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.

remind me again why I live in this part of the world?

We’re starting a stretch of hot weather, and by hot I mean “HOT” by Midwestern standards. As I’m writing this the air temperature is 93 degrees and the heat index is 99 degrees, which means it feels approximately as hot as the surface of the sun. This is by far the worst. I just saw the forecast for the coming week during which time we’ll enjoy what the US Weather Service is actually describing as “scorching.” You don’t fucking say…

Anyway, I am still back on campus and feeling a wee bit guilty about only having to be here three days per week. The campus has essentially recalled all faculty and staff to be on campus their pre-pandemic schedules, so five days per week for staff. But, I don’t work for this campus. I work on this campus, but my reporting line is technically not on this campus. It’s so fucking weird. What it means is that we will continue to be able to have our arrangement to continue working from home two days per week. I am incredibly thankful for that but I feel awful that some of my friends don’t get the same luxury. That part truly sucks a big ol’ turd.

That’s one of my favorite things on our campus. I took a walk on Wednesday with K and she was kind enough to take a pic for me.

I will say that I’ve been doing better with getting walks in and with my eating habits. I’ve decided that I really need to kick myself in the ass and get back to doing the things that I know make a difference. I’ve managed to lose 2lbs since Monday and that makes me feel very good and very encouraged.

I hope you all are staying cool and healthy and feeling good. Stay safe. ❤

stop the world I want to get off… and I want my money back… and get off my damn lawn!!!

Every time I think my life is dull the universe grabs my little snow globe and shakes the ever loving shit out of it, like out of spite or something. For example, over the weekend we had 96mph straight line winds in the middle of the night. That’s hurricane force from what I understand. And I slept through it. That’s the ridiculous part, especially considering that wind at that speed is honestly fierce enough to uproot mature trees. I have some friends who are still, STILL, without power because power poles were snapped in half, trees fell on them, the grids got overloaded… It’s been ugly here.

For reference, Lancelot is just about 6ft tall. And we discovered that there were TWO large branches wedged in my lilac hedge. Two.

When the universe shook my little bubble it was kind enough to spare us any major damage. The power lines out in this part of town are all buried underground. My family has owned this house since 1979 and the power has only gone out for any length of time once. And the branches that we lost all landed in the lilacs, nothing hit the house. It took awhile to clean up but we had power the whole time and no holes in the roof – I’ll take it.

I wanted to prove to y’all that I am indeed still knitting. I’m within spitting distance of having the big shawl done which of course means I haven’t worked on it lately. But I have been working on the feather and fan scarf. The other scarf is at work since it’s actually even easier.

Wow, this is an awful photo…

Anyway, I’m still knitting. Yesterday was “Doctor Day” so it spent a fair amount of time in waiting rooms with me. Everything is good with the docs, just waiting to find out about a med change but hopefully that comes through today. And the bruises from the blood draws will fade.

Recycled plant hanger

So before I left yesterday morning for my “adventures” I decided to make a tiny project I’d been thinking about for awhile. This is an empty spice jar that I got the label removed from and some random wire and beads that I had laying around from other projects. It’s hanging from necklace chain on a curtain rod in the guest room. The plant is a “baby” from my spider plant. It had outgrown the other container I had it in, which now feels kind of like a nursery for these. At any rate, I feel quite proud of this.

stuff I’ve noticed

Before I really start today, apparently on this very day four years ago I started this blog. So yay me. I’ve had other blogs with other names for many, MANY, years but this one just turned 4. Kinda exciting.

This is my first official week of being back on campus. We’re each supposed to be here three days every week. My days, because I picked them, are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I wanted my days to be grouped together, I typically have therapy on Mondays and didn’t want to mess with that, and Lancelot usually sleeps all day on Friday to get his schedule readjusted for the weekend. Plus this way I overlap two days with one of my pals.

