Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 52 - Ready for Christmas

It was a whirlwind week between finishing knitting presents and flying out on Friday night. I was on autopilot, slamming through my to do list to get everything done. And get it done I did, in the knick of time as usual.

I was knitting like a banshee on Monday night and then again on Tuesday, bringing Cheryl’s scarf, my last Christmas project, to work so I could get more done on breaks. Not that I take breaks normally but I was under the gun. I got 2 lace repeats done sitting in the ladies room and then pulled it out at Anne’s that night too. We had a soup supper get together as a send off for our favorite water aerobics instructor who is not teaching next semester. It was fun and relaxing and I got more knitting done. I didn’t get home until 9:00 but decided to keep knitting until I was done. I was up late but it was worth it to have it done.

First thing Wednesday morning, I blocked the two scarves, which for my non-knitting readers means wetting them then pinning them stretched onto the back of the couch to dry. It makes all the difference. That done, I headed to work, relieved to have all my Christmas knitting done. Lunch was the UAAD Graze & Mingle, which I went to with Dodie and had fun. It was raining by the time we left and there was talk of snow. Then the rain turned to snow and there was talk of a blizzard. I was hoping so hard for a snow day since I had lots to do to be ready to fly on Friday. Then we got the up yours email from the Vice Chancellor saying we would not be closed on Thursday and that we should park in the garage because the lots wouldn’t be plowed and to dress warmly because we’d have a long walk to our offices, adding that we should use our discretion, and vacation time, if we didn’t think we could drive in safely. Seriously! The students and faculty were already gone and it was a day before the start of Christmas break but we should come in anyway. Way to value your staff!

So, no snow day for UNL but Wahoo was in the band of ick and there was no way I could get out of my driveway. It was still snowing and blowing (it was officially declared a blizzard) at 10:00 and I had 10” of snow. My guys were coming to plow out my driveway but I went out and shoveled the deck, sidewalk, path and doors. They arrived just before noon and the plows came before they were done so they cleaned up the end of the driveway after the plow. Perfect. Now I had the afternoon for laundry, packing and final prep. I got everything done with time to spare so enjoyed some knitting in the sun that afternoon. It was worth the vacation time.

I put my bags in the car and headed to work, happy to have had the extra time. I had given Mary her socks on Wednesday because she was out Friday and Thursday was iffy. Good thing. That left the scarves, which both Nora and Cheryl seemed to like, for Friday morning. I had lunch with Layton and then set out for the airport a bit earlier than I’d planned in case the snow was an issue. It wasn’t for getting to the airport but it was a zoo and my flight was delayed. The second one too so I didn’t get in until after 1:00 a.m. It was good to see Carolyn, as always.

I didn’t turn the light off until 2:15 so was exhausted the next morning. We made our shopping list over coffee, planning the menu for Sunday’s open house. As soon as we got back from the market, the baking began. Cookies galore. It was fun but by the end of the afternoon, I was spent. We had dinner and I couldn’t keep my eyes open so went to bed instead of staying up for a movie. I slept like a rock.

Sunday was busy busy, getting ready for the 3:00 start time. We chopped veggies, made the dips and got everything out on the table. Then we waited. And waited. Maruta was the first to show at 4:15 and then everyone arrived. It was fun to sit around the table and chat with all my friends. I was sitting at the end of the table with the veggies and dip so I think I ate a head of cauliflower before it was over. Cornelia was the last to leave and so got the parting gift of our homemade plate made of melted cinnamon candies, loaded down with all kinds of treats. We had very little left to clean up, which was nice. It was a wonderful end to the week and the next day was Christmas Eve. Ho ho ho!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week 51 - Exercising Friendly Flexibility

It was an odd week. I don’t know if I should blame holiday stress or what. Let’s just say I’m SO ready for break.

One odd incident revolved around a hat I’d knitted for a friend. I gave it to him a month ago when it started getting cold but it was still on his desk, right where he’d put it a month ago. He mentioned that he was thinking about it so I dared to suggest that he try it on. OMG! He went ballistic and said I was tried to control his life. Really? By asking him to try on a hat? I walked away, hoping the hat wouldn’t end up in the trash. That was Monday.

Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon. The phone rang at 4:00 and it was the trainer, who had been out for a couple of weeks after tonsil surgery. Well, she had a training scheduled for the next morning and wasn’t feeling up to doing it so asked me to do it for her. Not the person who used to teach it but me. I’ve never even been to that training, never mind taught it. And I didn’t have the computer access to teach it either. And when I asked the woman who used to train it for help, the best I got was that she would sign on for me so I’d have the access. Really? I was supposed to stand up for an hour and a half and wing it? Since there was an online version of the same class that people could take on their own and only 3 people were signed up, I called them and told them to do that instead. Done! I was still shocked that there was any expectation that I’d have to teach that and was fine with how it turned out.

Then Wednesday happened. The boss got back from a conference and word trickled down that I’d over reacted and should have taught the class. I was NOT HAPPY! Since there was nothing I could do about that, I went down to the Canfield potluck for lunch, which was a total dud. Then I’m not sure if it was something I ate or what but my intestines were in an uproar. Their gurgling was so loud I could hear it and I was pretty uncomfortable. By 4:00, I was done with it all. Although there had been pleasant spots in the week (knitting on Monday, lunch with Dodie, swimming) I was over it. I headed home early, happily bailing on a 12/12/12 dinner after work. What a good decision since that was the turning point of a previously bad week.

My intestines calmed down and I sat down to wrap my white elephant gift for the next day’s office Christmas party. From there I just kept going and by 7:00, I had wrapped all the stocking stuffers for my sisters (that’s a grocery bag full each for those who don’t know the Fenton family stocking tradition) and had tuna casserole hot out of the oven to eat during Survivor. Then I boxes them up and had them ready to ship. My goal had been to ship them Saturday so now I was ahead of the game. Yay!

I headed to work Thursday with the boxes and mailed them at The Union later that morning. I even scored  at the clearance rack while I was waiting (the PO is in the bookstore.) See, things were turning around! The office party was fun and I got 2 lampshades, which I can actually use, in the white elephant exchange. On top of all this domestic productivity, I was getting lots of stuff done at work too, crossing things off my list left and right. Our Business & Finance Winter Festival was supposed to be from 3:00-5:00 and since water aerobics was right across the street at 5:15, Nora, Cheryl and I headed over at 4:30. Well, they were packing everything up and literally took the tablecloth off the table we were sitting at not eating because the food was already put away. Sheesh! Water aerobics was fun. It was the last class of our favorite instructor and she did the 12 Days of Water Aerobics (that’s why she’s our favorite – lots of planning and fun.) Then it was home for more knitting. With the packages mailed, finishing my last 2 knitting projects was my main goal. I had a busy weekend ahead so every minute would count.

I put my inside tree up on Friday night since I like to do the tree in the dark. I had bought colored lights because they were out of white and even though I found my lights, I decided to shake it up and do colored lights and white garland. The new look is fun and my tree smells great. What a nice start to the weekend.

Now that I didn’t have to get to the post office Saturday morning, my morning was my own. I had to gather a set of Corelle from the garage and get it cleaned up but that was all. I don’t know why I got off my butt early and got busy but it was a darn good thing. I was waiting for a call from Connie because she and Gordy were going to be in York, NE (75 miles from Wahoo) so I was going to meet them there in the afternoon, have some dinner and then crash Gordy’s show (a private party) under the guise of helping sell CD’s. Well the Corelle was already washed up and in the dishwasher for a 2nd pass and I was showered when the phone rang just before noon. They were 20 minutes from Wahoo and wanted to go out for lunch. So I threw on clothes and met them at The Wigwam for lunch, getting an earlier start on the day than I’d planned. They stopped briefly at my house and then headed to York.

 Since we’d discussed meeting at 6:00, I figured I had the afternoon to knit so I settled in and called both of my sisters. I had just hung up when Connie called to say they were there. Connie wanted me to come sooner so I finished my tea and left the house ~3:30. While Gordy went to the venue for a sound check, Connie and I headed out for a snack. We sat in the bar of a big local restaurant – Chances R – and had nachos. We got to the event and everyone was in cocktail dresses and suits. I was wearing jeans and sneakers. Oh well. Gordy’s show was fun but they only had him do 25 minutes. We sold 1 CD and then packed up. I drove home and was there by 10:30. Not bad and it was worth it to spend time with Connie.

