Yesterday was Monday and for us that means “meatless” for our dinner. We aren’t vegetarians, not that I have anything against folks who are, but I like the idea of at least one night a week having a meal that doesn’t involve meat. Partially this helps me get Lancelot to eat more veggies and partially it gets me to step outside my comfort zone and cook more stuff.
Given that autumn is finally showing up in our part of the country it seemed like yesterday was a good day for soup. I started the pot at 8am and let it go until around 5pm. It was amazing. There were onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, white beans, fire roasted corn, fire roasted crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, veggie broth, fresh spinach, and tiny pasta. No recipe for this, I just made it up as I went. Some of the veggies I used had been lingering in the fridge for awhile and some we picked up on an unexpected trip to Whole Foods yesterday. Honestly, probably one of the Top 5 pots of soup I’ve ever made. One of the best things about cooking a giant pot of soup for just two people is that I got 3 dinners and 6 lunches out of that one session of cooking. (the lunch bowls are in the freezer)
Part of how I show love is through food. I am by no means a chef, I don’t do gourmet things, and I’m not very good with baking. But I like to try new things and I find cooking to be a creative outlet. And I am known (sometimes lovingly teased) about offering food to my friends any chance I get.
But I do like to cook big batches of things that freeze well because it just makes me feel more secure somehow to know that there’s always nutritious food in the house that isn’t going to require hours to prepare. Call me silly, I just don’t find that I enjoy fast food most of the time anymore. And if there’s food already prepared in the house that just needs warmed up I’m far less likely to end up making questionable choices about my meals. (I said less likely…)
Garth typically takes his afternoon nap (one of them at least) on the doormat in the sunroom. He kind of just lays there in a melted little puddle of kitty and he’s so stinkin’ cute that I have to rub his little white belly. And then I bleed.
I didn’t do that, not today, but it certainly is in keeping with my idea of balance. Life is not something to be suffered through, depriving oneself of all pleasure, subsisting on only healthy food. I have no desire to die extremely old and leave behind a well preserved corpse. So much better to enjoy life now while I can and leave my meat-suit stranded along the side of a lovely avenue when it’s finally my time to shuffle off the well-worn mortal coil.
Yikes, that’s way more morbid that I planned. Moving on…
I may have mentioned that Lancelot has gotten pretty heavy into LEGO lately, or maybe I didn’t, but he has and I think it’s awesome. Putting together kits was something I had done many years ago and enjoyed, but then stopped doing for some reason. I’ve picked it up again, though not with the same excitement that he has. (I have yarn, he doesn’t. This is also balance.) I’m also kinda picky about what I want to do, and that limits my choices.
I have seriously enjoyed seeing how the keen folks at LEGO have managed to come up with this botanical series, but the end result really does look like flowers. So fucking cool. We’ve also explored a new little shopping strip in town because L found that there’s a store that sells nothing but LEGO and sells used kits, which turned out to be a total score because they had a Doctor Who set that L really wanted. And they also had the tiny Baby Yoda mini (micro?) fig that is perched on one of the flower leaves.
In that same strip is a fantastic Indian grocery and a really good bar & grill that has the most amazing soft pretzels. Our Saturday was packed but in an extremely satisfying way.
And now, we knit. I had purchased some close-out yarn online and then immediately found the perfect pattern for a vest. Progress!!!
I’d like to tell you where I heard that, which one of my friends dropped that nugget of truth on me, but I can’t. But think about the profundity of it – it’s beyond the trite Nike slogan “just do it.” This allows for not wanting to do the thing, the DAMN thing, but getting on and doing it anyway.
It’s a really fucking adult thing to say and think. And so today I will endeavor to Just DoThe Damn Thing.
I’ve made the bed, washed some dishes, took a shower and got dressed, made myself a healthy breakfast, and (most importantly) I got out my sun lamp and set it up on my desk. If I do nothing else today I will still consider this a win because I didn’t want to do any of those damn things, yet I did.
If I were to leave you with any advice right now it would be to set yourself up to just do the damn thing, even if it’s something small or something that feels silly. Doing that one damn thing might lead you to feel like doing another damn thing, maybe. And that’s probably a particularly good thing.
I’ve been in a weird kind of “mood that isn’t a mood and is maybe lasting too long but then again so is the anxiety that’s ever present everywhere these days” kind of place and I have to say, it sucks.
I love the change of the seasons in an intellectual and visual sort of way. The change in the temperatures, the extra rain right now, the changing leaves are all really pretty and a very pleasant departure from what summer is around here. But if I’m going to have any mental issues they tend to happen during the changing of the light – sunlight that is. Too little in the autumn and winter cause one set of issues and the switch back to lots of it in the spring and summer causes a different set of issues.
