Thursday, December 29, 2011

Week 52 - Christmas Back East

I’m writing this very late so it seems like ancient history. It was a huge week in so many ways but I’ll try to recall it all now. The week started out with prepping for Christmas in between work and cramming in social engagements and ended with Christmas in RI. Here goes.

I spent Monday morning catching up from being out Friday afternoon. How can that much email pile up from just half a day? Darla and I went to Trader Joe’s over lunch, where I got a few more stocking stuffers and goodies for work. I knitted after work and then stopped at Anne Marie’s, where I got to hold little Gina, who at 7 pounds something is outweighed by every one of my cats. She was SO tiny.

The next few days flew by. We were interviewing six people for our open positions so every couple of hours, we had another interview. Between that and my lunch dates – Tuesday with Anne and Kate, Wednesday with Darla after sexual harassment training and Thursday with Dodie – the work days flew by. And my nights were filled with finishing wrapping and packing for my trip. I left work at 4:00 on Thursday to drive directly to the airport. The cats were all set and the plants watered so I called it good and flew east for Christmas at Carolyn’s.

I got in Thursday after midnight and slept like a rock that night. It was a good thing because Friday was a busy day. We started baking first thing with cookies – mint chocolate, Scandinavian almond and gingersnaps. We stopped at lunch time to meet John at the Crow’s Nest, where I enjoyed fried clams, clam cakes and clam chowder. I’m sensing a trend. Yum! Then it was back home for more baking. Other than stopping for dinner and sleep, we didn’t finish until the final stuff – cardamom bread, pecan pie, lemon tart and Christmas pudding with hard sauce – until 3:00 on Saturday. Sheesh!

Bob couldn't come to Monday's open house so he stopped in on Saturday morning with his daughter, Daisy. It was wonderful to see her again and as a walking, talking kid (I had last seen her 2 years ago, when she was only just 1.) After he left, I put on the Christmas pudding, which I dumped out of tis mold at 3:00 and I left for my cousin’s for my family’s Christmas. We had our traditional lasagna meal with yummy antipasto salad and my Christmas pudding. All good. Then it was on to John’s mom’s house for Brian’s skate (a fish that looks like corduroy) in browned butter caper sauce. Delicious! I enjoyed the company and conversation, getting home ~11:00. After filling stockings, we didn’t get to bed until 1:00 a.m.

Christmas day was wonderful. We opened presents and ate cardamom bread for breakfast. Carolyn and I were working on the prime rib by 9:30 to get it in the oven by 10:00 so we could eat on schedule. Jen, Carolyn’s neighbor, and her parents were coming to dinner. We had roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts and rolls along with the beef. The best part is we were all in our sweats – comfy and cozy while eating yummy food and chatting. Isn’t that the best? It was a wonderful holiday and it felt good to relax after so much getting ready. A very merry Christmas indeed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 51 - Counting the Days

Like the rest of the planet, this week was all about crossing things off my Christmas to do list. Everything was organized based on wanting to mail Ginny’s package on Wednesday. Once that was done, the heat would be off. Let the Christmas prep begin!

On Monday, I picked up the pictures for the calendars and did a bit of shopping over lunch. After work I hit the super market before knitting at the library, after which Andrea opened her shop for me so I could buy the replacement yarn for my last Christmas project. I say Christmas but I’d already resigned myself to not having them done until after I get back from RI. Life goes on. Anyway, when I got home at 8:30, I wrapped all Ginny’s presents and went to bed tired. I wonder why.

The goal for Tuesday was to get the calendars done. I had lunch with Dodie then picked up some replacement pics for some I’d picked up Monday (badly cropped by Walgreens.) I stopped for a few groceries and egg nog on the way home since I’d have a night of scrapbooking ahead of me. Well, I got home and found that they hadn’t given me all my bags at the market so no egg nog. Since they’d screwed up at the other market on Monday, I’d have to go back to both markets. Just what I need to add to my list! Oh well. The calendars took 2.5 hours (longer than I’d thought) but at least they were done. I went to bed hoping I’d sleep better than the night before. Could it be stress disturbing my sleep? Hmmmm….

I didn’t sleep better and was wide awake super early so decided to get up and do something so baked banana bread. I had a dentist appointment at 8:00 to have my permanent crown put in, which was a good thing because I’d been biting my tongue because of the huge temp one for two weeks. I took my packages and a warm loaf of the banana bread for the dentist and left for another packed day. After a stop at the post office, I got to work ~10:00. It’s amazing how fast a day goes when it starts that late. I had a Husker Cats meeting after work, stopped at Super Saver to pick up my egg nog and flew home for Survivor. With the packages mailed, the heat was off so I was taking a night for myself to veg. It was wonderful.

Thursday was our office Christmas party so I grabbed my white elephant gift and headed to work. With a nice long lunch at Misty’s where I got a bolt of lace curtain material for my white elephant (not all bad), it was another fast day. After a stop at market #1 (4 days in a row of after work grocery shopping – sheesh!) to fix Monday’s problem, I went home for another night with no pressure. There is something to be said about having to ship giving earlier holiday deadlines.

I had taken Friday afternoon off, not because I was feeling pressured but because I hate having half days in my bank. I had a plumber coming at 3:00 to ream out the floor drain in the basement but otherwise didn’t have much on my list. I worked the morning then went to lunch with Layton. We ate at the Red Fox (a blue collar bar that does a quick lunch and so is one of our stand bys) and I couldn’t find my keys when we went to leave. While I searched my purse, Layton went out to the car and I’d LEFT IT RUNNING! Yes, I had a truly senior moment and because it was Lincoln, the car was still there. But I was so freaked out that I went straight home without stopping. It was troubling but I put it out of my mind and focused on the rest of the list. The plumber was done and I was vegging by 3:30. Yes, vegging. I took the afternoon off. Scandalous! I did manage to get my inside tree up and decorated that night but did nothing else productive.

I was up early and wrapping Saturday morning. Andrea had mentioned an Omaha run so I wanted to be done wrapping so that’d be a possibility. But when I heard how many places she was stopping, I declined to go figuring she wouldn’t be home until late. I had a nice afternoon at home. I got a lot done on my to do list and went to bed early.

Sunday was chore day since my Christmas to do list was down to packing and prepping to leave. I decided I should get my chores done in the morning and then head down to the craft room to work on quick project. Lorri stopped by after church so I gave her her mittens, which she loved. I got a big hug. By mid afternoon, when the sun streams into the basement, I was in the craft room neatizing it and starting the project. It felt great to have the spare time so close to Christmas. I finished the project and was cooking dinner in time to watch TV all night – the Survivor finale.

It was a busy week but I got everything done in the nick of time and ended the week with extra time on my hands. Nice! And just four days until I’ll fly east. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 50 - Slammin' Christmas Prep

It was another busy week but this one had a focus – Christmas! (on the personal side anyway) Work was all about the F&A proposal. The consultant was here on Wednesday and Thursday so we were all slammin’ to get stuff done.

Monday was knitting and then I finished my entire to do list, something I can’t say very often. I swam Tuesday and then went home to knit. I was in the home stretch on a complicated pair of mittens that are a Christmas gift. I needed to finish them and another half done gift then make two from scratch so was feeling some Christmas knitting pressure. No matter how much I get done ahead of time, this is always my December. Sheesh!

Wednesday was not a good day. I woke up with my knee in pain, like hurting as much as it ever had. But the day flew and then went home to knit. I had gotten up early that morning to knit and so was determined to finish the mittens that night so went straight home and started. It took the entire night but there were finished when I went to bed. Yay!

F&A kicked my ass on Thursday! I started a new project that involved cleaning up a bunch of data then emailing departments to get corrections back. It started out fun but I was cranky as all get out by the end of the day. I didn’t help when Starbuck’s screwed up my order on a much anticipated peppermint mocha. I bolted out the door at 5:00 to swim, just being careful about my knee, which was already feeling better. I got a call at home from my boss when I get home, looking for an update on the project I was working on. She was in a panic, which is never good. Oh well, the work week was almost over.

I was in a much better mood on Friday and my knee was much better. Since I was only working until noon, there was nothing that could shake my good mood. I just managed to finish the project before Darla and I left for a fun afternoon. We went out for lunch then shopped all afternoon, finishing with a movie – Hugo in 3D. It was all wonderful! I pretty much finished my shopping (OK, there’ll be a bit more done this week but mostly done), loved the movie (finally a movie that was worth the extra money for 3D!) and I had the best yarn score ever to top it off. I found Patons wool, which is dyeable and normally sells for $5.99, in the clearance bin at Michael's for 59 cents each! I bought some before the movie then went back afterwards to clear out the bin. I also stopped at Trader Joe’s the headed home. What a wonderful day!

I had a hair appointment at 8:00 on Saturday and was thrilled that I managed to finish the 2nd half done gift before I left. When I got home, I slogged through photos to decide which ones to include in the 2012 calendar. I had them chosen, scanned and uploaded before lunch, which was yummy homemade pizza. Then I sat down to start gift #3, which I worked on all afternoon before making a yummy dinner of asparagus goat cheese pasta. Cooking twice in one day! That’s a rarity these days.

On Sunday I finished gift #3 – yay! – and made a dent in chores. By mid-afternoon I was losing steam but I started gift #4 and worked on that while I watched TV that night after eating homemade chili and corn bread. Yes, I cooked again! Unfortunately I’m not liking how my last Christmas knitting project is looking so may have to rethink the yarn I’m using. But I’m feeling good about my Christmas prep so won’t be stressing about that with less than two weeks to go. I hope everyone is happy with holiday progress and can enjoy the season.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 49 - Starting Christmas Prep

It was a busy week, yet again. The pre-Christmas list seems huge and is stressing me out but I’ll get it done. One thing at a time.

The days flew by this week. After work Monday I scored a new Krups coffee pot at the thrift store, which was perfect timing because mine had died that morning. Then it was knitting as usual and I got tons done afterwards. I had lunch with Dodie on Tuesday then taught all afternoon, which made for a quick afternoon, then I swam after work.

