Creative ADD

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but I find that I’ve been going through phases of “creative ADD” lately.

I like to do a lot of things. I write, obviously, but I also like to crochet and knit, to bake, and I’ve started to get into gardening and making our own hygiene products. Normally, I would never say that this is a problem. It’s fun to have so many interests and passions! And yet… for some reason, no matter what I’m doing at any given moment, I find myself yearning to do another thing.

While I’m typing away at my laptop working on an essay, all I can really think about is whatever yarny project I have in the works.

While I’m sitting back and knitting up a storm, I suddenly get the urge to go make a pie or have another stab at bread-making.

I’ll be kneading dough and I think to myself, “I wonder if the weeds need pulling.”

And then out in the garden I suddenly have a great idea for an essay.

And so the cycle continues. It’s exhausting.

And I have no idea what to do about it other than wait it out and keep on plodding on. The good news is that it’s winter now, so the garden doesn’t need my attention, and plants don’t tend to survive in our house very well.

But that’s only one out of the umpteen things I like to do now.

So now I think I have to just schedule out my time in annoyingly structured segments, and I’ve tried to make a fun system by using my record player. I would put a record on and then switch activities every time I had to flip or change the record.

EXCEPT

Some things take longer than a record and cannot be paused. Baking for example is not a thing you can just walk away from and come back to later. Turns out that baking is annoyingly time-dependent.

So, I’m on the hunt for a way to keep myself going while also not neglecting my activities. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Until then, I’ll be knitting/writing/baking/doing whatever the heck my brain decides to focus on next.







Even *I* Think This is Crazy...

HAPPY (almost) HALLOWEEN, FRIENDS!

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday. I mean, I love Christmas, of course, but with Halloween, the pressure is so much lower, and it’s the time of year when being a weirdo and a freak is highly accepted.

Where we live, however, trick or treating doesn’t really happen like it does in the suburban town I grew up in. Out here in the real Stars Hollow, there are probably more cows and wild turkeys than there are children, and the chances of coming across a sidewalk are, well, less than zero.

So, the townsfolk have found an incredibly creepy alternative: Trunk or Treat, which feels like the most terrifying solution ever.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, Trunk or Treat is where a bunch of people all gather in a parking lot, and kids go from vehicle to vehicle getting free candy from strangers out of the trunks of their cars.

You know, like the very thing we’ve told children not to do for decades.

I guess the idea was to make Trick or Treating safer by avoiding getting hit by cars or whatever, but doesn’t this just sound like the perfect scenario for kidnappers to commit their crimes right under our noses? Also, how else will these kids learn to safely walk the streets at night begging for candy? WE ARE DENYING THEM OF IMPORTANT LIFE LESSONS, PEOPLE.

Does your town do Trunk or Treat? What are some of your favorite local Halloween traditions? Let me know in the comments below!


For those of you wondering about how my rheumatology appointment went, I don’t really have many updates yet, but there are many people asking many questions and apparently my hips are confusing lots of professionals. I’ll give more details when I have them!

Adventures In Bathing: A Sequel

Okay, so this is sort of a part 2 to my last blog post, so if you didn’t read that, click here to do so, because this won’t make that much sense if you don’t. Or maybe it will be more interesting that way. It’s up to you.



I received MANY offers to come and bathe in people’s homes over the past two weeks, which is weirdly lovely because I’m choosing to believe that these offers were politely humorous and not at all creepy. Life is better that way.

But one of my favorite reactions came from a girl we’ll call Bertrude (because she wanted a pseudonym that is “old and makes you think of hand knit scarves and fresh baked cookies”) who I met recently and am now mildly obsessed with for reasons that I feel should already be obvious.

Anyway, I was at work when I heard someone come in and say that she needed to speak with me.

Disembodied voice from behind me: Emelie…

Me: ….yyyyeees?

Bertrude: Hi! So… I’ve had it on my to-do list to come in a talk to you all week because I’ve been mildly stalking your blog since we friended each other on Facebook, and now I need to make sure you know about THIS:

FRIENDS. THEY MAKE INFLATABLE BATH TUBS.

