going for the alignment of the stars - and my stars are more in alignment now! Thanks be to God.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Depression update

Slowly passing depressing with occasional bouts of laughter and joy. Daytimes better. Finding out that our renovation is going to cost even less than we had thought is great. Found some bright colored jeans at Wal-Mart for $13 or $17. I can wear them to work. Ate lunch with partner. Got a good haircut. Found a wonderful new snack - Wild Things Crunch cereal from Kellogg's - had a picture of panda on the front so I had to buy it. LOL. And, it's only 100 calories for 3/4 cup with some fiber - crunches so good.

My cable scarf is coming along nicely. I will have to get one more skein of yarn tomorrow because I'm running out, but I am so thrilled with it. And, I made more yellow squigglies from the sleeves of the yellow sweater. I balled some of it, but I put the ends and bits in a blue pottery bowl and it's so pretty.

Life is good. Tonight may be not so good, but basically, everything is getting better. This, too, shall pass.

thanks for all the prayers and hugs.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Depression Snuck Up On Me

When I wasn't paying attention, depression snuck up on me. Yesterday (Thursday) I bottomed out with apathy, lethargy, crying, no appetite (something's really wrong with me when that happens), and anger. I wanted to not be. Being was painful - life hurt. And, no, nothing drastic has happened in my world. Everything seems to be flowing along smoothly, except me.

I do have cyclic depression that seems to occur regardless of the medication I take. My new psychiatrist started me on Lamictal during a recent bout of short term cycling. And, that helped.

I've felt this one creeping up on me. Several days ago, I said to my partner, "I feel like I'm getting sick." Well, I was right, only it wasn't a cold. It was depression.

While I know that many times, this depression cycles itself right back out the door it came in, I decided I had to "do" something to alleviate it. So, I got dressed and went to Weight Watchers - gained two pounds. No big deal. i lost two last week. So, I'm pretty stable.

Partner, friend and I decided something to eat might help me. We left the meeting and went next door. Before we got next door, I burst out crying. Partner put her arms around my shoulders while I cried. I sniveled a few more times, and we proceeded to eat. The food was okay - I usually love it, always order the same thing.

Called my therapist. She had a cancellation. Had to kill time. Went to thrift shop. Then went to the yarn shop where I work and helped the owner unpack and price an order that had just come in.

Therapist helped. We looked at what had been going on with me emotionally for the past few weeks (not involving the move) and various relationships I have and my anger, irritation, bafflement, resentment, ... you know, all those things you don't want to admit that you have but seem to come pouring out of your mouth when you feel in a safe place with a safe person. Brimming full of it and spilling over. Heard her say that maybe what I was feeling about others was really what I was feeling/seeing/believing about myself. Took a good look at self. Not pretty. Good looking hat, but the inside was rotting. Set another appointment soon.

Came home. Talked with partner about issues. We use the "talking ball" to help us through tough discussions. When I am holding the ball, I get to talk until I am through. Then I give the ball to her and she gets to talk until she is through. And, back and forth until we can leave the ball still between us and be silent or discuss solutions.

Made some very interesting discoveries. Like, what I thought she was thinking as not what she was thinking at all. Amazing. I couldn't read her mind. Nor could she read mine. Probably a good thing both ways. But, I really need to stop projecting what I think she is thinking or feeling and check it out with her - and vice versa.

Also discovered that we think differently. Some of the ideas I discussed were so foreign to her that she looked at me in bafflement. Like finding pleasure in things. For her "things" are mostly utilitarian. She finds pleasure in doing and in being with others. And, oh yes, did I mention that we both have control and abandonment issues? LOL

And, I am/was having problems with other relationships like my godchildren. I just don't want to talk with any of them any more. I can't resolve their problems, and I just don't want to hear about it right now. Later, much later. So, I play passive in the passive/aggressive game - no, I didn't get your message. I don't know where my cell phone is. When did you call? Oh, dear. That's a lie. I saw who was calling and hit the silent button because I just couldn't talk right then. And, later, I forgot or maybe I still didn't feel like talking.

And, I'm tired of putting away things. Fortunately, most of the boxes are gone and we can open all the outside doors but one. It still has empty boxes leaning against it. All the packing boxes and paper are going to be listed on FreeCycle next week. Gone to someone or to the recycling place.

And, if it ever gets warm enough, I'm going to the garage and put away the Christmas decorations...etc.

