Shhh….I’m Only Pretending

I’m only pretending to be an adult and do those adult things like “having my life together.”  But I’ve come to realize that it can only take me so far before my imagination falters as I tack on one more restless night to a string of sleepless nights.  I can’t keep up with my own charade.

The truth is – I’m sitting over here freaking out.  I have been running on high power for the past 7 weeks.  Scratch that – since JUNE!  And I just don’t have the brain power for it any longer.  I’ve been cracking around the edges, and this week I shattered.  It’s not that anything bad has happened, it’s just that I’m too exhausted and worried to get myself under control again and the slightest worry is bringing me to tears.

I love my life.  I love my life.  I’m doing amazing, inspiring things every single day.  I’m waking up to the mountains in all of their stoic beauty.  I’m in the best physical shape I have ever been in.

Let’s repeat that.

I love this.

So, what am I freaking out about?

I’m tired – physically.  Everything is sore and my brain is dead.  I’m trying to keep track of training, homework, two jobs, and trying to stay engaged in the world of my 9 year old.

If I don’t blog, I’m probably ripping out my hair and scribbling a million lists to feel like I understand what the heck is going on in my world, because I truthfully have no idea right now.  I’m in the air a lot, and I don’t sleep much, and I haven’t been on a proper date in ages, not counting the Playa date at Burning Man, and I interact with the same 20 or so people every single day, which is kind of surreal.

Please, follow me on Facebook (facebook.com/littlegreenpixie) and on instagram (LittleGreenPixie) – updates are much more reliable on those sites.

Definition of Insanity

The commonly accepted definition for insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result each time. That, umm, may be me right now.

See, I have some really amazing friends who have really stepped up to help me recently. They helped me pack and move, they gave me a place to stay, they helped with my child. Really stellar folks who asked for nothing in return. I have one friend in particular who has been amazing this past year – watching Ellette every week, sending me texts to check in, giving me what for when I was being an idiot, creating laughter, perspective and warmth. She’s really made of awesome, and I always ask her how I can show my gratitude. And she always asks for:

Socks.

Yup, handmade, warm, knee high or higher socks. I made her one pair and she loved them so much she wore through the heels in less than a month. So, the terrible friend that I am, keep sending her images of scarves and sweaters and hats and purses. “What about this??” I ask, because I want to make her anything except for socks.

But the guilt wouldn’t leave. She’s been a much needed rock, even when we were getting frustrated with each other at times, and I couldn’t make her the only thing she wanted. I felt like a horrible person. There is absolutely no way I could refuse the big blue puppy eyes as she handed two balls of worsted weight yarn and asks “Can you make them stripe?”

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Sigh. Yes. Yes, I can make them stripe. Yes, I will make them knee high or higher. Yes, for you. So, Caitlin, the start of your socks. And if you find me under a bench, busily squirreling away yarn for a nest, chattering to myself, and possibly chewing on the ends of my needles, you will know why. It is the result of love and appreciation of you, combined with my complete irritation for making socks.

Are you really sure I couldn’t make a sweater instead?

Spinning

I have come to the realization that I have simply stretched myself too thin.  I lit the match and started burning the candles at every available wick and I’ve been suffering for it.  So, my blog hiatus was induced by forgetfulness because I simply could not keep up with my life.  This is hard lesson for me to learn, because I have spent the past couple years building the strongest friendships I could, throwing myself into this social group and experiencing as much as possible.  I’ve committed to projects for others and created double the projects for myself.  I’ve amped up the amount I’m teaching and training and I am still working 40+ hours a week at a “regular” job.  I have been creating so many new stories and experiences for myself, and the thought of reducing the amount of activity in my life, and thus reducing the number of new people I meet and new adventures I partake in, is such a sad idea that I could not bring myself to contemplate it.

But everyone needs to rest and reset.  When my mood took a swing for the worse because I could not keep up with my promises and my brain started sparking in overtime, I had to step back.  I’m wrapping up projects and forcing myself not to commit myself to new ones yet.  There are not enough crossed-off for me to feel balanced once again.

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At least one has been crossed off – the Lindisfarne shawl I traded for something (which I cannot remember now).  It was a pleasure to knit and was completed a few months ago, but it ended up in a project bag and tossed in the corner when it came time to blocking.  Eager to wrap it up and put it in the mail so I could free up brain space, I pinned it, steamed it, wove in ends, and shipped – then heaved a gigantic sigh of relief (wholly unworthy the small task that had laid before me).  It has been so long so I’ve crossed something off, I had forgotten how it felt to finish, that wave of accomplishment, the way the task suddenly drops off your list and you feel like you have so much time now.

