The Stages of an Idea

I had an idea today, for a yarn project.  So far it has followed the usual trajectory of my ideas:

  1. Inspiration: that thing’s neat, but I could make it neater. Or, what if I did this thing this way rather than that old way that everyone does that looks too simple…
  2. Development: also, I could tweak this, and this, and (scribbles on graph paper)
  3. Enthusiasm: wow, this is coming together so neatly!  I can’t wait to show everyone how clever I am with this!
  4. Doubt: this isn’t working as smoothly as it should.  Maybe it isn’t so clever.  Maybe it is, but my skills aren’t good enough to realize it.  Maybe other people will think I copied it from someone else instead of coming up with it all by myself, and think I’m not as clever as I know I am.  (Am I?)
  5. Crash: this sucks. I suck. How could I have thought it would work?  I can’t stand to look at this and be reminded of my failure.
  6. Hibernation: weeks/months/years pass
  7. Reconsideration: actually, this is rather good.  Where are my notes?

I don’t always get to steps 6 and 7.  Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that I haven’t always gotten to step 7, since usually the abandoned designs/projects remain in my possession.  On rare occasions I end up at 7a, scrapping the project to use the materials for something else.

Sometimes I branch off to 4a, a variant of Doubt in which my idea is still clever, but is it even possible to convey it to another person?  My cleverness can’t be properly appreciated if it isn’t understood.  There’s a subvariant 4b, in which the priority that makes me proudest of my design might be one that no one else shares (e.g., never cutting the yarn until the end), in which case other people might go, “so?”

To be fair, I’m getting a bit better about this.  The crashes are shallower and end sooner, and the doubts are more easily answered, sometimes even with the healthier sentiment of so what if no one else sees it?  I know it’s cool.  (And, of course, I always have friends and family to show things to, even though my ego craves recognition from people who don’t have a built-in appreciation for me and my stuff and my clearly staggering intellect.  Yeah, it’s hard getting over being the special smart kid.)

Aside from generally trying to grow up and get healthier mental attitudes, there are a couple of things that I think have helped this.  One is probably my medications.  While they don’t totally fix things, they do tend to flatten the slope I stand on a bit, so it’s easier to resist the downward tendency and I don’t slide as far when I do slide.

Another is, and this may sound mean-spirited, browsing patterns on Ravelry and seeing how many frankly simplistic and derivative patterns show up, usually for sale rather than free.  Most of the time my first reaction is scorn, which is not very nice and I’m trying to squelch it, but my other reaction is hey, people apparently get them anyway (or at least look at them), and my ideas are more clever/original/interesting than that.  So chances are that if I put something out there I wouldn’t be getting the negative reactions I worry about in stage 4.  Of course, I still get hung up on 4a (because if it’s clever enough for me to think it’s clever it’ll be hard to convey that concisely to people outside of my head) but it’s an improvement.

I think.

(I’m in stages 2 and 3 right now but will probably hit stage 4 as soon as I try to actually make a prototype rather than just drawing it on graph paper and working out technique in my head.)

I almost forgot one other thing that helps: everything is a learning experience.  I’m looking at a crochet idea right now and even if it doesn’t work I’ll have tried a new technique or two.  So the idea after that will be much more likely to work.  And I can probably do what I’m thinking of in knitting too.  So that’s something.


Local Fauna

Four deer (really!)

four deer.jpg


Triquet and turkey smaller.jpg

Cat ears with turkey IMG_20140717_190540970 (2).jpg

Hawk or turkey vulture or something

bird in sky cropped 2016-03-12 16.34.43 (2).jpg

Cropped from this picture

bird in sky full 2016-03-12 16.34.43 (3)

Blue-tailed skink

blue-tailed skink 1 2016-03-23 14.17.31 HDR (2)

Red-headed skink

red-headed skink 2016-03-23 14.23.16 (2)


Triquet at barbecue 2016-02-25 16.26.10 HDR (2)



Overheard yesterday as I walked to the train station:

Him: “…take BART.”

Her: “‘Take BART’? You don’t take the BART?”

Well, no, we don’t.  We’ll refer to the BART station or even the BART system, but it’s never the BART that we’re riding.  I’d theorize that maybe we think of the trains as being friendlier than that, what with having a name and all*, but I think people usually also take AC Transit or Muni or CalTrain or Amtrak as well. Maybe it’s regional…?

* In the late 1970s there was a connector bus between UC Berkeley and BART stations, with the rather awesome name of Humphrey Go-BART.  The name was long gone by the time I went to Cal, but there’s now the Emery Go Round connecting BART and Emeryville, which almost makes up for it.

Moonlit Eyes

Vanilla has the palest eyes I’ve ever seen on a cat.

Vanilla 2016-03-14 10.43.27 (2).jpg

They’re ever so slightly blue-tinted in that photo, but part of that is just from the bits of orange on her face — which I’d barely noticed before, since she averages out to sepia.

Her eyes were even paler when she was maybe six months old:

Vanilla in cage 20 Apr 2014 cropped (2).JPG

Then again, so was the rest of her.  It’s rather more obvious from that pic (taken just after she was neutered, which is why she’s in the cage) why she was named Vanilla. Before being named she was “white kitten”, though by then she was looking kind of Siamese.  But only in the sense that her paws, tail, and ears were darker than the rest of her overall — she’s not even slightly solid, anywhere.  Her tail is stripy, her legs (as shown) are speckled, her ears are too, and her face has tabby stripes.  And her coat has subtle leopard spots.  I really have no idea how to describe her briefly, except with words like “lovely.”

Fifty Pounds of Cat

Today we took CMY and Rhombus to the vet.  They’re siblings, and it shows.  They have similar coloring, especially in the face, and they’re…large.  Rhombus is a bit over 27 pounds and CMY is a few ounces over 23.  They look to be generic domestic shorthairs, no signs of Maine Coon to explain the size.  Some of it’s fat, but it’s also big bones and such.  Rhombus’s paws are enormous.

CMY is a bit of a grump.  She doesn’t like most of the other cats — she’s sometimes friendly with Moonstone, and seems to tolerate the kittykins, but isn’t too happy with the others.  And for some reason she saves her best hisses and growls for her brother, the one she’s known literally her whole life.

But it turns out she’s more upset by the vet than by him.

CMY Rhombus in carrier 160319 IMG_1718.jpg

Rhombus was just sitting in his carrier minding his own business (he’d already been taken in back to get his blood glucose checked and was done) and CMY was wandering nervously around the room and decided to crawl in with him. I almost wish I’d tried to pick up the carrier with both of them to see if its weight tolerance was adequate, but it might’ve broken me instead.