And lo, such a thing exists

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:52 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

As much as I thought it might not, time is starting to assume its normal course.  The days are starting to be the length that I expect them to be, not stretching out in front of me like a desert I didn’t bring enough water to get across.  For a while there I had to be so busy just to fill those days up. Walking, riding, swimming, cleaning, organizing… if I stopped too long and tried to do something like write or knit then I had too many of those pesky feelings all at once and had to clean out another damn closet. Now I’m mostly okay as long as I don’t think about how Thanksgiving is in two and a half weeks and I really don’t know how to manage that holiday if I can’t have it with my mother and where do we have dinner now for all the holidays and really I’m going to have to move because my dining room can’t hold everyone and… see. There it goes.  I’ll worry about that next week when it might not result in having to clean all the grout in the house with an old toothbrush after jogging 3km.

The point, before I started worrying again, was that things are okay enough now (oh man who is going to make the pies) that as long as I stay sorted, I can knit, and it feels like it helps a lot, and what’s really interesting is that this idea, that once the shock passes, that knitting is going to be a really useful way through grief… It’s not just me who thinks it. My inbox (thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful notes and letters and thoughts, I am reading them all, even if I can’t answer) is chock full (okay there are five) people who have written to me not just to suggest that knitting would be helpful (because there are a lot more than five of you who think that) but to call the kind of knitting they think would be helpful “Grief Knitting.”  These charming knitters have even gone so far as to cite the specific projects that they think would be the most helpful, and you know what’s interesting? They have a lot in common.

All the projects are challenging – challenging from the perspective of that particular knitter, for sure, but challenging none the less. They were kinda tricky for the knitter to complete, and they took up some of that scary mental energy that comes with grief. (Oh no mum always makes the turnips too.) All the projects are things that sparked a tremendous amount of joy and pride – the knitters think what they made was beautiful, and feel that they did a good job… and finally (here’s where it gets weird.) All of the projects but for one, were for babies.

Think about that. It’s a pretty compelling bit of information, and it makes me feel better that the two things I’ve knit since my mum died are both tiny things.  First the little hat, and now Elliot is bedecked in a matching sweater.

gussweater 2017-09-21

It’s beautiful to be sure – the yarn is Northampton, but with a bit of a twist. It was the natural colour, but I gave it to Judith to dye at the last Strung Along retreat, and it went for a swim in her indigo pot.  It’s a beautiful blue now, and reminds me of her when I look at it, which is really quite nice, and it suits Elliot pretty well.

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The pattern is Gus, and here’s where it didn’t quite fit the bill to be Grief Knitting, it was pretty easy.  The pattern’s well written – so I didn’t struggle with anything at all.  I’ll have to try something from a less competent designer next.

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I tell you this, even unfinished (which it technically is, I’m waiting for the buttons) it does spark a tremendous amount of Joy.  Part of it is that little face, and the other part?  It is the pockets. I can’t tell you how much I love pockets on a baby sweater. It gives me an unreasonable amount of happiness to think of two perfect, tiny pockets, in a proper, handy spot… all for someone who has absolutely nothing to put in them.

pocketsgus 2017-09-21

Delightful.

"The Game (of Thrones) Is Afoot!"

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:28 am
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[personal profile] michaelchance posting in [community profile] sherlockbbc
"The Game (of Thrones) Is Afoot!" by Jessie Blackwood
PAIRING: Mycroft/Lestrade
FANDOM: Sherlock
RATING: PG-13
WARNING: WiP
SUMMARY: Gregory Lestrade is a secret cosplayer and Mycroft is intrigued.

Has just been added to Sherlock Holmes Slash and is listed on the new stories page and the other pairings page.

Crossposted to Chance's Archive, Chance's Archive on Tumblr and Chance's Archive blog.

church, me and food

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:19 pm
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[personal profile] kayre
I'm lactose intolerant. It's pretty much a joke in our culture now, but I really am, and quite severely, plus I get a couple of extra reactions as a bonus. Even a small dose of milk means 6 to 12 hours of diarrhea and stinky farts, another day or two of feeling achy and uncomfortable, patches of eczema that last a few days. LactAid pills help; they most definitely don't prevent reaction.

Churches love food. Coffee hour with sweet baked treats. Refreshments at almost every gathering, ranging from more sweet goodies to pizza. Potluck suppers. Catered suppers-- spaghetti, lasagna, even turkey dinners.

If I don't tell folks (and maybe if I do, see below), my choices are: eat and get sick; don't eat anything; bring my own food; or skip the event. Oddly, anything but the first will upset some folk. Abstaining or bringing my own food leads to people being hurt that I won't try their offerings, or even accusing me of 'trying to make them feel guilty.' And as a church staffer, skipping food events can be a professional problem as well as a social sadness.

From the church point of view? It's a bother to accommodate food issues. There are at least four of us who are lactose intolerant to some degree; two vegetarians; two people with celiac disease who are only occasional attenders; one minor nut allergy (but not to the point of violent reaction); and, unknown to most, at least one recovering alcoholic. Folks who can and do eat anything and everything seem to find it overwhelming to contemplate feeding those of us with food issues. Mostly the reactions I see are thinly veiled irritation.

