life goes goofy

Lancelot and I had a really good weekend, in spite of me not feeling great part of the time. We did get our finances joined – yay – and our errands run, including a trip to a local bee/honey store. That was awesome. On Saturday we went so I could get yet another blood draw (more on that in a bit), we actually got to eat breakfast at our favorite bagel place (because no one else was in the dining room!), and we got our monthly massages. We were supposed to go out for dinner to celebrate our one month anniversary but I was exhausted and decided that there was no way I would enjoy it.

So instead we relaxed the rest of the day and got take out food from our favorite Thai restaurant.

Yesterday I got a call from the doc’s office about the blood draw. Back when I got to go see the special blood doc they had done some test to check my liver and kidney function. Those numbers were not good so I had to have those tests done again. Evidently my liver is ok but my kidneys might not be. I had to schedule an appointment to see the psych doc (GP thinks this might be from the Lithium) and I’m waiting for a call to get an appointment with a kidney specialist.

At any rate, after I found out about that my body decided that it was really not amused and I called it quits at 1pm. I camped out on the couch with the dog and my latest knitting project. I feel marginally better today. I honestly think I’m having issues from a sinus infection. I’ve got a lot of drainage and a wicked headache right where my sinus cavities are. No fun.

On the knitting front, I had L help me wind up yarn for two projects over the weekend. The one I’m actively working on right now is Syyslaulu, inspired by the one that NothingButKnit made. I decided to make mine with yarn I brought back from Ireland last spring; S Twist Wool. The label says that it’s mixed mountain fleece from Tipperary. It’s beautiful shades of soft orange that I think will be wonderful with this pattern. I just wish the yarn itself was softer.

That is the shawl, though that’s a horrible likeness of the actual color. I took this pic this morning at around 6am while I was waiting to go get L from work. This is how I often get to knit in the morning, complete with the little black dog nose. And yes, I tend to keep my current projects in small rigid tote bags. It keeps them mostly safe from critters.

I can’t remember the other upcoming project, only that it’s also a shawl (surprise!) and that the yarn is Knit Picks in some shade of dark purple. Also, it has a lace edge. Yeah totally not like me. Right.

I did order and receive some stunning lampwork beads here recently that I need to do something with. I got a large focal bead and some smaller accent beads that I think I’ll turn into earrings. All I know is that I need to get crafty again soon.

I’ve also been working on the whole meal planning thing.  Tonight’s dinner, meatballs and mushroom gravy, is in the crock pot already. I’m trying to figure my menu out ahead of time so I can order only the groceries we really need.

So that’s where I am right now. Sitting in my office wishing I was knitting instead of working.

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.

week in review

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Oh wait, wrong story. Let me try again.

For a first week of the semester this hasn’t sucked ass too badly. We did have some serious tech issues to start things on Monday, but that’s been the worst of it. So that was good.

And I got some knitting done. I actually managed a lot of knitting, including this beauty.

It very desperately needs to be blocked but I don’t even care. It’s amazing. Then this morning I pulled this out of hiding and finished it.

It did end up much longer, like scarf length, which was the plan. The next project on the block is either going to be another scarf that’s in pieces and just needs assembled OR  it might be a pair of cabled fingerless mitts for my friend K. Those currently consist of a single ribbed cuff.

It feels good to be finishing some projects. Yesterday I didn’t feel like I had much mental capability so I cleaned up my office. It helped. This afternoon before I wake L up I’m planning on tearing apart the guest bathroom off the main hallway. There’s an overabundance of junk in there.

Lancelot and I have lived together in this house a little more than four months and we’re still working to get everything in place. Sometimes you just have to take your best guess as to how you’ll want things setup and then step back for a while and see how it goes. I’m finding myself at the point where I’m ready to make some changes. The other day I swapped the contents of two drawers because they just weren’t working.

Perhaps I’m mental. Perhaps.

Perhaps I eat a lot of chicken curry. Yes, yes I do. I’ve decided it’s one of the easiest dinners I can cook without really cooking anything. I do everything except the rice in the slow cooker so it’s total minimal effort. And I found the tiny naan at the grocery store. They fit in the toaster so you can easily have them nice and warm. It’s perfect!

This week’s cheap and cheerful grocery store bouquet. I’ve decided that having fresh flowers makes me ridiculously happy and is well worth the small price tag.

