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 quick check of the rear view mirror before we peal out into the sunset

First, let’s just get this big ol’ turd out of the way. The goals I set for myself last year didn’t happen. I tried, mostly, but I can very honestly say that I didn’t put forth the effort I knew would be necessary. That’s 100% on me.

None of this makes me any less of a person and it doesn’t even make me feel bad about myself. I tried, that’s what was important. So, moving on.

Here are some things that I think went really well this last year:

  • I successfully completed a semester of grad school. I doubt I’ll go back to finish the program but that’s because of the price tag, not because I don’t think I can mentally handle it. Very important difference.
  • I have become much more aware of my spending habits and what I could be doing different with my money. I feel confident that this year WILL be better.
  • Lancelot and I grew as a couple and things feel stronger than ever between us.
  • I’ve learned a lot about who I really am as a person, and I like that person.

Over the winter break I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done, and that makes me feel good, too. Mom and I tore the house apart, donated a bunch of stuff we no longer use, reorganized all of the holiday stuff, and I even did a full inventory of my yarn stash. Yes, the entire stash. It’s a beautifully organized spreadsheet that nearly brings a tear to my eye.

Here are some of my favorite projects from this year:

The Stormy Skies shawl seemed appropriate for a stormy day

I finished a scarf this morning that was supposed to be my last project of last year but then I had a glass of wine with dinner and my old butt was in bed by 8pm. And even though it’s a pretty little scarf it kind of looks like unicorn vomit at the moment.

I am still working on the shell shawl (did I ever show y’all that?) but it’s in time out on account of the one needle trying to take out one of my fingers in a very unfortunate laundry incident. I also realized that I don’t have nearly enough yarn to finish it the way I want to so that’s kind of pissing me off. I’ve also started another shawl (quelle surprise!) that’s two different purples (also a big shocker) and will have some super shiny beads. Stay tuned.

So, what does 2020 have in store for me? I’m ever so glad you asked…

  • Keep working on getting my credit cards and other debts paid off. The plan is to have everything except my big card, the CR-V, and the student loans all gone by the end of the year.
  • I’m on the hunt for educational opportunities that are more like certificates (I’ve done a few already for work) that I can get my boss to pay for. I like school, I don’t like the price tag.
  • I’d like to take ONE big trip this year, just one. There are a few possibilities being tossed around.
  • I’m planning to use every last bit of craft stuff I have on hand before buying anything new. (hence the yarn inventory)
  • I will turn 44, not that this is really terribly significant, but hey, why not include it?
  • And, last but certainly not least, I really want to make some healthier habits. This would include eating, exercising, and mental health stuff.

I’ll leave you with this image. It’s speaking to me today, maybe it will speak to you, too.

i did indeed survive

It’s been awhile, but I’m back. Back in one piece, mostly healthy, and with stories. Can’t beat that with a stick.

That’s me in front of a little library area inside the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The trip was good. I love going new places, I just don’t like the whole “getting there” part. Airports and airplanes suck. But tasting new food is awesome as is shopping in new places. So yay.

My favorite outing was a yacht cruise on the Bosphorus at sunset. Absolutely stunning. Turn your head one way and you’re looking at Europe. Turn your head the other way and you’re looking at Asia. Mind boggling.

I think it’s safe to say that this was my favorite trip so far. There aren’t any plans for more trips right now, which is good. But I have decided that I like a good adventure now and then.

full speed ahead Scotty!

I feel like I’m moving at turbo speed today, but not the “spinning out of control and bouncing off walls at full speed” kind of turbo that comes, typically for me, with the onset of mania. Bipolar is a little bitch, after all.

Nope, this isn’t that. This is the byproduct of an amazing, albeit short, weekend with Lancelot. Overtime is also a little bitch.

Ok, so this is not exactly the most flattering pic of me. I had been crying, just a little and they were happy tears, but I wanted to capture that moment. That perfect moment of happiness with the man I love. Look at how he’s holding me, protecting me from the sadness.

He has helped me to become the woman I’ve wanted to be. This is going to sound so weird, but I like myself now, honestly and truly. I’ve never been with a man who loved and supported me so unconditionally that I actually feel like I could be myself. But, who am I? Who knows. I’m still becoming “her” but I know that I like her. And he loves her. How cool is that?