Okay. So last night I slept in exhaustion. I haven't done too much today - a few loads of laundry - have about four more to go what with the bedding and towels. Can't wash much with a king-size mattress pad.

So that's where I am. I still have little appetite. I've been knitting, and, so far this evening, I've knitted six rows and taken out nine or so. It's still not right; so I quit and came in here to gripe about it all.

The cat is whining, my stomach is churning. I feel like I want to throw up and get it all out of my system. Not just the food, but all the bad stuff inside me. Just throw up and flush it away. Gone. At least for a while.

And, yes, I talked with my psychiatrist today. She doesn't know me well because I don't trust her. So, that discussion was pointless but probably cost me money. Continuing on the same medication as before.

And, I feel like a paving roller has flattened me into the road. I want some loud music and driving. On the other hand, it's cold outside and I haven't bothered to dress today; so I'd have to work to make that happen. And, what would my driving be like? Probably not so safe.

Bleah! I know tomorrow will be better, but this is just blasted miserable right now. Like the two people in prison looking out the bars into the night sky; one saw the mud and the other the stars. I'm the one looking at the mud and bars right now. Just need to tilt my head up a bit. But, that will come. More than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning (Psalm 130).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What privileges are yours?

On Privilege

I found this interesting meme at Missy's Big Fish Stories. From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Bold the true statements.

1. Father went to college.

2. Father finished college.

3. Mother went to college.

4. Mother finished college.

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.

9. Were read children's books by a parent.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.

16. Went to a private high school.

17. Went to summer camp.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels.

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.

23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.

25. You had your own room as a child.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.

28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.

31. Went on a cruise with your family.

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

What opportunities did you have growing up?

What's not included in this is privilege resulting from race, gender, sexual orientation, even wealth later in life. I came from a relatively poor background, but I have many privileges. The first one in the South, still today, is that I am white. The second is that I speak English and do it well. The third is that I have learned not to be submissive. The fourth is that I am "churched"; I have an automatic support system for most problems. The fifth is that I belong to a 12-step group; I have an automatic support system of people experienced in almost any problem I encounter. These are not only blessings but privileges not open to everyone. Churches reject. 12-step groups are not available everywhere at times when the people are in need...even though they try.

And, I can read, understand metaphor, look back at history and how we are relating the same manner or not, make financial judgments that aren't based on where the handouts are available.

Thanks, Missy. I know blessings and I know privileges, and I have both.

My "off" day

"Off" - well, I've always been off a little bit - sometimes more than others. But, today is a day without any plans. I am off from work, off from obligations, off from appointments, off from most responsibilities.

However, since the laundry is now stacked over my head, not only clothes, but mattress covers, towels, blankets, sheets, and lots of clothes, I think I'll do some laundry. I'll sort it in the guest room so that I don't have to finish it today. I think tomorrow is an "off" day as well. LOL

Grandchildren are undoubtedly a blessing, but I'm grateful today that I don't have any - no children either, just Godchildren, and they all seem to be busy with their own lives lately. I would be thinking up things for the grandchildren and I to do together if I had any. And, I don't want to think. I don't want to be busy and out and about. I just want to be home.

What a blessing it is to have a home. I've been concerned lately about our homeless folk. I saw two police cars stopped on the by-pass (now a limited access road through our town) with two people and a shopping cart. The cart was almost empty; the people were shivering. I was on the other side of the median and when I turned around they were all gone, including the shopping cart. Perhaps these two people were homeless and sheltering in the small patch of woods alongside the by-pass. Perhaps the police had merely cautioned them about fires after checking their IDs (and I hope they had them). I would like to think that the police offered them a ride to the nearest shelter and the protection from the cold that offered. I pray that they find a way "home".

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Stolen from shannon

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, current car): Fluffy Prius
2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Vanilla Crocs
3. YOUR NATIVE AMERICAN NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Panda
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city where you were born): Ann Clarksdale
5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (the first three letters of your last name, first two of your first name): orema
6. SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): Blue Coke
7. NASCAR NAME (the first names of your grandfathers): Mike Waymon
8. STRIPPER NAME ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Amber Joy
9. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (your fifth grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Eason Easton
10. SPY NAME (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Winter Pansy
11. CARTOON NAME (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Peaches Plaid
12. HIPPIE NAME (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Crunch Cottonwood

What an assortment - and I could live with almost any of them except maybe Peaches Plaid - but what a great name for a country character - and I coulda been one - notice that "coulda". None of you say that I am, okay.

