Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Menu

Here is the menu for week 4. Some of these things are on my Pinterest board labeled cooking. If you check it out, you can find the links there. This week is going to have me out of the house in the middle of the week. I'm also not sure if I am going to have another sick kiddo home with me for the week. As I am typing this, Snuggle Bug is asleep on the couch in his mismatched Spiderman & Cars pajamas. He woke up to play with his new Transformer for a few minutes and to have lunch (pedialyte and some chips). We thought he was over this when Monday passed with out a lot of sickness going on. We were wrong, because he got sick on Tuesday. So, he has been home all the rest of the week now (as of the time of my typing this up.)

I don't know how Monday is going to go, so I am typing this post up a little early and it will be going up as per the schedule function here on Blogger. I am finding it surprisingly useful.

In case you can not read it, here is what I have down for each day.

Sunday (1/29): Breakfast - waffles; Lunch - leftovers; Dinner - Pizza (Not noted on this whole thing is snack. This is because the kids have been all about lollipops. Nothing interesting to be made there.)

Monday (1/30): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - Soup & salad (I'm going to be doing something based off of a chopped Thai salad on my Pinterest board.); Dinner - hamburgers with fries (I'm probably going to add a carrot salad to this as well.)

Tuesday (1/31): Breakfast - Muffins; Lunch: Out (I will be up in the city getting some work done on the car.); Dinner - tacos (This will be using the crock pot taco meat recipe.)

Wednesday (2/1): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - Veggie stew; Dinner - Reuben casserole with fries

Thursday (2/2): Breakfast - Eggs & toast (or muffins, depending on how many spoons I have that day); Lunch - peanut butter and jelly (because the kids have a half day at school and they like this); Dinner - macaroni & cheese, with bacon & tossed salad (I'll be using the 1 pot pasta technique with alfredo sauce and cheddar thrown in it. And I think I am going to be making a wilted spinach salad to go with it. In all my plans, I still haven't made one yet this month and I really want to have one.)

Friday (2/3): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - grilled cheese with soup; Dinner - cashew chicken with rice, cucumber salad & eggrolls

Saturday (2/4): Breakfast - Muffins (or eggs & toast, I haven't decided yet. Beloved may surprise me and make us all breakfast again. He's kinda awesome like that.) Lunch - Leftovers; Dinner - Lasagna with Italian sausage, salad, and garlic bread (Like the wilted spinach salad, I have been wanting to make this and not having the opportunity over the last few weeks.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spinning Notes : Week 4

I am presently spinning the same thing I was two weeks ago when I posted that video up on Youtube. It is roving from Frabjous Fibers. My mother in law got me for Yule two years ago. I started out spinning this last spring on my french spindle. The picture really doesn't do this colorway any justice.

They call it #4 Chromatophobia Pink. It ranges from a royal blue to a rose pink. The green shades are both peacock blue and grass green. The yellow shade is something somewhere between butter yellow and lemon. The transitional points between the shades are really delightful.

The fiber blend is exceptional. I honestly can not begin to describe how lovely it feels in hand to spin it. It is their "Opulence" blend. It is 30 % superfine merino, 30% tussah silk, 20% baby camel down, and 20% royal baby alpaca. If my hands are too dry, this fluffy stuff does catch on them a bit. If the weather is hot and humid, it will felt lightly as I am working. As such, I use my little wrist distaff to manage the fiber that I am not actively spinning.

I have been using my small turkish spindle for this project. I started on my french spindle but I got frustrated because my hand kept cramping. My goal is to (at some point) learn how to spin holding the spindle in my hand rather than supported in a bowl. It may require a lighter spindle, though. I am on the hunt for a medieval stick style spindle. In the meantime, I am going to try out the whole spinning with a knitting needle thing. My hope is the smaller diameter of the knitting needle will be easier on my hands.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Menu: Week 3

So, I never did get as far as posting my menu for last week. I apologize. I just managed to completely forget to do it until it was time to make my new one.

This is not half so neat and tidy as the first one I posted. I suppose you could say that life happened here. Looking at this week's menu chart, you will notice that Wednesday the 25th is highlighted. This is because that day is Cuddle Bear's first chorus concert. So, dinner is going to be out of the house. It is probably going to be at McDonald's or something. Because the kids love going to McDonald's and it is inexpensive. Dinner is not going to be happen at the usual time either, because we have to be at the school at 7pm sharp.

Here's what I've got for each day, in case you can not read the chart.

