enjoying it while i can

So stinkin’ cute

We had our “village” over for dinner Saturday night. These people are the friends we can call on at any time, for anything. And they can do the same with us. We all have our struggles and our emotional baggage from the past and we don’t hold that against each other. There’s a whole lot of unconditional acceptance and love in our village.

Lancelot’s birthday is later this week and I wanted to do something for him, but he’s not super excited about celebrating it or making a fuss about it. So I invited our friends over for dinner and didn’t say anything to any of them about it, or to him, until K noticed on the menu board in the kitchen that next Saturday we’re going out for L’s birthday with my folks. I wanted to keep things very low-key so that everyone was comfortable. It was amazing.

And the scarf has finally told me that it wants to be K’s. I had made them a beanie / fingerless mitt set and the colors coordinate nicely. At any rate, the scarf will have a good home with a great friend.

I try to stay optimistic about damn near everything, but I also try to be realistic. I watch the news at least once a day and I’ve been paying attention to what’s happening with the COVID-19 Delta variant. I know that even though we’ve been vaccinated we could still carry it and spread it. And I know that the governor in our state is a complete jackass when it comes to certain things, issues of public safety and health being what come to mind right now.

So we’ll be back to wearing masks in public, minimizing our exposure to and from other people. And for me this means I’ll be wearing a mask when I’m working on campus. Better safe than dead.

Next week is our vacation and our anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since we got married. It’s been one hell of a ride, especially considering that we’ve been living in a pandemic for the duration of our wedded life thus far. But I honestly can’t imagine going through this with anyone else by my side.

Yup, so stinkin’ cute

sketchy bananas, coming to a cereal bowl near you

Steel cut oats with blueberries and bananas

I’ve been trying to stretch my culinary muscles by trying new recipes. Sometimes it is an utter fail. More often it results in a total win, like the picture above. I had purchased steel cut oats because I’d never tried them but had heard that you could cook them in a batch and then have multiple servings for during the week. This appealed to me. So yesterday I did a quick search and found this recipe that not only used the oats but also a few bananas that were at a point of needing to pay me some rent money. This is the recipe I kinda mostly sort of followed.

I have to say that I suck at following recipes like this because I improvise. I think I actually used 3 bananas, because I had them, and there’s no way in hell I measured the honey, vanilla, or cinnamon. I will say, based on the reviews I read, I opted to spray the inside of the crock with non-stick stuff before I started and I’m glad I did. Also, mine resulted in five servings that were approximately 1C each. (that’s what my little containers hold) I did the calorie breakdown based on the original ingredients but then divided for five servings instead of four and I get 252 calories. Not bad for a filling breakfast that took almost no effort.

TA DA!

I finished the flowers the other day. Not like this is fine art or anything, but it does make me happy to have been able to do it. I would like to try to work back up to at least feeling comfortable drawing. I don’t know that I’ll ever quite get back to the skill level that I was at, low as it was, but still. I’d like some small piece of that former artist to be back.

Death to the mousie!!!

I am trying getting back to the healthier way of life. I did some food prep yesterday, in addition to the breakfast oat stuff I boiled a bunch of eggs, and I have the menu for the week figured out. I don’t really have lunches figured out but I might do leftovers. Today will be a baked sweet potato, mostly because it needs to be eaten and that’s something I like. Getting the food situation under control is crucial, but I know I need to get back to walking more.

There’s no excuse. I feel better when I make healthier choices in terms of calorie intake and activity. I’m an intelligent person, I understand causation. I know that every choice I make has a consequence, some good and some not so good. And I’ve done it before, so I can do it again.

For realz yo, like a motherfucker

I know that part of my difficulties right now tie back to the pandemic and the way the world has been lately. I had gotten used to traveling and being able to go wherever, whenever. And then we had to stop all of that so that we could all stay safe and be healthy. Totally worth it and I wouldn’t change anything we did. Lancelot and I have talked and in addition to getting the vaccines we’ll continue to wear masks inside businesses even though the mandates are lifting here.

But I’m tired of this house right now, much as I love it. There’s a very aggressive robin that built her nest above one of the lights on the back deck so I can’t get out in the yard without being attacked, and that isn’t helping. And the changes we’ve wanted to do inside the house are pretty well done. Over the weekend we went to my office and retrieved the rest of my stuff. My Master’s degree is now hanging up here in my home office, the first time it’s ever been hung off that campus.

