How Knitting Will Save My Brain: An Experiment

I’ve spent most of the past week in bed with one of the worst migraines of my life.  It hit me last Monday night, and hasn’t entirely left my silly little head.  I managed to watch Scooby-Doo cartoons on the internet by turning the brightness on my laptop down, but otherwise spent the time pacing my dark apartment, unable to sleep.  I sought medical attention via the hospital on Thursday but the only advice they could provide me called for aspirin and rest.  My migraines are mysterious – it seems that sometimes my brain is too overwhelmed to function, and thus forces me to take a break from life due to achey-head.  No doctor has ever been able to provide me with any leads as to the culprit of my headaches.  Each time I wind up back in the hospital, jacket over my head to shield my irritated eyes from the devil fluorescents, complaining of a pounding head, the doctors shrug and tell me it’s probably just stress.

When I returned home from Brighton Medical, I took the recommended amount of over the counter medications and tried to rest.  I was far too anxious about the state of my head to get any sleep, and was struck with a sudden urge to knit.

I am not a skilled knitter.  I am not a knitter at all!  Aside from a handful of lessons from my grandmother and my friends, I have no ability with yarn whatsoever.  I have an entire suitcase of knitting projects that I started and never finished.  But for some reason, on Thursday, I picked up one of my incomplete scarves and began to knit.  I utilized youtube to find some instructional videos, and have been a knitting fool ever since.  I purchased new needles and yarn at the craft store and am quite close to finishing a scarf for Josh.

The point of all this is that the very zen activity of knitting seems to be alleviating my migraine.  The severity has lessened and the past two days have been almost without pain.  Stress does wretched things to a person, but hopefully this little hobby which I’ve rekindled will help relieve a bit of my tension.

Here’s proof of my progress:

I feel quite accomplished!  I’m working on an exceedingly simply pattern right now – alternating rows of knit stitches and purl stitches.  Still, this is my most successful knitting venture yet, and if I work hard enough I might have an arsenal of wool socks by the end of this winter!

Enter: Cozy Fall

I am pretty spoiled.  Josh is making me breakfast in bed…again.  On today’s menu are breakfast sandwiches of egg, soysage, smoked gouda, and spinach.  All I have to do is lay in bed listening to music.  (Also I am the washer of dishes here, which is how I am absolved of breakfast making duty).

An important note about the breakfast sandwiches: today they are made on a loaf of bread baked by my brother, Brian (alliteration!).  He frequently experiments with different bread recipes and I think his most recent effort is his best yet.  I wish I was as patient with kitchen experimentation as he – I often give up on baking projects after my first failed attempt.  Lucky for me I have a brother who loves baking delicious things!

School is stupidly busy and not particularly fulfilling this semester.  I keep trying to increase my motivation to do well, but I’ve only managed to perform to my usual level in one of my courses.  In my science and language courses, I feel like I’m flailing a bit.  I hope to use some of this weekend to get ahead on my studying.

Josh and I stumbled upon some surprising treasures recently.  I’ve been picking up all sorts of good thrift store finds and flea market baubles, but Josh hit the antique jackpot.  Enter the Estey Folding Pump Organ.  We were at Cliff’s Antiques for the first time in a while.  It was a slow Friday morning and Josh found an amazing pump organ with a $475 price tag and a broken bellow.  He resigned himself to a life without the expensive instrument and we continued to browse.  When we were checking out, one of the women working mentioned that she saw Josh looking at the organ.  Josh explained that because of the broken bellow, he simply couldn’t justify spending so much on it – and the woman responded by lowering the price to $150!

I didn’t understand what an amazing opportunity we were given.  Josh and I have been doing a fair amount of research on Estey Organs, and they’re quite remarkable music machines.  Josh was able to determine the age of ours by checking the serial number against a database – it was made sometime between 1912 and 1915!

Now our house is full of even more music, and the myriad of instruments at home is making me wish I had the ability to play any of them.  At least I can enjoy the sounds Josh has been creating.  For now I’m going to go enjoy the breakfast sandwich that he just made!

Because I have neither photographic evidence of the organ nor my delicious breakfast, I leave y’all with photos completely unrelated to today’s post:

Soaking up the start of fall at Evergreen Cemetery.

Thanks for the delicious green beans, farmer’s market!

Josh, having been impressed by an ATM that dispenses $5 bills.

View from my little booth at work.

More to come soon – as soon as life slows down!.


The semester began merely three weeks ago and I am already craving freedom.  This term I find myself inundated with new and daunting academic challenges, because I have decided to pursue Russian as well as continue my study of French.  The language courses at school seem to be much more demanding than other classes (both Russian and French meet for more time each week than standard courses).  It’s been a whirlwind of flashcards and Cyrillic script since the outset and I’m exhausted already.  I want no responsibilities until December so I can curl up in a corner and enjoy the entirety of autumn at my leisure.

Right now I’m focused on small spaces: cozy nooks, tiny doorways, blanket forts.  I want to wear nothing but tights and laze around drinking cocoa while wind outside tears rust-colored leaves from dying trees.

I hope to break myself away from studies soon so that I may enjoy my favorite season.  Apples patiently grasp onto their branches, awaiting the day when I am able to pluck them from their stations and tuck them safely into my canvas apple bag.

There are goods to be baked and walks to be taken!  Fall in New England is most astonishing but much too fleeting.