I had a dentist appointment first thing Wednesday and I was not prepared for the 1-1/4 hours I was in the chair, 30 minutes of which was drilling to remove my old crown. Yikes! Now if the temporary crown will just stay in my mouth until the permanent one is ready. I went to the court house to register my car after the dentist only to find out when I got the window that my insurance card had expired the day before. So I headed home to find my new one, which I never did so had to call my insurance company to have them fax one to the court house. Sheesh! From there I headed to my mechanics, where I was dropping my car for a once over since it was hesitating. But when I picked up my purse to go in, it was too light. I checked inside and no wallet. I had taken it out at home to get my insurance phone number so figured I’d left it there. With no wallet, I had no credit card, no checks, no way to pay for my car repairs. So I went inside and explained that I couldn’t pay. When he grimaced, I decided to try to get cash at the credit union without my ID so I drove to the credit union but found my wallet on the floor behind the passenger seat before I had to beg at the CU. Relief! But after a pot luck at lunch (for a payroll clerk’s retirement) and teaching another afternoon, I got a call from the mechanic that I needed brakes, spark plugs and a bunch of other stuff to the tune of $670. Then it wasn’t ready at until 5:20 so I missed swimming. Oh well. At least my car is all set for winter and it was nice to have a free night at home.

Thursday was deans reports, another pot luck for lunch (this time it was the Vice Chancellor’s assistant) and then I had my third potluck in 2 days for a master gardener meeting in Fremont that night. I drove up there with Lorri and it was fun. The newsletter committee met afterwards so I didn’t get home until 9:30. Nora, Cheryl and I had talked about scrapbooking after work Friday but since I had no time to prep, I called to cancel and then when went straight to bed. What a long day!

Friday was day two of deans’ reports and lunch with Layton so flew by. When I left, I went to Menard’s and bought my Christmas trees – one for the deck and one for inside – then did a little Christmas shopping. Since it was supposed to start snowing overnight, I decorated the deck tree as soon as I got home and did some other outdoor decorating then ate my last plate of Thanksgiving leftovers with a glass of wine and watched some TV. I forgot about baking cookies for the library so didn’t put them in until almost 11:00, which made for a late night.

It was already snowing when I got up Saturday and I was tired after not enough sleep so was slow getting going. I made it to the library with my brownies just as Santa was arriving for story hour. It was cute to see the kids so excited. I ran a couple of errands, grabbed lunch at home and then headed to Christmas on the Prairie at the museum at 2:00. By then it was snowing hard and there was already about 3” on the ground so very few people came through. To top it all off, our table was right next to an old man playing something called a Q Chord that is such a lame instrument that a monkey could have played it. He had 2 cartridges – one of old 70’s songs and one of Christmas songs. After 3-1/2 hours, I was ready to scream! I did some shopping and then had to start shoveling in order to get up my driveway. I only did two strips for the tires and called it good for the night. I tried to watch The Informant but couldn’t keep my eyes open so turned it off and was in bed before 9:00.

I slept for more than 10 hours! Sunday was chores and calendar pages. I had grand hopes to get it all done. I made good progress on chores in the morning (got the kitchen done) and was scrapbooking by 1:00. It was slow going though so when Andrea dropped by at 3:00, I had only finished one of my four months and was working on my second. We had tea and cookies then I finished shoveling when she left. After a call from Deanne, I started in on the pages again and didn’t finish until almost 9:00. No more chores got done so I’ll be trying to fit them in after work this week. But at least I got the pages done – one less thing on my Christmas to do list. I’ll gladly wear B list undies this week, happy that I got one thing crossed off. When time gets short, it’s all about priorities. : )

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 48 - Wonderful Thanksgiving Week

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving week. It’s hard not to like a week that includes four days off. : )

My cleaning lady was coming early so I was running around neatizing on Monday morning and so got to Lincoln too late for a spot in the loop so parked at a meter, which wasn’t all bad because I needed to do a craft run over lunch. I was in search of mini baskets to make yet more ornaments for the Christmas on the Prairie tree. I headed to Hobby Lobby first and was floored when they didn’t have them so I drove across town to Ben Franklin, sure they’d have them. Nope. So I went back to work frustrated and empty handed. I did manage to get a spot but not in the lot near the pool and Anne told me it was state football playoffs, which accounted for all the extra cars on campus. Since I wanted to swim after work but needed to leave early to get to knitting, Anne offered to leave early and drive me to my car so I walked to the pool and swam. It’s good to have friends. I popped into the market for the first of my Thanksgiving shopping and then went straight to the library, where Andrea had more ornaments for me to work on. I managed to finish one at the library and then headed home, tired and ready for bed. What a long day!

I had worried that Tuesday would be the slowest day ever but it actually flew by. I finished my Thanksgiving shopping on the way home and even went through my Christmas drawer that night, pleased to see that I’ve brought more in the past year than I’d thought. Still plenty more to buy, and knit, but not as much as I’d thought. Yay!

After waking so early that I was at work on time despite dropping stuff at Nora’s, Wednesday did crawl. I had lunch with Dodie and then went back to wait for the word that we could leave early, which is the norm for the day before Thanksgiving. No one was saying anything so I went down to Student Accounts just before 3:00 to help someone with their computer and found the office deserted. Apparently Phil from our office had told them they could leave at 2:30 but had never told anyone in Accounting. Sheesh! I spread the word and everyone was gone within minutes. I made a bee line home so I could get yard work done before the sun went down. It was in the mid 60’s and gorgeous. I mowed the yard, which was more about shredding the leaves so I wouldn’t have to rake, and then cut down all the perennials in the parking (the Midwest term for the strip between the street and sidewalk) and pruned the crabapple, finishing just at dark. I had a nice dinner, made Helen’s cranberry jello salad and went to bed, looking forward to the next four days of no alarm and few commitments.

Thursday was gorgeous so I did all my laundry and hung it out before leaving for Lorri’s. But it was so nice that I didn’t wear a coat, which was where my spare house key was. And my regular keys? Locked inside my house. Damn! Not only wasn’t I getting to Lorri’s early enough to be much help, I had to call her to have her husband bring me my spare key. Way to be helpful! Dinner at Lorri’s was delicious but I only had one plate of food and felt like I’d eaten a side of beef. I suggested a walk, which we enjoyed in the glorious warmth, but it didn’t help. I went home feeling SO full and for no reason. I was uncomfortable all day and didn’t sleep well either. I didn’t feel full the next day but also wasn’t hungry. I didn’t eat until 1:00 – a full 24 hours from dinner at Lorri’s. Needless to say, me not eating is very unusual. I have no idea what caused it. Oh well.

The only thing on the agenda for Friday was decorating the Christmas on the Prairie tree at the museum. Andrea and I met at 1:30 and the tree looked great, with the finishing touch being the vintage tablecloth I found in my basement to use as tree skirt and the spools of yarn we put underneath instead of presents. The weather had changed by then so I went home for a cup of tea and cookies and sitting and knitting. I made meatloaf for dinner and watched some television. It was a totally pleasant day and Saturday was another. The only thing on the agenda was getting ready for Sunday. I spent most of the day knitting but doing a few things here and there, ending the day making the pies for Sunday. Nice.

Sunday was busy. The turkey was in the oven by 10:00 and then I prepped veggies and set the table. Michael and Brenda arrived first and Helen and Charlie shortly after. We rushed around for half an hour and were eating turkey by 1:00, right on schedule. Everything was yummy and we just hung out chatting until Michael got back from his errand (picking up a lathe he’d bought from someone in town.) We packed up doggy bags and said our goodbyes. It was a nice Thanksgiving. I put all the leftovers in the frig and I did all the dishes before sitting down for the night. How adult and totally unlike me! Now I have food for the week and a clean house. I should start more weeks that way.

I hope you all had as nice a holiday as I did. Christmas is four weeks from today. Time to get shopping!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 47 - Busy and Creative

The week started with dropping Carolyn at the airport and heading to work. Sad to see her go but we had a fun weekend and I’ll see her again next month. I got to work ~10:30 and headed to Taco Bell an hour later, mostly so I could move my car to the loop lot. The day was over in a flash. I had an uber nutritious dinner of hot dogs then went to knitting, where I finished another ornament cover and gave the box to Andrea for her to make the rest.

Tuesday was a normal day. I had lunch with Polly (Noodles again) and then swam after work before going home to sit like a zombie, which felt great. I went to bed early, hoping to catch up on some sleep, but work up in the middle of the night from a dream so disturbing that I had to turn on the light and read to get it out of my head. I was super tired on Wednesday , which luckily flew by. I could not wait to get home and into my jammies. I was knitting in my nightie within minutes of walking into the house. It felt great.

We went to lunch for Nora and Cheryl’s birthdays on Thursday and ended up at Noodles again – my third time in a week. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m getting sick of Noodles! Lacey got me a BOGO peppermint mocha latte that afternoon and I was looking forward to another night of nightie knitting but called Darla from the car and met her at our favorite thrift shop, where I scored lots of clothes, for me and friends. I still had plenty of time for my planned vegging but found myself at the big Goodwill looking for the ever elusive Christmas red 100% wool sweater to felt for ornaments. When I had no luck there, I found myself hitting 2 more thrifts, even heading across Lincoln in the opposite direction from home for the last one. I never did find a red sweater but at the last store, I scored 9 skeins of 100% alpaca (softest fiber ever!) for 99 cents each. Short of finding cashmere, I can’t think of a find that would top this. I was home by 8:00 and got two hours of knitting in before bed. What a nice day!

Since I hadn’t baked the night before, I got up early and made two loaves of pumpkin bread with cream cheese filling. Such a great smell to start the day with! I took one to work and the other was for the French thing that night. The day flew by so the struggle to speak French happened all the sooner. I really need to start watching French movies or something to dredge it back up. I know the works are in there, I just struggle to find them. Oh well. After I left, I went to Joann’s for a pom pom maker and to the mall, where I scored a new mock neck for $2.46 after the 50% off sale and my $10 rewards certificate. Yay!

Saturday was a busy day. I had errands to run in the morning and then Andrea and I were headed to Omaha for the Omaha Spinners and Weavers Guild fiber show and a whole slew of stores while we were there. We hit the fiber show first, where I got some yarn and a basket for my swap partner and then hit the Bling for the Holidays shows next door where I got her a fun necklace. Then we went to Joann’s and Mangelsen’s before getting a late lunch at a new restaurant – Ingredient. It was a miserable, cold, windy day so I had a wonderful bowl of rosemary and rice chicken soup and half a wrap. The smell was amazing, as was the taste. And since it’s in the same plaza as Trader Joe’s, it will become a staple of our Omaha runs. After eating, we went to Sur La Table then Trader Joe’s. Our last stop was Menard’s and we got home after 7:00 so it was a long day but I had a bag full of both swap and Christmas presents. Nice.

