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.

sketchy bananas, coming to a cereal bowl near you

Steel cut oats with blueberries and bananas

I’ve been trying to stretch my culinary muscles by trying new recipes. Sometimes it is an utter fail. More often it results in a total win, like the picture above. I had purchased steel cut oats because I’d never tried them but had heard that you could cook them in a batch and then have multiple servings for during the week. This appealed to me. So yesterday I did a quick search and found this recipe that not only used the oats but also a few bananas that were at a point of needing to pay me some rent money. This is the recipe I kinda mostly sort of followed.

I have to say that I suck at following recipes like this because I improvise. I think I actually used 3 bananas, because I had them, and there’s no way in hell I measured the honey, vanilla, or cinnamon. I will say, based on the reviews I read, I opted to spray the inside of the crock with non-stick stuff before I started and I’m glad I did. Also, mine resulted in five servings that were approximately 1C each. (that’s what my little containers hold) I did the calorie breakdown based on the original ingredients but then divided for five servings instead of four and I get 252 calories. Not bad for a filling breakfast that took almost no effort.

TA DA!

I finished the flowers the other day. Not like this is fine art or anything, but it does make me happy to have been able to do it. I would like to try to work back up to at least feeling comfortable drawing. I don’t know that I’ll ever quite get back to the skill level that I was at, low as it was, but still. I’d like some small piece of that former artist to be back.

Death to the mousie!!!

I am trying getting back to the healthier way of life. I did some food prep yesterday, in addition to the breakfast oat stuff I boiled a bunch of eggs, and I have the menu for the week figured out. I don’t really have lunches figured out but I might do leftovers. Today will be a baked sweet potato, mostly because it needs to be eaten and that’s something I like. Getting the food situation under control is crucial, but I know I need to get back to walking more.

There’s no excuse. I feel better when I make healthier choices in terms of calorie intake and activity. I’m an intelligent person, I understand causation. I know that every choice I make has a consequence, some good and some not so good. And I’ve done it before, so I can do it again.

For realz yo, like a motherfucker

I know that part of my difficulties right now tie back to the pandemic and the way the world has been lately. I had gotten used to traveling and being able to go wherever, whenever. And then we had to stop all of that so that we could all stay safe and be healthy. Totally worth it and I wouldn’t change anything we did. Lancelot and I have talked and in addition to getting the vaccines we’ll continue to wear masks inside businesses even though the mandates are lifting here.

But I’m tired of this house right now, much as I love it. There’s a very aggressive robin that built her nest above one of the lights on the back deck so I can’t get out in the yard without being attacked, and that isn’t helping. And the changes we’ve wanted to do inside the house are pretty well done. Over the weekend we went to my office and retrieved the rest of my stuff. My Master’s degree is now hanging up here in my home office, the first time it’s ever been hung off that campus.

So life is just fucking odd. And I need to escape, so we’re taking a road trip. L and I have only ever taken two trips together; a short road trip to a really cool little town in Missouri called Weston. I totally recommend it if you’re anywhere near the Midwest. Our other trip was to Ireland. It was amazing and I really want to get back there one day. We will.

Lancelot and I at my birthday dinner

This will be a short road trip, up north a bit this time. I’m ready for it, I need it. We’ll have some time to just be together and I think we need that.

things I do not recommend and a recap of sorts

It’s election season around here, I believe just for city/very local stuff. Lancelot and I vote by absentee/mail in ballot because it’s so much easier with our schedules and it’s one of the few “progressive” things this backward state allows. All of that to say that the election is next Tuesday and I have our ballots sealed up sitting next to me to be dropped at the election commission office this afternoon.

While I was saying goodnight to L our doorbell rang, which is not entirely unusual, but it usually goes along with a delivery truck out front. No truck in sight, and then another ring. Highly unusual. L checked the doorbell camera and saw just two dudes. *grumbles of profanity* It was someone canvasing for one of the candidates. Fine. I had Dog Blossom working like hell to break out so I honestly tell this guy that we’ve already voted. He had the brass cahones to ask me if I had voted for his candidate. I did the only proper thing – I shut him on the other side of the door and locked the deadbolt.

“I said good day, sir!”

The eye doc appointment yesterday was not as amazing as I had hoped it would be. For one thing we waited 90 minutes past my scheduled time to see the doc. Not cool. And for another, I am apparently not a great candidate for the procedure because I’m so young. Why yes, 45 is still considered young in certain circles. I guess your eyes aren’t quite as receptive to this treatment until they have a certain amount of pigment in a particular area. What I do know is that I get to try another kind of drops for 6 weeks to see if that makes any difference. I also know that the anxiety and frustration yesterday resulted in my blood pressure being 172/107. Good times.

Last night’s dinner

I’m still trying out different recipes, many of them from other cultures. L and I both have a fondness for Indian and Thai cuisine in particular. Last night’s dinner came from the “Aarti Paarti” cookbook (Amazon link if you’re interested) and it’s called Kheema. I served it over butternut squash noodles with a piece of chatpat on the side. HOLY HELL. It reminds me a bit of an Italian meat sauce, hence my serving it over the squash noodles. It was amazing, truly.

