Thursday, December 22, 2016

Week 50 - The Home Stretch

I started the week with an appointment with my shoulder doc. I was using way too many lidocaine patches (almost every night) so needed to explore next steps. While my strength was still good, they ordered an MRI to check the calcification and rule out a rotator cuff tear before deciding if surgery is an option. But when I stopped to schedule the MRI, they said they had to wait for Blue Cross to approve it and it was a don't call us we'll call you situation. I am not holding my breath. Our health care system is SO broken. The good news is that Wednesday was our last water aerobics and while I'll miss it, my shoulder has been way better since. I'll take it for now and will try to be patient waiting for the MRI. 

I dropped Ginny's package on the way to work (Staples, which I had to drive right by, has a UPS desk) and got to work after 10:00, which is a nice way to start the week. But then I got an email from Nora saying they'd denied us filling Josh's position, which means more work for both of us and Nora will be slammed when I'm out for 6 weeks having my knee surgery. Nora took it hard but I wasn't surprised so just went on with my work. What did surprise me was when Mary decided to cancel our Winter Workshop, which was scheduled for 2 days after break and would have had us slamming until Christmas and probably meant Cindy would be working over break. So that was a nice bonus and started the discussions of what we can give up to deal long term with not filling the position. Unfortunately the next step was we have to start logging our hours so they know what we're working on. I HATE THAT! I had to do it at Brown and it sucked. Oh well. We're getting into we just need to be glad we're employed territory. Of course this is mostly the fault of the republicans in our state legislature who voted to cut taxes even though farm prices, and therefore revenues, are down. Who doesn't see the correlation? I just don't get it.

Feeling dejected, I put in for Tuesday afternoon off and went home after meeting Darla for lunch at HyVee. I had a lovely afternoon, catching up on the chores I hadn't gotten done on the weekend when I got sucked into knitting gifts. I also made rugelach to take to work on Wednesday, when we were having our office Christmas party. Mary takes the whole office out to lunch and buys us all a gift too - very generous. We also do a Yankee Swap (called a white elephant exchange in Nebraska) and that's always fun. It's supposed to be something from your house so I ended up with a hideous bear ornament but it came with a huge bag of Lindor truffles. Yum! I ended the day with our last water aerobics for a few weeks. I'll miss seeing all my water friends.

I still had 2 stray hours of vacation time in my bank (I like my bank to be in even days - call me anal!) so decided to take them Friday and head home early. I was home by tea time, which was a nice start to the weekend. I had no plans to leave the house and with my wrapping almost done and Ginny's package shipped (it had already arrived in South Carolina by Thursday morning), the list wasn't overwhelming. I was nearly done with one pair of Christmas socks and had one whole other pair to make by the 26th. I also needed to put my tree up, finish wrapping and put the wrapping stuff away plus do a final neatize of the house. It was going to be bitter cold so my plan was to never leave the house.

I started Saturday with a long overdue sewing project that I can't go into details on just yet. It went swimmingly but I was missing something to finish it up so had to brave the cold and head to the farm store Saturday evening. It was worth it to finish the project, after which I put up the tree. It was due to be -14 real temp with wind chills making it feel much colder but I couldn't get Pie to come in Saturday night, probably because I'd dragged her in Friday night so she wanted nothing to do with me. She has access to the garage and is a former feral from campus so pretty self sufficient so I wasn't too worried....

Until she didn't show up for breakfast on Sunday morning. When there was still no sign of her by afternoon, I was convinced she'd frozen to death. After calling and calling to no avail, I drove to the farm store and called there in case she had hitched a ride in my car. Can we say crazy cat lady boys and girls? I then had a kid who was visiting my neighbor down on the ground taking video underneath my deck with his phone. No luck. Needing something to take my mind off my frozen cat and having gotten everything on my list done, I decided it was time to do my online STOP class to get my 2nd speeding ticket dismissed. I'd paid a couple of weeks ago and had to do it by my first day back from Rhode Island so it made sense to get it over with. It was supposed to take 4 hours but took closer to 6 but I was done by 8:00 and had gotten an entire sock done on my last pair so it wasn't a total waste. Yet there was drama on the horizon surrounding that. Stay tuned for details next week.

Here's hoping your holiday to do list isn't too long and that you find some time to enjoy the preparations. Ho ho ho!

Week 49 - Christmas Prep Galore

It was a relatively quiet week with lots of pre-Christmas preparations. Me and the rest of the planet (or the ones who celebrate Christmas anyway.) My goal was to get everything done during the week so I could hunker down on the weekend. That made for a very busy week but all worth it.

While mundane, I just have to share that I got a new Sonicare toothbrush and absolutely love it! I have contemplated buying one for years and finally did it on amazon. My teeth have never felt cleaner and after just a few days of using it, my teeth are visibly whiter and have less plaque. Yay! If you’ve never tried one, you should.

My shoulder has been getting more painful with every passing day so when I was at Walgreens picking up my photo order, I stocked up on lidocaine patches. I had Anne put my first one on after swimming Wednesday night and got the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages. These patches are fabulous! I also called my shoulder doc and made an appointment for first thing Monday. It’s clearly time to get this taken care of.

When I headed home Friday night, I was completely prepared for a weekend at home with a fully stocked larder and a big to do list. I had a lovely morning knitting in the sun on Saturday and was up and gluing down pictures by 10:00. The calendars went together easier than any other year (must have been our fabulous page designs) and I was done by lunch time, after which I cleared the bar and started wrapping. I had Ginny’s stocking wrapped before I sat down for tea. When I was putting her box together, which included a big pampered chef deviled egg tray that had been sitting unused in my basement for years, I could not find a cookbook I knew I’d set aside for her and so started digging. What did I find but a box full of stocking stuffers I hadn’t found when I sorted through them after Thanksgiving! I knew I should have had more. I added the few in there to Carolyn’s pile but put everything for my sister away for next year. Sheesh!

After a rotation dinner (I was on my sixth day of a 600/900 week and was down 4 pounds), I forced myself to get back out of my chair where I was happily knitting and watching Mary Poppins. I was tired of standing but felt great when I finished wrapping Carolyn’s stocking. With that done, I was going into Sunday with just my chores to do. Nice.

I was still feeling some Christmas knitting pressure. I was on the 2nd sock of Lorri’s Christmas socks but still had an entire cowl to knit and another pair of Christmas socks plus a pair of baby booties. With that in mind, I pulled some thick/thin bulky yarn for the cowl and then called Andrea to borrow big needles because mine were nowhere to be found. She was coming over with compost so dropped the needles off. I had started chores but then got sucked into knitting the cowl (it took 4 cast ons to get it right) so ended the day with the cowl done but not the chores. Oh well. I can finish those during the week. Christmas to do’s trump chores at this point. Am I right?

I hope you all are making big progress on your Christmas prep. Just 2 more weeks to go! Ho ho ho.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Week 48 - Everything's Too Hard

It was a bear of a week. Everything seemed to be harder than normal and I had a few humdingers that added nothing good. But I ended the week with a super productive weekend, getting a big head start on Christmas prep so it all worked out.

The first issue was Christmas trees. I've been getting my trees - one for inside and another for the deck - at Menard's for years. I get 4-5 foot trees and usually get out of there in 20 minutes for <$30. Since it was in the 50's on Monday and the long term forecast showed much colder temps, I headed to Menard's over lunch, only to find they had no small trees. None. And their naked wreaths were $10! Home Depot was in the same parking lot so I went there and found it all. Now the inside tree is labeled "evergreen" because it's no species I've ever seen and has the absolute spikiest needles ever. Oh well. Maybe that will dissuade the kitten from trashing the tree. The other tree and wreath are fine but in my travels between the stores, I managed to tip over the newly filled bag of cat food I keep in the back to feed the campus cats. Twice. So I was back on campus with holiday greenery but cat food everywhere. And now pine needles. Whatever. Done.

