Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 9 - Nice and Easy

It was another crazy week. Work was constantly in crisis mode and Carolyn was at Disney so I had to get through it without my sounding board. That’s a bit dramatic but I really did miss her. There were countless times during the week when something happened that I would have shared with Carolyn and couldn’t. Woe is me! At least it was warm so most of the snow was gone by the weekend.

One fun thing I did was finally break out the bento box Carolyn gave me for Christmas. I’d have to say it was a roaring success. I packed it with healthy, pretty food that totally filled me up and was satisfying. I had bento Monday and Tuesday and was pretty pleased with myself. Could this be the thing that finally breaks my sandwich habit? Here’s hoping.

Other than work being nuts, it was a pretty easy week. Because the library was closed for Presidents’ Day, we knitted at Andrea’s store, which was a nice change, and a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed us on knitting. I’m interested to see the article, which should be in this week. Tuesday was the pool followed by a Tupperware party at my scrapbooking friend Sandy’s house. I had time to kill between the pool and the party so Anne and I went to Panera for soup. It was nice chatting with Anne when we weren’t in the pool.

It was snowing on Thursday and Dale, who’d left early, called to say the roads were awful and I should leave. So I started home and it took a long time to get to the highway because there was enough snow on the roads that every stop light was a challenge. As I was driving north, it became clear that there was less snow. I was thrilled to get to Wahoo and find that we’d gotten NOTHING! There wasn’t even enough on the ground to call it anymore than a dusting. Then I got to my door and my swap box from the Ravelry Color Swap was waiting for me. And the best part was, it was full of wonderful orange things - yarn, roving (for spinning), candy, a book, tools, etc. plus a wonderful handknit cowl. What a nice surprise! I was glowing as I made dinner and headed to the library for book club, which was fun with a lively discussion of The Color of Water.

Friday was another stressful day at work so I headed straight home, skipping my usual Friday food shopping. I had no commitments for the weekend and was looking forward to staying home. It was a nice weekend. I did something I haven’t in awhile. I cooked up a storm. I started out making sauce for lasagna, thinking I’d bring a pan over to Donna, who is struggling to get around and is waiting for a date to have her replacement knee replaced. That lead to making taco salad mix and a big pot of beef barley soup. When I went to put the lasagna together on Sunday, I didn’t have noodles and so opted for rigatoni and just made it lasagna style, ending up with enough for Donna plus small ones for Andrea, me and a couple for the freezer.

I also got lots of knitting done, finishing (hopefully) my felting frenzy. But maybe not. I went over to Andrea’s on Sunday afternoon to pick up her felting stuff (I’m the designated felter for the group, having a top loader with an agitator) but also picked up more 100% wool from the auction. I needed more of the lavender to finish the bowl I was working on but also took lots more. Andrea and I had some tea while waiting for Donna to get home so we could drop the lasagna and rugelach that Andrea had made. By the time I got home, it was dinner time. I ended the night staying up way too late to do the felting load. It was a nice weekend – relaxing but productive. I need a few more of these.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 8 - Lots of Visiting

What a week! It had it all – a visit from Connie, beautiful weather, work days that flew by, a wedding and some blessed down time.

When I left for work on Monday, I didn’t know if it was just Connie coming or her and Gordy, her new love interest. This meant I had to do a lot more neatizing than I would have for just Connie. The last thing I did was empty all the trash and wheel the trash can to the curb. In my nightie. In the dark. Well, I didn’t see the ice at the bottom of my driveway and was on my butt before I even knew I was falling. I scrambled to my feet and ran in to get dressed, knowing I’d be sore later. At least no one saw me (I hope!) Of course I was running late so parked at a meter.

