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?