Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Extra - My Famous Tree

My tree is featured on the blog mylifeinknitwear today for all its read hearts. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 51 - Some Good Decisions

Despite sleeping badly, I bounced into the office Monday morning, happy with my weekend’s productivity and asked the boys, “Good morning. Did everyone have a productive weekend?” The response? “It was nice but why would it have to be productive?” Seriously? Ten days before Christmas? You can bet the wives had a productive weekend. Men.

Anyway, Monday was the typical long day with work then knitting. I then slept badly again so I was exhausted on Tuesday. After doing a private training session across campus for most of the afternoon, I was spent. I had planned to swim then go out with the water aerobics crew. Normally I’d be all about a festive night out with friends but not that night. I opted instead to go right home and knew the second I walked in the door that I’d made the right decision. I made a nice dinner of cheesy baked cauliflower and ham slice. Yum! After talking to my sister, Ginny, and watching a bit of TV, I went to bed early, taking 2 benadryl as insurance (genius idea from Carolyn.) I slept for six hours straight and was able to fall back asleep so woke with the alarm. I felt like a new woman.

I had high hopes for a good day Wednesday and wasn’t disappointed. After a morning sitting in on a training session, I had UAAD’s Graze & Mingle holiday lunch. Not only did I get to enjoy pizza with friends but I won a pair of headphones in the drawing, which a friend promptly looked up to see if I could return them, which I can at Best Buy for money to put towards the flat screen I want for the craft room. Yay! I was looking forward to swimming. It would be the last water yoga class maybe ever. It’s my favorite class and isn’t being offered next semester. The day was winding down when the phone rang. It was the president of Husker Cats explaining that she had called a meeting at 5:15 and had sent the announcement to the wrong Marilyn a week before. I gave her an update on my feeding duties (nothing new there) and told her I already had plans. I then spent the last half hour of the day going back and forth on whether to swim or go to the meeting. Swimming won out and it was the right decision. I enjoyed it immensely and the cats were none the worse for my missing the meeting.

On Thursday morning I got a response from my sister. She had emailed earlier in the week that she had put up her first Christmas tree since she got married and converted to Judaism. I had offered to go through my ornaments, which I’d intended to do to donate to the library but had run out of time so now I could send some to her, which she happily accepted. So after a productive day at work punctuated by  a nice lunch with Dodie, I swam (last time for three weeks) then headed home to go through boxes and boxes of ornaments. I packed up a large flat rate box and prepped it for shipping before going to bed for the first night without Benadryl. The next day was Friday. : )

I finished my last pair of Christmas socks in the morning (another yay!) and after mailing Dottie’s ornaments, I stopped at the fancy donut shop because I hadn’t eaten enough sugar that week (OMG – so not true!) and headed to work. The day flew by and I checked quite a few things off my pre-break list, had lunch with Layton and made a beeline home at the end of the day.

I had a big weekend to do list to prepare for my Christmas trip. I never left the house all weekend and slammed through a million things. My goal was to get as much done as possible so I could spend Sunday sewing Carolyn’s purse. Almost 3 years ago, Carolyn had asked if I’d make a purse she liked. I agreed so she bought the pattern and the hardware and sent them to me. On my next trip, I brought fabric for her to chose from, none of which she liked. I emailed a photo of others awhile later and she chose one. My intent was to make it before the next time I saw Carolyn. Well, I’ve seen her several times and have yet to make it so Sunday was the day. The fabric and hardware are somewhere in the craft room so I headed down Sunday morning to dig them up. Well, 2.5 hours later I still hadn’t found them. I was upstairs digging through a tote in the spare room when Carolyn called and granted me a reprieve. The supplies must be somewhere downstairs and I’ll dig more after Christmas. With that off the list, the afternoon was all mine.

All I had left on my to do list was to pack (just a matter of putting the laundry into a suitcase), wrap a few more presents (I had socks and a felted set drying all over the house) and do a general tidy up – all doable in the breaks of the Downton Abbey season 4 marathon on PBS. What a lovely day I had. Lots of knitting interspersed with chores and I was in the home stretch to fly out Tuesday.

Just one more day at work and I’m off to Rhode Island. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. I intend to, surrounded by family and friends. Life doesn’t get better than that. Enjoy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 50 - Loving the Season

What a busy, fun and productive week. I accomplished everything that needed doing on time, sold a bunch of yarn, had fun with family and friends and am on track for Christmas. Yay, right? The only negative was a stomach bug that had me puking in the wee hours and home from work on Wednesday. But in looking for the bright side, I’m hoping this got it out of the way so I won’t be puking on a plane like last Christmas.

It was all about deadlines this past week. I had a big list with things to do every day and night to get it done on time. I went through all my Christmas stuff and delivered the extra to the library on Monday night. I mailed yarn just about every day – 29 less skeins in my house and a newly replenished PayPal balance. After getting nothing done on Wednesday, I was back to work on Thursday, got my hair cut after work and then started wrapping stocking stuffers. I had Ginny’s box ready to go Thursday night and did Dottie’s on Friday. After pulling 3 lots of yarn from my basement acrylic stash for Dottie to crochet afghans, I packed up that huge box and was at the post office before they closed on Saturday. Done! All that was left on the short list for the weekend (except chores, of course) was to put up the inside tree.

I was scheduled to pick Andrea up at 1:00 on Saturday for a shopping trip to Seward. I had just gotten home from the post office when the phone rang. Helen was on her way into town and wanted to know if I wanted her to bring BK over. Sure. I only had an hour but we caught up over burgers and I ran out the door at 1:00 to get Andrea. After a fun time hitting all the stores in Seward, I suggested we drive to Stromsberg to the yarn shop to pick up the prize Andrea had won last month. They were open until 5:00 and we could be there by 4:30 so we headed west. But when we arrived after driving 40+ miles in the wrong direction, the store was dark. I was not happy. I called Lori to get the shop’s number and Andrea called the owner who agreed to come back. We crashed a private Christmas party at the coffee shop next door while we waited and then I bought a pity skein of yarn since she’d come back for us. That accomplished, the problem was Andrea had a date at 6:00 and this had held us up. She called her date and we made plans to meet on the highway near his farm so they could still make their dinner and basketball game. It was pitch black, foggy and drizzling and I’m trying to find an unlit, long defunct truck stop along a country highway, which I did and dropped Andrea at 5:50 and was home by 6:15. I thought that was it but…

Helen called to say she needed to drop something by my house on her way to the Laundromat. I was cooking dinner when she called and offered her some when she arrived but she didn’t have time. No problem. I made up 2 plates and threw placemats, windex, cutlery and salt into a book bag and headed out. By the time her loads were all in, I had windexed the funky Laundromat table with attached stools and set it for dinner. We had a lovely time continuing our chat from the morning. Of course I’d brought my knitting. What an odd but nice end to the day. Clearly I wasn’t getting my tree up Saturday. Sunday was another day. Lorri was coming after church for tea and cookies but I’d have time in the morning to neatize the house so went to bed.

And woke up at 3:30 a.m. After laying in bed for half an hour, I got up and picked up the entire house, did the pots and pans, read for half an hour and went back to bed at 5:30. The cats had all gone out because it was 54 degrees at 3:30 so I was able to sleep until 7:30. I had a nice morning having done everything in the wee hours then enjoyed a nice chat with Lorri over tea and the Christmas cookies she’d brought. Once she left, it was time for laundry and putting up the tree. My little inside tree had a funky shape but you'd never know it once it was up and decorated. It was a Charlie Brown transformation and I love it.

So by the end of the day I’d crossed the last thing off my week’s holiday to do list. All that was left for Christmas was wrapping Carolyn’s stocking stuffers and the few gifts for friends. Oh, and finishing my last pair of socks but I’m on the 2nd one so that’ll happened. Then I’ll prep for being gone and pack. Nothing stressful and I have a whole other weekend. I’m loving this holiday season! Love both my trees, love being so on top of things and love having time to socialize. I hope you are all having holiday fun too. Just ten more days. Ho ho ho.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 49 - Making the List

Tis the season for….. lists! It’s that time of year when I realize that Christmas is coming fast and start making lists. The only good thing about not seeing my sisters at Christmas is the fact that everything is pushed up a bit. All my to do’s are based getting stuff done in time for the shipping date for my sisters’ stocking packages. Once I get those done and shipped, the heat is off and I can enjoy the last week before I fly back to Rhode Island for Christmas at Carolyn’s. Let the countdown begin!

