I cannot freakin’ even right now

That is the bracelet I helped to make this weekend

Is that not absolutely stunning? It’s moonstone and sterling silver, and yes, I actually did parts of the construction. It was beyond wonderful to spend time with my friend Saturday morning and see first-hand what goes into making this kind of jewelry. Not only was it informative as hell, but getting to be with another human who I haven’t seen in absolute ages was totally wonderful. So I now know a little bit more about the process of silversmithing, I have an even deeper appreciation for the amount of work that goes into a piece like this, and I have a one of a kind wearable work of art that coordinates with the other beautiful moonstones pieces I have from her.

If you are interested in your own truly beautiful jewelry, and she does custom work too, you should visit her website at https://www.whirlsofpearls.com/.

I also got to see my friend N and deliver his holiday gift, only four months late. He didn’t care. (he got that cabled scarf) We also went for lunch which was a lovely little bonus.

I still don’t feel like I’m totally back on track, but I’m trying. I have my clothes for the week organized, I spent time in the kitchen yesterday doing some food prep, I made cookies (healthy ones), and the laundry is essentially caught up. So yay!

The kids have been a little feisty lately

I do have some fun stuff to look forward to this week. I’m going to do a session at the glass studio and try to make a little something for myself, just as another creative outlet. And on Saturday I’m going with Mom for mani/pedi time. My feet are very excited.

Keep doing what you can to help keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. L gets his second shot at the end of the month and we are excited as hell. WOOT!

so there I was, hip deep in spent bubble gum wrappers and empty sardine cans listening to polka on an old walkman when suddenly…

Eric occasionally enjoys drinking nice cold water from the running tub tap

Every time I think I’m going to be able to get back to working on a project I find a dozen things that need to be done in the kitchen that all involve either having my hands in water or washing them very frequently, and that means all the good I’ve done with repairing the damage to the skin on the fingertips goes right down the drain. Literally.

I freely admit that I got this idea from Pinterest, right over here

Those are freezer smoothie packs and I think they’re going to be brilliant. Most of the time I don’t mind the extra prep that goes into feeding myself these days, but every now and then I’m running way late or my ambition is ridiculously low but I do still need to eat. Everything but the almond milk is in these and is pre-measured, including the yogurt. They’re seriously fucking brilliant.

I did spend some time yesterday afternoon while Lancelot was sleeping going through my stash of craft supplies and I found some needle felting supplies and kits, including one that’s a picture – like a paint by numbers thing – that’s done on marked felt. That should be easy enough to do, assuming I have time. By the time I could sit down last night to eat it was after 6pm and I was just done. I did also find some coloring books and that made me happy.

This is the face off a woman who desperately needs a vacation

We’re fast approaching my personal one year Rona’versary. I began working from home on March 23, 2020. The university had known we’d be switching to remote delivery of courses so they gave everyone a two week long spring break to get their shit together. L had made big plans to take me out for my birthday and that weekend was when virtually everything shut down.

A lot has changed since then. I was thinking about that this morning on my drive to get L, not sure why. There are things that I miss about “the old days,” but mostly I’m content.

I miss feeling safe just going out in public. I miss feeling safe eating at restaurants. I miss shopping in stores. I miss going to the theater.

But I love that my job is such that I can work from home, and that I have the critters keeping me company, and that the people I love haven’t been sick. The stuff I miss isn’t really all that important.

And I hope that we all put some thought into what we want for our New Normal. We have an opportunity right now to shape our world moving forward in really meaningful ways. I’d go so far as to say that we all have an obligation to make this a better place to live.

the advantages of having your plans go to hell, and other things I’m learning in my 40s

Yes, I ate that with a spoon. No, it is not mayo.

Since I turned 40 I have realized just how odd I am sometimes, and how much I really kind of love that. For example, I saw two things on the interwebs yesterday that prompted the photo above. One was a recipe for making cheesecake parfait things that were healthy and the other was this –

And so, being the dumbass that I am, I thought to myself “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!”

