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

rampage

I’m lazy.

There, I’ve said it.

It’s not that I don’t like to do things or be productive, rather I prefer to expend minimal effort for maximum reward. For example,

Exhibit A

I made crock pot chicken curry for dinner last night. It’s once of Lancelot’s favorite meals, mine too, and it’s not at all difficult. What it is, however, is time consuming to prep. So since I was chopping this stuff up anyway I decided I would chop enough for THREE dinners and just freeze the stuff for the other two. I also took the time to measure out the spices I need and put that in little plastic containers so all I need to do to cook these meals is add my protein and two cans of coconut milk. Voila!

So maybe it’s not “lazy” but it is definitely front-loading. Since I was messing with spices yesterday I mixed up two more little plastic containers of the spices I need to make chai coffee. And I did a single serving of overnight oats, just to test a theory. I was right – two packets of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal with eggnog is rather tasty.

I’ve been going through the house, mostly the kitchen, trying to use up stuff we have on hand before buying anything else. Mostly I’m talking about groceries, but I might end up talking about yarn. I’m on the fence about that. More likely I’ll try to use some of my other craft supplies.

But man oh man do I digress.

I’ve been trying to make a list of all the possible dinners I could make given what’s in the house. Part of this is wanting to make sure that we use the food we have on hand before it spoils. Part of it is wanting to minimize trips to the store. And part of it, quite frankly, is boredom.

We can’t all sleep all the time like Garth does

At any rate, I’ve been trying to keep moving forward. I had a few rough days last week but I feel like I’m bouncing back appropriately. The weekend ended up feeling like a really nice balance of work and play. And yesterday I cleaned up the closet in my office (previously looked like The Dumping Ground) and found a tiny silver Christmas tree with little lights on it. Very festive.

I’m still trying to make good progress on that one last gift and I am struggling. I’ve got two weeks left and I am bound and determined to finish it. So off I go!

kicking my own ass

I swear I’m not biting him Momma, honest I’m not…

Garth’s eye infection is back, which doesn’t surprise me but also doesn’t please me. It’s really not going to please him when we have to start the eye drops again tonight. But the vet was kind enough to just talk to Lancelot on the phone and get us a refill of the drops. Poor little guy hates to go for car rides.

But it’s kind of funny, he and Pippy are definitely pals. Lately they’ve been snuggling more, as seen above, and Garth will actually groom Pippy like he would his feline brother, Eric. It’s pretty damn cute.

This morning L and I went and had our monthly massages and that was beyond heavenly. As an added treat we stopped at the coffee shop to get smoothies, and a gift card for our massage therapist. One of the perks to having both of us see the same person is that we each get a solid hour of “personal” time without feeling the least bit guilty. I always take a knitting project with me and today I needed that time. I’ve got just ONE gift left to finish and it’s a doozy. Not hard, but involved. So having that time was good.

I have done some work today, and some house stuff. It’s actually a lot easier to get certain work tasks done when no one from work is wanting my attention. And laundry can pretty well always babysit itself.

That has become the Critter Room rather than a guest room. Pippy is demonstrating just how well she can do that “relax” thing.

Today marks four months since L and I got married. It’s hard to believe it’s already been that long, and at the same time it’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t together.

bits and pieces

Y’all know that Lancelot works overnights, and he didn’t get the Thanksgiving holiday off (he did get holiday pay, which is nice I suppose) so we had our “official” dinner on Saturday. Yes, all of that food was JUST FOR ME! Ahem, I shared. But we had a pot roast, mashed potatoes, gravy from scratch, green bean casserole, my mother’s famous dressing, and my grandmother’s cranberry Jello salad. It was divine.

Part of what we were celebrating was that my little guy, Garth, has just a very minor eye infection that we’re treating with drops. He hates them, but then L isn’t excited about eye drops either. They must be making him feel better though because today while I was having a bite of lunch he climbed up on my chest and camped out long enough to start purring (a rare event with him) and for me to get a few pictures. Last night he got in bed with us and demanded snuggles from me at least three times that I remember.

This will be another short week for me, but an even better short week since this week L and I both have FIVE WHOLE DAYS off work together for a delightful little stay-cation. I’m very excited. I’m also excited that I’m essentially done with my holiday shopping and I only have one gift left to make. I’ve taken a short break today to do some actual work seeing as it’s been hard to get some of my projects done for work given all of the emails people seem to expect me to answer. The nerve.

the things this life has taught me

I’m not a fan of this plague bullshit, not at all. We’ve now reached the point where Lancelot and I agree that the less interaction I have with humans who are not him, the better. The community isn’t getting any safer here and our governor isn’t doing fuck-all about it. So it’s time to step up my own personal vigilance even further.