Now I’m usually pretty strategic (it’s my #1 theme in the Clifton StrenghtsFinder) about getting things done but that goes into overdrive this time of year. I cram things in before work, over lunch, whenever I can to get multiple things done at once so I have more time at home when I finally get there. So Monday wasn’t just going to knitting after work, it was getting gas, stopping home so I could deliver something to a knitter, getting pizza and stopping at the store for my last swap item then going to the library. That and a 30 mile drive all in 65 minutes. That kind of thing. In every available minute.

With Thanksgiving being so late, there was leftover turkey to deal with. I skipped swimming on Tuesday in favor of taking care of all the turkey. I divvied up the last of the stuffing into little casseroles then covered it with turkey and gravy and it went into the freezer with a dollop of cranberry for mid-winter turkey fixes. Then I cubed up all the breast meat into one cup portions and into the freezer it went. Last but not least was the pot of soup then a small quiche just to have some non-turkey. Done! Nora and I did a Trader Joe’s run on Wednesday for all the fun Christmas stuff and I was back in the pool after work. I had intended to spend a leisurely night watching Survivor and relaxing but something that happened on the drive home nixed that.

One of the benefits of swimming after work is that I miss “rush hour” traffic, which is nothing much in Lincoln compared to back east but it’s still nice to miss it. I had just turned onto highway 77, which is the 2 lane road I’m on for 20+ miles between Lincoln and Wahoo. As is often the case in Nebraska where no one understands the concept of keeping right expect to pass, you get a granny dying in the left hand lane because 3 miles up the road she’s turning left. Well there was a Dodge Charger in the right lane that purposely kept pace with the granny (going 50 in a 55) and blocked the entire highway causing a clog of cars. He finally inched up and a string of cars passed the granny on the right. As soon as the 3rd car cleared her, the charger stepped on the gas and shot away. Jerk. I didn’t give him much thought until I was north of I-80 and he continued to be a jerk, doing the same move over and over. As we headed further north and the other cars thinned out, I made a concerted effort to get away from him but no matter what speed I went, he matched it, with occasional bursts of speed followed by slowing down. Since I was the only other car on the road, I was beginning to get worried but couldn’t lose him. Then I was going just below the speed limit (65) in the left hand lane in an attempt to avoid him when he swerved in front of me and slammed on his breaks. I slammed mine on, sending everything in the car flying and just when I was about to hit him, he floored it and sped off. I was shaken but had noted his license plate so turned off at Ceresco to put some distance between us. I got back on the highway but caught up with him again further on (WTF!) so cut over to the old highway via a gravel road. As soon as I got home, I called the cops. They listened to my story, took his plate number and my name and she said she’d tell the deputy and he’d most likely contact the guy. Sheesh! Talk about on edge! I was shaken and wondering if I’d have to worry about encountering him other nights. I nuked some quiche, poured a glass of wine and settled in for Survivor.

Well the TV was on but I wasn’t paying much attention while I was trying to find a hotel for the 2 nights in New Orleans before the cruise in February. Come to find out, it’s smack in the middle of Mardi Gras so everything was super pricey or fully booked. Between the highway drama and worrying about finding a hotel, I slept like crap and was up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Like up up – out of bed and on the computer. I finally was able to fall back asleep for an hour before the alarm went off. I was not as tired as I’d thought I’d be on Thursday and after a few emails with Connie, I booked the Hyatt for $200/night. Expensive but centrally located and close to the docks. Best part? Done! After another whirlwind night (pool, eating in the car and straight to the library for book club), I slept great Thursday night. Good thing because I’d need my energy for everything I planned to do over the weekend.

I had a big list for Friday too. I opted for a quick lunch with Layton so I’d have time to run to Menard’s afterwards. It took me longer to walk through the store to the garden center than it did to pick out my two trees and a wreath. I had them loaded in the car and was back to work. There was another list for after work too but I was home with groceries and ready to start my weekend by 6:30. Nice.

Getting the first blast of Christmas tree smell when I got into the car Friday night went a long way towards getting me in the Christmas spirit. Finding that it was story time with Santa at the library when I stopped to prep a Friends deposit on Saturday morning sealed the deal. I went home and had my wreath on the door and my outside tree up and decorated in short order. I then headed into the spare room to dig out all my stocking stuffers and see if I had any holes. Since the spare room is my dumping ground and holds most of my yarn, this was no easy step. I was happy to see I had plenty for all the stockings. Now it was time to neatize the entire house and clear the bar so I could get the calendars done. Between all this I was madly knitting on my sister’s Christmas socks, which would have to be done before I could ship stockings. Pressure!

Fast forward to Sunday night. The chores were done, the calendars were put together and all the scrapbooking stuff put away. The bar was clear and ready for wrapping. The only thing I didn’t get done was to go through all my Christmas stuff so I could donate the extras to the library’s holiday decoration sale. There was a box in the middle of the floor that would first up on next week’s list but there were more boxes in the basement that’d just have to wait. All in all, I was pleased with my progress and was even in the home stretch on Dottie’s second sock. I ended the week making a big batch of turkey tetrazzini with the last of the turkey stock (enough for the week’s dinners, to share with Andrea and put 2 small casseroles in the freezer) and getting a thank you from my friend Cindy for the socks I’d sent her earlier in the week. Then I got a note from the designer and she wants to use my socks on her pattern page. All good. Check them out. 

Now for the next week’s list. Ho ho ho!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 48 - Busy Thanksgiving Break

This week was all about 4 days off. In a row. With no firm plans. Heaven!

The three work days flew by, which was an added bonus. With my usual long days with knitting Monday and swimming Tuesday, getting out just after 3:00 (they always let us leave early but don’t let us know until right before “trickle out” time starts) was extra nice. While I usually would make a beeline home, I’d gotten a Big Lots coupon for $5 off $25 and since I hadn’t been in awhile, I decided to go. I got lots of fun stuff so it was worth the trip and after a stop at the supermarket in Wahoo (so no long lines), I was ready for my Thanksgiving break. Or so I thought. I looked in the cupboard and didn’t find turkey bags so had to get dressed and go back out at 8:00 because I was determined to not leave the house on Thursday. Sheesh!

I slept late Thursday, which was wonderful because I’ve been having lots of nights of bad sleep lately, so instead of making a nice breakfast and then having turkey mid-afternoon, I had a bowl of cheerios first thing because I didn’t want to wait for breakfast. I enjoyed the morning, sitting in the sun and knitting, ate something small for lunch then got cooking. First up was blueberry pie and after that was done, the stuffed turkey and sweet potatoes went into the oven. I was keeping it simple so other than gravy and some broccoli, the cooking was done. I then got a wild hair (or it is hare?) that I needed to take a picture of my latest socks, called Corn Mint Socks, in a corn field. So despite my vow to not leave the house, I found myself driving the back roads outside of town looking for an unhavested cornfield. After settling for a photo on a single stalk at the edge of a field, I was on the way home when I found a half harvested field and trudged out to get my pics. I snapped this one in the stubble on the way back to the car. Gorgeous, right? It was worth going out in the cold and the smell of baking turkey when I went back into my toasty house was the icing on the cake. I enjoyed my turkey dinner for one (I’d declined two invitations in favor of my solo dinner, btw) and talked to my sister at the end of the day. It’d been a lovely Thanksgiving.

Darla and I were going out to breakfast and a movie on Friday so I was out the door at 8:00 to meet at a diner in Lincoln, having already chosen calendar pics, uploaded them and ordered prints from Walgreens. We had a yummy breakfast (they substituted tater tots for hash browns – nothing better!) and catch up the decided to hit our favorite thrift store before the movie. I’d popped in quickly earlier in the week but only to check for yarn (none) so we did the whole store. I got a short sleeved shirt and Darla got a pair of pants but we really scored in the yarn. They had bags and bags stuffed with yarn for $1.98 each. I filled the cart with bags for Anne and then hit the best bargain ever just down the aisle – a brand new pair of Birkenstocks in brown for $35. They’re the same style as a blue pair I wear all the time. Yay! We then headed to Interstellar. The weather had turned and it was warming way up so when we got out just before 3:00 (that was a shock because it was 3 hours long!), I headed straight home to mow. It was going to be even warmer on Saturday so mowing was just step #1 in my outdoor to do list.

