Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 44 - Warm and Happy

Inside my house that is. It was still relatively warm when I brought my African violets back to work on Monday morning and even at lunch when I drove to Jiffy Lube to check the last thing off my list. But sometime in the 20 minutes I was in the Jiffy Lube lobby, the polar vortex hit and DAMN it was cold. The huge winds made it even worse. I don't know exactly how cold it was but I was ready to hunker down, having gotten everything on my pre-polar vortex to list done. 

I spent the rest of the week spending as little time outside as possible. I ate lunches in the conference room while knitting and watching Netflix on my iPad. I did swim all three night and lived to tell. And while that may not sound warm and cozy, there's something wonderful about going home, warm from exercising, showered and ready for a night of knitting. The only downside to this was I hadn't cooked anything on Sunday so was eating out of the freezer but I was warm and happy nonetheless. 

After my week inside avoiding the cold, I was ready for more of the same on the weekend. Good thing because we got 3" of snow on Saturday! That's WAY too early but I have to say it was nice being able to stay inside, warm and toasty while the snow fell. I spent most of the day cooking - sloppy joes, potato salad, cucumber salad, cottage cheese dip and taco salad meat for the freezer. Despite all that cooking, I ended the night with Saturday snack supper with Guinness, of course. 

I had chores to do on Sunday and wanted to be done before I left for the library's rededication that afternoon. I also had a big bag of scraps for Lori's chickens and wanted to drop off my kitten jungle jim for the two barn kittens she'd brought inside. Well, when I called to ask when I could drop them, she invited me over to knit by the wood stove. I couldn't pass that up so went into turbo mode to get everything done by 1:00 so I could be at the library when they opened and then head to Lori's at 2:00, picking Donna up on the way. I got it all done just in time and headed out. There was a good crowd at the library and I got to see people I've haven't seen in awhile and even got some knitting time in with Andrea before I left. 

It was a lovely afternoon at Lori's. It was toasty warm by her wood stove and we all had a nice chat while drinking tea, eating treats (Lori baked a cake and I brought all my pumpkin goodies from Trader Joe's) and playing with the kittens, who are SO cute. (Sorry, I neglected to take pic.s) There was knitting and unraveling too. As I said to Donna, this was as close to heaven as life gets for me. We left ~5:30 and all I had to do when I got home was make some cupcakes. 

Nice weekend, right? Not only was it fun but I am going into this next week with a clean frig full of homemade food and all my chores caught up. The polar vortex is not only here for another week but will be even colder because the wind's back. The 40 degrees they've forecast for next weekend, which is still below normal, will feel like a heat wave. Bring it on!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 43 - Polar Vortex Prep

I'd been in getting it done mode for awhile and had my final doctor appointment, my annual physical, scheduled this week. I had lots of other things on the schedule for the week, which started with a fasting blood draw before work on Monday. Also, I didn't get much sleep this week because you can reset a clock but not a cat so there were lots of early mornings. But at the start of the week, my weekend was clear so I was hoping for another productive weekend focused on the laundry room and catching up on some sleep then. Then the I saw the weather forecast. Yikes!

Now it's been a very late fall and some trees haven't turned color yet, never mind dropped their leaves. I had had to bring my plants inside on Halloween but they were already back outside and I'd been hoping to keep them out much longer with only a few trips to the garage to escape light frosts. The coming polar vortex meant they'd have to be inside by the end of the weekend. And since I wouldn't want to be out in the cold either, I started making a big pre-freeze to do list. Adding that to my already full list would make for a busy weekend. And then Josh showed me something on facebook...

A yarn bombed tree in his hometown of Stromburg, which is about 60 miles west of Wahoo. Come to find out, a new yarn shop was opening there and their grand opening was Friday and Saturday. No way would I be missing that so out went the email. My knitting friends were in! Now I had a mini road trip to fit into my already full weekend but it was all good.

Work was busy and the days pretty much flew by. I was cramming things in over lunch plus before and after work. Since I'd be leaving early on Thursday, I went to water yoga on Wednesday, which is usually my day to go right home. I'd been to one class early in the semester and it was a train wreck so I had low expectations but ended up loving it. The instructor admitted she'd come a long way and now I think I'll be adding a third class back into my week, which is good. I'd gotten my numbers back from Monday morning's blood test and my LDL was still too high (need more exercise and less junk food) but my blood sugar was fine again. Yay! It's all good.

