Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Week 52 - Odd Timing Abounds

It was a busy week – DUH! Everything revolved around getting ready to fly to Carolyn’s on Tuesday evening for Christmas, hopefully before the forecast storm made it impossible to fly. I was slamming through a project at work so worked until the last second, got in my car and drove directly to Eppley, arriving in good time so I was at the gate an hour and a half before the flight. Having forgotten my sandwich in the fridge at work (can we say prepared boys and girls?), I had just tucked into an enormous airport hotdog when I noticed a line forming at my gate. Apparently my flight was going to be delayed and no one would make their connections so they were rebooking everyone. Luckily since the weather the next day was going to be icy, they were getting us to Detroit and putting us up there (because it was technical difficulties and not the weather, they had to foot the bill.) I waited in line and got my new booking for Detroit > Providence the next morning but was hoping I could still make it for my flight that night. It would be tight but if they made up a few minutes and my gates were close, there was a chance. Yeah, right!

They did make up some time and we got in 15 minutes before my flight to Providence was due to leave. But I was 16 rows back and when we got to Detroit, we had to wait at the gate for them to bring the jetway to the plane. The hold up was staffing. And what were the staff being held up by? Removing the jetway from my flight to Providence AT THE VERY NEXT GATE! Oh well, at least I’d get there by noon the next day, still leaving me a full day before the official start of the holiday. The next hurdle was spending the night in a hotel without any luggage. Luckily I had a toothbrush and change of undies in my carry on (a complete fluke) so I just slept naked (!), put on the same clothes without showering (I was wearing a hot sweater and figured the deodorant residue from Tuesday would be better than clean but chemical free armpits) and headed back to the airport. They’d given us a food voucher so I went wild at Starbucks and even bought a coffee for the TSA guy in line with me (Merry Christmas!) From there things went well and I arrived just after noon, happy that I’d made it out of Omaha before the storm.

Carolyn and I got busy baking on Wednesday morning – my Christmas pudding (the mold in my carry on caused slightly less problems at the airport than the pudding from last year), macaroons, pumpkin cheesecake… I was just happy, happy, happy to be in Carolyn’s kitchen, which is one of my very favorite places, chatting and cooking. I left just before 3:00 to head to Deanne’s to see her nephew and niece (OK, her mom and brothers too.) When they left for mass, I headed to Marianne and Brian’s to hang with John for a bit before leaving for Bette’s. I had a cup of Earl Grey and chatted about England (what’s not to love?) I arrived at Bette’s at 6:00, right behind Dottie, Mike and fam only to find that everyone had already eaten. We grabbed plates and sat down. In what seemed like minutes later, everyone started leaving! By 7:00-ish it was down to just us Fenton girls, Aunt Margaret, Bette, Kelsey and Ronnie. And within the hour, Ronnie left too. It was strange! We sat around the table and chatted, looking at the old pics in the calendar I make every year for Dottie and Ginny and having seconds of Christmas pudding. The lack of hubbub was decidedly non-festive. I guess the days of young kids and rowdy present opening are over. The end of an era! I was back at Carolyn’s before 10:00. We waited for Aaron to fall asleep, loaded up the stockings and went to bed late.

Christmas morning was all that and a bag of nuts! I had 3 lots of stocking stuffers because Dottie did some too and it took a long time to get through them all. I got lots of fun stuff but the highlight was the pair of Avenue undies that Carolyn had bought. It was so unexpected to open them (I thought the days of underwear for Christmas had died with Kay) and I laughed so hard that I had to wipe my eyes. Aaron got an X Box 360 so was in hog heaven. When we were done with presents, Carolyn and I headed to the kitchen again. Our Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants had over risen and then fallen but we baked them anyway for breakfast and then started on the prime rib, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts for lunch. After we’d gorged on beef, we retired to the living room for the annual tradition of watching whatever movie Aaron had gotten. This year it was Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen, which I’d gotten him, and it felt like more of the same because Aaron had been playing a car chase game all day, giving us a backdrop of revving and crashing for our festivities. Remind me next year to get Aaron a kinder, gentler movie.

Saturday was our annual holiday open house so we got up and headed to the market. We didn’t have tons of prep work to do because we had done most of the baking on Wednesday so only had to make up some dips and things. In the second bout of odd timing, 2:00 came and went and no one had arrived. Normally someone comes early – Bob or John usually – but we sat at the table until almost 2:30 before anyone showed up. From then it was constant door answering though. The usual gang came and it was a fun time – eating good food and chatting with friends. What’s not to love? But in another anomaly, no one stayed past 5:30 or so. We’d advertised it as 2:00 to whenever and usually we end up ordering pizza for the people still left. This time we’d planned on making chicken marsalla but no one stayed! Deanne did show up ~7:00 after we’d already cleaned up and put all the food away but we talked for a bit anyway. Despite its delayed start, it was another successful holiday party.

Sunday was our big road trip day. Carolyn and I got up early and headed north – destination Leominster, Mass. for the only CJ Banks in the drivable vicinity, followed by a trip to Northampton to Webbs, the home of yarn.com’s huge yarn store. Of course I couldn’t drive through Worcester without a stop at the only remaining section of the doomed Kirkbride at Worcester State Hospital. After a driving tour of the seedier sections of Worcester where we watched meth deals on just about every corner, we gave up on the bogus google maps directions and just winged it. The drive in front of the clock tower was closed so I had to trek across a soggy field in the rain to get some pics of the building but it was worth getting wet to see the last bit of the Kirkbride before it falls down from all the construction nearby that must be reeking havoc with the unstable building.

CJ Banks was a total bust, which I’d thought was a good possibility because of our post-holiday timing. It was a small one and the inventory was pretty skimpy. Neither of us bought anything so we headed to Northampton, stopping for Wendy’s along the way. Webb’s was wonderful! The yarn shop itself was a mystery. There appeared to be no organization what so ever to how the yarn was arranged – not by weight, company, color, nothing! The fun part was the warehouse, which was arranged by weight. I headed right to the sock yarn aisle and found 4 skeins I couldn’t live without. There was tons of yarn back there at super cheap prices. It was in boxes filled with bags of yarn. I should have bought some to make the sweater in Big Girls Knits that I like but we were unprepared and so I left with my socks yarn - 4 skeins for <$30! We promptly decided we’d go back next Christmas with a list of patterns and yarns so we could make a big haul. We drove home for the chicken marsalla dinner we hadn’t made Saturday and an evening of pay per view of Julie and Julia, which I’d seen in the theatre (a rarity for me) but loved just as much the 2nd time. What a nice end to a busy week filled with family and friends. Wait for it…..Life is Good!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Week 51 - Prepped and Ready

I started the week with the realization that Christmas was almost here and I had to get organized. I was at Wal-Mart before work on Monday so I could have some gift cards in the mail that day. I packed Ginny’s stocking stuffers and mailed them on Tuesday. After work Wednesday I did my final (or so I hoped) shopping. Thursday was our Accounting Christmas lunch so I had my Secret Santa gift ready to go. I made progress every day and went into the weekend with a large but manageable to do list.

I actually began the weekend with a very nice dinner at Nancy’s Friday night. After dining on Alan’s yummy pork roast, Nancy did a show and tell of all the vintage goodies from her aunt's house, which she’d helped clear out recently. I left with a bag of orange linens that make me smile.

Despite my late arrival home Friday, I had my list and no commitments so hunkered down for a super productive weekend. I steadily got things done but had time to enjoy the journey. Phone calls with Carolyn to share updates on our progress helped too. I even had time between errands to take some photos of a hotel on 5th Street that's being demolished. Now it’s Sunday night and everything is wrapped, cookies are baked, the house is tidy and the laundry’s done. All I have left to do is throw clothes and presents in my suitcase and I’ll be ready to go. And I finished it all in time to spend the evening watching the Survivor Finale while knitting a new pair of socks I started with yarn from my Secret Santa. Life is good!

I don’t know if it’s hormones or what but I’m really excited for Christmas this year. I’ve found that the older I get the harder it is to overcome all the logistics and find the fun in the holidays. But this year I’m feeling the joy and am excited to head to Rhode Island to spend Christmas with family and friends. I hope you all can finish your to do lists in time to get into the spirit of the holidays and have a great time.

P.S. Here’s an idiot update – The man I backed into at Walgreen’s last week called to report that he got 3 estimates and the lowest was $1400. I immediately called my insurance company, talked to them for about 10 minutes and they said I was done and they’d take it from there. I guess this is why you buy insurance. It felt like a huge load off my mind and my agent thinks my rate won’t even go up. I guess I’ll believe that when I see it but at least that’s one less thing on my mind going into the holidays.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Week 50 - Dangerous Pretty Snow

What a week! I woke up to snow on Tuesday morning and it was forecast to be a blizzard by day's end. Just about every school in the area was closed that day but not UNL. I drove in through the snow confident that I wouldn't be working a full day. We got the word relatively early that UNL would be closing at noon, which is the earliest we've been let go in the nearly 12 years I've been here - yee ha! Plus we were all theorizing that we worked the half day Tuesday because it was likely we'd have Wednesday off. I drove back home through the snow (it only took 45 minutes - not bad) with the glee of a child excited for my snow day.