I got up early on Saturday and stripped my bed to the bare mattress, flipped it and started washing linens to hang on the line. I had four loads done and on the line when I headed to Lori’s to drop my two pumpkins and my Thanksgiving dinner scraps for her girls (chickens.) After a quick lunch, I was outside trimming perennials out front. A complete stranger was driving by with a pick up load of leaves and after chatting to my neighbors, he helped me cut the last of the dead plants and then added them to his load a drove off. Nice! From there it was on to the monstrously overgrown yew in front of the house. I’d borrowed an electric hedge trimmer from Lori and started at it. It took hours and by the time the sun was going down, my arms were rubber and it was done but for a few tall branches in the middle that I’d have to use my loppers while hanging out my bedroom window. It’d have to wait until I could use my arms again. I forced myself to drain the hoses and store them away while my tea water boiled. I was exhausted but happy with what I’d gotten done. It wasn’t everything but was the big stuff. I’ll handle the rest in spring if it doesn’t get warm again.

So I’d made a huge list during the previous week of all the things I was going to get done inside over break. I’d done almost none of them so Sunday was going to have to be productive inside. I still had some clean up from cooking, more laundry to do, bags of yarn all over the back of the house and crap everywhere. I had also agreed to go to Lori’s for knitting at 3:00. I got it all done and even went through all the paper on my desk but never made it to my project list. The only thing I was really disappointed at not getting done was going through all my Christmas stuff so I could donate the spare stuff to the library’s holiday sale. Oh well. It’ll have to wait until next weekend. Knitting at Lori’s was fun and I didn’t get home until after 7:00.

Despite not getting to most of my to do list, it was a lovely break. I had good food, time with friends and got tons done. The warm weather was a gift. Did I mention that I did my outdoor chores in short and a t-shirt? And it was -4 with the wind chill 12 hours later. With the outside put to bed for winter and now that Thanksgiving’s over, I feel ready for Christmas mode. I have three weeks to finish my last 2 pairs of socks, wrap and ship stockings and get ready to fly to RI. It will all get done. It always does. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 47 - All About Food

In looking back at the week, the predominant thing seems to be food. Otherwise it was a pretty normal and productive week.

Cheryl and Nora have birthdays a day apart so we always do lunch together at Green Gateau. Since we had a food day scheduled Tuesday (Nora’s birthday), we went out on Monday and since it was  a birthday, I got cake. Yum. I trained all afternoon so the day was quickly over. It was bitter cold on Monday so we had some people not coming to knitting and not wanting most of a pizza left, I didn’t get it and instead brought cottage cheese dip. After knitting I went home to frost the pumpkin cream oreo cupcakes for food day on Tuesday. It made 33 cupcakes.

Good thing I’d finished them Monday night because I forgot to set my alarm and overslept on Tuesday morning. Since it was food day, I skipped breakfast and got to work on time. There were so many pumpkin desserts that only 3 of my cupcakes got eaten! Not happy. I left them at work and headed to the pool after work for aqua boot camp. It was the first of 3 nights in a row in the pool.

No one had signed up for the training class I was supposed to teach with Nora so we were free Wednesday. I had brought lunch but UNL Today said that it was the international food fair at the union so I left my sloppy joe in the frig and got dumplings and rice at the Russian booth and some stuffed grape leaves at the Greek one. Very tasty. Water yoga was great after work then it was home for Survivor and Tuesday’s uneaten sloppy joe.

Thursday was my weekly thrifting and spring rolls with Dodie. I found a few things, including some yarn bags that had a bit for me and the rest went directly to Anne at the pool Thursday night. My knee was twingy but I swam anyway. Anne’s remark made me realize that her birthday is the same day as Cheryl’s so invited her to go to lunch on Friday at Noodles, which was round 2 of birthday celebration because Cheryl and Nora had coupons for free lunch. There was a huge line and Nora’s pasta was so swimming in butter that she poured off at least 1/8 of a cup before she could eat it. It was still fun though and my buffalo chicken mac and cheese was tasty.

See what I mean about food? I didn’t bring a single lunch all week. Between all that eating, the work days flew by as we all did a chunk of a new, time sensitive project. With knitting Monday and the next three nights in the pool, the evenings were short too. The week was over in a flash. I spent Friday night prepping for calendar page day at Nora’s on Saturday, which involved digging through scrapbooking supplies in the basement and baking a pan of brownies from scratch.

Nora, Cheryl and I do photo calendars every year so we each design 4 6x6” pages and make 9 copies of each then swap them out so we each have 3 calendars ready for pictures. I make them for my sisters every Christmas filled with pictures from our childhood. It’s fun but a lot of work and this was the 2nd year that we made our pages together, which makes it a fun, creative and productive day.

I had the car loaded and was on the road shortly after 8:00. After a stop at Le Quartier Bakery for some croissants and a loaf of bread for lunch, I was at Joann’s when the doors opened at 9:00. They didn’t have what I was there for (something for a Ravelry swap) but I looked around and found some ribbon and paper for calendar pages. I was a machine and slamming out pages all morning, getting 3 done. After stopping for a yummy lunch of Nora’s tomato soup with rosemary along with the blue cheese bread I’d brought, I slowed down a bit. I managed to design and finish my 4th set of pages then Cheryl and I slammed out another so they’d all be done. I had thought I’d be home in time for tea but didn’t leave Nora’s until 5:30 then stopped at Wal-Mart (ick but at least it’s a nice, new one) for coffee and a turkey so didn’t get home until well after dark.

My cousin and I were getting together at some point Sunday to catch up and I hadn’t been sitting long when she called. When we decided to have breakfast at my house at 7:00 a.m., I had to get up and start neatizing the kitchen, which still had the cupcake dishes in the sink and dirty dishes all over the bar because I’d never unloaded the dishwasher. I had most of it done when she called to say she’d rethought it and would rather do a late lunch at Chips so she could take her time feeding the horses in the morning. At first I sat down but then remembered I was an adult so got up and finished. It would be nice to wake up Sunday to a clean kitchen. Because I had plans to sit like a blob as much as possible on Sunday, knitting of course.

I slept past 7:00 on Sunday because I’d stayed up late watching Homeland on DVD. It felt great to sit and ease into the day. I talked to Carolyn and my sister then showered and headed to St. Wenz for their cookie sale. You buy them by the dozen and choose the exact cookies you want from three banquet tables covered with holiday cookies baked by the kids’ families. How perfect is that? Helen still hadn’t called at 1:00 and I was getting pretty hungry having only had cheerios for breakfast. She called back to say she’d pick me up after 2:00 so I had a couple of cookies to tide me over. We had a lovely lunch (I ordered a breakfast skillet) and then Helen came back for cookies and tea. We chatted for hours, which is always nice.

What a week! It was jam packed with fun and somehow I managed to get my chores done so won’t be slamming too hard to prep for the cleaning lady. And the calendar pages are done so all I have to do is decide on the pics, scan them, have them printed and put them together. I’ll add that to my burgeoning list for my four days off next week. : )

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 46 - Warm and Happy

Inside my house that is. It was still relatively warm when I brought my African violets back to work on Monday morning and even at lunch when I drove to Jiffy Lube to check the last thing off my list. But sometime in the 20 minutes I was in the Jiffy Lube lobby, the polar vortex hit and DAMN it was cold. The huge winds made it even worse. I don't know exactly how cold it was but I was ready to hunker down, having gotten everything on my pre-polar vortex to list done. 

I spent the rest of the week spending as little time outside as possible. I ate lunches in the conference room while knitting and watching Netflix on my iPad. I did swim all three night and lived to tell. And while that may not sound warm and cozy, there's something wonderful about going home, warm from exercising, showered and ready for a night of knitting. The only downside to this was I hadn't cooked anything on Sunday so was eating out of the freezer but I was warm and happy nonetheless. 

After my week inside avoiding the cold, I was ready for more of the same on the weekend. Good thing because we got 3" of snow on Saturday! That's WAY too early but I have to say it was nice being able to stay inside, warm and toasty while the snow fell. I spent most of the day cooking - sloppy joes, potato salad, cucumber salad, cottage cheese dip and taco salad meat for the freezer. Despite all that cooking, I ended the night with Saturday snack supper with Guinness, of course. 

