letting it all flow

Fused glass vase

I haven’t been writing much lately because I haven’t been spending much time with the computer, and I can’t do this much typing in my phone. I might have mentioned this, can’t remember. Anyway, I’ve been doing the whole “living a life worth living” thing here lately and I have to say, I’m seriously enjoying it.

The finally completed Old Shale Cowl

I’ve been spending most of my free time during the week knitting and then on the weekends after errands and chores are done I’ll tinker with jewelry and sometimes Lego. It’s hard to both mess with the phone and knit at the same time so… Yeah. But I’m really enjoying myself and I still have not purchased any new yarn. I’m very excited about that and about my “making stuff” goals.

Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

One of my other goals is to try at least two new recipes every month and that’s been a huge success. So far we haven’t had anything that wasn’t good enough to tweak and try again. That blueberry thing was supposed to be something else, but I didn’t read the recipe quite carefully enough and then ran out of time to get it fixed, so I massively improvised. It’s a cross between a baked French Toast and bread pudding. It was entirely delicious. And fortunately I did write down the ingredients and quantities, so one of these days I’ll write up the recipe.

Puddle of Kitty

The other “excitement” we’ve had recently is finding out that Garth has asthma. He had been doing this dry cough thing at random times, but it didn’t seem to bother him. And then it did. So the vet did some x-rays and it really looks a whole lot like human asthma. Based on how much fun it was to do the x-rays she recommended we start treatment by giving him a steroid shot. The little buddy would not do well with pills. He seems to be better now, though only time will tell.

I’m a firm believer in Art Therapy, and what that means for me is finding ways to express myself creatively, knowing that the outlet helps me to feel centered and really it just recharges my batteries. I shared a picture of a jewelry set I had made on a social media platform and added the tag of “bipolar” to it. And then someone questioned if it was about bipolar, I’m guessing because neither the image or the actual text mention the disorder and I wasn’t talking directly about medications or side effects or how awful bipolar is or any of the other thousand things people tend to talk about.

I replied with basically what I’ve just said here; the creative outlet is how I recharge and so I definitely do see this as related to bipolar. And I stand by that. But it saddens me that there are trolls in every sub-group.

2 down, 10 to go

I didn’t necessarily plan it this way but hey, it’s the end of February! I am not too disappointed that I haven’t been posting super regularly because it’s been because I’ve been involved with doing other things, like life. And adulting. Generally I would say that “life” is much more enjoyable than “adulting,” but not always. But I digress.

Ignore the black lines

I managed to get back to the glass studio this past weekend and had a delightful time. That flower thing will be a “pretty” that sits in a frame on a table. It was fun to make, especially now that I’ve figured out how to work with the glass and work around my hands not wanting to cooperate all the time.

Dinner last night! Red lentils and chicken thighs

Lancelot and I have been cooking together, pretty much every night, and it’s wonderful. We’ve decided it’s probably time to start getting to work on my whole “lose 50lbs by the end of the year” thing so I’m opting for even more health recipes. Never a bad thing really.

I am also happy to report that this month I completed no fewer than 13 creative projects, and that makes me very happy indeed.

an interesting thing happened on the way to the symposium…

It’s odd, well maybe not, but I think it is. I’ve essentially quit Facebook. I still have an account but I don’t have the app on my phone, it doesn’t come up on my work computer at all, and I just don’t check it anymore. Once in a great while Lancelot will tell me about something, usually dealing with our new niece or with a close friend, and I’ll go out there just to see that single thing. But that’s it.

I’ve realized that this has freed up a remarkable about of time for other things. Like knitting. Like watching shows I enjoy. Like talking to my husband.

I am still posting photos on Instagram, and I keep up with a few people that way. But I’ve decided that I’d really rather talk to the people I care about and spend less time just randomly on the internet.

The one real downside to that is I’m spending less time with my personal laptop turned on and so less time reading blogs, and less time writing here. These are trade-offs I supposed.

I feel like an update is in order, so here goes…

I am still knitting and making progress, which is good. We’ve been working on trying new recipes and it’s been more like once a week as opposed to every other week. And I’m still working on various Lego kits that continue to arrive. I think today I’m going to make some tulips and sunflowers. The next “big” kit is a typewriter.

One of our favorite meals for Meatless Monday is Tofu and Black Bean nachos

starting off proper

One of the goals I had set for last year was to explore vegetarian cooking and try to incorporate that into our lifestyle. I actually found that I really enjoy it. We have not switched to an entirely vegetarian diet, but we do make a point of having at least one meatless meal every week. And because it’s catchy (and I think something they did during WWII?) we go with Meatless Mondays. Tonight’s dinner will be an delish vegetarian chili made in the Instant Pot. It’s tasty, healthy, and really quite filling.

Now where is that recipe for BBQ squirrel?

