Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 48 - They Finally Showed!

What a week! I woke up Monday with the first signs of a cold so started the Zicam swabs and kept it up all day. But by lunch time I was more concerned with my hell tooth – the one I’ve had problems with for decades but that had been fine since I got it crowned a couple of years ago. It had been bothering me for a few days but by lunch on Monday (a lovely impromptu trip to Applebee’s with Darla), I had to avoid eating on that side. This could not be good.

By Tuesday morning, my tooth was in real pain and the cold had progressed. I called and got an appointment for 4:30 that day. By the time I got to the dentist, just touching my tooth with my tongue hurt. Dr. Swanson took an x-ray but said it was so inflamed he couldn’t even evaluate how to fix it. So he sent me on my way with a prescription for antibiotics and an appointment for Monday morning. Sheesh!

I spent the wee hours coughing my head off and getting little sleep. I got up on Wednesday and dragged around getting ready for work. I felt awful but was the only person on the reporting team working. I sat down on the couch to put on my shoes and was still sitting there 20 minutes later. I finally called Mary, vowing to remote in if there were any urgent data requests , and officially called in sick. I used my last once of energy to put on sweats and park myself in my chair in the sun.

I hadn’t been sitting long when something on the deck caught my eye. One of the cats I’ve been feeding on the deck since the city tore down the junkyard at the end of my street had arrived with kittens! I had known she was pregnant but hadn’t seen the kittens. At first there were 2 but a 3rd showed up awhile later. They clearly were completely at home on my deck and I spent most of the day watching them scamper and play. My neighbor came over to ask if I was going to find them homes. Apparently they’ve been around for awhile but I haven’t been home to see them. She’d even had one in her house. Note to self – stop saying yes to things that keep me away from home!

Anyway, I felt like crap but took a Claritin D and sat like a zombie. By the end of the day, I called my friend who had invited me for Thanksgiving dinner and cancelled. Not only did I not have the energy to make anything but there was no point in sharing my germs plus I couldn’t eat. I didn’t have much appetite but when I did get hungry it was cream of wheat, oatmeal and other mushy food. When I made cream of wheat on Thanksgiving, I finally surpassed the canned ravioli dinner I had when I was in France as the most pathetic Thanksgiving dinner ever.

OK, I’ll admit it, I brought the kittens into the house to sit in my lap during my sitting marathon. And yes, there’s one I plan to keep. She’s a dilute calico with the sweetest face who I’ve named Totnes, Tot for short. Meavy, my dilute calico who died 2 years ago, was named after a village in Devon that I loved so I’m continuing the tradition and naming her after the town near Dartington Hall, where I stayed in Devon this past May.

I finally felt some better on Friday and was out of Claritin D so showered and headed to the pharmacy for more. It felt good to be clean and outside my house. It was a good thing I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday because between my cold and my tooth, I wouldn’t have been up for it any sooner. By Friday night my tooth was much better and I ate my first real food in days – a tuna melt and tater tots, which are my ultimate comfort food. It felt like the best meal ever.

By Saturday I was feeling pretty good and went to BK for a burger – the first meat I’d eaten in almost a week. Yum! Then I went home and started prepping for Sunday. I picked up the house, did some chores and actually took advantage of the warm weather to clean up the pots on the driveway. Before I went to bed, I had two pies made and all the veggies prepped for Sunday. All I had to do on Sunday was stuff the bird and get it in the oven and then set the table. It’s amazing how full the day was though. I didn’t sit down until sometime after 1:00, grabbing a few minutes to read before the bird came out at 2:00. Helen, Charlie, Brenda and Michael arrived shortly after 2:00 and everything was delicious. We had a lot of fun playing Scattergories after we ate. After they left, I talked to my sister Dottie, loaded the dishwasher and went to bed. It was another successful Thanksgiving. I’m definitely sold on not doing it Thursday. It’s nice to have time to prep and since I’d rather lose a toe than shop the weekend after Thanksgiving…..

