making the most of a monday

“Make it stop, please Mama?”

We woke up at 3:50am this morning because it sounded like the world was finally ending. Turns out it was just your typical Midwestern thunderstorm, but once you’ve been rudely awakened like that the only thing for it is to have a pee and make something warm to drink. Dog Blossom didn’t used to be all that phased by storms, but after the big bullshit we had earlier this summer she’s not at all fond. That picture was her this morning, camped out in my lap. She stayed like that for almost an hour.

I’ve been realizing lately that my routines are still majorly screwed up and it’s causing me to feel more than slightly off kilter. I’m trying to figure out how to unscrew them and get things a little more organized. I have no delusions that I will ever have my ducks in a row. The best I can, and will, ever hope for is that my army of squirrels all end up attending the same rave on the same day. It’s good to have dreams.

Lego!

This is the Lego Bonsai kit I had picked up when we went to Minneapolis earlier this summer. I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing these. I believe Lancelot is going to be getting me a few more of the botanical type things. I also spent some time making three pair of earrings and finally getting my creative spot in the sunroom setup the rest of the way.

I have been realizing that taking time to do these kinds of projects is super vital for me. L and I took a 3-day weekend together and were able to do a little shopping, watch goofy TV, and just hang out together. It was amazingly restful. I think it’s far too easy to forget how much we need to take that time for ourselves until we do take some and then remember how good it is.

how many is too many?

I have three containers in the guest room closet. One container is for holiday gifts that are done. (Done is defined as the knitting is complete but needs the ends woven in and possibly requires blocking, just FYI) One container is for projects for myself. And the final container is for charity projects.

Holiday gifts = 1 thing

My container = 2 scarves and 4 shawls

Charity container = 4 scarves and 3 washcloths

On the needles right now I currently have:

  • a beaded lace cowl for myself
  • a charity scarf (these are plain old garter stitch with a slipped first stitch)
  • a charity washcloth (super basic garter diagonal thing)
  • a shawl for a holiday gift
  • a lace scarf for myself

I have the variety because I have different knitting moods. That beaded lace cowl is going to be amazing but it’s slow as fuck because of the beads. The holiday gift shawl is easy enough but it’s the sort of thing that you really need to have time to do a whole section at a time; way too easy to get lost if you don’t. The lace scarf for me is a very simple two-row repeat. The charity pieces are very simple and are perfect for when I want to knit but not think.

I also have some projects that involve beads and recycled jewelry. I just need some time and a bit of ambition.

Eric’s projects all involve naps

the labels we wear

I’m not sure if it’s the changing weather (could be) or the odd schedule lately (could also be) but my brain has taken to wandering all over the damn place. I’d be concerned but she’s taken me on some lovely little journeys and I’ve had some truly delightful deviations from my normal meanderings so really, it’s been pretty nice.

One of the things I was thinking about the other day was labels – the ones we get stuck with because someone else applied them and the ones we apply to ourselves. For example, I would apply the labels Wife, Daughter, Critter Mom, Crafter, and Educator to myself with great joy. And while I openly admit to having mental illnesses, I prefer not to attach the label of Mentally Ill to myself. It’s certainly not that I’m ashamed of my illnesses, but I really do try not to define myself by them.

So it was really even more interesting that the same day (yesterday? maybe? time still has little meaning to me) I worked on campus and gave my BFF the lovely K a ride home and they were talking about how they had honored the anniversary of a very significant non-relationship based anniversary and how much life and self-definition and so on changes in the span of just 7 years. Oh yes, so much change. And that, combined with my thoughts about labels, all sort of tied together.

I certainly do not define myself the same today as I did in 2014. At that time I was working on a Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication and trying to get my second husband to take working on a welding certificate at the community college seriously. I was dealing pretty well with my own mental and physical health issues, but he was not. I also had a young step-daughter that “we” had custody of every other weekend. I say “we” because he seldom wanted to be an active participant in her visits. (cool side note – I found out this morning that she’s going to a college in the Pacific Northwest now and looks really happy) At that point in time I was edging closer and closer to the impending divorce which came in July 2015. I certainly was not happy and I didn’t much like myself.

I sometimes joke that in 2015 I lost 250lbs, and in a way that’s entirely true. I lost a husband who was really just dead weight at that time, and I really did feel physically lighter when I divorced him. The way I thought about myself changed, the way I presented myself to world changed because I felt much more emboldened to be my authentic self.

Making my own labels for my own self was amazingly liberating. And I love that Lancelot has only once ever applied a label to me.

Lest you think I’ve stopped knitting, I haven’t! I am working on holiday gift #2 plus I’ve been making scarves and washcloths for a refugee support organization. And I’m teaching K to crochet so that they can make scrunchies, and I figured what the heck, I’ll make some for their collection as well. Fun with yarn, yay!

holiday weekend hangover

I very much resemble this remark today

For those of you in the States I hope you were able to enjoy the Labor Day holiday weekend. For those of you living elsewhere, I hope you were able to enjoy a regular weekend. Every weekend should be a holiday in my opinion. That perfect blend of “getting shit done that I’m too fucking tired for during the week” and “sitting around in elastic-waist pants watching horrible TV and eating sketchy food.” It’s really a beautiful thing.

