white is my least favorite color

Have I managed yet just how ridiculous fucking sick to death I am of winter? And snow? And snow in the winter? That’s like the fucking worst ever.

We had roughly 10″ of snow over the weekend and the temps are ridiculously cold. Again. Getting around this morning was dicey to say the least. Here’s what I don’t get, and never have really…

WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU THINK YOU CAN DRIVE ON SHITTY SNOWY ROADS IN A LOW TO THE GROUND SPORTS CAR WITH SLICK TIRES???

I can’t even tell you how many cars I saw stuck in the middle of roads this morning, all of them sports cars. Well, there was that one Audi SUV but it was being driven by an idiot.

I digress.

We started watching the Oscars last night. For a tiny bit of time I had a Garth kitty on my lap, which was nice. He was not that excited about the TV though. Sometimes he watches, no shit.

Today I have made myself three days worth of pasta salad for the rest of the work week. Mom gets her other cataract surgery on Wednesday so hopefully she’ll finally be able to see right. I’m trying to get myself back in gear with my eating habits and everything. It’s a work in progress.

Anyway, this pasta is one that Lancelot introduced me to. It’s  made of five green veggies – kale, zucchini, spinach, parsley, and broccoli. I tossed it with an Italian salad dressing mix, grape tomatoes, sliced baby cucumbers, sliced olives, and shredded mozzarella cheese. It looks and smells pretty good. We shall see.

Time to get back to homework, or housework, maybe both. The manuscript is coming along nicely, almost 140 pages. I need to somehow manage to read another memoir in the next day and start writing my critical essay. This packet of stuff is due on Thursday morning.

the best laid plans of mice and me

It’s really not cool to turn in your very FIRST grad school assignment late. It’s not. But my laptop at home completely barfed on me last night and so I didn’t get everything turned in until this morning. My mentor didn’t seem pleased but he also didn’t seem pissed.

In all I would have to say that the last few days have been a little rough. The super cold weather is never good and it just kind of feels like I’ve been struggling. I’m hoping that I’ve gotten past that now and that life will improve.

That was yesterday’s knit thing. It’s a more traditional shawl, my own pattern, using a lovely wool yarn I picked up while on vacation in 2016. I based the pattern on my very favorite washcloth which looks like a flower. No clue at this point what the yarn was but it’s soft and incredibly warm. The design means it drapes around the shoulders and sits in place nicely all by itself.

Today I’m sporting my favorite purple shawl with the big flower pin. And new pink bangs. I rock this shit.

Now on to the goals…

In looking over my list there are several that will be taking place each month. Those are:

  1. Lose 5lbs each month
  2. Write more than 30 new pages for my memoir each month
  3. Craft projects

Just based on the number of projects on my craft list I’ll need to finish at least one per month. This month I’m going to concentrate on finishing one of the shawls I have started, just not sure which one.

I have already been working on adding to my memoir and even though the month technically just started today I’m already up 14 pages, which is almost half of the minimum requirement.

The weight loss thing will be the kicker. I’m trying to modify my eating habits to start with, mainly by adding a healthy smoothie back in to my morning routine. I typically use a single serving carton of low-carb vanilla yogurt, frozen fruit (that I froze myself so I know it’s just fruit), and either 100% fruit juice (no sugar added) or milk. Yesterday I picked up some of the V8 Fusion juice that’s both fruit and veggie juice but just tastes like fruit for even more health benefit.

So I still need to make a decision about the shawl and I need to officially start the health kick thing. I’m thinking Monday.

This weekend I have plans to relax and get stuff done with Lancelot. It’s been amazing giving him rides home from work this week, but I definitely need time for good hugs that aren’t rushed.

distractions

There’s a ton of stuff I should be doing, like a literal ton. I need to be working on my grad school app, there are million projects around the house, things I need to do to get ready for my vacation, you name it. But here I am. Why?

Because purple aliens don’t wear tinfoil hats.

Actually that isn’t quite true. I’m getting burned out just a little. I’m at that place where I’m trying to do too many things and so some stuff is suffering. Because of this I’m trying to do things a little different. Still hustlin’, just different.

We are obnoxiously cute, yes? Totally yes. We had a wonderful weekend together. Way too much good food, I cooked breakfast, a trip to an Asian market, and a trip to World Market. I may have also gotten him to dance in the living room. Maybe.

Yesterday I had to pretend to be a grown-up again. We went to a conference in Missouri. It was good but it made for a long day.

Today Lancelot and I figured out how to make Facebook video calls between our phones. I’ve scoped out the scene for international calling while I’m in India but I know that NINE DAMN DAYS is too long to go without seeing him at all. So that was really quite nice. I suspect it’s going to make the time between weekends a little easier to handle as well.

Eric has been enjoying the cooler weather and sunshine.