Connie called mid morning to say she was coming alone. What a relief! I ran errands over lunch – everything I’d hoped to get done before work. I mailed my swap package and ran to the locksmith and market. Connie would be chez moi by 6:00 and her daughter Rachele was coming for dinner. She was bringing a salad and I was making asparagus and goat cheese pasta. We all three arrived within 5 minutes of each other and the pasta was ready in 15 minutes. We cracked a bottle of chardonnay and enjoyed settled in for good food and company. Since I wasn’t going to make it to knitting, Donna stopped by to pick up some yarn and the rugelach I’d made for Valentine’s Day and stayed for a quick glass of wine. Rachele left relatively early and Connie and I stayed up talking. It was wonderful to have some face time with Connie at last!

I saw Connie for only a few minutes on Tuesday morning but we were supposed to meet for lunch at the Indian restaurant near campus. When Connie called to say she was having lunch with Betty’s son before the funeral, Darla and I grabbed lunch. Connie called as I was leaving the pool to see if I wanted to do Indian for dinner but I declined. I’m OK with spending $10 for lunch on food I’m not particularly fond of but not twice that for dinner. So I went home for a quiet night of TV and knitting. Connie got home at 9:00 and we talked until midnight.

Needless to say, I was exhausted on Wednesday but I hugged Connie goodbye and headed to work. It hadn’t been a good sign when I saw UNL’s online directory on the morning news. I spent the day slamming to figure out how to fix the data on the coaches I’d seen on the news. Sheesh! I was running on empty but Anne guilted me into going to the pool, which ended up being a good thing. I went home, nuked dinner, watched Survivor and went to bed early. I slept like a baby.

I had a 3 hour meeting on Thursday morning and was leaving at 2:30 for a podiatrist appointment so the day flew by. I was happy when I left the doctor’s since I didn’t have a plantar’s wart. It was 70+ degrees so I got a frapuccino and sat outside while I had my oil changed then met Darla at the theatre to see The King’s Speech. What a fabulous movie! I was home by 7:00 to prep for scrapbooking Friday night, which was no small task since I’d thrown everything willy nilly into the spare room closet when Connie called.

Friday brought more identity management data problems and it was nuts all morning. I went to lunch with Layton and then returned to Crazy Town for a few more hours of stress. At least the day flew. I hit the market and then went to scrapbooking. I wasn’t as tired as I’d thought I’d be but that was probably because I was still drinking my morning coffee at 4:00. Sheesh! Alas, I wasn’t as prepared as I’d hoped. I hadn’t worked on my album since the fall and didn’t have enough pictures printed. But at least no one else was very motivated either. I only got 2 pages done but it was fun to catch up with everyone. I got home at midnight and fell into bed.

I had wisely decided not to go to spinning earlier in the week so the only commitment I had on Saturday was to go the bank before noon and drop a check at the library. I’d already stripped all the beds and hung the sheets on the line so I was free to sit and knit once my errands were done. I don’t know if it was the gorgeous weather, just having a free day or a combo of the two but I was in a fabulous mood. The afternoon flew by and I enjoyed every minute of it. I sat down to watch Inception Saturday night, having been warned I needed to pay attention so I didn’t knit. But the laptop was right in front of me and I ended up surfing for patterns online and missing important parts of the movie. Sheesh!

On Sunday, four of us from water aerobics went to Betsy’s wedding (she was one of our instructors.) It was in Hallam, the town about 30 miles south of Lincoln where I helped with tornado clean up in 2004, so I was interested in seeing how they’d rebuilt. The wedding was at 1:30 so I had to leave for Lincoln at noon. It was sweet – six bridesmaids and six groomsmen in the village auditorium. After a yummy piece of cake, we headed back and I got home in time for a cup of tea. What a nice way to end the week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 7 - A Maniacal Weekend

It was a strange but productive week. I didn’t swim (don’t ask) and so had lots of time after work to get things done. I could get used to that but won’t think about it because I’m headed back to the pool this week.

I spent most of my extra time last week knitting. Go figure. Knitting and shopping that is. I am participating in a swap on Ravelry (an online community for knitters) so was on the hunt for things for my swappee in her designated color. I also had to include at least one handmade item so, of course, I made three all within the last week. I also had baby booties to knit for a shower on Sunday. Add all the shopping trips looking for presents and I was pretty busy. For example, on Monday I was at Wal-Mart before work, Baker’s Candies over lunch and Dollar Tree after work but before knitting. Despite calling my swap box done after that, I still kept shopping, just not as maniacally. Wednesday was knitting at Village Inn, which was fun because I hadn’t been since before Christmas.

