Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 36 - A Normal Week

There’s not much to say about this week because it was as normal as it gets. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t make for gripping blog posts. The highlight of my week was playing with kittens when I stopped at PetsMart to get cat food on Wednesday. Otherwise it was the usual – knitting, swimming, you know the drill.

Fall arrived mid-week, which I love. It was with more rain and damp, bone chilling cold but at least summer’s over. That’s always a good thing in my book. At least all this rain has helped with the watering at Lorri’s. I’ve been a few times to check things out but have only actually watered once in the entire week. Nice.

Darla and I had a play date scheduled for Saturday, beginning with blueberry pancakes chez moi then an Omaha run, but she was out sick Friday with a stomach thing so ended up cancelling. While Darla being sick wasn’t good, it did take the pressure off my weekend. I still did a bunch of neatizing Friday night under the thought that it’d be much more pleasant to get up to a picked up house but I didn’t do all the dishes. It was nice to wake up Saturday and not have the house look like a bomb had gone off. Then I ran errands in town, stopping in the real library for the first time since it closed last January. They made some nice changes and it looks great. It felt so good to stop in to pick up money to deposit. So normal. Here’s a news story about it. The Bernadette they interview is one of Anne Marie’s kids. Cute.

Errands done, it was home to putter for the rest of the weekend. I made good progress on everything, which works because the new cleaning lady comes for the second time Tuesday. On Sunday I cooked the Boston marrow squash Lori had grown for me (I bought the seeds and presented them to her with a request to grown them and share. Ballsy, right? But it worked.) and have a freezer full of squash for winter eating. I did another clean out of the frig to go with all the squash guts and Lori stopped by to pick up it all up for her “girls” on the way through town.

Just one more week until I’m Canada bound. It’ll be an easy pack and the house should still be neat so it’s all good. Now if the post-nasal drip leftover from my cold that leads to coughing would just be gone. I may have to head to the doctor if it’s not gone very soon or flying won’t be pretty. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 35 - My Endless Cold

Well, I can’t say I got much done this week. I spent most of my time coughing and trying not to move because that would just get me coughing. So no swimming for sure but very little else either. And there was sweating too. Lots and lots of sweating. I was a real treat!

Connie left first thing Monday morning so I made her an omelet for breakfast – protein to offset a day of road food. Within half an hour of her driving away, I had her bed stripped and remade, everything I’d moved out of her room moved back and the laundry sorted and started. I was dripping wet so jumped into the shower and then the sitting began. I was still fully congested at this point so the coughing hadn’t started yet.

With all the down time I had, I spent Monday finishing a pair of socks I’d started last October when I was home after surgery. It was a complicated pattern with gorgeous yarn – an expensive skein from a local dyer. Well, it had come in two hanks, which I took as convenient for making socks, but the second skein didn’t feel the same. When I finished the socks, they were completely different. One was wimpy, fuzzy, came out bigger and was a slightly different color. I washed them for blocking and it got even worse. They were so different that I didn’t want to keep them and couldn’t give them away. It was time to contact the dyer. After several emails, we decided that I’d take the good sock to Yarn Charm to hang for display near her yarn and she’d give me a new skein. So much time and nothing to show for it! At least I got an entry in my knitting group’s WIP contest. And after frogging the second sock, I have 50 grams I can use in another project. It’ll be fine on its own but sheesh!

In my effort to get back to “normal” this week, I spent some time slogging through paper and clearing surfaces. One of my hot spots is the corner by the fridge where I throw random food that doesn’t go in the cupboard – chips, bread, cookies… that kind of thing. While cleaning that corner, I started putting extra food on the table. Well, by the time I got the corner under control, the table was full. Let’s not even discuss how many boxes of cereal I have. So I’m declaring here that I’m done buying food. I’m going to see how long I can go eating out of my cupboards, freezer and garden without buying food. Of course some things will be exempt – milk, TP, cat food, etc. This isn’t about saving money but rather clearing things out. All good, right? Please ask me how I’m doing on this. I should really take some before and after pics.