Do you realize what this means???

  1. I clearly need more friends like Bertrude.

  2. I COULD BATHE ANYWHERE.

  3. LIKE OUTSIDE

  4. IN THE MEADOW

  5. ON HILLSIDES

  6. AT THE PARK

  7. ON THE ROOF

JUST THINK OF ALL THE POSSIBILITIES!!!!

The Mr, surprisingly, was not as thrilled by this discovery. He was all “This feels like a bad investment and also if you try to bathe in an inflatable bathtub you’ll probably get arrested, but also where would you get the water?”

So… I think we’re at a stalemate. Unless… we could convince him that this is actually a GREAT IDEA.

What do you think? Leave a comment down below with your vote. Unfortunately the bathtub pictured above is out of stock, but I’m sure we could find others. In fact, if you know of one, please drop the link in a comment when you vote!

BATHS FOR ALL!!!!!

P.S. I also just realized that there is a narwhal on that bathtub and now I need it even more.

P.P.S. Bertrude’s boyfriend has entered the scene and apparently while he was in Sweden this summer he found THIS bucket posing as a bathtub and now I don’t know what to do.

May I Please Take a Bath in Your Home?

So last week I was all “HOORAY I HAVE A DISEASE!” and ever since then I have been making all sorts of changes to my lifestyle while I patiently await my appointment with a rheumatologist. Only 2 weeks, 6 days, and 23 hours!

CHANGE #1: DIET

I’ve been a vegetarian for about 10 years now. I’ve always continued to eat eggs and dairy because cheese, but generally my rule has been that as long as nothing died or was harmed for me to eat it, I’m good. But as I’ve done more research about this diagnosis (and anything similar to it), the major thing I’ve realized is that I need to up my Omega-3 intake. So… I’m eating salmon and most fish again. On the one hand I’m sad because I try and not be responsible for the death of any animals, but other hand it is delicious and my body should be a lot less angry with me than it was before, so… sorry, my fishy friends.

I’ve also been making turmeric smoothies a lot. They’re an acquired taste, but one that I’m definitely getting used to.

CHANGE #2: OILS

I’ve always really liked the idea of essential oils and aromatherapy, but now I have a full on oil-obsession. I actually just bought a book all about the many different uses of essential oils, and this baby is a mother-effing tome.

 Shown here with a normal-sized book for scale.

Shown here with a normal-sized book for scale.

When I first opened it to the “inflammation” section it immediately started talking about testicles, which really freaked me out, but then I noticed that I was in the “for men’s health” section and I was less scared, but also fascinated? I told The Mr that this book could really come in handy for all sorts of things and then he was all “thanks, but I don’t really have that problem, though?” to which I said “YET!” and then he just got up and left the room while looking at me with a mixture of fear and concern. I don’t know what his problem is. They always say that you need to find ways to keep marriage interesting and so far I think I’m doing a fantastic job.

Where was I? Oh right! Oils! I finally got to the section about arthritis and the book was all “you need to take detox baths every day for six weeks with all of these oils and then massage your body with all of these other oils when you’re done!” which is a problem because we don’t have a bath.

That’s not true, we do have a bath, but it’s not a nice bath. We have one of those bath tub/shower combos and the bath portion is kind of small, and our house and plumbing is really old so the water never stays hot enough to actually fill a bath with hot water, so then if I do try to take a bath I just end up uncomfortably sitting in tepid water. It’s not ideal.

So I’m on a mission… to find a bath. Is it weird to ask someone if I can come to their house every day for six weeks and bathe? Would I have to pay them? Would I have to stay for dinner? I mean, they wouldn’t need to be there, right? If I could just get someone to give me their house key and then let me come and take a bath and leave…. or would that be creepy? I guess it would be creepy on both ends because who asks if they can bathe in your home, right? MORE IMPORTANTLY, though, is WHO LETS PEOPLE BATHE IN THEIR HOME LIKE THAT?