I had chores to do on Sunday and wanted to be done before I left for the library's rededication that afternoon. I also had a big bag of scraps for Lori's chickens and wanted to drop off my kitten jungle jim for the two barn kittens she'd brought inside. Well, when I called to ask when I could drop them, she invited me over to knit by the wood stove. I couldn't pass that up so went into turbo mode to get everything done by 1:00 so I could be at the library when they opened and then head to Lori's at 2:00, picking Donna up on the way. I got it all done just in time and headed out. There was a good crowd at the library and I got to see people I've haven't seen in awhile and even got some knitting time in with Andrea before I left. 

It was a lovely afternoon at Lori's. It was toasty warm by her wood stove and we all had a nice chat while drinking tea, eating treats (Lori baked a cake and I brought all my pumpkin goodies from Trader Joe's) and playing with the kittens, who are SO cute. (Sorry, I neglected to take pic.s) There was knitting and unraveling too. As I said to Donna, this was as close to heaven as life gets for me. We left ~5:30 and all I had to do when I got home was make some cupcakes. 

Nice weekend, right? Not only was it fun but I am going into this next week with a clean frig full of homemade food and all my chores caught up. The polar vortex is not only here for another week but will be even colder because the wind's back. The 40 degrees they've forecast for next weekend, which is still below normal, will feel like a heat wave. Bring it on!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 45 - Polar Vortex Prep

I'd been in getting it done mode for awhile and had my final doctor appointment, my annual physical, scheduled this week. I had lots of other things on the schedule for the week, which started with a fasting blood draw before work on Monday. Also, I didn't get much sleep this week because you can reset a clock but not a cat so there were lots of early mornings. But at the start of the week, my weekend was clear so I was hoping for another productive weekend focused on the laundry room and catching up on some sleep then. Then the I saw the weather forecast. Yikes!

Now it's been a very late fall and some trees haven't turned color yet, never mind dropped their leaves. I had had to bring my plants inside on Halloween but they were already back outside and I'd been hoping to keep them out much longer with only a few trips to the garage to escape light frosts. The coming polar vortex meant they'd have to be inside by the end of the weekend. And since I wouldn't want to be out in the cold either, I started making a big pre-freeze to do list. Adding that to my already full list would make for a busy weekend. And then Josh showed me something on facebook...

A yarn bombed tree in his hometown of Stromburg, which is about 60 miles west of Wahoo. Come to find out, a new yarn shop was opening there and their grand opening was Friday and Saturday. No way would I be missing that so out went the email. My knitting friends were in! Now I had a mini road trip to fit into my already full weekend but it was all good.

Work was busy and the days pretty much flew by. I was cramming things in over lunch plus before and after work. Since I'd be leaving early on Thursday, I went to water yoga on Wednesday, which is usually my day to go right home. I'd been to one class early in the semester and it was a train wreck so I had low expectations but ended up loving it. The instructor admitted she'd come a long way and now I think I'll be adding a third class back into my week, which is good. I'd gotten my numbers back from Monday morning's blood test and my LDL was still too high (need more exercise and less junk food) but my blood sugar was fine again. Yay! It's all good.

I thought I'd survived my yoga class unscathed and then the leg cramps started Thursday afternoon with two while I was at the doctor's - one on the exam table when I was in a compromising position. Then I woke up Friday and could feel muscles all over my body. Sheesh! Luckily I was fine by Saturday because I had to get busy.

I ran errands in town Saturday morning, getting home with just enough time to clean out my car for the afternoon trip to Stromsburg and grab some lunch. At 1:00, I drove to the rendezvous at Andrea's shop ready to drive only to find that Anne Marie had three kids in the back of the van so she'd be driving. The kids immediately fell asleep and I got to enjoy an hour of knitting and catching up with Anne Marie while Lori and Andrea chatted in the back. The town and shop were both adorable and I enjoyed breaking my yarn diet with 3 different skeins of super soft yarn and only one skein of sock yarn just because it was cheap. After another hour of knitting, we were home before 4:00 so I made a cup of tea. Unfortunately I didn't get much done Saturday night so Sunday would be even busier.

The cleaning lady was coming on Tuesday so on top of neatizing the whole house, I also had to do my regular chores and deal with all the plants outside On Sunday. I'd also brought all my African violets home from work so had to repot them all so I could take them back Monday morning before the polar vortex plunged temps. I made a big to do list and got busy. I had all the recycling loaded in the car (tons!) to drop off on the way to the high school to pick up turkey dinner from their annual Project Close Up fundraiser. i had planned to eat that for supper but it smelled so good that I ate half of it for lunch and put the rest in the frig for one night's dinner. Then I got busy with the plants.

I planted the replacement clematis Lorri had dropped off then mixed up a big batch of potting soil and started repotting. I took a break after finishing the outside plants then tackled the violets. It was a lot of time bent over and schlepping plants in and out of the house. By late afternoon everything was repotted, the plant stands had been cleaned and set up inside and all my plants were safely inside ready to brighten my winter. I was exhausted though so nuked the last beanie weenie casserole for dinner and sat like a lump. That meant I'd have a busy Monday finishing the cleaning lady prep and I hadn't done anything in the laundry room. But at the end of the day, my plants were all set and I was happy with that. I'd get the rest done. I always do. And now when the polar vortex arrives on Monday night, I'll be ready to hunker down, snug and warm with all my outside stuff taken care of. Life is good!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 44 - Slept Like Crap

Well, unfortunately the highlight of this week was sleeping like crap. I think part of it was temperature related. I’d wake up hot, throw off the covers, wake up cold, pull the covers on… over and over. And when I wake up in the wee hours if I have anything on my mind, I often stew on it and that keeps me from falling back asleep. That happened a lot this past week.

It was a busy week at work and the first few days flew by. Tuesday was exhausting. It was cleaning lady day, which always makes for a rushed morning, then I slammed all morning to get quarterly allocations done before my class that afternoon.  Add the really hard workout at water aerobics and I was so tired when I got home that I didn’t even knit. I went to bed just after 9:00 and expected to sleep like a rock. Not so much. I struggled to fall asleep, woke up at 4:00 and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was a zombie at work and it was clear I wasn’t going to make it all day. After struggling through the morning and not accomplishing much, I took the afternoon off. I met Darla, who was working on East Campus on Wednesday, for lunch at the diner and was home and in bed by 1:30. I’m not a good napper no matter how tired I am and didn’t succeed in falling asleep. But it felt better just being home and not having to think. I spent the afternoon going through papers on my desk, waiting for bedtime.

Finally I slept well Wednesday night and woke up feeling like a new woman. I had training again on Thursday, swam and then headed home to pick the last garden produce and bring in all my plants. It was going to be close to 32 degrees overnight but mid 20’s on Friday night and since I wouldn’t be home, they all had to come in Thursday night. But they’d be going right back out on Saturday (no more frost in the 10 day forecast) so I put them just inside the door.

Friday was a first – I wasn’t going to be handing out candy for Halloween. Amanda from water aerobics was having her house warming in Ashland and I was going to that right from work. The thing that made the final decision was that my crab apple, which I’ve already pruned for mowing access, is so heavy with fruit that it’s blocking my front door. Since I didn’t want to prune it even more, I decided on the party instead. It was fun – yummy food, Guinness and lots of chatting with friends – so I didn’t get home until 11:00. I was looking forward to two days mostly at home.

I had a Friends meeting at 10:00 on Saturday and the thrift shop was open so I’d made plans with Lori and Andrea for our old Saturday routine. Lori was having a sisters’ weekend so I met up with her and her two sisters after Friends for shopping in downtown Wahoo, a stop at the thrift shop then lunch at Chips at 1:00 when Andrea closed her shop. We had a lot of fun and were still at Chips when the game started. Nebraska scored an early touchdown and so Chips handed out free jello shots. It was my first and was quite tasty. When we split up, I went home to put the plants back outside and pick up the house because Lori was going to stop to pick up the scraps I’d saved for her chickens. She forgot to come but it was nice to have everything but the laundry done by Saturday night. And I’d get an extra hour of sleep. If I could sleep that is.

