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!

Josh and Andrea’s Chili Extravaganza!

(aka: We made chili.  Yum!)

It’s the cozy time of year when my apartment is constantly drafty, forcing me into sweaters and under blankets.  During winter, I love chunky stews and chilis.  Josh and I made this one on a recent Sunday and then enjoyed it in bed while watching a movie.  (Yeah, I said it.  We ate chili in bed.  We eat lots of things in bed because we live in an old building with poor insulation and a lousy heating system.  Our bed is the warmest spot in the whole place!).

We put little thought into our ingredients – we put a different combination of beans and veggies in every time we make chili.  This batch turned out quite delicious.

30oz kidney beans

30oz black beans

24oz refried beans

15oz pinto beans

16oz faux ground beef

1 – 2C corn

30oz tomato sauce

terrifying amounts of taco seasoning

one or two squirts of ketchup

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

a bit of maple syrup

As with all good chilis, throw all of these ingredients into a giant vat, mix, and stir occasionally while heating on low to medium.  When heated through, enjoy!

To accompany my chili, I was lured into purchasing a bottle of ginger-ale.  An odd choice to accompany chili, I admit.  However, I am terribly susceptible to animal-based advertising.

The photo is terrible, sure.  But have you ever seen such fierce creatures on any food product before!?  You must understand why I had to try this soda!

…but to my dismay, this ginger-ale was like all the others, and didn’t taste very good with chili.  Luckily, I have a ridiculous amount of the stuff filling Tupperware containers in my refrigerator that I will continue to devour for the next week.  I’m so glad I’ll have something warm and simple to eat this week – Portland’s temperatures continue to drop and our hours of daylight are getting to be few.  But chili will help me make it through the first leg of evil winter…