Feeling Accomplished

2017-01-14 18.56.23

So, I went to see Hidden Figures on Saturday, 14 January 2017, at the Senator Theater in Baltimore City.

I have to say, it was a pretty decent film in my view. Definitely worth seeing with your family, friends and even your arch enemies, though watch out for their dastardly deeds in the darkness of the theater.

I want to tell more but I don’t want to give spoilers away about the film. I’d really rather you go see it yourselves. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Fox product after Firefly but go see this film.

Afterward, I went with a combination of two social groups I hang out with now to a local restaurant. There we had an in-depth discussion about the intricacies of the movie and the overall impact of education and career advancement on African American women from a political, social, economic, etc. standpoint. It was quite a lively discussion. I’m glad I didn’t cave on going at the last second.

 

 

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Now that I’ve finished with the viewing of the movie (for now), I need to occupy myself with this book. I’m meant to be reading it for the BCPL Reading Challenge for the month of January. January is almost out of here. It is a little over three hundred pages. I should be able to read it quickly enough. I just like taking my time with a book is all.

 

 

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I “planted” the Sweet Pickle Organic Pepper seeds in the Aerogarden of Serendipity on the Ninth of January. The Grow Your Own kit wasn’t nearly as complicated as I thought it would be to set up. About the most difficult part was the ironing on of the labels using an old cheap iron the Maternal Parental received as a gift a long time ago. Other than that, this kit was not troublesome to deal with at all.

So now, the waiting game begins, though I don’t think I’ll have to wait very long. I believe I saw the beginning of seedlings coming up in one of the pods and the seeds swelling in one of the others. As I only intend to keep two pods active, the third is just for insurance in case one of the others fails to sprout.

 

2017-01-16 23.52.06

Presenting Mommy Sox Junior. These are the Maternal Parental’s socks in the making. I am incredibly behind but I am catching up pretty well. I’m going to knit a few more rounds of the body of the sock before getting into the heel stitches.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to read.

Getting Out More

I should preface this with two points.

 

One, I am Agoraphobic. It is not something I choose to do. It is something that hits me like a ton of bricks, usually when I least expect or want it to interfere in my life. I’ve gotten used to it limiting my social life but I’ve been fighting it every step of the way and I’m slowly making progress in the endeavor to defeat this condition.

 

Two, since my father’s death and funeral last year, I’ve been isolating in a major way. Which is interesting because he was much the same in that he isolated from social contact, despite being a reverend.

 

So, yesterday was very good, in that I managed to make it to the meeting of the organization I previously wrote about in the last entry. It was unlike anything I had ever been to before. Everyone was so kind, so warm. It was great to be surrounded by people who weren’t in religious sledgehammer conversion attack mode.

 

I’ve got to say it. I’m really looking forward to attending more talks at this place. It was most invigorating.

 

Also, I was recommended another group of Secular people by a member of this first group. So, I will be getting out quite a bit over the next year. At least, I hope so.

 

Onto other things, I’m having second thoughts about the possibility of volunteering for NAMI. I don’t think it would be a good fit for me after all. Does anyone know of a secular to neutral Mental Health support group looking for volunteers?

 

So, that leaves the Library and, hopefully, a yarn shop. I’ve also found a few more opportunities on VolunteerMatch but they’re a good distance away from where I live. I don’t want to offer myself for something and then be unreliable about getting there. Only a few “in person” positions are open to someone with my skillset. I’m already in one “virtual” volunteer position and I’m teetering on the fence about another.

 

So, Hidden Figures is now in Theaters. I am going to find a way to see this movie. It isn’t often that I actually want to go to the theater to see a movie. There were few to no role models of a contemporary nature for kids like me when I was going to school. If knowledge of the NASA Computer Program had been general knowledge and taught about in schools, I guarantee you, it would have made a difference in a lot of lives.

 

It would have showed the disbelieving people who mocked those with dreams that people can achieve their goals. It would have given people with goals and dreams something to aspire to outside of the usual channels. My hope is that this movie has a positive impact on people and changes their minds regarding preconceptions they may have.

