Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 22 - Finishing Up Stuff

My alarm was a rude awakening when it went off Monday morning. I’d had trouble falling asleep Sunday night, probably because I’d been staying up late for the entire previous week. Oh well. I dragged myself to work and spent the morning slogging through emails and getting back into the swing of things. I had a podiatrist appointment so had to leave work at 3:30 (nice on my first day back but I’d made the appointment weeks ago), which meant I was home by 5:00 and so had time for supper before knitting.

The weather was cold and rainy all week but on Tuesday it was pouring torrentially and I had to walk across campus for the UAAD year end picnic. Despite having an umbrella, I got soaked to the skin from the waist down and spent the rest of the day slowly drying off. The picnic was fun though and I got to play bocce ball. I had planned to go to the pool that night but was informed just before 5:00 that there was no Tuesday class for the rest of the summer. With some found time, I went right home and packed up my swap box and 2 other packages. I went to bed early and slept like a rock for the first time in days.

I went to the post office on the way to work and mailed the package. The clerk told me it was over 4 pounds so had to go priority, which cost me $28 – more than I’d hoped but not horrible. Only when she was done affixing the postage did I bother to ask how much over it had been. When she said 1 ounce I saw red. One ounce! Had I known that, I would have ripped it open, removed the little bar of soup I had thrown in just because and saved myself $12. Sheesh! I taught that afternoon so the afternoon flew and then I went back to the pool for the first time in almost 3 weeks. That was 3 weeks with almost no knee pain. Hmmmm… I think the shallow water aerobics has been doing more harm than good. I’ll find out in a couple of weeks when Mabel Lee pool opens and I can go back to the deep end.

I taught again on Thursday afternoon and had intended to swim but ended up having to work late. After a quick stop at the market, I went right home and mowed the lawn, which hadn’t been done in almost two weeks and needed it big time. After I showered and made dinner, I was perusing Netflix for something to watch and found Zombieland. I’m not sure what made me pick that but it was quite entertaining. I was so tired though that I couldn’t keep my eyes open and so stopped it and went to bed, figuring I’d finish it in the morning.

So, how’s a day go when you start it watching zombies being killed in every conceivable way? When my Starbuck’s mug, which I realized was missing its gasket, dripped all down my front several times, I was beginning to think my day was doomed but it wasn’t. Campus was deserted and the day flew by while I worked on projects for Nora. I had lunch with Layton and heard all about his trip – his first to Europe. Then Anne called me from Brown Sheep’s retail store and I talked her through buying me all kinds of fun yarn for cheap. When 5:00 hit, I blew out of the building and directly home to start my long weekend. I had big plans to finish a few of the things I didn’t get done during my vacation.

Dodie came over at 9:00 on Saturday and we dug up plants while the rain fell on and off. Between the rain that fell and the water that cascaded off every bush and plant I dug up, I was pretty soggy by the time I was done. But Dodie’s car was full of bushes, a tree and perennials, all of which I’ll never miss and she’ll enjoy in her yard. Win win. We chatted for awhile and she headed home to plant. I started my semi-annual clothes swap, which meant slogging through drawer and closets. I didn’t finish but made a big dent, which worked. I had a taco salad for dinner and went to bed early.

The weather was crappy again on Sunday so I decided it was time to finish the afghan Dottie and I had started in May of 2008 on our first sister weekend. I’d found it in the basement and was determined to get it done. Between going through more clothes and doing some cooking, I thought I’d have plenty of time to finish but after hours and hours, it was put together but I had 3 rows of the outside border yet to do. I worked until 10:30 but then gave up and went to bed. I still had Monday.

The weather ha d changed from raining and damp to hot and windy on Saturday evening. Summer had arrived after the coldest, wettest spring I can remember. Figuring I could get the border done pretty quickly, I sat down to crochet at 7:30. Let me tell you, when you’re crocheting around a huge afghan, one row can take a long time. Without doing much else besides cooking meals, it took until 3:00 to finish the damn afghan! By the time I was done, the day was shot and so was I. My back ached between my shoulders and I still had all my chores to do. But I started in on them because the new cleaning lady starts tomorrow so I wanted the house to be neat. I know what you’re thinking but I didn’t clean, I just picked up. All in all, it was a pretty dull Memorial Day but I got the afghan off my UFO (unfinished object for the non-knitters) so I’ll call it good. It’s back to work tomorrow for a week that is sure to fly by. Dale is on vacation so I’m doing Deans’ Reports solo for the first time ever. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week 21 - Happy at Home

How can a week of vacation where I stayed at home be anything but wonderful? It can’t! Even though the weather did not cooperate (it rained a lot!), I still had a wonderful week.

