rolling with the punches

I saw that this morning and it didn’t speak to me, it fucking shouted at me. That’s precisely what I’m going to do today, what I’ve already started doing. I will pull myself out and do what I do best. And I will shine like the sparkly rainbow glitter covered unicorn I am. Hells yeah.

I could waste time and energy on being pissy about going back to campus or I can start laying plans for how I’m going to take over the world.

Step One: New Clothes – I realized the other day that I do not currently own enough appropriate clothing to wear to the office even three days a week without wearing damn near the same thing every week, not that I have an issue with that, but it’s not me. So Friday afternoon I went shopping with one of my colleagues. I found some lovely new pieces that should see me through a few more sizes. Speaking of which…

Step Two: Get Back to Healthy – Here recently I have basically abandoned everything I had learned about eating and living healthier. As such I’ve gained a few pounds back. When I eat healthier I feel better and when I get more activity I feel even better, so, I really want to get back into it. I’m starting this morning by logging my food again and trying to make choices that will fill me up in happy ways. Over the weekend I made a batch of steel cut oats for breakfasts and we stopped at a farm stand over the weekend so I’m currently enjoying delicious strawberries for a snack.

Step Three: Figuring Out What “Back in the office” Looks Like – There are things I take for granted when working from home, like having access to the drinks and food I want. I’ll have to take everything to work again, and now I don’t have a whole office to spread out in. There is a closet back in the office that was formerly mine that we’ll be storing our personal stuff in, but that means figuring out some storage issues. Yesterday afternoon I ordered something that I think will help, I hope. I also picked up an extra phone charger that will plug right into my laptop, and it was only $1, and it looks like a koala. But there are things like that, silly seeming things, that I’ve come to take for granted. Think about it though – I kept those same things for granted going the other direction when I was working on campus full time and never considered that I wouldn’t work on campus. Bottom line with this is that I’ll be back to playing “turtle” and living out of my backpack, and that’s totally cool because I know I can do that.

Step Four: Figuring Out What “Two Days at Home” Looks Like – Working from home like I have has been wonderful for my relationship with Lancelot. We get more time together than we ever have before and than if I had stayed working on campus full time. I feel like this time together has been the best part of the pandemic and I truly believe that our relationship is as strong as it is because of this. L has already told me that he’ll take on more of the chores around the house since I won’t be here as much, and that’s going to help a ton. Every time I start to flip out about all of this and cry he just holds me and strokes my hair and reminds me that we can do anything.

Step Five: Breathe – There’s a lot going on right now and I need to remember to take care of myself. It is impossible to pour from an empty cup. On Saturday we went and got our monthly massages. We stopped at the coffee shop on the way and while L was in having his massage I worked on a knitting project. I refuse to give up that time. And I finished a book and started another, and I’m back to working on the lace shawl. I’m taking care of myself because it’s essential, and let’s face it, I enjoy it.

One day at a time, I will survive this, too.

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.

things that make you stay sane

There was a meeting at work this morning, whole department not just my tiny team, that was meant to give us tips for not burning out and staying professional and basically just surviving the whole “you’ll be working from your homes now and no, we really aren’t sure for how long” business.

But we’ve been at this for over a year now.

And they really don’t know how much longer we’ll have to do it.

And yes, that’s a 25lb Goldendoodle on my lap.

Anyway, it seemed like rather a waste of time to me but what the hell do I know? And I guess that was my frustration; everything they talked about is either stuff I’m already doing (because we should) or avoiding doing (because we should) and I mostly felt like I could have done a better job of the session in part because of that. Well, that and a whole lot of self-awareness that I’ve cultivated over the last 15+ years of mental health care.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I started this post on Tuesday, right before all hell broke loose. So let me take just a moment to catch y’all up.

I’ve been fighting off this icky fatigue, upper respiratory, chills nonsense for a while now. Rather a long while. But I’m stubborn and, to the best of my knowledge, had not been exposed to The Rona. Tuesday afternoon my body decided to toss in some GI stuff and that was it. I changed into jammies and sought out a comfy chair in the sunroom and basically melted into a puddle of cold goo.

Yesterday morning I decided that enough was enough, the symptoms were too close to COVID for comfort. And Lancelot still goes to work every night and his place of employment is kinda “petri dish-esque.” I will say, I feel pretty good that this was the very first time either of us had felt the need to be tested. I feel good because we’ve been following the guidelines from that nice Dr. Fauci.

