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!