Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weed 46 - Prepping for Winter

Well, my new workout routine of 6:00 a.m. Power Pump on Monday mornings has seriously impacted my blogging. I used to write my weekly posting first thing on Monday (when there’s no Daily Show to watch) but now I’m at the gym by the time I used to get up so it’s not happening. It’s clearly time to explore another option. Anyway….

It was an even busier than normal week. I know, I always say that but this week I had something every single night and some of it was stressful. The CRAC (Campus Rec Advisory Committee) was #1 on that list.

A bunch of us from water aerobics went to the meeting Tuesday at 4:30 to fight for not cutting our classes for next semester. We’d coordinated our efforts so 4 focused on different aspects of our argument. I covered the history of why our numbers dropped so had written out notes and practiced in my head all day long. We all said our piece and even got out in time to swim, albeit with a late start. We had thought our comments had been well received but Rene, who is on the committee, came over to the pool once the meeting was over and told us that Vicki told the committee that the decision to cut to 2 days/week had already been made (by her, of course) so wasn’t up for a vote – just the new fee structure. That deflated us until Rene said the director of the Rec Center told her it was not a done deal and he’d be looking into it. Hope!

I had a Husker Cats meeting on Wednesday after work, swam Thursday and then met Darla after work on Friday for a dreaded Wal Mart run. I avoid that place like the plague (it used to be a favorite but not anymore) but had a long list of things that I needed. Well, that was a bust! I wasn’t able to find even half of what was on my list so went home mostly empty handed. At least there’s Amazon. Gotta love free deliveries to your front door.

After such a jam packed week, I was looking forward to sitting on my butt as much as possible on the weekend and staying in my jammies until noon (at least) on Saturday. But Thursday night I got an email calling a Friends of the Library meeting for Saturday morning. As treasurer, I’d not only have to go but did through all the paper on my desk to find bank statements and do my treasurer’s report. Grrrrrrr…

Of course, it wasn’t all bad that I had to get up and go. After the meeting, Lorri and I did some shopping in Wahoo and even drove to Weston (a tiny town just west of Wahoo) where a restored general store with antiques for sale had opened up. Once I got home, it was time to get my last gardening done. I repotted all the plants I’d brought in Thursday night ahead of our first hard frost, brought in the plant stands and got them cleaned and set up. Then I mowed for the last time (it took forever for the leaves to fall and that’s what my last mowing waits for) and drained the hoses to store in the garage for the winter. By the time I added in all my chores, the weekend was done. And while I didn’t get much vegging in, at least I’d been productive and was feeling ready for winter. Bring it on!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Week 45 - Friends and Drama

The highlight of the week was getting to spend time with Cindy, my quilter/knitter friend from several of my Jean Moss trips. Cindy was going to be in Nebraska for a quilting retreat and was coming to Lincoln to see the International Quilt Study Center so I was meeting her for dinner on Wednesday. I ducked out of work early when she called at 4:00 and Anne, who has been on the receiving end of Cindy’s yarn boxes and so wanted to meet her, and I met Cindy for a lovely dinner at the original location of Misty’s

Misty’s is an old Lincoln staple – the kind of restaurant that’s like stepping back in time 50 years, complete with round leather booths and 50’s d├ęcor. I’d only ever eaten sandwiches at lunch at the downtown location and it was a 900 calorie day so I was going for the filet mignon. OMG! It tasted absolutely amazing, as did the green beans I got in an attempt to eat healthier than a potato. The liberal amount of bacon the beans were cooked with may have killed that but at least I was trying. I could have been eating saltines and would have enjoyed it just because I was with Cindy. It was all too short a visit as she had an hour’s drive to get to her conference so wanted to get on the road.

I was happy to get an email later in the week that Cindy had decided to get a hotel room near the airport on Saturday night because she had a very early flight on Sunday. I gladly offered to pick her up and play. We went to Penzey’s and World Market (my first time since they reopened in Omaha after being gone for a few years) then lingered over dinner at Noodles. The game was on so we had the place to ourselves and chatted for a long time. It was lovely.

