progress smells heavenly

Top: One of the iris blooming in the back yard
Middle Left: A beaded cross stitch butterfly ornament; kit was from our anniversary trip last summer
Middle Center: Taco wontons, a tasty Mexican-Asian fusion brought to you by Juan Wong
Middle Right: My latest fused glass piece
Bottom Left: Eric and Talyn were inspecting my work this morning as I tore apart the pantry
Bottom Center: Pendant and earrings, also a kit, heavily modified
Bottom Right: Japanese Lace Chain Mail bracelet, also a kit, followed the directions precisely – my first “real” chain mail

I’ve been enjoying the long holiday weekend. I’ve had a pretty good balance of productivity and downtime, done a lot of creative stuff, and I feel recharged. And that’s good because the next two weeks are going to be like a damn roller coaster.

But I got this. ❤️

a little late, but still all good

Top: Me at the Kiewit Luminarium yesterday morning
Middle Left: Garth and Talyn having a snooze in the guest room (Talyn likes to hide between the pillows and the headboard so all you can see is tiny grey ears)
Middle Center: Talyn and Eric snoozing together
Middle Right: I made a very practical, very quick, knitting project that will hold a cable needle or other small notion while I’m knitting
Bottom Left: A cheap and cheerful solution to me not measuring for the new fridge properly (why I lived with doors that didn’t open for so long is still beyond me)
Bottom Center: Lancelot’s first tattoo
Bottom Right: For the first time in the 22 years I’ve worked at the university I actually attended a graduation ceremony

I’ve been staying busy, clearly. The weather has warmed up and life feels pretty good these days. We’ve been doing things with friends, projects around the house, and getting everyone settled with the new kid. I have to say that I feel like the good is most definitely outweighing the “not good” right now.

I am still trying to figure out why we didn’t come up with the solution to the kitchen cabinet situation sooner. When I measured for the new fridge, several years ago, I managed to get it “right” in that the fridge fit in the opening. However, the doors of the fridge extend up just enough that when it’s flush back in the space for it you couldn’t open the cabinet doors above. And that meant any time we wanted into that space we had to pull out the fridge.

The other day I realized that honestly, we don’t need to keep those doors on. So I took them off (stashed them in the garage in case I ever change my mind) and installed a simple black curtain rod and a valance that’s pretty damn close to the color of the walls and is machine washable. I see no sense having anything fabric in a kitchen that can’t go in the washing machine. Now my toaster oven and ice cream maker don’t have to live on top of the cabinets and that space – still not an area we’ll get into much – is a whole lot easier to deal with.

I’ve been doing a lot of that lately – looking around with a slightly more critical eye and thinking about what small and inexpensive changes I’d like to make. My next project is going to involve changing out the window treatment in my office. We’re really lucky that all of our windows have blinds between the panes of glass, so all I’ll be doing is adding a bit of “flair” to the window. Right now it has a lovely cornice board at the top, which really is nice but not my style. I’m hoping next week I can show y’all what I’ve decided to do instead.

I think it’s interesting how you really have to live in a space for a while before you realize how you actually use it and what you want it to look like. After three years of living here together Lancelot and I are still finding that we need to change things up a bit periodically. But I enjoy it. I like to keep things fresh.

I’ve also been doing a fair bit of crafting lately. I had been trying to not let myself start any new projects until I finished the things I had already started, but then life happened and now I have 7 projects on the needles/hook plus I’m making some knit washcloths for a friend. I’m going to trade her those for some polymer clay earrings she’s making me. I’m not one who sells things I make, but I’ll happily trade for them.

busy bee, lil ol’ me

Top Left: Garth doing his best “derp”
Top Right: Pippy enjoying a good flop
Bottom Left: A new glass project, pre-firing
Middle Right: A beautiful begonia “the kids” got me for Mother’s Day
Bottom Right: A pair of brick stitch earrings I made that showcase tiny silver bee charms one of my friends got for me

I finally have all of the planting outside done that’s going to be done, and I think all of the fussing with house plants done for now as well. That one is always in a state of flux since I have to move things around as they get too big for their pots and current locations. I am quite happy with the way the inside and outside gardens are doing. I’m also very much loving the begonia Lancelot and the kids sent me. The flowers are just such a beautiful color.

