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.

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.

propping my eyelids open with toothpicks

He hangs out up there a lot these days

I’m still struggling with my eating habits but I’m very pleased to be able to report that staying home and taking it mostly easy last night seems to have finally done something good for my hip. I can’t say that I slept well last night, we had some ick weather, but I am doing quite well with the whole “not limping around like I’ve misplaced my walker” thing.

If we would actually get some sunlight that would stick around for more than 10 minutes I would love to take pictures of the various projects I’m working on to show y’all that I have not actually been a total slug. But no, more rain and now it’s kind of cold. Yuck.

These two crack me up. They stayed cute like this for the exact amount of time necessary to get the picture. After that Dog Blossom began mercilessly chewing on Garth.

Being the super organized and anal retentive human that I am I have already started gathering things for the trip next week. I am not even the least bit ashamed to say that I have my clothes picked out and hanging together in the closet and I’ve started making my packing list. For a two day trip. By car. Yup, that’s me.

Did I tell y’all about the adventure with steel cut oats in the crock pot? I think I did. Anyway, I have decided that I really do love them, especially since I warmed them up this morning. That was a big ol’ “why the fuck didn’t I try that sooner?” moment. At any rate, I decided that having my breakfast made ahead like that, and so damn healthy, is a Very Good Thing indeed so there’s a batch cooking right now.

This time I am trying whole cranberries (1C in place of the blueberry / banana combo from last time) and a blend of the spices I normally use for my chai coffee (cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger). In true Erin Style I measured only the liquids and the oats. I wing things, it’s what I do.

This weekend I’m making another trip up to campus, this time to retrieve my books. I tore my desk apart this morning trying to make sure there will be enough room for everything. It’s so weird to think that at one point in my life I owned so many “normal” books (ones that were definitely not related to work) that I had a nine-foot tall bookcase that we had made extra shelves for and was stacked double deep. Now my “normal” books all fit in a cubby space above my desk that’s not enough two-foot wide.

But it was a good project because I was able to rearrange some things, make parts of my storage more efficient, and gather some of my treasures together.

Eric slept through all of it.

things that start with “f”

FLOWERS – Lancelot had this delightful little bouquet delivered to the house on Friday as a Mother’s Day gift from the critters. For those of you who may be wondering, that boy has a thing for coming up with truly odd sentiments for cards. It’s a running joke at this point.

FASHION – I have a thing for Hawaiian shirts on guys. L is very much a black t-shirt kind of dude. So recently I managed to find a very authentic feeling retro shirt that’s primarily black. I think he looks wonderful in it. This was taken Saturday evening; we had my folks over for dinner for Mother’s Day. Sunday events don’t work great for us because of L’s schedule, but we’ll party hard on a Saturday night.

FUZZBUTTS – Last night I was sitting on the couch trying to watch TV and knit. These days having my knitting out is an invitation for Eric to get on my lap, and Pippy just figures that any time I’m sitting it’s because I want to pet her. For awhile I ended up with Eric in my lap monopolizing my left hand, to scratch his ears, and Pippy laying her head on my right leg and monopolizing my right hand, to scratch her ears. Needless to say not much knitting got done last night.

After I dropped off our ballots last week, y’all remember I was going to do that? Yeah, totally did. I went and did the blood draw (piece of cake, totally normal numbers), visited the nice doctor (don’t go back for a year, yay!), dropped off the ballots and then decided that I knew there was a yarn shop nearby and by golly I was going to find it. And I did. And it was magical and I got two skeins of yarn that are hand dyed by a local(ish) person and will make an amazing shawl. That “f” word is FABULOUS.

things and such

Dog Blossom enjoys sunbathing in the back yard

Since last I bothered to write some things have happened. In all fairness my brain is like a sieve that’s lost the strainer part and is now just an open hoop. Nothing sticks or stays around long. I 100% live and die by my routines and the lists I make. I even went so far as to TYPE OUT a schedule for myself last week. Desperate times and all that rot. Of course I have yet to actually stick to it…

For whatever reason it’s gotten incredibly hard to get back to exercising since I was sick and I’m not entirely sure why. I posted something in my group this morning and someone mentioned getting up earlier to get a workout in and I swear y’all, it was all I could do not to respond. Why?

I get up at 4:15 in the fucking morning as it is, and pretty much every minute of my time between then and 6:30 when I leave to get Lancelot is accounted for.