It just seems like maybe I’m not the weirdest one in this scenario, which also feels weird because I’m generally always the weird one in any scenario. Like right now I’m pretty sure you’re reading this and thinking “What the actual heck, Emelie… YOU CANNOT DO THIS,” but you’re also probably like “She makes a good point. Anyone who lets her just show up and bathe and leave is a real weirdo,” right?

It’s a real catch-22 I’ve found myself in, friends. A real catch-22… but let me just say this. When I searched for bath gifs, I found this one:

And I really want to be that monkey.

Hooray! I have a disease! (Probably)

No, really, this is a good thing. I'm not being sarcastic or just trying to smile in the face of something scary. I am ecstatic about this news. This possible news. I guess I shouldn't be too excited because nothing is official yet, but the thing is that I'm one step closer to being sure about something and there are actual steps that I can take now. Hopefully. 

Twelve years a frustratingly long time to have a problem without finding any real cause or solution. 

As many of you know, I've had recurring migraines for over a decade now. For a while, we always thought that these were caused by my spina bifida (I have an extra vertebrae in my spine and it's caused quite a few weird issues, if I'm being honest), and I have tried so many things, friends. I've been to acupuncturists, chiropractors, good ol' fashioned general practitioners and one by one they've all shrugged and said various forms of "That sucks," or "it's probably linked to your cycle."

Me: But... the migraines don't consistently happen during my period."

Doctor: Yeah, but they usually do?

Me: I mean... this past one was on the last day of my period, but -

Doctor: Yup! The uterus, man. It can be a real B. 

Or this other conversation I had during which the doctor told me that she couldn't really do anything to help me unless I was having migraines for 15 days out every month, so she suggested that I just start taking ibuprofen every six hours three days before each migraine hits... which could be at any time. 

I shouldn't mislead you. They've all tried to help in some way shape or form, but the reality is that none of them have been able to figure out how to keep these migraines from coming back. 

And I will say that my current chiropractor has actually been amazing so far. He's taken the time to understand the skeletal structure of my screwed up body and how it moves. He's listened to me when I explain that it's not just hip or back pain, and then random isolated migraines. 

You see, the thing is that these migraines aren't just really bad headaches. By the time the headache actually hits, the pain will be almost rippling out from my right hip until the pressure builds up in my head, behind my right eye. My right sinuses will get clogged, my right ear will feel plugged, even the right side of my jaw gets sore and tender. Then that pain will continue down the right side of my neck, into my right shoulder, down the right side of my back, through my right hip, into my right hamstring, all the way down into my right foot. 

I have full-body mother-effing migraines, y'all, and it sucks. 

So when this chiropractor sat down and actually heard me describe all of this, for the first time in twelve years, I heard someone say something other than a dismissive comment:

"I'd like to send you in for some tests." 

Cut to a week later, I sat in a lab while they drew seven vials of blood from my body and sent them away to get analyzed. I was tested for various things, including two different types of Lyme and Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is what seemed to be the most likely diagnosis. Weirdly, however, when I got the results, it wasn't either of those things. 

The results said I was all good for almost everything except for two odd results: I'm severely lacking in Vitamin D (but I'm also a pale redhead who loves the rain, so... this felt a little obvious), and that my blood work came back positive for the gene HLA-B27. 

After some quick googling, I found out that this gene is linked to all sorts of autoimmune diseases, including Ankylosing Spondylitis

Not only does it sound fancy, but it's also LIKE WORD FOR WORD WHAT I HAVE. Seriously, friends, when I was reading the article about this disease it felt like I was reading my body's memoir. In a nutshell, AS is essentially arthritis that attacks the spine and large joints. Like hips. Or shoulders. People with AS will experience flare-ups that cause a lot of pain throughout the body and then go into short periods of remission in between flare-ups. 

There is a huge amount of potential relief that I'm feeling right now. I still need to go see a rheumatologist (I have an appointment on October 15th) to know for sure, and while this might not be my diagnosis, I feel so much closer to having an answer, and it's because someone finally took me seriously. Someone finally listened

Twelve years is a really long time to be in pain without ever having any idea why or how to fix it. 

