Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Week 41 - A Toxic End

It was another busy week. In addition to my usual after work activities - knitting on Monday and swimming on Wednesday and Friday - I had plans on the other 2 work nights too so it was a good thing I had the weekend at home to recuperate.

Tuesday night was a David Brooks lecture at the Lied Center. Now he's more conservative than I am but is a reasonable pundit and I knew somehow that my friend Lorri, who is also liberal leaning, would be interested in going and she was. We met at Dempsey's where we shared a burger and fries. The lecture, which was titled "It's Better Than It Looks: Election 2016," was interesting but barely touched on the election. Maybe that wasn't all bad and it was worth going to so add that to my list of free things on campus that I should take advantage of more often.

On Thursday night, Anne and I had plans to go to the grand opening of a relocated store called Craft House. It was relatively near her house so left from there and had fun. Miraculously enough, I didn't buy any yarn, opting instead for some fun fabric that I'll add to the stacks of fun fabric in my craft room that I'll never use. Whatever. I'll use my standard rationale - I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. I do buy too much yarn/fabric. I can live with that. We then went back to Anne's for dinner and some knitting. It was fun but a late night for me. Good thing the week was almost over.

With Layton on vacation, I had the lunch hour to run errands and then I ran a couple more between the pool and home after work so I was ready to be home. The weekend was uneventful and lovely. I slept until after 8:00 on Saturday (shocking!) then ran errands in town. I had planned to stay home but when Andrea suggested an Omaha run, I jumped on it and that killed the rest of Saturday. Sunday was spent on chores, which always gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Too bad I tuned into the uber toxic debate to end my weekend. This election gets worse with every passing day or should I say Trump gets worse. I cannot wait for this election to be over. I'll leave on that note. Who's with me?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week 40 - Delivered the Fit

I started the day Monday with my first drive to work in my new car. I ended the day stress eating through the hateful presidential debate. Lord, I can’t wait for this election to be over! I don’t know if it was the bad election vibe or what but it was a stressful week. 

I had training 4 of the 5 days of the week and training leaves me drained. Then I had the cleaning lady coming on Wednesday and no matter how much I prepare ahead of time, I still find myself stressed on Wednesday morning. Since I had training at 8:30 Wednesday and it was the first time I was teaching that class, I was up extra late on Tuesday doing dishes and neatizing the house so all I had to do the next morning was put the dishes away. I should also mention that I’m an 8:15 kind of person so just getting to work by 8:00 takes some doing. 

All was going fine and I was on track to be on time when I heard a plaintive meow from outside. The kitten was on the garage roof! And would she come down? Nope. I tried my small ladder but couldn’t reach her and she wouldn’t jump onto the house roof so I had to pull the big ladder out of the garage and yank her off. She clawed me to pieces but I was so late at this point that I slapped TP over my wound and flew to work. It was not particularly safe as I read through training materials in the car and called in with questions. But it all went well and my morning was over in a flash. 

The rest of the day was much better starting with lunch. I hadn’t had time to make lunch so got a yummy wrap from my fave vegetarian restaurant, Maggie’s, and ate it in the Sunken Gardens, which I’d never been to. It was a lovely interlude after a stressful morning and the afternoon was uneventful then there was swimming. After getting home to a clean house (always lovely) and having dinner, I ran some yarn over to Andrea’s. She was headed to Yarn School in Kansas and they can take yarn to sell so I’d pulled and priced $300 worth of yarn I’d most likely never use. I had high hopes that she’d sell some. 

The rest of the week was a breeze and ended with a lovely weekend. I was super productive on Saturday, starting with the big clothes swap to get my cold weather clothes into my closet. And since I was touching all my clothes, I took the opportunity to cull them, ending up with a brimming bag for Goodwill. I still need to do more of that though, getting rid of things that fit but I never seem to wear. Everyone’s got some of those. When I was done with the clothes, I started on the frig and when I had a big bag of past their prime veggies for Loris’ chickens, I headed out to drop those and also feed Andrea’s animals while I was out. But just before I left, my neighbor who is buying the Fit informed me that they’d cleared their driveway so I could park it there and his wife would be coming home at 6:00. This meant I had to clear out the Fit and prep it for delivery. This all took longer than I thought so despite having stop to buy a big car sponge so I could wash it myself, by the time I was done with the vacuuming, it was almost 6:00 so I quickly ran it through the carwash instead, delivering it right at 6:00. Done! 

