Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 7 - Wine & Dine

This week was all about the Wine & Dine – our annual fundraising dinner for Friends of the Library. Our theme was vintage valentines and the anchor of the decorating was my vintage tablecloths. I’d delivered a bag of 13 all washed and ready to iron but I got an email mid-week saying they needed more. I spent one morning before work digging through more linens in the basement and delivering them on my way out of town. With the short notice, someone else was on the hook for washing them this time. 

I was also in charge of door prizes, which I’d done for years but stepped away from last year only to be unhappy with the low number of prizes so I volunteered again. I may need to rethink that. People cannot seem to follow directions nor stick to deadlines! Each Friend was supposed to have dropped a door prize at the library by Saturday, the 8th, in a gift bag so I could see what was inside. I was still picking them up a week later and one person brought hers to the actual dinner. Sheesh! I also went a bit overboard (Me? Shocking!) and so had way too prizes from my own house to organize and wrap. Some of those were donations from my friends and others things knitted by the knitting group. After a Walgreens run after work on Friday to buy filler candy for some of the prizes that needed a little something, I thought I was in good shape but it seemed to take all afternoon Saturday to get them sorted out, winners chosen (I did a random number generator against the sign up sheet) and the results emailed to the library director who picks who gets what. I didn’t finish until Saturday night and still had them to load into bags for transport. 

With all the door prize related errands (I did what I thought was everything Saturday morning but ended up having to go out two more times that afternoon) done, I thought I’d have a relaxing day on Sunday but decided I should cook instead. I stopped the movie I was watching and put on the pea soup. I moved on to ham salad, tabbouleh and sausage and peppers, finishing just in time to load up the door prizes and get dressed. The kitchen looked like a bomb went off but at least I’d have good eats for the week. Bob and Lorri picked me up, which meant I had help schlepping the prizes inside. The night was a success but with a few bumps. The PA system didn’t work and Denise hadn’t pre matched who got what prize, doing it on the fly, which resulted in men getting women’s prizes at the end. The service was slow so we were still eating at 7:30 so being home in time for Downton Abbey at 8:00 wasn’t going to happen. And the prime rib, while well seasoned, was overcooked (medium well when I like medium rare.) But enough of the bumps lest you think it was the Whine and Dine! Everyone had fun and I enjoyed chatting with the people at my table. And since I wasn’t driving, I had a second glass of wine. And the best part of it all – it’s done! I can reclaim my dining room table and get back to normal. 

As soon as everything’s put away and I’ve caught up on things, the next thing on the agenda is to schedule the new cleaning lady to come over. Time to cross that off the list just in time to be thinking about spring yard chores. Because while all this door prize prep was going on, the bitter cold finally broke and not a minute too soon. I got my first order of seeds and am waiting for a 2nd. Having bought all new seed, I think I’ll be starting some tomatoes this year. Normally I just take whatever Lorri starts but this year I’ll do a few on my own. 

I also finalized everything I could for France. The tickets were bought last week and this week we did hotels. Sue booked the single night in Bergerac and after asking for a recommendation from my boss (3 levels up), I booked 2 nights in Paris at a nice hotel near the Eiffel Tower that’s half the price of what the travel agent suggested. So now all that’s left is to book our train tickets but it’s too early to do that online. It’s all coming together and I’m getting excited. It’s been 28 years since I’ve been in France (I cannot believe that!) so it’s about time. Life is good!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 6 - SO Over It!

Have I mentioned the weather? How much I’m hating this cold? It’s hard to get out of bed, never mind go to work, when you wake up to below zero temps every morning. Real temps, not wind chills. And while I’d been bemoaning the lack of snow, when we got 4” of snow this past week, it was on top of bitter cold temps and even colder wind chills so the beauty of the snow was no consolation. It’s official. I’m over winter and counting the days until spring. 39, in case you’re curious. I’m thinking spring and planning accordingly. I ordered seeds. Lots and lots of seeds. Someday I’ll be able to plant them.

The snow hit Tuesday during the day and I did the weather weenie thing and left work early so I wouldn’t have to drive in the dark with snow. Have you experienced the vortex effect with headlights into full on snow? Not fun. The only upside was I was home by 4:00 and so had a completely productive evening, getting most of the not quite finished on the weekend chores done. That felt good. But shoveling the next morning when the wind chill was -20? Nope, not fun. But I was pretty proud that I made it to work before many people from Lincoln. And luckily Dodie had called and we’d cancelled lunch so I brought one and didn’t have to venture out. Because when Nora was out with a sick kid on Monday and so we weren’t going out for my birthday, I deemed it too cold to go buy lunch. I ate whatever I could find in my desk and the office – crackers, a cheese stick, almonds, a fiber bar, dates… All those high fiber snacks had consequences later on. Lesson learned. I brought 2 StarKist lunch packs to work the next day.

Also in the not fun category – driving in snow with crappy tires. I took my car in on Thursday afternoon and got new tires. The ones they took off were not even 2 years old but they claim the shim my tire needed this past summer had caused the uneven wear. Whatever. I just feel better knowing I won’t blow a tire and freeze to death in a ditch. Money well spent. Hopefully.

On the topic of spending money, I also bought my ticket to France. $1700! Nothing fun about that but I’ll keep my eyes on the prize and call it good. I know the trip will be fantastic so whatever it takes to get there.