Breakfast: Donuts
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pizza

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soup & Salad
Dinner: Hamburgers
Snack: Lollipops

1/24/17 *
Breakfast: Donuts
Lunch: Veggie Stew
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets (for kids); Chicken and Rice (with Indian sauce from Aldi's) and Green beans
Snack: Cookies

Breakfast: Muffins/Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Out
Snack: Lollipops

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Veggie Stew
Dinner: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
Snack: Brownies

Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Tatertot bake
Snack: Brownies

Breakfast: Cereal/Donuts
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: To Be Determined
Snack: Crackers

* Tuesday's breakfast was switched with Wednesday's because the donuts I have are not likely to last that long. I may also have to change the plan to make chicken and rice for Beloved and I because it looks like I used the last of the chicken over the weekend.

The vegetable stew that I am going to make (and freeze some of for next week's lunches for myself) is from the Campbell's cookbook. They have it up on their website. Link HERE. I find this to be filling by itself. It is also really good with fresh bread.

My goal is to bake a loaf of bread on Thursday. I figure I can get that done in the afternoon or in the morning. If I am slick about it, maybe I can manage to do that fancy no knead bread. The last time I made it, it went really fast. I was lucky to get a few pieces of it before the guys ate it all. I highly recommend this recipe. And the technique used to bake it. It seriously was one of the best loaves of bread I have ever made.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Make do and mend.

I have taken up my needle and thread to mend clothes rather than running right out to buy replacements for stuff that is a little worn. As such, I have been doing things like letting out hems on pants as the boys get taller and patching worn out knees in blue jeans (on an almost weekly basis). I also have been fixing the hems on my dresses as the stitching starts to wear and reparing Beloved's slacks when they have issues.

I started out using those iron on patches. They are an ok temporary fix. I then started using the patches that are sewn on. I tried sewing from the right side of the fabric and from the wrong side of it. I tried doubling the patches over. They kept ripping out. I tried fabric glue, but that doesn't work too great.

Then I started darning the holes in stuff with some of my yarn remnants from the last year of crafting. As a result, I am finding that the mending actually is lasting longer. I did one with dishcloth cotton yarn. And I have done one with double knitting weight worsted acrylic. The dishcloth cotton was worked on the right side of the fabric and the acrylic was worked on the wrong side of the fabric. Of the two, Snuggle Bug has yet to pick a favorite.

I also repaired one of my favorite pairs of mittens. It is a commercially knit pair of mittens that are partly fingerless gloves and they have a flap for the mitten part to go over the fingers. The join where the thumb meets the back of the hand was coming apart. So, I took out my red acrylic yarn (the one with the smooth texture rather than the scratchy one) and darned that. I learned from when I had to darn one of the boy's mitten's last winter, when I do the weaving go over it initially in that plain weave of vertical and horizontal. Then, do another weave through it at a 45 degree angle before weaving in my ends. It makes for a much more solid fabric.

All of the darning I have been doing this evening has been done with a blunt tapestry needle. It was a bit more work to push it through the denim but I think that the long term pay out of having the yarn for the patch rather than thread is worth the passing frustration. Also, doing my mending by hand right now is cost effective. I have a Singer and an off brand miniature sewing machine (intended for kids). The Singer needs to get repaired. The off brand miniature machine doesn't have the strength to punch through multiple layers of felt. I don't think it would have the gusto to go through denim, never mind the additional work I would have had to do in opening up the seam, the repair, and then restitching the seam. So, I am darning things by hand.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fiction Friday: Unsheathed.

They told me that I had to stay behind lines. They told me that I had to remain safe. They told me that I couldn't fight.

Then the front line failed. Then the route started. People were pelting through the camp with naked terror in their faces. Generals gave up on the rally before it was even attempted. Support wasn't happening. It was every soul for themselves as the wave of death came forward.

I could have ran, but where was I going to run. I did what any person with blood in their veins would, I stood.

I am not sure where it began. I don't even remember how I got the sword. Somehow I went from standing at the cook fire with a pot to throwing a burning branch into a man's face as he grasped at me while I was opening another's guts with three feet of cold steel. I had the fire at my back and a screaming horde before me.

The world turned red. A scream like the fury of all the gods came from somewhere, I didn't realize until later it was my own voice. As I was in the battle madness, bodies fell before me and men began to come to my call, following me forward. I came out of the madness when my own man's face came before me. The sword in my hand was slick with blood and jagged where the edge had chipped on shields. Pieces of flesh and hair was stuck in those broken pieces that I didn't remember where they came from.

But, my man stood before me, the noise of war behind him. The foe was in flight, our own after them. And I knew in that moment, I was born to the sword. Thus, I earned my names, red brand and shield breaker. My man, he gave me honors due to me and now I stand at his right hand. The others of the village are wary but they listen when I speak now.