The ingredients were very “standard” and what I mean by that is I had all but like one thing already on hand, and that one thing was fresh cilantro. It was very straightforward to make and was ready in about half an hour. The chatpat was something L and I picked up at a local Indian market and while not essential, I think it helped to complete the experience. I would definitely recommend this and I will for sure be cooking it again.

shit shifting

When I’m not entirely satisfied with my life, or when I get bored (which is kinda the same), I have a tendency to shake the snowglobe that is my universe and shift shit around. Right now I’m in a funky mood, I think mostly it’s a post-Rona kind of thing, and it’s probably due at least in part to finally feeling like life might return to what I’d like to see as The New Normal.

Mostly what this means is do a bit more cleaning out of the house, buying a few new clothes that actually fit and are kind of stylish, redecorating a tiny bit by moving things from one place to another, and trying a ton of new recipes.

Last night’s Meatless Monday entry. Gotta say, not a fav. It was ok it just doesn’t have enough flavor for something that claims to be a curry. It was good enough to continue messing with.

I think part of what I’m itching to do is get outside and try to actually grow some things this year. Last year there was just so much change going on that the outside of the house, meaning the garden areas, got completely neglected. I don’t want that to happen again this year. I’ve purchased some seeds to plant and I’ve been thinking about what goes where and what needs to be in pots on the deck. I have several places I can hang pots, too. I want pretty this year. I need some pretty.

The boys are enjoying the changes. They like to have the top of the desk perch at their disposal. I’m liking that I was able to make room for more books and a mug o’ cuttings that should turn into a full on plant.

This morning I finished the Edgar scarf, and that was exciting. I still need to work on “fixing” my issue with Niji; that might be something for tonight. There’s a workshop thing this afternoon that I have to help with at work so I’ll be wrapping up late. The amazing thing about working from home is the commute.

step aside, there’s a new favorite food

I believe I mentioned last week that roasted veggies were my favorite, and I’m not saying that they now suck, but given that spring in the Midwest is unfortunately very short and summer will be here with blistering heat and oppressive humidity before I’m at all prepared, it was time to find a new favorite that doesn’t require running the oven. And I did.

So much YUM

The salad is called Chickpea Pomegranate Salad (not mine so I’m not going to type it here, but that is the exact name of it) and chicken hindquarters done in the air fryer. The salad is just a few ingredients, super easy to assemble, and would be great with any protein you like. I thought it fit well with some chicken and I had hindquarters on hand in the freezer. BOOM, dinner. And all quite healthy which is a definite bonus.

That’s the new fused glass jewelry dish I made for my bathroom. I love it.

It was so much fun to get back to the glass studio and make things, even if I get frustrated that my hands don’t always cooperate.

And this is the alien flower garden art piece I made. I decided to put it up close to the house because the potential for hail is very real here.

I am also still knitting. Edgar, the scarf, will likely be finished soon. I’m still excited about how it’s coming and how perfect the yarn and the pattern are working. I am not quite as excited about the rainbow vest, now known as Niji (Japanese for “rainbow”) but only because I can’t count. The back and sides are not actually quite wide enough to comfortably fit. Fortunately I realized this before doing any seaming so now I think I have a plan to correct my oversight that will involved making i-cord and braiding it to form some decorative side panel pieces.

It’s going to be lovely, eventually. And no, I have no idea what Lancelot was trying to do with his hand in my picture.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m reading again, which is totally exciting. The book I’m on right now is “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. It’s an amazing story and extremely well written. I started it last week and am more than half way through it, which says a lot given that I don’t have a ton of time to read. The only issue I have with it, if you even want to call it an issue, is that she jumps around in the book’s timeline and will occasionally switch from 3rd person narrative to 2nd person and it’s a wee bit jarring. But really, if you’re interested in magic and really well done fiction it’s definitely worth checking out.

I have officially reached the point with this hair where it’s just not worth arguing. For what it’s worth, I have decided I love these fabric headband things.

shit the universe is teaching me

This is in no particular order…

I find that Golden Milk / turmeric nonsense to be most unpleasant. Like I think it tastes like kerosene. Even when I strained it. Enough already.

I’m not in love with lettuce enough to justify buying it.

I don’t get why putting coconut oil in my drink is supposed be magical but all it does to me is coat the inside of my mouth. I find that unpleasant.

I am very excited lately about the prospect of sheet pan dinners and will be cooking one when Mom and R come for dinner next weekend.

Books really are amazing and it makes me sad that I lost that part of “me” for so long.

Simpler is better, always.

I helped with a presentation on Tuesday and got dolled up for it. Not bad for an old chicky.

I’m still reading, still knitting, and still fighting with myself about eating. Mostly I’m ok during the day but then at night it’s like all bets are OFF. But I’m maintaining my position at 27.75lbs lost, so that’s good.