This belly ain’t going to pet itself

Anyway, I’m still trying. I have kind of stalled out at 27.75lbs, but I will freely admit that I’m not trying as hard as I could. I will also tell you that I’m doing some other things that are helping my mental health, and that is equally important. For example, the TV now gets turned off at 7pm and my phone is only used for music/keeping track of my pattern if I happen to be knitting. It’s just as likely that I’m reading a book. This has helped the sleep and stress significantly.

Meet my new friend, Edgar

In one of my moments of yarn buying weakness I purchased a single ball of Lang’s Mille Colori Baby, not realizing that it’s only 190 meters, or not really enough to make much of anything. But it’s lovely and soft and so it’s becoming a very narrow version of Edgar. It’s a delightful little pattern, written for Noro yarn, but it’s doing very well with the color changes in this yarn too. It will end up as an accessory rather than a piece to provide any real warmth, but I foresee loving it.

This last weekend I was also able to get to the glass studio and make a few pieces. I’ll share pics once I get them back. It was really fun to be able to do that again.

Avocado Toast with Eggs

So I decided to try the whole Avocado Toast thing yesterday since everyone has been raving about it. Not gonna lie… I don’t understand this. I used prepared guacamole because that’s what I had, so it had some stuff in it, but even with that I didn’t think it had much flavor. And I love the bread I used, so it wasn’t that. Of course I tried a Golden Milk Latte yesterday and found it gritty as hell, and my forays into the world of Matcha have been spotty at best.

I guess maybe I’m just not destined to love some of the trendier foods. What I do know is that I’ve got curry in the crock pot for tonight, and since today is Meatless Monday I’ve left out the meat and will be subbing in tofu instead. Not sure if that’s trendy, but it will be tasty.

I cannot freakin’ even right now

That is the bracelet I helped to make this weekend

Is that not absolutely stunning? It’s moonstone and sterling silver, and yes, I actually did parts of the construction. It was beyond wonderful to spend time with my friend Saturday morning and see first-hand what goes into making this kind of jewelry. Not only was it informative as hell, but getting to be with another human who I haven’t seen in absolute ages was totally wonderful. So I now know a little bit more about the process of silversmithing, I have an even deeper appreciation for the amount of work that goes into a piece like this, and I have a one of a kind wearable work of art that coordinates with the other beautiful moonstones pieces I have from her.

If you are interested in your own truly beautiful jewelry, and she does custom work too, you should visit her website at https://www.whirlsofpearls.com/.

I also got to see my friend N and deliver his holiday gift, only four months late. He didn’t care. (he got that cabled scarf) We also went for lunch which was a lovely little bonus.

I still don’t feel like I’m totally back on track, but I’m trying. I have my clothes for the week organized, I spent time in the kitchen yesterday doing some food prep, I made cookies (healthy ones), and the laundry is essentially caught up. So yay!

The kids have been a little feisty lately

I do have some fun stuff to look forward to this week. I’m going to do a session at the glass studio and try to make a little something for myself, just as another creative outlet. And on Saturday I’m going with Mom for mani/pedi time. My feet are very excited.

Keep doing what you can to help keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. L gets his second shot at the end of the month and we are excited as hell. WOOT!

awkward and paranoid about it since the mid 1980s

I need to start with a total aside here. Why the fuck is the word “awkward” spelled so damn, well, awkward? I mean honestly, am I the only person who has to completely stop typing and force my fingers to punch those letters in that order by using every iota of force I can muster? No? Ok, moving on.

I’m out of it. Still. And I don’t like this. I feel like nothing has been “right” since last weekend and this morning – JUST THIS DAMN MORNING – was able to put my finger on it.

I didn’t feel good because of the shot so I was off work on Monday. On Tuesday there was a chunk taken out of my day to take Lancelot to get his first shot. On Wednesday I went with him for a doc appointment (nothing serious but the kind of thing that I kinda just needed to be there for). Yesterday we had to see our lawyer again to sign papers (again, nothing serious or bad just one of those “adult human” things). Then this morning I got all three of the kids in my office for awhile so we could have a new ceiling fan installed.

At one point Garth had kicked Dog Blossom so many times that he had a big tuft of her fur stuck in his toes

Needless to say, I need a rest. And a drink. But L works overtime again this weekend. So I’ll have to push through a little more before my life goes back to where it normally is. There’s the rub – nothing about this week, not one fucking thing, has been anywhere near normal and my poor little brain cells cannot cope.

As someone who has been living with a mental illness for a LOOOOOONG time, and been in remission for some time, I’ve figured out how to make life work. But a big ol’ piece of that is having routines and being able to rely on those, particularly when life gets wonky.