And, Blue Coke is a bit beyond me. Let's see, how could we change that: Sky Coca? Storm .... nah, nothing sounds very good.

I believe that names are very important in our lives; they shape the person we become, and they can certainly affect us during our growing years. As a preteen, I switched to a nickname from my real name, and I kept it until I thought it would sound a bit funny for an ordained person. Of course, I never was ordained in a church; so that was a bust. Now people know me by both nickname and given name.

And, I shed my maiden name with marriage. I liked the way the new name sounded, and that's who I still am even though I was divorced and remarried. I did not take my second husband's name because everyone misspelled it and it didn't sound good. LOL What a reason. I had that name for almost 40 years now, and I still like it.

If I'd been named "Edna", I wouldn't have lived the same life or done the same things. Edna doesn't seem daring enough to me. Of course, with the life I've led, my name should be something like: Daring Sweet Dreamer. Or Changeling Wanderer. Or .... well, you get the idea. One of my friends always prefaces my name with "Sweet", and I objected to it for a long time. Now, I admit it. I'm soft hearted and, unless you catch me tired, hungry, late or angry, I wouldn't say anything that would hurt you intentionally. I can be vicious at bad times.

Titles, also, can change one's bent in life. Assistant instead of Associate, News Editor instead of Assistant Director, Executive Director, Assembler. And, what do you call the people who help you keep house - maid, housekeeper, cleaning people, helpers??? Titles can change your attitude towards people.

And, personally, I think that when we elect a President, we ought to be considering the spouse as well. Think of how influential Nancy Reagan was during the presidency, and Dolley Madison. Does Obama have a spouse? And, Hillary would be a fool, if elected, not to consider the experience of her husband.

Names. In the Bible, God let Adam name the creatures. In older times, the discoverer of something new got to name it. Now the naming is done by associations and committees. Parents decide on babies' names...along with input from everyone who knows them. Seems like in native american culture, the naming was suited to the youngster at an appropriate time - and that didn't always fit either. So, I'm all for choosing your own name and changing it whenever you wish.

Right now, I want to be Strong Wind or Agile Associate - considering that I'm headed for work and will be restocking yarn and stuff - up and down the step stool and ladder and kneeling on the floor.

Y'all have a great day - and if you're digging out of the snow, may your name be Strong Safety.

Monday, January 21, 2008

First Cable Stitch

Now you might not think this is such a big deal, but, let me tell you, I dreaded this process for a long time. Then today, I sat in on a class for learning how to cable stitch. While there, I did two cable stitches, but they were too close together for the scarf to be flat. So I ripped it all out and reknitted just past this first stitch. I am soooo pleased.


For Christmas a friend brought me a bottle of Coca-Cola, my favorite drink and logo, that was made in Mexico - made with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Then I discovered that our local Mexican tienda has them. Now, I'm splurging and drinking about 3 per week.

I am so excited. The first few sips were soooo sweet, but then my taste memory kicked in and, "Oh, sweet bliss" - just like the original Coke recipe that I remember from many years ago.

It's like finding the original recipe for my spirituality. Sometimes, I have to go back to the basics, "Jesus loves me this I know". My Mom sang lots of good songs while we were growing up, and most of them were about the ubiquitous presence of God - with us, beside us, pulling for us, being our friend. When I move far from God, I sing some of those songs, and I feel myself being pulled in.

"Let the lower lights be burning, send a gleam across the wave. Some poor fainting, struggling sinner, you may rescue, you may save." And, I can see the lower light as well as the stars - and I have hope and faith and enthusiasm once again. It's my original recipe.

But, back to Coke. Then Friday, I stopped at Trash and Treasures and found a large basket full of Coke "stuff"...bought it, brought it home, unpacked it. Inside was a Coke can phone that works really well, four salad plates with the Coke logo in the middle, a couple of mugs with similar logo, two tiny little lunch boxes, a straw holder, a tin shaped like a Coke truck (the top of the truck cab also comes off), a huge Coke stein. What fun, what fun! Everything has found a home including that wonderful basket that held all of these goodies.