My Fit was registered through the 30th so I'd made an appointment at the Lincoln Honda dealership for Tuesday to get the airbag recall taken care of. This left me leaving Wahoo at 6:30 a.m., which made for a totally whacked morning. I bummed a ride back to Honda with Dodie then while super hungry, went to Aldi just for milk. $65 later! Then I hit Trader Joe's and was happy to leave for <$30. What a LONG day by the time I got home though.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning when I had a training class at 8:30, which I always struggle to get to. I'm an 8:15 person on a good day but inherited this class and its too early start time from a co-worker. So I'm sailing down the highway, with the cruise set but foot on the gas anyway, when I see a cop behind me lights ablaze. His first question was when I had my last speeding ticket and I fessed up that it was in October so off he went to write me another one. He was very nice and I called a friend to prep my class while I was pulled over so the class was fine. Now I have to do stop class though or my insurance will skyrocket. Grrr.... first thing I did was have Cindy change my future classes to 9:00. Who needs this?

The last thing that happened that was the icing on the cake was at lunch on Thursday. Cindy and I went thrifting and at my favorite store, someone swiped something out of my cart while my back was turned looking through stuff on a shelf. Now it wasn't my purse or anything important but who does that? The person must have made a beeline to the registers because we looked around for the offender but didn't find them and the cashier confirmed that someone had checked out with my item. Whatever. I was over the negativity for the week.

At 8:00 Thursday night, I actually got up from watching TV and made tetrazzini with the last of the Thanksgiving turkey and loaded it up in my freezer in individual casseroles. Because, get this, I scheduled my knee replacement surgery for March 9th! With all this talk of problems, I forgot to mention that. It's a big relief to have that scheduled and now I can move forward with that date in mind. Step 1 - cook for when I'm home and can't stand to cook. That was a step in a positive direction.

I continued the positive trend Friday morning by basement shopping. 3 of my 4 office mates had mentioned wanting/needing something that I had in my basement storage room not being used so I went downstairs first thing and in 5 minutes had a corelle plate (for avoiding nuking in plastic), a vintage sewing chest and a huge butter dish. I washed them all up and presented them at work. Everyone was happy, including me because 3 things were out of my house. I also brought some rubber stamps as inspiration for our calendar page day on Saturday and Nora and I had fun going through them and brainstorming. The day ended at the pool so I was exercised and showered when I got home to start the weekend.

Nora, Cheryl and I were making our calendar pages on Saturday but I had to pick up money at the library and deposit it before leaving to drive to Lincoln so I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn. I had time for a leisurely breakfast, a chat with Carolyn and pulling all my supplies together. It started snowing just after I got to Nora's and we had a lovely day full of creativity and fun. The page designs seemed to come easier than previous years so I was on the road as the sun was going down and home before full dark. It had stopped snowing mid-afternoon but the roads were most likely treacherous once the temp dropped but I wouldn't know because I was cozy at home.

I had a totally productive day on Sunday but had enough time to intersperse knitting and streaming (The Crown on Netflix, which I'm really enjoying. Check it out.) with chores. It was warm enough out that I spent some time getting my outside decorations up, including my deck tree, which always makes me happy. At the end of the day, I went next door with all the paperwork to officially transfer ownership of the Fit to my neighbors so that was off the list too.

For all the hassles early in the week, the week turned out better than average. I feel like I'm well on my way with Christmas prep, have a plan for my knee and am down to one car. All good, right? And a fun thing that's bringing me daily pleasure is my sock yarn advent calendar. Could there be anything more perfect for me? Doubtful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Extra - Fun Contest to Enter TODAY

YarnCanada is doing a fun contest to win sock yarn for life, so you know I had to enter. Here's a link to the contest webpage. You have to tell them what you'd do with the yarn if you won. Here's my entry:

I will knit socks for people who are inconsolable over the election of Donald Trump. Maybe having warm feet with yarn from Canada will help them deal with the next 4 years.

The deadline is today so enter away. : )

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 47 - Knee Reading Correlation

I was so looking forward to a three day work week but it seems that the world was conspiring to cram those three days full. 

I started the morning Monday making a chocolate bread pudding to take to knitting and at work it was the only normal day with a nice long lunch with Dodie at Honest Abe's and knitting after work. I was dreading Tuesday, when the whole day was scheduled to be a conference call for online training on new software, only stopping at 3;00 when we had the first interview for Josh's position. At least the day flew and we had enough breaks, including a nice lunch at Panera with Cindy, that it wasn't hellish. We had more training Wednesday morning and another interview scheduled for 11:00 on Wednesday, after which Cindy and I hit the thrifts. We were hoping for an early let out but were so busy after lunch that we didn't get the word until 3:30. I happily headed home for a four day break. No alarms and no obligations - bring it on!

After enjoying afternoon tea on a weekday (a total treat), I made a pumpkin pie to kick off Thanksgiving and went to bed early. Good thing because I managed to hit my alarm button as I was putting my book back on the nightstand so woke up to a dreaded alarm on Thanksgiving morning. Fail! I put the turkey in the oven and then settled in for some TV. I always get choked up watching the parade and dog show. I think because it reminds me of my mother and childhood in general. I was having a low key dinner with just broccoli and squash casserole to go with the turkey and stuffing and it was all good. I was eating by 1:30 and enjoyed some relaxing knitting in the sun and talking to my sister. I decided mid-afternoon that there was no point in trying to fit the turkey back in the fridge so had it torn apart and the bones boiling for stock by dinnertime. It was a nice day and reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for. That's a success in my book.

Friday was my day to get busy. After getting the laundry started and hung out on the line, I innocently started to organize my sock drawer and before you know it, I'd gone through every bit of clothing in my bedroom - closet and both bedrooms. I was cut throat in getting rid of things so had 3 big bags for Goodwill, a stack for Helen and a few to take to work for Nora. Then I headed downstairs to go through stuff in the craft room while the sun was streaming in. I spent 2 hours down there and while I didn't have much to get rid of, it was better organized. I could do that every afternoon for a month and still not be done but I still felt good to have started. 

I had found a heated mattress pad at the thrifts, which I've sorely needed since rearranging my bedroom and putting my bed over the only heat duct. I brought it in from the line and made the bed with sweet smelling sheets before I sat down for the night, pleased with all I'd gotten done. I put together a plate of leftovers for an early dinner but as soon as I was done eating, my stomach felt off. I ate a Tums and went to bed early, loving my nice, warm bed and reading for a long time before falling asleep, something I hadn't been doing when my bed was cold. Unfortunately I woke up at 11:00 and knew I'd be sick. I drank some pepto but to no avail. I was puking at midnight, at which point my stomach should have been empty but wasn't. I did feel much better though and went back to bed, sleeping late Saturday morning.

My stomach felt fine but I still ate a bland breakfast just in case. I had showered and put on fresh veg clothes, intending to knit the morning away sitting in the sun and then head downstairs again. Then Lorri stopped in and asked if I wanted to go to Our Corner Cottage for small business Saturday. Since I'd gone through my stocking bag and found Carolyn's pile lacking, I threw on some clothes and joined her. After Our Corner Cottage, where I found plenty, we hit the stores in downtown Wahoo and I bought more. By the time I got home at 2:30, I was ravenous (stomach was clearly fine) and I had a pile of presents so the heat was off. Unfortunately I'd missed the sun so didn't get back downstairs but it was worth it. I had fun doing my bit to support local businesses with Lorri.

Where did the four days go? It was already Sunday and I had things to do to get ready for the work week, which was going to be - GASP - 5 days long! I can't remember what I did all day and I'm sure there was lots of knitting but the four days off had gone too quickly. One good thing was all the reading in bed, which I do on my stomach, was stretching my bad knee better than anything I'd done since PT and my knee was feeling better. Not enough to postpone surgery but still better. I'll take any improvement I can get and what a boon that it is so easy to do, especially as I was enjoying the book so much - Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which Cindy had recommended. Nice.

Week 46 - Better with Time

The funk I was in the previous week was getting better day by day. It took some time but I realized one man couldn't bring down our entire democracy so I chilled out. I also continued trying to be positive so started rotating Monday morning. I might not be able to control much but I could control what I eat.

On that front, Tuesday was a bit of a fail. I'd brought a salad intending to eat healthy but it was the International Food Day where all the international student clubs cook food from their country and so my rotation went out the window. I didn't eat tons but did enjoy a plate of Russian food that was defintely calorie worthy. Then Erica called to invite me for dinner. 