I thought I'd survived my yoga class unscathed and then the leg cramps started Thursday afternoon with two while I was at the doctor's - one on the exam table when I was in a compromising position. Then I woke up Friday and could feel muscles all over my body. Sheesh! Luckily I was fine by Saturday because I had to get busy.

I ran errands in town Saturday morning, getting home with just enough time to clean out my car for the afternoon trip to Stromsburg and grab some lunch. At 1:00, I drove to the rendezvous at Andrea's shop ready to drive only to find that Anne Marie had three kids in the back of the van so she'd be driving. The kids immediately fell asleep and I got to enjoy an hour of knitting and catching up with Anne Marie while Lori and Andrea chatted in the back. The town and shop were both adorable and I enjoyed breaking my yarn diet with 3 different skeins of super soft yarn and only one skein of sock yarn just because it was cheap. After another hour of knitting, we were home before 4:00 so I made a cup of tea. Unfortunately I didn't get much done Saturday night so Sunday would be even busier.

The cleaning lady was coming on Tuesday so on top of neatizing the whole house, I also had to do my regular chores and deal with all the plants outside On Sunday. I'd also brought all my African violets home from work so had to repot them all so I could take them back Monday morning before the polar vortex plunged temps. I made a big to do list and got busy. I had all the recycling loaded in the car (tons!) to drop off on the way to the high school to pick up turkey dinner from their annual Project Close Up fundraiser. i had planned to eat that for supper but it smelled so good that I ate half of it for lunch and put the rest in the frig for one night's dinner. Then I got busy with the plants.

I planted the replacement clematis Lorri had dropped off then mixed up a big batch of potting soil and started repotting. I took a break after finishing the outside plants then tackled the violets. It was a lot of time bent over and schlepping plants in and out of the house. By late afternoon everything was repotted, the plant stands had been cleaned and set up inside and all my plants were safely inside ready to brighten my winter. I was exhausted though so nuked the last beanie weenie casserole for dinner and sat like a lump. That meant I'd have a busy Monday finishing the cleaning lady prep and I hadn't done anything in the laundry room. But at the end of the day, my plants were all set and I was happy with that. I'd get the rest done. I always do. And now when the polar vortex arrives on Monday night, I'll be ready to hunker down, snug and warm with all my outside stuff taken care of. Life is good!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 42 - Slept Like Crap

Well, unfortunately the highlight of this week was sleeping like crap. I think part of it was temperature related. I’d wake up hot, throw off the covers, wake up cold, pull the covers on… over and over. And when I wake up in the wee hours if I have anything on my mind, I often stew on it and that keeps me from falling back asleep. That happened a lot this past week.

It was a busy week at work and the first few days flew by. Tuesday was exhausting. It was cleaning lady day, which always makes for a rushed morning, then I slammed all morning to get quarterly allocations done before my class that afternoon.  Add the really hard workout at water aerobics and I was so tired when I got home that I didn’t even knit. I went to bed just after 9:00 and expected to sleep like a rock. Not so much. I struggled to fall asleep, woke up at 4:00 and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was a zombie at work and it was clear I wasn’t going to make it all day. After struggling through the morning and not accomplishing much, I took the afternoon off. I met Darla, who was working on East Campus on Wednesday, for lunch at the diner and was home and in bed by 1:30. I’m not a good napper no matter how tired I am and didn’t succeed in falling asleep. But it felt better just being home and not having to think. I spent the afternoon going through papers on my desk, waiting for bedtime.

Finally I slept well Wednesday night and woke up feeling like a new woman. I had training again on Thursday, swam and then headed home to pick the last garden produce and bring in all my plants. It was going to be close to 32 degrees overnight but mid 20’s on Friday night and since I wouldn’t be home, they all had to come in Thursday night. But they’d be going right back out on Saturday (no more frost in the 10 day forecast) so I put them just inside the door.

Friday was a first – I wasn’t going to be handing out candy for Halloween. Amanda from water aerobics was having her house warming in Ashland and I was going to that right from work. The thing that made the final decision was that my crab apple, which I’ve already pruned for mowing access, is so heavy with fruit that it’s blocking my front door. Since I didn’t want to prune it even more, I decided on the party instead. It was fun – yummy food, Guinness and lots of chatting with friends – so I didn’t get home until 11:00. I was looking forward to two days mostly at home.

