outing myself

First the easy update, I think the shawl will be done yet this week. For one thing, I’m getting towards the end of the pattern. For another thing, I’m getting frighteningly close to end of the yarn. I’m thinking I might be making a few executive decisions about how many repeats to do. But hey, that’s part of the beauty of a pattern like this, I can be as flexible as I want.

Here’s a totally random update… We picked up a delicious watermelon last weekend and man do I love me some good watermelon. But this sucker was HUGE, like so big I was afraid me and Lancelot couldn’t possibly eat all of it before it spoiled. And that’s when I remembered something from when I traveled over to Delhi and Dubai.

Watermelon juice.

We had already cleaned and chunked up the melon so I just tossed a quantity into the blender and abused the hell out of it. And that was it. No straining, no fussing, no nothing. Pour it in a cup, stick a straw in it, and enjoy. It’s wonderful. And it’s healthy. So yay.

So I mentioned outing myself, something I actually used to do pretty regularly. I have Bipolar Disorder and I’m not at all ashamed to talk about it. FFS, I was actively working on writing my memoir all about it! When it comes up naturally in conversation and it makes sense, I have a tendency to say something.

Today I met with a faculty member who will be teaching an online Social Work class that deals with mental illness. DUH, it made sense to me to bring up my diagnosis. I’m more than 13 years into recovery at this point and I’m in a good place with my treatment so I’m pretty damn comfortable talking about it, particularly since I know that talking openly and honestly helps to fight the stigma associated with mental illnesses.

For example, I will tell you…

  • I take medication every day to help stabilize my moods; 12 pills to be precise (all of my other pills are for other doc prescribed stuff)
  • I meet (via Zoom right now) with my therapist every other week
  • I don’t drink more than 2 drinks in a 7 day period because I know that more is not healthy for me
  • I don’t smoke, anything, because it screws with my mood
  • I go to bed at 8 because if I have trouble sleeping that leaves me enough time to get sleep before I must get up in the morning
  • But I usually get up around 4am and start doing stuff
  • I haven’t been actively suicidal since 2009
  • I don’t like violence of any kind and I wouldn’t dream of hitting another creature
  • It’s taken a long time for me to like myself

But if you just met me under normal circumstances you would likely never guess that my home life was any different than your own. And that is one of my greatest successes I think; being able to “pass” for someone who doesn’t have a mental illness.

start of the semester got me like… ugh

Last week was rough. No, ROUGH. On Tuesday I picked Lancelot up from work early in the morning, came home, and crawled back into bed for three hours. I spent my work day in pajama pants and a t-shirt. I’m not sure if I was coming down with a cold or if I’d just gotten too run down or what. But it wasn’t good.

Is anyone else at that point where you freak the hell out any time you sneeze?

Anyway, I finally started to feel better when I realized I actually do need to take care of myself. I started a new shawl, I started eating a little better, and I let myself wear pajama pants a lot. It was good and it helped.

The pattern, not that you can tell a damn thing right now, is Tumbledown Mountain and the yarn is Mille Colori Sock and Lace. The colors are WILD. The pattern is fairly sedate to start with so the stripes are going to be amazing. So far this is just what I need, delightfully relaxing knitting that I don’t have to think about much.

I’ve also been trying to get some stuff taken care of around the house that I’ve been neglecting. I’m not one that normally lets the laundry get out of hand, but I had, so I got that caught up. And we got our wedding pictures printed and framed, which was nice. All in all it was just a very good weekend.

Garth approved. Garth usually approves, unless Pippy is chewing on his tail. He actually snuggled with me most of last night. It’s nice except he likes to bite. I did get a really nice surprise yesterday from my stepdad.

A Child of my very own. And he likes Prickly Pear Red Bull Refreshers from the coffee shop. We’re going to need all the caffeine we can get. Today is the first day of the semester for us and there have already been some massive technical issues that have impacted a vast portion of the planet. Nothing like starting off having one of your most critical tools take a shit right in the middle of your breakfast.

 

 

 

here we go

This was the last creative thing I’ve done, and that was on Sunday. That should tell you something, not only about how busy I’ve been but also a little about the state of my mental well being.

It ain’t good.

I guess cooking counts. I whipped up a batch of curry earlier this week. I like to make this in the slow cooker because I can dump everything in and walk away for a few hours and come back to delicious. These days if the cooking isn’t happening while I’m working, it just isn’t going to happen. I’m afraid to say that my health in general is suffering these days.

Last night I had Pippy and Eric curled up with me on the couch. My evenings tend to involve having a little dinner around 6:30 and then watching a little TV with the furkids. I just don’t have it in me to knit or do laundry or anything much. I’m exhausted.

We’ve had a fair amount of rain lately and this morning it was rather horrible. We had thunderstorms so bad that the dog got freaked out, and storms seldom bother her. I didn’t hear quite how much rain we got but my guess is that it was several inches.