Because the only 2 days that the sun would shine at all were Monday and Tuesday, I had planned to spend them outside. But when it was 42 degrees on Monday morning and the same cold was forecast for Tuesday morning, I decided to spend the mornings inside and work outside in the afternoons. I typically would reverse that since I have more energy in the morning but what could I do. On Monday I slogged through all the paper on my desk in the morning and then headed outside and started planting my containers. That hadn’t really been my plan but I was drawn to that so went with the flow. On Tuesday morning, I had a hair appointment and did some banking afterwards. It was still too cold out when I got home so I organized my yarn and neatized the spare room. I finished all my containers and a couple for Hansen House in the afternoon. Since it was supposed to rain for the rest of the week, I resigned myself to being done outside.

Well, it wasn’t raining on Wednesday but rather was cold and dreary. I considered going outside but my back had had enough what with all the time I’d spent in the previous two days bent over sifting compost, mixing soil and planting pots. I spent most of the day vegging but didn’t enjoy it because I felt guilty not using my bonus non-rain day outside. Self imposed guilt struck again! I did make some yummy soup for lunch and a nice dinner plus moved all the plant stands outside and swept all the detritus from my overwintered plants from the house. None of that was enough to assuage my conscience. Damn!

On Thursday morning, Helen and I had breakfast at the Wigwam CafĂ© and spent the morning catching up, which was nice. I see so little of her that it’s always fun when we do get together. She had to leave for a 1:00 appointment with the farrier so I decided to spend the afternoon cleaning the garage, which I could do whether it rained or not. If stuff was on shelves, I ignored it but I filled 2 trash cans with the crap that was on the floor. Sheesh! When I was done, I hauled a load of recycling downtown and then took a much needed shower. After all that, I had no problem justifying some veg time. I did make a slew of phone calls in the evening, trying to find a new cleaning lady, calling my contractors and an upholstery person about making a slipcover for my favorite chair (no luck there.) It was storming big time after dinner and I went to bed early because I was thinking we’d lose electricity. We didn’t.

There rain gage had 2 inches in it on Friday morning and my basement was dry. When I’d been potting plants, I kept throwing extra soil against the foundation by the problem corner, which clearly worked. I guess I should have done that sooner. Anyway, Friday was my last day of vacation and I had to resign myself to not finishing my to do list. Go figure. I inventoried both freezers and did the laundry before making a quiche. I was going to my first French speaking dinner in Lincoln, invited by Sara, one of the water aerobics instructors who is a French teacher. I was nervous about speaking French again after almost 30 years. I was the first one to arrive and the man who answered the door introduced himself in French. The game was on! I did better than I thought I would. The nouns came easily but the verbs were a bit tougher. I was able to understand just about everything and asked when I didn’t. There was an interesting mix of people there from a man from Switzerland to a woman married to a French man and, of course, a contingent of French teachers. It was actually fun but I was mentally exhausted when it was done. It was a great way to end my last day off.

I couldn’t have my typical Saturday morning of chatting on the phone because the contractors were coming at 8:30 for the final walk around and discussion prior to ordering supplies. I did pick up the phone once they left (they’ll be starting the gutters and siding within 2 weeks) but Lorri showed up with plants and then I talked to my neighbor’s friend Jan about cleaning my house, having heard for my only possibility that she couldn’t do it. The morning felt like a whirlwind.

I grabbed a sandwich and picked Andrea up for spinning in Fremont. I brought my wheel, which was still in pieces in the box from the auction, figuring the woman who sells the same brand wheels could help me put it together, which she did. I practiced the foot action and it’s all threaded and ready for me to spin. Cool! From spinning we went to Buck’s Shoes, where I didn’t buy shoes (are you shocked?) but Andrea found some. When I mentioned that the man who had bought yarn from us after the auction had his shop right around the corner, we headed over there. It was fun. I found a 4 tiered 50’s plant stand with round glass shelves and some cheap yarn. Andrea bought 50’s metal and vinyl chairs to go with the kitchen table she got at an auction. I dropped her back at her car just after 6:00 but we decided to go to the Mexican restaurant since it was later than we’d thought we’d be and neither of us had plans for dinner. It was a nice end to a fun day.