Why do we like such things as Coke logos? It's the real thing. That summarizes my feelings when I see the Coke logo, a created response. Even the right color red will trigger that feeling that the moment, the place, the time, is the real thing - the essence of my life. The wave is motion, and I've always been in motion. So, the Coke logo is, in some ways, a symbol of my life - vital color, flowing motion, excitement, tastes good, savory, peps me up.

And, now that I've had my high fructose, 8 ounce bottle of Coke and my spiritual reflection for the day, I think I'll get a shower and head off for a knitting class on making cable stitch.

May you find your logo!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

un-knitting update

Okay, D, I forgot to go to bed. I turned around and there was this yellow thing - so I finished off the back. Then I remembered that you wanted a pix of the gray shawl. So here they are - not good pix - will do better in daylight and sanity.

Yellow remainder

yellow squigglies

grey shawl

Monday, January 14, 2008

As I straighten my study

I picked this up from Knitting Novices Yahoo group and have adapted it to fit me:

Craftaholics Anonymous
12 Step Program
Newly Revised to 13 Steps
Original © 2001 by Shirley Thomas @

1. I will not stuff craft supplies in every corner of my house.
2. I will not keep nine projects going at one time.
3. I will not buy more yarn, beads or fabric, even if they are on sale, until I finish the projects I have.
4. I will not let my study/work room look like a junk yard.
5. I will not confiscate the dining table or the sofa for crafts.
6. I will not attend craft (bead, yarn) shows or shops just to pick up more ideas.
7. I will not buy more storage carts for my craft stash.
8. I will not spend all that I make working at the yarn shop before I leave the shop.
9. I will not check every day to see what's available on eBay.
10. I will not stay up half the night crafting.
11. I will not save dryer lint, toilet paper rolls, detergent scoops, old shirts, pretty magazine pages
12. I will not buy every craft magazine I see.
13. See you at the yarn shop (bead show).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Too little blogging that's real

I don't consider memes, jokes, surveys and such as real blogging, but I guess they are. They all reflect a piece of me.

Recently I did a 3 day retreat on Spirituality, personality and change. Today I was putting away the books and materials that I used for that retreat, and I was reading some of the material about my own personality and spiritual type. I'm an ENTJ with a bit of ENFJ hiding in there somewhere. So, I'm a "fieldmarshal" with a bit of "teacher" wrapped in. The great organizer. ha From an early age they can be observed taking command of groups. ha, ha

Now this part seems true: "Fieldmarshals more than any other type desire (and generally have the ability) to visualize where the organization is going, and they seem able to communicate that vision to others." and "They are ever intent on reducing bureaucractic red tape, task redundancy, and aimless confusion... Although Fieldmarshals are tolerant of established procedures, they can and will abandon any procedure when it can be shown to be ineffective in accomplishing the goal."

I follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher, Carl Sagan, George Bernard Shaw, Golda Meir, and (ummmm) Napoleon.

I don't know how this relates but my Mom used to say I had several favorite expressions and they usually followed one another if you just waited long enough.

"I'll tell you what......"

"On the other hand......"

Seems like that fits with a Fieldmarshal and a Teacher.

We're getting used to our renovated home. The living room is a delight - no changes in layout there. But, the kitchen is totally new. And, the layout is different. Someone asked me the other day if I had trouble finding things. No, they are where they should be. The other kitchen was wrong; all we did was make it right.

On the other hand, I've had to rethink some of my planning because it's just not working out effectively. For instance, my partner wants the coffee pot, mugs and flatware to the left of the sink. Not where I'd planned for it to be, but I can adapt - right? So, we put the flatware where I thought the kitchen utensils ought to go. Something just didn't feel right about that. Then, I figured it out, and I've changed it while she's out of town. I turned the divided tray around so that the handles are closest to you when you're standing in front of the coffee pot. Of course, I'm right handed and she's left handed, and that could make a difference in how the handles are turned. I'm wondering if she'll notice it before she reads this.

And, I've been having other fun in her absence - about four days of lazy solitude. I've unpacked boxes and decided to get rid of more books - religous stuff that I will never use again. I still have about 10 boxes of books to unpack yet, but I suspect that many of them will depart in peace to be loved in the service of the Lord.

I wonder that my personality type has not changed more. I'm certainly enjoying the creative aspects of me lately - writing, painting, making jewelry, knitting, roasting cats. No, just joking on the latter. I have two part-Siamese, and one of them is yowling at me that it's time for his medicine and treats. Here he comes, white paws a gleaming in the door to stare at me when the yowling didn't work.

