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

under pressure

I’m feeling a whole lot of ^ right now. The whole plague thing is wearing on me. My skin splitting is wearing on me. Trying to fit in my exercise time is wearing on me. Not being able to knit or crochet or really do anything creative is wearing on me. Work is crazy busy and that’s wearing on me. The dog really likes to bark and that’s wearing on me.

Basically, I’m just fucking grumpy today.

But this too shall pass, and I know that. Yesterday was challenging because my hips were too sore to get on the treadmill, my day was full of meetings so everything was kind of “off,” and I just plain didn’t feel that great. Blech.

The best thing about having a challenging day is that you can go to bed and wake up the next morning to a brand new day and a chance for a new beginning

I spent some time talking to Lancelot this morning and that helped a ton. I’ve decided that I need to shake some things up a bit. I’m going to aim for 6 days a week / 30 minutes a day of exercise; half will be treadmill and the other half will be things like cardio/calisthenics that can be done in the living room. He installed some fitness apps on the Firestick thingy for me the other day, now I just need to convince Dog Blossom that she does not need to help.

I’m not entirely sure what to do about my skin, and that might be the single most frustrating thing. My skin is always dry and I know that doesn’t help, neither does the cold winter air. Constant washing is part of the problem, but it’s also incredibly necessary. So right now I have four bandaids on three different fingers, and that makes doing many things difficult.

For example, since the fingers in question are my thumb, index, and middle fingers on my dominant hand it requires an act of Congress to do fuck near anything on my phone. It also makes knitting or crocheting out of the question. Forget trying to open bottles. Fortunately I’ve found good bandaids that are waterproof and actually shaped to fit over finger tips so I can put them on (with a little Neosporin) in the morning and they stay on all day. But this is a pain in my ass.

It’s hard to stay grumpy when there’s a cute tiny kitty sleeping in his chair

To get myself out of this funky little mood, here are some things that are going well right now…

Thanks to a tip from a fellow Noomer I’m meeting and exceeding my water goal for the day. Plain water bubbled with the Soda Stream with some chunks of citrus is actually tasty.

Banana Oatmeal “muffins” that Lancelot and I baked over the weekend. Just oatmeal, bananas, and vanilla extra are all that’s needed. (I put in a few blueberries this time but they aren’t crucial) So good.

I have been walking consistently and I’m really proud of that. Yesterday was a tiny speed bump, not a dead end.

Prepping snack bowls on Sunday means I don’t have to fuck with it during the week!

I might not be ready to make all of the changes I know need to be made, but I am starting to identify them and by doing that, I can start to make a plan. Few things make me happier than a good plan. Well, except this…

changes and differences and fun stuff with markers

Chicken noodle soup – oh yeah

Some days I find myself cooking more and some days I find myself making a ham and havarti grilled sandwich on whole wheat bread. It’s called The New Balance and I really kind of like it.

Part of what I’ve been doing is figure out how to use the pantry and freezer bits that I already have on hand given that I’m trying to eat healthier. Tricky? Indeed. Impossible? Not at all.

The chicken noodle soup, one of my favorites this time of year, came together with only things I had on hand. I had the chicken in the freezer (rotisserie chicken I had picked up at Costco), the stock was in the pantry, and the veggies were in the fridge. I spent time one evening getting everything started, stuck the pot in the fridge, and then last night brought everything to a boil and tossed in the noodles. Twenty minutes later I had dinner.

I ask myself this on a regular basis

I’ve also been doing my typical “hunt for interesting recipes that I know use the stuff I have” thing and I’m finding some really great ideas. Part of it is being willing to try new things, like really exploring different cuisines like Thai and Indian food as well as vegetarian dishes.

Anyway, I’m having some fun with this and that means I’m still sticking with it. I’ll try to remember to do my official check in tomorrow, but I know I’ve been doing better with this. I’m getting to where I really look forward to doing a 30 minute walk, and I think part of that is because I’ve switched from doing it very early in the morning to doing it after work before I have dinner. The physical activity helps me unwind from my work day.