The week was anything but normal but ended on a high note. I do enjoy doing Thanksgiving and pretty much have it down. Now when everyone else is sick of leftovers, I’m just starting mine. Life is good!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Extra - Great Thanksgiving Recipe

Beth (a woman in my office) just shared a fabulous "pie" that she is test driving for Thanksgiving. It's SO good and easy. Check the recipe out here.

Week 47 - A Rough Middle

The week started off with a short work day because I had a long overdue mammogram scheduled at St. E’s at 3:30. It went fine and I was home before dark, which is always nice this time of year. I even had time to make pumpkin bread pie (see recipe here. If you try it, it bakes at 400 degrees) to bring to knitting. It was super easy to make and delicious. Everyone loved it and I gave it all away except one piece for my 2nd dessert of the week.

Tuesday was a full day at work, with 2 different presentations to make, which made the day fly. I went to the pool Tuesday and again on Wednesday then went to knitting at Village Inn, where I gave away tons of yarn – a whole back seat full. I was feeling good about life until I got home. There were 3 messages on my machine – 2 from my doctor’s office and 1 from St. E’s. While they just said to call, I knew it meant there was a problem with my mammogram. Crap!

Despite having gone through this when I had my last mammogram, I still slept badly. I tried to reason with myself but that only goes so far. I called St. E’s first thing, made an appointment for later that morning and tried not to fret. Yeah, right. Another mammogram and two ultrasounds later, which took hours, I got a clean bill of health. I grabbed lunch and headed back to work feeling like a new woman. Nothing like hearing you don’t have cancer to boost your mood.

I was absolutely exhausted but had made plans before all this boob stress to go to the movies with Nancy. And it wasn’t a happy, peppy movie – Inside Job about the financial crisis. Despite it being a movie with charts and graphs, it was interesting and we had lots of fun yucking it up over steak dinners at HyVee. For my east coast friends, that’s the big market around here and it has a restaurant in it. It’s a Midwest thing. I went home and collapsed into bed, sleeping like a rock. And the next day was Friday. Could life get any better?

I headed to work Friday sporting my new orange keen sneakers and a new orange sailor neck sweater and feeling like a million bucks. It was a good day at work and Mary, Nora and Cheryl joined Layton and me for a belated birthday lunch for Nora and Cheryl. We went to Green Gateau and had a fun and yummy lunch. The afternoon flew by and I headed home, still feeling great. I stopped at Andrea’s shop, where we chatted for an hour, and then she came over to pick something up. When she left I sat down to a snack dinner of pate on baguette and my last glass of 3 Buck Chuck (Charles Shaw chardonnay from Trader Joe’s.) What a nice end to a wonderful Friday.

On Saturday I was going to the soil exhibit at the Durham Museum with Nancy and Lorri. This was my thank you to Lorri for taking care of the cats and especially Rebar while I was in California. We left early so we could be there when the museum opened. The exhibit was good and we did a few of the permanent exhibits before our hunger got to us. We had lunch at The Farmhouse Café and then ran a few errands before heading home. We dropped Lorri at her house where her granddaughter was there to help with pre-Thanksgiving cleaning then Nancy and I went back to my house for tea. When she left, I made my to do list and settled in for a relaxing evening. What a nice day!

Sunday was chores galore. I managed to get my plants all trimmed and situated all over the house, did some mending, some ironing and all my laundry. It’s just a three day work week ahead and then four days with no alarm. What’s not to love? And after this past week, it’s bound to be better.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week 46 - Clone this Saturday

What a nice week! I knitted on Monday and went to the pool Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I was a maniac on Tuesday so had sore knees for a couple of days but it was worth it. It felt good to get back to normal.

On Monday morning, I had the ever exciting annual physical. It was the first time I’d be meeting the doctor who bought out my old doctors’ practice. I’d loved my old doctors and was skeptical that I’d like her as well. No worries - she was wonderful. She spent 45 minutes with me and shared lots of great information. When I had a few more questions after she left, she came back for another 10 minutes. I left there feeling great, like my health was in good hands – both mine and hers. Next stop, the even more fun mammogram. It’s always something.

