so there I was, hip deep in chewed on pansies and lilies trying to fit a tarp over a blow up kiddie pool

The yellow Asian lilies are stunning right now

So the title is partially accurate. I planted pansies in the front of the house and the damn bunnies are snacking on them. And there are lilies, right now the beautiful yellow seen above and some that are more of a copper orange color. I think there are white, pink, and red out there somewhere. There’s also a ton of yellow hollyhocks. Thanks to my mom that yard is full of pretty things.

Now that the Evil Robin has left we can actually get out to the yard and we did indeed setup a pool. I told Lancelot that I want a place I can park my hot old ass when it’s hot and hang out with Dog Blossom. So far we’ve only done it once but it was mostly fun.

There’s a flower on my nose!

I took a picture this morning to send to a friend of mine and figured I’d share it here. I’ve reached a point where I really don’t notice it’s there unless I catch the “shiny” out of the corner of my eye. If I smack myself in the nose or catch it on something then I notice it from a physical perspective, but most of the time I don’t. I’m quite pleased that I finally went ahead and did it.

Ilo!

This is my version of the Ilo shawl. I used Trendsetter Yarns Paradigm in the Golden Flowers colorway. I started this on January 16, 2020 and bound off this morning, June 16, 2021. This is my very first all lace shawl and I am stupid proud of it. I’m hoping to be able to block it soon.

You may recall that one of my goals for this year is to successfully finish all of the “legacy” projects that I started last year and didn’t finish. I have two left. I started a pair of cabled mitts for my friend K on January 20, 2020 and the Sunset Lights shawl on November 23, 2020. Maybe I can get the mitts done by June 20? That would be neato, and they are what I’ve designated as next in line.

I am still working on the feather and fan scarf and the Skewed Shawl but they can chill for a bit. The scarf is my “public” knitting right now. At any rate, I feel amazing that I’m making such good progress.

And I’m back to doing Noom, at least almost entirely. I’m not worrying about exercising just yet. I need to get my shit back together and so far just paying attention to what I’m eating/drinking and logging it is helping. The weight I had gained back is starting to go away again. This makes me happy.

I feel this so much

It’s hot here right now, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it. I’m not looking forward to going back to working on campus in part because of having to deal with weather. But deal I shall. I’m still working on planning and plotting and figuring out how to make the most of the situation. I think I’m doing well. But I still want to curl up on a blanket with my ginger babes.

rolling with the punches

I saw that this morning and it didn’t speak to me, it fucking shouted at me. That’s precisely what I’m going to do today, what I’ve already started doing. I will pull myself out and do what I do best. And I will shine like the sparkly rainbow glitter covered unicorn I am. Hells yeah.

I could waste time and energy on being pissy about going back to campus or I can start laying plans for how I’m going to take over the world.

Step One: New Clothes – I realized the other day that I do not currently own enough appropriate clothing to wear to the office even three days a week without wearing damn near the same thing every week, not that I have an issue with that, but it’s not me. So Friday afternoon I went shopping with one of my colleagues. I found some lovely new pieces that should see me through a few more sizes. Speaking of which…

Step Two: Get Back to Healthy – Here recently I have basically abandoned everything I had learned about eating and living healthier. As such I’ve gained a few pounds back. When I eat healthier I feel better and when I get more activity I feel even better, so, I really want to get back into it. I’m starting this morning by logging my food again and trying to make choices that will fill me up in happy ways. Over the weekend I made a batch of steel cut oats for breakfasts and we stopped at a farm stand over the weekend so I’m currently enjoying delicious strawberries for a snack.

Step Three: Figuring Out What “Back in the office” Looks Like – There are things I take for granted when working from home, like having access to the drinks and food I want. I’ll have to take everything to work again, and now I don’t have a whole office to spread out in. There is a closet back in the office that was formerly mine that we’ll be storing our personal stuff in, but that means figuring out some storage issues. Yesterday afternoon I ordered something that I think will help, I hope. I also picked up an extra phone charger that will plug right into my laptop, and it was only $1, and it looks like a koala. But there are things like that, silly seeming things, that I’ve come to take for granted. Think about it though – I kept those same things for granted going the other direction when I was working on campus full time and never considered that I wouldn’t work on campus. Bottom line with this is that I’ll be back to playing “turtle” and living out of my backpack, and that’s totally cool because I know I can do that.