Sunday was another full and fun day. I scrambled to pick the house up in the morning and put on a chuck roast for lunch. Andrea was coming to eat and then we were making ornaments for our Monday Night Knitting tree at Christmas on the Prairie, which is less than 2 weeks away. I dug through my drawers in the craft room and found all kinds of trims, jingle bells, etc. and pulled some felted sweaters out of the pile. We worked for hours and had lots of fun. It’s amazing what you can make when the creativity starts flowing. The pic above just shows a few of the ornaments we made. There are many more. After standing at the bar for hours, we sat to knit ornaments and watch X Men First Class. Andrea left after 7:00 and I gave up on doing laundry in favor of finishing the knitting ornaments while watching TV. It was a nice end to a long, but creative and productive, day and week.

Just three work days this week. : )

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week 46 - Visiting with Carolyn

This week was all about Carolyn’s visit. I spent the beginning of the week prepping for her arrival on Thursday and then it was all a breeze from there. It was all good.

The time change kicked my butt! Despite staying up until after 10:00, I still woke up Monday at 4:45 and couldn’t fall back asleep. This continued for days so I got more and more tired as the week wore on. Then the weather early in the week turned cold and rainy, which didn’t help. The older I get, the harder the time change gets. Oh well.

The work day Monday dragged by but was eventually over and I headed to Kate’s to drop off more food for her. Luckily she’s doing well so I’m calling it good and taking that off my list (unless she asks for more.) It was just Andrea and I at knitting, most likely because of the teeming rain. I was toasty fried but stayed up reading in hopes of normalizing the time. Didn’t work.

I got through Tuesday at work, feeling like a zombie. I decided to skip swimming in favor of going right home to finish prepping for the cleaning lady. I also tracked her number down and called to ask her to stay longer so she could do a thorough clean of the newly reclaimed spare room.

The F&A consultant was due Wednesday afternoon so I left my calendar free in case they needed me. Of course, they didn’t ask for a thing until just before 5:00 so I stayed late to reformat the file and so missed the only night in the pool for the week. Oh well. I went home to check out the extra cleaning and walked in to a sticky kitchen floor. The cleaning lady uses swiffer wet on the floors and I’ve noticed it leaving a film on the laminate in the kitchen and back room lately but this was ridiculous. I was sticking with every step. So I got busy rewashing the floor. I did it once with just water, which came up filthy BTW, and that did no good so I got out the orange clean and washed it again before going to bed. Still sticky. Only when I did a small spot with a kitchen scrubbie did it finally come clean. But I didn’t have time to do more than the spot so left Thursday for a pre-work Wal-Mart run to pick up a few things for Carolyn’s arrival. The day was a breeze, with no more data requests from the consultant. Oh well.

Darla and I went to In Time (the Justin Timberlake sci fi movie) to kill the time until I had to leave to pick Carolyn up in Omaha. It was REALLY good. Made you think. Then we went for a quick dinner at Cracker Barrel, where I rushed to finish only to get a call when I got to the parking lot saying Carolyn was still in Chicago with a delayed flight. I ended up sitting in the lot of the park across from the airport reading a magazine until she arrived. It was great to see her but I was exhausted by the time we got home so we went right to bed.

Helen came over to hang out with us on Friday, arriving just before I made my favorite comfort food lunch – tuna melts and tater tots along with brownies Helen brought. Yum! We visited all afternoon and then headed to Omaha to go to Hobby Lobby (Carolyn was curious about them having never been) before having dinner at Farmer Brown’s. Helen went home and Carolyn and I watched a relatively depressing movie about a famous British author we’d never heard of who got Alzheimer’s and died. Not a happy, peppy movie but at least it was British, which is always a plus for me.

Saturday was supposed to start with Darla coming for breakfast at 8:00 before she headed to visit relatives and we went to Omaha but she unexpectedly was babysitting and so couldn’t come as early as we planned so it didn’t work out. We grabbed something quick for breakfast and headed to Omaha, where we planned to thrift shop. After stopping at Yankee Candle to use a Buy2/Get2 coupon, we went to Personal Threads, where Carolyn was looking for soft yarn with good drape for a sweater that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. No luck so we drove to New Life Thrift, the huge store with cheap prices way east in the old part of Omaha. We didn’t find much though, which unfortunately, would continue for the rest of the day. We hit a couple of Goodwills, still finding very little, and ended up having a late lunch at Noodles, which was yummy. After picking up Starbuck’s, we headed home, deciding to skip dinner and have just popcorn while we watched movies. There was another downer British movie about John Keats that ended with his early death from TB. So we watched Dream Girls looking for some happy but that was endless and not as peppy as you’d expect from a musical.

We had toyed with the idea of having an open house on Sunday but neither of us had enough energy and we had forgotten to go to Garden Ridge, which Carolyn had specifically requested so, we decided to go back to Omaha Sunday afternoon. We had a leisurely morning and left for Omaha right after lunch. You guess it – we bought nothing! On the way home, I called Andrea to see if she wanted to go with us to Our Corner Cottage, a cute gift shop outside of Wahoo. We picked her up and headed out there but again, bought nothing. I dropped Andrea off and we headed home to eat the steaks we hadn’t eaten on Saturday and watched the last movie we had – The Town with Ben Affleck. It was the best movie of the lot but was about down and out bank robbers in Charlestown, Mass. Still not happy/peppy but at least I got to enjoy the Boston accents.

Carolyn was leaving the next morning and while we hadn’t been super successful with our shopping, it was still a great trip with lots of visiting and laughter. I could have fun with Carolyn in a sewer treatment plant so failing at shopping was nothing. And the best part was I'd be in RI for Christmas so more face time with CaWa was only 6 weeks away. I'm a lucky girl. : )

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 45 - A Short One

What’s not to like about a week that starts with a vacation day that also happens to be Halloween? Nothing!

I slept late and then had a lovely day with a mix of yard work, knitting and cooking. Having carved my pumpkin (I was going for his tongue sticking out but it looks like he’s smoking a stogie) and eaten an early dinner, I was ready for the trick or treaters when side doorbell rang. It was Andrea, stopping by to drop of some things I’d had her get for me at Trader Joe’s. She ended up eating some supper and we chatted all night while handing out candy. It seemed like there were about the same number of kids as last year but I ended up with lots of extra candy.

I didn’t sleep well, worried about the allocations that Nora had called about at the end of the day, which still didn’t tie. I dreamt about numbers and woke up tired. Oh well. The day flew by and I ended it by working late, trying to figure out what was wrong with the numbers. I found it just before 6:30 and got in the car to head to the library to pack up the last of the books. The book sale was really over at that point. Yay!

Wednesday was a miserably cold day with snow in the forecast and I couldn’t get a spot in either the loop or my back up lot so ended up at a meter. By lunch it was snowing – huge flakes the size of half dollars. I was not happy that I had to go out at all but decided to make it worth getting wet so went to Hobby Lobby in search of a cheap yarn swift, which someone had posted about on Ravelry. I struck out on the swift but had time to kill before meeting a Husker Cats feeder at 1:00 to pick up some food so I hit my favorite thrift store and scored some wonderful yarn. But afterwards, I coulnd’t find a parking spot again and ended up parking FAR from my building and got chilled to the bone on the walk back. Sheesh! I swam after work and went to Village Inn with the knitting gang so the day ended well.

Thursday was a normal work day followed by swimming - an Agony with Alison work out that really had my heart rate up. I went through Wendy’s drive thru for some chicken nuggets and then headed to the library for book club. We had read a book I loved – Olive Kitteridge – and the discussion was fun. I went home and finished the mittens I’d been working on. And the next day was Friday. Nothing like a short week.

I went to lunch with Layton at the Chinese buffet then picked up a few things at HyVee, which would save me a trip after work. After three nights in a row that I wasn’t at home, I was looking forward to going right home. I had a lot to do over the weekend.

Saturday started with the Friends meeting, a bank run and the bag sale at the thrift store. I stopped into Andrea’s store and she mentioned going to Omaha but I had too much to do so got BK and headed home. But when I called Andrea, she said it was going to be a quick trip to Goodwill and back to pick up something from an online auction so I decided to go. We had to go to the last chance location, where they have bins full of stuff that they sell by the pound. We dug through the clothes, picking up a few, and then I found a real milk crate (as opposed to a fake, cheap one) so put the clothes in that. We then added a few more things, including a couple of books and Andrea threw an old suitcase in too. Well, paying by the pound is not all so cheap. The total was $27 and I’m sure it would have been less paying the store prices. Oh well. Live and learn.

I got busy when I got home and started reclaiming the spare bedroom. Carolyn is due to arrive Thursday night and that bed hasn’t seen the light of day in months. I made a dent and got started on my laundry before sitting down to watch Waiting for Superman. I set the clocks back and went to bed early. I also woke up early – 4:45! Damn! I had four loads of laundry done, a nice breakfast made and had read the paper by 9:30. The whole day was in front of me. I sorted through all the yarn and scrapbooking stuff in the spare room and got that reorganized and then did some cooking. It was a good day and a good week. Now just four days until Carolyn arrives.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Week 44 - Book Sale Week

What a week! It was the week of the library book sale, which meant I was busy every night, but then work was a mess too. But all I had to do was make it through until Thursday night and then I’d be off.

Monday was not a pretty day. I hadn’t slept well and so was tired going into the week and had a huge to do list for the book sale plus a lot of work deadlines. I was fighting tears from the time I got up and then I got a call from Nancy saying the kitten she was fostering (pathetic picture from last week’s blog) wasn’t doing well. I made a few calls and now had to face picking the kitten up the following morning, taking her to the vet and getting to work late. It was the last straw, leaving me in tears at my desk. But then the phone rang and Belinda, bless her soul, said she was going to send her son up to Cedar Bluffs (an hour north of Lincoln) to pick the kitten up that day. I was so relieved, like a huge weight had been lifted. I made it through the day and made phone calls from the car on the way home, filling the last of my volunteer slots just as I reached Wahoo. That meant I could knit that night, which felt like a joy after the day I’d had. I did duck into the meeting room to talk to Connie, the other co-chair of the book sale, before I left. Things were looking up.

Work on Tuesday flew by, helped by the fact that I taught all afternoon. I had lunch with Dodie, early because Thursday, our usual day, was a food day. Then I swam after work and went to the library for an hour of sorting before heading home. Unfortunately when you don’t let cats out until after 8:00 pm, they don’t come in right away. With my gun toting, lunatic neighbor, I could not sleep until the cats came in, which was near midnight. And yes, I was outside in my nightie calling the cats on and off for two hours. I am the cat lady. Damn!