I was given my own insignia by the earl. A red sword. My man wears my ensign. I hear whispers that I am the Falcon come again. I know not if it is true. I only know that I am feared when I bear a blade unsheathed.

It is power that is my due.


Written while listening to The Glitch Mob's cover of Seven Nation Army.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yarn stuff.

So, I spent my morning doing crochet and using up yarn scraps. Today, it was cotton yarn scraps. I made a washcloth. You may not be able to tell, but it is based off of the concept of the Log Cabin quilt square. The first 'block' of the thing was a square of single crochet six stitches long by six rows high. I then made the second block another six stitches by six rows. After this, I made a block of twelve stitches by six rows.

The next block was 12 x 12. The following block was 24 x 12. The next block was 24 x 12. The final block was 48 x 24. I then did the edging first round in single crochet followed by two rounds of moss stitch. My joins were done by the method of drawing the first loop of the new color through the final stitch of the previous color. It's basically how you join things so that you don't have to double up your yarn for the stitches or tie knots. I then did single crochet over the two inches of the two ends. I almost had enough of the outer most yarn to do three rounds of the moss stitch. I was about three inches short of what I needed to finish that final round.

While it came out a bit bigger than the other washcloths I made last week, I think it is still pretty good. Beloved thinks it is pretty awesome because of all the clashing colors. I don't think I mind them, to be honest, though. There is enough division with the solid colors that that I can look past how they contrast. I think I will be using the Log Cabin crochet block to make a couple of pillows or something next. I like how it worked up so easily.

I am still spinning up the thread in that rainbow colorway. I think the total time I got in spinning over the last week is about an hour. I am going to try to remedy that. My goal is to spin at least 15 minutes every day. Partly because I want to get through this fiber. And, partly, because I want to make some headway into the rather large pile of fiber I have amassed this way I can justify buying more when Fiber Fest comes in September.

This week, the spinning guild meets. I will be bringing my spindle and fiber. This is the week of the silent auction. I'm not sure what goodies I will see there. I am, however, going to bring the drawer pull spindles I have made to add to the pile of stuff that is offered. Before I get that far, however, I want to decorate them a bit. I am also going to see if I can manage to add some weight with the washers that I picked up at the hardware store a little while back. If I can accomplish that, it will be a nice little feather in my cap.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Spoon deficit.

Today has been a very long day. The boys were home from school for the day. As a result, we had pretty much chaos from when they got up to when they went to bed. The apartment has gone through two full cycles of clean everything and then destroy all order.

As a result, I am operating a bit behind the curve right now. I got two washcloths finished. I DO NOT RECOMMEND the Scrubby yarn from Coats and Clark. It is as bad as eyelash yarn. I have a really hard time seeing where I am making stitches. It was really difficult. I knitted the smaller one and the larger I made via Tunisian crochet. It is just a simple square with a loop added on at the end in one corner from basic chain crochet.

I will attempt to post this week's menu tomorrow. I will be sort of doing all the things tomorrow as well. In the morning, I have an appointment with the allergist to do a food challenge. We're trying to determine if I am indeed allergic to salmon. I am struggling with a great deal of anxiety over this. It is unpleasant. I get to be there for 3 to 4 hours. I am planning on bringing my writing stuff to continue my work to get things organized. Who knows how successful I will be, I know I don't know.

I apologize that I don't have the menu post for you this week. Please bear with me as I strive to get things sorted out over the next day or so.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Making Changes: Wk 2 - Organize MORE!

I am finding that the work I did last week to get my mental health journal straightened out has been really helpful. I am also finding that the work I have been doing on my daily planning binder is working out well for me too. I have unearthed everything for my printer. I will be testing to see if I can even hook it up to my lap top and if my ink cartridges still work. With luck, everything will work properly.

I have been steadily working my way through my notebooks and organizing my materials. Reformatting my divination notebook has me wondering if I need to just scrap going over things in paper on that front and switch to digital. I am seriously debating setting up a database to track my divination notes. I want to do a better job of keeping that organized as I get back into the practice of doing tarot readings again. I still haven't decided if I am going to be doing them for hire again. I have left my Keen site set up, this way I still have this option open. I just don't want to put myself in the position of over exerting myself when I should be focusing on other things.

My planning materials for writing are slowly taking shape. I have the planning stuff for one blog taken care of (mostly). I still have to draw up the charts for tracking things like blog views and determine what good goals are. I am honestly unsure what good goals are for blog views and what not. I am also questioning if I should be focusing on numbers or if I should be focusing on content.