Step Four: Figuring Out What “Two Days at Home” Looks Like – Working from home like I have has been wonderful for my relationship with Lancelot. We get more time together than we ever have before and than if I had stayed working on campus full time. I feel like this time together has been the best part of the pandemic and I truly believe that our relationship is as strong as it is because of this. L has already told me that he’ll take on more of the chores around the house since I won’t be here as much, and that’s going to help a ton. Every time I start to flip out about all of this and cry he just holds me and strokes my hair and reminds me that we can do anything.

Step Five: Breathe – There’s a lot going on right now and I need to remember to take care of myself. It is impossible to pour from an empty cup. On Saturday we went and got our monthly massages. We stopped at the coffee shop on the way and while L was in having his massage I worked on a knitting project. I refuse to give up that time. And I finished a book and started another, and I’m back to working on the lace shawl. I’m taking care of myself because it’s essential, and let’s face it, I enjoy it.

One day at a time, I will survive this, too.

fun while it lasted

Lots of things have changed during the pandemic, some good and some not so good. Prior to the world essentially shutting down I hated working from home. It always seemed like such a pain in the ass, bringing home my laptop and finding space on my desk to set it up, and then trying to stay focused with so many potential distractions. It was, in my opinion, awful.

That was Garth and I back when this all started, possibly the very first day I worked from home. In all fairness, there was a LOT going on at that time. The pandemic was in the very early days, though we didn’t know that then. My mom was moving out of the house and in with R, my (now) stepdad. And I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen with the living situation involving Lancelot.

To say that I had a lot on my mind was a big fucking understatement.

Lancelot moved in, we got married, and I have a dedicated office space to work out of. Often there is a cat, or two, and sometimes a dog that serve as my coworkers. Some days I work in pajamas, some days I do laundry on my breaks, and I don’t typically wear my bra past lunch time. We have a system and it works and we all mostly enjoy it.

So this of course means that my plan to continue working from home has changed. We found out this morning that members of our team are going to be expected to be on campus at least three days every week. Well fuck.

The only thing that ever really stays the same is that damn near everything changes. I’m not sure if that’s true of the corporate world, I haven’t worked in that realm for so long, but it’s 100% true of higher education. Nothing stays the same and you can’t count on anything actually happening until it’s actually happening.

It’s definitely nice to know that I’ll still be coming home to this goofy little fuzzbutt.

in the rear view mirror

I assure you, that photo was taken while we were safely parked at a rest stop. I am all about concentrating on driving and not messing around with phones while behind the wheel. I can’t remember if this was in Iowa or Minnesota, doesn’t really matter. The drive, both ways, was uneventful which is precisely how I like my road trips.

We had dinner the first night at the hotel restaurant and it was beyond amazing. My dessert, pictured above, was White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. So modern and odd looking but holy buckets was it tasty. And everyone was super nice, the whole time. Loved it.

The one thing I really wanted to do was get photos done like this. There’s a place in the Mall of America called Professor Z’s Old Time Photos and we had such a great time. This in and of itself was worth the drive up.

Friday night we had dinner at Cantina Laredo and it was every bit as good as our dinner at the hotel. The margaritas were so smooth and fresh and it was a lovely treat for me to not have to worry about driving since our hotel was directly connected to the Mall. So good.

We did a ton of shopping and had an amazing time. Unfortunately my Fitbit stopped cooperating so I’m not sure how many steps we walked but we saw damn near everything in that place. Lancelot was able to get himself a huge LEGO set and I got all kinds of sparkly jewelry. And, I didn’t know this, but they have a yarn shop! I picked up two skeins of yarn that I need to find projects for.

I’m glad to be home, and Dog Blossom seems very glad that we’re back. I feel a little sorry for her because I’ll be working on campus several days this next week, but I’m sure she’ll be fine.

i made a thing, several actually

It’s done! Yay!

