and just like that I found myself excited instead of petrified, and it was breathtakingly amazing

I don’t understand even half the nonsense that goes on in my brain so I do hope that you, gentle reader, don’t expect me to be able to explain it to you. Because I can’t. But here goes my best effort…

I am slowly but surely getting everything ready for my trip. I checked my packing list again this morning and I think it’s as thorough as I can get it. I’m not sure yet when I’ll do my practice pack but it needs to be soon.

I’m not too worried about the packing thing. I’ve done this before. I know the tricks to getting through airport security and what to expect. One of my biggest things with these trips is that I don’t check luggage on the way there. I don’t want to arrive and find myself with no clothes. I’m more than happy to check a bag full of dirty laundry on the way home.

So I’m taking a carry on suitcase and my backpack, like I always do. I don’t travel with body wash or shampoo, no liquids in my bag at all. Slip on shoes for going through security. Backup paper copies of everything, and backup digital copies as well. I wear a light jacket and comfortable jeans; I’ll be sleeping in those clothes on the plane so they need to be like pjs.

This trip I’m also going to pack and empty duffel bag. I figure if I find time to shop I can always check my suitcase and carry the duffel and backpack as my carry on pieces. I’m checking with my travel partner to see what she thinks of this arrangement.

I’m still working on my list of things to do but I’m making steady progress. And that, I think, is why it’s starting to get to the “gee, this actually does sound like it could be fun” point.

I’ve been looking for projects to take with and still haven’t totally decided. I’m starting to think that perhaps I’m limiting myself by thinking I have to take this particular yarn with me. The one “must” is that the required yarn be in my stash as of right now.

Pippy and my sister’s kitten playing the other day

istanbul not constantinople

Have I bothered to mention that the trip to Istanbul is back on? Like, we’re leaving November 13th. The tickets are being purchased this morning, or so I’m told. All I know is that this is not much time to get ready for an international trip – almost five weeks exactly.

So I’m making my packing list, purchasing supplies, trying to get my “poo in a pile” as my pal Dr. K would say. I ordered electrical adapters, which is awesome because now I’ll have three entirely different sets. I also ordered some new pants and a pair of shoes. I’ve done dresses for the last two workshops but decided on tunics and leggings this time. I think it will give me better flexibility for doing things in the evenings.

At any rate, I’m trying not to freak out about any of this and to concentrate on controlling the bits I can. I’ve done this three times already, I might not be an expert but I do at least have some clue as to what the hell I’m doing.

and for my next encore…

I’m working on getting all the last bits and pieces wrapped up at home and at work. I feel pretty solid about the packing. I’ve got a few more things to do at work but I feel good about that, too. Right now I’m eating what should have been breakfast even though it’s after 1pm. But honestly, rice pudding with blueberries can be eaten anytime.

I actually feel pretty calm and collected right now, at least about this trip. Yes, this trip. There’s another trip in the works now. It’s hush-hush right now because I’m not sure about the funding but my colleague and I submitted a proposal to present at a conference and we got accepted. We actually got the email this morning at the same time and collided mid-hug in the hallway. Nothing like a couple of girls hugging and jumping and screaming in an office. It’s going to be another amazing trip and this time over my birthday. And Lancelot is going to try to come with me.

Speaking of Lancelot, I’m going to be taking his cat stuffie friend Daryl with me on my trip. You’re familiar with the roaming gnome? Yeah, like that only with a small smartass looking cat. I’ll be photographing him all over the place. Brace yourselves.

I will do my best to keep updating here during my trip. If I can’t you can rest assured that there will be a metric shit-ton of pictures when I get back.

Be good to each other….

the first of the lasts

“just to warn you, mama is about to get weird”

I don’t even pretend to understand why my strange little brain works the way it does, why bother. But on the drive to work this morning (thank dog that only lasts about 15 minutes or else we’d be in serious kimchee) I realized that I’m about to embark on a series of very minor “lasts.” Minor in that they aren’t permanent. Oh hell, let me illustrate…

Tonight is the last night I’ll sleep in my own bed until November 25th.

I put gas in the car for the last time this morning until (not sure with this one).

Tomorrow will be my last day at work until November 28th.

Friday is my last day in the US until November 24th.

And the biggest one right now… Friday is the last day I will see Mom and Lancelot until November 24th.

I’ll talk to both of them every day, I know this. I’ve setup to be able to call from India and both of them have schedules such that it shouldn’t be an issue. But I’ll miss them both terribly.

I will also miss the little orange menaces. They know something is going on because of the suitcases and the near perpetual mess on my bed in the evenings. I think Eric has maybe been trying to figure out how to stowaway in my bag. He’s got a thing for getting into bags and boxes.

At any rate, I think I’m in pretty good shape. I did decide to switch to the tiny carry-on suitcase and the backpack. It’s a lot more flexibility and it means I don’t have to pack an empty bag in case I buy too much stuff. Mom is going to help me do a double-check tonight to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. I think all that’s really left are the few bits that can’t be packed until the last minute.

one of those mornings

The packing is coming along, though I realized this morning that my best bet may be to take a backpack and small carry-on suitcase in addition to the larger checked bag. I’m still not sold on this idea, but it’s sounding more appealing. I’ll examine more tonight when I start putting the pharmaceutical portion of my baggage together.