 

 

 

proof that I knit and that my body still hates me

This is the vest I’ve been working on. We dog sat again this weekend and let tell you, repetitive garter stitch is perfect for watching movies. I used Rebecca Hope Obsorn’s Nebula Medallion Vest pattern and, as usual for me, did it my own damn way, mostly because I used only a little handspun yarn but not bulky and then three other commercial worsted weight yarns. The two solid purples are (I think) Cascade 220 that’s been in my stash for years. The aqua collar is a new acquisition but of course I can’t remember what it’s called. That gorgeous stuff in the middle is the handspun. One of my good friends who happens to be a librarian here made it for me before I had the cyst removed in December. Look her up on Instagram, she goes by @teaspinning. I plan on wearing this tomorrow. YAY!!!

I have gotten back to work on the triangles shawl/scarf thing. I’m going to try to get it done before the weekend because this Saturday my nieces have a big ass competition and it’s close enough that Mom and I will go to it. We’ve been to enough of these that we have it down to an art.

We’ll be taking:

  • bleacher chairs
  • a knitting project for me
  • all 3 of Mom’s tablets
  • large insulated drink cups
  • those little sticks of drink mix
  • snacks that don’t make messes or get fingers dirty (for the girls)

Most of that goes in my backpack. I don’t mind going usually. Inevitably someone will strike up a conversation about whatever project I’m working on. And my nieces are amazingly talented so it’s fun to get to see them in action.

Okay, time for the “body hates me” news…

Last Thursday night I taught a class. While I was up front talking I noticed that the middle finger on the right hand hurt and was swelling. That’s the finger I wear rings on so I got those off and kept going. I had apparently blown a blood vessel. The finger hurt like hell until Saturday morning.

Sunday afternoon Mom and I were doing stuff in the yard, nothing major. I stopped to get a drink and the index finger on the left hand popped, like I felt something pop, and it started turning black and blue and got hard. It’s starting to feel better now but I gotta tell ya, this is just weird.

In the “my body hates salad” news… I lost FOUR POUNDS last week. I am pleased.

how I deal with bipolar brain

Anyone who deals with a chronic illness deals with certain side effects, both from medications they might take and from the illness itself. My biggest, current, medication side effect is hand tremors from the lithium. This has put an end to my beadwork and to my drawing. But the trade off is that I’m mentally more stable than ever.

I’ll take it.

Most of the rest of my issues come from my illness itself, such as my brain’s weakness in the face of chaos. I’m not talking about comic book villain type chaos, more like “there’s too much mess on my desk” chaos or “I have too many options and I feel crippled so I can’t make a decision” kind of chaos or “I can’t remember stuff, like that word I’m trying to say or where I’m supposed to be right now” kind of chaos. It probably sounds strange, but those things really can take me down for the count. So how do I deal?

First, I have a tendency to keep my living / working spaces very tidy. Chaos in my physical surroundings leads to chaos in my brain. I also use music as a form of white noise when I’m at work and an actual white noise app at night to help me sleep.

Second, I make as many decisions as possible in bulk. What do I mean by that? I spend about an hour on the weekend getting my outfits/jewelry for the next work week together. I hang everything in my bathroom so it’s ready to go. I also spend time making breakfasts, lunches, fruit salad, and coffee on the weekend. If there’s time I take what I can to the office and have my fridge ready to go for the week. If not, I carry it in on Monday. The food prep stuff also makes sure I don’t end up buying lunches.

What was that last thing? Oh yeah, my rotten memory.

I’ve been using an app called Keep. It ties in to my Google account and I can access it on my phone or on the computer. I can use it as a notebook, it will remind me of things, and I can setup regularly scheduled reminders. It’s amazing and it’s free.

Those are some of my tricks. I’m sure there are others. What do you do to deal with your issues like this?

week four

Coming at you a day early this week, but hey, I’ve got good stuff to share.

Easy one first, the weight. In spite of making the decision to have dinner out last night, and eat a large order of french fries, I managed to lose another 3/4 of a pound. My guess is that it could have been even more if we’d had something healthier for dinner but I honestly don’t feel bad. This was only the THIRD time this month that I’ve eaten out and a girl needs some fries now and then. I’m still considering it a win. I’m down 4lbs for the month. My goal was 5 and I still consider next week part of January. I’m seeing a victory in my future.

On the financial front, I’m doing awesome. I still have cash left in my wallet and in the bank. I recreated my budget spreadsheet (it got lost when the laptop tanked) and then started adding up my receipts and I’m actually in really good shape. Assuming the government does eventually let me file my taxes, my returns are good enough that I’ll be able to pay off one credit card entirely and then start working on the others. My plan is to pay off the highest balance, because it would require the highest monthly payment to eliminate this year, and then put that payment amount with the next highest balance. This should result in all of the cards being paid off well before the end of the year.