 

I have to go now. My Aerogarden supplies came and the Mega Cherry Tomatoes are starting to flower again. They have to go. Now. I’m going to install the Sweet Pickle Organic Peppers today.

Later. Have a fantastic day.

New Year, New-ish Things

A modified list of projects. I’ve removed the projects marked completed and deleted. Now, my mission is to finish these off. At the end of last year, I busted out a quick Valentine Teddy Bear with Heart Shaped feet, called Bertie the Bear, for my neighbor, on the occasion of her birthday. I’m not going to include it in this listing as it was finished prior to the New Year.

 

Mommy Sox Junior (Loading…)
Plastic Fantastic socks for myself
AHA Little Hats, Big Hearts Project
Blodeuwedd The Hat for me
Little Boy Blue Blanket (Loading…)
Cosmos Doily Madness: Doily Three (Loading…95%)
Child-bearer’s Cardigan (Loading…messed up but still loading at 90%)
Boba Fett Amigurumi Doll
Yoda Amigurumi Doll
Rose Doily #804
In Love With Color Throw (Loading…90%)
Bigger on the Inside Shawl
Gloves for myself
A scarf for myself
Villimarjatar Shawl (Loading…)
Large Pineapple Doily
Monster Slippers for Valerie
Socks for The Maternal Parental x4
Socks for Myself x4
A Shawl of my own design
Wings for Nightbird Shawl
Dragon egg
Hobbes doll for April
Inishturk Sweater x2
Long Weekend Cardigan
Simple Shells Cowl
Fan Lace Tunic
Revontuli -huivi/Northern Lights Shawl
Scrap Yarn Shiver Stopper 2017

After six months of growing and four months of harvesting, I am taking down the Mega Cherry Tomatoes. Aside from the fact that I’m allergic to tomato plants and have been sneezing up a storm since they’ve grown, I’m just ready for a change. So, I have ordered the needed parts, that being the filters and plant spacers. Everything else, the Grow Your Own kit, the Liquid Nutrient, the seeds, etc. are all here already. All I need do is clean the Aerogarden out on the ninth, when I get the remaining supplies, and set the new garden up.

 

This next garden, I’m planning on leaving in for quite a while. Actually, I may leave it in for upwards of a few years, if the plants last that long. Things in the Pepper family are supposed to last a while and Sweet Pickle Organic Pepper looks like a good plant to have growing for a long period of time.

 

In addition to all the things I’ve been focused on doing, I’m also adding the title of “tutor” to the mix. The Maternal Parental, apparently, wants to learn about computers (again), so I’m going to teach her everything I know about Computer Know-How, Getting on the Internet, etc. She was supposed to take classes at the Library but, owing to a previous day’s extended exposure to the extremely cold temperatures, she was unable to find the strength to get to the class the following morning.

 

Hopefully, I can come up with a lesson plan that is good for her. One that will enable her to learn and take charge of her own learning.

 

As if my plate weren’t full enough, I’m also going to begin attending meetings at a local organization that matches my philosophical beliefs, or at least seems to. We’ll see how much we actually gel once I get there. If we all do get along, it’ll be nice having good, secular voices to talk with for a change. Being agoraphobic and cooped up with someone who is, shall we say, religiously obsessed, is a bit on the tedious side.

 

My problem isn’t with the religious aspect. I’m fine discussing religion as I am fine discussing non-religious subjects. However, when one begins using it as a sledgehammer to try to convert people one feels aren’t living up to the ideals according to ones own beliefs, then we have a problem. I’ve stated myself as plainly as I could regarding not joining a religion, not having a specific belief structure, etc. but it is still attempted, in spite of my kindness or perhaps because of it. I don’t want to be rude or derisive but it is irksome to keep getting that.

 

In trying to understand, I’m guessing that, perhaps, people have an idealized vision of what I should be like, based on stereotypes and assumptions, and balk when I don’t fit the mold of what they think someone like myself should act like. Well, limiting expectations have never been my cup of tea.

 

Another “as if my plate weren’t full enough” thing is actually mentioned in the listing of knit and crochet projects in a sort of roundabout way. I’m getting back into volunteering. In this era of fear and greed, I need to do something brave and selfless with my time to counterbalance the aforementioned. I’m looking for “out of the house” positions but I am not opposed to doing an “work from home” position if it does good works and keeps me busy.

