ellenscult: (funky)
I've been meaning to post for a while; in brief, I've finished the short course of counselling, yes it's helped and I'd recommend it - talking things out with an impartial, compassionate person is extremely helpful. My car now has a new switch, so the main beam headlights will stay on when I want them to, not when I indicate. It also has other New BitsTM and is pretty much ready for MOT at the end of the month. In completely unrelated news, I am extremely broke this month. Meh. I have a touch of tonsillitis, which is rather annoying since I had my tonsils out around 20 years ago. Double meh! It's been the High Holy Days, so rather belatedly, may you all be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a sweet and healthy year to come.

In knitting news, I finished Dad's jumper and still have to pop it in the post. I've knitted all of the sleeveless hooded cardigan for Jacob (bar the pocket) and have crocheted him a cat out of the leftover yarn; I just have to put the hood onto the jacket with a three needle bind-off, knit the pocket and sew it on, and sew on the buttons. I'm part-way through knitting a Henry scarf with the leftover merino yarn (from Dad's jumper) for my father-in-law's Christmas present and am contemplating knitting another in grey silk for DH for his birthday in November. I've been going to the Knit & Natter groups at Randalstown and Antrim Libraries, which are awesome, especially now I have a library card and have discovered the joys of borrowing magazines, ebooks and audiobooks online with said library membership. For free. Woohoo!

I'm off my daily routines - no meditation, no Duolingo - and I'm not getting to sleep until the middle of the night, which isn't helping, apart from that the NHL season is now underway and the Pittsburgh Penguins games start around midnight BST. (They've won their first two regular season games, which Yay, but their captain, Sidney Crosby, probably the best ice hockey player in the world, is once again out with a concussion, which very much Oh Noes.) As I'm both in the UK and also have no TV license (don't watch live TV, have now stopped watching BBC iPlayer, tend not to watch much of anything anyway), I listen to the Pens games on their in-house radio broadcast, which is great, but makes me profoundly grateful for the UK's advertising standards. I have to refrain from emailing the Pens organisation and asking them to think more carefully about who they sell advertising space to, because some of the radio ads are so far beyond the bounds of truth and decency (both moral and ethical) that I boggle when I hear them. You might not be fat - you might just be bloated! Take this supplement and it'll clear out pounds of rotting, toxic sludge from your belly! And this is paraphrased, without listing the medical claims they're making... Just - wow. How anyone at that supplement company can justify the language they use, how they can see themselves as anything other than (at best) amoral predators, I don't know.

Right, enough of that, I can't clear my head enough for a more coherent rant. But seriously, just, no. Gah!

*deep breath*

Anyway, I've discovered a love of ice hockey and have been following the Pittsburgh Penguins since May, and it's all the fault of fanfiction. No, really. *headdesk* I read a lot of fanfic. This isn't news to anyone who knows me. I tend to skip from fandom to fandom as the mood takes me, and if I enjoy a story by a particular author, I'll go see what else they've written, and then, if I'm bored, I'll look at the stories they have bookmarked, because chances are our tastes will overlap at least to some small degree. It's a nifty way of finding some great stories to read that I'd otherwise not discover. So I read an excellent Teen Wolf series by an author called Sidara, and when I looked at their bookmarks, I spotted a story by TheHoyden, whose stories I've encountered in a few fandoms and always enjoyed. But the story, King and Lionheart, was marked as Hockey RPF (real person fanfic), and RPF makes me uneasy. Writing fanfiction about fictional characters is one thing, but writing about real people crosses a line in my mind. But I like TheHoyden's stories, and this one had a 'marriage of convenience' tag, and I'm a sucker for that trope in romance. Not that I've written my own 'marriage of convenience' fanfic, oh no, not at all. *ahem* So I clicked, and I read, and I've been hooked ever since, both on hockey RPF and on ice hockey and on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are an amazing team (they won the Stanley Cup shortly after I started following them, go Pens!) and an amazing organisation (they do a lot of stuff for a whole lot of charities, an awful lot of community work, and seem like an awesomely supportive place to work). So yeah, the RPF is a guilty pleasure, but the ice hockey is a genuine pleasure, and though it might be a bit odd to find a love of a sport from reading romance, but eh, that's how my heart works.
ellenscult: (perky)
After talking with my counsellor on Tuesday, I popped into the Antrim Forum to see what classes they had, and on Wednesday morning I went to Pilates for the first time ever. Ahahahaha! It is brutal! In a very non-brutal way, but today my everything aches. When I think about all the sword fighting, glima, rock climbing, cycling, swimming etc I've done and how very unfit and unbendy I am now, the comparison makes me feel, well, unfit and unbendy. Gah! So yeah, I'll go back next week, provided I'm not a) dead or dismembered or b) having a bad ME day. Fingers crossed, eh?

