1 year since I joined a cult

I am a pandemic cliche. Not just the puzzles I put together, the shows I binged, or the sourdough I started and baked with. No, it was the purchase I received one year ago today:

Yeah, I laughed at the commercial just like everyone else did. I took a spinning class once and hated it. But I guess I have enough friends that raved about it, so I reasoned that I could always return it if I hated it.

But I didn’t. I loved it immediately.

And all of the aches and pains that I’d gotten from four years of Orangetheory went away. The tendinitis in my ankle, the knee pain, the back pain, the shoulder tendinitis. I used to love running on the treadmill. That was my favorite part of OTF. But until I stopped, I didn’t know how much it was hurting me.

So what have I done over the past year?

668 rides totalling 9 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes

45 live rides

1 shout out from Tunde on my birthday

Longest ride was 75 minutes, 35 seconds during a work call (I have a tray for my laptop)

I could go further into my stats, like which instructor I took the most classes from, but that’s boring if you don’t have a Peloton so I won’t.

Anyway, I’m not going to talk about things like the number of calories I’ve burned or inches lost or anything like that because that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because now I have really amazing leg muscles and it’s good for my cardiovascular health. I do need to get better about taking advantage of all of the other classes especially upper body strength training and stretching. Maybe that will be my goal for the next 365 days.

Look at the cute view I have! (I mean the dog!)

March 11

Right around now, everyone is talking about “the last normal day.”

March 11, 2020 was the last normal day for us.

I took the boys to soccer practice that evening, and I used the time while they were practicing to go buy some hand sanitizer because I’d heard that might be a good idea.

By the time I’d driven to five stores with no luck, I knew something was up.

I went back to soccer practice to wait for the boys to finish. While I was waiting, I got a message from school that due to possible exposure, there would be no school for the next week or so.

Oliver and I were due to have our “day out” that Friday. Still waiting to do that.

And here we are, March 11, 2021 and I got my vaccine! It’s possible that everyone in my house is at least partially vaccinated now (though of course we don’t know with the boys, but it’s possible.)

Now for the obligatory post-shot selfie from my car:

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Saturday was my birthday! I was kind of worried it would suck because, you know, the state of the world, but it was really lovely.

I woke up early to do a class on my Peloton. Back in November or so, I set a goal of getting to 500 rides by my birthday. When I made the goal, I was about 120 rides short of that. So it was very ambitious of me, but I made it!

Why did I care about this arbitrary goal? Because during live rides, you can get shout outs if it’s your birthday and/or if you hit a milestone. So I figured if I hit a milestone ON my birthday, my chances were good. But the class I was in had over 4000 participants. What were the chances the coach would call me out?

Quite good, as it happened! Yay!

I was in the shower after my ride when I heard Ziggy freaking out. George said someone he didn’t know was on the porch. It was my bread-baking frenemy Jimmy! He and his wife Julie were there dropping off a gift (also from Ren.) Very thoughtful of them. In a kind of passive-aggressive way.

The boys gave me cards (homemade cards is all I care about from them) which I can’t share because they’d kill me, but the general theme of them was this:

And George gave me some skincare that I wanted from a local company.

After all that, I went to run some errands (which is really just an excuse to talk to Kiki on the phone while I drive.) I had to pick up this framed print from a local artist:

And some other boring errands you don’t need to hear about.

Here are some presents Kiki gave me…are you sensing a theme? (The other ones are also Schitt’s Creek themed.)

After I put together dinner (lamb skewers that Kiki also sent and some sides I picked up from a restaurant), I went to Jenn’s house where we sat around her fire pit. (Safely of course.)

And they got me a cake! A tres leches king cake! Sooooo good. And beautiful!

Terry gave me this, continuing with the theme:

And then I went home, way too late and slept til 10 the next day, which was glorious.

2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

This is going to be a weird year-end recap. Let’s see.

January

I got to go to Lisbon! Thank god we planned our meetup for January, or my only trip (outside of Louisiana, anyway) in 2020 never would have happened. Also I turned 45 there. (My third birthday meetup since I started at Automattic.)

The boys finished up their season playing soccer for the school team, which ended in winning the championship! I adore this picture of Linus.

February

Kiki came to visit! Thank god. I’m so glad I got to see her this year at least once. We ate a lot and took a road trip to Alexandria and Natchitoches for Linus’s archery tournament.

Later in the month was Mardi Gras! Where we were probably all spreading COVID like crazy! I made a fun Mardi Gras dress. Maybe I’ll get to wear it again in 2022.

Also I got a new wardrobe from IKEA. I love it.

March

Well it started out okay. I had raised over $2000 for St. Baldrick’s and I was so ready for my hair chop scheduled for the end of the month. Yeah, that still hasn’t happened. I did get a haircut, but nothing too drastic. (You can still donate, you know!)