What I did was mix a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavor pudding with 2C of non-fat plain yogurt. That’s it. I mixed it in a box and then divided it evenly in four little glass bowls.

Follow me for more recipes y’all.

Seriously, after the adventure in dog bathing yesterday afternoon I needed to unwind a little, and what better way to do that than experimenting with food. I ended up putting in 30 minutes on the treadmill, which was amazing for the stress, and then making myself a rather healthy dinner that was super easy. I have to say, I LOVE me some butternut squash noodles. I warmed up a package of those and some naked nugget things (not what they’re actually called but definitely what they look like! here’s a Target link if you’re interested) and called it good. It was good, honestly.

Some days it feels very much hit and miss as to whether I’ll eat too much, or enough, or get enough activity and water, and will I lose or will I gain, but it’s starting to feel natural to live like this and this morning I lost again so now I’m down 18lbs. That makes me feel good.

One of my very dear friends reminded me of something super important. Once I hit the magic 10% body weight gone number I’ll need to reach out to my doctors that prescribe my medication. That much difference in mass can totally throw off the med needs.

Dog Blossom went to the groomers today for a previously scheduled visit. As you can see, Garth did not give a single fuck that she was gone.

Last night’s dinner has now become tonight’s dinner and I’m eagerly anticipating it. I’m trying my hand at home made minestrone without a recipe. It’s soup. I have eaten this soup before. Seriously, how hard can it be?

So far it’s got some veggie broth, tomato juice, two cans of diced Italian style tomatoes (not drained), a can of cannelloni beans, frozen peas, baby carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and Turkish oregano. Lancelot has requested that I add some orzo pasta to it later and I’m planning to toss in some fresh spinach. But honestly, it’s soup, as long as it doesn’t taste like diesel fuel it should be fine.

losing track

It feels so strange to think that I’ve been working from home for almost a year now. And it’s even more strange for me to think that I’m fast approaching a second birthday celebrated in a very subdued fashion due to a global pandemic. Not like that’s huge, but it’s huge.

Want to know what else is huge?

I got to move the big slider one spot to the left this morning and I’m pretty sure I screamed with pure delight

I am officially 249.75lbs and that has been an unofficial goal for a while now. The next actual official goal will be 225lbs. I’m hoping that getting back to the treadmill and starting to use the pilates bar on a more regular basis, along with going back to drinking more water every day, will help get me there a bit more quickly.

Part of this is needing routines. I’ve said it before, I live and die by routines. I’m starting to get back into some of the routines/habits that I used to have that really seemed to help, if nothing else they would help with my mental health.

  • I get a week’s worth of outfits out on the weekend, including any necessary under garments and jewelry; they hang together in the back of my closet.
  • I use pill trays to organize and set out my morning and bed time pills, two weeks’ worth at a time.
  • I have a reminder set on my phone for Monday evenings – that’s when I take my Humira shot.
  • I have other reminders set on my phone for things like monthly cleaning chores, watering plants (weekly), and giving the dog her meds (monthly) – my philosophy on this is “set it and forget it.”
  • I always put my car keys in the exact same place when I get home, on a key rack in our entryway. If I don’t put them there I lose them, without fail.
  • I keep multiple baskets in the laundry room so that I can take the dirty stuff down and sort it every few days. When there’s enough of something to run a load I do it. This keeps me from spending an entire day on the weekend doing laundry.
  • I try to create a menu for the coming week – just dinners – mostly to make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand.
  • I go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every single day. Part of it is my brain not letting me sleep in much and part of it is just that I’m so used to this schedule.

I realize that probably already seems like kind of a lot, but I need a few more. I’m not feeling like I’m doing a very good job with…

  • Making time to do creative things every day
  • Exercising regularly
  • Unplugging before bedtime
  • Planning lunches
This is my little Garth buddy, just because

learning as I go

I think of life as the journey and not so much as the ultimate destination, partially because I think the journey is exciting and partially because I have no clue in hell where the fuck I’m going.

