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.

it’s about the journey, not the destination

Showing off an amazing aquamarine my friend made for me and a cutie pie orange kitty behind me

I haven’t been doing the best lately. My back is still giving me some trouble, my skin still flares up, and I’m cold much of the time. So I’m frustrated. And a frustrated me is a me who snacks, and not just on apples. Needless to say my weight loss journey has kinda stalled out.

I’m not giving up though. I still try to make choices that are at least somewhat healthier, though I will own that on two separate occasions last week I found myself eating a combination of chocolate frosting and peanut butter, once straight out of the tub. So while I have regained a few of the pounds I had lost I have not put the whole amount back on and I still feel good about that.

Still relevant

At any rate, I did have something really pretty fucking amazing happen yesterday that I want to share with you fine folk.

This is an old picture, 2015 era

I used to draw. Nothing fancy or realistic or anything, more like a zentangle/doodle sort of thing. Lots of flowers, some butterflies and whatnot, just fanciful pretty bits. That photo above was when I decided to take a picture I had drawn and turn it into a shrink plastic necklace. I had rather poor luck, but it was fun.

I enjoyed drawing because it was another creative outlet. And then I stopped, because I didn’t enjoy it anymore. Because the lithium caused the tremors to get so bad that I really couldn’t.

Huh?

Yesterday we had this big team meeting thing online and I knew that during the span of two hours I’d need something to do that didn’t look like I was goofing off, and I really did need to be able to pay attention and listen. Being able to do something with my hands helps with that. So I got out an old sketch book and my markers and figured “what the fuck.”

It’s not amazing, and it’s not done, and it’s definitely shaky. But it made me happy and it doesn’t look awful. Mostly though, it made me happy.

These goofs make me happy too

trolls

There’s something about the anonymity of the internet that seems to bring out the worst in people. Don’t get me wrong; in some cases it brings out the very best. People can contribute to charities from the comfort of their living rooms, they can make connections with others who share the same interests, they can practice random acts of kindness easily and many do on a regular basis.

But then there are The Others; the ones who get emboldened by the fact that the people they drop their nasty little bombs on won’t ever have the opportunity to look them in the eyes and see them for the cowards they really are.

I made a comment on a friend’s post on Facebook last week. I was agreeing with what he said, actually more than he was agreeing with what the image he posted said. We engaged in civil discourse about it, each speaking our piece in respectful language and finding the commonalities.

Cue THE TROLL…

One comment, one single short sentence (that needed editing at that) directed at me, in the form of a sarcastic question. This person doesn’t know me from anyone, knows nothing about my background, and will never meet me. So by all means, ask your shitty little demeaning question meant to put me in my place. And why?

Because at the heart of it all, I am an optimist. I still look for the silver lining in every single situation, no matter what. I want to see the good in humanity even when it proves otherwise. And so I ended my part of the conversation on my friend’s post with a hope for humanity to show me the goodness, and The Troll couldn’t just let that lay where it fell.

But I will.

As much as I would love to find some nasty, shitty things of my own to say in return, I won’t. As much as I would like to point out just how wrong this person is, I won’t. As upset as this has made me, it ends right here and now. Posting a reply would give that fire more fuel and this jerk has already taken enough of my time and mental energy, he doesn’t need to be fed with my reply.

It ends, right here and now.

spring has sprung and all i can do is sneeze

This isn’t what’s making me sneeze. Those are my African violets and I was showing a friend of mine how the new window shelves turned out. I highly recommend this as a way to increase indoor growing space AND keep things away from cats. It’s a win all the way around.

I have been a bit under the weather lately. I did something to mess with my back, and then the allergies around here are crazy, and my energy level has tanked, plus the spring semester ended and summer started today, so I’ve just been at the end of my rope.

However…

I finished the hat for R (the one that was supposed to be for Christmas) and it finally fit right. Last night I even got back to working on the Ilo shawl. Currently it looks like…

It doesn’t look like much right now but I’m really proud of myself because this is the first all-over lace shawl I’ve done like this. It desperately needs blocking but then it also needs to be finished. The repeat is 24 rows and if memory serves I’m working on #9. Judging by how much yarn is left I’ve got several more left I can do. The colors are beautiful and the yarn is super soft.

