Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Week 30 - Fiscal Year End

It was fiscal year end closing meeting week but Mary was out Monday and Tuesday so those days felt like the calm before the storm. Waiting…. waiting…. waiting. The first meeting was Wednesday afternoon and then they were jam packed for the rest of the week.. But since I had plenty of time to prepare, the meeting stuff went swimmingly and the second half of the week flew by.

On the non-work front, Anne and I firmed up our plans to head to Belfast after our knitting tour in October and meet up with Bridget and Francoise, the 2 Brits we met in Canada in May. They found a wonderful house on the seaside an hour south of Belfast on Airbnb and rented a car. With those plans set, Anne and I bought our tickets. While they were super cheap, they would have been cheaper if we’d bought them at lunch when Anne first found them. We thought we would need our passports to reserve so when Anne went on after work, not only was it $175 more for each ticket but it didn’t require a passport. Oh well. It’s still $900 cheaper than last year’s tickets to Edinburgh and we both emailed our passport info to ourselves so we’ll have it handy next time. Lesson learned. And now to get with the Irish travel agent to book our trains and a hotel at the airports for our last night. Getting excited!

The weather broke mid week and with that came almost fall like temps. I happily turned off the AC and opened the windows, which meant I’d be sleeping better for sure. And the cooler temps were going to last through the weekend. I was totally looking forward to another weekend at home, catching up on things. I was a bit delayed leaving work slamming on a huge spreadsheet but got it done at 5:30 and the delay meant no traffic and the market was less crowded. How’s that for positive thinking?

It was downright cold when I got up Saturday morning – so cool in the house that I put a sweater on over my nightie. Love it! I had a Friends of the Library meeting at 9:30, after which I had to do a big deposit of book sale proceeds. I was only home for an hour before it was time to head to Todd’s Tavern in Cedar Bluffs where I’d be meeting Nancy Meyer and family, who were treating me to lunch for finding their daughter a summer job in Payroll. You know I was getting tots. Yum! The vanilla porter and club sandwich were delish too. Having beer with lunch didn’t lead to much productivity once I got home but oh well. I brought home half my club sammie so had that for dinner. Who needs productivity?

I made up for it on Sunday. I did the laundry first thing and when Andrea brought back my shop vac in the early afternoon, I got busy reclaiming the car from the dump trips with the yew. There were needles in every nook and cranny so it took an hour and a half to get it back in shape. That done, I planted fall crops in my empty bed then went inside to get cooking. I’d be leaving for Rhode Island on Thursday so wanted everything I’d eat until then prepped and ready to go and everything else bagged up to give away at knitting or for Lori’s chickens. I even froze 4 servings of my turkey dinner casserole for when I’m home with my knee. The kitchen looked like a bomb went off by the time I was done but I’d get that cleaned up one evening before I leave.

So all in all, it was a good week. Mary is always SO appreciative of all the prep I do for the closing meetings so work was productive and satisfying. Add the cool weather and my weekend productivity and it was a banner week. And with going into a 3 day work week and a trip back to RI, what’s not to like?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Week 29 - County Fair Week

As it is every year, the end of July brings both the county fair and fiscal year end. A double whammy. But this year is a weird fiscal year end because Mary is travelling so it's compressed into just a few days next week. That left more time for the fair.

I had done most of my fair prep over the weekend but spent Monday night writing out the tickets at knitting so I could give them to Drae to drop off for me. Because Tuesday night was 4H vegetable check in, which went much faster than last year because it was busy. 2.5 hours flew by and I headed home, tired but done with pre-fair stuff. On Wednesday night, I swam then hurried to the fair to check out my ribbons. I'd entered 12 knitted items and 1 in the recycled division. I got blues on everything and my best pair of socks won best in lot. Purple ribbon baby! While I don't consider myself a competitive person, I like winning with my socks.