When I got home, I saw that there were ruts in the driveway from my cleaning lady and it was a good thing they were there because I barely made it in my driveway with my car was bottoming out on the nearly 6" of snow. I cleared off my car in the garage, grabbed all my stuff and headed inside. But when I opened the door, I heard the sound of the vacuum. My cleaning lady had just arrived. The ruts were from her dad dropping her off. She asked if I wanted her to reschedule but I said no way. I changed, grabbed some lunch, a book and my scrapbook paper and headed downstairs until she was done. I sorted out all my double sided scraps and started punching circles for a garland I'd seen online (click here for the pic that inspired my project.) It was after 3:00 when she left and I headed upstairs to a squeaky clean house and finished the afternoon watching the snow fall while drinking tea and knitting. I made a small dent in my to do list and was thrilled when I heard at 8:00 that UNL would be closed the next day. By then there was close to a foot of snow on the ground and the wind had picked up so it was blowing everywhere and visibility was nill. I went to bed early, determined to have a productive day on Wednesday.

I woke up to the sound of someone snow blowing just after 6:00 in the morning. Since eastern Nebraska was pretty much closed down, I wondered who was up and about so early. I looked out the window and saw someone across the street at Mr. Meduna's. I took one look at the drifts in my driveway, forced the front door open and yelled across to him. He would do my entire driveway, sidewalk and front path for $25. Sold! Since it would have taken me hours in the cold, I figured it was money well spent because it meant I'd be inside getting stuff done with no down time. So I started my day with pancakes and bacon and then hit my to do list. I interspersed cooking and chores with Christmas stuff and by the end of the day had a weeks worth of meals prepared and had made a huge dent in my Christmas preparations. I'd even chosen, scanned and uploaded the pictures for this year's calendars. What a wonderful day!

Thursday was back to work and the pool. I spent my lunch digging a hole in plowed snow so the cats could get out of the storm drains where they'd taken refuge. Otherwise the day was uneventful until I left campus. I was going to head straight home for dinner and Survivor but remembered at the last minute that I had pictures to pick up at Walgreens. I switched lanes and headed that way. The parking lot was a mess, with huge piles of snow making it a tight fit, and there were lots of cars too. After getting my pics, I looked both ways, saw the coast was clear and started backing up, going slowly because of the ice and snow. Well, I was three quarters out of my space when I heard a crunch. Some idiot had come up behind me while I was backing up and the driver's side corner of my bumper hit the bottom of his driver's side door. My car barely had a scratch on the bumper and his door had a 4" dimple on the bottom. He promptly informed me he'd just had the door replaced and it would cost me $500 for a new door! I gave him my insurance info and drove home, pissed that his idiocy was going to cost me so much. Who drives behind a car that's already backing up in an icy, cramped parking lot? This loser, that's who. Talk about putting a damper on my week! I didn't sleep much that night worrying that he was home with a sledge hammer trashing his car at my expense. But I went to work Friday determined that I would put this behind me and enjoy the weekend.

I woke up Saturday and started making lists. With Christmas less than 2 weeks away and me with packages and gift cards to mail, I had to get stuff done. I headed to town and to Our Corner Cottage, the gift shop in the country west of Wahoo, to fill in the last holes in my stocking baskets. I did great and went home, BK in hand, with a wonderful feeling that my shopping was finally done. I then proceeded to slam through my list. I finished my garland, which was a breeze, and put my inside tree up Saturday night while It's a Wonderful Life was on NBC. On Sunday after waking early from a stress dream, I put the calendars together, shovelled the deck and put up my outside tree and wrapped all Ginny's stocking stuffers so I could mail her package on Monday. I also got all my chores done and went through months of junk mail. I went to bed Sunday feeling great about my progress and filled with Christmas spirit. Despite my fender bender, it was a good week after all and just 9 more days until I fly east.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week 49 - Transitioning to Better

I started the week with my horrible cold in full swing. It was all I could do to make it through the work day on Monday, which is saying something since I didn’t get there until noon after my morning doctor’s appointment. I was so exhausted I didn’t even knit at the library, which was a first. But I felt better with each passing day and by Thursday I was able to go back to water aerobics. Friday found me shopping for Christmas trees on the way home. On Saturday I got a long overdue haircut and had my new glasses adjusted so they fit perfectly. After a few more errands, I headed home to catch up on chores and work on Christmas crafts.

The highlight of the week was a craft day with Helen on Sunday. For years I had suggested a regular craft day but we’d never done it. Out of the blue, Helen suggested coming over on Sunday so I jumped at the chance. She showed up with a latte in each hand just as I was putting peanut butter blossoms, the cookies her grandmother used to make, in the oven. I popped in a movie but stopped it when the first batch of cookies was done and we never turned it back in, preferring to talk for hours and hours. The weather had turned frigid and it started snowing mid afternoon, which made it all the nicer that we were cozy inside, drinking tea, chatting and working on our projects.

I can’t say it was a very productive week and I’m ending it with a long list of things I didn’t get done but it was all worth it. I feel better, I made big progress on my knitting, my Christmas tree is sitting in a bucket of water ready to decorate, I had fun catching up with Helen and tomorrow starts a new week. Will this be the week I catch up? Maybe, maybe not. But I’ll be smiling so who cares. : )

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Week 48 - Thanks for Coughing

I had a little cough on Sunday but woke up with the definite early signs of a cold on Monday so got out the zicam. It seemed like I was nipping it in the bud and I was able to go to my first power pump class at lunch, which I survived, without feeling any ill effects from the early cold symptoms. I zicamed again on Tuesday and thought I’d thwarted the cold. That is until I woke up with a full blown cold on Wednesday. I spent the day watching the clock, while serenading my co-workers with hacking coughs. I was happy to go home when they gave us the word that we could leave early. I was home by 5:00, which was nice.

I wasn’t hosting Thanksgiving until Friday because Helen had to work Thursday so I was able to take it easy on Thursday, interspersing prep work with relaxing. By the end of the day, the pies were made, the veggies were prepped and ready to cook, the house was set and the pots and pans were even done (a rarity for me.) I had to trust my abilities because I couldn’t smell a thing, not even the pumpkin pie when it came out of the oven. Bummer! It had taken all my energy to get everything done but it was done so I gave thanks and went to bed.

Friday, which totally felt like Thanksgiving despite the later day, was a gorgeous day. I had been on the go all morning and had just sat down outside on the deck, perfectly comfortable in just a t-shirt, when Helen arrived. We did the last minute stuff – made the gravy, mashed the potatoes, put the burn & serves in the oven – and waited for Charlie, who was at the market, and Michael and Brenda to arrive. We had a wonderful dinner. Everything tasted great but the stuffing was the best ever (thanks to Bell’s seasoning – a New England spice blend I’d bought in RI this summer) and Helen’s cranberry jello salad was it’s usual yummy self.

Charlie turned the game on and Helen, Brenda and I headed outside to sit in the sun – a very nice way to aid in digestion. By the time the sun went behind the garage and it got chilly, the game was over. Shortly thereafter Brenda and Michael left to head west to her family and we watched the Soloist. When Helen and Charlie left just before 9:00, I did an uncharacteristically adult thing and cleaned everything up before I went to bed, inspired by Carolyn’s example. It didn’t take very long and I was in bed, exhausted, by 10:00.

With a cough that felt like I had razor blades in my chest, I had very little energy on Saturday but was out of Claritin D so headed to the pharmacy and picked up my new glasses before heading back home to sit and knit. I watched an entire British TV series that John had sent me years ago – Footballers Wives – and knitted a ton on my current pair of socks, which have a Christmas deadline. The only productive things I got done were laundry, which I had tons of, and boiling the turkey carcass for stock and picking the bones. I was so tired that it seemed to take forever to get to bedtime.

I slept much better than the previous couple of nights but still didn’t get much done on Sunday – more knitting, made some soup, froze all the leftovers and that’s about it. The only thing on my project list that I accomplished was to style the hutch. It still needs work but it’s a start and definitely looks better than it did before.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend quality time with friends and family. Despite being under the weather, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and now need to start putting the finishing touches on Christmas prep. It’s less than 4 weeks away!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week 47 - Two Bonehead Moves

Well, my life has finally fallen into a more normal rhythm, which doesn’t make for the most interesting blog reading so I thought I’d take a different tack this week and share a couple of my bonehead moves. Enjoy!

Monday night I headed straight home so I could grab some dinner before heading to the library to knit. When I walked in the door, I caught a whiff of something that smelled suspiciously like gas. I headed downstairs to the laundry room where my furnace and hot water heater are. Unfortunately the litter boxes are also down there and one of the cats had missed the box so all I could smell was cat pee. I sprinkled some litter over it, ate some dinner and headed to the library, figuring I’d do a sniff test again when I got home. My knitting friends convinced me I had to call the city if it still smelled when I got home.

Well, fast forward an hour. I walked into the house and yup, there was definitely a smell. But when I walked downstairs, I still couldn’t smell anything. It was definitely concentrated by the back door. Since I have no idea where the gas line comes into the house, I called the city utility department (all our utilities are owned by Wahoo and are super cheap – yet another benefit of living in Wahoo!) The voice mail gave me another number for after hour emergencies, so I called that and it ended up being the police department.

Police: Wahoo Police. How can I help you?
Me: I think I have a gas leak. It’s gotta be a small one though because it only smells by the back door.
Police: I’ll call someone. You need to go wait outside.
Me: Do I really have to? If it is a leak, it’s only a small one.
Police: It won’t seem small if your house blows up!

I hung up and decided I had time to neatize the kitchen a bit before whoever arrived. So I walked over to the stove, which had a pot on it that needed washing from some broccoli I’d steamed a few nights before. Well, I picked it up and it was heavy. Normally I dump the water from the pot to stop the cooking but for some reason hadn’t this time. Well, I took off the lid and WHEW – what a stench! My gas leak was broccoli water. Just great!