I have a copy of Artful Blogging. It is an awful pretty magazine. But the recommendations are .. well, they're self-contradictory. One person says focus on numbers and another person says focus on content. And then yet another person says focus on what you feel. It is all very confusing. I feel like I am looking for rules where there are none.

My notebook/binder for handcrafts is still a mess. I have done more notation about what I have been making on my blog than I have been in there. I think this is because the thing is a mess and I am still trying to finish a knitting project that is in it. Trying to schedule my day to make time for handcrafts whilst schedule new projects to make for Yule this year is getting frustrating. So, I am probably going to sit down with Beloved and try to make sense of it all with him.

Patterns! Unicorn Poop Coffee Cup Cozy & Heart Trivet

So, I decided I was going to make something for a friend of mine when I saw this absolutely awesome yarn at the store yesterday. The yarn is from Peaches and Cream. It is called Candy Sprinkles. It is a rainbow pastel space dyed cotton yarn typically used for washcloths. I used it to make a coffee cup cozy and a heart shaped trivet.

Now, the choice of cotton yarn may sound a little odd for a coffee cozy. This, however, is based in SCIENCE! A few years back, I was part of a group on Ravelry for science oriented yarn nerds. We did a casual study to figure out what type of yarn was most effective for retaining heat (and cold). There was no standardized pattern used. Everyone made their own patterns.

We had knitted material and crochet. I think someone did weave something too, but I'm not entirely sure. We all did samples from cotton, acrylic, and wool. Some used commercially produced yarn (ie from a company like Caron) and others used handspun yarn. I was one of the people who used commercially produced yarn. One thing that consistently was proven was that dry cotton did the best job for insulation. As a result, I now make my coffee cup cozies only with cotton.

This cozy is crochet. I used a sized F (3.75 mm) hook. The yarn is a size 4 yarn. The ribbon for the ties is rayon and 1 mm wide. This is a simple rectangle. I chained 44 stitches for my starting row. I then worked three rows of single crochet. After this, I worked 11 rows of Linen stitch (also known as Moss stitch or Granite stitch). I worked three rows of single crochet and then one row of slip stitch. Down the side of the rectangle, I did a chain of seven stitches and the slip stitched it into place at three intervals. I then did ten single crochets into each chain loop, doing a single crochet where each was fixed to the side of the cozy. I fastened off when I came back to the top edge where I started making my loops and wove my ends in. I then secured a three inch length of ribbon where each loop was at its greatest elongation over the other edge when it was against it. Each ribbon was slipped through a stitch and secured with a square knot. Then, the loop was laid over it and tied down with a simple bow.

The heart trivet was something I backwards engineered based off of something I saw on Pinterest. I then adapted it a little. In starting it again, I think I would use a foundation half double crochet instead of foundation single crochet. Aside from that, it was really straight forward.

Foundation row has seven stitches. First through fourth row have seven half double crochet. Fifth row has seven half double crochet and then I chained seven stitches. Next five rows has fourteen half double crochet. I then did two rows of single crochet around the edging, starting at the bottom point. At each outward pointing corner, I did three single crochet in the point of the corner. At the inward pointing corner, I did a decrease on the first row and then a slip stitch on the second row. I slip stitched the end stitches of the two rows to the first stitches of the row (the slip stitch being the third of that cluster for the corner). I wove in my ends and this was the result.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fiction Friday: Fight with Fire.

Harker walked down the alley, pulling the collar of his jacket up to ward off the cold.His wiry black hair was tousled by the wind and managed to catch enough of the vapor in the air from the mist to send a few drops down the back of his neck. Ahead of him, the man he was supposed to meet stood next to an exceptionally well restored nineteen sixty five muscle car. The man's face was turned away from the light.

The light from the streetlamp near by gleamed orange off of the man's black leather drover's coat, making it look like a vertical oil slick. "You're early," the man standing by the car said, pulling a steel lighter out of the depths of his coat. He flicked it once. Despite the wind, the lighter flared to life. The man with the lighter had a face that someone may have described angelic once, if it wasn't for the scars about his mouth. His hair was the color of hammered copper in sunlight, or maybe sparks. Harker wasn't sure. All he knew was that this man had a job for him.

"My mother taught me it was important to be prompt for business meetings. My father taught me that meant five minutes early if you're running late and ten if you're on time," Harker answered. The other man took a pull off of his cigarette. The end thrust into the flame flared brightly. There was a faint blue flicker around the edge of it. Then the brief flash of light died down to a dull glow. In that brief moment, however, Harker saw eyes that were green as glass and as cold as the harbor's winter waters a mere quarter of a mile away.

"You're a man of business, then?" the other said with his words in a decidedly dragonesque puff of smoke.