Thursday night was a first for me - Darla and I were going to the fair parade. I've been in Wahoo 20 years and have never been. I left work a bit early and met Darla at a prime corner downtown. Well, knock me over with a feather - the parade was an hour and half long! Now a parade in Wahoo is mostly made up of people throwing candy from vehicles. Candy and more candy. In all that time there were only 3 bands and as many floats, if you'd call them that. There was a single contingent of horses at the tail end. Not what I'd call a parade. Luckily the weather was gorgeous and we'd brought chairs so it wasn't too bad. But truth be told, I could never go again and be perfectly happy. Darla, on the other hand, wants to go again next year. We'll see. From there we went to the fair to check out the exhibits, the animals and grab some dinner - pulled pork sandwiches and pie. Other than picking up my entries on Sunday night, I was done with the fair because the library wasn't doing its booth so I didn't have to man it Saturday night. I was ready for a break.

The gorgeous weather held and I had a lovely, relaxing weekend. I spent lots of time in the house neatizing, cooking and knitting. I did get outside to weed the veg beds and put cages on my tomatoes but not much else. It was the recharge I needed to be ready for 3 jam packed days next week of year end meetings. Wish me luck.

P.S. You have got to try this salad. It's the one Dort made when Lorri and I were in Portland. I made it Saturday night for my Saturday snack supper and it was delish.

Lemon Blueberry Chicken Salad

2 c blueberries
2 c cooked chicken
1/2 c sliced green onions
3/4 c sliced celery
1/2 c cubed red pepper (I skipped this and added extra celery)
Mix with 3/4 c lemon yogurt, 3 T mayo and 1 t salt. Chill.

P.P.S. I'm 10 pounds down so the rotation is well in hand. Yay!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Week 28 - Fun in Portland

It was going to be an eventful week with the International Master Gardener Conference in Portland but before flying out late Tuesday, I had to get through 2 days of work. And get through them I did.

I started the week with a 7:40 a.m. appointment with my surgeon and as I suspected he would, he called me done. I need to keep doing exercises to get my strength completely back but it’s all good. After a quick stop for gas and to air up all my tires, including the spare that I could get to because my back was empty after all the tree hauling, I got to work for a short 2 days. I was busy cramming in allocations and everything else that couldn’t wait but busy was good. I ran home Monday, prepped strawberries to take to knitting and headed to the library. When I got home, minus the rest of the berries and a pineapple Andrea took, I set up an extra litter box, finished packing and did the final neatizing of the house, getting to bed late but with just about everything done.

Tuesday was over in a flash and I was home for just long enough to pack the last few things, do the dishes from the blueberry banana bread I’d make to take for breakfasts (neither the hotel nor conference included breakfast and continental at the hotel was $18 – no thank you!), water the plants and fail at getting Pie to come in. I’d warned Andrea that Pie might be outside, where she’d be happier anyway, so I gave her both wet and dry cat food and was ready for pick up at 6:30. Our flight wasn’t leaving Omaha until 9:00 p.m. and it was a good thing we left plenty of time because Bob took the most out of the way route to the airport so what I’d drive in 45 minutes took more than an hour. Sheesh! I had scored TSA pre-check, like I do 80% of the time, so sailed through security and our flights were uneventful. Since we got in at 1:00 a.m. after any mass transit was shut down for the night, we took a cab to the hotel. We got rooked on the price but were checked in and in bed quickly. The conference started the next day.

We both woke up early (we were 2 hours behind Nebraska time after all) so had coffee and banana bread in the room and headed to the conference for the opening keynote. It was fun to be in the midst of so many avid gardeners. The keynote was on suburban birds and we met some lovely women that we had lunch with then it was on to our sessions. I went to one on pruning to renovate an old garden and then one on creating and managing plant communities, which was VERY inspirational and gave me a lot to think about. Dinners were not included but we’d asked some locals where to eat so after a quick stop at the hotel, which was made easier by the free transit pass they’d given us with the conference, we headed to the Pearl District for dinner at The Deschutes Brewery. We had to wait half an hour to get seated but it was worth it. I had the most delicious chicken and waffles (something I’ve always wanted to try) and a yummy dark beer. Then it was back to the hotel to coordinate Thursday’s dinner with a friend of Lorri. Unfortunately she wouldn’t drive into Portland so we were taking the train out to the burbs to meet at a mall restaurant. Whatever..

Our new friends Cynthia and Barb had recommended a restaurant for breakfast – Pine State Biscuits – so we looked up how to get there (the transit website told us to walk – only in Portland!) and went first thing. I got The McIsley – a yummy biscuit topped with fried chicken (I know – odd breakfast), pickles, mustard and honey. Yum! Lorri’s biscuits with mushroom gravy was delish too. Then it was off to the conference. The keynote was by Dan Hinkley, who apparently is famous but I’d never heard of him. He was a dynamic speaker so I immediately decided to ditch the clematis session I’d signed up for and go to another of his. I was sitting knitting when the woman sitting next to me asked if she could write something down. I assumed she was taking notes for herself but she handed the notebook back and it was full of info for me about a group she’s involved with in Oregon. I talked to her at length later and she was wonderful. Somehow at first glance she just got that we were two peas in a pod. I got her contact info and will definitely be keeping in touch. The session was great too, btw. After another lunch with Cynthia and Barb (they’re keepers too), I went to a 2nd session on plant communities and then one on photographing your garden, which was inspiring and had me retaking pics of things I’d already taken. Check out these before and after pics.

We headed out to meet Lorri’s friend and it was rush hour so the train was packed. I had an interesting conversation about gardening with a homeless looking man in a wheelchair then chatted with a woman who works for the utility company that has all the dams on the Columbia River. Dinner with Lorri’s friend was fine, despite the chain restaurant. We had to wait on the train for a bit to get back to the hotel but I had my knitting so it was all good.

For Friday’s breakfast, we were walking to Voodoo Doughnuts Too, which wasn’t too far. I had a Old Dirty Bastard – a raised donut with chocolate frosting, crushed oreos and peanut butter. Delish! It was fun walking through the less touristy parts of Portland too and I took lots of picture of the gorgeous plantings that were everywhere. All we had Friday was a keynote and closing meeting from 9:00-11:00. It was a great conference and after saying goodbye to Cynthia and Barb, we headed back to the hotel to check out.

I was super excited because we were going to a local yarn shop to meet Michelle from the Knotty Knit Wits podcast I’ve been watching on YouTube. Since I couldn’t go to their event on Saturday, she had offered to get out of work early and meet me at Twisted. We grabbed a cab there from the hotel and Lorri and I shopped while we waited for her. It was so amazing to meet her and I went total fan girl! She was lovely and even brought me a bag of presents. We went next door and had lunch at a coffee shop with her then went back to Twisted to wait for Lorri’s sister, who was picking us up.

Lorri’s sister, Dort (short for Dorothy), lives in Sandy, which is an hour east of Portland. She and Judd live in a modest house on the most gorgeous property with woods, blueberry bushes, a big vegetable garden and a view of Mount Hood from the deck. It was a little piece of heaven. They had a big family cookout that night so I got to meet their kids, grandkids and a cousin. We ate yummy food, chatted and enjoyed the glorious weather – just warm enough, zero humidity and no bugs. I totally get why people want to live there.

After yummy breakfast on Saturday, Lorri, Dort and I headed to The Oregon Garden. We started with the tram ride around the park to get oriented, walked around for a couple hours and had lunch in the cafĂ© before heading home. Lorri laid down for a nap and I picked blueberries with Judd for an hour. We had cookout leftovers for dinner and talked until bedtime. What a perfect day! And the icing on the cake was that as soon as the sun goes down, it cools off to the 50’s at night so we could sleep with the windows open. Nice.