On Saturday Lancelot helped me with a project that’s really needed to be done, and especially not since I’m going to be trying to expand my recipe horizons. That mess spread all over the table was the contents of my recipe box, my mother’s recipe box, and my grandmother’s recipe box. It was hard to find anything because there were duplicates, cards with very sketchy info, and names that didn’t always make sense to us. So instead of filing things in alphabetical order we decided to group them by type, like “Appetizer” or “Drink” or “Breakfast.” It’s in much better shape now and should actually be useful. And yes, there is actually a recipe for BBQ squirrel. My mom said it was pretty tasty.

Aronia cowl made with Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in “Tapestry”

The cowl is gorgeous. I was a little concerned about doing lace with yarn that has so much color, but I think it looks amazing. I’ll be wearing it later this week. Right now I’m focusing my attention on getting the big mohair piece done. I’m envisioning a wide, long shoulder wrap type piece that will have three large buttons and multiple ways to fasten them. Yes, this is kind of a riff on Rectangulum but I have high hopes that it’s going to be amazing.

confessions of a coffee junkie

There was a time when I would go through the coffee shop drive through every day on my way to work and get a mocha. Sometimes I would also go to the coffee shop on campus in the afternoon and get another mocha. I had a $200/month coffee habit and thought nothing of it. I didn’t have the equipment to make what I wanted, or any knowledge of how to make it, so I happily forked out a sizeable amount of money to have someone else do it for me.

My daily habit finally came to a halt when my finances dried up some and there wasn’t near as much money in my budget for frivolous things like fancy coffee. But I didn’t want to give it up entirely. I mean honestly, coffee is like the nectar of the gods, I was not about to cut that out of the picture entirely.

I started experimenting with what I had on hand which amounted to pretty standard ground coffee from the grocery store, a traditional drip-style coffee pot, and various coffee creamer type things. Since I prefer cold coffee I tried different ways of chilling it, sweetening it, how much dairy stuff to add… You get the picture. But all of this in the name of saving some money, a noble cause indeed.

And then I realized something. By not having fancy coffee shop coffee every day it became an actual treat when I did have it.

I’ve continued to experiment and my current coffee routine involves making a large batch of cold brewed coffee using a Rumble Jar. I almost always use a flavored ground coffee and sweeten the whole batch with Splenda. I add 4C of unsweetened coconut milk and mix it all in a 2 gallon container. When I prepare the coffee to drink I typically add a shot of half & half.

These days I limit myself to the fancy coffee only once a week. But I try to really make it count. I’ve been getting different drinks to try to branch out a bit, and I have a new way of counting this in my budget. Coffee is actually much more expensive than when I was getting it every day, but only one drink a week is easier to absorb. It also makes it easier to tip the baristas. I always plan to spend $10 on my drink, so any change I get goes right into the tip jar.

I would take a little boredom right now, thanks…

Yesterday I had a root canal, the starting work of a crown for that tooth, and I think maybe a filling, I’m honestly not sure. I truly hate having dental work done and so about the only way to get me to tolerate it is to sedate the hell out of me. And that’s what they did.

I was in the chair all told about 5 hours. I remember sort of waking up at the end because my body ached, not my mouth. I kept trying to remove something from my face and my right arm was really sore. At any rate, I don’t really remember much of anything yesterday. My mom and Lancelot did a great job taking care of me.

And now here we are at the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow. One of my dear friends has offered to host so we’re bringing side dishes. I think every family has their own food traditions that go with the holidays. For my family we always had turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and it was always served with sausage dressing (same as stuffing but not cooked inside the bird), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, a cranberry Jell-o salad, and dill pickles stuffed with cream cheese.

Don’t ask cuz I don’t know.

What I do know is I could easily eat my body weight in that dressing. Last year I made extra and wrapped it up really good in an aluminum pan and tucked in the freezer. We ate it last week and it was still as good as the day I put it together.

This is not the recipe for the best dressing in the world, I’d have to look that up. This is a sort of recipe for the smoothie we’ve been drinking a lot lately. You’ll need 2 bananas, unsweetened coconut milk, and pineapple juice (the no sugar added kind). For that many bananas I typically use 1 1/2 C of the coconut milk and juice, but you can adjust to taste; just go for equal parts. Either blend all of that with ice or blend and pour over ice, depending on how big your blender is.

live it

The pressure cooker did not cooperate. It took SIX FUCKING TRIES to get it to work. I do think I finally figured it out and I will be making damn sure it doesn’t happen again. But then putting the leftovers away for Lancelot I misjudged the size of container I should have had and ended up with a Butter Chicken lava flow all over the counter. We shall not speak of this again.

This morning I got up, got my tea made, and picked up one of the previously set-aside projects and got a moderate amount of progress made. That felt really good. I’m debating between working on that again tonight and starting something new. I really think that part of what I need is a little knitting success, like a small-ish project I can finish in a few days. I think a pair of fingerless mitts with a simple cable up the back might do the trick.