Speaking of the kids, things are starting to settle in around here. There’s still a fair amount of hissing and smacking, but no damage is being done and there’s minimal “tail floofing” so I feel ok about that.

I’m also feeling pretty damn ok about the creative stuff I’ve been doing. That glass piece pictured above will be fused and then slumped in a mold that will make it look like a flower, and then mounted on a stake so it can go out in the front bed around the tree. I’m very excited to see how it comes out. I’ve done one like this before but with much tamer colors and I just left it as a decorative bowl.

The earrings are a bit embarrassing, but only because it took so long to get them across the finish line. I can’t even remember when I started them, but I finished them Saturday morning. For some reason I popped awake at 2:30am and what else does one do at that unholy hour of the morning? Make jewelry, naturally.

Goals update

Since the start of the year I’ve made more than 70 creative bits, so I would say I’m doing quite well with that goal. I’ve continued to work on professional certificates and have earned a total of 9 so far. Books, the goal was to read 4 this year and I’ve finished 5 and am into a 6th.

I have modified my goal regarding clothing. I’ve gotten a few new shirts and a pair of shorts – partly because I didn’t own any shorts. The shirts are because Garth likes to do his “velcro kitty” routine and pokes holes in my shirts so I wanted to find some that were still casual but not quite t-shirt material. The new goal is to be more mindful about my purchases and to limit them. This seems very reasonable.

the more you love, the more you can love

Left: Attack of Velcro Cat
Top Center: Garth and Eric both decided to sleep on my lap one morning
Top Right: I got all of the planting done this weekend
Middle Center: Talyn!
Middle Right: We have a tiny garter snake friend in the garden
Lower Center: Pippy being her silly self
Lower Right: I made myself a name plate for my new office using LEGO dots

Meet Talyn, the newest member of our zoo. One of my friends from work needed to rehome him and Lancelot and I had been talking about wanting to grow our family, but I had some serious concerns. Talyn is 8 years old and fully declawed, plus he good sized, all of which helped set me more at ease. Right now we’re still in the “feeling each other out” stage with him and the other critters, but he’s starting to venture out of the guest room more. This morning I found him and Eric having a stand off in our bedroom.

In other exciting news, we found out that we have officially switched to temporary full remote work as of right now. The renovations they’re going to start on the building we’re currently in will begin on May 19th and there is a whole lot of people shifting going on, which means it’s just going to be easier for us to not be in the way. I am not upset at this one bit. It is a shame that our new space in the Library isn’t ready yet, but they are making progress. The last I heard they’re finally starting to paint.

I was quite happy to get all of my planting done this weekend, or at least almost all of it. I forgot about two pots that I wanted to plant so I need more dirt, and one more flower. But it’s looking good and I’m very excited. We found almost all of the veggies we wanted to do and I realized that I could get away with not tearing up the flower bed against the back of the house just yet. I did over-seed that area with some wildflower seeds to hopefully fill in after the iris and bulbs stop flowering.

One of the new things I’m trying this year is a compost station. One of the people I talk to online mentioned using an large old plastic garbage can with holes drilled in the bottom as the container. We have four “raised bed” things in the back yard along the one fence and decided to dig it in there. I figure the dirt surrounding the bottom outer area of the can will help insulate it. The holes in the bottom allow the moisture to get out and worms to get in. We’ve started putting some of the random yard waste bits in there and I got a small trashcan with a lid for on the kitchen counter to collect fruit/veggie scraps and the like. I’m excited about it.

L and I also took a good part of the day on Saturday going through the garage getting things cleaned up, cleaned out, and just better organized. I’m planning to setup a workshop area out there to do my glass projects. It’s a lot safer to keep that stuff away from where the little splinters could get into critter paws. Or my bare feet.

I have been finding that my creative urges lately have been steering me to make super practical things. For example, this weekend I made two “socks” for the floor Swiffer and two “wigs” for the Swiffer duster thing. They worked up quickly and took very little yarn. I’m excited to have L try them and see what he thinks. I also made some critters toys that I stuffed with a little cat nip in the fiber fill.

beauty is all around us

Left: Sometimes Eric just can’t even
Top Center: A simple wreath I made with felt flowers from a kit and an embroidery hoop, and lots of hot glue
Top Right: A wire and bead flower in a DiSaranno bottle decorated with alcohol ink
Middle Center: A beautiful violet one of my friends gave me
Middle Right: What happens when I wake up and decide that the jewelry I’m wearing later in the week just isn’t “right” so I need to make something better
Bottom Center: Saturday night’s dinner – Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork with mini tots and home made refrigerator dill pickles
Bottom Right: The back of the now completely 100% finished Meadow Lace Shrug

We had a very nicely productive weekend. I like when there’s a good balance of getting shit done and being able to relax, and that’s what we had. I will say it helped that I had a short day on Friday because of a doctor’s appointment.

I’ve been in that mood to really get some things finished, which is part of why getting the very last bits done on the Meadow Lace Shrug felt so good. I ended up modifying the pattern to make it have longer sleeves and that resulted in having to modify the way the seams worked, and of course I decided I didn’t like the crocheted ribbing so I knit it instead. Overall, I am quite pleased with the final result. Of course now it’s probably going to be entirely too warm to wear it, but whatever.

We’ve also been getting ready for another great shake up at home. We have a new entertainment center thingie on the way and that means having to move a bunch of other stuff around. It’s good, it kind of forced me to once again go through my craft supplies and look at things with a more critical eye. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t get rid of much, mostly because the last cull was so harsh. And it also prompted me to make that wreath and the wire flower, so total win.

psych update

Things still seem to be going quite well. I’m seeing my therapist every other week, mostly to provide some accountability in terms of using my coping skills and making sure I’m sticking with the goals I’ve set for myself. Plus, I just enjoy visiting with her.

My anxiety med, I take Gabapentin, is down to 300mg in the morning and 600mg at night. That’s the lowest I think it’s ever been, and it seems to be working well. When I go back in June we’ll talk about potentially lowering my Depakote. I honestly feel like my mental health is in a really good place right now. I’m aware of my mood fluctuations, but that’s the biggest thing – they’re fluctuations, not swings. And I can control them.

The only other thing I’ve been dealing with lately is a tendency to “Tasmanian Devil” as Lancelot refers to it. I’ll start working on something, get distracted and jump to something else, and then end up with multiple things in various states of doneness. It’s frustrating for both of us.

So I’m trying to be more mindful of this tendency and when I observe it, I try to immediately course correct. It’s a process, but it seems to be working. Slowly. And that’s ok because baby steps are still progress.

it’s been far too long

The last tattoo I got was in 2016, on April 22 to be exact. What you see above is the tattoo I got on Friday, April 21. I hadn’t realized that I had timed it quite like that, but the universe works in interesting ways. The drawing on the left was one I had done back in 2014, the day before Lancelot’s birthday – but I didn’t know Lancelot back then. Again, the universe is an interesting lady. I had been thinking about getting a new tattoo for awhile and finally decided to take the plunge and do it, and I’m very happy with the results. The guy I go to has done 14 of my 16 tattoos and always does such amazing work.

Otherwise it’s been a relatively quiet week around here. I’ve been working on some creative projects still and even managed to make a relatively intricate pair of double brick stitch earrings yesterday afternoon. I actually got another pair of much less involved earrings made this morning, plus 3 cork ornament things, because I’ve been awake since 3am.