On a not so lovely note, we had some drama brewing over water aerobics. I’ve been going religiously for almost ten years and cannot imagine life without swimming with my friends in the pool. But a new Aquatics person had been hired at campus rec and it had been clear for awhile that the focus was shifting from us to the kids who were paying $60 each for four weeks of swimming lessons. We’d had them in the pool since it reopened but we were usually in the deep end while they were being taught in the shallow but this year we were all crammed in, fighting for real estate in the shallow end and competing for showers in the locker room. Rather than do a better job of scheduling, the powers that be decided they should just cut the number of classes to 2 per week down from 4. And one of the nights they picked was Monday, when I have a conflict. Unacceptable!

After the announcement via email and our responses being ignored for more than a week, we requested a meeting to discuss it. The brand new aquatics person and her boss (the instigator of all this) met us before class on Thursday in the locker room. It did not go well. The boss was downright rude and snippy plus told us the water aerobics instructors were under qualified RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR! I was shocked at the lack of professionalism and the politician like double speak. We also got zero consideration. It was clear she’d already made up her mind to cut the classes. We were all frustrated and vowed to attend the Campus Rec Advisory Committee meeting the next week to plead our case but there seemed to be little hope.

Otherwise the week was uneventful. I started Monday with Power Pump again, helped by the time change so getting up at 4:45 wasn’t so brutal. I finished the offboarding training with my twelfth session on Tuesday morning, did my monthly reports and got a flu shot. I didn’t sleep through until my alarm went off until Friday so was more tired with each passing day. A relaxing weekend helped me regain my energy.

The best part of the weekend was doing some leg work to plan my next knitting trip, which included calling Paul and Joanne in New Mexico (friends from our Jean Moss trips) to pick their brains on their recent trip to the Shetland Islands for Wool week. Emailing were flying all day Sunday and by the end of the day, I’d committed to this trip along with Gail and Eileen (2 of my Canadian knitter friends), Cindy and her friend Erica, who was a total hoot on the France trip, and Lori from the Wahoo knitters, who will be my roomie. Unfortunately Sue can’t go but it’s hard to feel sorry for her when it’s because she’ll be just coming back from a trip to Switzerland with her husband. But alas, we do feel bad and will miss her a ton. But nonetheless I’m very excited to go. Now to make it to June without my head bursting from excitement. : )

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 44 - Last Supper Mentality

Let me start with a Pie update – she’s fine – but here are the details. When I got up, her mouth was still wide open and she wouldn’t let me anywhere near her so I headed out at 5:15 for Power Pump followed by breakfast out with Anne and Rene. I called the vet as soon as I got to my office, making an appointment for the afternoon. It was not a good day to take the afternoon off but what choice did I have? I left at noon and went home, dreading trying to capture her. But when I called her, I could hear her perfectly normal meow coming from the basement. Sometime over the morning, her jaw had shut on its own. Yay! I cancelled the vet and checked email before deciding what to do with my free afternoon. Well, there was an email from Student Accounts and I would have to start allocation from scratch. When I read that, I headed back to campus. Total time gone? 2 hours. I cancelled my vacation leave and worked late, heading straight to knitting, pumpkin cake in hand. What a long day but at least Pie was fine.

I was still in the throes of offboarding meetings plus was working allocations between them and had another half day of training too. Needless to say the week flew by. And lest I have a minute to breathe, I also fit a dentist appointment and haircut before and after work plus swam twice. Wednesday was a food day, purposely scheduled on a non-rotating week, and I ate way too much junk and felt like crap. That was my week. I was SO ready for a weekend at home.