Being mental is just such a fucking treat.
Once a month I haul Lancelot in for a haircut and beard trim and I usually get my mop of hair dealt with. This time I decided that enough was enough. I’ve been trying to grow it out but it was looking very much like how my grandmother wears her hair and I was not loving that. Changing my hair is actually a pretty standard thing with me. When I feel like it’s time to shake my snowglobe I will typically either go for a drastically different cut or, back in the day, a radically different color.
I’ve actually had my hair like this before, and it was most certainly a different color. I like the asymmetrical thing, especially since my hair’s natural curl makes this a ridiculously easy style for me in terms of what it takes to fix it. Approximately 3 minutes and a small dab of hair goo, that’s what.
I’ve been trying to spend some time getting back to meal planning and all of the other things that kind of feel like “life hacks” for me, because in all honesty, right now I need that shit more than ever. Apparently it’s working, at least at the surface level. One of the people that works in our office suite made the comment that I have my life together, which she totally meant as a compliment, but all I could think was, “little sister, if you only knew.”
All of the hacks and the prep stuff is really because I have a terrible, ugly secret…
We woke up at 3:50am this morning because it sounded like the world was finally ending. Turns out it was just your typical Midwestern thunderstorm, but once you’ve been rudely awakened like that the only thing for it is to have a pee and make something warm to drink. Dog Blossom didn’t used to be all that phased by storms, but after the big bullshit we had earlier this summer she’s not at all fond. That picture was her this morning, camped out in my lap. She stayed like that for almost an hour.
I’ve been realizing lately that my routines are still majorly screwed up and it’s causing me to feel more than slightly off kilter. I’m trying to figure out how to unscrew them and get things a little more organized. I have no delusions that I will ever have my ducks in a row. The best I can, and will, ever hope for is that my army of squirrels all end up attending the same rave on the same day. It’s good to have dreams.
This is the Lego Bonsai kit I had picked up when we went to Minneapolis earlier this summer. I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing these. I believe Lancelot is going to be getting me a few more of the botanical type things. I also spent some time making three pair of earrings and finally getting my creative spot in the sunroom setup the rest of the way.
I have been realizing that taking time to do these kinds of projects is super vital for me. L and I took a 3-day weekend together and were able to do a little shopping, watch goofy TV, and just hang out together. It was amazingly restful. I think it’s far too easy to forget how much we need to take that time for ourselves until we do take some and then remember how good it is.
I have three containers in the guest room closet. One container is for holiday gifts that are done. (Done is defined as the knitting is complete but needs the ends woven in and possibly requires blocking, just FYI) One container is for projects for myself. And the final container is for charity projects.
Holiday gifts = 1 thing
My container = 2 scarves and 4 shawls
Charity container = 4 scarves and 3 washcloths
On the needles right now I currently have:
a beaded lace cowl for myself
a charity scarf (these are plain old garter stitch with a slipped first stitch)
a charity washcloth (super basic garter diagonal thing)
a shawl for a holiday gift
a lace scarf for myself
I have the variety because I have different knitting moods. That beaded lace cowl is going to be amazing but it’s slow as fuck because of the beads. The holiday gift shawl is easy enough but it’s the sort of thing that you really need to have time to do a whole section at a time; way too easy to get lost if you don’t. The lace scarf for me is a very simple two-row repeat. The charity pieces are very simple and are perfect for when I want to knit but not think.
I also have some projects that involve beads and recycled jewelry. I just need some time and a bit of ambition.
For those of you in the States I hope you were able to enjoy the Labor Day holiday weekend. For those of you living elsewhere, I hope you were able to enjoy a regular weekend. Every weekend should be a holiday in my opinion. That perfect blend of “getting shit done that I’m too fucking tired for during the week” and “sitting around in elastic-waist pants watching horrible TV and eating sketchy food.” It’s really a beautiful thing.
We really did get a good quantity of stuff done which made me feel fantastic. We ran a few errands and then tackled the pantry. Our house was built in the very late 1970s so the pantry is not original to the house and is, in all reality, a nicely oversized cabinet that was added to serve this specific purpose. All I really needed to do was another Magic 4th Grader Allowance Makeover (TM) by moving one shelf and adding some organizer basket-y things. Lancelot was an amazing help with this. So now we have things better organized and that makes it easier to do things like this…
Yesterday was Meatless Monday and my friend K had come over to hang out with me and learn how to crochet. We had a blast. And she was able to stay for dinner and is into this whole vegetarian thing so she spiffed up the beans while I got the tofu in shape. It was super yummy.