At any rate, it was not overly pleasant, not gonna lie. And mine has come back and it was negative. So I called my doctor’s office and got setup for a telehealth visit. That nice doctor said the rapid test I had done was not accurate enough for his liking, particularly given my symptoms, so he ordered another test that also included testing for influenza A and B. Fortunately you can do all three of those things with a single brain-tickling swab.

The results from that were all negative. Still don’t know about Lancelot. He feels fine though, which is good. So now I’m waiting to hear back from the doc about what we do next, especially since he mentioned bacterial pneumonia. So much fucking excitement I can hardly contain it.

For now I’m working, as best I can, and trying to stay warm and hydrated.

Garth is just too freaking adorable

In other news, I am down 22.5lbs. I find that sort of miraculous given the last few days I’ve moved less than your average sloth and I’ve eaten more calories than I really needed. But I know that my body is doing its best to fight off whatever this is, plus I have an active cyst issue. Yay.

The other good news, my fingers are good enough that I’ve started knitting again. I had tried to make a hat for my stepdad for Christmas and it turned out too big, so I’m trying again with the kind of yarn I always use. It’s a delightfully straightforward pattern so it’s excellent TV knitting and right now that is precisely what I need.

I am late getting to the party, but smoothie bowls are amazing

so there I was, hip deep in spent bubble gum wrappers and empty sardine cans listening to polka on an old walkman when suddenly…

Eric occasionally enjoys drinking nice cold water from the running tub tap

Every time I think I’m going to be able to get back to working on a project I find a dozen things that need to be done in the kitchen that all involve either having my hands in water or washing them very frequently, and that means all the good I’ve done with repairing the damage to the skin on the fingertips goes right down the drain. Literally.

I freely admit that I got this idea from Pinterest, right over here

Those are freezer smoothie packs and I think they’re going to be brilliant. Most of the time I don’t mind the extra prep that goes into feeding myself these days, but every now and then I’m running way late or my ambition is ridiculously low but I do still need to eat. Everything but the almond milk is in these and is pre-measured, including the yogurt. They’re seriously fucking brilliant.

I did spend some time yesterday afternoon while Lancelot was sleeping going through my stash of craft supplies and I found some needle felting supplies and kits, including one that’s a picture – like a paint by numbers thing – that’s done on marked felt. That should be easy enough to do, assuming I have time. By the time I could sit down last night to eat it was after 6pm and I was just done. I did also find some coloring books and that made me happy.

This is the face off a woman who desperately needs a vacation

We’re fast approaching my personal one year Rona’versary. I began working from home on March 23, 2020. The university had known we’d be switching to remote delivery of courses so they gave everyone a two week long spring break to get their shit together. L had made big plans to take me out for my birthday and that weekend was when virtually everything shut down.

A lot has changed since then. I was thinking about that this morning on my drive to get L, not sure why. There are things that I miss about “the old days,” but mostly I’m content.

I miss feeling safe just going out in public. I miss feeling safe eating at restaurants. I miss shopping in stores. I miss going to the theater.

But I love that my job is such that I can work from home, and that I have the critters keeping me company, and that the people I love haven’t been sick. The stuff I miss isn’t really all that important.

And I hope that we all put some thought into what we want for our New Normal. We have an opportunity right now to shape our world moving forward in really meaningful ways. I’d go so far as to say that we all have an obligation to make this a better place to live.

losing track

It feels so strange to think that I’ve been working from home for almost a year now. And it’s even more strange for me to think that I’m fast approaching a second birthday celebrated in a very subdued fashion due to a global pandemic. Not like that’s huge, but it’s huge.

Want to know what else is huge?

I got to move the big slider one spot to the left this morning and I’m pretty sure I screamed with pure delight

I am officially 249.75lbs and that has been an unofficial goal for a while now. The next actual official goal will be 225lbs. I’m hoping that getting back to the treadmill and starting to use the pilates bar on a more regular basis, along with going back to drinking more water every day, will help get me there a bit more quickly.

Part of this is needing routines. I’ve said it before, I live and die by routines. I’m starting to get back into some of the routines/habits that I used to have that really seemed to help, if nothing else they would help with my mental health.