Susan, who was in Lincoln from Kansas, was coming on Sunday after church. So I got up and made a double batch of corn chowder (mostly for a party on Tuesday but we could skim a couple of bowls) and corn muffins. When it was 12:20 and still no Susan, I called her and she said “I thought I was coming for supper.” After church is supper? Oh well, I ate a bowl of chowder figuring I’d cook something else for supper. I had phone calls to make plans for next weekend in RI so started laundry and got on the phone. Susan was going to call when she left Lincoln. Well, when she did call, she was within blocks of my house. Crap! No cooking would be going on now. We visited and I had a sandwich while she had chowder. When she left, I sat down to the season finale of Survivor and more wrapping. By the time it was done, all of Carolyn’s stocking stuffers were wrapped and most of the small gifts for friends.

What a busy but productive week. The good things outweighed the odd and I finished so many things on my holiday to do list ahead of schedule. Since I’d be flying east Friday after work, I was happy to get so much done. I’ll be in Rhode Island next week so will probably be late blogging. I hope you have a happy and productive week coming up and a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 50 - Ups and Downs

This week was full of ups and downs but at least it ended on an up.

Monday was deans’ reports day and it was going so well that I decided to take a lunch (something I rarely do on deans’ reports day) and went to Yarn Charm. I exchanged my $34 skein of yarn that I’d bought the wrong weight of for a gorgeous skein of sock yarn. Still $34 but at least I’ll use this one. After chatting with the owners, I headed back and blazed through the rest of the reports, finishing in record time. I was on the fence about swimming and opted for heading home to bake brownies before knitting.

Tuesday didn’t start well. I picked up my glasses when I got out of bed and one of the temples fell to the floor. I dug through a box in the closet to find my last pair, which was a different prescription and 3 years old. I could see with them on but was left feeling slightly nauseous. Then I logged onto my email and saw one from the boss with a laundry list of problems from the deans’ reports emails but most of them were on Josh’s emails so I headed to work not feeling too bad. First on my list was to fix the emails and respond to the boss. Well, let's just leave it at it didn't go well. Even our first cookie sharing afternoon didn’t help. And I was struggling to see my computer screen with the old glasses. I had planned to swim but couldn’t find parking (Nothing was going my way. Nothing.) so I gave up and headed towards home, still feeling crappy.

My plan was to stop at the market on the way home and I had to drive right by Goodwill so went in to check out the yarn. Well, there is some justice in the world because the yarn gods smiled on me. I found 8 skeins of good quality yarn, including 5 for socks, and they were 99 cents each. I was still not happy but it helped a bit. I picked up my glasses, which they’d been able to fix enough to get me through until January when I’d already planned to buy new ones. Yay! The day was getting better and better. Then I got home and found my swap package and it was from ENGLAND! At last an international package that wasn’t from Canada. And it was full of wonderful things – gorgeous handmades, fabulous yarn and all kinds of goodies. There was a sweet note from my swap partner that I was supposed to read last. Well, I finished reading it and burst into tears, crying hard for 5 minutes. And when I was done? MUCH better.

Wednesday was a much better day. I had a nice lunch with Darla at Virginia’s Café – the local greasy spoon, where we had creamed chicken and biscuits and split a piece of lemon meringue pie. Beige comfort food. I finally made it to the pool for our last water in motion class (that instructor, who is our favorite and the only one who does that class, isn’t coming back next semester) and then went home to Survivor.

Josh called in sick on Thursday so I was all alone in the office. I got lots done on my to do list. Nora, Cheryl and I went to Ben Franklin’s over lunch and I found a couple of stocking stuffers for my sisters. We got pizza to go next door then it was back to work. The afternoon flew and I swam again, ate the sandwich I’d brought for lunch in the car and headed right to the library for book club. We had a good discussion on The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It’s a good book – check it out. Four of the Monday Night Knitters had all chipped in for a knitting surprise box and since 3 of us were at book club, we took the box to Anne Marie’s (the 4th) to open. It was kind of a bust with 4 skeins of meh yarn and a circular needle. I didn’t stay long because I hadn’t been home yet and Pixel had been out all day. I expected to find her waiting on the deck but I called and called and nothing. So I put on a sweater, picked up a flashlight and started walking the neighborhood calling her, looking like the crazy cat lady for sure. I gave up at 9:00 and went inside, worried and thinking I wouldn’t sleep at all if she didn’t come in. She showed up at the back door, scared to death and poofed to twice her normal size a few minutes later. What a relief!

Josh was out again on Friday so I had another quiet day. I had lunch with Layton at the Chinese buffet and picked up some photos at Walgreen’s for my calendars. I tried to leave early but that didn’t work out so well (10 minutes does not count as early!) I had a big weekend planned so was happy to get home. I didn’t get much done on Friday night but enjoyed sitting, knitting and going to bed early.

I was up early on Saturday and decorated my deck tree before the sun was up. I just love having it glowing outside and this year I put my too bright for inside LED lights out there. Perfect! I had an 8:30 hair appointment and then ran my errands in town, getting home by 9:30, ready to tackle my big list. The first thing was calendars. Now you’d think that with the pages all made and the photos all printed, it’d be easy and quick. Not so much. Between jockeying the not quite what I had planned pictures (I never got around to scanning the old prints I’d chosen so resorted, yet again, to my scanned slides file) and looking for just the right embellishments to flesh out the pages, it took most of the day. I stood and worked at the bar so I took several breaks for knitting, finishing my 2nd to last Christmas gift. When I was done ~5:00, I sat down to give my knees a rest and started my last gift. I got quite a bit done before going to bed.

Lorri and I were leaving for Lincoln at 12:30 to see Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies’ Christmas at The Lied so I spent the morning doing chores. When I left, they were pretty much done so if I got nothing done when I got home, I’d still be good to go. We had lunch at Panera (a pick 2 of my fave steak and blue cheese salad and mac and cheese, which was the perfect antidote to the newly arrived frigid cold) and then went to the play, which was enjoyable. I had talked about stopping at HyVee afterwards but just wanted to go home so we did. Lorri gave me some English rock cookies (very fruitcake ish) when I dropped her off so I made a big cup of tea and had some of those, calling it dinner since it was after 5:00. I did have some cheese and crackers later and was bummed that I couldn’t get CBS in (I never can when it’s windy and boy was it blowing!) to watch the finale of The Amazing Race so I put on Downton Abbey repeats on PBS and knitted the night away.

After a rocky start, the week had completely turned around. I was pleased with the progress I’d made on my Christmas to do list and was actually enjoying the long overdue winter weather. With eleven days until I fly east, I still have time to get things done and not feel too stressed. Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week 49 - Back to Reality

It was a rude awakening when the alarm went off Monday morning. It was the sound of my vacation being over. Insert sad face here.

Actually it wasn’t that bad going back. I’d ended my time off with a bang and my frig was full of Thanksgiving leftover so I’d be eating well all week. So I packed a turkey sandwich and headed to work. As usual, it took most of the morning to get through all my emails and catch up on what I’d missed. I had a meeting at 3:00 across campus so day one was over in a flash. I stopped at the new local yarn shop on the way home, got chatting and didn’t leave until after 6:00. Yes, with more yarn. Let’s not mention that. Anyway, I scarfed down some leftovers (too quickly to enjoy them) and headed to knitting with my show and tell. All in all, it wasn’t a bad first day back.

On Tuesday I felt like I actually got back to work, having caught up on Monday. But I had to teach the uber exciting Online Reconciliation class that afternoon, so only had the morning and the day was over before I noticed. At some point, I got the itinerary for my Ireland trip next May so got excited about that. I went home and actually enjoyed my leftovers and finished another pair of Christmas socks. Just one more to go. And another project. And finish the one that’s half done. Yikes! Christmas knitting pressure has set in.