So, I guess I'll cut short this personal musing and "pill the cat". It is that time.

All I can say is WOW!

WOW! Check out this video greeting on Rev Mom's blog.

You Are 25% Left Brained, 75% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

No wonder I was never a "success" in my careers; I chose words and management, not artistic endeavors.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

All the more reason to "tidy up"

What a funny shape of this thing!

Recipe for sharecropper

The Recipe For sharecropper
Even though I'm a tee-totaller!

3 parts Difance

2 parts Passion

1 part Warmth

Splash of Drive

Limit yourself to one serving. This cocktail is strong!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One step toward an ecologically sound world

Padre Mickey tagged Juanuchis for this meme, and I liked the idea; so I'm doing it, too.

Steps towards an environmentally (ecologically) sound world - what am I doing and what can I do to leave a smaller "footprint" in the world.

First, let me say that I do many things that leave "footprints" large and unsound: I use way too much gasoline with too many vehicles on our property. I drink too much bottled water even though the bottles are recycled. I forget to take the plastic bags back to the grocery store and get sick of seeing them and throw them in the trash. But, I do get paper bags at one grocery and I reuse them for our recycling. I don't have a compost heap here. We have far too many things with little LED lights and instant on/off controls; so we use more electricity. I use poison for fire ants.

Okay, so what am I doing to help the world:

1. We do recycle everything possible except table scraps.

2. I mostly drive a Prius which uses little gas.

3. I am conscious of how much water I use. We do not water our lawn most of the time. Our water shortage here is not as bad as other places, but we let the grass die.

4. I donate clothing that I have under-grown (Weight Watchers does work.) to friends or to our local non-profit thrift shops.

5. During our recent house renovation, everything possible in salvage went to Habitat for Humanity. And, we still have some light fixtures and other things to go there.

6. I am reusing old deck boards for bordering flower beds. And, we bought less toxic treated wood for the recplacement boards on the deck. We used the composite stuff for our front porch instead of treated wood.

7. We turn off lights when we leave a room. Maybe this saves the electricity that all our little LED lights use. LOL

8. We are conscious of things that should not go into the landfills and recycle batteries, ink cartridges, and such in the proper places.

9. I cannibalize old computers from other people for parts and to recycle them for use by unwed mothers to complete schooling. The remaining parts are appropriately discarded. Although I read recently that far too much high tech waste goes to foreign countries for salvage in unhealthy manner.


Monday, January 07, 2008

The second coming

Well, it's foggy here today.

And, the sun is coming up.

And, the fog is glowing a bright yellow light. Too bright to even photograph.

I'm wondering about the Return of Christ! Today?

More knitting commentary

The Hat pictures are below. This was a fun project; my first time to follow a pattern, and possibly my last. I'm not good at following patterns. LOL

Now, I am knitting a shawl to wear here at home (guess I could wear it out) that will tuck into my pants and not get in my way like the sleeves of my flannel shirts do. So, it's grey alpaca grande - a nice thick yarn that is silky soft and slides right off the metal needles I am using. I've have developed more fine motor skills this time in grabbing the stitches as they slide off the needle and before they sink into the previous row of stitches. That would be problematic with this silky alpaca. Very hard to correct dropped stitches.

Anyway, I don't much care for repetitive work - too many knit stitches and not enough purl stitches or other variation. And, shawls take a lot of stitches. You knit from the tip of the shawl up to the shoulder. So, you start out with two stitches and increase every other row by two stitches. I got up to about 83 stitches and decided it was surely big enough and I was tired of doing the same old thing. So I bound it off, but I was smart enough not to cut the yarn.

I grandly flipped it over my back and, alas, it barely covered the tops of my shoulders. Ugh. I could either give it to a very small person or I could try to get it back on the needles - those same metal needles (called circular turbo needles). I opted for getting it back on the needles.

Other than having every stitch turned backwards (not a real problem to change but tedious), the re-needling went smoothly. And, I now have about five more rows of it knitted. I suspect I have many rows to go before it is the right size and many more knit stitches than I have any desire to do. But, I shall persevere, and we will eventually have pictures of my grey alpaca grande shawl. Of course, the weather is going to be 70 degrees here today; so I may never need it again.

The Felted Hat

The Hat before felting in December 07

The Hat after Felting in January 08

sharecropper in hat after more shaping. Now it has a flat top and a brim that is flat.