She'd asked me for a ride to pick up her car in Wahoo and since I drive right by her house on my way home, I happily agreed. She was in the process of packing for a move on the weekend so was trying to use up food and so had a banquet planned. How could I refuse? I got there ~6:30 after stopping at the grocery store to stock up on produce and dined on pork roast, mashed potatoes, squash, corn and a roll with apple crisp for dessert. Erica and I chatted in the car at her mechanic and then I went home to unload all my groceries. It was a long day but fun and Wednesday was another day for 600 calories.

I did fine Wednesday and had managed to lose 5 pounds when I weighed myself Thursday morning. I was still up from the start of the office weight loss challenge but at least the scale was moving in the right direction. Good thing because Thursday was birthday lunch for Cheryl and Nora plus Cindy had baked my fave decadent chocolate cake from the Silver Palate cookbook that was so popular in the 80's. We ate it at 8:30 in the morning. Yummy but sheesh! Lunch was good too and everyone liked their socks and Friday was another day. Layton and I went to the Chinese buffet and I was pretty good - veggies and chicken skewers because I couldn't stomach more baked fish having eaten that twice already for dinner. After swimming and stopping at Aldi for my turkey on Friday night, I was ready for the weekend.

My cousin's new grandson was being baptized on Sunday and Van's mom was picking up flowers in Wahoo so we'd made plans for lunch so I could meet the baby. Brenda got a late start though and I had to leave town at 1:00 so we just met up and chatted at the florist. Cute, smily baby btw. Then I picked Andrea up and we headed to Fremont for spinning, with plans to hit a couple of grocery stores afterwards for Thanksgiving sales. But Andrea had the fabulous idea to go to Farmer Brown's for prime rib and I jumped on board. We thought they opened at 5:30 but it was 5:00 so we had to wait in the bar for the first seating to finish. Even so, we were done by 6:30. Not only was it yummy but I had leftover prime rib for a sammie. But the night wasn't over then....

Since we were so close to Omaha and I'd failed to get the seasonal crackers I love at the Lincoln Aldi, we decided to hit the new Aldi in Omaha. Not only did they have the crackers, but eggs were on sale for 28 cents a dozen and butter for less than $2 a pound. We stocked up for ourselves and Andrea's sister (she of the 9 kids) then dropped the stuff at Anne Marie's so I got to meet her new baby, Gemma, who is only a couple of weeks old. Nothing wrong with a 2 baby day, am I right?

I had to be on the road Sunday by 9:00 so there was no lounging the next morning. I had to stop 2 places to find a baptism card then took the wrong exit off the highway, which I'd opted to do instead of driving through Lincoln, so had to call Anne for directions from the country intersection I was at when I gave up. Yes, I know I need a smart phone! Someday.... I was still early to the church and enjoyed the service and lunch afterwards. Luckily it didn't go too long so I was home by 2:30. 

With the recent time change, my daylight hours are pretty limited so I got busy. I'd brought in all my geraniums and lantanas but they were just all over the place. I pulled the plant stands out of the garage, cleaned them up then started repotting, finishing just as the sun was going down. I felt good about my progress and now wouldn't have to worry about moving them so the cleaning lady could clean. With that in mind, I did all the rest of the prep - putting laundry away, doing all the pots and pans and clearing surfaces before getting ready for bed. Nice. 

So, it was the end of another super busy weekend but I'd had lots of fun, had a house stocked for Thanksgiving and was facing only 3 days at work. Nothing not to love about that. : )

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Week 45 - A Horrible Week

OMG! I went into the week so hopeful, thinking we'd be electing our first woman president. Despair doesn't begin to describe how I felt when I got up at 2:30 on Wednesday morning to see that Trump had won the electoral college (not the popular vote AGAIN just like Bush - seriously WTF?) I was up for hours before falling back to sleep and then was in a fog all day Wednesday. I couldn't even swim that night. And the funk lasted for days. Truth be told, it's still not completely gone but I'm working on it.

I guess I should explain. While I'm somewhat afraid for what idiocy Trump will pull, I know our democracy will survive him. The problem for me is that this vote was a blow to my faith in the goodness of humanity. I still cannot understand how anyone could listen to the hate spewing from Trump's mouth and vote for him. I spent some time talking with friends on Saturday and then found a video of Michael Moore on Morning Joe with his take on it. By Sunday morning I had started to feel some peace. It's going to be a slow process.

In the meantime, I've been trying to do small things to bring some positive energy to the world. Here's my list so far:

  • Upped my payroll deduction donation to the Lincoln Food Bank
  • Gave $100 towards Thanksgiving turkeys to the People's City Mission
  • Bought some sock yarn I absolutely didn't need
  • Found a pillow for the cover I bought at Ikea of the cheeky robin who is going to be my mascot for hope. Isn't it cute?

I'm looking to do more of this stuff so please share any ideas you've have.

I don't know if it helped or hurt that it was a stressful week at work. We were slamming to do a big training session for all of the payroll clerks on campus on the new FLSA regulations that are going into effect December 1st. The training was at 12:30 on Thursday and we were still formatting handouts at 10:00 that morning. Now I hadn't worked any extra hours like Cindy did but it was still stressful. The 3 hour training went well but when it was over, reality set in and my mood plummeted. I had started the day stepping in vomit in the parking lot and then on the way home, I got peed on by a puppy when I stopped to pet him. Could this day go any further downhill? I went home to stream anything and everything I could find on how Trump won, finding nothing to help unfortunately.

Tears were just below the surface all day Friday and after sitting through 1.5 hours of a tedious conference call, I was ready to be done. I stuck it out until 5:00 so I could swim but even that didn't go particularly well. At least it was the weekend. I had a Friends meeting Saturday morning and hadn't done a treasurer's report since spring so dug out all my bank statements and prepped that. At least it kept my mind off things. I slept like crap again, as I had every night since Tuesday.

With a Friends meeting at 9:30, a much needed morning of leisure was out. I was showered, dressed and at the library with my report in hand but only one other person was there. Not the president who'd called the meeting mind you - just another member. We checked the email and we had the right date but after 15 minutes we left. Really? This is the week I had to get up and out for nothing? Not happy. At least I got all the banking done and I had a great discussion with the president when she called to apologize, which did go a ways towards getting me out of my funk. And I was home for the afternoon.

But that had a wrinkle too. Years ago, I'd made project bags for my knitting group out of Downton Abbey fabric as consolation prizes for our first WIP contest. Shortly thereafter, one of the knitters presented me with some fabric she'd bought and asked me to make her a bigger bag, which I agreed to, telling her not to hold her breath. Well, a few weeks ago she asked if there was enough fabric to make a bag for everyone. For ME to make a bag for everyone. Do you see how that works? I get to do all the work between working full-time, swimming and fitting all my chores and fun 2 days each weekend. I put her off but then she called to ask again and when I said I didn't want to make them, she turned to extortion, reminding me that her husband had done some handyman work for me. Keep in mind, I'd made him a pie every time he helped me out and I always send him treats when I bake for knitting. I was pissed! When I checked the fabric there was nowhere near enough fabric (just 3 half yard pieces) to make them for everyone so I spent Saturday afternoon making her one big bag so I could hand it over and call it done. 

And hand it over I did. She had invited the knitters to her house for Sunday afternoon as a house warming party since she'd recently moved back to her husband's home place. I went early and gave her the bag, explaining that I'd only had enough for one with the fabric she provided and the leftovers were in the bag. She thanked me and we all had a lovely afternoon with knitting, friends and yummy food. I brought a banana layer cake with cream cheese frosting and left the half that wasn't eaten for her husband. : )

By Sunday evening, my mood was considerably improved. I did watch Trump on 60 minutes and it seemed to me that he was back pedaling and moderating from the hateful rants he spewed during the election. Buoyed with a slight feeling of hope, I started in on the last of my chores. I was starting a 600/900 week the next day so cleaned out the produce drawers (an insane amount went to the compost pile) and got ready for a new week. It can only get better, right?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 45 - Another Road Trip

Monday was Halloween and for the first time ever, I was in town but not handing out candy. It was a hard decision and felt like the end of an era but since I’d stayed home last year and only had a few trick or treaters despite leaving the light on until 9:00, it just didn’t seem worth it. When I drove by the hospital on the way home, where Boo in Wahoo was going on, and saw the parking lot full with overflow parking on the road, I knew I’d made the right decision. It seems like everyone is living in so much fear that events have taken over from walking neighborhoods. Too bad for the kids. I went to knitting and had a nice evening.