I was tired on Wednesday and then had to finish the reallocation prep, which is boring and tedious work. After an afternoon catch up meeting with Nora, I headed to the pool for the first time in almost two weeks. It felt great to be moving again and to see my swimming friends.

I started Thursday tearing through all my yarn for the second morning in a row trying to find my $34 skein of yarn. I’d bought the wrong weight and they yarn shop owners said I could exchange it. I didn’t find it and was stumped until I realized on the way to work that it was right where it belonged – in my yarn bookcase. Being organized is so against my nature that putting it away was as good as losing it. Nuts! Nora and I went to lunch at Green Gateau for her birthday. The food was yummy and it was nice to get off campus and chat. Then I taught in the afternoon again so it was another quick day. I swam again and went home to, you guessed it, more turkey. I was nearing my limit on turkey at that point so it was good that it was the last of it.

Nora was off on Friday and had emailed a file for Mary late on Thursday. Like midnight late. And first thing on Friday, Mary came in with changes she needed. Major changes. Both Josh and I cranked on it for most of the day. I went to Noodles with Dodie over lunch and then slammed some more. We were pretty much done when Jo from Payroll and Mary talked and decided that everything we’d done was for nothing because of something in  the Affordable Health Care Act. Sheesh! Mary was happy that we’d tried so hard so it wasn’t for nothing but jeez! Jo couldn’t have come in a few hours earlier?

I had to stop at the market after work and then on the spur of the moment, I went to Menard’s and bought my Christmas trees. I had them picked out, paid for and in the car in ten minutes. When I think how I used to traipse through the fields for hours looking for just the right tree. Oh how times, and my standards, have changed. But I think I got two nice ones.

I woke up early on Saturday and immediately got busy. I made a big pot of steel cut oats. Have you tried them? They have to cook for a long time but are absolutely delicious! With my belly full of healthy breakfast, I got busy. After my weekly chat with Carolyn, I headed to the library to pick up the deposit from the Christmas decoration sale. Santa arrived for story time with Santa as I was prepping the deposit. I got all choked up watching the kids with Santa. So cute! After the bank, I hit the thrift store for the bag sale. The bins were half empty instead of brimming like usual so I wasn’t thinking I’d find much but four bags later, I paid my $6.15 (yes, for four bags full of stuff!) and went right to Andrea’s to hand over what I’d bought for her. She got 2 really cute J. Jill tops, a 100% silk hoodie and a few other things. I sorted the stacks for everyone else while I was there. Then it was home to pick the turkey.

Picking a turkey is work! I made the first pass and had my last serving of turkey with the stuffing scavenged from the carcass, froze a couple of bags for casseroles and put the bones on for stock. While that was cooking, I headed outside, where we were having another freakishly warm day. It was in the mid 60’s so I was fine in just a t-shirt and even got a bit sweaty dealing with the trees. I put the deck tree in the stand and cut the bottom off my inside tree and put it in water. I trimmed enough off the bottom to make a swag for the side door and moved the pretty wreath to the front. Then it was time to head inside and pick more turkey. Sheesh. I had enough stock for soup and tetrazzini and had plenty of icky bits for the cats. After enjoying a cup of tea in the living room in the fading sun, I made tetrazzini and Brussels sprouts and sat down to yummy dinner with a glass of wine. I had hoped to start my calendar pages but only got the stamp sets picked. It’d have to be Sunday.

I was up early again on Sunday and made some eggs before sitting down to read the paper and watch CBS Sunday Morning. As soon as it was over, I started the laundry and slogged through all my scrapbook paper looking for inspiration. I had four pages to design and had one down by noon. I had intended to stop for lunch but was in the groove so finished another before stopping for a late lunch. I created  grilled stuffed burritos in my George Foreman with turkey, salsa, corn and cheese with some Arizona Dreamin’ spice from Penzeys. Yum! Then it was back to pages after hanging out my sheets, which would not have enough time to dry on the line before dark. Oh well. I had my pages done in time to have a late cup of tea on the deck as the sun went down. Then I cleaned up the incredible mess I’d made pulling out all the paper, ink and tools so I wouldn’t be facing a mess. Since that was all tidy, I cleaned up the kitchen too. Then after another dinner of tetrazzini, I went through photos and picked a few possibilities for the calendars.

All in all, it was a good week. I won a pair of socks and a project bag on Ravelry plus got a lot done. There’s still some Christmas knitting pressure but it’s only the 2nd so I’m going to keep plugging away and try not to stress about it. There are two more weekends and plenty to do – trees to decorate, stocking stuffers to wrap and ship… it’ll all get done. It always does. Ho ho ho.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 48 - Enjoying Time Off

Monday dawned bright and shiny. Day one of my vacation and it was going to be gorgeous and warm. I was still resisting making a list but had in my head that I should do something inside each morning and some yard work in the afternoon.  Well, I can’t say I did anything project like on Monday morning but I did make a bunch of phone calls and ran some errands. Then it was right outside after lunch to tackle the parking strip. I took a ridiculous amount of time to trim all the perennials and haul them to the compost pile but I felt great when I came in for a shower and tea with yummy cookies from the St. Wenc cookie sale. Then it was on to knitting. What a nice day with the perfect combo of relaxing and productivity. Now to keep that up.

I had made vet appointments for Wrennie and Pixel on Tuesday morning. They both got shots and a clean bill of health. FYI, it’s really hard to get blood out of a cat. I wasn’t home 5 minutes from the vet and the Windstream man was at my door. Guess what – I need a new phone! Not a new old phone like the one I got from my sisters but a new new phone. At least I know my problems aren’t the line. But between the vet dismissing my worries and the phone guy’s eye rolling, it wasn’t a banner morning. But I had lunch at Rezac’s (the little country café 6 miles west of Wahoo) with Nancy Meyer and then we hit the country gift shop, where I scored a few stocking stuffers. I gave Nancy the socks I’d knitted for her and they fit. After she left, I got a call from Lori. She was at Andrea’s shop with 3 turkeys – 1 for each of us. Now I wouldn’t have to drive to Omaha for a cheap turkey. I know, it’s not cheap if you spend $6 in gas but I just couldn’t pay full price in Wahoo. Problem solved though. Thanks Lori. I took the 14 pounder and headed home to mow, which was more about chopping up the leaves than mowing but it looked great when I was done. Then more tea and cookies. I could totally get used to this. And I’d decided to get Billy back to help with the heavy yard work so kept calling all afternoon but wasn’t getting through. Hmmm….

Since it was Wednesday and I hadn’t done anything substantial inside, I decide to tackle the cabinets under the bar, which were loaded with stuff I don’t use and a tangled mess of Tupperware and assorted plastic. It took longer than I’d thought it would but I had more space and big Goodwill pile when I was done. But all the bending didn’t do my knees any favors. Oh well. And since I still hadn’t gotten through on Billy’s cell, I went to Burger King on the way home from the market (bought everything for Thanksgiving dinner, which was going to be on Sunday) and left a note on my neighbor’s car, hoping she’d get in touch with Billy’s mom who works here with her. But since it was going to be the last warm afternoon, I couldn’t wait so went home to more yard clean up. I pulled all the weeds from the veg beds and started schlepping all the dead pots and emptying them into the beds. After a couple of hours, my knees were singing so I decided to stop. Within minutes, Billy showed up at my door and he picked up where I left off, weeding until it was too dark to see. He left at 5:30 and I called Pizza Hut. The whole world was having pizza because they were busy prepping for Thanksgiving on Thursday. I was just being lazy. Oh well. It was fast and yummy and I was tired.

I was warm again on Thursday morning but it wouldn’t last so I went outside to disconnect and drain the hoses. The front came through just before noon with a cold north wind. I headed inside figuring the temp would plummet like they’d predicted. But when I went outside mid afternoon, it was still warm so I cleaned up the deck and set up the birdfeeders. My yard was looking better than it ever had at the end of the season and Billy and his partner Amanda were coming back on Friday. Yay! It was only slightly weird to be not doing Thanksgiving on the day but I talked to both of my sisters and Carolyn so gave thanks for family and friends and ate some leftover pizza. I could wait until Sunday for my turkey.