Clothing, jewelry, shoes, snacks, and my overnight bag for Thursday is all done. So that counts for something I think.

This morning I woke up around 4:30, about the time Lancelot finished him lunch break I think. And that was fine, I was rested by that point and ready to get up. I had time to finish the second hat, yay!, and make a smoothie and my bed. It felt productive and productive is good.

I’ve been trying to work on my communication skills lately, as in getting back to being able to talk about things like a grown-up and not throw temper tantrums. I feel like I’m making good progress, but I will say that there are still just some times when I’d prefer to punch people in the fucking throat.

In the “things that don’t make me want to throat punch someone” category… It’s not officially official until they send the letters later this week, but a little bird told me I’ve been accepted to grad school.

I’m really kind of starting to wonder what the fuck I’m getting myself into. I’ve done grad school once before, but I was obviously younger. Do I really still have the chops to do this? Am I honestly talented enough to do a writing program like this?

I talked to the one program coordinator this morning and he told me that he had read my application and that I had nothing to worry about, they were impressed. But still. I have a lot of years of thinking that I’m shit at this stuff that I’ll be fighting against.

Gotta try though.

looking forward to my past

It’s a well known fact that I overthink. I will overthink damn near everything, from the teeny tiny to the monumental. This is part of why I get my work clothes out for an entire week at once; I make all of my over-thought decisions at once and then I’m done with it.

I’ve thought about forming a support group for over-thinkers but I can’t quite work out all of the details.

Ba-dum ching!

Anyway, I know this drives people crazy so I’ve been trying to at least not vocalize it, or all of it. But evidently that results in a massive case of Resting Bitch Face which is no bueno either.

According to my mom there was a time in my past when my default facial expression was a smile, the easily worn outward expression of happiness. I don’t know precisely when that changed other than sometime around when I started meds. But I need the meds. It’s a conundrum.

The hat, by the way, didn’t quite get finished but is only lacking the last four rounds. I estimate another 20 minutes or so. If I had gotten up a bit earlier this morning it would be done by now.

In other good news, simple med change on Friday. I’m dropping one of the new pills she gave me to help with sleep except for if I can’t sleep on the plane I’m supposed to take one. I slept mostly amazing this weekend and today I actually feel like I have some energy. Which is good. I need it.

The mania has faded, rather like a bad dream. My thoughts have slowed significantly and I’m much better able to articulate what I’m feeling and what I need. That’s not to say I’m not still irritable some of the time but I am finding it easier to think before I speak these days. I count this as progress.

Yesterday I got the laundry started, the suitcase out, and the packing is underway. I made the very timely realization that I had either enough underwear to pack OR I had enough to get through until I leave, but not both. Fortunately I made this discovery before we left to run errands yesterday.

And I cannot say enough good things about packing cubes. I got this set from Amazon and I am loving how much easier it is to pack and rearrange things. I’m not taking a very large suitcase, mainly because I have a mid-size one with great wheels that also happens to be purple, so having it well organized is going to be crucial to getting everything in and not arrive looking like I slept in all of it.

Most of the clothes are packed now, I really just need to figure out the backpack situation, which was not possible yesterday given that the pack lives at work. I can’t bring my laptop home to pack until Thursday because it’s my only computer at work, but I can get around that I think. I just need to make sure that everything else fits. I would say tonight by the time I crash I should have 95% of it all done.

The only detail I don’t really have ironed out yet is communication while I’m gone. I added international access to my cell plan so I’m covered with that but there’s still the whole 11.5 hour difference in time zones to contend with. It’s possible that this will make communication with Lancelot easier, but far trickier with my mom. Regardless of the solution, there will be a solution.

I’m excited, I just wish we were already at the “Erin has returned home safely with some lovely little gifts and many fine stories to share” part of the adventure.

hard times at Panda High

I am a serious creature of habit. I pretty much always do the same things in the same way at the same time. Deviation from a routine has the capacity to send me off the edge of a very tall cliff. And for whatever reason, my busted little brain expects everyone else to be just the same.

Amazingly enough, life does not work that way. Also amazingly enough, I (think) I managed to keep my shit together this time. Maybe? Maybe. Poor damn squishy panda…

The hat that refuses to die is almost ready for the decrease rounds. YAY!!! I’m taking it with to Lancelot’s this weekend so that hopefully I can finish it. The weather here is much more “winter” than “autumn” right now so I definitely want to make sure he has both hats before I leave. That bastard weatherman is actually talking about snow for today. Good thing I’m wearing boots.

I didn’t manage to get any packing done last night but I did identify the dresses I’m taking with. I’ve decided that dresses make the most sense for the days I teach since they’re comfortable and take up less space than multiple pieces. I’m also taking one extra dress, a black one that I’ll wear with a light cardigan, in case I need something for a dinner.

Still trying to figure out what, if any, of my shawls or other knitted bits to bring. And jewelry, that’s going to be a decision.