What could be done? First and easiest would just be to LABEL everything. Put out a card with the name of the dish on one side, and ingredients on the other (or I don't know/made from mix). Next-- actually talk to us and ask what works? I am absolutely happy to suggest possibilities, substitutions, or modifications that aren't burdensome; after all, I do them daily. Considering varying needs early in the planning is especially helpful-- salad bar rather than tossed and dressed salad, please!

But the bottom line... is that I am often reminded that I'm not worth the trouble of feeding me. (Not only at church, but honestly, it's the worst.) Me being lactose intolerant is inconvenient for other people. Sorry, not terribly sympathetic to that point of view.

"Winter's Tale"

Sep. 16th, 2017 08:41 am
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[personal profile] michaelchance posting in [community profile] sherlockbbc
"Winter's Tale" by Jessie Blackwood
PAIRING: Mycroft/Lestrade
FANDOM: Sherlock
RATING: AO
SUMMARY: Nearly Christmas, and Greg is not feeling well and also finding it difficult to get home, although he isn't looking forward to his first Christmas alone after the divorce.

Has just been added to Sherlock Holmes Slash and is listed on the new stories page and the other pairings page.

Crossposted to Chance's Archive, Chance's Archive on Tumblr and Chance's Archive blog.

Well that’s just unfair

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:38 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Yesterday I finally shook my head clear of the fog it’s been in, and decided that it was time to get myself in gear.  I went to the grocery store. I planned a good dinner. I cooked that dinner, and I fed it to people I love.  I managed to say something vaguely supportive to a friend, and when the lady in the queue ahead of me in the shop was annoyed about how many bruises were on the apples she’d chosen, I somehow magnificently managed not to say anything that even remotely suggested that her problems were totally ridiculous to me (and should be to her) unless they involved a dead mother.

I even sat down to work for a little bit – to start getting caught up on the chaos that is my work life.  That’s right, my mum’s been dead two weeks, almost to the hour, and I just yesterday managed to acknowledge that I have to earn a living, and contribute meaningfully to the charity I’ve promised my time to, and I did that.  I sat down, thought something like “C’mon Steph, get it together” and moments later, my laptop had a complete seizure and suffered a fatal stroke. I’ve had that beast since 2011, I planned the first Sock Summit on it, that’s how old it is, and now is when it leaves me.  It’s a joke, I tell you. I can only assume that it was depressed by the goings-on around here and decided there was nothing left to hang on for.  (It was wrong. I swear I was pulling my scene together.)  I took it as a sign, a sign that I was supposed to be knitting, and set about making our wee Elliot a hat. (This is Canada. Winter is coming. Winter is always coming.) I’d had my eye on this Garter Ear Flap hat from Purl Soho for ages, and I had some MadelineTosh DK (so aptly called “Happiness”, which is just what I’m looking for) and a little math and whammo – that pattern works just fine.

IMG_7593

It’s sweet as pie, actually, and Meg put it on him after dinner (that’s a lie. I rammed it on his wee head so fast it made his head spin around) and we both agreed it made him look properly like a gnome, and cackled about that for some time.  (There is a very, very great deal to be said about how much a tiny person can lift spirits.)

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Suits him, doesn’t it? He’s so happy and unaffected by all that’s going on around him, and making him little things is such a balm for my heart, and Meg’s too, I think. He’s been nothing but light and sunshine over the last little bit, and for a minute or two I didn’t even mind so much that my mother and my laptop were dead while he smiled at me.

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Today was all about starting him another sweater, because I see now that he’s the secret to sanity over the next bit – and somehow trying to whip my iPad into shape to do at least part of the job of my laptop for a few days before I can figure out how to replace it.  If this entry looks weird, it’s because I’ve worked out a really odd system for getting a post up. I suspect it will be the pictures that are really strange, but screw it. Look at me! I got something done two days in a row.

I honestly never thought I’d be proud of that. See you tomorrow, if nothing else dies.

(no subject)

Sep. 12th, 2017 09:58 pm
kayre: (Default)
[personal profile] kayre
DSCN0560

Butterfly, which a friend tentatively identifies as possibly an Atlantis Fritillary.

another pic and OTTER VIDEO back here )

"I Don't Do What You Tell Me"

Sep. 12th, 2017 09:05 am
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[personal profile] michaelchance posting in [community profile] sherlockbbc
"I Don't Do What You Tell Me" by Jessie Blackwood
PAIRING: Mycroft/Lestrade
FANDOM: Sherlock
RATING: AO
SUMMARY: Greg doesn't do what Mycroft tells him any more. He is his own man, with his own mind, he's never been anyone's yes-man and he isn't about to start now. Mycroft better just get used to it.

Has just been added to Sherlock Holmes Slash and is listed on the new stories page and the other pairings page.

Crossposted to Chance's Archive, Chance's Archive on Tumblr and Chance's Archive blog.

(no subject)

Sep. 11th, 2017 02:51 pm
kayre: (Default)
[personal profile] kayre
Well, there went my last feeling of attachment to LJ.... the weather widgets on my profile don't work any more. (I used them for sunset and moonrise times, mostly.)

