5 Things I Like: A Moment Caught, Close to Me, Claire Dancing, An Etsy Shop, and a Rate Calculator

One.

This photo of girls playing netball in a Bedford College physical education class in England in 1937, because the girl on the right looks like she is both dancing and swooning:

see page for author [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

see page for author [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Two.

The Cure's "Close to Me", because it manages to be both bouncy and sexy without being silly, and it makes me want to dance like Claire in The Breakfast Club:

Three.

Which brings me to another favourite thing — this GIF of Claire (played by Molly Ringwald) dancing in The Breakfast Club:

Four.

I love this mug and pretty much everything else in The Clay Bungalow's Etsy shop:

Five.

The nuSchool freelance project rate calculator, because it makes it easier to nail down a ballpark figure for your next project:

And that's five things I like!

I Got a Present! (For Which I Inexplicably Had to Fight Stoned Cats)

I got a present in the mail!

An American reader of this blog, Melly, wrote me a while ago to ask questions about the size of my feet. She swore that she wasn't being creepy or stalking me, especially since her passport had expired, and that, since I had shared my craft with her, she just wanted to share her craft with me. I figured, with an expired passport between us, what could be the harm? I sent my home address to her straight away.*

I had no idea what was in the package when it arrived. It didn't rattle or smell weird, though, so I figured everything was on the up and up.

Luckily, like that time I flew to Mississippi to hang out with an internet person I'd never even seen to live in a tin-roofed shack in the middle of nowhere for several days, no one died, and almost exactly like that trip, which left me with a lovely pair of stripy toe socks, I got a gorgeous pair of hand-knit socks out of the deal.**

As you can see from the photos above and below, though, the cats, Onion and Oskar, were also rather enchanted with my new footwear.

Although, I think "enchanted" is the wrong descriptor here. Witness the crazy leaping above and the clawed swiping below.

They were hysterical with new sock excitement. It was like my new socks were cat drugs. Can catnip be spun into yarn? Can cocaine?

Onion and Oskar scrambled in circles around my feet, smelling my toes and pulling at my heels with their teeth. I had to wipe cat drool off the phone's camera lens, and Oskar left a little goo trail around one of the toes.

When Oskar finally made a game of leaping up onto my back and then jumping down to bury his nose in the wool in a continuous circuit up and down and around my body like a coke-addled Tasmanian devil, I declared my sock photoshoot over.

"DUDES. THIS IS SO NOT COOL. MELLOW. THE HELL. OUT."

You should hear my cat mom voice. It makes kitties disappear in less than two seconds. And, yes, this is how I really talk to my cats. Dudes.

Now that the cats have adjusted to the presence of these apparently amazing-to-kitties-crack-socks and stopped hurling themselves at and around them in a frenzy, I find these socks to be lovely and warm and perfect for my cuddling-down-on-the-couch wardrobe. If the animals manage to remain non-violent around them, these socks and I will be together often. In short, I love them.

From one sometimes knitter to one who is obviously much more highly skilled, these are great beauties. Thank you so much, Melly.

And also, Melly? You maybe just created a new invention with these kitty drug socks. Go be rich!***


* My life choices are not always advisable, and I do not condone their broad application.

** Again, not all rash decisions to share intimate life details or shack up in foreign countries with internet people you've never seen before end up with you getting fabulous socks. Be warned.

*** Melly just informed me that she has four dogs. Oskar hates dogs — HATES — which explains why he was all claws and leaping. He tried to beat up a large English sheepdog once because it had the audacity to stand where he could see it.

Swivel, Stop, Focus: Finding Small Doorways Through Hard Moments

I took this photo on the banks of the Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon.

I took this photo on the banks of the Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon.

Fall is hard for some of us. Daylight is in less supply, the nights are longer, the temperature drops, and my heart breaks a little more each day. I feel overwhelmed by my work, creative pursuits, and normal, daily things like finding a clean shirt or feeding the cats. Skype chats nearly stop altogether, because fixing my hair is hard.

Granted, this might not be quite so difficult if I remembered to sit in front of my full-spectrum SAD lamp every morning. Would hitting that ON button kill me? No, but depression makes self-care feel like a monolithic obstacle.

When everything starts to serve as one of a million tiny cuts or a proof of my inexorable uselessness, I have been working at teasing out little spots of light, small doorways through the hard moments. That picture of berries up there is part of that. My brain turned dark, and I had to subvert the narrative.

When my brain goes dark, when my thoughts turn against me like that, I can sometimes catch them before they find their rhythm if I swivel, stop, and focus on something outside myself. It's a little like jogging a record player needle out of its groove. The other afternoon, I swivelled, stopped, and focused on these berries and their place in the world around them. I couldn't believe how brilliant they were shot through with sunlight. I couldn't believe I was a body on this earth standing next to them, listening to the shush-shush-shush of prairie grasses running their blades along each other in the wind.

My swivel/stop/focus practice doesn't change the reality of my seasonal depression, and it doesn't automatically turn any bad day or moment into a win, but it sometimes lets me take a breath. It throws a small wrench into the gears of my depression's machinery and allows me a moment to let the belief in possibility back in.

Sometimes, all I need is to catch my mind's pattern at the right spot, and the following moment lets in just enough belief for me to take the next step forward.