While this is certainly not the most fun I’ve ever had, it also isn’t horrible. I will say that I’m not getting near as much done being here as I did working at home. But I guess that’s what Monday and Tuesday will be for. I am getting more activity – almost 4000 steps yesterday – and because I have to bring all of my food with me I’m sticking to a more controlled diet during the day.

Yesterday afternoon I had my very first in person meeting with a faculty member since March 2020. It was wonderful. The person I met with is wonderful and had a gift for me; plums covered in chocolate which is a Polish treat she’s brought me before. I’m currently hoarding them.

I am trying to get myself back to healthier habits, and eating at work should help. I would really like to tell y’all how utterly fucking proud I am of myself because my boss brought in two big boxes of donuts yesterday and I didn’t eat a single one. So proud. Instead of donuts I dined on stuff like home made granola.

I do want to keep working on increasing my activity even more, and on the days I work from home. Right now it feels like I’m still working to find my groove with all of this, and once I do everything should fall into place. One foot in front of the other, as one of my dear friends said not long ago.

I am also still knitting, in fact I have a project with me at the office, but I don’t have any pictures of what I’m working on. I can tell you that the Sunset Lights Shawl I’m working on is getting close to being done. If memory serves I’ve got one more repeat of the lace rows and then the border and I’m done. It’s not a traveling project though, not by a long shot. So I’ve designated an easy scarf as my “work” knitting project and it’s going to go back and forth with me for lunch breaks. No picture of that yet either. I suck.

shoes

There was a time when I would have described myself as a bit of a Shoe Whore. I love shoes and I’m not against paying big bucks for beautiful shoes that are also comfortable. That’s no easy feat (ha ha ha) for someone with feet like mine – long and wide. My favorites have long been Birkenstock’s, though I’m also fond of Clark’s and several other higher end brands. I don’t have a ton of shoes, but I do love what I have.

And then the pandemic happened and I stopped going to work and so most of my beautiful shoes have been languishing in the bottom of my closet. Most of the time, especially over the winter, I wore house slippers instead of shoes. When I had to leave the house I wasn’t ever “dressed” (not like I would have been for work) so I wore sneakers or boots.

All of this to say, I think one of the hardest parts of getting back to working on campus is going to be wearing shoes all day long. I’ve been trying to get myself to stay “dressed” until I start to cook dinner but I’m going to be honest, some days I change into PJs and slippers as soon as my last meeting of the day is over. Some days I don’t wait that long and I cover my t-shirt (typical PJ top for me) with a hoodie jacket thing as soon as I get home from picking Lancelot up from work.

As of next Wednesday I’ll be back on campus, dressed like a responsible adult, and wearing shoes. Heaven help me.


I’ve still been trying to add new recipes to the weekly lineup. Last week I did a Thai Noodle Salad thing that was pretty damn tasty. As usual I did not follow the recipe precisely, I never do, but it turned out great. I added chicken thighs that I had cooked in the air fryer and I didn’t feel like chopping an onion so I added some shishito peppers instead. L damn near licked the bowl clean. I will definitely be making it again.


I’m still feeling like I NEED to have the whole house organized and cleaned and just like everything before I go back to work. I’m not totally sure where this is coming from other than a place of anxiety, but I’m trying to put it to work. (interesting note – I have yet to actually clean the house)

So far I have cleaned out and organized…

  • the closet in the guest room
  • the big dresser and the cedar chest in the guest room
  • the fridges and freezers
  • my craft supplies (including the massive yarn stash)
  • several of my drawers and my clothes closet
  • the closet in the office (might get another pass, not sure yet)
  • my desk area

There are still parts of the kitchen that need serious love, like the junk drawer. And the cupboards above both the stove and the fridge. And probably the island. But, as part of cleaning up the craft supplies I decided that I was not keen on how the sunroom looked with random basket and binders and stuff and a completely mismatched little cart. So I managed to pick up a very nice cabinet on a “prime day” sale from Wayfair, and with much help from L I was able to turn that area into…

The plants are on top (there’s one hanging from a wall hook off to the left and several are on the window sill) and hidden behind the doors are 95% of my craft supplies, though not all of the yarn. The boxes off to the right are L’s big LEGO thing from our trip.