I had a Friends meeting at 10:00 on Saturday and the thrift shop was open so I’d made plans with Lori and Andrea for our old Saturday routine. Lori was having a sisters’ weekend so I met up with her and her two sisters after Friends for shopping in downtown Wahoo, a stop at the thrift shop then lunch at Chips at 1:00 when Andrea closed her shop. We had a lot of fun and were still at Chips when the game started. Nebraska scored an early touchdown and so Chips handed out free jello shots. It was my first and was quite tasty. When we split up, I went home to put the plants back outside and pick up the house because Lori was going to stop to pick up the scraps I’d saved for her chickens. She forgot to come but it was nice to have everything but the laundry done by Saturday night. And I’d get an extra hour of sleep. If I could sleep that is.

I woke up in the wee hours and actually turned on the light to read so I could fall back asleep. I then slept until after 7:00, which was really after 8:00. Shocking but nice. I had the laundry mostly done by noon, ate lunch and then headed down to the laundry room. My goal was to get the laundry room organized and the Christmas stuff culled so I could donate the extras to the library’s holiday decoration sale that starts the week before Thanksgiving. I spent a chunk of the afternoon down there and was really pleased with my progress. I went through everything that was in the middle of the floor, stacking the Christmas stuff to one side to go through next weekend and another pile to go through after that. There’s a pile to donate to Goodwill, a bit went to the trash, a couple of bags to bring up and go through one night this week and a few things on the stairs to take upstairs. Excellent progress – yay!

Then I went upstairs to do some cooking. I made a casserole with the yummy leftover beans from food day, hotdogs and corn bread and had enough to eat this week, freeze a small casserole then share one. I made broccoli slaw and quesadillas to take for lunches and opted not to make a pie because I had a blood test first thing Monday morning so didn’t need anything sweet to spike my fasting blood sugar. Maybe later this week I’ll make one.

And on the knitting front, I finally finished the socks I started in September. I wasn’t happy with them but they’re a Christmas present. I also needed the needles to start a knit along pair with a deadline of November 30th. I started those with some German sock wool and am loving them. I also got the shawl Cindy made for me so my next priority is to finish Cindy’s socks, which are also a pleasant knit. And I started, and should have finished but didn’t, a dishcloth for the new trainer at work who’s in the next cubie from mine. She mentioned she liked them and since I have lots of cotton, I decided to try new stitches from my new stitch dictionary and make her some. It’s all good.

So, I’m perfectly ready for dark after work. It’ll be nice to have no pressure to be outside after work and I have plenty to do inside. The cooler weather, which has been a long time coming, is nice too. I know I’ll have another week of short sleep because I can set a clock back but not a cat. How do you feel about the time change?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 41 - The Little Things

It was a bear of a week at work but some spots of fun during the week and a restful, relaxing and just productive enough weekend made up for  it. And a few little things were the icing on the cake.

I started the week by mailing off six packages of yarn. It seems everyone is nesting now that cooler weather has arrived and winter knitting has begun. I sold 4 lots of yarn from my Ravelry Will Trade or Sell page, which is made up of thrift store yarn I’ve bought for next to nothing and so sell at a good price. Two of the lots were trades, which meant I’d be getting yarn packages in exchange. There’s nothing nicer than getting packages in the mail and yarn is the best.

On Tuesday, I did something I rarely have to do. I worked late, until 8:00, madly crunching data for the F&A proposal because the consultant was leaving Wednesday and I didn’t want to be the hold up for progress. I was down the rabbit hole and the time flew but did it ever take a toll. By the time I got home, it was almost 9:00 and I was pooped. I felt like I’d barely been in bed when the alarm went off.  Then I managed to pull a muscle in my neck while getting ready. I was a mess but I made it through the day. I skipped swimming in favor of going right home and making a nice dinner. I went to bed early and felt much better by Thursday morning.

There was more stress and frustration at work. This time it was grad allocations. After working for the better part of two days, I found an error (not mine) that required starting over so I gave up and left for the podiatrist at 3:00. My foot was so sore so I was looking forward to the slice and dice. I asked the doctor what exactly I had and it’s a porokeratosis. Damn painful and bound to keep growing back. But I left feeling much better. I was ready to start my free as a bird weekend.