"That's why you called me, isn't it?" Harker answered. Something at the back of his mind said that he was on treacherously thin ice in dealing with this man, but the pay promised was enough that Harker was pretty sure he could just leave the game. Harker was getting tired of being a hatchet man for the highest bidder.

"So it is," the smoker answered, turning towards the back door of the bar just beside him, "Come, have a drink with me. I will give you one last chance to walk away from this job."

"Brandt doesn't let people smoke in his bar," Harker said. The red haired man looked over his shoulder at Harker. He smirked. It was a look that made Harker decidedly uncomfortable.

"Brandt will make an exception for me. He's been expecting me." As the smoking man walked into the bar, a wall of noise came out the door with a waft of hot air. For a moment, Harker could have sworn that the red haired man looked to be over seven feet tall. The hit man shook his head, deciding it had to be a trick of the light. He followed his prospective employer through the establishment to the end of the bar that was closest to the side they came in from.

Brandt turned, waving a big hand at the slender man in the black leather coat. "Put that damn thing ..." His words died on his lips when he looked at the scarred man sitting at the end of his bar. Elegant hands were folded primly before him and resting on the stained hickory bar. His features were sharp, elfin almost. A ragged series of scars were over his mouth, crossing his lips as though someone had cut through them. Brandt, who was already pretty pale because of his Norwegian blood, blanched as the scarred man gave a smirk. There was something cruel in his expression that made Brandt, who was a fairly big man, look like he was about to beg the school bully to just take his lunch money rather than kicking him in the stones.

Brandt bent over and pulled out a bottle from the hidden depths of his cupboard. He put three shot glasses down before the scarred man. As he poured out the shots, his hand shook. Brandt left the bottle beside the shot glasses. The scarred man looked over at Harker. "That one is for you," he said, pointing at the third shot glass. Harker glanced at the bottle and blinked in surprise. Sitting on the counter where just anyone could walk off with it was a bottle of scotch older than his father. "Drink," his prospective employer ordered. The scarred man had finished his shot in the time that Harker was looking at the bottle and seemed to have finished the other as well. Now, he looked at Harker with those emotionless eyes. Feeling as though he was being watched by something like a snake, Harker threw back the shot. He swallowed reflexively. Then he started coughing and his eyes watered almost instantaneously.

"You are a man of business," the other said as he turned his attention back to the bottle, "My business is change. I have need of a man like you. Someone who will do the job and not worry about little details like what opinions people would have of it." He filled up the empty shot glass to the right of his hand, the one before him, and then Harker's. "Brandt needs a reminder why he should not ask me to do ... petty things," the green eyed man said.

"Then why don't you tell him?" Harker said, gesturing towards Brandt, who was at the other end of the bar paying a great deal of attention to a drunk woman's breasts that were propped up just before him on the polished hickory.

"Because Brandt has a bad memory," the other replied, "You are going to make his memory more effective."

Harker looked over. The green eyed man pulled the lighter out of his pocket. The steel looked more like silver. On one side there was the head of a howling wolf. On the other, a female grim reaper with a serpent wrapped around her. He put it in front of Harker. 

"Finish your drink. Then, put this to use," the green eyed man said. Harker looked over at him in surprise.

"This place is full of people," he hissed at the green eyed man. The other nodded.

"Better pull the alarm on the way out then," he said, "Brandt's bullshit killed at least double this number in Serbia. His name isn't even Brandt. He came here and changed his name. Underneath that shirt, he's got himself a swastika and a valknut. My name is tattooed into his left shoulder. He said that I was going to keep his business pure of those dykes, fags, and queers." The word 'pure' was sneered and turned into an insult that even Harker couldn't help but feel uncomfortable with.

Harker looked down at the lighter. The man at his right leaned closer and muttered in his ear, "They're my people. He killed them. Tonight, he pays. And you, Aleksander Harker, were looking for a way to do justice. You know that Tyr scorns you. He spits on your name for what you've done. You and me, we're a like. We do what gets the job done. Damn what they think is proper. Sometimes, eggs, skulls, and rules need broken. Finish your drink and then do your fucking job."

Harker looked over as the other stood up and walked out the way he had entered into the building. Brandt looked at Harker as though he was a bomb waiting to go off. He thought about his brother, Jan. Jan who was beaten to death for being gay. Jan who insisted that the world was a better place because he was finally able to go off to college, to Russia where his husband's second cousin lived.

