where did I put that brilliant idea? I know I had one just a minute ago…

I can’t lie, I’m getting burned out. I’m trying not to let it happen but it is. I’m bored with being home so much but at the same time the idea of going “out” to do the things are allowed now just kind of freaks the hell out of me. Aside from the weekly grocery run this weekend we did go and get massages, and that was a Very Big Deal.

But the woman we go to is incredibly careful, in all things, and works out of a very small shop. We had to keep our masks on while she did the “face up” bits and then when we flipped over she had a pillow case contraption under the headrest that meant we could take the masks off. Everything thoroughly cleaned even between L and I. And it was heavenly to have a massage again. Yes, I am spoiled, but I was 100% willing to wear the mask and follow guidelines.

My big outing this morning was to campus, which even though it’s closed I was able to get onto because I’m considered “essential personnel.”

I’m not excited about that designation though it appears to come with perks. Not many.

But my trusty little laptop was being a little bitch and I figured it had something to do with not connecting to the MotherShip on campus in too long, and I was right. It had something like 20 Windows updates to run and it finally, after several weeks, fully acknowledged my new password. I was only there for a few hours but it was time well spent. She’s purring like a kitten now.

Wedding stuff is coming along nicely. My attire is all here – dress, shoes, headband, and jewelry – with the exception of what I’ll need to wear under my dress, and I’m not entirely sure how I’m handling that what with not really being able to try things on. I’ll figure it out. Lancelot’s kilt and whatnot have all been ordered and will hopefully be here in plenty of time. My flowers are here and they’re beautiful. We’ve got our application for the marriage license almost done (I need one stinking date!!!). The biggest thing yet is to decide where we’re having it.

I have been knitting some, still on the damn entrelac scarf. I’m starting to think it might actually be legit cold weather wear instead of a decorative piece. I need to see how it looks with my winter coat.

Tonight I’m thinking I might embark on a totally new adventure – quilling. I’ve been seeing all of these amazing things on Pinterest (BANE OF MY EXISTENCE!!!) that I really want to try. I mentioned it to L and showed him a kit I’d found on Amazon, and so the kit showed up the other day. I’m hoping that because it doesn’t have to be quite as precise as origami (I hope?) that I’ll be able to do it. Pics if I can make it work!

I’m still futzing around in the kitchen, trying to use the food we have on hand and not buy a ton of stuff. Are any of you trying to clean out the pantry in creative ways?

it’s a thing I do

I was finally able to get my hair cut today and DAMMIT did I get it cut! The front is way shorter than it was because it had gotten so fucking long that half the time I could only see out of one damn eye and it annoyed me. ANNOYED. So today I told my stylist to hack that shit off, and the shit was hacked, and I’m happy. It’s cute. And Lancelot likes it, so that’s all that really matters I guess.

Yes, it’s May and I’m wearing a sweater. The wind has been blowing like an F5 tornado here and it’s cold. I don’t like to be hot but I’m also not keen on being cold in May.

I’ve still been doing my meal planning stuff and apparently doing a good job. L has loved every meal I’ve made. Granted, he has kind of low standards if you ask me, but still. I’m doing my own invention tonight and I have high hopes. I’ve got pork chops in the crock pot with a can of Coke Zero (it was lingering in the fridge, don’t judge). I’m about to go add a healthy amount of chunky cherry jam to it. I’m thinking it would work well with sweet potatoes but I don’t know if I have any.

Wish me luck!

These two are lazy. This is where they spend damn near every afternoon. Once L goes to sleep they get bored and hang out with me.

fun in the kitchen

The meatball experiment was highly successful. I enjoyed them last night and Lancelot finished them today. I’m realizing that the Crock Pot really will be saving my ass.

I don’t consider myself much of a cook though Mom and Lancelot enjoy what I make. I am definitely NOT a baker. Things that involve precise measuring are just not my thing. I’d much rather cook and toss random stuff in a pot and hope for the best.

Today’s experiment is Hawaiian Chicken. I found the “recipe” on Pinterest and it seems like it should be as easy as the Easy Peachy Pork Chops the other day. (those pork chops were supposed to be chicken but they’re both white meat, right? and damn were they tasty) This time it’s chicken breasts, BBQ sauce, and a can of pineapple. Stupid easy, right? I’ve got the chicken cooking now and I’ll add the other ingredients after my work day is done.

