Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 35 - Better Every Day

It was another week on my bum knee – no swimming and lots of sitting and knitting. But it felt better every day so it was all worth it.

I took advantage of parking right outside the door to run to Wal Mart over lunch to pick up a few things. It’s nice to not fight the crowds, walking with a cart helps (my mom was right about that – who knew?) and with no walk to and from the car, I was back at my desk in 45 minutes. It almost makes me want to pay the big bucks to get a close spot. Almost. Anyway, after work I stopped at Lorri’s to give her the pillow I’d bought her in RI (matched her family room perfectly!) and was home in time for dinner before knitting. There were just two of us but it was fun anyway. Andrea is due back Tuesday so there’ll be more of us next week.

Darla and I went to HyVee for lunch on Tuesday. I wanted salad but we just happened to hit 99 cent pizza day so we had a slice and salad bar for $7.24. Such a deal! This may have to be our day for lunch but Darla will have to drive once my handicapped pass expires. Nicki and I did a training session with the Help Desk staff in the afternoon that ran long so I just got back in time to pick up my purse and leave. Nice. No news about the evening – sitting, knitting and TV.

Layton was turning the Big 50 on Friday and was taking the day off so we were doing lunch on Wednesday instead. We went to The Red Fox. Uninspired choice but cheap, good and fast. I slammed through my to do list at work and then headed home to watch Breaking Bad (2nd DVD of season 4) and knit. I finished my fugly test knit socks (the ones that don’t match because the designer changed the charts after I was done with sock #1) and am glad they’re done.

My knee was feeling better every day and Tuesday was the last day I used the cane because I was starting to get pains and twinges (couldn’t feel the tips of 2 toes) because using the cane is walking funny for another reason. So I was taking it slow and trying to walk normally. I also figured out why my knee hurt more at work – the CPU under my desk was preventing me from extending my leg so it was sore and stiff every time I got up. A big of under the desk reconfiguring worked but I still tend to sit with my legs tucked under my chair so need to make a conscious effort go keep it straighter. I walked to Noodles for lunch with Dodie and paid the price for that though – stiff knee, hamstring issues and fatigue, which was probably more from sleep issues but I was still ready for more sitting and knitting that night. Having finished my socks, I actually started my Christmas knitting way ahead of normal.

Darla and I had rescheduled our thrift run to lunch since I wasn’t eating with Layton but then Nora needed to move her car so came along. Darla and I do the store in 15 minutes flat but Nora took longer, checking for clothes for her kids. We got BK and then headed back. The afternoon flew by and the weekend was here. It had rained a bit on Friday and was due to rain all day on Saturday. I was excited for our first rainy day in 2+ months.

In addition to the rain, I was going to see Andrea for the first time in a month. We were doing an Omaha run to restock our frigs and catch up. I had to run to the post office in the morning to mail out some yarn (swaps) and then Andrea came to get me at 1:00. We had a list and added things as we went, hitting Staples, Penzey’s and the brewing store before stopping for pedicures at a random nail salon we found in the first strip mall we checked. Andrea had camping feet but mine were fine from my pedi in RI two weeks ago. I went dark sparkly purple this time, which totally brings back 80’s Prince memories. The 80’s are coming back you know. Shocking! Then it was on to Trader Joe’s and finally a specific HyVee where I’d been told they had Summer Punch flavor, which is a darker blue than their other blue flavors. I bought 50 packets and now it’s time to get dyeing. Can’t wait. But I digress…. By the time we got to Waho, it was after 7:00. I put away the cold stuff and left the rest on the floor, along with anything else I’d bought that week. Lame! I’d done a lot of walking though and needed to rest my knee. But at least I’d done it. See? Better every day.

I needed to do a ton of chores on Sunday – laundry, dishes, changing cat boxes, general neatizing…. a big list. But Lori’s (one R) sister was in town and she’d invited us out to meet her so I called before noon and arranged to pick Andrea up and head out there for a bit. I brought all my cone wool and my winder so I could load them up for their new felting obsession. We stayed long enough to wind 2 cakes of every color I had then did a tour of the chickens and garden before heading home. We had planned to be home by 1:00 but it was more like 1:30. Still plenty of time for chores. After a hot dog lunch, I got busy. I interspersed sitting/knitting with the chores and got just about everything done before the end of the day.

