A Beautiful Birthday Weekend

What could be better than a trip to Crowders Mountain on a perfect Saturday afternoon?

Both the weather and our camera this time was good enough–and we’d just finished our second photography class that morning–to get some vague shots of Charlotte. Out zoom lens (55-200 mm) isn’t quite zoomy enough to really compress the distance, but it was fun trying, especially when we needed to manually focus or do a focus lock.

Instead of just doing the 0.75 mile trek to the top and back (which includes 300+ damn stairs), we decided to hike some of the back trails. All in all, I think we covered 5-ish miles, but my goodness. The Rocktop trail mentions that you’ve have to climb over some rocks. Very nice of them to warn you.

What they don’t tell you is that you’ll be facing a 4 foot wide stone “crawl way” (no way I was walking on that) with pretty steep drops to either side.

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Monotony : Creativity

Jackie knows how I feel.
Jackie understands ratios and monotony.
I’ve learned that I have a minimal (or maximal?) ratio of monotony to creativity to maintain in order to not go absolutely stir-crazy.

It’s about 4:1.

For every 4 hours I churn on something that’s difficult to make interesting (office work, house cleaning, troubleshooting a tedious problem), I need about an hour of creativity. And not an hour of editing a creative work, but creating: sketching out a site design; penciling out ideas for an app, story, or novel; throwing down code/tests for a new or in-progress project; writing out a scene in my novel; knitting/crocheting; blogging; etc.

But 4:1 is pretty much my bare minimum for getting through the day with a smile. Most days, I prefer that ratio nearly flipped (1:3 or so).

That said, I don’t mind monotonous work when I can find a good rhythm. I can be all in-the-moment and such.

But I can’t be happily brain-quiet forever. Not day in and day out.

First Ever Sock (and Other Yarning)

Having already made Gregory a blanket, my next task was to craft up some house socks for him. His current pair were worn to holeyness and ready to be replaced.

I dread the idea of working on super-fiddly projects, so I opted to go for a pair of crocheted socks using worsted weight yarn. Cotton, in my case, because acrylic on your feet would be for the birds. The main sock is black, and the heel is brown, despite Greg’s worrying singing of “Black Socks“. Plus, cotton crochets quite beautifully–no fuzz means the pattern shows very well.

The heel was disturbingly confusing to me, quite possibly because I had a raging sinus headache at the time. Once I realized that the sock as I’d been working it was inside out and I played around with how the heel would unfold, everything made sense. There were only about 7 stiches that closed up the heel, so it was totally worth stitching and unstitching to make sure I understood what would happen.

We shan’t talk about the extra stitches in the body of the sock I had to swallow up shortly therafter, though.

…First sock!

It went really fast, which is nice. One more gaming session, and the second sock should be done. More satisfying than a dice bag (cute though that one is), less agonizing than a blanket, even a piecemeal one.

The addition of a new afghan pattern book to my (now 4-book) library means that I’ll soon have more pretty things to give away.

Edit: Finished the sock late last night!

Weekly Linkage: Travel, Doctors, and Bat Wings

I spent a fair amount of last week (and all of this weekend) sick, so I spent very little time on the wibbles aside from work. Found a few fun tidbits, though: