a little late, but still all good

Top: Me at the Kiewit Luminarium yesterday morning
Middle Left: Garth and Talyn having a snooze in the guest room (Talyn likes to hide between the pillows and the headboard so all you can see is tiny grey ears)
Middle Center: Talyn and Eric snoozing together
Middle Right: I made a very practical, very quick, knitting project that will hold a cable needle or other small notion while I’m knitting
Bottom Left: A cheap and cheerful solution to me not measuring for the new fridge properly (why I lived with doors that didn’t open for so long is still beyond me)
Bottom Center: Lancelot’s first tattoo
Bottom Right: For the first time in the 22 years I’ve worked at the university I actually attended a graduation ceremony

I’ve been staying busy, clearly. The weather has warmed up and life feels pretty good these days. We’ve been doing things with friends, projects around the house, and getting everyone settled with the new kid. I have to say that I feel like the good is most definitely outweighing the “not good” right now.

I am still trying to figure out why we didn’t come up with the solution to the kitchen cabinet situation sooner. When I measured for the new fridge, several years ago, I managed to get it “right” in that the fridge fit in the opening. However, the doors of the fridge extend up just enough that when it’s flush back in the space for it you couldn’t open the cabinet doors above. And that meant any time we wanted into that space we had to pull out the fridge.

The other day I realized that honestly, we don’t need to keep those doors on. So I took them off (stashed them in the garage in case I ever change my mind) and installed a simple black curtain rod and a valance that’s pretty damn close to the color of the walls and is machine washable. I see no sense having anything fabric in a kitchen that can’t go in the washing machine. Now my toaster oven and ice cream maker don’t have to live on top of the cabinets and that space – still not an area we’ll get into much – is a whole lot easier to deal with.

I’ve been doing a lot of that lately – looking around with a slightly more critical eye and thinking about what small and inexpensive changes I’d like to make. My next project is going to involve changing out the window treatment in my office. We’re really lucky that all of our windows have blinds between the panes of glass, so all I’ll be doing is adding a bit of “flair” to the window. Right now it has a lovely cornice board at the top, which really is nice but not my style. I’m hoping next week I can show y’all what I’ve decided to do instead.

I think it’s interesting how you really have to live in a space for a while before you realize how you actually use it and what you want it to look like. After three years of living here together Lancelot and I are still finding that we need to change things up a bit periodically. But I enjoy it. I like to keep things fresh.

I’ve also been doing a fair bit of crafting lately. I had been trying to not let myself start any new projects until I finished the things I had already started, but then life happened and now I have 7 projects on the needles/hook plus I’m making some knit washcloths for a friend. I’m going to trade her those for some polymer clay earrings she’s making me. I’m not one who sells things I make, but I’ll happily trade for them.

beauty is all around us

Left: Sometimes Eric just can’t even
Top Center: A simple wreath I made with felt flowers from a kit and an embroidery hoop, and lots of hot glue
Top Right: A wire and bead flower in a DiSaranno bottle decorated with alcohol ink
Middle Center: A beautiful violet one of my friends gave me
Middle Right: What happens when I wake up and decide that the jewelry I’m wearing later in the week just isn’t “right” so I need to make something better
Bottom Center: Saturday night’s dinner – Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork with mini tots and home made refrigerator dill pickles
Bottom Right: The back of the now completely 100% finished Meadow Lace Shrug

We had a very nicely productive weekend. I like when there’s a good balance of getting shit done and being able to relax, and that’s what we had. I will say it helped that I had a short day on Friday because of a doctor’s appointment.

I’ve been in that mood to really get some things finished, which is part of why getting the very last bits done on the Meadow Lace Shrug felt so good. I ended up modifying the pattern to make it have longer sleeves and that resulted in having to modify the way the seams worked, and of course I decided I didn’t like the crocheted ribbing so I knit it instead. Overall, I am quite pleased with the final result. Of course now it’s probably going to be entirely too warm to wear it, but whatever.

We’ve also been getting ready for another great shake up at home. We have a new entertainment center thingie on the way and that means having to move a bunch of other stuff around. It’s good, it kind of forced me to once again go through my craft supplies and look at things with a more critical eye. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t get rid of much, mostly because the last cull was so harsh. And it also prompted me to make that wreath and the wire flower, so total win.

psych update

Things still seem to be going quite well. I’m seeing my therapist every other week, mostly to provide some accountability in terms of using my coping skills and making sure I’m sticking with the goals I’ve set for myself. Plus, I just enjoy visiting with her.