Sunday was a typical chore day – changed sheets, did laundry, blah, blah, blah. But I did have one more thing I had to get done from my list – making the pouch for my Ravelry color swap. Last time I mailed my package on the first day but this time I was waiting for the yarn I’d ordered so couldn’t. The problem with delaying is, the longer I wait, the more goes in the box – both handmades and stuff I buy. I already had 3 handmades (I only need 1) and was set to make a 4th – a small pouch like I made back in March. I went downstairs to start that but spied a cut up pair of jeans on my craft table and got inspired. I dug through my bins of trim and had a ball. Check out the pouch I made for some of the yarn I’m sending. Isn’t it cute? I’m SO pleased with it and may have to make more. Anyway, once that was done, I made the little pouch I went down there for. That’s 5 handmades – time to get that package in the mail, which I can do because the yarn came on Saturday. Good thing.

So, that was my week off. Any week at home is a good one, bad weather or not. Now I’m getting ready to head back to work. I can only hope that it’s not too hard to slog through everything at work tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week 20 - Law of Averages

What a week! The beginning couldn’t have been more different from the end in multiple ways. I hope the trend at the end keeps up for awhile.

The week started out blazing hot. It was in the low 90’s on Monday and although I’d planned to tough it out without putting on the AC, I realized my 8 month pregnant cleaning lady was coming for the last time on Tuesday and there was no way she could clean in the heat so with some relief for Ali being the reason, I put on the AC and left for work Monday. I stayed inside over lunch and then had a Husker Cats meeting after work. Just as we were gathering for that meeting, the electricity went off on our end of campus so we had the meeting in the west lobby of the building because we could see there. Unfortunately the sun beaming in also made it heat up quickly but I left just after 6:00 so I’d have time to stop at the market before heading to knitting at the library. Dinner was a couple of chicken strips and pickles eaten in the car. I was SO glad my AC was on when I finally got home after 8:00. I would not have slept a wink if it hadn’t been.

Tuesday was even hotter. We broke a record when it hit 97 degrees and it was super humid too. Polly and I went to Wendy’s over lunch and I went straight home after work and sat like a zombie, not even knitting. The weather was supposed to break on Wednesday and I couldn’t wait. August weather in early may is just WRONG!

Wednesday the campus was deserted. There was a terrorist exercise that lots of people in my department were involved with (playing dead or wounded, manning the command center, etc.) and it looked like lots of other people had taken the day off. I used the quiet time to make some progress on utilities and Nora, Lynn and I went to Panera’s for lunch. If you haven’t tried their steak and gorgonzola salad, go and have one now. Yum! By mid afternoon, the long awaited break in the weather arrived with a big thunderstorm. The change in the temp was immediate and wonderful. It also meant that it was too wet for Lorri and I to work at the Hansen House garden, which we’d planned to do at 6:30. I had a lovely evening at home, ending it with a long chat with Connie. Unexpected free time is always the best!

Thursday was a good day – better weather, lunch with Dodie and then I finished the tables for utilities billing just before leaving for a movie night. Cheryl’s husband was out of town so a few of us went to Thor after work. It was a total escapism movie and fun in 3D. But when we came out of the theatre, we could see it had rained and the skies were looking bad. I drove like a banshee to get home but wasn’t quick enough, having the scary experience of driving through hail. Since the storm clearly wasn’t over, I decided on an early night so went to bed to read. I was just drifting off when the tornado siren went off. I bolted out of bed and headed to the basement, calling the cats who completely ignored me. I turned on the TV and all they showed was thunderstorms. After 5 minutes, the siren stopped but I was wide awake. At least there was no tornado though.

Friday was another good day. I heard back from the programmers who had some changes for my utilities tables. I went plant shopping during lunch, finding a wonderful, family owned and operated greenhouse in south Lincoln that had the best bedding plants I’ve ever seen. EVER. I bought more plants I didn’t need and then headed to BSM to meet with the programmers. After an hour of discussion, I had some changes to make to the tables so headed back to get them done before the day was over. I finished just before 5:00, sent an update email to Nora and set my out of office messages. I was officially on vacation – yay!

