Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 26 - Good Yarn Mojo

It was a relatively normal week but when I look back at it, knitting seems to have been the trend. What else is new, you ask? Hmmm….

Having scored so much good quality yarn at Goodwill on the previous Friday, I decided to hit all the other Goodwills on Monday. I went way south at lunch and then hit the downtown one – nothing. On the way home, I went to the last one. Again, nothing. So much for my theory that the central warehouse was sitting on a huge stash. I knitted at the library on Monday night, as usual, and did show and tell of my newly dyed yarn, which I’m still loving.

Having failed at Goodwill (well, I did get 2 skeins of Husker Red 100% cotton for dishcloths), I got an email Tuesday that I had won a drawing on Ravelry and had a $30 gift certificate for Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of Socks That Rock yarn. How fun! There were a gazillion colors to choose from but I ordered a beautiful one. Free, gorgeous yarn – what’s not to love? I knitted with Anne at the Union over lunch on Wednesday and she helped me find the middle of my leftover yarn from Darla’s hat that I’m making mittens out of. Picture two women, perched at a small table with yarn everywhere as we unraveled the remaining yarn, put a knot at the middle and rewound it. It’s good to have yarn buddies. After the pool that night, we met up with the Village Inn gang and knitted some more. Unfortunately they hadn’t gotten my email that we were coming so there were nine of us crammed around a round table for six and none of them brought knitting. It was good to see them again though, having not seen them since before Easter.

The days flew by and the weekend arrived in a flash. I managed to mow and mulch between my veggie beds on Friday night, having been thwarted by what seemed like constant rain. Every storm just makes me cringe, knowing what’s good for my garden is adding to the flooding along the Missouri. Anyway, with the gardening done and no plans for the weekend, I made a chore list, which included breaking out my cleaning supplies and vacuum for the first time in years because my interim cleaning lady was a no show on Friday night (not her fault but the fault of my heavily medicated, recuperating cleaning lady who forgot to call her.) After cleaning the entire house on Saturday (as much as I was willing to do anyway), I decided to reward myself with my first ever kool aid dying.

I broke out my packets, deciding on pina pineapple (yellow) for one end and soarin’ strawberry lemonade (pink) for the other, figuring that the two colors would suck up to the center and create orange. So I put the two ends in the bowls and no sucking occurred! I had a bright yellow end, a melon-y peach end and white in the middle. Back to the cupboard and I found a packet of ice blue raspberry lemonade (bright blue), which I stuck the middle in and promptly got green, blue and purple. I had created a rainbow on my yarn with every color except the orange I was trying for. I put the yarn in the oven to set and sat down to knit, my whole house smelling like wet sheep. I had time to kill while the yarn cooled, after which it had to be rinsed and hung to dry, so sat down to knit. Sitting was clearly going to be a trend.

Despite my big list of chores, I spent most of the rest of the weekend knitting and ignoring my to do list. I ripped out my colorwork mittens again and interspersed reknitting them between the chores and by the end of the weekend was almost done with one mitten. This may not sound like much but we’re talking tiny needles, equally tiny stitches holding two strands of yarn and following a chart for every stitch. Trust me, this is an accomplishment. Anyway, it’s a good thing I’m happy with my knitting progress because I ended the night Sunday with very few things crossed off my list. I’m calling it good though. Every once in awhile I need a slow, lazy weekend. At least I have knitting and yarn to show for it. I could have been sitting like a zombie. Good thing next weekend’s a long one because I have lots to prep for my 3rd annual Fourth of July Cookout. Yikes! I’m feeling pressure already. Breathing now……

P.S. Here’s something funny from this past week that I can’t resist sharing…. Polly and I were heading toward a picnic table to eat our lunch on Thursday when we saw a man walking with his ~ 3 year old son and dog. When we approached the table, the little boy waved a baby carrot and said, “I got this carrot from that man (pointing to man at the next table.) Carrots make my poop fluffy.” And he walked away.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 25 - Born to Dye!

It was another busy week and was complicated by mind numbing fatigue. It’s that time of year when the sun’s out so late that I inevitably end up staying up too late, only to up with the sun by 5:00 the next morning. Starbuck’s saved my butt several days this week.

