I’ve tried some new recipes that were mostly successful
we’re having a small group of friends over tomorrow night to celebrate a late St. Patrick’s, early birthday, and the start of our vacation
I have now lost 24lbs
I’m quite excited about how things are going with the weight loss. I have been trying to make sure that I not only get my steps in but I also pay attention to my calories and eat a good variety of food, including healthy fats, and that I’m getting plenty of water. It’s a process, to be sure, but there are definitely pieces of this that are just second nature now. And that, probably more than anything else, makes me ridiculously happy.
Well, also, my pants are starting to be way too baggy. That makes me pretty fucking happy too.
Tomorrow morning I’m going with Mom to get a manicure, something I haven’t done since right before Lancelot and I got married last August. I certainly don’t feel like having the one shot is going to magically make me bullet-proof, but it gives me hope. I do feel like there are a few more things I can do, still carefully, and that I don’t need to worry quite constantly or quite as much. It will still be many months, if not until next year, before I feel safe to travel anywhere other than by driving our car. I’m just not ready for planes yet.
I am ready for restaurants, and that’s pretty exciting. We’ve done a lot of take out in the last year, generally just once a week but still. There’s just something about actually going in somewhere and enjoying a good meal. I’m even going to get spiffed up. For my outing on Sunday with my folks I have a black dress that I’ve never worn that actually fits very nicely now.
Some days I find myself cooking more and some days I find myself making a ham and havarti grilled sandwich on whole wheat bread. It’s called The New Balance and I really kind of like it.
Part of what I’ve been doing is figure out how to use the pantry and freezer bits that I already have on hand given that I’m trying to eat healthier. Tricky? Indeed. Impossible? Not at all.
The chicken noodle soup, one of my favorites this time of year, came together with only things I had on hand. I had the chicken in the freezer (rotisserie chicken I had picked up at Costco), the stock was in the pantry, and the veggies were in the fridge. I spent time one evening getting everything started, stuck the pot in the fridge, and then last night brought everything to a boil and tossed in the noodles. Twenty minutes later I had dinner.
I’ve also been doing my typical “hunt for interesting recipes that I know use the stuff I have” thing and I’m finding some really great ideas. Part of it is being willing to try new things, like really exploring different cuisines like Thai and Indian food as well as vegetarian dishes.
Anyway, I’m having some fun with this and that means I’m still sticking with it. I’ll try to remember to do my official check in tomorrow, but I know I’ve been doing better with this. I’m getting to where I really look forward to doing a 30 minute walk, and I think part of that is because I’ve switched from doing it very early in the morning to doing it after work before I have dinner. The physical activity helps me unwind from my work day.
I really don’t feel like I look much different yet, but there’s the chin. I did go get my hair trimmed a tiny bit this morning, mostly to keep me from shaving my own head while I’m trying to let my hair grow out. So far so good. It is funny (I think) but the back at the base of my neck is starting to curl up. I’m kind of excited to see how long it gets this time.
The longer I’m on this whole “getting healthier” journey the more things I think of that scare me and make me want to just quit and go back to my old habits. But then I remember Carrie. ❤
I’m not getting a pic taken quite every day, but more often than not I do. My hair is getting long enough on top that it will happily curl if I don’t tame it with the blow dryer. And I have officially lost 10lbs.
That might not seem like much, I mean I have been at this since January 2nd, but it feels like a whole lot and it feels healthy. I have had days were I gained back a little but then I lost it again, with an overall downward trend. I’ve never lost more than 2lbs in a single day. All of this combined with not feeling deprived makes me one very happy camper.
And Lancelot really is in this with me. Yesterday he helped me prep fruit salad bowls for both of us and he has happily agreed to eat whatever I cook for him. And he helped me figure out a menu for the week that’s going to be easy and healthy. That makes life a hell of a lot easier.
I’m still fighting with the skin issue, and that makes getting enough activity a big problem. Fortunately that is finally subsiding so I was able to get a short walk in yesterday, just 15 minutes, but it felt good. I’m going to try to do that again today. I’ve also decided that water would probably be good for me. Shocking, right? But I don’t like water, not at all. I do, however, like water that has had fresh lemon in it. So…
Meet Llulu the Llemony Llama. I had purchased this bottle quite some time ago and decided that it just wasn’t my thing. But I had paid way too much to just ditch it. Now that I work at home and can refill this as often as necessary I’m thinking it will work perfectly for my water. And I’m even going to try to remember to track how much I drink with this thing. That’s a 1L bottle (little more than 16oz) so I would need to drink four of those to hit my “daily water recommendation.” The volume is no problem, it’s the taste. We shall see.
In other exciting news we are in the middle of yet another nasty winter storm. We’re in for 10″ of snow and nasty winds. Travel is not advised. Snow day for pretty much everyone in the area.
I’ve been thinking a lot here recently about changes. Why am I wanting to make changes? What changes do I really want to make? Why now?
Part of what I realized is that some of the changes I want to make now are ones that I’ve tried to make before, but wasn’t successful. Why? Is that important to know?
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. I’m done being insane.
This is my official “before” picture. Yes, I want to be healthier. I want to be able to ditch some of the meds I take because I want my body to be in better physical condition. But let’s face it, I’m doing this in part because I want to look better.
So why do I think things might be different this time? Because of Lancelot. He supports this decision to make a change, he’s doing parts of this with me, and when I get frustrated he asks what he can do to help.