All in all, it was a good week. My knee was better every day, I’d gotten lots of knitting done (including 2 presents already) and felt like my house was back in order again. Now to get back in the pool. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week 34 - My Blown Knee

I woke up with my knee hurting. Duh. The bum knee was clearly going to be the theme for the week.

The first order of business was to get in to the doctor. I called at 9:00 and after a bit of back and forth, the called to say if I got there at 12:30, they’d fit me in despite the doctor being fully book. Connie and Gordy were driving to Lincoln to meet Rachele so I could get there. I then called Helen, who was working until 5:30 so I could get a ride home with her. So I packed up my knitting, iPad and a book and headed to Lincoln, stopping at Walgreen’s to pick up some crackers and a bottle of water on the way.

I was in the office by 11:30, knitting and waiting to be called in, which happened pretty quickly – 12:30. They did x-rays, which showed that my knee had collapsed on one side and I need a cortisone shot. I got the shot and was hobbling to the pharmacy to wait out the afternoon in the conference room. It was a perfectly pleasant afternoon. They were having a food day so Helen brought me a plate of yummy lunch and another of desserts. She brought me a big bag of ice and I spent the afternoon knitting and watching TV on my iPad, comfortable with my knee up on a chair. Not much different from what I would be doing at home. Helen even brought me a coffee in the afternoon. Aside from the pain of walking to the car, it wasn’t bad at all. It’s good to have family to count on.

I had thawed chicken breasts that morning and Connie was supposed to buy salad greens and come home and fix them for dinner. But she called at 4:00 to say they were going to a 4:30 showing of Batman, which was nearly 3 hours long so I didn’t expect to see her before 8:00. Helen stayed for a bit when she dropped me off, getting the laundry up from the basement and setting me up for the evening with ice for my knee. When the phone rang at 7:15, it was Lori calling from the library where she and Anne Marie were knitting. They wanted to come to me, which was great. Helen left and they arrived to knit with me, staying until ~8:15. Still no Connie. I gave up at 8:30 and poured a bowl of cheerios for dinner. Connie finally called at 8:45 in a pissy mood from the market, where she was picking up milk for me. No need for the greens. They’d gone out after the movie. Nice.

They came in at 9:30, at which point Gordy went to be and Connie said they had forgotten the leaf for the table they’d picked up from Rachele so she was on her way with it. She stayed until 11:00. Good thing I hadn’t done anything all day and so wasn’t too tired.

My knee was some better in the morning and I was able to pick up the kitchen a bit before Connie and Gordy got up. They pretty much packed up and left so I was on my own. I just sat and knitted, refilling my ice when I got up to use the bathroom. I worked with Josh on some queries via phone but it was otherwise an uneventful day. The recommendation was to ice and elevate for 48 hours after the shot so I was aiming to go to work Wednesday afternoon. To see how I’d do, I drove over to Anne Marie’s to pick up Andrew, who was going to find and dispose of the dead animal in the garage. It turned out to be a possum. Good riddance. And there was something dead under the deck too but it was just beginning to smell and Andrew couldn’t see under the deck to find it. Anyway, I paid him $20 for the nasty job and drove him home. I survived the clutching so I’d be good to go on Wednesday.

My knee was even better Wednesday so I took a shower, got dressed and headed to campus. It was good to be back at work. I survived the afternoon and then met Kate, who was driving to Anne’s for pizza and knitting. I did OK and figured it was no more strenuous than sitting at home. It was a nice evening and Anne sent me home with leftover pizza and cookies for lunch on Thursday. Then I stopped on the way home and bought a can at Walgreen’s. It was time to lose the crutches.

My knee felt even better on Thursday. It was still far from straight, which was giving me hamstring cramps, but it was no longer painful to put weight on it. Yay! Dodie and I brought lunch (thanks Anne!) and ate at the tables in front of the library so I didn’t have to walk. The time at work was flying as I was catching up, which was a good thing because I hadn’t been sleeping well and was exhausted.