I started Wednesday doing the last picking up for the cleaning lady to come and then was busy at work, prepping for allocations which had to be done before the end of the month and I was taking the last two days off. The fact that I hadn’t gotten enough sleep and my thumb was bothering me again didn’t help. But I went directly to the library after work and spent two hours doing the final prep for the sale, only leaving when they turned the lights out. I went home and sat like a zombie. Go figure. I had bought two pumpkin cheesecakes at The Warehouse so was all set for the next day’s food day.

I prepped the workers’ comp and unemployment allocations first thing but no one was available to approve them before noon so they weren’t getting processed. Crap! I grabbed a plate of food from food day and worked through lunch. I had to train all afternoon again so I was really under the gun. Then the grad health and tuition allocations weren’t tying. I was desperately trying to figure out why while fielding IM’s and calls on locked cost objects from the allocations that were finally being run. I slammed through training and dug right back into grad health and tuition. Only after checking all my queries did I call the programmer to find out a student had dropped out of the file, which meant all my numbers would change when he was added back. I called the library to tell them I wouldn’t make it for the preview sale at 5:30 and finally gave up at 5:20 and left. I hadn’t finished and had been a bitch on wheels all afternoon as the stress mounted. All that and then Nora was going to be stuck figuring them out anyway. Oh well. I got the library just after 6:00 and there were half as many people there as normal. I was bummed, hungry and cranky. We only made half what we usually do at the preview sale and I went home disheartened. But I didn’t have to get up before dawn the next day. At least there was that.

I slept like a rock that night then made a nice breakfast and lingered over coffee while chatting with Carolyn before heading to the library for 9:30 on Friday. Working the morning shift was fun. Besides helping people find books (always fun), one of the Friends brought her daughters and the older one was a peach. I worked the check out table with her, teaching her to make change and count back. She was such a cutie. We also did really well and some of the people, including some book sellers, who usual came to the preview came that morning instead. By the time I left just before 1:00, we’d made enough money that I could call the sale a success. Earlier in the week, I had bribed my knitting friend Donna to work with me by offering to treat her for lunch but when I didn’t need her, I still said I’d buy lunch. We met at the Mexican restaurant and had a wonderful lunch – good food and lots of catching up since she hadn’t been to knitting all summer. Then I went home for tea and knitting in the sun. I was so full from lunch that I skipped dinner and despite planning to go to bed early, I stayed up and dyed some yarn with Kool Aid, going to bed late but happy. It had been a wonderful day.

I was back at the library Saturday for the morning shift and then when the sale was officially over at noon, worked with Connie to restock the Friends’ book shop. We worked right through and were done by 2:30. I was starving and tired but just went home for tea and toast, determined not to eat a late lunch and ruin my dinner. I had plans for roasted pork tenderloin with fruit chutney, which I made and enjoyed immensely. I watched a DVD of Weeds and went to bed early. It was another nice day, all the better because the book sale was over .

Sunday was catch up day. The sun was blazing and I had lots to do but just having a normal day felt so good that I was looking forward chores. I ended up spending quite a bit of time outside, repotting my geraniums and lantana to bring inside because a frost was due that night and doing some fall clean up. I did get my inside chores done too and was poised to have another nice day off on Monday and planned to cook a ton. It felt so good to have the book sale done and be looking forward to a much easier month that I went to bed feeling fabulous ready for Halloween and a calm November. Like I said, what a week!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 43 - A Wonderful Mess

It was another busy week. Surprise, surprise! Seriously, this was busy at work (nuts!) and home too. I heard life referred to as “a wonderful mess” and I think that perfectly fit my week.

In addition to the ongoing work on the F&A proposal, which included an entire day of coding in Mary’s office with two people watching me (lovely – actually we laughed a lot between the queries), I had a ton of HR stuff to do, which required a certain amount of BS. By week’s end, I was out of BS and so have more to face this coming week. Yay!

So, work was a bear and life was busy too. I ran home on Monday to pick the last of my garden produce before the first frost, which was due mid-week, then headed to knitting at the library. Anne Marie gave me an orange cotton sweater to deconstruct for the yarn and I started right then, unraveling an arm and giving the yarn to Anne Marie before I left. Well, when I got home, despite wanting to go to bed early, I couldn’t resist finishing the sweater, which left me going to bed late but with a pile of fun yarn. What a trade off.

Lack of sleep didn’t stop me from getting up early on Tuesday and hitting Jiffy Lube before work. The day flew by and it was time to go to the movies with Nancy. We were seeing The Whistleblower at The Ross. OMG! Such a depressing movie. I had poo poo’d Nancy’s earlier request for a beer with dinner but needed one after that movie so we went to Bison Witches for soup and alcohol. It was good to catch up. I got home at 9:45 and started bringing in my plants. Unfortunately the cats got out and didn’t want to come back in so it was another late night. Sheesh!

I was running on empty Wednesday but work was busy so I just powered through. I went right home, sat on my butt watching TV and went to bed early. Whew – needed that. Thursday was another busy day at work and afterwards I went to Hy-Vee to pick up dinner for Kate and me plus a few items for Kate and some for me. Kate and I chatted over dinner then I went to Belinda’s to pick up carriers from the weekend. It was another long day but Friday was the next day.

Friday morning was as frantic as can be. I had to feed at 2 feeders, schlep 3 carriers from my car to my office and be there by 8:15 for a phone reference for a friend’s job. Well, I couldn’t get Darla, who was supposed to help me carry carriers, so fumbled them all myself and got to my desk at 8:17, missing the call. I threw the carriers down, took my cell into the conference room and gave a great reference, finishing just as my 8:30 appointment arrived. I threw some water on my face and sat down for 3 hours of one-on-one training. By the time I was done, I was spent. I went to lunch with Layton and then tried to muster energy for the afternoon. I did more F&A stuff with Lacey but completely failed at the HR BS, counting the minutes until 5:00.

I headed to All Feline Hospital to pick up the little black kitten who had been on death’s door when we trapped last weekend. Nancy was going to foster her. I was prepared for pathetic but she was over the top. She was so tiny, thin (you could count the ribs) but with a big belly. The kicker was they had shaved her. It was almost too much to bear. I was very happy when Nancy picked her up and I started my weekend, which was completely free of obligations. Yee ha!

I had a few errands to run, including a bank deposit for Friends, which lead me to the library where I got sucked into book sale stuff. I left with just enough time to eat a quick lunch before heading to Hansen House where Lorri, Steve (another Wahoo master gardener) and I were mulching. It was a damp, drab day and an hour into mulching, the rain that had been threatening started up. We toughed it out for a bit then left. I was cold and wet so took a shower, made a cup of tea and sat down to knit. That was the MO for the rest of the weekend, with some chores thrown in for good measure. By Sunday evening, my house was in order, most of my chores were done and I even had time to make some flannel pillow cases out of one of my old Lanz nighties. The weekend was the perfect foil to my uber busy week and I ended Sunday feeling human again. A wonderful mess but human.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 42 - Kitty Equilibrium Returns

What a wonderful week! It was busy, busy, busy but worth it because I got so many things done.

I felt particularly productive at work, getting lots done on my F&A proposal work. I also swam 3 nights in a row, which hasn’t happened in a long time. It was a cleaning lady week too so my house was picked up and clean, which is always good. But the best part of the week had to do with yarn and cats. Go figure.

I knitted on Monday as usual and started a new pair of socks using my favorite pattern and gorgeous yarn. Before the week was over, I was past the heel on the first sock, which has to be a speed record for sock knitting for me. While I was enjoying my new project, that was just the icing on the cake because I had a total yarn thrift score on Wednesday, when I hit my fave thrift store over lunch. I got 2 bags of yarn for $9 that included 2 dozen skeins of quality yarn – lots of Brown Sheep (a Nebraska company), some French wool, some nice Donegal aran and even a skein that’s a wool/mink blend. Nice!

On the cat front, I took the boys to the vet on Tuesday morning to get neutered, which meant money out of pocket for me but I was hoping it would make them more marketable, having failed to get rid of them with an ad in the paper and Craig’s List posting. It also crossed something off my to do – always good. But the best part was getting a call from Darla on Tuesday night. She’d found a home for them and would deliver them over the weekend. Yay!

The week flew by and it was the weekend, which was going to be super busy. The library’s fall vendor fair was Saturday so I was there around noon placing some orders for myself and people at work. I then went to Andrea’s for 1:00 and we headed to Fremont for spinning. We were meeting at the May Museum, where we had a tour then met in the sunroom. From there, we ran errands in Fremont, killing time so we could arrive at Farmer Brown’s when they opened at 5:00 for prime rib – Andrea’s first time there. But we didn’t time it right and arrived just after the tables filled up so we went to the bar and had a beer while we waited for the 2nd seating. Our food was yummy, as always, and we left with doggie bags for another round of beef. Yum! From there we went to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond. By the time we got home, it was after 9:00. It had been a long day but fun.

Sunday was more of the same. As soon as I had gone through the paper, I started my laundry and got cooking. I was taking some food to Kate after meeting Darla to drop the boys and before doing my stint for Husker Cats. I made chocolate bread pudding with dried strawberries, quesadilla casserole and taco salad meat, finishing just in time to put them in the car. Between the cooking, I snuggled as much as I could with the little gray kitten. He had stolen my heart and I would miss him a ton but the boys had to go. I left the house at 1:30, with the car full of cat carriers, food and the boys. I met Darla at 2:00 in the Walgreen’s parking lot for the handoff, which was sad but I held it together. Then it was on to Kate’s to drop off the food and DVD’s but it was a quick stop because I had to be at the vet’s by 3:00.

Husker Cats was in the middle of a mass TNR (trap/neuter/release) operation for the State Fair Park cats. UNL purchased State Fair Park and is creating Innovation Campus. They’ve been demolishing old buildings but 2 of the oldest, which are filled with unhealthy feral cats, are staying so we expanded Husker Cats mission to help out the SFP cats. The TNR had started the night before but I was only scheduled to help Sunday. They had caught so many cats Saturday (15!) that the vet they’d arranged to spay/neuter all day Sunday had to start early and neuter the males on Saturday night. A group of us was meeting at the vet to pick up the boys as well as carriers and traps. We then had to take the carriers and traps to a car wash to wash and disinfect them so they could be used for round two.

