As I start writing this entry I’m sitting on my balcony, rocking gently on my deck swing. It’s mid-morning on a Sunday and it will be a beautiful spring day, even though for the moment I have a blanket wrapped around me because the sun hasn’t quite come around the building far enough to warm up my deck. My neighborhood is quiet; other than a distant lawn mower and few cars going by there’s nothing to listen to except for chickadees, swallows, red wing blackbirds, and some other songbirds I don’t know the names of. It’s a clear day and I can see the Rockies stretching away to the south all the way to the Chain Lakes and then some. They still have quite a lot of snow on them. There’s a May tree growing off to the side just below my balcony that in a few years will be almost tall enough to touch. I like May trees; like lilacs and crab apples, the gentle fragrance of the flowers is one of the best parts of spring in Calgary.

This year I’ve taken to sitting on my balcony quite a lot on weekends when the weather is good (and even when it’s tolerably miserable). Life has been busy…maybe a little too busy…and these moments offer some peace and quiet that I feel I desperately need.

I have a lot on my plate. That actually seems to be a constant these days and I wonder how I manage to keep a handle on it all.

Things are going on at work and the pressure is very high with no signs that it will get better any time soon. I’m months behind on my work; I have new obligations being thrust on me without enough of the old ones being delegated away. I can barely get one thing done before the next thing has to be finished. Go, go, go. My manager has started rumbling about how she “would quit if…” because things are just as bad for her. If she quits, her job will either fall to me (not good) or we’d get saddled with someone new who would have such a steep learning curve that I’d still end up having to bridge the gap anyway. I often arrive home feeling so drained and worn out that I can’t be bothered to do anything else so end up in bed at times like 6:30…only to have nightmares about my job. As soon as I wake up I’m already thinking about the coming drudgery. I’ve started having anxiety attacks and a few times I’ve burst into tears while driving. Some days I feel like I just can’t. This is all very bad. But I don’t feel I’m in a position where I can quit this job either, so I also feel trapped and helpless on top of everything else.

Thankfully, I’m also busy in ways that don’t result in a feeling of impending self-destruction, that help stave off the stress of my job.

Crochet All the Things

I’ve done quite a lot of crochet recently. Good weather on the balcony plus crochet makes for a pleasant time, and the repetitive (but not mind-numbing) aspect of the activity helps keep my mind focused and calm. I delight in finishing a new project. Having created something tangible is satisfying, particularly when I get such positive feedback from the people I share the projects with!


  
Click to enlarge.

The TESTosaurus-Rex was a spontaneous project inspired by propaganda artwork for TEST Alliance Please Ignore in EVE Online and it has been popular! I happened to finish it right at a time when I was feeling particularly low about work, too, so to get such great feedback (especially on Reddit) was very awesome. :)

Groot was another surprise. Mom wanted to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for Mother’s Day (do I have the coolest mom ever or what?) and then she also said she wanted to have a Baby Groot of her very own, so I found a cute pattern and made one.

Since making these, and finishing the very challenging Pod Pal Otto, I’ve been approached by a few people to do a few specific things! I now have the following queued up:

  1. Sekrit Crochet Project #1 (a special request, almost finished)
  2. Sekrit Crochet Project #2 (a thank you gift, partially started)
  3. Heinzelmännchen (a house gnome for Mom)
  4. A Pod Pal for EVE Down Under
  5. Baby Groot (a commission)
  6. Elephant (a thing for work)
  7. Snowman #2 (to complete the set for Mom)

Somewhere along the way I hope to make a few things for myself. :) There are two pieces of clothing I’d like to try but I also have at least two, maybe three, little dolls I want to do, well, simply Because I Can™.

Write All the Things

It doesn’t look like it but I have been writing…a little. This is harder for me to do when I’m stressed out, as I find if I’m lacking in sufficient energy to be bothered to cook dinner, do housework, or generally remain conscious, then I also lack the ability to connect with my muse. Creating stuff from scratch is hard and takes a great deal of effort!

But, all is not lost. I did expand on some of the HOTE notes recently and have some more ideas I want to get written down. Some of this has been hampered by having my laptop in the shop for repairs since May 8 thanks to an intermittent problem that causes the boot up sequence to fail. (Not having my laptop has also contributed to why there’s been so much crochet this month!) I have some image editing that I want to do to support the new notes I made that can’t be accomplished with the tools available to me on my iPad. I have unfinished HOTE art that I’d like to work on, and not that long ago a new scene that may or may not actually make its way into the story came to mind. I want to write it down and have been debating making it available (for now) as a Fiction One Shot until I have a better idea of where (if) it might fit in.

I’ve also been working on some new content for Solitary Pilot that will appear simultaneously on my Fanfiction.net account and the blog itself (but backdated) when it’s done. As above, it’s been hard to work on this given how crummy I’ve been feeling but every time I poke at it I do make some progress.

Not much actual stuff to show, but so long as actual sentences are being written somewhere, I’m not too unhappy with myself.

Gaming All the…Oh

Well, without my computer I can’t really do much about this right now, but the plan is still to continue with my Myst series playthrough. Exile is such an excellent game! I’m also in the midst of a Mass Effect replay and it’s been a while since I spent any serious time on my witch in Black Desert Online, so I’d like to do that too, all on top of still being involved in EVE Online.

The manager at the shop told me that if they can’t get my machine repaired within five days (given they already had it almost two-and-a-half weeks the first time) I’m going to get a new one. This is both “woo” and “ugh”. A fresh machine will ideally have no faulty hardware in it which is fine and dandy…but I’ll have to reinstall everything which is just…just…gross. All the OS updates! All the reconfiguration! All the restoration from backup! Ew ew ew. It’ll take forever to do all that so ideally I’m hoping to get my actual machine back by the end of the week. Fingers crossed.

Now it’s just after noon and my stomach is rumbling. Rather than going up to the café I think I’ll stay in, cook for myself, and continue enjoying the day out here on the balcony…and see what else I can get done before my work week starts anew.