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.

 

 

 

Lancelot and I did this thing…

It really is official now, and it still really doesn’t feel like it. But everything came off without a hitch and we are now well and truly Mr. and Mrs. Lancelot. And I do really love that.

My friend K took the photos for us and from what I’ve seen so far… WOW. She’s phenomenal and we’re totally lucky that she was willing and able to do this for us. I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures she took.

Everything went really well in spite of the crazy heat and we had a very nice time.

So since then we’ve been doing our best to enjoy our brief vacation from work. We ate out at a restaurant for the first time in utter ages. We went to two museums, both of which are practicing very strict social distancing, much to my pleasure.

I took a picture of us last year in the atrium of this same museum. Last year we were able to sit on the edge of the fountain, this year we stood. But still, I got to get out and do a few things. SAFELY.

Both of us return to work now, L tonight and me in the morning. We’ve hung up all of the pictures we received as gifts (did you know Etsy has a wedding registry? totally awesome), made a few purchases to spiff up the house a little, and taken some time to relax.

And last night we got to celebrate my mom’s birthday. With cheesecake. That I had to make. It was super yum.

Oh, I might have snuck to the yarn shop (with L’s full knowledge) and acquired two skeins of Mountain Colors “Twizzlefoot” that might just get turned into a single shawl…

i’m weak

This will become a shawl.

I think this will, too.

I got two balls of this so I’m thinking this becomes a shrug with beads around the ends of the sleeves, because I maybe went to the tiny local bead shop and got some Japanese seed beads to match this. Maybe.

Garth was not overly impressed. He scares the hell out of me every time he does this, especially when he starts playing with his own tail.

One of my friends is sewing masks and selling them on Etsy, very reasonably priced. If you like Disney you should check out her shop, she’s got a really nice variety of prints. I really like this purple flower one.

We had our first guest since the plague started. On Saturday night my friend K came over and we did a practice run of makeup for the wedding. Not bad. It was amazing to see her.

Meet Blanche, my new African violet. Mom gave me this antique tea pot and it just seemed like the perfect vessel for a violet. She has taken up residence in the office.

I’m still trying to knit every day and get things done. Today is almost wall to wall meetings, which sucks. Zoom fatigue is a very real thing, and when you combine that with a mental health issue it’s a pretty unpleasant thing.

four o’clock in the morning

My life is perhaps a little unusual. I go to bed most nights around 8pm and then my alarm goes off in the morning at 4:15am. Part of this is just my body clock and part of it is because Lancelot works 11:30pm until some time in the morning. It used to be 7:30 but then the plague hit and now it’s usually more like 5:30. He takes an Uber to work at night but then I get him in the morning. Sounds way worse than it is.

But lately I’m just tired. Pippy hasn’t necessarily been cooperating with bedtime and my work is getting busier. I’m actually awake and at the computer this morning at… clock says 4:30am… and I’ll be starting to work shortly. There’s just too much to get done with the start of a very unknown semester starting in a little more than a month.

Oh, and did anyone remember that L and I get married in a little less than a month? So anyway, sorry I’ve been absent. I really have missed writing. Here are some pictures to hopefully cheer us all up.

Eric the Red doing a Super Kitty pose in the guest room
I found this bit of filet crochet lace I made years ago and decided it would look great hanging on the wall above my necklaces
Cheap and cheerful supermarket bouquet of flowers
Lancelot hid this behind my laptop yesterday morning. It’s now a contender for being wedding jewelry.
She’s absolutely adorable when she wants to be

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 MediterraneanĀ  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.

in a funk, wishing it was funkytown

The boys have been enjoying having empty boxes to play with, and so has Pippy. They see them as toys. I see them as reminders of the move. Don’t get me wrong, I am ridiculously happy that Lancelot lives here, I’ll be happier when the move is done. And that should be this weekend. Praise be to the Almighty Ceiling Cat.

The weather here hasn’t helped lately. Lots of rain and gray skies and cool weather. I guess that’s better than blazing heat, but it doesn’t exactly make me feel very energetic.

The house is coming together as are the wedding plans, and that’s good. But I haven’t really knit lately, or done anything else creative. Lately it’s been all I can do to keep up with the laundry and making dinner. I’m feeling a whole lot of brain fog right now and I Do Not Like It.

So rather than whine any more I think I’m going to go wind up a ball of yarn and try to start a new knitting project. Maybe cheating on my current WIPs will help.

my dog is hugging a washcloth and snoring and I think that’s the cutest thing ever

It’s rough to be Pippy. She’s had some kind of tummy issue the last few days that have resulted in PITH (pooping in the house) and that makes me and Lancelot unhappy. We tried giving her rice and chicken to see if that would help and when it became apparent that it wasn’t we took her to the vet this morning. The good news is that it is not a parasite. The bad news is that the vet isn’t entirely sure what it is. So we have some pills to take a new kibble to eat. And yes, right now she is laying in her chair in my office with her coveted stolen washcloth between her front paws. Adorable to say the least.

I was talking to one of my work friends today over Zoom and realized that I haven’t been focusing enough of my energy on gratitude. And that’s a bummer because that’s been such an important part of my routines for so long and unfortunately that’s just sort of fallen by the wayside lately.

So today I am thankful for…

  • the roof over my head
  • the food I cook every night
  • the job I mostly love
  • the fuzzy critters who make me laugh even though they take up way more than their share of the bed every night
  • my darling Lancelot who helps keep me sane and gives amazing hugs
  • Mom and R because they’re awesome
  • my friends, y’all included
  • my medication that really keeps me sane

trip to nowhere

I find myself wondering these days, a lot, how I used to do all of the running around I used to do. Granted, at that time my mom lived here and she took care of a lot of the house stuff, but still. I used to actually drive to see my therapist every other week, and to the grocery store on the way home from work sometimes, and out shopping just for the FUN of it. What the hell people? Just thinking about those things exhausts me now.