That right there is love.
I realized this morning that I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Let’s be honest, this is a whole lot of change and it’s happening kinda quickly. Plus there’s that whole changing of the guard thing going on in D.C., I’m still fighting some kind of sinus crud, the skin issues continue to be an issue, and I am seriously thinking about chocolate right now. That’s an awful lot.
I’m not sure if my need for routines is something tied to my mental illness or some personality trait or what, but I live and die by routines and that is the flat out truth. Change brings about the need for new routines, which is wonderful. But just like it takes some time for new habits to form, it takes some time to work out new routines. And right now I’m trying to do both.
Part of what I need to do, as I see it anyway, is to start by prioritizing. I’m learning about (relearning a lot actually) a ton of things that will all help on my journey to “healthy.” But if I try to take on too many of these little changes at once they’re going to overwhelm me.
You can drown in a thimble-full of water just as easily as in a swimming pool.
I have started to make some changes that are sticking. I’m wearing my Fitbit every day and aiming to get at least my minimum step goal set by Noom. I’m trying to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day, but some days that just won’t happen. So I will at least hit that minimum. I’ve decided I really want to get up to busting 10k every day. But not today.
Activity is starting to change; good. I just need to figure out what the routines are that go with my activity to make it easier to maintain those good habits. Now onto food.
Part of what I do every day is log my meals and snacks, and my drinks if they have calories. Y’all know how I feel about my iced coffee and I was Not Willing to give that up, and I haven’t. Now when I make it I measure everything and my milk is unsweetened coconut milk. It’s actually quite tasty.
I will honestly tell you that I’m not feeling deprived with this new way of eating, though it too is a little frustrating. It isn’t second nature to me and so I keep feeling like my “meals” are really just these odd collections of ingredients that never quite made it into a dinner. Does that even make sense?
For example, I have found myself eating pickles, roast beef lunch meat, a hard boiled egg, and an apple – as a meal. It’s fine, those are all foods I enjoy, but… Yeah, it’s weird. I’m getting there though. Breakfast has been the easiest because I typically have my coffee, a fruit smoothie, and overnight oats. That “feels” like breakfast and the stuff goes together. One meal down at least.
At any rate, there ya go. I’m going to work on activity and just getting the hang of this food stuff first. There’s lots of other stops to make on this journey but those two seem like they belong together, and like they’re going to form the foundation of my success.
I don’t know about any of the rest of you but sometimes when I get good and pissed off I need to do something that’s kind of destructive but in reality is very productive. And, sick and this is, I often find that to be cleaning. Or making a plan for something. Or purging things from the house that we don’t need. You get the gist.
So last night after my work holiday Zoom party cocktail wore off I got to work. I had told Lancelot earlier in the week that I want the grocery run this morning to be the last we make until after the first of the year. (might have to go for milk but that’s a really quick trip)
With the upcoming holiday turning stores into battlefields in a normal year, and the rising positivity rates with Rona, and the fact that this is December in the Midwest so we could have major snow any fucking day now, I just want to have a well stocked arsenal of snacks and booze pantry and freezer.
As such I’ve been working on a rather massive undertaking to see what we have on hand already, what recipes I have most of the stuff for, and what other bits do I need to complete those. Lists are how I function.
I now have a list of THIRTY meals, just dinners, and I’ve split them into things I can make during the week and a few that would have to be done when L is home to eat at the same time with me. My grocery list (which is organized by what stuff is geographically close to what other stuff so hopefully I don’t fucking forget anything this time!) is kind of massive but a lot of it is either canned goods or things that start as frozen or things that will go in the freezer until I need them.
I’m not planning to do a ton of prep ahead of time but I know if I have my plan and I have all of the necessary components on hand I’m much more likely to actually make dinner.
I don’t know about y’all, but when I get to feeling down one of the very first self-care type things that goes out my window is cooking for myself. And I know that’s not healthy, so here I am trying to solve that problem. I feel good about this.
Not that I’m going to assume anyone is really all that interested, but in case you find yourself needing some kitchen inspiration, here’s my list.
CP tortellini w/ Alfredo
CP penne w/ Italian sausage and marinara
roasted veggies and sausage
CP roast w/ potatoes and carrots
spaghetti w/ meat sauce
CP chicken enchilada casserole
chicken noodle bake
CP pork tenderloin w/ pineapple
CP sweet and sour chicken
spam fried rice
veg fried rice
CP chicken curry
CP shrimp curry
CP pork chops w/ apples and kraut
cheddar sausages w/ mac and cheese
barley and beef soup
quick skillet lasagna
cranberry chipotle pork ribs
italian pork w/ sweet potatoes
tempura shrimp w/ rice pilaf
chicken legs in the air fryer w/ veggies
chicken sandwiches w/ chips
burgers w/ tater tots
CP is my abbreviation for crock pot, just FYI. Some of these I have actual recipes for and some of them are things I’ve been making for so long I just do it. I will happily share my chicken curry recipe with you. The original recipe came with my pressure cooker thing but then I modified the hell out of it.
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
Small onion, diced
Assorted veggies – we commonly use diced bell pepper, sliced zucchini, frozen green beans, and baby carrots – whatever suits your mood
Toss all of that in a slow cooker.
The sauce is:
2 cans of coconut milk
1 Tbs dried basil
¾ tsp grated ginger (I often use the fresh stuff in a tube, either works)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.