My anxiety med, I take Gabapentin, is down to 300mg in the morning and 600mg at night. That’s the lowest I think it’s ever been, and it seems to be working well. When I go back in June we’ll talk about potentially lowering my Depakote. I honestly feel like my mental health is in a really good place right now. I’m aware of my mood fluctuations, but that’s the biggest thing – they’re fluctuations, not swings. And I can control them.

The only other thing I’ve been dealing with lately is a tendency to “Tasmanian Devil” as Lancelot refers to it. I’ll start working on something, get distracted and jump to something else, and then end up with multiple things in various states of doneness. It’s frustrating for both of us.

So I’m trying to be more mindful of this tendency and when I observe it, I try to immediately course correct. It’s a process, but it seems to be working. Slowly. And that’s ok because baby steps are still progress.

of road trips and other nonsense

Left: Trying on a very stylish hat at the Knights Museum in Alliance, NE
Top Center: Lancelot and I at Carhenge after our friends’ wedding
Top Right: Seen at the Knights Museum, I really want this for my new office
Middle Center: Eric was particularly handsome in the morning sun yesterday
Middle Right: My reward for keeping it between the ditches
Bottom Center: A happy lil cow picture I colored last week, and very appropriate given the number of happy lil cows we saw on our drive
Bottom Right: Also seen at the Knights Museum, the most unusual Kool-Aid recipe I think I’ve ever seen

We had a really nice time on our trip, in spite of the NASTY wind. Driving east to west / west to east across Nebraska is always a gamble and this trip was no exception. I have no idea what the wind speeds actually were, just that we were driving in areas that were under Wind Advisories most of the time, if not all of it. There’s nothing like driving through extremely limited visibility because of vegetal matter being blown across the road from the fields on either side of the highway.

We opted to take state highways instead of the interstate because it took approximately the same amount of time but was something like 100 fewer miles. Plus, it was more scenic. Maybe you have to be from the Midwest to appreciate the beauty of the Sandhills, maybe not. But it was definitely prettier than taking I-80 most of the way.

The wedding was lovely. The bride was, of course, very beautiful. And the groom, a friend of mine for years now, had never looked happier. It was amazing to be able to be part of their special day.

A few other tidbits of note – I have now busted (not in a good way) another goal. I bought a pair of shoes while we were there. In my defense, there was an awesome little shoe store going out of business and I got a pair of really lovely pewter flats for… drumroll please…


So I really don’t feel too bad about it. I did also finish a book yesterday, that was good. And I realized that one of the projects I’ve been working on isn’t making me happy because I messed up the instructions from damn near the beginning by trying to alter the size so I ripped out the entire thing and started over.

That’s right – I went all the way back to the very beginning and started over. That’s part of the beauty of most knit/crochet projects; you can pretty well undo and redo them if necessary with minimal harm to the yarn. I am so glad that I did, I’m much happier with how it’s looking now.

insert witty title here

Left: Yours truly, rocking a sassy tiny pony tail
Top Center: Synchronized napping
Top Right: LEGO Panda Desk Tray
Middle Center: A violet my friend K gave me to nurse back to health a few years ago has finally decided to bloom and she is lovely
Middle Right: Lily of the Valley jewelry kit, finally made
Bottom Center: Pork chops, sweet potatoes, and apples all cooked in a cast iron skillet; one of our new favorite weekend meals
Bottom Right: A tower of books I purchased this weekend

For the time being I am growing out my hair, at least the top part. It’s so thick that having a full head of long hair is just too damn hot these days, so the shaved bits around the sides and back are going to stay. I will freely admit that it’s fun having enough to mess with now, and there are so many funny hair accessories these days.

It’s been reasonably busy since last time I posted. Work has been “weird” busy, I can’t really think of a better way to explain it. The faculty aren’t really doing much of anything, which makes sense because there’s only a month left in our spring semester, but that means we’re trying to get other things done that don’t directly involve them. Like preparing to move.

I walked up to the Library with my boss on Friday and saw our new space for the first time. It’s still rough, they were working on the drywall while we were there, but it is definitely office space in the making. They’re hoping we’ll be able to move early this summer.

Life at home has been busy trying to get ready for our trip this next weekend to see our friends get married. We’re also getting ready for the spring season to officially arrive here. The days are getting warmer, and the nights are staying warmer, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to start doing some work out in the garden soon.

psych update

I have officially lowered my anxiety medication to what may end up as the lowest possible dose, not sure yet. I’ve been doing really quite well at this level and haven’t noticed any adverse consequences yet. I’m excited to see what the next change will bring, but that won’t happen until June.

