Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 46 - Swearing Off Bowls

Last week’s 3 words were Hard to Quit. Speaking of quitting, this past week I swore off eating from the candy bowls that are everywhere at work. Because I have no self-control. Once I start dipping in, I find myself grabbing a handful every time I walk by, which adds up to who knows how many empty calories every day. So it’s cold turkey time. If I want candy, I’ll have a candy bar (that won’t happen much) but no handfuls. I did this once before and lost almost 20 pounds without trying. We’ll see how this goes.

Aside from the lack of candy, it was a really nice week, despite some mid-week sadness.

Things were going along swimmingly when I got an email Tuesday afternoon from my friend Lori that her mom, who had been battling ovarian cancer for as long as I’ve known Lori, had died. Although Nelda had been in hospice, this still came as a surprise. I’d seen Lori at knitting Monday night and there was no mention of her mom being worse. The next morning she died. The visitation was Thursday night and 4 of us from knitting converged on the funeral home in Omaha at 5:00. I had driven directly from work, Jan and Donna had driven from Wahoo and Andrea, who was rushing back for book club at her house at 7:00, had driven herself. The visitation was very pleasant - between Lori’s sisters, her cousin and aunt, I had plenty of people to visit with and the time passed quickly. I left at 6:00 and met Donna and Jan for supper at Upstream before heading home. It was an oddly nice evening and Lori and her family seemed to be doing OK, which was reassuring.

Lori had requested lunch at Chips on Saturday so I got up and got busy picking up the house, which was a wreck, so I could offer knitting chez moi after lunch. But when I called Lori at noon, she was not up for going out after all. Friday had been a long day of the funeral and then driving to Bassett and back (more than 4 hours each way) for the burial. With the house pretty clean, I told Andrea I’d rather stay grubby and keep going than stop for lunch, which surely would have stopped my productivity dead. So I put all the plants I’d brought in outside, swept the floors well and then repotted everything, bringing in the plant racks from the garage and arranging everything for the winter to come. Only then did I jump in the shower and sit down for a cup of tea. I was pleased with my progress.

Luckily the productivity streak lasted because beside chores on Sunday, I did some mending, sewed a curtain for the spare room and did a bunch of cooking. By the end of the day, the house was neat and cleaner than it was on Friday, the laundry was done, the frig was stocked with food for the week (I even made a pie to take to knitting) and my plants were all safe and warm for the winter. If I could be so productive every weekend… I have a dream!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week 45 - Hard to Quit

Why is it so hard to quit things, even when I know I should? Maybe it’s my mother’s voice in my ear “Winners never quit and quitters never win!” from back in 8th grade when I wanted to quit band? (Which I did and it was the right decision, by the way.) Maybe it’s my Responsibility strength from the Gallup Strengths Finder? Whatever, I just find it incredible hard. What am I talking about you wonder? Stay tuned.

I read the book The Happiness Project awhile ago and the thing I took away from it was to find what actually makes you happy rather than what you think will make you happy or what you want to make you happy. The very first thing I thought about was being a Master Gardener. I first certified in Rhode Island but it was right before I moved so I had just gotten my feet wet. I had to recertify in Nebraska and from minute one I knew the program didn’t hold a candle to RI’s. But I stuck it out and did make a couple of wonderful friends through the program. But over the years, I’ve gotten less and less out of it and the volunteer hours have been a burden. I’ve beaten myself up for years and had come to resent any time I spent on community gardens while neglecting my yard. So, after reading the book, I started thinking about quitting. And thinking. And thinking.

On Tuesday I got an email from Lorri asking if I was going to the MG potluck on Wednesday. Now I’d gotten a newsletter while I was home after surgery and despite having all the time in the world, I hadn’t even opened the envelope. Seems like an indication of a lack of interest, n’est-ce pas? Regardless, my first response was that I’d think about it and get back to her but as soon as I hit send I started thinking – why was I even considering it? I had done almost no volunteer hours in the past year and was viewing the dinner as an obligation. Seriously? I knew then and there that it was time. Despite having another year before I needed to report my hours, I was ready to quit NOW. I sent an email to the MG coordinator and quit. Then I asked Lorri to stop at my house and pick up the box of data entry I’d taken as a volunteer project but had been ignoring for a year so she could return it at the dinner. I wanted to leave nothing hanging. It felt GREAT! Why did I wait so long? The guilt is gone with one email. I can only hope with that gone, I’ll spend more time in my own garden next year.

That was definitely the highlight of my week. The second milestone was I went back to the pool, which also felt great. Tuesday was my first class and it wasn’t a hard one and I was able to do just about everything. I took Wednesday off, not wanting to do too much, and went Thursday, which was hard. Agony with Alison proved more difficult and all the ab moves were painful and I skipped a few. But all in all, it felt great to be back in the pool. Life really is returning to “normal.”