Work was busy too. I slammed through a couple of priority projects (those never seem to stop), spent an entire morning with the consultant testing the identity management system and spent the end of the week drafting a response from the BPI (business process improvement) team on the facilities module. Blah, blah, blah. That's my job! It certainly made the week fly by though.

The weekend was going to be a busy one so I started my chores on Friday night, getting the laundry out of the way before going to bed early so I'd be fresh for getting tons done Saturday. Just after falling asleep, I was awakened by the sound of a cat scratching, which is never a good sign. The boxes needed changing and that was first on my list for Saturday. I got up and checked the navy sweatshirt that had fallen on the floor and seeing nothing, threw it onto the pile of clothes on the chair. Fast forward to the next morning. I was attempting to eat a bowl of cereal but the kitten was in my face so I put the bowl on the arm of my easy chair and reached to throw the kitten down. Somehow the kitten ended up on the floor and the bowl of cereal was in my lap, with milk everywhere. I peeled off my sodden nightie and jumped into the shower, earlier than I'd planned but I tried to see the bright side that I'd be up and dressed early because I had a lot to do. Well, I pulled a t-shirt from the chair over my head and smelled pee. Yes, Tilde had peed on the navy sweatshirt and I then threw it onto a pile of clean clothes on the chair! ICK! Luckily the shirt just smelled and wasn't actually wet so I washed up a bit, got dressed in fresh clothes and started laundry AGAIN. Two loads later and I was ready to get busy. The day could only get better.

The Wine & Dine was Sunday night and par for the course, I had left my projects until the last minute. I had to gather pictures for a slide show of the Friends' accomplishments and print the place cards. I thought the place cards would be a 5 minute job but had trouble finding the right files and then merging them in the new version of word. By the time I got those done and headed to the library, I had less than an hour to gather the pics and cut the place cards. After breaking the library's paper cutter, I headed to their computer where I only found a few pictures (we had expected more) so I headed home to slog through every pic on my computer since 2004 looking for library pics, knowing I had quite a few. That sucked up hours of my afternoon! I then dropped the flash drive and cut up (using my scrapbooking cutter) place cards at Denise's and went to the market. By the time I got home it was dark. Somewhere in all this, Connie called to say her friend Betty had died and she'd be heading south for the funeral and asked if she could stay at my house. I said of course and started another to do list. She said her new boyfriend might come too, which would mean a different level or neatizing. Oh well, that's what friends are for. I made a late dinner and started knitting yet another thing for the swap box. I found a cute pattern for stocking hat pins and knitted up a bunch. They are so cute!

Sunday was busy again. I had more neatizing to do, still not knowing if I'd have just Connie or her boyfriend too. I also had baking to do for Valentine's Day. I made rugelach, using this super yummy recipe, and sugar cookies with fiori di Sicilia for my swappee. At 2:00 I was sitting outside in a t-shirt eating a grilled cheese for a late lunch. All the baking was done, the housework was nearly done and it was 60+ degrees out. Yay! I was on the road to the shower by 2:15, stopping for a gift bag on the way. There was lots of good food but I tried not to eat much since I'd have prime rib at the Wine & Dine. I went from the shower to home to shut the windows I'd left open and then was on to the Wine & Dine, arriving at 6:00 when dinner was supposed to be served but this is Nebraska where nothing ever starts on time. So I had time to grab a single glass of wine and then it was time to eat. I sat with Karen Boop (a friend of the library I only know slightly) and her husband and his brother, who had just moved to Wahoo from RI. What are the chances? We swapped RI stories and it was fun. The food was fine (nothing special) but it's a fund raiser after all. I even won a door prize, having also won a game at the shower. Anyway, I was happy to get home. I put together my swap box so I could mail it in the morning and went to bed late. It was a long day but fun and I was in the home stretch, looking forward to a normal week with gorgeous, warm weather. Life is good!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 6 - Embracing Plan B

The theme for this week had to be flexibility because time after time, my original plans fell through so I had to go with the flow. Oh well, I still managed to have some fun.