 

Right now, I’m making baby hats for the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts drive. Basically, you make a lot of little red hats for babies, send them in before the deadline, Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I am fully prepared for the making of hats in 2017. I have a skein of Lion Brand’s Pound of Love yarn in Cherry Red and a few patterns with plans to get more of both. I actually love making little hats. Squeeeeeeee!

 

Other volunteer positions I’m looking at but still on the fence about are NAMI, the Library, and a few local yarn shops (if they’ll take me!), etc.

 

Speaking of the Library, I’m upping the ante on my Korean Language learning saga. Up until now, I’ve been learning words and a few phrases. I just put a bunch of language Audiobooks on hold at the Library so I could not only study the language more but also so I could learn sentence structure. My next step, after this, is going to H-Mart to get a newspaper to study.

 

Well, I think that’s enough writing for one day. I have a lot to do and not much time in the day to do it.

 

Have a fantastic New Year. Later!

My Monopolized Time

Right in time for the holiday, I am sick. So, I am at home recuperating and trying desperately not to throw up.

 

When I’m not doing the above, I’ve been taking an inventory of what I’ve gotten accomplished thus far regarding my project list.

 

  • João’s Hello Kitty Hat (Completed)
  • Blodeuwedd The Hat for me
  • Little Boy Blue Blanket (Loading…)
  • Shimmer Stole (Deleted)
  • Sidewalk Shawl (Completed)
  • Handschuhe Times Two: Bruce’s Gloves (Completed)
  • Cosmos Doily Madness: Doily Three (Loading…95%)
  • Rainstorm II Socks (Completed)
  • Child-bearer’s Cardigan (Loading…messed up but still loading at 90%)
  • Boba Fett Amigurumi Doll
  • Baby Groot (Completed)
  • Rose Doily #804
  • Be a Friend/Have a Heart Shawl(Completed)
  • In Love With Color Throw
  • Bigger on the Inside Shawl
  • Gloves for myself
  • A scarf for myself
  • Villimarjatar Shawl (Loading…)
  • Large Pineapple Doily
  • Monster Slippers for Valerie

 

I am also on a few sites that claim to teach how to code…learning how to code. Right now, it has me going through the basics of HTML and CSS, which I already know, but I am determined to get into Programming languages soon. I’m determined to make this a side career for myself or even a main career. I just need to focus on my goals and not veer off-course.

 

No doubt this all seems very stressful. I’m having fun doing it but it is rather a lot to take on. As if this weren’t enough, I’m also taking up Korean, because I’ve wanted to for a very long time. I’m memorizing things semi-well even if I don’t spell the words as well as I should in review. I’ll get there though. Basically, my non-studying time is filled with a lot of studying. I’ll need to find another source for the language tutoring, as the one I’m using is holding back on the hard words. I’ll have to see if the Library has a language CD or something. I can also go to the local grocery store and pick up a newspaper for writing practice.

 

So, lots to do and only twenty-four hours in the day to do it all. Add onto this, the pattern writing/knitting design learning, plant management, taking care of the Maternal Parental, and taking care of myself as well as the household, and I have very little time left in the day. This has put a real dent in my social networking. I will try to log in once a week and, as always I will be available via messenger service.

 

Take care. Later.

Blodeuwedd The Hat…

…and various other things.

 

Since NaNoWriMo is now coming to a middle, I thought I’d get in high gear in finally planning my own Winter accoutrements. Long has the project page for Blodeuwedd The Hat sat in my Ravelry projects, uncompleted. Up until now, I’ve been making due with the hat pictured below that I crocheted years ago.

 

Crocheted Mexicana Hat v2_00006_001

Now, I’m not saying that this current hat hasn’t served me well. It has. I am just looking for something warmer and more air tight/heat trapping.

 

So, using the Beanie 212 pattern, I’m going to go completely off the rails with the color design, to the best of my abilities. This new hat is going to be made of washable wool. It’s going to be at least three different colors. I am going to get more in if I can via scrap yarn. Topping this off, the scarf and gloves I’m making to accompany the hat will match it, again, to the best of my abilities.

