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. : )