Also not a flattering picture, but hey, brown hair! I decided to see what wearing a more natural shade would feel like. It’s not bad. I’m also still figuring out the whole shampoo bar and hair product thing, trying to find a reasonable balance before I leave on the trip. Today I threw in the hair dryer (better than throwing it out?) and that seems to have helped.

I don’t care what anyone says, being a girl is complicated.

Speaking of the trip, I’m about 95% packed. I did my practice run on Saturday while Lancelot was sleeping and I decided that since it went so well I’d just leave what I could packed. No sense in duplicating efforts. I feel good about how things are coming along.

Garth feels good about helping Mama with the laundry. He’s not actually much of a help though.

I did manage to finish the shawl from hell (pardon if I’d already mentioned that) and I’m back to working on a shawl for myself using a beautiful multi-colored yarn. It has beads up the edge, a technique I hadn’t done prior to this. I’ve actually been working on it for awhile, it’s on the “goals” craft list, so hopefully it will be done soon.

My trip knitting will be the Shimmer Wave Scarf using that single skein of silk from Darn Good Yarn. I did buy a skein of Koigu specifically for this pattern but I think the other yarn is also a good fit and hey, can you ever really have too many scarves?

completely out of sorts

We had a lovely weekend. Busy, crazy busy, but good. Now unfortunately I feel like I’m coming down with a cold. Flying with a cold is just no damn good.

I’m trying to get myself back on track. Only a few weeks before I leave on my trip. I really am getting excited now, especially since I found out today that a fairly massive project I’ve been trying to make progress on at work has been put on (indefinite?) hold. Praise Ceiling Cat!!!

Anyway, I broke my promise to myself and bought four skeins of yarn on Friday. I also went to a craft show on Saturday and got two necklaces, a Christmas ornament, two cat ornaments, a wood sign, a jar of salsa, a jar of cinnamon pickles, and ten pairs of earrings. And yes, the cinnamon pickles are delicious. I have no idea if this is a Midwestern thing or not; I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before.

We went and saw Rocky Horror Picture Show at the community theater Saturday night and it was amazing. I think we’re a little spoiled having such a great theater scene here. Lancelot decided Saturday when we got home that we really need to go see Jesus Christ Superstar in December so he ordered tickets online. Yay!

Our weather here is turning shitty and I’m not fond of it. But I did get to see Lancelot this morning for a bit and that meant hugs. Love me some hugs.

Pippy has figured out how to get up on the chair. Eric is not excited about sharing his nap spot.

and just like that I found myself excited instead of petrified, and it was breathtakingly amazing

I don’t understand even half the nonsense that goes on in my brain so I do hope that you, gentle reader, don’t expect me to be able to explain it to you. Because I can’t. But here goes my best effort…

I am slowly but surely getting everything ready for my trip. I checked my packing list again this morning and I think it’s as thorough as I can get it. I’m not sure yet when I’ll do my practice pack but it needs to be soon.

I’m not too worried about the packing thing. I’ve done this before. I know the tricks to getting through airport security and what to expect. One of my biggest things with these trips is that I don’t check luggage on the way there. I don’t want to arrive and find myself with no clothes. I’m more than happy to check a bag full of dirty laundry on the way home.

So I’m taking a carry on suitcase and my backpack, like I always do. I don’t travel with body wash or shampoo, no liquids in my bag at all. Slip on shoes for going through security. Backup paper copies of everything, and backup digital copies as well. I wear a light jacket and comfortable jeans; I’ll be sleeping in those clothes on the plane so they need to be like pjs.

This trip I’m also going to pack and empty duffel bag. I figure if I find time to shop I can always check my suitcase and carry the duffel and backpack as my carry on pieces. I’m checking with my travel partner to see what she thinks of this arrangement.

I’m still working on my list of things to do but I’m making steady progress. And that, I think, is why it’s starting to get to the “gee, this actually does sound like it could be fun” point.

I’ve been looking for projects to take with and still haven’t totally decided. I’m starting to think that perhaps I’m limiting myself by thinking I have to take this particular yarn with me. The one “must” is that the required yarn be in my stash as of right now.

Pippy and my sister’s kitten playing the other day

the delicate art of saying NO

I am not one who likes conflict, of any sort. I want people to like me and if I can be helpful then I will be. But sometimes that just doesn’t work. This was one of those times.

We had a faculty member come in on Monday wanting us to create a flyer for them for an event. Do I have those skills? Yup. Do I have the time? Not really. Do I have the responsibility for doing this? Not at all.

