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.

randomly random

This dog is just crazy

It’s been interesting around here. I’m trying to get myself in the right frame of mind to get back to working at work, I’m trying to get back to making healthier food choices, and I’m trying to take care of my health. Some times those things are at odds with each other. But I’m still trying.

The left mitt is DONE

The right one is actually almost done, like within just a few rows. I’m not in love with the pattern, I didn’t feel that it was written particularly well for the way that I knit. But I retyped what I needed to so that it made sense for me and then told myself that I simply could not knit anything else until these got finished. The really fun thing is that I’m fairly sure there’s enough yarn left to make a simple beanie.

Home made spice “packets”

We eat Indian food quite a bit these days, four recipes in particular. And I love it but cooking it is a bit of a chore simply because of how many different spices are used and have to be measured. I decided that the most efficient thing to do would be to make my own spice packet things. I had been doing this just for the curry recipe but that was before I expanded out to making Butter Chicken, Kheema, and Mattar Paneer. On Saturday I got out my tiny containers and my recipes and started measuring. I made four packets for each recipe except the Mattar Paneer, I only made three of those. To make it easy to tell them apart I put each kind into its own labeled storage bag. This should make it very easy to reuse the little containers and the big bags. And it’s going to save me a ton of time when I’m cooking. WIN!!!

My guys are just goofy

I find it difficult to get my folks gifts, especially since they can buy themselves anything they want/need. For Mother’s Day I told my mom to let me know what she wanted for dinner, anything she wanted, and I would cook it for her and R. I also got her a little trinket and a sappy card. I made the same offer to R so he and Mom came over Saturday night for steak, baked potatoes, sauteed onions, rolls, and corn. I also picked up a cherry pie from a local restaurant that has an amazing bakery.

At any rate, we all had a good time. It always feels kind of weird to refer to R as my stepdad because that has strange “feels” to me. He’s this super nice guy who makes my mom happy. I call him Pops. And he thinks I make the best steaks ever. He’s right.

Garth is too sexy for these pillows, but not for the raccoon

so there I was, hip deep in chewed on pansies and lilies trying to fit a tarp over a blow up kiddie pool

The yellow Asian lilies are stunning right now

So the title is partially accurate. I planted pansies in the front of the house and the damn bunnies are snacking on them. And there are lilies, right now the beautiful yellow seen above and some that are more of a copper orange color. I think there are white, pink, and red out there somewhere. There’s also a ton of yellow hollyhocks. Thanks to my mom that yard is full of pretty things.

Now that the Evil Robin has left we can actually get out to the yard and we did indeed setup a pool. I told Lancelot that I want a place I can park my hot old ass when it’s hot and hang out with Dog Blossom. So far we’ve only done it once but it was mostly fun.

There’s a flower on my nose!

I took a picture this morning to send to a friend of mine and figured I’d share it here. I’ve reached a point where I really don’t notice it’s there unless I catch the “shiny” out of the corner of my eye. If I smack myself in the nose or catch it on something then I notice it from a physical perspective, but most of the time I don’t. I’m quite pleased that I finally went ahead and did it.

Ilo!

This is my version of the Ilo shawl. I used Trendsetter Yarns Paradigm in the Golden Flowers colorway. I started this on January 16, 2020 and bound off this morning, June 16, 2021. This is my very first all lace shawl and I am stupid proud of it. I’m hoping to be able to block it soon.

You may recall that one of my goals for this year is to successfully finish all of the “legacy” projects that I started last year and didn’t finish. I have two left. I started a pair of cabled mitts for my friend K on January 20, 2020 and the Sunset Lights shawl on November 23, 2020. Maybe I can get the mitts done by June 20? That would be neato, and they are what I’ve designated as next in line.

I am still working on the feather and fan scarf and the Skewed Shawl but they can chill for a bit. The scarf is my “public” knitting right now. At any rate, I feel amazing that I’m making such good progress.

And I’m back to doing Noom, at least almost entirely. I’m not worrying about exercising just yet. I need to get my shit back together and so far just paying attention to what I’m eating/drinking and logging it is helping. The weight I had gained back is starting to go away again. This makes me happy.

I feel this so much

It’s hot here right now, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it. I’m not looking forward to going back to working on campus in part because of having to deal with weather. But deal I shall. I’m still working on planning and plotting and figuring out how to make the most of the situation. I think I’m doing well. But I still want to curl up on a blanket with my ginger babes.