On the knitting front I have managed to finish two scarves for charity and I’ve started a third. I’m about halfway, maybe more, on the first holiday gift and I’ve identified two others. And I purchased a gift, which makes two so far, both for the same person, so as soon as the knit thing is done that person’s goodies are finished. Yay.
All of that means I have not been working on the beaded cowl for myself, but that’s totally fine. I’ve realized that half the joy of knitting for me is just the knitting itself. It doesn’t matter if what I’m making is for me, for someone I love, or for someone needs to know that someone out there gives a shit about them. The act of knitting connects me on a spiritual level with my grandmother who taught how to do this when I was eight years old.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cry quietly in the corner after realizing just long ago that was…
My friend Dr. K had an expression “getting my poo in a pile” that is simultaneously really gross and very descriptive. Right now it mostly fits.
I’m doing better now than I have been in a bit. I feel a little more balanced and in control of my situation, and that’s good. Part of it I think was having last week mostly actually suck so that I could get my poo in a pile and make this week not suck. I realize that today is only Monday but work with me here, ok?
Over the weekend Lancelot and I spent some time “renovating” our guest room. My favorite way to reno/redo/whatever you want to call is to try to see what all I can accomplish with a budget roughly equivalent to a 4th grader’s allowance. Mostly this involves moving things from one place in the house where they’re underutilized to another place. So we did that, plus I bought 4 mid-sized storage boxes at Target. It was a huge success.
I also ended up go through my yarn stash looking for ideas for holiday gifts. Yes, it’s not quite September. No, I’m not crazy. I’ve got a few people this year that I want to knit things for and I don’t want to go all goofy crazy trying to finish in time. And I’ve somehow lost a skein of yarn. Dammit.
Anyway, while I was digging I came across the separate stash of yarn. One of the older gentlemen at the university knows I’m a knitter and so periodically he brings me gifts of yarn. I suspect that he and or his wife grab yarn that they find at garage sales, which isn’t what I typically knit with but it’s yarn and it’s a very lovely gesture. So I’ve just been hanging on to it, waiting for the universe to tell me what it should be.
It’s going to be used for charity.
I started a scarf yesterday with one small skein. I’m thinking I’ll make some scarves, hats, maybe mittens. This is almost entirely acrylic yarn that can be abused and not mind one bit. Winter here gets brutal and there’s routinely a shortage of winter gear at the local homeless shelters. It seems like a very appropriate thing to do, take one kindness and turn it into more.
Now if I could just find that missing skein of yarn…
I did very little this weekend, and I’m ok with that. We had my mom and stepdad over for dinner Saturday and that was pretty much it. On Sunday I sat on my ass and knit. I finally finished the Feather and Fan scarf, I started a very basic wrap thingy, and I spent some time on that mess in the picture above. It will eventually be a beaded lace cowl, assuming I don’t go blind first.
And now I must go. I have an appointment for COVID vaccine shot #3 this afternoon, and I am quite happy about that.
We had our “village” over for dinner Saturday night. These people are the friends we can call on at any time, for anything. And they can do the same with us. We all have our struggles and our emotional baggage from the past and we don’t hold that against each other. There’s a whole lot of unconditional acceptance and love in our village.
Lancelot’s birthday is later this week and I wanted to do something for him, but he’s not super excited about celebrating it or making a fuss about it. So I invited our friends over for dinner and didn’t say anything to any of them about it, or to him, until K noticed on the menu board in the kitchen that next Saturday we’re going out for L’s birthday with my folks. I wanted to keep things very low-key so that everyone was comfortable. It was amazing.
And the scarf has finally told me that it wants to be K’s. I had made them a beanie / fingerless mitt set and the colors coordinate nicely. At any rate, the scarf will have a good home with a great friend.
I try to stay optimistic about damn near everything, but I also try to be realistic. I watch the news at least once a day and I’ve been paying attention to what’s happening with the COVID-19 Delta variant. I know that even though we’ve been vaccinated we could still carry it and spread it. And I know that the governor in our state is a complete jackass when it comes to certain things, issues of public safety and health being what come to mind right now.
So we’ll be back to wearing masks in public, minimizing our exposure to and from other people. And for me this means I’ll be wearing a mask when I’m working on campus. Better safe than dead.
Next week is our vacation and our anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since we got married. It’s been one hell of a ride, especially considering that we’ve been living in a pandemic for the duration of our wedded life thus far. But I honestly can’t imagine going through this with anyone else by my side.