just do the damn thing

I’d like to tell you where I heard that, which one of my friends dropped that nugget of truth on me, but I can’t. But think about the profundity of it – it’s beyond the trite Nike slogan “just do it.” This allows for not wanting to do the thing, the DAMN thing, but getting on and doing it anyway.

It’s a really fucking adult thing to say and think. And so today I will endeavor to Just Do The Damn Thing.

I’ve made the bed, washed some dishes, took a shower and got dressed, made myself a healthy breakfast, and (most importantly) I got out my sun lamp and set it up on my desk. If I do nothing else today I will still consider this a win because I didn’t want to do any of those damn things, yet I did.

I’m not actually quite as grumpy as I appear in this picture. I actually took it because I’m wearing the very first sweater I ever knit, which was an accomplishment.

If I were to leave you with any advice right now it would be to set yourself up to just do the damn thing, even if it’s something small or something that feels silly. Doing that one damn thing might lead you to feel like doing another damn thing, maybe. And that’s probably a particularly good thing.

one foot in front of the other

I’ve been in a weird kind of “mood that isn’t a mood and is maybe lasting too long but then again so is the anxiety that’s ever present everywhere these days” kind of place and I have to say, it sucks.

I love the change of the seasons in an intellectual and visual sort of way. The change in the temperatures, the extra rain right now, the changing leaves are all really pretty and a very pleasant departure from what summer is around here. But if I’m going to have any mental issues they tend to happen during the changing of the light – sunlight that is. Too little in the autumn and winter cause one set of issues and the switch back to lots of it in the spring and summer causes a different set of issues.

Being mental is just such a fucking treat.

Once a month I haul Lancelot in for a haircut and beard trim and I usually get my mop of hair dealt with. This time I decided that enough was enough. I’ve been trying to grow it out but it was looking very much like how my grandmother wears her hair and I was not loving that. Changing my hair is actually a pretty standard thing with me. When I feel like it’s time to shake my snowglobe I will typically either go for a drastically different cut or, back in the day, a radically different color.

I’ve actually had my hair like this before, and it was most certainly a different color. I like the asymmetrical thing, especially since my hair’s natural curl makes this a ridiculously easy style for me in terms of what it takes to fix it. Approximately 3 minutes and a small dab of hair goo, that’s what.

I’ve been trying to spend some time getting back to meal planning and all of the other things that kind of feel like “life hacks” for me, because in all honesty, right now I need that shit more than ever. Apparently it’s working, at least at the surface level. One of the people that works in our office suite made the comment that I have my life together, which she totally meant as a compliment, but all I could think was, “little sister, if you only knew.”

All of the hacks and the prep stuff is really because I have a terrible, ugly secret…

I am hella lazy.

insert catchy title here

I keep thinking I should sit down and write and then life happens, so I don’t. The good thing is that I’ve been spending much more time doing creative stuff and a lot less time glued to a screen. I seriously think that’s a win. For example, consider the following exhibits:

I made a headband and channeled my inner Keith Richards
I constructed a Bird of Paradise LEGO kit
And I’ve spent some serious time on the Plant Place in our sunroom. It now includes not only a variety of leafy things but also a dendrobium orchid and three different carnivorous plants.

I’ve also still been knitting other stuff, besides headbands (though I am on #2 of those because they use just a wee bit of yarn and work up pretty quick) I’m working on a lace scarf for myself, the damn beaded lace cowl for me, a holiday goody for a dear friend, a birthday goody for another dear friend, a kitty amigurumi for my soon to arrive niece, and the scarves I’m making for charity.

And a partridge in a pear tree!

In the “not creative stuff” category I’m also trying to be more mindful about unwinding at night by coming up to my office and reading for about an hour before going to bed. It sounds so simple but it really does seem to make a big difference for me. I’m also try to remember how big of a role food and proper nutrition play in the way I feel. I’m not losing weight anymore, but I’m also not gaining, and that in and of itself feels pretty good. I was able to go clothes shopping with my friend K last week and being able to purchase “normal” size clothes in “normal” shops was just downright lovely.

