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. : )