Yesterday morning I finished the flower. To recap, this was done primarily as a needle felted piece. When I was scavenging for finishing bits yesterday I did find that “odd” pink petal that had been knit and then felted at some time in the distant past. The color was close enough so I attached it by needle felting in to the piece. I also added the yellow to the center and the vein on the leaf by needle felting on some colored wool yarn. Love that technique. I then finished the piece with Japanese seed beads that I sewed on. I absolutely adore this and I do believe I’ll try making more of this type thing.

I’m too sexy for this hat…

That is the Alpine Meadow hat and I’ve knit three of these so far over the last few years. Two of them were for my mom and this one for me. The pattern is written very nicely and the hat ends up looking way more complicated than it really is. I started this on Friday and finished on Saturday. I was in one of those moods where I needed some instant fiber gratification and, let me tell you, this scratched that itch nicely.

GRRRR

I would love to tell you that the Niji vest is done, but I try very hard not to lie. Fuck. The fussy bits are pretty well done. I got the i-cord braided and sewn on and that did address the issue with the sides. But then the fronts are so narrow that they barely cover my boobs and it just, well, it’s kind of awful. In a last ditch effort to fix this nightmare I have decided to try adding a shawl collar -esque thing around the front. So far it’s working, but then I’m still working on it. We’ll see. Mama didn’t raise a quitter.

Sparkles!

I went to visit my friend K yesterday afternoon to get my nails done in anticipation of the trip with Lancelot this coming weekend. She did this ombre holographic glitter sparkle thing that makes my head spin just thinking about it but HOLY FUCKABONKS does it look cool!

brevity and levity

When I decided to call it quits yesterday afternoon I was just plain DONE. It’s been a long year this week and I was in no mood. And that was ok because the plan for dinner was to make soup, one of the easiest and hence my favorites. That was it. I needed to make dinner, nothing else.

But the creative bug had bit me firmly on the ass and so instead of laying around and gathering dust I did this…

It’s not done yet, and I keep changing my mind about what “done” will be, but still

This is a needle felted flower that I think I’m going to add beads to and then attach to a pin-backing. The issue is that I’m not entirely sure yet what else I want to do to the damn thing. But that’s ok because I managed not to make myself bleed while doing this much and that makes me very happy indeed.

The Feather & Fan Scarf, also making me happy

Tonight we are going to go have dinner with some friends. I was going to say that we’re going out for Mexican food, but it’s not really Mexican, at least it’s not at all authentic Mexican. But it was the very first Mexican food I ever experienced and this is the restaurant we always went to with my dad’s family when there was a reason to celebrate and it’s where I had my first taste of margarita. (they do have rather tasty margaritas) So I guess what I’m saying is if you can get past the idea that it’s “Mexican” and just enjoy the bright orange cheese dip then it’s reasonably good food. And the company will be amazing.

Eric just wants more nip and some treats

propping my eyelids open with toothpicks

He hangs out up there a lot these days

I’m still struggling with my eating habits but I’m very pleased to be able to report that staying home and taking it mostly easy last night seems to have finally done something good for my hip. I can’t say that I slept well last night, we had some ick weather, but I am doing quite well with the whole “not limping around like I’ve misplaced my walker” thing.

If we would actually get some sunlight that would stick around for more than 10 minutes I would love to take pictures of the various projects I’m working on to show y’all that I have not actually been a total slug. But no, more rain and now it’s kind of cold. Yuck.

These two crack me up. They stayed cute like this for the exact amount of time necessary to get the picture. After that Dog Blossom began mercilessly chewing on Garth.

Being the super organized and anal retentive human that I am I have already started gathering things for the trip next week. I am not even the least bit ashamed to say that I have my clothes picked out and hanging together in the closet and I’ve started making my packing list. For a two day trip. By car. Yup, that’s me.

Did I tell y’all about the adventure with steel cut oats in the crock pot? I think I did. Anyway, I have decided that I really do love them, especially since I warmed them up this morning. That was a big ol’ “why the fuck didn’t I try that sooner?” moment. At any rate, I decided that having my breakfast made ahead like that, and so damn healthy, is a Very Good Thing indeed so there’s a batch cooking right now.

This time I am trying whole cranberries (1C in place of the blueberry / banana combo from last time) and a blend of the spices I normally use for my chai coffee (cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger). In true Erin Style I measured only the liquids and the oats. I wing things, it’s what I do.

