of invisible giants and small black dogs

The city is taking advantage of the pandemic keeping people mostly at home by doing a TON of roadwork this summer. Lancelot was joking the other day that we’re pretty well surrounded by it, and he’s exactly right. They’ve reached the point where they’re working on something directly behind our house (we back up to a major street).

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on today other than it involves concrete, I saw the trucks, and it’s noisy as fuck. It quite honestly sounds and feels, simultaneously, like a giant is walking around outside our house. The floor is shaking. Not even exaggerating here. I’m waiting to hear someone’s car alarm go off.

Meanwhile, Pippy the Wonder Pup is entertaining herself by chewing on a little blue rug I put in my office for her to lay on. I’m not sure what the deal is but she likes to chew on things.

That’s the rug under her, at that point she was chewing on the fabric basket I keep in here for a few toys. She gets bored during my Zoom meetings sometimes, can’t blame her, so I try to entertain her. Anyway, she was grabbing her basket in her mouth and tossing it up and then smacking it around with her nose. Good times.

In an effort to keep her from chewing the edge off the rug I gave her a washcloth I had knit, one of the more unusual things that she’s long been fascinated with. That was great fun.

But still, the giants are out walking around and now I’m getting a headache. One last cute dog pic. At night when I go downstairs and relax she has to be right next to me. (there goes the car alarm!) If I sit out in the sunroom I have to sit in the big chair because it’s got a reasonably sized foot stool.

And hey, that’s a much more accurate picture of the color of the new shawl.

life goes goofy

Lancelot and I had a really good weekend, in spite of me not feeling great part of the time. We did get our finances joined – yay – and our errands run, including a trip to a local bee/honey store. That was awesome. On Saturday we went so I could get yet another blood draw (more on that in a bit), we actually got to eat breakfast at our favorite bagel place (because no one else was in the dining room!), and we got our monthly massages. We were supposed to go out for dinner to celebrate our one month anniversary but I was exhausted and decided that there was no way I would enjoy it.

So instead we relaxed the rest of the day and got take out food from our favorite Thai restaurant.

Yesterday I got a call from the doc’s office about the blood draw. Back when I got to go see the special blood doc they had done some test to check my liver and kidney function. Those numbers were not good so I had to have those tests done again. Evidently my liver is ok but my kidneys might not be. I had to schedule an appointment to see the psych doc (GP thinks this might be from the Lithium) and I’m waiting for a call to get an appointment with a kidney specialist.

At any rate, after I found out about that my body decided that it was really not amused and I called it quits at 1pm. I camped out on the couch with the dog and my latest knitting project. I feel marginally better today. I honestly think I’m having issues from a sinus infection. I’ve got a lot of drainage and a wicked headache right where my sinus cavities are. No fun.

On the knitting front, I had L help me wind up yarn for two projects over the weekend. The one I’m actively working on right now is Syyslaulu, inspired by the one that NothingButKnit made. I decided to make mine with yarn I brought back from Ireland last spring; S Twist Wool. The label says that it’s mixed mountain fleece from Tipperary. It’s beautiful shades of soft orange that I think will be wonderful with this pattern. I just wish the yarn itself was softer.

That is the shawl, though that’s a horrible likeness of the actual color. I took this pic this morning at around 6am while I was waiting to go get L from work. This is how I often get to knit in the morning, complete with the little black dog nose. And yes, I tend to keep my current projects in small rigid tote bags. It keeps them mostly safe from critters.

I can’t remember the other upcoming project, only that it’s also a shawl (surprise!) and that the yarn is Knit Picks in some shade of dark purple. Also, it has a lace edge. Yeah totally not like me. Right.

I did order and receive some stunning lampwork beads here recently that I need to do something with. I got a large focal bead and some smaller accent beads that I think I’ll turn into earrings. All I know is that I need to get crafty again soon.

I’ve also been working on the whole meal planning thing.¬† Tonight’s dinner, meatballs and mushroom gravy, is in the crock pot already. I’m trying to figure my menu out ahead of time so I can order only the groceries we really need.

So that’s where I am right now. Sitting in my office wishing I was knitting instead of working.

short weeks are always the longest

I didn’t work on Monday because it was Labor Day and for me that means a paid day off. I don’t work tomorrow because Lancelot took the day off and for me that also means a paid day off. We have errands to run and things to accomplish and that’s not always easy given his regular work schedule.