Eating 99% of our meals at home now has got me thinking about cooking and food a little different. We’re trying really hard not to waste anything and I’ve even gone back to trying to come up with menus. I might do the whole menu thing different from most people. I look at a week, seven days, and make sure I have all of the ingredients for eight possible meals. Based on what I know about myself (I am LAZY!) I know that if I have everything I need to cook in the house I am way more likely to actually do it.

It’s weird, maybe, but we don’t eat out near as much as we used to. For us that might be because of COVID-19 but it also might be because of living together, I honestly don’t know. I do know that a lot of the people I work with are eating a lot of takeout right now, but I don’t know if that was normal for them in the “good ol’ days” or what.

Lancelot and I have done takeout twice, not counting fast food drive thru a few times, and both times were from a local Mexican restaurant we like to go to. It’s been wonderful; they’re offering family packs that are enough for two meals for us. Plus, take out margaritas. But it’s not something we’ve done often.

At any rate, I’ll try to remember to get a picture of today’s dinner experiment.

why is meatball tuesday not a thing?

While I was trying to get the dog to come in the other morning, something that’s becoming more of a challenge, I managed to get this picture of a bumblebee in the grape hyacinths. And that’s good because those flowers are being destroyed by the dog. If she’s not digging in the beds she’s laying on the flowers, sunning herself. I’m not exactly impressed.

In other news I have pretty well lost track of how long I’ve been doing this “work from home” thing though my research this morning suggests it’s been since March 23rd, so that’s roughly 1000 weeks, right? Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to still be employed and earning a salary, totally. I’m not exactly excited that we’ve been told we’ll be operating like this likely the whole summer. Not thrilled.

I have to admit that it’s nicer now that I have a proper office space to work in and I have an extra monitor for my laptop. That’s actually helping a lot.

The house is coming along nicely. The only area that’s still being worked on is Lancelot’s man cave, formerly known as my office in the basement. He’s got a LOT of DVDs and books and we still haven’t moved everything in yet. It’s a process. But progress is being made.

So here’s something those of you who have never been in a relationship with someone who does shift work have thought of – meal planning, how? Consider… I work days and so eat my final meal of the day around 6pm. He works nights and so eats his final meal of the day around 10am. I hate cooking for myself and I don’t want him to have to cook for himself.

My new criteria for “dinners” are that they make enough for both of us to have at least one meal, preferably two, are considered at least a little healthy, and that they reheat well. I am not finding this as easy as I had hoped I would. Enter the Crock Pot.

Some of you may know this culinary wizard as a slow cooker, same thing. And it is my new best friend. Right now I have a batch of meatballs cooking that I will later throw over mashed potatoes. These are frozen meatballs taking a bath in beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, and Lipton’s beefy mushroom soup mix. I have high hopes for this.

all the seasons at once

This part of the country is notorious for having wide temperature ranges within a single day. For example, it was 41F on my drive in this morning and will get to a high of 70F this afternoon. Nothing like wearing jeans and sandals out of necessity. So since the weather is turning colder, Mom and I rolled up the garden hose in the back yard yesterday. Pippy had to help.

She chased and drank the water coming out of the other end of the hose

The weekend was good, nice and relaxing. Lancelot and I had delivery pizza for dinner Friday night and ate our dinner on the couch while watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. We love that show. And that was the Friday evening I needed. Saturday was breakfast at the restaurant where we had our first date and then errands. Our friends came over that night for a UFC pay per view and brought dinner from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That was a late night but a good night.

Sunday we went and saw Joker. I don’t recommend it. The acting was amazing and the story was great, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think I have ever in my life seen a darker film that wasn’t a realistic portrayal of war.

This is a very realistic portrayal of what mental illness can look like, particularly when the person doesn’t have access to adequate medical resources.

It hit L very hard. I was thankful that I was there with him. When we got back to his apartment I told him that we’d talk about it in the car, get it out, but then leave it outside. The darkness didn’t need to follow us. So we talked, and cried, and held each other. By the time I left I think we were both doing better.