It was butt cold on Friday so I enjoyed a day inside. Lots of knitting and I decided to dye some yarn to commemorate my last day of vacation. Billy and Amanda came at 3:30 and cleaned my gutters, finished weeding, shifted the big brush to the edge of the alley and moved the compost pile from the back of the garage so I can have my compost bins built. Done! I can’t imagine what else I’d have them do the yard looks so good. What a nice way to end my official vacation days.

OK, at this point I’d been in Wahoo for seven days and was ready to get out of Dodge. I picked Andrea up at 1:00 and we headed to Omaha. I had a big Penzey’s list for Carolyn and wanted to hit Aldi for a big stock up.  We hit a few other stores in between but not too many so were home just after 5:00. I put 2 pies in the oven – pumpkin and blueberry – before sitting down to the last of the pizza and an evening of chopping veggies. By the time I went to bed, everything was ready for Sunday except the broccoli. There was no way I was going to chance having stress dreams.
I was up before 6:00 Sunday (I woke up most days at my regular time, despite being on vacation) and made a nice breakfast of pancakes and eggs before sitting down with the paper. My goal was to have the turkey stuffed and in the oven by 10:00. It was in by 10:02 so I was happy. I put in the leaf and set the table before getting into the shower. Lorri stopped by after church and then Helen came early to help with last minute stuff. Brenda, Michael and Charlie arrived and dinner was on the table right on time at 1:30. Everything was yummy. We played games after dinner – Farkle (I lost) and Fishing Monopoly, which I won. But sheesh, talk about a four hour commitment! Everyone packed up leftovers and headed out. It was a nice end to a wonderful week off. And now I have leftovers to eat all week. While the rest of the world is getting sick of theirs, mine are just beginning. I’ll say it again – Life is Good!


Week 47 - Prepping for Vacation

Just 5 more days. That’s what I was thinking at the start of the week. Five more days and I’d be off for nine. I could only hope it wasn’t going to drag.

Monday morning started with slamming through data for Mary. It started out innocently but by the 4th request, I asked what was up, only to find out Mary had a meeting with the VC right after lunch. Needless to say, the morning was over in a flash. So far, so good. Once Mary was all set, Darla and I went to HyVee for salad bar lunch. The afternoon didn’t drag either then I swam, ate a sandwich in the car and went right to the library for knitting. One down, four to go.

Tuesday was a food day and I hadn’t made my cottage cheese dip yet so did that first thing instead of eating breakfast and so grabbed a donut at work. I was tired from the long day Monday and not sleeping well (story of my life lately) and so was exhausted by the end of the day. I had planned to swim all four days since I wouldn’t be swimming while on vacation but when 5:00 hit, I just couldn’t do it. It didn’t help that the Tuesday instructor is my least favorite then when I saw the cats all milling around, that clinched it. I decided to hang with the campus kitties for awhile and not swim. And I was fine with that decision. I stopped at Dollar General on the way home and then to partially redeem myself, I prepped my swap package so I could mail it on Wednesday. I did the customs form online and almost keeled over when I saw the shipping price - $54! There wasn’t stuff worth that much in the box! Oh well. Next swap will just need to be domestic and I had better get a good package from a far off (not Canada!) country.

I mailed the package at the Union on Wednesday morning and then just ate at my desk and powered through work. I was making good progress on the dregs of my to do list. I swam and then went home to Survivor. Just two more days.

Darla was coming over for breakfast on Thursday because she was going to be in Wahoo for her niece’s adoption hearing. When the hearing was scheduled, she’d invited herself and I was fine with that. Despite being completely ready for an easy pancakes and bacon breakfast, I still had stress dreams so slept badly AGAIN! But we had fun and chatted until I absolutely had to leave for work. I was late, of course. I wasn’t hungry at lunch so Dodie and I went for bagels, which is her favorite lunch. Jennifer got me a frapuccino to get me through the afternoon and then I swam. Just one more day.

Nora had been out on and off all week with a sick kid so didn’t come in until noon, at which point we headed to the Union for the international food fair, which we try to hit every year. I got a turnover thing from the Indian students and a meat pie from the Russians. The rest of the day flew and I was done! I headed to the thrift store with Darla because that’s our Friday thing. We were happily doing the racks and bumped into someone from campus. Well, we were talking in the housewares aisle and she coughed with her mouth wide open and a loogie hit my lip! OMG! I was SO grossed out and appalled. Who does that beyond the age of 3? I wiped my lip on my collar and Darla and I walked away. When I got to the car, I pulled out a wet wipe and scrubbed away at my mouth thinking that there’d be hell to pay if I got sick on my vacation. Well, it wasn’t a cold I had to worry about.

I got right in the shower when I got home, still fighting the skeev factor. I pulled out my new nightie and sat down to watch some TV. But there was something going on with my stomach. I’d commented to Darla that I felt like I’d eaten a side of beef and now I was feeling queasy. Long story short, I barfed my insides out! This was not an auspicious start to my week off, especially because I didn’t quite make it to the bathroom so had some clean up to do. The only good thing was I felt instantly better once my stomach was empty. I went to bed early and hoped I was fine.

I slept for 9-1/2 hours and woke up feeling fine. Whewh! I could only hope there wasn’t a cold in my future. I had a pretty normal Saturday – errands and knitting. Sunday was normal too – chores mostly and a well timed trip to the Catholic school for their cookie sale, which is the best ever because you stand in front of a table loaded with cookies and they pack the ones you want. Nice. Andrea came over for knitting and tea in the afternoon, which is always fun.

As for the rest of the vacation, which would official start on Monday, I was planning on taking it easy so hadn’t even made a to do list. I wasn’t sure if I could leave it that way but went to bed happy to have the next seven days off. Life is good!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week 46 - Reframing Veg Time

The week didn’t start off well. Monday was a normal day at work and then knitting at the library. Then I went to bed. I fell asleep fine but was up from 1:15-4:30. No reason. I stayed in bed for awhile but when it was clear I wouldn’t be sleeping anytime soon, I got up and organized all my knitting (needles, yarn, accessories, frogged a project.) When I was done with that, I read until 4:30, at which point I turned off the light and fell asleep eventually. Sheesh!

When the alarm went off at 5:52, I turned it off and rolled over. I had considered calling in when I was still awake but woke up at 7:11 (from a disturbing dream but at least I was sleeping hard enough to dream!) and decided to go to work. I was in the shower directly from bed then just grabbed lunch stuff and a yogurt and scone for breakfast and was out the door at 7:50 and at my desk by 8:30. Needless to say, I was a zombie but made it through most of the day, actually getting a lot of little things done from my to do list. I left at 4:15 and headed to the polls. I voted then had cereal for breakfast and waited for bedtime, doing nothing to get a second wind. I went to be right after 9:00, at which point the election was head to head and I hoped worry wouldn’t keep me awake. I needn’t have worried. I was out like a light. I did stumble out to the TV at 12:40 when I woke up, sighed with relief and went back to bed, sleeping until my alarm went off.

Besides Obama, everyone I voted for lost but then that’s par for the course. I felt so much better rested and would have a good lunch. I had invited Darla to UAAD for lunch because Paul Wesselmann, the Ripples Guy, was presenting and he’s one of my very favorite people. Not only was it a good meeting but there was a drawing for people who brought guest and I won! A subwoofer and speakers for my computer. Nice. I swam after work and went to bed early again in an attempt to catch up on some more sleep.

I was looking forward to Thursday because there was an all afternoon professional development session with Paul. The morning flew then I grabbed soup and a bagel with Dodie before heading to Paul’s PD, which was wonderful. Since it was off campus and didn’t get over until 4:30, I left from there and picked Darla up for a thrift run. We found a few things and had fun, as always.

I was going up in the elevator with Josh on Friday and he mentioned that with Nora out, the mice could play. NOT! My phone was ringing before I had my coat off and two other people were waiting for something from me. Then Nora called with a project that took the rest of the day. After a quick lunch with Layton and finishing everything else, I dug in on that. I was super frustrated and only then remembered that I had felt this way before on the same project. I checked the documentation file and found that it couldn’t be done! We tried the same thing a year ago and didn’t have the supporting data so I pulled out some pdf’s and started plugging data. I met with Mary and dug into some detail for her and didn’t finish until 4:45. The day was over in a flash. I stopped at The Warehouse on the way home and scored on their buy 10 frozen items and they’re 50% off. I got 7 pints of Ben & Jerry’s, enough blueberries for a pie, a pork roast and a Lean Cuisine for $18.50. It’s always good to end the work week with a deal.