Harker drank his scotch. He picked up the bottle of fifty year old scotch and walked away from the bar. He passed by a closet between the restrooms. There was a hum of electrical equipment in there. Harker shoulder checked the door and it swung inward. He looked around the room. Wiring was exposed. Even to his untrained eye, it was a fire trap waiting to happen. The brown paper of the fiberglass packaging was sticking out between the support braces of the small room. He thought about Jan. He leaned forward, holding the bottle near his hips. Someone walking by simply thought he was urinating. After pouring about half of the bottle on the floor beside the nearest bit of exposed insulation, Harker touched the lit flame of the lighter to the brown paper. He snapped the lighter shut and stuck it into his pocket as the tiny spark soon was a little burning flame almost the size of a quarter. 

As he rolled around the door, he put the bottle to his mouth and did a passable imitation of a drunkard's stagger. He reeled past a fire alarm. Seemingly stumbling into the wall, he pulled down on it. The alarm blared as the faint scent of smoke came from the closet. Harker emerged from the building to find his employer standing beside the car. "That the first part of your job, Aleksander," he said, "Now, you're going to come with me. We have work to do."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fiber, Fluff, and stuff.

Not the best pic, but this is the beginnings of a center panel for a sweater I've decided I'm going to make. The colorway is Sunset. The yarn is Caron's Simply Soft Paints. It is sport weight acrylic. I have several balls of brown that matches the brown in this colorway. I'm going to use them for the rest of the sweater. I'm aiming for a simple pull over the head sweater.

It's probably going to look boxy, but whatever. I'm making this with out a pattern.

If you can't tell, this is supposed to be something like that planned color pooling where it comes out with an argyle pattern. I don't quite have that happening, but maybe after some more rows it will emerge. I don't know. I'm going to make one for the front and one for the back. This right here is one ball. I am using the Granite stitch. I am using a size H hook. My gauge is approximately 10 stitches per inch and 5 rows per inch. So far, the stitch has been really easy to use. I find it kinda relaxing and pleasant to work on.

I used it and the end of a ball of blue-grey-white variegated cotton yarn to make a pair of wash cloths. The stitches worked up really easily. I also think that the argyle effect was more pronounced. I am pretty sure that was due to a difference in the spacing of the way it was dyed. I probably will need to adjust my tension or something with the acrylic one I'm working with. I'm enjoying the let's make something looking complicated from space dyed yarn.

I am trying to spin my spaced dyed wool so that I could maybe eventually do that with it. I don't think I'm going to have as much success, though. I only got about 20 minutes of spinning done this week. I'm using my little Turkish spindle and the rainbow dyed roving that my mother in law gave me for yule two years ago. I am also using my little pink wrist distaff.

It's nothing exciting, but it may become something so eventually, right?

Monday, January 09, 2017

Monday Menu!

A part of my doing new stuff is that I'm going to start sharing my menu for the week on Mondays. I have two reasons for doing this. One is it helps me remember to write it up Saturday evening. Two, it helps me remember to check it for the week on Monday, this way I know what to get out of the freezer to thaw out.

Here's the menu for this week.

In case you can't read my handwriting here's what I've got there.

Sunday: breakfast - chocolate donuts; lunch - sandwiches; dinner - pizza (We do homemade pizza.)

Monday: breakfast - cereal; lunch - salad & soup; dinner - cheese burgers & carrot salad (recipe below)

Tuesday: breakfast - cereal; lunch - soup; dinner - tatertot bake with ham & peas (recipe is on my Pinterest page. will link HERE.)

Wednesday: breakfast - muffins (I have a mix for apple muffins.); lunch - salad & sandwich; dinner - spaghetti with meat balls, salad, garlic bread

Thursday: breakfast - cereal; lunch - leftovers; dinner - shake-n-bake chicken, mashed potatoes (instant), broccoli

Friday:breakfast - eggs, bacon, biscuits & gravy; lunch - leftovers; dinner - meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes, wilted spinach salad (this is on my Pinterest page, link HERE.)

Saturday:  breakfast - cereal; lunch - leftovers; dinner - chicken paprikash, egg noodles, brussels sprouts (the chicken paprikash recipe is from my late aunt Shawn, I have it in a cookbook here. I'll ask my aunt Adrian if I can share it.)


Carrot Salad (I got this from my Mom. We had it all the time when I was a kid.)

5lbs carrots, cleaned, peeled and grated
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup whipped salad dressing

In a large bowl, mix together until everything is well coated. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serves 5-7 people

It doesn't freeze that great. If you save it in the fridge, you will want to eat it within a few days. Otherwise, the stuff will get a little soupy as the water comes out of the carrots as it sits.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

As an aside ...

A part of me feels a bit foolish that I am sitting here using pen and paper to organize everything when I have the wonderful resources of the internet and technology at my fingertips. Am I really a Luddite? I honestly don't know.

