Knitting and Stitching and PEOPLE oh my!

It nearly didn’t happen, and in the end I’m amazed we actually got there.
On Saturday morning, Mr D took the car to the garage for its annual MOT test. I admit I got upset when he phoned me to say that it had failed its emissions test, and needed a new catalytic converter. At a cost of around £160, it would mean that Harrogate was out of the question.
“..but it’s not that long since we had a new one put on!” I whined.
“about two years” he replied, “and they don’t last forever”
I ripped through the house like a mini tornado trying to find the paperwork for the old one – I did, and looked at the warranty. It had a week left to run. Cue massive sighs of relief, and general swearing.
That night, neither of us slept very well, and Mr D wasn’t feeling well. Inwardly my heart sank as I thought “we’re not going to get there”, but thankfully by morning he was feeling okay and the trip was back on again.
The journey there was straightforward and uneventful, and we found the car park easily thanks to a map I printed out from the Harrogate International Centre’s website. Except they hadn’t bothered to mention that it was a ‘coaches only’ park. Thankfully, there was a security guard there who gave us directions to the actual HIC car park underneath the Exhibition halls (which isn’t mentioned on their website at all).
The halls themselves were set out as you would expect, except there were several of them – and they were all laid out the same. Some traders had more than one stall, and unless you paid for an “exhibition guide” you were more or less an explorer. I didn’t mind too much, until the part where I said, “lets go back to so-and-so, they might have it…” and had no idea which direction to go. I guess the biggest obstacle for me was the people. I expected it to be busy, and had been advised to go on Sunday because it was the quieter day, but it was still incredibly busy. My anxiety levels were through the roof, and a few times, I stopped and looked at things I wasn’t remotely interested in just to ‘ground’ myself.
For people interested in any crafting stuff, Harrogate was the place to be this weekend. Obviously, there was more than the knitting and spinning stuff that I was looking for, but it was still interesting to see other things, and most places had demonstrations or stall holders working on their particular craft. I managed to hold a conversation with Debbie Tomkies, and learned to my joy that dyeing wool doesn’t necessarily have to involve nasty chemicals as I thought (you need to ‘fix’ the dye, and this is normally done with alum powder). My first purchase was a kit including 12 different colour dyes and fixatives for both animal and plant fibres. I fear for our kitchen…
I had a chat with a lady from the Spinning and Weaving Guild, and I sat for a rest on the spacious Rowan stand where they had sofas and coffee tables, where you could knit (they even had yarn and needles if you made a donation to some charity or the other). I on the other hand, pulled out the jellytots sock that I’d take with me. Trust me to be different.
I didn’t treat Sunday as ‘therapy’. It wasn’t a structured or meticulously planned thing; I definitely went with a ‘see how it goes’ attitude. However, I managed to put into practice some of the CBT stuff (albeit consciously ‘staying in the situation’ until my anxiety lessened). As with the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, I cheated a bit by distracting myself, but I’d like to think it was just distraction, not avoidance.
One interesting thing I picked up on was something that drove home how negative I am about myself. While we were there, I saw C, a lovely lady who owns a small yarn store in town. I knew she’d be going, so it wasn’t a surprise to see her, and she said she was glad I’d made it, and well done for getting here. I said thank you, I was glad too, but it wasn’t until Mr D and I talked in the car on the way home that it hit me just how profoundly different our attitudes were. While C thought I’d done well to go somewhere so busy, my thoughts were (as usual) something along the lines of “bloody hell, I should be managing this without even thinking about it”.
Maybe I should give myself a bit more credit…

The Last Knit

I meant to post this a while ago, and forgot all about it, so knitters out there have probably seen it already. This is for everyone who has ever had that compulsion to just keep on knitting:

It always happens in threes…

So, my coffee machine broke, my comments template got screwed, and because these things come in threes, my computer had a nervous breakdown.
I still don’t know what it was. I narrowed it down to a problem with firefox, and managed to completely stump those clever people at mozilla. My reliance on a nice web browser which is set up ‘just so’ prompted me to format my hard drive – something that I’d been putting off for a while, so not as extreme as you’d think. I hate doing it. It’s not technically challenging or anything, it’s just the whole process of getting things just how I like them takes so long, and little annoyances that had been long forgotten (balloon tips, I’m looking at you here…) pop up and remind you how windows xp likes to walk you through everything in baby steps.
I saved as much as I could onto cd’s, took a deep breath, and pressed the Button of No Return. Everything is peachy now. Squeaky clean, a mite faster, and somewhat empty. I’m adding software as I need it because I’m getting very bored with constantly restarting the computer.
Computers aside, things are plodding along as usual. Last week, my neck started playing up, and as well as the usual sharp pains in my shoulders and weird cold spots on my hand, I started getting dizzy. It has been more of an irritation than anything, but has meant that I’ve avoided going out because it’s really messing with the anxiety levels. I need to acclimatise myself to people, because on Sunday, I’m dragging Mr D to the Knitting and Stitching Show (link has video with sound) at Harrogate. I’ve been in two minds whether to go lately, and when the coffee machine died, my priority was saving as much money as possible to replace it. However, it only needed a replacement steam valve which cost £10.49, so Harrogate is on again. There are a couple of things I want, and I’m hoping to treat myself while I’m there.
Comments are back – dip your toe in the water and we’ll see what happens…

Off We Go Again…

Trackback flooding (despite being stopped at a sytem level) is causing my control panel not to load, so I can’t post. The plugin I found works great – until it thinks *I’m* a spammer, and anyone who’s ever left a comment, which is why you get the 500 errors. It’s worth pointing out that until I figure this out, I’ve had to completely delete the trackback and comments scripts – so don’t try making comments.
Everything is buggered at the moment. I have a cold, which is just leaving me feeling tired and headachy. And to top it all, the worst possible borkage – my coffee machine’s not working. *cue dramatic music* Those who know me well know that I am a slut for a good cup of coffee. When my machine broke down 18 months ago, I was a wreck. I don’t think it’s to do with the caffeine, but more to do with the routine and orderliness. Plus I’m very fussy and like my coffee just so. Suggestions that I dust off the cafetiere have been met with gurns and obstinance – it just isn’t the same.
I posted on about it, and it seems to be the steam thermostat. I phoned the manufacturer and asked them if they will sell me just a thermostat (which looks incredibly easy to replace when I’ve looked inside) because sending it to them for repair will be prohibatively expensive. Luckily, they seem happy to send electronic parts to people, and it’s only going to cost £11.99.
The anxiety and depression have been worse, maybe because Everything Is Going Wrong, but I’m managing to deal with things in spite of this. When I telephoned the coffee people yesterday, it took forever. Redialling an 0870 number (national rate, for non UK readers) pressing different buttons and being told that they were busy… When I eventually got through, I managed okay because I knew exactly what I wanted. However, I suddenly remembered that I wanted an ‘o’ ring for inside the steam wand. The guy I spoke to was a bit confused as to exactly which ‘o’ ring I was talking about – I don’t think he expected people to go that far inside their machines! When I got off the phone, I realised I was shaking, which annoyed me. I felt stupid for letting my anxiety get to me over something so simple.
Aside from that, everything is the same. We’re still alive, and trying to blog…


I might kill something.
I’m doing this entry from my old installation of Movable Type which I forgot to delete. Aside from this, I can’t post, you lot can’t comment, and I hate the internet.
I shall fix it very very soon, I promise. In the meantime, if there’s something pressing, there’s a spanky link on the right *points* to email me.
In other important news, Mr D has been asked to work Stupid Shifts thanks to a client being as demanding as a two year old. This is only for two weeks, but it means that he’s here for most of the day, as he goes in to work at 3pm (til 11pm). On the bright side, it means that we can do Therapy during the week rather than at weekends, on the downside, it means it’s close to midnight when he gets home, so my already buggered body clock gets another flogging when he comes up to bed. I wish I could be one of these people who just goes to sleep and doesn’t worry, but I don’t – I can’t sleep until he gets home.
Ah well. I hope this posts…
edit yay!

