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.

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.

cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it

I can’t take credit for today’s title. The young man I work with, the one who is honestly young enough to be my offspring, told me that one the other day. Someone he’s related to – a cousin maybe? – uses that one with her daughter. I like it. And it fits today.

So, if you ever wondered how many containers it took me to make my chai tea this morning the answer is three. One disposable coffee cup to get hot water, one plastic bowl to put the powder in (because I could just scoot it from the jar that I was holding above it, and then the insulated mug that had the hot water in it. I am shaking something fierce right now and I Do Not Like It One Bit. But I managed to do it without asking for help.

In the category of things that I do not find amusing this morning, my new beautiful purple tights started creep down my ass as I was walking into the building this morning. There’s a game of Russian Roulette that you never want to play.

But I’m wearing a new shawl and I look rather fabulous.

I can’t remember the specs for this other than it’s called something like “Garden Shawlette” and it would been available on Ravelry. It has leaves along the edge and it was a very quick knit because it uses worsted weight yarn. I opted for some kind of lovely wool that changes colors. The pin today is a copper rose, hand made, found on Etsy of course.

all the seasons at once

This part of the country is notorious for having wide temperature ranges within a single day. For example, it was 41F on my drive in this morning and will get to a high of 70F this afternoon. Nothing like wearing jeans and sandals out of necessity. So since the weather is turning colder, Mom and I rolled up the garden hose in the back yard yesterday. Pippy had to help.

She chased and drank the water coming out of the other end of the hose

The weekend was good, nice and relaxing. Lancelot and I had delivery pizza for dinner Friday night and ate our dinner on the couch while watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. We love that show. And that was the Friday evening I needed. Saturday was breakfast at the restaurant where we had our first date and then errands. Our friends came over that night for a UFC pay per view and brought dinner from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That was a late night but a good night.

Sunday we went and saw Joker. I don’t recommend it. The acting was amazing and the story was great, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think I have ever in my life seen a darker film that wasn’t a realistic portrayal of war.

This is a very realistic portrayal of what mental illness can look like, particularly when the person doesn’t have access to adequate medical resources.

It hit L very hard. I was thankful that I was there with him. When we got back to his apartment I told him that we’d talk about it in the car, get it out, but then leave it outside. The darkness didn’t need to follow us. So we talked, and cried, and held each other. By the time I left I think we were both doing better.

A dark puppy who was too many toys in her bed, that’s the kind of dark I want

In addition to hose winding yesterday I managed to get my laundry done (only one load, WOOT! I must be doing better at keeping on top of it), put my miscellaneous stuff from L’s away, outfits and jewelry for the week, plenty of knitting on the World’s Most Boring Shawl, and I mixed up some Chai Tea.

Everything tastes better in a dragon mug

I found the recipe on Pinterest and it was stupid easy. I split it into two jars, one for home and one for the office. It doesn’t compare to what I enjoyed in New Dehli, but it’s not too damn bad. Oh, that blue flower, that’s one of my fused glass creations.

rainy days and mondays always get me down

Or is that “bring” me down… Who cares. Mondays suck. Today is extra suck.

The weekend was interesting. We went to two “new to us” restaurants and had really good food. We also got the grocery shopping done and I got a reasonable amount of knitting done. All good stuff.

There was also some discussion that probably should have happened about a year ago. But life is what it is. Moving on.

I’m looking forward to my life getting back to what passes as normal for me.

Garth snuggled on the couch with me yesterday for awhile