We were setting traps before 5:00, hoping to catch as many cats again as Saturday. The next two hours were a blur – setting traps all over, resetting traps that had been tripped, moving traps as needed and the best part, picking up traps with cats inside. By 6:30, we’d caught 10 more cats. Belinda handled the paperwork (we had to identify the cats as well as the area they were trapped in so they could be returned to the same spots) and we coordinated who would do what next, with people assigned to pick up cats, drop off cats, retrieve traps and carriers, etc. I ended up with 3 cats in my car that needed transport to Belinda’s, where they would overnight in her garage before going to the vet tomorrow. Others had cats going to the Humane Society, which was giving us 5 free spay/neuters. I got home after 8:00, cold and tired but feeling good about all the progress we made. Of the 25 cats we caught, 5 are adoptable (4 kittens and 1 tame cat) and 20 will be released back, spayed and neutered so they won’t be reproducing. What a wonderful thing!

So, I ended the week with my chores not done but at least there was food in the frig and cat equilibrium has been restored at my house. Yay! I also have a warm fuzzy feeling about the State Fair Park cats and there’s my yarn score. Life is good! Now it’s on to all the publicity for the library’s book sale, which is less than two weeks away. It’s going to be a busy month but as I always say, better busy than bored. : )

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 41 - Perils of Neighbors

The week started with a sleepless night and went downhill from there. I was worried about my whack job neighbor who was shooting my cats with a BB gun Sunday night so didn’t sleep much at all. I was awake at 3:00, got up at 4:00 and headed over to the neighbor’s at 7:00. I asked if we could talk after work and that she please not shoot any of my cats before then. She tried to get into it there and then but I didn’t take the bait and went to work to zombie my way through the day.

I left work a bit early and called her as soon as I got in the house. She said she’d come over in a bit and so I sat and waited for a long time. She finally showed up beside my deck and hyperbole ruled the discussion. She said she’d spent $100 on products to keep the cats off (something called Cat Away), spent 1.5 hours with her son to clean the 8x8 foot rose bed (what did she use, a salad fork?) and sometimes the smell was so bad on her deck that her guests had commented (the bed is 40 feet from her patio and besides, they’re all smokers so haven’t smelled anything in years.) I told her I was dismayed that the issue went from a casual mention this summer as step 1 to shooting my cats as step 2 with no further discussion in between. I told her I’d called the City Manager and it was against the law to discharge even a BB gun within city limits, even offering to show her law that I’d printed off. I said I would keep the bed clean and offered to pay for mulch, since this was the only unmulched bed in her yard. She said she’d looked for mulch but couldn’t find it this late in the year. When I offered to get some for her in Lincoln, she declined. I’ve scooped every couple of days since and have found nothing that wasn’t completely buried and a total of 8 turds in 7 days. So basically this is how I see it - she’s a nut case, had a bad day and took it out on my cats. I don’t think they’ll be anymore shooting but our relationship, which I had always considered good, is damaged. Oh well. You can’t pick your neighbors.

Despite being exhausted, I had trouble falling asleep Monday night (something on my mind maybe?) so didn’t make up any lost hours but did manage to get a good night’s sleep. However, I woke up Tuesday with a sore throat. I started zycaming and went to work for a relatively normal and productive day, ending with water aerobics. I still had the sore throat on Wednesday and by the afternoon was coughing and congested. At least my feet felt good cuz I’d been to the podiatrist for a slice and dice on my calluses. Unfortunately, that was the bright spot of the week.

By Thursday afternoon, I was feeling pretty crappy and was happy when Nancy emailed to say her plans had changed for Thursday night so we wouldn’t be doing dinner. I went home to take drugs and sit like a zombie. At least the Actifed I took knocked me out and I slept like a rock. I felt really bad on Friday but went to work to finish up a project I was working on, only to find out I couldn’t finish without a file I needed from someone who was out of town. I went home after lunch and, you guessed it, sat like a zombie again. Other than leaving for a hair appointment Saturday morning, which left me sweating like I had a fever, I never left the house all weekend. By Saturday night I was feeling functional again and actually cooked some dinner – the first I’d eaten in 3 days so you know I had to feel like crap. Speaking of crap, I also had the runs on Sunday morning so have no idea what this was that I had. Oh well. It’s a miracle any of our bodies function so I’ll just chalk it up to a virus or something.

The weekend wasn’t a total loss. I did some knitting, of course, but also took apart 2 thrift store sweaters to harvest the yarn, which was fun, and caught up on some TV on hulu. I did do my regular chores on Sunday afternoon but didn’t manage any cooking, which had been my plan before getting sick. Oh well, it’ll just be another week of eating out of the freezer. I’ll live. And I’m looking forward to a better week. It’s just got to be!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 40 - Didn't End Well

I woke up on Monday, the last day the California gang was in town, with a funky stomach. I think all the late hours and odd eating had caught up with me. While I never actually got sick, I felt like I could and ended up taking Pepto and sitting like a zombie all morning. Whether it was the resting or the Pepto, I felt better by noon so was ready when they called. We were meeting for lunch in the Old Market in Omaha before they left for the airport.

By the time we rendezvoused, it was after 2:00 so we had a late lunch at Upstream, shopped for just a bit, had ice cream and it was time for them to leave. It was a whirlwind weekend but lots of fun. By that point though, I was ready for some routine again. I made a bee line home, ate some dinner and went to knitting. Step one in finding my normal. I slept like a rock and was up and at em, ready for work Tuesday.

Tuesday flew by, helped by the fact that I had to train all afternoon. I swam after work then went home for dinner and TV, which felt great. But I should have been getting ready for the cleaning lady so I had a busy morning on Wednesday – putting chairs back in the basement, taking the leaf out of the table, folding laundry, etc. I was doing OK until I decided I needed to water my containers. I got that done, let Tot in and drove off, leaving my purse and knitting in the house. I realized that a few miles out of town and had to turn around. Sheesh! The rest of the day went well after that and after a Husker Cats meeting after work, I met the gang at Village Inn, which we haven’t done in a LONG time. Even Kate (who had her hip replaced last month) came and it was great to see everyone.

I spent Thursday morning doing HR stuff and taught again that afternoon – another day at lightening speed. I swam after work and went home to prep my swap box. The final day to ship was Monday but I wanted it mailed sooner. But when I decided to make a chapstick holder, it put me behind. I had everything done except the note and called it good enough, planning to write it Friday and mail it Saturday. Unfortunately I had put chicken in the crockpot that morning and so was dealing with that at 10:00. Typical.

Friday was gone in a flash and after stopping at a going away party for Vicki in Journalism, I went home for a blissfully average weekend. I was up cooking late on Friday and then up early on Saturday so I could mail the swap box before the Friends of the Library meeting. Then I hit the bag sale at the thrift shop and stopped at Andrea’s. I had a relaxing afternoon, getting a few things done but not many. I did, wait for it, knit a bit. And there was more of the same on Sunday but with a few more chores than on Saturday. All in all, it was a good weekend. The slow weekend did wonders for my energy level and I was finally feeling back to normal.

The night did end on a down note though. I was in the yard calling the cats in when I saw a man in my neighbor’s yard (a friend I guess - I don’t really know who he is) pointing a gun at one of my cats. I asked if he planned on shooting my cat and he said he would if it went into Cara’s yard. When I asked about the gun, he said it was a pellet gun then ranted at me about my cats being out loose and “shitting” in other people’s yards. I guess I should have expected this. Since the boys, who I still haven’t found a home for despite putting them in the Market Weekly and on Craig’s List, are living on my deck, the food I give them is attracting other cats from the neighborhood. So I brought all my cats in and will make an extra effort to find a home for the boys. I’ll also go over in the morning and scoop any poop I can see in her garden beds.

It’s too bad it’s come to this. We’ve always had what I thought was a good, neighborly relationship. It’s not perfect. Her boys are autistic so there’s a lot of pacing and humming going on and they also play country music (ICK!) every time they’re in the yard and they leave it blaring when they go back inside. It often drives me inside instead of enjoying time in my yard. Maybe I’ll make some apology cookies and take them over so we can talk this over. I don’t want to have to keep my cats inside all the time so maybe if I offer to scoop her gardens forever in exchange for their freedom. Time will tell I guess. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 39 - Michael Got Married

The week was all about the wedding and seeing the California side of the family, who were arriving on Thursday. Between the preparation and the wedding weekend, time just flew by.

I started Monday at physical therapy for my thumb, which was feeling back to normal. Monday was the last day for “normal” of the week – work, knitting and bed. Tuesday was a food day at work and AP/Payroll was cooking so I had extra time in the morning so I went to Wal-Mart at 7:30, getting the first of the groceries and supplies for the weekend. Despite working late while Mary dictated a to do list for the F&A proposal work before she was leaving for a conference, I still went to swimming, figuring it’d be my last time in the pool for a week so 30 minutes was better than nothing. It was a good move because it felt great to swim after more than a week out of the pool because of my thumb. Wednesday was my last physical therapy session (they wanted me to come for more but I insisted. God knows what this will have cost me!) then a busy day at work, lunch in the sun with Nora at Maggie’s (the best veggie wraps ever) and food shopping after work. The California clan would be arriving in less than 24 hours and I was pretty much ready. Yay!

Their flight got into Omaha at 6:00 so I had planned to go to Contagion with Darla (we’ve been trying to schedule a movie for months) to kill the time until they arrived in Lincoln. The movie was good and I met up with Helen and her friend Annette from Oregon afterwards and only waited half an hour before they got there. It was great to see them all – Debbie (my cousin) and her kids, Danny, his wife Zena, Marcie and Kelley. They were starving so we went for a late supper of yummy sandwiches at Bison Witches, which had a fun, college bar vibe they seemed to like. It was fun to just hang and chat with everyone. Duh! I went home and right to bed but slept badly. Little did I know that was the beginning of a trend.

I had cranberry cole slaw to make for Friday lunch and since I wasn’t sleeping, I got up at 2:00 a.m. and made it then, thinking that it not being done might be contributing to my lack of sleep. I did sleep well after it was done but not for long enough. I woke up earlier than I’d wanted to and got ready then sat watching morning TV waiting for them to call. I was in Lincoln just after 10:00 and we hung out in Helen’s room, munching homemade granola and chatting while everyone showered. From there we went to The Apothecary Loft, where the rehearsal and dinner would be held that evening but we had the room all day. We did a brief Goodwill run while Helen and Annette did some last minute food shopping then went back to the loft. Helen and Annette worked to put together the cake she had made for that evening's dessert while we all hung out. Helen had made food for lunch (and I made cole slaw ) so it was a relaxing afternoon. The rehearsal dinner was bbq and then we all played games. We played some new dice game that had me doing timed push ups at one point and running from room to room (again being timed) at one point. It was lots of fun.

