Too tired to think…

Best Intentions…

Well. Today has been… a day.

Long, long day.

So despite my best intentions to blog every day, I have reached the end of a day in which I had two mental health appointments, went and pre-poll voted in the local elections, popped in the library to pick up some reservations, raced home to blend up some Ensure for lunch (I must review meal replacements for anorexics sometime!) and back out to pick up my new single vision computer glasses (luxury!) and the shops (which were rather bare shelved, thanks to panic buying due to Covid-19).

And now… I need to collapse into bed immediately. So this is it for today. More tomorrow.

Blogging in a time of social isolation…

From the wonderful XKCD blog…

So. Here I am, trying to start up this blogging thing again. I’m going to try and keep it up more regularly, partly as a form of self discipline (hey, my old caityquilter blog is available to read again – although don’t believe the link sending you to caitymakes.com, that’s long gone) and I used to write on that fairly regularly.

I’m also trying to write regularly again partly for my mental health. Although I’m a fairly solitary beastie most of the time anyway, just me, Mr Beloved, and the Most Excellent Dogg, the Covid-19 pandemic and associated social isolation will probably mean fewer playdates, more telehealth, and even less human interaction than I’m used to. Which is probably not good, so I’d better find a way to get thoughts out of my head.

I’ve discovered the joy of audiobooks and e-books (free!) from our local library. Although I do sometimes fall asleep while listening to the audiobooks at night, its easy enough to go back to the last chapter or track I remember. My first foray into this medium has been a wonderful full cast reading of Philip Pullman’s “Northern Lights” , which has enhanced my enjoyment of the original book immensely. A few weeks ago we even lashed out and bought a small bluetooth speaker, so hopefully, when I finally get back into the sewing mood, I can listen while I sew, and not be tethered to headphones.

And while we’re on the subject of lashing out and doing things a bit differently – we also bought a slow cooker (or as we old fogies, victims of an earlier marketing campaign still tend to call them, a crock pot.) How did we survive for so long without one?! What a marvellous thing it is, to have the smell of cheap cuts of meat and root vegetables slowly transforming over the late night and all day into a luscious, melting, warming mix of gravy and tender shreds, ready to be scooped up with some buttered sourdough baguette… or some brightly stuffed capsicums (bell peppers, for anyone who has stumbled across this by chance and has no idea what I mean), full of rice and chickpeas and cheese and softened to perfection in vege stock in the slow cooker, daggy and old school perhaps, but soooo delicious. And the leftovers! Having leftovers in the fridge and freezer so you can say “hmmm, I think I’ll have… stew tonight!” Oh, that’s blissful. (Doesn’t take much to make me happy, does it?)

I’ve also decided to indulge in some self care – I haven’t been getting my eyebrows waxed or my eyelashes tinted since October, so later this week I’m off to have that done. At a different salon than where I used to go – sadly, the local town council’s parking policy decisions have just made it impossible to support anyone with a business in the main streets (says nothing more about this, just raises eyebrow and notes that the local elections are imminent…) and my new choice has free parking and is closer to home. So it goes.

I desperately need a haircut, since I believe it’s important to support local businesses as much as possible in the time of virus (!) (my previous comments about parking notwithstanding;) but I can only afford one indulgence per month and I can make do with hats and scarves for a while longer.

So: what’s it like in your part of the world? What are you doing to stay sane during the pandemic? What have you started doing again that you’d stopped doing? Maybe this is the time I’ll finally learn to knit, who knows!

Stay safe, practice random acts of kindness, and… wash your hands!

Caity

The continuing adventures of Caity and chronic pain

So on Sunday,

I reached under the sink for a microfibre cloth. And my back said… “nope”.

Just…”nope”

I dropped to the floor in agony. Got myself into child’s pose (see, yoga is useful!) and tried to breathe. With help, managed to get to bed, and my psychiatrist confirmed I have a latissismus dorsi spasm. In layman’s terms -my back said “nope”. Saw my lovely General Practitioner today, and she confirmed I’m doing everything possible to help fix it… but it’s still saying nope.

So no, that’s not a boomerang, or a weird banana in the photo – that’s a weird perspective of my Monster Cane™️, made many years ago from hardwood with a smoothed ram’s horn handle, by an acquaintance who passed away only a few years back.