In non-weather news, I’ve made lots of knitting progress. The Monday Night Knitters are having a contest to finish up works in progress. You know me and external motivation – I finished 2 this week to add to the 1 from last week and am closing in on finishing a 4th. Unfortunately, a chunk of Sunday was eaten up by yarn when I started looking for old projects and ended up organizing all the yarn in my spare room in the process. Sunday was supposed to be my chore day since I’d spent Saturday happily knitting next to Lori’s wood stove. At least then I was working on a pod for yet another door prize. It came out great so I’ll add it to the stack of prizes on my table (all from my house – yikes!) and to the 3 bags from other Friends of the Library that I picked up Saturday morning. I may not have cooked anything nor finished my chores but it was fun. The cleaning can wait and I won’t go hungry. That’s a given.

So, all in all, it was a productive week. I got a few things crossed off the list and lived through another arctic blast. Just 39 days to go. I can make it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 5 - My Happy Birthday

This was the first full week I’d worked yet this year and it started out on a tear. Josh and Randy called in on Monday and Mary was at my desk first thing with a list of things I was only minimally involved in on the first go and was very uneasy trying to do. Luckily Nora arrived after 9:00 and between the two of us, we dug and and figured out what to do. We slammed all day preparing data for a meeting with the vice chancellor and I was only able to duck out to deliver the food to Brenda and Michael after the meeting started. After a little reprieve, there were more data requests. Oh well. Nora and I managed to get things done and she even sent me a nice email later that night thanking me. After that long day, I swam then went straight to knitting. It was a long day but it ended well. Gotta love knitting with friends. 

I had planned to swim again on Tuesday but my yarn from Germany had arrived on Monday but they hadn’t left it. Andrea picked it up for me at the post office and I couldn’t wait to get home to check it out. It was a grab bag of 4 skeins so the colors were a surprise. There was one I wasn’t too keen on but the other were gorgeous. It was a nice night – I got to enjoy a leisurely dinner and stroke my yarn. : ) 

I swam on Wednesday to make up for it. Have I mentioned that I hate Wednesday’s class? Water Zumba. I’m a total klutz and flounder around in the pool but I did it, spending lots of time laughing at my own ineptitude. I lived to tell. 

I had a really busy Thursday and Friday with meetings galore and training too. After two meetings in a row, I got back after 1:00 for a 1:30 training only to find the portal to SAP down. Two people had come in from North Platte (the West Central Research Center) for the class and they were staying afterwards for a consolidated version of my other class. Cancelling was not an option. I had a brainstorm and sent Nicki upstairs to find an AP clerk who was still logged in (the system wasn’t down, just the portal to log in) and get their IP address so we could log in. I madly handed out materials, tripping over a file drawer in the process and almost taking out one of the trainees when I grabbed her table to break my fall. I had a huge egg on my shin but didn’t hit the floor. That was something at least. And Nicki found someone so we were able to do the class but they just could watch on the main screen rather than following along, which made the class shorter than normal. But done! I was pretty pleased with myself.  

I had planned to swim and then head right to book club but just couldn’t face another rushed night so opted to go home and have dinner instead. It meant I’d only swum twice but I’ll survive. Book club was meeting in the new temporary location for the library and it was a book I’d picked and enjoyed – Suite Francaise. It was a good discussion and I even got some knitting done. I was slamming to finish my January socks by Friday for my Socks from Stash group on Ravelry. It was looking like I’d make it. 

Friday was the day before my birthday and so was chocolate filled. Jenny brought me peanut butter balls (my favorite and an annual tradition), Nora a bear stick, Mary chocolate orange peels and I met Dodie, who brought me flowers and orange sticks. All this before Layton took me out for lunch at Leadbelly’s in the Haymarket. I had meetings all afternoon and then a Husker Cats meeting at 5:15. The day was over in a flash and I happily headed home for the weekend. I finished my socks in the nick of time too. Nice. 

Andrea and I were going to Omaha for my birthday. I picked her up at 1:00 and we started at The Cheesecake Factory where we split 3 small plates and then I got my fave – limoncello cake. After a quick stop at Penzey’s and Joann’s, we went to Saving Mr. Banks, which was a wonderful movie. I cried a lot. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It was a fun birthday and I came home to lots of phone and facebook messages. It’s good to have so many friends. 

Sunday was catch up day – chores and phone calls mostly. But I caught up on my blog, posted all my new yarn (did I mention the 3 skeins I was given for my birthday? More wonderful friends.) and dug up, washed and hung out tablecloths for Wine & Dine decorations. I also managed to fit in some cooking and laundry. All in all, it was a good week. I have the most wonderful friends and am thankful every day for them. Yes, I mean you. : )

Week 4 - Welcome Baby Carter

Well, I didn’t get back downstairs on Monday but I did spend the day neatizing upstairs and slogging through papers. After tea, I made an apple pie to take to knitting. It was a lovely day. 

The weather continued its roller coaster trend with below zero temps one day and 50 the next. Sheesh! The work week was uneventful except for a fun, all day professional development on Thursday on EmerGenetics. I came up as conceptual/analytical with high scores in expressiveness and low flexibility. Nothing new there but fun nonetheless.  

The big news of the week was the arrival of Michael and Brenda’s little boy – Carter James Densmore. He was born Friday and is a gorgeous baby. And I’m not just saying that. Check him out. Beautiful!


I went to visit them at St. E’s on Saturday. I met Darla beforehand for a slice of pizza and catch up at Whole Foods. I don’t get anywhere near enough face time with her since she changed jobs. Then I met Helen at the pharmacy and we went up to their room. I got some quality baby time in. He’s such a cutie. The new parents and grandma are ecstatic, as they should be. 

With Carter’s arrival, my plans for Sunday changed. I started cooking first thing and kept at it all afternoon between chores. I had bought a ham in Omaha just because it was cheap so baked and glazed that then made cranberry cole slaw and three bean salad to go with it. I would drop it at lunch on Monday and they’d be able to hack at it all week. Ham works for every meal, right? It was nice to think I could help and a good way to spend a frigid Sunday.