 

I can see it in my mind. I just need to figure out how to design it properly.

 

In other stuff, I am teaching myself to write knitting patterns. It’s the next step in this journey I embarked on a little over ten years ago. I figured it was time to take it to the next level and get my feet wet with learning how to properly write patterns. I have two books on the subject, both of which are very informative. The two books are:

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns by Kate Atherley

Teach Yourself Visually Knitting Design by Sharon Turner

 

I know that this is, by no means, the entirety of knowledgeable literature when it comes to pattern writing and knitting/crochet design. This is just the beginning of my long-term exploration of the subjects. There’s a lot for me to learn but I’m up to the challenge.

 

Also on the topic of new books and on the subject of personal challenges is my acquisition of a cookbook. I have Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking and I fully intend to use it. This is the first cookbook I’ve purchased. I’m hopeful I can get some food to make all these wonderful dishes.

 

Onward to present projects. Villimarjatar. I brushed against it the other day on my way to the keyboard to do some NaNoWriMo updating but, other than that, I haven’t touched it. I’m presently on the third row of the second pattern repeat. I’m hoping to get quite a bit done tonight since I’m finally ahead in other things. I live in hope.

 

As to NaNoWriMo, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to the end of my story this year either even though I will exceed the 50,000 threshold. Still way too many characters and too deep a plot. Still, I like the story enough that I’m going to keep working on it beyond NaNoWriMo. I hope anyway. It’s a good bet my friend will be on me to write it because he wants to see it come to fruition too.

 

I’ve got to go now. My Aerogarden is whining for water. The tomatoes drink the level down almost daily now that they’re bigger and fruiting again. Later.

Ugh, My Memory…

When I first learned to knit in 2006, I was clueless about every aspect of the crafting world. I didn’t know who was who or what was what. So, I signed up for a class at the Catonsville Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library system to expand my skills.

When 20 June rolled around, I was frightened but determined as I sat in the Library waiting for access to the meeting room where the class was to take place. The starting time finally came. Panicking the whole time, I took my Susan Bates #8 straight needles and pounder of black Caron yarn and followed everyone else to the makeshift classroom.

We were, apparently, going to be instructed on the fundamentals of knitting by a famous knitting person and her three volunteer helpers from the local yarn store. I must admit, it was quite intimidating seeing one of the volunteers do what I now know to be knitted cast on so quickly. With a quickness that belied physics, she casted on enough stitches to make a scarf.

I digress. Anyway…

Once we were all settled in, we began the lesson by casting on. Famous Knitting Woman went to show us how to do a cast on row but there was a knot in her yarn. That’s when my special talent finally came to the fore. I can usually get the near impossible knots out of things. Faster than she could get the scissors, I had the knot loosened.

From there, the lesson began. She demonstrated Backward loop cast on, Longtail cast on, and Knitted cast on. Knowing nothing, I was struggling from the start but managed a rather tight Backwards loop cast on before switching to a more difficult to knit but stable Knitted cast on.

The entire time I was learning, I never got the name of the woman teaching us. She had a few books out on the table and a few magazines, but I didn’t pay much attention beyond making a note to get them later to learn from. Dense as I am, I might have made the connection that the books and patterns in the magazines were all by the same person.

After two hours, the lesson was over and the class drew to a close. I walked through the darkened streets of Catonsville on my way to the bus that would take me home. The moment I got home, I promptly forgot everything, absolutely everything, I learned. It took me until the beginning of August before I was able to successfully make a scarf. The thing I had started that night became a sort of weird sleeping cap due to my accidentally adding stitches to every row.

Over the years, now decade, I have kicked myself for not remembering the name of the Famous Knitting Woman. I’ve a great memory for faces but I’m terrible with putting the face to a name. For a while I thought her last name was “Knight” but I just had a memory jog. It was Nicky Epstein. Like a flood, all the memories came back into my head of the book titles.

So, for what it’s worth, wherever you are, thank you and the three volunteer knitting teachers for the knitting lesson. I can honestly say that it has changed my life for the better.