With Saturday being Halloween, I did my annual trimming of the crabapple so the trick or treaters could get to the front door. I carved a jack-o-lantern, filled up the candy bowl and was ready to go. But where were the kids? I had gone to a party last year so hadn’t given out candy but compared to 2 years ago, there were very few. Was it because it was a Saturday? No clue but I was giving out handfuls of candy by the end. I spent the evening knitting and streaming on my Kindle between answering the door, ending with 3 little candy bars (being in last supper mentality, I’d eaten a few mind you) when I turned the light off just before 9:00.

The last supper mentality was because I was starting a new rotation on Sunday, which meant I’d only had 6 days off and had me eating everything in sight on Saturday in an attempt to have something non-diet. Of course I had very little yummy in the house so nothing satisfied me and I felt crappy both physically and mentally. The reason for the short break was that I wanted to be on a 1200 calorie day for the Project Close Up turkey dinner on the 8th so was starting early. I had had such a busy week that I didn’t make the tuna casserole I’d been craving so was starting feeling deprived day 1. That might not bode well but I was gonna try. I’ll let you know how that went in next week’s post. : )

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Week 43 - Offboarding and Cats

To say the week was nuts is an understatement. I haven’t had a work week so busy in decades. Literally. It reminded me of my days at Brown, when I was much younger and had more energy. At least it went by quickly.

It was all the offboarding meetings that kept me hopping, with training classes added in for extra measure. I had at least one offboarding session every day except Thursday and two some days. Several were on East Campus which added a drive to the already 2 hour commitment when you figured set up time and staying late for questions. Then there was all the email follow up. I was looking forward to Thursday with no meetings or trainings but by the time I got done with offboarding follow up, it was 3:30. So much for my free day.

To add to all the offboarding fun, someone reported that there was a friendly cat in the parking garage. Since one of Husker Cats’ rules is that we’ll remove friendly cats who end up (dumped most likely) on campus, I emailed the garage feeder and the TNR (trap/neuter/release) coordinator to have them keep an eye out. The person who reported it had also checked for it again with no luck. I had gone to a movie Tuesday night after work and decided to see if I could find the cat after working hours when the garage would be quieter. I didn’t think I would so only brought a little baggie of food. Of course I stepped off the elevator and there he was. I walked toward him, calling him and he responded by meowing so this wasn’t a feral cat. I put some food down and he came right over and let me pet him. But did I have a carrier with me? Nope.

I started making calls and finally got Belinda, who said she’d get dressed and bring me a carrier. I picked him up and put him in it no problem but Belinda looked at me and said, “I’m not taking him!” so now I had to take him home. He was a dream in the car and I quickly set up a litter box, food and water in my bathroom. It was almost 9:00 before I got him settled. He was a dirty mess (he might have hitched a ride under the hood of someone’s car) but sweet as all get out and didn’t make a peep all night, probably because he was in a food coma after all he ate. I had made arrangements to drop him at the vet’s back in Lincoln Wednesday morning before work. At least he’d be out of my house and I was hoping someone would offer to foster him so he wouldn’t be my problem.

So here’s how Wednesday went… I dropped the cat at the vet on the south side of Lincoln before 8:00 and got to East Campus for an offboarding session at 8:15, thinking I’d have time to check email but we had technical difficulties so only got up and running minutes before the session started. There were 40-50 people in the room plus the outstations were participating via Adobe Connect so there were lots of questions. I was back at my desk for about 20 minutes before I had to leave for a lunch meeting for UAAD (the professional organization on campus that I used to be president of) because I’d asked the new accountant to go so couldn’t bail. I left that early (it was a fun demo of drones by a computer science grad student) and had a training session with Nora across campus, which went until 3:30. By the time I got back to my desk, I was exhausted. Monday and Tuesday were fall break so we didn’t have swimming and I had intended to swim Wednesday but couldn’t muster the energy. Just two more work days to go.

UNL’s student knitting group was having a yarn swap on Friday after work so I had gone through all my basement yarn and had 2 big bags to drop off (I didn’t want any yarn in return) plus 2 bags from Donna, who had gone through her yarn while moving. More output from my house, so all good and a nice way to start the weekend.