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.

nothing like the smell of progress

I do love it when a plan comes together, don’t  you?

My office is essentially done. Finally. The only thing I need now is a better chair. And yes, that’s Eric the Red snoozing in his bed. I quite often have him and Pippy in here napping while I work. I’d like to think that’s because they enjoy my company but they could just as easily be taunting me with the fact that they get to sleep while I must toil away.

Lancelot helped me bring all of my files from the desk in the basement up here this morning. I’m sure there’s still stuff down there that should be moved, but this got a good chunk of it. Given what I struggle with in the “scrambled brains” department it’s essential that I have a system to stay organized.

We’re finally at a point where the things we have left to do are pretty much purely cosmetic. I’ve got some new artsy things to put on the walls and a few pictures to frame, but really everything that’s left is little. And that’s good. Because…

Now it’s time to get back to better meal planning and concentrating on my health. L got the treadmill cleared off and setup for me and I found my Fitbit this morning and put it on the charger. I’m seriously hoping that I can get myself on some sort of routine that involves better health.

I was pretty seriously concerned about weight gain when the plague started. I figured there was a very real possibility that I would end up weighing 600lbs. So I started weighing myself, nothing more and nothing less. I wasn’t trying to lose any weight, I just didn’t want to gain any. As of the last time I checked I had gained a total of 2lbs since March 23rd. I think that’s pretty fucking fabulous.

If any of y’all have any good (easy?) recipes to share, maybe slow cooker or pressure cooker, I would love to hear about them.

where did I put that brilliant idea? I know I had one just a minute ago…

I can’t lie, I’m getting burned out. I’m trying not to let it happen but it is. I’m bored with being home so much but at the same time the idea of going “out” to do the things are allowed now just kind of freaks the hell out of me. Aside from the weekly grocery run this weekend we did go and get massages, and that was a Very Big Deal.

But the woman we go to is incredibly careful, in all things, and works out of a very small shop. We had to keep our masks on while she did the “face up” bits and then when we flipped over she had a pillow case contraption under the headrest that meant we could take the masks off. Everything thoroughly cleaned even between L and I. And it was heavenly to have a massage again. Yes, I am spoiled, but I was 100% willing to wear the mask and follow guidelines.

My big outing this morning was to campus, which even though it’s closed I was able to get onto because I’m considered “essential personnel.”

I’m not excited about that designation though it appears to come with perks. Not many.

But my trusty little laptop was being a little bitch and I figured it had something to do with not connecting to the MotherShip on campus in too long, and I was right. It had something like 20 Windows updates to run and it finally, after several weeks, fully acknowledged my new password. I was only there for a few hours but it was time well spent. She’s purring like a kitten now.

Wedding stuff is coming along nicely. My attire is all here – dress, shoes, headband, and jewelry – with the exception of what I’ll need to wear under my dress, and I’m not entirely sure how I’m handling that what with not really being able to try things on. I’ll figure it out. Lancelot’s kilt and whatnot have all been ordered and will hopefully be here in plenty of time. My flowers are here and they’re beautiful. We’ve got our application for the marriage license almost done (I need one stinking date!!!). The biggest thing yet is to decide where we’re having it.

I have been knitting some, still on the damn entrelac scarf. I’m starting to think it might actually be legit cold weather wear instead of a decorative piece. I need to see how it looks with my winter coat.

Tonight I’m thinking I might embark on a totally new adventure – quilling. I’ve been seeing all of these amazing things on Pinterest (BANE OF MY EXISTENCE!!!) that I really want to try. I mentioned it to L and showed him a kit I’d found on Amazon, and so the kit showed up the other day. I’m hoping that because it doesn’t have to be quite as precise as origami (I hope?) that I’ll be able to do it. Pics if I can make it work!

I’m still futzing around in the kitchen, trying to use the food we have on hand and not buy a ton of stuff. Are any of you trying to clean out the pantry in creative ways?

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.

the smell of a plan first thing in the morning

I will make a plan for you Mama! I am good with the computer!

In all fairness, this is not first thing in the morning. First thing in my morning was probably around 3am with Dogzilla woke me up to go out. She was slightly more gentle about it today. We started by squeaking the toy that Garth had thoughtfully left on the bed for us. Once she realized I was half-conscious she put her paw on my shoulder and looked at me.

