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.

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.