I am also cautiously optimistic about the changes the dermatologist has made with those medications. The insurance won’t actually approve what she wants me to take, so we’re kind of circumventing the system. I don’t entirely follow the logic of the plan, but I trust her.

when the going gets tough, the tough make a blanket fort and hide out with hot cocoa

It was a WEEK. Lots of crud going on, very little that felt good, and so not much in the way of pretty pictures. And that’s ok. Sometimes the best thing to do is lay low in the blanket fort, make another mug of cocoa, and live to fight another day.

By way of good news, I realized that I’ve successfully met two of my twelve goals for the year. As a reminder, the full list is:

  1. No new craft supplies (unless I manage to completely deplete my stashes of stuff)
  2. Finish all of my kits (beading, knitting, etc. including the ones I’ve put together for knitting projects)
  3. Read at least 4 books
  4. Establish and maintain habits/routines for exercising
  5. Complete at least 5 creative projects each month (anything creative counts – drawing, knitting, jewelry, LEGO, etc)
  6. No new clothes unless I need new underwear or bras
  7. No new shoes
  8. Lose 50lbs
  9. Post on my blog at least once per week
  10. Learn how to bake bread from scratch
  11. Earn at least one professional certificate
  12. Learn at least one new craft skill

#11 and #12 are done! I’ve actually earned 6 certificates since the start of the year. Two of them were pretty quick but the other four spanned multiple weeks and required a fair amount of work. I’m pretty damn proud of that.

The new craft skill is stained glass. I do not claim to be totally proficient at it, but I did manage to successfully complete a class on Saturday and didn’t need any more help than anyone else in the class did, which felt really good.

It’s very straightforward, but I did have to cut glass (already fine with that from doing fused glass) and I had to fit all of my pieces together and then solder it all. The little gem (and a dragonfly that is very hard to see here) were glued on at the very end. It’s beautiful and I am so stinkin’ proud of this. I’m also excited because I have a ton of glass out in the garage from when I was doing fused glass at a different studio that I can now use for pieces like this.

Yes, that would mean potentially going against my goal of not buying more supplies, so it might wait. But then again, I make the rules so if I want to break them, it’s on me.

another trip around the sun

Top: Eric demonstrating proper nap positioning
Middle Left: Corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage with bacon AKA St. Patrick’s Day dinner
Middle Center: Pippy is often a dirty puppy and requires a bath, this time from Garth (he kept at it for a solid 5 minutes)
Middle Right: Coconut Cocoa tea sweetened with Chocolate Creamed Honey is like nectar from the gods
Bottom Left: The most beautiful little glass lamp I picked up with shopping with my BFF KB on Wednesday
Bottom Center: Me on St. Patrick’s Day; I was wearing my shirt from the Dropkick Murphys concert
Bottom Right: I was in the mood for something different yesterday and ended up using a white 32 stud square base plate and a bunch of LEGO dots

Tomorrow is my 26th annual celebration of my 21st birthday, which in plain English means that I’ll turn 47 tomorrow. I’m not quite sure why people, women especially, get so twisted about getting older. I see it as a gift, something to be proud of. I’ve gone through a whole lot of hell to get where I am today, the fact that I’ve made it this far is nothing short of a miracle. I try very hard not to take any of it for granted anymore.

I was able to get in to see the dermatologist last Monday and she’s messed with my medications and that seems to be helping. The GP is happy with how one of the meds she’s prescribed is working, so that’s also good. My health is a huge priority these days.

Part of my health is my mental health, and I spent a good amount of time taking care of that last week as well. I took Wednesday off work to hang out with KB, which involved lunch and antique shopping. We had an amazing time and that’s when I found that stunning little lamp. It looks perfect in my home office. I also took Friday off as my normal “one Friday every month off” mental health holiday. I spent the day doing random stuff in the kitchen and hanging out with Lancelot. We made corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage with bacon for dinner and then watched the livestream of the Dropkick Murphys concert. Not quite as fabulous as seeing them live, but the seats were a lot more comfortable.