Have you ever just known that a dog was looking you square in the face even though it was near pitch black in the room? It’s a scary thing, even if that dog is a 21.6lb black puppy with very curly hair. And it’s scary because it’s the look that means “I will pee on this bed if I have to, try me.”

I digress, as usual.

I would love to have a plan today but it’s Monday and I’m still a little wore out from the weekend. We had dinner with Mom and R on Friday night, mostly so I could deliver her Mother’s Day flowers a little early.

She loves fresh flowers and this big ol’ arrangement had a little bit of everything in it. What you can’t see in this picture are the cluster of Stargazer Lilies on the other side. She’s carrying a bouquet of those when she gets married next month.

His smile really is what I fell in love with. He’s such a gentle soul, and a good son-in-law. Those flowers were overly full of cold water and he wore a significant amount of that on the drive over.

Anyway, Saturday we took the pup to the vet for an allergy issue, ran errands, then I ran all over the neighborhood because the pup got out and was being obstinate. Good times. And then on Sunday we did brunch here at the house. I made a breakfast casserole that my mom and L really like and a batch of peach bread pudding. It was a lovely morning.

Aren’t they adorable together?

So are we. And yes, now that my hair is short in front I’ve decided it can be curly because I’m not interested in fighting with it. I’ll leave you with one last delightful little image…

This is my kitty and I loves him lots.

it’s a thing I do

I was finally able to get my hair cut today and DAMMIT did I get it cut! The front is way shorter than it was because it had gotten so fucking long that half the time I could only see out of one damn eye and it annoyed me. ANNOYED. So today I told my stylist to hack that shit off, and the shit was hacked, and I’m happy. It’s cute. And Lancelot likes it, so that’s all that really matters I guess.

Yes, it’s May and I’m wearing a sweater. The wind has been blowing like an F5 tornado here and it’s cold. I don’t like to be hot but I’m also not keen on being cold in May.

I’ve still been doing my meal planning stuff and apparently doing a good job. L has loved every meal I’ve made. Granted, he has kind of low standards if you ask me, but still. I’m doing my own invention tonight and I have high hopes. I’ve got pork chops in the crock pot with a can of Coke Zero (it was lingering in the fridge, don’t judge). I’m about to go add a healthy amount of chunky cherry jam to it. I’m thinking it would work well with sweet potatoes but I don’t know if I have any.

Wish me luck!

These two are lazy. This is where they spend damn near every afternoon. Once L goes to sleep they get bored and hang out with me.

fun in the kitchen

The meatball experiment was highly successful. I enjoyed them last night and Lancelot finished them today. I’m realizing that the Crock Pot really will be saving my ass.

I don’t consider myself much of a cook though Mom and Lancelot enjoy what I make. I am definitely NOT a baker. Things that involve precise measuring are just not my thing. I’d much rather cook and toss random stuff in a pot and hope for the best.

Today’s experiment is Hawaiian Chicken. I found the “recipe” on Pinterest and it seems like it should be as easy as the Easy Peachy Pork Chops the other day. (those pork chops were supposed to be chicken but they’re both white meat, right? and damn were they tasty) This time it’s chicken breasts, BBQ sauce, and a can of pineapple. Stupid easy, right? I’ve got the chicken cooking now and I’ll add the other ingredients after my work day is done.

Eating 99% of our meals at home now has got me thinking about cooking and food a little different. We’re trying really hard not to waste anything and I’ve even gone back to trying to come up with menus. I might do the whole menu thing different from most people. I look at a week, seven days, and make sure I have all of the ingredients for eight possible meals. Based on what I know about myself (I am LAZY!) I know that if I have everything I need to cook in the house I am way more likely to actually do it.

It’s weird, maybe, but we don’t eat out near as much as we used to. For us that might be because of COVID-19 but it also might be because of living together, I honestly don’t know. I do know that a lot of the people I work with are eating a lot of takeout right now, but I don’t know if that was normal for them in the “good ol’ days” or what.

Lancelot and I have done takeout twice, not counting fast food drive thru a few times, and both times were from a local Mexican restaurant we like to go to. It’s been wonderful; they’re offering family packs that are enough for two meals for us. Plus, take out margaritas. But it’s not something we’ve done often.

At any rate, I’ll try to remember to get a picture of today’s dinner experiment.