This weekend I’m making another trip up to campus, this time to retrieve my books. I tore my desk apart this morning trying to make sure there will be enough room for everything. It’s so weird to think that at one point in my life I owned so many “normal” books (ones that were definitely not related to work) that I had a nine-foot tall bookcase that we had made extra shelves for and was stacked double deep. Now my “normal” books all fit in a cubby space above my desk that’s not enough two-foot wide.

But it was a good project because I was able to rearrange some things, make parts of my storage more efficient, and gather some of my treasures together.

Eric slept through all of it.

make. it. stop.

Honestly, were it not for the fact that I have a work commitment until noon I would not have gotten out of bed this morning. But if I hadn’t gotten out of bed I wouldn’t have realized that the water heater is playing games again. I’m really not sure when all of this FUN is going to end, but I’m hoping it’ll be soon.

I did get a plumber out to the house and he did something to it, in addition to getting the pilot light back on, and he said to see if that helps. While I appreciate that this only cost me $69 I can also read a calendar and see that we are dangerously close to a weekend, and not just any weekend but a Holiday Weekend. So if that fucking water heater goes out I have the potential to be well and truly FUCKED.

Anyway, we’re waiting to see what happens. I hate feeling like I don’t have any control, but it’s a damn appliance so truly, I have no control.

I’m supposed to go meet with a group of knitters tonight, friends, in a park not far from the campus. Our weather today is supposed to be lovely. Unfortunately my hip is bothering me, to the point where I’ve gotten out my TENS unit and have plugged myself in. Not sure sitting in a camp chair for several hours is a great idea at this point, but we’ll see.

Regardless of whether I go, I did start a new project just for the occasion. Does anyone else do that? Let me attempt to explain my madness…

I have several projects in the works at the same time. Some of them are much more complicated and require quiet or just music in order for me to keep up with the pattern. Some are just complicated enough that I keep the project and row count handy but I can still talk to someone or watch TV, providing there isn’t a hefty plot to follow. And then there are other projects that are so delightfully simple that I can almost do them in my sleep.

I didn’t have any projects on the needles that would be suitable to working on outside and while talking to people, so I had Lancelot help me wind up some yarn yesterday and I cast on a Feather & Fan scarf to work on. If you aren’t familiar it’s an old pattern that has a four row repeat and is quite easy to memorize. I am using a row counter on my phone just to help my feeble brains.

And of course it’s in another part of the house and I’m tied to my desk right now…

Currently on the needles in my house we have:

  • Sunset shawl – it’s just about to the lace section and needs to have the second skein of yarn wound so it’s in a pleasant time out
  • Fingerless Mitts for K – the pattern is fussy so they’re in time out until I find more patience
  • Niji vest – really just needs to be assembled, the knitting is done
  • Skewed Shawl – the pattern is interesting so it’s in the “front of the line” but it’s mohair so…
  • Ilo Shawl – gorgeous lace pattern that requires some attention, also in the “front of the line”
  • Feather & Fan scarf – this will likely stay within easy reach but since I don’t have any real plans for it I’m not worried about when it gets finished

I did go through my yarn inventory spreadsheet the other day and try to make notes of which yarns were being used for projects already, namely the ones above, and which I had purchased specifically for certain patterns. I was rather amazed to see how many yarns are already “spoken for” and I was equally impressed with myself when I went through my collection of patterns and was able to start matching patterns with yarns. Now I just need to remember to check that spreadsheet the next time I want to start a new project.

never have i ever

If you’ve never had a Bad Brain Day you might want to just keep moving; you won’t relate. If you have, then I feel for you my friend.

I would guess that anyone who has a mental illness or has dealt with mental issues has had one of “those” days when your brain feels like an enemy, maybe your Worst Enemy. Tasks that you know should be basic are anything but, coordination is non-existent, and your native language might as well be Martian.

Shit just Does Not Work. At All. Even a Little.

I’ve been dealing with this for a while now, and so have several of my friends. We’ve been having a lot of nasty rainy weather which doesn’t help. And I think we’re all just tired of the pandemic.

