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.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week 33 - A Fun Week!

The week started with the trip to the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas to check out spinning wheels with Andrea. We left Wahoo at 7:30 to start the 4 hour trip, which flew by (it was nice to have someone to talk to.) Before we knew it, we were at the Topeka State Hospital to take pictures. What’s left of the Kirkbride is abandoned but we could drive all around it (OK, so I negotiated my way around some barricades) plus I got some neat pictures of the other buildings, and we were back on the road to Lawrence just 30 miles away.

What a wonderful city Lawrence is! Clearly their downtown never died. It’s 6 or 8 blocks long and every shop is full. It’s also a nice mix of stores – some geared towards college students but with just as many for us normal people. Besides the Yarn Barn, where we spent 2 hours and I got a mini spinning lesson (I’m not a natural), there was a huge quilt store that had every fabric imaginable – from brights to tea stained with imports from Japan thrown in too, a British shop, a gourmet store with lots of imported chocolate and a fun Asian noodle restaurant. And that was just in the 2 blocks we had time to explore! I’d love to go there and spend a weekend doing Massachusetts Ave. from one end to the other and maybe checking out the KU campus, which we never even saw. After a quick stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (another plus for Lawrence), we headed east to Overland Park to check out another yarn shop and hopefully hit Penzey’s.

The other yarn shop was nothing special and we just missed Penzey’s so we got back on the road home just before 6:00 with our bags of yarn (I only bought 7 skeins (enough for 4 projects) and 3 of those were on sale.) With only one stop in St. Joe at Dunkin’ Donuts, of course (Lawrence didn’t have lemon filled chocolate covered, which St. Joe always has – Yay!), we drove straight home, eating donuts for supper and arriving just before 10:00.

The middle of the week was uneventful, which was good because by Wednesday night, I was struggling to keep my eyes open at 7:30. I got 2 nights of 8+ hours though and was good to go.

Friday had a nice surprise. Mary and I had been talking about going to a movie and she suggested Friday after work. Since my only plan had been to food shop, I said sure and went to check the movie times. When I told her there were only 4:00 or 7:00 shows, she said, “Let’s leave early and go to the 4:00!” Now when your boss suggests something like that, who would say no? Since we’d be done so early, I convinced Nora to come so the 3 of us snuck out at 4:00 and went to Julie & Julia, which was lots of fun. What a great way to end a work week! Plus the 3 of us had plans to meet up Saturday morning to hit the Hillstead fiber garage sale so there was more fun to come.

Nora had errands to run so Saturday morning Mary and I met to do the sales, with Nora and the kids planning to meet up with us later. The Hillstead sale, for which I’d donated the 7 bags of stuff from clearing out my craft room, was mostly fabric (I’d been hoping for some yarn) and I showed restraint, spending only $3 and getting one charm pack and a few upholstery samples. We walked the entire neighborhood and I got a few CD’s and a Stone Mountain leather purse for $1.50! Again, I was aiming for restraint so was happy with my few purchases. Nora was behind us the whole way so Mary and I went to a coffee shop to relax while Nora finished. We then went to lunch where Mary had a blast goofing around with the kids. It was like there were 3 kids in the booth and it was fun to watch.

The rest of my weekend went well. I finally got all those things that had been on my to do list done and still managed to get my 2nd pair of socks finished. I also stashed all my new yarn, as well as all I’ve bought since I started knitting in earnest, on Ravelry. And I even did some cooking so I have food in the fridge for the week, which is a good thing because it’s going to be a busy week. Unfortunately I realized when I was changing my shower curtain and so had a different perspective of the toilet, that the trickle of a run had now become steady and later I found that the toilet is dripping into the laundry room. So, there’s a plumber in my coming week, which is never good, but maybe it’ll be my incentive to get the bathroom done sooner rather than later.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week 32 - My Exploding Teeth

It was just an average week with the usual stuff, a bit heavy on errand running but normal, until Thursday. I was scheduled to get my crown put in, which I was looking forward to because the temporary one was not very comfortable. I’d had to delay getting the permanent one in because of year end and was sick of chewing being problematic. I went to the dentist first thing and after the seemingly endless adjustments – drill, install, bite, remove – again and again, the new crown was installed and it felt great. I paid my $300+ bill and joked with receptionist that I hoped to not see her again until my cleaning in October. I walked out with a smile, looking forward to chewing on my normal side at lunch.

The rest of Thursday was uneventful, and Friday was looking like more of the same. I had to be at the library after work to volunteer for the String Beans concert. I wasn’t sure what my job would be but I’d committed to get there ~6:00 and stay until the bitter end. It was blazing hot and I was hoping I wouldn’t be responsible for grilling the hotdogs the Friends were selling. Since I didn’t know when I’d get to eat, I started snacking on some caramel corn on the drive to Wahoo. I bit into something hard and remember thinking that I should be eating on the side with the new crown since that side would be stronger. I didn’t eat much since a hot dog was in my future and as I was roving my tongue around my mouth in an effort to remove the popcorn remnants, I soon realized that the hard thing I had felt was not an unpopped kernel but a big chunk of the furthest back tooth on the other side! What was that, about a day and half and another tooth had exploded? What were the chances? Was it bad karma from my smart ass remark at the dentist? Pay back for the massive dose of high fructose corn syrup in the caramel corn? Hell, the popcorn was a fund raiser for midget football. Were the football gods somehow pissed at me? I guess I’ll never know but damn! I headed to the library, knowing I’d spend the whole night with my tongue constantly working the new hole in my mouth. And that with a burned tongue from my Starbucks that morning.

There were plenty of volunteers so I was able to enjoy the concert, which was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. I left before 9:00 and went home to shower and get to bed early in preparation for two days at home getting caught up. Luckily though my dentist had left a message saying I could come in first thing Saturday to he could slap some temporary dental goo over the sharp bits. Since I was out and about (I had planned on never leaving from Friday night until Monday morning), I ran a few errands then headed home to make a few phone calls and head downstairs to slog through more of my craft room. I ended up with tons of stuff to donate to the Hillstead’s garage sale (the deadline is Tuesday.) Sunday found me up at the crack of dawn cleaning up the kitchen and getting stuff done. Unfortunately my enthusiasm waned and I spent far too much time knitting so am ending the weekend with quite a few things still on my to do list. Tomorrow I’m up early for a road trip to the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas with Andrea. Nothing like some yarn shopping to make me forget about my exploding teeth. Sheesh!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Week 31 - Productive and Fun

It’s a good thing last week was so dull because this past week was a whirlwind, especially at the beginning. It was closing meeting week so I had to be at work early both Monday and Tuesday. Just having to alter my morning routine proved to be completely disruptive to my days. I didn’t get up any earlier, which probably made it worse. I just skipped breakfast and brought something to work to eat after I’d prepped for the early meetings. When you add that to working through lunch most days, it was a hectic week. But did I let that disrupt my social calendar? Not at all.

Monday night I knitted at the library, Tuesday night was water aerobics then book club (good thing I’d made my pie on Sunday night) and Wednesday was the movies with Nancy. We went to “Moon” at the Ross, which was good – I do so love a good sci fi flick. After a coffee and sharing more about her Europe trip, Nancy left and I headed across campus to where I’d parked. Now, of course, that took me right past my cats, who were out on the lawns enjoying the empty campus. So I called them so I could take an inventory since cats I rarely see in the morning come out at twilight. As usual, a few I hadn’t seen in a long time showed up but there was also a new face in the bushes.

I found a full grown, skin and bones cat that was not feral. I coaxed her out from under the bushes and she let me pet her, which meant she was either dumped or someone’s cat who got lost. Call me cynical but I vote for dumped. But she’d clearly been outside for awhile because she was super thin and her fur was ratty. I called Belinda, who lives in town and does TNR for Husker Cats, and she came out with a can of food and a cage. It took 30 minutes but we got her into the carrier and Belinda took her home so she could drop her at All Feline the next morning to be spayed and checked out. I agreed to pick her up Friday and foster her until we could find her a home.

Having just had 3 LONG days, Thursday was wonderful. I did the last of the meeting prep and began the big spreadsheet, which takes the better part of a day to add formulas and format. After 3.5 hours, I was toasty fried and left for water aerobics and a long awaited night at home. I watched more Mad Men and went to bed early, leaving getting the spare bedroom ready until Friday morning.

I finished the big spreadsheet before lunch on Friday and then headed to Cracker Barrel for fish with Layton. When I got back I started to get organized from having ignored all my regular work all week . At 3:00 I called it a week and left early to go get the cat. I had hoped she’d come out of the carrier and be normal but no such luck. She headed straight under the bed and I’ve only had glimpses of her ever since. But she’s eating and using the box so I’m calling it good. I go in there every few hours and talk to her but she’s still hiding. Hopefully she’ll come out soon.

Saturday was another busy day, although mostly for fun. I had a Friends of the Library meeting at 9:30, which went long of course, and I had to leave before it ended to man the library table at the county fair. I’d only been to the fair once in the 12 years I’ve lived here but didn’t have time to see anything because I had to leave by 1:00 to meet Andrea and Nancy for our Plattsmouth outing. We were meeting Melissa, Nancy’s new beekeeper friend who had been to my house this spring.

It took an hour to drive to Plattsmouth and we rendezvoused at The Chocolate Moose – a cafe I’d heard raves about. They were within an hour of closing for the week so didn’t have much of their menu but I had a tuna sandwich that had minimal (maybe no) mayo and capers and came with homemade sweet potato chips (what’s not to love?) and a side of cucumber moose, which I’d hesitated to order but it was amazing! It had tiny julienned cukes in a froth of sour cream and mayo that was flavored just slightly with dill and set with gelatin (I asked how she made it but she doesn’t share the recipe.) For dessert I had orange vanilla crème brulee, which was devine.

The restaurant was delicious enough to warrant driving back to Plattsmouth but the main street was another reason. Every shop was in full swing, unlike most small towns that have as many empty store fronts as not, and there was lots to do. We hit a couple of antique shops and decided to forego the used book store because Melissa had to be at the quilt store by 4:00. And what a quilt store! It was huge, had lots of people to help and was having an anniversary sale with fat quarters <$1. I bought 8 coordinating fat quarters (more fabric for the pile I’ll probably never use) and a Christmas scrap pack. Melissa’s family called so we parted ways. We had just enough time to stop at String of Purls, one of the yarn shops in Omaha.

We arrived at 5:20 and the store was dark. But they were supposed to be open until 5:30 so we tried the door and it was open. It had been so slow that the woman was trying to close early but she let us in. I immediately had to look up my neck warmer pattern, which I’d forgotten to bring or reference, on Ravely, which she let me do in her back room. Then I started looking for yarn, which is sorted by color rather than weight. I ended up with a Nora green acrylic blend for my neck warmer and a single skein of sock yarn that Andrea found for me for <$5 and in my colors. I’m done buying sock yarn now. Really! After we dropped Nancy at her car, Andrea and I headed to the fair to check out all the ribbons on her quilts and knitting. I also looked at the scrapbooks, which I didn’t know you could enter, and decided on the spot that I’ll be entering some of mine next year. I then went home to sit on my butt, watch TV and eat popcorn for dinner. What a fun, but full, day!

After my normal Sunday morning routine of reading the paper and then talking to Carolyn, I headed downstairs to start slogging through my craft room, spurred on by the idea of donating anything I don’t want to the Friends of the Hillstead Gallery’s fiber and craft garage sale. I made it through 4 totes and my entire craft closet before calling it a day. There are piles everywhere and the closet is still empty but I have plenty to donate and felt good about my progress. I spent the evening interspersing the chores I should have done rather than the basement with watching TV. It was a good week – full at home and work and productive and fun too. Yay!