But I also like to keep learning little lessons along the way. It’s rare that I’m not doing some sort of “school” either doing actual graduate work or, more often these days, doing some kind of professional development education for work. I’m also seeing the Noom journey as a kind of education. I’m learning how to eat in ways that are nourishing for my body and my spirit. And I really do enjoy it.

Here is the Friday update that is ridiculously irregular…

  • I’ve lost a total of 16.5lbs which means I’ve hit my first personal milestone of 250lbs
  • I got a pilates exercise bar thing that actually seems to work better than the resistance bands I’d gotten
  • I have been doing better with drinking water (by making it sparking in the Soda Stream and then adding a chunk of lemon)
Sporting my favorite jewelry that Lancelot has gotten me; beautiful moonstone necklace and custom not-matching earrings made by a dear friend of ours

We had some ridiculous cold this week and it’s seeped into my bones. I shouldn’t complain, we could have had it so much worse. But it left me less inclined to do my workouts and craving the carbs.

You either win or you learn

There have certainly been days when I’ve gained back weight that I’ve lost, and I could get all frustrated and pissed and give up. That would be easy. But I don’t take the easy road, ever. I remind myself that every choice I made the day before had an impact on what I see on the scale every morning, and then I have another choice to make – I can get grumpy and throw it in or I can get smart and learn from the choices I made.

Things I have learned:

  • Low fat vanilla yogurt is excellent in oatmeal
  • I really love butternut squash noodles (like strips of squash to use in place of pasta noodles)
  • Not all food prep is a good thing in my world (don’t make a whole batch of pasta salad because I just won’t eat more than one serving)
  • It is 100% worth it to have “snack” bowls prepped in the fridge (fresh fruit along with either a hard boiled egg, a chunk of cheese, fat free cottage cheese, or low fat yogurt)
  • Dairy milk is not as essential to my emotional well being as I once thought (I use unsweetened coconut milk now, almost exclusively)
  • I really do feel better when I exercise
  • I need to allow time Every Single Day to take care of the whole me, not just the food part of me
Garth is a creeper

One of the things I’m starting, and L is helping with, is a “house diet.” There was a thing I saw on FB about decluttering for the 40 days of Lent. We are not religious people but the idea of doing a bit of spring cleaning out and stretching out appeals to me. I’ve started doing bits and we’ll be doing more this weekend. It’s kind of liberating.

variations on a theme

I never did quite figure out how I wanted that shawl arranged today so right now it’s artfully arranged in a heap on my desk

Once again it is ridiculously cold outside (though sunny today) and once again I have the ambition of a geriatric sloth. It’s just not pretty folks. What I’ve realized more than anything else is that it is high time to make a PLAN.

All of those snack boxes I made over the weekend have been coming in handy not necessarily as snacks but as components of my lunch. Tonight I just might grab a few of them and call it dinner, we shall see. It has been wonderful having them prepared though.

But I feel like I’m struggling right now and that always just makes things harder. I moved away from eating quite so many fruits and veggies and got back closer to “normal” eating for me and that hasn’t had welcome consequences. I also have had to stop my exercise temporarily because I’m having pains in unpleasant places and I’d rather not make that any worse.

This would be the point at which, in the past, I would have thrown my hands up and claimed defeat, going back to my old habits.

That was the “old” me. The “newly remodeled” me believes that sometimes we must fall back for a brief opportunity to rally even stronger tomorrow. Or something like that.

What it really means is that once my work day is over I’m going to take my self down to the dining room, bust out my notebook and my collection of recipes, and make myself some plans. And those plans are going to include building time for exercise into every day and building time for meal prep into every week. I will also be “budgeting” time for craft stuff like knitting. And making sure that I have time without a screen before bedtime so that I can unwind a little better and hopefully sleep better.