I usually talk to Carolyn first thing on Saturday but she emailed that she’d be calling later so I got up and got busy with chores. By the time she called, I had finished everything except the laundry, which I planned to do on Sunday. That left me thinking I could do something fun Saturday so I called Andrea, who had emailed info earlier in the week about a sale in Seward. She was in so I picked her up at 1:00 when her shop closed and off we went. We stopped at the sale in Seward then hit the Mennonite thrift shop, which is always fun and didn’t disappoint. I bought all kinds of fun things including a funky 70’s quilt top, 2 vintage aprons, a fun jacket and a few other things. Then we headed to Spindle, Shuttle and Needle (a yarn shop) in Stromsburg. I bought yarn (did you ever doubt it?) and then we hit the local grocery store, which the yarn shop owner had said was fun and it was. They had a butcher counter with all kinds of fun specialty meats, nice produce and a Swedish section. I bought the lemon I went in for and a bag of all kinds of other things. What a nice and unplanned afternoon! It was perfect fall weather so great for a country drive.

All that fun and I still had Sunday for laundry, knitting and cooking. I needed that after the week I’d had. It was my last day of the rotation so I made a pumpkin cake to take to knitting. The one downer of the day was finding Pie with her her jaw stuck open again around dinner time. She wouldn’t let me near her to try to wrangle it shut, which I’d successfully done last time it happened. I was up late trying to get her in and would have to deal with it in the morning. Oh well. It figures I’d have a cat with TMJ! More on that in next week’s post.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 42 - Magic Minus 64

One of the things on my After Canada list was to think about lifting weights. Now Anne had been bugging me to go to the Power Pump class at Campus Rec on Monday mornings but it’s at 6:00 a.m., which would mean I’d have to leave the house by 5:15. Well, I woke up at 4:30 on Monday morning and could hear Anne’s voice in my head, which kept me from falling back asleep so I got up and got ready. I had to pack both breakfast and lunch, dig up work out clothes and pack clothes for work, which all took time. I left just before 5:30 so knew I would be running in last minute. I called Anne from the car and asked her to get me set up for class. When I went in, I knew 5 of the 6 people in the class and they all cheered me on for showing up. The class wasn’t too bad and I was at my desk at 7:30. Shocking!

I was so busy on Monday morning that I forgot to weigh myself before heading out. When I weighed myself Tuesday, I was thrilled to see I'd lost enough weight to hit -64 pounds. Now anyone who knows me knows that I like things in multiples of 4, with 16 being my favorite number (4 squared) with 64 a close second (4 cubed.) 64 is also the number of stitches in a standard sock. So I was tickled to be down 64 pounds. I'm hoping to be down 90 by Christmas. Wish me luck.

The week flew by. I was filling in for Nora at offboarding sessions so had meetings every day to demo my database. I did a lot of grocery shopping after work to restock the fridge, swam twice and Darla picked up yet another bag of clothes first thing Thursday morning, catching me still in my nightie. Progress. Everything that leaves my house is progress.

I went through the consignment bags on Saturday morning, hanging the 30 best items on hangers, a requirement for the consignment shop, and bagged up the rest to drop at Goodwill in Fremont after spinning. I hadn’t been to spinning since May so it was good to see everyone and then Andrea and I had fun thrifting. I went home to Saturday snack supper and an early night. I was struggling to keep my eyes open for the 2nd night in a row.

I woke up at 4:30 on Sunday so got up at 5:00 and had done plenty of chores before noon. I also managed to finish 2 pairs of socks, which always feels good. I spent the afternoon cooking and prepping food for the week. It had warmed up so I opened the windows to get some warmth into the house. There’s more freakishly warm weather on the way – 80’s early in the week. Oh well. At least I haven’t had to put the heat on yet. The leaves have only just begun to change and none have dropped. It’s a very weird fall.

