Monday, April 27, 2009

Week 17 - Got My Weekend!

Well, I final got my weekend at home and it was wonderful! I’d had a pretty normal week for me – busy, busy, busy. I knitted at the library Monday night (I’ve started socks on a size 1 needle – eek, that’s small!), water aerobics Tuesday, started my gardening at home finally Wednesday evening, water aerobics again Thursday and then I decided to skip Book Club at the Library because it was the most inane book ever and I couldn’t imagine having an intelligent conversation about it. Add to this a couple of pretty stressful days at work Thursday and Friday and I was almost ready for my weekend.

All this led up to Spring Affair on Friday, which is a fund raiser/plant sale that I volunteer for every year and it’s one of my very favorite things to do in life. I was a plant informant and was working the Friday night pre-sale dinner for the first time ever. It meant a 4.5 hour shift, completely on my feet after a long week at work. I was a bit concerned with how my knee would hold up (it was fine) but was ready for it. All went well and I met some interesting people that I got to interact with, as opposed to the usual mob scene situation of a Saturday shift. I even met a Swedish woman, who was carrying an Ikea bag (that was what got us talking). After I helped her a few times during the sale, she came up and gave me an extra bag that she had with her. That was just the frosting on the cake of a wonderful night.

I got home ~9:30 and, tired but satisfied, ready for a shower and a long night of sleep, knowing I had no commitments for the entire weekend. Now you know that just didn’t work out, right? Since the weather warmed up, Pie (my feral adoption from UNL) stays out all day while I’m at work and is typically waiting for me on the front step when I get home ~7:00. Well I didn’t get home until 9:30, it was getting ready to storm and she was nowhere to be found. I called and called but she wasn’t coming in. I took my shower and went to bed to read, getting up several times to call her to no avail. I was more worried each time and I had all kinds of bad pictures running through my head. I finally fell asleep at 1:00, only to wake up at 4:00 and start calling her again. It appears I was an idiot to worry because as soon as the sun was up, she walked in the house like nothing was wrong. Rotten cat!

I had not planned to start my first weekend at home alone in 6 weeks sleep deprived. Oh well. I went back to bed and slept for a couple of hours before the phone started ringing and woke me up. I fell back asleep after the first call but the 2nd one got me up. I’d totaled about 6 hours, so with the help of fully caffeinated coffee (I usually drink quarter caff0), I was able to gather the energy to have a pretty productive day. I got most of my chores done and made a nice dinner Saturday, leaving me Sunday to enjoy. I watched a couple of movies, made a big dent in my sock (I’m having trouble with the wrap and turn and had to rip it out three times so will ask for assistance from my knitting buds Monday night) and cooked up a storm. So, it ended up a nice weekend after all – everything I’d hoped for actually – so I’m ready for another busy week. Life is good!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Week 16 - Playing with Fire

Well, it was a relatively normal week. Other than eating lots of leftover ham, the only thing that was different was some extra cat stuff - go figure! I helped Belinda with TNR on Monday night and was able to capture the ever elusive Tweaker. She was one of the black team – 2 black cats that were wiley and had evaded capture since the fall. One down, one to go. I’ll be trying for PB this week. I also met with Landscape Services and got new feeding station locations approved. Wednesday night Belinda’s husband and I moved one station and put out two new ones. I think we’ve got enough feeders now. I also picked up 300 pounds of donated food and then offloaded it at Cornerstone Church. I got my exercise that day!

The week ended with our semi-annual scrapbooking weekend at Camp Fontanelle. It was fun and productive. I finished the 3 books of last summer’s sisters’ trip for Dottie’s 50th and I got my last stamp sets cut out. Unfortunately I didn’t have my pictures with me for my new project so I did as much planning as I could and then left a bit early, just so I could have a few hours at home.

This was the 5th weekend in a row that I wasn’t at home without plans. At least it was a dreary weekend so I didn’t feel guilty scrapbooking instead of gardening. It also meant we had a fire going in the lodge, which I kept stoked all weekend. It made me realize I should move forward with getting a wood stove in my family room. It’s the one thing my house lacks and I’d love having one. Maybe I can get a good deal on when since they’re out of season. Time to check it out and call my guys.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Week 15 - Return to Normal

Well, I finally got my wish for a normal week. I went to water aerobics 3 times, got caught up at home and work (even on my blog), did some cooking….it felt wonderful!

The one sad thing that happened was one of my campus cats was run over on R Street. It was just a matter of time before one of the cats got hit but that doesn’t make it easy when it happens. The landscape crews know to call me so I can identify the cat but the garbage men found her and took her away before anyone could get there. Two people in my office saw the cat (a gray tabby) and one reported her being kept company by two other cats so I knew it was one of mine. I made a beeline over to CBA and called the cats to make sure it wasn't Peanut or Jay (two of my faves who are both tabbies.) It wasn’t either of them! After getting a better description from Alan’s wife and by process of elimination, I figured it was Cozette so I mailed a picture of her to the garbage man and he said he was 99% sure it was her. I guess it’s a good thing she hadn’t been spayed so we hadn’t spent money for nothing. She was a gorgeous cat with the sweetest face but very skittish. It made for a hard day Thursday.

Friday night I went back to CBA after water aerobics and spent some quality time with the cats for the first time since before LA. Once the campus is quiet, and it was especially so because so many students had gone home for Easter, lots of cats I hadn’t seen in ages came out – even one Belinda had TNR'd (trapped/neutered/released) that I’d never seen before. It was a beautiful evening and I was there for more than an hour. I rogue fed them the last bag of chopped steak from Susan’s stint in Animal Science and truly enjoyed the evening. I think I may make it a weekly event.

The rest of the weekend was nice. I did my first yard work of the season (unfortunately it was at the library, not in my yard) and then went to lunch at the Wiggie with Lorri and Sarah as a thank you for Sarah taking care of my cats while I was away. Then I had some quality veg time on the deck, hanging with a tabby that showed up out of nowhere and decided he liked my deck (he was there all day Sunday too but left when it started to rain.) Saturday afternoon Connie came and stayed over for Easter dinner – heathen ham, which was delicious and we ate way too much. We hung out and watched movies. All in all a nice ending to the week.

Week 14 - Farewell to Mark

I got home from LA Sunday evening with time to only unpack before heading to bed. I had a busy week ahead but was happy to be facing some normal life. I had a Husker Cats meeting after work Monday and then had to bake a pie for book club after work Tuesday. Once I was done with physical therapy after work Wednesday, I was looking forward to some down time and had a list of chores and such to catch up on. Then I got the call – Connie’s husband Mark had died after a relatively brief battle with cancer. Thoughts of down time went out the window.

I headed to Connie’s first thing Thursday morning just to help out. Mark’s family had been in town all week but Connie was preparing for the onslaught of her family the following day. Her brother Rick, whom I had met the summer Connie and I rented the beach house in RI, had already flown in from NYC so the two of us got busy. We neatized the entire house, cleared boxes from the porch to create extra seating space, then did some cleaning – sweeping, vacuuming, etc. Rick, who is like an energizer bunny, went outside to do yard work and I sat down. I spent the rest of the day visiting, meeting Mark’s family for the first time, helping cook, playing scrabble, etc. I had brought clothes to sleep over if Connie wanted but decided at 9:00 to head home, figuring we’d both sleep better since by then there were so many people staying over that I was going to have to share Connie’s bed. I got home at 10:30 (she lives 100 miles from me) and collapsed into bed.

The rest of the week went by in a blur. Connie was having a party in Mark’s honor at the Temple theatre on campus Saturday afternoon, taking advantage of the fact that Mark’s family was still in town. I had offered to help cook for the party so went straight from work Friday to the market then to the restaurant where Connie’s daughter Mikael used to work because they’d offered the use of their kitchen. Mikael and I were there till 9:00, making prosciutto wrapped melon, ham/pickle roll ups, brownie bites, cheese trays, etc. I got up early Saturday to make turkey salad cups and dip and headed to Lincoln for 1:00 to help set up.

The party was nicely done and lots of people came – lots of actors who had worked with Mark. I stayed to help clean up and left Lincoln at 4:00 to finally head home for my down time. I was exhausted and some vegging was well earned but I did manage to get quite a bit of my to do list done on Sunday. Even chores felt good after the week I’d had. I went to bed hoping that the next week would finally bring some “normal.”

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 13 - Cross Vegas Off or Salton Sea Redux

I started the week with an uneventful drive across the desert in Debbie’s little sports car, headed to Vegas for the International Master Gardeners’ Conference. The conference was wonderful! I had tried to sign up for sessions on topics that were new to me and that worked out great – not a dud speaker in the lot and I learned lots of new things. The key note speakers were good too. Surprisingly, there was a big emphasis on organic gardening, which I practice and have heard little of since moving to chemical happy Nebraska. But I digress...

Anyway, the conference was great (it’s hard not to get excited about hundreds of gardeners all in one place) but Vegas – not so much. The conference only included breakfast and lunch so we were on our own every evening. One night we went down to the strip for the required viewing of the Bellagio – the Chihuly glass was gorgeous, as were the garden displays, and the fountains were fun to see. But that’s it. I’m done! We walked a bit of the strip after leaving the Bellagio and that was plenty for me. Call me jaded but it’s hard to get excited about a fake Eiffel Tower when you’ve seen the real one. And I’m probably the only person who was in Vegas and never put so much as a nickel in a slot machine. I would have lost anyway . : )

The conference did end on a downer. Lorri had arrived with a bug that she picked up from one of her grandsons – vomiting, diarrhea, the whole shebang. Lucky me (you see why I didn’t gamble?) I woke up with it in the wee hours on Wednesday. The problem with this was I couldn’t keep down even a sip of water and had to be able to take an immodium so I could drive home. On my second try, I laid in bed and willed myself not to be sick until it took effect. I left the hotel promptly at check out time and drove straight back to Debbie’s, only stopping once to throw up in the dessert. I made it home just in time and sent Debbie and Felicia out for more immodium and some coke syrup (Felicia’s old-fashioned but effective remedy for an upset stomach.) I was down for the count Wednesday and felt pretty crappy still Thursday (I missed our planned dim sum in China Town) but was back to normal by Friday. Other than going out for a Trader Joe’s run and lunch, I didn’t do much, saving my energy for my big Saturday.

Kelley arrived early Saturday and we headed to the Salton Sea. We stopped to visit Jonathan, grabbed some breakfast at BK and then headed out. I had estimated the drive at just over 2 hours but in reality, it was 3 with traffic. I was pretty bummed when we arrived at 2:06 because Norm Niver was at the Chamber until 2:00 so we just missed him. We went to his house (I was stalker-ish and had looked up his address so knew where to go) but he wasn’t there. I left a note asking him to call my cell and we grabbed lunch at the Travertine Grill (OK food and they were very dog friendly) and then headed back north to Salton Sea Beach. Despite missing Norm, it was all good. I got to see all the places we hadn’t seen last year and got some great pictures. We found the trailer with the pink stove, saw North Shore Yacht Club in daylight and spent quite a bit of time below 5th Street in Bombay Beach, exploring the flooded out buildings. We got to Salvation Mountain just before dark and I got to meet Leonard, which was a good way to end my Salton Sea trip. I did get to talk to Norm briefly as we headed out, which was nice. He's a hoot and I'll definitely have to meet him next time. We grabbed some Starbucks (our second that day) and headed home. I got up Sunday and headed right to the airport for an uneventful trip home. I’d been gone a long time (ten days) so it was good to be home but I missed drinking coffee on the balcony with Debbie and Felicia. I’ll have to head back soon.