I'm feeling quite chipper at the moment: financially, things aren't entirely dire (hurrah); DH is coming up on the end of week 11 of his new job (but eye surgery next week, eep); I haven't had to take Planck to the vets for a few weeks (but I need to get him another hip x-ray, his bad hip is getting worse); the other dogs are fit and well (touch wood); family is all okay (to the best of my knowledge, and my nephew starts school a week on Friday, wow); I've even hoovered the house. Well, downstairs, and I hoovered upstairs at the end of last week, so it's still okay for now.

So yeah, no major disasters! Have some crafty photos instead:

Photos )

Also a book recommendation, also from my wonderful counsellor: Reinventing Your Life by Jeffrey E. Young, PhD., and Janet S. Klosko, PhD. So yeah, I'll be getting that. Oh, and I read Neurotribes by Steve Silberman, which is a fantastic read - hugely informative, sometimes difficult, sometimes hugely entertaining, but always very thought-provoking. I think my favourite bit, for reasons which will be blatantly obvious to anyone who knows me personally and to anyone who's read anything else at all in this blog, is this, about the expanded criteria for diagnosis:

A nonspeaking boy of six who rocked in a corner all day would fit the bill, as would a woman in her late twenties who reflexively averted her eyes when speaking and calmed herself while knitting while inwardly fancying herself the real-life equivalent of Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who.

Replace 'late twenties' with 'early forties', and 'Sarah Jane Smith' with 'Ace', and yeah, that's absolutely me! It made me giggle.

So yeah, that's me this week. I'm going to go back to crocheting another cute cat (making a good start on those family Christmas presents) and wait for the washing machine repairman (repairperson? probably a bloke, though) to turn up (13:00-15:00 allegedly). Have yourselves a great week and welcome to September!
ellenscult: (boats)
I've gotten a little lost in my head the last couple of weeks. I've been thinking about how angry I am - or how angry I'm not. There's a theory - with a lot to support it - that anger unexpressed turns inwards and becomes depression. And there's no question that I'm still blisteringly angry over a very few things, and also that I'm depressed. But what I feel, day-to-day, isn't anger, it's overwhelming fear. I'm terrified of facing even small challenges, and when I hit bottom, I can't face anything and I don't want to have to face anything. And these challenges range from checking my email to talking on the phone to signing up to being at a given place and time - and then there's filling out official forms, talking to official people, and actually paying for shopping - even when I check my account balance and see there's the money to pay for shopping (more than enough space on the overdraft), I still flinch, expecting my card to be declined. It's very stressful. I'm not sure how to get past that, apart from spending as little as possible so maybe some day we can get out of the overdraft and actually have, yanno, cash in the bank account...

So, yeah, things make me afraid all the time and that's very difficult to push past. My ME has been bad for the last 18 months at least - I can't go out for long walks, I can't do very much physically, and I can't commit do doing things mentally because my brain stops working and I don't notice until later (I do sudoku and scrabble puzzles - if they're a struggle, they're a good sign my brain isn't working well). Especially with numbers - I have a bad habit of thinking I've remembered a figure and then just making it up, and my maths is really shonky - it's much easier if I can do maths without the numbers! Anyway, my ME is bad enough that I couldn't work more than maybe 8-16 hours a week. It's bad enough that I could probably claim disability living allowance (Personal Independence Payment) - and I have the form, but the thought of filling out that form, of claiming a benefit from the government, terrifies me, paralyses me. It makes me anxious, keeps me up at night, kicks off my acid reflux.

Honestly, I don't know what to do about this. I know I feel better when I face things that scare me, when I tackle them and get them out of the way. But I'm terrified. What's the worst that can happen? I make mistakes, I get called out for fraud and I go to prison. How likely is this? Not at all. But it's there in my head, all the time. And it makes it almost not worth applying for a benefit which, tbh, I really bloody need (I can't physically keep the house clean and maintain the garden and right now there's no way I can pay for anyone to come help me) just so I don't have The Fear terrorising me.

