Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No zombie jokes, please ;)

The human brain is really quite amazing. I've been thinking about that since last Thursday evening, when I got a minor concussion in karate class. It was an interesting experience; one moment I was in the midst of a warm-up fight, then I was on the floor, then I was sitting on a bench feeling very woozy and trying to figure out what exactly had happened. I didn't lose consciousness for more than a second or two, but I had some odd deja vu dreams, and it was probably about twenty minutes before I started to put together the sequence of events. All the while, of course, various instructors brought me water and talked to me as the class went on. An hour after the fall I was a bit headachy but quite able to make the two-minute drive home.

A concussion, as I understand it, is a fairly common injury caused by the brain being jolted and making contact with the inside of the skull, which can lead to bruising or nerve damage. I had a simple concussion, which does not require a brain scan and which usually heals within a week to 10 days. (I did go to the doctor on Friday to make sure I was okay for work.)

I found it particularly interesting to watch the effects of a brain injury as they manifested. Thursday night and all Friday I had a dull headache; by Saturday it was reduced to a soreness in my neck. It affected my mood as well. Though I suffered from clinical depression for years, now that I'm on a medication that works for me I'm generally a cheerful person who enjoys being alive; for two days after the injury, I felt like I was sinking again into my old state. Though I was functional enough to do the tasks required of me, being at work all day Saturday was hard; my coworker noticed it and said I didn't seem as sure of myself as I usually do. But it got better by the day, and today I went back to karate feeling just fine - though I'm not going to do any fighting till next week!

Tibetan Buddhists make the distinction between the ordinary mind, and the ultimate mind. (For a much better description than you'll find here, I'd refer you to the teachings of Sogyal Rinpoche.) As I understand it, the ordinary mind is that which is generated by the brain - an organ which, like all the others, is susceptible to aging, sickness, and death. It's not a sad thing, because much of the Buddhist path is realizing that "you" are far more than you realized - that's where the ultimate mind comes in. It just fascinates me how powerful and resilient this mass of grayish tissue can be - and makes me appreciate it all the more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My bears in South Africa!

I found two more of my bears on the Mother Bear Project website! I recognized them because of the funny jumpsuits I was making for a while. These two are in South Africa, adding to the two bears I've seen in Namibia, one in Zimbabwe, and fifty or sixty more that haven't shown up in pictures (yet).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tam finished!

Finished my first Fair Isle project this afternoon - a tam I knit with some glorious wool I bought to do colorwork. It's set me on a yarn binge, buying up lots of wool and wool blends in different colors so I can experiment more with this style.

This tam can't be called Fair Isle precisely, since it's knit in a larger gauge and in something other than Shetland wool, but the patterns and technique I used are traditional. I made this one for myself, a kind of experimental copy or mock-up before I make another for my shop. The next one will be almost identical, so I can model this one for Etsy photos. This first one has a few mistakes in the pattern, but I'm pretty pleased with it as a first attempt.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Some cute squirrel pictures

These are three of our resident backyard squirrels, who put off chasing one another away from the bird feeders long enough to feast on some hamster food I put out for them. They didn't even need help getting into the bag.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Two Capelets

Just finished uploading two capelets, and I'm almost finished with a third. Capelets and cowls seem to be my new thing; they're just a step up from scarves and shawls, and they're wonderfully versatile. I might be putting them on hold for a couple of days while I attempt to make a Fair Isle-style tam. Pictures to follow, if it all goes well!