On Tuesday Anne and I went to the Campus Rec Advisory Board meeting to plead the case for more accessible ladders or stairs in the new pool, which is due to open in March. The group was nice and hopefully we impressed our point on them. We can only wait and see.

A couple of people mentioned me getting a new kitten so Thursday night I got curious and did a bit of web surfing in search of an orange female kitten. No one had one until I checked Craig’s List. The only kitten listing in Lincoln was for a 6 week old orange female with mitten feet and blue eyes. She was even found alone on a farm in a pile of hay bales, which sounds just like Pixel’s appearance at Helen’s. It felt like it was meant to be. I emailed that night and then called on Friday. I was getting excited, even though I hadn’t planned to get another cat so soon. Well, it was all for naught because the kitten was already adopted. That was fine. A bit disappointing but clearly not meant to be. Maybe in the spring.

This was supposed to be my first weekend at home, with only a trip to Omaha on Saturday afternoon for the opening of Trader Joe’s. But Andrea called to say she’d gotten a tip about an auction Saturday morning in Fremont that had a spinning wheel and lots of yarn. Since she wanted to go so badly that she would close her shop, I agreed to go and then we’d go to Omaha from there. I would lose my leisurely morning but it sounded fun.

Andrea picked me up at 8:30 but I’d already managed to talk to Carolyn and get ready on time. Andrea’s friend who gave her the tip helps with the auctions and had put the yarn so it’d auction first. Perfect! There were boxes full of one pound cones of yarn, lots of which was 100% wool from Brown Sheep – our favorite western Nebraska yarn company. We won the first bid at $7.50/box so we each picked one. Then Andrea got a box of raw wool for $1, which means we both have a raw fleece now so we’ll be planning a road trip to Ansley to get them processed. Anyway, the spinning wheel, which was a utilitarian one made of PVC, came up and Andrea got that for $2.50. That won, we headed outside where there were tons of boxes of yarn and some furniture we had scoped out and might bid on.

We had already gone through the boxes outside and knew which ones we wanted. There was also another spinning wheel so I was hoping to win that for myself. When we won the first bid at $2.50/box, we said we’d take 6 boxes, 1 of which had the wheel (yay - I have a spinning wheel!) and another was a tall footlocker sized Rubbermaid tote full of more Brown Sheep. One other man took 3 boxes and then the rest were going for $1. When the auctioneer asked if we wanted any, we just took them all. We figured w’de pull out the acrylic for my mitten knitter friends and keep the wool for ourselves. We loaded up the SUV, which was filled to the roof with yarn in every nook and cranny. Then we went back for the furniture, just missing bidding on the hoosier bottom Andrea wanted and passing on the plant shelf I wanted when it went for $80! I did get a little painted table with a metal top (perfect for plants) and Andrea bought a stack of bushel baskets for $1. At that point, we pretty much decided we’d leave and went to cash out. It was $49 all together and we had 2 spinning wheels, a car full of yarn (literally thousands of dollars worth) and my cute little table.

We were feeling great when a man approached us and asked if we were the ones that had bought all the yarn. He had an antique shop in Fremont and had bought some boxes inside but wanted more. He asked if we’d be willing to sell him some at $10/box. We said sure and started going through the boxes, giving him some of the acrylics we didn’t want. We barely made a dent in what we had and he paid us $20. So we still had 2 wheels and enough yarn for years’ worth of projects for $29. Could this day get any better?

Yes! We headed to Omaha, stopping at Texas Roadhouse to split some ribs for lunch. I hadn’t been since Connie moved and was thrilled when Andrea loved the food. Then it was on to Penzey’s, where Kate Bush, one of my fave singers from the 80’s and pretty obscure one at that, was playing. I got out of there spending on 50 cents and getting a free replacement cap for my orange extract, which broke when it fell out of my cupboard. Next stop was Trader Joe’s, which was a mob scene. The aisles were crammed with people and there were lots of empty spots on the shelves but it felt great to be in Trader Joe’s in Omaha. I even met one of the workers from the Lincoln store, where I’ll probably go more often than Omaha. I did manage to get a few of my favorites and a bottle of 3 Buck Chuck to enjoy with my supper of truffle pate on multi grain baguette. But first Andrea and I had all the yarn to sort, which we did while drinking tea. What a wonderful day!