However…

It’s been a bit of a rough week. Pippy appears to have done something to her mouth, though the vet can’t figure out what. Garth looks like his one eye has something going on but every time I go to call for an appointment it looks better again.

Last night I did some “real” cooking and by that I mean I chopped up a bunch of veggies and a package of sausages and threw them in a pan in the oven to roast. And then promptly burned myself.

Today we had a local charity lined up to finally come get the excess crap out of our garage. The same time they were on their way Pippy showed up at the back door absolutely caked in mud. L carried her up to the bathroom where I got to strip down and hop in the shower with her. Keep in mind that this was at like 11am, right in the middle of my work day. And I had a workshop to give this afternoon.

So I hosed down the dog, got her mostly dried off, and got dressed for the second time. I actually pried some rocks out from between her toe pads. I have no idea what the fuck she was digging for out there, but she’s not going to be allowed out unattended while it’s all wet and rainy. At this point I’m not sure there’s a single clean towel in the house.

I got everything lined up for the workshop this afternoon and then it looked like no one was going to show, but at 2:05pm I had two people. It went alright except the one person started asking very specific questions that really didn’t go along with the advertised topic. I love it when they do that. (no, no I do not love it)

At any rate, I’m stuck in my office for about another 30 minutes and then I am DONE. I’ve decided that I well and truly hate the few knitting projects I have going so they’re going in time out and I’m going to start something new. (shocking, right?) I’m just not sure what that’s going to be. (we all know it’s going to be a shawl)

I kind of feel like I say this a lot, but I need to hit my own reset button again.

time for me to do some things that make me happy

I had a chat with Lancelot last week about how I’m feeling “off.” Actually it was more like the one day I just kind of cried for about an hour, grieving parts of the life I used to live, the life we all used to live before this damn plague scared us out of our minds. The issue, as we finally figured out, is not having things to look forward to, at least not like we used to. But how to resolve that.

What we arrived at was that every month on our anniversary we’ll do something “safe” that we both enjoy. We could go to one of the museums, out to dinner, or like this weekend we went to a bookstore and then to a small local jewelry store. I’m not saying that retail therapy is the answer, but those two places weren’t crowded and were doing a good job with the social distancing and cleaning stuff.

I’ll admit that I was delighted that L decided to buy me a very lovely black onyx ring and an amazing dragon-head bracelet. It was beside the point, but damn does that man have good taste in my jewelry. And I bought books, like normal books for me to read. That’s something I haven’t done in literally years. Three are fiction and the other is a cookbook.

We’ve decided that, in an effort to make the cooking burden a little less of a burden on me, we would try making some “freeze ahead” crock pot meals. If you aren’t familiar with the concept you prep everything you would need for a given recipe and dump in a gallon size freezer bag that you’ve labeled with the heat and time requirements. That goes in the freezer until the night before you want to cook it. Defrost in the fridge over night then dump in the crock pot and cook.

I picked out something like 9 meals that seemed interesting and got all of the ingredients to make them. We then spent a little more than an hour Saturday night preparing 5 meals, because I wore out.¬† So there’s 5 dinners (so far) that I won’t have to mess with.

The cookbook I got is for doing essentially the same thing but for the instant pot. It was marked down to something like $7 and has a lot of interesting sounding recipes, so I figured it was probably worth it.

Oh, and I’ve started reading one of the fiction books.

If anyone was taking bets about how long it would be before I started a new knitting project, it was the very next day. And I’ve finished it. It’s the most basic shawl ever, almost, and I did it with a not fabulous ball of Lion Brand “Shawl in a Ball.” Hey, the colors are pretty. I wanted something that didn’t require a single ounce of skull sweat. And it should be nice and warm this winter. Or perhaps tomorrow. We’re about to have a major dip in temps.

She really does prefer to be touching us. That was this morning when the sun was out. The shawl was on my lap because I had just finished the ridiculously long bind-off and her ear managed to get flopped over my ankle.

My plan, though please don’t hold me to this, is to finally move past the cuff of the first mitt for my friend K. I had to retype the directions so that they made sense to me and I have done that and printed a copy. Seriously, it’s fingerless mitts, they shouldn’t take hardly any time at all.