My goal is to get back to eating / drinking in ways that are healthier and to get back to including much more activity and exercise into my routine. Right now it just feels like every time I try to establish some routines I find myself confronted with some minor catastrophe and someone shouts out “PLOT TWIST!” It’s interesting and yet simultaneously exhausting.

PS – the clear shelves hooked to the windows in that picture of the plants are from Amazon and they are so totally freaking worth it, especially if you have small children or animals. I have them in those windows and upstairs in my office and the guest room. You can’t put anything extremely heavy on them but they are amazingly pretty with small things, especially colored glass containers.

making the most of a monday

“Make it stop, please Mama?”

We woke up at 3:50am this morning because it sounded like the world was finally ending. Turns out it was just your typical Midwestern thunderstorm, but once you’ve been rudely awakened like that the only thing for it is to have a pee and make something warm to drink. Dog Blossom didn’t used to be all that phased by storms, but after the big bullshit we had earlier this summer she’s not at all fond. That picture was her this morning, camped out in my lap. She stayed like that for almost an hour.

I’ve been realizing lately that my routines are still majorly screwed up and it’s causing me to feel more than slightly off kilter. I’m trying to figure out how to unscrew them and get things a little more organized. I have no delusions that I will ever have my ducks in a row. The best I can, and will, ever hope for is that my army of squirrels all end up attending the same rave on the same day. It’s good to have dreams.

Lego!

This is the Lego Bonsai kit I had picked up when we went to Minneapolis earlier this summer. I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing these. I believe Lancelot is going to be getting me a few more of the botanical type things. I also spent some time making three pair of earrings and finally getting my creative spot in the sunroom setup the rest of the way.

I have been realizing that taking time to do these kinds of projects is super vital for me. L and I took a 3-day weekend together and were able to do a little shopping, watch goofy TV, and just hang out together. It was amazingly restful. I think it’s far too easy to forget how much we need to take that time for ourselves until we do take some and then remember how good it is.

enjoying it while i can

So stinkin’ cute

We had our “village” over for dinner Saturday night. These people are the friends we can call on at any time, for anything. And they can do the same with us. We all have our struggles and our emotional baggage from the past and we don’t hold that against each other. There’s a whole lot of unconditional acceptance and love in our village.

Lancelot’s birthday is later this week and I wanted to do something for him, but he’s not super excited about celebrating it or making a fuss about it. So I invited our friends over for dinner and didn’t say anything to any of them about it, or to him, until K noticed on the menu board in the kitchen that next Saturday we’re going out for L’s birthday with my folks. I wanted to keep things very low-key so that everyone was comfortable. It was amazing.

And the scarf has finally told me that it wants to be K’s. I had made them a beanie / fingerless mitt set and the colors coordinate nicely. At any rate, the scarf will have a good home with a great friend.

I try to stay optimistic about damn near everything, but I also try to be realistic. I watch the news at least once a day and I’ve been paying attention to what’s happening with the COVID-19 Delta variant. I know that even though we’ve been vaccinated we could still carry it and spread it. And I know that the governor in our state is a complete jackass when it comes to certain things, issues of public safety and health being what come to mind right now.

So we’ll be back to wearing masks in public, minimizing our exposure to and from other people. And for me this means I’ll be wearing a mask when I’m working on campus. Better safe than dead.

Next week is our vacation and our anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since we got married. It’s been one hell of a ride, especially considering that we’ve been living in a pandemic for the duration of our wedded life thus far. But I honestly can’t imagine going through this with anyone else by my side.

Yup, so stinkin’ cute

i finished reading a book and other things that really aren’t exciting to anyone but me

Before I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder back in 2006 I was a voracious reader. I’ve always loved books and a good story is actually one of my preferred drugs. Back then I was only sleeping a few hours a night because I was almost always hypomanic so I would read a full length novel every few days. There was a book case in my living room that was easily eight feet tall and four feet wide. My husband made extra shelves for it and pretty much all of them were stacked double deep. I had read 99% of those books.

The medication to control the symptoms of Bipolar made it so that reading wasn’t enjoyable, it felt more like a chore. Books no longer held my attention. In the time since 2008, when the second husband and I divorced, and quite recently, my book collection had dwindled to few enough that they all fit on a single shelf.

Now you kind of see why actually finishing books is a big deal in my world.