Friendship day at the beginning of March. Probably we were all spreading COVID like crazy here too.

I took two days off to spend with Linus and Miles, just like I’d done the year before. We ate lunch and escaped from rooms.

Two days before Oliver and I were supposed to have our day off, I was sitting at soccer practice waiting for the boys when I got a message from the school. It was going to be closed for the next two days because there was a possible connection to a COVID case. You know what happened next.

The rest of March was a lot of sewing, cooking, and watching movies.

Click here for the fun part of 2020

Christmas 2020

Pre-Christmas:

Our tradition of me taking each of the boys shopping and out to eat individually looked a little different this year. We weren’t going to leisurely peruse stores for gifts, and we weren’t going to be eating inside any restaurants. But we still had fun.

Miles and I hit Target and then Five Guys. Is there anything more depressing than eating burgers on a gray, cold day at an outdoor table next to the parking lot and a busy commercial thoroughfare? I guess there is but I don’t want to hear about it. At least the burgers were delicious and Miles wasn’t complaining.

Oliver and I had a similar journey, but his requested meal was Popeye’s, so we had no choice but to bring our chicken sandwiches home. I was not sad about that. There are no photos of this jaunt.

Linus and I went to have brunch at Tartine, which has a lovely outside patio. One could say he lucked out. They have the most delicious baked eggs in brioche, which I can never not get. Yum.

Christmas Eve was pretty quiet. We had some incredibly delicious steaks that Kristina and Mike sent us. I was terrified of overcooking them, so maybe I went in the opposite direction (well, not for me – there’s no such thing as undercooking a steak to me) but no one complained.

Drool.

Steak is our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, and we were able to partake in most of our other Christmas Eve traditions as well. Like…making the boys put on their Christmas stockings to show how much they’ve grown.

(I made them sit in front of the fire. Hee hee)

The first time I made them do this, they were much smaller.)

And we read The Night Before Christmas…

No one got a very good night’s sleep that night. The smoke detector right outside the bedrooms started chirping at 4am. Delightful! It took me forever to get back to sleep. At least the boys let me sleep until 7. Zzzz.

Presents!

The boys got a gaming PC, or rather, all of the parts to build one. George put it together with their help later that day. They were surprised and thrilled with that gift. I got a giant Ziggy blanket (among other things) so I can’t complain. (Also a big pack of my very favorite socks from Kiki, which may sound lame was is absolutely not.)

Our oven broke sometime earlier this month, I can’t even remember when, so I decided I’d get a ham and cook it in my instant pot. That plan didn’t go well, so I gave the ham away and decided to do a charcuterie board instead on this gorgeous board that Steph MADE me! She MADE this! Isn’t it gorgeous?!?!

I was able to heat up the bread on the grill, which I might always do now. It was so good.

And that was about it for Christmas. It was quiet, but it was good.

Well this won’t do

Over two weeks since my last post. So this will be a random collection of thoughts and whatnot.

I still can’t watch anything but Schitt’s Creek. Well, okay, I watched the Emmys last night, but only the first hour, after SC won everything. That was delightful.

We evacuated to my mom’s for a non-hurricane. I think packing up all our stuff for a few days was enough to throw Sally off course. But on the bright side, we got some Grandee and Larry time! (Or Grandee and Larry got some us time!)

I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of a new dishwasher. Did we need a new dishwasher? I mean, our current one works, but it sucks. I am very excited about a third rack. It is definitely not Samsung.

Ziggy is still really cute.

I splurged on the fabric I really wanted for my coat, so I guess I’m making another one! Well, not the same pattern. And I think I’m really going to make a cape.

This made me giggle,

and then this did too.

Work is good. We’re hiring Happiness Engineers again, which means lots of work for me, but that’s not a bad thing, especially since I have more people to help me now. I am very grateful for my team at work and everyone I work with. But a few more hours in the day wouldn’t hurt.

I have been stress shopping a bit. Got a Vabroom, which is fun but naturally not as useful as one might hope.

I have also been dreaming about remodeling downstairs, but that’s just because a friend of mine is getting a new kitchen. Well. A girl can dream, right?

This might have been the most boring post I have ever written. Officially. My bad.

Random Tuesday post

I took part in a blogging workshop at work today, and now I am feeling inspired to post.

So let’s see, what have we been up to?

Haircuts!

The boys finally got real haircuts (first time since February or so) and now I feel okay about getting one. We went to a salon owned by the mom of one of their classmates, and everyone was masked and spread out, and it felt fine.

But even more exciting is that I am getting a haircut tomorrow! Mine hasn’t been cut since last September. Of course it was supposed to be cut in March for St. Baldrick’s but that didn’t happen, and it’s been rescheduled twice but as of now it won’t happen until next year and I canNOT wait that long.