In other news, Beloved bought me a pair of Skullcandy headphones. I couldn't figure out why they weren't working right. Then he showed me that I had to have the cord plugged in until it clicked.

Yep, you read that right, I was stymied by a damn cord.

I fear for when my phone gets upgraded. With my luck, I'll hit the wrong button and nuke Alaska or fire off some orbital cannon and burn my text message into some poor farmer field. Because, firing death rays into corn field to ask someone to pick up a gallon of milk is an actual risk in the future, I am sure.

HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR STEAK DONE? (image from Fallout?)

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Making Changes: Wk 1 - Organize.

So, I have decided that I need to make changes in my life. I have been disorganized and neglecting a good number of things because of this. I have sit down and reworked my mental health journal. I have a monthly page set up for tracking habits and symptoms. It is a large grid. Across the x-axis, I have the dates noted with a single initial for the date of the week (ie: M for Monday, T for Tuesday, etc.) and then on the line beneath it is the numeral for the date. On the y-axis, I have the things that I am keeping track of.

 If you look at this picture to the right, you will see how I have things oriented on the page. I highlighted Sundays because it was difficult for me to discern what day was what with out it. You may also note that at the head of the graph, I have a note stating what month it is for.

And yes, I know, I oriented everything differently than what most would expect. This, however works best for me.

If you look at this second image of the two pages above, you will see that I have a key written down. This helps me track what is going on and such. It is a re-working of the bullets suggested for most bullet journals.

I also have an affirmation for the month. The last space open on this two page layout notes what important dates are coming up during the month. This way I remember that I have appointments with my psychiatrist and such.

I also have weekly lay outs between the monthly ones. These pages are different from the typical bullet journal style pages. Most of the bullet journals that I have seen, the weekly/daily pages are set up for to-do lists and such. Mine in this journal are instead focused upon taking short notes about major details about the day. On the left hand page,I have my week noted down. The week is written down as a heading for the page. Each day then has a block assigned to it with the day of the week and the date (written in numerical month . date format). In a given day's block, I have any appointments for that day written down in colored ink. Then, the remainder of the block is used to note major details about symptoms, medications taken, and things like if I had a cold or was on my menses.

On the right hand page of the weekly lay out, I have a section to write down notes about what I am grateful for. These are literally one line of detail, such as chocolate flavored tea (which is AMAZING, I found it at Walmart.) or my kids doing their homework with out a major fight. Below this, I have six lined sections. They each have a date notation. They are where I get into a bit more detail about my symptoms. So, if I had a hard time sleeping one night due to nightmares, I would note that. If on another day I had flashbacks, I would note that down and the trigger - if I recognized what the trigger was. Below this is a section for me to write down notes about medication. Thus, if I had a migraine on Tuesday, January 3rd, I would write that down and that I had take Aleve for it. Or if I had to take some Ativan because I had a panic attack, I would note that. 

The final section is for my notes about appointments. I basically summarize what happened in my appointments that week. So, if I saw my psychiatrist, I would have a note about what changes were in medication or what we discussed. I would also note down when my next appointment is. I am probably going to be changing the format for the notes on the right hand page. I will likely be adding a line for the 7th day of the week in the symptom tracking section. So, that will probably change the size of the other two sections below it. As it stands right now, I think appointment notes will be losing two lines but with out any real problems coming from it.

I have been spending time over the last two weeks studying the whole bullet journal concept. I am in the process of applying it also for my home planning binder. I have my monthly calendar in there. After this, I had a check sheet for my daily chores. This was based off of what FLYLady had going on with her control journal concept. It sort of worked but I really needed something else. So, I have made weekly pages. 

Along the y-axis, I have the "To Do List" for the day, then I have a section for my calls, above this is a pair of blocks for my morning and afternoon time. On the x-axis, I divided everything up as equally as I could manage. As a result, I have eight columns. The columns 1-7 are for the seven days of the week. Column 8 has a section for notes. Then it has a section for noting what bills are due that week. This is where I would note what bill is due, the date, and amount. I would also have a checkbox to note if it got paid.

There are also two check boxes. One is for the list of stuff that Beloved is helping me be organized and do. We have discussed it and he has agreed to help keep me accountable for things like keeping track of my mental health stuff, getting exercise, and healthy eating (among a few other things but you get the idea). And because redundancy seems to help, I have a check box for if I completed everything on my mental health list. I think I'm going to be filling that in with tally marks.

