Monday, January 31, 2011

Week 5 - A Wonderful Week

What a wonderful week! Darla and I went to HyVee for lunch on Monday (I had a coupon for meatloaf dinners for $2.99 each so why not?) and then I knitted at the library, where Donna shared some of her yarn stash. I took 2 balls - 1 for a baby hat and another for a hat for me. Donna mentioned that she would be in Lincoln on Tuesday for a knitting class so we met for lunch at Stauffer’s CafĂ© & Pie Shop. Yes, we got pie but I worked it off later in the pool. I went home to listen to the state of the union (Obama does a great speech) and set up my modem. They’d done the line work on Monday but could only do 6Mpbs instead of 12 but it was all good. I was wireless and 4 times faster. Yay!

Wednesday was a full day but I started it at Starbuck’s and then got to work to find Mary had brought donuts. Can a day start any better? I blazed through a project for Mary that morning, chowed down my seafood chowder and ran downstairs to teach all afternoon. That always makes the afternoon fly. Then it was on to the pool and then Village Inn for knitting and more pie. It was wonderful to see the VI gang. We did lots of show and tell,caught up and I cast on the baby hat with Donna's yarn. I also handed off the last of the cones of acrylic from the auction. Anne’s mom had requested more so I happily got rid of the rest. Anne and I discussed what a great day it had been in the parking lot before heading home. I didn’t get home until 9:00 but I went to bed happy.

I must have been happy because I didn’t set my alarm nor set up the coffee. I woke up 35 minutes late and then scrambled to get ready, leaving at 7:32, which isn’t that far off normal. By the time I got to the loop though, all of the spaces were taken. But did that stop me? Not a chance. I found a tiny spot between 2 spaces and did a fabulous job of parallel parking. Get a load of how tight! It took 3 adjustment after initial entry but still. Clearly I was proud because I took the pic. Tee hee. I had lunch with Dodie and then taught all afternoon again. After work was the pool again and then I went to The Cat House to pick up a load of food for the State Fair Park feeder. I called him after I picked it up and found out he lives close to campus so I met him and dropped it off rather than driving it back to Wahoo and then back again in the morning. I got home at 7:30 and settled in for dinner, celebrating with a bottle of cider. Nice. And tomorrow was already Friday.

Friday was busy, busy, busy, so also flew by. I went food shopping on the way home and was ready for my three day weekend. I had no plans at all and had taken Monday off as an early birthday present. Not only would I have an extra day off to finish the decrapification but it was supposed to snow on Monday so I’d be cozy at home.

I had a vague thought of going to Omaha to hit Penzey’s and Trader Joe’s, either Saturday night or maybe Sunday morning. But I made my lists and started attacking the last of the hot spots – the last corner of the family room, the bar, the hutch and my bureaus. I took it slow, interspersing knitting and TV with bouts of productivity. By Sunday night, I hadn’t left the house since Friday night but was in the home stretch on the decrapification and had finished my doily for the color swap. I ended Sunday watching Benjamin Button, confident I could finish everything up on Monday. If all my weeks could be as happy and productive as this one had been, whew! Just imagine the possibilities.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 4 - The Decrapification Continues

Another week starting off with a Monday off. Nice! I continued the decrapification, focusing on getting the stuff I’d culled put away or out of the house. I spent Monday making trip after trip down to the basement, taking down the books I was keeping and loading the rest in the car to deliver to the library before knitting. By the time the day was done, the entire family room was emptied of crap so the look in the after picture from last week was throughout the room. Yay!

Despite my knees hurting, I went to the pool on Tuesday night. It felt great to be moving but it didn’t do my knees any good. Good thing I went though because it was the only night I’d get there. It was snowing like a banshee by the middle of the afternoon on Wednesday so I left work at 4:30 so I wouldn’t be driving in the dark with the snow falling. I got home without a problem and then made a pot of turkey soup and enjoyed a night inside, watching the snow fall outside. We got about 2 inches and I had intended to just shovel my sidewalk and front walk but the snow was so light and fluffy that I did the whole driveway in 15 minutes on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday night, I got the message assigning me my swap partner for a Ravelry knitting swap I’d signed up for. It’s a secret swap where my swappee has chosen a color (baby pink) and I have to make her something and buy her yarn and stuff in the same color and ship it next month. I spent all night stalking her on Ravelry – checking out her projects, favorites and posts trying to figure out what I should make and come up with a theme for her package. It was fun but was a totally time suck, both that night and Thursday too. But I’m excited to do this. It’ll be like doing a Christmas stocking with a knitting theme and I’ll be getting an orange or purple box myself. How exciting!