By the end of the week, the congestion had abated but the coughing had set in. Some of it was drainage related but not all of it. I was SO pretty to be around at work. At least it was getting some better by the weekend. I had vet appointments with all four cats on Saturday morning – 2 at 9:15 and 2 at 10:15.  They all needed shots but the first two needed their ears cleaned and I had to drug Pie since she needed treatment for a UTI. I was home and showered (taking cats to the vet is gross – they blow fur when they’re stressed plus the shaking of the ears. Ewww.) before lunch and then started neatizing. I ended the day with a trip to the Laundromat with comforters (they’d gone from piled on the spare bed to the middle of the front room floor) so I could hang them on the line to dry, watering at Lorri’s (the mosquitoes were horrible from all our rain so I blasted the water on the plants while flailing my arms and managed not to be bitten) and a stock up run (no food though) at Dollar General. I was happy with the level of productivity by the time I went to bed.

Sunday was Carter’s, my cousin’s grandson, baptism in Hickman, which is an hour south of Wahoo. I was dressed and on the road by 9:00. It was a lovely service and they had pulled pork for lunch afterwards in the church hall. I helped do the pulling so was speckled with meat bits. It’s all good. When I got home, I got cooking. I’d signed up for potato salad for our food day Monday so made that, some stuffed peppers and banana bread. I’d started the day making a pound of bacon so I could make BLT’s all week and then came back from the baptism with home grown tomatoes and cukes. It looks like I’ll be doing fine with my first week of not buying food and it’s all good, healthy food too. Yay!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 34 - Rain and Connie

Wet, wet, wet. Looking back at the week, the main thing I think of is rain. We had almost 9” in as many days. The grass was growing like crazy, the flowers were looking beaten up and all the tomatoes in my garden were splitting from so much water. My basement was dry until the 2.5” of rain we got on Wednesday, which put us over 7” since the previous Friday. It wasn’t pouring in but rather seeping up from the saturated ground. And there was yet more rain in the forecast. 

The last straw was when I was driving home on Thursday, late after swimming and a stop at the market, and found 77 closed due to flooding. I had to drive 8 miles east, 6 miles north then back 8 miles west to go over the dam north of town, which was supposed to stop this kind of flooding. I didn’t get home until 8:00 and was exhausted. By then I was coming down with a cold and Connie was due to arrive the next day. At least I was done with preparations. All I had left to do was move the stuff on her bed into my bedroom, where it would only stay until she left, when it would go right back on the bed. 

I woke up completely congested on Friday after not sleeping well at all. While I hate to call in sick, I knew I had to if I had any chance of being functional while Connie was here. I sat in my chair and did nothing all day, which must have worked because I was feeling OK when Connie arrived late Friday afternoon. It was great to see her. Phone calls are just not the same face time. 

I popped another Claritin D (genius product!) and we headed to Omaha on Saturday morning. Our first stop was the Farmers’ Market, which we used to do when she lived in Auburn. We would have preferred Lincoln’s market but it was a game day so no chance. We had a great time and bought some goodies for later. From there we went to Lauritzen Gardens, which was free for the weekend. It was still cloudy and cool-ish so we enjoyed looking at all the gardens, although the flowers were beaten down by the rain and the lawns were squishy. We finished just as the sun came out and the heat started up. We grabbed lunch at Noodles then hit Trader Joe’s (more goodies for dinner) and Aldi before heading home. We had a lovely evening snacking on our purchases and watching the entire season 3 of Sherlock, which Connie hadn’t seen yet. I was still holding up so was hopeful for Sunday. 