A dark puppy who was too many toys in her bed, that’s the kind of dark I want

In addition to hose winding yesterday I managed to get my laundry done (only one load, WOOT! I must be doing better at keeping on top of it), put my miscellaneous stuff from L’s away, outfits and jewelry for the week, plenty of knitting on the World’s Most Boring Shawl, and I mixed up some Chai Tea.

Everything tastes better in a dragon mug

I found the recipe on Pinterest and it was stupid easy. I split it into two jars, one for home and one for the office. It doesn’t compare to what I enjoyed in New Dehli, but it’s not too damn bad. Oh, that blue flower, that’s one of my fused glass creations.

the ridiculous expense of convenience

I have the most unusual thoughts while driving myself to work in the morning. For example, you can’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a fucking drive thru coffee shop. Seriously, they’re in every parking lot and on every goddamn corner. It’s utterly insane. And for what? Overpriced coffee drinks in cups that will end up in the landfill and typically aren’t that great for your health.

UGH.

Maybe it’s because I’m sleep deprived right now but it seems to me that not going to the coffee shop every morning would be a great way to start saving some money and some calories. Now don’t get me wrong, I have my own particular, and peculiar, caffeine addiction but I take care of it on the cheap. And yes I’ve probably babbled about this before but I’m going to do it again.

On Sunday I brew at least one, sometimes two, 12 cup pots of coffee depending on how much I used the week before. I use good quality flavored coffee. I’m lazy so I just use a regular old drip coffee maker. I let it cool and then pour it into a gallon plastic jug, purchased just for that purpose. I also add sweetener, either powdered Splenda or sugar free Torani flavored syrup.

In the morning I get my 32oz insulated metal cup and fill it half with my cold coffee, a splash of cream, and the rest with milk. Sometimes I add ice. This costs me next to nothing but a little time to make the coffee.

I’m also not waiting in line at the coffee shop, wasting time and gas. That’s super important to me in the summer.

Now, where I will spend money for “convenience” is on single serving snack stuff. I have a terrible time with portion control so the 100 calorie packs of snacks like Pringles are a savior for me.

It’s all about picking your battles, kiddos.

Speaking of battles…

My mom got the boys a cat tree over the weekend. They love it. Garth won the battle for King of the Top Sleepy Spot this time.

In the dessert battle category…

Quinoa with creamed lavender honey and blueberries. It was an experiment since there was extra quinoa, but not enough to save. Rather tasty.

My pea plants are doing much better this year. I’m hoping they’ll keep going for awhile yet.

I meant to take knitting pics this morning but was running way too late. I brought the shawl that had been living at L’s place home to work on. It’s turning out lovely.

the biggest goal ever

I currently weigh 269lbs. I am 5’6″ tall. Depending on who you ask I am considered Morbidly Obese even though I am constantly told, even by medical professionals, that I don’t look that heavy.

But I am. And I’ve decided that being that heavy is almost certainly the root of my discontent these days.

My body hurts, almost constantly. It just plain doesn’t feel right. And I get tired entirely too easily.

These aren’t part of a larger, more sinister, issue. This is me not having taken proper care of my body for far too long. I will own this issue because it’s mine to own.

So what’s my goal? I will lose 100lbs by June 24, 2020.

Before anyone panics, that would still have me at a healthy weight for my height. I am also doing this at the recommendation of my doctors. I have no intention of doing a crash diet, using laxatives or stimulants, starving myself, exercising to the point of excess, or anything that is otherwise not healthy. I plan to be more diligent about my food and drink choices and increase my activity, namely walking.

I can do this. I will do this. Lancelot and Mom are doing it with me, though I don’t think either of them plan to lose as much. We will support each other.

I’m telling you all about this because I need to be held accountable. And maybe you’re looking for someone to inspire you or make you feel better about your progress. Who knows.

I will share good recipes as I come across them, I promise you that. Sometimes that’s the hardest part.

Here we go… 100 or bust.

progress

I had an appointment with the dermatologist yesterday afternoon so I got home early. While I was working on coaxing my personal laptop to finish loading updates I pulled out some of the treasures I got at the bead show Lancelot and I went to. The above pic is the result. Not bad for less than an hour’s worth of work.

I did manage to get the laptop going again, which was good. And I got more tidying done in the bedroom, namely the bottom drawer of the nightstand where some of the knitting stuff lives. I’m feeling really good about all of this.

