Monthly Archives: September 2014

Overhauling the upstairs

As I’ve mentioned, the Valkyrie and I share a house with her mother.  The upstairs is ours — den, bedroom, bathroom, and a “kitchen” (it just has a table, a microwave and a mini-fridge; no water or stove).  With the help of Honorary Niece, I’ve been cleaning like a mofo.

I get stuck in a vicious circle when it comes to cleaning.  When I’m depressed or otherwise mentally messed up, I am unable to clean.  Then, when I start feeling better, I get anxious about how messy things are and am so overwhelmed that I can’t fix it.  So the mess keeps growing and growing.  there weren’t dirty dishes or food trash laying around.  I take care of those.  But there was a lot of other trash, like mountains of soda boxes.  I am ashamed that things got that bad.  I’m admitting it here because maybe the shame will keep me from letting things get bad again.

I’ve been doing better mentally over the last several days, so I asked BFF if I could borrow Honorary Niece to give me a hand.  I couldn’t do it alone, so I thought maybe hiring HN (in return for some spending money) would be the way to go about things.  And boy was that a good idea.  HN is a strange girl who enjoys cleaning.  she also likes helping people out.  She would have done it for free, but there was no way I was going to do that to her.  I would have felt guilty as fuck for taking advantage of her good nature.

The cleaning began Sunday afternoon, and it continued today.  All the trash in the kitchen was thrown away.  She swept and mopped while I tackled the bookshelves in the hallway.  I’ve needed to get rid of 3/4 of my book collection for years, so I sorted through what I wanted to give away.  And then HN and I broke down a shitload of packing boxes that were cluttering up the back of the den.  Everything is mostly done and I am delighted.  HN’s part is done with; all that’s left is a little organizing I need to do on my own.  It looks beautiful.  We have a small table in the kitchen; now that the room looks nice I’m going to hang a couple of posters in there and make it look a little less sterile.  I had cleaned out the fridge a few days ago, and today I stocked it with little snacks like cottage cheese and sugar-free Jello.  It’s an actual, usable room again.  I also threw out a shitload of trash in the bedroom and vacuumed in there.

I’m proud of myself, and I’m especially proud of HN for cheerfully doing a great job.  She’s a wonderful kid, and I considered myself lucky to have her in my life even before she helped me this week.

Sunday night she, BFF, and I decided that once a week we will have a Cleaning Day.  We will alternate houses; one week we’ll clean BFF’s house, and the next week we’ll clean mine.  After we finish getting everything set up at both houses, it should only take an hour or two to whip everything into shape on the designated day.  BFF has problems with depression and cleaning too, and the three of us keeping each other company makes the work so much more pleasant.

I’m happy about all this.  And happy that I’m feeling well enough to have some initiative.  It’s a nice feeling.

My mother-in-law, the martyr

My MIL’s favorite thing in the whole world is to complain.  She complains to everyone about everything.  If there’s a lull in conversation she starts in about her ex-husband.  Who is, admittedly, a huge douchebag.  But we don’t need to talk about him multiple times a day two years after the divorce.

But that’s not the point of this post.  The point is that she’s told her friends I do absolutely nothing to help around the house.  And I’m royally pissed off.  I do everything she asks me to.  Occasionally I will forget something, and need to be reminded.  At which point I do it.  And it’s hard to help when I have bad mental health days, but I do everything I can even then.  So it makes me angry that her friends think I lay around the house and expect her to wait on me.  That is such bullshit, but her hobby is complaining so she complains to them about me too despite my not deserving it.

I help her because she helps me.  We’re a family.  It hurts like hell that she would give a bad impression of me to her friends so that she looks like a martyr.  Poor, poor MIL, nobody helps her with anything and she has to do everything herself, and please give her all sympathy she craves.  Goddamn I’m pissed.  I know she’s told her ex, the Valkyrie’s dad, that she does everything herself and that I’m irresponsible.  But his opinion doesn’t matter because he’s an asshole I don’t have to see regularly.  MIL’s friends?  I see them a lot.  And they all have a low opinion of me because she can’t say one kind word about anybody.  Fuck.

Itsy bitsy pin loom

I got a 2″ pin loom, because small squares will look awesome on the edge of the shawl I’m doing.  (I decided to add to the shawlette a little to make it full-sized, because it’s pretty.)

2" pin loom and finished square. Penny for scale.

I bought it from an Etsy seller, bigfam15, and it arrived today.  I’m very, very impressed with the quality so far, and his prices are extremely reasonable.  He makes two styles of looms, each in different sizes and shapes.  The “traditional” ones are set up like the vintage Weave-It looms and the modern Schacht Zoom Loom (which is what I have for a 4″ loom).  These looms all have the same three-pin grouping and are warped the same way.  I haven’t tried one of his “mini looms” yet, which have uniform spacing of pins.  I’ve never used that style.  I may try it someday, with one of his small ones.  They’re inexpensive.  The one I bought is made from reclaimed bamboo flooring.  It’s sturdy, light, and seems well-made.  I’ll definitely be buying a 6″ square traditional sometime soon.  I’d like to try making an afghan or a baby blanket…

Weaving with cats

I warped my RH loom this afternoon while hanging out with my bestie.  228 warp ends for Awesome Niece’s shawl!  I did it in three batches of 60 and one with 48, because having a lot of ends in one single batch means they’re more likely to tangle as I wind them on.  Bestie and her niece had come over to help make soup.  (It was lentil with tomatoes and fresh spinach.  Delicious.)  They stayed for dinner and “butterbeer” floats (IBC cream soda and butterscotch schnapps over vanilla ice cream.  SO GOOD.  Niece didn’t get the schnapps, of course.  She’s only 14.)  My float was small: a little less than half a cup of ice cream, half a bottle of soda, and about a shot of schnapps.  Caloric, but not too bad.  I still didn’t eat more than my calorie limit for the day.