When you get right down to it there’s a hell of a lot that goes into the proper care and maintenance of a human body and most of us don’t have the first clue what the fuck we’re doing and we’ve gone and thrown out the damn owner’s manual

I might have mentioned this, but bear with me, I’m old. This Friday will be my six month anniversary of being married to Lancelot, and since Valentine’s Day is Sunday (work night for him) we’re just going to do it all at once on Friday. Our date night take out is going to be sushi and we’re even going to get dressed up for it. Very swanky.

In anticipation of that I’m going to try to get as much of normal house stuff and meal prep stuff done ahead of that. More time to spend with my fella would be a great thing. And more time where we aren’t running around trying to pretend we’re responsible adult humans is even better.

I would really like to try making one of the jewelry kits I got to make chain mail, or possibly even crack open the quilling kit L got me. I’m feeling empowered to try tackling another of my goals since I feel like I did so well picking out and successfully making my new favorite Indian recipe. I also feel like I’m doing well with the whole “exploring vegetarian dishes” thing.

Stir fry tofu with sweet onion, sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, and quinoa… So good

freezing my pieces off

This photo is deceptive; there’s a sunlamp on the desk behind me

It has been crazy cold here recently, like so cold there’s wind chill advisories out. They’re telling people that as little as 10 minutes outside can lead to severe frostbite on exposed skin. It’s no damn good. Fortunately I have a large (LARGE) collection of hand knit shawls to help keep me warm.

I’m still doing well with Noom, really well I think. I’ve been doing the program since January 1st and I’ve lost 16lbs. I feel good about that and just in general I feel good. So yay.

Part of what’s making this easier is that I’ve gone back to spending part of my weekend doing food prep. I had been doing that for awhile pre-Rona but then I had stopped. I’m remembering why it was so helpful. I spent several hours on Saturday getting some things done and now my week is already feeling smoother.

Those are the snack bowls I put together, there are actually two of each. They all have some fruit (pickles are fruit, right?) and they all have some protein. I can’t say enough good things about those divided containers, such a life saver. The oatmeal lump things in the lower right corner are banana oatmeal muffins. (recipe from this site) Super easy and totally yummo. I also made a batch of pumpkin oat cookies that are pretty freaking amazing. (recipe from this site) Please keep in mind that I don’t bake so for me to make these, they must be easy and worth the effort. They are.

I have returned to making a menu for the week, also super helpful. And I’ve gone back to getting my clothes out a day in advance. (just one day, not the full week like I used to do) And in general I’m just trying to take time to take care of myself. It’s wonderful.

Lancelot is helping, a ton. Today I’m making vegetable beef soup for dinner and he took care of carving up the meat for me. Oh yeah, I’m still kind of obsessed with food that can be prepped earlier in the day and then left alone until I’m ready to eat it. Totally.

I need a drum roll right about now…

TA DA!!!

That is home made Indian Butter Chicken over butternut squash noodles, done in the Instant Pot, and it’s the physical proof that I have hit one of my goals for the year. I wanted to try a new Indian recipe and feel like I had mastered it. Done. (recipe from this site)

In news that is not related to food, me cooking food, or me loosing weight… I have been working with yarn again!

Anyone remember the crocheted blanket I was working on for my mom? Yeah, I’m still working on it but it’s a LOT bigger than it was in that picture. I want to say I’m on my 3rd skein of yarn, and those skeins are good sized. I have it sitting next to my chair in the living room so I can easily work on it while I watch TV.

I have also been allowing myself to work on other projects that have already been started, you know, trying to finish a few things up. Yesterday I finished a shawl I had started at the very end of last year using Cassowary yarn from the Queensland Collection. It did some amazing stripes of green. The pattern was just me doing a riff on a standard top down, center spine shawl. I’ll take a picture once I get it blocking.

I have since moved on to once again trying to finish the Christmas gifts. The hat I made my stepdad ended up too big so I need to remake that with different yarn, and the gift I’m making for my friend N is just plain taking way more time than it should. But it’s coming. I should really make myself a list of what all is in the works so I can check them off as I finish things.