Through

Sep. 11th, 2017 05:40 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Three weeks ago today, I went over to my mother’s house after physiotherapy, with the intention of running her over to the doctor because she had a virus. She’d been feeling crappy for about a week. We ended up at the ER instead, and mum never went home. She was admitted that day, and she died ten days later.  It was shocking, it was fast, and I know that I am supposed to be grateful for her sake that it was so swift, but I am having trouble finding gratitude for any part of it. I’ve been asked several times if I’m angry, and I don’t think I am – I just feel sad and shocked and tired. I’ve been trying to ease back into a real life, trying to do proper things, and this morning I went back to physio, and I bought vegetables on the way home, and I managed to do a little work.  This afternoon I’m going to ride my bike.  My current operating theory is that if I do lots of sane, sensible and healthy things, that soon I’ll start to feel sane, sensible and healthy, which I don’t just yet. I feel breakable and sad and I keep thinking that people are being insensitive, but I’m realizing I’m just sensitive right now.

shawlnotdone1 2017-09-11

I’m knitting again too – and yes, that implies I stopped and I mostly did.  The day after mum landed in hospital we were all to leave for week long family vacation to Nova Scotia. Me, Joe, the girls, Alex, the baby, Joe’s parents and siblings and Frankie and Luis, and my little niece Myrie and brand new baby Emmett. All off us heading off to Cape Breton for my niece Savannah‘s wedding. That’s who I was making that shawl for, the last time I wrote to you.  I had big plans to finish it and block it in Cape Breton, and give it to Savannah to wear on her wedding day.  That first day mum was sick, I told Joe and the girls to go ahead, and I’d stay home, get mum sorted (I was sure she just needed an antibiotic or something) and when I got her home I’d follow on a later flight and still make it for the wedding.

shawlnotdone2 2017-09-11

That’s not what happened.  I didn’t make it on a later flight, I did miss the vacation and the wedding, and it was a pretty lonely week. Usually when things are bad my knitting is a good friend to me.  I know you’re probably some of the only people in the world that I could say that to who won’t think I need to be committed immediately, but my knitting makes me less lonely, and keeps me company when things are rough.  You would think that ten rough days in the hospital culminating in the worst day of my life would add up to a lot of knitting, but it didn’t. What was happening was so destructive and so terrible that I couldn’t knit. I couldn’t do something productive in the face of all that, it felt trivial to even try.  Erin and I were at the hospital pretty much all the time, and we slept there for most nights of it, and there I was, holding my knitting all the time like it was some little comfort lovie, but didn’t really knit on it.  I managed a few stitches here and there, but didn’t finish the shawl in time for Sav to have it for her day.

shawlnotdone3 2017-09-11

It’s taken three whole weeks to manage what should have been two days worth of knitting, if that.

shawldone2 2017-09-11 (1)

It’s coming back now – the urge to knit is creeping in around the edges, as I start trying to feel better, or think that it’s even possible to feel better, as I start thinking about what comes next, or what a world without my mum in it looks like, since I guess that’s the one I have to live in now.  I keep telling my friends that I’m trying to have faith, some of them have lost their mothers, and my mum lost hers, and they all went on to have what looked like happy lives, so it must be that this feeling goes away, or is transformed, or you get used to it. I’m waiting for that to happen, and trying to be confident that it will – and that makes me less frightened.  As I wait and try to make that feeling of the new normal happen, I’m looking forward, and those ideas of building something or something being transformed… those feelings feel like knitting…

shawldone1 2017-09-11 (1)

and suddenly Sav’s shawl is finished.

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It’s too late for her wedding, but I’m giving it to her anyway.

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It’s a good time for beautiful things.

Brain reboot

Sep. 8th, 2017 09:41 pm
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[personal profile] kayre
September is never a great month for me, I think it's the already shortening days; and then there was all the stress this week. I felt a need to reboot my brain, so took off for the nature center this afternoon despite gloomy weather. Laura wasn't with me, so I could head for my favorite area, the big meadow and ponds on the upper levels of the park. At first I saw no wildlife but bunnies and common birds; but I began to relax, appreciating the varied colors and shapes of late summer. (Spring has brighter greens and yellows, but late summer has more texture, from full grown plants.) Then, as I no doubt became more attentive and stopped broadcasting tension, I started to see more animals-- two blue herons, a greenbacked heron. Then I saw two "swimmy mammals" as we call them moving through a pond, and took a quick pic so I could check ID later. And then.... they swam to a downed tree, and two river otters climbed out!

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more pics )

"It Takes Two to Tango"

Sep. 9th, 2017 09:00 am
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[personal profile] michaelchance posting in [community profile] sherlockbbc
"It Takes Two to Tango" by Jessie Blackwood
PAIRING: Sherlock Holmes/Greg Lestrade
FANDOM: Sherlock
RATING: AO
SUMMARY: Sherlock loves to dance. Greg knows this. Sometimes what you need is right in front of you.

Has just been added to Sherlock Holmes Slash and is listed on the new stories page and the other pairings page.

Crossposted to Chance's Archive, Chance's Archive on Tumblr and Chance's Archive blog.
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