Happy Days Project – Day 4

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Last night I finished the cinnamon rolls and this morning I woke up at crazy o’clock, turned on the oven, and set them to baking. I harassed the cats, started the coffee, then cleaned off the table, hung the birthday banner, and put out the presents and cards. When the cinnamon rolls were done baking, I woke up Lady with snuggles and a few “happy birthdays!”

The windows were open and the coffee was hot and the cinnamon rolls super sweet and Lady opened her presents and appreciated all my work while I appreciated her and all her 29 years in turn.

Happy birthday, love. I’m so glad you were born. <3

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Happy Days Project – Day 3

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I don’t get to bake much these days. I used to hate baking, because whatever I made came out a terrible mess. Then I made cupcakes a few years ago for the nth time and they came out… not bad. With even more practice, they actually got good.

Then I realized gluten was an insidious little bastard who liked to give me panic attacks. I was back to square one. Except, not quite. My years of baking had given me the confidence I needed to start over and learn a whole new slew of ingredients and measurements and substitutions and amended baking times. And by then I actually liked baking. So what if the first few attempts were unmitigated disasters? I still learned something.

I’ve been baking gluten free for just about two years now, and I’ve learned when to use brown rice flour and when to use almond, when to up the tapioca starch and when to use arrowroot instead, when to up the xanthan gum and when to avoid coconut flour (always). Gluten free flours are their own language, and they say different things in different amounts and different mixes.

With the AIP and TTC and subsequent attempt at weightloss this year, I’ve been baking less than ever. I still enjoy it. But now I need a really good reason to bring out my bowls and various flours. Like a birthday.

Lady’s birthday is Thursday (tomorrow), and she requested cinnamon rolls. Now this being me, I can’t just go and buy gf cinnamon rolls from the store and call it good (they probably have potato starch anyway – fucking nightshades). And I can’t just select the recipe that only takes an afternoon. No, crazy me has to modify a recipe that has three separate rising times.

But I like doing it. Even when it means I have to mix the dough at 5am so it’ll have enough time for its second rise. In that moment of measuring and stirring and tasting and adding another dash of flour, a dash of sugar, stirring some more, and watching it come together, I’m in my zen.

I miss baking. Chopping vegetables isn’t quite the same. Please, someone else have a birthday soon. :)

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Happy Days Project – Day 2

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About two years ago we were acquired by two barn kittens who were in dire need of a home. They were cute as hell and I’m sure they would have found a home if we hadn’t swooped in, but we did, and lo – now we occasionally look around our apartment and ask ourselves, where the fuck did all these cats come from?

Rhetorically, of course.

I’ve always wanted cats and never had them due to family allergies and moving and living in dorms and moving again. So when the above opportunity arrived, I was instantly on board. And it’s been two + years of cats, yet I’m still surprised by them. In a good way. Usually.

Like in today’s photo. It’s finally that time of year when I come open the windows in the morning. So I do, first thing, then turn on the coffee and plug in the happy lights – aka, string lights – and go check email. When I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, a certain black cat had clambered up onto the little windowsill.

They used to both fit when they were kittens, and they’d be up there all the time. Now it’s rarer, but for some reason it still makes me really happy to see either of them up there.

 

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Happy Days Project – Day 1

I’ve seen people on Facebook and Tumblr and WordPress listing something they’re happy about / grateful for on a daily basis and I thought that’s cool. Then I saw some using photos, and I realized I had to do this. Partially because this is a good time for finding happy moments, partially because I need the reminder for gratitude, but mostly because I want a reason to get out my camera and mess around with it more every day. Ever since I got the sensor cleaned I’ve been using it more and more, but I need something that will (hopefully) get me to stop longer and stretch myself.

What I didn’t realize is that the Happy Days project is actually a thing: 100 Happy Days. It’s fairly straight forward and not much more than what I already described: take 100 days and find something that makes you happy each and every one of those days.

Well, I’m cheating a little. 100 feels too daunting, so I’m just going until the end of the year, which is closer to 70 days. For me, it’s a way to close out this year – for which I am so anxious to be done with – while remaining in the present and, hopefully, remembering each moment is important.