No routines right now = brains feel yuck = I am a grump = NO DAMN BUENO

On the plus side, tomorrow morning I’m going to visit a friend who does silversmithing and she’s going to show me/help me make a bracelet. That will be super fun. Also, the vest is still coming along nicely. I had a more experience friend confirm that my plan should work. This pleases me. I was also able to acquire a lovely bit of leather hardware stuff to serve as a closure. More on that when it arrives.

For now, I’m going to relax somewhere. Like maybe under my desk. With a cocktail.

things to celebrate

For all that she is a raging pain in the ass sometimes, Dog Blossom is a good pup and pretty damn adorable

Let’s see, where to begin…

  • I’ve had four days in a row of 5000+ steps
  • I’ve tried some new recipes that were mostly successful
  • we’re having a small group of friends over tomorrow night to celebrate a late St. Patrick’s, early birthday, and the start of our vacation
  • I have now lost 24lbs
Spaghetti squash cooked in the instant pot and then mixed with a little butter, olive oil, garlic, grated Parmesan, and low fat ricotta

I’m quite excited about how things are going with the weight loss. I have been trying to make sure that I not only get my steps in but I also pay attention to my calories and eat a good variety of food, including healthy fats, and that I’m getting plenty of water. It’s a process, to be sure, but there are definitely pieces of this that are just second nature now. And that, probably more than anything else, makes me ridiculously happy.

Well, also, my pants are starting to be way too baggy. That makes me pretty fucking happy too.

Tomorrow morning I’m going with Mom to get a manicure, something I haven’t done since right before Lancelot and I got married last August. I certainly don’t feel like having the one shot is going to magically make me bullet-proof, but it gives me hope. I do feel like there are a few more things I can do, still carefully, and that I don’t need to worry quite constantly or quite as much. It will still be many months, if not until next year, before I feel safe to travel anywhere other than by driving our car. I’m just not ready for planes yet.

I am ready for restaurants, and that’s pretty exciting. We’ve done a lot of take out in the last year, generally just once a week but still. There’s just something about actually going in somewhere and enjoying a good meal. I’m even going to get spiffed up. For my outing on Sunday with my folks I have a black dress that I’ve never worn that actually fits very nicely now.

He’s fucking adorable when he’s sleeping. When he’s awake he bites leaves off my plants and then go racing off with them in his mouth. Captain Naughty Pants indeed.

a bit of an update

I got my first shot. Lancelot is still a goober, albeit my very favorite goober.

The shot was fine, no issues at all. I actually woke up Saturday morning feeling better than I have in a while. So yay. The shot didn’t hurt or cause me any more trouble than any other vaccine I’ve ever had. It was less painful than the MMR, if anyone has an adult memory of getting that one. My only side effect was a slightly sore arm.

Eric has been particularly photogenic lately

I’m doing pretty well with life in general right now. I did a lot of food prep stuff this weekend that I think will be helpful and I have a plan of attack for getting the house in shape for next weekend. For the first time since Lancelot and I have lived here together we are having friends over, in the house, for a meal and a concert.

I am damn near beside myself with excitement.

Everyone in attendance will either be fully vaccinated or have their first shot, with the exception of L. These are also friends of ours that are just as careful about COVID safety precautions as we are. And that will start the week of celebrations. There will be dinner with my mom and stepdad, dinner out with L at our favorite restaurant, museums, I’m assuming Thai food, and my birthday is in there. I need this vacation so damn bad.

Dog Blossom is pooped too

The healthy eating/exercise/Noom stuff is going well. I’ve lost a total of 22.5lbs and now that I’m starting to feel better it’s time to get back to exercising. My goal (once again) is to hit 5000+ steps every day and to drink at least nine 8oz glasses of water every day. It’s just now coming up on 2pm and I already have almost 2200 steps so I consider that good. Thirty minutes on the treadmill will help quite a bit.

The food prep I did was mostly getting together more of the smoothie packs, partly because I had fresh spinach to use and partly because that was a big time saver. This time I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt and only 2.75oz. I also prepped four snack bowls with a hard boiled egg and two clementines and five “salad starters.”

I have these divided container things so I put fresh spinach in the biggest part and then chopped up a cucumber and divided that among the containers and used the smallest spot for shredded carrots. At lunch I dumped all of that into a big bowl and added a hard boiled egg, 1/4C roasted pumpkin seeds (also pre-measured), and my salad dressing (if you guess pre-measured you’d be right).

Having all of that measured ahead of time made my lunch preparation time today almost negligible. It was nice to have a little extra time during my break to do other things. Like laundry.

Mama, laundry is evil

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