I can’t show a picture of the pooch and not show a pic of at least one kitty. I caught Garth in mid-yawn the other night. Too perfect.

four o’clock in the morning

My life is perhaps a little unusual. I go to bed most nights around 8pm and then my alarm goes off in the morning at 4:15am. Part of this is just my body clock and part of it is because Lancelot works 11:30pm until some time in the morning. It used to be 7:30 but then the plague hit and now it’s usually more like 5:30. He takes an Uber to work at night but then I get him in the morning. Sounds way worse than it is.

But lately I’m just tired. Pippy hasn’t necessarily been cooperating with bedtime and my work is getting busier. I’m actually awake and at the computer this morning at… clock says 4:30am… and I’ll be starting to work shortly. There’s just too much to get done with the start of a very unknown semester starting in a little more than a month.

Oh, and did anyone remember that L and I get married in a little less than a month? So anyway, sorry I’ve been absent. I really have missed writing. Here are some pictures to hopefully cheer us all up.

Eric the Red doing a Super Kitty pose in the guest room
I found this bit of filet crochet lace I made years ago and decided it would look great hanging on the wall above my necklaces
Cheap and cheerful supermarket bouquet of flowers
Lancelot hid this behind my laptop yesterday morning. It’s now a contender for being wedding jewelry.
She’s absolutely adorable when she wants to be

better late than never

Life has been ridiculous lately, seriously. I feel like some things are moving a million miles an hour while others are stuck on the back of a sloth moving through a lake of cold molasses. For reals, it’s all or nothing right now. But it’s not all bad.

The Fourth of July sucked. Pippy absolutely HATES fireworks. The entire time it was legal to be blowing up the world around here she was a furry little wreck. Lancelot and I went and had dinner with Mom and R that night and ended up just taking her with us. There was no way I was leaving her home alone with just the cats. And yes, I was stopped at a long traffic light when I took this picture.

I finished, and blocked, the Zaffre shawl. (Garth taking a bath for scale) I was sweating bullets when I was finishing this; there’s maybe 24″ of yarn left. I shit you not. Anyway, super satisfying knit and I love the way the colors pooled. This is a pattern I would consider knitting again with a very different yarn.

Speaking of Garth, he’s an opportunistic little fuck. This is the second time he’s jumped on my desk and stolen my food, while I was eating it. Yesterday he licked every single one of my spicy pretzels before eating two of them. He is a consummate asshole.

I’m still working on the blanket for Mom. It has become the “I’m too tired to think about a pattern but I want to do something” project. I’m nearing the end of the second skein of yarn so I’m making reasonable progress. I am going to try to work on something else soon, I just can’t decide what. I’m trying to tell myself that I need to finish all of the other projects I have started before I start something else.

Anyone care to take bets on whether that actually happens?

weekend update

Cool kids wear masks in public. We each have several with different designs so I can make sure we always have clean masks to wear. We went out and ran some errands on Friday night so that we didn’t have as much to do on Saturday. I was shocked and dismayed at just how few people were actually wearing masks and practicing social distancing. We looked good.

So the errands we ran were to a toy store, that was for Lancelot. He’s been looking for this specific building toy thing. We haven’t found it yet but he’s found other nifty bits. After that we went to World Market, specifically for Torani Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup. This is the kind of stuff coffee shops use to flavor beverages. Let me tell you, that syrup in carbonated water (Soda Stream!) and just a little cream, YUMMO!

On Saturday we did the grocery store, went to a veggie stand, and then I embarrassed the hell out of myself at the gas station. It had been so long since I had to put gas in the car that I honestly forgot which side my gas tank is on. Moving on…

This is at least double, maybe triple, the size now. I’m making an afghan for my mom out of yarn that she found. It’s a very basic shell pattern and the yarn is Red Heart. Not my typical project but I have to say it’s fairly relaxing. I have something like SIX projects I’m working on right now and that is not relaxing. I’m more than halfway done seaming the washcloths so that should be done today and I’m on the decrease side of the Koi shawl, so that’s good. I need to finish some things.

Pippy was being very ferocious with Lancelot yesterday afternoon.

By evening she was very calm and laid down to snuggle on the footrest with Eric, and my feet.

And that bring us to today, Monday. Last night I ordered my makeup for the wedding. I’ve never really been one to wear much makeup but I think it could be fun. So I had a friend who is a genius with the stuff give me recommendations. And then this morning I decided I’d see what I could do with what I already had at the house.

