Category: The Family

Enthusiasm (by )

When I was a child, I was full of enthusiasm - as a keen self-taught engineer I was soaking up knowledge about the wonderful things that could be done, and my future was full of promise; I lacked the tools and money to build many of the things I planned, so focussed on tinkering with software (once I had a computer, programming was free!). But I was confident that I would be able to turn my skills to employment and earn enough to buy tools, and then I'd build so much cool stuff.

However, it took a while to get there, and along the way, I accumulated lots of pressures on my time as well. These days, when I have free time, I'm often too physically exhausted to do much, and that enthusiasm is all gone - nothing seems rewarding any more, and I fritter the free time away.

But it's not always like that. A few times a year, a burst of enthusiasm comes to me (and I think I know how to trigger it deliberately, too).

This weekend, I did a lot of DIY. I worked on the van, tidied the house, sealed the skirting boards in the kitchen (I've learnt how to apply sealant neatly!), caught up on my emails, did some financial admin, wrote up a lot of scrappy notes I had into my filing system (re-organising some bits of it on the way), and caught up on work hours I'd missed in the week due to visiting my sick father in hospital (he hurt his knee, and is recovering well!).

The combination of dealing with emails, filing my notes, and organising my filing system, however, brought back The Enthusiasm.

Which, on the one hand, is great - I used that energy to get a lot more done than I usually do.

On the other hand, it also meant that when I went to bed at 10:30pm (for a 6:30am alarm clock start), I couldn't sleep as my head was buzzing with ideas. I wrote them up in my bedside notepad, which usually releases the pressure of thinking about them, but one of them was exciting (a really nice way of supporting HTTPS in my Web hosting stack), and one of them wouldn't stop going around in my head - I came up with a simpler design for a new desk/shelving system I want to build in my workshop, combining my computer desk and an electronics workbench. This was stuck in my head because I couldn't just think it through to completion and then record it; I was trying to visualise all the fine details to work out how it would fit together, and it wouldn't fit in my head. So about 2am I gave in and went downstairs and fired up OpenSCAD and bashed out a 3D model of it, which also spits out a cutlist of what lengths of square steel tubing and areas of plywood I'll need to make it:

Figuring out all the fine details and seeing how they'd fit together finally relieved the mental pressure, and sometime past 4:30am, I fell asleep... getting somewhat less than two hours' sleep.

Today I've been able to divert the energy to my work, which is great, as that's what I'm supposed to be doing - and using that energy to make up for the fact that I'm dog tired. But I still spent my lunch break writing up my overnight notepad notes into the filing system and doing a few of the tasks I'd thought of, including planning a comprehensive consolidation of my sewing supplies into a proper sewing box plus a tiny sewing kit for emergency repairs, that can go into my bag. And writing this blog post!

I'm confident this is not evidence of bipolar disorder, because I'm fully aware of my slightly manic state, and I'm following tasks through to completion! But it's still not an ideal situation.

I've observed in the past that The Enthusiasm can be invoked by doing "infrastructure" work - updating my filing system, tidying my workshop, building tools, maintaining the van, building software infrastructure, etc. so my plan is thus:

  1. Book out infrastructure days.
  2. Work on infrastructure projects in the mornings. Try to remember the Enthusiasm I've felt before (this blog post will help as a memory jogger) plus sheer willpower to get me started, even if I don't feel like it.
  3. Let my enthusiasm take me where it takes me in the afternoon.
  4. Do this frequently enough that it's not all backed up inside me somewhere, so just a bit comes out at a time in a controlled manner, rather than big multi-day sleepless orgy of creativity.

Wish me luck!

Body Blob (by )

Again issue with doing lots of performance stuff is all the photos of me being fat - they are me doing things and I will myself use them but you know when good photographers still don't manage to make you look good! Well that... I am well aware that I have gained weight what with the miscarriages and just not caring with Dad's and others deaths.

We've been monitoring my weight weekly and everything I've tried results in 12 and a half stone :/ except that time I ate all the crap and I mean all of it from BBQ through to giant ice creams and I went down to 12 and 1/4 stone - the next week was period time complete with swollen painful legs and that was 12 and 3/4 stone but was then back to 12 and 1/2 stone the following week (it took about four days to loose the swollen feet and legs - something I have never before had outside of pregnancy and even then only really Jean's when I had all the blood clot issues).

The nurse for thyroid, diabetes and dietary stuff no longer exists as her role got axed at the drs - and I need to loose weight - I am literally carrying around half a me extra! As I should be 8 stone but the healthiest I've ever been was 10 stone when I was an outdoors pursuits instructor.

It's the mobility that really does me in with the weight or rather the lack of it and I am sick of it. Yesterday the venue we were at had no real food so I bought a chocolate bar but then felt so guilty about it I didn't eat it and instead ended up eating a really late dinner at home where I ate more cheesey type stuff than was sensible as I was REALLY hungry by this point.

I think I need to just follow what I did before with the nurse but am doing more work stuff now and I was so light headed, Passy outy and feeling like I was going to throw up that I just don't see how I can do that and be working at the same time :/

I have gamified my walking with Pokemon go and feel that if I can just shift some weight then my pelvis will improve and I'll be able to loose the crutch and maybe even go back to park runs or something - I have bought a load of medals ready to complete various challenges to help motivate me - they start with walking and ramp up so we shall see!

