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.

an update in photos

This was the unofficial start of our staycation. Lancelot got me that gorgeous necklace, handmade by a friend of ours, and a yarn bowl that reads “I knit because murder is wrong.”

We got to spend a total of almost five uninterrupted days together and it was heavenly. And that was good because now he’s going to be working overtime, and that is not so heavenly. But I’ll be working extra as well, so I suppose it all balances out.

The one museum here in town is having a Jim Henson exhibit right now so I got to “hug” Bert and Ernie. We went on Wednesday at 10am and damn near had the place to ourselves. The exhibit was amazing and damn near made me cry. I grew up with these guys.

We knew that we wanted needed to really make the most of our time off so we tried to have a good balance of doing things that were safe and staying home like slugs. It worked pretty well.

Our big gift to each other this year is art for the house. We have an amazing local art gallery so we went there and got this amazing painting as well as another, much smaller, piece. This is in our living room and makes me feel like I’m outside in a flower garden.
Pippy spent lots of time snuggled up with her daddy. And Thanos.
Eric was actually a little bit playful.
Garth spent a lot of time napping in the sun and recovering from the trauma of having eye drops twice a day for a week. (he’s doing so much better now)
This might be my favorite thing though, custom knitting needles that L got for me. The translation from Gaelic is “Erin’s knitting needle.” How fucking cool is that?

At any rate, I’m really glad we had the time off that we did. L is being told that he’ll be doing overtime the next two weeks and with the way my workload is starting to look I’ll be surprised if I don’t end up working over the holiday break. Fortunately I’m making good progress on the last knit holiday gift and will hopefully get it done in time. Of course I left the most complicated/involved project for last, like a moron…

one day at a time

Today is the day I go for my latest blood draw, get the stuff to do my 24 hour urine collection, and have an ultrasound of my kidneys. You’re jealous, I know you are. At least I don’t have to go to the hospital to have this done, and that’s good. We’re still a red state, and this is a red county, and that goddamn Rona got me all twitchy. And that’s mostly because not everyone around here is taking this seriously.

Moving on…

I’m still working on Off Kilter, 10 repeats of 25 done on the main body, so that’s good. I took the time to print a few more patterns I had saved the other day and put them in my little tote bags along with the yarn I’ll be using. I also spent a few minutes updating my yarn inventory. And now we pause.

Does anyone else have a spreadsheet of their yarn or is that just something odd that I do?

It actually started because Lancelot made an off-hand comment at one point about how much yarn I had and didn’t I have enough already. (and yes, I did still marry him) So by way of proving that I did not actually have too much yarn I did what any reasonable knitter would do and drug every last skein and ball out of storage and cataloged it. (maybe I should mention that my undergrad degree was in Library Science, but I’d have cataloged it anyway)

I seriously recommend doing this, for whatever craft or hobby thing you’re into. You’ll come out with a much better understanding of what you have and you’ll likely notice some trends. Like for me, I have WAY more sock/fingering weight yarn than anything else and a lot of that is from Knit Picks.

That’s a piece of my spreadsheet. Ain’t it purty?

I really do find it helpful. I try to add the information about new yarn when I get it and then once I use a skein I highlight that row and make a brief note about what I used it for and when. Ideally I would love to go back and get pictures of the things I’ve made and be able to tag the photo with what yarn I used and when the project was completed. I know a lot of people do that and I think it’s a great idea. It definitely appeals to my desire for order.

And since we’re talking about new yarn…

Wooly Wonka Arianrhod Sock yarn in Peacock

That lovely yarn arrived earlier this week. Lancelot picked out the color and it’s so stinkin’ pretty. I took the picture right next to the window so the color is pretty close. The two skeins I got of this are going to become a Sunset Lights shawl. I think it’s going to be absolutely stunning.

So yes, I desire order. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I don’t deal well with chaos, not in my physical surroundings and not in my head. And unfortunately the more chaos there is in my physical world the harder it is to control what’s happening in my head. The one feeds the other. This is part of why every morning (except Fridays) I make the bed. I also usually take time to straighten up the house (if I didn’t the night before) and I try to run a load of laundry as soon as there’s enough to do so.

If my home, and now my office at home, are tidy and orderly then it’s easier for me to feel like my head space can be more orderly. Knitting, and cooking to an extent, are also part of that. Having that time to relax with something I enjoy is crucial.

I know it’s hard for all of us right now with everything being different and scary, but my tiny bit of advice is to control what you can and roll with the rest of it.

Or you can be like Eric and bury your head in your paws while you nap

Cheating never felt so good

That’s four repeats of my new best friend. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Koi Pond hand painted. I am in love with this shawl.

Lancelot is officially out of his apartment. It was the tiniest bit emotional, but totally good. There’s still some work to be done at the house but we’re making progress.

I suppose I should say something about all of the violence going on right now. I don’t condone violence of any kind. I’m not a religious person but I live by my own set of rules that seem in keeping with being a decent human. And I would like to ask, can we please all try to be kind to each other? Please?