So our semester starts on August 24th which means part of what I’m dealing with in terms of being so busy is just normal start of semester stuff. Part of it though deals with the plague. I’ve been working with more faculty moving courses online that ever before. It’s been exciting but well and truly exhausting. I’ve been starting my days around 6am and not quitting until at least 6pm. My days are lots of meetings which¬† means the actual “work” has to get done outside the normal hours when people expect to meet. Today my last meeting is at 4pm. It’s been rough.

Wish me luck y’all, I’ve got a few more days to get through…

 

monday morning update

Good news first… The hematologist was very nice and not concerned that I have some scary blood disorder. He ran a few tests just to be sure but his opinion is that I’m just fine.

Other good news… We’re less than 2 weeks from the wedding. I would tell you exactly how many but me and math, it’s just ugly.

COVID friendly wedding favors. (and no, his name isn’t really Lancelot)

Prototype decorations to line the path from the driveway up to the garden. I think it needs more green tulle.

My bouquet is wood flowers, that I purchased already assembled, so I made the flowers for Lancelot, Mom, and R. Not horrid.

My assistant this morning, performing vital paperweight duties.

I spent a few hours Saturday morning working, another four or so yesterday, and then today got up and started around 5am. And now they’re doing some damn email migration nonsense so I can’t get in to my email. Not good.

 

well this has been quite the day

This was from yesterday but it’s a nice visual representation of how I feel – like there’s something looking over my shoulder / standing on my back / looking to keep me down. It was actually just Eric being lovey and headbutting me in the back of the head. But you get the idea.

So apparently I have a few numbers that are too high on my last blood test. The one number has been steadily increasing over the last year so I’ll be going to see a hematologist sometime reasonably soon. Not excited. It’s not that I mind seeing another doctor but sick people go to doctors and right now I do NOT want to be around sick people.

I also get to go have another blood draw in two weeks to address the other numbers. Again, not that I really mind but my veins don’t always cooperate so needles aren’t always my friend. I’ll deal.

I did manage to make myself appear competent this morning, just long enough to give a presentation.

I seldom dress up anymore and I decided that’s a shame. I have a closet full of adorable clothes that are getting no love right now. So I got out a cute shirt, put on jewelry and makeup, and then a pair of jeans for the bottom half. No one sees my ass anymore except Lancelot. Now that the presentation is over and I’m back to being a hermit I’m back in a t-shirt and I look like a 12 year old boy. It’s all good.

Garth stole my last few bites of granola bar this morning and proceeded to make a huge mess on my desk. He’s an odd little cat, he actually did eat some of it. Bastard licked all of it so I wasn’t about to finish it.

and still I’ve got nothing to show you

So I guess that’s not entirely true, I just have no knitting to show you. I’ve been knitting, I just don’t seem capable of remembering to take a picture of what I’ve accomplished. Not that I’ve been knitting on the shawl a ton, but I am making progress. But there are washcloths to knit, too.

Pippy would much rather I scratched her ears than knit, but she’ll put up with me being distracted. It’s kind of funny, the cats are interested in the yarn and she’s interested in the knitting needles.

I did want to show you where I spend my days now.

That’s the wall behind me. There is an interesting mix of things that had been in the basement, in my old bedroom, and at the office. The photos on the closet door are from all of my international trips. I’ve brought almost everything that had been in my office on campus back home. I figure I spend most of my time in here now I might as well have it setup the way I like. And I really do think it helps having this one room where I basically just work and can shut the door and walk away at the end of the day.

The house in general is just about done and that makes me very happy. I’m ready to have some nice relaxing weekends. This last weekend was actually quite lovely. We had our monthly massage appointments, went to a specialty tea shop so I could stock up on loose leaf tea, and did our grocery run. Our date night take out was from a Mediterranean¬† restaurant and it was amazing.

the importance of self-care during a plague

My guess is that we’re all struggling right now, some more than others. For those of us working from home there are some parts of our lives that are now easier, pants being completely optional would be one of them. But there’s also the whole issue of losing track of time and working a 12 hour day when you didn’t intend to. Balance is crucial, and damn is it hard.

And even when we know these things, we don’t always practice them. I am not ashamed to admit that I got overwhelmed and stopped doing all of the things I know help, and that lead to feeling even more overwhelmed. Sometimes you have to hit your own reset button. Hard.

Pippy and Eric realized that Mama needed some love and declared a truce long enough to snuggle with me. Of course then Eric decided that biting me on the arm, back in that really tender area, was a great idea. Little brat.

This is the lamp I was telling y’all about. It makes me happy to see all of my little baby yarn balls because I remember the projects I used them in. The lamp and shade came from Target and weren’t overly expensive. And yes, a million years ago I crocheted the doily it’s sitting on. I haven’t tried doing that in so long I’m not sure I can anymore.

Pippy finally got to see the groomer this week and she looks like a whole new puppy, like half of a puppy. She’s very long and lean and will never be too big to sit on Daddy’s lap. And that smile on Lancelot’s face? That’s part of why I fell in love with him.

I do spend a good chunk of my week days in my office so I frequently end up having Eric and Pippy in here with me. Yesterday they were having a debate over who got to have some ribbons that came on a package I got.