Tuesday was the first of the month and I would be doing all of the monthly reports alone for the first time. Randy had taken on a few but I had the lion’s share so figured I’d be at it for days. Josh had made magic buttons to run things more easily but, of course, many of them didn’t work on my machine. Randy came to the rescue and figured most of them out. I did end up emailing Josh with a question and he called back immediately and was pleasant. Doing it all took 3 days so my week flew by. Add in a webinar on Friday that took up a big chunk of the afternoon and the work week was done. Good because I was looking forward to Saturday.

Cindy and I had planned a trip to Ikea in Kansas City a month ago and Saturday was the day. I set my alarm (sacrilege!) and was on the road by 6:30 with snacks galore for our road trip. I picked her up right at 7:00 and off we went. The ride went quickly as we chatted away, getting to know each other better than we ever could at work.

We arrived just as they opened and were presented with a free orange mug because it was a food and family event. Cindy had never been to Ikea so was a bit overwhelmed. We did the showroom first, arriving at the café too early for lunch so we did the shopping part before winding our way back to the café. I’d picked up all kinds of things along the way but Cindy is a less decisive shopper than I am so wanted to go back. My knee had had plenty of walking already so I sat in a chair knitting while she went back. After half an hour on the phone and another half hour knitting, still no call from Cindy and she didn’t pick up when I called her. I headed back towards the registers (not easy when you’ve done things out of order so I ended up somehow past the registers but with a basket full of unpaid stuff – yikes!) By the time we got out of there, it was after 3:00. We had planned to thrift near Ikea but skipped it in favor of heading home. We did stop in St. Joe to hit Starbuck’s and a Goodwill right across the street (I didn’t find anything) then made a beeline home. After dropping Cindy, I was home at 8:00 exhausted but happy. I set the clocks back and went to bed.

Well, since you can change a clock but not a cat, I was awakened by Gansey at 4:45 and got out of bed shortly thereafter. My knee was very stiff but I just ignored it and powered through my day. I was bleeding at step one of putting together my new night stand but got it done and then finished the bedroom, which involved taking the mattress and box spring off the bed to reposition the homemade platform that supports the slats. I also dusted under there and then did the final furniture moving. I was very happy with my bedroom and had already been sleeping better on the new part of the mattress. All good.

I had lots of dishes and laundry to do, finishing all that by 3:00, when I sat down to a cup of tea and a call to Carolyn. That done, I started going through papers and clearing surfaces. I talked to my sister at some point and had the last of my saugies and beans for dinner before settling in for a night of PBS. I never did get any cooking done but since the house was ready for the cleaning lady already, I could do some Tuesday after voting.

Speaking of which, we’re in the home stretch. I am SO sick of all the negative ads and despite’s prediction of Hillary winning, am just a bit uneasy at the prospect of a Trump presidency. I will not be truly at ease until this is all over and have already planned dinner with a friend on Wednesday night to celebrate (hopefully.) Good luck making it through to Tuesday night. Time to stream on Netflix to avoid the ads. : )

Week 44 - Weekend at Home

After the fiasco that was Sunday, I didn’t sleep well and woke up tired and cranky. My morning didn’t go well either so I left for work with no lunch packed – not good for my rotation! Then I got to work and was still feeling skeeved and could swear I could still smell the hoarder funk. I was beginning to think it was all in my head when I put my fleece on to leave for lunch and it smelled! I had thrown all my clothes in the hamper but the fleece, which had sat in my friend’s kitchen on a chair and had ended up left in my car, still smelled. This started the skeeve factor all over so, you guessed it, I had to take another shower when I got home despite needing to leave for knitting. Again, never going back there!

I had my semi-annual dentist appointment first thing Tuesday and then went to register my car. I had neglected to bring the title, which had been mailed to me separately, so had to run home again before I had my plates in hand. I had the first training of the week on Tuesday afternoon then went home to do all the chores I hadn’t done on the weekend to prep for the cleaning lady on Wednesday. And since my 2nd training of the week (#2 of 3) was at 8:30 Wednesday morning, I couldn’t leave anything for the morning. I finished washing pots and pans at 9:30 then threw together cranberry coleslaw for a food day on Wednesday (my attempt to bring something healthy.) I fell into bed exhausted but with everything done, was able to sleep soundly.

Wednesday’s training (only my 2nd time doing it after taking it over from Nora) went well but the food day blew my 1200 calorie day out of the water. I swam Wednesday night but that couldn’t make a dent in what I ate all day. Oh well. I had my last training of the week Thursday afternoon and then had an 8:00 conference call on Friday morning so for the 2nd time that week had to be at my desk on time. I tried to end the day swimming but when I was the only person to show up, I took it as a sign and headed home to start my much anticipated weekend at home. The rotation was completely off the rails so I would be spending time cooking non-diet food with the plan to do another 600/900 week soon.

I had a lovely weekend. Yay! I was under the gun to finish my October socks for my monthly challenge so got things done between bouts of knitting. Nothing was piled up because the cleaning lady had just come and it was another freakishly warm weekend so I actually spent time outside planting blackberries that Lorri had brought over (rogue plants that were invading her veggie bed) and a few perennials I’d bought in the spring. Then with no rain in the extended forecast, I actually put the sprinkler on to water my veggies and the berries. I even picked some tomatoes, peppers and parsley and there’s chard ready to pick too. Warmest fall in recent memory.

Sunday was cooking day. I started soaking navy beans first thing in the morning for Boston baked beans. It’s not fall in my world until I’ve made baked beans, which is an all day process – soaking for 8 hours, simmering for 1.5 hours then in the oven for 2.5 hours. I pulled my last RI saugies (a local hotdog) out of the freezer to go with them. I also made a big pot of Lacey’s sausage and potato soup, which was absolutely delicious. So much so that I wanted that and not the beans but decided to have a small bowl as an appetizer and still eat the saugies and beans. Delish! And I’d have yummy food for lunches and dinners all week (clearly not a rotation week.) Add that between all the chores and cooking I’d almost finished my sock project and it was a great end to the week. Nothing like a weekend at home with no obligations to recharge. : )

Week 43 - Home and Clean

Rachele and I were out the door at 7:00 on Monday for the long ride home, which meant it was still dark as we drove up Spearfish Canyon. We had to slow down 3 times for wildlife - deer and wild turkeys. I was happy when the sun was up and relaxed behind the wheel. We were taking a longer way home so we could stop at Brown Sheep near Scottsbluff for yarn. Nothing wrong with that. I restrained myself and only spent $50, leaving with a big bag of yarn – mostly sock but with some undyed bulky and a few other finds. We were on small highways for awhile but when we hit I-80, I could go 80. We made record time at the end of the trip, which was nice, and no speeding tickets.

I was back to work on Tuesday but started the day with a pre-retirement seminar on East Campus so I didn’t get to my desk until early afternoon. It seemed like I had just caught up on emails and it was time to leave for an eye doctor appointment I’d made a year ago. At this rate the week was flying by.

I started a rotation on Wednesday and was actually happy to be eating 600 calories. I have gained weight in fits and starts since Scotland and it was time to buckle down. I was also excited to swim again. We had a staff meeting on Thursday afternoon where Nora was given an award by HR for all her work on the FLSA project and I did indulge in one of the cookies they brought but otherwise was doing fine rotating. Layton and I did Chinese on Friday and I did fine there too. I had high hopes that I could complete a full 3 week rotation.

Andrea and I had plans for all day Sunday so I had lots to do on Saturday. But did I start in on my chores like an adult? Nope. I decided that I needed to completely rearrange my bedroom so that I could sleep on the parts of my mattress that had never been slept on so after 10+ years with the furniture in one configuration, I redid it all. But it didn’t stop there. Since I was doing all the bed linens, I decided to take down the curtains too and if I was doing the bedroom curtains, why not do the rest of the house too! So I did all the wash, including all the linens, which I then ironed. But why put up clean curtains on dirty windows so then I was washing all the windows too. By the time I was done with everything, I was bone tired and the only chore I’d managed to do was laundry. Oh well. Clean underwear is a good thing.