I woke up in the wee hours and actually turned on the light to read so I could fall back asleep. I then slept until after 7:00, which was really after 8:00. Shocking but nice. I had the laundry mostly done by noon, ate lunch and then headed down to the laundry room. My goal was to get the laundry room organized and the Christmas stuff culled so I could donate the extras to the library’s holiday decoration sale that starts the week before Thanksgiving. I spent a chunk of the afternoon down there and was really pleased with my progress. I went through everything that was in the middle of the floor, stacking the Christmas stuff to one side to go through next weekend and another pile to go through after that. There’s a pile to donate to Goodwill, a bit went to the trash, a couple of bags to bring up and go through one night this week and a few things on the stairs to take upstairs. Excellent progress – yay!

Then I went upstairs to do some cooking. I made a casserole with the yummy leftover beans from food day, hotdogs and corn bread and had enough to eat this week, freeze a small casserole then share one. I made broccoli slaw and quesadillas to take for lunches and opted not to make a pie because I had a blood test first thing Monday morning so didn’t need anything sweet to spike my fasting blood sugar. Maybe later this week I’ll make one.

And on the knitting front, I finally finished the socks I started in September. I wasn’t happy with them but they’re a Christmas present. I also needed the needles to start a knit along pair with a deadline of November 30th. I started those with some German sock wool and am loving them. I also got the shawl Cindy made for me so my next priority is to finish Cindy’s socks, which are also a pleasant knit. And I started, and should have finished but didn’t, a dishcloth for the new trainer at work who’s in the next cubie from mine. She mentioned she liked them and since I have lots of cotton, I decided to try new stitches from my new stitch dictionary and make her some. It’s all good.

So, I’m perfectly ready for dark after work. It’ll be nice to have no pressure to be outside after work and I have plenty to do inside. The cooler weather, which has been a long time coming, is nice too. I know I’ll have another week of short sleep because I can set a clock back but not a cat. How do you feel about the time change?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 43 - The Little Things

It was a bear of a week at work but some spots of fun during the week and a restful, relaxing and just productive enough weekend made up for  it. And a few little things were the icing on the cake.

I started the week by mailing off six packages of yarn. It seems everyone is nesting now that cooler weather has arrived and winter knitting has begun. I sold 4 lots of yarn from my Ravelry Will Trade or Sell page, which is made up of thrift store yarn I’ve bought for next to nothing and so sell at a good price. Two of the lots were trades, which meant I’d be getting yarn packages in exchange. There’s nothing nicer than getting packages in the mail and yarn is the best.

On Tuesday, I did something I rarely have to do. I worked late, until 8:00, madly crunching data for the F&A proposal because the consultant was leaving Wednesday and I didn’t want to be the hold up for progress. I was down the rabbit hole and the time flew but did it ever take a toll. By the time I got home, it was almost 9:00 and I was pooped. I felt like I’d barely been in bed when the alarm went off.  Then I managed to pull a muscle in my neck while getting ready. I was a mess but I made it through the day. I skipped swimming in favor of going right home and making a nice dinner. I went to bed early and felt much better by Thursday morning.

There was more stress and frustration at work. This time it was grad allocations. After working for the better part of two days, I found an error (not mine) that required starting over so I gave up and left for the podiatrist at 3:00. My foot was so sore so I was looking forward to the slice and dice. I asked the doctor what exactly I had and it’s a porokeratosis. Damn painful and bound to keep growing back. But I left feeling much better. I was ready to start my free as a bird weekend.

It was a wonderful weekend all around. I started chipping away at my to do list but left plenty of time for relaxation and knitting. I even got out in the garden to do some long overdue perennial planting. I made a big pot of beef barley soup and caught up on TV shows and knitting. All that was left for Sunday was laundry and cooking. I wanted to make a pie to entice Ed over to reverse the turn direction on the hot side of my kitchen faucet. It had been backward since New Year’s Eve, when he fixed a leak for me. He had said it would take 5 minutes to fix but I’d never called, hoping that I’d get used to it. Well, ten months later, I was still turning it the wrong way EVERY TIME so it was time to fix it. Well, before I could call, Donna called me with a knitting problem she needed help with so I asked her to bring Ed. He fixed the faucet while I helped Donna. Yay! I celebrated with dyeing some yarn after they left. It was all good.

So it’s the little things that made this week. I can walk comfortably again and will be able to wear my new Birks this week. And while I’ll probably still turn the faucet wrong for awhile, there’s hope for getting it back to normal. And yarn – selling some, trading some and dyeing some. It’s all good. Where would we be without the little things?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 42 - Fun Fall Weekend

The work week was over in the blink of an eye. I was deep into the data for the F&A proposal by Wednesday. Hours would go by in what felt like minutes. That worked for me because I had a fun weekend planned.

Darla and I were finally getting our play day. She was at my house for breakfast at 7:30, which may seem early but since I’d been up for 3 hours at that point, I had farmer’s breakfast on the table when she arrived. I frequently wake up in the wee hours but despite going to bed later than usual, I couldn’t fall back asleep when I woke up at 3:45 so after laying in bed for awhile, I just got up. It’s amazing what you can get done before sunup. I not only cooked breakfast but knitted a baby bootie. Anyway… after a nice breakfast and catch up, we headed for Fremont.

I dropped a load of clothes at Goodwill and then found a few 99 cent items for Friends and a sweater to harvest yarn from. I had better luck at Buck’s (my favorite old fashioned shoe store.) I had an $18 credit in my purse, which I applied towards a new pair of Birkenstocks. They had a pair I’d tried to get at the Lincoln birk store but they’d been discontinued so no go. They had my size with a soft footbed and I’m excited to have a brown pair that’s as close as possible (just missing the Velcro) to my favorite black pair. We puttered a bit more on Main Street in Fremont, hit a quilt show where we had a lovely lunch with homemade pie and then headed back to Wahoo. We hit The Warehouse and were back at my house exactly on schedule. Darla had football plans later. I had to prep for event #2 – deck knitting with friends on Sunday at 1:30. I never really felt much fatigue after my early rising but did go to bed early.

Good thing because I was up again at 3:45. WTF! I knitted the other baby bootie and watched a bunch of TV. After an early lunch (breakfast was at 4:30 so I was starving by 11:00) I did start to fade and tried to lay down but I’m not a napper so failed to fall asleep. I put scones in the oven and set the kettle to boil. Lori and Michelle were due at 1:30 and the weather was perfect. We sat on the deck happily knitting and drinking pot after pot of tea all afternoon. We were even visited by an albino squirrel! I’d never seen one in person, never mind in my yard. Michelle snapped this pic with her phone. Andrea, who had a conflict but had dropped a lovely salmon mousse on her way out of town, did come towards evening. We sat outside until almost 7:00. Had the bugs and dark not forced us inside, we might have stayed out longer. It was truly lovely. I didn’t end up with time to cook like I’d planned but the rest of the mousse on crackers was enough for dinner. That worked though. The fun was worth it and it’s not like I’ll starve. : )

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 41 - WIPs and Candidates

Finally, a completely normal week. I’ve been yearning for that for months it seems but was always either getting over a trip or planning for the next one. Between the knowledge that I’ll be home for almost 3 months and the fall weather, it was a wonderful week. Dull but wonderful.

The highlight of the week was the finale of our WIP (work in progress for the non-knitters) contest at the library. I came up with the idea of this contest when the library flooded and we had to relocate Monday Night Knitting to the vets’ club. I thought it would only be a few months but it stretched to nine. Since we contributed a prize to the pot for each WIP we finished, there were tons of prizes. I had also made Downton Abbey project bags filled with yarn and other goodies for everyone who participated. Add the potluck we’d planned and it was going to be fun.

We had originally planned to only have 3 winners but Lori and Michelle and Andrea and I had separately discussed it and had come up with the same idea to have everyone win. Since there was a prize for every ticket, we decided to pull names and you got to choose a prize each time your name was drawn. My name was drawn first and I picked, of course, a beautiful skein of sock yarn. We kept picking and so got something for every WIP we finished. Everyone left happy. Yay!