Police: Wahoo Police. How can I help you?
Me: It’s me, the woman who called with the gas leak. (pause) It wasn’t a gas leak. It was stinky broccoli.
Police: laughing her butt off
Me: Can you call whoever you called and tell them not to come?
Police: (more laughing) Yes. I called the fire chief and he should be on his way (more laughing)
Me: I’m going to be a laughing stock!
Police: You made my night (yet more laughing)
Me: Can you hurry and call him so he doesn’t come out for nothing? Please!

I spent the next half hour waiting to get into my nightie, hoping she’d caught him and he wasn’t on his way over in a fire truck. Are you done laughing yet?

Bonehead Move #2

By Sunday afternoon, I was done with all my chores and was starting to so some cooking, which is my normal Sunday routine but it seems like I haven’t done it in months. In addition to making food for the week, I was also starting to prep for Thanksgiving. I made out my shopping list, pulled all the bread ends I’d been saving out of the fridge and tore them up for stuffing and then I decided to tackle the squash.

Wahoo has a strange little shop downtown that sells a little of everything and often has cheap produce that’s on its last legs or has been grown locally. A week after Halloween, I went in and there was a shopping cart full of pumpkins and three huge blue hubbard squashes. As is often the case there, they misidentified what they had. The sign on the cart said “Pumpkins or Big Gourds - $1”.

Have you ever had hubbard squash? It’s delicious but presents a problem because they are HUGE – as long as a standard size watermelon but thicker in the middle. On top of that, they’re a strange blue gray color and are all knobby. Most people wouldn’t have a clue that it wasn’t a big gourd. I snagged one and have been driving it around in my car ever since. Now was the time to cook it, which would require putting it into the oven whole, cooking it for several hours and then digging the seeds and strings out after it was done. I already had the oven on for some banana bread so just washed the squash, poked it with a fork and threw it in.

Fast forward two hours. I was finally able to pierce the skin with the fork so called it done and got out the potholders. I gingerly maneuvered it out of the oven and then looked around for where to put it down. I know, piss poor planning. The banana bread was on the counter on a cooling rack, the other side of sink was covered with drying dishes and I figured it would rupture if I put it down on an empty stove burner. While I was standing there evaluating my options, the heat from the squash was working its way through my potholders and in shifting it, I dropped it. Luckily it wasn’t fully cooked so didn’t completely burst but enough of it did fly that I now had an orange speckled kitchen. I was able to pick up two big hunks that weren’t in contact with the floor and started mopping it up. By the time I was done, the floor was clean but there were orange stains on the counter and the dishwasher. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll fade eventually. On the plus side, the squash was so big that even though a good portion of it went into the trash, I still ended up with 20+ cups of it – plenty for Thanksgiving and the entire rest of the year.

On that note, I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. If you’re close enough and are interested, I have squash to share. : )

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 46 - Through to Normal

At last, a normal week! I was able to eat dinner before knitting at the library, went to the pool twice and sat like a zombie in front of the TV 3 nights in a row. I even got to cook a normal dinner (June Cleaver would have been proud) on Friday night. While the TV watching was excessive (hell, I didn’t even knit a stitch!), it was nice to have the option.

The highlight of the week was scrapbooking at Camp Fontanelle. We do this twice a year and it’s a testament to how nuts my life has been that I hadn’t scrapbooked since we were at the camp last spring. Sheesh! Of course I left all the prep until the last minute but it all worked out in the end.

I told myself I’d have plenty of time Saturday morning to get ready and so opted for my third TV veg night on Friday, figuring I’d wake up early enough to get the minimum done before I had to leave ~9:30. Little did I know how early it’d be! I woke up at 5:15, made French toast and bacon, organized all my scrapbooking stuff and had time to call Carolyn before heading to the optician’s to check on whether they found other color options for the frames I’d tried on last week. Well, I walked in the door, walked up to the first rack and pulled off a pair of glasses that I like even better than the ones they were holding. What do you think? Here’s a frontal shot plus another view to see the cool sides. I’ve also included a side view of the pair from last week that shows detail of the figures. I need feedback please!

From there it was on to camp. As usual, it was the opening weekend of deer season so there were 2 deer carcasses on the lawn from the youth hunting group. It wouldn’t be Fontanelle without a dead animal or two. Gunshots aside, it was a great weekend. My plan was to do my calendar pages for our swap (this year I had January and April) then work on a new album from my Wisconsin trip with Lorri a year ago summer. Done!

I finished the calendar pages Saturday afternoon and started the album before I headed home to sleep in my own bed that night. I could have slept at camp but decided the 30 minute drive each way was a decent trade for a good night’s sleep at home and not having to pack linens and toiletries and schlep them down to the dorm. It was a good decision because I not only slept like a rock but didn’t get up until almost 8:00. I was the hero of the group for bringing M&M’s and Starbucks. All the caffeine and chocolate gave me a jump start because. I finished my album just in time to pack up and be home by 5:00. And I love the album to boot.

The final clincher on my wonderfully normal week was coming home to a message that someone wants to meet Mama Kitty. I made a few phone calls and connected the potential adopter with the fosterer and hope to hear tomorrow that it all worked out and Mama Kitty has a new home. Now I just need to cram tonight full of all my chores and pull out the snow shovel and winter coat before heading to bed. It’s supposed to snow overnight and into the day tomorrow. If only it’d be enough for a snow day. I live in hope. : )

Monday, November 9, 2009

Extra - Ripples of Enough!

One of my favorite people, Paul from the Ripples Project, had a perfect Ripple this morning. Check it out and sign up for the weekly newsletter if you feel so inclined.

Ripples v11.44: Enough Already!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 45 - Four Days Off

What a wonderful week! It’s hard not to love a 3 day work week followed by 4 days off with temps in the 70’s in November.

The work part of my week flew by, mostly taken up by dean’s reports. I only ended up spending one night at the library post book sale. I went right there after work on Monday and didn't leave until the book shop was completely restocked. I ended the working part of my week with a bogus session on weight lifting for women, where everyone showed up dressed to work out but ended up with a power point in a meeting room. Oh well. None of it mattered because I had the next 4 days off. Yay!

I started my mini vacation by making an ambitious list of all the things I was going to get done, split out by day. Well, you know how that went! I enjoyed the morning immensely, sitting in the sun knitting while watching bad morning TV then talking to my Auntie Margaret for 2.5 hours. After lunch, I looked at the list, decided to rearrange and headed outside. A few hours later, I had planted the last of my plants (better late than never) and everything looked much better, so much so that I’m not embarrassed by my neglected yard anymore. I have a bit more to do but feel great about my progress. A great Day 1.

Day 2 started with more knitting in the sun and then I headed out to get all my in town errands done – registering the car, going to the bank, OK’ing the new shower that had finally come in at the plumber’s, stopping at the library and on and on. I went to the optician’s last to pick out some glasses. They all looked the same and were all square, which I don't like with the shape of my eyes. Here’s a pic of me in the pair I like. What do you think? I wish I had a pic of the sides because they’re really fun. Ignore the bad hair. I’m on vacation after all!

I had invited Andrea over for a simple supper of corn chowder, figuring that’d give me incentive to neatize the house. By the time I got home, it was 3:15 and I had to cram to get it all done. Donna had called and I invited her too but she doesn’t like chowder so I decided to make some red sauce too. I got it all done and we had a nice time. I cracked a bottle of wine, we ate our various entrees then had apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and watched TV and chatted all night.

The night ended on a funny note. Donna and Andrea left and I immediately jumped in the shower, having gotten all sweaty from cooking. I was in my nightie and ready for bed when I looked down and noticed Andrea had forgotten her purse. I called her only to hear her purse announcing “Call from Merry Fenton.” Since Andrea doesn’t have a land line, I decided she shouldn’t be without her phone. I threw my coat on over my nightie and drove over there, only to find her house dark. I knocked lightly on the door but didn’t rouse her so I left her purse in the door and drove home slowly, stopping completely at every stop sign, just to make sure I wouldn’t get pulled over. Imagine the embarrassment if I had been!

Unfortunately, my vacation was over and my typical weekend began. I had a Friends meeting on Saturday, after which I went to Lorri’s to fix her computer. Sunday is usually my chore day but I decided to switch it up and do chores on Saturday so I could go to Omaha and do some shopping on Sunday. I had a long list of stores to hit, with my goal being to make a big dent in my Christmas shopping, restock my fridge and hit CJ Banks for their 40% off sale. I headed out at 11:00, grabbed a grilled stuffed burrito on the run for lunch and started shopping. 5 hours later I headed home with a car full of presents, food and clothes. I feel WAY better! My stocking stuffer baskets are full, all my chores are done and I’m ready to rock and roll. Life is good!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 44 - It's Over But.....

The book sale was over at noon on Saturday. We were very close to breaking the $2,000 mark (our goal) and that with less quality books than in previous years. But just because the sale hours are done, it doesn’t mean the work is. Despite having spent every spare minute at the library for the past week, I stayed 2 hours beyond my shift to help break it down. We don’t have to be completely out of the conference room until the end of the week but I don’t want to drag it out. I’m willing to give time each night until Wednesday and then I’m done, whether the books are all put away or not.

On top of the book sale, work was a bear this week. Nora was out all week and UNL was on the front page of the Journal Star so the heat was on to provide data for the Vice Chancellor. My week was full before that article so I was slamming to get stuff done by the end of the month. I had hoped to get everything done so I could take Friday off but that didn’t happen and I only found out last minute (4:30 on Thursday) that Dale had already asked for the day off so I was flying solo on the reporting team. I got it all done late Friday afternoon and could finally breath again.