Please don't suggest the dieting groups like slimming world and weight watchers as they make me want to punch something and keep punching if I am completely honest! They are pretty much my definition of hell and I don't mean the food part of it - it's just a social dynamic thing - I have friends and family they worked really well for but they are not for me.

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Gaia – Llanthony 2019 (by )

This weekend starting tomorrow there is going to be a giant Earth floating in the grounds of the historical site Llanthony Secunda Priory and Moon Mania Mega Make my community textiles project will be there with it 🙂

Scout Sewing MoonMania

It will be there from 10 am till 5 pm for three days:

Friday 28th of June Saturday 29th of June Sunday 30th of June

I will be there from 1 pm on the Friday, 2 pm on the Saturday and all day Sunday. If the weathers nice I will be outside by the coffee van if it's bad I'll be inside. This will also be the first proper outing of Moon Memories where I hope to snag people and get them to tell me their tales of the moon landings and space race or what their aspirations for the future of space exploration is. This is for a legacy piece which will result in a book and website and my hope is to archive these stories properly so that they are not lost to the sands of time (or moon dust!).

Gaia is part of Gloucester's amazing Earth and Moon festival which will be going on through out the summer and autumn and includes events at the Libraries including their annual reading challenge which is space themed, cinema at the GuildHall, the accompanying Moon to Gaia will be in the Cathedral later in the Year, and of course last but not least there is the Museum of Gloucester which has a Moon Exhibition which is opening this Saturday (29th of June 2019) starting with a kids craft corner focused on International Asteroid Day. I myself will be doing talks, creative writing that's moon themed as well as rock handling at the Museum.

MoonMania Talks and Rock Handling

Some of the events can be found in the SoMac brochure, some in the museums and libraries and Guildhalls own brochures 🙂

I also have various poetry, arts and science talks planned starting on Tuesday with a little PechaKucha talk at Liquor and Chow.

Moon Mania Creative Writing and Spoken Word

Now back to Gaia - this is an amazing installation that is going on a tour around the UK and is made by Luke Gerram with imagery from NASA. I am very excited to have the chance to be involved for Moon Mania!

Gaia is the name of the Greek Goddess who made/is the Earth, that which gave birth to everything, in Earth and Planetary Sciences we have the Gaia Hypothesis which takes the planet as a kind of mega organism with each part - trees, animals, sea, weather - all being part of the whole and what affects one affects the other. Computer Gamers will also be well aware of these concepts!

I have a mini obsession with Gaia so here is one of my favourite art making and concept creating videos about another fabulous art inspired by Mother Earth:

Rebirth of Gaea

Oh and I am looking for as many people as possible to be involved with the Mega Make!

Moon Mania Mega Make community textiles project

Moon Mega Make – Update! (by )

Creatives Sewing Celestial Montage

This week the Moon Mega Make community textiles project has been out twice in both Gloucester and Cheltenham 🙂 Someone even started stitching the Sun which made me very happy!

Stitching the Sun

Part of the outings was also to put up posters and give out flyers and have further meetings about Moon Mania. This lot of flyers cover the Spoken Word and Creative Writing aspect of Moon Mania which currently comprises 4 events, the first of which also includes the Mega Make at the First Thursday in Cheltenham - an Arts Quarter event that happens once a month unsurprisingly on the First Thursday where the Wilson Museum and Art Gallery is open late and July's event is Moon Themed for the 50th anniversary of the first human on the moon!

There is lots of awesome moon themed stuff happening 6-9 pm 🙂

Moon Mania Spoken Word and Creative Writing line up

Cookes Coffee and Curios is also supporting the Moon Mania Mega Make giving us a space for the Moon Meets and popping my posters and flyers up in their wonderful coffee shop! The photo below is of my mum stitching away over a coffee.

Mum stitching Celestial Montage in Cookes Coffee and Curios

And last but certainly not least - Gloucester City is having a wonderful Earth and Moon Festival opening with Gaia a giant inflatable Earth that is going into one of the loveliest historical landmarks around - Llantony Sucunda Priory. This amazing artwork is by Luke Jerram and is open to the public on the 28-30 of June 2019. Check out the Facebook event here. To my utter joy I get to take the Mega Make along to this event - extract timings for me are yet to be called but I am hoping to make an appearance on all three days so if you are local come along see the art and add a stitch!

Large Celestial Montage Banner

The Moon Mania Mega Make even ended up at the Gloucestershire Steam Punk Society's get together this month where there were cogs and moon chatting and much much more!

Mr Cogs

And last but certainly not least my prototype t-shirt has arrived - I don't like the black rectangle around the moon so am attempting to get rid of that in future prints but this one shall be mine for events to go along with the space dresses, moon skirts and leggings 🙂 I am hoping to sell these to help fund some of the other Moon Mania events and I would like to be able to give these to all the poets and story writers who are providing works for the Moon Miscellany!

Moon Mania t-shirt

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