The rest of the week was as normal as it gets. I got my haircut, swam twice, had healthy food for just about every meal and was just the right amount of busy at work. All good. Darla messed up on the date of our Omaha run so I ended up with a free weekend, which was just what I needed. I slept late on Saturday, which is a rarity and felt great, then ran errands in town, cooked a bunch and managed to get most of my chores done on top of swapping out all my summer clothes for winter. I even met the Democratic candidates for Senator and Governor (both very impressive) at the Saunders County Democrats’ dinner on Saturday night. And I got some knitting done between it all. Shocking, I know. Hopefully I’ll have a run of normal weeks like this. It’s exactly what I need.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 40 - Loving Being Home

Canada was a wonderful trip but boy, it felt great to be home. As usual, I was headed back to work on Tuesday so had no spare time for transitioning back but with only a few days left in my vacation bank, I couldn’t afford any extra time. It could be a trying week but I’d get through it. Only working four days would help.

I slept like crap and was still awake at 2:30 a.m. so Eileen’s early morning wake up on Monday was painful. I’d packed the night before so all I had to do was get dressed, grab some breakfast and get out the door. We were on the road at 7:30, with Sam driving and Eileen riding shot gun. Cindy’s flight was leaving two hours before mine so I’d have some knitting time at Buffalo airport. There are worse things than sitting and knitting, even if it’s at an airport.

Well, two hours was a drop in the bucket. There was still blow back from the fire at the Chicago air traffic control center and so flights were delayed all over the country. By the time my flight finally left, I had been rebooked onto a later flight to Omaha in case I couldn’t make my 20 minute connection. That flight was delayed too though so I had another wait in Chicago. I had hoped to go to knitting but I didn’t get home until 7:30 and I’d realized on my second flight that my amazon card was no longer in my back pocket. Damn!

I told myself it wasn’t too bad since I’d used it at both Target and Home Depot, both of which had been hacked. I felt the need to completely unpack just in case it was in my carry on (I’d used it to buy lunch in Buffalo) but didn’t find it so called to cancel it. Since I was unpacked, I started laundry. Andrea stopped by after knitting and brought me leftover pizza, which I ate standing up at 8:45 and called dinner. The cleaning lady was coming the next day so I wrote her a note and headed to bed. I thought I’d sleep like a rock but that didn’t happen so I was pretty tired Tuesday morning. Oh well, back to work.

The week flew by. I finally got a good night’s sleep Tuesday night so felt good Wednesday for monthly reports, which bled into Thursday. I got back into the pool Thursday night and ran some errands on the way home Friday. I was ready for two blissful days at home.

I had a big weekend to do list to really get back on track. It had been damp, cold and raining on and off all week so I was hoping for some sunshine. I had a good day on Saturday chipping away at my list and getting some knitting done between. I even made some real food for dinner – tuna casserole and rhubarb upside down cake. Part of my goal was to heat the house up a bit by using the oven because it was pretty chilly in the house. I was pleased with my progress and still had all day Sunday and I was nice and warm under the covers.

Unfortunately I didn’t make the Downton Abbey project bags I had to have done for Monday night and that woke me up at 3:45 Sunday. I gave up on falling back to sleep and got up at 4:30. I went through a single basket of craft stuff in my spare room and found everything I needed. Too bad I hadn’t done that before I went to bed. I had plans with Lorri to hit the roast beef dinner at Colon’s Catholic church for lunch and must have been outside hanging laundry when she called to say she’d been delayed at church so would be late. By the time we’d picked up our meals, I was ravenous. We ate at Lorri’s while catching up and I was home and sewing by 2:00. The bags came out cute and I had all six done except for the handwork by 6:00. I ate leftovers from lunch and sat down to watch TV and do that handwork. I still had a few things left on my to do list but I had finished the must do’s and had clean clothes and things to eat for the week.  So I guess I was back to “normal” because when do I ever get EVERYTHING done? Pretty much never. : )

Week 39 - Fun in Canada

I woke up Monday in Canada. Other than their milk being in plastic bags instead of jugs, so far I hadn’t found much difference between Canada and the states yet. And with Monday being a day at home, it didn’t look likely that I would that day. Gail drove in to spend the pre-conference time with us. She’d be staying nearby at her mom’s but would be spending the days with us. Since Cindy was teaching hand piecing to Eileen, Gail and I got busy dyeing. I’d brought some bare yarn and kool aid from home and we had fun playing with colors. With frequent stops for tea and butter tarts (a Canadian pastry that Gail had made), the day was over in a flash.

Tuesday was Toronto. After watching Rookie Blue every summer for a few years, I was excited to see the city. Our destination was Queen Street – their main shopping drag and location of Romni Wools, which I’d heard about on Ravelry. We poked into shops along the way but Romni’s was the first one we spent any time in. Go figure. They have a bargain basement that despite looking a mess, is actually quite well organized. I spent most of my time in the sock yarn section, finding lots of fun sport weight yarns and a few fingering weight. Shocking! I did throw a couple of non-sock yarns in for good measure downstairs and then went upstairs for a couple that weren’t on sale. This store was wonderful and we all left with tons of yarn.

The next big hit was the Japanese paper store, where I scored yet more stocking stuffers. We got burgers for lunch and I had my first ever poutine, which is French fries covered with cheese curds and brown gravy and is a favorite of Aaron, Carolyn’s son. Nothing wrong with poutine! Yum. After hitting the other yarn shop on Queen Street, we were winding down for the day when I dug in my tote to find my camera. What did I find but a skein of yarn that I’d apparently stolen! I was mortified and had to assume it fell into my bag while I was shopping at Romni. It was a lace weight, unlabeled skein, which I pointed out was nothing I’d have chosen had I actually stolen something. They kidded me mercilessly for being a thief for the rest of the trip. We went home to Eileen’s version of snack supper (I had explained that I frequently had cheese, crackers and Guinness after a long day of shopping), which looked like something from a magazine. After more Outlander, we all went to bed tired but happy after our fruitful yarn shopping.

Wednesday was another quilting day for Eileen and Cindy so Gail and I happily knitted all day. We were leaving on Thursday so did some repacking that night. Sam, Eileen’s husband, is a big Survivor fan so much to the chagrin of everyone but me, we watched the premiere instead of more Outlander.

There was no rush on Thursday because it was a 3 hour ride and we didn’t have to be there until dinner. Our first stop was another yarn shop where I restrained myself and only bought 2 skeins. Then we drove across Ontario, stopping for lunch in a small town only to be abandoned by our waitress so we left hungry after 20 minutes. We did grab a sausage roll in a bakery to tide us over and arrived at the B&B mid-afternoon. We checked in and were about to head out to dinner when Sue called and asked us to wait. After our happy reunion, she took us to a wonderful restaurant – Woodpecker in Port Elgin (one town west where she lives.) We had a fun cheese plate that was reminiscent of France then most of us had appetizers instead of main courses. Then it was back to the B&B to meet everyone else. It was clearly a good group, which is typical for knitters. The four of us had been assigned to the family suite, which meant Eileen and Gail were sharing a double bed and Cindy and I were in the twins outside their room. The sink was in our room and the teeny, tiny bathroom was off our room so it was a good thing we were all tired and could sleep through anything. When it comes down to it, as long as I’m comfy and the room is clean (it was), I’m fine. I don’t need a queen size bed and Jacuzzi. Really.

After a wonderful breakfast at the B&B, we all walked up the street to the arts center for our first class, which was dyeing with Jeffi of Shaniknits. We had fun taking turns playing with the dyes and I LOVE the skein I dyed. Just as we finished, lunch arrived. Then it was back to the B&B for our afternoon classes. No one but me had wanted to do the transform a sock class so Sue and I just sat at a table in the back garden and did them while chatting. What it involved was taking a long tube that had been knit on a sock machine, cutting it in half, adding a toe to one end, a cuff to the other and cutting a hole for an afterthought heel. Cool, right? I enjoyed it. Dinner was at a funky little restaurant called Saffron, that had a menu that covered tons of ethnic cuisines, from Thai to Caribbean. I had some wonderful Jamaican chicken croquettes. Yum. Then it was across the street for my first time in Sue’s shop – Docknits. She had knitting themed cupcakes and an entire yarn shop to plow through. She even let me slog through some bins in her back room when the yarn I’d asked about wasn’t out yet. I did some damage but left with a happy bag of yarn. I’ll call it supporting both my friend and the local economy. Yeah, that’s what it was. : )

Saturday was an all day class on color play. It involved some overly complicated “pick colors of yarn from your inspiration picture,” which of course I didn’t have. After another yummy lunch, we actually got to the knitting. I loved the concept, which I may use with some socks down the line, and got a little swatch done but the class could have been better. We had some free time that afternoon so checked out the local outlet (bought nothing) then walked on the beach a bit. I was surprised that there are no waves in the great lakes. I was assured there were some during storms but no tidal activity. Hmmm… Anyway, we had dinner back at the arts center then knitted in the common room at the B&B. The retreat was basically over, which was too fast.