I do have to say, I’m really glad that I’m still driving to pick Lancelot up every morning. I’m starting to hear stories about people who aren’t starting their vehicles often enough or letting them run long enough when they do having trouble with their batteries dying. It’s not good. But I have my short little trip every morning to go fetch my honey and bring him home. At least once a week we do a grocery run. It’s not much, but it helps.

I talked to one of my faculty friends yesterday and she mentioned how she feels like now that we’re working “remote” (which is fancy talk for working at home) she’s working way more hours than she used to. She said that she’s been working at her dining room table and it’s just too easy to neglect breaks and she finds herself working until much later in the evening.

Where are we going and why am I in this damn basket?

I am not doing that, not at all. I’m taking breaks regularly, I have to, my butt gets numb. I’m also trying to take an actual Lunch Hour every day. That’s usually my last opportunity of the day to visit with L before he goes to bed so that time is precious to me. But I also know how important it is for my mental health to step away from this desk and not stare at a screen.

So for anyone else out there working “remote” right now, here are my tips for surviving having the office follow you home:

  • Find a way to stay connected to your coworkers, particularly the ones you enjoy. Say hello to them just because you can; it’s good for everyone.
  • Keep as many of your regular routines as possible. For example, I get up at the same time and take a shower every morning. I also typically dress very similar to how I would have for the office. I’m not wearing makeup much these days but I do wear jewelry. It makes me feel like I’m working.
  • Another item from the “keeping routines” category – if you used to stop for fancy coffee on your way to work, figure out how to make it at home and then do that. I’m having iced lattes every morning and the only place I stop is my fridge.
  • Set yourself a regular schedule in terms of hours. Stick within the guidelines your employer sets but then make sure you aren’t working a 12 hour day unless that’s what you’ve been told to do. Seriously, unless you’re an hourly employee and they’re paying you overtime, do not do that shit to yourself.
  • Take time every day to enjoy your hobbies or at least something that makes you feel good. I haven’t been knitting much because the skin on my hands is is way too dry, but I’ve discovered that cooking for L makes me feel good and is just another kind of creative outlet.
  • I realize that not everyone has the luxury of having a space that can be dedicated for an office, but I find it helps me a ton. It allows me to quite literally “leave” work at the end of the day or when I need a break. There’s something about that physical separation from the rest of the house that helps. Plus, I have my office decorated in a way that I find very calming while still encouraging productivity. It’s actually one of my favorite rooms in the house.

We’ve been told that our campus will remain officially closed through June 1st at least. My guess is that we’ll be closed the entire summer though it really is just a guess. Fall semester will allegedly be back to at least partially on-campus but I’m not sure how they’re going to make that work. In a way I’m hoping to be given the option to continue working at home, at least for the majority of the time. As much as I found myself fighting this system when we first started I find now that I really do enjoy it the majority of the time.

What are you all struggling with most right now? Let’s see if the power of crowd-sourcing can help find solutions for all of us.

my favorite things I’ve made

I’m going to be real honest, this isn’t the type of post I normally do. But I want to post something today and the idea is mostly appealing, and I’m not in the frame of mind to write much else. And I will admit that the trip down memory lane to find these pictures was enjoyable. I just still have a lot to do with the move and I feel kind of horrible that I still have a lot to do. Anyway, here goes…

This is a circular vest that’s mostly knit, a little crochet. The very interesting striped area in the middle was hand spun by a dear friend and was a gift in 2017 when I had my left ovary removed. We didn’t know what was going on at the time so she named the yarn “Alien Removal Remedy.”

watercolor fused glass bowl

This is sitting just behind me right now and is one of the more interesting glass pieces I’ve made. It’s 3D and really does look like a flower.

I wish I could tell you how old this picture is but I really can’t. It was almost certainly pre-diagnosis, so before 2006, but other than that I can’t recall. The hat was a first prize winner in a contest at the yarn shop I went to every Thursday night. It’s a black bucket style hat, knit and then felted, and the roses were also felted and then sewn on, and there are a few needle felted tendrils. All of the roses and leaves were done using scrap yarn. I still have, and wear, that hat to this day.

In the days before Lithium I was able to make beautiful beaded works of art. Now, not at all. I made several of these angel ornaments and kept this blue one for myself. The body and wings are made from 11/0 seed beads. She’s still around here somewhere, a reminder of days gone by.

This was a rather large fused glass plate that I did entirely freehand. It was sitting on an oblong crocheted doily that I made, back when I could still do thread crochet. The plate has since been broken by overly energetic kittens.

When I was first diagnosed the women that I met with every Thursday took up a collection and bought me the most beautiful yarn to let me know they loved me. It was many, many years later before I was able to work with it but this is what I did. It’s a raglan style cardigan with a single button closure. Still have it, still love it.

One of the things I used to do a ton of was cross stitch. This isn’t cross stitch, it’s called blackwork, but it’s very similar. I spent my lunch breaks for I don’t even know how many weeks in 2003 working on this sampler. The bands were free patterns that I found online and pieced together myself. I am ridiculously proud of this. I had thought when Lancelot moved in that it would be moving out of the basement, but he apparently also really likes it.

In the course of my life I have done:

  • crochet
  • cross stitch / blackwork
  • macrame
  • jewelry making
  • ceramics / polymer clay
  • knitting
  • beadwork
  • drawing
  • fused glass
  • alcohol ink
  • photography

So there you have it, some of my favorite things. What have been your favorite projects?