This week should go better. I start the week with deans’ reports, which take up two full days. Then I’ve asked for Thursday and Friday off to make up for the long weekend I lost post-Monterey because of the plumbers. So as of Thursday morning, I’m putting the “NO” in November. It’s going to be all about me with time to catch up on projects, knit for Christmas, plan for my scrapbooking weekend and recoup before the holidays. The weather’s supposed to be unseasonably warm so I’m hoping to get outside and do some yard work too.

So, that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it. Happy NO-vember.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 43 - Something's Gotta Give

Last time I blogged I was wishing for a normal week and laid back weekend to get back to normal. What I was forgetting was the library’s annual book sale, of which I’m the co-chair. Even when I wasn’t at the library this week, the book sale was constantly in the background. Just one more week and it’ll be over for another year.

Monday night I had a Library Foundation meeting at 7:00 and had planned to pop into the library on the way home and see if Connie, the other co-chair who deals with all the books while I handle the logistics, was there dismantling the Friends’ Book Shop. I was hoping she wouldn’t be so I could go home and grab dinner before the meeting. The coast was looking clear but just as I was leaving the library, in she walked just having returned from her dinner. I went back in and spent 45 minutes schlepping bookcases before my meeting started. Needless to say, I would rather have been knitting with my friends on the other side of the library. Oh well. When I finally got home at almost 9:00, I had a bowl of cheerios (supper of champions?), watched TV for an hour to unwind and went to bed. Not a good way to start the week!

Tuesday was a perfectly normal day – work, water aerobics (my first time in 2.5 weeks), dinner than some TV before bed. I had made arrangements to meet with the plumber first thing Wednesday morning to discuss how to solve my shower problem. He did more back pedaling, saying it went against the grain for him to install things I’d bought when in fact he hadn’t hesitated to wash his hands of buying anything for my project from minute 1. He looked everything over and said I’d bought the wrong showerhead. I was pissed and told him that when he sent a French major who sits at a computer all day to buy plumbing supplies and all I had to rely on for help was the pimply faced kid at Menard’s, this was what happened. I suggested he should get the right showerhead since he was a plumber and so would know which one would work. Sheesh, what a jerk! So we left it that he’d look into it and get back to me for approval on what he’d found.

Work was busy that day, with me prepping data for a meeting with the auditors the next day. The data wasn’t cooperating but I got them something that they could live with for fiscal year ‘08 and I said I’d run ‘09 first thing in the morning before the 10:00 meeting. It was only when I had gotten to my car that I realized I had a dentist appointment at 8:00 so wouldn’t have time in the morning. And I was on the way to meet my cousin to take her out for dinner and a movie for her birthday so couldn’t head to back. Helen and I had a nice dinner and saw an intense movie – Law Abiding Citizen – and I got home just before 10:00. Having just the day before set up the ability to remote into my work computer from home, I plopped down to run the ‘09 data. In doing so I figured out what the problem was with ’08 and before I knew it, it was 12:30. I went to bed knowing I’d be tired the next day but at least they had the data they’d need for the meeting. I set the alarm for an hour later than normal and was out like a light.

At 6:05 the next morning, I awoke to music blaring right outside my bedroom window. My neighbor Cara had a friend drop by who was standing on her patio with his car door wide open and the car radio at ear-splitting volume. I opened my window and screamed like a harpy twice before they heard me and shut it off. WTF! It was 6:00 in the morning! Starting the morning pissed off was beginning to be a trend. Plus it was raining steadily for the second day in a row and I was starting the day with only 5 hours sleep. At least my dentist appointment went well.

I was punchy as hell at work and decided early on that water aerobics was not happening. I had book club at the library at 7:00 and had enjoyed the book (The Worst Hard Time about the dust bowl) and wanted to discuss it. Alas, I was too beat for that too. I had to stop at the library to sign a check so returned the book, told the librarian I would not be back and went home to nuke some dinner, watch Survivor and wait for 9:00 so I could go to bed. Surprisingly, I didn’t sleep very well but at least was horizontal for 8+ hours.

On Friday the office was like a ghost town. It was raining AGAIN and my supervisor, my boss and half the office was either on vacation or called in sick. The day flew by and I left at 5:00 for the pool. By then the sun had come out and the fates were kind to me because no one else showed up so class was cancelled. I stopped at the grocery store and went home for a nice night, all the better to recharge so I could have a super productive weekend.

After my usual Carolyn phone call Saturday morning, I sat down to make some lists in an attempt to get my arms around everything that needs doing – from short-term chores to a list for future house projects that are big enough to hire a contractor. Then I grabbed some lunch and headed to, you guessed it, the library. My intent was to spend 2 hours working in the gardens because my Master Gardener volunteer hours are due next Friday and I’m 3 hours short. Well, I walked in and there was Connie sorting books. I couldn’t not help so worked an hour until we got them all done. Connie had been there since the library opened. By the time I got outside, it was looking pretty dim and it started spitting rain before I’d done much. I kept going and got about half of the mulch spread before giving up. I was damp and achy and just wanted to go home and take a shower and have a cup of tea to warm up. I enjoyed a pleasant hour before heading to Andy’s, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Fremont, with Lorri and Bob. I was treating them because Lorri had bailed me out when I couldn’t find the towel bars at 9:00 the night before I was leaving for California. Not only did she measure the old ones and buy replacements but she had to drive to Omaha to get them because they weren’t available in Wahoo. We had a nice early dinner and I was in my jammies before Bob and Lorri drove the mile to their house after dropping me off. It seemed like the entire week was spent either running full steam or sitting in my nightie in front of the TV. Once the book sale is over, I’m hoping for a bit more moderation on that front.

Sunday was my typical chore day, with my semi-annual clothes swap thrown in – the day I spend each spring and autumn swapping out my clothes. It’s always good to go through everything, including the ironing pile (I have a stack to do this week while watching TV) and the hand wash pile (It’s now done and I have wet sweaters and such all over the house.) Now at least I’ll have more to wear besides the few transitional outfits I’ve been sporting for weeks. And I’ve declared Wednesdays (the one day I reliably don’t have an after work commitment) to be “Old Clothes Wednesday.” I’m going to make an effort to wear the clothes that perennially hang in my closet unworn. I’m hoping this will help me weed out some of them. If I put it on and decide it won’t do, it goes for sure and I’m sure they’ll be other things I decide I’ve worn for the last time and put in the Goodwill pile. Even though my word is enough, I still struggle to get rid of perfectly good things. It must be genetic. At least what I have fits in my closets and bureaus. What I really should be more concerned with is the clutter in the rest of the house. What I need to declare is a going through shit day! Hmmm…..

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 42 - Plumbers from Hell!

So, the plumbers. I had a leak behind the wall of my shower that Mark, Connie’s husband, had tightened up a few years ago through a hole in the floor under the tub but now it was back. I had gone into Fud & Tracy’s, the heating/AC/plumbing shop I’ve always used, to book them to come in while I was gone and fix it. I had to be away because I only have one bathroom and to fix it they had to tear out the tub surround, put in new pipes, patch the drywall and then replace everything. I thought I’d covered all my bases – scheduling it 6 weeks ahead, explaining in detail exactly what I wanted and buying all the supplies. Yeah, right.

They called my cell while I was out west a few times, asking various questions. When I happened to ask if the drywaller, a sub contractor, was there on Tuesday, they said he was coming Wednesday, which was the day I was back and it should have been done. When I said as much, they said they thought I was gone all week and it wouldn’t be done by Wednesday night. I was immediately pissed, realizing my plans for a relaxing long weekend at home were shot. I called work and said I’d be in on Thursday and Friday and tried not to blow a gasket. Little did I know what else was in store for me.

I got up Thursday, washed my hair in the sink and headed for work. I got a call from Jake, Tracy’s son and the plumber who was doing the job, Thursday afternoon with some questions that made me think he was meticulous, giving me hope that the job would be well done when I got home. The last time we talked, he said he’d be done by 2:00 and would be coming first thing Friday to put the calk around the bottom of the tub and then would be done. Well, I got home Thursday and was instantly furious! It was like I’d never had the discussion with Tracy because they had completely ignored all my directions. They’d installed a single handled faucet, which was not the old fashioned one with a hot and cold knob that I’d asked for. The surround was also badly installed and, worst of all, the shower head was installed 2” from the corner. My previous anger couldn’t hold a candle to how I felt now! I got on the phone and ranted to anyone who would listen and called Nora to say I would not be in on time Friday because I was waiting to talk to Jake in person. I barely slept that night.

Jake arrived at 8:30 and was great. Although I had to question his common sense, he fessed up that it was the worst job he’d ever worked on because his father had given him no direction beyond “tear out the wall, repair the pipe and she bought everything you need to reinstall,” so he was flying blind on the whole job. We left it that he would move the shower head to the middle of the wall and come back at a later date to replace the surround, which would have 2 holes in it from the bad install, at their expense. I went to work to email everything we’d discussed (I’m done with verbally communicating with them), feeling like there was light on the horizon. Then I took a shower!