I started the week with a day off to finish my decrapification. I spent the entire day tackling the last piles and getting stuff done. By the time I left for knitting, I could honestly say I was done. It felt great. I did have one kitchen drawer to go through and wanted to clean the espresso maker but neither felt like a show stopper. Knitting was fun, as usual, and Andrea gave me a fun pin and some wonderful orange sock yarn. Becky brought treats and told us she is expecting again. What a nice day.

Tuesday was my big 5-0. I had baked a cake to bring to work (decadent chocolate cake with ganache frosting from the Silver Palate Cookbook – best .cake.ever.) when I got home from knitting but didn’t make more treats because I was hoping for a snow day. I was already snowing Monday night and was supposed to snow and blow through Wednesday. But did UNL close? NO! UNL was the only school in the area that didn’t cancel. Luckily the wind had scoured the snow from most of my driveway so I could head out after only minimal shoveling. And since I was the only car on the road, the drive in was fine. I was almost to campus when Belinda called to wish me a happy birthday and tell me that her husband had fed my campus cats. Since it was bitter cold, that was wonderful news.

Since LPS was closed, Nora didn’t come in and Mary decided to work from home. Lots of other people stayed home too. But my office mates took me to Applebee’s for lunch, chosen for its proximity to campus, and we had cake when we got back. Helen sent me beautiful flowers and the day was flying by - it was deans’ reports day. The snow blew all day so I left at 4:00 so I wouldn’t be driving in the dark. That meant that I was home and cozy but not having dinner with friends on my birthday. I made some chicken poppers and sat down for a quiet night of TV. My gift to myself was not answering the phone. It was a peaceful night.

I was supposed to go to the movies with Darla on Wednesday but, having not slept well because of the storm, I begged off and headed straight home. I don’t know if it was the weather or not sleeping, but I was just dragging. I rescheduled dinner on Thursday night with Lorri too in favor of going to the pool for the first time that week. It just felt good to be inside, sitting and knitting. By Friday I had gotten my energy back. At least I got a lot of knitting done. : )

I had a Friends meeting Saturday morning and then ran all my errands. Then it was home for more knitting. I somehow had a big list of things with imminent deadlines – a birthday present for the next Friday, a baby gift for Sunday and the stuff for my swap needed to be in the mail on the 14th. So I knitted like a banshee, did my chores and threw in a bit of cooking. I had done three rounds of felting (purposely shrinking 100% wool knitted things for my non-knitting readers) in the washing machine and was going to kool aid dye (yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like – using kool aid to dye knitted stuff) the stuff for my swap, only to read the fine print on the directions to find that it only works on animal fibers to neither of the things I needed to dye would work. It was on to Plan B for my swap things – more knitting and more buying. Sheesh!

By the time Lorri and Bob picked me up at 4:45 for my postponed birthday dinner Sunday night, I had made a big dent in the knitting projects and had enjoyed a nice weekend. We were headed to Andy’s in Fremont for Italian food, figuring it would be deserted because of the Super Bowl. Yeah, it was so deserted it wasn’t open! No sign, nothing. With limited other options in Fremont, we ended up at a restaurant that Lorri and Bob recommended. Well, the restaurant wasn’t open but the bar was so we ended up there, surrounded by TV’s blaring the game. To top it off, they were completely out of steaks so it was a burger or the spaghetti special, which we all opted for. While it wasn’t what any of us had planned on, it wasn’t bad. We headed next door to the Village Inn for pie and I was home early.

So, it was a week full of changed plans but all in all, it was a good week. The BIG 5-0 came and went and I fell just like I did when I was 49. I’m in the camp of “It’s just a number.” I have wonderful friends who made it special. Life is good.