Tonight I went to start weaving, and the babbies were very unhappy.  The loom is their napping place in the evenings, and they wouldn’t stay off it while I was trying to use it.  So I gave up, put the blanket on it, and they curled up to sleep.  Adorable, but I wanna be weaving!  Awesome Niece’s birthday is in a week.  I need to make her shawl by then.

So I picked up my bag of these pin loom squares…

Square with single crochet border.

… and got back to putting on the black crocheted borders.  I was in the middle of my fourteenth square (total, not just tonight’s batch) when I realized the square’s yarn is superwash and the black isn’t.  So I don’t know what’s going to happen when I wash it.  Crap.  I’ll take a couple of the spare squares and finish them in different ways — one wet-finished, the other steam pressed.  I’ll see what happens to each.  If they both suck, I’ll pull out the black and replace it with superwash.  I actually think I may have some of the same brand of yarn in black.  Why didn’t I think of that in the first place?  Silly Alex…

Oh, back to the babbies for a sec: they’ve been coming downstairs a lot, but not for long unless I’m there too.  Eris has overcome her fear and come down, but only when I’m nearby.  Loki sat in the bay window in the kitchen and watched the backyard while I warped the loom.  Then he bolted when the food processor started up.  Babbies do not like loud noises!

Is it finally time for a hysterectomy?

I went to the gynecologist this afternoon.  Forty miles there, forty back, for a five minute appointment.  I drive that far because she works a lot with transgender patients (handles HRT and such) and so is sensitive towards my dysphoria over having my crotch and chest examined.

Everything seems to be okay except for the fact that I continue to have extremely irregular periods.  I’ve had two this year.  I went two years without having one at all, until last summer.  I argued with the doctor about it.

Her: You need to have periods every 60 days.  Maybe 90 at the most.  I’ll give you ten days of progesterone to jump start a period next month.

Me:  Um, female hormones make me suicidal and/or psychotic.

Her: But you really need to get rid of the uterine lining.  It can cause cancer in twenty years if you don’t shed it.

Me: No hormones.  I don’t want to kill myself.

Her:  Well, maybe now that you’re more stable on your psych meds…?

Me:  I was completely stable before the last time I took progesterone.  A low dose made me start hoarding psych meds with plans to kill myself.

Her: Maybe we should start thinking about a hysterectomy.  I’d leave the ovaries in.

I’m seriously considering it.  I’ve thought about having one before, many times.  Maybe I should just bite the bullet and get the malfunctioning equipment removed.  Goodness knows, periods make my dysphoria even worse…


Loki and Eris will be 5 months old on Sept. 22.  They went to the vet this morning for surgery pre-op, for their neutering.  Loki weighed 8lb 6oz, and Eris weight 7lb even.  HUGE BABBIES!!!  The vet said they’re going to be monster cats.  They’re not fat, they’re just enormous.  They also had their last vaccine and their nails got clipped.  Vet said they’re in perfect health, and that we should keep doing what we’re doing for them.

One concern I have is that Loki learned how to jump the baby gate last night.  I was standing in the kitchen and heard this little “mew.”  Dropped everything and ran to check, and yes, Loki was downstairs.  The cat gate was knocked a bit sideways and he’d gotten out.  I fixed the gate and put him back… and he jumped it.  MIL, BFF, and BFF’s niece, who were all at the kitchen table, came to see him on the stairs.  He flopped over on a step and preened, the little hussy.  He got scritches and lots of cooing and he just ate it up.  Eventually I took him upstairs and put both kittens in the bedroom, door shut.  I’m worried about them not being chipped and getting out of the house.  Oh well, we’ll just have to be careful…

Achievement unlocked: crocheted edging

I have been struggling since I got my pin loom, trying to figure out how to join squares together using crochet.  I was trying different ways but didn’t like anything I saw online.  So this morning I shelled out for Margaret Stump’s book on pin looms, and I figured it out after reading her section on joining.

(The piece below is actually a perfect square. I was having trouble getting the photo angle right.)

Square with single crochet border.

It looks exactly the way I want it to.  I’m putting a single crochet edge on every square, and then stitching them together to make the shawlette/kerchief/thing.  Fortunately my crochet skills, which I haven’t used in 20 years, are not completely gone.  There are some other joining methods I’ll be trying on future projects, too.  I don’t really like the projects in Stump’s book — like, I am never making a set of dolls that look like an Amish family — but there’s some good info on how to do things.

The vanishing Shriners

Random thought: Has anyone reading this ever met a Shriner who was under the age of forty?  Or a Mason, or a member of the Rotary Club, or of the Elks Lodge?  I haven’t, but maybe it’s the circles I travel in.  Have online forums and Meetup groups replaced the social clubs of our grandfathers?  And it was our grandfathers, come to think of it.  Men’s clubs, mostly.  Hm.


A few weeks ago I wrote a post about labeling myself,and I ranted a bit about people defining themselves as “weird.”  I was thinking about that this morning, while driving to meet my mom for lunch.  My viewpoint is that we’re all just people, the same in some ways and different in others.  But it hit me that I am probably one of the few people who don’t think I’m weird.  Or, at least, too different for a lot of the cishet white religious neurotypical people that make up the majority of the American population.  I’m a member of a few minority groups, but I’m still uncomfortable with the word weird.  Which is… weird.  Heh.