I had the only good night of sleep that night, probably because there was nothing expected of me on Saturday. I waited for the call that they were all up and about and then headed to Lincoln to hang out with the family while Helen was doing wedding stuff. We went to a couple more thrift stores and an antique store then headed to the capital, arriving just in time for a tour. By the time we were done there, it was time to get dressed back at the hotel. My mission was to get them to the wedding venue between 4:00 and 4:30 and we arrived at 4:23. Yay! But Helen was in a panic, sure she'd told me to have them there at 3:00 for pictures but she hadn't said that and I had specifically asked about time when I wrote up my schedule and to do list on Tuesday. It was no problem though. The photographer snapped a couple of pics of Michael's side of the family and we were done. The ceremony was outside and it was a bit windy but nice. The surprise for me was that Michael had changed his name legally to Densmore, Helen's maiden name, so that the Witkowski name of his turd of an adopted father would not follow him, Brenda and any future kids. How wonderful! But no one had told me that (Helen was sure she had but NO!) so I was surprised and, of course, teared up. There was lots of that this weekend. The reception was fun. We danced and sang and had lots of fun. I left just after 11:00 and went food shopping AGAIN on the way home. It was a long day.

Again, I didn't sleep well, this time getting up at 2:00 a.m. to take a shower, hoping that'd make it easier to sleep, which it seemed to. I woke up at 7:00, ate a bowl of cereal and started getting ready. I was doing lunch for 11 at 1:00. My original plan had been chicken kabobs and brats on the grill but since I had all the leftovers from Friday's lunch in my frig, I went with plan B - chicken enchiladas, leftover salads and brownies for dessert. I got the table ready (put in the leaf, brought up chairs from the basement and cleared off the cobwebs), cleaned up the deck and made 3 appetizers. But the 1:00 start time turned to 3:00 so no one ate them but the enchiladas were a big hit. We all ate and then started playing Pit, which is an absolute blast! Only 8 can play at once so we took turns sitting out but it's just as much fun to watch as to play. Everyone left ~6:00 and Debbie had done most of the dishes so all I had to do was put the food away and sit like a zombie until bedtime. I was exhausted but the fun was all worth it. I went to bed relatively early, hoping for a good night's sleep before their last day, which I'd taken off of work. What a wonderful week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 38 - My Left Thumb

Well, I don’t know if I should call it a highlight but this week was definitely dominated by my left thumb. It has started hurting on Sunday but nothing bad so I just ignored it and kept going. By Monday night at knitting, it was getting worse. Still ignored it though. Then I went to bed and the pain was so bad that it was keeping me from sleeping. I wasn’t sure if I could take anything (I had some old Tylenol with codeine from my hand surgery) with the anti-inflammatory I take for my knee so just tossed and turned all night, sleeping not much at all. I made a doctor’s appointment first thing and called in to work.

The doctor asked me what I’d done to my thumb and I couldn’t come up with anything so she poked and prodded and called it tendonitis, sending me to the physical therapist next door for a splint. He poked and prodded some more, fitted me for a splint and scheduled me for PT sessions. I filled a new Rx for Tylenol 3 and headed to work. That was a BAD idea! I was still in a lot of pain but couldn’t take the pills and function so I sat in pain for the rest of the day. Dumb! So I went right home after work, popped a pill and felt much better. I sat on my butt all night, took another pill at bedtime and, surprisingly, had trouble falling asleep. But once I did, I slept through the night and my thumb felt much better the next morning.

So I didn’t swim at all this week. I mostly went home and sat, which was weird because I couldn’t knit. The weather turned cold and damp mid week. I was fine with the cold but the gray damp got a bit old. On Thursday night, I was so chilled (the AC was still pumping out in my office) that I went home and made tuna casserole to warm me up. I also prepped some wool to take to spinning on Saturday. I had grilled someone at Dye Day about how to do it, which involves lots of soaking and spinning in the washing machine with absolutely no agitation. I was up and down the stairs all night and ended with a grocery bag of clean wool but it had lots of vegetable matter in it and I wasn’t sure I’d done it right but a call Friday night confirmed that it was fine.

I had 2 swap packages to prep so got everything together on Friday night and then headed to the post office on Saturday morning. It felt good to cross that off my list. I was picking Andrea up at 1:00 to head to Fremont for spinning so had a couple of hours to kill before then. I should have started some chores but instead got out my kool aid and dyed 2 skeins of yarn. Sheesh! Spinning was fun because Jeanie brought her English wool combs and cards so I could try them out with my newly prepped wool. It was a perfect thing since I couldn’t knit and it was fun. I’ll definitely be investing in some combs, which will mean a trip to Lawrence for The Yarn Barn. Nice.

After spinning, we headed to Omaha for a Penzey’s/Trader Joe’s run. I spent way too much at TJ’s (nothing new there) and didn’t get home until 7:00. I had a TJ’s picnic (sushi, pate on bread and cheese) and a glass of wine, going to bed early. It was a nice day but now I had all my chores to get done on Sunday. With the California clan arriving Thursday night and the wedding stuff starting Friday, I had to get everything done. And not knowing if Debbie would be staying with me or not, I had to reclaim the spare bedroom. That meant sorting through lots of yarn, which is always fun. The day flew by and the sun was out by the end of it (at last!) so it was a good day. I had taken my thumb brace, which disables my entire hand, off when I got up and never put it back on. By the end of the day, having done all those chores, my thumb was fine so I took the plunge and did some knitting, finishing a sock I’ve had on the needles for months. No pain! That had to be the best end to the week. Life is good!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 37 - Back to Reality

The week started with a day of wading – perfect! It was my last day in the Black Hills and Connie woke up feeling much better so we went on a tour of Spearfish, did a little bit of shopping (many stores were closed for Labor Day, which was weird for such a tourist centered town) and met Gordy for lunch. We went to a local Chipotle type place and took our lunches to Spearfish Park, where I finally got my feet in some mountain water. It was SUPER cold but just heaven. There’s nothing I like more than wading.

After lunch, Connie and I headed up Spearfish Canyon. There was gorgeous scenery everywhere, especially the waterfalls. We stopped wherever we found something to see. Roughlock Falls was wonderful and we both took advantage of a platform over a pool to wade in the breaktakingly cold water. You couldn’t keep your feet submerged for more than 10 seconds. It was that cold! We stopped to see the open pit mine in Lead, got more truffles at The Chubby Chipmunk and then headed home for the chicken dinner Connie had put in the crock pot before we left. We ended the night with another fire in the outside fireplace. Nice! So many of my favorite things and people in one day.

My plan had been to be on the road by 8:00 but when I woke up at 5:30, I changed that. By the time Connie but up, I had eaten breakfast, packed and made a hearty lunch to eat on the road. I left the house before 7:00 after Connie woke Gordy up for me to say goodbye. The ride back was endless! I took I-90 the whole way because I wanted to stop in Yankton to photograph the old state hospital. Other than one stop to pee and another for gas, I didn’t stop at all, arriving in Yankton in early afternoon (I’d lost an hour when I went from mountain to central time.) I stopped at McDonald’s for a frappe, drove through the hospital grounds, taking pics from the car, and then headed south. I was home just after 5:00 so had some time to unpack and settle back home before bedtime. It had been a long day but the drive was worth it to see Connie and the Black Hills. I’ll be going back for sure.

Since I was able to go to bed early, going to work Wednesday wasn’t that bad. I slogged through email and finished my monthly reports so the day flew by. I swam after work, picked on ton of veggies in my garden and made a big salad for dinner. Then I sat down to finish the last 2 CD’s of The Lost Symbol, which I’d listened to both to and from SD but hadn’t finished. I knitted while I was listening and finished the hat for my color swap. It was a good day.

I had my annual eye doctor appointment Thursday afternoon and, as usual, I was there for almost 2 hours. They dilated my eyes and it was so hard to see that I went straight home. And what did I find when I got there, just wanting to hole up in the dark? The twitchy painter was there finishing up the last of the window trim and repainting some spots on the side of the house. With the sun beaming off of the west side of the white house, it was impossible for me to check his work. I could NOT look at that wall and I just wanted him gone. Sheesh!

My swap package had arrived and I was excited to open it. It was full of amazing things! Two tote bags (one in my colors and one with Paris fabric), tons of Paris themed stuff, two Royal Worcester egg coddlers, which I’ve wanted for years, anodized aluminum glasses and handmade lampwork beads. She even bought my favorite yarn, which was just by chance according to my swap partner, and some undyed yarn. This woman did a wonderful job of cyber stalking me and getting perfect stuff. It made my day!

Friday was over in a flash, ending with a pleasant evening at Kate's, and the weekend was here. I had a Friends meeting on Saturday morning and then I ran errands, which included a stop at the Senior Center Thrift Shop, where I filled 2 bags with clothes – t-shirts for Debbie, who will be here in 2 weeks for Michael’s wedding and needs them for a quilt she’s making, a few things for me and a big bag to divvy out to friends. I went to Andrea’s shop to drop what I’d found for her and we decided to go to the flea market at Venice Antiques, after a homemade pizza lunch at Andrea’s. I found all kinds of good things at good prices – a white metal plant stand, some avocado canisters, some linens, etc. It was hot in the sun but we had fun. Since I had so much to do to reclaim my house, I started when I got home, picking up the kitchen, running the dishwasher and mowing, leaving only laundry and cooking for Sunday.

So that’s what I did Sunday. I had lots of laundry with all I’d bought at the thrift shop and cooked on and off all day – coffee cake to have with my tea, quiche, a peach pie to take to knitting, etc. I also finished the last of my drink cozies and started the market bag for my next swap. While the house wasn’t completely neat when I finally went to bed, it’ll just a matter of putting things away to prep for the cleaning lady. What a wonderful week. Life is good!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 36 - Black Hills Bound

What a super busy week! I feel like I say that all the time but this week really took the cake. I had a pretty typical Monday of work with knitting afterwards but that was the end of typical for the week.