I have a chin!

I really don’t feel like I look much different yet, but there’s the chin. I did go get my hair trimmed a tiny bit this morning, mostly to keep me from shaving my own head while I’m trying to let my hair grow out. So far so good. It is funny (I think) but the back at the base of my neck is starting to curl up. I’m kind of excited to see how long it gets this time.

The longer I’m on this whole “getting healthier” journey the more things I think of that scare me and make me want to just quit and go back to my old habits. But then I remember Carrie. ❤

10

This morning’s selfie

I’m not getting a pic taken quite every day, but more often than not I do. My hair is getting long enough on top that it will happily curl if I don’t tame it with the blow dryer. And I have officially lost 10lbs.

That might not seem like much, I mean I have been at this since January 2nd, but it feels like a whole lot and it feels healthy. I have had days were I gained back a little but then I lost it again, with an overall downward trend. I’ve never lost more than 2lbs in a single day. All of this combined with not feeling deprived makes me one very happy camper.

And Lancelot really is in this with me. Yesterday he helped me prep fruit salad bowls for both of us and he has happily agreed to eat whatever I cook for him. And he helped me figure out a menu for the week that’s going to be easy and healthy. That makes life a hell of a lot easier.

A very lovely dinner last night consisting of penne made from red lentils, garlic, onion, bacon, wilted fresh spinach, and canned diced tomatoes

I’m still fighting with the skin issue, and that makes getting enough activity a big problem. Fortunately that is finally subsiding so I was able to get a short walk in yesterday, just 15 minutes, but it felt good. I’m going to try to do that again today. I’ve also decided that water would probably be good for me. Shocking, right? But I don’t like water, not at all. I do, however, like water that has had fresh lemon in it. So…

Meet Llulu the Llemony Llama. I had purchased this bottle quite some time ago and decided that it just wasn’t my thing. But I had paid way too much to just ditch it. Now that I work at home and can refill this as often as necessary I’m thinking it will work perfectly for my water. And I’m even going to try to remember to track how much I drink with this thing. That’s a 1L bottle (little more than 16oz) so I would need to drink four of those to hit my “daily water recommendation.” The volume is no problem, it’s the taste. We shall see.

In other exciting news we are in the middle of yet another nasty winter storm. We’re in for 10″ of snow and nasty winds. Travel is not advised. Snow day for pretty much everyone in the area.

Garth will be staying in bed sleeping all day. Like every day.

before you throw out the bath water consider the continuing usefulness of that baby

I’ve been thinking a lot here recently about changes. Why am I wanting to make changes? What changes do I really want to make? Why now?

Part of what I realized is that some of the changes I want to make now are ones that I’ve tried to make before, but wasn’t successful. Why? Is that important to know?

HELL YES!

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. I’m done being insane.

me! chubby me!

This is my official “before” picture. Yes, I want to be healthier. I want to be able to ditch some of the meds I take because I want my body to be in better physical condition. But let’s face it, I’m doing this in part because I want to look better.

So why do I think things might be different this time? Because of Lancelot. He supports this decision to make a change, he’s doing parts of this with me, and when I get frustrated he asks what he can do to help.

That right there is love.

I realized this morning that I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Let’s be honest, this is a whole lot of change and it’s happening kinda quickly. Plus there’s that whole changing of the guard thing going on in D.C., I’m still fighting some kind of sinus crud, the skin issues continue to be an issue, and I am seriously thinking about chocolate right now. That’s an awful lot.

I’m not sure if my need for routines is something tied to my mental illness or some personality trait or what, but I live and die by routines and that is the flat out truth. Change brings about the need for new routines, which is wonderful. But just like it takes some time for new habits to form, it takes some time to work out new routines. And right now I’m trying to do both.