I had had a frustrating couple of days at work as Alan, our wonderful computer dude, tried to figure out what was wrong with my brand new computer, which would be lightening fast as soon as he could get it operational. I couldn’t be at my desk for a couple of hours Wednesday morning while he worked on it so I made some phone calls, finally calling Windstream to get a wireless modem and up my Mbps speed from 1.5 to 12. Plus it’ll cost me less than I pay now. I should have called sooner. They do the work on my line on Monday so I’ll be flying by then. Can’t wait. Alan got my new computer going quickly so I was flying at work too. Such productivity!

Just in time because I got a new project at work that had a close deadline so I slammed through that all day Thursday and into Friday. I even worked late on Thursday to try and get through it (I didn’t succeed) but honestly was also using that as an excuse not to swim since my knees were still hurting.

The week ended with Dodie and I going to a play – The Dixie Swim Club at the Lincoln Community Playhouse. Since it was Friday night, when I normally food shop then go home for a night of vegging, I hesitated to commit but am glad I did. We had dinner at Panera, made a couple of quick stops at JoAnn’s and the mall then went to the play, which was really good.

I had planned to sleep late on Saturday but that didn’t’ work out. I had a vet appointment with the kitten at 10:15 and didn’t get much else done by the end of the day. I spent hours on the phone, going from one call to another – Carolyn, Lorri, my sister Dottie – and started a new knitting project - a quick washcloth for my swappee. There was more snow due overnight so I headed to the grocery store just as it started because I was out of dried beans and desperately wanted homemade baked beans with grilled cheese.

I made up for my low energy Saturday by being super productive on Sunday. I had soaked my beans overnight and had them boiling by 6:00 a.m. so they'd be ready for lunch. Yum! We had gotten a ton of snow but I had my snow blower guy do my driveway so I wouldn’t wear myself out and be useless for the rest of the day. It was $20 well spent. I reclaimed the spare bedroom and my desk, neither one a trivial project as they were both full of crap. After finishing those two areas, I’d say the decrapification of my upstairs is 90% complete. I estimate it’ll take just one more weekend to get it done. I live in hope. I finished the day by making a big pot of seafood chowder with flounder, shrimp and scallops using this recipe. It called for lots more types of fish than I used but mine was delicious none the less. If you have some fish in your freezer (I used 3 single serving IQF pouches), you should try it. Yum!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 3 - Family Room Decrapification

Before After

What a wonderful week! How can a week that starts and ends with a long weekend be bad? And Monday was a snow day. Is anything as exciting as a snow day? I’m hard pressed to think of something.

I did something I haven’t done in a long time on my snow day – cooking. Other than something quick here and there, I hadn’t done much cooking since before the holidays. So I started the day with an inventory of the frig and then got busy cooking – strata, mac and cheese, 3 pies (2 as thank yous and a small one for me) and some apple crisp. Since I had so much, I called Andrea and invited her over for mac and cheese before knitting. Ed, my plumbing savior, picked up his pie and I delivered Bob’s after knitting, which was fun. My neighbor even sent over a gang of kids from her church, who shoveled my entire driveway in 5 minutes. What a wonderful day!

Classes were cancelled on Tuesday but staff had to report. It was bitter cold out so I stayed inside and got lots done. There was no swimming so I headed home after shoveling out a path to the shed on campus where we store the Husker Cats food. Campus was back to normal on Wednesday and I loved getting back into the pool. I could feel muscles I hadn’t used in a month and actually worked up a sweat. Then it was on to Village Inn for knitting with the gang. It was great to see them all and there was lots of show and tell. From there I went to Menard’s to pick up a few things for myself and some shelving the boss wanted me to buy on my p-card. But the shelves were so heavy that I couldn’t even shift them, never mind get them into the cart. They were also enormous – way too bag for my Fit - so I left them there and headed home. I didn’t get there until after 9:00. What a long day.

I was dragging on Thursday but the day flew. Dale and I went to Menard’s with his truck first thing and got the shelves, so I didn’t settle in at my desk until after 9:00, then Dodie and I went to lunch at Panera for yummy soup and salad. By the end of the day, I was spent and since it was chickie-la-la week (free classes so lots of students in bikinis in the pool) and none of the normal gang was going, I decided to skip swimming and head right home. I got to Wahoo before full dark and in time to hit the bank. Then I sat down with dip and crackers with a glass of wine and a relaxing night of knitting in front of the TV. It was lovely. I did manage to go through my coupons and prep for food shopping on Friday but that was it for productivity. I could live with that.