Friday was more of the same. The knee was better, I was tired and time was flying. Saturday was Dye Day at Gina’s in Fremont and I was leading it. I got up Saturday and made taboulleh then started gathering supplies. I was at Gina’s at 10:45 and had a fun time. Not many people dyed, which worked out because I didn’t have to stand very long. The food and company was great too. It felt good to be out in the world again.

By Sunday I was able to get some chores done and reclaimed my house from the mess of not being mobile. I could start the new week with everything in order. Nice. And if my knee kept getting better every day, I’d be back to “normal” soon. I live in hope.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 33 - My Fun Vacation

It’s always a good week when I wake up at Carolyn’s. I really needed this break after what felt like a stressful year end. Reminder to self for next summer, don’t fly out directly from work the day after the books close.

Having spent the entire day Sunday in the house avoiding the heat, Monday was a catch up day. We had a leisurely breakfast and eventually went shopping – mostly for food but we stopped at a couple of my must shop stores and I scored some stocking stuffers. Once everything was put away, we headed south to East Matunuck Beach, which has BIG waves! Aaron and I played in the water for an hour, riding the waves, and I got beaten up – skinned knees from the sand as well as generally getting based around – and laughed like a loon. It was wonderful! Then it was on to Matt’s store, where we changed clothes (there was so much seaweed on the floor of the bathroom that I had to vacuum and yes, it was all inside my suit.) Then Aunt Carrie’s for steamers, clamcakes and chowder. Yum! Such a nice end to the day.

Aaron had a doctor’s appointment Tuesday morning, which meant I had another nice morning lingering over coffee and knitting. When they got back, Carolyn, Matt and I headed to Boston to go to the JFK Library, which I’d suggested before coming in an attempt to do more than just hang out. It also counts as my culture for the month (remember that resolution?) The library was good – lots of news footage showcasing what a great speaker Kennedy was – but didn’t hold a candle to Bill’s library in Little Rock, which is full of interactive displays. It was a gorgeous setting too. After a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (we’d had a late breakfast and no lunch) where the girl said “We don’t have any of those weird donuts” when I asked for my fave lemon filled chocolate covered donut, it was back home to change and drive to Narragansett for dinner with Deanne. We ate at the new Plum Point Café, where the pasta was yummy. It was good to catch up with Deanne and hear all the Capotosto news.

Wednesday was lunch with Auntie Margaret and a stop at the Hack and Livery. It was wonderful to see her, as usual, and I got my belly clams. More yum! Carolyn was taking Aaron go carting with friends that evening so I met Janice for dinner. But by then I was done with eating out so just had a tuna sandwich. Again, it was good to see old friends. Deanne and Janice are my 2 oldest.

Thursday was the much anticipated pizza open house but that wasn’t until 4:00 so we hit Job Lot (another RI must shop that’s like Big Lots but RI based) in the morning. I was restrained in my purchasing. Then it was time for the open house. Bob came with Daisy and Maruta and Sharyn arrived together from Brown. It was a small gathering but we got lots of visiting in and the pizza from Don’s (not the most Italian sounding pizzeria but the best) was delicious. Do you see the trend here? I’d been eating constantly but all good RI food. Good friends and food. Perfect vacation so far.

On Friday morning, I met Cornelia for breakfast at our favorite little café. What a nice start to the day. That afternoon Carolyn and I were doing a culinary walking tour of Providence on a groupon she’d bought this spring. Since that didn’t start until 2:00, we decided to take advantage of the 20% off deal at the new local nail salon and got pedicures, which was so much fun. We headed to the city with rain threatening so we took umbrellas. We started at the XO Café, where the chef is British and from Devon. He made us unbelievably good blueberry crème brulee. I’ll say the YUM now and just apply that to the rest of this tour review. Then we walked to Heminway’s, which is a seafood place. We got to go into the kitchen and they served us striped bass. Then Prime Steak and Sushi for a mojito – my first and I thought of Sam Axe from Burn Notice – and a tempura crab roll. I haven’t drunk rum since college but the mojito was delicious and I may have to find a good one locally. The last stop was The Dorrance, which is in the old Federal Reserve building and so has incredible architecture, which they left completely intact. We had a daiquiri (another delicious run drink), duck rilletes and chocolate ice box cake. I SO want to eat at XO and The Dorrance on my next trip. Carolyn is celebrating her 50th birthday early at XO with her friend Karen this Friday. I’m jealous.