I’ve decided that the next step is going to be increasing what I pay on my vehicle loan. I moved that to my credit union, where I do all of my banking, late last year so it’s ridiculously easy to pay extra on it via their website. Once that’s paid off I’ll start putting money aside for the down payment on the next vehicle.

I totally sound like a grown up.

there’s a really funny story with this pic but all you really need to know is that no, it was not my birthday, but it’s stuff like this that makes it hard for me to think of myself as a grown up

I am starting to use my Google Assistant more often. I even figured out how to have it set reminders for me, and then promptly felt foolish because it’s stupid easy. I am quite enjoying it though.

And last but not least, the “bigger than a washcloth” craft project to be completed. I am probably 95% done crocheting the pieces and parts for the kitty cocoon/bunting thing for K’s bambino. Next comes assembly. Lots of little parts that will make for an adorable baby kitty. My plan is to get that finished this evening.

So YAY! I feel like I’m making really good progress with everything and because I’m not focusing all of my attention on just one thing it seems to be easier. It’s lots of baby steps that are all taking me in the direction I want to go.

gratuitous cute kitty picture

week one

This was my first week back to work after having been out on medical leave for a month. It was exciting and exhausting at the same time. But this wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew pretty well what to expect. And I planned accordingly.

I decided that my eating habits would be the best place to start with my goals, in part because I know that you get out of your body what you put into it.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a heavy drinker, but I seldom drink alcohol. I take Lithium Carbonate to control some of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and, since it’s an elemental salt, it makes me perpetually dehydrated. It’s pretty rare to find me without a beverage by my side. To make things even more interesting, I pretty well detest plain water. Time to get creative.

I often use Crystal Lite Peach Tea mix, or a Cherry Pomegranate flavor, or packets of True Orange crystallized orange powder. I’m also fond of fruit flavored seltzer waters. Lately I’ve been wanting drinks that are a little more sweet but still not totally unhealthy.

I’m not typically one to drink hot beverages but the high temps here have been negative numbers lately. Desperate times and all that. So my latest obsession is this…

Plus a nice fat teaspoon of this…

with a splash of cream.

Yes, honey is added sugar, but it’s not a refined sugar and honey has good stuff in it. The fact that this is both local and chocolate flavored makes it even better.

The other beverage tip I want to share with you has to do with coffee. Lots of us have a coffee addiction, be honest with yourself about it, there’s no judgement here. My biggest issue is the expense. If you stop at a coffee shop every day, even if just to get a regular cup of hot coffee, that’s likely going to set you back at least $2. No bueno.

Again, I’m not a fan of hot beverages but I love iced coffee. And I’m cheap. So here’s what I do.

Instead of shelling out sheckels every day I buy a quality bag of flavored coffee grounds. My current fav is Pear’s Chocolate Raspberry. I brew a nice strong 12C pot of that, add about 3/4C Splenda, and then let it cool. I typically brew two pots like that because that’s what my designated Coffee Jug will hold. I stash that in the fridge and it lasts at least a week.

I’m not one to drink black coffee so I have to dress that shit up. I have a 24oz insulated cup that I fill half with the cold coffee. I add a splash of cream and then top it with milk. Voila! Delicious iced coffee with far fewer calories and significantly less expensive.

What are your favorite money saving tips and tricks?

living large on a government salary

I’m a state university employee which means I’m not making the same kind of cheddar that my peers in the corporate world are. It’s a conscious decision that I made 16 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I have amazing benefits, I get to be a part of educating the future, and my colleagues at work are like family. Plus that whole week off between Christmas and New Year’s off work every year, seriously can’t beat it.

But there are some “life hacks” that I use to help stretch my monthly pay. For one thing, I satisfy my daily coffee cravings by making my own fancy stuff at home. I also have a tendency to take my own breakfast and lunch to work so I don’t have to eat out. It’s a hell of a lot healthier, too.

When it comes to buying food we shop the sales. And since I like to make my own smoothies, no kale or spinach please, I stock up on fruit when it’s on sale and in season and then freeze it myself. I’ve also started buying the really ugly bananas that are super cheap and running then through my tiny little blender and then freezing the puree in 1/2C containers. It’s great to throw in with my smoothies. It works great with peaches or strawberries that get a little too squishy. No sense tossing perfectly good food.

I have a tendency to make my “convenience” foods a lot. You like that whole yogurt / granola parfait thing? Make your own. I take a 2C container, dump in a container of yogurt, add in 1/3C of dried fruit, and then take a separate little 1/2C container of granola. (I almost always eat breakfast at work, don’t ask why.) It’s cheap and it’s super yummy and I can customize the daylights out of it.

What kinds of “hacks” do y’all use to save some green?