Who is their right fucking mind is awake at 3am you ask? A cat mom with a baby who had 3 asthma attacks in a 30 minute span, that’s who. We have an 11am appointment to go back to the vet. My guess is this is perhaps seasonal allergies; we’re all suffering hard core right now.

So my hopes for a quiet, peaceful morning have completely gone down the toilet, guess I’ll see what kind of mischief I can cause in my work world.

of road trips and other nonsense

Left: Trying on a very stylish hat at the Knights Museum in Alliance, NE
Top Center: Lancelot and I at Carhenge after our friends’ wedding
Top Right: Seen at the Knights Museum, I really want this for my new office
Middle Center: Eric was particularly handsome in the morning sun yesterday
Middle Right: My reward for keeping it between the ditches
Bottom Center: A happy lil cow picture I colored last week, and very appropriate given the number of happy lil cows we saw on our drive
Bottom Right: Also seen at the Knights Museum, the most unusual Kool-Aid recipe I think I’ve ever seen

We had a really nice time on our trip, in spite of the NASTY wind. Driving east to west / west to east across Nebraska is always a gamble and this trip was no exception. I have no idea what the wind speeds actually were, just that we were driving in areas that were under Wind Advisories most of the time, if not all of it. There’s nothing like driving through extremely limited visibility because of vegetal matter being blown across the road from the fields on either side of the highway.

We opted to take state highways instead of the interstate because it took approximately the same amount of time but was something like 100 fewer miles. Plus, it was more scenic. Maybe you have to be from the Midwest to appreciate the beauty of the Sandhills, maybe not. But it was definitely prettier than taking I-80 most of the way.

The wedding was lovely. The bride was, of course, very beautiful. And the groom, a friend of mine for years now, had never looked happier. It was amazing to be able to be part of their special day.

A few other tidbits of note – I have now busted (not in a good way) another goal. I bought a pair of shoes while we were there. In my defense, there was an awesome little shoe store going out of business and I got a pair of really lovely pewter flats for… drumroll please…


So I really don’t feel too bad about it. I did also finish a book yesterday, that was good. And I realized that one of the projects I’ve been working on isn’t making me happy because I messed up the instructions from damn near the beginning by trying to alter the size so I ripped out the entire thing and started over.

That’s right – I went all the way back to the very beginning and started over. That’s part of the beauty of most knit/crochet projects; you can pretty well undo and redo them if necessary with minimal harm to the yarn. I am so glad that I did, I’m much happier with how it’s looking now.

insert witty title here

Left: Yours truly, rocking a sassy tiny pony tail
Top Center: Synchronized napping
Top Right: LEGO Panda Desk Tray
Middle Center: A violet my friend K gave me to nurse back to health a few years ago has finally decided to bloom and she is lovely
Middle Right: Lily of the Valley jewelry kit, finally made
Bottom Center: Pork chops, sweet potatoes, and apples all cooked in a cast iron skillet; one of our new favorite weekend meals
Bottom Right: A tower of books I purchased this weekend

For the time being I am growing out my hair, at least the top part. It’s so thick that having a full head of long hair is just too damn hot these days, so the shaved bits around the sides and back are going to stay. I will freely admit that it’s fun having enough to mess with now, and there are so many funny hair accessories these days.

It’s been reasonably busy since last time I posted. Work has been “weird” busy, I can’t really think of a better way to explain it. The faculty aren’t really doing much of anything, which makes sense because there’s only a month left in our spring semester, but that means we’re trying to get other things done that don’t directly involve them. Like preparing to move.

I walked up to the Library with my boss on Friday and saw our new space for the first time. It’s still rough, they were working on the drywall while we were there, but it is definitely office space in the making. They’re hoping we’ll be able to move early this summer.