Sunday was my first day at home in what felt like forever. I woke up early and not feeling very good – the nagging pain in my back was there again. I had a lot to do though so just started my chores and ignored it. Whether it was getting moving or my meloxicam kicking in that banished it, I don’t know. I just called it good and kept plowing through my chores. I got tons done and ended the day with curried cauliflower and pork chops for dinner. What a wonderful week!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week 45 - Last Busy Week

The book sale was over so I was hopeful for a normal week but there was a lot of catching up to do. I cannot believe I’ve become one of those people but I was so excited to be getting back to the pool. It had been nearly 3 weeks since I’d had any exercise (not counting lifting books that is) and I was feeling it.

That said, I didn’t go to water aerobics on Monday. I had planned to but was starving and couldn’t fathom waiting until after knitting to eat so I headed home to eat supper before heading to the library, vowing that I’d go for the next 3 days for sure. So much for jonesing for the pool! It felt SO good to go on Tuesday though, both physically and to see all my friends. And I did go for the rest of the week so I figure I redeemed myself.

So the week was “normal” – I knitted on Monday, swam on Tuesday then voted (more on that later), swam on Wednesday but then decided against knitting afterwards in favor of a night at home to catch up, swam again Thursday then went right to the library for book club, which was fun, leaving Friday for food shopping and prepping for my weekend of scrapbooking and the Friends’ meeting Saturday morning. But I was so tired on Friday that I skipped the food shopping since I wouldn’t be home to cook or eat anyway. At about this point, I realized that even normal is too busy. Story of my life!

Voting – I always vote but this year had no clue what was going on. Most of the races were a shoe in for the Republicans, either because no one was running against them or because the Democrats in Nebraska are SO lame that I literally didn’t even know who was running against the current governor. There was one local race that was hotly contested but I didn’t even know the details there. Bad citizen! I debated all day whether or not to vote and had pretty much decided not to vote but then just couldn’t do it. I found myself stopping at my polling place and casting a ballot anyway, knowing the mostly it was a waste because all my votes went to losers. Oh well. I guess I did my civic duty, for what it was worth.

I started the weekend at the library not delivering my first Treasurer’s report because I didn’t have any paperwork from the bank. They were asking for volunteers for the Wine & Dine and despite the fact that I’ve done the door prizes for years, I didn’t say a word. Step one towards simplifying my life. Yay! From the library I headed home to load up my scrapbooking stuff and headed to Camp Fontanelle for a weekend of scrapbooking. I didn’t stay over, preferring instead to drive the 35 miles home and back, and was home by 5:00 on Sunday so I could cram in a few chores. I had fun at Fontanelle, did lots of perfect pages (always) and got enough done so that I have clean undies to wear for the week and picked up for the cleaning lady, who comes on Tuesday. This week will be less busy. Honest.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 44 - Farewell to Rebar

The week was beginning with a long travel day so, of course, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and couldn’t fall back asleep. Luckily Debbie got up an hour later so we enjoyed some quiet time in the kitchen over coffee. It was a whirlwind while everyone was getting ready for work but then the house cleared out and we started packing and getting ready for our trip to the yarn shop.

That was when the phone rang. I saw it was Lorri and my stomach dropped. She was calling to say that Rebar had died. She had been to the vet a couple of weeks ago and was diagnosed with a kidney infection and I had thought she was on the mend. Lorri explained that she had been going twice a day to run the sink for Rebar to drink (Rebar was my dinged water kitty and loved everything about water) but saw that she was failing. When she didn’t meet her at the sink on Monday morning, she searched the house and found her dead under my bed. I burst into tears and started the inevitable beating myself up. Had I known she was so sick, I would have boarded her. She also died alone. It was not a pretty day.

I cried on and off all morning and then had to control myself since I was flying. It got easier as the day went on. There was wind in Denver so our flight was delayed leaving Orange County, which made for a tight layover. We power walked to our 2nd flight and made it home on time. I walked into my house at 11:45 p.m. and collapsed into bed.