Must remember that the key to enjoying a quiet dinner alone is to use the Instant Pot. The critters are not fond of the noise and as such put themselves to bed in the guest room

personal responsibility, dresses, and the best smoothie yet

This gorgeous man-beast seldom smiles like this for photos so I feel utterly compelled to share. That, and this offers proof of sunshine.

So the picture of Lancelot and Dog Blossom has nothing to do with today’s title, but it really is a wonderful photo that I snapped during my lunch break and I just wanted to share it. His smile always makes me smile.

Anyway, today’s title comes from a variety of places which is pretty common with me. The difference is that today it isn’t entirely bullshit. It’s actually all true.

Y’all know I work at a university, totally common knowledge. Our spring semester started on January 11th, so we’re a good three weeks in, maybe four depending on how you count things. One of the faculty I work with got an email from a student saying that he just now realized he should have done his quiz yesterday, he thought it was due tomorrow, and he wanted the prof to let him take it.

I setup this course and one of the things the faculty wanted, and I agreed on (insisted on actually), was having anything turned in every week due on the same day every week. The quizzes are always due on Wednesday and the homework is always due on Friday. It says so in the syllabus, every quiz is marked that way and every assignment is marked that way, and our learning management system gives them dated reminders in multiple places.

Basically if you have a pulse and can read the English language at an 8th grade level there’s no reason to miss this. We tried really hard to make it easy to be successful in his courses. It’s not a handout, but there’s no reason not to do well if you put in any kind of effort, if that makes sense.

When I was in college (even high school) I would never have dreamed of asking to get a chance to go back and do something that I fucked up; that kind of thing is on me and I’ll take the hit for it. PLUS, the prof clearly states that the two lowest quiz and two lowest homework scores will drop anyway. For real, there should be no reason not to get a decent grade. Own it.

Moving on to dresses… One of my Facebook friends posted an article about how someone who is considered an “influencer” says that separate clothing for men and women shouldn’t be a thing, as in clothes are just clothes. And I cannot agree with that any more. My whole stance on this is –

Please do not be naked in public. I don’t care if you want to wear pants or a kilt or a ballgown, please cover your bits and pieces when you are out and about. What you wear at home is none of my damn business.

And I mean that. There are some articles of “men’s” clothing that I find amazingly comfy, like white cotton undershirts. I would guess that a dress, or robes, really do make sense in a hot arid climate and that’s likely why I saw so many men wearing them when I was in Dubai. But still, who cares? I doubt that you want to see my chesticles any more than I want to see your bait and tackle, so cover it up with something, m’kay?

Ah smoothies… I’ve come to realize that a well balanced smoothie will soothe me like only a milkshake used to.

In my world there are only two kinds of smoothies, those that involve fruit juice and those that involve protein powder. None of them involve veggies unless you count the veggies hidden in my V8 +Energy drinks, and I don’t. Spinach is for salads and kale is that weird shit they used to line salad bars with.

The ones that are fruit juice based are pretty much just some kind of juice plus frozen fruit. Lately that has meant one can of the V8 +Energy Peach Mango and 1/2C frozen peaches and 1/2C frozen raspberries. I do sometimes change it up and use whatever other fruit is living in the freezer. For what it’s worth, bananas freeze great.

The smoothies that involve protein powder almost always involve milk, the protein powder, and frozen fruit. Lately the milk is either unsweetened coconut or unsweetened almond because of the calorie content. On a side note, I’ve actually decided that I really like the coconut milk in my coffee. Still trying to deal with the fact that almond milk is really just a fancy way of saying nut juice. But I digress.

The protein powder I’m using right now is from Aloha and it’s chocolate flavor. (purchased from Amazon if you’re really interested) I really like it because it doesn’t have that nasty aftertaste that I find most protein powders have. So I mix 1C of my milk, 2 scoops of powder, 1/4C of lowfat vanilla yogurt, and 1C frozen berries in the blender and beat the hell out of it. So much yummyness.

On a side note, sugar free pudding mix and nut juice don’t work together.

I think this is Garth’s way of telling me I should turn the heat up