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Everything posted by Mistr

  1. Excellent use of bookcases in your living room! Having a Computer Nook so you can put the computers out of the way is great for making mental space. At the beginning of the pandemic, @Scaly Freak recommended that I cover my computer when I am done with work. It sits in a corner of the family room, the same room I use for all my fun activities. Throwing a blue blanket over it makes it part of the background when I am not at work. Nice that the weather cooperated and you could get outside and walk. I hope this is the start of a positive trend.
  2. Yay for taking the bouldering class! Do people wear gloves for climbing? I would think that would help a lot to protect your hands.
  3. Yes, I agree completely. Cleo is getting help on the mental health side. I hope that makes a difference. You or I would spend a lot of time researching what is known about a condition and what experiences people report with treatments. Cleo doesn't have the education to do that. She is at the mercy of her doctors, who have shown that they do not talk with each other or read each other's notes.
  4. Cleo has been living with us again for a couple months. Cleo and Elf have patched up their relationship and that seems to be going well. Elf assures me that they have worked through the major issues and are on a much healthier footing. I hope that is true. I have mixed feelings about how things are going. Initially, all looked good. Cleo had a job at the local drug store. She liked the job and the people. Then Elf caught covid and gave it to Cleo, Dumbledore and me. That set off a chain of bad health events for Cleo. She has had to go to urgent care once a week since the beginning of January. We joke that it is Elf and Cleo's favorite date-night spot. At a certain point, I have to wonder how much of the medical crises are real and how much are psychosomatic. I am sure the dizziness and fractured arm are real. She has a ton of trauma in her past to cause mental health issues. I think her self-esteem is likely low and that makes her bad at advocating for herself with medical people. One of the complaints Dumbledore and I had last year (before the drama) was that Elf and Cleo just hid in their room and did not interact with us as part of the household. Elf would do cooking, but not when other people were around. Part of that was simple logistics - it is hard to cook when other people are in the kitchen. Dumbledore says that it feels like we have roommates who don't pay rent and only occasionally do a little cleaning. Not what we signed up for. They have fallen back into that pattern. On our side, Dumbledore has not made any visible progress on sorting his stuff so that he and I can move into the downstairs bedroom. In fact, the room is full of his stuff. He says he is going to devote an hour a day to sorting. I hope that will really happen. The long-term goal is that we will move our bedroom downstairs and Cleo will have her own room. Elf has been working full-time since December, which is great. Elf and Cleo are make more efforts to go outside and do things. Those are both really positive developments. I know they have a plan for saving money and getting their own apartment. I don't see how that can happen until Cleo is healthy enough to work again. Rents are too high for a single person to afford a decent place to live.
  5. Yesterday I figured something out that has been obvious to everyone else. Point 1. When I look at salad kits in the grocery store, I think of them as an expensive convenience. They can be handy when there will be two or three people eating dinner together and I don't have much prep time. Buying the ingredients separately is clearly more economical. Point 2. I have given myself permission to buy lunch at work when my household has not done enough batch cooking and I forget that I have put ready-to-go lunches in the freezer. This approach has problems because the cafeteria in my building is often closed because of special events and they run out of food some days. Yesterday I bought the last salad they had at 11:55am. Prices have gone up over the last year and now salads are $6.30. That is not too bad compared to local restaurant options. Revelation - One bag of a salad kit makes two generous servings. I can get a salad kit for $3.00 or $3.50 if I buy them on sale. That makes my meal cost about a quarter of what I would pay at the cafeteria. I can add chicken breast or ham and the cost will still be less than half. I grilled six chicken breasts yesterday evening and chopped up two of them to go on salads. Today I had a salad with chicken that was very tasty. I plan on having the same thing tomorrow, which will use up the other half of the salad kit. I am glad to have another easy option for lunches.
  6. Cleo agreed to keep an eye on the cats during the day. They mostly nap, so this is not a huge responsibility. It will also get Cleo out of the back bedroom so she is not living in a cave. I hope that will help her be more comfortable as part of the household and make Dumbledore feel better about her interacting with us.
  7. Say what ?!? I have never had Easter Monday as a work holiday. The state university I used to work for did not close, neither did most government offices. It is not on the current list of US Federal holidays. A lot of schools used to schedule spring break to fall over Easter, but that is not as true as it once was. Yes. And knitting.
  8. I love the bounciness of your hair. Elf has curly hair and has struggled to find the right hair care products. They tried a lot of brands before finding things that work for their hair. Now their hair falls in adorable ringlets instead of being uncontrollable. Cleo also has curly hair but recently got frustrated with it and cut it really short. It seems that either long or short are easier to manage. With length, the weight of the hair makes it wavy. When it is short, it can just be very curly. The middle range can be challenging to manage.