  • I get a week’s worth of outfits out on the weekend, including any necessary under garments and jewelry; they hang together in the back of my closet.
  • I use pill trays to organize and set out my morning and bed time pills, two weeks’ worth at a time.
  • I have a reminder set on my phone for Monday evenings – that’s when I take my Humira shot.
  • I have other reminders set on my phone for things like monthly cleaning chores, watering plants (weekly), and giving the dog her meds (monthly) – my philosophy on this is “set it and forget it.”
  • I always put my car keys in the exact same place when I get home, on a key rack in our entryway. If I don’t put them there I lose them, without fail.
  • I keep multiple baskets in the laundry room so that I can take the dirty stuff down and sort it every few days. When there’s enough of something to run a load I do it. This keeps me from spending an entire day on the weekend doing laundry.
  • I try to create a menu for the coming week – just dinners – mostly to make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand.
  • I go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every single day. Part of it is my brain not letting me sleep in much and part of it is just that I’m so used to this schedule.

I realize that probably already seems like kind of a lot, but I need a few more. I’m not feeling like I’m doing a very good job with…

  • Making time to do creative things every day
  • Exercising regularly
  • Unplugging before bedtime
  • Planning lunches
This is my little Garth buddy, just because

channeling my frustrations by becoming a domestic goddess

I don’t know about any of the rest of you but sometimes when I get good and pissed off I need to do something that’s kind of destructive but in reality is very productive. And, sick and this is, I often find that to be cleaning. Or making a plan for something. Or purging things from the house that we don’t need. You get the gist.

So last night after my work holiday Zoom party cocktail wore off I got to work. I had told Lancelot earlier in the week that I want the grocery run this morning to be the last we make until after the first of the year. (might have to go for milk but that’s a really quick trip)

With the upcoming holiday turning stores into battlefields in a normal year, and the rising positivity rates with Rona, and the fact that this is December in the Midwest so we could have major snow any fucking day now, I just want to have a well stocked arsenal of snacks and booze pantry and freezer.

As such I’ve been working on a rather massive undertaking to see what we have on hand already, what recipes I have most of the stuff for, and what other bits do I need to complete those. Lists are how I function.

I now have a list of THIRTY meals, just dinners, and I’ve split them into things I can make during the week and a few that would have to be done when L is home to eat at the same time with me. My grocery list (which is organized by what stuff is geographically close to what other stuff so hopefully I don’t fucking forget anything this time!) is kind of massive but a lot of it is either canned goods or things that start as frozen or things that will go in the freezer until I need them.

I’m not planning to do a ton of prep ahead of time but I know if I have my plan and I have all of the necessary components on hand I’m much more likely to actually make dinner.

I don’t know about y’all, but when I get to feeling down one of the very first self-care type things that goes out my window is cooking for myself. And I know that’s not healthy, so here I am trying to solve that problem. I feel good about this.

Not that I’m going to assume anyone is really all that interested, but in case you find yourself needing some kitchen inspiration, here’s my list.

  • CP tortellini w/ Alfredo
  • CP penne w/ Italian sausage and marinara
  • roasted veggies and sausage
  • goulash
  • CP roast w/ potatoes and carrots
  • spaghetti w/ meat sauce
  • CP chicken enchilada casserole
  • chicken noodle bake
  • CP pork tenderloin w/ pineapple
  • CP sweet and sour chicken
  • rice casserole
  • spam fried rice
  • veg fried rice
  • CP chicken curry
  • CP shrimp curry
  • CP pork chops w/ apples and kraut
  • cheddar sausages w/ mac and cheese
  • meatball soup
  • barley and beef soup
  • quick skillet lasagna
  • cranberry chipotle pork ribs
  • italian pork w/ sweet potatoes
  • beef stroganoff
  • spanish rice
  • gyros
  • tempura shrimp w/ rice pilaf
  • chicken legs in the air fryer w/ veggies
  • nachos
  • chicken sandwiches w/ chips
  • burgers w/ tater tots

CP is my abbreviation for crock pot, just FYI. Some of these I have actual recipes for and some of them are things I’ve been making for so long I just do it. I will happily share my chicken curry recipe with you. The original recipe came with my pressure cooker thing but then I modified the hell out of it.

Chicken Curry

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • Small onion, diced
  • Assorted veggies – we commonly use diced bell pepper, sliced zucchini, frozen green beans, and baby carrots – whatever suits your mood

Toss all of that in a slow cooker.

The sauce is:

  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • ¾ tsp grated ginger (I often use the fresh stuff in a tube, either works)
  • 1 ½ Tbs curry powder (Penzeys makes the most amazing curry powder ever)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

I let all of that simmer at low until the chicken is cooked through, usually a good 6 hours. Serve with rice and naan.

Trust the little chubby chik to know some good food.

