making the most of it

Lancelot periodically has to work overtime. I kind of hate this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a common thing and a known hazard and it really doesn’t happen often. And at least he’s hourly so, unlike when I get to work extra, he gets paid for it. So I try (honestly, I try) not to bitch about it too much.

He had to work last night, big ol’ bummer. But instead of pouting and feeling sorry for myself, which honestly does no damn good, I decided to act like a big girl and I’ve been making the most of what we refer to at work as “found time.” So far I have…

  • Taken Mom out for a lovely dinner where we both got tipsy
  • Re-wrote the directions for a knitting pattern because I found them confusing
  • Actually did some knitting
  • Thoroughly cleaned my bathroom
  • Did my food prep for the week
  • Took care of some paperwork for my health care account
  • Cleaned up the laptop
  • Got my outfits and jewelry ready for next week

Might not seem like a lot (or maybe it does) but it certainly helped pass the time and I feel good for having been productive.

Possibly the most exciting news is that I’m not really done with grad school after all. I met with the program coordinator on Friday and got some new information that makes all the difference. I’m going to take at least one semester off, but during that time I can be writing on my own and “banking” material for later. I also found out that I have TEN YEARS from when I started to get this done. That takes a lot of the pressure off.

Lancelot is super excited. He told me that he knew I wasn’t giving up, just taking a break. He’s got a lot of faith in me. Anyway, we’re going to go to the residency this July for a day to sit in on a lecture and see everyone. I want him to get a sense of what the experience is like. And the coordinator wants to meet him.

I’m actually excited to start writing again.

taking out the trash

I’ve mentioned several times recently that I’ve been on this “clean out all the bullshit” kick. I’m loving it. Clothes that didn’t fit or don’t make me happy, jewelry I never wore, some shoes, a few books, candles… I realized just now that there’s another stash of clothes that need to go, hidden under the stairs.

But there are other things that need to be removed. Yesterday I ended up cleaning out my closet at work, the one that primarily houses snacks and stuff. That was a disaster. Today I’m going to spend a little time on my desk. Too much clutter, too much nonsense in the drawers.

I can’t really say what it is that gets me into these moods, but it’s a cyclical thing with me. Kind of like Spring Cleaning on steroids I guess. All I know is that I feel better once it’s all done.

This afternoon I’m meeting with one of the program coordinators for the writing program I just left. I feel good that I was able to finish the semester successfully, but I know that I just can’t take on that kind of workload and stress again right now. I want to finish the memoir one of these days but I already know that my Fall semester is going to be too busy. There’s at least one international trip planned so that right there is enough to make me not interested in school.

I’m going to try to add back in a hobby/creative outlet that I haven’t done in ages. I’ve signed up to take a fused glass class at a local studio where I’ve taken classes before. I’m excited, it should be great. The last project I made, I think, was last summer. Not that the knitting and jewelry making aren’t good enough, but a girl shouldn’t box herself in too much when it comes to being creative.

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.

a plus, a minus

My older niece is doing the National American Miss pageant stuff, and is doing quite well so far. She’s got an event coming up and my sister wanted me to find a picture of Miss E from her second birthday. My dad was still alive then and he took THOUSANDS of photos. Not even kidding. So Mom and I spent a fair bit of time the other night finding the Very Specific photo my sister wanted. We also found this…

My dad was a Shriner and in the Provost unit so at the annual Shrine Circus he put on his police/security uniform and helped people find stuff, etc. This is a shot of him and Miss E at what would end up being his last circus. It’s significant to me in part because there are so few pictures of Dad. He was almost always the one taking the pictures. And there’s just something so precious about this.

So that was definitely a plus. Now, for the minus…

I wanted to scream this yesterday afternoon when I found out but I wanted to wait until I got to see Lancelot in person this morning to tell him. Mom found out first.

I GOT AN A- IN MY CLASS!!!

No, that is not a real bird. Yes, I am that cool. (from the Dubai trip)

Grad school is now over for me, for the foreseeable future. I am signed up for a single class in the Fall but the jury is still out as to whether I’ll stay signed up. I have one more international trip to take plus I’ve been approached about taking on a paid side gig. I refuse to make myself as ridiculously busy as I was in the spring.

there’s never enough time

The weekend wasn’t really what I wanted, or needed. I don’t have any interest in going into it, not much anyway. The new pasta recipe was delicious, the trip to the artist co-op yielded some amazing jewelry, and Avengers Endgame is phenomenal. Other bits of the weekend were absolute shit. Done and over.

The Dublin Shawl is done. That’s not the name of a pattern, it’s my name for it since the yarn reminds me of Ireland and I started it on that trip. It’s lovely. And now it’s about to be too warm to wear shawls like this. Naturally.