We have a whole department that does just communication stuff for the university. In fact, this faculty member was wanting to use a template that department had designed. But didn’t want to work with them. So, either they weren’t wanting to play by the branding rules or hadn’t allowed enough time. Either way, not really my problem.

On Monday this person wouldn’t take no for an answer and said they’d come back today so we could work on it, even going so far as to say that I was their “buddy and pal” and could surely do this simple thing. Yes, yes I could, but I don’t do that stuff. So I had been stressing about it, trying to work out how to handle it today.

I did run it by my boss to make sure I had the backing of someone in a higher pay grade than me and he said yes, I was right. Making flyers for anyone other than our own group is outside our scope of responsibility. Done deal.

As soon as the faculty walked in today I started speaking, not letting them have a chance to argue with me.

“I did some checking and we can’t help you with this. You can go to the [communication office] and they can help you but we can’t.”

No argument, no trying to sweet talk me into it. It was just that simple. And let me tell you, it felt fucking fabulous.

In other news, the new pants and shoes fit great. I’ve got just about everything assembled that I need. I’ll be doing a practice pack soon but I think I’m in good shape.

Now, does anyone have a suggestion for something interesting to do with a 200yd skein of lightweight silk yarn?

istanbul not constantinople

Have I bothered to mention that the trip to Istanbul is back on? Like, we’re leaving November 13th. The tickets are being purchased this morning, or so I’m told. All I know is that this is not much time to get ready for an international trip – almost five weeks exactly.

So I’m making my packing list, purchasing supplies, trying to get my “poo in a pile” as my pal Dr. K would say. I ordered electrical adapters, which is awesome because now I’ll have three entirely different sets. I also ordered some new pants and a pair of shoes. I’ve done dresses for the last two workshops but decided on tunics and leggings this time. I think it will give me better flexibility for doing things in the evenings.

At any rate, I’m trying not to freak out about any of this and to concentrate on controlling the bits I can. I’ve done this three times already, I might not be an expert but I do at least have some clue as to what the hell I’m doing.

welcome to the “things I’m not super excited about” episode

I try not to bitch too much. It’s pointless and it just makes my mood even worse, so why bother? But sometimes you just gotta. So here goes…

I have a cyst that is draining, bleeding actually, and it’s in an even worse location than usual. It doesn’t hurt but it’s annoying.

Lancelot is working overtime tomorrow so I won’t get to really see him until Saturday late afternoon. On the plus side with this, I picked him up from work this morning and was informed that I was a “sight for sore eyes.” That was super sweet. And he’s coming up to have lunch with me tomorrow, so that will help.

We’re having a bit of a monsoon. Again. The last thing we need is more rain and yet here it is.

I got up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and not only did Garth get on my lap but he bit me, in a delicate place. Perv cat.

And the trip to Istanbul is back on. I’m excited, but with the political climate in Turkey right now I’m very cautious about the whole thing. Plus, I’ve got just over a month to get ready. Yikes.

The Stormy Skies shawl seemed appropriate for a stormy day

has it really been a week?

Wow, so I really have to say I didn’t intend to be gone so long. But it’s been quite the week. I managed to

  • finish the blue shawl,
  • weave in the ends on three others that were done,
  • pick up a “commission” from Mom’s best friend to make a white shawl for her,
  • ordered yarn for four more shawls for myself,
  • make a really cool pair of earrings plus a necklace/earring set,
  • make an obscene amount of progress on a beaded shawl I started over a year ago,
  • give two killer presentations at the conference,
  • clean out my closet, dressers, linen cupboard,
  • deposit all of those unwanted bits at the donation site,
  • install lights under the hutch on my desk at work for a little extra light,
  • saw Hamilton with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I also found out that the Istanbul trip is on hold. We were originally supposed to leave next Thursday but something isn’t happening the way they thought it would so now there’s talk of maybe rescheduling to late November. I’m really ok with this. I love to travel but not when things aren’t well planned.

Speaking of well planned, I’m trying to convince myself not to start any new projects, except for Mom’s BFF’s shawl, until I finish the two shawls I’m currently working on. The beaded one is maybe halfway done and it’s incredibly funky. The other is unusual in that it’s made of shell motifs that will be sewn together with buttons. It’s really lovely. I’m doing mine with yarn that shifts through shades of green and white. I’ll try to take a picture this weekend; it’s going to be my project while Lancelot is watching the UFC thingy.

what happens at Oktoberfest should have probably just stayed there…