Sunday was the roast beef dinner at the Colon church. Yes, Nebraska has a town named Colon and it’s pronounced just like your intestines. Sheesh! But their church has the best roast beef dinner so Lorri and I go every year. I picked her up after she got home from church and we got take out from there, eating back at her house with her husband Bob. I didn’t stay too long because with a clean kitchen and the old produce all gone from the fridge, I had big plans to cook and that’s what I did for the rest of the day. I love nothing more than starting the week with a frig full of food for the coming week so I can come home from Lincoln to yummy dinner that only takes a few minutes to reheat. Since I don’t get home until 7:00 many nights, that’s key to eating well. Great way to start a new week, right? : )

Friday, October 7, 2016

Week 39 - My New Car

I started the week by calling in, which is something I rarely do but I’m trying to work on that. I’d slept really badly, getting only ~4 hours, and woke up feeling crappy. I ate breakfast and was nauseous so did what normal people do and called in. I tried to go back to bed but only managed to doze rather than get good sleep so gave up at 11:15 and got out of bed. I didn’t manage to get anything done all day but then I’d called in sick so there was a good reason for that. Late in the day I showered and was about to head to Monday Night Knitting when the phone rang. Nora was calling to tell me that Josh had quit. OMG! Now he’s been much nicer to me since he moved offices so I wasn’t impacted much by him anymore but I still was floored. Who quits right before hitting the 2 days/month vacation accrual? Whatever. I hope his new job is a better fit. Now I just have to take on everything he does and prepare to train someone new, assuming we can find someone. I live in hope.

After a good night’s sleep, I was back in the swing of things Tuesday. I went out over lunch and dropped all the donations I’d loaded into my backseat on the weekend plus hit the bread store. At the end of the day, Honda emailed to say my car had arrived and I could pick it up anytime from Thursday through Sunday. It took a bit of finagling and after failing to figure out an after work pick up, I made arrangements with Andrea to go Sunday morning. Now to wait it out. Luckily the rest of the week went quickly with the usual water aerobics, thrifting with Dodie and a 600 calorie day on Wednesday. All good.

With no plans on Saturday, I went back to the spare room clear out. Actually all the yarn I needed to sort through was in the front room so I spent most of my time in there. If you have to spend time slogging through crap, it’s a bonus if that crap is yarn. I actually had fun going through it all and getting it all organized. By the end of the day, it was in apple pie order. I went to bed feeling good about that and knowing the next day I’d be getting my new car.

Andrea picked me up after early mass and we headed to Omaha for breakfast at Le Peep. There was some drama when Drae’s recently deceased brother’s wife called but otherwise it was a yummy and pleasant meal. From there we went to Trader Joe’s to shop while waiting for Honda to open at 11:00. Andrea dropped me off and I got my new car, which took close to an hour despite the fact that I was paying cash and didn’t need financing. But it was wonderful to drive away with my new car. The fact that it was automatic was no problem and I felt no compulsion to clutch. Clearly it was time to be done with manual transmissions. I drove directly to St. Wenceslaus for their fall festival roast beef dinner, which I took to go. It’s enough to eat twice with still some leftovers so is a deal at $9.50. And the best part was that I sold my Fit on the way home! I passed my neighbor walking home from church so gave her a lift. She asked what I was doing with the Fit and said we should talk to her husband, which we did immediately. Sold! They need to wait until mid-October to pay me but that was fine because I wouldn’t be registering the new car until the end of the month so wouldn’t need the money until then. And since I had been planning to ask the same neighbors if I could park the Fit off the alley behind their house (my yard it planted right up the alley but they have 8 feet of scrub behind their fence), it all worked out great. Plus the In Transit tag expires on the 25th  and I just happen to have a dentist appointment that morning so can hit the courthouse after that and not use vacation time to register my car. It’s wonderful when things just fall into place.