If I’m counting correctly, the book I just finished is the fourth book I’ve read this year. (don’t trust my math, I never do) I can concentrate again and I find myself getting very into the stories, which is amazing. I’ve found a few authors that I hadn’t heard of before and I’m totally loving this. Yay me.

Still life with scarf and dog

I am still knitting, mostly on this scarf, though the dog makes it hard some times. She thinks I should sit on the couch at night so that she can rest her head on me. There are several things about this that make knitting difficult. First, I end up all contorted with the arm of the couch on my left and her very solid self on my right, making it hard to get the wings to work. Second, she puts off body heat that is roughly equivalent to the temperature of the surface of the sun. And finally, she expects me to pet her. Constantly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love her, she’s a good pup. But I have realized that for any knitting progress to be made I have to sit in my chair. I am starting to wonder if this scarf is going to be mine or be gifted to someone. I’m waiting for it to tell me.

yardsticks

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll have no doubt noticed that I have a theory about damn near everything. I don’t know if it’s just a character quirk or a coping mechanism or yet another way for me to annoy the world, but it is what it is. So here we go, time for another of my theories.

I believe that each of us has a different method by which we measure success and/or happiness. Some people use dollar signs or other material goods. Some people use the amount of education they have. Some people use some combination of things. It seems that it’s sort of rare for someone to only use the Almighty Dollar, there are some out there. Unfortunately I seem to know way too many of those these days…

I digress. (as usual)

This popped up on Facebook and is why I’m standing on the Soapbox du Jour. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that some people are fortunate enough to make more than what they need to comfortably exist and can own more toys than they can play with at one time or can hire help to take care of basic tasks that most of us still struggle to accomplish. And it’s not like I would ever wish people like that would find themselves infested with crotch critters while both arms were broken and unable to be bent, and that all of that would be happening while on some exotic vacation in a remote part of the world that unfortunately still has less than amazing health care because the Big Pharma jerks and the other bastard billionaires on the planet are more interested in profits than people.

Wait, I went off track there…

I actually kind of enjoy not “having it all.” I’m more creative with my wardrobe because I try not to buy new clothes until I’m out of pieces that fit. I will happily make jewelry for myself, and I’m actually getting to the point of eliminating all of my costume jewelry because I just don’t enjoy it. I have *never* purchased a brand new car because it just seems a little dumb to me. (plus I couldn’t have qualified for a loan on something brand new until recently) And while I certainly wouldn’t call our house “simple” it also isn’t brand new or a McMansion – neither of which I would want anyway. One of my friends made a comment recently about how our place feels like home and that almost made me cry.

So…

I consider myself super fucking lucky that Lancelot and I have this beautiful home to live in, we have a car that is in good shape (and almost paid off!), that we have access to good medical care (and are both in damn good health). We have enough extra income that we can help out when a friend, or even a cause we feel strongly about, needs a little boost.

Mostly though I count our wealth in terms of intangibles.

We have each other. We have my folks and Lancelot’s family. We have a really tight knit village of friends who are BatShit Crazy and loyal as fuck. And we have the furkids.

According to the yardstick I use for such things, we are the most successful and wealthy people ever.

remind me again why I live in this part of the world?

We’re starting a stretch of hot weather, and by hot I mean “HOT” by Midwestern standards. As I’m writing this the air temperature is 93 degrees and the heat index is 99 degrees, which means it feels approximately as hot as the surface of the sun. This is by far the worst. I just saw the forecast for the coming week during which time we’ll enjoy what the US Weather Service is actually describing as “scorching.” You don’t fucking say…

Anyway, I am still back on campus and feeling a wee bit guilty about only having to be here three days per week. The campus has essentially recalled all faculty and staff to be on campus their pre-pandemic schedules, so five days per week for staff. But, I don’t work for this campus. I work on this campus, but my reporting line is technically not on this campus. It’s so fucking weird. What it means is that we will continue to be able to have our arrangement to continue working from home two days per week. I am incredibly thankful for that but I feel awful that some of my friends don’t get the same luxury. That part truly sucks a big ol’ turd.

That’s one of my favorite things on our campus. I took a walk on Wednesday with K and she was kind enough to take a pic for me.