Week 41 – Life After Canada

So with the mouse saga done (never found it but I’m just over it!) and all the spare room detritus slogged through, I was ready to move on to “After Canada.” I had made a list on my iPad on the way home and had big plans to be uber productive, healthy and happy so it was time to get going.The week cooperated with lots of normal. Knitting, swimming and rotating, which felt great after eating too much crap in September.

I’m happy to say that I only gained 4 pounds during my month off from rotating and most of that was retained water from eating sodium again because it was gone in 2 days so could not have been true weight gain. It felt good to be rotating again – step 1 towards getting back to normal.

It was a pretty uneventful week. I had an eye doctor appointment on Tuesday after work and was able to convince the doctor not to dilate me so I was able to be productive when I got home. I brought home 6 pairs of glasses and chose a purple pair after asking friends for their opinions, which ended up with a split vote so I picked the ones I liked better.

By the end of the week, I had dropped a carload of clothes at Goodwill and Darla had picked up another bag. I still had some to consign and had checked out a store that might work. The work week flew by and I was ready for a weekend without a mouse hunt to get truly caught up with everything. I had a nice weekend at home, doing chores and getting the house picked up. Perfectly normal weekend and by the end of it, I felt back on track. So far so good on After Canada. : )

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 40 - A Mouse Hunt

I woke up early Monday and had time to hang with Dottie before waking up Andrea. We had a quick breakfast, said our goodbyes and were back on the road, a bit later than we’d planned but at least Chicago rush hour wouldn’t be an issue.

I had asked my Ravelry friends where the best thrift shop was off I-80 so we had plans to stop in Davenport, Iowa, which was a bit more the a third of the way home. But then we saw a billboard for an easy on/off Goodwill in Illinois so had to stop. It was a brand new store and a pleasant shopping experience. I scored some fall clothes in my new, smaller size and we asked about other Goodwills right off the highway. She told us of 2 more so off we went. The 2nd was a bust but we had fun at the third. All these stops were adding time so it was 2:30 by the time we got to Davenport but we decided to stop at the recommended Salvation Army anyway. I was glad we did. I found 2 solid oak wooden cubes that were the perfect solution to hold a shelf I have in the basement, the supports of which disintegrated when they got wet in my basement flood. I also found a perfect winter nightie and yet more canning jars, which I’d been buying everywhere since The Sal’s in Port Elgin. But this had to be our last stop or we wouldn’t be home until midnight. OK, we’d have to eat eventually but nothing else.

We were listening to Sherlock Holmes short story DVD’s so decided we’d stop when the next story was over. We were near Grinnell, Iowa and I knew there was a college there so we got off the highway. We saw another Goodwill so stopped there to ask where to eat (tee hee) and after buying a few things, we headed to Grinnell’s cute downtown to a pub the clerk had recommended. We ate yummy sandwiches as darkness fell. We really did need to not stop again, which we didn’t. We drove into my driveway at 11:00 p.m. It had been a long day but fun. We unloaded my stuff into the kitchen and I intended to leave it there and get right to bed. Then I remembered that the cleaning lady was coming the next day so I moved it all into the spare bedroom before showering and going to bed. I knew I’d be tired on Tuesday. Oh well. All worth it.

So I was eating breakfast and happily watching The Daily Show again (Trevor Noah is no John Stewart but I’m still happy it’s back) when Tot came running into the house with a mouse in her mouth. I chased her to the front room where she dropped the mouse and I was appalled to see it was alive. It ran under the love seat and I tried to catch it but it then scampered into the crammed full spare room. OMG! There was no catching it before work so all I could do was pull the food bags out of the room and close the door, stuffing a towel underneath so it couldn’t get out. I left a whiny note for the cleaning lady and limped, exhausted, to work. I somehow made it through the day and left right at 5:00 to use my last ounce of energy to deal with the mouse, not sure what I’d do but something.