The whole point of my detailed explanation to Tracy was I wanted to keep the externally installed, hand held shower that I had. We called this “my cheesy set up” and Tracy said he’d install normal shower piping behind the wall so a real shower could be easily installed down the road in case I wanted to sell or changed my mind. Well let me tell you, if you have an external hand held shower, you MUST be able to control the amount of water coming out of the spigot before you divert it to the shower. If you can’t, which is the case with the single handled tap, it’s like having a fire hose on full force without burly firemen to hold it down. My shower had a life of its own, throwing itself off of the wall bracket and pointing in all different directions as it struggles with way too much water pressure. So, after agreeing in the email to deal with the single handled tap, I now have to email them again (not that I’ve gotten a response to the first one mind you) and tell them I cannot live with it unless there’s some way they can decrease the volume of water coming through the system.

So that’s the story of my plumbing fiasco. While Jake and I came to an agreement, I’m not expecting that this will be the last drama surrounding this project. I should only be so lucky! The weekend was uneventful. I did all my catch up chores, cooked and knitted a lot, finishing my scarf and making progress on my new socks. It’s going to take a slow week and another laid back weekend before I feel back to normal. Here’s hoping I get both of those in the next seven days.

Extra - My Monterey Trip

I woke up before 4:00 so just got out of bed and puttered, throwing the last few items in my suitcase and getting on the road on schedule at 4:30 so I could be at Nancy’s before 5:00. The flight was uneventful. We picked up our car (a Hyundai Accent with zero pick up) and headed to Monterey, stopping for a late lunch at In & Out Burger on the way. By the time we arrived at Nancy’s parents’ house, we’d already been up for more than twelve hours and it was only 2:00. Despite Nancy’s insistence that her parents were not talkers and would not “visit” with me, I spent the afternoon doing just that, first with her dad and then with her mom, who was making the only dish in her repertoire for supper – beef stew. Having been warned of her lack of cooking ability, I watched with trepidation as she sprinkled things like sugar, lemon juice and various other additions into the pot. Despite the odd ingredients, the stew was delicious. After an early supper, Rita got behind the wheel of her ancient diesel Mercedes and drove us to 17 Mile Drive. The sun was setting as we got to the lone cyprus but by leaning on the railing and using the night setting on my camera, I was able to get some beautiful shots. After the sun went down, it was pitch black so we inched our way back home and I sat like a zombie in front of the TV while Rita flipped channels, waiting until 9:00 so I could go to bed. Tomorrow would be a busy day.

Since the first rain since March was forecast for Tuesday, we had to fit everything in on Monday. Nancy decided to stay home with her dad while Rita and I headed down the coast for “the tour.” Cleary Rita was a pro at this because she narrated along the way and stopped at the scenic overlooks with the best picture taking opportunities. She even counted between the lighthouse flashes so I could click exactly when the light went on for the perfect picture.

Our first official stop was at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the waterfall. The scenery was gorgeous and I took lots more pictures, coached on many of them by Rita, who is a skilled photographer. There was a perfect little brook (the one that fed the waterfall) that I was aching to get my feet in but it didn’t have easy access and I resisted. We drove back north from there to Pfeiffer Beach, which is accessed by driving a single lane road down the side of a mountain. The terrain changes as you drive down from redwood forest to cyprus lined beach. The waves breaking through the rock arches along the coast are gorgeous and I took many more pictures.

Our last stop was another state park to see the redwoods. Rita scammed her way in by saying we were going to the restaurant and we promptly headed up the path to see the trees. Rita was dismayed that her favorite trail was closed because they’d had a fire there this summer. I was fine with that because at this point, I was having trouble keeping up with Rita, who is a dynamo with the energy of someone half her age. The redwoods were majestic and I struggled to capture them adequately with my camera. As we were headed back to the car, Rita offered to take a couple’s picture. While she coached them on the best place to stand, I stepped off the path and headed for the stream, which was only 10 feet away and easy to get to. I pulled off my shoes and socks and stepped in for some quality California wading. I didn’t have my feet in the water for a minute (it was freezing cold!) but when I turned around, Rita was not there. I had been sure she’d see me, maroon clad butt in the air, just off the path. I hurried up to the road in my bare feet and looked down the hill. Still no sight of her. I was feeling bad that she might be worrying so threw my shoes and socks on my now muddy feet and started down the road towards the car, calling her name as I went. When I got down to the parking lot, there she was coming out of the gift shop. When she’d finished taking the picture, she’d missed seeing me off the path, assumed I’d headed back to the car and ran down the hill. She seemed unbothered by my wading escapade and we headed back home. Despite any turmoil I caused, I was glad I waded. It would have been criminal to miss an opportunity like that!

After washing my feet and changing my socks, Nancy and I headed to Cal State Monterey Bay, where we were meeting my old boss from UNL, Jim Main. I’d emailed him when I’d realized he was so close to Nancy’s parents. He was taking us on a tour of his campus, which was on the old Fort Ord and so was full of abandoned military buildings, which you know I’d love to see. He drove us all around and showed us both the refurbished parts of the base and the old dead part. We ended up at his house, which is both sides of a duplex that used to house officers but has been made over as staff housing. Because it’s in such a rich area, lots of the staff rent converted quarters on campus. It’s a sweet deal. The houses have been redone to modern standards and are huge.

We picked up Jim’s wife Camille and John Marker, another UNL transplant whom I’d never met but the more the merrier. We went to Taste of Monterey, a wine club they belong to, for a wine tasting. After sampling 5 different wines, we each got a glass of our favorite and sat overlooking the bay to enjoy them. We then headed upstairs to a seafood restaurant for a fabulous meal. Nancy hit it off so well with Jim and Camille that she and her family are now invited to a Husker game party the day after Thanksgiving, when they’ll be in town visiting her parents again. It was a wonderful time and I let Nancy drive home because I’d had four (!) glasses of wine (one normally makes me useless.)

It was pouring rain when we got up on Tuesday. Nancy and I had poo poo-ed their “storm,” thinking they were being weanies but it was a storm indeed. We watched sheets of rain blowing in the wind and could hear branches splitting and debris hitting the roof. Rita thought we were nuts but Nancy and I headed out to do some shopping. Armed with a list from Andrea, we went to Parker-Lusseau bakery in Monterey for croissants and then hit the Trader Joe’s, which was conveniently right behind it. Then it was on to a yarn shop in Pacific Grove, where their electricity was off so I opened a blind and shopped for sock yarn in the semi-dark. They had some beautiful hand dyed yarn but it was $22 and not quite enough for a pair of socks (WTF?) so I only bought one skein of a pretty variegated bamboo.

With every passing minute, the rain was coming down harder. We drove back toward the local shopping center where Nancy wanted to hit a couple of thrift shops. We ducked into the first restaurant we saw and had soup and fish tacos then ran across the parking lot to the first thrift shop. By the time we got there, I was soaked to the skin. It seemed like Nancy took forever in there and we still had another store to hit and the market. On day ten of my cold and now soaked to the bone, I just wanted to get home and have a cup of tea. Two stops and many bags of groceries later, we headed home to make dinner for Nancy’s parents, something we’d planned to do from the get go.

Well, we arrived to find that the electricity had already been out for 5 hours so no tea, no dryer for my clothes and no stove. I took a quick shower in the dark, put on dry clothes and settled into a chair in the atrium where it was light enough to knit. I listened to Nancy chatting with her parents in the living room and we all waited for the lights to come on. Rita got out candles and at 7:00 we decided to go out for dinner. The local Chinese restaurant was crowded and hot but we filled our bellies then went back home to pack in the dark, going to bed early since there wasn’t much else we could do. The lights came on at 12:05 a.m., which woke us up. They’d been out for 13 hours.

We pretty much got up the next morning, ate breakfast and headed to the airport. My plans to take the rest of the week off had been nixed by the inept plumbers who were behind on redoing my bathroom so I’d called work to say I’d be in on Thursday. That put a damper on the end of my trip but more on that in the next post. We had another uneventful trip home, except for my ire at the plumbers, which caused Nancy to offer me one of her happy pills. I declined. I dropped Nancy and got home ~8:00, at which point I unpacked and fell into bed. It had been a wonderful trip and it was good to be home.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week 41 - Ain't Doin' Right

Well, I didn’t go to work on Monday but rather sat like a zombie in a chair feeling so congested that it felt like my head would explode, despite the Claritin D I’d taken. Although I'd started a new pair of socks on Sunday, I even skipped knitting at the library. I was really sick! I got up on Tuesday though and went to work but broke out in a sweat any time I moved so probably still had a fever. Oh well. I slogged through the day feeling like crap but had a breakthrough when I got home and was able to do a few chores without sweating, which was progress.

When I finally got home from work Wednesday night (I was feeling much better, although still congested, and had stayed late to finish something), I noticed that Mama Kitty was in distress, squatting repeatedly no matter where she was and dribbling urine each time. Also Pixel, who had been limping since the weekend, was much worse and was holding her foot three inches off the ground and wouldn’t put any weight on it. Clearly I was going to be spending some time at the vet. I called in late to work on Thursday and called All Feline in Lincoln about bringing in Mama Kitty. They said to bring her right away so I dropped her off on the way to work, concerned that she might have crystals blocking her urinary tract, which two of my previous cats had had. I called on and off all day but she wouldn’t pee and they needed urine to test. By the end of the day they told me she’d have to stay over. In the meantime I’d made arrangements for a Husker Cats volunteer to take Mama Kitty for the next week while I would be away. I’d also made an appointment for Pixel at my vet in Wahoo for Saturday morning.

I called on and off all day Friday (the cat had peed overnight but they were waiting for the vet to come in and then to find time to run the test), all the while keeping the back up foster person in the loop. It wasn’t until after work when I was on the way to Menard’s to buy everything the plumber would need to redo my tub while I was gone that the vet called. Mama Kitty only had a UTI – big relief on my part – and Christina had already been called and was on her way to pick her up. Cat issued resolved, now plumbing.

My friend Susan had emailed Thursday to say she’d be in town Friday and Saturday and was looking to do dinner Friday night and needed a place to stay. I had of course offered my spare room (good thing I’d torn the room apart Wednesday night and reclaimed it from the kitten’s residency) but had declined dinner, figuring one of her other friends would jump at that. Well, she called to say she’d take me up on the offer to stay over and also that no one could do dinner so she’d but up for that too. So, we met Menard’s to pick up my plumbing supplies (and how convenient it was that she had her parents’ van!) and then headed to Wahoo. The forecast was not only for our first frost overnight but snow (!) so Susan helped me bring in all my plants while we waited for our pizza. We had a pleasant evening of pizza and chatting then headed to bed.

We woke to 4 inches of snow and it was still snowing! I had to be at the vet at 9:00 so Susan beat a hasty retreat and I took Pixel, who was hardly limping at all by this time, to the vet where she got a clean bill of health. When I was paying the bill, which was ridiculously low (I LOVE this vet!), I looked down at the appointment book and saw “9:00 – Fenton ADR.” I could not help but ask what ADR meant and it took every effort not to burst out laughing when I was told “Ain’t doin’ right.” That just seemed to sum up my entire week!

I spent the rest of the day trying to situate all my lantanas and geraniums without my house looking like an overflowing greenhouse and packing for my trip the next day. Since I had to be up at 4:00 a.m., I was striving for an early bedtime (I was relatively successful.) I’ll call that my week because my ADR trend was about to change.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 40 - Forced Slow Down

Having spent most of the previous Sunday bonding for one last time with the kitten, I started the week behind on chores. With the cleaning lady due on Tuesday and book club at my house on Wednesday, I plowed through neatizing the house after work both Monday and Tuesday nights, happy that the lasagna for book club was already made.

I left work early on Wednesday so the lasagna would be ready by 6:30 when everyone arrived. Book club was fun, with just a small group of four but the book was good (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was my suggestion) and the discussion was too. Everyone left with lasagna so I wouldn’t be faced with eating it for a week. With book club over, I looked forward to the rest of the week being quiet. Yeah, right.

It was a really frantic week at work and Thursday was the icing on that cake, with budget problems messing up the running of deans reports and that in a month where I had to get them done in a day and a half instead of two because of meetings all afternoon on Friday. Thursday was maniacal but I left on time to get to the pool, figuring exercising would help combat the day’s stress. Then despite wanting to do nothing more than go home, nuke some lasagna and watch Survivor, I headed to the library to do book sale stuff in preparation for Saturday’s Friends meeting. I ran around town posting flyers and putting out book donation baskets then back to the library to copy more flyers. I didn’t get home until 8:00 and struggled to keep my eyes open until bedtime.

Friday was another busy day at work and earlier in the week I’d made plans to go to Capitalism: A Love Story with Nancy. So I hit the pool at 5:00, met Nancy and her crew at Panera at 6:15 and went to the movie at 7:00. It was good and every liberal in Lincoln was there and, just like when we saw Al Gore’s movie, they clapped when it was done. So odd! I got home after 10:00 and fell into bed exhausted.

I woke up with a slight sore throat on Saturday but chalked it up to sleeping in a cool house (it’s just too early to turn on the heat so I’m trying to tough it out.) I went to the Friends meeting at 9:30 and had hoped to have a couple of hours at home before picking Andrea up for a trip to Omaha to check out a yarn shop I hadn’t been to. But I ended up needing to head to Weston to hang more flyers so convinced Lorri to come so we could grab an early lunch at Rezac’s. By the time we were done, I had to head right to Andrea’s. We hit HyVee for some super sales and then went to the yarn shop, which was fun. I was only buying 2 skeins of sale yarn but Andrea, who is a bad influence when it comes to yarn, convinced me to buy another lot of 3 skeins. Just more for my stash. : )

By the time I got home, it was clear I was getting a cold. I pulled out the Zycam, nuked the long-awaited lasagna and had my veg night in front of the TV. I woke up congested on Sunday morning and feeling generally punk (my mom’s term for under the weather.) I did almost nothing all day, managing only to bake some bread and do a load of laundry. Otherwise I sat on my butt, watching the National Parks on PBS and knitting. This cold is my body’s sneaky way of making me slow down. Whether I make it to work tomorrow or not is uncertain. I guess I’ll have to see how I feel in the morning. But at least I’ll be over the worst of it before I leave for California next week so I guess it’s better now than later.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 39 - Tame and Gone

This past week started with me waking up in Fergus Falls, Minnesota to the sound of rain. I was there to photograph the old insane asylum and needed to be on the road 7:30-ish to make it home in time for my dentist appointment. I had a yummy breakfast at Debbie’s Home Style Cooking, which was right next to my hotel, and was on my way to the hospital before 7:00. Since it was raining, the sun coming up didn’t make much difference and it was dark for taking pictures. But I used the night setting and braced my camera on the car window to get what shots I could. As always with a Kirkbride, it was an impressive building and, rain or not, I was happy to be there. As I was leaving, for some reason I turned back into the grounds and went up to the front door, got out in the rain and found a phone number to call for tours on Fridays at 2:00. It clearly wouldn’t work out for this trip but I was happy I found it for future reference. I hit the road at 7:45 and settled in for the 7 hour ride home.

I got to Wahoo at 2:30, with 30 minutes to spare before my dental appointment. I’m happy to say that the permanent cap was installed without event and is still, 6 days later, firmly in my mouth. Yay! I was so bone tired when I got done at the dentist that I went home and sat like a blob until bedtime, skipping knitting and only half unpacking.

One thing I had worried about being away for four days was losing all the progress I’d made taming the kitten. I needn’t have worried. The kitten was meowing at the door when I got home and spent much of my first two nights back sleeping on the bed with me. So, I went home Wednesday determined to tame her. I sat up in bed with my legs under the covers and started throwing tuna treats onto the bed, getting her closer with each treat. After about half a bag, I was able to pet her on the back and that’s all it took. She decided that felt pretty good and within minutes she let me pet her all over and under the chin. Done! Now she had to go the vet on Tuesday and then she’d be ready for her new home.

The only other thing of note for the rest of the week was Friday night. I’d had a pretty normal work week, feeling less tired every day. Since Friday was homecoming, I decided to take a half day of vacation so I could get out of town before the craziness started. I left work just before 2:00 (I know, not quite half a day), did some shopping and headed home to start my chores. Because I had been away the previous weekend, I was behind on everything and so had a full weekend planned of getting things done. I was in full swing and left the house to water at Lorri’s, stopping at the Warehouse on the way to see what had come in that day. Well, I bumped into Donna from knitting and her husband and before you know it, I was headed to the Vets’ Club for a beer. Now the Vets’ Club is a Wahoo institution but I’d never been there in my 13 years here. It’s a basement bar that’s homey and, typical for Nebraska, the customers ran the gamut from old people playing cards to families with kids. Two beers and lots of good conversation later, my night was shot. Oh well, I had two more days.

I was pretty productive both days, catching up on laundry, neatizing, mowing and doing some cooking. Minimally, I had to make a lasagna for book club at my house on Wednesday. I was in the home stretch when the phone rang Sunday afternoon. The woman who was taking the kitten was in Lincoln and wanted to come see her. But when I heard she wouldn’t be back in the area for another 3 weeks, I made a phone call and Belinda and I decided the kitten could go to her new home without going to the vet first as long as Jessica promised that she would be taken to the vet. Since the woman adopting her is in the vet tech program at NCTA (Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture), it seemed like a safe bet. So I put my chores aside and spent some quality time with the baby kitty before Jessica came to take her. I was a bit sad to see her go but will enjoy having my spare room back (I’ll have the cleaning lady spend lots of time in there on Tuesday) and sleeping in my own bed again. Now to get rid of mama kitty. One down, one to go.

Despite the interruption, I did get the lasagna made and the most important chores done plus made yummy homemade mac & cheese for supper. I’ll just have to be productive the next two nights to be ready for book club on Wednesday. Oh, and I need to finish the book. I’d better go read some now. : )

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 38 - North Dakota Bound

Had I not ended the week with a 700 mile drive to North Dakota to visit Connie, there were a couple of other titles I could have chosen. Jam O’Rama because I made elderberry jelly and prepped wild plums I picked at the side of the road to add to the pear jam I made last weekend. Or My Kryptonite Spit because my temporary crown fell out 3 more times last week (for a total of 5!) But North Dakota had to win.

Having started and ended my day Thursday in the dentist’s chair, I was scrambling Thursday night to get packed and ready to leave first thing Friday. Had I not made a list, I would have forgotten something for sure. But I watched the premier of Survivor (like I’d skip that!), got everything done and got enough sleep so as not to be dangerous on the drive. After a few morning to do’s and another stop at the dentist (the metal part of the 12 hour old cap had come off while eating eggs for breakfast!), I hit the road armed with snacks and books on tape.

I had never been north of Sioux City, Iowa so most of the trip was new territory for me. South Dakota looks much like Nebraska and was uneventful. After driving north for 7 hours, I turned west at Fargo. North Dakota was so empty – no people, no towns – and more brown than Nebraska. The main crop is sunflowers but they were already drying so what would have been gorgeous when they were yellow was just more brown. After a brief stop in Jamestown to check out their state hospital (all boring, newer buildings), I made it to Dickinson just after 6:00 mountain time.

It was great to see Connie but her apartment was a disaster, with boxes everywhere, little furniture and holding an air of someone who’d moved in days ago rather than weeks. Oh well, I could fix that. We did a tour of Dickinson and went to a nice dinner at The Brick House, which is a far better restaurant than anything in Lincoln despite the comparatively tiny size of the town (<16,000 people.) Sheesh! I begged fatigue, blew up the inflatable mattress I’d brought and went to bed early.

I woke up at 6:00, which was actually late because of the time change, ate a day old donut and coffee and started looking around. By the time I woke Connie at 7:30, I had a plan. We rearranged her plants (she has tons so this was no small task) and then headed west to the badlands.

Dickinson and points west have a totally different feel than the rest of North Dakota – browner, wilder and more beautiful. We stopped first at the Painted Canyon, which is a smaller version of the Grand Canyon that is gorgeous. You drive over a hill and there it is spanning the highway. We got out at the visitors center and took lots of pictures then got in the car to head to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, just a few miles down the road. The entrance is in the cheesiest little fake wild west town but once you enter the park, you forget all about Medora. There’s a 36 mile loop drive that heads through the park, which is spectacular! There are prairie dog villages all along the loop and I made Connie stop at so many of them, she was losing patience. There are just hundreds of hillocks in a field, each with a hole in them and the prairie dogs pop up and down, calling to each other. You can get as close as 10 feet before they scurry down their holes. I couldn’t get enough! We saw 2 buffalo (excuse me, bison) close up – they are HUGE – and a herd further away. It was so cool. There’s no way to describe what a wonderful morning it was. After enjoying a buffalo burger for lunch, we headed back to Dickinson.

We looked at the 3 furniture stores in town for a small loveseat but everything had that enormous, puffy look so we gave up, stopped at the market for supplies then headed back to Connie’s to start working. I won’t go into gory detail but suffice it to say, after 3 hours we had touched every box and piece of furniture in the place and everything was where it belonged, even if that meant the boxes of books were on the wall where the yet-to-be-purchased new bookcases would be. We even did a wee bit of Décor8’ing so that the hallway, which is the first thing you see when you open the door, is a thing of beauty with art work hung and the lone piece of furniture looking like something from a magazine. After tons of shrimp cocktail, a salad and a couple of glasses of wine, we hit DQ for a blizzard then settled in to watch Mermaids, one of the many dvd’s Connie has and one of the 2 loose ones we found while moving boxes.

Sunday we ate a big breakfast then headed to Bismarck in separate cars for Connie’s birthday party at her sister Michele’s. She made knoefflah (sp?) soup, a German specialty that tastes like clam chowder without the clams, and a scrabble birthday cake that was cute. After we ate, we went on a driving tour of Bismarck, which included going down to the Missouri river, where I should have gotten out and put my feet in but didn’t. I left Bismarck at 6:00 for the drive to Fergus Falls, Minnesota – my stopping point for the night so I could get home for my 3:00 dentist appointment Monday. I stayed at a Super 8 and was in bed by 10:00. It was the end of a full week but still a long way from home. More on that next week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 37 - Rejecting the Bling

It was a short week and it flew by but there was nothing normal about the four days.

At the pool on Tuesday, my friend Cheryl told me that there was tame kitten outside of Canfield (the building I work in) when she left. So instead of heading home to watch Hell’s Kitchen, I headed over in search of the kitten. It couldn’t have been easier. From 100 feet away I spotted her sitting under a bush. She was a short haired dilute calico about 5 months old and walked right up to me purring. While she dug into the food I’d brought, I tried to call Belinda – my Husker Cats cohort who lives in town and is always handy with a trap or cage. When she didn’t answer, I had the bright idea to call Troy, the man who was in line to adopt the kitten who’s living in my spare room. He was great! I asked if he would take this cat instead AND come right then. And he did. Crisis averted! He got a sweet cat and I didn’t have to figure out what to do with her when I already have mama kitty (newly dubbed Big Eddie from Gray Gardens) roaming my house and the kitten (you guessed it, Little Edie) in my spare room and no other options for segregating another cat. Since it was already so late, I stopped on the way home and picked the elderberries in the ditch that I’d had my eye on all summer.

Now to Wednesday - the day flew because I was feverishly working on a deadline project for one of the accountants. I was eating an inordinate amount of m&m’s that afternoon so had the bright idea to chew a piece of gum – something I hadn’t done in a year or more. All was going swimmingly (you can’t eat candy with gum in your mouth) until my bling tooth popped out. I hadn’t equated the dentist's warning to not eat anything chewy or gooey with gum. Damn! Luckily he could fit me right in so I left work at 4:00 and headed to the dentist. He glued it back in and I was on my way. Unfortunately, the disruption killed what is normal a productive night for me, despite the fact that I was home a bit early.

I made up for it Thursday night and got all kinds of things crossed off my to do list. I was gearing up for a productive weekend that would start with a much needed shopping trip so I went through my coupons, made lists, gathered returns (2 years worth) and generally got organized. Friday found me with a great attitude, almost done with my project for Jenny, ready to tackle some training documentation and looking forward to the weekend. I was at lunch with Layton, enjoying the Cracker Barrel fish fry with turnip greens and hashbrown casserole, when my damn fake tooth popped out again! This time on hashbrown casserole, which is practically pre-chewed. I called the dentist when I got back to work but they were closed for the afternoon so I left a message. The afternoon flew by and I hung with the kitties for a bit (I had saved them a piece of fish) before heading to Wal-Mart. They had recently remodeled the store and I had trouble finding things, plus they appear to have greatly reduced the amount of stuff on the newly shortened shelves. I left frustrated with only half the items on my list. My dentist called at 9:30 and was willing to do my tooth then but I’d already showered and was in my jammies so we made plans for the morning.

That night I slept in the spare bedroom, taking the next step to try and tame Little Edie (it’s not going well – she’s as freaky as ever and wants nothing to do with me.) Well, with none of my cats to wake me, I slept until almost 8:30, which was not good because the dentist had said he’d call between 8:00 and 9:00 and I should be ready. I quickly got dressed and slammed down a bit of cereal before he called. I was in the chair longer this time because he had to remake the fake tooth (maybe it’d been chomped on one too many times?) before gluing it in. From there I went to a Friends of the Library meeting, then out for an early lunch with my friend Lorri. We were supposed to work on the Hansen House gardens after lunch but she needed some time so we planned to meet after 3:00. I went home to write an article for the master gardener newsletter (I’m cramming to do my last few volunteer hours before the October 1 deadline) then met Lorri and gardened for a few hours. Since I was already a grubby mess and had been fortified by a soft serve from BK (they’re surprisingly good), I went right home and mowed. By the time I was done and showered, I was ready for an evening of sitting on my butt.

Having killed my entire Saturday with volunteer efforts, that left a lot to get done on Sunday. Granted, I spent a chunk of time on the phone but laundry, dishes, making flight arrangements for my trip to Carmel next month with Nancy and paying bills took up most of the afternoon. I then had a choice – Decor8 the hutch, which had been the plan, or make jam with the soon to be rotted pears Lorri had given me. The pears won. Other than having to go to Lorri’s for more pears (most of the first batch were too far gone), it didn’t take long to make the jam, something I should remember the next time I’m lamenting that most commercial jams are loaded with high fructose corn syrup. The hutch will have to wait. And since I’m headed to North Dakota next week, which was moved up a week due to Connie’s schedule, it’ll be waiting awhile. Life goes on.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Extra – Décor 8, Merry 1

My friend Dodie told me about the blog Décor8 (I’ve linked it on my blog list), which is full of fun decorating ideas, with everything pure white and just a few well placed, perfectly coordinated objects being the predominate theme. Last week over lunch we were discussing decorating and while neither of us thinks the sparse, white and gorgeous look is attainable in our homes, we did talk about decorating and the age old problem of getting used to things the way they are, even if that means staring at things in boxes or, my particular problem, surfaces covered with clutter rather than some of the cool stuff I have that’s packed away. We both made a pact to start actual decorating in our houses.

My goal for this past weekend was to tackle the wall cabinet in my bathroom – a small job that was a good place to start since it wouldn’t take long. So, I spent a chunk of my Labor Day actually doing the project. It took me much longer than I had planned and involved a shopping trip to every store that was open in Wahoo looking for a clear votive holder. Having failed to find one, I went with a cobalt blue one that I had and that lead to an expedition to the basement in search of things to match it. Having recently gone through my craft room, I was able to quickly locate the perfect piece of lace (bought in the early 80’s for a peasant blouse I never made!) to cover the doors, thereby hiding my less than attractive but necessary toiletries. All in all, I am pleased with the outcome and so wanted to share my before and after pictures with you all.

My pledge is to keep this up one small project at a time. If I don’t post more soon, please remind me of this pledge. : )

P.S. Despite reading this blog for some time, I didn’t make the leap from Décor8 to decorate until last Friday. Sheesh!

Week 36 - Another Busy Week

It was another busy week. I know, my friends say I’m always busy but this week seemed even busier. So much so that I only got to the pool one night!

As usual, I knitted on Monday, or should I say crocheted because I’d gotten an invite to my friend Maria’s baby shower that afternoon and it was for Saturday! Damn good thing I had a half done blue baby afghan in the basement, which I dragged out and started working on. I had a dentist appointment at 3:00 on Tuesday, where I got my gansta tooth – a bright silver temporary crown that’s so far back that no one but me can see my mouth bling. It makes me smile. Wednesday at 5:00 was an eye doctor appointment that lasted and hour and a half! I finally got to the pool on Thursday and went from there to dinner (salad at Panera) and a movie (District 9, which disappointed me – interesting plot but the violence and gore were so over the top as to be laughable at times, plus the dolby was not what I’d hoped it would be.) Friday I had intended to go swimming but ended up working late, which was the perfect cap on a maniacal week (deans reports usually take 2 of us 1 day but this month took 3 days for all the problems we had.) It worked out though because I had a lot to do when I got home and actually made it home earlier for having skipped the pool.

I had offered to bring pickle roll ups for the shower and Maria asked me to bring a banana cream pie – how could I refuse a pregnant friend? What she didn’t know was I’d already gotten all the ingredients to make a lasagna so she’d have dinner for a few nights. So I had 3 things to cook and an afghan to finish, wash and wrap all before noon on Saturday. Because did I mention the shower was in Grand Island 100 miles away? I made the pickle roll ups and the cream for the pie on Friday night then sat down to finish the afghan while watching Twilight because Maria is Twilight obsessed and the shower had a Twilight theme. I figured I’d better watch the movie if there was any hope of participating at the shower.

I got up early on Saturday to finish the pie (she’d requested a graham cracker crust and a meringue top, which is neither easy nor normal) and make the lasagna, throwing the afghan in the laundry since it smelled musty from its years in the basement. I was done with everything and walked out of my kitchen, which looked like a bomb had gone off, right on time for the 2 hour ride. I was going to Maria’s first to drop off the food before heading to the shower. My ulterior motive was to have some one-on-one time with Maria before the gang scenario of the shower.

The shower went well. Maria seemed to like the afghan, there was plenty of yummy food, including some Mexican specialties from Maria’s mom, and they decided against the Twilight games so my ignorance wasn’t a problem. After the shower I went back to Maria’s and we sat on the deck and chatted. The weather was perfect and it felt good to relax. The ride home was uneventful, which is all I could ask for.

Sunday I did my usual morning routine (reading the paper, watching CBS Sunday morning, etc.) but when I usually get up and get moving, I couldn’t summon the energy to do anything. I sat on my butt knitting and watching whatever was on TV (and it was slim pickings, let me tell you) but I wasn’t enjoying it and was feeling guilty. The kitchen still was a disaster but at least I’d managed to throw some ribs in the crock pot so I’d have supper. Finally at 4:00 I guilted myself into getting busy and headed outside to repot plants. I had all the sad plants that Connie had made me take when she moved (all white from lack of nitrogen and many planted several inches too deep in pots that were too large) plus my African violets, which had been taking a beating from being in the cat room. It took me 3 hours and they all looked better when I was done. I ate some ribs, which I turned into pulled pork and added black beans too so served it over Trader Joe’s harvest blend grains with cheese – yum! – and watched Frozen River while knitting. I went to bed without having cleaned the kitchen but at least I could say I’d accomplished something. Lorri and I had made plans for an early morning walk and breakfast the next day, which would get me up, dressed and out the door early, plus get me pumped to have a productive day. There was no doubt I’d be laboring on Labor Day.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Week 35 - Return of Autumn

By the calendar it may be early but by all other indicators, fall has arrived. The students are back on campus, water aerobics is back to 5 days a week and the weather has turned chilly with no sign of a return to summer weather in the forecast. Not only have the comforters come out of storage but I’m wearing flannel to bed and this morning I could see my breath when I let the cats out. Rest assured, I’m not complaining.

The event of the week has got to be the kitten. Three weeks ago, I found a cat that had been dumped on campus and after a trip to the vet, she’s been living in my spare room ever since. When I found her, you could tell she’d been nursing but it looked like her milk was drying up so I assumed she’d been dumped without her kittens. Tuesday I found out I was wrong.

I was feeding the cats like I do every morning, when I saw a little calico under the bushes near where I’d found the mom. She appeared to be about 10 weeks old and I instantly felt guilty that I’d taken her mama away and began worrying that there were others, alive or dead, that had been left behind. I spent all day beating myself up before I could cut myself some slack, saying I’d made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time. I went out that evening with a can of wet food and fed her. The good news was she was coming when I called so I was confident I could win her over and reunite her with her mom, who had not been adjusting well and still wouldn’t come near me despite the fact that she was more interested in being petted than eating the night I found her, and that when she was skin and bones and clearly starving.

Thursday night I planned to meet Belinda after water aerobics to catch the kitten. She and her husband came with a trap but that ended up not being necessary. I put some wet food in the back of a carrier (the one I’d transported her mom in so it’d smell familiar) and she walked right in. I drove her home and put her in the spare bedroom with her mom, foolishly expecting a Hallmark moment. NOT! The mama clearly was over the kitten and immediately started treating her badly. Yet another instance of a fool projecting human emotions onto pets.

I have been sleeping in the spare bedroom in an attempt to tame the mama and I can hear the kitten scampering around under the bed (yes, it’s keeping me up) and she’s using the box so I know she’s OK. As for the mom, she is now all of a sudden interested in getting out of the spare bedroom and last night approached me and let me pet her. So returning her kitten did help tame her but not because she’s enjoying a family reunion. Whatever works I guess.

As for the rest of the week, Saturday afternoon I went to Omaha with Andrea and her friend Cheri for lunch, a Penzey’s run and, of course, to hit a yarn shop. Unfortunately we missed the yarn shop we were planning on by a few minutes because they closed at 3:00 on a Saturday, which would be typical in Wahoo but this is in Omaha! Anyway, it was a nice afternoon and I didn’t spend much at all (some spices, groceries and silver teaspoon – not bad.) We didn’t get home until 7:00 so I called it a day and relaxed.

Sunday I was a machine. I was determined to get everything done that’s been languishing on my to do list for weeks since I’ve been doing the bare minimum so I could knit. Not only did I do all my chores but I finally moved the TV that’s been making the rounds from room to room since February and took the ugly green chair to the garage. I also did strange things like take everything out from under the sink and scrub everything down. I even pulled weeds from the driveway cracks by moonlight at 10:00 p.m. when I took the trash out. It’s like I was possessed by the get it done fairy. The result is that everything is done, the house looks great and I’m happy. What a great way to start the week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 34 - Earned My Sunday

It was another busy week, with quite an assortment of events, both good and bad. It was the break week between semesters so there was no water aerobics and I had big plans for all my free time. Yeah, right.

Monday night meant knitting at the library and I was starting a scarf for me, determined to not be knitting socks again. It wasn’t going well though. Despite having a host of patterns and fabulous yarn, I was using an old circular needle I’d found in the basement (source unknown) and it was tripping me up. Before the end of the week, I’d have ripped out 6 different starts with 3 different patterns and had to cut the yarn twice. So almost every night ended with more knitting frustration. Nice! Hobbies are supposed to be relaxing, aren’t they?

Tuesday I woke up to a normal day, or so I thought. I was looking forward to the cookout at Anne’s that night (a break week tradition for the water aerobics crew) that I’d had a big hand in planning. All was going swimmingly until, with no warning at all, I was projectile vomiting all over the bathroom. This was accompanied by the shakes and clammy skin. I immediately called in without an ounce of guilt (I normally am guilt ridden but the mess in the bathroom was proof enough of my inability to function) and went to bed. I was sick twice more during the day and slept for all but a couple of hours midday. No cookout for me – bummer. But by the end of the day, I was feeling better and able to eat some chicken soup so I chalked it up to a 24 hour stomach bug and called it a lost day.

Wednesday I met Helen after work for dinner and a movie – a rare event (seeing Helen more than the dinner and movie) to be sure. We ate salads at Panera, saw 500 Days of Summer, which was really good, and then closed down Starbucks. Thursday night was an Investment Committee meeting for the Library Foundation, something I was appointed to that I had zero interest in. Add to that that the chair is a blowhard who doesn’t listen and you get how much I was dreading it.

You’d think with the week I’d had, I’d be headed home Friday for some R&R. But No! I decided to be a responsible adult and do some yard work, hoping that it’d free up time later in the weekend for some quality vegging. So I headed straight home to prune the crabapple, mow the yard and trim the enormous yew out front by hand. Two hours later I was done, just in time to go to bed early so I could get up on Saturday and do yard work at Hansen House with Lorri for master gardener hours. That was two hours of edging and cutting back a huge forsythia that was choked out a magnolia. Good thing the cool weather was holding. From there I went home to grab a couple of hotdogs and relax for a bit, ripping out my scarf for the sixth time while talking to Connie.

That afternoon I headed to Lincoln to help my friend Susan paint her empty house (it’s on the market.) Now I had originally said I’d help with her yard but she hired someone to do that so wanted help painting, something I’m not good at and don’t like doing (there’s a reason I’ve been in my house 10 years and still haven’t done a second coat in the bathroom.) And for the record, the Just Saying No mantra from week 18 – NOT WORKING! The sole redeeming thing about going to Lincoln was I could go to the yarn shop and buy a new circular needle to, hopefully, end my knitting woes. It was good to catch up with Susan and the painting wasn’t all bad. Or maybe it was but I’ve blocked it out due to paint fume overload from priming the closet. Anyway, I got home after 7:00 and vowed to be done for the weekend.

Sunday was the wonderful day I’d clearly earned. I started knitting before I even read the paper (my normal Sunday morning ritual) and the needle had indeed removed the jinx. I spent the rest of the day knitting while watching PBS, interspersing laundry, dishes and the like between programs. I didn’t do much cooking but at the end of the day had more than twelve inches done on my scarf and felt relaxed, renewed and ready to face another week. Let’s hope it’s a good one.