  9. If I was sure who was peeing, you bet they would be going to the vet. Dorian will not allow anyone to pick him up and will freak out if we put him in a carrier. He probably should go to the vet, but it is a last resort. Amber has been to the vet recently. That is where the Feliway recommendation came from. I am afraid that locking either of them in a room would stress them out so much that the behavior would not be informative. Plus I do not want to clean up more cat messes on carpet. Maybe I should station Cleo in the living room to watch the cats all day. Hmmmm, that could work. You know, you have a point there. If I was actually awake I could do my own things while Elf was using the bathroom in the mornings.
  10. Only a little cooking happened because there were dirty pans on every burner of the stove and in the sink. Of course the pans I needed were in that pile. Instead I made cocoa-toasted cauliflower and washed dishes. I also did more laundry. One of the cats has been randomly peeing on things. I'm not sure which one. We set up a second catbox and put up Feliway hormone diffusers several weeks ago. I don't think the peeing is a message to us, because it is happening on places where Amber sleeps. I'm not sure if she is having bladder problems or if Dorian is sending a message to her. We now take the precaution of putting clean, unfolded laundry behind a closed door so the cats can't get to it. The downside of having an open-plan house is that there is no way to separate the cats each on a different floor. I don't want to lock either of them in a room for a few weeks just to test if that makes the other cat happier. It is a mystery. This week has been more reinforcement of the need for me to go to bed earlier. Elf got up at 5:15am this morning to take a shower. I was mindful of time last night. I did my prep early and finished sitting zen by 9:40pm. I really don't want to try to go to bed at 9, but that may be what I need to do to get enough sleep. Or I could wear earplugs, which I dislike. Maybe I should buy better quality earplugs. I feel like I won't have time to do anything in the evening if I have to start heading to bed at 8:30pm. Family news
  11. Hi Hal, good to see you! You have nice clear goals this challenge. Eat more veggies is often one of my goals too.
  12. You all might persuade me to join in the nail polish party. When Elf came to live with us, I discovered an inexpensive brand of nail polish called Sinful Colors. It comes in a full spectrum of shades and has fun glitter and iridescent colors too. I have a whole box of them. At $3 a bottle, I could splurge. My problem is being willing to sit still long enough to let the polish dry so I don't mess it up. I could incorporate that into my self-care relaxation time.
  13. Yay for having a high energy day and getting lots done! You also deserve credit for all the things you did on the days that were a slog, but you did it anyway. Excellent work figuring out that you were triggered and finding a more positive way to deal with it.
  14. I am so glad you stuck up for yourself and got in to see the eye doctor. I hope things go as smoothly as possible for your week as the sole parent-on-premises.
  15. Fascinating. I got sucked into phone games on Saturday. On Sunday I was able to just do a couple color-by-numbers, plus I did knitting and spinning. Much less compulsion. Dumbledore will help with the laundry. Work ran late enough that I decided not to try to rush to the dojo. I finished one annoying task that has been bugging me since last week. I will do one more thing, then cook.
  16. Weekend report I seem to be making progress, but slowly. The big win is that I worked on household accounting tasks that I have been avoiding for months. Saturday I submitted receipts for health savings account reimbursement. That will come to several hundred dollars. If there is 2023 money left after that, I have another set I can submit. (I looked at the account balance page, but it was not clear.) Sunday I got two of our accounts balanced and up to date in the tracking software. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was paid more than I thought in January. I also sorted and filed part of the stack that had accumulated on top of my filing cabinet. Again, several months worth of papers. When I got down to doing it, the tasks were not that hard. I even enjoy part of it. I think I still have lingering dread that I will find we do not have enough money. I know we are just treading water on getting out of debt. One of the tasks I still need to do is expense analysis, which will let us do budgeting. That said, doing the accounting took a lot of time. I had plans to do cooking and cleaning too, which mostly did not happen. I made a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins and prepped the ingredients for quiche. I have plans to make shepherd's pie, roast veggies and lemon-poppyseed pound cake. Elf cooked chicken and rice yesterday, so we did get some healthy food for the week. No one did any cleaning besides dishes. I did grocery shopping and so did Dumbledore. Actually, that is not true. I dusted a couple things that really needed it. I was inspired by seeing the top of my 2-drawer file cabinet for the first time in months. So many dust bunnies. Today I am looking at a choice between going to aikido and doing more of the cooking. I made the quiche for breakfast this morning. I have chicken breasts in brine waiting to be grilled tomorrow. The main issue is batch cooking veggies for the week. Dumbledore talks about doing that, but I don't think it is actually on his radar. I know from my experience last week that I don't have enough time after aikido to get much done. After consideration, I am going to go to aikido. I want to keep up the momentum from last week. I went on Saturday and my rolls are almost back to normal. I can do MWF this week. But only if I get the laundry done. Absolutely, I am glad you told us about your experience. Mine was not quite that bad. My aunt died during Covid (from other causes). I missed her funeral because I got Covid the week before. I did not want to risk exposing my mom or other relatives. I know that I was extremely fortunate in being able to work from home and having a good situation for doing that. In fact, I am enjoying the sunny windows and calm of my home office right now. For me, the big loss was being able to exercise at the gym and do aikido.
