soup may just save us all

Yesterday was Monday and for us that means “meatless” for our dinner. We aren’t vegetarians, not that I have anything against folks who are, but I like the idea of at least one night a week having a meal that doesn’t involve meat. Partially this helps me get Lancelot to eat more veggies and partially it gets me to step outside my comfort zone and cook more stuff.

Given that autumn is finally showing up in our part of the country it seemed like yesterday was a good day for soup. I started the pot at 8am and let it go until around 5pm. It was amazing. There were onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, white beans, fire roasted corn, fire roasted crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, veggie broth, fresh spinach, and tiny pasta. No recipe for this, I just made it up as I went. Some of the veggies I used had been lingering in the fridge for awhile and some we picked up on an unexpected trip to Whole Foods yesterday. Honestly, probably one of the Top 5 pots of soup I’ve ever made. One of the best things about cooking a giant pot of soup for just two people is that I got 3 dinners and 6 lunches out of that one session of cooking. (the lunch bowls are in the freezer)

Part of how I show love is through food. I am by no means a chef, I don’t do gourmet things, and I’m not very good with baking. But I like to try new things and I find cooking to be a creative outlet. And I am known (sometimes lovingly teased) about offering food to my friends any chance I get.

But I do like to cook big batches of things that freeze well because it just makes me feel more secure somehow to know that there’s always nutritious food in the house that isn’t going to require hours to prepare. Call me silly, I just don’t find that I enjoy fast food most of the time anymore. And if there’s food already prepared in the house that just needs warmed up I’m far less likely to end up making questionable choices about my meals. (I said less likely…)

Garth typically takes his afternoon nap (one of them at least) on the doormat in the sunroom. He kind of just lays there in a melted little puddle of kitty and he’s so stinkin’ cute that I have to rub his little white belly. And then I bleed.

having a salad for lunch and following it with a chunk o’ chocolate cake = balance at it’s finest

I didn’t do that, not today, but it certainly is in keeping with my idea of balance. Life is not something to be suffered through, depriving oneself of all pleasure, subsisting on only healthy food. I have no desire to die extremely old and leave behind a well preserved corpse. So much better to enjoy life now while I can and leave my meat-suit stranded along the side of a lovely avenue when it’s finally my time to shuffle off the well-worn mortal coil.

Yikes, that’s way more morbid that I planned. Moving on…

A bouquet of flowers that’s actually safe to leave on the dining room table

I may have mentioned that Lancelot has gotten pretty heavy into LEGO lately, or maybe I didn’t, but he has and I think it’s awesome. Putting together kits was something I had done many years ago and enjoyed, but then stopped doing for some reason. I’ve picked it up again, though not with the same excitement that he has. (I have yarn, he doesn’t. This is also balance.) I’m also kinda picky about what I want to do, and that limits my choices.

I have seriously enjoyed seeing how the keen folks at LEGO have managed to come up with this botanical series, but the end result really does look like flowers. So fucking cool. We’ve also explored a new little shopping strip in town because L found that there’s a store that sells nothing but LEGO and sells used kits, which turned out to be a total score because they had a Doctor Who set that L really wanted. And they also had the tiny Baby Yoda mini (micro?) fig that is perched on one of the flower leaves.

In that same strip is a fantastic Indian grocery and a really good bar & grill that has the most amazing soft pretzels. Our Saturday was packed but in an extremely satisfying way.

And now, we knit. I had purchased some close-out yarn online and then immediately found the perfect pattern for a vest. Progress!!!

Nothing is sillier looking than a cat in the middle of yawning

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.

how many is too many?

I have three containers in the guest room closet. One container is for holiday gifts that are done. (Done is defined as the knitting is complete but needs the ends woven in and possibly requires blocking, just FYI) One container is for projects for myself. And the final container is for charity projects.

Holiday gifts = 1 thing

My container = 2 scarves and 4 shawls

Charity container = 4 scarves and 3 washcloths

On the needles right now I currently have:

  • a beaded lace cowl for myself
  • a charity scarf (these are plain old garter stitch with a slipped first stitch)
  • a charity washcloth (super basic garter diagonal thing)
  • a shawl for a holiday gift
  • a lace scarf for myself

I have the variety because I have different knitting moods. That beaded lace cowl is going to be amazing but it’s slow as fuck because of the beads. The holiday gift shawl is easy enough but it’s the sort of thing that you really need to have time to do a whole section at a time; way too easy to get lost if you don’t. The lace scarf for me is a very simple two-row repeat. The charity pieces are very simple and are perfect for when I want to knit but not think.

I also have some projects that involve beads and recycled jewelry. I just need some time and a bit of ambition.

Eric’s projects all involve naps

holiday weekend hangover

I very much resemble this remark today

For those of you in the States I hope you were able to enjoy the Labor Day holiday weekend. For those of you living elsewhere, I hope you were able to enjoy a regular weekend. Every weekend should be a holiday in my opinion. That perfect blend of “getting shit done that I’m too fucking tired for during the week” and “sitting around in elastic-waist pants watching horrible TV and eating sketchy food.” It’s really a beautiful thing.

We really did get a good quantity of stuff done which made me feel fantastic. We ran a few errands and then tackled the pantry. Our house was built in the very late 1970s so the pantry is not original to the house and is, in all reality, a nicely oversized cabinet that was added to serve this specific purpose. All I really needed to do was another Magic 4th Grader Allowance Makeover (TM) by moving one shelf and adding some organizer basket-y things. Lancelot was an amazing help with this. So now we have things better organized and that makes it easier to do things like this…

Tofu & Black Bean Nachos

Yesterday was Meatless Monday and my friend K had come over to hang out with me and learn how to crochet. We had a blast. And she was able to stay for dinner and is into this whole vegetarian thing so she spiffed up the beans while I got the tofu in shape. It was super yummy.

On the knitting front I have managed to finish two scarves for charity and I’ve started a third. I’m about halfway, maybe more, on the first holiday gift and I’ve identified two others. And I purchased a gift, which makes two so far, both for the same person, so as soon as the knit thing is done that person’s goodies are finished. Yay.

All of that means I have not been working on the beaded cowl for myself, but that’s totally fine. I’ve realized that half the joy of knitting for me is just the knitting itself. It doesn’t matter if what I’m making is for me, for someone I love, or for someone needs to know that someone out there gives a shit about them. The act of knitting connects me on a spiritual level with my grandmother who taught how to do this when I was eight years old.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cry quietly in the corner after realizing just long ago that was…

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.

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.

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