Life at home has been busy trying to get ready for our trip this next weekend to see our friends get married. We’re also getting ready for the spring season to officially arrive here. The days are getting warmer, and the nights are staying warmer, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to start doing some work out in the garden soon.

psych update

I have officially lowered my anxiety medication to what may end up as the lowest possible dose, not sure yet. I’ve been doing really quite well at this level and haven’t noticed any adverse consequences yet. I’m excited to see what the next change will bring, but that won’t happen until June.

I am also cautiously optimistic about the changes the dermatologist has made with those medications. The insurance won’t actually approve what she wants me to take, so we’re kind of circumventing the system. I don’t entirely follow the logic of the plan, but I trust her.

when the going gets tough, the tough make a blanket fort and hide out with hot cocoa

It was a WEEK. Lots of crud going on, very little that felt good, and so not much in the way of pretty pictures. And that’s ok. Sometimes the best thing to do is lay low in the blanket fort, make another mug of cocoa, and live to fight another day.

By way of good news, I realized that I’ve successfully met two of my twelve goals for the year. As a reminder, the full list is:

  1. No new craft supplies (unless I manage to completely deplete my stashes of stuff)
  2. Finish all of my kits (beading, knitting, etc. including the ones I’ve put together for knitting projects)
  3. Read at least 4 books
  4. Establish and maintain habits/routines for exercising
  5. Complete at least 5 creative projects each month (anything creative counts – drawing, knitting, jewelry, LEGO, etc)
  6. No new clothes unless I need new underwear or bras
  7. No new shoes
  8. Lose 50lbs
  9. Post on my blog at least once per week
  10. Learn how to bake bread from scratch
  11. Earn at least one professional certificate
  12. Learn at least one new craft skill

#11 and #12 are done! I’ve actually earned 6 certificates since the start of the year. Two of them were pretty quick but the other four spanned multiple weeks and required a fair amount of work. I’m pretty damn proud of that.

The new craft skill is stained glass. I do not claim to be totally proficient at it, but I did manage to successfully complete a class on Saturday and didn’t need any more help than anyone else in the class did, which felt really good.

It’s very straightforward, but I did have to cut glass (already fine with that from doing fused glass) and I had to fit all of my pieces together and then solder it all. The little gem (and a dragonfly that is very hard to see here) were glued on at the very end. It’s beautiful and I am so stinkin’ proud of this. I’m also excited because I have a ton of glass out in the garage from when I was doing fused glass at a different studio that I can now use for pieces like this.

Yes, that would mean potentially going against my goal of not buying more supplies, so it might wait. But then again, I make the rules so if I want to break them, it’s on me.

not enough coffee

Top: Me and Lancelot before we went to dinner on my birthday
Middle Left: Eric basking in the sun
Middle Center: Garth being a goof
Middle Right: The finished cat cross-stitch
Bottom Left: A collection of 5 mini LEGO mosaic things I did yesterday
Bottom Center: Pippy giving her duck a kiss
Bottom Right: Gifts from Lancelot for my birthday

I am delighted to report that things have been pretty damn good. We did have to take Garth to the vet on Monday, poor lil guy apparently has allergies on top of his asthma, but he’s doing a lot better now. Otherwise it’s been a good week. Lancelot made sure to appropriately spoil me for my birthday, my work BFF had tiramisu delivered to the house, and my mom got me a gift certificate to my favorite garden center.

Work has been going well. I managed to pull together a workshop in a little less than four days and it actually went smoothly. And in general I’ve just been super productive with work stuff lately, which is always good. Last week I managed to complete two short certificates and get some significant work done on projects I’ve been tasked with. Productivity is good.

I’m also making really good progress with completing creative projects and other bits on my lists. I need to frame the cat cross-stitch, but it’s done and ready for that step. And the little LEGO mosaic things are fun. I decided that LEGO does not count as craft supplies, but I’m still trying not to buy big kits but rather parts that I can use to make my own original creations. I’m thinking my next adventure might me to see if I can make a picture frame and embellish it with dots.