I picked Andrea up at 8:30 on Sunday. We headed north to visit a mutual friend at her farm and it was 2+ hours to get there. While I was looking forward to the visit and enjoyed the company, our friend is a hoarder. I was skeeved to the max but held it together until I got home, stripping as I walked in the door and getting right into the shower. I was still skeeved but at least I was clean. My clothes smelled but I covered them with a towel in the laundry basket so would be able to hold off until next weekend to wash them. I ended the day freshly showered and in a clean nightie watching PBS and putting the day behind me. Needless to say, that’s my one and only visit to her house. Cleansing thoughts……

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week 42 - A Mile Down

It was super quiet at work for the first half of the week because a good chunk of the office, including Nora, Cheryl and Mary, was in San Francisco at a conference. Good thing I had my cubie mates to keep me company. 

On Tuesday night I went to another lecture in my continued quest to take advantage of the free culture on campus. This was a photographer who had an exhibition of pics taken at the Salton Sea so I was particularly interested. It was less fun than I'd hoped, with lots of artist talk on his oeuvre and motivation. I still bought the $48 book of the exhibition for some reason. Oh well.

Wednesday night was going to be our first freeze but there were no more in the future forecast so I spent some time bringing in the most fragile plants (mostly impatiens) and covering my tomatoes. I'm glad I did because the uncovered things did freeze. Since it was still below freezing when I left for my podiatrist appointment on Thursday, they stayed inside or covered until I got home Thursday night. Thursday was also Josh's last day so we went out to Dempsey's for lunch. Bye bye! (is my lack of sadness showing?)

I left for work Friday with the car packed for my weekend at Connie's. I would normally have taken the whole day off but Paul Wesselman from The Ripples Project was doing a professional development event from noon-2:00 so I was staying in town for that. As usual, it was a totally invigorating event so I left on a high to pick Rachele up for our long drive. We were taking the scenic route, which was more direct but would go through some small towns on 2 lane roads. We'd be arriving after dark but would gain an hour when we switched to mountain time so planned to arrive ~11:00.

All was going according to plan until I crested a hill north of Thedford (absolutely the middle of nowhere) and saw a cop at the bottom, who of course pulled me over. My fate was sealed when he asked why I was speeding and I said, "a new car and a wide open road!" Then to add another layer of crap (as if my snark wasn't enough), I didn't have the paperwork to prove I owned the car. We were on the side of the road for 30 minutes and I left with a $124 ticket for speeding and a fix it ticket for not having the paperwork. At least the rest of the ride was uneventful. We hugged Connie hello and all went to bed. Connie would be leaving for the mine before we were up the next morning.

Since I mine tour was at 1:30, Rachele and I were planning to leave early and grab some lunch on the way. Until the phone rang. Connie had messed up and we needed to be at the mine at 11:30 for orientation so we threw on clothes and headed there. After a safety film, we donned PPE (personal protective equipment), which in this case was a full jumpsuit (not attractive), hard hat and googles. After a 15 minute ride down in the miner's cage, we were in the underground research facility. Other than seeing rock on some walls, we could have been in any lab. They showed us lots of cool experiments then we took a little train over to the other mine shaft, which was more rustic. The grad student who talked to us over there was so enthusiastic that he made the tour. My knee was singing with tension by the time we were done and the ride up in the cage was killer painful but I made it and I was so glad to have seen it all.

Needless to say, we were all starving so we went home via Chubby Chipmunk for truffles and Dough Trader - Spearfish's fabulous sour dough pizza place for a yummy dinner. Sated, we headed back to Connie's for a night of movies and chocolate. Nice.

We'd made no plans beyond the mine tour so had a leisurely morning on Sunday and headed up the canyon late morning for a late breakfast at Cheyenne Crossing. From there we went to the visitors' center in Lead (Rachele had never been) and then headed back to Spearfish thinking we'd hit the shops on Main Street. Well, it must be an out of season thing because all the shops were closed. It didn't end up mattering because the sun went in while we were getting ice cream and with the wind it was just too cold to be outside. With bellies full of ice cream, we went back to Connie's for, you guessed it, more movies. I made carbonara with shredded Brussels sprouts for dinner and we had a lovely and cozy time at home. It's always good to hang with Connie and it was good to not overdo since we'd have a long drive back on Monday. Plus I got to catch up on all the Marvel movies I'd missed. : )

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Week 41 - A Toxic End

It was another busy week. In addition to my usual after work activities - knitting on Monday and swimming on Wednesday and Friday - I had plans on the other 2 work nights too so it was a good thing I had the weekend at home to recuperate.

Tuesday night was a David Brooks lecture at the Lied Center. Now he's more conservative than I am but is a reasonable pundit and I knew somehow that my friend Lorri, who is also liberal leaning, would be interested in going and she was. We met at Dempsey's where we shared a burger and fries. The lecture, which was titled "It's Better Than It Looks: Election 2016," was interesting but barely touched on the election. Maybe that wasn't all bad and it was worth going to so add that to my list of free things on campus that I should take advantage of more often.

On Thursday night, Anne and I had plans to go to the grand opening of a relocated store called Craft House. It was relatively near her house so left from there and had fun. Miraculously enough, I didn't buy any yarn, opting instead for some fun fabric that I'll add to the stacks of fun fabric in my craft room that I'll never use. Whatever. I'll use my standard rationale - I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. I do buy too much yarn/fabric. I can live with that. We then went back to Anne's for dinner and some knitting. It was fun but a late night for me. Good thing the week was almost over.

With Layton on vacation, I had the lunch hour to run errands and then I ran a couple more between the pool and home after work so I was ready to be home. The weekend was uneventful and lovely. I slept until after 8:00 on Saturday (shocking!) then ran errands in town. I had planned to stay home but when Andrea suggested an Omaha run, I jumped on it and that killed the rest of Saturday. Sunday was spent on chores, which always gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Too bad I tuned into the uber toxic debate to end my weekend. This election gets worse with every passing day or should I say Trump gets worse. I cannot wait for this election to be over. I'll leave on that note. Who's with me?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week 40 - Delivered the Fit

I started the day Monday with my first drive to work in my new car. I ended the day stress eating through the hateful presidential debate. Lord, I can’t wait for this election to be over! I don’t know if it was the bad election vibe or what but it was a stressful week. 

I had training 4 of the 5 days of the week and training leaves me drained. Then I had the cleaning lady coming on Wednesday and no matter how much I prepare ahead of time, I still find myself stressed on Wednesday morning. Since I had training at 8:30 Wednesday and it was the first time I was teaching that class, I was up extra late on Tuesday doing dishes and neatizing the house so all I had to do the next morning was put the dishes away. I should also mention that I’m an 8:15 kind of person so just getting to work by 8:00 takes some doing. 

All was going fine and I was on track to be on time when I heard a plaintive meow from outside. The kitten was on the garage roof! And would she come down? Nope. I tried my small ladder but couldn’t reach her and she wouldn’t jump onto the house roof so I had to pull the big ladder out of the garage and yank her off. She clawed me to pieces but I was so late at this point that I slapped TP over my wound and flew to work. It was not particularly safe as I read through training materials in the car and called in with questions. But it all went well and my morning was over in a flash. 

The rest of the day was much better starting with lunch. I hadn’t had time to make lunch so got a yummy wrap from my fave vegetarian restaurant, Maggie’s, and ate it in the Sunken Gardens, which I’d never been to. It was a lovely interlude after a stressful morning and the afternoon was uneventful then there was swimming. After getting home to a clean house (always lovely) and having dinner, I ran some yarn over to Andrea’s. She was headed to Yarn School in Kansas and they can take yarn to sell so I’d pulled and priced $300 worth of yarn I’d most likely never use. I had high hopes that she’d sell some. 

The rest of the week was a breeze and ended with a lovely weekend. I was super productive on Saturday, starting with the big clothes swap to get my cold weather clothes into my closet. And since I was touching all my clothes, I took the opportunity to cull them, ending up with a brimming bag for Goodwill. I still need to do more of that though, getting rid of things that fit but I never seem to wear. Everyone’s got some of those. When I was done with the clothes, I started on the frig and when I had a big bag of past their prime veggies for Loris’ chickens, I headed out to drop those and also feed Andrea’s animals while I was out. But just before I left, my neighbor who is buying the Fit informed me that they’d cleared their driveway so I could park it there and his wife would be coming home at 6:00. This meant I had to clear out the Fit and prep it for delivery. This all took longer than I thought so despite having stop to buy a big car sponge so I could wash it myself, by the time I was done with the vacuuming, it was almost 6:00 so I quickly ran it through the carwash instead, delivering it right at 6:00. Done! 

