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.

so there I was, hip deep in chewed on pansies and lilies trying to fit a tarp over a blow up kiddie pool

The yellow Asian lilies are stunning right now

So the title is partially accurate. I planted pansies in the front of the house and the damn bunnies are snacking on them. And there are lilies, right now the beautiful yellow seen above and some that are more of a copper orange color. I think there are white, pink, and red out there somewhere. There’s also a ton of yellow hollyhocks. Thanks to my mom that yard is full of pretty things.

Now that the Evil Robin has left we can actually get out to the yard and we did indeed setup a pool. I told Lancelot that I want a place I can park my hot old ass when it’s hot and hang out with Dog Blossom. So far we’ve only done it once but it was mostly fun.

There’s a flower on my nose!

I took a picture this morning to send to a friend of mine and figured I’d share it here. I’ve reached a point where I really don’t notice it’s there unless I catch the “shiny” out of the corner of my eye. If I smack myself in the nose or catch it on something then I notice it from a physical perspective, but most of the time I don’t. I’m quite pleased that I finally went ahead and did it.

Ilo!

This is my version of the Ilo shawl. I used Trendsetter Yarns Paradigm in the Golden Flowers colorway. I started this on January 16, 2020 and bound off this morning, June 16, 2021. This is my very first all lace shawl and I am stupid proud of it. I’m hoping to be able to block it soon.

You may recall that one of my goals for this year is to successfully finish all of the “legacy” projects that I started last year and didn’t finish. I have two left. I started a pair of cabled mitts for my friend K on January 20, 2020 and the Sunset Lights shawl on November 23, 2020. Maybe I can get the mitts done by June 20? That would be neato, and they are what I’ve designated as next in line.

I am still working on the feather and fan scarf and the Skewed Shawl but they can chill for a bit. The scarf is my “public” knitting right now. At any rate, I feel amazing that I’m making such good progress.

And I’m back to doing Noom, at least almost entirely. I’m not worrying about exercising just yet. I need to get my shit back together and so far just paying attention to what I’m eating/drinking and logging it is helping. The weight I had gained back is starting to go away again. This makes me happy.

I feel this so much

It’s hot here right now, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it. I’m not looking forward to going back to working on campus in part because of having to deal with weather. But deal I shall. I’m still working on planning and plotting and figuring out how to make the most of the situation. I think I’m doing well. But I still want to curl up on a blanket with my ginger babes.

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

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

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

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.

shoes

I’m being watched. Or at least I was. He got bored and curled up for a nap.

Am I the only one having issues with shoes? I used to be quite the shoe aficionado and had many lovely pairs. But then The Rona hit and I stopped leaving the house as much and now it damn near hurts to wear shoes, like tennis shoes even, for a whole day. My feet protest. Quite often I end up just putting on house slippers as soon as I get home from picking up Lancelot in the morning. And that’s kind of sad because even though I don’t have as big a collection, I do still have some very cute shoes.

Things have been reasonably quiet around here. I’ve been doing better with my water intake, and that’s good. I had done really good at meeting a goal I set of 5000 steps per day, I did that for a whole 3 days in a row and then yesterday.

Yes, yesterday, the day that should not be named. Or some shit like that.

I’m still not quite sure WTF, but it just wasn’t meant to be a winner of a day I guess. I got close to my step goal, 4200 something, but I almost doubled the number of calories I was supposed to aim for. I did gain a tiny bit of weight, and I expected that, so not a big deal.

But I couldn’t concentrate and all I really wanted to do was shovel sweets in my face as fast as possible.

At any rate, today seems to be better and that’s good. I’m currently nibbling on a bowl of cold blueberries. They are really quite delish. If I had to guess what caused the issue yesterday I would say it was likely related to stress and possibly the fact that I haven’t knit or crocheted in a while. My fingers are still sore as hell. I’m hoping to be able to maybe pick up a project this weekend.

Part of my weekend will be spent redecorating my office. Since Captain Naughty Pants (that’s Garth’s new name) has decided that the top of my desk is his new place to hide from Dog Blossom and take naps I have to relocate all of the things that had been up there. Fortunately L was able to get me some small black shelves that should go up pretty easily and hold the little decorative bits safe from the feline horde.

when life gets in the way

Nope, not dead yet. Not even doing all that bad really, just been busy. I honestly really just love Loki and that meme felt rather perfect for right now.