It was a wonderful weekend all around. I started chipping away at my to do list but left plenty of time for relaxation and knitting. I even got out in the garden to do some long overdue perennial planting. I made a big pot of beef barley soup and caught up on TV shows and knitting. All that was left for Sunday was laundry and cooking. I wanted to make a pie to entice Ed over to reverse the turn direction on the hot side of my kitchen faucet. It had been backward since New Year’s Eve, when he fixed a leak for me. He had said it would take 5 minutes to fix but I’d never called, hoping that I’d get used to it. Well, ten months later, I was still turning it the wrong way EVERY TIME so it was time to fix it. Well, before I could call, Donna called me with a knitting problem she needed help with so I asked her to bring Ed. He fixed the faucet while I helped Donna. Yay! I celebrated with dyeing some yarn after they left. It was all good.

So it’s the little things that made this week. I can walk comfortably again and will be able to wear my new Birks this week. And while I’ll probably still turn the faucet wrong for awhile, there’s hope for getting it back to normal. And yarn – selling some, trading some and dyeing some. It’s all good. Where would we be without the little things?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 40 - Fun Fall Weekend

The work week was over in the blink of an eye. I was deep into the data for the F&A proposal by Wednesday. Hours would go by in what felt like minutes. That worked for me because I had a fun weekend planned.

Darla and I were finally getting our play day. She was at my house for breakfast at 7:30, which may seem early but since I’d been up for 3 hours at that point, I had farmer’s breakfast on the table when she arrived. I frequently wake up in the wee hours but despite going to bed later than usual, I couldn’t fall back asleep when I woke up at 3:45 so after laying in bed for awhile, I just got up. It’s amazing what you can get done before sunup. I not only cooked breakfast but knitted a baby bootie. Anyway… after a nice breakfast and catch up, we headed for Fremont.

I dropped a load of clothes at Goodwill and then found a few 99 cent items for Friends and a sweater to harvest yarn from. I had better luck at Buck’s (my favorite old fashioned shoe store.) I had an $18 credit in my purse, which I applied towards a new pair of Birkenstocks. They had a pair I’d tried to get at the Lincoln birk store but they’d been discontinued so no go. They had my size with a soft footbed and I’m excited to have a brown pair that’s as close as possible (just missing the Velcro) to my favorite black pair. We puttered a bit more on Main Street in Fremont, hit a quilt show where we had a lovely lunch with homemade pie and then headed back to Wahoo. We hit The Warehouse and were back at my house exactly on schedule. Darla had football plans later. I had to prep for event #2 – deck knitting with friends on Sunday at 1:30. I never really felt much fatigue after my early rising but did go to bed early.

Good thing because I was up again at 3:45. WTF! I knitted the other baby bootie and watched a bunch of TV. After an early lunch (breakfast was at 4:30 so I was starving by 11:00) I did start to fade and tried to lay down but I’m not a napper so failed to fall asleep. I put scones in the oven and set the kettle to boil. Lori and Michelle were due at 1:30 and the weather was perfect. We sat on the deck happily knitting and drinking pot after pot of tea all afternoon. We were even visited by an albino squirrel! I’d never seen one in person, never mind in my yard. Michelle snapped this pic with her phone. Andrea, who had a conflict but had dropped a lovely salmon mousse on her way out of town, did come towards evening. We sat outside until almost 7:00. Had the bugs and dark not forced us inside, we might have stayed out longer. It was truly lovely. I didn’t end up with time to cook like I’d planned but the rest of the mousse on crackers was enough for dinner. That worked though. The fun was worth it and it’s not like I’ll starve. : )

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 39 - WIPs and Candidates

Finally, a completely normal week. I’ve been yearning for that for months it seems but was always either getting over a trip or planning for the next one. Between the knowledge that I’ll be home for almost 3 months and the fall weather, it was a wonderful week. Dull but wonderful.

The highlight of the week was the finale of our WIP (work in progress for the non-knitters) contest at the library. I came up with the idea of this contest when the library flooded and we had to relocate Monday Night Knitting to the vets’ club. I thought it would only be a few months but it stretched to nine. Since we contributed a prize to the pot for each WIP we finished, there were tons of prizes. I had also made Downton Abbey project bags filled with yarn and other goodies for everyone who participated. Add the potluck we’d planned and it was going to be fun.

