Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Insert photos here

I'm in something of a hibernatory phase at the moment. Curled up, nose to tail, disinclined to put in any more effort than what's required to breathe as I doze.

I have pictures of many things to post - and also many things without pictures - but even uploading photos feels like a bit of a task -- that said, it's always felt that way. As has posting. Ah, fickle self. :)

So, I give you images in words. Don't worry - I'll use far less than a thousand for each one.

I have images of the finished greengold and rose text-messaging mittens, featuring a big thumbs-up from me.

I have a still-almost-finished sock #1 in the lovely Interlacements yarn that Abigail sent me. That stuff invites comments from complete strangers on the subway. It's like dappled light and shadow on some distant planet where things are far more colourful and strange than here.

I've decided a t-shirt is in order that says: 'Eunny Jang is a sadist.' I have the beginnings of a Bayerische in a delicious, warm lavender-violet that only gets more complex the closer you get to it. It's coming along relatively well, and I am indeed enjoying it, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around how a) working with a 7-stitch cable can be done without a cable needle, and b) how it would be possible to achieve 'crisp stitches' sans said cable needle. Heck - my stitches on this sock are anything but crisp. Fuzzy Bayerische, here I come.

We saw angora goats. Mum and I went on the Downtown Knit Collective's first bus trip and visited Wellington Fibres. Many goaty pictures. Those beasties are in constant motion - so twitchy. Even when they're standing still and looking at you, their eyebrows are going every which way. The sires were the only ones that seemed capable of achieving complete stillness - they were variously described by fellow bus trippers as looking like 'an old man' and 'a 97-y-o woman'. Hee. Yay goats! Mum sketched to her heart's content and came away with a few neat images. Rumour has it that the next bus trip, some time next year, will be to Koigu. Glee!

Jacquie had a funtime thankswarming party at her new digs last Friday, which was a little overwhelming to start, given the serious influx of Urban Exploration folks (none of whom I knew), but then some knitters showed up. Too tired to link to everyone at the moment (waking up at 5:30 a.m. for no particular reason'll do that to you), but familiar faces included Rocketbride, the Needle Addict, Kiwi Ceri, Heather, Avalee and the MadHatress. Fun! So glad I went. Wish I could've stayed longer, but had to hightail it because...

Sandi's husband Jay's new band, Easy Way Out, was performing -- and it was fantastic. Not only was the music great, but adding to the delight was seeing how much fun Jay was having on stage. I hadn't heard him sing rock before, and, well, he sounded kinda like Chris Cornell. That, and they were accompanied by rapper George Reefah, which just made it double-good. I had a serious urge to rush home afterwards and listen to Body Count -- not from the perspective of the violent lyrics and all that, but ohhhh, the sound of it. Took me back and made everything right with the world. The only downer was the disappearance of Sandi's purse, and with it, her dear Goldie. People are sucky sometimes.

On a happier note, one of the falcons decided to hang out on our balcony railing for a while last Sunday morning.

Right. Off to work, since there ain't much else to do at 7 a.m. other than rub my sandy eyes. I'll try to post piccies soon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

more than an owl

Today is a good day. It's cold and vaguely rainy and grey, but it feels peaceful and clean. A day to stay indoors and do housey stuff, bundled in flannel pyjamas and a sweatshirt. The kind of day that my father is prompted to gaze out the window and say: "Oh England, my England." He came here as a young man in 1967, and there's a type of day - like today - with this particular wettish, damp, cool quality that reminds him of his homeland. He's a bona fide tortured artist, and is imbued with the dual qualities of romanticism and anger. He was a stern parent, but also capable of being very silly.

Remember a while back I found an owl pellet on my balcony? It gets better. This morning I had tea and a clove on the balcony, revelling in the wind and the pewtery autumnal light, watching the pigeons and a couple of gulls riding the wind - but wait...those birds are...reddish-brown, not gull-grey, and they're biggerandtheirwingshavehugepinfeathersandcurveupatthetipslikefighterplanes...and now they're curving closer and right past my balcony about 15 feet away and they have hooked, predatory beaks like military commanders' noses and they're huge! Falcons. A pair of falcons. Today is a good day.

I'm also thinking of my grandfathers today.

Albert Augustine Patrick McKenna (Bertie), born in 1888, ran away at the age of 14 to join the army and lied about his age, served in the cavalry in India, was a merchant seaman, and served his country at sea in both WWI and WWII.

Francis Edward Carey Peaker (Ned), served his country at sea in WWII, and on November 1st, 1941, received a telegram on the ship informing him that my mother had been born. Pulled the gun carriage carrying the casket at King George's funeral. Owned the village shop and post office in Huddersfield, W. Yorks. "We're out of bread; you'll have to have toast."