Since it was supposed to be 77 on Saturday, I was going to spent it doing yard work. But before I headed out, I finished all the inside stuff that had to be done in case I blew out my knee. Yes, that’s where my mind goes these days. With the cat boxes changed and the laundry hanging on the line, I headed to Andrea’s to pick up her cordless hedge trimmer, getting BK for us before dropping her keys back at the shop. I planted my last perennials and started the hedge, which is HUGE, covering half of the front of my house. The charge on the trimmer only lasted 5 minutes so I did the rest by hand. But the bush is so big that I can’t reach the middle, even after trimming what I could reach from inside my bedroom hanging out the window.  Since my neighbor always seems to have kids in her house, I headed over there in search of a kid to finish my hedge. Did I hit pay dirt! For $10, Billy climbed the ladder and did a great job of finishing my hedge. Then he said he would do anything in my yard that needed doing. I wrote his number down, thrilled to have someone to call for gutter cleaning and such. Yay!

With the yard work and all the must do chores done, Sunday was a nice relaxing day. I cleaned up the kitchen and did some cooking plus lots of knitting and even some reading in the sun in the afternoon. Since a front had come through and the temp had plummeted, it was a nice day to stay inside. Plus I was now thinking of my vegging as necessary recovery time thanks to Paul’s wisdom so didn’t feel guilty at all. It’s time to cut myself some slack for taking a day off. Thanks Paul.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 45 - Back to Reality

Monday was my last day in Spearfish and we started it by going to morning coffee at Common Grounds. There was a gang of people there, mostly retired or self-employed, and it was fun. I talked to a woman from Nebraska who knits and does some felting so I was happy. The yummy latte was the icing on the cake. From there, Connie and I headed to the craft store to buy needles and yarn so Connie could knit. She’d done some when her kids were small and was willing to try some again. Yay! We also hit a thrift shop, which was a mess – the kind with stuff crammed together so much that you couldn’t really shop – before heading home. Gordy had cooked some bacon but by the time we got home it was more like lunch time so we had bacon and peanut butter sandwiches (hey, don’t make that face! It delicious. Try it.) and then headed outside to sit on the patio and knit. There were also lots of phone calls to our east coast peeps to see how they were faring with Sandy. Connie’s daughter lives 2 blocks from the beach in Atlantic City so she was at an inland Ramada riding it out with her dogs. RI wasn’t having much trouble.

Anyway, it was a wonderfully relaxing afternoon. I was working on socks, of course, and Connie did great with her dish cloth. I guess knitting’s like riding a bike because she looked like a pro.

The deer – 4 bucks and 4 does – kept us company, lounging under the bushes and I attempted to feed them carrots but could only get about 20 feet from them before they backed away. When it got too chilly outside, we went in for a pasta dinner. I had introduced them to Dreamfields Pasta, which is diabetic friendly so Gordy was thrilled to eat the formerly forbidden food. I finally got a beautiful sunset, after which we watched Billy Elliot. When we all headed to bed, I packed. I wanted to be ready to go when I got up.

I woke up at 4:45 mountain time, which is when my alarm goes off on work days. When it was clear I wasn’t going to fall back asleep, I got up, dressed and put my suitcase in the car before waking Connie up for a quick hug goodbye. I was on the road by 5:30 and left McDonald’s in Spearfish at 5:50. I drove east, still not sure what my route would be. I had planned to go home via Chadron but that would be longer time wise and I just wanted to get home. So I drove I-90 until north of Valentine and then crossed into Nebraska, which is a way I’m familiar with from tubing in Long Pine. The ride home was uneventful. I didn’t really stop except to get gas and a Moolatte at DQ in O’Neill. I was home by 3:30. Nice! I unpacked and did some pruning of the crabapple and yew in front so trick or treaters could get to the step unimpeded and went to bed early. I was tired!

Wednesday was spent slogging through emails and such from just 3 days gone and getting a handle on my to do list. The day flew by and I went home to hand out candy. I had lots of trick or treaters and this year I got exactly the right amount of candy – 6 bags. I chatted with my sister Ginny while sitting at the front table while the kids were coming to the door and when I turned off the light, I had 8 pieces of candy left. Just enough for snacks for a few days. Nice. I do so enjoy seeing all the kids dressed up. I loved Halloween as a kid and had a big party with all my friends every year so it brings back good memories. We’d meet at my house to play a few games and carve pumpkins then while we were out trick or treating, my mom would roast the pumpkin seeds and we’d all come back for seeds and cocoa. Memories!

Thursday was monthly reports so that day flew too. Darla and I had planned to go to Cloud Atlas after work but she was stressing and wanted to work late to finish her monthly reports so we cancelled, which was fine by me because I was exhausted. All the nights of not sleeping in my bed had caught up to me. I also wanted to go home and finish the audiobook I’d listened to up and back to SD – The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. This was a book that Amazon kept telling me I’d like and since the library had it, I was in. It was 18 cd’s and I had the last 2 to go. After listening for 20+ hours and enjoying it, I was excited about the end. OMG! It was THE WORST ENDING OF A BOOK EVER! The author killed everyone off that you ever cared about, except the mother but she was catatonic. I was viscerally disturbed by the ending and despite being bone tired, had to turn on the TV to try and focus on something else. It worked until I went to bed and then I had to read because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve got to say, I have never reacted so strongly to a book ending like that. What was the author smoking?

Friday was more monthly reports but we were pretty much done by noon. I went to The Red Fox with Layton for lunch and had a meat and potatoes meal of pork chops (deep fat fried – yikes!), mashed potatoes and green beans. I was craving protein so certainly got some. After lunch it was back to my to do list, doing some niggling things that had been on it for awhile. Darla and I went thrifting after work and then I headed home for a much anticipated weekend.

The cleaning lady had come while I was gone so the house was in pretty good shape. I had lots of errands to do though. I had to pick up the book sale money from the library and prep the many separate deposits – book sale, fall fair, dues, etc. – and get them to the bank before noon. Then I hit the bag sale at the Senior Center Thrift Shop (filled one bag but only with stuff for friends) and then stopped at Andrea’s shop to drop the plates I’d picked up for her. Well, Lori stopped by to buy yarn and we talked well past closing time. I didn’t get home until almost 2:00 and by the time I ate some lunch, the day seemed shot. I did some knitting and caught up on some TV that I’d missed and before I knew it, it was time for bed. I set all the clocks back and hit the hay hoping I’d get a good night’s sleep, which is rare these days.

I slept OK and then tried to get things done on Sunday. I had three loads of laundry done, the desk cleared off and scones in the oven when Andrea and Lori showed up to knit, which we’d arranged the day before. I had hoped we could sit on the deck but the sun wasn’t out and it was only in the 50’s so we sat inside, chatting, drinking tea and eating these yummy scones. They left just before 6:00 and I scrambled to get a few more things done. While I didn’t get everything I’d planned done, I still felt relatively caught up and had had some fun and relaxation to boot. It was, all in all, a good week and weekend.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Week 44 - Headed to Spearfish

Before I could plan anything for the week, I had to confirm with Connie that she was still up for a visit. We’d talked about it right before she was heading to NYC for 10 days to visit her daughters so I just wanted to make sure having me come 2 days after she got back was still OK now that she was actually away. I called and she said she was stoked so the preparations began.

I had my last (hopefully for a long time) appointment with the ortho doc on Monday. It was at 4:10 so I left work at 3:45 only to sit in the waiting room until 5:20. Sheesh! But since I was “fit in” the day after I blew out my knee and so caused delays for everyone, no complaints from me. I just sat and knitted until they took me down. I wasn’t sure why I was there and other than a bit of prodding from the PA, the only thing the doc and I discussed was traveling in Ireland. Whatever. If he wanted to see me, I was there. I’ve got to keep on his good side for the next time I need an emergency shot. With the big delay, I didn’t get home early at all so grabbed some quick dinner then headed to knitting.

