taking out the trash

I’ve mentioned several times recently that I’ve been on this “clean out all the bullshit” kick. I’m loving it. Clothes that didn’t fit or don’t make me happy, jewelry I never wore, some shoes, a few books, candles… I realized just now that there’s another stash of clothes that need to go, hidden under the stairs.

But there are other things that need to be removed. Yesterday I ended up cleaning out my closet at work, the one that primarily houses snacks and stuff. That was a disaster. Today I’m going to spend a little time on my desk. Too much clutter, too much nonsense in the drawers.

I can’t really say what it is that gets me into these moods, but it’s a cyclical thing with me. Kind of like Spring Cleaning on steroids I guess. All I know is that I feel better once it’s all done.

This afternoon I’m meeting with one of the program coordinators for the writing program I just left. I feel good that I was able to finish the semester successfully, but I know that I just can’t take on that kind of workload and stress again right now. I want to finish the memoir one of these days but I already know that my Fall semester is going to be too busy. There’s at least one international trip planned so that right there is enough to make me not interested in school.

I’m going to try to add back in a hobby/creative outlet that I haven’t done in ages. I’ve signed up to take a fused glass class at a local studio where I’ve taken classes before. I’m excited, it should be great. The last project I made, I think, was last summer. Not that the knitting and jewelry making aren’t good enough, but a girl shouldn’t box herself in too much when it comes to being creative.

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oh the things i want to do!

That was me this morning, in the car, waiting for Lancelot to get done with work. Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” was playing on the stereo. That is just so very much me.

So many ideas right now, things I want to do. I was contemplating a possible new project for my bedroom that would let me display my necklaces better. I’ve also been thinking about making jewelry from some of the pieces I picked up over the weekend. And knit projects with the yarn I got in Ireland.

Notice anything missing? I just really don’t feel like doing any writing. And that’s not good. I’ve got one packet left to finish. I need to buckle down.

In other news, I saw the dermatologist yesterday. I’m starting a new topical ointment and three new pills. I’m not thrilled, but she seems optimistic. Oh, and I need to put some serious effort into losing weight. I told her that I could lose 8lbs by the time I see her in four weeks.

I’ve got to do this. I’ve been suffering with this nonsense for too long. And I know I’ll feel better if there’s a little less of me. I know what I look like doesn’t really matter to Lancelot, but I also know that he wants me healthy.

Step one – no more sugared beverages. Anything sweet must be zero calorie. Fruit juice must be 100% juice and not have any added sugar. Just doing this should help. But I’m also going for more raw fruits and veggies, portion control, and less junk. I can do this.

Once my ankle heals a little more I can get back on the treadmill and that should really help. Right now just isn’t the time for that. But I’ll get there. I have to.

the week of knitted things

It’s a whole 24F here right now and I don’t think the high temp for the day is much higher. Over the weekend we got 6 or so inches of snow. This is Winter, and winter in the Midwest frequently sucks. So I’m going to combat the suck with some lovely handknits.

The plus side of Lancelot working overtime Friday night was that Mom and I went shopping together. I got a few things for my nieces for Christmas and got myself some solid color, long sleeved T-shirts. I find these to be ideal for showing off knit shawls.

That was actually taken on Friday. Not only was I sporting a shawl I knit but also a beautiful shield brooch Lancelot got me in Weston as well as a pair of Josephine knot earrings I got in Branson. Beautiful outfit all the way around.

This morning it’s navy blue with a different shawl. Today is also blue jeans and knock-off UGG boots because of the intense cold and the snow.

My plan is to wear something I’ve knit every day this week and post a picture. It’s not like I’ve got a shortage of choices. I have at least one I can think of that I haven’t even worn yet, and I know that because it still needs the ends woven in.

I took that picture the morning I left for India. I was petrified. All of the potentially horrible things that could happen while I was gone just kept swirling through my head. I think maybe you can see the sheer terror on my face.