I wanted to take a picture of my hair looking as long as possible for a Facebook post so I could get feedback on how much to get cut off tomorrow, and well, that backfired. I had to blowdry it and use a hot brush and a flat iron and a curling iron just to get it looking decent enough to share, and the feedback was largely “just a trim!”

I mean, first of all, thanks for the compliments but you know I never wear my hair down, it’s too much work and it’s too hot. And it’s a nightmare to wash. And it’s so heavy it gives me tension headaches. So I will probably go shoulder length.

My hair after making it look nice:

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If I just let it airdry:

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So yeah. Not great. Also I had to wear sunglasses because I forgot I put mascara on yesterday for a school meet and greet and taking it off is more trouble than it’s worth. But also I’m v glam.

In other news, remember how I mentioned that I was making a sourdough starter? Well, it worked! I’m kind of intimidated by it but I used this recipe sorta* to make a loaf of bread yesterday and by golly it worked**!

*This recipe had like forty gajillion steps and I was required to do something like every half hour for an ENTIRE day and I’m sorry, no bread is worth that, so I just like, let my mixer knead it for a while and called that a win. Also I took it out about 20 minutes sooner than the recipe said because it was about to scorch.

**I mean, it was tasty, but it was a very wet dough, maybe because I skipped the half-hourly folding or whattheheckever but it resulted in having to use a lot of flour at the shaping phase so there was a line of flour in the middle.

School starts on Thursday (at home) and I have three desks all set up for the boys. I just got a box of uniforms in the mail that I ordered when there was a sale over the summer in a fit of optimism, so I will definitely make them wear them for a picture. We joked about walking over to the bus stop at 7am but that would just make us all cry.

I took next week off work. Not for any reason except if I don’t do it now, it might be a while before I can. So I’m going to tackle a big sewing project. My motivation to sew has been pretty low lately, but maybe this will help! I’m making a Cashmerette Chilton trench in this plum herringbone flannel with a dark teal satin lining. It’ll definitely keep me busy!

Do I want to make the short or long version? Who knows?

And to close the post, Linus’s snowball before it turned into brown minty-fruity sludge.

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Mid-month check in

I mean. It’s mid-July. Whatever. Time has no meaning. Certainly the date doesn’t. But here’s what we’ve been up to, anyway.

We finally saw Grandee and Larry again this weekend. Steak was eaten. Yum.

I made Oliver a Manchester City mask.

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No idea what’s going on with school.

Since we can’t go on vacation, we are re-doing the boys room starting tomorrow. Here are a few very very very messy before pics. There will be a full post after.

Here’s a bit of the dresser we bought. This is the first piece of non-IKEA furniture I think I’ve ever purchased myself. (Or non-Walmart or Target, or that I don’t have to put together myself!)

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Ziggy is still cute.

I got a plant for my desk.

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I haven’t been sewing much lately, but I’m about to start sewing masks again for school. Blah. (I mean, who knows what school will look like, but I’m helping prepare just in case.)

Anyway, stay tuned for the boys’ room before and after!

What’s up?

Same old, same old.

Lots and lots of work.

Sewing:

Made myself another Artists Box Top out of the Liberty lawn I bought in May. Cotton lawn is by far my favorite fabric in the world. So light but crisp and easy to sew and doesn’t wrinkle horribly. Perfect for summer. Also I’m rather proud of this one because I made my own facings instead of trying to use bias tape, which I’ve never been able to find a good tutorial for using it on a v-neck.

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I also made George another button down shirt for Father’s Day. I couldn’t find any more Doctor Who fabric, but I found this one covered in cocktails at a local sewing store. (I had to make an appointment to shop. I felt v important.)

And I made myself this Holyoke sundress from Cashmerette. The top ended up a little big, and I’m not super comfortable with my arms out like this, but I’ll get over it when the temp is 100. This one is made out of a linen/rayon blend.

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Baking:

Bagels that looked funky but tasted good.

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Dinner rolls that look and taste amazing.

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Beignets from scratch!

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The boys and I ate at a restaurant for the first time since March! We went to Tartine, which friends of our own. It was delightful and the food was delicious and nice to feel sorta normal.

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Premier League games started up again, so now it’s even harder to get the boys to focus on summer reading.

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And when they’re not watching soccer or avoiding reading, they’re playing Minecraft with their cousins, which warms my heart.

My cilantro is practically thriving.

And Ziggy is as ridiculously cute as ever. He got a new collar! And I got a lick to the face!

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Until next time….

May stuff

It looks like I’ll be writing one post with more than a dozen words in it per month. I don’t know why I can’t motivate myself to blog more. It’s not like I’m not sitting at my computer all day, every day. (Work is busy.)

So let’s see.

Mother’s Day was great. I usually leave the house and go see a movie with Terry on Mother’s Day but that obviously wasn’t an option this year. But George got me a picnic basket full of goodies from Tartine, and I relaxed and spent the day outside (the weather was outstanding) and drank a bottle of rose that Kiki had sent me. Delightful!

