365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time


Day 89/365: Still Sick

Fever, sore throat, fatigue, and body aches like I’d been pummeled like a human punching bag:  It’s the flu, all right.

At least tomorrow is a state holiday and I’m off work, so I won’t have to call in sick.  But it still sucks, and I am not a happy camper.  Just ask Sean.




Day 88/365: Feeling Under the Weather

Sean caught the flu last week and was in such bad shape that he actually called in sick and cancelled his classes, which he never does.  He just started getting better this weekend, but guess who picked up the bug and has been feeling fatigued and trying to treat a sore throat all day?

I’m especially annoyed to be getting sick now, because I’m on a four-day weekend and I was really hoping to enjoy it. Then again, my idea of enjoying a day off is to sit around and knit or crochet, and that’s pretty much all I’m able to do right now.

I was crocheting this garnet afghan, but having it on my lap was making me feel too warm, so I switched over to a sock that I started last month.  I was able to turn the heel and start the ribbing for the leg.  Sean suggested that we go down to the beach so that I could take some nice photos for the blog, but I didn’t think I had it in me to walk those two miles.

So in the meantime, here is a photo that I was able to take by walking just a few steps outside to the deck.



Day 87/365: The Day I Broke Up With A Sweater

Remember when I was knitting this sweater last month?  I got tired of knitting in the round and set it aside.  I thought I should finish it, but there wasn’t any joy in the process.

I started and finished other projects, and in the meantime, that partially completed sweater remained sleeveless with half a torso.  It was taking up space in both my living room and in my conscience.

Today I made a decision.  I had to be completely honest with myself, and the truth was I didn’t care about finishing that sweater.  And even if I did, I knew I wouldn’t wear it.  There was just no real reason for me to keep knitting when my heart wasn’t in it.  I had no real love for the sweater.

I ended up doing this:


Goodbye, sweater that I would never have worn anyway. Goodbye, hours and hours of knitting around and around in stockinette stitch.

In under five minutes, I managed to unravel the whole thing into a couple of flat-bottomed balls.

And you know what?  I’m totally okay with it.  In fact, I feel less burdened.  That sweater was one more piece of clutter that I could remove from my life with no dire consequences.

Now if I could only tackle the hundreds of other pieces of clutter in the rest of my home…


Leave a comment

Day 86/365: The Day Before I Start My Four-Day Weekend

Was it just a week ago that I had that hectic Friday with all the urgent referrals?

Today at work was another busy one, with the morning involving another facility-wide yard recall and then an “emergency” referral for me to evaluate an inmate who turned out to be perfectly fine.  (Oh, those two incidents were completely unrelated, by the way.)  It was more a matter of the staff member overreacting to a situation that someone else with more experience would have perceived differently.  Rather than get into the details of that story right now, I’ll just say this:  Thank god Monday is my day off and Tuesday is a state holiday.

My four-day weekend is on, and I’m putting the work week behind me.



This evening’s view of the Morro Bay sunset.



Day 85/365: My Current Afghan Project


I don’t think I’ve told you about my current afghan.  I started it last week, and this is what it looked like then:


Yesterday’s blog post shows you a photo of my progress, but I’ll also repeat the photo here, for visual comparison:


The yarn is TLC Amore by Red Heart.  It’s a blend of 80% acrylic and 20% nylon.  The color is Garnet.  When I bought this particular yarn several years ago, it was on sale and I really liked the color.  There were five skeins left in the bin, so I purchased all five.  At the time, I thought I would use the yarn to make a crocheted sweater, poncho, or wrap– something that I could wear, because the color was so pretty.  Then I got it home and tried to crochet a base chain just to start a gauge swatch, and I got frustrated.  The color and texture of the yarn made it hard to see where I needed to insert the hook to crochet my stitches.  I set the yarn aside and didn’t go back to it again until last week.

This time, I did some experimenting with different sizes of hooks and came up with the idea to double the yarn and use a jumbo hook.  I played around with different stitch patterns and settled on the basic seed stitch, which I’ve also seen referred to as the moss stitch.  I’m almost done with the first two skeins and will have to add two more skeins soon.  It’s shaping up to be a decent size, at least bigger than a baby blanket, and it’s very soft, so I think it will turn out to be a pretty nice afghan.  This one I might keep.  Maybe.

Leave a comment

Day 84/365: The Day I Got Paperwork Done


As I described in a previous post, every Wednesday morning my colleagues and I meet for Interdisciplinary Treatment Team (IDTT).  Five patients from my caseload were due to attend today’s team.  We were scheduled to start at 9:30 AM.  It was 8:45 AM, and I was still trying to complete my paperwork for the fourth patient.  I hadn’t even gotten to the fifth patient’s treatment plan yet.  I was trying to suppress my panic, but the anxiety was there.

About half an hour later, I stood up to stretch and take a break from my desk.  I wandered over to the break room to chat with my colleague Dr. R, who was standing in front of the copy machine, reading some papers that he’d just retrieved from his mailbox.

“Take a look at this,” he said, handing me an inmate request.  “Looks like I’m going to have to pass it along to custody.”

I quickly scanned the block writing on the page and caught the important words.  “Inmate planning to escape,” “weapons in the cell,” “you need to investigate.”

“Oh, boy,” I said.  We both knew what was coming, once he turned in that note.  “Here we go.”