Sunday was the roast beef dinner at the Colon church. Yes, Nebraska has a town named Colon and it’s pronounced just like your intestines. Sheesh! But their church has the best roast beef dinner so Lorri and I go every year. I picked her up after she got home from church and we got take out from there, eating back at her house with her husband Bob. I didn’t stay too long because with a clean kitchen and the old produce all gone from the fridge, I had big plans to cook and that’s what I did for the rest of the day. I love nothing more than starting the week with a frig full of food for the coming week so I can come home from Lincoln to yummy dinner that only takes a few minutes to reheat. Since I don’t get home until 7:00 many nights, that’s key to eating well. Great way to start a new week, right? : )

Friday, October 7, 2016

Week 39 - My New Car

I started the week by calling in, which is something I rarely do but I’m trying to work on that. I’d slept really badly, getting only ~4 hours, and woke up feeling crappy. I ate breakfast and was nauseous so did what normal people do and called in. I tried to go back to bed but only managed to doze rather than get good sleep so gave up at 11:15 and got out of bed. I didn’t manage to get anything done all day but then I’d called in sick so there was a good reason for that. Late in the day I showered and was about to head to Monday Night Knitting when the phone rang. Nora was calling to tell me that Josh had quit. OMG! Now he’s been much nicer to me since he moved offices so I wasn’t impacted much by him anymore but I still was floored. Who quits right before hitting the 2 days/month vacation accrual? Whatever. I hope his new job is a better fit. Now I just have to take on everything he does and prepare to train someone new, assuming we can find someone. I live in hope.

After a good night’s sleep, I was back in the swing of things Tuesday. I went out over lunch and dropped all the donations I’d loaded into my backseat on the weekend plus hit the bread store. At the end of the day, Honda emailed to say my car had arrived and I could pick it up anytime from Thursday through Sunday. It took a bit of finagling and after failing to figure out an after work pick up, I made arrangements with Andrea to go Sunday morning. Now to wait it out. Luckily the rest of the week went quickly with the usual water aerobics, thrifting with Dodie and a 600 calorie day on Wednesday. All good.

With no plans on Saturday, I went back to the spare room clear out. Actually all the yarn I needed to sort through was in the front room so I spent most of my time in there. If you have to spend time slogging through crap, it’s a bonus if that crap is yarn. I actually had fun going through it all and getting it all organized. By the end of the day, it was in apple pie order. I went to bed feeling good about that and knowing the next day I’d be getting my new car.

Andrea picked me up after early mass and we headed to Omaha for breakfast at Le Peep. There was some drama when Drae’s recently deceased brother’s wife called but otherwise it was a yummy and pleasant meal. From there we went to Trader Joe’s to shop while waiting for Honda to open at 11:00. Andrea dropped me off and I got my new car, which took close to an hour despite the fact that I was paying cash and didn’t need financing. But it was wonderful to drive away with my new car. The fact that it was automatic was no problem and I felt no compulsion to clutch. Clearly it was time to be done with manual transmissions. I drove directly to St. Wenceslaus for their fall festival roast beef dinner, which I took to go. It’s enough to eat twice with still some leftovers so is a deal at $9.50. And the best part was that I sold my Fit on the way home! I passed my neighbor walking home from church so gave her a lift. She asked what I was doing with the Fit and said we should talk to her husband, which we did immediately. Sold! They need to wait until mid-October to pay me but that was fine because I wouldn’t be registering the new car until the end of the month so wouldn’t need the money until then. And since I had been planning to ask the same neighbors if I could park the Fit off the alley behind their house (my yard it planted right up the alley but they have 8 feet of scrub behind their fence), it all worked out great. Plus the In Transit tag expires on the 25th  and I just happen to have a dentist appointment that morning so can hit the courthouse after that and not use vacation time to register my car. It’s wonderful when things just fall into place.

With all that taken care of, I did my chores and called it a week. By the end of the day, all the yarn was put away – some in the spare room and some in the basement. The floor of the spare room was completely clear and the cleaning lady would be able to clean in there for the first time in ages. I felt good on so many front. What a nice week. Right?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Week 38 - The Spare Room

This week was full of fits and starts – extra things that I’d committed to do, things that got cancelled or didn’t work out, etc. – but I rolled with the punches and got through it all. I also had some good productivity to balance it all out so the week ended up just fine.

It started on Monday. Anne and I had scheduled a lunch with Kate, who we rarely see her since she no longer swims with us. The plan was to take a pizza to Kate’s office and enjoy catching up. Well Kate had had a bad night and called in sick so Anne and I went to Dempsey’s for half price burger day and had a perfectly pleasant time chatting the lunch hour away. Plus truffle fries – yum!

Tuesday was going to be a busy day. I had scheduled my annual physical and mammogram in Wahoo, which started at 9:00. It was a food day so after enjoying some extra time at home, I grabbed my cranberry walnut cole slaw and headed out. I got to work at 11:00 and started eating at 11:30. I ate WAY too much (hard not to on a food day and this one was particularly good) and before I knew it, it was time to head to the Lied Center where I’d volunteered to be a coach for Husker Dialogues, which was a mandatory program for all incoming freshmen to discuss diversity. There was a half hour allotted for check in but with 370 volunteers and only a handful of people checking in, the lines were long in a room packed with people so hotter than blazes. There was no time for orientation so we took out packets and then went to our seats. The students who sat around us were our group so I had 4 students – 2 who engaged (the 2 “of color” – go figure) and a couple who checked out and barely participated. I did have a helper coach so between the 2 of us, we kept the discussion going. It was WAY long because the chancellor only spoke for 10 of his 25 minutes too. But then those of us coaches sitting in the back rows were told that because so many students had come to the first session, we probably wouldn’t have students for the 2nd session, which in fact came true. So when the chancellor started speaking, I got to duck out the back and so left campus at 7:30 instead of 9:00. Nice. I had volunteered during a weak moment one weekend and then bemoaned having to be on campus so late on a work night so it all worked out.

I spent Wednesday dug into a database, working through lunch because it was too hot to sit outside so what was the point. I was spent by the end of the day so was happy to head to the pool for water aerobics, heading home afterwards, showered and ready for a relaxing night. Thursday was more of the same database but that night I got to go straight home for the first time all week. I had a nice dinner, watched some TV and went to bed early. You would think with such a nice night I’d be all set for Friday but I neglected to set my alarm so didn’t wake up until 6:59, which is more than an hour late. Talk about a rude awakening! I bolted out of bed and was in the car just a few minutes later than normal so salvaged my morning. After a nice lunch with Layton (our last for awhile because he’s headed to Europe) and swimming, I hit HyVee and headed home for the weekend, opting for Guinness and chips for supper, figuring that’d be my last relaxing for a couple of days. The plan for the weekend was to get busy on my spare bedroom.

Now the rest of my house is relatively picked up but the spare room is where I chuck things that don’t have a place – off season clothes and linens mostly but also gifts and various other things. Plus it’s my yarn storage room. It had gotten so bad lately that I’d just stand at the door and pitch things onto the bed, which was piled high with all and sundry. So this was the weekend I planned to clear it out and start the organization. Now I had to run some errands Saturday morning but then planned to stay in for the rest of the weekend. Then I got an email from Lori. One of the Monday Night Knitters, Jan, was having a celebration of life for her son who passed away unexpectedly in Oregon a couple of weeks ago so Lori asked if anyone else was going. It was from 1:00-4:00 in Wahoo so emails flew and we made plans to meet at Andrea’s shop just before 1:00. All this meant I had to get way more presentable than I’d gotten to hit the bank. I got dressed and we met then walked over to the venue, only to wonder why there were no cars. When the door was locked we checked Facebook only to see that we’d messed up the date and it was the next week. Since we were all dressed and out, we decided to have lunch at the bar/restaurant across the street – The Wheel House. None of us had been there before and we were pleasantly surprised by the yummy food. We ate outside on their patio and I got home at 3:00. Now to get busy!