I have also been knitting, which is definitely one of my self-care activities. I’ve got two wash cloths done and I’m continuing to work on the shawl. But for two nights I didn’t really cook much of anything and the laundry is much further behind that I would like. However, my sanity is much more intact than it was and that’s more important than damn near anything else.

running as fast as I can but one foot is nailed to the floor

Seriously, it’s not Friday? Are you sure? FUCK.

Anyway, life is life and I’m still totally thankful but GODDAMNIT WHY DO I WORK WITH FUCKING MORONS???

Sorry, that was 100% necessary. Really, it was. I’ve got a good person being held back by red tape and a fucking monkey holding the tape dispenser. I hate it when that happens.

And it’s time for our annual performance evaluations and I really hate that. Yes, totally glad I have a job right now and that this job allows me to work from home during The Plague. Honest. But I always get seriously freaked out about losing my job, partially because they just eliminated 13 positions in our unit. Some of those people had been here for their entire careers and were on the verge of retirement. I shit you not.

Yes, I am wound a little tight right now, why do you ask? And I find myself in need of a stronger word than “fuck” because that’s just not cutting it anymore.

On the plus side of things – I don’t have to cook tonight because I have a variety of leftovers in the fridge. I have a quilling kit from Lancelot that I haven’t opened yet but might try to get into tonight. I got to see Mom this morning and get a hug. And I have lots of music I can listen to that will hopefully help soothe this savage beast.

I just need to get myself through the next few days, I can do that, right?

 

 

planning a wedding during a plague

Ok, so this isn’t quite a plague, more a pandemic, but still. We’re getting married in August and I’m hoping like hell that I have enough time to pull this off.

In all fairness, not quite 4 months is not a lot of time to plan a wedding EVER. There are a lot of moving parts, details, vendors, and just plain other people involved. And I have done this whole “wedding” thing before – three other times to be precise – but never with so little time to get everything ready. And never during a global pandemic.

The first time I got married I had a few years to pull things together. I had the big white church wedding with a catered reception at a hotel and the gigantic fancy cake. We divorced three years later.

My second wedding was done in the back yard by a Justice of the Peace. Much smaller and low-key, I wore Birkenstocks with a sundress. I had less than a year to plan, but still a reasonable amount of time given how small. I was with him for ten years.

My third wedding was planned rather quickly and took place at the courthouse. It was my least favorite, mostly because my groom was drunk during the entire reception, and for most of our marriage.

So I’ve had a variety of experiences.

This time we’ll be having an officiant (I’m not sure what else to call her) and have a custom ceremony, somewhere near trees. (I’d like to be more specific but I don’t even know yet.) I’ve ordered my dress and it actually looks more like a wedding dress than anything I’ve worn in many a moon. I’ve ordered jewelry that I think will go beautifully with it. I’ve ordered flowers that are artificial – wood – that I’ll be able to keep long after the ceremony. And I’ve been ordering everything now because it still might not arrive in time. Because pandemic.

I’m still hoping (HOPING) that we’ll be able to have the ceremony. Right now they’re starting to loosen the restrictions here but that could change. We aren’t planning to have a big ceremony with a lot of people but still. And I already know that the reception may not be until weeks or months later. I’m fine with that.

I’m going to marry my knight in shining armor, that’s what matters to me.

why is meatball tuesday not a thing?

While I was trying to get the dog to come in the other morning, something that’s becoming more of a challenge, I managed to get this picture of a bumblebee in the grape hyacinths. And that’s good because those flowers are being destroyed by the dog. If she’s not digging in the beds she’s laying on the flowers, sunning herself. I’m not exactly impressed.

In other news I have pretty well lost track of how long I’ve been doing this “work from home” thing though my research this morning suggests it’s been since March 23rd, so that’s roughly 1000 weeks, right? Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to still be employed and earning a salary, totally. I’m not exactly excited that we’ve been told we’ll be operating like this likely the whole summer. Not thrilled.

I have to admit that it’s nicer now that I have a proper office space to work in and I have an extra monitor for my laptop. That’s actually helping a lot.

The house is coming along nicely. The only area that’s still being worked on is Lancelot’s man cave, formerly known as my office in the basement. He’s got a LOT of DVDs and books and we still haven’t moved everything in yet. It’s a process. But progress is being made.

So here’s something those of you who have never been in a relationship with someone who does shift work have thought of – meal planning, how? Consider… I work days and so eat my final meal of the day around 6pm. He works nights and so eats his final meal of the day around 10am. I hate cooking for myself and I don’t want him to have to cook for himself.

My new criteria for “dinners” are that they make enough for both of us to have at least one meal, preferably two, are considered at least a little healthy, and that they reheat well. I am not finding this as easy as I had hoped I would. Enter the Crock Pot.

Some of you may know this culinary wizard as a slow cooker, same thing. And it is my new best friend. Right now I have a batch of meatballs cooking that I will later throw over mashed potatoes. These are frozen meatballs taking a bath in beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, and Lipton’s beefy mushroom soup mix. I have high hopes for this.