I was still suffering from my pulled butt muscle on Monday so went grocery shopping instead of swimming then went knitting. I haven’t been swimming on Mondays because I knit but with only 3 nights a week in the summer, I’m going to have to start, which will make for a super rushed night. Oh well. On Tuesday, I had to drop the big white kitty at the vet for her check up (I was sure she’d already been spayed and I was right) so had to leave for work quite early. I also loaded up trash cans so I could pick up mulch at the landfill for between my new raised veggie beds. I swam after work, picked up the cat, stopped at the market and then went for mulch, which they didn’t have. Bummer! I’ll have to buy some of mooch grass clippings from neighbors.

I was getting more tired with every passing day but was powering through. I don’t know if fatigue was impacting my knitting but I had to rip out my orange socks 3 times in an attempt to fix a problem with a twisted stitch. The last time was at the Union at lunchtime on Wednesday. Realizing I needed something easier than lace socks to work on, I started more chapstick cozies, which are cute and make nice gifts. I swam on Wednesday and was still thrilled with the new pool. Nancy was supposed to bring pizza chez moi at 7:00 so we could catch up. I ran home and madly started neatizing the house. But when I saw that it was 7:30 (she usually late but not that late), I checked the machine and she wasn’t coming. We talked on the phone for a long time and I was late getting busy, heading out to water my containers after 9:00. Sheesh!

By Thursday, I was the walking dead. I had had trouble falling asleep Wednesday night and was still awake after midnight then woke up with the sun. Paul was supposed to install my baseboards so I moved all the furniture to the center of the family room and cleaned the bathroom before I left. I felt numb and useless all day and didn’t wake up fully until I dove into the pool. While I didn’t work very hard, at least it woke me up and I was all showered and ready when Nancy came with the pizza at 7:00. Paul had not come that day so we hung out in the front room and had a nice time catching up then went to check out Hitler Kitty’s kittens. While we were chatting with Hitler (aka Toyko’s) owner, she mentioned that she’d had another cat with kittens who had disappeared this winter. I gulped and asked for her description. Yup, I had spayed and found a home for her cat! It was Possum. I felt bad for a nanosecond but got over it because this woman is not a responsible pet owner. I can only hope she’ll say Hitler-Tokyo, which she said she will. Nancy took her kittens (she started with taking one and went back for a 2nd) and I actually made it to bed earlier than usual and slept like a rock.

I had my 2nd French get together Friday after work so got up and made dip to take before heading to work. The day dragged (go figure) and I had a list of errands to run before the French thing at 7:00. On my way to errand #1 (Big Lots), I stopped at Goodwill and found someone’s quality yarn stash for sale. I scored a few skeins of good yarn, which made me wonder if there was more good yarn at other Goodwills. Luckily there was one right by the French thing so I stopped there on the way. Yes! More good yarn! I was excited for the French thing but got there and it was in one of those sparsely furnished, echo-y houses and a lot of people had come. It was also hot so when I was struggling to hear Sam, who was standing right next to me, I ended up in the living room, speaking English with 2 other women, one of whom was a founder of the Apero group and she couldn’t hear either. So while I spoke very little French, it was still fun and I stayed later than normal, not getting home until 10:00. The baseboards were gorgeous! He had chosen a taller one with cove molding at the top for the back room and even the bathroom had a fancier version. It all looked great. I went to bed early feeling great. Saturday was set to be another busy day.

I woke up excited for my first ever Dye Day with the Fremont spinning group. I had 4 lots of wool to prep and then Andrea was closing her shop at noon so we could drive an hour north to Patty Wilson’s house, which was in the most gorgeous location at the top of a hill overlooking a tree line and spring fed pond. The weather was gorgeous and she has the perfect set up, complete with a fully equipped studio that opens out to a covered patio. Since we had arrived late, most everyone was done dying so we had lots of instruction and dove right in. It was a blast! I absolutely LOVED it! I did a blue and green sock blank and a “skein” of yarn that I hadn’t tied so it was in a wad. Once our dye jobs were in the oven, we sat on the deck and pulled out our knitting. It was a near perfect afternoon (a cup of tea was the only thing missing.) We left near 6:00 with our gorgeous yarn then stopped in Fremont for errands and dinner, getting home ~8:30. It was a super fun day and I was totally inspired to break out my dye kit and do more. I went to bed feeling great.