And then later that week, George turned 50! George doesn’t care about birthdays as much as I do, but I tried to make it special. Dinner was from Tartine (shepherd’s pie), I got my friend Angela to bake a cake, and I got him a bottle of expensive whiskey and this portrait of Ziggy. His favorite gift (and I don’t blame him) though was the cards the boys made him.

I’ve been sewing quite a bit – some masks, of course, but also clothes. It makes me happy. I need to do separate posts on these, but I’ve made shirts, mostly. This is all leading up to me deciding which pattern I’m going to use when I sew up this length of Liberty cotton lawn I bought when a fabric store had a sale. All the heart eyes!

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I’ve been enjoying my Peloton too. It is so nice to have the outlet for stress relief. Yesterday I hopped on it three different times when I was stressed out of my mind. Just a ten minute ride really helps! In five and a half weeks, I’ve done 80 rides! (I mean, yes, some of those are 5 minute warm ups or cool downs, but plenty are 45 minutes or longer!)

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If you use the Peloton app, follow me! I’m…guess what…yep, pyjammy. Easy to find.

I’ve been watching all of the Marvel movies in the order suggested here, because Kiki was doing it, and it sounded fun. I realized I’d missed a couple of the movies over the years, so it was nice to get caught up. (And now the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War makes sense!) Sometimes I have it on my phone while I sew and kind of half-watch (I mean, I don’t want to sew over my finger or anything) or sometimes I have it on while I work on a puzzle. The boys watched Spiderman: Homecoming with me the other night, but otherwise it’s just me.

Speaking of the boys watching things, they were so happy last weekend to have a soccer game to watch on TV again!

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Ziggy likes to watch sports too.

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And he’s just generally cute.

Tomorrow is the boys’ last day of sixth grade! Last night they put on their school uniforms because they missed wearing them. So hopefully they won’t mind putting them back on for a last day of school pic!

Goings on

I mean, nothing exciting. Same old, same old. Just like everyone else on earth, right?

Sigh.

Well, okay FINE I gave up again on my daily photo challenge. Not that I haven’t taken photos every day, but I keep getting so far behind, and no one needs to see boring pictures anyway. Blah. And I mean, since we’ll be at home for the next month, it’s gonna be even worse.

Anyway.

I had my day off with Miles last Monday. We had a great day. Walk to the coffee shop, breakfast at home, went to a park, lunch at a diner, and capped it off with an escape room, which we escaped from! So fun. And I got an email from LSMSA saying Miles had been awarded a scholarship to the summer camp! (Who knows if that will even happen?)

Crescent Park (you can almost see our house from there!)

Lunch and escape room

Oh and I never talked about everything Linus and I did.

We had coffee, and then shopped, and had lunch (steak!) and escaped from a room, and got froyo. Lovely day.

Poor Oliver was supposed to have his day on Friday, but their school closed on Thursday until April 13th at least. (Spring break starts on the 13th, so not sure if they’re going to roll into that, or pretend it was during the quarantine time.) But we’ll do it eventually. Hopefully during this school year.

The boys were at soccer practice when I got the email from their school about it closing the next day, and that was the last soccer practice for the forseeable future. Sad. But they’ve been playing outside plenty. Their new thing is playing basketball in their room with the “hoop” we fashioned out of a small cheap plastic soccer goal and plenty of duct tape.

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I mean, you gotta admire their inventiveness!

Tomorrow “school” starts for real – their teachers will start putting up assignments on Google Classroom for them to do.

Let’s see. I also made this cute clutch:

If you happen to have an appropriate zipper lying around, it’s a good, quick, satisfying project. And free! Here’s a link. I made it out of leftover denim, which I was glad to use up.

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pamchops.com!

Fundraising update: Well, the St. Baldrick’s event was supposed to be on March 29, but it looks like I’ll be growing my hair out for a bit longer than planned. Now it’s going to be (hopefully!) at the end of May. So I’m going to stop begging people for money for a while. But I mean, you certainly still can. My friend Hadley also set up a Color Street party to benefit my fundraiser, so you can also have fantastic nails while you’re at home. Honestly, it’s a great and easy pick-me-up anyway. I think I’ll put some on later today.

So. I guess that’s about all of the excitement for now. I have lots of sewing I can do, but I honestly don’t really feel like it. Argh!

Feeling very grateful to have a remote job right now, so I’d better get back to work!

(Oh, and I wrote this post about working remotely.)

02/17/2020

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The best part about Mondays. I walk the boys to the bus stop, then walk around the neighborhood to get to the coffee shop where I get, well, tea. And then admire my sparkly nails and the Mardi Gras decorations people have up on the way home. (Okay, that might only be this Monday.)