And I've never been happier to potentially have a lifelong disease. 

Oh, and if any of you know anyone who has experienced these symptoms or who has AS or has anything to offer, I am all ears. Tell me everything!! 

 

When Kale Attacks

The Mr and I decided to start a vegetable garden this year, and it's going... well... it's going. 

IMG_2019.JPG

So... on the one hand, things definitely grew, which I do believe is one of the major goals of gardening, right? So from that point of view, I HAVE DONE AN AMAZING JOB AND I WIN AT GARDENING. 

But... 

On the other hand... I can't really find anything in there. Except for Kale. The Kale has made itself very well known, which I find to be kind of rude. Kale needs very little advertising these days, but there it is being all HEY LOOK AT ME I'M KALE AND I AM SOOOOO POPULAR! 

Meanwhile, I believe we planted carrots and I have absolutely NO IDEA where those wallflowers are hiding. 

Some of you are probably wondering why we didn't actually harvest our vegetables, and I promise we do have a good reason. 

We went on vacation for two weeks, and APPARENTLY in those two weeks, we had the most ideal weather for growing plants. So by the time we got back, there was a bounty of food to be had! And then... it rained. And rained. And rained. And rained. And rained. And the plants grew. And grew. And grew. 

And at a certain point The Mr and I just looked at the garden and said "eff it. We only eat Kale now." 

Except... we don't eat the Kale, because in what felt like 24 hours, a crap-ton of other creatures also decided that they eat Kale, and now all that is left is what I can only refer to as the skeletal remains of Kale. 

So... today I'm grabbing a large knife and diving in to see what I can find. 

Pray for me. It's very possible there is a miniature panther lurking about in there, just waiting to attack. 


In other fun news and further reasons why we haven't been harvesting our vegetables, The Mr and I have started a thing! We launched a new blog, The Travel Pack: A Life of Adventure Lived with Dogs, where we chronicle our tales of traveling around with our two huskies. Our first post is up now, go check it out, and we'd love it if you'd give us a follow, like, and share!

The Travel Pack Logo.png

Things I liked on the Internet this week:

This absolutely lovely post from Nova of Advice I Could Have Used Yesterday. She's the best and I love her (and not just because she said nice things about me.)

Becky is back at Stories About My Underpants and I am so excited!! 

One of my favorite Instagram Knitters has launched a blog and it's wonderful. Go read it right now. 

This article from Nerdist about why Harry Potter connects with so many of us is wonderful and warms my heart. 

 

Let's all stop wearing pants together.

So I love data and I love looking over my blog's analytics to see where all of you, my lovely readers, are coming from. Did you find me from another blog? Do you follow me on Instagram and click on the link in my bio? Or did you google something that led you here? 

That last one is my favorite. I love looking at the google searches that bring people to Awkwardly Alive. You want to know the top search? The number one thing that people look up on google that eventually brings them to us? 

"No more pants"

Apparently, if you search for "no more pants" on google, a blog post I wrote back in 2016 titled "That's It. NO MORE PANTS." comes up, AND I AM FASCINATED. 

I have so many questions!

1. Who googles "no more pants?" Are you looking for pants alternatives? Did you really need to google this to find out what a skirt or kilt is? 

 

2. Are 90% of my readers anti-pants? Because I can cater to this. 

3. Are you all not wearing pants right now while you read this?

4. Are there support groups for people like us? Could this blog be that safe space for the pantsless?

5. DID I PROVIDE YOU WITH WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR? AM I GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU BARE LEGS? 

It also just dawned on me that "pants" in the UK means "underwear" and "pants" in the US means "trousers" so.... now there's a entirely different can of worms I've just unveiled for myself. 

Whatever. I'm glad you're here. 


I also want to say one more quick thank you to everyone who reached out about Gio's diagnosis. For those of you who may not know, I posted a lot about this on Instagram, but my dog Gio was diagnosed with liver disease yesterday and while dogs are "just dogs" to some people (aka weirdos with cold, dead hearts), my dogs are part of my soul and knowing that we have less time with Gio than we originally thought has been a tough pill to swallow, but the dust has settled and I'm doing much better than I was before. We've ordered the new food for him and we've felt so loved and supported by our online community. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will keep you all informed as things progress. 