So life is just fucking odd. And I need to escape, so we’re taking a road trip. L and I have only ever taken two trips together; a short road trip to a really cool little town in Missouri called Weston. I totally recommend it if you’re anywhere near the Midwest. Our other trip was to Ireland. It was amazing and I really want to get back there one day. We will.

Lancelot and I at my birthday dinner

This will be a short road trip, up north a bit this time. I’m ready for it, I need it. We’ll have some time to just be together and I think we need that.

keeping it between the lines

Proof that I am still alive and I haven’t forgotten how to knit

It feels like an awful lot has happened since last I could be bothered to blog, and that’s probably because an awful lot has happened. Much of it has been good but there have been a few less than amazing things as well. That’s how life is though, right? Balance.

I am now the proud owner of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots. Unfortunately I had a fairly common reaction to the second one which was not so swell. I had chills, a headache, very little coordination, brain fog, zero appetite (though I could still smell and taste), and it felt like I had been hit in the arm with a sledgehammer. That lasted two days and then I was fine. If I had it to do all over again you can bet your ass that I would, in a heartbeat.

My handsome and hilarious husband is three weeks behind me, but he says he likes the view back there

I have been knitting, and cooking, and still managing to lose weight. I am now down 26lbs, and as such as the smallest I have been since I was 18 years old. This pleases me to no end. I don’t even mind that I’m running out of clothes that fit.

With the knitting I’m working on what started life thinking it would be a simple shrug and has now decided it wants to be a kimono style vest, maybe with small sleeves. We shall see. But that’s the very rainbow piece up at the top of this post. I am loving the yarn.

Last night’s dinner helps with two of my goals for the year since it’s both an Indian dish and a vegetarian dish. For my first shot at making Mattar Paneer it really wasn’t half bad.

updates and stuff

Birthday dinner!

I ate so much amazing food last week, it’s a legit wonder I only gained 1.75lbs

Sweet babies

3D printed guitar at the museum

Garth is an asshole who happens to like carrot cake

Getting back to “reality” by making salad starter packs yesterday; just add greens, pumpkin seeds, and dressing (and chop the egg)

I finally finished the Seaman’s Knot scarf!!! It turned out amazing

We had a great time last week. There was a ton of good food, two museums, lots of shopping, and a nap every afternoon. What more can you ask for?

This week I’m back to working and my healthy eating habits. I’m having some trouble with my skin right now, likely from eating so much “other” food last week, so I’m not sure if I’ll get on the treadmill today or not. But our “Meatless Monday” dinner is tofu curry and my lunch was a big bowl of salad so I feel like I’m back on track to make progress.

And I do have another knitting project actively in the works. But of course I haven’t taken a picture yet. In my defense, it’s entirely lace so right now it looks like purple spaghetti.

a bit of an update

I got my first shot. Lancelot is still a goober, albeit my very favorite goober.

The shot was fine, no issues at all. I actually woke up Saturday morning feeling better than I have in a while. So yay. The shot didn’t hurt or cause me any more trouble than any other vaccine I’ve ever had. It was less painful than the MMR, if anyone has an adult memory of getting that one. My only side effect was a slightly sore arm.

Eric has been particularly photogenic lately

I’m doing pretty well with life in general right now. I did a lot of food prep stuff this weekend that I think will be helpful and I have a plan of attack for getting the house in shape for next weekend. For the first time since Lancelot and I have lived here together we are having friends over, in the house, for a meal and a concert.

I am damn near beside myself with excitement.

Everyone in attendance will either be fully vaccinated or have their first shot, with the exception of L. These are also friends of ours that are just as careful about COVID safety precautions as we are. And that will start the week of celebrations. There will be dinner with my mom and stepdad, dinner out with L at our favorite restaurant, museums, I’m assuming Thai food, and my birthday is in there. I need this vacation so damn bad.

Dog Blossom is pooped too

The healthy eating/exercise/Noom stuff is going well. I’ve lost a total of 22.5lbs and now that I’m starting to feel better it’s time to get back to exercising. My goal (once again) is to hit 5000+ steps every day and to drink at least nine 8oz glasses of water every day. It’s just now coming up on 2pm and I already have almost 2200 steps so I consider that good. Thirty minutes on the treadmill will help quite a bit.

The food prep I did was mostly getting together more of the smoothie packs, partly because I had fresh spinach to use and partly because that was a big time saver. This time I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt and only 2.75oz. I also prepped four snack bowls with a hard boiled egg and two clementines and five “salad starters.”