Nope. I slept like crap again and woke up feeling, as my mother would say, punk. I made blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast and that used up all the energy I had. We were headed to Lincoln for pedicures, lunch and shopping with Connie’s daughter Rachele, who was visiting from New Jersey. It was pouring rain as we got to Lincoln and I was dreading the full day ahead. I’d brought my knitting with the idea that if couldn’t keep up, I could sit in a coffee shop and knit while they shopped. When Connie realized she’d forgotten something in Wahoo that she’d brought for Rachele and announced she’d be heading back later, it was music to my ears. I could now just do the pedicure and then be dropped home and Connie could shop with Rachele. I was SO relieved because I was coughing constantly and feeling worse by the minute. So after a relaxing pedicure, they drove me home and I spent the day sitting like a lump in my chair. It was exactly what I needed. Connie was racing home before another fierce storm (she didn’t quite make it so drove through some hellish rain) and got home in time for BLT’s for dinner and one of my favorite movies – The Station Agent. She loved it and I was feeling better after staying home. 

It was as good a weekend as I could have hoped for considering how crappy I felt. Connie was leaving in the morning after a quick but fun trip. Hopefully I’ll see her sometime soon but if not, there’s our cruise in February. The icing on the cake was that the rain seemed to be done for awhile so things could dry out. I am so ready for fall.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 33 - Jam Packed Week

I was looking forward to a normal week but it was jam packed so I’m not sure how normal it was. It was the week before classes start so no swimming, which you would think would mean more free time but it didn’t work out that way. Go figure. There were some really long days in store this week.

Monday was knitting, which is always fun but is a long day nonetheless – work all day, pick up pizza then knit at the club. By the time I get home it’s pushing 9:00 so it’s 14 hours away from home. Long day. Then on Tuesday I had to take my car to Honda because the hatch was jammed again. Since Honda is way down south in Lincoln and the shuttle leaves at 7:15, that means I have to be on the road by 6:30. It also adds a bunch of time at the end of the day because I have to get down there then it’s an hour home from that far south. Another long day and let’s not discuss the $99 charge to tell me it’ll be another $430 if I want it fixed permanently. Nope. I’ll take my chances. Wednesday was our annual water aerobics get together, which we always do the week we have no classes. Unfortunately I didn’t remember to bake until after 9:00 on Tuesday, when I threw in a pan of brownies and called it good. The cookout was also down south at Rene’s after work and was fun, as always, but I was one of the first to leave and still didn’t get to Wahoo until almost 9:00. I had to pick something up at Denise’s or I would have been later. Yet another long day. Thursday was book club. I did get to go home and eat dinner beforehand. Since the library is completely closed pending reopening at the real location after Labor Day, we met at the Vets’ Club, our home away from home these days. We had a good discussion but Connie, whose husband died recently very unexpectedly, didn’t come so I decided to stop at her house after dropping knitting needles at Donna’s in the same neighborhood. We had a lovely talk but I didn’t get home until after 9:00 again! Between the crappy sleep because of disturbing dreams (I blame the book – Destiny of the Republic – that I’d been listening to in every spare minute, including to and from work in the car) and these long days, I was toast. At least Friday was here and I had no plans for the weekend.

I had been waiting with baited breath for the state fair results to be posted online. I’d entered my two best socks, including the gorgeous pink pair I’d only gotten a red on at the county fair. The fair was open on Friday but the results didn’t get posted until late afternoon. How the ribbons work at the state fair is only a maximum of 5 are awarded for each division so of all the socks entered from the whole state, only 5 would get ribbons. I was thrilled to hear that I got 2 of them – 2nd and 5th place. I don’t know which sock got which but I was happy happy happy! Not enough that I’d be driving to Grand Island to see them but I have friends going who will take pictures. Yay!

Another wonderful thing happened on Friday. Andrea had found a cleaning lady who was taking clients and she had called me back and would be coming for a meet and greet on Sunday morning. If all went as planned, she would even be able to clean next week before Connie arrived. I was so excited. It did mean I’d have a big day of slogging through stuff on Saturday but I’d have had to do it before Connie came anyway and now with a firm deadline, it wouldn’t fill my entire weekend. So that’s what I did Saturday – sorting, moving, purging… All good. I was done by supper time and was looking forward to an early night. I had showered and was in bed reading when I heard my cell phone ringing. I decided to ignore it but then my landline rang. I picked it up and it was Cornelia. Her husband had died on Thursday. While it was a blessing that he didn’t linger longer, it was sad news regardless. I was on the phone a long time, making for another long day but that’s what friends are for. Corn has big changes ahead and I’m 1300 miles away so the only help I can really give is moral support. I can only hope she makes it through this OK.