First thing on my vacation agenda was a bee event at The Ross theatre with Nancy and Melissa, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. We got there at 5:30 and made the rounds of the tables. We had every kind of honey imaginable – raw, infused with spices/scents, honey marinated tofu (yum!), baklava, etc. After an hour, I felt like I’d had enough honey for a lifetime. We still had an hour before the movie was due to start and I was wondering what to fill it with when I noticed activity in a room behind the bar area. I went back to check it out and found people doing encaustic art – art with wax. You could either paint with colored wax or do collage that’s set with wax. I dove into the collage and had a blast. Digging through bags, cutting, arranging….loved it! I set it with wax and ended up with something so fun that I’m going to frame it for my bedroom. The movie – Queen of the Sun: What the Bees Are Telling Us – was good too. What a fun way to start my vacation.

My plan for the weekend was to get all my chores done so I would start my vacation with a clean slate. Well, I ran errands on Saturday and then managed to clean up the kitchen before sitting down to finish a project for my swap. Not the most productive day but not a total loss. Then Sunday Andrea and I were headed to Omaha to meet Liz, our friend from the UK trip, which was a year ago (!), who was in town for her son’s graduation from Creighton. I had made brunch reservations at Dario’s in Dundee so we got an early start. Liz gave us a blow by blow of the Morocco trip, which sounded like hell. Sub-standards accommodations, not enough direction, lack of toilets (some rest stops had a drain in the floor for a toilet), sickness and stress from being a white western woman in a Muslim country. I’m SO glad I skipped that trip! And the next trip is in Greece, which I’ll probably skip too. When will they do another England trip? Anyway, it was good to catch up with Liz and before we split up, we had vowed to meet in Chicago this fall for what could be the first of many trips together. I got home just in time for the Survivor finale, which I loved. Boston Rob finally won!

So, it was a wonderful week with lots of fun and ended with my first 2 days of 9 off of work. The weather averaged out to a decent number. 90's to start and 50's at the end = mid 70's the average May temp in Nebraska. I didn’t get all my chores done but I’ll just plan to intersperse them with bouts of gardening and organization, hoping for an average productivity when all is said and done. With 7 more days to go, I’ll have plenty of time. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week 19 - Roofed and Cozy

The week started out on a good note – baking coffee cake to bring to work. It’s always nice to kick a week off with goodies. It was deans’ reports day so it flew by and when I got home, the roofers were there. It looked like bomb had gone off in my yard and when I went inside, it sounded like a war zone. I had planned to relax and eat dinner but with all the racket, it wasn’t going to happen. At one point they must have thrown an entire package of shingles and it was so loud when it hit that I screamed. I couldn’t take it so headed to the library 40 minutes early for knitting. By the time I got home, they were pretty much done, just coming back the next day to finish the peak on the garage. Yay! Step one – done. Next up – siding the garage.

Tuesday flew by too (day 2 of monthly reports) and then I hit the pool. On Wednesday I met Anne at the Union and knitted over lunch, which was fun. After work, Nancy and I sent to the Ross to see Win Win. It’s a very good movie. Go see it. From there we went to YiaYia’s for pizza then it was such a gorgeous night that we sat on a bench and chatted until after 9:00, enjoying what was probably one of the last bug free nights for awhile. I went right to bed when I got home. It was a good day but LONG.

Thursday was the last day in the pool for awhile. Next week is the annual shut down week and I had just had a vacation week approved for the week after. There were just 3 of us in the class but it was fun. I had decided earlier in the day not to scrapbook on Friday so was able to go home and knit, finishing the funky mittens I made to match my lotus hat. I went to bed early and slept like a rock. On Friday we took Brandy, our student worker, out for lunch to celebrate her graduation. The rest of the day went by in a blur as I tried to clear everything off my desk so I can concentrate on utilities billing next week, which Nora wants major progress on before I can take the week off. It’s blackmail I tell you! Actually, I’ve been putting it off for a LONG time so this was good incentive.