I did a big stock up run to HyVee on Friday in preparation for 3 days at home. I had big plans for the weekend, mainly taking down the wall unit and culling everything on it. But before I started that, I had a fun day planned on Saturday. I finally prepped all my packages and got them in the mail just before the post office closed. Then Andrea was picking me up after her shop closed for a quick lunch at the high school’s soup supper then my first spinning guild meeting in Fremont. It was a back to basics class and I did my first spinning with a drop spindle, which was awkward but I think I did OK. From there we drove to Omaha, not in time for Penzey’s, which we just missed, but I was happy to do another Trader Joe’s run. I don’t think I’ll ever take TJ’s for granted. I didn’t need much but got a gorgeous bouquet for $3.99 and found enough else to fill a bag. I went to bed super early so I’d be fresh for the big move on Sunday.

As soon as CBS Sunday Morning was over, I got dressed and got busy. Step one was to take down the wall unit. The dust was ridiculous! I sorted the books as they came off – a big box to donate, a few keepers for upstairs, more for downstairs and another big stack to look through before deciding. Once the wall was empty, I brought up the teapot shelf from the basement and cleaned it up with my antique restorer. It’s turpentine based and so stunk up the house so I opened the slider and headed to BK. By the time I got home, the family room was freezing but much less fume ridden so it was on to step 2 – setting up the wall unit downstairs in the craft room, which required moving a lot of furniture. By the time I was done, my white t-shirt was gray and my lungs felt clogged. After a tea break, I started the seemingly endless task of taking basket after basket of books and stuff downstairs. My knees were screaming but I wanted all the heavy stuff done so I could have an easier day on Monday.

I had planned to go to bed early but 10:00 p.m. found me washing teapots so they’d be ready to display for my after shot. What do you think? I love it. Much less crap and a cleaner, neater look. Next step will be getting my chair and ottoman slipcovered and I’d better get busy on my felted rug. It’s about time I gave this room, where I spend 95% of my non-sleeping home hours, some attention. One of these days I’ll do that 2nd coat on the cutting in. Maybe in spring when I can open the door without dropping the inside temps so drastically. Yeah, spring. There’s a plan. : )

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 2 - 2011 Settling In

What a week! Starting out the new year like I start every month at work actually felt good. It took the better part of three days to get through my monthly reports and so the year started productively, which you’ve got to love. Then I cleared off my desk, made a new to do list and got busy. The days flew by. Nothing wrong with that.

The non-work front was interesting too. On Monday night, Helen came to knitting for the first time. I don’t know if it was the fact that Donna was there for the first time in awhile, the addition of Helen or just post holiday craziness but we were particularly rowdy. We laughed a lot and at one point I looked over and Anne Marie had her leg up on the table and was comparing leg hair with Donna. Not a typical Monday night knitting but…. We’ll have to see if Helen comes next week.

I wasted Tuesday night and spent the next day beating myself up for not being mindful. I made up for it on Wednesday night by having a lovely, planned night of relaxation – wine with dinner, knitting and watching TV. Good thing I had such a restorative night because I’d need to be well rested for Thursday night.

I had my first treasurer’s report to do for the Friends meeting on Saturday, which was a 2 month report, plus I had to do the end of year recap. I had organized all my papers and got some additional ones from the bank so I could slam out the reports after work. Unfortunately, it took me 3 hours and I didn’t finish until close to 11:00. At that point I wanted to go the bed but Pie, who has been less than happy with Possum (the mama kitty) being in the house, wouldn’t come in. In an effort to get her in, I threw Possum in the bathroom and shut the door. Little did I know the door was locked from the inside and the outside door knob was just spinning. I got out a coat hanger to stick in the hole, which had worked the last time the door was locked, but no go. The knob was still spinning and I’d tried everything. So at 11:15, I called Lorri, knowing she and Bob would still be up. They said they’d be right over, which was a big relief. I kept at the door though and wouldn’t you know it, I was able to get it open (I’m still not sure what made it pop open) but when I tried to call, they’d already left. So when they arrived, in their PJ’s with tools in hand, I apologized profusely, thanked them and sent them on their way. It took me awhile to fall asleep afterwards but I finally did, feeling lucky that I have such great friends.