We really did get a good quantity of stuff done which made me feel fantastic. We ran a few errands and then tackled the pantry. Our house was built in the very late 1970s so the pantry is not original to the house and is, in all reality, a nicely oversized cabinet that was added to serve this specific purpose. All I really needed to do was another Magic 4th Grader Allowance Makeover (TM) by moving one shelf and adding some organizer basket-y things. Lancelot was an amazing help with this. So now we have things better organized and that makes it easier to do things like this…

Tofu & Black Bean Nachos

Yesterday was Meatless Monday and my friend K had come over to hang out with me and learn how to crochet. We had a blast. And she was able to stay for dinner and is into this whole vegetarian thing so she spiffed up the beans while I got the tofu in shape. It was super yummy.

On the knitting front I have managed to finish two scarves for charity and I’ve started a third. I’m about halfway, maybe more, on the first holiday gift and I’ve identified two others. And I purchased a gift, which makes two so far, both for the same person, so as soon as the knit thing is done that person’s goodies are finished. Yay.

All of that means I have not been working on the beaded cowl for myself, but that’s totally fine. I’ve realized that half the joy of knitting for me is just the knitting itself. It doesn’t matter if what I’m making is for me, for someone I love, or for someone needs to know that someone out there gives a shit about them. The act of knitting connects me on a spiritual level with my grandmother who taught how to do this when I was eight years old.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cry quietly in the corner after realizing just long ago that was…

getting it in a pile

My friend Dr. K had an expression “getting my poo in a pile” that is simultaneously really gross and very descriptive. Right now it mostly fits.

I’m doing better now than I have been in a bit. I feel a little more balanced and in control of my situation, and that’s good. Part of it I think was having last week mostly actually suck so that I could get my poo in a pile and make this week not suck. I realize that today is only Monday but work with me here, ok?

Over the weekend Lancelot and I spent some time “renovating” our guest room. My favorite way to reno/redo/whatever you want to call is to try to see what all I can accomplish with a budget roughly equivalent to a 4th grader’s allowance. Mostly this involves moving things from one place in the house where they’re underutilized to another place. So we did that, plus I bought 4 mid-sized storage boxes at Target. It was a huge success.

I also ended up go through my yarn stash looking for ideas for holiday gifts. Yes, it’s not quite September. No, I’m not crazy. I’ve got a few people this year that I want to knit things for and I don’t want to go all goofy crazy trying to finish in time. And I’ve somehow lost a skein of yarn. Dammit.

Anyway, while I was digging I came across the separate stash of yarn. One of the older gentlemen at the university knows I’m a knitter and so periodically he brings me gifts of yarn. I suspect that he and or his wife grab yarn that they find at garage sales, which isn’t what I typically knit with but it’s yarn and it’s a very lovely gesture. So I’ve just been hanging on to it, waiting for the universe to tell me what it should be.

It’s going to be used for charity.

I started a scarf yesterday with one small skein. I’m thinking I’ll make some scarves, hats, maybe mittens. This is almost entirely acrylic yarn that can be abused and not mind one bit. Winter here gets brutal and there’s routinely a shortage of winter gear at the local homeless shelters. It seems like a very appropriate thing to do, take one kindness and turn it into more.

Now if I could just find that missing skein of yarn…

yarn and beads (a very tiny update)

lace! and beads!

I did very little this weekend, and I’m ok with that. We had my mom and stepdad over for dinner Saturday and that was pretty much it. On Sunday I sat on my ass and knit. I finally finished the Feather and Fan scarf, I started a very basic wrap thingy, and I spent some time on that mess in the picture above. It will eventually be a beaded lace cowl, assuming I don’t go blind first.

And now I must go. I have an appointment for COVID vaccine shot #3 this afternoon, and I am quite happy about that.

a super quick post made almost entirely of photos

Taking our vacation last week was good because this week I worked 49 hours in 4.5 days and that was entirely too fucking much. The semester starts on Monday and apparently this fact has just RIGHT THIS FUCKING MINUTE been brought to the attention of some people. I’m exhausted. And Lancelot is working overtime this weekend. So here, some photos of the trip…

Breakfast every morning was delivered to our room in a picnic basket and was similar to this spread, though different all three days
Wednesday evening we did a riverboat cruise on the St. Croix river
On our anniversary, prior to heading out to a wine bar for the tastiest dinner ever (and two bottles of wine)
And now this is how I feel

enjoying it while i can

So stinkin’ cute

We had our “village” over for dinner Saturday night. These people are the friends we can call on at any time, for anything. And they can do the same with us. We all have our struggles and our emotional baggage from the past and we don’t hold that against each other. There’s a whole lot of unconditional acceptance and love in our village.