I had planned to get up early and finish the dishes but was up so late that that didn’t happen. I hid all the dirty pots and pans that were in the sink in the dishwasher and called it good. Trisha arrived at 10:00, agreed to take me on as a client and then the rest of the day was mine. I still had laundry, the hidden dishes and cooking to do but there was also some sock knitting between the chores so it was all good. It was a relaxing day after a very busy week and I was so grateful for all my busy-ness, my friends and my wonderful life. I went to bed Sunday happy and hopeful for normal in the coming week. I live in hope.

Week 32 - Back to Reality

Monday was bra day. Since Carolyn had lost so much weight, she needed new bras but since she’s planning to keep losing, there would be no point in buying expensive ones. Vanity Fair outlet would be the perfect place to go so we headed to Dartmouth first thing. I was on dressing room duty – putting bras back on hangers, getting other sizes, etc. You know the drill. She found a couple of bras and the black capris she’s been searching for, on sale no less. I got a pair of denim shorts and a ¾ sleeve shirt so it was well worth the drive. After a quick lunch at Corner Bakery CafĂ© (a Panera-esque chain but with more variety – I want one in Nebraska. Now!) it was time for some quality time with Cornelia. I picked up mint chocolate Awful Awfuls and we sat in her backyard, chatting and enjoying the view. She did have to help Rick a couple of times but we enjoyed catching up. After dinner, we watched the BAD movie Divergent. We didn’t start until after Matt got home so it was a struggle to stay awake. I should have gone to bed instead.
Tuesday was my last day and not a whole one either. We hadn’t done our Job Lot run yet so did that first thing then the packing began. I had only brought my small suitcase and had a bigger carry on to use but had bought lots of stuff. Aaron took one look at the piles I made on the couch and declared there was no way it’d fit. Ha! The challenge was on. I did take 2 mugs out of the equation immediately but then started packing. I am an amazing packer. No need for modesty there because it’s true. I should have taken a picture of all that I fit in. It was a thing of beauty with everything tightly packed and every nook and cranny filled with bags of green tea from the many boxes I’d bought at The Christmas Tree Shops. I had it all in and was feeling proud of myself when Carolyn pointed to a bag on the stairs that she’d never mentioned and I’d ignored that was full of stuff she’d bought for me to take back. I managed to fit a few more things in but all but one pair of jeans she’d earmarked for Nora would be waiting until Christmas. I did put a single pair over the top of my carry one stuff for Nora to try on. If they didn’t fit, Carolyn could donate the rest. If they did, they’d wait with the mugs until Christmas, which is only 4 months away. Yikes! Carolyn had gone out for spinach pies for lunch and then I made one last, quick run to Cornelia’s before heading to the airport for 3:30.
I had checked in after dinner on Monday, 22 hours before my flight, and had a high C boarding pass! It really is time to consider paying the $15 early check in for flights from RI. Anyway, it was only 2 hours so I figured I could put up with anything but then scored a middle seat in an exit row and had a lovely flight, chatting with the woman next to me, knitting and watching some TV on my iPad. I so love my iPad. How did I manage before I had one? And before the internet? Don’t wanna go back there! My flights were both uneventful as was my ride home. I got into my house at 10:45 p.m., showered and went to bed. I was working Wednesday so had to get some sleep. It was great to be in my own bed.
Wednesday was catch up day at work. After an 11:00 meeting across campus, Nora and I grabbed wraps and sat on the picnic table behind our building for lunch and she caught me up on what I’d missed. I made it through the afternoon fine despite being short on sleep and went home to unpack. Everything had made it fine and it was like Christmas. Speaking of which, stockings and my color swap are DONE. This has got to be a record for me.
Thursday was the annual fiber garage sale from the Friends of Hillestad Gallery sale. It started in the morning but I was going at lunch with Anne and Dodie. Andrea had already been and gone but I found plenty of fun stuff to buy, spending $60 at the yarn sale - $5 for a bin to hold it all, about $10 on needles and magazines and all the rest on yarn, which was $1/skein so I got LOTS of yarn. I ran next door to the fabric sale and bought $12 worth of 70’s calico for my That 70’s Quilt. Time to get working on that. We stopped at Pho Factory for take out Vietnamese food, inspired by show I’d watched on the plane. While it was delicious, it was not take out friendly so I barely ate any of mine, saving it for home when it would be easier to put together and eat. I went to the pool that night only because there were no classes the next week so it was my last chance for awhile.
I was still doing OK energy wise on Friday and had lots of meetings so the day flew. I was looking forward to being home on the weekend and just getting all my RI spoils put away (I’d unpacked but there were piles everywhere) and maybe some yard work done. But Saturday was spinning and while I had considered skipping it, I didn’t and had a lovely time. I got my day at home on Sunday to neatize the house, integrate all the new stuff and get some chores done. I had made it through my short work week and was feeling good after a relaxing vacation. Now back to reality.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Week 31 - Year End Trip