Dr. R left the office and I could have started a countdown, knowing exactly what would happen next.  Within minutes, the announcement was made on the facility-wide paging system:  “All inmates, recall and lock up.  All inmates, recall and lock up.”  The lieutenant came into our offices to make sure there were no inmates and informed us that an emergency count of the entire facility was being conducted.  I knew from experience that the rest of the morning– and maybe even the rest of the day– was a wash.  We wouldn’t be able to see our patients or have IDTT that morning, but we certainly now had the time to catch up on our paperwork.

I stood at the door to the mental health services building and watched the inmates on the yard heading back to their housing.  It was 9:30 AM.  The universe had just smiled down on me.


Day 83/365: The Day I Was Mistaken For Another Psych


Remember when I had the incredibly busy day last week Friday?  There was a point in the day when I went outside to talk to one of the correctional officers on the yard, and I heard an inmate calling, “Dr. C!  Dr. C!”  I knew he was trying to get my attention, and I knew that he thought I was Dr. C.  She and I work in the same building, we both have long dark hair, and we’re about the same height.  I suppose that from a distance, a person could mistake one of us for the other.

It’s one thing when a patient speaks to me in a socially acceptable manner when I encounter him outside of the office; it’s a different story when it comes to inmates yelling at me from across the yard.  My policy is this:  I don’t acknowledge it—and more so when that individual isn’t even yelling the right name.  You have to have good boundaries when you work in a prison, and if you turn your head and look every time an inmate calls out to you on the yard, you are going to develop a certain kind of reputation among all of the inmates who live there.

So I ignored the inmate and went back inside the building and forgot all about it, until I returned to work today and ran into Dr. C this morning.  I told her about the incident and how the inmate was calling her name at me.

“What did you say to him?” Dr. C asked.

“I didn’t see who it was,” I said.  “I just heard the voice calling your name, and I ignored it.  He was probably thinking, That bitch.”

We both laughed.

“I guess I’ll find out soon enough,” Dr. C said.  “I’m sure I’ll get an earful the next time he comes in to see me.”



Day 82/365: The Day I Show You My Stash

I started this blog back in January for several reasons.  One reason was that I had accumulated way too much yarn over the last dozen years.  A second reason was that I had too many unfinished knitted projects.  For 2015, I resolved to either finish those projects, or else frog them and wind the yarn back into balls.  I resolved to reduce the amount of yarn in my stash by either knitting or crocheting useful and pretty things that I could then either keep or give away.  I would document my progress in the blog, and once I went public, I’d really have to commit.

I mentioned these reasons to a few non-knitting, non-crocheting friends on a few separate occasions, and their reactions were all pretty much the same:  “Really?  You have that much yarn?”

Yes, I have that much yarn.

I have sock yarn, from the fairly inexpensive stuff you can purchase at chain craft stores, to the really expensive hand-dyed extrafine merino wool that they sell at independent shops with “Fine Yarns” added to the store’s name.


I have balls and skeins.


I have Peruvian wool, lamb’s wool, merino wool, silk, cashmere, and super kid mohair.

They come from Romania or Japan, Italy or Germany, Wales or other places in the United Kingdom.  The labels and brands vary from the small and obscure to the names you know, like Noro, Cascade, Crystal Palace, Classic Elite, Karabella, Debbie Bliss, Berroco.


I have cotton, linen, and bamboo.


I have cotton-linen blends, and acrylic-cotton blends.

I have 100% acrylic that is made a lot softer now than the old scratchy stuff from back in the day.



I have a lot of yarn.


This is a stash that grew out of the last twelve years, starting in 2003 when I left my full-time teaching job and went back to graduate school to pursue a new career.  When I look at each ball or skein, I can remember where it came from and the general time in my life when I bought that particular yarn, whether it was during the MACP or PsyD program, pre-doc or post-doc, the dissertation, the internship year, the interminably anxiety-ridden months of licensing exams, or post-full-time-permanent-state-job status.

Now I can breathe in relief that those stressful years are behind me.  I’m happy in my present time.  And I have enough yarn today to keep myself knitting and crocheting right into retirement.


Day 81/365: The Day I Finished My Short Crocheted Table Runner


Remember these three orphan balls from the stash?


I took that ball of white yarn there on the left and started this:


It was an inexpensive acrylic yarn that I’d had for a very long time.  I just wanted to use it up and turn it into something prettier than a lone orphan ball that was sitting forgotten in the stash.

Several inches along into the project, I realized I was going to run out of yarn pretty soon, and it would be way too short for a scarf.  But never mind.  It would do as a table runner.


A short one, as it turns out.  Which is okay, because all you have to do is throw a plant on the table, and everyone will be looking at that instead.



1 Comment

Day 80/365: The Day I Went and Took a Hike


Today my friend Roberta and I hiked to the top of Madonna Peak in San Luis Obispo.  It was a good workout and something I need to do more.  The neat thing about the view was that we could see the prison where I work.  If you look in the upper center portion of the photo, you’ll see a line of light-colored buildings.  That’s it.  It looks small in the photo, but I promise you that’s it’s actually a fairly large facility.  It is also not that close to the city as it appears to be.

The other thing I did today was finish my multi-colored pastel granny square.  (Well, I didn’t really have a choice– I ran out of yarn.)  It measures approximately 12″ by 12″, which doesn’t really amount to anything useful.  I’m thinking of frogging the whole thing.  Maybe I’ll make a hat.