By the time we had finished the tour, it was starting to rain and was pouring before we got back to the car. Luckily we had umbrellas or we would have been even more drenched than we were. But we stopped and got lobsters and sweet corn on the way home, getting even wetter. I went home to a warm shower and we ended the day eating RI delicacies again. Good thing I was leaving the next day or I wouldn’t fit in the plane seat.

I packed first thing on Saturday so that wouldn’t be hanging over my head. I didn’t have to be at the airport until after 4:00 but still felt better when it was done. I had to borrow a bigger carry on from Carolyn but otherwise fit everything. I’d have to pay to check a bag but it was worth it. I’d found lots of stocking stuffers and some clothes too. We had originally planned to go blueberry picking but bagged that – too hot and no room in my luggage– so we went to the movies to see Moonrise Kingdom, which was filmed in RI and was dark but enjoyable. Then it was home for hotdogs and the wait for the plane. I tried to knit but couldn’t stop watching the clock. I was ready to go when Carolyn suggested I check to make sure the flight was on time. Damn good thing because it was 2.5 hours delayed, which meant I wouldn’t make my connection. I got on the phone to explore my options and they weren’t good. I basically had to take that flight or I wouldn’t be able to leave RI until Monday. Let me tell you, it’s not good to start a return trip this way but at least I got to wait it out at home and I was double booked so would be home early Sunday at the latest.

Other than the delay, the flight was uneventful. When they came on the PA with connections, Omaha wasn’t mentioned so it looked like I’d have to face either finding and paying for a hotel for only a few hours of sleep or sleeping in the terminal. But when I checked the monitors, there was my Omaha flight, also delayed 2.5 hours. I was never so happy to see a delayed flight! The gate was full of unhappy people but I sat and knitted and was on the plane by 11:00. Unfortunately we didn’t push off from the gate until midnight and I was completely antsy on the flight, actually getting up twice just so I could stand in the aisle. All the airport staff must have gone home already because it took ages to get our luggage onto the belt. I drove into my garage at 2:45 a.m., tired but thrilled to be home. But what was that smell? There was clearly something dead in my garage. Add that to the list for Sunday.

I only managed a few hours of sleep but felt fine so got busy right away. I unpacked, put everything away and started laundry before sitting down. Damn good thing because around lunch time, I took a step, something in my knee popped and I almost hit the floor. I couldn’t put any weight on my left knee. Crap! At least it waited until I got home but this wasn’t going to be pretty. I was in lots of pain and so was done. I called Anne Marie to borrow some crutches (knew she’d have some) and got on the phone to Connie, who was due to arrive that evening, to warn her. There’d be no supper cooked and I’d be useless while she was here. Sheesh! I cast on some new socks to pass the time and waited for Connie and Gordy to arrive. We had a nice dinner of super market fried chicken and visited until I headed to bed. Despite the knee, it had been a wonderful week. I wasn’t surprised my knee gave out with all I’d done on vacation and I was grateful it didn’t happen at O’Hare. Now to heal.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Week 32 - What Fresh Heck!

What a week! It was the final week of fiscal year end and I was leaving from work on Friday afternoon so had to be packed and ready by 7:00 a.m. on Friday. Can we spell STRESS boys and girls?

So with such a busy week, you’d think I’d try to keep my evenings clear. Yeah, right. I swam after work on Monday, which was a typical year end day of slamming to prep things (which covers every day of the week, regardless of how far ahead I thought I was before it started) but left the pool 15 minutes early so I could go home and grab some dinner before knitting. When I got home, I finished the lace scarf I’d been working on and then stayed up late blocking it so I could enter it in the fair the next night, adding lack of sleep to the mix. Smart!