On the opposite side of the page, things are in a similar layout physically. I just copied the boxes to the other side of the page. The x-axis the generally the same except for column eight. In the bottom two boxes, I have a space to note what my total spending on groceries was for the week and a note what that number means. The top row are my menu planning for breakfasts. The second row is my menu planning for lunches. The third row is my menu planning for dinners. The fourth row are my notes about where to locate recipes and what sort of snacks I am doing on a given day.

I have been doing this format for my weekly planning for two weeks now. It seems to be working better for me. It also helps me to stay on top of things like my grocery lists and such. On the side of the page that is for noting appointments and stuff, I did add a small couple of things. If a day has a bill due, aside from the note in the 'bills due' section, I also write a small $ on that date to remind me I need to pay something. On pay days, I write a small $ to help me keep track of that. My hope is that this will get me to where I am no longer having anxiety attacks over what bills need paid.

I am also presently in the process of figuring out what other sections I should add to my binder to have it make more sense. I am seriously thinking that I should have a section where I keep track of finances. I don't know if my printer still works. If so, I am going to print off a few excel sheets to keep a running ledger. I am also going to revise and update the page that notes what bills we have. Thus, I will have a page with a list of who we have to pay, why we pay them, what the billing address is, the customer service number, the account number with them, the date the bill is due, and (if it isn't a variable amount) how much is due each month. I am also going to make a thing to note what I pay via web-banking and what I am using checks for. The ultimate goal is to migrate everything over to web-banking and (if possible) set everything up for automatic payments.

For me to be successful with that, however, I need to have a very good grasp on just how exactly money flows around here. Fortunately, Beloved is handling the savings side of things. He also sits down with me regularly to help make sure that my math is good. I'm going to see if we can schedule a day every two weeks or so to just check in on the finances stuff. I get super anxious about money stuff. Because he handles a lot of billing stuff at work, he gets burned out and runs out of the energy to focus upon that at home. Which is why I handle most of it. But, we're working towards keeping everything as organized as we can. This helps me with my anxiety and it helps him with his concerns about things like car payments being on time and such.

I am slowly compiling a section in my home organizing binder that lists the recipes for everything I make for dinner. It is a combination of writing down recipes from Pinterest that have become favorites (The tatertot casserole is a HUGE hit with the kids and we have it every Tuesday, regardless of the season.) and writing down recipes that I have always made and never really put much thought into. The last few months of being sick and having Beloved run most of the household made it pretty clear to both of us that having stuff written down in such a manner that it was all really straight forward would make life easier in the event that it happened that he had to take over dinner stuff.

I also, unfortunately, need to update the section of the home organizing binder that talks about health stuff. I have had the joyfully enlightening experience that I have a fairly long list of medical allergies. So, I need to update that thing and write down all the medications I am allergic to, and my new food allergy. I am not pleased with this development, but I think it is something that I really should make sure is written down. My father in law suggested that I get a medical alert bracelet or something to note down my allergies. I'm thinking he's got a good idea but I don't know if it could fit the whole damn list. I need to figure out what the hell one is supposed to do when they suddenly have a list of allergies that are a 1/4 mile long.

And, on top of all of this stuff I am doing to try to make my home and such more organized, I am trying to figure out how to apply these organizational things to my writing. This is far slower going. I am researching several different methods of how to do so. I am setting my sights upon getting my work into order so that I can eventually start doing things like submitting stuff to magazines and what not. I am somewhat nervous, but I have told myself that this is the year I am going to sit down and take my work seriously. Part of my work is being a parent and keeping the household running. Part of my work is keeping myself healthy. And part of my work is building my writing career.

I have told myself that I am going to devote January to getting things set up and orderly. And then over the remainder of the first quarter of the year, I am going to make a concerted effort to keep myself on task and build the habits I need to be successful. Part of this is also going to require making sure that there is some flexibility built into it all because of the fact that I need to take into account the impact of my bipolar and related mental health problems. So, I am spending a whole month getting things set up and into place. If I take the time to do it right, I think I will be successful.

Also, I have a goal of posting in here once a week, at minimum. Three times a week was a little to ambitious. I have scaled it back to see if I can be more successful. In the meantime, I am going to focus on progress. Because Beloved is right when he says that progress is more important than having a pile of things I can point at and say 'I did THIS today.' It is kinder to treat myself as being successful when I get baby steps done rather than demanding I have a finished product in a stupidly short amount of time.

Monday, January 02, 2017

I have no idea what I am doing here.

Happy 2017, y'all. Trying to get my life organized. I have no idea how well this is going to work or what the hell I am doing.

Yay for adventure, right? Who knows, maybe I'll manage to get back to posting on a regular basis. In other news, I think hell is presently freezing over. And I am seriously considering adding whiskey to my coffee.