With all that taken care of, I did my chores and called it a week. By the end of the day, all the yarn was put away – some in the spare room and some in the basement. The floor of the spare room was completely clear and the cleaning lady would be able to clean in there for the first time in ages. I felt good on so many front. What a nice week. Right?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Week 38 - The Spare Room

This week was full of fits and starts – extra things that I’d committed to do, things that got cancelled or didn’t work out, etc. – but I rolled with the punches and got through it all. I also had some good productivity to balance it all out so the week ended up just fine.

It started on Monday. Anne and I had scheduled a lunch with Kate, who we rarely see her since she no longer swims with us. The plan was to take a pizza to Kate’s office and enjoy catching up. Well Kate had had a bad night and called in sick so Anne and I went to Dempsey’s for half price burger day and had a perfectly pleasant time chatting the lunch hour away. Plus truffle fries – yum!

Tuesday was going to be a busy day. I had scheduled my annual physical and mammogram in Wahoo, which started at 9:00. It was a food day so after enjoying some extra time at home, I grabbed my cranberry walnut cole slaw and headed out. I got to work at 11:00 and started eating at 11:30. I ate WAY too much (hard not to on a food day and this one was particularly good) and before I knew it, it was time to head to the Lied Center where I’d volunteered to be a coach for Husker Dialogues, which was a mandatory program for all incoming freshmen to discuss diversity. There was a half hour allotted for check in but with 370 volunteers and only a handful of people checking in, the lines were long in a room packed with people so hotter than blazes. There was no time for orientation so we took out packets and then went to our seats. The students who sat around us were our group so I had 4 students – 2 who engaged (the 2 “of color” – go figure) and a couple who checked out and barely participated. I did have a helper coach so between the 2 of us, we kept the discussion going. It was WAY long because the chancellor only spoke for 10 of his 25 minutes too. But then those of us coaches sitting in the back rows were told that because so many students had come to the first session, we probably wouldn’t have students for the 2nd session, which in fact came true. So when the chancellor started speaking, I got to duck out the back and so left campus at 7:30 instead of 9:00. Nice. I had volunteered during a weak moment one weekend and then bemoaned having to be on campus so late on a work night so it all worked out.

I spent Wednesday dug into a database, working through lunch because it was too hot to sit outside so what was the point. I was spent by the end of the day so was happy to head to the pool for water aerobics, heading home afterwards, showered and ready for a relaxing night. Thursday was more of the same database but that night I got to go straight home for the first time all week. I had a nice dinner, watched some TV and went to bed early. You would think with such a nice night I’d be all set for Friday but I neglected to set my alarm so didn’t wake up until 6:59, which is more than an hour late. Talk about a rude awakening! I bolted out of bed and was in the car just a few minutes later than normal so salvaged my morning. After a nice lunch with Layton (our last for awhile because he’s headed to Europe) and swimming, I hit HyVee and headed home for the weekend, opting for Guinness and chips for supper, figuring that’d be my last relaxing for a couple of days. The plan for the weekend was to get busy on my spare bedroom.

Now the rest of my house is relatively picked up but the spare room is where I chuck things that don’t have a place – off season clothes and linens mostly but also gifts and various other things. Plus it’s my yarn storage room. It had gotten so bad lately that I’d just stand at the door and pitch things onto the bed, which was piled high with all and sundry. So this was the weekend I planned to clear it out and start the organization. Now I had to run some errands Saturday morning but then planned to stay in for the rest of the weekend. Then I got an email from Lori. One of the Monday Night Knitters, Jan, was having a celebration of life for her son who passed away unexpectedly in Oregon a couple of weeks ago so Lori asked if anyone else was going. It was from 1:00-4:00 in Wahoo so emails flew and we made plans to meet at Andrea’s shop just before 1:00. All this meant I had to get way more presentable than I’d gotten to hit the bank. I got dressed and we met then walked over to the venue, only to wonder why there were no cars. When the door was locked we checked Facebook only to see that we’d messed up the date and it was the next week. Since we were all dressed and out, we decided to have lunch at the bar/restaurant across the street – The Wheel House. None of us had been there before and we were pleasantly surprised by the yummy food. We ate outside on their patio and I got home at 3:00. Now to get busy!

