remind me again why I live in this part of the world?

We’re starting a stretch of hot weather, and by hot I mean “HOT” by Midwestern standards. As I’m writing this the air temperature is 93 degrees and the heat index is 99 degrees, which means it feels approximately as hot as the surface of the sun. This is by far the worst. I just saw the forecast for the coming week during which time we’ll enjoy what the US Weather Service is actually describing as “scorching.” You don’t fucking say…

Anyway, I am still back on campus and feeling a wee bit guilty about only having to be here three days per week. The campus has essentially recalled all faculty and staff to be on campus their pre-pandemic schedules, so five days per week for staff. But, I don’t work for this campus. I work on this campus, but my reporting line is technically not on this campus. It’s so fucking weird. What it means is that we will continue to be able to have our arrangement to continue working from home two days per week. I am incredibly thankful for that but I feel awful that some of my friends don’t get the same luxury. That part truly sucks a big ol’ turd.

That’s one of my favorite things on our campus. I took a walk on Wednesday with K and she was kind enough to take a pic for me.

I will say that I’ve been doing better with getting walks in and with my eating habits. I’ve decided that I really need to kick myself in the ass and get back to doing the things that I know make a difference. I’ve managed to lose 2lbs since Monday and that makes me feel very good and very encouraged.

I hope you all are staying cool and healthy and feeling good. Stay safe. ❤

stop the world I want to get off… and I want my money back… and get off my damn lawn!!!

Every time I think my life is dull the universe grabs my little snow globe and shakes the ever loving shit out of it, like out of spite or something. For example, over the weekend we had 96mph straight line winds in the middle of the night. That’s hurricane force from what I understand. And I slept through it. That’s the ridiculous part, especially considering that wind at that speed is honestly fierce enough to uproot mature trees. I have some friends who are still, STILL, without power because power poles were snapped in half, trees fell on them, the grids got overloaded… It’s been ugly here.

For reference, Lancelot is just about 6ft tall. And we discovered that there were TWO large branches wedged in my lilac hedge. Two.

When the universe shook my little bubble it was kind enough to spare us any major damage. The power lines out in this part of town are all buried underground. My family has owned this house since 1979 and the power has only gone out for any length of time once. And the branches that we lost all landed in the lilacs, nothing hit the house. It took awhile to clean up but we had power the whole time and no holes in the roof – I’ll take it.

I wanted to prove to y’all that I am indeed still knitting. I’m within spitting distance of having the big shawl done which of course means I haven’t worked on it lately. But I have been working on the feather and fan scarf. The other scarf is at work since it’s actually even easier.

Wow, this is an awful photo…

Anyway, I’m still knitting. Yesterday was “Doctor Day” so it spent a fair amount of time in waiting rooms with me. Everything is good with the docs, just waiting to find out about a med change but hopefully that comes through today. And the bruises from the blood draws will fade.

Recycled plant hanger

So before I left yesterday morning for my “adventures” I decided to make a tiny project I’d been thinking about for awhile. This is an empty spice jar that I got the label removed from and some random wire and beads that I had laying around from other projects. It’s hanging from necklace chain on a curtain rod in the guest room. The plant is a “baby” from my spider plant. It had outgrown the other container I had it in, which now feels kind of like a nursery for these. At any rate, I feel quite proud of this.

stuff I’ve noticed

Before I really start today, apparently on this very day four years ago I started this blog. So yay me. I’ve had other blogs with other names for many, MANY, years but this one just turned 4. Kinda exciting.

This is my first official week of being back on campus. We’re each supposed to be here three days every week. My days, because I picked them, are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I wanted my days to be grouped together, I typically have therapy on Mondays and didn’t want to mess with that, and Lancelot usually sleeps all day on Friday to get his schedule readjusted for the weekend. Plus this way I overlap two days with one of my pals.

