66) Good grief

It's over three weeks since I last posted.  OK, quick round up:

  • Fake Noro spinning: FAIL. Pictures later
  • Tour de Fleece: wasn't going to join in, but ended up spindle spinning silk from day 10 onwards. Pics later
  • Knitting: finished Revontuli in the graduated handspun yarn.  Looks great; needs blocking. Pics later.
  • More knitting: Started Katarina in the blue/green handspun.  The back and both fronts are done, and I've started the second sleeve.  However, cuffs, and a really, really wide collar have to be knit on later, so it's not so finished yet.  Looking great; um, pics to follow.  Spotting a theme here??
  • Job: today was the last day of working for my current job.  I start my new one on August 17th.  That's nearly three weeks to myself!  Awesome!
  • Freelancing: Too Much is going on right now.  No details, but I can't do this and everything else.  So, sadly, just as I was getting into the swing of things, I have to put this endeavour on hold.  For now.
  • Dyeing:  Nothing has happened.  See above.  However, I'm not giving up on this one, I'm hoping that the next three weeks will see some Real Progress there.

cool, now we're all caught up.  Now I can stop avoiding the blog because of the backlog, and get on with regular updates again…  What, huh, pictures??  OK:

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65) How does your garden grow?

Wow.  OK, this was always intended to be a before-and-after post, but the photographic evidence has shocked even me.  Back in March, I took this photo of my intended vegetable plot:

Before
before

This morning, I took this one, from roughly the same vantage point:

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after

Well, colour me impressed.  And, apparently, green.  All those 15 minute intervals really do seem to add up.

I have peas, beans, crookneck and butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, swede, kohl rabi, salad greens, tomatoes…

Like Toni, I may have gone a bit nutso with the squash.  I blame this on the fact that for the last couple of years, I've tried to grow squash, and melons, in pots.  They've produced lots of powdery mildew, but no actual fruits.

This year, I have at least seven crookneck squash vines, and at least two butternut squashes.  Crooknecks are, apparently, similar to courgettes (zucchini), in that they are soft-skinned summer squash, but taste nicer, and (importantly for feeding them to J) are not courgettes.  Anything's worth a try.

Anyway, they're going totally crazy, escaping the raised beds and attempting to grab the hounds as they walk past:

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Kita has a lucky escape.

Those beds are two metres long and one metre wide, so you can imagine how big the leaves are.  Also, if you click on the photo for the larger version (and can tear your eyes away from the menacing squash vines), you can see many, many yellow pea pods on the first two pyramids.  (The other pyramid houses beans).  These are a golden mange-tout variety, so we'll be harvesting from those Real Soon Now.

The tomatoes are also going to need an intervention this weekend.  I put nine plants in a 1×1 bed, on the premise that three grow bags fit the space nicely, and each grow bag can hold three plants.  That might be true for vine tomatoes, but these are all bush varieties, and are now barely constrained by the bird netting:

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the tomato corral, viewed past the giant peas.  and more squash.

I do love my garden.

64) Re-entry

This week has flown by; it has been busy, and tumultuous, and exciting in ways I really didn't expect.  The hounds were very happy to see me return from my very-long weekend; Kita was able to finally relax properly, instead of waiting for me on the front door mat:

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My weekend away included a phone call, last Friday lunchtime, to offer me a new job.  A new *office* job, in the same field that I'm currently working in, but with more freedom, more responsibility, more creativity.  Fewer contracted hours, but possibly more time actually working – we'll see.

What this means, is, hopefully a more fulfilling day job, but also more focus on my day job.  Did I mention creativity and responsibility?  Whilst working for other people??  Scary.  I don't know whether I'll be able to keep freelancing for pattern writers; I will certainly keep dyeing.  It's also had my brain in a whirl, and this morning, I had the weirdest, almost vision-like epiphany-moment as I was driving to work.  It was so compelling, so worth my continued thought,
that I even turned off my audio book so I could ponder it more directly.  (This is major.)

It is weird, definitely.  And rambly.  And definitely qualifies this post for the 'navel lint' category.  Anyone who comes here for the wool, the garden or the dog photos is perfectly free to click away now.  Anyone who wants a glimpse inside my brain is welcome to keep reading.

So.  I suddenly saw myself as a being who is waking up, such as after a long
hibernation, or perhaps as one emerging from a chrysalis, which also
includes a sense of transformation.  An especially lovely bit of this
was a sense that the extra weight I'm still carrying (not loads, but
some) can be seen as fuel for the rest of the transformation, just like
a seed carries energy with it, or an egg.

The CFS that I've suffered for almost four years now has, in truth,
felt like a hibernation at times; it has slowed me; changed my habits,
my way of being, my thoughts, my metabolism.  I used to be such a
morning person; now, I'm more like an early bee than an early bird. 
You can get me out of bed early, but it takes me ages to get warmed up
and off the ground!

But over time, too, I've cocooned myself in a whole bunch of beliefs
and thoughts, some of which were and probably still are true, others
are self-lies, or self-deception, others pure fantasy.  Somewhere in
there, there's a childish belief that I'm going to somehow be whisked
away to a glamorous existence where work is unnecessary, and that
whatever I do to bring in a paycheck now is temporary.  There are all
kinds of beliefs there; about my 'right' to have as many hobbies as I
like, and an infinite amount of time to pursue them; about my 'duty' to
be the best at (or at least very good at) everything, always (or no-one will love me); and there's
a long, twisting thread of self-doubt, all knotted together with a
rather strange perception of how others see me, and a belittling
approach to my standing in the adult world.  As I write this, I'm
seeing that thread particularly clearly; it is dark brownish-red, and
shiny, and branched, with knotted lumps in it.  It's rather beautiful,
actually; forming a strong, supportive net around and right through my
chrysalis, but also restricting my growth, and threatening to cut into
me like a too-small tie around a tree. It is holding in that collection
of stale, papery beliefs.  And oddly, there is a marked contrast
between the thread and the papers.  The papers seem to represent a high
level of self-belief and arrogance, but in a child's world.  The thread
holds them in, keeping me warm, safe and asleep, and stops me breaking
into confidence in an adult world.  It's almost as if I'm waiting for
someone to hand me a
certificate stating that yes, I am now a grown-up, entitled to my
opinions.

So this thread forms a structure for my chrysalis, my safe place, and now I'm
seeing how restricting my safe place is. Some of those beliefs actually
stop me from achieving happiness: one of them seems to be telling me
that I've 'sold out' if I'm happy in a 9-to-5 job.  Although, you know,
if I look deeper, I think that's really a well-disguised fear.  I'm
scared that I'm not actually any good at that sort of job, and if I try
hard, I'll just get my heart broken.  Wow, that's a strong phrase, eh?

Now that I've found my chrysalis, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to stay here, what do I do next?  No-one is going to hand me that certificate; I need to
go and write it for myself.  No-one opens a chrysalis to let the butterfly out, either, or provides an alarm clock for hibernating bears.  I need to struggle a bit: stick my neck out, take risks,
in order to break free and disassemble this chrysalis.  Some of those papers
are precious, though.  What do I do with them?  Well, maybe I can make
a scrapbook out of those precious pieces.  The rest of them… well, in
real life, I recycle paper I no longer need, and I shred any pieces
with dangerous information on them.  So maybe I need to find an
equivalent way of dealing with these old 'psychological' papers.  As
for that net, well, I did say that it looks strong and supportive.  I
wonder if I can refashion it into something strong and comforting
without being restricting?  A hammock, perhaps?