All in all it was a super relaxing weekend and I got a ton of stuff done. I would say that I feel recharged and ready to take on the week, but I’ve already gone through my work email so I’m fully aware of what’s coming in the next few days, so…

fall down seven times, get up eight

Top: Eric and Garth
Middle Left: Lancelot took me to see Les Miserables yesterday for my birthday
Middle Center: Homemade Kung Pao Chicken
Middle Right: Current crochet project – Meadow Lace Shrug
Bottom Left: Garth and Dog Blossom
Bottom Center: A flowering cactus a friend gave me several years ago
Bottom Right: One of my drawings

It’s been a week. I’ve been dealing with a fairly substantial HS flare up, so bad that I called Friday and got an emergency appointment to see the dermatologist this afternoon. I don’t know if I need another light treatment or different medication or what, but this is quite possibly the worst it’s been since I had surgery for it. Hopefully she can come up with something.

I did have a really good appointment with my psych doc last week. I’m doing well enough these days that she’s letting me try to taper my anxiety medication some. I’ve been taking 1500mg of Gabapentin for several years now; 600 in the morning and then 900 at night. Given how well I’ve been doing without the Lithium she feels that we can start to look at the other medications I take, especially since that could be part of why I’m having so much trouble losing weight. I’ve dropped one of the mornings pills so that puts me at 300 and then still 900 at night. Once this feels stable I can cut back to 600 at night. I plan to take this slow. I also know that the Gabapentin is fairly fast acting so if something is causing me too much anxiety I can take one and it’ll kick in within about 30 minutes.

goals update

I have continued to do a drawing every day, which is kind of separate from my original goals, but still. I’ve been doing really well with everything I think. I continue to look at the clothes I already own with a more critical/creative eye and try to find ways to make them feel new by combining them differently and with different accessories. I’ve also been looking at ways to use the materials I have on hand for my creative projects – in particular with glass bottles and jars that have ended up in the recycle bin. That’s a treasure trove right there.

short weeks, long weekends, and good food

Last week I took one of my Mental Health Holidays on Friday. I like to schedule myself one Friday off every month just to have a day to myself. Often Lancelot and I will go do something fun that day, like visit the museum or go shopping, or we just relax. This time I took advantage of the day by getting all of the grocery shopping done, making a birthday gift for a friend, and then L and I went and had our combo Date Night and Valentine’s Day dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

Left: Eric stretched out in my lap one morning
Top Center: L and I the night of our dinner out
Top Right: The beaded flower ornament for N’s birthday
Middle Center: Pizza Dim Sum
Middle Right: The Sea Dragon Shawl
Bottom Center: Garth pretending to be angelic
Bottom Right: Fingerless mitts, aka Frankenmitts, for my friend K

The Pizza Dim Sum came from an idea K shared with me, something she found on Facebook I think. I took a can of refrigerated biscuits and smooshed them kind of flat, put a few fresh mozzarella pearls, a cut up cherry tomato, and a bit of fresh torn basil inside, and then smooshed the top shut. I baked them on a cookie sheet at 375 for about 20 minutes. Incredibly easy and delicious. Lancelot did his with a little pizza sauce, the same cheese, and a little sliced pepperoni.

goals update

I am very pleased to report that I have finished the first book of the year and have made a decent dent in the second. My guess is that I’ll end up surpassing my goal of reading four this year, and that makes me very happy indeed. I have one more book in this trilogy to finish, two for another trilogy I had started last year, another full trilogy I have yet to start, plus a whole host of others just waiting their turn.

I’m also doing really well with the professional certificate goal. I haven’t heard back about the first course for this year, but my part should be done. I’m also now up to the point of turning in the 4th assignment (of 5 total) in the next course. And I spent a little time last week looking at what else is available on that platform and bookmarking possible options for my next course. I’m also guessing that I will well and truly surpass this goal.

And no new craft supplies, even though I continue to make things. I’m looking at what I have on hand with a critical eye and figuring out how to make the most of what’s there. This weekend I realized that I needed to shuffle the plants around again because some of them were outgrowing their space on the shelves, and the only way to really achieve that was to hang a few more. I had macramé cord and some metal rings and set about to make something. I ended up with two very basic, but very functional, plant hangers. Go me!

Overall I would say that I’m feeling very good about how my goals are going this year. I’m making excellent progress and that motivates me to make even more progress. It’s truly a win/win situation.

setting the stage for success

I firmly believe in the mantra “work smarter, not harder.” It’s quite possibly the secret to any success I have in life. I would much rather spend time planning, and working, ahead so that I spend less time scrambling at the last minute.

I make menus for the week so I know what I need at the store so that I only make one trip. I get my outfits put together for the entire work week on Saturday morning so that I don’t have to think about it when I’m getting ready for work in the morning. I use a medication management system that allows me to fill an entire 30 mornings and nights worth of medicine at once and comes apart so that I can take my container of meds for a day with me if necessary. I cold brew my coffee at home 32oz at a time so that I have inexpensive, healthier, coffee at home any time I want.