Things I loved on the Internet this Week:

This song by clipping (Daveed Diggs, anyone?) is amazing. I heard it on a very old episode This American Life episode about Afrofuturism and it's incredible on so many levels. 

Geography Makes Me Angry

Last weekend, The Mr ABANDONED ME and went to visit his family in Almost-Canada-Northern New York for the weekend and a lot of weird stuff went down while he was gone, but I'm still working on getting all of the words down, so instead I'm going to tell you about a ridiculously traumatic series of conversations we had. 

While he was on his way to visit his family:

Me: Hey, have you arrived yet? Call me when you get there safely please! 

The Mr (hours later): We're still on the road. Service here is really spotty. We're in Lake Placid. 

Me: Uh oh. Don't get eaten by a giant alligator. 

The Mr: Wrong lake. 

Me: What? No! That movie was totally called Lake Placid and a giant alligator lived in the lake... it was like a knock-off of the Loch Ness Monster and it was hilarious. Plus Betty White is in it and she's amazing even though she does some serioulsy insane things in this film.

The Mr: I know, but that's based on a different Lake Placid. The Lake Placid in that movie is in Maine. 

Me: WHAT. THERE ARE TWO LAKE PLACIDS??

The Mr: Maybe more.

Me: NO. THAT IS RIDICULOUS. 

The Mr: It's basically like high street. Also, I'm losing service again. 

Me: NO. It is NOT like High Street. Every town has a High Street and kids always go around stealing the street signs so that they can hang them in their basements where they smoke weed. LAKE PLACID IS NOT LIKE HIGH STREET. Lake Placid is too iconic! There cannot be two Lake Placids! 

And then APPARENTLY The Mr lost service because he stopped responding, but he called me when he got to his parent's house and I was already basically asleep, so I don't even remember the conversation. 

The next day during my lunch break at work: 

Me: I'm still upset about Lake Placid.

The Mr: What do you mean? 

Me: What do you mean? There should not be two!! 

The Mr: Well... I don't know what to say... maybe get a petition going to change it?

Me: The damage is already done...

And then later that night, we FaceTimed... 

Me: I feel like you're not taking this seriously.

The Mr: What?

Me: This Lake Placid issue! Why are there two lakes called Lake Placid? 

The Mr: I mean.... I'm pretty sure Lake Placid isn't even a lake in New York...

Me: WHAT?!?! 

The Mr: Yeah... I think it's just the name of the town.

Me: But your brother swam in the lake there!

The Mr: That lake is called "Lake Flower"

Me: I HATE GEOGRAPHY. 

But here's the thing... I googled it and it turns out that Lake Placid, NY is actually near a lake of the same name, so there is some justice in the world, BUT the movie Lake Placid? The lake in that movie is actually just called Black Lake, so.... WHY WOULD THEY CALL THE MOVIE THAT? 

Clearly this issue is still not over for me.... But am I alone here? Please comment down below.


Things I loved on the Internet this week:

This Seth Meyers interview with Beth Ditto because she is just delightful and we should all aspire to have her joy. 

Man Breaks Guinness World Record for Slicing Watermelons on His Stomach -- WHY IS THIS A THING?? 

All Bloggess posts are fabulous, but her cross-stitch project in this one is fantastic. 

Speaking of The Bloggess, she's featured on this list of hilarious female writers

 

Jagged Little Key

Hi! It's been three whole weeks since I've blogged and it feels good to be back.

I was going to write a blog post today about all of our adventures in Sweden and the ridiculous things that happened while we were there. Oh my goodness, did ridiculous things happen.... 

But.... then Tuesday happened. So Sweden stories are going to have to wait. 