It's really hard to push myself out of this hole, to come back onto LJ or Twitter or anywhere else where I might actually have to interact with people. It's really hard to overcome the small hours of the morning where my head's a mess of "I can't do it, I can't do it, I don't want to be here anymore" and actually calm down, relax, breathe. Remember that I can do this, I do want to be here. Pull my mood up from rock bottom to take a more objective look at things and see that things are a damn sight better than they have been - and not punt myself into a manic cycle where I have no cares and the bank account's fine and I can promise and delive anything, apart from where I can't. Go up, but not too up. Face facts, but don't be overwhelmed by them. Relax, rather than hiding under the duvet cover. Set reasonable objectives and achieve them. Remember to be kind to myself.

Anyway, have a couple of photos. The Planet X Bandit shawl/cowl thingy (not entirely convinced about this) and the Swag Bag with Minecraft Creeper Face for one of my nieces for Xmas. I'll be writing down the pattern for that and putting it up on Ravelry.

Photos )
ellenscult: (boats)
Just a quick post to show off a few things I've made recently/am making at the mo:

Photos )
ellenscult: (funky)
I'm trying to think of what to post and my brain doesn't want to cooperate. Eh. It's jumper weather again, and damp and grey, so of course it's Wimbledon. Johnny Marray and Adil Shamasdin are through to the fourth round of the gentlemen's doubles; Marray won with Freddie Nielsen back in 2012 and is probably the best example of sportsmanship in the game - at close to match point, he stopped and pointed out he'd touched the net, something no one else had noticed. That they went on to win regardless is testament to just how well he was playing. I have to admit I'm biased; I worked with his dad in Sheffield for a good few years, and the whole family are thoroughly nice people. So, yeah, I'm rooting for him to win again this year. *fingers crossed*

I took Planck in to the vet's today to get the stitches out of his ear. It's not fully healed up, but it should be fine in a few days, and it means he got to see his favourite vet (John), lick a vet nurse, and make friends with an 11 month old lab-cross puppy. Exciting! And even more exciting for the rest of us, he doesn't need the Cone of Doom on any more! Hurrah! With it on, he's definitely an agent of chaos and destruction!

DH and I were in Belfast on Saturday and got to see the march in favour of decriminalising abortion in NI, with banners for all sorts of groups, including the Anarchists. DH, of course, wanted to go tell them that organised demonstrations really don't go together with anarchy, but fortunately he had an eye test so couldn't. And he didn't get into a shouting match with the later pro-life march, but he did make a couple of baby goths giggle. We both believe in freedom to choose, but I think what bothers DH most is the insistence on misquoting the Bible.

Anyway, not much to talk about today; I crocheted myself a cowl, and it and all the baby blanket granny squares (for a friend's baby) are blocking upstairs. I'm crampy and generally slow and achy, but this is all hormonal, bah humbug. So I'm going to go read some hockey player rpf (I know, don't even... *headdesk*) and go back to contemplating what to make next - I have to start my Christmas knitting by the end of the month. Yeah, today I have no idea. So, still here, still making an effort to get out from under my rock, even if it's with a hot gel pack stuffed down my waistband. Hoovering can wait til tomorrow.
ellenscult: (scissors)
I've been working my way through a few projects and today's seen progress at last, hurrah! The photo below shows the scarf I'm knitting for my brother-in-law's 40th, the skein of 4-ply yarn I've spent hours plying on my drop spindle, which will soon be woven up on a small peg loom to make viking leg wraps for DH, and the under-door draught excluder I've finally sewn up for my parents-in-law. I also finished sewing silk bags for lavender sachets for my mum, patched one dog coat and extended another and put Velcro on it. Phew! So I'm tired but feeling better for working my way down my to-do list.

Clicky clicky, photo here )

Flatpack-fu

Jan. 2nd, 2015 09:54 pm
ellenscult: (chomp)
I got almost 6 hours of unbroken sleep last night, more than I've had in a while. Slow start after everything yesterday, so of course we decided to go back to IKEA and get another one of those dog day beds. Hence more driving, lifting heavy boxes, picking up a carry out from the Chinese Court in Antrim, a bit of a row, flatpack-fu, furniture rearranging, general tidying and lots more hoovering and now I am stretched out on my day bed with Newton dozing beside me, Dante asleep on the floor on the other side of me, and there's the sound of snoring coming from the other room. I could just doze off myself, but if I do that I'll wake up in a bit and not get to sleep tonight, meh.

I have another fox cowl to finish, and Absolute 80s radio playing in the background, so I reckon that'll do me for the rest of the evening.