Part of what I need to do, as I see it anyway, is to start by prioritizing. I’m learning about (relearning a lot actually) a ton of things that will all help on my journey to “healthy.” But if I try to take on too many of these little changes at once they’re going to overwhelm me.

You can drown in a thimble-full of water just as easily as in a swimming pool.

I have started to make some changes that are sticking. I’m wearing my Fitbit every day and aiming to get at least my minimum step goal set by Noom. I’m trying to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day, but some days that just won’t happen. So I will at least hit that minimum. I’ve decided I really want to get up to busting 10k every day. But not today.

Activity is starting to change; good. I just need to figure out what the routines are that go with my activity to make it easier to maintain those good habits. Now onto food.

Part of what I do every day is log my meals and snacks, and my drinks if they have calories. Y’all know how I feel about my iced coffee and I was Not Willing to give that up, and I haven’t. Now when I make it I measure everything and my milk is unsweetened coconut milk. It’s actually quite tasty.

I will honestly tell you that I’m not feeling deprived with this new way of eating, though it too is a little frustrating. It isn’t second nature to me and so I keep feeling like my “meals” are really just these odd collections of ingredients that never quite made it into a dinner. Does that even make sense?

For example, I have found myself eating pickles, roast beef lunch meat, a hard boiled egg, and an apple – as a meal. It’s fine, those are all foods I enjoy, but… Yeah, it’s weird. I’m getting there though. Breakfast has been the easiest because I typically have my coffee, a fruit smoothie, and overnight oats. That “feels” like breakfast and the stuff goes together. One meal down at least.

At any rate, there ya go. I’m going to work on activity and just getting the hang of this food stuff first. There’s lots of other stops to make on this journey but those two seem like they belong together, and like they’re going to form the foundation of my success.

you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have a really interesting collection of veggies

Eric is here to judge you, and me, and really everyone

Life has been interesting lately, hasn’t it? My personal life has been fairly quiet, though very busy with work. I put in 10+ hours over the winter break and last night I was still in my office working at 8pm. I’m not fond of times like this but it’s not a constant so I just sort of deal with it. I have started a new shawl, only because I needed something to keep myself occupied with in a waiting room, and it’s a non-pattern sort of thing with a ball of yarn that I honestly don’t know why I purchased but am finding myself loving.

And then I did a thing. A purely for myself kind of thing. I started Noom. And so far I have lost 4lbs in less than a week. I love it.

What I don’t love is the bullshit that happened in the US capital yesterday. It was cowardly and that jackass president just kept pouring gasoline on a grease fire. Those people were not protestors they were domestic terrorists and they should be dealt with appropriately. And the same for Cheeto Mussolini. That kind of behavior shouldn’t be tolerated, let alone spurred on by the leader of a country.

I don’t talk politics much because I don’t feel qualified to do so. I have my opinions, you have yours, and as long as we can agree to treat one another respectfully then I don’t too much care if your opinion is vastly different. But this shit? Oh hell no. The last thing I’ll say about this is that I am very eagerly awaiting Joe Biden taking over and having the opportunity to set some things right again.

Tell me when it’s over, I can’t look anymore…

2020 24 hours to go

Ok, so it’s less than that now, but if you don’t get that reference, you should maybe move on to someone else’s blog. Just sayin…

I am not even that excited right now

I’ve been keeping busy, which is fairly typical around here. Although this morning Lancelot dropped some good news on me. He works tonight, New Year’s Eve, but isn’t working overtime this week so he’s off tomorrow and Saturday, so we get a truly normal weekend. That is something to YAY about.

That was not at all exciting

On Tuesday we got 8″ of snow. Fortunately it wasn’t too shitty when I had to go get L from work and it stopped in time for him to get to work that night just fine. Now it’s just mostly a mess, but not a hard to drive in mess. I expect snow during the winter, this is the Midwest, but it doesn’t mean I have to love it.