I will say that I’ve been doing better with getting walks in and with my eating habits. I’ve decided that I really need to kick myself in the ass and get back to doing the things that I know make a difference. I’ve managed to lose 2lbs since Monday and that makes me feel very good and very encouraged.

I hope you all are staying cool and healthy and feeling good. Stay safe. ❤

stop the world I want to get off… and I want my money back… and get off my damn lawn!!!

Every time I think my life is dull the universe grabs my little snow globe and shakes the ever loving shit out of it, like out of spite or something. For example, over the weekend we had 96mph straight line winds in the middle of the night. That’s hurricane force from what I understand. And I slept through it. That’s the ridiculous part, especially considering that wind at that speed is honestly fierce enough to uproot mature trees. I have some friends who are still, STILL, without power because power poles were snapped in half, trees fell on them, the grids got overloaded… It’s been ugly here.

For reference, Lancelot is just about 6ft tall. And we discovered that there were TWO large branches wedged in my lilac hedge. Two.

When the universe shook my little bubble it was kind enough to spare us any major damage. The power lines out in this part of town are all buried underground. My family has owned this house since 1979 and the power has only gone out for any length of time once. And the branches that we lost all landed in the lilacs, nothing hit the house. It took awhile to clean up but we had power the whole time and no holes in the roof – I’ll take it.

I wanted to prove to y’all that I am indeed still knitting. I’m within spitting distance of having the big shawl done which of course means I haven’t worked on it lately. But I have been working on the feather and fan scarf. The other scarf is at work since it’s actually even easier.

Wow, this is an awful photo…

Anyway, I’m still knitting. Yesterday was “Doctor Day” so it spent a fair amount of time in waiting rooms with me. Everything is good with the docs, just waiting to find out about a med change but hopefully that comes through today. And the bruises from the blood draws will fade.

Recycled plant hanger

So before I left yesterday morning for my “adventures” I decided to make a tiny project I’d been thinking about for awhile. This is an empty spice jar that I got the label removed from and some random wire and beads that I had laying around from other projects. It’s hanging from necklace chain on a curtain rod in the guest room. The plant is a “baby” from my spider plant. It had outgrown the other container I had it in, which now feels kind of like a nursery for these. At any rate, I feel quite proud of this.

stuff I’ve noticed

Before I really start today, apparently on this very day four years ago I started this blog. So yay me. I’ve had other blogs with other names for many, MANY, years but this one just turned 4. Kinda exciting.

This is my first official week of being back on campus. We’re each supposed to be here three days every week. My days, because I picked them, are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I wanted my days to be grouped together, I typically have therapy on Mondays and didn’t want to mess with that, and Lancelot usually sleeps all day on Friday to get his schedule readjusted for the weekend. Plus this way I overlap two days with one of my pals.

While this is certainly not the most fun I’ve ever had, it also isn’t horrible. I will say that I’m not getting near as much done being here as I did working at home. But I guess that’s what Monday and Tuesday will be for. I am getting more activity – almost 4000 steps yesterday – and because I have to bring all of my food with me I’m sticking to a more controlled diet during the day.

Yesterday afternoon I had my very first in person meeting with a faculty member since March 2020. It was wonderful. The person I met with is wonderful and had a gift for me; plums covered in chocolate which is a Polish treat she’s brought me before. I’m currently hoarding them.

I am trying to get myself back to healthier habits, and eating at work should help. I would really like to tell y’all how utterly fucking proud I am of myself because my boss brought in two big boxes of donuts yesterday and I didn’t eat a single one. So proud. Instead of donuts I dined on stuff like home made granola.

I do want to keep working on increasing my activity even more, and on the days I work from home. Right now it feels like I’m still working to find my groove with all of this, and once I do everything should fall into place. One foot in front of the other, as one of my dear friends said not long ago.

I am also still knitting, in fact I have a project with me at the office, but I don’t have any pictures of what I’m working on. I can tell you that the Sunset Lights Shawl I’m working on is getting close to being done. If memory serves I’ve got one more repeat of the lace rows and then the border and I’m done. It’s not a traveling project though, not by a long shot. So I’ve designated an easy scarf as my “work” knitting project and it’s going to go back and forth with me for lunch breaks. No picture of that yet either. I suck.