Mostly here recently I’ve been trying to stick with my Noom stuff and not throttle Garth. What’s wee little Garth been up to? Oh you mean Captain Naughty Pants…

That’s the hutch on top of my desk, the very top of my desk. And that’s him, peering down at me from behind one of the bits I had thought would block his landing. But no. Straight up like some damn alien and he stuck the landing like an Olympic gold medal gymnast. Little fucker. I had already moved the really fragile things to different (safer?) places but now it looks like I’ll be moving everything and letting him set up a cat-condo up there. Maybe I can charge him rent…

For some reason this shawl looks red on video calls…

We had a wonderful workshop yesterday morning, the last in a series, and I thought it went great. It was the kind of thing that reminds me of why I do this nutty little job in the first place. And I looked pretty spiffy. That’s the Off Kilter shawl I knit, paired with a beautiful shiny purple ribbon rose brooch I got in Branson a few years ago. And new lipstick. It’s called “speak your mind” and it’s perfect.

Today I look like roadkill, so we just aren’t talking about it.

FOOD!

I am still experimenting in the kitchen, sometimes for fun and sometimes for necessity. This one was mostly necessity. I had several Gala apples that were looking like wrinkled little old men and I didn’t want to throw them away. Instead I cored them and cut them in chunks and put them in a sauce pot with some Craisins, white grape juice (100% juice, no added sugar), and the chai spice blend that I love (cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, and ginger). I let that come to a boil and then brought it down to a simmer. It was probably on the heat for an hour or so and I stirred it periodically.

Last night I took about 1/4 of the mix and topped it with a few tablespoons of low fat ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey and that was my dessert. It was heavenly. This morning I had some mixed in with vanilla yogurt for breakfast. Also heavenly.

It’s been getting easier to drink as much water as I should be and stick within my calorie guidelines, both of which are wonderful. I’m also working on getting more motivated with the exercise. My goal for this week is to get at least 5000 steps in every day. I started on Monday and hit my goal both Monday and Tuesday. The exercise is also getting easier. Yay!

OMG it’s GREEN!!!

The other thing I’ve done that I basically swore I would never do… A smoothie with spinach in it. I’ve started drinking some form of matcha every day and this was a smoothie recipe I found that included spinach. It was very “earthy” but not terrible. For what it’s worth, I’ve decided that “earthy” is just a polite way of saying “this tastes like dirt.”

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.

the amazing tower o’ yarn

Creative people seem to surround themselves with other creative people, at least that’s always been my experience. So I have a good friend who does photography, like she’s amazing at it. She posted a picture on FB yesterday of a tower of books that she has but has yet to read. I made a smart ass comment about how my tower of yarn could totally beat her stack of books. And that’s how this happened…

That’s almost all of my yarn laid out in the sunroom on a queen sized bed sheet
And that is my 5’6″ self laying in the middle of my (much more impressive) tower

Do I have a problem? Probably. Am I interested in an intervention? Only if you bring me yarn. And truly, this wasn’t quite all of it. There were still a few skeins hidden away, maybe a total of 10 more? I’m not sure. Anyway, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to evaluate what I have in my stash and see if there are balls/skeins that are ready to move on to someone else.

In health related news, I lost another 1/2lb yesterday which was awesome. I got myself back on the treadmill, 15 minutes, and then did the pilates bar thing and various exercise for another 15 minutes. I also totally crushed my goal of getting in 80 oz of water. (before anyone freaks out about that, I drink that much plus some anyway, my change here is to make the majority of what I would drink be water)

There really is something to be said for telling someone what you’re planning to do and that helping you stick with it. Yesterday I made sure to tell Lancelot and my bestie K that I was going to exercise, and I did. So this morning I told my Noom group about that and then also told them, “hey y’all, I’m telling you now that I’m going to exercise again today.” And I don’t feel the least bit weird about that.

My exercise and dinner plans have just changed. As I was typing this, and several other things, I heard the kids from down the street run past our house yelling something about a dog. My dog was outside and I thought “oh fuck, they let her out of the yard and she’s loose.” Oh no, it was WAY worse than that.

The temperature has been warm enough the last few days that the ground is defrosting, and that monster loves to dig.

Needless to say, I just got done taking a shower that I didn’t plan on with a dog who loves water.

Fortunately I am at the end of my work day so it doesn’t matter that I’m sitting here with no bra on, in my work out clothes, mascara streaked all over, and I smell like wet dog. I’m very glad I had already gone out for the mail. I’m anticipating a slightly less involved dinner than home made minestrone and I will likely just spend 30 minutes on my treadmill.

It’s coming up on beer o’ clock, right?