Dog Blossom LOVES snow

I do feel very fortunate that our laundry room is in the same basic area as the back door the dog goes out to get into the back yard. When she heads out I put “her” towels in the dryer to get them nice and warm so that getting her dried off when she comes in a little bit easier. Yes, she is spoiled.

Those are two of the shawls I knit earlier this year. I hate blocking.

I still need to weave in the ends, but that’s the last of the stuff that needed to be blocked. I consider that to be a victory. We won’t talk about all of the half-finished projects still on the needles that need some love. But we will talk about how awesome L is – he helped me take an inventory of my needles this morning. Such a good boy.

Sometimes these two can be good, but not usually

This is probably the point at which I should make some kind of profound statement about how I’m going to focus on being a better human next year, as if I’m not a good human right now. But that’s not my style. I’m more of a goal setting type human. So here goes…

  • I will finish all of the fiber projects that are currently in progress
  • I will continue to work on my health issues by being more mindful of what I eat and drink
  • I will work to incorporate more physical activity into my routine by using the treadmill, ultimately getting to 30min/day, 5x/week
  • I will learn a new creative skill (I have kits here already for quilling and chain maille)
  • I will learn at least one new Indian recipe
  • I will continue to explore vegetarian dishes and strive to include a meatless dinner at least 1x/week

a quick check of the rear view mirror before we peal out into the sunset

First, let’s just get this big ol’ turd out of the way. The goals I set for myself last year didn’t happen. I tried, mostly, but I can very honestly say that I didn’t put forth the effort I knew would be necessary. That’s 100% on me.

None of this makes me any less of a person and it doesn’t even make me feel bad about myself. I tried, that’s what was important. So, moving on.

Here are some things that I think went really well this last year:

  • I successfully completed a semester of grad school. I doubt I’ll go back to finish the program but that’s because of the price tag, not because I don’t think I can mentally handle it. Very important difference.
  • I have become much more aware of my spending habits and what I could be doing different with my money. I feel confident that this year WILL be better.
  • Lancelot and I grew as a couple and things feel stronger than ever between us.
  • I’ve learned a lot about who I really am as a person, and I like that person.

Over the winter break I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done, and that makes me feel good, too. Mom and I tore the house apart, donated a bunch of stuff we no longer use, reorganized all of the holiday stuff, and I even did a full inventory of my yarn stash. Yes, the entire stash. It’s a beautifully organized spreadsheet that nearly brings a tear to my eye.

Here are some of my favorite projects from this year:

The Stormy Skies shawl seemed appropriate for a stormy day

I finished a scarf this morning that was supposed to be my last project of last year but then I had a glass of wine with dinner and my old butt was in bed by 8pm. And even though it’s a pretty little scarf it kind of looks like unicorn vomit at the moment.

I am still working on the shell shawl (did I ever show y’all that?) but it’s in time out on account of the one needle trying to take out one of my fingers in a very unfortunate laundry incident. I also realized that I don’t have nearly enough yarn to finish it the way I want to so that’s kind of pissing me off. I’ve also started another shawl (quelle surprise!) that’s two different purples (also a big shocker) and will have some super shiny beads. Stay tuned.

So, what does 2020 have in store for me? I’m ever so glad you asked…

  • Keep working on getting my credit cards and other debts paid off. The plan is to have everything except my big card, the CR-V, and the student loans all gone by the end of the year.
  • I’m on the hunt for educational opportunities that are more like certificates (I’ve done a few already for work) that I can get my boss to pay for. I like school, I don’t like the price tag.
  • I’d like to take ONE big trip this year, just one. There are a few possibilities being tossed around.
  • I’m planning to use every last bit of craft stuff I have on hand before buying anything new. (hence the yarn inventory)
  • I will turn 44, not that this is really terribly significant, but hey, why not include it?
  • And, last but certainly not least, I really want to make some healthier habits. This would include eating, exercising, and mental health stuff.

I’ll leave you with this image. It’s speaking to me today, maybe it will speak to you, too.

full speed ahead Scotty!