I never had the chance to meet either of them. They both survived the wars, but died before I was born. Thanks to both of them and to all the men who served and made it possible for dad to reminisce and for me to see falcons on Remembrance Day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cats and Mittens

Thanks all for your kind words and offers of help - I really do appreciate it. I wish there was a way to respond directly to comments. In response to various questions from folks, I do spin, but to this point just on a drop spindle. I've taken a wheel class with Laura, and I desire her wheel - a gorgeous Lendrum double-treadle. I'm saving my shekels. Robin was very sweet and offered me a book, which was a lovely thing to do. I study psychotherapy and have been seeing a therapist for over 5 years, so I'm pretty much booked out on the subject of depression, but I think it's so nice that you offered. Thank you. :)

I've upped my antidepressants on the advice of my doctor and have a referral to a psychiatrist (!) so here's hoping that in the short term I'll be able to muddle through.

I've not been idle while off work for the last couple of days. Here is a mitten, knitted at the request of t's niece Laura. It isn't just an ordinary mitten, though - it's a text messaging mitten from Knitgrrl, with flip-up thumbs. Mitten #2 is on the needles, but I've been holding off so Jacquie and Sandi can see stranded knitting in action.

I've also been kicking some butt with Niamh Spins White, my latest GuildWars character. Nothing takes care of angst like handing skree's arses back to them on a plate (we won't talk about the many times mine has been handed to me in this way).

NSW is named for my beloved NuNu, who as you can see, is white, in addition to being named Niamh. I haven't seen NuNi in over a year and a half, and I think about her all the time. Here she is with Freya, a.k.a. Kitten.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On Depression - and a picture of a sock

There was a little gnome

And she had a little home

Right in the middle of my forehead.

And when she was good

She was very, very good

And when she was bad, she was horrid fucking awful.

Here's my Interlacements sock (aka The Sock of Infinite Pleasure) so far. It's accompanied by my helper, the Hocus-Pocus Bag.

The rest of this post is more serious and introspective in tone, so if you're not up for that, just distract yourself by looking at the sock.

I've suffered from depression for a long time, but I wasn't formally diagnosed until about a year ago, when my biochemistry marshalled its forces and took over my life. Things got better for a while, but it's reasserted itself, and I'm trying to figure out what to do next.

Some days, I'm fine - some moments, I'm fine. And then something happens to me. It's in part biochemical, but it's often triggered by events - work most often, sometimes family - and I transform into this bloody, suppurating, suffering mass of raw nerve endings, incapable of rational response to what should be normal stresses. Most people, given a healthy enough sense of themselves and their place in the world, would be able to process it, cope, and move on. I am plunged into black despair, unable to see any value or redemption in any part of myself. I take it all in and get lost in it.

In this place, everything bad is true. I am incapable, incompetent, hopeless, irredeemable. I am a deep void of child-fear, rage and paranoia. I project my own worst self-impressions onto my co-workers and am convinced that this is how they see me. I am a failure, and I castigate myself for it. You know the bullies that were horrible to you at school? They got nothin' on the one in my head.

Even outside of these episodes, I'm often paranoid and suspicious, certain that I'm under judgement all the time. I no longer know what is me and what is not-me. This doesn't happen with my friends so much - anywhere that official evaluation has no sway, I'm fine and relatively comfortable. Thank heckins.

I find it interesting, though, to attempt to look at this from the perspective of my observer-self; to muddle through an articulation of what happens in my head when logic and perception go awry. I hope that ultimately, I'll come to understand it better.

I can sound together as I write this, but here's how it looks from the belly of the beast. This was written last week in a few minutes over lunch:

foul demon, corrupted gargoyle, twisted and deformed - I would cast you out but you are my creation, so deeply chained that the links remain unbroken and I cannot find the source.

I am Pompeii, the ashes of Vesuvius so thick and heavy in the air, my silver shadow besmirched and blackened, buried under impenetrable layers of my own devising. My grief is red as blood.

Persephone, how I envy you. What I wouldn't give for even one glowing pomegranate seed here in the dark. At least you could move, and the sun was a certainty.

The soil is frozen hard; no seed of mine will sprout on the plains of desolation.

And so I spin myself a green cocoon here in the black, hunker down under the poisoned ash and the weight of lifetimes and await a sign - any sign - of spring.

Maybe depression needs to be re-marketed as a development opportunity for bad free-form verse. Quality of the writing aside, I think it conveys that this is a very bad place to be. When I'm in it, it seems interminable - there's no hope and no end, and even if it does pass, there's the certain knowledge that I will be engulfed by it again and again. No amount of preparation makes that any easier.

Wow, huh? I try to take the days as they come, and in my more rational moments try to remember all of the people and things for which I'm thankful. I'll spend at least part of this afternoon in a coffee shop, knitting and reading. I'm really looking forward to it - it'll help me recharge and perhaps feel more like myself.