So I guess that’s a big part of what brings me to today’s post. Interestingly enough, there’s a tie within a tie here. I’ll get to that. I want to start with a list of things I’ve learned as a result of living through the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

***Disclaimer: I am not a licensed mental health practitioner, though I play one in my imaginary world. Like everything on this blog these are just my observations. Your mileage may vary.

  • There is immense joy to be found in the small moments, such as an unexpected hug from a loved one or a favorite cup of tea.
  • There is no shame in working in your PJs, provided you work at home.
  • If it takes a village to raise a child, why do we think it doesn’t take a village to keep an adult human healthy and happy?
  • You don’t have to buy new stuff. Move your old stuff around. Get rid of some of it. Put the stuff you really love back in new places. It’s called Shit Shifting and it’s amazing.
  • You might not like Pumpkin Spice. You might think that Christmas shouldn’t appear before Thanksgiving. But it’s been a shit year, and those things make some people very happy, so just STFU and let them be happy.
  • I never would have tried ordering my groceries online for pick-up had it not been for this fucking plague. Now it’s the only way I shop and I love how much time it saves me.
  • I wanted to make sure that I didn’t forget any of my ideas for this post and I knew I didn’t have much time this morning when I went to get Lancelot so I finally learned how to make a voice recording on my phone.
  • Don’t save the good china / your good jewelry / that cute dress / insert appropriate thing here / for a special occasion. Any day you suck oxygen is a special occasion.
  • We’re going to come out of this stronger than we were before, I promise you that.
The hooligans are making me very leery of putting up a tree, but I feel amazing about having some of my snowflake ornaments hanging in the front windows

So far I’ve finished three gifts. I still have two left to make; hopefully I’ll start another one tonight. Today has been super rough so I might just go pass out somewhere. It has snowed off and on all day and it’s just cold. Of course Garth has been sleeping right next to the heat vent in my office all day so that doesn’t really help.

This is what I woke up to this morning. It should have told me everything I needed to know about today.

so there I was, damn certain I’d come up with a witty and brilliant idea for a blog title and it was all just gone…

Am I the only one that happens to? I would swear that sometime earlier this morning I’d come up with something absolutely wonderful to call this post, and now I’ve got a fist full of nada. Well shit.

I have been making some progress with the holiday knitting. The first gift is essentially finished and I’ve started on the second one. All of the necessary yarn is wound. I may, or may not, need to find one pattern yet. But I feel good about how that’s been going, in spite of the help I’ve been getting.

His favorite thing is to “make biscuits” on my leg. Painful at the best of times, annoying AF when I’m trying to knit.

But things in general are good at Casa del Crazypants. We’ve made our plans for Thanksgiving, such as they are, and we’ve started talking about what we want to do for Christmas together. Part of what makes every holiday a little trickier is that Lancelot doesn’t get any extra time off. Christmas and New Year’s are a little better this year since they fall during his normal weekend, but Thanksgiving doesn’t. So I’ll cook on either Friday or Saturday, not sure which yet, and one of our friends is going to join us. He’s every bit as careful about plague protocols as we are.

In other exciting news, I thought I would share my Eggnog Chai Coffee concoction with y’all.

So you start with the cold coffee. I brew a 12 cup pot with 3/4C regular coffee (Folgers right now I think) and add 1tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2tsp ground cardamon, 1/4tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/8tsp ground ginger. All of that goes into the basket together and I brew it like normal. I dump that pot into the clear pitcher you see in the back and add 1/2C Splenda, then pop it in the fridge. That lasts about a week.

In a large insulated cup (that one is 32oz) I put ice, about half way, and then add coffee to cover the ice. Next is the eggnog, a nice glug of it (so precise) and then I top it all off with milk. That’s it. It’s nothing too complicated, it’s not at all expensive, and I think it tastes fabulous. When eggnog isn’t in season (why is it ever not???) I just replace that part with half and half.

I do stop at the coffee shop sometimes but their drinks are smaller and they’re expensive. Plus, there’s usually a line. Making coffee in my own kitchen doesn’t require pants, and I enjoy that.

out of my ever loving mind

You missed a spot Dad

Garth apparently thought Lancelot needed some sort of bathing this morning, which is entirely possible since he gets home from work around 7:30am and is frequently in need of a shower. But he’s never done this before. It was rather cute, and at least he didn’t bite.

