one foot in front of the other

I’ve been in a weird kind of “mood that isn’t a mood and is maybe lasting too long but then again so is the anxiety that’s ever present everywhere these days” kind of place and I have to say, it sucks.

I love the change of the seasons in an intellectual and visual sort of way. The change in the temperatures, the extra rain right now, the changing leaves are all really pretty and a very pleasant departure from what summer is around here. But if I’m going to have any mental issues they tend to happen during the changing of the light – sunlight that is. Too little in the autumn and winter cause one set of issues and the switch back to lots of it in the spring and summer causes a different set of issues.

Being mental is just such a fucking treat.

Once a month I haul Lancelot in for a haircut and beard trim and I usually get my mop of hair dealt with. This time I decided that enough was enough. I’ve been trying to grow it out but it was looking very much like how my grandmother wears her hair and I was not loving that. Changing my hair is actually a pretty standard thing with me. When I feel like it’s time to shake my snowglobe I will typically either go for a drastically different cut or, back in the day, a radically different color.

I’ve actually had my hair like this before, and it was most certainly a different color. I like the asymmetrical thing, especially since my hair’s natural curl makes this a ridiculously easy style for me in terms of what it takes to fix it. Approximately 3 minutes and a small dab of hair goo, that’s what.

I’ve been trying to spend some time getting back to meal planning and all of the other things that kind of feel like “life hacks” for me, because in all honesty, right now I need that shit more than ever. Apparently it’s working, at least at the surface level. One of the people that works in our office suite made the comment that I have my life together, which she totally meant as a compliment, but all I could think was, “little sister, if you only knew.”

All of the hacks and the prep stuff is really because I have a terrible, ugly secret…

I am hella lazy.

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.

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

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!!

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.

quickly I shall post for you

Today has been one of those days. I’ve been a little out of sorts and my body hasn’t felt quite right. I’m hoping that this evening I’m able to relax and feel settled.

I gave the last of my “official” workshops today and that will help with some of my stress. I don’t mind doing workshops but I much preferred the days when it was safe to do them in person. I have learned a lot about this method of delivery just by trying things, and that’s how I tend to learn best. The hardest part for me is when I don’t have anyone with their webcam turned on so I don’t get any kind of non-verbal feedback. I didn’t realize how much I adjust what I’m saying/doing based on that.

At any rate, it went well and now they’re done. So yay. And Eric came in this afternoon to chirp at me and give me little head-bops. I love my furkids. Dinner is (shocking!) in the crock pot already. New recipe tonight that I’m hoping turns out well. Last night’s curry was excellent. I’m trying to pull together some “5 ingredient or less” crock pot recipes now so that I can do some truly easy stuff.

short weeks are always the longest

I didn’t work on Monday because it was Labor Day and for me that means a paid day off. I don’t work tomorrow because Lancelot took the day off and for me that also means a paid day off. We have errands to run and things to accomplish and that’s not always easy given his regular work schedule.

However…

It’s been a bit of a rough week. Pippy appears to have done something to her mouth, though the vet can’t figure out what. Garth looks like his one eye has something going on but every time I go to call for an appointment it looks better again.

Last night I did some “real” cooking and by that I mean I chopped up a bunch of veggies and a package of sausages and threw them in a pan in the oven to roast. And then promptly burned myself.

Today we had a local charity lined up to finally come get the excess crap out of our garage. The same time they were on their way Pippy showed up at the back door absolutely caked in mud. L carried her up to the bathroom where I got to strip down and hop in the shower with her. Keep in mind that this was at like 11am, right in the middle of my work day. And I had a workshop to give this afternoon.

So I hosed down the dog, got her mostly dried off, and got dressed for the second time. I actually pried some rocks out from between her toe pads. I have no idea what the fuck she was digging for out there, but she’s not going to be allowed out unattended while it’s all wet and rainy. At this point I’m not sure there’s a single clean towel in the house.

I got everything lined up for the workshop this afternoon and then it looked like no one was going to show, but at 2:05pm I had two people. It went alright except the one person started asking very specific questions that really didn’t go along with the advertised topic. I love it when they do that. (no, no I do not love it)

At any rate, I’m stuck in my office for about another 30 minutes and then I am DONE. I’ve decided that I well and truly hate the few knitting projects I have going so they’re going in time out and I’m going to start something new. (shocking, right?) I’m just not sure what that’s going to be. (we all know it’s going to be a shawl)

I kind of feel like I say this a lot, but I need to hit my own reset button again.

time for me to do some things that make me happy

I had a chat with Lancelot last week about how I’m feeling “off.” Actually it was more like the one day I just kind of cried for about an hour, grieving parts of the life I used to live, the life we all used to live before this damn plague scared us out of our minds. The issue, as we finally figured out, is not having things to look forward to, at least not like we used to. But how to resolve that.

What we arrived at was that every month on our anniversary we’ll do something “safe” that we both enjoy. We could go to one of the museums, out to dinner, or like this weekend we went to a bookstore and then to a small local jewelry store. I’m not saying that retail therapy is the answer, but those two places weren’t crowded and were doing a good job with the social distancing and cleaning stuff.

I’ll admit that I was delighted that L decided to buy me a very lovely black onyx ring and an amazing dragon-head bracelet. It was beside the point, but damn does that man have good taste in my jewelry. And I bought books, like normal books for me to read. That’s something I haven’t done in literally years. Three are fiction and the other is a cookbook.

We’ve decided that, in an effort to make the cooking burden a little less of a burden on me, we would try making some “freeze ahead” crock pot meals. If you aren’t familiar with the concept you prep everything you would need for a given recipe and dump in a gallon size freezer bag that you’ve labeled with the heat and time requirements. That goes in the freezer until the night before you want to cook it. Defrost in the fridge over night then dump in the crock pot and cook.

I picked out something like 9 meals that seemed interesting and got all of the ingredients to make them. We then spent a little more than an hour Saturday night preparing 5 meals, because I wore out.  So there’s 5 dinners (so far) that I won’t have to mess with.

The cookbook I got is for doing essentially the same thing but for the instant pot. It was marked down to something like $7 and has a lot of interesting sounding recipes, so I figured it was probably worth it.

Oh, and I’ve started reading one of the fiction books.

If anyone was taking bets about how long it would be before I started a new knitting project, it was the very next day. And I’ve finished it. It’s the most basic shawl ever, almost, and I did it with a not fabulous ball of Lion Brand “Shawl in a Ball.” Hey, the colors are pretty. I wanted something that didn’t require a single ounce of skull sweat. And it should be nice and warm this winter. Or perhaps tomorrow. We’re about to have a major dip in temps.

She really does prefer to be touching us. That was this morning when the sun was out. The shawl was on my lap because I had just finished the ridiculously long bind-off and her ear managed to get flopped over my ankle.

My plan, though please don’t hold me to this, is to finally move past the cuff of the first mitt for my friend K. I had to retype the directions so that they made sense to me and I have done that and printed a copy. Seriously, it’s fingerless mitts, they shouldn’t take hardly any time at all.

I can’t show a picture of the pooch and not show a pic of at least one kitty. I caught Garth in mid-yawn the other night. Too perfect.