And I did not start another project!!  I pulled out Ellette’s sweater, which I had abandoned when I came to the hood and it seemed to go on forever.  I think I put it aside because I was worried about running out of yarn – because knitting slower makes the yarn longer…. Like I said, clearly I need to free up more brain space.

Oh! Hi there!

I fell off the map, huh?

Things are getting a bit hectic over here.  I’ve been super busy prepping for my summer, for moving, for Lakes of Fire, etc.  Everything is about to happen for me, and the only I can keep myself from freaking the frak out is to put my head down and hyper focus.  I’m out in less than two months, but I started packing a month ago just to calm my nerves.

I had a minor heart attack when I had to drop my application in the mail.  I watched it slip away through the slot and had a moment of panic – do I really want to do this?  What will happen if I get rejected?  What will happen if I get accepted??  And then I had to remind myself that it’s in the mail now, and Hermes will see it safely to it’s destination and whatever happens beyond that is out of my control now.

People have been asking where I’m moving – and I just shrug my shoulders and say “I really don’t know,” with a smile on my face.  The smile isn’t all for show – a bit of me is very excited to be taking this gigantic leap of faith, and I love that, at least financially, I can stay afloat for a while.  Years of planning is coming to fruition.  Granted, there is a larger piece of me that is screaming and attempting to hit the brakes – HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING???

I’m pretty sure I would be mostly fine if it were just me.  Trying to prep a 9 year old for the whirlwind adventure that’s looming has been a bit difficult.  She’s all gung-ho about it, don’t mistake me – just trying to make sure she feels safe and secure (and is both) throughout the whole thing is added stress.  I have slept in airports and bus stations and gone hungry for a couple days at a time because I was poor and traveling.  Subjecting a child to that is a whole different story.

This past weekend, Gothee House hosted a fundraiser to get the camp materials, sound systems, and whatnots to Lakes of Fire and to a smaller extent Burning Man this year.  The fundraiser consumed much of my free mental space in the last couple weeks, and over the weekend I was experiencing dramatic fluctuations between giddy and raging mad.  The party happened, the shows were great, the merch sold, as did the booze, and the dancing was phenomenal.  Everyone was brilliant.

And, now I can take a deep breath and take stock of the wreckage.  What’s next?

I’m knitting up a storm, but have recently been so lackadaisical with my commitment that I’ve been a bit embarrassed to write about it.  Startitis?  Or trying to keep the sanity in check?

I’m still packing, but I’m hesitant to reveal the plans because – there aren’t any plans yet.

I’m just sitting here, just out of site, reciting to myself over and over again what needs to be done.  If I focus, I can get through it.

Quiet

The blog went dark for awhile, I couldn’t really help it. Everything kind of went crazy – including my phone, which decided it no longer wants to work (and has continued to frustrate me to the point of tears). I was cleaning and packing and designing and finishing and worrying and antsy. And then I went on this fantastic adventure around Seattle to celebrate my munchkin’s 9th birthday, and it was a really special trip that I would have liked to post about from Seattle if only my phone were working consistently. And I started knitting this shawl at the airport and four hours later is doesn’t look like much of anything, but one thing it is is inspiring. And I’ve got these designs that I’ve been sketching that I personally think are wonderful, and I just haven’t had the time to work them up and it makes me a little sad.

And so I went quiet. When there was so much to say – so much I want to rant about endlessly and so much joy and excitement that existed in my world – my mouth zipped shut and my fingers couldn’t handle much of anything. I need to get a new phone, and I think that will solve some of the issues, because then I can upload photos and tell you what’s happening around here.

And with the Seattle trip completed and other plans falling in to place, I think I’ll have much more to write about, and wonder about, and share. You’ll be excited, too.

So bear with me as I get things back on track. I’m exhausted and my emotions are hanging by a splitty thread at the moment, and my poor family has taken the brunt of it. I want to focus on recuperating and then I can focus on inspiring.

And…and….Thank you for understanding.

That Feeling of Safety

Giving away the little cream pelisse and casting off a secret project (but still needing to do the finishing up) made me feel like I made a dent in my works-in-progress.  I am looking at my Ravelry page and seeing a dozen things that are still on the needles, or awaiting finishing details, but the feeling of calm before a storm.  Also, my upcoming trips (Colorado in a week and Burning Man in 4) has led to a rush of inspiration and the desire to have an entire wardrobe knit before I leave.  That means, I am writing up my designs, hammering out the math, swatching, and trying to knit it all, before August 24th.  We all know it just ain’t gonna happen, and no one agrees to that more than me, but I still had the nagging itch to cast something on and make it my one and only.

