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.

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

it’s a sickness

I’m one of those people who pretty well has to be busy all the time. I have this sort of compulsion to be doing things. I love lists and that feeling of crossing things off of them. My idea of a good day off is getting a ton of shit done.

Seriously, I wonder if there’s some kind of medication for this?

I’m only partially jesting. I know that part of my compulsions could easily be tracked back to the bipolar, so I keep a close eye on that shit. When I get to the point where I feel like I need to do ALL the things all at once, I call the good doc.

Right now I think that more than anything this is a need to have some kind of control over my world in an effort to experience some normalcy. And who doesn’t need/want that these days?

So this weekend we spent some time getting ready for the Halloween party, in addition to getting things done around the house that had been put off for too long. Laundry got caught up again, the utility room in the basement got cleaned, and we just sort of tidied up in general. And I knit.

I keep thinking I should take a picture of what I’m working on but then I forget until the lighting is just horrid, but this is at least a try…

Off Kilter

This is my Off Kilter shawl, using size 3 needles (I’ll have to switch to longer ones soon), with La Jolla yarn from Baah in the Pink Tourmaline colorway. The color in this picture isn’t quite right, though it is delightfully bright. The pattern suggested a yarn with a nice color change in it, which would be great, but I think this is going to be wonderful. I’m figuring that the unusual construction will be even more obvious in the solid color. And the pattern is a great balance of “mindless” and “gotta count right here.” Just a fabulous project all the way around.

surviving a pandemic is harder than advertised

First things first – this shit is HARD. And by “this shit” I mean “life” right now. I won’t pretend that I had any idea what this whole Rona Plague business was going to be when it all started, but I certainly didn’t figure it would be like this. And I had NO FUCKING CLUE that my fellow humans had the potential to be so ridiculously stupid about all of it.

I think it’s probably safe to assume that we’re all struggling, at least a little. It’s still difficult to get certain supplies, like toilet paper and seriously what the ever loving fuck is up with that? We’re still not supposed to gather unless it’s outside or with people that already live in our homes, and in many places there are still mandates to wear face masks (which I FULLY support). I haven’t seen a movie in a theater in so long that I can’t tell you what the last movie I saw was, we haven’t been to any live concerts or theatrical shows, and I still don’t get the deal with the TP shortage.

And we’re scared. There’s proof now that someone who had the virus and recovered has been re-infected by another genetically different strain. So yeah, WTF?

We need some social interaction that doesn’t happen through a screen, but how do we get it safely? That is a fabulous question. According to my psych doc the time has come to get a fire pit or space heater and a warmer coat, you know, so we can have some friends over but stay outside so that we stay safe. Maybe we’ll build a snowman, who’s in? (no snow yet but it’s coming, oh yes, winter is coming…)

At any rate, we’re a “red” state again (still?) so I’ve decided we aren’t going out this weekend. I’d rather stay home and play it safe than go out anywhere unnecessary. Besides, there’s plenty of stuff to do around the house. We are actually going to have a very small Halloween party in the garage. I purchased an electric space heater and I found an idea for using Sterno cans to make little fire pit things for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. I am very much looking forward to it, and yes, we’ll be keeping it safe.

So there are a few things to do to get ready, and there’s always knitting to do. I’m still working on the shrug I started but it’s just boring right now. I like boring sometimes, but I also like something that requires a little more concentration. With that in mind, and as always trying to find something that was already wound up and would work, I started Off Kilter last night. I’m using a solid fuchsia pink (again, it’s what was ready to go) that I think is going to be amazing.

I’m not typically one to spend money on apps for my phone but I decided to break down and get the Row Counter app (links to Google Play store), in part because I can download patterns I have saved in my Ravelry library right into it. I had been using the free version but the upgrade lets me put in more details, photos, and track not only my row but the repeats as well. So far I really like it and find it to be worth the $9.99/year price.

The boys approve