Rambling

Writing a blog post when you have nothing to talk about!

Emma wearing her fox ears and tail.

It’s funny.

I have a job. A great job. I get to support a cause I am passionate about, I get to meet some amazing people and I get to go to some fun places.

However, as my job is unpaid my work isn’t considered valuable to our patriarchal capitalist society. Instead I have to look for paid work that doesn’t contribute anything of real value to society, just to satisfy the government. It’s really frustrating, and I’m not smart enough to find a solution to the mess our society is in. Universal Basic Income is a likely way forward, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. UBI could free people from jobs they hate, allowing them to do the work they want to do. Our communities need people to do real work.

I am enjoying my work with OneKind, both as an events assistant and as the Glasgow Team organiser, but I am scared that I will have to give it up to fit in with yet another toxic work culture.

I’m not depressed, I’m just stuck in a world full of folk who value the wrong things!

*

It was the third and final year of my annual fundraising event, the Burpeethon. I am proud to say that over the three years we ran the Burpeethon, 77 volunteers did 27,780 burpees and raised £7,657 in donations. All of that money went straight to Scottish Women’s Aid, supporting their work in ending domestic violence.

There is no way I could have raised that amount of money on my own. I am so grateful to everybody who took part and donated. Thank you.

*

One of Emma's granny squares

My crocheting has slowed down as my class has finished up. I’m not great at doing things myself, under my own steam.

I do have plans to make a granny square blanket, and I want to make a temperature blanket between my 34th and 35th birthday. It’s going to be sweet!

I’m trying to exercise my creative muscles in general. I want to do daily doodles, blog more often (even when I don’t really feel motivated – hence this post) and come up with a new project to replace the Burpeethon.

Harrison Wells doodle

Today’s daily doodle makes me feel so awkward. I don’t draw humans, and I hate showing people anything that I do not consider perfect, but I drew a human and I have shared it online. It’s Dr. Harrison Wells from “The Flash”. After watching “Legends of Tomorrow”, I had to go back and watch it followed by “Arrow”.  It’s been ages since I’ve enjoyed a TV series as much as these. I think the last time was “Game of Thrones”.

*

The awkward ending. I really want to improve my blogging skills, rather than just ramble to an awkward close. Ha! I hope you are well, and that the world is being kind to you.

 

 

Imbolc, and the life of the Urbanimal

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but Imbolc is the one festival that I do not connect with. I guess it is because here in Scotland, Spring comes later. Heck, we haven’t even had Winter yet! I worry about that. There are early signs, such as budding leaves and crocuses, and I am just waiting for them to be crushed by severe weather. It’s the same every year, but this year the feeling is even more palpable. I hope I am wrong.

Photograph of leaf buds
Spring is making an effort to arrive

I’m not thriving at the moment. Surviving, yes. Thriving, no. While my GP knows that I am still not fit to work, what with my fibromyalgia getting progressively worse and my difficulties in handling my mother’s death, the Department of Work & Pensions has decided that I am, and they know best. *stifles laughter* The immediate issue is that they have taken my benefit from me. Thankfully I am in a place of privilege; I have a loving partner who is willing to support me while I fight this. Not a lot of people have that. It sucks to be in this position, especially because it is due to a government who has waged war on the poor and vulnerable, but I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I’ve just lost some of my independence and autonomy, but I can survive that. Survive, yes. Thrive, no.

Prior to losing my income, I had saved up enough money to do an introduction to crocheting class. I have gotten the hang of scarves, with a single crochet, but I was stumped as to where to go to next! Then my local wool shop announced the class on their Facebook page, and there was much rejoicing. We’re making granny squares! It’s a bit like magic to me. I’ve managed to make one decent looking square, but the rest are misshapen monstrosities.

Photograph of Emma's first two crocheted granny squares.
Granny squares!

I’m not the best person at getting things done. I also love journalling. And so, I have begun experimenting with goal setting, habit tracking and general attempts at being more disciplined. For my goals, I have chosen to work with Leonie Dawson’s My Shining Year workbook. So far I have been inspired by it and its Facebook community, so I have plenty of ideas for what I want to do in 2017. Getting them done is an entirely different beast! I’ve been experimenting with Bullet Journalling to combine my to-do lists, habits, goals, ideas and inspirations. On my good health days it is brilliant, but my good health days are few and far between. Of course I know that a part of me is being lazy too, and using my poor health as an excuse for not doing anything at all. I’m trying to beat that habit.

Photographic portrait of James the cat,
New houseguest

There has been a major upheaval this week; James, my mum’s cat, has moved in with us. Mum passed away in June, but this week my dad decided that he was not able to look after James anymore. It’s not an ideal situation for anyone, but when is life ideal? So on Tuesday James came to our home, much to the confusion and anger of our cat, Lucy. It has been okay so far. Both cats are avoiding each other, and Lucy has the option of going outside if she needs space. When they do come into contact, they have a spat rather than a fight.

I have always wanted to be able to talk with animals, but I have wished so hard for this gift right now just so I can explain to Lucy and James what is going on and why. Childish, right?

Emma doing a burpee
Burpees are fun; look at me smiling!

Finally, it is a week and a half till the Burpeethon. Our third and final event takes place on Saturday, 18th February. We were featured in the Evening Times this week, too, which should give us a boost. You can learn how to support the event by checking out www.burpeethon.co.uk. I have set myself a modest target to 200, which is 50 an hour. That’s 10 every ten minutes with a ten minute break before the next hour. It should be fine, just don’t tell my doctor! Shhh!

Crochet lumps and scarves

A taxidermy wildcat wearing a crochet scarf and a Santa hat/
My first crochet scarf. Hat is model’s own.

The crochet lumps… they have evolved!

For those of you following me on Instagram, you will have seen the ups and downs of my crochet adventure. Mostly the downs. It all began earlier this year, when I decided I should learn a craft skill. Ignoring the sewing machine that has been lying alone and abandoned in my cupboard just crying out for attention, I went to the craft section of Waterstones to choose a project.

A funky little box called “Granny Squares” caught my eye. It contained everything I needed to crochet some granny squares of my own. “Perfect,” I thought, “that is a great place to start learning to crochet.”

NOPE.

All of the instructions were in Double Dutch! This was not the Crochet 101 project I was looking for, so I was left upset and disappointed. I was also left with a crochet hook and a stash of yarn that I could not return to the store. Not to be defeated, I turned to YouTube for some advice and tutorials. Goddammit, I *was* going to learn how to crochet!

As you can see, over the course of two months I gradually figured out how to do a single crochet. I had to experiment with different yarns and hooks, and watch videos over and over again before it finally clicked. And when it clicked, a scarf happened. They just happen spontaneously when you crochet!

I have mastered the single crochet, and I feel marvellous about it. It is amazing how relaxed I feel when I’m moving the yarn and hook in my hands. I have started taking them everywhere with me; the train, the pub, hospital waiting rooms, the Robot Wars studio … crochet is just so addictive.

I am not so sure what to do next though. Just now I am making another scarf with some cotton yarn. I am wondering if there are any projects I can do with just a single crochet, or if I should move on and learn another type. I’m keen to make something other than scarves, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself! For the time being, you can find me chilling with my yarn and hook.

 

Mountain Hare Masks

Mountain Hare Masks (2016)

Inspired by Nanayena’s Arcanine cosplay, I decided to experiment with EVA foam. With an upcoming rally to raise awareness of the plight of mountain hares, I decided to make hare masks.

A fuller post on the process will follow.