I didn’t sleep well at all Monday night so spent the next couple of days in a fog while getting ready, both at work and at home. I was trying to get allocations done at work before I left and, of course, had to teach two afternoons. I was waiting for a file before I could start so was antsy until that came and then cranked like a banshee to get them done. Since I was going to be in late on Thursday and teaching all after, I worked at home Wednesday night while doing laundry, hoping that having that done would let me sleep better. It was all for nothing though because on Thursday morning the boss changed the rules and I had to rewrite all the queries. I ran to the bagel shop with Dodie for lunch when I’d done all I could without getting answers from people who were in a meeting - it’s good to have flexible friends. I managed to get the journal entries prepared before training all afternoon, only to face more problems after my class. But I did get them done and got out of work half an hour early so I could head home to pack. It had been a whirlwind of a week and now I was in the home stretch.

I was on the road just after 8:00 on Friday, which was pretty much on time. I had a 7 hour ride to get to Brown Sheep Yarn in Mitchell, Nebraska. This was quite a bit out of the way but would only add 100 miles to my trip and was the closest I’d ever get without making a special trip. It was a pretty ride with a bit of snow on the ground and I got to see Chimney Rock and Scottsbluff. I had packed a lunch so only stopped to pee and get gas so was there by 2:30. After picking up lots of yarn in the shop (all seconds and cheap!), I told the woman I wanted some lint, which is what they call the waste fiber from the huge spinning machines. She picked up some plastic bags and into the factory we went. I rummaged through huge boxes of fiber next to all the spinning machines and came out with a big bag to add to my yarn. Now to buy a new spinning wheel. Anyway, I was glad I stopped there. It was lots of fun. But by the time I left, I only had a couple of hours of light left and I was headed into the wasteland that is eastern Wyoming. I was on the phone with Andrea when I lost cellular service and I didn’t get it back until I approached Spearfish. I stopped in Newcastle, thinking I could get a burger (nope! A gas station hot dog was all I found) and confirmed with a cowboy sheriff that I was headed in the right direction (note to self – have more than a 4” map from mapquest before you head on your next trip!) I was behind a Safeway semi for quite a while and was thrilled when I could pass him so that if I went into a ditch, someone would see me. Seriously. That’s what I was thinking. I arrived safe and sound at Connie’s just after 8:00. It was wonderful to see her and Gordy and to get out of the car!

On Saturday, Gordy made us bacon and eggs and then Connie and I headed to Rapid City. I wanted to hit their yarn shop and she had some errands – Target, the health food store, the mall (yikes!), etc. I resisted buying more yarn and then we shopped here and there, ending at Texas Roadhouse for ribs, Caesar salad and baked sweet potatoes. Yum! This had been a favorite on our old Omaha runs so it felt like old times. We drove back to Spearfish and met Gordy at Common Grounds, the coffee shop they hang at where Gordy was doing Song Circle – where people show up to play and sing. It was nice but I was SO hot (yes, the hot flashes continue) that I had to sit outside on and off until we left. I took the opportunity to call Carolyn and see how they were faring with Sandy. All was fine. Meanwhile Connie’s daughter, who lives in Atlantic City, was holed up in an inland hotel. There were lots of Sandy calls over the weekend. Anyway, we had a light supper of salad and fish then streamed Albert Nobbs (odd movie) on Netflix. We all went to bed early.

On Sunday we headed up into the mountains for breakfast at Cheyenne Crossing, which is a wide spot in the road up Spearfish Canyon. I had a skillet with hash browns covered with taco meat, salsa and an egg with toast. I would never have thought of that for breakfast but it was yummy! From there we headed further into the hills, stopping at Rochford (made Cheyenne Crossing look huge!) where Gordy knew the bar owner and we had fun playing with her dog. We then stopped at his friend Paul’s (even higher up) and visited there awhile. He had a new puppy so that was fun. We drove home via Deadwood so we could get truffles at the Chubby Chipmunk – the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten and a must do when I’m visiting Connie. We made a big pot of pea soup when we got home and watched The Matrix. What a nice end to the week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week 43 - Just Another Week

The weeks are just blending into each other lately. Work, swimming, knitting and, unfortunately, not sleeping well and plagued with hot flashes. Despite having nothing exciting to share, I’m still lovin’ life.
I didn’t swim on Monday because I needed to get home and frost the banana cake I’d made the night before. The up side of that was I got to eat dinner before knitting. The cake was a bit dry but everyone still ate it and I sent the leftovers (more than half a cake) home with Donna, putting some baked goods in my Ed bank for next time I have a household issue. He always comes to my rescue.

I slept like crap on Monday night so was dragging on Tuesday. A double dose of Starbuck’s got me through the day. Let’s hear it for caffeine! There was no swimming because of fall break so I was looking forward to going straight home. I got an email that I needed to do a check for Friends and deliver it that night, which meant stopping home for the checkbook and getting a second signature before delivering it. Denise offered to deliver it after she signed it so I was home by 6:30. I had dinner, watched some TV and went to bed early. For once I slept well, which was a damn good thing.

I had a meeting first thing on Wednesday, which went well and made my morning fly. I was supposed to go to UAAD at lunch but an IDM problem reared its ugly head and I worked through lunch and was back and forth with the programmers all afternoon. The day was over in a flash and I was back in the pool. It was freezing cold – both the air and the water – but the class was fun and we warmed up quickly. I went home to the dinner of champions – cheerios. Lame as it was, it hit the spot. Sometimes you just gotta have cereal for dinner.

Dodie couldn’t do lunch on Thursday so I went thrifting with Darla and hit pay dirt. I got a wonderful sweater, some tacky 70’s pillowcases (what is it about 70’s linens that I love? The orange and pink maybe?), some zippers, a china soup cup in my pattern, a blouse for a friend and more. It was just a little bit of everything and totally fun. You’d think with such a successful lunch with one of my favorite people, I’d be in a good mood. Nope! A funk set in over the afternoon (no reason why) and it lasted through swimming. Anne noticed it. It was that bad. Then I had to hit HyVee and get food for Kate, who was home with a horrible virus. I’m not a germophobe but didn’t want to touch anything or breathe her air so I dropped the stuff on her counter and practically ran to the car where I pulled out a disinfectant cloth and wiped down every surface I’d touched. I felt bad about bolting so called her from the car to chat. Chalk one up for good karma.

I had a super productive day on Friday, getting tons checked off on my to do list, and the day was over in a flash. I went straight home, happy the weekend was here. I finished a pair of socks while watching TV so it was a good night too.

I woke up before 6:00 on Saturday, bummed that I hadn’t slept late. Hell, 7:00 would have felt good. I got up and started a new pair of socks. I chatted with Carolyn and then got ready for spinning. I brought my new socks and my wheel, figuring I’d try it again. And try I did with no luck. One of the spinners came over and tried and she had no luck either so that at least gave me hope. It’s not me! It’s my crappy wheel so it’s time to get a good one. After spinning, Andrea and I did an Omaha run, getting home at 7:00. I had a Trader Joe’s picnic of cheese, bread and wine and watched the last Gavin and Stacey DVD, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I went to bed hoping to sleep in on Sunday.