At any rate, yesterday had mostly felt like it was going better. And then I decided to go make dinner after my therapy appointment. And then all hell broke loose.

my kitchen doesn’t typically look like that

That ended the day’s streak of healthy eating. This morning when I went to boil water for my matcha smoothie thing I broke the handle on the tea pot. Bye bye adorable black and white enamel tea pot. And then when I went to shake the carton of coconut milk for the matcha smoothie I hadn’t screwed the lid on tight enough and that whole end of the kitchen got a delicate bath of unsweetened coconut milk.

CHECK PLEASE!!!

Backing up to last night – I made a killer veggie stir fry with rice noodles, fried tofu planks, and a home made sauce

Needless to say, I made it until approximately 1pm today before saying “fuck this shit” and putting on PJs instead of work clothes. In spite of things being rather rough here lately, I’m still alive and kicking. It took until this afternoon but I’ve finally managed to get some things crossed off my lists. I’ve gotten myself a little organized, and that always helps.

Bad Brain Days are often made better by furry friends

Tomorrow is another day.

sketchy bananas, coming to a cereal bowl near you

Steel cut oats with blueberries and bananas

I’ve been trying to stretch my culinary muscles by trying new recipes. Sometimes it is an utter fail. More often it results in a total win, like the picture above. I had purchased steel cut oats because I’d never tried them but had heard that you could cook them in a batch and then have multiple servings for during the week. This appealed to me. So yesterday I did a quick search and found this recipe that not only used the oats but also a few bananas that were at a point of needing to pay me some rent money. This is the recipe I kinda mostly sort of followed.

I have to say that I suck at following recipes like this because I improvise. I think I actually used 3 bananas, because I had them, and there’s no way in hell I measured the honey, vanilla, or cinnamon. I will say, based on the reviews I read, I opted to spray the inside of the crock with non-stick stuff before I started and I’m glad I did. Also, mine resulted in five servings that were approximately 1C each. (that’s what my little containers hold) I did the calorie breakdown based on the original ingredients but then divided for five servings instead of four and I get 252 calories. Not bad for a filling breakfast that took almost no effort.

TA DA!

I finished the flowers the other day. Not like this is fine art or anything, but it does make me happy to have been able to do it. I would like to try to work back up to at least feeling comfortable drawing. I don’t know that I’ll ever quite get back to the skill level that I was at, low as it was, but still. I’d like some small piece of that former artist to be back.

Death to the mousie!!!

I am trying getting back to the healthier way of life. I did some food prep yesterday, in addition to the breakfast oat stuff I boiled a bunch of eggs, and I have the menu for the week figured out. I don’t really have lunches figured out but I might do leftovers. Today will be a baked sweet potato, mostly because it needs to be eaten and that’s something I like. Getting the food situation under control is crucial, but I know I need to get back to walking more.

There’s no excuse. I feel better when I make healthier choices in terms of calorie intake and activity. I’m an intelligent person, I understand causation. I know that every choice I make has a consequence, some good and some not so good. And I’ve done it before, so I can do it again.

For realz yo, like a motherfucker

I know that part of my difficulties right now tie back to the pandemic and the way the world has been lately. I had gotten used to traveling and being able to go wherever, whenever. And then we had to stop all of that so that we could all stay safe and be healthy. Totally worth it and I wouldn’t change anything we did. Lancelot and I have talked and in addition to getting the vaccines we’ll continue to wear masks inside businesses even though the mandates are lifting here.

But I’m tired of this house right now, much as I love it. There’s a very aggressive robin that built her nest above one of the lights on the back deck so I can’t get out in the yard without being attacked, and that isn’t helping. And the changes we’ve wanted to do inside the house are pretty well done. Over the weekend we went to my office and retrieved the rest of my stuff. My Master’s degree is now hanging up here in my home office, the first time it’s ever been hung off that campus.

So life is just fucking odd. And I need to escape, so we’re taking a road trip. L and I have only ever taken two trips together; a short road trip to a really cool little town in Missouri called Weston. I totally recommend it if you’re anywhere near the Midwest. Our other trip was to Ireland. It was amazing and I really want to get back there one day. We will.

Lancelot and I at my birthday dinner

This will be a short road trip, up north a bit this time. I’m ready for it, I need it. We’ll have some time to just be together and I think we need that.