Normally if I’d gotten home at 3:00, I’d have called the day done but not this week. I changed into grubby clothes and started pulling stuff out of the spare room, separating it as I went into yarn, clothes, gifts/stuff and bags. Yes, I have that many book bags. That didn’t take too long so I decided to tackle the two smaller piles immediately – book bags and clothes. I culled the book bags then started slogging through the clothes, making piles – off season things to keep, ironing, donations and things to try on. When I was done with that, I called it good. Since I had no intention of doing anything with yarn this weekend, that just left gifts and miscellaneous stuff for Sunday. I nuked some leftovers for dinner and called it a good day.

I slept late on Sunday and then made a big breakfast and watched CBS Sunday Morning before heading to the piles in the front room. At noon when Lorri stopped in after church, I was still in my nightie and surrounded by even more piles. She invited me to her house for dinner, which meant I had even more time to work. Nice. I got dressed when she left just in case. I had gone through most of the gifts/stuff, leaving just the yarn, which I’d tackle next weekend, when Andrea popped by. I decided to make a pot of tea and take a break. It was perfect and since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I needed something. When Drae left, I had just enough time to start moving things to where they belonged, which mostly meant down to the basement but I also loaded the backseat with Goodwill donations to drop Monday. I threw in a single load of clothes while I was down there and then jumped into the shower and headed to Lorri’s. She’d made an eggplant/tomato pie (she’d recommended it to me so that’s why she invited me for dinner), jalapeno poppers with “fooled me” no heat peppers from her garden and mixed greens. It was all delish and then we had an apple dessert with vanilla ice cream. Nice ending to the day, n’est-ce pas?

So all in all, it was a good week. I had some lots of fun social things, volunteered on campus and got my spare room started. And as Mary Poppins said, “Well begun is half done.” I agree. While the weather for the coming week was not going to cooperate for the pile of fall clothes I needed to try on, at least it was a smaller pile and I’ll start trying them on when fall weather arrives, which has to be soon, right? And next weekend will be the yarn fun. Because if you have to spend a chunk of time organizing things, it’s more fun if it’s something you love. I’m actually looking forward to it. Yay!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week 37 - Short Work Week

Monday was Connie’s last day in Nebraska and she had an appointment in Ashland at 3:00 to get a tattoo. Now there’s a fabulous BBQ restaurant in Ashland, which is a miracle for such a small town, but Rachele is a vegetarian who doesn’t eat vegetables and Parker’s doesn’t have mac and cheese. Since it’s literally the only thing I’ve ever seen Rachele eat (the 6 boxes Connie took out of a grocery bag on Rachele’s kitchen table when she needed the bag didn’t surprise me at all!), we couldn’t eat there so Connie suggested Cheesecake Factory in Omaha, which worked for me. I met them there and we had a lovely lunch. Connie and I shared 2 apps so we’d have room for lemoncello torte (no sharing there) and Rachele had deep fried mac & cheese balls and a tomato flatbread that she took most of the tomatoes off of. Whatever. It was a nice lunch and Connie and I lingered over coffee while Rachele ran to the mall to buy sunglasses. From there we went to an antique mall to kill the time until her appointment, which I did not go to so we said our goodbyes in the parking lot. It had been a fun long weekend.

Since it was Labor Day, the library was closed so Heidi hosted knitting at her house, complete with warm chocolate chip cookies. Yum! My intention was to start reading as soon as I got home because I had an overdrive book checked out – Sunlight Pilgrims – that was expiring on Tuesday but I wasn’t sure what time. But I made the mistake of turning on the TV and got sucked into the final episode of Downton Abbey so didn’t get to bed early. That left me reading until late to finish it, which I did, so I lost some sleep. What the hell, I just had to work on Tuesday. I’d survive.