Garth went on quite the bender the other day

things that start with “f”

FLOWERS – Lancelot had this delightful little bouquet delivered to the house on Friday as a Mother’s Day gift from the critters. For those of you who may be wondering, that boy has a thing for coming up with truly odd sentiments for cards. It’s a running joke at this point.

FASHION – I have a thing for Hawaiian shirts on guys. L is very much a black t-shirt kind of dude. So recently I managed to find a very authentic feeling retro shirt that’s primarily black. I think he looks wonderful in it. This was taken Saturday evening; we had my folks over for dinner for Mother’s Day. Sunday events don’t work great for us because of L’s schedule, but we’ll party hard on a Saturday night.

FUZZBUTTS – Last night I was sitting on the couch trying to watch TV and knit. These days having my knitting out is an invitation for Eric to get on my lap, and Pippy just figures that any time I’m sitting it’s because I want to pet her. For awhile I ended up with Eric in my lap monopolizing my left hand, to scratch his ears, and Pippy laying her head on my right leg and monopolizing my right hand, to scratch her ears. Needless to say not much knitting got done last night.

After I dropped off our ballots last week, y’all remember I was going to do that? Yeah, totally did. I went and did the blood draw (piece of cake, totally normal numbers), visited the nice doctor (don’t go back for a year, yay!), dropped off the ballots and then decided that I knew there was a yarn shop nearby and by golly I was going to find it. And I did. And it was magical and I got two skeins of yarn that are hand dyed by a local(ish) person and will make an amazing shawl. That “f” word is FABULOUS.

things I do not recommend and a recap of sorts

It’s election season around here, I believe just for city/very local stuff. Lancelot and I vote by absentee/mail in ballot because it’s so much easier with our schedules and it’s one of the few “progressive” things this backward state allows. All of that to say that the election is next Tuesday and I have our ballots sealed up sitting next to me to be dropped at the election commission office this afternoon.

While I was saying goodnight to L our doorbell rang, which is not entirely unusual, but it usually goes along with a delivery truck out front. No truck in sight, and then another ring. Highly unusual. L checked the doorbell camera and saw just two dudes. *grumbles of profanity* It was someone canvasing for one of the candidates. Fine. I had Dog Blossom working like hell to break out so I honestly tell this guy that we’ve already voted. He had the brass cahones to ask me if I had voted for his candidate. I did the only proper thing – I shut him on the other side of the door and locked the deadbolt.

“I said good day, sir!”

The eye doc appointment yesterday was not as amazing as I had hoped it would be. For one thing we waited 90 minutes past my scheduled time to see the doc. Not cool. And for another, I am apparently not a great candidate for the procedure because I’m so young. Why yes, 45 is still considered young in certain circles. I guess your eyes aren’t quite as receptive to this treatment until they have a certain amount of pigment in a particular area. What I do know is that I get to try another kind of drops for 6 weeks to see if that makes any difference. I also know that the anxiety and frustration yesterday resulted in my blood pressure being 172/107. Good times.

Last night’s dinner

I’m still trying out different recipes, many of them from other cultures. L and I both have a fondness for Indian and Thai cuisine in particular. Last night’s dinner came from the “Aarti Paarti” cookbook (Amazon link if you’re interested) and it’s called Kheema. I served it over butternut squash noodles with a piece of chatpat on the side. HOLY HELL. It reminds me a bit of an Italian meat sauce, hence my serving it over the squash noodles. It was amazing, truly.

The ingredients were very “standard” and what I mean by that is I had all but like one thing already on hand, and that one thing was fresh cilantro. It was very straightforward to make and was ready in about half an hour. The chatpat was something L and I picked up at a local Indian market and while not essential, I think it helped to complete the experience. I would definitely recommend this and I will for sure be cooking it again.