Sunday was supposed to be chore day and I had a decent start when I sat down to wind my orange/purple yarn. It took hours. Seriously, like 4+. Andrea arrived toward the end and helped me with the last of it, making it go more quickly for sure. I had discovered that my dad’s desk was coming apart from being moved for the baseboards install and had to completely empty the heaped top to get it back together. I nuked some lasagna from the freezer for a quick dinner and then flew around trying to get a few things done, with only moderate success. But my messy house was worth it. I’d had a wonderful weekend and had some beautiful yarn to show for it so the chores will have to wait. Life will go on.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 24 - A Great Week

What a wonderful week! It started out blazing hot but that only lasted a couple of days. The nice weather was just the icing on the cake though. Lots of things went well.

Monday was the first water aerobics class back at Mabel Lee pool and I had planned to go (I usually don’t go on Mondays) but that didn’t work out. Since I wasn’t swimming and had done so much cooking over the weekend, I invited Andrea over for dinner before knitting. I had everything ready to go and just had to put the shish kebabs on the grill. After admiring the work Paul had done – repairing my bench and building sides for my raised beds (this made me so happy!), I went to turn the kebabs only to find the gas had run out on my grill. Figures. It was super hot and now I had to turn on the broiler. We finished eating just in time to head to knitting, which was fun. Anne Marie informed me she was giving the socks she was working on to me and I got to try them on. How nice!

On Tuesday I found out I had won the prize for my KALendar (the KAL is for knit along) group on Ravelry, which I’ve never won before. All that knitting I did last month paid off. By Wednesday the weather was near perfect and I finally got to swim in the deep end, which was great. I loved jumping into the deep end and after a second day on Thursday, I was feeling muscles I hadn’t used in a long time. Also, my knee was already feeling better since it wasn’t getting beaten up in the too shallow pool. I felt great! Lots of stuff left the house this week too. I offloaded a big bag of clothes to a friend who has lost a ton of weight. Getting rid of stuff always feels great and even better when it goes to someone who can use it. I took all my office paper and cardboard recycling to Lincoln. And on Thursday night I finally finished the two at a time socks I’d been working on since March. And it was going to be cool on Friday so I could wear them. Yay!

Between all this and having a good week at work, I was excited for the weekend, which would start with a cookout at Mary’s for her belated birthday. I had made tabbouleh and was ready to go when the phone rang on Friday afternoon. Someone had dumped a cat on campus. I checked it out on my way to Starbuck’s (Dodie and I were having an end of the week treat) and indeed it was tame and so I needed to catch it. I went back with my car, carrier in hand and tried my best. Luckily Richie, the man who helped start Husker Cats, came out and he was able to get her in the carrier. It was cool and gloomy so I was able to leave her in the car while I tried to get in touch with the sometime fosterer. When I hadn’t heard anything by 5:00, I gave my tabbouleh to Lynn to take to the cookout and headed home to set up my spare bedroom as kitty land again. Sheesh!

The cat was fine in the car and I set up a litter box and food and let her out of the carrier. She instantly became mean and was growling constantly. Only after doing an inventory of my cats did I realize that Wrennie must be under the bed in the spare room. After failing to get the white cat back into the carrier, I put a chair outside the door and spend the night knitting and trying to coax Wrennie out from under the bed. I finally went into the room and sat on the bed, talking to the cats the whole time, which is what got Wrennie to come out. I felt bad that I had put the white cat under such stress but at least I was able to go to bed without having to worry about the cats.

Saturday was another gorgeous day and I had big plans. I went to the farm store and bought bags of composted manure and then headed home for garden duty. I had to dig in the edges for the beds, mix the soil inside and plant everything. Other than a brief break for lunch, I was out there all day. Unfortunately I pulled a muscle in my butt trying to move the first wheel barrow load so was feeling it every time I bent over but by 4:00 everything was done. I headed in for a shower, exhausted but feeling good that I’d accomplished what I had planned. I also had my swap box to open. It had arrived while I was outside and I was very adult about it, setting it inside until I was done with the garden. It was wonderful - full of hand spun and dyed yarn, felted hand mades and lots of other goodies. It was worth the wait. The evening seemed endless thought. I struggled to stay awake and went to bed early.