There’s very little natural light today, but Lancelot gave me his approval.

so much going on right now

Ok, first things first.

That is the shawl as of this morning. I managed to get some sunlight so the colors in this pic aren’t too far off true. I haven’t been working on it too much lately only because lately has been weird.

Yesterday I was knitting a wash cloth, and if you’re thinking that floor looks like generic waiting room tile you would be right. I had my six month mammogram yesterday. Why six month you ask? Well, back in 2017 I had a whole fuck load of medical issues including having my first mammogram coming back sketchy. I had another mammogram, an ultrasound, and then a needle biopsy. They found some tissue that was questionable so I started seeing an oncologist, super nice old guy, and having my girls checked twice a year. As of yesterday’s appointment I have been officially informed that the Great Cans Cancer Scare of ’17 was truly JUST a scare. So yay.

I had the blinds in the one living room window open last night because I was watching for the UPS truck (that still hasn’t fucking come, even though we are on day three of my fucking file cabinet allegedly being delivered) and Garth got all excited. There were bugs outside and he was chasing them. He’s a nut.

Pippy didn’t want to leave my side. She’s a very snuggly puppy. And she’s very perceptive. If I’m upset about anything she comes and sits right next to me, even if Lancelot is in the room and he’s her favorite.

Speaking of Lancelot…

That’s me, Mom, R, and Lancelot at Mom’s wedding. I thought the boys looked quite spiffy and Mom was stunning in her blue dress. I didn’t look too bad either I guess.

and still I’ve got nothing to show you

So I guess that’s not entirely true, I just have no knitting to show you. I’ve been knitting, I just don’t seem capable of remembering to take a picture of what I’ve accomplished. Not that I’ve been knitting on the shawl a ton, but I am making progress. But there are washcloths to knit, too.

Pippy would much rather I scratched her ears than knit, but she’ll put up with me being distracted. It’s kind of funny, the cats are interested in the yarn and she’s interested in the knitting needles.

I did want to show you where I spend my days now.

That’s the wall behind me. There is an interesting mix of things that had been in the basement, in my old bedroom, and at the office. The photos on the closet door are from all of my international trips. I’ve brought almost everything that had been in my office on campus back home. I figure I spend most of my time in here now I might as well have it setup the way I like. And I really do think it helps having this one room where I basically just work and can shut the door and walk away at the end of the day.

The house in general is just about done and that makes me very happy. I’m ready to have some nice relaxing weekends. This last weekend was actually quite lovely. We had our monthly massage appointments, went to a specialty tea shop so I could stock up on loose leaf tea, and did our grocery run. Our date night take out was from a Mediterranean¬† restaurant and it was amazing.

the importance of self-care during a plague

My guess is that we’re all struggling right now, some more than others. For those of us working from home there are some parts of our lives that are now easier, pants being completely optional would be one of them. But there’s also the whole issue of losing track of time and working a 12 hour day when you didn’t intend to. Balance is crucial, and damn is it hard.

And even when we know these things, we don’t always practice them. I am not ashamed to admit that I got overwhelmed and stopped doing all of the things I know help, and that lead to feeling even more overwhelmed. Sometimes you have to hit your own reset button. Hard.

Pippy and Eric realized that Mama needed some love and declared a truce long enough to snuggle with me. Of course then Eric decided that biting me on the arm, back in that really tender area, was a great idea. Little brat.

This is the lamp I was telling y’all about. It makes me happy to see all of my little baby yarn balls because I remember the projects I used them in. The lamp and shade came from Target and weren’t overly expensive. And yes, a million years ago I crocheted the doily it’s sitting on. I haven’t tried doing that in so long I’m not sure I can anymore.

Pippy finally got to see the groomer this week and she looks like a whole new puppy, like half of a puppy. She’s very long and lean and will never be too big to sit on Daddy’s lap. And that smile on Lancelot’s face? That’s part of why I fell in love with him.

I do spend a good chunk of my week days in my office so I frequently end up having Eric and Pippy in here with me. Yesterday they were having a debate over who got to have some ribbons that came on a package I got.

I have also been knitting, which is definitely one of my self-care activities. I’ve got two wash cloths done and I’m continuing to work on the shawl. But for two nights I didn’t really cook much of anything and the laundry is much further behind that I would like. However, my sanity is much more intact than it was and that’s more important than damn near anything else.