The short work week was pretty brutal though. We had consultants in for some software training, which started at 3:30 on Wednesday. That wasn’t so bad and I had a nice drive to Seward after work to pick up Andrea’s fair entries (I do the pickup every year and then hit their farmers market.) All day Thursday and Friday was another matter. We worked through lunch both days (so neither of my friend lunches – Dodie on Thursday and Layton on Friday – happened) and only took potty breaks. I was toasty fried by the end of the day Friday and all that for something I’ll only be backup on. Whatever. They keep paying me, I’ll keep showing up. I hit the pool on Friday, thrilled to have the work week over and a free weekend ahead of me.

What’s not to love about a free weekend? Nothing! I started with a long chat with Carolyn and then got dressed to run errands - the library, supermarket, Dollar General and then BK for a treat lunch. Once I was home with groceries put away and double cheeseburger consumed, it was time to get busy. My desk was piled so high with paper and crap that Andrea had remarked on it when she stopped by so that was step one. I went through everything on the desk and by the time I was done, the top was mostly clear and my recycling bin was half full. I even took the time to test all the AA batteries that were too low for my old camera but still test good so would work in non-electronic items like clocks and flashlights. I have a ton so if anyone needs AA’s, let me know. That felt good to have done and then I used my newly purchased red sauce to put together the rest of the eggplant I’d fried last weekend, which I then enjoyed for dinner. I finished by cleaning up the entire kitchen so I’d be ready to cook up a storm on Sunday.

After the laundry was done and hanging on the line, I started Sunday with a big clear out of the fridge and prepping fruit, after which I drove a big bag of scraps out to Lori’s chickens. Then I started cooking – blackberry peach pie for knitting, 3 bags of peaches for the freezer (for summer pies in the dead of winter – yum!), a quiche (since I was making pie crust and had half and half) and cupcakes for lunch with Kate on Monday. And then I was an adult and cleaned up the kitchen again, recognizing that with the busy Monday and Tuesday nights that I had coming, I wouldn’t have time to prep for the cleaning lady then. I also picked up the entire house so between the clean desk and house, plus the fridge full of food, I was good to go for the next week. That counts as a great weekend in my world. Oh how priorities change, am I right? All good though. : )

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 36 - Hanging with Connie

Connie was coming for the weekend so the end of the week was super fun but not much went on early in the week. The highligh was Wednesday when the cleaning lady came and Erica's kids mowed and weed whacked so I got home to everything in apple pie order. Yup, I'm getting old because that was a highlight. Moving on....

Connie was staying with her daughter Rachele in Lincoln so I missed the hanging out that comes when she stays at my house. Rachele was working Friday and Saturday so I had to maximize my just Connie time. On Friday, Connie had lunch with another friend on campus so I cobbled together lunch at my desk (there had been a chance Connie and I would do lunch so I hadn't brought one) and then Connie and I went out for coffee at 1:00. The weather was gorgeous and it was great to be catching up in the sun while drinking Starbuck's. Does life get better? I guess I could have been knitting too. Anyway, I went back to work with plans for Connie to meet me at 5:00 so we could go to water aerobics together. 

Being in the pool with Connie was a blast from the past. She and I started going to water aerobics in spring of 2006, just before she left the university. I kept going, clearly, but she was still there at the start. We had a lot of fun swimming again and she invited me to join her and Rachele for dinner but I declined because as I suspected, Rachele wanted Indian food at The Oven. Now I'm not a huge Indian food fan but am willing to spend $15 on it for the company. But The Oven is more like a $30 meal so I opted out. I'd be spending all day Saturday with Connie so would see her then.

When Connie still lived in Lincoln, we had a Saturday ritual in the summer that I miss SO much. We would start at the farmers market at 8:00 then hit our favorite cafe for breakfast followed by shopping and sometimes a movie. Well, that was our plan for Saturday and I was very excited. Since I was picking Connie up at 8:00, I happily set my alarm (sacrilege!) and was on the road by 7:15. Despite the fact that the market was a shadow of its former self, we still had fun and breakfast at Cook's was delish. We shopped a little bit (neither of us needed anything so it was focused on organic groceries - go figure) and then headed south for Hell or High Water. While it wasn't #1 on my list of movies to see (and lord knows I rarely go anymore), it was entertaining and by the time it was done, it was time to head to Wahoo for dinner. I dropped Connie at Rachele's and made a bee line home.