I did manage to have some successes with work today. I didn’t manage to wipe out my to-do list for the day, but I got some significant pieces done and that felt good. There’s still plenty left to do, but again, I was in desperate need of some sense of accomplishment.

Have I mentioned how much I love making soup? Because I really fucking love making soup. Only once have I had it not come out very good, and that was my own damn fault. But I rarely use a recipe anymore, I just toss things in the pot and let them simmer. This is veggie beef soup that has onions, garlic, celery, carrots, parsnips, bell peppers, zucchini, and stew meat simmering in a bath of beef broth. And because I took the time to put it all together this morning and let it hang out all day, my dinner is already DONE!!!

Truly, what’s not to love?

Garth decided that Lancelot would make a fine napping spot earlier today. He’s very rarely a “lap kitty” so L did his very best not to move and disturb the little guy.

Find happiness where you can, and write it down so you can revisit it. I’ve been keeping a Gratitude Journal in a word processing file and trying to add to it every day. I manage to write something most days, which is good. I’ve long found this to be a solid addition to my regular routine, though the format has changed. When I was on Facebook I would post my entry every day as just a “post” so now that I’ve basically given up on that platform I keep it to myself. It’s still helpful for me to do, so I’ll keep doing it.

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…

getting closer

You may remember that I made some goals for myself for 2021, six of them actually. I’ve already achieve two of them and I am now Super Duper Close to achieving a third. That would put me half way to what I see as a successful year, and given that the year is about half way through, I see this as excellent progress.

TA DA!!!

Those are the cabled fingerless mitts for K that I started last January 20th. I finished them on June 21, 2021. I’m very pleased with how they worked up and even more pleased that they’re done. And I was totally right, more than enough yarn left to make the basic beanie pattern I love. They look great and she seems quite pleased.

This is making me very happy because there is now only ONE project left from last year, and only two other projects currently on the needles. One is a feather and fan scarf that’s my “I don’t have to concentrate on this” project and the other is a shawl made with mohair and short rows. Don’t ask; I have no earthly idea what I was thinking, but since I started it I feel compelled to finish it.

Oh so yummy

I am still trying to be more mindful about what I eat and drink, which is another goal. To that end I have discovered that I really like making steel cut oats in the slow cooker. That was this morning’s breakfast and that batch of oats were cooked with mashed banana, salted caramel honey, and plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. I use half water and half almond milk for the liquid, so 1C of oats and 4C total of liquid is enough for four breakfasts. So easy and so tasty.

There is a whole lot of hurting going on right now, and I wish I could do more to help. I have several friends who are struggling, all with different things, and I know there are a whole lot of other people struggling just as much but who aren’t saying anything. I want y’all to know that it’s totally ok to ask for help when you need it. Even if what you need is someone to say that you matter, your presence is important, you have a place in this world. Because you do.

propping my eyelids open with toothpicks

He hangs out up there a lot these days

I’m still struggling with my eating habits but I’m very pleased to be able to report that staying home and taking it mostly easy last night seems to have finally done something good for my hip. I can’t say that I slept well last night, we had some ick weather, but I am doing quite well with the whole “not limping around like I’ve misplaced my walker” thing.

If we would actually get some sunlight that would stick around for more than 10 minutes I would love to take pictures of the various projects I’m working on to show y’all that I have not actually been a total slug. But no, more rain and now it’s kind of cold. Yuck.

These two crack me up. They stayed cute like this for the exact amount of time necessary to get the picture. After that Dog Blossom began mercilessly chewing on Garth.

Being the super organized and anal retentive human that I am I have already started gathering things for the trip next week. I am not even the least bit ashamed to say that I have my clothes picked out and hanging together in the closet and I’ve started making my packing list. For a two day trip. By car. Yup, that’s me.

Did I tell y’all about the adventure with steel cut oats in the crock pot? I think I did. Anyway, I have decided that I really do love them, especially since I warmed them up this morning. That was a big ol’ “why the fuck didn’t I try that sooner?” moment. At any rate, I decided that having my breakfast made ahead like that, and so damn healthy, is a Very Good Thing indeed so there’s a batch cooking right now.

This time I am trying whole cranberries (1C in place of the blueberry / banana combo from last time) and a blend of the spices I normally use for my chai coffee (cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger). In true Erin Style I measured only the liquids and the oats. I wing things, it’s what I do.

This weekend I’m making another trip up to campus, this time to retrieve my books. I tore my desk apart this morning trying to make sure there will be enough room for everything. It’s so weird to think that at one point in my life I owned so many “normal” books (ones that were definitely not related to work) that I had a nine-foot tall bookcase that we had made extra shelves for and was stacked double deep. Now my “normal” books all fit in a cubby space above my desk that’s not enough two-foot wide.

But it was a good project because I was able to rearrange some things, make parts of my storage more efficient, and gather some of my treasures together.

Eric slept through all of it.