It barely rained at all overnight (another bad forecast) so I would have to water at some point but other than doing some laundry, I took it easy on Sunday, still nursing my pain in the butt. I got lots of knitting done and updated all my yarn and projects on Ravelry. Over the day I did a few other chores but mostly had a nice, quiet day. I picked my first strawberries, talked to Ginny at the end of the day and got the sprinkler going on the garden. It was a nice end to a wonderful week. The only negative was my neighbor told me at the end of the day that my new cleaning lady, who is her best friend and was due to come on Tuesday, fell and shattered her ankle so wouldn’t be cleaning my house anytime soon. I may just have to buck up and clean it myself this summer. Yikes! But I think I may be OK with that. I’ll keep you posted. : )

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 23 - LONG Short Week

What an incredibly LONG short week! The days seemed endless and emotions were running high. I’m just glad it’s OVER!

Tuesday was catch up day at work so I’d be ready for solo deans’ reports since Dale was at Disney for the week. I got lots of stuff done and was able to do a few things for Nora too. After work, I went thrifting and bought a bunch of sweaters – some for felting and a few to try taking apart for the yarn, something I’d been reading about on Ravelry. A skein of luxury yarn costs a ridiculous amount but you can buy sweaters for pennies at thrift stores and there are directions for how to look for the kind of seems that allow you to take the sweater apart and reclaim the yarn. So I started deconstructing a sweater on Tuesday night and it was interesting. Not something I’m going to keep doing but I wanted to try it. Cross that off the list.

I started running reports from home at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday and kept up a quick pace when I got to work. I had decided not to stress about it but just plod through and by the end of the day, I had both mine and Dale’s tied, which surprised me. I still had plenty more to do (deans’ reports are just the first step) but was feeling great. I went to the pool afterwards and then had a nice chat with Andrea, who had just gotten back from a trip.

Thursday was more of the same – running reports, doing emails (91 of them!) and updating spreadsheets. But I had started the day on a high note, seeing that my swappee had gotten her package and loved it. Then I had a nice lunch with Dodie and even got a free frapuccino at Starbuck’s. I was feeling great! And then the phone started ringing. My stressed boss was not happy, having found a few minor mistakes (attachment in the wrong place in one email, missed a new dean on another and attached one file twice on a third) and my supervisor was hearing about it. Really? First time doing them solo and I got them in 2 days! Regardless, I went into beating myself up mode and it wasn’t pretty. I left work fighting tears and vented to all my friends in the pool then to Carolyn on the way home. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t eat. Like I said, not pretty.

I woke up Friday feeling much better and determined to go in and make NO mistakes, chalking the previous day up to stress on everyone’s part (there’s too much of that lately.) I had a productive, nice day and was looking forward to a calm and productive weekend, glad the four day work week that felt twice as long was over.

It was a nice weekend. I had Friends on Saturday morning and then ran errands in town, stopped at Andrea’s and then got BK for lunch. I spent the rest of the weekend getting stuff done. The guy who tills my garden did it Saturday evening and I called Paul, a friend of my friend Donna, and he agreed to make wooden edges for my veggie garden beds. I was SO excited to finally go back to how I gardened back east so got out my graph paper and seeds and planned my garden on paper. Paul and Donna came on Sunday morning and we talked details. He’s also fixing my trellis bench in the backyard and installing baseboards in my bathroom and family room. SO exciting! I got tons of chores done over the two days too. What a nice weekend, which I needed badly.

I did a lot of cooking on Sunday and so will start the week with a frig full of healthy food. Thursday was also our last day in the old pool so we’re going back to Mabel Lee, which is so exciting. I’m hoping that being in the deep pool again will do wonders for me knee. So there’s a lot to look forward to this coming week, despite the 100 degree temps to start the week. But it’ll be cooler by week’s end and I’ll be out planting my veggies in my new raised beds. Better late than never.