That is part of lunch this week. It’s a homemade pasta salad with cheese tortellini, grape tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, shredded carrots, black olives, and homemade Italian salad dressing. I’m also having clementines and blackberries for fruit, a hard boiled egg, and two of the little Babybel cheese rounds. This morning I had a smoothie with plain Greek yogurt, a frozen banana, frozen cherries, and cherry juice. Super yum.

The thing I’m most excited about? I actually got on the treadmill this morning!!! I only walked 15 minutes, but still. I’m going to try to keep doing that every weekday morning.

long time no write

Not dead yet! Life has been hectic and there have been bits where I’m doing good to keep my head above water. But even though life has been more about the treading than making progress lately, I haven’t drowned yet. I call that good.

While I haven’t done super great with the goals lately, I haven’t done super awful either. I haven’t lost weight but I also haven’t gained. And I spent money on stuff I didn’t truly need, but I haven’t gone beyond the funds I had set aside. And of the the things I did buy, none of it was craft supplies. Mostly it was digital music and a new small set of markers, both of which I use at work.

Work is good these days, and it’s part of what’s keeping me going. There is no shortage of stuff to do. And I love these crazy people. Over lunch today I had one of my faculty friends stop by needing a favor and he was all “I totally owe you coffee for this!” No sir, this is called doing my job. I told him that I’ll take care of him and he can take care of the students.

Honestly, that’s how I measure my success – retention and graduation rates. If we aren’t keeping students long enough for them to graduate then we aren’t doing something right and I feel like that comes back, at least in part, on me.

Anyway, still working on the other goals. I’m trying to get back on the whole healthy eating wagon. I spent time last night getting some lunches and fruit salad made. I’m also making good progress on my latest knitting adventure, a beaded shawl.

the beads are really subtle, they’re along the left edge in this pic

The pattern is simple and I’m loving it. Not sure how long it’s going to take to finish but I have been working on it regularly. And I finished some smaller projects in February so I feel pretty ok about that.

derp!

week one

This was my first week back to work after having been out on medical leave for a month. It was exciting and exhausting at the same time. But this wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew pretty well what to expect. And I planned accordingly.

I decided that my eating habits would be the best place to start with my goals, in part because I know that you get out of your body what you put into it.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a heavy drinker, but I seldom drink alcohol. I take Lithium Carbonate to control some of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and, since it’s an elemental salt, it makes me perpetually dehydrated. It’s pretty rare to find me without a beverage by my side. To make things even more interesting, I pretty well detest plain water. Time to get creative.

I often use Crystal Lite Peach Tea mix, or a Cherry Pomegranate flavor, or packets of True Orange crystallized orange powder. I’m also fond of fruit flavored seltzer waters. Lately I’ve been wanting drinks that are a little more sweet but still not totally unhealthy.

I’m not typically one to drink hot beverages but the high temps here have been negative numbers lately. Desperate times and all that. So my latest obsession is this…

Plus a nice fat teaspoon of this…

with a splash of cream.

Yes, honey is added sugar, but it’s not a refined sugar and honey has good stuff in it. The fact that this is both local and chocolate flavored makes it even better.

The other beverage tip I want to share with you has to do with coffee. Lots of us have a coffee addiction, be honest with yourself about it, there’s no judgement here. My biggest issue is the expense. If you stop at a coffee shop every day, even if just to get a regular cup of hot coffee, that’s likely going to set you back at least $2. No bueno.

Again, I’m not a fan of hot beverages but I love iced coffee. And I’m cheap. So here’s what I do.

Instead of shelling out sheckels every day I buy a quality bag of flavored coffee grounds. My current fav is Pear’s Chocolate Raspberry. I brew a nice strong 12C pot of that, add about 3/4C Splenda, and then let it cool. I typically brew two pots like that because that’s what my designated Coffee Jug will hold. I stash that in the fridge and it lasts at least a week.

I’m not one to drink black coffee so I have to dress that shit up. I have a 24oz insulated cup that I fill half with the cold coffee. I add a splash of cream and then top it with milk. Voila! Delicious iced coffee with far fewer calories and significantly less expensive.

What are your favorite money saving tips and tricks?