just a note

Another reason I’m not posting as much is that I can’t always get my MovableType thingumy to load. I think it’s to do with trackback spam, but seeing as though I’ve disabled trackbacks at a systemwide level (and even renamed the trackback script) I don’t see how. I’m also wondering if it’s comment spam – while I have every anti-spam tool known to man, I’m still getting flooded, even though they go straight into the junk folder (which only shows up on the MT menu). If you’re trying to comment and can’t, this may also be part of it.
The problem with sorting it out is that 1) I can’t get into the menu to fiddle with stuff and 2) my brain doesn’t always work.
In the meantime, I am lifting my mood by watching all three seasons of Father Ted, so I suppose my reaction to the above should be “FECK!”
update I’ve just installed MTAutoBan, so keep your fingers crossed…

Fall Back

I’ve been trying to write this for a week. The reason why may become apparent as I progress.
Last weekend across the country, people engaged in the twice annual ritual that is Changing the Clocks for Daylight Savings. For most people, this is at worst a minor irritation, at best (at least at this time of year) an extra hour in bed. For thousands of people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, however, it acts almost like a switch, a harbinger of what winter has in store.
I suppose there are two schools of thought on this. One, that if winter depression is inevitable, then no amount of ‘being positive’ is going to help. The other is that if I’m expecting it, then it’s bound to bloody happen. This year, I decided that I’d try and ignore it, concentrate on other things – metaphorically stick my fingers in my ears and shout “la la la I’m not listening”. The problem being that when depression hit, it hit hard – like a sledgehammer to the stomach. My first indicator happened a couple of weeks ago. I was just sitting watching the local evening news with Mr D, when a report about a court case came on. The reporter recanted details of the evidence, and before I knew it, I was sitting there in floods of tears. There were many other incidents – I cried at the episode of Doctor Who, with K9 and Sarah Jane. Near the end, the Doctor says “you’re a good dog” when he realises that K9 will have to destroy himself to save them. (for the uninitiated, K9 is a robot dog) I’ve seen that episode so many times, I know that the Doctor rebuilds K9 in the end, but it didn’t stop me from blubbering.
Anticipating the inevitable, I got my SAD light out. I always work up to it slowly, increasing the time I leave it on by five minutes every few days, because if I leave it on too long, it makes me nauseous. Unfortunately my misery is accelerating at a faster rate than the light can keep up with, and I’ve found myself thinking it’s utter bollocks and it doesn’t work anyway. Luckily, I’m persevering rather than throwing it across the room..
On the clock changing front, I have been unable to sleep past 5.30am. My body clock is screwed, I start getting tired around tea-time, and by 7pm am looking longingly at the clock to see if it’s feasably time to go to bed. Last Sunday, I deliberately stayed up, forcing myself to stay awake, thinking it would mean I slept later in the morning. How wrong I was. I went to bed with a stinking headache and still woke up at 5am.
On Tuesday, I saw J’s replacement, D. I’d really wanted to write this thing about the clocks changing so I could tell you about her, (or at least our appointment) but everything’s felt so much harder, and I’ve ended up doing my usual depressed thing of ignoring Everything. Anyhow, D is lovely (she did my initial assessment back in early 2005) and I think once I get over my stupid thinking (ie “ohmygod she’s going to think I’m stupid, or there’s nothing wrong with me, or what if she expects things I can’t do” etc etc) I think I’ll be fine. I told her about the negative thinking thing – how I’m always hard on myself – and we’re going to look at that too. My anxiety was high, as expected seeing someone new, and I was so self conscious. I ended up telling her about the thing in the Guardian, and my blog, which she seemed to approve of, then I gave her one of my moo cards which I’d had printed with my website address on. Afterwards I couldn’t help feeling a bit silly – maybe somehow she would think that it was a bit too much – and as I type it occurs to me that she could read this. Ah well – even if she does, I often put things down here that I can’t express properly during appointments because my brain seems to go to mush and forget most of my known vocabulary. I see D again at the end of the month.
Finally, because I worry about people finding my blog and thinking it’s all Doom and Gloom, I figured something out. At the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, I started working with the most Gorgeous Sock Yarn Ever, and we decided that the colours were reminiscent of sweeties, but we couldn’t figure out which ones. I worked it out – Jelly Tots. Ergo: