Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 39 - Our Good Deed

My first week back from vacation went by in a flash. It took me a couple of days to catch up at work and I taught on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons so that added to the feeling of it flying by. My cold was in full force by Monday morning but I think the zicam worked because it was over and done by Friday. Yay! I tried to be good about not taking Claritin D (the D is a no no for high blood pressure) so I toughed it out with just Claritin. Between that and not getting enough sleep, I was pretty punchy a lot of the time but lived to tell.

Monday night was knitting at the library, as usual, but then I went home and spent too much time designing yet another pair of color work mittens. I also prepped packages so I could mail them on Tuesday – one for Carolyn, another for Connie and a 3rd with the hats the Monday Night Knitters had made for charity. That night I updated all my yarn on Ravelry, crossing off two more to dos from my vacation list. By Wednesday I felt good enough to go to the pool and then knitted with the gang at Panera. By Thursday night, my energy was flagging and it was book club at the library, which Denise had asked me to lead. There were 5 people, which is a banner amount for this group, and we had a lively discussion. By the end of the day Friday, which was Homecoming and so campus was crawling with people and the parade was due to start at 5:30, I dropped all plans to grocery shop and headed straight home. I had made it through the week and just wanted to go home and knit.

The weather Saturday was pretty crappy. I had rained all night, stopping at 8:00 a.m. A group of us from work were scheduled to help a campus friend in her garden because her husband has terminal cancer and she hasn’t been able to garden. We had known the weather would be iffy so just planned for mud and headed over. There were 5 of us and we worked all morning. It’s amazing how much we got done but boy was it messy! And after 3 hours of bending over weeding, the back of my legs were singing. But I was home, showered and ready to knit by 1:00. And knit is what I did. Other than talking on the phone, I sat on my butt for the rest of the day and went to bed early. I had been a cold, dreary day but still a nice one at the end.

After such a leisurely Saturday, I had to kick butt on Sunday. Besides all my usual chores, I also wanted to get the last of my vacation leftovers taken care of. Also, Andrea and I were supposed to get together in the afternoon to organize her yarn. It started out as another cloudy, chilly day but the sun finally did come out so I could hang out my laundry and clean up the deck, which was covered with debris from the hail storm and still had all my painting stuff set up. Andrea called to say she was held up in Omaha so we postponed I just kept plugging away. There was still a chill in the air so I heated the oven and cooked off and on between chores. Homemade baked beans, corn muffins, banana bread and regular bread. It smelled great and kept the house toasty. I ended the day with the house picked up, chores done and many yummy carbs for the week. You know it’s coming – Life is good!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 38 - My Wonderful Vacation

What can I say – I had a fabulous week! I had a to do list an arm’s length long and didn’t get anywhere near all of it done but I did make a huge dent and am pleased with my progress. In the house that is. I didn’t do jack in the yard. Oh well. I’ll still call it good.

The weather forecast wasn’t the best for the week. There was lots of rain in the forecast so I had to plan my outdoor stuff around that. I headed outside first thing on Monday to start painting. I was painting my bedroom chair and the bar stool white and because everyone can use a bit more orange, I had a host of things to paint orange - my spool shelf, a covered barrel for yarn, a small magazine rack, my in box and a little bucket to start. I got the pieces deglossed and did the first coat before the sprinkles forced me inside. Little did I know that was just a taste of what was coming. We had the worst hail storm I’ve ever witnessed! It went strong for 15-20 minutes and there were tons of hail stones bigger than a golf ball. I wanted to run out and get one but as soon as it stopped hailing, the rain started pouring down. We got 1.5 inches in about an hour and that melted most of the hail. Call me a weenie but I chose not to get drenched just to retrieve some hail. I got off lucky with just 2 busted window screens on the north side of the house and a broken thermometer. It also bashed the paint off the north side of my garage, which needed painting but now really needs it. Damn! I had a few small branches to pick up in the backyard and the lawn was covered with leaves but that was it.

I knitted at the library that night and started my first ever color work, a.k.a. stranded, knitting project. I finally figured out continental knitting because you have to knit with 2 hands – 1 color in each. I can’t be specific on what it is (Christmas is coming after all) but can say that my project is super cute because I blazed through my first project and am ready to start another (those in the know can check it out on Ravely.) I already have big plans for my next project, having made a foray into designing my own color work pattern. Again, I can’t share specifics but am very excited to knit my new design. This is clearly going to be my new favorite thing. It’s addictive!

Tuesday was the day my cleaning lady was coming and I wanted to talk to her about changing some of the chores she does. I had in my head that she would come ~3:00 so was unprepared when she showed up just after 1:00. After we talked, I threw on socially acceptable clothes (she caught me dressed in grubbies in the thick of framing artwork) and headed to Omaha. I had yarn and needles to pick up at Personal Threads plus a list of other errands. I didn’t get much done on Tuesday otherwise. Oh well.

Wednesday found me outside painting the 2nd and 3rd coats of orange paint. I could have done a 4th but ran out of time. I also couldn’t wait to get inside and knit some more. : )

Thursday was another rainy day so spent most of it inside slogging through paper and completely emptying and reorganizing my desk. It felt great to fill the recycling and shredding bags. I ended up with only one small box of keepers that are destined for the file crate I have had sitting empty for years. I ran a few errands in town in the afternoon, stopping at Andrea’s store to get her approval of my new design. She gave it the thumbs up, which made me feel great. Then I headed home for, you guessed it, more knitting. I had tea so late in the afternoon that I just grabbed a bowl of cereal for supper and went to bed early. I needed to since Carolyn had forgotten I was on vacation and had woken me up at 6:30 that morning. Sheesh!

It was hotter than Hades on Friday, with the temp hovering near 90 and wicked humid. I stayed inside and tackled the spare bedroom, which is my dumping ground and so was full of crap. I started by going through the linen closet in the hallway, culling the sheets so I could then go through the tall bureau. It had enough full sheets for a hotel despite the fact that that bed only gets slept in a few times a year. I ended up with just a couple of changes of sheets and a mostly empty dresser that could now hold out of season clothes and my Christmas present stash. I also went through all my yarn and photographed it so I can add it to my stash on Ravelry, which is purely an accountability thing. Then I headed to my bedroom to hang the rest of my art in there. I also reupholstered the chair cushion and got that reattached. My bedroom was finally done! Now I have to decide what I’m going to display on my newly cleared dressers but that’s the fun part. I’m calling it done and moving on. Life is good!

That was it! My 5 days were over in a flash. I did make a lot of progress and had only a few things to clear up on the weekend, which I wanted to keep as normal as possible. I was pleased with my progress on my projects and had also had a decent amount of relaxation time, mostly spent knitting. What could be better?

I started Saturday with a trip to Clarkson with Lorri. We were headed for Bluebird Nursery and would stop at the bakery in Dodge and the meat market in Clarkson along the way. It was a raw and rainy day. While it had been 90 the day before, it was 46 and raining at noon on Saturday. The bakery in Dodge was long gone (another casualty of the quilt store closing I’m sure. Dodge used to have Vogies, which had been voted one of the 10 best quilt stores in the country and it kept the town, which is in the middle of nowhere, alive. The town has seemed to curl up and die since it closed, which is a shame. Anyway….) We went to the bakery in Clarkson for cinnamon rolls and then the butcher before hitting Garden Land. I had hoped the green houses would be toasty warm but the sides were still open so they were chilly and damp. I exercised control and only bought 2 plants and some rooting hormone. It felt good to get in the car and turn on the heat. Nebraska weather! We stopped in Fremont on the way back and got home ~2:00. It was nice to be social and get away after so many days at home.

Otherwise, the weekend was pretty normal – cooking, laundry, just general chores. I did finish up a few things, the last being loading up my car with all the recycling and bags of stuff destined for the office. With less crap obstructing my view, I was able to reevaluate some furniture pieces and have decided that the wall unit in my family room, which is filled with books and various crap I’m sick of looking at, will go to the basement. I’ll be bringing up a small chest with curved shelves on both sides (my teapot shelf from my Providence kitchen for those who’ll remember it) to put my TV on, which will open up the room and give me the cleaner, less cluttered look I’m striving for. My flat screen TV may end up mounted on the wall but will fit on the teapot shelf to start so I’ll play that by ear. I’m not sure how soon I’ll get the swap done but it’ll be before the Friends’ book sale at the end of October because that’s where most of the cookbooks are going. While I used to use them all the time, now I just google for recipes so will only be hanging onto a few favorites. Just enough (that word just keeps on working.)

All that said, I’m ready to head back to work tomorrow. I have food ready for lunches and at least a couple of dinners, the evidence of all my projects has been put away and I’m ready to get back to my friends and the pool. I have the beginnings of a cold, hopefully that won’t last long because I religiously zicammed for 3 days, but am otherwise rested and feeling good. There’s no vacation as good as a stay home one. I won’t wait 2.5 years before I take another one again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 37 - The Wind Up

It was a short work week that flew by, which was nice because it could have been endless what with my imminent vacation. I went to water aerobics three nights in a row, figuring I should get as much in as possible since next week would have none. We had our last Wednesday night knitting at Village Inn too. We’ll be moving it back to Panera and potentially changing back to Tuesdays, which will mean two knitting nights in a row for me. But there are worst things.

The end of the week brought a flurry of Husker Cats stuff. We were having an exec board meeting after work on Friday and the president wanted to talk about the State Fair Park cats. I had talked to the old man who feeds there once but he didn’t give me a number to reach him and never called me back. So on Thursday night, I headed to the park to see if I could find him. Well, I had just turned into the drive and spotted an old couple in a pick up and flagged them down. Yes! They did feed and knew the man I’d spoken too (this 70-ish man described him as “really old” – too funny!) We exchanged numbers and made plans to meet the next night so I could get him some food. That meant I had to get some so I stopped at Phyllis’ on the way home, hoping she’d be there to give me some. I lucked out because she was home with a stiff neck (not lucky for her) so I took 3 bags and headed home for a very late dinner.

On Friday, Nancy met Layton and I for lunch, which was fun and I slammed through my final to do list. The exec board meeting was quick and from there Belinda and I picked up a load of Science Diet and unloaded it at the church. From there I headed to State Fair Park to drop off that food. I left there and headed home for the start of my 9 day break.

I was determined to have a relatively normal weekend. I wanted all my chores to be done so I could start my 5 vacation days ready to hit my project list. I had a Friends of the Library meeting on Saturday morning and then ran errands in town. I then spent the next day and a half getting stuff done – dishes, laundry, mowing, etc. I went to bed Sunday with a relatively clean slate excited for my week of no alarms, few commitments and lots of free time. I have a project list a mile long but am confident I can make a dent. Even if I don’t get as much done as I hope, what can be bad about 9 days in a row of freedom? Nothing!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 36 - Hanging with Connie

What a busy and fun week! And a long one at that since Labor Day felt like it belonged to last week.

Connie was due to arrive chez moi on Thursday evening, which meant I had to have the spare bedroom, which is normally a dumping ground for lots of crap, cleared out and ready for a guest before I left for work Thursday. What it really amounted to was clearing off the bed, which may sound like no biggie but with Monday and Wednesday nights taken up with knitting (can’t not knit!) and doctors’ appointments on Tuesday and Thursday, my time was tight. I actually got most of it done on Tuesday because my appointment was at 4:00 so I ran some errands afterwards, didn’t go to the pool and so was home early. Thursday was the eye doctor’s at 5:00 so Connie would be waiting for me when I got home. Luckily it was a HyVee steak fry day so I picked up 2 steak dinners and headed home for Connie time. It was great to catch up in person.

Friday morning, I was off to work and Connie to Lincoln, where she would be staying for the next 2 nights with her friend Betty. I was scheduled to meet Connie at the farmer’s market on Sunday so had Saturday at home to get all my chores done. Despite knowing it was my only chance at productivity all weekend, I still had trouble motivating myself and got only the bare minimum done opting instead to watch more Nip/Tuck and knit. It felt wonderful and decadent and I redeemed myself late in the day by mowing the lawn. I decided not to beat myself up for taking the day off (mostly). I deserve it!

I was on the road early Sunday and met up with Connie, her friend and her daughter at 10:00. We did the market (I scored a whole wheat baguette, some wax beans and a jalapeno) and then headed to Noodles for an early lunch. We had discussed going to the movies but it was a gorgeous day and there was nothing good playing so we decided to head to South Pointe to enjoy the weather while shopping. I don’t know whose bright idea it was to build an outdoor mall in Nebraska but we hit it on one of the few days of the year it’s actually pleasant. I bought some tea lights with a Yankee Candle coupon and some hand cream for my desk. We were done shopping at 2:00 and looking for something else to do.

Since it was a Connie weekend, I shouldn’t have been surprised by our next stop – pedicures! Luckily my feet were as smooth as they ever get having been to the podiatrist on Tuesday. Unfortunately I hadn’t anticipated the pedi and so had not shaved my legs. I figured I’d give her a big tip and put it out of my mind. They sat me across from Connie and Rachael so I ran to the car for my knitting and happily waited for the tech to get to me. I picked hot pink polish for some reason. A last homage to summer maybe? We parted ways with Rachael, heading back to Wahoo for a movie night. Connie would be staying at my house and would leave from there on Monday. We watched Star Trek and ate cottage cheese dip, popcorn and candy for supper. We disappointed the nutrition gods but had a fun time, even watching the gag reel and extras on the dvd.

The plan for Monday was that Rachael would drive to Wahoo and we’d all go to Omaha in 2 cars so Connie could jump on the interstate and head home from there. Somehow the wires got crossed (this happens a lot when Connie’s involved) so Rachael arrived at 9:00 instead of 11:00. We hung out for awhile and then headed to the Cheesecake Factory for an early lunch. We got lots of appetizers and then split a single piece of lemoncella cake. Yum! We then went into Westroads Mall (I’m surprised my body didn’t freak at 2 malls in 24 hours!) where I scored a cute sweater on sale plus I used a coupon, thereby helping to justify buying more clothes when I clearly have enough! Anyway, from the mall we went across the street to Whole Foods. Just as a storm was beginning (the above pic was taken just as it was starting to rain), Connie headed home to the wilds of western North Dakota and Rachael and I headed to Wahoo. Luckily she didn’t stay because I had 3 hours to prepare for knitting.

When we saw that the library would be closed for Labor Day, I not only invited everyone to knit at my house but also said I’d make dinner. There’s no one to blame for this but me. I offered, without prompting. Sheesh! It wasn’t bad though. The house was in decent shape (the cleaning lady had been on Tuesday) and I’d cooked the salsa pork on Saturday so all I needed to do was put on a pot of brown rice and put out the munchies I’d bought at Whole Foods. Andrea was bring Pea Pickin’ Cake (something from her childhood.) I actually found time to enjoy a cup of tea before getting set for my guests. It was a lot of fun and we got to linger longer than the hour we get at the library. The last people left at 9:00 so I cleaned up the leftovers , watched another episode of Nip/Tuck (I knew starting a 6 season show was going to be a problem!) and went to bed.

It was a fun weekend to end summer on. Luckily the weather cooperated and the heat is gone. Now it’s time to start making my to do list for next week. This 4 day work week will fly and I’ll be on vacation next week. 9 days without an alarm and with minimal commitments. I can’t wait! I’m going to have to be a grown up though and seriously limit my Nip/Tuck viewing and knitting. I must be productive! Wish me luck.