And another positive is Nora, Cheryl and I got together at Nora’s on Saturday and did our calendar pages, which came out so cute. All done in early November! How’s that for getting ready for Christmas early? We had lots of fun and now they’re done. Yay!

So great week, huh? I hope yours was just a good.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week 44 - I'm Back Baby!

It was like someone flipped a switch! I woke up Monday with all my energy back and feeling great. Good thing because it was going to be a busy week.
The only thing different about Monday was I made it through the day without succumbing to fatigue and nap time. I had some incision tenderness but nothing I couldn’t live with. I worked all day, grabbed dinner at home and then went to knitting. All in all, it was a perfectly normal day, which felt like a gift after being under the weather for so long. Tuesday was pretty normal too and was marked by my last lunch with Darla, who had accepted a new job – still at the U but at the ag research center in Mead, which is near where I live but lunches will be out of the question. We got pizza and salad bar at HyVee (one of our regular places) and I bought Halloween candy while I was there, which ended up being a good thing. Stay tuned. We had a food day on Wednesday so I went home to make 2 apple pies. I cheated on the crust so it was just a matter of peeling and slicing 6 pounds of apples, which I did while watching TV. The pies smelled great while they baked but they were for work. Darn!
The food day was fun and my pies were delicious, if I do say so myself. All was going swimmingly until 4:00, when Student Accounts finally sent the allocation file. I immediately started prepping the files (allocations had to be done by the next day) and sent them off to the programmer. We went back and forth on that until 6:30, at which point I called the payroll manager at home to ask him to dig into some bad data (he agreed) and then I drove home. I ate dinner and watched Survivor then signed on from home and worked until 10:30 prepping files to send to the grants people, who are early birds at work so I wanted them to have the files before I got in.
I spent Thursday morning under the gun, slamming to finish allocations because I was teaching all afternoon and wanted to leave early to prep for Halloween. I got the call that the final batch had posted at 1:10 and then headed down to my class. What a relief! It was while I was stressed to the max and working full bore that my co-worker decided it was the perfect time to tell me how I was bugging him. When he wouldn’t back off (seriously?) I told him to F off and he was not happy, telling me I shouldn’t talk to him for the rest of the day, which frankly worked for me since I was trying to get him to not talk to me. But you know me, I was beating myself up for the rest of the day. Sheesh! But at least I was able to leave after my class was over so was home by 4:30, having stopped at Dollar General for emergency shower gifts since I hadn’t been able to shop the night before. I got busy changing my flag, sweeping the walk and carving my jack-o-lantern. I had the candle in the pumpkin and the light on just in time. I had only bought 5 bags of candy so ran out just after 8:00 and turned the light off, which was fine because it was all older kids by then anyway. I do like Halloween and got lots of kids. It was a nice end to a hectic couple of days.
Friday was monthly reports day and Josh called in sick. I was determined not to let that affect my mood so just plugged away at my reports and had a nice lunch with Layton. The day was over in a flash. I had a baby shower after work for two new moms from water aerobics, which was lots of fun. Good food, fun presents (the hand knitted hat and booties were a hit and they seemed to like my Johnson & Johnson gift sets from Dollar General too) and a game where we all brought baby pics and had to figure out who was who. Baby showers are always fun. There was another scheduled for the next morning for Helen’s daughter-in-law but it was a 2 hour drive west so I’d opted out in case I wasn’t comfortable with the long drive. I’d sent a nice gift from so was all set. Anyway, after a quick stop at the market after 9:00, I headed home to start the weekend.
I had my favorite Saturday routine to look forward to – Friends meeting at the library, bag sale and lunch at Chips with Lori and Andrea. I got just enough stuff to make the bag sale fun (Lori, who said she wasn’t into it, got 4 bags to my 1) and then had a wonderful lunch of salad and buffalo chicken mac and cheese. I got home at 3:00 and started in, albeit slowly, on my chores. My house was a dirty mess after a month of minimal effort so I had to make some progress. Andrea and I went to the pancake feed (her favorite one) at the Mead Catholic church first thing on Sunday, which meant I was home, well fed and ready to rock and roll just after 10:00. I picked up the house, got laundry started and cleaned up the kitchen. Later in the day, after several knitting breaks, was the bathroom and floors. By the end of the day the worst of the chores were done (vacuuming and dusting would have to wait) and I had food in the frig for the week and a big bag of scraps for Lori’s chickens. It was enough done that I was feeling back to “normal” in the house department. All that was left was to get back in the pool, which was on the list for the coming week. I’m back baby!