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.

words are hard, have some pictures instead

I am pretty sure I have some kind of sinus infection. Yesterday I ended up spending the entire day, Monday?, in PJs doing remarkably little. I needed it. I maybe could have used another today, but I’m going to try to get by with just calling it a day early. So the ol’ brain pan isn’t working that well right now, I’ll offer you some pictures in lieu of coherent thoughts.

Her new favorite place to lay at night, right in the middle of my lap.

Finished shawl; two repeats of the lace pattern. I need to block it yet. I had a ton of fun knitting this.

The start of Waves of Happiness. I’m 20 repeats into the lace border. Those are my favorite slippers, by the way. Oh, and L’s feet on the other foot thingy.

the best laid plans

So that was not really the weekend I had in mind, but it’s all good. No one ended up in jail or the ER, so we’ll call it a win.

In the category of productive things we did get the grocery shopping done, we got our flu shots, we finally figured out the pressure cooker thing, and we had our monthly “big outing” to our favorite Italian restaurant. I finally got to wear the dragon bracelet Lancelot got me. I felt swanky.

We really are kind of cute together.

I appear to have caught the rotten seasonal Fall cold that’s going around. Joy. What that usually means for me is lots of drainage and headaches and sometimes a very upset stomach. I got all of that on Sunday. I was MISERABLE.

I did manage to get some knitting done. I’ve reached the lace portion of the S shawl (I cannot spell it right, sorry) and this is the first time, at least that I can recall, that I’ve done lace from a chart. It scared me, I’m not going to lie. And I’m not really even sure why other than it’s different. I’m also not going to lie and tell you that I haven’t screwed up a bit, but you know what? Who cares. It’s my shawl and no one else will know. So there you have it.

I’ve finished the first 24 rows and have started on the second set. I’d like to maybe do three repeats but I don’t know that I’ll have enough yarn. I am planning to use as much of this second skein as possible.

And I started the other shawl I had lined up on Sunday. It’s called Waves of Happiness, and unfortunately it’s no longer available. If you want to see a picture you can still see it on Ravelry. I had printed a copy of it ages ago and stashed it in my binder. Anyway, I’m using a very lovely dark purple tonal yarn from Knit Picks. L ordered me more knitting needles on Sunday because I realized I didn’t have one long enough to work the body of this shawl. That’s love, let me tell you.

For anyone else interested in what’s to become of the yarn I got last week, the three very pale purple balls of Palette are destined to become the Ennis Lotus Cowl, the two balls of Chroma will become the Caterpillar Shawlette, and I’m thinking the green skein will end up as a Greenfield Shawl. I have no idea yet what to do with that super funky skein – suggestions anyone?

 

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.

week in review

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Oh wait, wrong story. Let me try again.

For a first week of the semester this hasn’t sucked ass too badly. We did have some serious tech issues to start things on Monday, but that’s been the worst of it. So that was good.

And I got some knitting done. I actually managed a lot of knitting, including this beauty.

It very desperately needs to be blocked but I don’t even care. It’s amazing. Then this morning I pulled this out of hiding and finished it.

It did end up much longer, like scarf length, which was the plan. The next project on the block is either going to be another scarf that’s in pieces and just needs assembled OR  it might be a pair of cabled fingerless mitts for my friend K. Those currently consist of a single ribbed cuff.

It feels good to be finishing some projects. Yesterday I didn’t feel like I had much mental capability so I cleaned up my office. It helped. This afternoon before I wake L up I’m planning on tearing apart the guest bathroom off the main hallway. There’s an overabundance of junk in there.

Lancelot and I have lived together in this house a little more than four months and we’re still working to get everything in place. Sometimes you just have to take your best guess as to how you’ll want things setup and then step back for a while and see how it goes. I’m finding myself at the point where I’m ready to make some changes. The other day I swapped the contents of two drawers because they just weren’t working.

Perhaps I’m mental. Perhaps.

Perhaps I eat a lot of chicken curry. Yes, yes I do. I’ve decided it’s one of the easiest dinners I can cook without really cooking anything. I do everything except the rice in the slow cooker so it’s total minimal effort. And I found the tiny naan at the grocery store. They fit in the toaster so you can easily have them nice and warm. It’s perfect!

This week’s cheap and cheerful grocery store bouquet. I’ve decided that having fresh flowers makes me ridiculously happy and is well worth the small price tag.