Lancelot’s birthday is later this week and I wanted to do something for him, but he’s not super excited about celebrating it or making a fuss about it. So I invited our friends over for dinner and didn’t say anything to any of them about it, or to him, until K noticed on the menu board in the kitchen that next Saturday we’re going out for L’s birthday with my folks. I wanted to keep things very low-key so that everyone was comfortable. It was amazing.

And the scarf has finally told me that it wants to be K’s. I had made them a beanie / fingerless mitt set and the colors coordinate nicely. At any rate, the scarf will have a good home with a great friend.

I try to stay optimistic about damn near everything, but I also try to be realistic. I watch the news at least once a day and I’ve been paying attention to what’s happening with the COVID-19 Delta variant. I know that even though we’ve been vaccinated we could still carry it and spread it. And I know that the governor in our state is a complete jackass when it comes to certain things, issues of public safety and health being what come to mind right now.

So we’ll be back to wearing masks in public, minimizing our exposure to and from other people. And for me this means I’ll be wearing a mask when I’m working on campus. Better safe than dead.

Next week is our vacation and our anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since we got married. It’s been one hell of a ride, especially considering that we’ve been living in a pandemic for the duration of our wedded life thus far. But I honestly can’t imagine going through this with anyone else by my side.

Yup, so stinkin’ cute

i finished reading a book and other things that really aren’t exciting to anyone but me

Before I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder back in 2006 I was a voracious reader. I’ve always loved books and a good story is actually one of my preferred drugs. Back then I was only sleeping a few hours a night because I was almost always hypomanic so I would read a full length novel every few days. There was a book case in my living room that was easily eight feet tall and four feet wide. My husband made extra shelves for it and pretty much all of them were stacked double deep. I had read 99% of those books.

The medication to control the symptoms of Bipolar made it so that reading wasn’t enjoyable, it felt more like a chore. Books no longer held my attention. In the time since 2008, when the second husband and I divorced, and quite recently, my book collection had dwindled to few enough that they all fit on a single shelf.

Now you kind of see why actually finishing books is a big deal in my world.

If I’m counting correctly, the book I just finished is the fourth book I’ve read this year. (don’t trust my math, I never do) I can concentrate again and I find myself getting very into the stories, which is amazing. I’ve found a few authors that I hadn’t heard of before and I’m totally loving this. Yay me.

Still life with scarf and dog

I am still knitting, mostly on this scarf, though the dog makes it hard some times. She thinks I should sit on the couch at night so that she can rest her head on me. There are several things about this that make knitting difficult. First, I end up all contorted with the arm of the couch on my left and her very solid self on my right, making it hard to get the wings to work. Second, she puts off body heat that is roughly equivalent to the temperature of the surface of the sun. And finally, she expects me to pet her. Constantly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love her, she’s a good pup. But I have realized that for any knitting progress to be made I have to sit in my chair. I am starting to wonder if this scarf is going to be mine or be gifted to someone. I’m waiting for it to tell me.

yardsticks

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll have no doubt noticed that I have a theory about damn near everything. I don’t know if it’s just a character quirk or a coping mechanism or yet another way for me to annoy the world, but it is what it is. So here we go, time for another of my theories.

I believe that each of us has a different method by which we measure success and/or happiness. Some people use dollar signs or other material goods. Some people use the amount of education they have. Some people use some combination of things. It seems that it’s sort of rare for someone to only use the Almighty Dollar, there are some out there. Unfortunately I seem to know way too many of those these days…

I digress. (as usual)

This popped up on Facebook and is why I’m standing on the Soapbox du Jour. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that some people are fortunate enough to make more than what they need to comfortably exist and can own more toys than they can play with at one time or can hire help to take care of basic tasks that most of us still struggle to accomplish. And it’s not like I would ever wish people like that would find themselves infested with crotch critters while both arms were broken and unable to be bent, and that all of that would be happening while on some exotic vacation in a remote part of the world that unfortunately still has less than amazing health care because the Big Pharma jerks and the other bastard billionaires on the planet are more interested in profits than people.

Wait, I went off track there…

I actually kind of enjoy not “having it all.” I’m more creative with my wardrobe because I try not to buy new clothes until I’m out of pieces that fit. I will happily make jewelry for myself, and I’m actually getting to the point of eliminating all of my costume jewelry because I just don’t enjoy it. I have *never* purchased a brand new car because it just seems a little dumb to me. (plus I couldn’t have qualified for a loan on something brand new until recently) And while I certainly wouldn’t call our house “simple” it also isn’t brand new or a McMansion – neither of which I would want anyway. One of my friends made a comment recently about how our place feels like home and that almost made me cry.

So…

I consider myself super fucking lucky that Lancelot and I have this beautiful home to live in, we have a car that is in good shape (and almost paid off!), that we have access to good medical care (and are both in damn good health). We have enough extra income that we can help out when a friend, or even a cause we feel strongly about, needs a little boost.

Mostly though I count our wealth in terms of intangibles.

We have each other. We have my folks and Lancelot’s family. We have a really tight knit village of friends who are BatShit Crazy and loyal as fuck. And we have the furkids.

According to the yardstick I use for such things, we are the most successful and wealthy people ever.