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At least it is a rather portable project that has taken up residence in my purse.  I am enjoying the design so far, and right now gauge isn’t detrimental.  It will be once this happy little band is completed, but for the moment, I am grand.  I am hoping to have this at least blocking before I leave for Colorado next week so I can start an all new project (also mapped out), as well as bring along the cardigan for Jeana (60% complete) and a pair of socks (50% complete).  (Again, you don’t have to tell me how insane this all sounds.  I am perfectly aware of the warping of the time vortex required to complete all of the tasks I’ve laid out).

Maybe after my Burning Man meeting tonight I will try to force my way through the finishing up for the two projects that need it.  That ought to make me feel better, right?

 

Right?

What Happened to Monday??

Seeing as how the past week has gotten away from me, I’m going to do a random post here.  Things are still crazy, and glancing at the planner laid out in front of me, it looks like that will be the trend for the next couple months.  Find me again in September, laid out flat, wearing holey pajamas and chewing on my hair in the corner while muttering about the things I haven’t finished yet.  If not for my diligence with a to-do list, I might have already hit that point.

  • The Bristol Renaissance Fair opened last weekend.  I’m not working full-time, but I couldn’t really stay away.  And it kind of works for me that I am doing that because extra money right now is desperately needed.
  • Apparently, I have put sleep on the backburner for the next two months.
  • I am looking at my WIP list and realizing that I have no less than 13 projects on-going.  I have come to the conclusion that this is out of hand and measures need to be taken.
  • I’ve been so busy lately, I forgot about the laundry in the machine.  It was wet. And we have been hit with obscene temperatures and humidity, so when I opened the lid, I got a whiff of something.  The last thing I need is for my trousers to get up and literally walk away.
  • I leave for the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder in two weeks.  I still have not finalized my housing details.  I’m getting a little paranoid.
  • There are two designs in the works – both almost complete and both will remain a secret for the moment.
  • On top of that, I recent development left me with dozens of sketches fluttering around in my knitting bag for the next few things I want to do.
  • For some reason, I think I can get 3 of them made by mid-August.
  • I added another trip to the calendar, and it will cross off a bucket-list item for me as well. I’m going to Burning Man.  I’m super excited about this.  It’s a little ridiculous.
  • On that note; Help me fund my trip!  I’m offering coupon codes from now until the end of September to offset costs.
  • Use: PIXIE2BURNINGMAN at my Etsy shop to receive 25% off your purchase
  • Use: PIXIE2BURNINGMAN at my Ravelry shop to receive a buy-one-get-one-free pattern
  • I leave on my birthday for Burning Man, and considering I’m turning a quarter of a century this year, it feels kind of epic, and I would appreciate all of the help I can get.
  • Time needs to stop going by so fast so I can finish everything!

One Fish Two Fish

The business of the past few weeks left me with an intense need to craft.  I clocked out of work, got home, and the rest of the night was consumed by scissors, fiber, sewing machines, and expletives.

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Water soluble stabilizer that I have had in my craft area for several months now, combined with:

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Pounds (about 8-10 pounds, I kid you not) of tangled fiber.  Basically, I received a shopping bag of fiber and told that if I wanted to go through the trouble of untangling everything, the yarn was all mine.  At this time, I had an idea for a project that this sort of gift was perfect for.  I had no desire to untangle it, I merely sandwiched a bunch of it in the stabilizer and added a bajillion pins (yes, that is a mathematically correct phrase.)

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I’m still picking pins off the floor and have warned my housemates against walking around barefoot.

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I took it over to the sewing machine and spent the next three hours stitching, and swearing, and slapping the table, and cleaning the machine, and fixing the thread, and retucking and pinning, and swearing some more before bringing out the bottle of whiskey and glaring at the mass of tangled yarn and thread.  I am lucky to have roommates who happen to find my moods and crafty notions amusing, so they poured the whiskey and watched the project progress, not minding that over time the volume and creativeness of my cursing increased.

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Once the main stitching was done, I headed to my fabric stash .  I have had this bolt of fabric for a few years now – it was a freebie from a neighbor.  I find it charming, yet too gaudy to really do anything with.  I love the images of the koi and lotus though, so I wanted to utilize them in my project.

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There were even seahorse!

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The whole thing then took a bath in warm water to get rid of the stabilizer and spent the next few days hanging over whatever I could drape it over without it being in the way.  It was so thick – too thick probably for the project really – it took ages to dry.

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And then it took a while to photograph, but here it is! Thanks to Ellette, I have some modeled shots.

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This makes the fiber look more brown than blue.  I wanted it to look like the shifting waters of a stream.

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There are different sized koi, a couple of seahorses, and a few lotuses hanging out as well.

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It measures about nine feet and weighs a pound or two.  It needs another warm bath to get rid of the last bit of stabilizer residue, but after that it should be beautiful.