I was pretty tired all day Friday and so took it easy Friday night rather than prepping packages to mail Saturday morning like I’d planned. Saturday morning was the Friends meeting and then I was taking Lorri to lunch as a thank you for taking care of the cats over Christmas. We had a nice time catching up and then I was in for the weekend, waiting for the snow with the rest of Nebraska. I did my chores, took the tree down (that felt great!), finished my calendars, talked on the phone and knitted.

Before the snow got too bad, Nancy came over to pick up Possum. She'd wanted another cat to keep her young cat active and I persuaded her to take Possum. I was desperate to have her gone so the kitty equilibrium in my house could be restored. When Nancy left with her, my cats seemed to instantly know she was gone. They'd avoided the back of the house from the day I let Possum and her kittens inside because Possum was very protective of her kittens and so chased my cats away if they even looked in the direction of the family room. Since I was keeping a kitten, the over protective mode wasn't dissipating and my cats were miserable. I could not wait to get life back to normal and it seemed to get there within minutes of Possum's departure. She'll have a great life at Nancy's and I won't miss the havoc, which over shadowed any pleasure Possum might have brought, at all. Whew!

The snow was falling in earnest by noon on Sunday and the forecast had it continuing for days. Since Monday was the first day of classes and lots of students would be on the road on Sunday, I was hoping for a snow day. I got the call at 3:00 that there’d be no work Monday. How fabulous is that? Knowing I had all day Monday to bake my thank you pies (one for Ed’s plumbing last weekend and one for Bob’s late night kitty rescue mission), I settled in for an afternoon of knitting. And as if that wasn’t enough reason for happiness (no matter how old I get, I’m still ridiculously excited by a snow day), I finally was able to get out the food that was lodged under my crown and my tooth felt instantly better – as good as it’s been since the initial flare up in November. I went to bed feeling like a million bucks and looking forward to a relaxing day of watching snow fall. Does life get any better?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week 1 - Time Flying Already

We woke up Monday to a world of white. The snow had mostly stopped but the wind was still whipping it around some. Matt's work was cancelled and by noon, we all headed outside to shovel out. The city had already done a decent job of plowing and once we had shovelled, Matt drove down the street and reported that the main roads were down to bare pavement. We'd already cancelled lunch with Auntie Margaret, who lives in the boonies and so would have to wait for plows, but since the main roads were clear and Matt was off work, Carolyn and I decided to head to Webbs rather than wait for Tuesday, when Matt would now have to work and so Aaron would be stuck at his grandparents'. The roads were mostly clear, except for a patch just over the border in Massachusetts, and we made good time, getting to Webb's by 2:30. We spent hours roaming the aisles of the warehouse. There didn't seem to be as much on sale as last year but that could be just a warped memory. Regardless, we got lots of good deals and headed back home, stopping at Dave's for stuff to nuke at home for dinner. It was a fun day.

Tuesday started with breakfast with Cornelia. It never ceases to amaze me how Cornelia and I are always on the same page despite our limited contact. After that, the day was now free with the exception of Aaron's asthma appointment just before lunch, which we were all going to. Carolyn and I hit Job Lot, where I totally filled a cart (!) before meeting Aaron and Matt at the doctor's office. I sat in the waiting room happily knitting while they were with the doctor and then we all went out for lunch at The Crow's Nest, where I enjoyed my annual plate of fried belly clams. Yum! We stopped at one more Job Lot on the way home and then spent the afternoon relaxing. With the help of space bags for all my yarn, I started packing in the late afternoon. I expanded my big suitcase and borrowed a bigger carry on but was able to get everything packed, with my suitcase coming in just under 50 pounds after I removed some magazines. All in all, it had been a wonderful trip and I was ready to leave on Wednesday morning.

Carolyn had a hair appointment so would have to drop me much earlier than necessary so I called Janice and made arrangements for breakfast and an airport dump and drive. She also had an appointment but it cut a bit of time off my airport sitting and I got to chat with Janice during breakfast, which was nice. Then the sitting began. I started a new knitted hat with a complicated lace pattern so the time flew by. The first flight was uneventful but when we got to Chicago, the fun started. The flight was delayed and then delayed again. Flights were being cancelled left and right and a gate agent finally got on the intercom to tell us the scoop. There was a fog bank approaching Chicago so they were cancelling later flights because the visibility would be nil. They were also circling incoming flights and not letting them land. But for some reason, they were going to not only let our plane land but also take off. So off we flew, a couple of hours late but one of the lucky flights that made it out before the fog set in. I was so relieved when the wheels left the ground! After a quick stop at Trader Joe's for some salads, I arrived home just before 9:00, late but happy. It felt great to be home!

