365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time

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Day 140/365: Starting My Week on Hump Day

Since I was down in Ventura for Sean’s birthday on Monday, I took Tuesday off to drive back up to Morro Bay.  So when I returned to the prison this morning, I was just starting my work week.  The moment I opened the door to my office, I knew from the blinking red light on my phone that I had voice mail.  (Two of them were from different psychologists informing me that they were each sending a new patient to my caseload.)  I turned on my computer and saw that 70 unread emails arrived after I left on Friday.  Our Interdisciplinary Treatment Team (IDTT) meeting was starting at 8:30 AM, and three of my treatment plans were incomplete.  In my mailbox were three inmate requests addressed to me.  One of them read, “Emergency!!!  I need to talk to my clinitian!”

I was confronted with all this information within ten minutes of setting foot in the building.  I didn’t step foot outside the building again until 3:30 PM, when I had to walk over to another yard for a meeting of a peer review committee to which I’d been assigned.  (Believe me, it wasn’t something I would have voluntarily attended.)

I didn’t sign out and leave work until almost six o’clock.  Luckily, we’re now headed into summer and the sun doesn’t set until 8 PM, so I’m not walking through the prison in the dark.  The nice thing, too, is that I get to come home after a long day and let go of all of it with the setting sun.




Day 139/365: What A Pound of Crocheted Yarn Looks Like

I used up my big ol’ Lion Brand Pound of Love Bubblegum ball of yarn.  In case you were curious, here’s what that much yarn can produce, in a repeating pattern of crocheted shell stitches:



“Don’t stretch it,” I told Sean as he held up the afghan and I tried to take a photo.

“I’m not,” he said.  “It wants to stretch itself.”

Here’s what it looks like when resting flat:


Right now it measures 35″ by 37″, which I think is too small to be of any use to anybody except a very small child.  Since I’ve decided that this is going to be more of an adult-sized blanket, I’m going to have to add at least one more Pound of Love.  I wonder how it would look if I add the new yarn as a border and work my way out, rather than adding more rows to lengthen it.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Day 138/365: The Day Sean Turned 45

Today was Sean’s 45th birthday.  Since he pretty much indulges my whims and obsessions during the other 364 days of the year, I let him choose what we would do and where we would eat today.  So after breakfast at a nice local café that had outdoor patio seating, we walked through downtown Ventura and up to Grant Park for an easy hike through the Ventura Botanical Gardens trail.


Compared to the peaks and trails that I hiked with Roberta in San Luis Obispo county, today’s trail was a leisurely walk.


Downtown Ventura, the pier, and the Pacific Ocean.

The view was no less beautiful than the others, though.


We have a home down there.  In a neighborhood to the left of downtown.

The other important thing about today is that it officially marks the beginning of summer for Sean.  He graded his students’ finals last week, and the university held its commencement exercises this past Saturday.  He won’t have to return to work until twelve weeks from now, in August.  So it’s been a pretty happy day for him altogether.


Sean says, “Bright summer ahead!”


Day 137/365: Bubblegum Afghan and Chinese Food


Changing things up.  I worked on the Pound of Love Bubblegum afghan today.  See how much yarn is left?

At around 10:30 this morning, Sean and I were discussing where we should go for lunch.  (Our 8 AM breakfast must have already metabolized and evaporated.)  He suggested a Chinese restaurant called Sesame Garden.  He’d eaten there the other day with friends and enjoyed it.  He wanted to go back and thought that I would like the food, too.

I went online and checked Sesame Garden’s website.  “Hours are from 11:00 to 4 PM on Sunday,” I read off their home page.  “They’re closed right now.”

“You know what they call that restaurant when it’s open?” Sean asked.

“Open Sesame,” I said.  And:  “Oh god.”

We are not the kind of schmoopy married people who finish each other’s sentences.  But because I’ve known my husband for so long, I am able to deliver the punch lines of his corny jokes.

I don’t know which is worse.


Sean says, “Hang loose!”