I had taken Tuesday morning off so I could go to a season extension seminar at a local community farm. While I hoped to learn something, it was more about finishing my annual master gardeners CE’s. I met Lorri and Barb (another Saunders County MG) there and slogged around in mud learning all about hot houses, cold frames and row covers. It was pleasant and my old friend Kristi’s mom was there so we caught up and I finally met a local fiber artist, Rhonda McClure, who lives near Wahoo, keeps sheep and spins, dyes and sells yarn. All in all, it was a nice morning. The three of us went to lunch and then I headed to work, where I just had time to change into work clothes before teaching my ever gripping Online Reconciliation class all afternoon. By the time it was done, I was toasty fried. But I forced myself to swim and then headed home to prep for the cleaning lady and meet my contractor, who was coming to discuss his end of having a whole house fan installed, something I’m considering as my next project. I fell into bed exhausted.

Wednesday morning started with taking Big White Kitty to her new home. A woman across town (which, keep in mind, is only a mile in Wahoo) who I recognized as a one-time waitress at The Wigwam CafĂ© (Wahoo’s only non-ethnic, non-fast food restaurant), wanted her and the only time we could find that worked was 7:15 a.m. The woman had 4 rescue dogs and 2 rescue cats so BWK was a perfect addition. Despite wafts of animal smells, it was clear she would take good care of BWK so I headed to work feeling good about that and hoping I’d get calls on homes for the kittens soon. It was another busy day at work because I was teaching again that afternoon – a full class for Summary Financial Reporting. I know! Such an exciting topic! But the day flew by again.

I had started the day stripping everything soft I could find – afghans, throw rugs, etc. – and putting the first of many loads of laundry in. I’d left a note for the cleaning lady to vacuum everything to death, hoping to nip my flea problem in the bud. Yes, my cats had fleas. I had found some on BWK first, which was my fault because I hadn’t Frontlined her when she started letting herself out the whole in the screen. And when I found them on her, I checked the other cats and they had them too. Now I can’t be sure that I hadn’t missed a month of Frontline but didn’t think I had. Regardless, I was now on a mission. I went to PetSmart after work for pills that you give the cat and all the fleas die almost immediately. Getting enough for all of them cost $70+ but I called it a godsend and went home to dose the cats. It was a blazing hot night so I threw them out for the night and started with the laundry. I also stripped my bed down to the bare mattress and vacuumed every quilted stitch and surface I could reach. By the time the night was done, all the laundry was done and hanging on the line and I was feeling good about my progress. I could only hope the pills were working and the cats were shedding dead fleas all night while I slept.

Thursday was the first day of the month so that meant deans’ reports. Needless to say, the day was gone in a flash and then it was the pool and home to finish cooking. Lorri had picked me up some cannellini beans, which I needed to finish my red sauce. I put that pot back on to simmer, stripped the meat from the bones, added the beans and divvied it into single serving Tupperware to freeze. I also made up three casseroles for Kate and started banana bread. But my dead bananas were too dead so I had to take frozen bananas from the frig and make the bread before work on Friday.

So I started the day baking – 4 loaves for me, work, Kate and to take to Connie’s – and then did my second day of monthly reports. The work week was over in the blink of an eye and I was pretty tired with the only rest ahead the 9 hour drive to Connie’s the next day. But before that, I went food shopping and then to Kate’s (my friend from water aerobics who was just out of the hospital from a hip replacement.) I had arranged to drop off the food I’d made and some I’d picked up for her at the grocery store after work. When I walked in and saw her sink full of dirty dishes, I did those and then made her some jello and pudding, which was not instant and took forever to boil. The I sat with her for a bit and helped her with a knitting question. It was wonderful to see how good she looked with the grimace of pain that I’d seen for the past year gone. She was all smiles and like her old self. But with all the chores and chatting, I didn’t leave her house until after 8:00. I was leaving for South Dakota in less than 12 hours and hadn’t done laundry or packed yet. Sheesh!

I threw laundry in when I got home, called the electrician (who had installed my garage fixtures that day) and went to bed exhausted, figuring I’d be up at 6:00 and could pack then. I set my alarm and got busy Saturday morning, watering plants, packing and getting the cats ready. Since the front that was hovering just north of Wahoo was going to break the heat and humidity, I had opened the windows before I left. I had warned Lorri, who was feeding the cats, that I was leaving the house a wreck so walked out just after 8:00 and headed north.

It was so pea soup muggy that I had had to shower again before getting dressed so the AC in the car felt wonderful. But I had to drive through the front, which meant rain, fog and mist for the first 2 hours. Other than being pulled over for speeding in downtown Columbus, Nebraska (my third warning this month!), the ride was uneventful. I had hoped to wade in Long Pine Creek but the sun was only just coming out when I got there and it was too cold to think of wading so I just ate my leftover frozen pizza in the car and kept driving. I got to Connie’s just after 5:00 (having gained an hour when I hit mountain time) so I was right on schedule. It was great to hug her and we had tea and chatted for hours. Gordy came home with dinner and I got to know him over yummy chicken. I love him! Hanging with him is completely comfortable and we hit it off. We ended the night sitting by a fire in the backyard. What a great end to a nice day.

Gordy had plans to fish with his son on Sunday morning so Connie and I headed west after breakfast to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. I’d heard about this place for years and was excited to see it. It did not disappoint. Words like majestic and awesome (and the true meaning of that word rather than the overused current use that can apply to a hot dog or pretty blouse) don’t’ do it justice. We walked around the base a bit, took lots of pictures and then headed back. We were picking Gordy up at Lake Pactola and then going to Mt. Rushmore. The ride to the lake was gorgeous, winding through mountain roads with beautiful scenery all around. There was also a stop at The Chubby Chipmunk for the best truffles I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a few, let me tell you.) We found Gordy and started towards Rushmore. I was underwhelmed. Compared to Devil’s Tower, Rushmore seemed small, contrived and just a bit goofy. Oh well. Cross that off my list. Done!

As the day had progressed, Connie was like an ad for bladder problem drugs. She was stopping at every bathroom we passed. Despite not having drunk much, she was having to pee with more and more frequency. By the time we got to Rushmore, she couldn’t go 10 minutes without a bathroom and it had started hurting. We had planned to go to Sylvan Lake and take the scenic route back but instead we hopped on the interstate and headed to the hospital in Spearfish. By the time we got there, she was doubled over in pain and spent the entire 2 hours we waited in the bathroom. Luckily I had brought my knitting so I sat in the lobby and knitted for the 2.5 hours we were there. She did indeed have a UTI but they dosed her up and by the time Gordy and I got back from a Wally World run (for pro-biotics and cranberry juice for Connie and sweats and a lighted alarm clock for me (I must be able to see the time when I wake up in the wee hours or I’ll spend hours awake wondering what time it is. Just call me goofy!)), she was already looking better. Gordy made us omlettes for dinner (it was 9:00 but we were all starving, not having eaten since the afternoon) and we went to bed early. It was a fun day for me - not so much for Connie – but she was on the mend and hopefully would be better in the morning.

See? Busy week like I said.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 35 - Plans and Productivity

It was a quick week. Work was busy so the days flew by and so did the evenings. But by the end of the week, I’d gotten a lot of pesky things off my to do list, a few of which had been languishing for a month or more. While that felt great, it doesn’t make for the most interesting blog post. Knitted Monday night, baked a banana cake Tuesday night, blah, blah, blah...

The reality is I spent lots of time knitting this week. I’m working on my first original pattern – a lace knitted drink cozy that I plan to post on Ravelry as a free pattern, which will set me up as a designer. I did the original one on Sunday but then did a 2nd example and started a third – different sizes and colors so I can post perfect ones for the pattern pdf. I'm not done with the third yet and will need to reknit the first, which is for my color swap, but am close to getting it prepped to post. It'll be fun to share my pattern and see how many people want to make it.

One thing worth a mention is that I finally set up my new answering machine and posted the kittens on Craig’s List Wednesday night. On Thursday someone came and got the calico. I’m still waiting for calls on the boys. Just to cover all the bases, I put an ad in next week’s Market Weekly so hopefully between the two, someone will want these kitties.

I finally made it to the pool on Thursday and it was the best workout I've had in a LONG time. We are finally back in the deep pool, hopefully this time for good, and despite it being a shallow class, I was able to stay deep enough to not hurt my knee and was sweating I was working so hard. Yay!

I ended up taking Friday afternoon off, prompted by my dislike of half days in my vacation bank (I’d already asked for next Tuesday morning off for a Master Gardener continuing education session) and Layton cancelling lunch. So I went to Maggie’s with Nora and Mary and then headed home. It was well worth the vacation time. I called contractors, finally got my insurance paperwork processed and made a poster for Big White Kitty (yes, I still have her in my house – sheesh!) and put them up all over town. By the time I went to bed on Friday, the house was picked up and I was ready for the weekend.

The electrician came over first thing on Saturday to give me an estimate on installing my fixtures that the guys took down when they sided and fix the light in the laundry room. I also asked about installing a whole house fan but I’m waiting for my contractors to come (Monday night) about their end of the work. Later on Saturday I mowed, which I had to do twice (once in each direction) because it was 2 weeks worth of grass. I also cleared out the garage so the electrician could get to the corner he needed to access to install the flood light. The kitchen was also completely cleaned up and ready for a cooking day.

I had planned to spend Sunday cooking and made a good start with strawberry pancakes for breakfast but I seemed to spend most of the day on the phone. I talked to my cousin in California about plans for Michael’s wedding weekend at the end of September when 5 of them are coming out. I had hurricane update calls from my sisters and Carolyn (all’s well) too. I ended the day with a long call with Helen, where we discussed more wedding weekend plans, fleshing out things I discussed with Debbie. I did make some taco salad mix and a big pot of red sauce but just threw them in the frig at the end of the day so still need to divvy them up into single serving sizes for freezing. I ended the day, you guess it, knitting.

All in all, it was a good week with lots of productivity and less cats. I also decided I would go to the Black Hills over Labor Day weekend to visit Connie. It’s all good!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 34 - Hope and Boiling

What a week! It was the week before classes start so we had no water aerobics, which meant I was free as a bird after work with no guilt. Always nice. Anyway, Monday was so normal – work, knitting and bed. That was the end of it for sure.

I went to a funeral on Tuesday morning. It was the first since my dad’s I’m pretty sure. Glenda’s (from Friends of the Library) husband had died and her son had also lived next door to me with his family for five years. A few of us from the library went. It was at 11:00 in Wahoo so I made good use of my morning and slogged through all my paper, which felt good. The memorial service was very nice with a beautiful eulogy from Glenda’s brother. Afterwards Lorri and I went out to lunch (she didn’t seem to want to stay for the lunch at the church), I paid my house taxes (I’m rarely in town while the tax office is open so took advantage of that) and headed to work.

