in the rear view mirror

I assure you, that photo was taken while we were safely parked at a rest stop. I am all about concentrating on driving and not messing around with phones while behind the wheel. I can’t remember if this was in Iowa or Minnesota, doesn’t really matter. The drive, both ways, was uneventful which is precisely how I like my road trips.

We had dinner the first night at the hotel restaurant and it was beyond amazing. My dessert, pictured above, was White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. So modern and odd looking but holy buckets was it tasty. And everyone was super nice, the whole time. Loved it.

The one thing I really wanted to do was get photos done like this. There’s a place in the Mall of America called Professor Z’s Old Time Photos and we had such a great time. This in and of itself was worth the drive up.

Friday night we had dinner at Cantina Laredo and it was every bit as good as our dinner at the hotel. The margaritas were so smooth and fresh and it was a lovely treat for me to not have to worry about driving since our hotel was directly connected to the Mall. So good.

We did a ton of shopping and had an amazing time. Unfortunately my Fitbit stopped cooperating so I’m not sure how many steps we walked but we saw damn near everything in that place. Lancelot was able to get himself a huge LEGO set and I got all kinds of sparkly jewelry. And, I didn’t know this, but they have a yarn shop! I picked up two skeins of yarn that I need to find projects for.

I’m glad to be home, and Dog Blossom seems very glad that we’re back. I feel a little sorry for her because I’ll be working on campus several days this next week, but I’m sure she’ll be fine.

things that start with “f”

FLOWERS – Lancelot had this delightful little bouquet delivered to the house on Friday as a Mother’s Day gift from the critters. For those of you who may be wondering, that boy has a thing for coming up with truly odd sentiments for cards. It’s a running joke at this point.

FASHION – I have a thing for Hawaiian shirts on guys. L is very much a black t-shirt kind of dude. So recently I managed to find a very authentic feeling retro shirt that’s primarily black. I think he looks wonderful in it. This was taken Saturday evening; we had my folks over for dinner for Mother’s Day. Sunday events don’t work great for us because of L’s schedule, but we’ll party hard on a Saturday night.

FUZZBUTTS – Last night I was sitting on the couch trying to watch TV and knit. These days having my knitting out is an invitation for Eric to get on my lap, and Pippy just figures that any time I’m sitting it’s because I want to pet her. For awhile I ended up with Eric in my lap monopolizing my left hand, to scratch his ears, and Pippy laying her head on my right leg and monopolizing my right hand, to scratch her ears. Needless to say not much knitting got done last night.

After I dropped off our ballots last week, y’all remember I was going to do that? Yeah, totally did. I went and did the blood draw (piece of cake, totally normal numbers), visited the nice doctor (don’t go back for a year, yay!), dropped off the ballots and then decided that I knew there was a yarn shop nearby and by golly I was going to find it. And I did. And it was magical and I got two skeins of yarn that are hand dyed by a local(ish) person and will make an amazing shawl. That “f” word is FABULOUS.

Nerd Princess, at your service

yup, dat’s me

Life has not been super smooth around here lately, and that’s a bummer. Lancelot has been working overtime every weekend, it actually snowed yesterday, and Dog Blossom is as needy as a toddler on a sugar binge. So if you guessed that maybe I’ve been crying you’d be right. My poor little brains are not doing so well right now, but I’m still trying.

I always seem to have trouble when the seasons change from Winter to Spring. There’s something about the longer days with more sunshine that throws me for a loop for a bit. I’m doing my best to help with the sleep issues, mostly by knitting to music for an hour before bed. It’s helping, and it’s helping me finish projects faster. I got my mom’s crocheted blanket done and a shrug with beaded sleeves finished. All that’s left on my list of “carry-over” projects are two shawls and a pair of fingerless mitts. Not to say that there won’t be more projects, but those are the ones that I really want to finish.

The one shawl I’m working on has been on the needles for OVER A YEAR. How crazy sad is that? And it’s not like it’s hard. But of course it is the lace one that would look like odd colored spaghetti.

Speaking of knitting, L got me a set of Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles and I am absolutely in love with them. I switched that shawl over to those from the Denise interchangeables I was using and the difference is just amazing. Pricey, for sure, but totally worth it.

On Sunday L and I “recreated” our first date. Because he has worked overnights the entire time I’ve known him we went to breakfast when we first met. It worked really well and I would definitely recommend breakfast dates to anyone. We hadn’t been back to that particular restaurant since before the pandemic started, mostly because we just don’t go out for breakfast much anymore. But it was really nice, we even sat in “our” booth.

Twenty-seven pounds lighter and decked out in my moonstones. Also, sporting a fresh manicure and pedicure. I felt reasonably pretty. And not overly cold, which was good. It has since snowed. Did I mention that? I think I also mentioned something about being a Nerd Princess. Ok, here goes…

I’ve been trying this app thing lately that’s supposed to help you build positive habits and it does appear to be helping me. I realized this morning that part of what’s helpful is that I think about my time differently. And then I realized that one of the few things I really miss about having to physically leave the house and go to work is the externally imposed schedule. So…

I wrote myself a schedule for my week days to help with mini-goal setting and to help ensure that I have the structure that my brain needs to be happy.

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

briefly

I can’t remember exactly when or why Lancelot and I started doing the Lego Mini-figures together, but we have for as long as I can remember. We haven’t picked any up for awhile but last weekend at Target I grabbed two packages on impulse in the check out aisle. (it worked!) I don’t recall ever getting the exact same figure at the same time, but we did. And it had the ability to be either male or female, so we did one of each. Now we’ll really fly together forever.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am an iced coffee junkie, and I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to create the Perfect Iced Coffee. (caps for emphasis and utterly important, I assure you) I’ve done all kinds of variations, everything from mixing in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup to using hot cocoa powder and doing cold brew coffee or whole milk – seriously, you name it. But I think I might have finally figured it out, thanks to doing the Noom thing.

I’ve realized that regular dairy milk has more calories that I’m comfortable allotting in my daily budget, so I’ve primarily switched to unsweetened coconut milk. I will occasionally use unsweetened almond milk in smoothies, but I can’t drink that stuff straight. Yuck.

Anyway, the coconut milk has the right texture, just a little coconut flavor, and way fewer calories. So I’ve been using the following procedure…

  • Brew a 12C pot of coffee; lately it’s been a light roast Toasted Coconut flavor from Target
  • All that to cool and then pour into a pitcher with 1/2C Splenda
  • Chill in the fridge until ready

I do this at least once a week, sometimes twice. When I’m ready to make my drink it goes something like this…

  • 1 1/2C unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2C cold coffee
  • 2Tbsp half & half
  • Pour over ice in a large insulated cup

That’s it. Super simple, very yummy, and a whole 90 calories for a little more than 3C of coffee nirvana. Ain’t gonna get that at the coffee shop, especially for the price. It’s waaaaaaaay cheaper to make at home.

One last picture for today. This is a shawl that I made last year but haven’t worn yet. I really am trying to wear my pretty stuff because who the hell knows when the opportunity is going to legit present itself. Anyway, I can’t remember the pattern or if I was even using a pattern, but the colors are just so amazing. And since the weather here today is so utterly cold that the power utilities are doing mandatory, scheduled, rolling blackouts it seems appropriate to wear something bright. Fake it ’til you make it darling.

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…

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.