  17. Yes, I understand how getting your apartment organized feels more important than homework, even though it can wait longer. Assuming you get a car soon, estate sales are a great place to find good quality furniture at a reasonable price. I have been very disappointed in the selection of new furniture in stores. Older furniture was better made. Dining room tables were often only used on holidays and are in great condition, unlike kitchen tables. Chairs, on the other hand, tend to get a lot of use. Getting a high quality new chair for your home office is a smart investment.
  18. I am glad that you all seem to be on the mend. I used to keep my level of engagement feasible by sticking to the Monks. That stopped being a thing when the forums merged. There aren't that many monks here anyway. I find I can keep up with about 8-10 people. Some write more than others. I have never tried to visit all the threads. Like you, I find that overwhelming. I try to find people I have something in common with.
  19. I think your new hair color looks good, but I understand it is not what you were hoping for. I would call it auburn. A nice red-brown. Clearly more red than in the reference photos. You might be able to get a dark strawberry blonde. Or a deeper red that is less brassy. If you really don't want reddish, it may be difficult.
  20. Week 1 reflections After five days of the new-and-improved routine, I have discovered a few things: It takes me longer than I think to do the evening things and get to bed. I have an alarm set on my phone for 8:45pm. That gives me enough time to set out my clothes for the next day, scoop the catboxes, brush my teeth and get to bed by 9:30. If I am going to sit zen in the evening, I need to do these things earlier. Apparently I need 8.3 hours of sleep to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning. The difference between enough sleep and almost enough sleep shows dramatically in my attitude. Last night I got enough sleep. This morning I am willing to face tasks that were previously annoying. Much as I might want to do more things in the evening, I have to face the fact that Elf gets up for work at 5:30am. They do their best to be quiet, but the shower shares a wall with my bedroom. I am probably going to wake up at 5:30am whether I want to or not. My choice is how I want to feel about that. If I go to bed earlier, I will be vastly happier the next morning. Sitting zen is going okay. I gave myself permission to suck at it. I expected the muscles around my knees would be uncomfortably tight, and I was right. I am getting a lot of mileage out of "it doesn't have to be pretty, I just have to sit still for 30 minutes. I am curious to see how this looks by the end of the challenge. I have a Country Craftsman double-drive wheel. (not my photo, but my wheel looks just like this) I used to have an Ashford Scholar, but I loaned that to a friend (at the time) and it never came back. I also have an Electric Eel Nano that I got second-hand. I have not played with it much yet. I hope to be able to use it for trips. Go ahead, feel free to talk about it here. We do a lot of sharing on each other's threads.
  21. I hope the soundproofing and walks help you get better sleep. You may already know this, but here is a tip for organizing a new apartment. Write on post-it notes what you put in each drawer and cupboard. If you decide things would fit better somewhere else, move the note too. That will save you and Vivian a lot of time learning where the new homes are for your things.
  22. I have been sucked into nonograms twice. Both times I played far more than I should until I had done all the levels in the app. On good days I can appreciate the games and ration them reasonably. On bad days I struggle (and often fail) to stop playing. Yeah, that might be it. I certainly have a nagging feeling that the other shoe is going to drop and something bad will happen. It took me more than six months to recover after grad school. The Covid-related stress felt different, partially because there was no end point in sight. I no longer have that immediate feeling of anxiety, but I feel like I have a bunch of neglected things that I let slip when I was too busy that are now vying for attention. I like both. At the moment I would say I prefer the wheel. It is so much faster when I have 20 minutes here and there. When I was taking the bus and in school, I did much more spindle spinning. I just don't have standing around time in my regular routine these days.
  23. Yes, I am working on finding the stories that I tell myself. Some time ago I recognized the voices of my mother and my grandmother telling me how I should keep house. They were both full-time homemakers, while I have a full-time job. I still have to look hard to see if I personally dislike the mess and dirt in the house, or if I feel guilty because of their voices. I think a big part of the pressure to do it all comes from the Protestant work ethic. This is why fishing is so popular in my culture, it is one of the only approved activities where you can sit back and be quiet, because it counts as feeding your family. Sure, fish are tasty, but that is a bonus. I feel like I am being self indulgent when I go to aikido four days a week and do not stay on top of things at home.
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