I can get around using it, very slowly. Doubled over. Shuffle stomp. But ohhhh, the relief when we could borrow a wheelchair at the doctors to take me to the loo, and then all the way down to the car. I nearly cried at how good it felt to not force my body, so painful all the time but worse at the moment, to just rest. To let the wheels take some of the work. Just sitting instead of actively balancing, rolling instead of painful lurching. Because on bad days? On bad days, on the days when my body feels like a prison cell because I can’t leave, I can’t do what I want to do? I don’t talk about those.

If I have to go out on ok days, I still get so tired, I often come home and just sleep.

And maybe it’s the pain. Maybe it’s depression. But I’m so, so tired of this being how it is. Of a good day costing two days in bed.

I thought I’d accepted this.

Until the wheelchair. I’d forgotten that maybe, something as simple and as out of reach as a wheelchair for bad days could make a difference.

On wings of… dragons?

So.

A while back, I made some wings for some delightful children (more on that in another post) and I got the giggly idea that it would be fun to make dragon wings for one of my favourite doggos.

These are the Twig and Tale Dragon Wings

(You can actually buy them cheaper in the bundle with the Woodland Sprite and Angel Wings, which is what I chose to do).

Not a beginner pattern, even though there are very friendly step throughs of the entire process – I think unless you’ve had some experience in stitching around small curves, and turning through small pieces, this could be frustrating for a beginner. (I made it more difficult for myself on this set by using two layers of wool batting – much swearing involved, but the puffier look achieved was worth it.)

Gambit the Staffie in his wings But Gambit does look adorable, right? He’s a Staffie, who lives with my dear friend Mandy in Canada. 

Something to watch on these (although they do have adjustable, elastic straps with snaps) if you’re making them for someone far away, is to double check the measurement of the wearer’s shoulder around to mid back point. Gambit is rather more muscular than most doggos, so the straps are a little tight (fortunately, Mandy has a fix already worked out).

 These are these are the smallest size in the pattern. (Each pattern comes in Small =1-3- years, Medium= 4-5 to 10 years, and Large = 10+ years to
adult).

Be prepared for a lot of tracing – there’s no shortcut, you must trace each pattern piece several times in order to make these.
But it’s worth it.

 

And suddenly, it was February, 2019

Caity, Dad, Mum, October 2008

So in my head, I’m still the same size. Even though, when I worked out the numbers the other day, I’ve lost 62 kg since then. Let me just emphasise that. In 11 years I’ve lost…

Sixty two kilograms.

As someone commented on my Facebook “you’ve lost a whole person!”

Well, maybe a small one. And it wasn’t exactly a rapid weight loss.

Part of the reason I stopped sewing for myself for such a long time is this body dysmorphia. It’s only very recently as I take accurate measurements and get ready to sew again that I’m facing up to exactly what a difference there is between how my head still mostly thinks I look – and what the rest of the world sees.

Sure, I’d had to gradually find new jeans, and buy new bras and undies; but I’d still been wearing my very forgiving, (very faded!) knit dresses from a few years back, although I had done a significant wardrobe clean out. I will admit that I am still wearing the same pink t shirt as in the 2008 photo, but only around the house these days as it’s almost a rag (but it’s my faaaaaavourite!!)

Why all this talk about weight loss and sewing? Well, it’s been a Big Topic amongst sewists in the online community in the past week or two. Inclusivity and intersectionality in pattern design and in the language used around it are important. A lot of people are tired of feeling excluded, whether by size (designers simply cutting off their size range, designing for and showing only on one body shape) or by gender and language assumptions (and for a far more eloquent explanation of this, please read what Rare Device has written in this wonderful post.

Yep So as I sit down to grumble about the minor adjustments I need to make to the patterns I’m tracing today, I’m mindful that I actually do fit into the size range provided by this particular designer. (Later today I’m finishing pattern alterations on something where the designer has listened to sewists’ requests for better inclusivity and is reworking her size ranges this year, but I need the changes before then… those 25+ years of buying Threads magazine have been worth it) .Until I actually sew a few successful garments for myself, I’m not sure I’ll believe my body is really the size the measurements say it is. And cutting into the “good fabric” (the Lush Fabrics Australia Sunday Specials most definitely count as “good fabric”, their knits are so superior to anything else I’ve bought!) is going to be… interesting. And last time I sewed knits, my overlocker was working – it’s waiting for a service, but I can’t wait any longer. Onwards!

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