Proof that it is not all doom and gloom right now. And yes, there are cats on my t-shirt. That is my Meowy Christmas shirt. My sweater has sparkly snowflakes. My leggings are red with white snowflakes. And that is a big ass flower on my head. And that was all yesterday for the party. ❤

lonely

Pic taken yesterday morning, but the look on my face was the same this morning

I feel like my whining is pretty dumb, but I also feel like if I don’t get a little of it out I’m going to explode. Lancelot refers to this as releasing the pressure valve, and that’s exactly what I did this morning. Without going into all of the gory details I can tell you that I cried and yelled, cried some more, and now I mostly feel better.

I’m lonely.

Until L moved in to the house with me I had been living here with Mom, so there was pretty well always someone here to spend time with. And then she moved in with R and the plague happened and L moved in here and we were all told to be good to each other by staying away from each other and and and…

Now that we’re in the 10th fucking month of this bullshit I’m over it. I know that now it’s super crucial that we stick with the program and not gather and all of that but GODDAMNIT I MISS MY FRIENDS AND I WANT TO GO SEE THEM AND GIVE THEM HUGS AND THEN GO TO A RESTAURANT AND EAT FOOD THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS COOKED AND I DON’T HAVE TO CLEAN UP.

I’m lonely and I’m grumpy about it.

It’s a little worse now because L worked overtime last week, he works overtime this week, and we don’t know yet about next week. For those of you playing along at home, next week is Christmas. We aren’t religious people, and we’ve been giving each other gifts as they arrive in the mail, but it would be nice to spend some time with my husband, especially considering he’s the only human being I am supposed to spend time with right now.

Did I mention that I spent time yelling and crying this morning? Because I’m lonely? Yeah.

I’m trying to focus on the good stuff. There’s a roof over my head, there’s clothes on my back, there’s food on the table, there are three ridiculous critters that snuggle me, and I have a husband who thinks the world of me. My mom and step-dad are great people and they love me. And I have some truly amazing friends that will text me pretty much whenever.

But I’m lonely.

so very tired

If I tell you I’m exhausted those words don’t even convey the full weight of just how ridiculously tired I am these days. We’re all suffering from the effects of the plague, whether we’re actually sick with it or just sick of it. We are all ready to a return of what we were used to in our lives. I’m not saying that there won’t be some good things to come out of all of this, I have got to believe that there will. But we need a little touch of normalcy again.

It doesn’t help that the effects of the plague are impacting my job. We’re being called on to help more people in less time and with fewer resources. Not that we are the only ones in this kind of situation, not by a long shot. And I know just how lucky I am to be able to work from my home where I have a nice office setup and I have my pets and all the snacks I want and I can do my work while wearing damn near anything I want.

But I miss people and I miss my work wardrobe and probably a billionty-zillion other things that are silly and trivial. But it is what it is. And it doesn’t help that Lancelot is working overtime the next few weeks so my regular person isn’t available as much.

So anyway, I miss reading your blogs and it’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, I just barely have enough energy to shower every day right now. And between you and me, I think I probably should keep trying to shower or the dog might stop wanting to play with me.

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…

thanksgiving 2020 – finding things to be thankful for in the middle of a bad relationship with that bitch Rona

Things I’m thankful for right now:

  • We both have jobs and we both have health insurance that’s worth having
  • We’re healthy, and my mom and step-dad are healthy
  • We’re lucky enough to have a very nice, comfortable home to live in
  • We have three ridiculous fur-babies in our lives
  • My job allows me to work from home right now which is providing a much needed relief from excess anxiety and helping to keep me safe from contracting COVID-19
  • I have some truly amazing friends that, even though I don’t get to see them in person, will text or do video calls and they’re helping to keep me sane
  • That Lancelot is so stinkin’ patient with my shenanigans
  • And while I don’t know that anyone is ever really prepared to live through such a prolonged and emotionally draining event like a pandemic, I feel as though mentally I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and in the best position possible to come out the other side of this a better human because of it

I know it’s hard right now, and stuff does kinda suck, but I would like to encourage all of you reading this, whenever you read it, to try to think of at least one thing you’re thankful for. If you can think of more, that’s awesome. I try to do this little exercise every day, usually on Facebook, and it helps. There’s something about intentionality and “priming” yourself to be in a more optimistic mindset that seems to help. (your mileage may vary, but come on, it’s worth a try, yes?)

If that doesn’t work you can always try boozy hot cocoa. This is the way.