Thursday was unpacking and cleaning up from the cats' messes (6 cats in the house for a week always results in messes.) The weather was ridiculously warm (the same warmth that was causing fog problems I'm sure) so I ended up outside in a t-shirt hanging laundry and planting perennials and mums that were still in pots, figuring I had nothing to lose and some might actually survive. I even ate one of my salads outside and was perfectly comfortable. But as forecast, the sun went in, the wind changed direction and the temperature plummeted. Within hours, it was winter weather again. The rest of the day flew by and then it was Friday. Helen came over and we chatted and knitted all day. It was great to catch up. Not being into New Year's partying, I ate a nice supper and went to bed early because Saturday was a craft day at Mary's so I wanted to be fresh for that. I brought my calendar pages and a flash drive with all my scanned slides and my felted rug squares, which I'd started the night before. It was a fun day of comradery, crafting and yummy food. I went to bed that night wondering where break had gone. I had one day left to get ready for the return to work, which meant chores, chores and more chores.

Sunday was a clear, bright day so I spent all morning sitting and knitting in the sun. By now I'd started a 3rd post Christmas project - a lace scarf out of bamboo sock yarn. By the time I got up and got busy, I had a formidable list. I was downstairs changing cat boxes when the laundry went into spin cycle and water started backing up out of the floor drain. I went upstairs and brushed my teeth as a test and sure enough my toothpaste foam came up from the drain too. My main sewer line was completely blocked and it wasn't pretty. I went upstairs to see if it would go down in time, hoping it would so I could make it through until morning when I would call my plumber. But then the phone rang. It was Donna with a knitting question. When I mentioned my plumbing problem, she put her husband on the phone. Ed has all the tools and knowledge I lack. Long story short, he and Donna came over and he unclogged my sewer. It required pulling garden hoses out of the garage, running things down the pipe, snakes, plungers, you name it! But for the price of a pecan pie (to be baked and delivered next weekend) instead of the $150+ I'd have had to pay the plumber, I had use of my water again. When they left around supper time, I headed down to finish the laundry and get to work on the rest of my chores. At 11:00, most of them were done and I could be found working on calendar pages. That's the problem with doing work that late. You get a second wind and sleep becomes problematic. I finally went to bed near midnight, knowing I'd be tired the next day and wondering what happened to break. It went too quickly, leaving me with an unfinished to do list. As usual, Martin Luther King weekend will have to be productive and I may have to take another day to extend it. Why do I ever think I'll get anything done after I get back from RI?

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 - Just One Word

Well, my word for 2010 was Health. Unfortunately it did not go as well as Enough did for 2009. Enough was powerful enough to not only work for 2009 but significantly bleed over into 2010. I even dare to say that I’ve embraced Enough for life. I’ve continued to strive to find the perfect level for things in my life and have purged even more and acquired less than in previous years. My vow earlier this year to eat my produce within a week or donate the money I’d spent to (gasp!) The Republican National Committee back fired because I stopped buying produce, which was counterproductive to health, my gold old word for the year. On that note, I had grand plans to ramp up my exercising, eat better, etc. I kept up the water aerobics but didn’t ever get back to the super circuit. I did eat better and was inspired by my cousin to really do better after our trip to LA in October but that all went by the wayside when the holidays hit. So 2010 is over and health was a bust. I haven’t given up on it but didn’t make it a priority like I’d planned. Like Sally Field says, “You only have one life and one body.” Here’s hoping my 50th year will bring more awareness of that. Which leads me to my word for 2011:


Time seems to be going faster and faster. There are times it feels like I blink and a day is gone. I sneeze and the whole week is gone. Cornelia concurs and calls it “cartoon time.” While this time is speeding by, I’m wasting it. I have a busy life and most days am away from home for twelve hours – commute plus work plus swimming. Add errands and it’s even longer. What happens most nights is I come home from the pool, eat dinner and sit like a zombie until bedtime, wasting the evening and having nothing to show for it. I’m not paying attention and am therefore not getting the most out of my time.

This lack of attention manifests itself in other ways too. Like eating stuff just because it’s there and not really enjoying or savoring it. Like saying yes as a reflex and being faced with commitments on my time for things I’d rather not do. Like letting my work day fill up with small things and never getting to my big projects. Or not doing something that needs doing because the time slips away. The examples are endless.

So this year, my goal is to pay attention more – be mindful. Of time, of people, of things… There’s no down side to this and I hope it helps me get more out of life. Time will tell. : )