We had a late breakfast on Sunday then headed to Sue’s store with most everyone from the retreat. I stayed there knitting while Gail, Eileen and Cindy shopped the main drag and we lingered until 1:00 so I could check in for my flight the next day. Then it was back on the road home to Eileen’s. We had more delicious soup (homemade tomato from her garden harvest) and grilled cheese for supper then watched more Outlander. Cindy and I packed before bed because we’d be leaving at the crack of dawn.

The week was over so fast but I had a wonderful time. I never did find much different, except for the milk in bags. Check it out! It's never fly in the US. Too messy on the shelf. Anyway, in discussing the retreat, we decided it was as much fun as our more expensive European trips because it’s really all about knitting with friends. And since this was way cheaper, it might have me reevaluating my future travel. Don’t hold me to that though because if Jean and Philip plan a Scotland trip, I’ll be there in a flash. 

Week 38 - Prepping for Canada

The week was all about getting ready for Canada. I was flying out on Sunday and had a big to do list.

I was slamming at work to get all of my F&A work done, determined that I would not be the hold up for other work being done while I was gone. I got my swap box mailed off early in the week, and then started in on my house list. Not only is it nicer to come back to a neat house but the cleaning lady would be coming the day after I flew back so I needed to be prepared for her. I plugged away at the list and was feeling good about things by the end of the week. I even had time for some fun after work, mostly because I had Saturday to pack and finish the final stuff.

I got an email from the local dyer that she had some new yarn dyed and I could choose a new skein to replace my problem one from earlier in the month. I stopped at her place after swimming one night and had a lovely time chatting and picking the new yarn. The next night Andrea and I were doing dinner and a movie. After swimming, I met her at YiaYia’s for pizza then it was on to The Ross for Calvary, the most depressing film ever. It was 10:00 by the time I got home and I was beat. The next day I felt like crap. It was day one of the 4th week of my cold and I was pretty sure at that point that it was something else. Duh! I left work early to see the doctor, who said I had a sinus infection. Now that’s the most over diagnosed thing on the planet (it’s a pet peeve of mine that everyone says they have a sinus infection the second their nose runs when 99% of the time it’s just a cold) but I had a fever (maybe those weren’t all hot flashes I’d been having) and the doc said I did in fact have one. I left with prescriptions for antibiotics and nose spray. He said I’d feel better in a couple of days, which worked for me cuz I’d be in Canada in 48 hours.

Saturday was a pleasant day of finishing the last to do’s and packing. I even had some time to relax in there, which was nice. One of the last things I did was to put ear mite medicine and flea stuff on all the cats. Despite having had both of these before, Pixel had a reaction and was drooling profusely. This didn’t start until bedtime on Saturday so all I could do was worry and keep an eye on her. I slept very little that night and she was fine when the alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. I was on the road to the airport by 4:30 and had a completely uneventful flight, which was refreshing. And what a welcome sight it was to have Eileen, Gail and Cindy beaming at me when I exited the gate area. This was going to be a fun trip.

After dropping Gail at her house, we drove to Eileen’s. I was searching for something that wasn’t just like the states but coming up dry. Eileen’s home was beautiful and she had even bought a bed and redone her sewing room so I wouldn’t have to sleep in the basement guest room. Over the top! We had homemade soup for dinner and then went to the most fabulous store – The Bulk Barn. Now Whole Foods and most grocery stores have bulk bins but this was an entire store with nothing but bins. I had a field day and found all kinds of fun stuff to take home, including some maple flakes (can’t get them in the states) to put on oatmeal. I even found (I think I squealed when I saw them) the ever elusive lemon baking chips. It was a fun store and we went home to watch the first episode of Outlander on Eileen’s enormous (biggest I’ve ever seen) TV. It was great to be there and it was going to be a fun week.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 37 - A Normal Week

There’s not much to say about this week because it was as normal as it gets. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t make for gripping blog posts. The highlight of my week was playing with kittens when I stopped at PetsMart to get cat food on Wednesday. Otherwise it was the usual – knitting, swimming, you know the drill.

Fall arrived mid-week, which I love. It was with more rain and damp, bone chilling cold but at least summer’s over. That’s always a good thing in my book. At least all this rain has helped with the watering at Lorri’s. I’ve been a few times to check things out but have only actually watered once in the entire week. Nice.

Darla and I had a play date scheduled for Saturday, beginning with blueberry pancakes chez moi then an Omaha run, but she was out sick Friday with a stomach thing so ended up cancelling. While Darla being sick wasn’t good, it did take the pressure off my weekend. I still did a bunch of neatizing Friday night under the thought that it’d be much more pleasant to get up to a picked up house but I didn’t do all the dishes. It was nice to wake up Saturday and not have the house look like a bomb had gone off. Then I ran errands in town, stopping in the real library for the first time since it closed last January. They made some nice changes and it looks great. It felt so good to stop in to pick up money to deposit. So normal. Here’s a news story about it. The Bernadette they interview is one of Anne Marie’s kids. Cute.

Errands done, it was home to putter for the rest of the weekend. I made good progress on everything, which works because the new cleaning lady comes for the second time Tuesday. On Sunday I cooked the Boston marrow squash Lori had grown for me (I bought the seeds and presented them to her with a request to grown them and share. Ballsy, right? But it worked.) and have a freezer full of squash for winter eating. I did another clean out of the frig to go with all the squash guts and Lori stopped by to pick up it all up for her “girls” on the way through town.

Just one more week until I’m Canada bound. It’ll be an easy pack and the house should still be neat so it’s all good. Now if the post-nasal drip leftover from my cold that leads to coughing would just be gone. I may have to head to the doctor if it’s not gone very soon or flying won’t be pretty. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 36 - My Endless Cold

Well, I can’t say I got much done this week. I spent most of my time coughing and trying not to move because that would just get me coughing. So no swimming for sure but very little else either. And there was sweating too. Lots and lots of sweating. I was a real treat!

Connie left first thing Monday morning so I made her an omelet for breakfast – protein to offset a day of road food. Within half an hour of her driving away, I had her bed stripped and remade, everything I’d moved out of her room moved back and the laundry sorted and started. I was dripping wet so jumped into the shower and then the sitting began. I was still fully congested at this point so the coughing hadn’t started yet.

With all the down time I had, I spent Monday finishing a pair of socks I’d started last October when I was home after surgery. It was a complicated pattern with gorgeous yarn – an expensive skein from a local dyer. Well, it had come in two hanks, which I took as convenient for making socks, but the second skein didn’t feel the same. When I finished the socks, they were completely different. One was wimpy, fuzzy, came out bigger and was a slightly different color. I washed them for blocking and it got even worse. They were so different that I didn’t want to keep them and couldn’t give them away. It was time to contact the dyer. After several emails, we decided that I’d take the good sock to Yarn Charm to hang for display near her yarn and she’d give me a new skein. So much time and nothing to show for it! At least I got an entry in my knitting group’s WIP contest. And after frogging the second sock, I have 50 grams I can use in another project. It’ll be fine on its own but sheesh!

In my effort to get back to “normal” this week, I spent some time slogging through paper and clearing surfaces. One of my hot spots is the corner by the fridge where I throw random food that doesn’t go in the cupboard – chips, bread, cookies… that kind of thing. While cleaning that corner, I started putting extra food on the table. Well, by the time I got the corner under control, the table was full. Let’s not even discuss how many boxes of cereal I have. So I’m declaring here that I’m done buying food. I’m going to see how long I can go eating out of my cupboards, freezer and garden without buying food. Of course some things will be exempt – milk, TP, cat food, etc. This isn’t about saving money but rather clearing things out. All good, right? Please ask me how I’m doing on this. I should really take some before and after pics.