I’m also taking two pair of black flats which will go with everything, take minimal space, and allow my feet a bit of variety. I plan to travel in my tennis shoes which are quite bulky, but totally comfy, and they slip on which makes them ideal for airport security.

Let’s be honest, there are just too damn many decisions to make. This morning my friend N asked me if I’m taking my good camera with me. Hmm, good question.

In other news, I’m still waiting for one more letter of recommendation before my grad school application can officially be processed. I don’t doubt that I’ll get in but this is taking FOREVER. I am much frustrated. Enrollment starts on November 12th. GRRRR.

In other, other, news, I am wearing a shawl I knit a thousand years ago and some of the beautiful jewelry Lancelot got me. And knee-high peacock socks under my boots. I am stunning.

I’d love to tell you about the shawl but all I can remember is that the pattern was called Bloom but I don’t remember a damn thing about the yarn. It’s smooth in spots and then fuzzy in others, the colors are kind of muted, and I put a really funky beaded border on the shawl that I don’t recall being part of the original pattern. It’s quite like wearing a hug. And it looks great with the jewelry.

so there I was, hip deep in spent bubble gum wrappers and down to my last Snickers bar when suddenly…

I ain’t gonna lie, I hurt right now. Our weather has turned cold and damp and the arthritic bits in my back do NOT like it one bit. And for some reason today I am shaking like I’m coming off a week long cheap whiskey and cigar fueled bender.

Which I am not. But that doesn’t sound half bad right now. Just sayin.

I’m making good progress with the trip preparations. I think I might have finally decided on the knitting projects to take with which is apparently proving a more difficult task than deciding which clothes to take. Who knew. But I’ve found two rather different wrap-style patterns that should provide some interest while not require too much skull sweat. Now to decide on the yarn. Oy.

Lancelot’s hat got some love last night. I’m hoping to that done yet this week. I’m guessing it might get cold enough for him to want both hats while I’m gone. Besides, I’d like to have it done just for the sake of having it done.

Today I’m going to see the eye specialist. I have glaucoma that they’re treating with drops right now so I go in every six months to make sure that I’m still making the kind of progress they want. It’s been good so far. Just kind of wondering if they’ll have the young smart ass guy taking care of me. He’s fun to torment.

Not much else exciting going on other than in an attempt to unfuck my Google calendar I managed to make it almost worse. I had double added everything from my Outlook calendar so I tried to export my personal entries, delete everything, and then import the personal stuff back. Except I evidently didn’t export right. Doh. Only me.

the countdown is on

Eleven days from now, almost precisely, I’ll be on a plane bound for Newark, NJ and then on to India. I’m at that strange place between petrified and exhilarated. Tonight I’m going to get out the suitcase and start “practice packing” as my one friend at work suggested. I probably need to do laundry before I can really do that given that I was at Lancelot’s all weekend (again) and haven’t caught up on my laundry.

I think dresses will be good for the working days of this trip. Single pieces, I should be able to get ones that will all work fine with black flats, and they’ll travel well. The other few days are what I’m not 100% sure about, mostly because I’ll spend part of that time sleeping in said clothes. Good times.

At any rates, things are coming together. My hair has been cut, nails will get done this weekend, supplies for the trip are being acquired. My last shot until I get back will be tonight when I get home.

Lancelot surprised me in the most delightful way this weekend. He’s taking a day off this week so we can have a long weekend together. I knew about that. What I didn’t know was that he also took the night before I leave off so that we can have some to spend together then. Utterly sweet.

The mental health stuff is coming along. There are still ups and downs, and patches of downright bitchy, but with lots of love and support I’ve been getting through it. The sleeping issues are almost entirely under control again. Last night was rough but my back was sore and that never helps.

Oddly enough I’m almost more worried about which knitting projects to take with me than anything else.

a world full of hate

I nearly can’t stand to watch the news or get on social media anymore. There’s so much hate and violence everywhere you turn. It’s awful. Trump keeps throwing his disgusting weight around like he’s got a right to do these horrible things he keeps threatening to do and much of the masses believe him.

Folks, the movie “Idiocracy” was NEVER intended to be a documentary.

There are still good, rational, reasonable people out there. I know there are. I just hope they all get out and vote. I voted early by mail. I’m lazy and it’s easier for me, but I did it. Those of you here in the US, or really anywhere, I can’t encourage you enough to exercise your right to have your voice heard.

I saw this on Facebook and didn’t remember to get the artist info, but it’s not my work. Super stunning though.

I’ve reached a point where I feel like a return to life as it should be is well within my grasp. My sleep is still not where I want it to be but I’ll see the doc tomorrow and I plan to talk to her about it. Progress is still being made with controlling the mania so I feel good about that.

The stress levels in general are coming down which is absolutely heavenly. I’m actually (finally) getting excited about the trip to India. I made a few purchases this morning that were recommended by friends and I’m getting ready to line up a few more.

As a total side note, what the hell did we do before internet shopping? Seriously.

Also saw this on Facebook this morning and it was like someone smacked me in the face with a phone book. I plan to make the rest of this year a very educational experience and then next year, look out.

*assuming of course I can stop locking my fucking keys in my office