I slogged through my scrapbooks before work, pulling 2 to fill in the last spots on my entry sheets (yes, I’m just anal enough to want to fill both of the sheets so when I only had 10 knitting entries, I had to find 2 more) and threw them in the bag to take to work. I filled the tags out over lunch at work and then left at 4:30 to have time to stop home to pick up the now dry scarf before heading to the fair to volunteer checking in 4H entries. There were more entries than last year (drought beats cool summer in the gardening world apparently) so the time flew by. I ran out during a lull and handed over my entries to the Open Class people. I ate a bowl of cheerios when I got home at 8:30 and actually went to bed at a decent hour. The fair pressure was over. Now on to trip prep.

I started the day Wednesday casting on some new socks (the first day of the month usually means new socks for my Ravelry group) that were a test knit for a new designer. Fun!. After work I swam then stopped at the fair to check out my ribbons. My scarf had won a purple ribbon - best in lot. I was thrilled! It was one of those projects where I found the perfect pattern for the yarn and it came out beautiful. One of my thrown in scrapbooks also won a purple. Nice! Happy, I went home to start getting ready for RI. I had a list of chores to do Wednesday that would leave me with only laundry, packing and changing boxes on Thursday. I was bone tired but finished the list just after 10:00 and collapsed into bed.

I had intended to swim Thursday too but ended up staying enough late at work that it wasn’t worth suiting up. That ended being a good thing because things took longer than I thought on Thursday night but by the end I was packed and things were well in hand to be gone for a week.

Since the books had closed Thursday night thereby making year end official, I had hoped for some down time on Friday to get my desk cleared up from the whirlwind weeks I’d just finished but no such luck. I was still prepping spreadsheets and the pace was no different. I was leaving for the airport at 2:00 and was still planning on lunch with Layton at 11:30. Well, he wasn’t going to be ready until noon and I was so stressed knowing I had more to do when I got back that I was a mess at lunch and didn’t enjoy a bite. There were scads of people in town for Husker Fan Day so the restaurant was mobbed but our regular waitress took our order when I caught her between tables and got our food to us in minutes. None of this helped. I was still a mess. We made it back to campus in record time but by then I was near tears. Mary saw my distress and said Josh could do the last thing on my list and they sent me off early. Of course I still took the time to clean up my desk and do out of office stuff so left for Eppley on time – 2:00. There were no incidents getting there and as soon as I was sitting at the gate, it’s like fiscal year end never happened. I was 100% in vacation mode. The flights were uneventful and I even enjoyed a yummy burrito during my layover. Unfortunately it was hotter than hell when I got to RI. Had I not suffered enough?

I had made no plans at all for the trip except to see Sharyn on Saturday because she was going to be leaving for Maine on Sunday so it was my only chance. But when Sharyn emailed to say she’d messed up (purely her husband’s fault I hear) and would not be going away until the next weekend, we opted to stick with our original plan to pick her up and head to a yarn/fabric store in Franklin, MA (something I’d found on Ravelry.) Well, they had NO AC and it was hotter than Hades in the old mill building. We didn’t linger there and asked for lunch recommendations, deciding on a local café. Now it had SOME AC but not enough. We were just worn out and tired from the heat by the time lunch was done. We trudged on through, stopping at The Christmas Tree Shop (cooler still but still not enough), Tuesday Morning (even cooler) and then Goodwill (the coolest of the three but we were so hot at this point that a walk in freezer wouldn’t have been cool enough.) After picking up some Del’s (frozen lemonade) and a quick stop at Sharyn’s, we headed home to the blissfully cool AC, stopping for swordfish for supper on the way. I took a shower and got into my veg clothes. After a yummy dinner of swordfish and broccoli, we watched the Olympics and decided that we wouldn’t leave the house on Sunday because it was going to be just as putrid outside.

What a great call! Matt and Aaron had a scout event so we had a nice, quiet day of knitting and watching movies. Carolyn made yummy pasta for dinner, using up bit and bobs from the frig. She is an amazing cook. The best part of the day was the rain that came through just before bed. It was bringing cooler weather for Monday and I actually went outside and stood in it for a bit. I haven’t seen or felt rain in months and it was a treat. With nothing but fun and relaxation in store, I went to bed happy and slept like a baby. Life is good doesn’t begin to cover it this week.