I utterly love this. My stuff is still there, but it’s organized and visually this is so much cleaner. Plus, since it’s up on legs it should be a lot easier to retrieve critter toys. Yay!!

getting closer

You may remember that I made some goals for myself for 2021, six of them actually. I’ve already achieve two of them and I am now Super Duper Close to achieving a third. That would put me half way to what I see as a successful year, and given that the year is about half way through, I see this as excellent progress.

TA DA!!!

Those are the cabled fingerless mitts for K that I started last January 20th. I finished them on June 21, 2021. I’m very pleased with how they worked up and even more pleased that they’re done. And I was totally right, more than enough yarn left to make the basic beanie pattern I love. They look great and she seems quite pleased.

This is making me very happy because there is now only ONE project left from last year, and only two other projects currently on the needles. One is a feather and fan scarf that’s my “I don’t have to concentrate on this” project and the other is a shawl made with mohair and short rows. Don’t ask; I have no earthly idea what I was thinking, but since I started it I feel compelled to finish it.

Oh so yummy

I am still trying to be more mindful about what I eat and drink, which is another goal. To that end I have discovered that I really like making steel cut oats in the slow cooker. That was this morning’s breakfast and that batch of oats were cooked with mashed banana, salted caramel honey, and plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. I use half water and half almond milk for the liquid, so 1C of oats and 4C total of liquid is enough for four breakfasts. So easy and so tasty.

There is a whole lot of hurting going on right now, and I wish I could do more to help. I have several friends who are struggling, all with different things, and I know there are a whole lot of other people struggling just as much but who aren’t saying anything. I want y’all to know that it’s totally ok to ask for help when you need it. Even if what you need is someone to say that you matter, your presence is important, you have a place in this world. Because you do.

randomly random

This dog is just crazy

It’s been interesting around here. I’m trying to get myself in the right frame of mind to get back to working at work, I’m trying to get back to making healthier food choices, and I’m trying to take care of my health. Some times those things are at odds with each other. But I’m still trying.

The left mitt is DONE

The right one is actually almost done, like within just a few rows. I’m not in love with the pattern, I didn’t feel that it was written particularly well for the way that I knit. But I retyped what I needed to so that it made sense for me and then told myself that I simply could not knit anything else until these got finished. The really fun thing is that I’m fairly sure there’s enough yarn left to make a simple beanie.

Home made spice “packets”

We eat Indian food quite a bit these days, four recipes in particular. And I love it but cooking it is a bit of a chore simply because of how many different spices are used and have to be measured. I decided that the most efficient thing to do would be to make my own spice packet things. I had been doing this just for the curry recipe but that was before I expanded out to making Butter Chicken, Kheema, and Mattar Paneer. On Saturday I got out my tiny containers and my recipes and started measuring. I made four packets for each recipe except the Mattar Paneer, I only made three of those. To make it easy to tell them apart I put each kind into its own labeled storage bag. This should make it very easy to reuse the little containers and the big bags. And it’s going to save me a ton of time when I’m cooking. WIN!!!

My guys are just goofy

I find it difficult to get my folks gifts, especially since they can buy themselves anything they want/need. For Mother’s Day I told my mom to let me know what she wanted for dinner, anything she wanted, and I would cook it for her and R. I also got her a little trinket and a sappy card. I made the same offer to R so he and Mom came over Saturday night for steak, baked potatoes, sauteed onions, rolls, and corn. I also picked up a cherry pie from a local restaurant that has an amazing bakery.

At any rate, we all had a good time. It always feels kind of weird to refer to R as my stepdad because that has strange “feels” to me. He’s this super nice guy who makes my mom happy. I call him Pops. And he thinks I make the best steaks ever. He’s right.

Garth is too sexy for these pillows, but not for the raccoon

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.