There’s a reason I used to get on a plane the day the books closed. This year they closed on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. but I wasn’t leaving until Thursday morning. Can we say endless Wednesday boys and girls? Sheesh!

The reason I’d postponed this year was that Mary had scheduled two meetings for the day after fiscal year end and since Carolyn and I had decided the late flight wasn’t worth the sleep deprivation (that flight leaves Omaha at 6:00 p.m. but gets me to RI after midnight), I was flying Thursday morning. After I’d booked the ticket, Mary rescheduled one of the Wednesday meetings to September and I wasn’t going to the second meeting because I had to go to reporting training for reports I’ll never use (it’s a power/politics thing.) I had a hand doctor appointment in the morning, where I was relieved to hear I don’t have arthritis in my hand – just overuse. A fiscal year end injury is better than a chronic problem for sure. I grabbed lunch and then went to the uber boring training. Of course Mary had things for me to do when I got back and I ran out of time. I had missed swimming all week and so had promised I’d go Wednesday so left at 5:00 with work yet to do. Oh well. I’d been very good about getting stuff done all week at home so all I had left to do was put the clothes in the suitcase (they were already washed an ironed) and do a final neatize before heading to bed.

I was on the road at 5:30 a.m. and the flights were completely uneventful, which is as good as it gets with air travel. Carolyn and Aaron picked me up at the airport and we headed south to Aunt Carrie’s to meet my cousin and aunt for steamers, clamcakes and chowder. It was great to see them and the seafood was delicious but my 92 year old aunt is beginning to show her age. There was some shaking going on that was new since Christmas. She’s still sharp as a tack and a joy to be with though.

I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep on Thursday and didn’t give much thought to the lack of firmness of the air mattress when I fell into bed. Then I woke up at 3:30 a.m. enveloped in deflated air mattress with my butt hitting the futon underneath. Apparently there was a slow leak in the mattress that I couldn’t deal with in the wee hours so I just went downstairs to the couch and fell asleep. I guess I gave Carolyn a start when she found me there because it harkened back to Christmas when I arrived with a stomach bug and spent my first day curled up on the couch because of its proximity to the bathroom. A funky air mattress is preferable to that for sure.

I blame a general lack of energy for not having planned a cookout for all my friends. What that meant was I had to see people individually or not at all. The only firm plan Carolyn and I had made was an Ikea run on Friday with Sharyn, who we picked up at Brown at 10:00 because she had to post some batches (something like that) before taking the rest of the day off. We had fun at Ikea and then Carolyn’s friend from South Carolina, who was north of Boston doing research, met us for a late lunch. It was a fun day and I found some great stuff for my Ravelry color swap and Christmas stockings. Yay!