I got up Tuesday and had to bury Rebar before heading to work. It was going to be a frantic week but that was probably a good thing. The state auditors were at work and there would be no telling what data I’d have to pull for them. And then there was the book sale. I made it through the work week just fine but spent every night at the library. Tuesday I was there until the library closed but Wednesday I was home by 7:30. Thursday was the preview sale but there were so many workers that I was able to do some shopping and leave by 7:20. Friday night was my first free night, only because the library closes at 5:30 on Fridays. I went food shopping and ate real food for dinner. Just one more day.

I was at the library again Saturday morning so I could deposit the cash before the bank closed then headed back to break down the sale. Because the library was a polling place, we had to have the room cleared by 3:00 Saturday. We had 4 diversion kids (kids sentenced to do community service) and 3 of us sorting and packing books. With the boys to do the heavy lifting, we were done shortly after 2:00. The book store is stacked to the gills with boxes but the room was clear and I was home enjoying Burger King by 2:30. And the best part is, we finally broke the $2,000 mark. Yay!

I spent the rest of the weekend fighting the urge to sit. I managed to do the laundry and some cooking plus did my last 5 hours of master gardener continuing ed online. I also got all my plants repotted and ready to pull inside before the first hard frost, which will come later this week. The day ended with trick or treaters. I turned my light off at 8:45 with 5 pieces of candy left in the bowl. I guess 6 bags is the magic number. I’m looking forward to a quiet November. I want to get back into the pool, keep up the healthy eating and start getting ready for the holidays, which are right around the corner. Sheesh!

Week 43 - Hangin' in California

What a week! The beginning could not have been more opposite from the end if I tried. That's what happens when you take vacation mid week - you spend the first half slamming and the last half relaxing. And there's extra slamming if you weren't as productive as you should have been the previous weekend. : )

Monday was day one of the grand slam. I dropped food at State Fair Park for the feeder, ran home to bake some muffins to share with Andrea who was also flying and so needed plane snacks, threw some laundry in, ate dinner and had my coat on to head to knitting when the phone rang. It was my contractors and they wanted to come look at the roof. Not the best timing but I didn't have time any other night either so waited for them to come and check it out. They stayed about half an hour and I sprinted to the library, muffins in hand, to salvage a bit of knitting time. I finished the laundry when I got home and headed to bed early.

Tuesday was the Wellness Fair at work so I planned to have my blood drawn and so had to pack both a breakfast and lunch to bring with me. I threw in a few chores and headed to the Fair, only to find a huge line and only one person drawing blood. Who schedules a Wellness Fair for the entire campus when all the staff are out at training? So much for that. Anyway, I spent most of Tuesday night on the phone finding volunteers for the book sale, stopping now and then to fit a chore in. I also had a dentist appointment on Wednesday morning so had some time then to do a few more chores. By the time I left the house Wednesday, most everything was done. I had a very short list for Wednesday night when Helen would be staying over in preparation for our 3:30 wake up for our early flight.

We set 4 different alarms for 3:30 and went to bed relatively early. Two of the four alarms went off - the cell phone and the oven timer worked, the kitchen timer and spare room alarm clock not so much. But we made it to the airport with time to spare and had uneventful flights. When we arrived in Orange County at 9:30 a.m. (the one benefit to such an early flight - having the whole day ahead of you when you get there), it was raining! Yes, raining in LA - unreal! It was great to see Debbie and we pretty much went straight home, where we would spend the next four days visiting, knitting, cooking and hanging with Debbie's kids and grandkids. Other than walking the dog and a quick trip to the market to stock up for a family dinner, we didn't go anywhere. It was wonderful! We talked and talked, played fun games and ate great food. The rain, which continued on and off, mattered not at all. Since most everyone had to get up for work on Monday, we all went to bed early on Sunday. Helen and I would be flying home on Monday afternoon so a good night's sleep would work for us too. It had been a whirlwind week but with a happy, relaxing ending. Just like vacation should be.