Normally if I’d gotten home at 3:00, I’d have called the day done but not this week. I changed into grubby clothes and started pulling stuff out of the spare room, separating it as I went into yarn, clothes, gifts/stuff and bags. Yes, I have that many book bags. That didn’t take too long so I decided to tackle the two smaller piles immediately – book bags and clothes. I culled the book bags then started slogging through the clothes, making piles – off season things to keep, ironing, donations and things to try on. When I was done with that, I called it good. Since I had no intention of doing anything with yarn this weekend, that just left gifts and miscellaneous stuff for Sunday. I nuked some leftovers for dinner and called it a good day.

I slept late on Sunday and then made a big breakfast and watched CBS Sunday Morning before heading to the piles in the front room. At noon when Lorri stopped in after church, I was still in my nightie and surrounded by even more piles. She invited me to her house for dinner, which meant I had even more time to work. Nice. I got dressed when she left just in case. I had gone through most of the gifts/stuff, leaving just the yarn, which I’d tackle next weekend, when Andrea popped by. I decided to make a pot of tea and take a break. It was perfect and since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I needed something. When Drae left, I had just enough time to start moving things to where they belonged, which mostly meant down to the basement but I also loaded the backseat with Goodwill donations to drop Monday. I threw in a single load of clothes while I was down there and then jumped into the shower and headed to Lorri’s. She’d made an eggplant/tomato pie (she’d recommended it to me so that’s why she invited me for dinner), jalapeno poppers with “fooled me” no heat peppers from her garden and mixed greens. It was all delish and then we had an apple dessert with vanilla ice cream. Nice ending to the day, n’est-ce pas?

So all in all, it was a good week. I had some lots of fun social things, volunteered on campus and got my spare room started. And as Mary Poppins said, “Well begun is half done.” I agree. While the weather for the coming week was not going to cooperate for the pile of fall clothes I needed to try on, at least it was a smaller pile and I’ll start trying them on when fall weather arrives, which has to be soon, right? And next weekend will be the yarn fun. Because if you have to spend a chunk of time organizing things, it’s more fun if it’s something you love. I’m actually looking forward to it. Yay!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week 37 - Short Work Week

Monday was Connie’s last day in Nebraska and she had an appointment in Ashland at 3:00 to get a tattoo. Now there’s a fabulous BBQ restaurant in Ashland, which is a miracle for such a small town, but Rachele is a vegetarian who doesn’t eat vegetables and Parker’s doesn’t have mac and cheese. Since it’s literally the only thing I’ve ever seen Rachele eat (the 6 boxes Connie took out of a grocery bag on Rachele’s kitchen table when she needed the bag didn’t surprise me at all!), we couldn’t eat there so Connie suggested Cheesecake Factory in Omaha, which worked for me. I met them there and we had a lovely lunch. Connie and I shared 2 apps so we’d have room for lemoncello torte (no sharing there) and Rachele had deep fried mac & cheese balls and a tomato flatbread that she took most of the tomatoes off of. Whatever. It was a nice lunch and Connie and I lingered over coffee while Rachele ran to the mall to buy sunglasses. From there we went to an antique mall to kill the time until her appointment, which I did not go to so we said our goodbyes in the parking lot. It had been a fun long weekend.

Since it was Labor Day, the library was closed so Heidi hosted knitting at her house, complete with warm chocolate chip cookies. Yum! My intention was to start reading as soon as I got home because I had an overdrive book checked out – Sunlight Pilgrims – that was expiring on Tuesday but I wasn’t sure what time. But I made the mistake of turning on the TV and got sucked into the final episode of Downton Abbey so didn’t get to bed early. That left me reading until late to finish it, which I did, so I lost some sleep. What the hell, I just had to work on Tuesday. I’d survive.

The short work week was pretty brutal though. We had consultants in for some software training, which started at 3:30 on Wednesday. That wasn’t so bad and I had a nice drive to Seward after work to pick up Andrea’s fair entries (I do the pickup every year and then hit their farmers market.) All day Thursday and Friday was another matter. We worked through lunch both days (so neither of my friend lunches – Dodie on Thursday and Layton on Friday – happened) and only took potty breaks. I was toasty fried by the end of the day Friday and all that for something I’ll only be backup on. Whatever. They keep paying me, I’ll keep showing up. I hit the pool on Friday, thrilled to have the work week over and a free weekend ahead of me.

What’s not to love about a free weekend? Nothing! I started with a long chat with Carolyn and then got dressed to run errands - the library, supermarket, Dollar General and then BK for a treat lunch. Once I was home with groceries put away and double cheeseburger consumed, it was time to get busy. My desk was piled so high with paper and crap that Andrea had remarked on it when she stopped by so that was step one. I went through everything on the desk and by the time I was done, the top was mostly clear and my recycling bin was half full. I even took the time to test all the AA batteries that were too low for my old camera but still test good so would work in non-electronic items like clocks and flashlights. I have a ton so if anyone needs AA’s, let me know. That felt good to have done and then I used my newly purchased red sauce to put together the rest of the eggplant I’d fried last weekend, which I then enjoyed for dinner. I finished by cleaning up the entire kitchen so I’d be ready to cook up a storm on Sunday.

After the laundry was done and hanging on the line, I started Sunday with a big clear out of the fridge and prepping fruit, after which I drove a big bag of scraps out to Lori’s chickens. Then I started cooking – blackberry peach pie for knitting, 3 bags of peaches for the freezer (for summer pies in the dead of winter – yum!), a quiche (since I was making pie crust and had half and half) and cupcakes for lunch with Kate on Monday. And then I was an adult and cleaned up the kitchen again, recognizing that with the busy Monday and Tuesday nights that I had coming, I wouldn’t have time to prep for the cleaning lady then. I also picked up the entire house so between the clean desk and house, plus the fridge full of food, I was good to go for the next week. That counts as a great weekend in my world. Oh how priorities change, am I right? All good though. : )

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 36 - Hanging with Connie

Connie was coming for the weekend so the end of the week was super fun but not much went on early in the week. The highligh was Wednesday when the cleaning lady came and Erica's kids mowed and weed whacked so I got home to everything in apple pie order. Yup, I'm getting old because that was a highlight. Moving on....

Connie was staying with her daughter Rachele in Lincoln so I missed the hanging out that comes when she stays at my house. Rachele was working Friday and Saturday so I had to maximize my just Connie time. On Friday, Connie had lunch with another friend on campus so I cobbled together lunch at my desk (there had been a chance Connie and I would do lunch so I hadn't brought one) and then Connie and I went out for coffee at 1:00. The weather was gorgeous and it was great to be catching up in the sun while drinking Starbuck's. Does life get better? I guess I could have been knitting too. Anyway, I went back to work with plans for Connie to meet me at 5:00 so we could go to water aerobics together. 

Being in the pool with Connie was a blast from the past. She and I started going to water aerobics in spring of 2006, just before she left the university. I kept going, clearly, but she was still there at the start. We had a lot of fun swimming again and she invited me to join her and Rachele for dinner but I declined because as I suspected, Rachele wanted Indian food at The Oven. Now I'm not a huge Indian food fan but am willing to spend $15 on it for the company. But The Oven is more like a $30 meal so I opted out. I'd be spending all day Saturday with Connie so would see her then.

When Connie still lived in Lincoln, we had a Saturday ritual in the summer that I miss SO much. We would start at the farmers market at 8:00 then hit our favorite cafe for breakfast followed by shopping and sometimes a movie. Well, that was our plan for Saturday and I was very excited. Since I was picking Connie up at 8:00, I happily set my alarm (sacrilege!) and was on the road by 7:15. Despite the fact that the market was a shadow of its former self, we still had fun and breakfast at Cook's was delish. We shopped a little bit (neither of us needed anything so it was focused on organic groceries - go figure) and then headed south for Hell or High Water. While it wasn't #1 on my list of movies to see (and lord knows I rarely go anymore), it was entertaining and by the time it was done, it was time to head to Wahoo for dinner. I dropped Connie at Rachele's and made a bee line home.