By the end of the week, the congestion had abated but the coughing had set in. Some of it was drainage related but not all of it. I was SO pretty to be around at work. At least it was getting some better by the weekend. I had vet appointments with all four cats on Saturday morning – 2 at 9:15 and 2 at 10:15.  They all needed shots but the first two needed their ears cleaned and I had to drug Pie since she needed treatment for a UTI. I was home and showered (taking cats to the vet is gross – they blow fur when they’re stressed plus the shaking of the ears. Ewww.) before lunch and then started neatizing. I ended the day with a trip to the Laundromat with comforters (they’d gone from piled on the spare bed to the middle of the front room floor) so I could hang them on the line to dry, watering at Lorri’s (the mosquitoes were horrible from all our rain so I blasted the water on the plants while flailing my arms and managed not to be bitten) and a stock up run (no food though) at Dollar General. I was happy with the level of productivity by the time I went to bed.

Sunday was Carter’s, my cousin’s grandson, baptism in Hickman, which is an hour south of Wahoo. I was dressed and on the road by 9:00. It was a lovely service and they had pulled pork for lunch afterwards in the church hall. I helped do the pulling so was speckled with meat bits. It’s all good. When I got home, I got cooking. I’d signed up for potato salad for our food day Monday so made that, some stuffed peppers and banana bread. I’d started the day making a pound of bacon so I could make BLT’s all week and then came back from the baptism with home grown tomatoes and cukes. It looks like I’ll be doing fine with my first week of not buying food and it’s all good, healthy food too. Yay!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 35 - Rain and Connie

Wet, wet, wet. Looking back at the week, the main thing I think of is rain. We had almost 9” in as many days. The grass was growing like crazy, the flowers were looking beaten up and all the tomatoes in my garden were splitting from so much water. My basement was dry until the 2.5” of rain we got on Wednesday, which put us over 7” since the previous Friday. It wasn’t pouring in but rather seeping up from the saturated ground. And there was yet more rain in the forecast. 

The last straw was when I was driving home on Thursday, late after swimming and a stop at the market, and found 77 closed due to flooding. I had to drive 8 miles east, 6 miles north then back 8 miles west to go over the dam north of town, which was supposed to stop this kind of flooding. I didn’t get home until 8:00 and was exhausted. By then I was coming down with a cold and Connie was due to arrive the next day. At least I was done with preparations. All I had left to do was move the stuff on her bed into my bedroom, where it would only stay until she left, when it would go right back on the bed. 

I woke up completely congested on Friday after not sleeping well at all. While I hate to call in sick, I knew I had to if I had any chance of being functional while Connie was here. I sat in my chair and did nothing all day, which must have worked because I was feeling OK when Connie arrived late Friday afternoon. It was great to see her. Phone calls are just not the same face time. 

I popped another Claritin D (genius product!) and we headed to Omaha on Saturday morning. Our first stop was the Farmers’ Market, which we used to do when she lived in Auburn. We would have preferred Lincoln’s market but it was a game day so no chance. We had a great time and bought some goodies for later. From there we went to Lauritzen Gardens, which was free for the weekend. It was still cloudy and cool-ish so we enjoyed looking at all the gardens, although the flowers were beaten down by the rain and the lawns were squishy. We finished just as the sun came out and the heat started up. We grabbed lunch at Noodles then hit Trader Joe’s (more goodies for dinner) and Aldi before heading home. We had a lovely evening snacking on our purchases and watching the entire season 3 of Sherlock, which Connie hadn’t seen yet. I was still holding up so was hopeful for Sunday. 

Nope. I slept like crap again and woke up feeling, as my mother would say, punk. I made blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast and that used up all the energy I had. We were headed to Lincoln for pedicures, lunch and shopping with Connie’s daughter Rachele, who was visiting from New Jersey. It was pouring rain as we got to Lincoln and I was dreading the full day ahead. I’d brought my knitting with the idea that if couldn’t keep up, I could sit in a coffee shop and knit while they shopped. When Connie realized she’d forgotten something in Wahoo that she’d brought for Rachele and announced she’d be heading back later, it was music to my ears. I could now just do the pedicure and then be dropped home and Connie could shop with Rachele. I was SO relieved because I was coughing constantly and feeling worse by the minute. So after a relaxing pedicure, they drove me home and I spent the day sitting like a lump in my chair. It was exactly what I needed. Connie was racing home before another fierce storm (she didn’t quite make it so drove through some hellish rain) and got home in time for BLT’s for dinner and one of my favorite movies – The Station Agent. She loved it and I was feeling better after staying home. 

It was as good a weekend as I could have hoped for considering how crappy I felt. Connie was leaving in the morning after a quick but fun trip. Hopefully I’ll see her sometime soon but if not, there’s our cruise in February. The icing on the cake was that the rain seemed to be done for awhile so things could dry out. I am so ready for fall.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 34 - Jam Packed Week

I was looking forward to a normal week but it was jam packed so I’m not sure how normal it was. It was the week before classes start so no swimming, which you would think would mean more free time but it didn’t work out that way. Go figure. There were some really long days in store this week.

Monday was knitting, which is always fun but is a long day nonetheless – work all day, pick up pizza then knit at the club. By the time I get home it’s pushing 9:00 so it’s 14 hours away from home. Long day. Then on Tuesday I had to take my car to Honda because the hatch was jammed again. Since Honda is way down south in Lincoln and the shuttle leaves at 7:15, that means I have to be on the road by 6:30. It also adds a bunch of time at the end of the day because I have to get down there then it’s an hour home from that far south. Another long day and let’s not discuss the $99 charge to tell me it’ll be another $430 if I want it fixed permanently. Nope. I’ll take my chances. Wednesday was our annual water aerobics get together, which we always do the week we have no classes. Unfortunately I didn’t remember to bake until after 9:00 on Tuesday, when I threw in a pan of brownies and called it good. The cookout was also down south at Rene’s after work and was fun, as always, but I was one of the first to leave and still didn’t get to Wahoo until almost 9:00. I had to pick something up at Denise’s or I would have been later. Yet another long day. Thursday was book club. I did get to go home and eat dinner beforehand. Since the library is completely closed pending reopening at the real location after Labor Day, we met at the Vets’ Club, our home away from home these days. We had a good discussion but Connie, whose husband died recently very unexpectedly, didn’t come so I decided to stop at her house after dropping knitting needles at Donna’s in the same neighborhood. We had a lovely talk but I didn’t get home until after 9:00 again! Between the crappy sleep because of disturbing dreams (I blame the book – Destiny of the Republic – that I’d been listening to in every spare minute, including to and from work in the car) and these long days, I was toast. At least Friday was here and I had no plans for the weekend.

I had been waiting with baited breath for the state fair results to be posted online. I’d entered my two best socks, including the gorgeous pink pair I’d only gotten a red on at the county fair. The fair was open on Friday but the results didn’t get posted until late afternoon. How the ribbons work at the state fair is only a maximum of 5 are awarded for each division so of all the socks entered from the whole state, only 5 would get ribbons. I was thrilled to hear that I got 2 of them – 2nd and 5th place. I don’t know which sock got which but I was happy happy happy! Not enough that I’d be driving to Grand Island to see them but I have friends going who will take pictures. Yay!

Another wonderful thing happened on Friday. Andrea had found a cleaning lady who was taking clients and she had called me back and would be coming for a meet and greet on Sunday morning. If all went as planned, she would even be able to clean next week before Connie arrived. I was so excited. It did mean I’d have a big day of slogging through stuff on Saturday but I’d have had to do it before Connie came anyway and now with a firm deadline, it wouldn’t fill my entire weekend. So that’s what I did Saturday – sorting, moving, purging… All good. I was done by supper time and was looking forward to an early night. I had showered and was in bed reading when I heard my cell phone ringing. I decided to ignore it but then my landline rang. I picked it up and it was Cornelia. Her husband had died on Thursday. While it was a blessing that he didn’t linger longer, it was sad news regardless. I was on the phone a long time, making for another long day but that’s what friends are for. Corn has big changes ahead and I’m 1300 miles away so the only help I can really give is moral support. I can only hope she makes it through this OK.

I had planned to get up early and finish the dishes but was up so late that that didn’t happen. I hid all the dirty pots and pans that were in the sink in the dishwasher and called it good. Trisha arrived at 10:00, agreed to take me on as a client and then the rest of the day was mine. I still had laundry, the hidden dishes and cooking to do but there was also some sock knitting between the chores so it was all good. It was a relaxing day after a very busy week and I was so grateful for all my busy-ness, my friends and my wonderful life. I went to bed Sunday happy and hopeful for normal in the coming week. I live in hope.