We had originally planned to only have 3 winners but Lori and Michelle and Andrea and I had separately discussed it and had come up with the same idea to have everyone win. Since there was a prize for every ticket, we decided to pull names and you got to choose a prize each time your name was drawn. My name was drawn first and I picked, of course, a beautiful skein of sock yarn. We kept picking and so got something for every WIP we finished. Everyone left happy. Yay!

The rest of the week was as normal as it gets. I got my haircut, swam twice, had healthy food for just about every meal and was just the right amount of busy at work. All good. Darla messed up on the date of our Omaha run so I ended up with a free weekend, which was just what I needed. I slept late on Saturday, which is a rarity and felt great, then ran errands in town, cooked a bunch and managed to get most of my chores done on top of swapping out all my summer clothes for winter. I even met the Democratic candidates for Senator and Governor (both very impressive) at the Saunders County Democrats’ dinner on Saturday night. And I got some knitting done between it all. Shocking, I know. Hopefully I’ll have a run of normal weeks like this. It’s exactly what I need.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 38 - Loving Being Home

Canada was a wonderful trip but boy, it felt great to be home. As usual, I was headed back to work on Tuesday so had no spare time for transitioning back but with only a few days left in my vacation bank, I couldn’t afford any extra time. It could be a trying week but I’d get through it. Only working four days would help.

I slept like crap and was still awake at 2:30 a.m. so Eileen’s early morning wake up on Monday was painful. I’d packed the night before so all I had to do was get dressed, grab some breakfast and get out the door. We were on the road at 7:30, with Sam driving and Eileen riding shot gun. Cindy’s flight was leaving two hours before mine so I’d have some knitting time at Buffalo airport. There are worse things than sitting and knitting, even if it’s at an airport.

Well, two hours was a drop in the bucket. There was still blow back from the fire at the Chicago air traffic control center and so flights were delayed all over the country. By the time my flight finally left, I had been rebooked onto a later flight to Omaha in case I couldn’t make my 20 minute connection. That flight was delayed too though so I had another wait in Chicago. I had hoped to go to knitting but I didn’t get home until 7:30 and I’d realized on my second flight that my amazon card was no longer in my back pocket. Damn!

I told myself it wasn’t too bad since I’d used it at both Target and Home Depot, both of which had been hacked. I felt the need to completely unpack just in case it was in my carry on (I’d used it to buy lunch in Buffalo) but didn’t find it so called to cancel it. Since I was unpacked, I started laundry. Andrea stopped by after knitting and brought me leftover pizza, which I ate standing up at 8:45 and called dinner. The cleaning lady was coming the next day so I wrote her a note and headed to bed. I thought I’d sleep like a rock but that didn’t happen so I was pretty tired Tuesday morning. Oh well, back to work.

The week flew by. I finally got a good night’s sleep Tuesday night so felt good Wednesday for monthly reports, which bled into Thursday. I got back into the pool Thursday night and ran some errands on the way home Friday. I was ready for two blissful days at home.

I had a big weekend to do list to really get back on track. It had been damp, cold and raining on and off all week so I was hoping for some sunshine. I had a good day on Saturday chipping away at my list and getting some knitting done between. I even made some real food for dinner – tuna casserole and rhubarb upside down cake. Part of my goal was to heat the house up a bit by using the oven because it was pretty chilly in the house. I was pleased with my progress and still had all day Sunday and I was nice and warm under the covers.

Unfortunately I didn’t make the Downton Abbey project bags I had to have done for Monday night and that woke me up at 3:45 Sunday. I gave up on falling back to sleep and got up at 4:30. I went through a single basket of craft stuff in my spare room and found everything I needed. Too bad I hadn’t done that before I went to bed. I had plans with Lorri to hit the roast beef dinner at Colon’s Catholic church for lunch and must have been outside hanging laundry when she called to say she’d been delayed at church so would be late. By the time we’d picked up our meals, I was ravenous. We ate at Lorri’s while catching up and I was home and sewing by 2:00. The bags came out cute and I had all six done except for the handwork by 6:00. I ate leftovers from lunch and sat down to watch TV and do that handwork. I still had a few things left on my to do list but I had finished the must do’s and had clean clothes and things to eat for the week.  So I guess I was back to “normal” because when do I ever get EVERYTHING done? Pretty much never. : )