And now that the weather is in the 80s, it will really come in handy (she says with just a hint of sarcasm.)

Explore Chicago: A Mid-Week Escape

I declared yesterday “Mental Health Day.”  With the spur of activity that has surrounded me for the last couple of weeks and what I see in the upcoming ones, my psyche was on the brink of total metldown.  I could hear that little voice in my head crying out “Run Away!” every time a new task fell into my lap.  My to-do list is far too long to ever think about completing, and I don’t foresee another opportunity for a break until June.

So, what did I do?  I played hookey.

Ok, not entirely truthful.  I clocked out of the office after a half-day, with the reasoning that mental health is just as important as physical well-being, and if they wanted a happy and productive employee, they would let me take the time off.

A friend and I hopped on the train at 2 and headed for the city.  He couldn’t believe that I had never been to Garrett’s (or the Magnificent Mile for that matter), so that was our first destination.

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There was a line stretching out the door and down the block, and I loved watching the little kids pressing against the glass cases that were filled with tons and tons of delicious smelling popcorn.  We got our bags (one of cheese and one of caramel) and started walking.  Garrett’s popcorn is definitely as good as it is made out to be.  (I have the remnants in a drawer of my desk and have been sneaking handfuls throughout the workday.  Yumm!)

As we were walking down Mag Mile, I stopped dead and I’m pretty sure my chin hit the ground and my tongue went rolling like a cartoon when I spotted this lovely window display.

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That look you see on my face – that’s the “up-to-no-good-can-I-smash-the-window” look.

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I probably spent about 10 minutes inspecting every machine close enough to look at.  I didn’t spot my featherweight though, which was a little disheartening.

We then went to the John Hancock building, up to the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor.  We had cocktails (deceivingly strong ones) and admired  the view.  I feel bad for being there without Ellette, who would have gone crazy with excitement.  We will plan a return trip later in the spring, when the weather warms up and we have a bit more time.

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While I was sitting there, staring out over the city, and running my mouth like a crazy woman about every little thing under the sun, I couldn’t believe that this is where I live now.  I have been in Chicago for almost 3 years. I have avoided a lot of the touristy attractions in search of a more real, down to earth, side street kind of scene.  I have met some wonderful and talented people, seen some amazing shows, and learned a lot of new and sometimes strange things in doing so.  But being up there, looking down, it was all kind of surreal.

Afterwards, we walked along the lake front until we came to Millenium Park and the iconic Bean (because everyone has to see the bean).  It was fun watching all of the tourists getting excited about all of the different ways they could photograph the sculpture.

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We capped our day with a very satisfying dinner at the Chiago Diner in Boystown.  This is one of my favorite restaurants – and a must try for any vegan/vegetarian reading this.  Everything on the menu caters to a meatless diet and their ethics are fantastic.  Their wait staff has always been wonderful and their food is mouth-watering.   I have yet to get a dish I don’t enjoy.  They are small, but always bustling, with a charming and vibrant atmosphere.

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This was the perfect break I needed.

White Knight Syndrom

In designing this chess board, my goal was to make each piece as close to the “traditional” pieces as possible.  For the most part, this was easy.  The pieces are fairly simple – bulbous and plain.  My challenge came with the knight, which is most often represented as a horse.

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I left this piece for last, because I knew it was going to be rough and I thought that inspiration would strike while I was working on the others.  Well, I finished designing the other pieces and was left staring at a blank page and a ball of yarn as I thought about what to do next.  There was a terrible urge to stuff the black and white pieces into a bag and tuck them into a corner for another year.

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Do I knit it in separate pieces and sew it together?  Do I utilize short row shaping as though I were turning a heel?  How can I keep it relatively simple and understandable?  I started knitting, then ripped it out and started over.  I sent my notes to my tech editors and they tore it apart, changed things around, and tried again.  None of us were quite satisfied with the way our knights were looking, and, speaking only for myself here, I was getting awfully sick of staring at this knight.  It was the collective effort of the group that kept me knitting away on this piece.  If they hadn’t been bugging me for updates and providing words of advice and encouragement, this picture would never exist.

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I just finished the latest design, and I think I nailed it.  Increases on one side to create a muzzle, then short row shaping combined with decreases gave me the head and “ears”, and then the body follows suit with the rest of the pieces.  An I-cord is then knit and sewn to the back and head to create the mane.  It is by far the most challenging piece of the game, yet I think it is not too difficult and it is definitely interesting.

Now, of course, I have to make 3 more before I am officially finished with the frackin piece.  If you don’t hear from me soon, it is probably because I am lying comatose in a black and white pool of fiber. Please remove the double points from my hands and administer generous amounts of whiskey.

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