I feel like I’m moving at turbo speed today, but not the “spinning out of control and bouncing off walls at full speed” kind of turbo that comes, typically for me, with the onset of mania. Bipolar is a little bitch, after all.

Nope, this isn’t that. This is the byproduct of an amazing, albeit short, weekend with Lancelot. Overtime is also a little bitch.

Ok, so this is not exactly the most flattering pic of me. I had been crying, just a little and they were happy tears, but I wanted to capture that moment. That perfect moment of happiness with the man I love. Look at how he’s holding me, protecting me from the sadness.

He has helped me to become the woman I’ve wanted to be. This is going to sound so weird, but I like myself now, honestly and truly. I’ve never been with a man who loved and supported me so unconditionally that I actually feel like I could be myself. But, who am I? Who knows. I’m still becoming “her” but I know that I like her. And he loves her. How cool is that?

Also not a flattering picture, but hey, brown hair! I decided to see what wearing a more natural shade would feel like. It’s not bad. I’m also still figuring out the whole shampoo bar and hair product thing, trying to find a reasonable balance before I leave on the trip. Today I threw in the hair dryer (better than throwing it out?) and that seems to have helped.

I don’t care what anyone says, being a girl is complicated.

Speaking of the trip, I’m about 95% packed. I did my practice run on Saturday while Lancelot was sleeping and I decided that since it went so well I’d just leave what I could packed. No sense in duplicating efforts. I feel good about how things are coming along.

Garth feels good about helping Mama with the laundry. He’s not actually much of a help though.

I did manage to finish the shawl from hell (pardon if I’d already mentioned that) and I’m back to working on a shawl for myself using a beautiful multi-colored yarn. It has beads up the edge, a technique I hadn’t done prior to this. I’ve actually been working on it for awhile, it’s on the “goals” craft list, so hopefully it will be done soon.

My trip knitting will be the Shimmer Wave Scarf using that single skein of silk from Darn Good Yarn. I did buy a skein of Koigu specifically for this pattern but I think the other yarn is also a good fit and hey, can you ever really have too many scarves?

all the seasons at once

This part of the country is notorious for having wide temperature ranges within a single day. For example, it was 41F on my drive in this morning and will get to a high of 70F this afternoon. Nothing like wearing jeans and sandals out of necessity. So since the weather is turning colder, Mom and I rolled up the garden hose in the back yard yesterday. Pippy had to help.

She chased and drank the water coming out of the other end of the hose

The weekend was good, nice and relaxing. Lancelot and I had delivery pizza for dinner Friday night and ate our dinner on the couch while watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. We love that show. And that was the Friday evening I needed. Saturday was breakfast at the restaurant where we had our first date and then errands. Our friends came over that night for a UFC pay per view and brought dinner from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That was a late night but a good night.

Sunday we went and saw Joker. I don’t recommend it. The acting was amazing and the story was great, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think I have ever in my life seen a darker film that wasn’t a realistic portrayal of war.

This is a very realistic portrayal of what mental illness can look like, particularly when the person doesn’t have access to adequate medical resources.

It hit L very hard. I was thankful that I was there with him. When we got back to his apartment I told him that we’d talk about it in the car, get it out, but then leave it outside. The darkness didn’t need to follow us. So we talked, and cried, and held each other. By the time I left I think we were both doing better.

A dark puppy who was too many toys in her bed, that’s the kind of dark I want

In addition to hose winding yesterday I managed to get my laundry done (only one load, WOOT! I must be doing better at keeping on top of it), put my miscellaneous stuff from L’s away, outfits and jewelry for the week, plenty of knitting on the World’s Most Boring Shawl, and I mixed up some Chai Tea.

Everything tastes better in a dragon mug

I found the recipe on Pinterest and it was stupid easy. I split it into two jars, one for home and one for the office. It doesn’t compare to what I enjoyed in New Dehli, but it’s not too damn bad. Oh, that blue flower, that’s one of my fused glass creations.