Another photo )

Writing done: a very little, but at least it's some. Wine drunk: none, hurrah!

Tomorrow I shall do some tidying and some writing and generally take things easy - I'm overdue a reaction day and as I'm overtired right now I think tomorrow's it, oh well.
ellenscult: (Queen of France)
This year has been very quiet; I seem to have largely lost my voice - literally, a couple of weeks ago when I came down with tonsillitis. So here's some of what I've been up to instead of writing or posting on social media or even phoning family and friends:

Knitting ahoy! )

You'll notice what's not in those photos: wrapping paper. Because I'm a bit pants, really. Also, still knitting like mad. Everyone's pressies will be late, meh. Bah humbug!

So Merry Christmas, belated Shana Tova for Hannukah, belated Happy Solstice, and Season's Greetings and big hugs to you all.
ellenscult: (Stone flower)
Continuing yesterday's epic awesomeness in actually accomplishing things, after I'd posted to LJ I went and peeled and chopped veg for an hour, by the end of which I had a pan of roast veg, a casserole dish filled with diced beef and beef shin, carrots and onions slow cooking in the range, and a large bowl of coleslaw. Hurrah! I fed the dogs, let my husband feed himself when he was hungry, had a natter on the phone with my parents for the best part of an hour, and had a bottle of wine (my first in nearly 2 weeks).

Today, my plans were to do a yard pickup, refill the bird feeders and brush the dogs - Planck could do with his feathers trimming too. I've done the first two items on my list, but then friends gave us a call and came to visit for a couple of hours with their baby girl and toddler son. Hurrah! It was lovely to see them and I got to have an adult natter and a baby fix all at the same time. The dog brushing and clipping can wait til tomorrow!

The beef casserole slow-cooked for about 14 hours overnight and is extremely tender today - all of us enjoyed it, though I suspect the pups would like to enjoy more of it.

It's very quiet - Jerry's a bit under the weather and is actually in bed and asleep (I can hear faint snores though the ceiling); Dante's asleep on the sofa beside me, and Planck and Newton are flaked out on dog beds on the floor while they all wait for it to be time for their Dentastix.

I finished off the last winter-weight cowl yesterday too (done in James Brett Marble Chunky, in case anyone's interested), so I've fished out a cone of lace-weight Texere Yarns Enigma in royal blue to try making summer-weight cowls (it's Northern Ireland: trust me, they'll be needed). The first one (finished it earlier this afternoon) is probably going to be quite large, circumference-wise, so I've dropped the stitch count and the needle size. Instead of doing 4 rounds knit, 4 rounds purl, repeated twice for 24 rounds total, I'm working a simple lace pattern: rounds 1,3,5 - knit; round 2 - knit 2 together, yarn over, repeat; round 4 - yarn over, knit 2 together; rounds 6-8 - purl; repeat rounds 1-8 twice, cast off using a lace bind off. We'll see how it goes! Ill post photos tomorrow if I get these last 2 cowls blocked and dried in the afternoon.
ellenscult: (perky)
Yesterday's day of tiredness seems to have given way to general tiredness from not getting to sleep until 3am (better than the start of the week, hurrah!) and being woken up by a phone call from the Jobs and Benefits Centre. A very nice lady put up with my morning lack of brain and explained there's been an overpayment of Income Support, which she's trying to sort out so I'll know just how much I have to pay back either in a lump sum (ha!) or with a deduction from my IS (it'll be option 2, thanks). So we'll have even less coming in, but hey, it's spring officially and my father-in-law's vegetable patch is open for raiding by me (I usually give it a good weed while I'm pulling a couple of spring onions or a lettuce, or whatever). I'd set the dogs to catching their own dinner, but I'm afraid they'd ignore the rabbits (there's mixamatosis in the population, sadly) in favour of nearby sheep, chicken and cows. Doh!

After that early start (I'm working my way back to getting up by 7am, honestly!), my day was brightened by hearing Warren Zevron's Werewolves of London on the radio as I grabbed a shower - gave me the impetus to wrap up my nephew's birthday presents, then head out on my loop of many errands. Planck's dog license is renewed; I've paid the vet's bill and picked up more Loxicom and spoken to John the Awesome Vet about getting Planck his hip replacement surgery; got coal from the general merchant's; posted Dan's parcel; called by the bank; got the rest of the food shopping from Poundstretcher (dog munchies) and Tesco (gluten-free and dairy-free me munchies) and even picked up some free low-fat fries from Burger King for Jerry (today only, apparently, if your local BK's one of the franchises doing them).