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Day 135/365: Human Beings and Common Courtesy


Today, one of my patients was complaining about a tier officer who he didn’t like.  “I just ignore him and keep to myself,” Mr. F said.  “If he say good morning to me, I just keep walking.”

“Hold up,” I said.  “I seem to remember a time when you told me that it hurt your feelings when you greet staff on the yard, and they act like they don’t know you.”

“Yeah, but that’s an inmate talking to free staff,” Mr. F reasoned.  “This is different.”

“Nuh uh,” I told him.  “Put all that ‘inmate-staff’ business aside.  We’re talking inmates and staff as people.  Human beings and common courtesy.  How would you feel if you saw me on the yard and you said, ‘Good morning,’ and I just ignored you and kept going?”

Mr. F thought it over.  He looked like he was about to say something and then changed his mind.  He heaved his shoulders with an exaggerated sigh.  “All right.  You’re right, Doc.  I hear you.”

A few hours later, I happened to be outside, walking across the yard, when I heard someone calling my name.  I glanced over at the line of inmates sitting along the bench and immediately spotted Mr. F.  The one with his hand raised in the air and waving at me.

I stopped walking and looked him in the eye to make sure that he knew that I knew he’d called out a greeting.  Then I turned, lifted my chin haughtily for a deliberate snub, and kept walking.  I glanced back.  He looked stunned for a moment before the light bulb turned on above his head and he started laughing.

I pointed a finger at him:  Bang!  Gotcha.


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Day 134/365: What Strong Self-Worth Looks Like


My first appointment of the morning was an intake interview with a new arrival.  Initial interviews take at least an hour, and they always involve a lot of paperwork, including the treatment plan.  One section of the treatment plan involves listing the patient’s current “strengths and needs.”  When we got to that part of the interview, I asked the patient to tell me what he considered his strengths.

“I’m not sure,” he said.  He sat there and I let him think about it for a minute.  He looked at me helplessly.  “I don’t know.”

“Okay,” I said.  “That’s okay.  We can come back to that part later.”

I moved on to the rest of the form and then got to the Suicide Risk Evaluation.  I went through the questions with Mr. M until I got to the part where I had to assess whether he had any current suicidal thoughts, intent, or plans.

“Basically,” I said, “are you having any thoughts or plans to end your life, right now, today?”  When conducting a suicide risk assessment, you don’t leave any room for vague answers.  You have to be blunt and direct.

I looked up from the form and saw that he was taken aback, almost affronted.

“No!” he said.  “I love me.  I wouldn’t hurt me.”

“Well, there you go,” I said.  “I think we found one of your strengths.”


Day 132/365: Weightless Bubblegum!

When I got home from work this evening, I thought for sure my Red Heart Soft Baby Steps Cherry Cola yarn order would have been delivered.  Sadly, I was wrong.  There was no mail waiting for me in the mailbox.  Even though I was a little bummed, the absence of mail was actually a good thing, because you know that if the yarn had arrived, I would have jumped the slow Pound of Love Bubblegum afghan ship and gotten back on board the Cherry Cola afghan speedboat.

Speaking of the Pound of Love Bubblegum afghan:  I thought it would be an interesting experiment to weigh the remaining yarn on my digital food scale and see how much was left.  This is what I got.


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Day 131/365: Back to the Bubblegum


I’d been crocheting this Red Heart Soft Baby Steps Cherry Cola afghan, but just as I feared, I ran out of yarn.  I was able to find more skeins on eBay, but my order hasn’t arrived yet.  So I went back to the Lion Brand Pound of Love Bubblegum afghan.  I made a little more progress today and added several more rows.

The other thing I did with this particular afghan was take the large unwieldy ball of pink yarn and run it through my Knit Picks ballwinder.  So I went from this:


Pound of Love ball of yarn on 4.23.2015

To this:


Remaining half a Pound of Love?

Now it’s so much neater, and I don’t have to keep stopping to roll the ball over and unwind more yarn.  I think I should be done with this project in a few days, if I keep going and not decide to start a new sock, which I am considering…