I got home to a message from Cornelia, who I wanted to plan a breakfast with, which is our usual thing. She had sad news. Her husband had been battling cancer but was losing the fight. He was on hospice and couldn’t be left alone so seeing Corn meant going to her house. I asked if I could do anything to help (she’s gotten no help from either her family or her husband’s) and she wanted me to run some errands. I happily did some grocery shopping and a post office run for her on Saturday morning. I didn’t see much of her that day before heading back to Carolyn’s. We had plans for lunch and some shopping before my early dinner with Deanne. We had my favorite fried clams at The Crow’s Nest and then went to The Christmas Tree Shops, where I scored yet more swap and stocking presents. Deanne picked me up at 4:00 and we went out for amazing Italian food. Are you seeing a trend here? I’d been in RI less than 48 hours and had Italian twice and seafood twice. Yum yum. It was great to catch up with Deanne, who is my oldest friend – since 6th grade so more than 40 years. Yikes!

The plan for Sunday was lunch with Bob. This time I combined seafood and Italian with yummy lobster tortellini. After a nice long catch up with Bob and a bit more shopping, Carolyn and I stopped at Cornelia’s to drop a goodie bag off. I wanted Carolyn to see where Corn lived (just a couple of miles from her house) because Carolyn had offered to pick up groceries for Corn since she goes to Stop & Shop nearly every day anyway. After making plans for me to go back the next day for a long visit, Carolyn and I headed home to cook the first meal since I’d been there – hamburgers on the grill so our own mini cookout. I think we watched a movie afterwards but it’s all a blur so I can’t be sure. It certainly couldn’t have been a memorable one.

It was hard to believe my trip was already half over. I’d had a nice relaxing time visiting friends and was happy I could help Cornelia out. I went to bed Sunday (we’d bought a new air mattress after a 2nd night of slow deflation) grateful for my friends and family and the wonderful life I have. And I still had another day and a half. Would there be more seafood? Probably. Certainly more friends. : )

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 30 - Fair and Financials

Well, it was closing meetings week so my busiest week of the work year. As usual, it coincided with the county fair so it was busy, busy, busy. I survived.

This is my 12th or 13th year doing the prep so I pretty much have it down, which means busy but not too stressful. But it’s constant computer work and by Monday night the knuckle at the base of my right middle finger was bothering me. And when I say bothering, I mean I COULDN’T KNIT! So when I needed to go home and relax, knitting was off the table. I unraveled a sweater over two nights (at least it was fiber related) and was very careful with my keyboarding, which I think caused the problem, and made an appointment with my hand doc. By the weekend, the pain had subsided and I could knit again. I’ll have to be careful to not overdo it though so I’m fully knit functional for vacation.

The Fair. I prepped my fair entries on Monday to give to Andrea to enter for me on Tuesday night while I was helping with 4H veggie entries. I was in the 4H building from 5:30-8:00 on Tuesday night and there were tons of entries so the time flew by. Wednesday night was the ribbon check. I met Lori and Michelle after work to check out my entries. I had real hope for a pair of perfect pink socks but alas, the lame judge was back. Not only didn’t they win the rosette, they got a RED ribbon while other simple projects got blues. Oh well. Nothing could be done so we went for funnel cakes. I’d never had one and enjoyed it but having that for dinner on an empty stomach was not the best idea. I went to bed with a funky stomach. My last fair duty was sitting at the library’s booth in the commercial building on Saturday night. The only attraction of that building is the AC but it was beautiful outside so it was dead. By then I was knitting so kept busy until Lorri came to break down the booth. Andrea was picking up my entries on Sunday night so another county fair was done.

The weekend was my last before heading to Rhode Island so cleaning was my main focus. I hadn’t done much cleaning since my cookout on the 4th so the house was in desperate need. I interspersed cleaning and knitting all weekend with some cooking Sunday night in an attempt to use up the food in the frig. I cleaned the bathroom before my nightly shower and washed the kitchen floor before bed. Done! Having the house in decent shape will be nice when I’m back from vacation. Just three more days until I jet.