The shopping is all away, the dogs have their stuffed bones (Newton's finished licking out his and is sitting behind me on my chair, watching the garden through the window to make sure nothing needs barking at), Jerry's had his fries and I've had a cuppa. That's probably me done for the rest of the day, but it's always possible I might actually get a little fiction writing done, woohoo! Or I could go look into how to turn Where's My Tractor into an e-book so I can email that to my sister. Or I could finish off that last winter-weight cowl for Uncle Ken and start on the summer lace-weight silk/wool mix cowls for the family...

Gosh, the possibilites are endless! Or something. Yes, well, I think I'd better quit while I'm ahead, don't you? Have a fantastic weekend, peeps.

Newton and selfie... )
ellenscult: (passed)
Posting three days in a row? Surely not! Today, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I finished sticking pages in the book I've written for my nephew and I trimmed the edges, so it's ready to be parcelled up to post off tomorrow morning. It's called "Where's My Tractor?", and I picked up a little board book from a charity shop, which I've very cheekily stuck my pages over.

Where's My Tractor? )

So, there's that, which is a good reason to feel accomplished, I think. Other reasons are that I got up at 11, despite falling asleep around 4am (again!), prodded the pups, visited my in-laws, did a yard pickup (3 large dogs have 3 large bottoms and leave lots of large 'presents'), went to Lidl, put away the shopping, peeled and cooked a pan of roast veg, made a pan of veg soup, fed the dogs, unstacked the dishwasher, and knitted most of a cowl. I've even made my not-unsuccessful way through today's 5 minutes of Italian and French practice (DuoLinguo really is an awesome app) and made another Kiva loan.

Cue much tiredness! In a couple of minutes I'm going to kick the dogs outside for their last wee and give them their dentastix (best tasty ever!) and go to bed, where I'm hoping I'll actually fall asleep earlier than stupid o'clock, so tomorrow I can get up and Do More StuffTM.

Here's hoping tomorrow won't be another tired day! I need to go get the Tesco shopping, post Dan's book, pay the vet bill off and pick up more Loxicom for Planck, then head round to the council offices and pay Planck's dog license renewal. There's always more to do! G'night, y'all!
ellenscult: (Default)
It's legen- wait for it... )

wait for it... DARY!

Oh, now I remember what I meant to say! Duh! I'm on tumblr, under the username ellenscult. As usual. Another day, another sandbox, but this time with more animated gifs!
ellenscult: (comesee)
in the wrong house, in the wrong ascendancy... )

The state of my inbox: under sixty-five e-mails!

Today's reading:
ellenscult: (boats)
Good Morning, World! )

Anyway, happy extra bank holiday day to those of you here in the UK, and don't work too hard, everyone else!

Reading List )

E(again)TA: And now it's raining. Bah, humbug!
ellenscult: (glima)
Thanks for all your good wishes - I've been passing them along to Jerry. We've had a quiet weekend, by and large, just letting it sink in. Friday evening we saw a couple of friends, which was lovely. Their dog, Duke, is Planck's very bestest friend in the whole wide world. The only downside is I picked up a stomach bug from somewhere and passed that along to Jerry too. Blech! Still, it seems to be one of those 24 hour bugs, but I spent most of yesterday asleep.

Crafty stuff, cut for photos: )

I'm also just starting to catch up on email - lots to reply to! Sorry for the delay; if you've emailed me or commented or sent me a message or whatever, I'm hoping to reply over the next day or two.

Knitting!

Aug. 28th, 2011 04:44 pm
ellenscult: (funky)
Had a bit of MEfail over the past few days, so all I've done is sit around in my pyjamas, do a bit of knitting on a jumper for my mum, and watch Criminal Minds season 1.

It's going to be a plain raglan-sleeved jumper in Mirasol Miski, which is 100% baby llama. Gorgeous! Mum bought the wool, we found the pattern together on LionBrandYarn.com and I spent a while altering the pattern to suit her tension square. Then very cunningly she got me to offer to knit it for her! lol Still, it's a simple pattern, which is what I need right now.

ellenscult: (Default)
Well, photos of my knitting... )
ellenscult: (marker)
So, no post in quite a while, or at least, no post that isn't simply my tweets for them as doesn't follow Twitter... Right...

Okay, a quick catch-up: )

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ellenscult: (Default)
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