Let me start with before we left for our trip. We were doing a thing that most people do before leaving for vacation: packing. And it was actually going great! I was organized and we used those cute little packing cube things to keep all our clothes contained and sorted properly so as to maximize space. It all felt very grown up and very different from the glory days of just opening a suitcase and throwing crumpled up piles of shirts and underwear and pants inside before zipping it all up to be dealt with when we got to wherever we were going. The Mr has really made a difference in my life, I must say.

And one of the last things I had left to do was to get my purse together. I started emptying it to make sure that I wasn't going to accidentally try boarding a plane with a steak knife or something (before you ask, yes, I have found mysterious steak knives in my purse before and I think it's best if we all just move on because I don't even fully believe the story with that one...), and when I found the key to the bookshop (where I work), I was all "Oh, I would hate to lose this while we're in Sweden," so I removed it from my purse and very responsibly hung the key in our key box where we keep all keys.

At least... that's what I remembered happening. 

Fast forward to Tuesday, when I was scheduled to open the store - specifically to 8:25am, five minutes before I should be leaving my house. I put on my shoes, grabbed my purse and recalled my very responsible key management skills, and walked over to the key box only to see no store key hanging there. 

CUE THE PANIC. 

The Mr and I naturally began searching high and low throughout the entire at-the-time-but-quickly-becoming-no-longer clean apartment. We turned bags inside out, we checked coat pockets, we went back through the same bags over and over and over again, I checked under the car seats, in desk drawers.... the key was nowhere. 

At 8:40am, I frantically texted my former co-worker who now has a business next door to the bookshop to ask if she happened to still have her key and if she was going to be there before 9. She said yes, and The Mr and I raced out the door without even saying goodbye to the dogs, and resolving to find the key and clean our now disastrous apartment when we got home. 

Now, there are some things to note here: 

  • The Mr and I share a car, so he gives me a ride to work and home every morning. We usually take the dogs with us, but this morning we just didn't have time to get them all leashed up and into the car, so we didn't. 
  • Our dogs are anxious creatures, so when we leave the house without them, we have a routine that we do the same way every time so that they are emotionally prepared for being alone. It's not that weird. 
  • If we don't do that routine and if we, say, race out the door in a panic, they are prone to thinking that something is wrong and in their stress they will destroy something. One time, Gio ripped open and pulled all of the stuffing out of my mattress. 
  • It takes less than 20 minutes for The Mr to drive me to work and get home again. 

So I opened the store only 5 minutes late, and luckily, with it being a Tuesday, no customers were kept waiting or anything, so work-wise, this wasn't a huge deal. After things got rolling, I was feeling fine about the whole day. I knew my store key was somewhere, and I wasn't going to be the one opening the store again until Saturday, so I had plenty of time to find it. With the comfort of this thought, I went about the rest of my work day with ease. 

And then The Mr picked me up.

Me: Hey, hey! How was your day?

The Mr: Well.... fine.

Me: What happened?

The Mr: Well.... I have some bad news.

Me: Uh oh.... how bad?

The Mr: It's pretty bad.

Me: ....

The Mr: You know how we tore the house apart looking for your key and then just left in a rush this morning?

Me: Oh no... what did Aloy destroy this time?

Me: My PASSPORT?!?! 

The Mr: And weirdly, this is the only thing she decided to chew up. Actually, no there was also some gum that she was chewing on. Did you have gum in your purse, too?

Me: ....I haven't bought gum in years.... 

The Mr:  Huh.

So... the good news is that this happened after we returned from our international travels and not right before.

The weird thing is that this is the second time a dog has chewed up my passport (the last time was the week before I moved to England for a year) 

And for those of you who are dying to know... I did find my store key. I woke up suddenly at 5:45 in the morning on Thursday with the very clear realization that I hadn't been bringing my purse with me to work for a few weeks before our trip because I had been bringing my crochet project with me to work on during lunch, and in order to do that, I had been throwing everything into my Harry Potter tote bag. I sat up, got out of bed, and walked over to my closet, where I had neatly hung the Harry Potter tote bag on a hook inside the closet door. I reached in and my fingers closed around that unmistakable cold, jagged little steak knife of a key that is now preventing me from boarding any international flights in the near future.