Today is day one. I’m starting first thing in the morning because a) I love mornings, b) I thought I might try working my way through the day, but really c) I have class all day (and all this week [so I'll be unusually quiet again]).

My boo mug is one of my (many) favorite things about autumn. It makes me so, so happy when I first get it out on October first and use it all through Halloween, and usually a few weeks beyond. I’ve had it since we lived in Florida, which, for those keeping track, is years. Many of them.

But this isn’t just about the mug – it’s also the coffee inside and the cool autumn morning and the quiet and peace and moments I have to myself very first thing. I’m grateful to have such things right when I wake up, and I recognize that I am very lucky to have them.

But especially the coffee.

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Legal in Arizona!

Now THIS I did not expect!

A federal judge this morning voided Arizona’s prohibition against gay marriage, paving the way for same sex weddings — immediately.

From here.

And of course, I’ve learned over the last dozen years or so to always keep an eye out for a stay, BUT:

More immediately significant, Sedwick denied a request by the state that he delay the effect of his order to allow for an appeal.

No stay! So cool! Right now it looks like our county will begin issuing licenses on Monday. I’m just – I can’t even begin to describe how exciting this is. The fact that AZ has had a constitutional ban was one of the major reasons why I wanted to leave this state. Now that they don’t - well, we still have to leave, but maybe we’ll come back someday.

Still, this means that if we get pregnant in AZ, the state will recognize that we were married at the time. And it means I don’t have to remember to mark “single” for state things. And it means this state is just one step closer to being pretty awesome. And it means everyone gets some fucking equality here. And it means… I’m just going to go over here and have all the feels.

 

 

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A Little Rejection First Thing in the Morning

I mentioned (months ago) that I’d received a manuscript request on one of my queries. I sent it off and tried to forget about it for the next few months, but that’s nigh impossible. I was giddy initially – this was my first request! a milestone! – and then resigned. I knew I’d hear back, eventually, but I also knew it wouldn’t be an offer.

Alas, I was right. But the rejection was still very positive and left me with a lot to think about. This turned into a first in many ways: my first manuscript request, my first manuscript rejection, and my first actual agent comments, telling me both what they liked and why they ended up passing. And like when I received my very first rejection to a query letter, over a year ago, it stings in a lingering, uncomfortable way because they’re right.

So now I’m going to let that roll around in the back of my mind, try to write out my feelings to help let it go, but eventually just sit down and keep writing. Someday (soon!) I hope to get my second manuscript request, followed by my second manuscript rejection, and so on and on, until it escalates to the next level – editor rejections. These are my hopes, small they may be.

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Can’t Turn it Off (TTC)

One of the side effects of TTC that they never mention is that even on a break, you’re still hyper aware of every little thing. Thankfully, every little thing doesn’t stress me out like it did prior to the break, but they’re hella more stressful than they were prior to TTC.

Take, for example, my apparently currently irregular cycles. Prior to TTC, I was happy to just be having them more than twice a year again. After starting TTC, on the other hand, I’m highly attuned to the fact that they range anywhere from 28-50 days, and I have no idea why. According to the gyno, my hormones are normal. According to the nasty voices in my head, however, it probably means I’m infertile and/or already pregnant with vampire twins.

I’ve even been temping, although not nearly as religiously, and supposedly just to have an idea of when to keep pads nearby. But really to make sure everything is normal. So seeing that things are not normal has me worried. I’m sure it has something to do with the diet changes I’ve been making and not because I have, say, PCOS, but it’s still difficult to turn off that part of my brain. I even briefly considered using an OPK, because why the hell not.

My last cycle – the one I threw up my hands on and went fuck this – was 50 days. This one is at CD33 with no temp raise/end in sight. I’m sure it’s fine. I’m sure it’ll be fine. But then that nasty voice starts to chime in with its opinions and it’s hard to make it shut up.

That said, I’m not thinking about TTC and cycle stuff nearly as much now that we’re well over two months into our break (just two to go!). But I wish I could turn it off completely. So far TTC is a bit too much like Pandora’s box for my tastes – once it’s free, there ain’t no way it’s going back in the box.

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