It was a nice weekend! I spent Friday night knitting, starting the cutest strawberry tea cozy ever, despite my vow to not knit anything new until I finished something. Oh well. I picked Lorri up early on Saturday (8:00!) and went to Fremont for a couple of plant sales, where, wait for it, I over bought plants. Would you ever have guessed? I started chores when I got home and Andrea came over mid afternoon, needing to escape the same roofing team that so disrupted my Monday night. We knitted, chatted, streamed videos and ate yummy dinner. After she left, I stayed up late to finish my tea cozy.

It was HOT on Sunday (pushing 90) so I spent some time in the basement, something I’ll have to do for another couple of days because I refuse to put my AC on this early when it’s going to be cool again later in the week. Between the heat and being tired, I didn’t do as many chores as I could have but did get all my projects felted and started another handmade for my knitting swap. And the tea cozy worked great. My second cup of tea was steaming hot, which didn’t help with the heat but was worth it. There’s nothing like a cup of tea to commemorate a lazy spring afternoon. I LOVE spring! Enjoy it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week 18 - Chick Shopping Trip

It was another busy week, both at work and home. At the start of the week, I had something scheduled every night but it was followed by a wide open weekend in which to recoup. I was confident I’d survive.

On Monday I had lunch my old friend Polly. We’d worked together in HR but I’d only seen her once since she left campus ~8 years ago. It was like old home week! We sat down and talked like we’d seen each other last week, which was wonderful. She’s back on campus at a temp job and hopefully will find something long-term. Add in Monday night knitting and it was a wonderful day.

Andrea had invited me for lamb stew on Tuesday night so I headed there after swimming and grabbing a few things (for me and Andrea) at the grocery store. I didn’t get there until 7:30 and left at 9:30. It had been fun and the food was yummy but it made for a long day. I was supposed to go to the movies with Nancy on Wednesday, which we’d planned weeks ago, but I was feeling pretty tired when I woke up and so called and asked if we could postpone it a week since the movie was still there next week and there would be no swimming. Nancy was game, which meant I could swim and go home, which felt wonderful.

Thursday was all about gardening. I started the day at the Hort Club plant sale on East Campus, which had gorgeous plants this year. I bought the more beautiful geraniums, my tomatoes and lots of fun annuals. I brought them into my office so they wouldn’t cook in the car and had the pleasure of smelling lavender and seeing plants all day. The after work I had a Master Gardener dinner in Fremont to meet the new extension educator who would be coordinating our program. I made a bee line home and Lorri picked me up minutes later. It was a fun night and Natalia is a hoot! She gave us a pop quiz, asked us about some of her new ideas and then did a slide show of some of the botanic gardens where she had worked. It was a fun night but another long day.

The end of the work day Friday was not pretty. I had one of those doubting myself moments and there was no one there to bounce anything off. I tried Mary but she was too busy and the 30 seconds I got from her made it worse. I left work with a pit in my stomach and feeling like crap. But at least it was the weekend. Friday’s only post-work commitment was meeting the roofers at my house at 6:15. They were late but I picked my colors and they said they’d be here this week. Yay! And since my contractors are having another company do the roofing, they’ll be able to do my gutters and garage siding sooner. Once they left, I got on the phone with Carolyn and she made me feel much better. I went to bed early, figuring tomorrow would be a better day and it was!

I had an Omaha run scheduled with Andrea on Saturday afternoon. I wanted to hit the yarn shop for yarn for my swap partner’s project and a bowl and pod for Deanne, Penzey’s for Cake Spice for the swap and Trader Joe’s. Andrea added Tractor Supply and Target to the list. All was going according to plan – got the yarn I needed, were in and out of Penzey’s and headed to check out chicken coops at Tractor Supply. Well, they didn’t have any coops but they did have chicks and before you knew it, Andrea had 3 chicks, chick start, cedar chips and a feeder and waterer. We spent the rest of our shopping accompanied by the peep of chicks in the back of the car. How fun! I was home by 5:00 and the sitting and knitting began.

Sunday was supposed to be chore day broken up with an afternoon plant run to a local nursery with Lorri. I managed to get the laundry done before I left but nothing more. I bought more plants and a fun, cone-shaped planter then stopped for gas so I could go home and mow for the first time. When I was done, which felt good, I started knitting again. By bedtime, I had finished my 2nd bowl and had started the last pod. I didn’t get any cooking or more chores done but life will go on. It was a busy and fun week and I ended it knitting. Life is good!