When I opened the door, there was a gift bag on the counter and a note from my cleaning lady. Not only had she bought me a gift to cheer me up but had installed 3 mouse traps in the spare room. They were sticky traps, which are cruel and would not have been my choice but at least I didn’t have to deal with it. I found something in my empty fridge for supper and sat like a zombie until it was late enough to go to bed. I was hopeful I’d find the mouse the next morning.
Well, by morning one of the traps was gone but in the quick perusal I did, I didn’t see it so I kept the door shut and headed to work. I was feeling much better after a good night’s sleep and it was the all U picnic at work. It was Harvey’s (our chancellor) last State of the University speech too. I listened to some of it before Cheryl came and got me to head to the picnic, where I ate with Anne. It was a gorgeous fall day and so was a pleasant lunch. I swam after work and went home for only a slightly more thorough search for the mouse, which didn’t find it. I was completely conflicted about the poor mouse, knowing the sticky trap meant it would be stuck and dying a slow death but I couldn’t face doing anything and it was already dark so I just ignored the room. This would continue until the weekend.

After an uneventful rest of the week, I woke up on Saturday with my only goal being to clear the room and find the mouse. I was in there first thing (OK, it was 10:00 when I started but I’d just finished my coffee) and started by pulling things out of the room – the stuff from Canada, all of my yarn and baskets of clothes destined for Goodwill. When I pulled the yarn boxes out from under the bed, I found a wet spot that I figured was mouse juice so I then tore apart the bed, thinking I’d find a dead mouse in the box spring. Well, after pulling all the netting off the bottom and the loose fiberfill off the sides, still no mouse. Then I started on the closet. That’s where I found the sticky trap, which was covered with fur and showed signs of nibbling but no mouse. I cleared every single thing out of the closet until it was completely empty but found nothing. So I went through both of the closet yarn containers, felt every hanging piece of clothing and went through everything that was on the top shelf. STILL NO MOUSE! Where did it go? It was now 4:00 and I’d been at this all day so I just gave up. The only thing left in the room was the 2 dressers and I hadn’t gone through those drawers but I was done. I didn’t smell dead mousie so either it was alive and well in one of the drawers or had somehow escaped. Carolyn said they can squeeze through ½” openings so maybe it went down the heat vent? I’m doubtful since it was a fat mouse from what I could see but like I said, DONE. If it’s alive in the house, I can only hope one of my four cats will take care of it.

 After eating some dinner and knitting a bit, I went back to the front room and organized all of my sock yarn. I went to my computer to stash my new yarn from the retreat so I could add it all before putting the yarn boxes back under the bed and this is what I found. Rotten cat! But not the one who caused the mouse problem. It was 10:30 before I went to bed and I had so little down time that I read until well after midnight. My house was a wreck so I’d have a full day on Sunday to get it back in shape.

I slept late on Sunday, thankfully, and there was a football game on instead of CBS Sunday Morning so I started in right away. I had done a load of laundry Saturday night but had many more to go. All of Carolyn’s clothes I’d brought back from Rhode Island had been on the bed since July so needed to be washed and hung plus I had all the clothes I’d thrown in the spare room as they got too big to deal with. I did load after load of laundry and slogged through enormous piles of clothes for most of the day, trying everything on until my shoulders ached. Here are the stacks and stacks of clothes that are leaving the house. I pulled a few for Darla, a few more for Helen and sorted the rest into piles for the plus sized consignment store in Lincoln and the rest for Goodwill. Anything the consignment store won’t take is going right to Goodwill. I loaded the consignment clothes into the car and bagged up the Goodwill and moved them to the front room for later this coming week. My closet was also bursting with plenty of clothes to wear for this season.

So having to go on the mouse hunt did have an upside. Those clothes probably would have sat in the spare room for a long time before I got up the energy to get rid of them. The spare room is now also guest ready and I intend to keep it that way rather than the dumping ground it usually is. That done, it’s time to get out the After Canada list I typed up on my iPad in the car on the way back. There’s plenty more to do now that my 3 months at home are here. Wish me luck.