But not on Lancelot. He’s grinning like a fool. He (and everyone else in all honesty) knew that I was capable of doing this and doing it well.

Everyone but me.

One of the most cruel jokes the mental brain plays on us is stripping away our confidence in ourselves, making us feel that we aren’t deserving or capable. But one of the greatest gifts it’s given me is empathy for others and the ability to be a champion for someone.

Life is not always perfect, and the world is not always kind, but I will strive to enjoy what I have as long as I have it.

and for my next encore…

I’m working on getting all the last bits and pieces wrapped up at home and at work. I feel pretty solid about the packing. I’ve got a few more things to do at work but I feel good about that, too. Right now I’m eating what should have been breakfast even though it’s after 1pm. But honestly, rice pudding with blueberries can be eaten anytime.

I actually feel pretty calm and collected right now, at least about this trip. Yes, this trip. There’s another trip in the works now. It’s hush-hush right now because I’m not sure about the funding but my colleague and I submitted a proposal to present at a conference and we got accepted. We actually got the email this morning at the same time and collided mid-hug in the hallway. Nothing like a couple of girls hugging and jumping and screaming in an office. It’s going to be another amazing trip and this time over my birthday. And Lancelot is going to try to come with me.

Speaking of Lancelot, I’m going to be taking his cat stuffie friend Daryl with me on my trip. You’re familiar with the roaming gnome? Yeah, like that only with a small smartass looking cat. I’ll be photographing him all over the place. Brace yourselves.

I will do my best to keep updating here during my trip. If I can’t you can rest assured that there will be a metric shit-ton of pictures when I get back.

Be good to each other….

the first of the lasts

“just to warn you, mama is about to get weird”

I don’t even pretend to understand why my strange little brain works the way it does, why bother. But on the drive to work this morning (thank dog that only lasts about 15 minutes or else we’d be in serious kimchee) I realized that I’m about to embark on a series of very minor “lasts.” Minor in that they aren’t permanent. Oh hell, let me illustrate…

Tonight is the last night I’ll sleep in my own bed until November 25th.

I put gas in the car for the last time this morning until (not sure with this one).

Tomorrow will be my last day at work until November 28th.

Friday is my last day in the US until November 24th.

And the biggest one right now… Friday is the last day I will see Mom and Lancelot until November 24th.

I’ll talk to both of them every day, I know this. I’ve setup to be able to call from India and both of them have schedules such that it shouldn’t be an issue. But I’ll miss them both terribly.

I will also miss the little orange menaces. They know something is going on because of the suitcases and the near perpetual mess on my bed in the evenings. I think Eric has maybe been trying to figure out how to stowaway in my bag. He’s got a thing for getting into bags and boxes.

At any rate, I think I’m in pretty good shape. I did decide to switch to the tiny carry-on suitcase and the backpack. It’s a lot more flexibility and it means I don’t have to pack an empty bag in case I buy too much stuff. Mom is going to help me do a double-check tonight to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. I think all that’s really left are the few bits that can’t be packed until the last minute.

looking forward to my past

It’s a well known fact that I overthink. I will overthink damn near everything, from the teeny tiny to the monumental. This is part of why I get my work clothes out for an entire week at once; I make all of my over-thought decisions at once and then I’m done with it.

I’ve thought about forming a support group for over-thinkers but I can’t quite work out all of the details.

Ba-dum ching!

Anyway, I know this drives people crazy so I’ve been trying to at least not vocalize it, or all of it. But evidently that results in a massive case of Resting Bitch Face which is no bueno either.

According to my mom there was a time in my past when my default facial expression was a smile, the easily worn outward expression of happiness. I don’t know precisely when that changed other than sometime around when I started meds. But I need the meds. It’s a conundrum.

The hat, by the way, didn’t quite get finished but is only lacking the last four rounds. I estimate another 20 minutes or so. If I had gotten up a bit earlier this morning it would be done by now.