Beets make everything more dramatic

One of my favorite meals is still oven roasted veggies, primarily because it’s so damn easy. Last night I used Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, red onion, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, and beef sausages. No oil, just some kosher salt and coarse black pepper. It’s freakin’ divine.

I’m realizing that I get bored with the same stuff pretty quickly, and I need to account for that not only when I go shopping but also when I decide what and how much to prep. It’s a process y’all, but it helps.

Totally feeling this right now

things and such

Dog Blossom enjoys sunbathing in the back yard

Since last I bothered to write some things have happened. In all fairness my brain is like a sieve that’s lost the strainer part and is now just an open hoop. Nothing sticks or stays around long. I 100% live and die by my routines and the lists I make. I even went so far as to TYPE OUT a schedule for myself last week. Desperate times and all that rot. Of course I have yet to actually stick to it…

For whatever reason it’s gotten incredibly hard to get back to exercising since I was sick and I’m not entirely sure why. I posted something in my group this morning and someone mentioned getting up earlier to get a workout in and I swear y’all, it was all I could do not to respond. Why?

I get up at 4:15 in the fucking morning as it is, and pretty much every minute of my time between then and 6:30 when I leave to get Lancelot is accounted for.

This belly ain’t going to pet itself

Anyway, I’m still trying. I have kind of stalled out at 27.75lbs, but I will freely admit that I’m not trying as hard as I could. I will also tell you that I’m doing some other things that are helping my mental health, and that is equally important. For example, the TV now gets turned off at 7pm and my phone is only used for music/keeping track of my pattern if I happen to be knitting. It’s just as likely that I’m reading a book. This has helped the sleep and stress significantly.

Meet my new friend, Edgar

In one of my moments of yarn buying weakness I purchased a single ball of Lang’s Mille Colori Baby, not realizing that it’s only 190 meters, or not really enough to make much of anything. But it’s lovely and soft and so it’s becoming a very narrow version of Edgar. It’s a delightful little pattern, written for Noro yarn, but it’s doing very well with the color changes in this yarn too. It will end up as an accessory rather than a piece to provide any real warmth, but I foresee loving it.

This last weekend I was also able to get to the glass studio and make a few pieces. I’ll share pics once I get them back. It was really fun to be able to do that again.

Avocado Toast with Eggs

So I decided to try the whole Avocado Toast thing yesterday since everyone has been raving about it. Not gonna lie… I don’t understand this. I used prepared guacamole because that’s what I had, so it had some stuff in it, but even with that I didn’t think it had much flavor. And I love the bread I used, so it wasn’t that. Of course I tried a Golden Milk Latte yesterday and found it gritty as hell, and my forays into the world of Matcha have been spotty at best.

I guess maybe I’m just not destined to love some of the trendier foods. What I do know is that I’ve got curry in the crock pot for tonight, and since today is Meatless Monday I’ve left out the meat and will be subbing in tofu instead. Not sure if that’s trendy, but it will be tasty.

the bandaids are back

“Get back here you little shit, I need to love you!!!”

Today’s title is not meant to alarm anyone, but yes, the band-aids are indeed back. My right thumb and index finger to be precise. It’s not like the weather hasn’t warmed up, I think I’m just still spending a lot of time washing my hands. Oh well.

I’m still having a bit of lingering “something” that is maybe a result of the vaccine, I’m not sure. Morning has always been a better time for me when it comes to concentration, so that’s nothing new if I’m being honest. The unfortunate thing right now is that I’m not feeling at all inclined to exercise and my eating habits are sliding a bit. I’m not gaining weight back but I have certainly stopped losing. And that sucks.

I have still been knitting and I’ve still been doing things in the kitchen, both are good things. Yes, good things indeed.

I’m still trying to do Meatless Monday every week, this was what I made for this week. My protein source was edamame. Very tasty.

The knitting isn’t much to look at just yet, still more of the same really. I am making progress and in order to finish the vest I’m going to need to learn/teach myself a “new” technique. I’m actually really excited, it’s going to result in a beautifully finished edge for the back panel. Plus this is a technique that I can use on other projects.

I’m feeling like today is as good a day as any to revisit my goals for the year.

I will finish all of the fiber projects that are currently in progress – yes, making progress. I finished the cabled scarf for N already.

I will continue to work on my health issues by being more mindful of what I eat and drink – still doing Noom, still doing mostly well with it, down a total of 26lbs so far.

I will work to incorporate more physical activity into my routine by using the treadmill, ultimately getting to 30min/day, 5x/week – this one is a struggle but I am still trying.

I will learn a new creative skill (I have kits here already for quilling and chain maille) – haven’t tackled this one just yet.

Already completed:

I will continue to explore vegetarian dishes and strive to include a meatless dinner at least 1x/week – Meatless Monday is a thing at our house

I will learn at least one new Indian recipe – I now have three in regular rotation