Connie had brought a Hutterite chicken from home so that was the main course. Having never roasted a chicken, I goodled a recipe and had it in the oven before Connie arrived. She'd also brought green beans from her friend's garden so I steamed those, cut up the loaf of blue cheese bread we'd bought that morning and then whipped up a hubbard squash casserole with squash from the freezer. It was all delicious and we enjoyed it with wine, chatting for hours. After a quick run for soft serve for dessert, we visited some more before Connie headed back to Rachele's. Rachele was off on Sunday so Connie would be playing with her.

I got busy first thing in the morning in hopes that there might be a dinner option with Connie and/or Rachele. I had the laundry on the line and salted eggplant on every surface in the kitchen when Lorri stopped by after church. After a quick lunch, I got busy frying all the eggplant for my first every eggplant parmesan. I had just put one together when Connie called. Rachele was feeling crappy (allergies) so they'd just been hanging inside all day and Connie was going nuts. I invited them both for dinner but Rachele opted out so Connie came up and we supped on yummy eggplant parm and more blue cheese bread, followed by more chatting. I miss my face time with Connie! But what a nice weekend it had been so far and I'd managed to get my chores done too. And I still had Monday to spend even more time. Old friends, yummy food and a long weekend. Life is good!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 35 - My New Normal

Finally I got a normal week. New normal that is with something every night.

Monday – knitting
Tuesday – 600 calorie day and self-PT in the weight room
Wednesday – water aerobics
Thursday – 600 calories and self-PT again
Friday – more swimming

It actually felt great to get back to some routine. The kids were back on campus so it had a whole different vibe and with two afternoons of training, the work week flew. I loved being back in the pool after so long. It was the free week so there were mobs of students trying class out, most of whom we’ll never see again. Hopefully the crowds in the weight room will thin out soon too. At least the self-PT seems to be working. And the weather is cool as often as hot so summer is waning. Yay!

A pretty cool thing did happen this week though. A few months ago, I was at a program at the Sheldon Art Museum on campus where the new director told us that he was looking for ways to get Sheldon's name out there. I suggested that they make some of their art available to download as desktop wallpaper. Good idea, right? Well they actually did it! The director, Wally Mason, kept in touch with me along the way and I got a call from Sheldon's marketing person saying they were available online and they wanted me to be the first to download it and, btw, they wanted to take my pic with my new wallpaper. She snapped 2 pics on her phone and the next day the media blast began. First it went out via email to their friends list then it hit Facebook. At that point, I started getting posts, emails and a stranger approached me when I was thrifting off campus to say she'd seen me on Sheldon's website. Then they mentioned my name on the NPR on Friday morning, and I heard about that too. So I'm calling this my 15 minutes of fame. Pretty cool, huh? Here's the pic.

I had a hair appointment at 8:30 Saturday morning so was up and out. Usually when I’m up and dressed that early, I end up having a productive day but then I got into veg clothes as soon as I got home. That didn’t bode well and talking to Carolyn and then Ginny killed the morning. It was our annual lunch at Chips funded by our fair winning money so I met the knitting gang there at 1:00. We had a yummy lunch and hung out for awhile so I didn't get home until 3:00. I could have gotten something done but just dinked the rest of the afternoon away. At least I finished a pair of socks and the book I’d been reading for months. With Saturday shot, I had high hopes for Sunday.

Well, I headed down to the basement after lunch in search of some yarn for baby booties and was digging in one of my big totes when I smelled something nasty. I dug to the bottom to find a layer of sodden yarn. OMG! The basement flood had been months ago and I had thought the tote, which had a crack in the bottom, was safely above the water. I ended up throwing several skeins right into the trash but I had a bunch of 100% wool from Maine that I decided to try and salvage. I spent a chunk of the afternoon over a sink of hot water, washing hank after hank and hanging it out on the line. It didn’t help that the heat was back. I was dripping with sweat but think I saved most of the yarn. One skein looks a bit off but everything else looks almost good as new. So much for getting anything else done though. I ran to Lorri’s to water then had hotdogs for dinner. Weekend done. At least I saved the yarn. Yee ha!