I have these divided container things so I put fresh spinach in the biggest part and then chopped up a cucumber and divided that among the containers and used the smallest spot for shredded carrots. At lunch I dumped all of that into a big bowl and added a hard boiled egg, 1/4C roasted pumpkin seeds (also pre-measured), and my salad dressing (if you guess pre-measured you’d be right).

Having all of that measured ahead of time made my lunch preparation time today almost negligible. It was nice to have a little extra time during my break to do other things. Like laundry.

Mama, laundry is evil

why i love avatars, emoji, and bitmoji so freakin’ much

First, I feel like I should do an update of sorts. My current weight is at 251.5lbs. I have been down at 250.5 so I will claim that I have lost 16lbs. Hey, my game and my rules. The weight loss is rather slow and I’m alright with that, mostly because it feels healthy. And I’m still sticking with my ultimate goal of being more mindful of what food and drink I put in my body. Like right now, I have a morning snack of 1/2C of fat free cottage cheese, 1/2C of fresh blueberries, and a clementine. Very tasty and nutritious.

Lancelot and I did our celebrating on Friday because that was our six month wedding anniversary. We actually got dressed up – that’s the jewelry I wore when we got married – and ate sushi at the dining room table. It was wonderful.

The kids spent most of the weekend sleeping, as usual. In their defense, it’s been ridiculously cold here. As in the windchill yesterday (and again today I think) was something like -32F.

So, my love of avatars and such. There really is something to that, and you’d likely have to know me fairly well to understand it. That or maybe if you ever saw me try to eat soup with a spoon.

I have wicked tremors most of the time and so typing, or doing anything with my hands, sometimes requires monumental effort.

But there are all kinds of really cute little pictures and things that convey what I’d like to say and I can click or tap on one of those and that takes care of it. Besides, my avatars are adorable.

The tremors are caused by the lithium I take for the Bipolar Disorder, but I mostly don’t mind. Even though it’s been 15 years since my diagnosis and the start of treatment I still remember what life was like without the lithium and I have absolutely no desire to ever go back to that place. Ever.

variations on a theme

I never did quite figure out how I wanted that shawl arranged today so right now it’s artfully arranged in a heap on my desk

Once again it is ridiculously cold outside (though sunny today) and once again I have the ambition of a geriatric sloth. It’s just not pretty folks. What I’ve realized more than anything else is that it is high time to make a PLAN.

All of those snack boxes I made over the weekend have been coming in handy not necessarily as snacks but as components of my lunch. Tonight I just might grab a few of them and call it dinner, we shall see. It has been wonderful having them prepared though.

But I feel like I’m struggling right now and that always just makes things harder. I moved away from eating quite so many fruits and veggies and got back closer to “normal” eating for me and that hasn’t had welcome consequences. I also have had to stop my exercise temporarily because I’m having pains in unpleasant places and I’d rather not make that any worse.

This would be the point at which, in the past, I would have thrown my hands up and claimed defeat, going back to my old habits.

That was the “old” me. The “newly remodeled” me believes that sometimes we must fall back for a brief opportunity to rally even stronger tomorrow. Or something like that.

What it really means is that once my work day is over I’m going to take my self down to the dining room, bust out my notebook and my collection of recipes, and make myself some plans. And those plans are going to include building time for exercise into every day and building time for meal prep into every week. I will also be “budgeting” time for craft stuff like knitting. And making sure that I have time without a screen before bedtime so that I can unwind a little better and hopefully sleep better.

When you get right down to it there’s a hell of a lot that goes into the proper care and maintenance of a human body and most of us don’t have the first clue what the fuck we’re doing and we’ve gone and thrown out the damn owner’s manual

I might have mentioned this, but bear with me, I’m old. This Friday will be my six month anniversary of being married to Lancelot, and since Valentine’s Day is Sunday (work night for him) we’re just going to do it all at once on Friday. Our date night take out is going to be sushi and we’re even going to get dressed up for it. Very swanky.

In anticipation of that I’m going to try to get as much of normal house stuff and meal prep stuff done ahead of that. More time to spend with my fella would be a great thing. And more time where we aren’t running around trying to pretend we’re responsible adult humans is even better.

I would really like to try making one of the jewelry kits I got to make chain mail, or possibly even crack open the quilling kit L got me. I’m feeling empowered to try tackling another of my goals since I feel like I did so well picking out and successfully making my new favorite Indian recipe. I also feel like I’m doing well with the whole “exploring vegetarian dishes” thing.

Stir fry tofu with sweet onion, sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, and quinoa… So good

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…

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.