Not only didn’t I sleep in, I woke up at 3:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally got up at 5:00 and made a nice breakfast. Before 6:00 I was showered and dressed. Sheesh! I read for an hour and was starting to get drowsy so went back to bed, falling sound asleep. Then the phone rang. Damn! But at least I’d gotten another hour and a half bring my total to six-ish hours. Groan. Needless to say, I didn’t have a super productive day. I got laundry done and spent most the day reading. I didn’t even knit much. That’s tired! I can only hope for a hot flash free good night of sleep tonight.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week 42 - Another Productivity Shortage

I had a good week. I got lots done – at home, at work, errands, everything! – and on Friday I had my last PT. I spent the week fighting hot flashes ALL THE TIME! If I could bottle this heat for this winter, I'd save a ton on my heating bills. At least they've morphed from visibly dripping from the neck up to just hot everywhere. Other than the fact that I turn fans on everywhere I go, at least I'm not mopping sweat. So there's that at least. How's that for looking for the silver lining? Gold star in my opinion. Anyway, on to my week.....
I had a meeting that ate up most of Monday morning but was fun – going through all the steps between budget, financial and HR to cope with a reorg under Academic Affairs. There was lots of laughter, which always makes for a good meeting. When that was over, I jumped in the car and went down to Michael’s, where I scored some great stuff for my swap. I spent what seemed like most of the afternoon with Nora and then just couldn’t cope with rushing from the pool right to knitting so skipped swimming in favor of going home to eat some dinner before knitting. It was nice not to rush around. I never used to swim on Mondays but at some point decided that rushing like a banshee on Monday was worth it to have another night where I could go straight home. It may be time to rethink this.
On Tuesday morning, I used the ten minutes I save by not having to walk 4-5 blocks from my car (loving this temp handicapped pass!) to stop at Wal Mart before work to pick up coffee, which I didn’t have enough of to get through the week. Going in the morning is the only way to shop there. And because I can leave and come back to my spot right outside the door, Darla and I went to our favorite thrift store and then hit HyVee for pizza and salad. I had thought about paying to get a close spot, which would be expensive and have to be approved by the Vice Chancellor, but didn’t pursue it when my knee got so much better. Hmm…. Maybe I should rethink that too.

Anyway, I swam on Tuesday, which was pretty miserable because it was cold everywhere – the air and water, meaning we were freezing whenever our shoulders were out of the water. I happily went home to sit and knit. I wanted to watch Frontline, which was a profile of both Obama and Romney. I struggled to keep my eyes open, actually dozing in my chair – something I never do. At least I slept well when I finally went to bed.
Wednesday was another busy day at work, jumping from one thing to another all day long. I had planned to skip swimming and go home and cook pasta before Survivor but Kate reminded me that we had fewer classes next week so I went. It was cold again but it was Sarah’s shallow class so it went quickly and was fun. I had brought my sweats so changed into them and went right home to watch Survivor and knit. It felt great.

Dodie and I went to lunch on Thursday at Panera and it was another quick day at work, with another meeting in the afternoon. I don’t usually have many meetings but there were lots this week. My knee was a bit twingy after the shallow class on Wednesday so I skipped swimming and went food shopping. Just putting the groceries away felt like I was getting something done. I did neatize the kitchen a bit too. Maybe that was it.
I finished a sock before work on Friday. Always a good start to the day. I spent the morning working on my to do list from Thursday’s meeting and then dropped watches at the battery place before doing lunch with Layton. I was leaving work at 4:00 for my last PT so would pick up the watches either before or after that. The afternoon flew and I made good time (no traffic until 5:00 I guess) so picked up the watches beforehand. PT was hard (duh!) but my last and they gave me a parting gift (yes, that’s what they called it) – a nice commuter cup. I went home to start my weekend, with high hopes for it being productive.

The only plan outside the house was sorting books at the library from 11:00-3:00. I was supposed to bring a goodie so made pretzel/rolo/pecan turtles Saturday morning and picked up the kitchen before leaving for the library. As I suspected, just Pat and I showed up at 11:00. We couldn’t tell what had been done already or even which books needed sorting and I couldn’t get anyone on the phone so we just dug in. Another friend showed up with his grandsons and then Jenna and Denise came. We made good time, probably because there are only half as many books as we should have for a decent book sale. This isn’t going to be pretty. But I was home at 1:00 so was happy to be done with it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a very productive afternoon. Yup, I was sitting and knitting. Go figure. I got two packages in the mail, both yarn, so it was a fiber filled day. Yay! I did get up long enough to sort through my food cupboards, which were in total disarray. Then after more sitting, I did rally and made a big pot of chili for supper, using some of the many cans of beans I found in the cupboard. I was not a paragon of productivity but oh well, that seems to be my weekend MO lately.

I got up Sunday determined to spend the day cooking, using up the ridiculous amount of food I had in the house. I started with pancakes and bacon then the baking began – banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and banana cake to take to knitting (just the cake.) Then I made cauliflower cheese and ham steak for dinner and 3 bean salad and tuna salad for lunches. So, I’ll certainly eat well this week. Good thing because I’ll need lots of energy just to clean up all the pots and pans I dirtied in my cooking spree. I think I used them all. At least I have the pressure of the cleaning lady coming this week so I’ll have to get them done. You know me – I work best with a deadline. Have a good week.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 41 - Fall is Here

It was pretty uneventful week, which worked for me. I went to PT 3 more times, swam twice and knitted. That covers the week. See? Uneventful. And my knee is better all the time. I’m at 11 degrees (from 23) and the therapist thinks that’s as straight as it will get. Since I’m walking normally and not in any pain, I’m fine with that. Just one more session and I’ll be done with PT.

Fall definitely arrived at the end of the week. We had our first hard freeze on Saturday so I pulled in all my plants but only temporarily since I plan to put the out again. The back room looks like a greenhouse. It was hovering around 60 in my house on Saturday morning and I was cold, between the hot flashes that is. It felt way too early but I turned the heat on. The sun wasn’t going to be out much and with it not forecast to even hit 50, it was only going to get colder. Oh well. I’m not complaining about the temp though. I’m all about fall this year. If we could just get some rain!

My only out of the house plans for the weekend were errands on Saturday. I drove up to the library to pick up the deposit and it was a mob scene. I had completely forgotten about the vendor fair so walked the tables and picked up a tray of homemade ginger cookies, ordered some Tastefully Simple cheeseball mixes and got a Christmas present for a friend. Then it was on to the bank, the thrift store (only filled one bag but got a cool stand up knitting bag from the 70’s) and then Andrea’s. When I got there she had a customer who was talking about peeling potatoes for the Colon church’s roast beef dinner on Sunday. Since I’d just bumped into Lorri at the library and made plans to grab lunch somewhere on Sunday, I decided it was time, after sixteen years in Nebraska, to hit one of these church dinners.

I did the big clothes swap on Saturday afternoon - pulling out all the sweaters and corduroys and putting away the capris. When that was done, I sat and knitted. Go figure. I made a comfort food dinner – Betty Crocker’s hamburger stroganoff (one of my dad’s favorites) – and went to bed hoping I’d sleep better now that the house wasn’t cold, which I did. I woke up at 4:15 on Sunday but was thankfully able to fall back asleep, not getting up until almost 8:00. Shocking! I went through the Sunday paper (I still had the past 2 weeks untouched so this was progress) and was doing chores earlier than usual. I spoke to Carolyn briefly and she asked about Connie, whom I’d emailed earlier in the week and hadn’t hear back from her. Well, I hadn’t been off the phone 2 minutes when the phone rang and it was Connie. We chatted for quite awhile (she and Gordy were driving home across South Dakota after one of his gigs) and made plans for me to drive up for a visit for last weekend in October. That’ll be fun and I’ll stay for 3 days so we can get some quality vegging in.

I was still on the phone when Lorri came. I changed out of my sweats and we headed for Colon. It’s a village of just over 100 people but there were a couple of hundred (at least) waiting in line for lunch. So Lorri and I went through the drive thru line (yes, they had a drive thru for a church dinner!) instead of waiting, taking our lunches home to eat at my house. For only $8 we got a huge portion of roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, cole slaw, a homemade roll, a kolache (a less than stellar tasting Czech pastry that’s de rigueur in Saunders County) and a piece of pie. It was all delicious and I have enough to eat again. Maybe there’s something to these dinners? I may have to make an effort to do more of these.

The rest of the day was chores interspersed with knitting. I was still looking for the 2 watches I’d bought at the thrift store a month ago that were in a little baggie on the bar last time I saw them. I cleared the entire bar and desk but nothing. They’ll either show up somewhere stupid six months from now or they’re gone. Time will tell. I had a pile of paper after I gave up on the search so spent the evening going through mail, recycling, cutting coupons, etc. while watching TV instead of knitting.

So I’m starting the week in good shape with chores done and food in the frig for dinners after swimming. I’m facing a load of crap at work first thing on Monday but hope I can recoup from the bonehead user move and have a good week at work.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 40 - Physcial Therapy Rocks!