I went on a very quick rampage in the kitchen when I got home from Camelot yesterday. That is a work week of pasta salad, fruit bits, jello with raspberries, and hard boiled eggs. I also did my big batch of cold coffee. I feel fairly well prepared, just no breakfasts.

I also got my room all picked back up, two loads of laundry done and put away, outfits and jewelry are laid out for the week. I need to get back to kicking ass and taking names.

I have two days now to finish my homework for the semester. That’s 30 pages in the manuscript and a 6 page essay. Wish me luck.

my plans are like eggs…

…scrambled.

The weekend did not turn out as anticipated. Parts were really good, other parts not so much. Over all I would say it was pretty decent.

Y’all know the school thing this semester did Not Go Well At All. I kind of felt like the world’s biggest idiot because of that, at least I did until I talked to Dr. K, my good friend at work. (yes she really does have her PhD, that’s why she’s qualified) She told me that had she known I would be enrolled in 15 hours of grad credit every semester for this program she’d have Very Strongly Encouraged me to run.

For those of you not familiar with the way higher education works in the States, a full-time undergraduate student has to take at least 12 credit hours and usually doesn’t take more than 15. A typical class equals 3 credit hours, so a “good” load for undergrads is four classes. For a graduate student, 6 hours is typical. If you’re working a full time job, which most grad students are, it’s ridiculous to take more than that. I’ve been taking FIVE classes worth.

Hello, my name is Utterly Ridiculous. How do you do?

So this whole 15 credit hours in a “low residency” setup was really never a good idea for me from the very start. Sometimes I am stubborn and insist on learning difficult lessons the hard way. It’s called being willful. It does not suit me. I know this.

Anyway, I’ll finish this semester and then I’m switching back to my previous program. Back in 2015 I finished a Technical Communication graduate certificate, 15 credit hours worth of work that helped me with my job. The English department offers two grad certificates; tech comm and Advanced Writing. My goal now is to do the Advanced Writing cert, so I’ll have 30 hours of grad credit, and then hopefully write a thesis and smash all of that into a M.A. in English. I will do this one class per semester, skipping the Hell on Earth that is Summer Sessions.

It just might work.

Anyway, there are other changes coming. I’ve already alerted my hair stylist wizard that I’m going to want a new cut and color next week. I’m also feeling my creative ooze starting to flow. It’s actually a good thing, really. Nothing like a good spurt of ooze to make the magic happen.

oh the things i want to do!

That was me this morning, in the car, waiting for Lancelot to get done with work. Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” was playing on the stereo. That is just so very much me.

So many ideas right now, things I want to do. I was contemplating a possible new project for my bedroom that would let me display my necklaces better. I’ve also been thinking about making jewelry from some of the pieces I picked up over the weekend. And knit projects with the yarn I got in Ireland.

Notice anything missing? I just really don’t feel like doing any writing. And that’s not good. I’ve got one packet left to finish. I need to buckle down.

In other news, I saw the dermatologist yesterday. I’m starting a new topical ointment and three new pills. I’m not thrilled, but she seems optimistic. Oh, and I need to put some serious effort into losing weight. I told her that I could lose 8lbs by the time I see her in four weeks.

I’ve got to do this. I’ve been suffering with this nonsense for too long. And I know I’ll feel better if there’s a little less of me. I know what I look like doesn’t really matter to Lancelot, but I also know that he wants me healthy.

Step one – no more sugared beverages. Anything sweet must be zero calorie. Fruit juice must be 100% juice and not have any added sugar. Just doing this should help. But I’m also going for more raw fruits and veggies, portion control, and less junk. I can do this.

Once my ankle heals a little more I can get back on the treadmill and that should really help. Right now just isn’t the time for that. But I’ll get there. I have to.

fake it ’til you make it, right?

I got my hair done last night and this picture doesn’t totally do it justice. The cut is the same, it always is, but the front is now a silver-lilac color. This is what I had actually wanted last month. I love it, and Lancelot seems to approve.

I’ve made some progress with things, which is good. I’m mostly caught up on laundry, the bed got made this morning, I’ve been finding bits I need to take with for my trip, I finished one of my school books this morning, and I’ve been emailing with my mentor about ideas I’m having for the memoir. All good stuff.

The weather is still (trying to) kick my ass. This morning I decided that I am well and truly over this bullshit. No leggings or tights under my jeans, no boots, no extra layers. I’m wearing flats with NO SOCKS because I am a REBEL. I’m also wearing the utterly gorgeous tree of life necklace Lancelot got me.