It’s been quite the week and the week ain’t over. I’m almost afraid to see what fresh hell tomorrow has in store for me.

I have started the blood pressure medicine and so far haven’t noticed a difference, which I’m going to take as a good sign. I’m having one hell of a time getting comfortable temperature-wise right now but I’m chalking that up to it being freezing cold outside and dark. Things are supposed to warm back up over the weekend which is good. I’d like to get our outdoor holiday decorating done before there’s a foot of snow on the ground.

The holiday knitting is still moving forward. Today I got a package of yarn in the mail that I kind of remember ordering, but not exactly what projects this is for. (AHA! it just came to me!!!)

The good news is that I think the one skein is for R’s holiday gift. I think. And for some reason there’s another package of yarn being delivered tomorrow, and I really don’t know what’s in that. (seriously, I got nothing this time) There has to be a pile of printed patterns downstairs that will give me some clues…

Apparently these beautiful orchids are dual purpose. L knows damn well what a week I’m having and wanted to cheer me up. Today is also our three month wedding anniversary. And he got to deliver them to me himself (which is a bit of a trick). The florist delivered them while he was still awake so he answered the door and then pretended to be all surprised when he brought them up to me. Slick.

But yes, it’s been a week. Eric even decided to love on his mama last night.

Silly fluff-butt

making progress, I think, maybe… am I?

A rather horrible photo of Off Kilter, and Eric’s butt. Apologies for the photo, the bed was the only fur-free place with a solid color that I could try to spread it out. This sucker needs to be BLOCKED.
The teeny tiny amount of yarn that was left

Yesterday was ridiculously slow for me. I’m going to assume that had something to do with the election, not sure what else to attribute it to. So I took advantage of it and managed to finish a few office-based projects, like the file cabinet. I was basically at my desk and able to hear when the computer demanded my attention so I decided that made it a legit activity. I can’t say as I threw out much stuff, but I definitely got it more organized and that’s always a good thing. Let’s be honest, I’m not really done yet. The file cabinet, yes. The other storage spots, not so much.

It’s a sickness maybe.

Anyway, I’ve started the holiday knitting which has, of course, resulted in the realization that there are more people who need knit things.

I can do all of this, right?

Part of it is I’m trying to distract myself from more medical appointments. I’m still feeling confident that everything is going to turn out to be nothing, but it’s still stressful.

Super Garth does not know what this “stress” nonsense is

because I have so much free time on my hands I think I’ll knit a few holiday gifts… that should be fun, right?

Lancelot and I on Halloween, waiting for our friends to arrive

So it’s pretty well impossible to tell from this picture, or any picture we took, that I had on these very lovely monarch wings that looked great with my headband. I picked them up at Target for $10. They were perfect. And the “party” was wonderful. We had three friends come over and we spent most of the evening in the garage. We ate good food and had wonderful conversation. It was precisely what I needed. And we did it in a way that legitimately seemed pretty safe.

We managed to get some stuff done around the house this weekend, which was very good, though it always feels like there’s more to do. I still need to attack the file cabinet in my office and finish the laundry. I would have been finished with the Off Kilter shawl but my yarn cake (what little of it is left) decided to explode and I had to rewind it by hand from the wrong end this morning. With feline help. I’m anxious to have it done in part because I did not end up having enough yarn for all of the repeats of the body; I think I got something like 18 out of 25 done. It should be fine I’m just not 100% sure what the edging is going to look like, but again, not super concerned.

And so now I think I have AMPLE free time to make some holiday gifts. Keep in mind that the holidays are next month. Towards the end, but still. Oh yeah, totally enough time.

In my defense, three of the patterns are ones I’ve made before, quite successfully. All of the gifts go to friends who live here in the metro and can be delivered by me. And I have the yarn already in my possession for all of them.

Also, Lancelot turned 50 this year which means he gets to have super exciting medical screenings (you know the one) and I’ll be taking him in for that on Friday. Nothing as wonderful as enforced quiet time in a hospital waiting room to help make progress on a knitting project.

I do have to ask – has anyone actually spent time waiting for someone like this since the Rona started? I know how I would have done this in the Before Times when I’d take my Mom, and I think I’ll plan what I take on part on what I used to do, but what tips do y’all have?