The news for the week is my knee – IT’S BETTER! And best of all, I have my life back. So, life is good is an understatement this week.

I went to the doctor on Monday afternoon to find out what my options were because I just couldn’t imagine going on with my knee, or should I say thigh, as it was. They told me my knee would never be straight again, pointing out all its problems on the x-rays, but also adding that since I had no pain in my actual joint, replacement wasn’t on the table. Not that I wanted that. I want to get as many years out of my knee as possible before considering knee replacement. When I asked about physical therapy, he said sure and wrote the prescription.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning when I was at PT bright and early at 8:00. After poking and prodding me, the PT said my quad wasn’t firing. It was a vicious cycle of the more my knee was bent, the less it fired and the less it fired, the more my knee bent. After doing all kinds of stretches, he hooked me up to electrodes and did a 10 minute cycle of 10 seconds of electricity, during which I could watch my thigh contracting, and 10 seconds off. It was pretty uncomfortable but so worth it. I stepped off the table and the pain and restriction in my thigh was gone! I could walk normally again. I could not have been happier! I went to work feeling like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. Layton even noticed my new lease on life just passing me in the hallway.

After starting off so well, Wednesday was just a wonderful day. Everything clicked. I had a super productive day at work, got to spend some time outside knitting over lunch and made it to the pool for the first time that week. Then it was home for Survivor. Such a good day! I hadn’t realized how much not being able to walk and stand was bringing me down until I could do both again. Life is good!

The rest of the week flew by. I ended up working late twice and only swam once so it was a good thing they put me through my paces on Friday morning at PT, where they had me on a bike and stair stepper in additional to all the other stretches and such plus a torturous weight machine that tired to force my knee straighter. At least I had knitting to distract myself from that and another electricity session. But it’s all good.

I food shopped a couple of times over the week, restocking the frig, and after my haircut on Saturday, hit Dollar General to stock up on toiletries and house stuff. Andrea and I had talked about doing an Omaha run but decided against it because neither of us needed anything. I planned to knit all weekend in an attempt to finish my 3rd pair of socks for the month. After lunch, I decided it would be fun to have company so called Andrea and Lori and invited them over for tea and knitting on the deck. The weather was perfect and knowing they were coming had me neatizing the entire house. They arrived ~3:00 and we sat for hours, knitting and having tea and cheesecake. It was a wonderful afternoon.
I did my laundry and a few remaining chores on Sunday and was able to finish my socks by mid-afternoon. What a perfect ending to a wonderful week. Fall is here to stay, my knee is near normal again and I have hope. I can see myself walking around Ireland next May now and can even imagine getting some fall gardening done. My life is back and I couldn’t be happier. Yay!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 39 - My Yarn Score

It was a pretty normal week. Work, swimming, knitting – you know, normal. For me anyway.

I worked late on Wednesday, trying to finish something I’d been working on and when I got home I had a nice surprise. I’d been waiting for a box of yarn from Germany that a woman from Ravelry was sending me for free. It was all her mom’s leftover sock yarn, which I was going to use for more monster socks. Well, the box was HUGE and full of wonderful cakes of yarn in all different sizes. Before, during and after watching Survivor, I played with yarn, mixing and matching all the wonderful colors. I was in heaven.

But when I was done with the yarn and ready for bed, I couldn’t find Pixel, who always comes in at night. So I was up a couple of times before midnight, slept fitfully and then got up for good at 4:30. Still no Pixel. I sat down to make a lost cat poster and was just finishing at 5:00 when she walked in the door. I set the oven time for an hour and half and went back to sleep. At least I slept well for that small chunk. Sheesh!

I had planned to go to HyVee for steak dinner after swimming on Thursday with Kate but I bumped into her on the way to swimming and we decided to skip it. When I got home, there was yet another package of yarn waiting for me – this one the last of the trades I’d done for extra yarn I had. So it was another fun night of sorting yarn. Can life get any better?

Helen was coming over after work on Friday to pick up the pile of clothes I’d bought at the thrift shop bag sale plus a few I’d culled from my closet and we were going to get pizza. Well, she walked in with her craft box and we got talking so she didn’t leave until after 10:00. I was so tired I was rubbing my eyes like a baby. I still had to do the treasurer’s report for the Friends meeting the next morning. I got it done and crawled into bed exhausted.

I talked to Carolyn first thing on Saturday and then headed to the library. After the meeting, I was walking across the library and something tweaked in my knee. I could only hope it wasn’t going to be a problem.It was uncomfortable driving over to get the Hart kids, who were going to mow (first time since May, really!) and do some yard work. I spent my afternoon knitting. Yes, it’s more socks. It was a nice, relaxing day but my knee was iffy. Good thing I was going to the doc again on Monday.

I should have been more productive on chores on Saturday because I was volunteering all afternoon at the Ag Research & Development Center’s 50th anniversary open house. I did manage to get a few things done before heading out, including changing my linens to fall – flannel sheets and my winter comforter – and washing the summer one at the laundromat and hanging it out. I got to the ARDC just after 1:00 and was sent to the children’s area, where I helped at the make your own ice cream booth. There were different 4H-ers each hour and the time flew. I saw lots of people I knew so had a pleasant afternoon. I was home in time to have a cup of tea before dinner time and had plenty of energy to finish my chores.

All in all, it was a good week. I got to spend time with Helen, had lots of yarn fun, started a new pair of socks, got some volunteer hours in and still managed to finish my chores. All that and fall finally arrived. Nice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 38 - My Muster Problem

Definition of MUSTER

transitive verb


a: to cause to gather : convene

b: to enroll formally —usually used with in or into mustered
into the army>
c: to call the roll of


a: to bring together : collect

b: to call forth : rouse


: to amount to : comprise

The word muster conjures wonderful memories from my childhood in East Greenwich. Every year there would be a firemen’s muster and parade where local fire crews (is that the word?) would have a parade of their hand pumps and then have a contest to see what crew could shoot their water out the farthest. There was also a small carnival involved. It was always lots of fun. Recently I heard some as if something “passed the mustard,” when he really wanted to know if it “passed muster.” Of course (the is ME after all), I corrected him. He didn’t believe me so I had to blaze up the Merriam-Webster website and educate him. He probably would have know the term had he been from a military family but otherwise I think it might be a New England term.

Why the vocabulary lesson? Well, it was another doozie of a week at work. The never ending monthly reports overflowed into a second week and threatened to do me in. I worked on them all day Monday, worked through lunch on Tuesday and then slammed through my class so I could do the last of the work before leaving early for an eye doctor appointment. I thought I had them all done, only to have a list of emails with more changes waiting for me Wednesday morning. Not counting the work I did from home on Labor Day weekend, that was day eight for something that usually takes two. I has down in the dumps for sure. The only good thing about Wednesday was it was raining. Yay! Mary was leaving for a conference so was gone by noon and by day’s end, I really was done with the monthly reports. I can only hope I never have a repeat of that!
I spent Thursday cleaning up my desk , doing filing and recovering from the past two weeks. When I was done, everything was neat and organized and I could move on to my next project, which felt good. Luckily the rest of the work week went quickly. It was gorgeous Friday and campus seemed deserted but I was there until 5:00 and then headed home. I had knitted and managed to swim twice but otherwise it was a slammin’ week and I was happy the weekend was here.
And here comes the vocab reference…. Saturday was spinning in Fremont but I just could not muster the enthusiasm to go. Despite being dressed and out of the house early Saturday morning (had more yarn to mail), when I stopped in at Andrea’s shop, I just couldn’t commit to doing anything. Spinning didn’t seem worth the drive and even a sale at the quilt shop in Plattesmouth didn’t trip my trigger. I just wanted to go home. Not to be productive, just to be home. And that’s what I did. I managed to do the minimum of chores and a bit of cooking but most of my time was, you guessed it, sitting and knitting. I watched a cute British TV show, Gavin and Stacey, that my friend John has been recommending for years and a few episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which I'd only seen a couple of times before and love. I also managed to do some crafting on Sunday, making some cute coasters with scrap fabric. All in all, my weekend was totally relaxing and I guess I needed it. Let’s hope I can muster more energy to face the coming week. : )