I’m hoping that today is productive at work. I was out yesterday because of the weather and shot nerves, something that is happening entirely too often because of snow storms. I’ll kick some ass and take some names today to make up for it.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my beverage cup this morning. I stopped and got a chai latte at my favorite local coffee shop.

of all the hobbies i’ve loved before

Before my official diagnosis in 2006 I was a voracious reader. I lived in a townhouse with husband #2 and we had bookshelves in damn near every room. The one in the living room was the largest; easily eight foot tall and four foot wide. R made extra shelves for it and I had every single one of them double deep. I read every damn book in the house, at least once.

When I was manic I could read a book in a day, two if it was really long. My favorite genre was, and still is, science fiction/fantasy. My dad introduced me to some of the OGs that he loved and then R hooked me on more. Reading was a drug for me.

My favorite author of all time is Robert A. Heinlein. His style, his philosophies, his universes, all of it appealed to me. Well, most of it. There were a few books and short stories that I just couldn’t get into, but the overwhelming majority of it spoke to my soul.

He wrote strong female characters during a time when women weren’t supposed to be strong. He wrote about sexuality in ways that were considered taboo at the time. And he wove messages of love and acceptance in his universes that we, in 2019, are still struggling with.

My favorite book of his is Time Enough for Love, the story of Lazarus Long, the oldest human. I’ve read it at least ten times, I love it that much. The story spans his three thousand years of life and is told through a combination of flashback vignettes and straight storytelling. It’s masterful. If you have any inclination to read something different and new (old actually), this is the book.

I find the philosophy of life that Heinlein espouses in that book highly appealing. It’s essentially “live and let live” and there’s not judgement of what love “should” look like or how it should be expressed. Children should be protected at all costs, assume the other guy is decent until he proves you wrong, and don’t be afraid to do what needs to be done. It’s truly one of the least judgemental books I’ve ever read.

He wrote other books and short stories, tons of them. Some of my other favorites are Fear No Evil, Stranger in a Strange Land, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. If you want recommendations for other amazing authors, I would try…

  • Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series
  • Patricia Kennealy Morrison
  • Patrick Rothfuss
  • Piers Anthony’s Xanth series (corny as hell but really good)
  • Brian Jacques’ Redwall series (kind of young adult lit but also really good)

Here’s a sad confession… At the height of my reading frenzy I owned several hundred books. When I was diagnosed and started meds I lost the ability to concentrate long enough to read. I gave away my books and stopped reading except for work. At the moment I own fewer than thirty books.

But –

Thanks to starting the MFA program I’ve found my reading mojo again. I’m able to sit still, concentrate, and enjoy what I’m reading. So hey, at least I’ve got that going for me.

In other news, life is mostly going great. I know I should follow up on the goals I had sort of set for February but, to be honest, I can’t be bothered right now. I can tell you that I finished the Davina shawl and made three headphone pouches (not on the list, but necessary). And I did well with my finances, though I can’t recall if that was part of it. And I submitted sixty new pages in my manuscript and everything got turned in a day early. I think that’s admirable.

This month I’m working to finish a shawl I started sometime last year. The construction of this one is very different than ones I’ve done previously. It’s made of shell shaped pieces and then sewn together. The pattern says to make 36 and I think I have five done so far. It’s going to be quite lovely though. The yarn has long gradients of green.

Eighteen days until Dublin…

white is my least favorite color

Have I managed yet just how ridiculous fucking sick to death I am of winter? And snow? And snow in the winter? That’s like the fucking worst ever.

We had roughly 10″ of snow over the weekend and the temps are ridiculously cold. Again. Getting around this morning was dicey to say the least. Here’s what I don’t get, and never have really…

WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU THINK YOU CAN DRIVE ON SHITTY SNOWY ROADS IN A LOW TO THE GROUND SPORTS CAR WITH SLICK TIRES???

I can’t even tell you how many cars I saw stuck in the middle of roads this morning, all of them sports cars. Well, there was that one Audi SUV but it was being driven by an idiot.

I digress.

We started watching the Oscars last night. For a tiny bit of time I had a Garth kitty on my lap, which was nice. He was not that excited about the TV though. Sometimes he watches, no shit.

Today I have made myself three days worth of pasta salad for the rest of the work week. Mom gets her other cataract surgery on Wednesday so hopefully she’ll finally be able to see right. I’m trying to get myself back in gear with my eating habits and everything. It’s a work in progress.

Anyway, this pasta is one that Lancelot introduced me to. It’s  made of five green veggies – kale, zucchini, spinach, parsley, and broccoli. I tossed it with an Italian salad dressing mix, grape tomatoes, sliced baby cucumbers, sliced olives, and shredded mozzarella cheese. It looks and smells pretty good. We shall see.

Time to get back to homework, or housework, maybe both. The manuscript is coming along nicely, almost 140 pages. I need to somehow manage to read another memoir in the next day and start writing my critical essay. This packet of stuff is due on Thursday morning.