Basically, if it can be done in a batch I do it that way. I had the epiphany yesterday during my massage that “efficiency is Lazy but with a purpose.”

At any rate, I’m gearing up for the year ahead and starting to make some plans. Here’s my officially official list of Goals for 2023:

  1. No new craft supplies (unless I manage to completely deplete my stashes of stuff)
  2. Finish all of my kits (beading, knitting, etc. including the ones I’ve put together for knitting projects)
  3. Read at least 4 books
  4. Establish and maintain habits/routines for exercising
  5. Complete at least 5 creative projects each month (anything creative counts – drawing, knitting, jewelry, LEGO, etc)
  6. No new clothes unless I need new underwear or bras
  7. No new shoes
  8. Lose 50lbs
  9. Post on my blog at least once per week
  10. Learn how to bake bread from scratch
  11. Earn at least one professional certificate
  12. Learn at least one new craft skill

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve stacked the deck in my favor here. I’ve stocked up just a tiny bit on craft supplies, bought 2 pair of shoes, an assortment of clothes (all of which will help rebuild my now lacking work wardrobe), and a new winter coat. In my defense, the coat is lilac colored, was 40% off, and was something I had been looking for.

Part of my plan to maintain my state of lazy efficiency will be to post an update on my goals as part of my weekly blog post. I’m currently toying with the idea of trying to figure out how to create a template for myself in WordPress just to maintain some consistency for myself be lazy and not have to recreate the wheel every damn time. And so as to help keep myself accountable, I’ve not only told you fine people about my goals but I’ve also shared them with several of my good friends and I’ve printed a pretty copy of them to hang on the bulletin board next to my desk. Accountability and reminders, yo.

I do have some pretty things to show you. I’ve been working on projects, trying to finish a few things before the year ends but also adding in some new fun bits.

Top left – the Leaf Scarf, now complete with beads. It will need to be blocked slightly.
Top right – a Celtic Cables Neck Warmer, free pattern and using yarn I already had. Should be done soon, it’s farther along than it was there.
Bottom left – that is Vanessa the Plesiosaur. She was a crochet kit from Toft yarn and I would HIGHLY recommend their kits. I made that for the husband.
Bottom right – I’m making the Flyaway Vest using a beautiful laceweight yarn that ombres from a beautiful rich ruby to a vibrant fuchsia and back again. The entire thing was originally written to be stockinette stitch but I’ve modified the back to use Old Shale lace which I think will be particularly interesting seen vertically.

The neck warmer will definitely be finished before the end of the year, the vest may be as well. I do also have a few other projects still in progress, as you may recall, and I’m not sure about their status. I do seem to like having a variety of things going at once to stave off the boredom.

psych update

There isn’t actually much to report right now. I haven’t had any medication changes or symptom changes in quite some time now. I have gotten into the habit of using my full spectrum light in the mornings when I work at home and I know that helps with the Seasonal Affective Disorder. I also make a point of taking care of my physical health as best I can, better now than I ever have really, because at 46 years old I have finally realized that it’s easier for my brain to feel good when my body feels good. Remarkable, eh?

ways you know you’re an Adult

A list, in no particular order…

  • You pay off all your credit cards because you realize you’re paying out more in interest than you’re earning in savings, and you can do this
  • You’re excited when the car is paid off because you can now save up for a bigger down payment when you eventually need to buy a new car
  • You shop around for the “good deals” on groceries, and that doesn’t mean seeing who has ramen on sale for 19 cents per package
  • You save “good” boxes, just because you might need one (this actually just came in handy because we had a good friend move this last weekend)
  • You appreciate the value of a day spent at home in lounge clothes doing very little
  • You get the subtle jokes in kid movies

Things around here have been a little hectic lately. My best friend’s mom has been in the hospital since Thanksgiving with necrotizing fasciitis and is not doing well. J and I have both been fighting with the cold bug that’s going around. Garth continues to have sporadic asthma attacks and still doesn’t like taking the inhaler treatments. And I’m in the process of trying to cut down on the amount of caffeine I drink while also increasing the amount of other stuff I do drink.

The good news is that we are all still alive and kicking.

That’s Eric “helping” me take a picture of the Saroyan Shawl. The yarn is Cloudborn Highland Worsted Semi-solid in Burano; it’s a green tonal color that doesn’t photograph very well. The pattern was easy to make and has the prettiest leaf border along the edge. It took four days to knit and I am super pleased with how it turned out.