and so it begins

I’ve worked for the same university for 20 years, more if you count the time I worked there as a student. The start of the Fall semester is always busy. Always. It’s indescribable.¬† All you can do is keep your arms and legs inside the ride and hold on for dear life.

Now, let’s toss in a pandemic, just for fun. More classes than ever are going to be taught online. That means my particular skill set is in HIGH demand.

Now, let’s toss in my health not being great. And my mental health, under control yes, but still tricky sometimes.

Now, let’s toss in my wedding which will take place in FOURTEEN DAYS.

Yesterday I quit work at 6:30pm (I started shortly before 8am) and I ate ice cream for dinner.

I don’t want y’all to think it’s all bad. It’s not bad, it’s chaotic. And tiring. But I am still knitting, slowly. There’s nothing like a top down shawl to make you question your sanity.

Reyna is beautiful but I’m to a point where finishing a single row is an accomplishment.

Lest you think everything is shit… Lancelot found this little headpiece I got in Dubai and we had this moment of pure joy the other day during my lunch break. It’s the pieces of magic like this that make my life worthwhile right now.

Fourteen days…

i can’t find the dog’s stuffed bunny and it’s freaking me out a little

That’s Pippy and Bun-bun. (we are not creative when naming the dog’s toys) Earlier this afternoon she was pouting because Jason had gone to sleep and she was stuck with me. And she was stuck in the office with me because yesterday she had an accident in the other room.

Anyway, a little later while I was on a call I very distinctly remember seeing her play with it. But now I can’t find it. And that’s a little creepy.

I’m still knitting, though I’ve realized that my needle is almost certainly too short. That combined with being at a spot in the pattern where there are close to (maybe more?) 100 stitches and it’s slow going. It makes me very tempted to start the shrug. But I really should just finish something.

Garth has started dragging his toys under my desk and then curling up to hide. Nothing quite like accidentally kicking something squishy and then having your toes bit. He’s tiny but he’s feisty.

That is the teeny tiny flower bed in front of the front door. I haven’t done any planting this year unless you count putting the sprouted potatoes in the dirt rather than the trash, but I don’t count that. These moss rose are volunteers, apparently there because moss rose is what my mom almost always planted there.

It’s not that I don’t want to grow things, more that I haven’t felt like that could be a priority this year. I am nearly always tired and feel like I just don’t have enough time for everything (anything). I told Lancelot how I was feeling the other day and he has been doing things to help make me feel better, like making my lunch yesterday and today. Today he did it so I could knit for a few minutes. He is most definitely my knight in shining armor.

I look tired as hell, but I think maybe everyone is starting to look that way. I am rocking a new necklace today. I would take more credit for making it but all I had to do was attach the chain.

I can’t stress this enough, take care of yourselves. Don’t take stupid risks, wear a mask when you go out, give yourself time for your hobbies. We’re all in this together, and we really can’t do it alone.

i’m weak

This will become a shawl.

I think this will, too.

I got two balls of this so I’m thinking this becomes a shrug with beads around the ends of the sleeves, because I maybe went to the tiny local bead shop and got some Japanese seed beads to match this. Maybe.

Garth was not overly impressed. He scares the hell out of me every time he does this, especially when he starts playing with his own tail.

One of my friends is sewing masks and selling them on Etsy, very reasonably priced. If you like Disney you should check out her shop, she’s got a really nice variety of prints. I really like this purple flower one.

We had our first guest since the plague started. On Saturday night my friend K came over and we did a practice run of makeup for the wedding. Not bad. It was amazing to see her.

Meet Blanche, my new African violet. Mom gave me this antique tea pot and it just seemed like the perfect vessel for a violet. She has taken up residence in the office.

I’m still trying to knit every day and get things done. Today is almost wall to wall meetings, which sucks. Zoom fatigue is a very real thing, and when you combine that with a mental health issue it’s a pretty unpleasant thing.

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

oh so very done

I just want a nice, round kitty bed to curl up in like Eric does every day. Because I’m done. Are you sure it’s not Friday yet?

Friday is extra special this week because it’s an official holiday so I don’t have to work, and that means extra time with Lancelot AND some time with Mom. She and I are going to get manicures. Lest you think I’m an idiot, we wear masks as do all of the staff at the salon and they’re doing extra cleaning. It’s one of the few outings I’m going on. We’re even starting to get at least some of our groceries online and then pick them up curbside at the store. It’s an interesting paradigm shift.

This is the current state of the shawl. You can sort of barely see where the center point will be, barely. But I’m excited with my progress and with the way the colors are pooling.

That is the stack of eight washcloths I finished earlier this week. That was this week, right? Anyway, that’s them and the color in this pic is pretty accurate even though the light in that room right now is pretty crap.

And that is the current progress on the blanket for Mom. I’m liking this because it’s so easy to pick up and put down when necessary. I still think it’s going to take a while, but it’s coming.

Also, those are my feet and this is my favorite pair of sandals. I believe they were made by Skechers, many years ago.

And this is finally, well and truly, my totally natural hair color. I had my amazing stylist cut it a little extra short last night to get rid of the last bits of the blonde in front. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but Lancelot told me this morning that I’m beautiful, and not that I need his approval but I think maybe I’ll stick with it like this.

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.

and now, on to our next adventure

Mom’s wedding went off without a hitch. She looked like the queen she is, R was very dapper, and my Lancelot looked amazing.

There were tense moments on Friday when the dry cleaners couldn’t find the clothes I had dropped off for him on Wednesday, but that resulted in taking him shopping for a new dress ensemble that very much fits his personality. I neglected to get a photo of us together in all our finery so this is as good as it gets. I didn’t look too shabby, I must say.

We’re still working on getting the last bits done at the house though we’re getting close to done, yay! Most of what still needs doing is some decorative bits. And now we have a pool to setup. It’s an above ground setup, I think something like 30″ deep. R had several he was needing to get rid of so we took this one. Gotta love hand me downs! I’m excited to get it setup and spend a little time out there with L and Pippy.

Somehow I don’t think the boys would be that excited about a pool.

I’m still making knitting progress, and I still keep forgetting to take another photo. I also need to show y’all the lamp I got for my knitting sitting area. It’s totally cool.