Connie had brought a Hutterite chicken from home so that was the main course. Having never roasted a chicken, I goodled a recipe and had it in the oven before Connie arrived. She'd also brought green beans from her friend's garden so I steamed those, cut up the loaf of blue cheese bread we'd bought that morning and then whipped up a hubbard squash casserole with squash from the freezer. It was all delicious and we enjoyed it with wine, chatting for hours. After a quick run for soft serve for dessert, we visited some more before Connie headed back to Rachele's. Rachele was off on Sunday so Connie would be playing with her.

I got busy first thing in the morning in hopes that there might be a dinner option with Connie and/or Rachele. I had the laundry on the line and salted eggplant on every surface in the kitchen when Lorri stopped by after church. After a quick lunch, I got busy frying all the eggplant for my first every eggplant parmesan. I had just put one together when Connie called. Rachele was feeling crappy (allergies) so they'd just been hanging inside all day and Connie was going nuts. I invited them both for dinner but Rachele opted out so Connie came up and we supped on yummy eggplant parm and more blue cheese bread, followed by more chatting. I miss my face time with Connie! But what a nice weekend it had been so far and I'd managed to get my chores done too. And I still had Monday to spend even more time. Old friends, yummy food and a long weekend. Life is good!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 35 - My New Normal

Finally I got a normal week. New normal that is with something every night.

Monday – knitting
Tuesday – 600 calorie day and self-PT in the weight room
Wednesday – water aerobics
Thursday – 600 calories and self-PT again
Friday – more swimming

It actually felt great to get back to some routine. The kids were back on campus so it had a whole different vibe and with two afternoons of training, the work week flew. I loved being back in the pool after so long. It was the free week so there were mobs of students trying class out, most of whom we’ll never see again. Hopefully the crowds in the weight room will thin out soon too. At least the self-PT seems to be working. And the weather is cool as often as hot so summer is waning. Yay!

A pretty cool thing did happen this week though. A few months ago, I was at a program at the Sheldon Art Museum on campus where the new director told us that he was looking for ways to get Sheldon's name out there. I suggested that they make some of their art available to download as desktop wallpaper. Good idea, right? Well they actually did it! The director, Wally Mason, kept in touch with me along the way and I got a call from Sheldon's marketing person saying they were available online and they wanted me to be the first to download it and, btw, they wanted to take my pic with my new wallpaper. She snapped 2 pics on her phone and the next day the media blast began. First it went out via email to their friends list then it hit Facebook. At that point, I started getting posts, emails and a stranger approached me when I was thrifting off campus to say she'd seen me on Sheldon's website. Then they mentioned my name on the NPR on Friday morning, and I heard about that too. So I'm calling this my 15 minutes of fame. Pretty cool, huh? Here's the pic.

I had a hair appointment at 8:30 Saturday morning so was up and out. Usually when I’m up and dressed that early, I end up having a productive day but then I got into veg clothes as soon as I got home. That didn’t bode well and talking to Carolyn and then Ginny killed the morning. It was our annual lunch at Chips funded by our fair winning money so I met the knitting gang there at 1:00. We had a yummy lunch and hung out for awhile so I didn't get home until 3:00. I could have gotten something done but just dinked the rest of the afternoon away. At least I finished a pair of socks and the book I’d been reading for months. With Saturday shot, I had high hopes for Sunday.

Well, I headed down to the basement after lunch in search of some yarn for baby booties and was digging in one of my big totes when I smelled something nasty. I dug to the bottom to find a layer of sodden yarn. OMG! The basement flood had been months ago and I had thought the tote, which had a crack in the bottom, was safely above the water. I ended up throwing several skeins right into the trash but I had a bunch of 100% wool from Maine that I decided to try and salvage. I spent a chunk of the afternoon over a sink of hot water, washing hank after hank and hanging it out on the line. It didn’t help that the heat was back. I was dripping with sweat but think I saved most of the yarn. One skein looks a bit off but everything else looks almost good as new. So much for getting anything else done though. I ran to Lorri’s to water then had hotdogs for dinner. Weekend done. At least I saved the yarn. Yee ha!

Week 34 - A New Honda

A new week dawned Monday and I was looking forward to some normal. There was no swimming all week so at least I’d be able to go home right after work. Since I had only been to the pool twice all summer, I guess not swimming was normal.

In an effort to strengthen my leg muscles, I went next door to Love Library and walked the stacks in the basement. It was quiet and level and I got 20 minutes or so in before my leg was screaming so I sat in a quiet corner and knitted for the rest of my lunch hour. Erica’s son Wyatt was coming to mow Monday night during knitting, which meant I had him for two hours if I could find enough for him to do. I decided to have him cut some of the weed trees but my lopper was nowhere to be found. I always hang it from my garden fence and after searching everywhere I could think of, Erica left to pick one up at her rental. Just before she got back, I found my lopper in the trash heap behind my neighbor’s fence. I has clearly been run over. This was clearly the parting gift from the idiot who butchered my yard in May. When Erica had surprised him cutting down my Wahoo trees, he must have been using my lopper and dropped it by the alley, where it got run over and then trashed. Nice. *$(&$(*!&%!(#$*&(

I had my appointment with my new knee doc first thing Tuesday. He spent a good amount of time going over my charts and listening to my story. All told, he said I was in a tough spot. If he replaced my knee now, which he’d be willing to do, I’d need a new one when I was 70. If I wasn’t having pain, it was OK to wait but only if my knee didn’t get more bent that it already is. More bent and it would impact the success of the knee replacement. Sheesh! Of course I’ll be waiting. If I start getting joint pain, I’ll get it done but at least it won’t be anytime soon, good lord willing.

Nora was diagnosed with shingles on Friday so I stopped at her house, which is right near the doctor’s office, to drop off some salsa pork roast for her supper. After work I went to the gym to do my first self-PT. The weight room was full to bursting with newly returned students but I found the machines I needed and got it done. Then it was home to prep for the cleaning lady. Another long day. I was looking forward to a normal day Wednesday and going home to clean house and cooking a nice dinner.

You know that didn’t work out! I walked in the door and my house was hot. I checked the thermostat and it was 80 degrees. The AC was on but the air coming out of the vents wasn’t very cool and when I checked the outside unit, the fan wasn’t running on it. I called my regular HVAC guys but got voice mail. I figured I could make it until morning but after sitting for 5 minutes, I knew that wasn’t going to work. So I called Ed, my frend Donna’s husband, who has bailed me out many a time. He gave me the number of someone in tow4n who would come out that night and he did. In 20 minutes he replaced the faulty part and it was only $124. By 7:00 I was eating dinner in my cooling down house. Not the night I’d planned on but salvaged after all.

Thursday was the first 600 calorie day in my new plan to do 3 600 calorie days per week. I had meant to start Tuesday but was thwarted by moldy cottage cheese and a broken toaster oven so Thursday it was. It went just fine and after hitting the weight room after work for my quick PT, I went home to cook kale and sausage. I survived the first 600 day, which was easy when I knew I could eat regular food the next day. If day one was any indication, this was going to work just fine.

I realized when I got to work Friday that my favorite thermos, which is circa 1960, holds 3 mugs of coffee and has a carry handle all while rocking red plaid, was broken. This was the third thing in a week – my trusty toaster oven, the AC and now my fabulous thermos. Oh well. At least my afternoon training got postponed and then I left early for what truly was my last PT. Cory gave me the OK to keep going on my own but left my case open in case my knee takes a turn for the worst. The skies opened up while I was at PT and the storm brought in gorgeous, cooler weather. I opened the windows and slept like a baby. I had no plans for the weekend and was looking forward to some leisure.

I had a revelation about my car – I didn’t have to wait for the Fit to fall apart before buying a new one. People buy new cars all the time! I started emailing the internet sales team at Superior Honda and put down a deposit on a new HR-V. Of course the one I wanted (2 wheel drive and silver) was nowhere to be found but I got an email saying they’d traded for one that was on order and it would be ready to pick up near the end of September. Yay! Cross that off my list.

I had a lovely afternoon Saturday, giving myself permission to sit on my deck and read while enjoying a cup of tea. It was heavenly. Other than minimal laundry, I didn’t get much else done on the weekend. I did manage to drive to Ashland to deliver some food to Amanda and see her new baby, Calder. The weather was gorgeous I enjoyed every minute of it. Fall is on the way and can’t come soon enough for my liking. Classes were starting Monday so that would help it feel more like fall too. Bring it on!