In other good news, simple med change on Friday. I’m dropping one of the new pills she gave me to help with sleep except for if I can’t sleep on the plane I’m supposed to take one. I slept mostly amazing this weekend and today I actually feel like I have some energy. Which is good. I need it.

The mania has faded, rather like a bad dream. My thoughts have slowed significantly and I’m much better able to articulate what I’m feeling and what I need. That’s not to say I’m not still irritable some of the time but I am finding it easier to think before I speak these days. I count this as progress.

Yesterday I got the laundry started, the suitcase out, and the packing is underway. I made the very timely realization that I had either enough underwear to pack OR I had enough to get through until I leave, but not both. Fortunately I made this discovery before we left to run errands yesterday.

And I cannot say enough good things about packing cubes. I got this set from Amazon and I am loving how much easier it is to pack and rearrange things. I’m not taking a very large suitcase, mainly because I have a mid-size one with great wheels that also happens to be purple, so having it well organized is going to be crucial to getting everything in and not arrive looking like I slept in all of it.

Most of the clothes are packed now, I really just need to figure out the backpack situation, which was not possible yesterday given that the pack lives at work. I can’t bring my laptop home to pack until Thursday because it’s my only computer at work, but I can get around that I think. I just need to make sure that everything else fits. I would say tonight by the time I crash I should have 95% of it all done.

The only detail I don’t really have ironed out yet is communication while I’m gone. I added international access to my cell plan so I’m covered with that but there’s still the whole 11.5 hour difference in time zones to contend with. It’s possible that this will make communication with Lancelot easier, but far trickier with my mom. Regardless of the solution, there will be a solution.

I’m excited, I just wish we were already at the “Erin has returned home safely with some lovely little gifts and many fine stories to share” part of the adventure.

hard times at Panda High

I am a serious creature of habit. I pretty much always do the same things in the same way at the same time. Deviation from a routine has the capacity to send me off the edge of a very tall cliff. And for whatever reason, my busted little brain expects everyone else to be just the same.

Amazingly enough, life does not work that way. Also amazingly enough, I (think) I managed to keep my shit together this time. Maybe? Maybe. Poor damn squishy panda…

The hat that refuses to die is almost ready for the decrease rounds. YAY!!! I’m taking it with to Lancelot’s this weekend so that hopefully I can finish it. The weather here is much more “winter” than “autumn” right now so I definitely want to make sure he has both hats before I leave. That bastard weatherman is actually talking about snow for today. Good thing I’m wearing boots.

I didn’t manage to get any packing done last night but I did identify the dresses I’m taking with. I’ve decided that dresses make the most sense for the days I teach since they’re comfortable and take up less space than multiple pieces. I’m also taking one extra dress, a black one that I’ll wear with a light cardigan, in case I need something for a dinner.

Still trying to figure out what, if any, of my shawls or other knitted bits to bring. And jewelry, that’s going to be a decision.

I’m also taking two pair of black flats which will go with everything, take minimal space, and allow my feet a bit of variety. I plan to travel in my tennis shoes which are quite bulky, but totally comfy, and they slip on which makes them ideal for airport security.

Let’s be honest, there are just too damn many decisions to make. This morning my friend N asked me if I’m taking my good camera with me. Hmm, good question.

In other news, I’m still waiting for one more letter of recommendation before my grad school application can officially be processed. I don’t doubt that I’ll get in but this is taking FOREVER. I am much frustrated. Enrollment starts on November 12th. GRRRR.

In other, other, news, I am wearing a shawl I knit a thousand years ago and some of the beautiful jewelry Lancelot got me. And knee-high peacock socks under my boots. I am stunning.

I’d love to tell you about the shawl but all I can remember is that the pattern was called Bloom but I don’t remember a damn thing about the yarn. It’s smooth in spots and then fuzzy in others, the colors are kind of muted, and I put a really funky beaded border on the shawl that I don’t recall being part of the original pattern. It’s quite like wearing a hug. And it looks great with the jewelry.