While this is certainly not the most fun I’ve ever had, it also isn’t horrible. I will say that I’m not getting near as much done being here as I did working at home. But I guess that’s what Monday and Tuesday will be for. I am getting more activity – almost 4000 steps yesterday – and because I have to bring all of my food with me I’m sticking to a more controlled diet during the day.

Yesterday afternoon I had my very first in person meeting with a faculty member since March 2020. It was wonderful. The person I met with is wonderful and had a gift for me; plums covered in chocolate which is a Polish treat she’s brought me before. I’m currently hoarding them.

I am trying to get myself back to healthier habits, and eating at work should help. I would really like to tell y’all how utterly fucking proud I am of myself because my boss brought in two big boxes of donuts yesterday and I didn’t eat a single one. So proud. Instead of donuts I dined on stuff like home made granola.

I do want to keep working on increasing my activity even more, and on the days I work from home. Right now it feels like I’m still working to find my groove with all of this, and once I do everything should fall into place. One foot in front of the other, as one of my dear friends said not long ago.

I am also still knitting, in fact I have a project with me at the office, but I don’t have any pictures of what I’m working on. I can tell you that the Sunset Lights Shawl I’m working on is getting close to being done. If memory serves I’ve got one more repeat of the lace rows and then the border and I’m done. It’s not a traveling project though, not by a long shot. So I’ve designated an easy scarf as my “work” knitting project and it’s going to go back and forth with me for lunch breaks. No picture of that yet either. I suck.

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.

rolling with the punches

I saw that this morning and it didn’t speak to me, it fucking shouted at me. That’s precisely what I’m going to do today, what I’ve already started doing. I will pull myself out and do what I do best. And I will shine like the sparkly rainbow glitter covered unicorn I am. Hells yeah.

I could waste time and energy on being pissy about going back to campus or I can start laying plans for how I’m going to take over the world.

Step One: New Clothes – I realized the other day that I do not currently own enough appropriate clothing to wear to the office even three days a week without wearing damn near the same thing every week, not that I have an issue with that, but it’s not me. So Friday afternoon I went shopping with one of my colleagues. I found some lovely new pieces that should see me through a few more sizes. Speaking of which…

Step Two: Get Back to Healthy – Here recently I have basically abandoned everything I had learned about eating and living healthier. As such I’ve gained a few pounds back. When I eat healthier I feel better and when I get more activity I feel even better, so, I really want to get back into it. I’m starting this morning by logging my food again and trying to make choices that will fill me up in happy ways. Over the weekend I made a batch of steel cut oats for breakfasts and we stopped at a farm stand over the weekend so I’m currently enjoying delicious strawberries for a snack.

Step Three: Figuring Out What “Back in the office” Looks Like – There are things I take for granted when working from home, like having access to the drinks and food I want. I’ll have to take everything to work again, and now I don’t have a whole office to spread out in. There is a closet back in the office that was formerly mine that we’ll be storing our personal stuff in, but that means figuring out some storage issues. Yesterday afternoon I ordered something that I think will help, I hope. I also picked up an extra phone charger that will plug right into my laptop, and it was only $1, and it looks like a koala. But there are things like that, silly seeming things, that I’ve come to take for granted. Think about it though – I kept those same things for granted going the other direction when I was working on campus full time and never considered that I wouldn’t work on campus. Bottom line with this is that I’ll be back to playing “turtle” and living out of my backpack, and that’s totally cool because I know I can do that.

Step Four: Figuring Out What “Two Days at Home” Looks Like – Working from home like I have has been wonderful for my relationship with Lancelot. We get more time together than we ever have before and than if I had stayed working on campus full time. I feel like this time together has been the best part of the pandemic and I truly believe that our relationship is as strong as it is because of this. L has already told me that he’ll take on more of the chores around the house since I won’t be here as much, and that’s going to help a ton. Every time I start to flip out about all of this and cry he just holds me and strokes my hair and reminds me that we can do anything.