I didn’t get there until 1:45 and then got pulled over by a campus cop for making an illegal right turn around some construction right in front of my building. I didn’t see the sign and then he went all control freak on me but only gave me a warning. By the time I got to my desk, it was clear I should have just taken the whole day off because I was in a funk. I made it through my 3 hour day and then went home to sit like a zombie, not knitting a stitch or even bothering to grill the steak I’d specifically bought for dinner on the way home. I did rally just before bed and cleaned up the kitchen and did the pots and pans in preparation for the cleaning lady the next day.

On Wednesday, identify management issues for new faculty took over my day. It was kind of fun figuring out what had gone wrong where and working with the IT guys to fix each problem. I knitted with Anne at lunch and the day flew by. I went right home with plans to cook that steak but the phone rang just as I was walking in. It was Lorri telling me that they’d found bacteria in Wahoo’s water supply and we were under a boil water order. We needed boiled water for drinking, brushing our teeth and doing dishes. Sheesh! I got busy boiling my kettle over and over. It’s amazing how much water it takes just to make dinner, a pot of coffee and have some on hand for teeth brushing. I did manage to cook dinner and had a nice night.

Thursday was more IDM problems (they were getting old at this point) but the big news was Carolyn got a job! She called to tell me that Pawtucket called and she would be back to being an elementary school librarian. It was not an ideal job but at least she wasn’t unemployed. I hung up the phone and burst into tears. It was such a relief the my BFF would not be struggling financially. I was so happy for her. I went to HyVee for one of their steak dinner specials after work with my friend Kate from water aerobics. I hadn't seen her in awhile so it was nice to catch up. She had wonderful news too! She was having her hip replaced the next week. You may not think of this as good news but we've seen her degenerate over the past year to the point where she was walking with a cane and in constant pain. Her doctor was not treating her effectively (she thought she had bursitis!) when her hip was in fact bone on bone. While the surgery will be no picnic, there is at least hope. She seemed excited at having some hope and I was excited too. What a nice day with two lots of good news.

Friday was a blur and the weekend was here. I had decided to skip the French dinner because I was tired (always by Friday) and didn't feel up to trying to cook something to bring what with the water issue. So, I was excited for a normal weekend, however normal it can be when I still can’t freely use my water. We’d heard it would be at least the middle of the next week before we got the all clear. But I was a pro at the boiling water thing by then and you could smell the chlorine in the water (Wahoo normally does no treatment at all) so I figured the bacteria was dead even if we hadn’t had 2 clear tests yet.

I ran errands on Saturday morning and then Andrea and I headed to Fremont for spinning. I ran out of public knitting but it’s always fun to hang and talk fiber. We went to Goodwill afterwards and I scored a pyrex casserole, a fun teapot from New Zealand, a book and some sweaters – one to felt and another silk/cashmere one to take a apart for the yarn. It was a pleasant, uneventful day.

There was more of that in store for Sunday. I pretty much did nothing and didn’t feel guilty about it. I did manage to design and knit a drink cozy for my next swap. I think it's good enough to post as a free pattern (and my first ever published design) on Ravelry. With all that knitting, I was in my jammies until 2:00 and when I did get dressed, it was in socially unacceptable clothes so I was going nowhere. Because I looked like one of those people of Wal-Mart, both Lorri and Andrea stopped by. I did manage to rally just before bedtime and get the bare essentials of chores done so I wouldn’t be behind all week, which felt good. Lord knows I was well rested for all the late night activity.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 33 - Snubbed in Doniphan

It was another busy week but the best part was that the weather was gorgeous. The heat and humidity had finally broken so I could run around doing whatever without constantly breaking into a sweat. How glorious.

I got an email from King Arthur Flour on Monday that contained this recipe. I had to bake it. When I showed the recipe to Nora and said I’d be baking it that night, we immediately decided to make it a mini food day. I’d bring the cake and the salads I’d made Sunday and she would bring sandwich for a crowd. I had been considering going to the pool, which I usually don’t do on Mondays because it makes it super rushed before knitting, but decided against it in favor of making the cake before knitting and frosting it after. All went well until the frosting. The first ganache went together perfectly but the frosting ganache broke. I was tired at that point and not sure what to do, deciding to use it as is. It tasted fine but didn’t have the smooth glossiness it was supposed to. Oh well.

Our mini food day was a big hit, with the cake in the starring role. I ran errands Tuesday after work, got all the cats inside (a rarity) and went to bed early. It was a stormy night so I was awake on and off then was awakened yet again by Tot, my youngest cat, climbing the screen from the outside. I turned on the light and let her and Pixel in, sure that they’d been inside when I went to bed. Only after surveying the house twice did I find that the screen in the spare bedroom was up so when I’d opened the windows that morning before work, that one was wide open with no screen. That explained the flies that had been in the house when I got home and the bites I discovered all over my body as the day went on. Sheesh!

Wednesday was a long day. I was on campus by 7:15 for the staff appreciation breakfast, going to the early sitting so I could be on East Campus by 9:00 for a writing for the web seminar. It was interesting but was more focused on writing to attract students so not particularly applicable for the websites I maintain. Darla and I went to lunch at a little sandwich place she had found and I had a grilled meatloaf sandwich. Yum! The afternoon flew by and then I left early to go to The Help with Dodie. We had both read the book and so were looking forward to the movie, which did not disappoint. You should absolutely go to this movie and take Kleenex. It's wonderful and makes you thankful you don't live down south. Anyway, since we were down south at the mall theatre (chosen for the best start time), I went to Michael’s afterwards and hit pay dirt for my swap, finding all kinds of little fillers for my color swap box. What a nice end to a long but good day.

Thursday was going to be my only opportunity to swim for the week but I realized that after not swimming for 2 weeks, my knees felt better than they had in a LONG time. And since this would hopefully be the last session in the bad pool and we didn’t have class next week at all, I decided to skip the pool and look forward to another week with less pain. Hopefully after next week we’ll be back in the deep pool. So I went right home to dinner and a relaxing night of knitting. I had to capture Tokyo (aka Hitler Kitty) – the mama kitty who brings her kittens to my deck – so I could take her in for spaying on Friday morning. That went well and I put her in the garage overnight.

I dropped her before work and headed in. Friday was Goodwill’s 99 cent sale and I intended to hit it big buying 100% wool sweaters to felt. I had gone through the sweaters at one shop already this week and had gathered the ones I wanted together on the rack, which I picked up at lunch. I hit 2 more Goodwills on the way home and found lots of sweaters – 15 in total, including some beautiful fair isles and bright solids. This would give me plenty of felted wool for making bags and purses. Yay!

Saturday was another busy day. I was up with my alarm so I could be on the road to Doniphan for Brenda’s (Helen’s future daughter in law) bridal shower at 10:00. When I’d said I’d go, I had thought I’d drive with Helen but she was staying after to help with wedding things so I was stuck driving 200+ miles alone. Crap! I had to go (Helen and I were the only ones from the groom’s side) so decided to make a trip of it, planning to go to Hastings, which boasts 2 yarn shops and the Kool Aid Museum, afterwards and then take the scenic route back.

I was on the road just after 8:00 and arrived exactly at 10:00. I only knew Brenda but met her mom and was chatting while waiting for it to start. When Helen arrived, she sat with me but was promptly told she had to sit at the head table. Great. The only person I knew wasn't sitting with me. Oh well, I figured I can talk to anyone so just stayed put at my empty table. Shortly, I was joined by 2 mother daughter teams - daughters in their late 20's and mothers my age. I introduced myself but they didn't tell me who they were and promptly began talking amongst themselves, making no attempt to include me. And when I tried to interject, they gave me the cold shoulder. Then the girl sitting next to me turned her back to me and rested her head on her elbow, completely blocking me. Nice! At that point I decided to just give up and focused on Brenda opening gifts, which the people at my table and quite a few other guests seemed to pay no attention to at all. Luckily, the whole thing was over in an hour and 15 minutes but what's up with the snubbing?

I was dismayed to hear it was Kool Aid Days in Hastings, complete with a parade and various activities. So I bypassed the museum and headed right for The Plum Nelly, a spinning, beading, scrapbooking, quilting, yarn shop. The woman was nice and I got a few things for my swap but nothing for me. I headed across the street to Imagiknits, which was wonderful. It was 3 small store fronts and loaded with all kinds of unusual yarn. I found something for the swap, picked out some fun hand dyed yarn for me and talked to the owner for over an hour. It was such a surprise to find such a gem in Hastings, Nebraska. As I was leaving, I saw some life sized knitted green olives and seeing how small they were, mentioned that I had been looking for straight cable needles to knit thumbs. I was so excited when she said she had something in the back. She then pulled out a set of 3" knitting needles (size 2) that were listed as mini sock knitting needles. PERFECT! She sold them to me for $8 but I would have gladly paid $18. I can't wait to start some mittens so I can try these needles out. Everyone at knitting is going to be jealous. And now I have the info for the people that make them so I can request other sizes. P.S. They sell for $14.95 online.

I grabbed some fast food and headed east from Hastings for the long ride home. I went Highway 6, which parallels I-80 but further south and winds through small towns. I headed north at York so I could hit Starbuck's and another Goodwill, where I scored 8 more wool sweaters. I was home by 5:00. It was a long day but I salvaged some fun out of it. Yay me! Then I forced myself to mow. Having not done it in 2 weeks, it was so high that I had to mow the back twice in different directions. At least that wouldn't be lurking over me on Sunday. I had plenty of other chores to fill that day.

I started the day with breakfast on the deck in my jammies (the only neighbor who could see me was away for the weekend) and finished Jane Eyre, which was engaging and the first Bronte I'd read. I did a ton of laundry and hung it on the line then started felting sweaters. I even made a prototype change purse with a sweater I'da already felted. Not perfec but it's just my first one. All afternoon I was doing my usual chore here, chore there with lots of knitting in between when Lorri called about weeding at Hansen House. Since I seem to be unable to say no, I met her just before 7:00 and did over an hour before heading home to the supper of champions - cereal. Sugar Crisp to be specific. I did manage to pick up a bit before I went to bed but still have more to do before the cleaning lady comes on Wednesday. Good thing there's no swimming this week. I'm going to need all my evenings to make up for what I didn't get done this weekend. Oh well. Life goes on.