Step Five: Breathe – There’s a lot going on right now and I need to remember to take care of myself. It is impossible to pour from an empty cup. On Saturday we went and got our monthly massages. We stopped at the coffee shop on the way and while L was in having his massage I worked on a knitting project. I refuse to give up that time. And I finished a book and started another, and I’m back to working on the lace shawl. I’m taking care of myself because it’s essential, and let’s face it, I enjoy it.

One day at a time, I will survive this, too.

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.

it’s about the journey, not the destination

Showing off an amazing aquamarine my friend made for me and a cutie pie orange kitty behind me

I haven’t been doing the best lately. My back is still giving me some trouble, my skin still flares up, and I’m cold much of the time. So I’m frustrated. And a frustrated me is a me who snacks, and not just on apples. Needless to say my weight loss journey has kinda stalled out.

I’m not giving up though. I still try to make choices that are at least somewhat healthier, though I will own that on two separate occasions last week I found myself eating a combination of chocolate frosting and peanut butter, once straight out of the tub. So while I have regained a few of the pounds I had lost I have not put the whole amount back on and I still feel good about that.

Still relevant

At any rate, I did have something really pretty fucking amazing happen yesterday that I want to share with you fine folk.

This is an old picture, 2015 era

I used to draw. Nothing fancy or realistic or anything, more like a zentangle/doodle sort of thing. Lots of flowers, some butterflies and whatnot, just fanciful pretty bits. That photo above was when I decided to take a picture I had drawn and turn it into a shrink plastic necklace. I had rather poor luck, but it was fun.

I enjoyed drawing because it was another creative outlet. And then I stopped, because I didn’t enjoy it anymore. Because the lithium caused the tremors to get so bad that I really couldn’t.

Huh?

Yesterday we had this big team meeting thing online and I knew that during the span of two hours I’d need something to do that didn’t look like I was goofing off, and I really did need to be able to pay attention and listen. Being able to do something with my hands helps with that. So I got out an old sketch book and my markers and figured “what the fuck.”

It’s not amazing, and it’s not done, and it’s definitely shaky. But it made me happy and it doesn’t look awful. Mostly though, it made me happy.

These goofs make me happy too

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.

distracting myself from that bitch, REALITY

Just me, pretending to be an adult or something

The appointment with the eye doctor is this afternoon. Did I mention that they’re talking about laser surgery now? Maybe? Well, whatever. I’m not responding well to the eye drops for my glaucoma anymore and so now they’re telling me they might be able to permanently fix it with some kind of laser stuff.

On the one hand, this is super cool. Like some sort of sci-fi, maybe I’ll have super powers, kind of cool.

On the other hand, why did you motherfuckers not tell me that this was an option way back when we started treating this bullshit?

At any rate, today is the day I finally get to see if I’m a candidate for this and then what happens next. Since the appointment isn’t until later this afternoon, and Lancelot will be sleeping, my mom has offered to go with me. I find it particularly helpful to have another person with me for appointments like this just because there tends to be so much information and my little brain-sponge will only absorb so much at a time.

Plus, after the appointment we’re going to a local nursery and I’m going to get myself a house plant or twenty.

I was thinking this morning about my goals for the year, particularly the one about finishing my existing knitting projects, and that got me to wondering what all have I managed to finish this year…

  • Mom’s blanket
  • a blue hat for R (that was too big)
  • the cabled scarf for N
  • a green stripey shawl
  • Edgar
  • the beaded shrug

Sadly there aren’t photos of all of these, and the last three are in need of finishing. Niji isn’t on the list because it still needs some construction work. But I think that’s pretty good. As of right now I have on the needles:

  • a replacement blue hat for R
  • fingerless mitts for my friend K
  • the Sunset shawl
  • Ilo (a shawl)

I have yarn and patterns for LOTS more projects but for now that’s all. And I think that’s plenty. I’m very excited that this Friday the local knitting/crocheting group is getting together in one of the parks and I’ll get to join them.

Beautiful Eric the Red and his adorable freckled nose