We were leaving before noon on Sunday so didn’t have much time. After another nice breakfast, we packed and then Dort did a show and tell of all the old family linens, which was fun. The lines at the airport were huge but I’d scored TSA pre-check again so breezed through and then called Carolyn to catch up while I waited for Lorri. Despite having C boarding passes on the first flight, we managed to get a row to ourselves with an empty middle seat. We were 2nd row from the back but with a 3 hour layover, we were in no rush to get off the plane. We had Chinese food in Denver and otherwise the trip home was uneventful. I walked into my door just after midnight, emptied my suitcase into the washing machine (I’d dry the load in the morning so I’d have A list undies to wear all week) and went to bed. I could get 5 hours of sleep before the alarm went off so would live to tell.

What a wonderful and full week – full of fun – so worth the long hours. I need to go back to Portland sooner rather than later, this time with a car and free time. I have no trip planned for September so maybe…..

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 27 - Much Better Mood

I started Monday in the basement going through papers, determined to get through more stuff before Lorri picked me up at 2:30 for a quick Omaha run. The first thing I found was a bag from my dad's apartment. It was a treasure trove of all things Norm - maps, a piggy bank, a padlock with key, crossword puzzles from the newspaper with the answers clipped to the back, an old Bill Clinton Christmas card I'd sent him (he HATED Clinton but saved the card) and his handwritten tea inventory. It was a trip down memory lane and I was smiling thinking of my dad. Check this out! Anyone who knew my father will know this is all him.

I ate lunch, showered, got dressed in socially acceptable clothing and was waiting for Lorri at 2:30. She wanted Bruegger's Bagels and I was going along for the ride so we could catch up and talk about our upcoming trip to Portland for the International Master Gardener Conference. After a stop at Startuck's, we headed back to Wahoo. I had just enough time to bake a pan of blondies for knitting and grab a quick dinner before heading to the library. All in all, it was a good day - productive and social with knitting as the icing on the cake.

I had to be up early on Tuesday because Darla and I were having breakfast at 8:00 in Lincoln. We had a lovely time chatting over pancakes and then puttered around a bit before heading our separate ways. On the way back, I stopped to check out what I suspected was a blackberry patch on the side of the highway. I'd scoped it out when they were blooming this spring so parked and checked it out. Indeed it was a huge patch of gorgeous berries that were not quite ripe but would be easy picking in a week or so. Yay! Ditch food is one of my very favorite things - making something from nothing and all that.

I went back down in the basement as soon as I got home. I finished up sorting papers and went up for a cup of tea mid-afternoon. I was contemplating being done but went downstairs to mend something and the sun was gloriously steaming into the craft room. I sat down to sort craft supplies and before I knew it, it was almost 7:00. I was pretty hungry by this point so made dinner and sat down for some TV and knitting. I did go out at 10:00, intending to walk down to the park to watch the fireworks but my neighbor across the street offered me a chair. The view from her driveway was perfect and it was a nice way to end my four days off. 

What's not to like about a 3 day work week? I got some good news from Mary that went a long way towards fixing the problem from the previous week plus I had a fun new project to work on. I had lunch with Tammie on Wednesday at Village Inn so got a free piece of pie with lunch. Dodie was out all week so I did Thrifty Thursday with Cindy and then had lunch with Layton as usual on Friday. I swam after work Wednesday and Thursday. And this is what an old lady I've become - I was super happy that I could go to HyVee after work on Friday, which I hadn't been able to do in the past 3 months because I had PT every Friday. Grocery shopping as an event - go figure.

I had been awake from 1:00 to 4:00 on Friday morning worried about a library book that Dodie had gotten out for me that I couldn't find anywhere. I'd looked high and low and even had the cleaning lady look but no luck. In the wee hours, I decided it must have gotten thrown into the recycling bin so I went through the bin when I got home Friday and found it! I was SO relieved. Add that to the list of good things for the week.

Having gotten very little sleep early in the week from all the fireworks and then over the library book, I went to bed Friday night and slept for almost 12 hours! I did get up at 6:30 to let Gansey in (the weather had turned gorgeous so I had the windows open and could hear her meowing) but went right back to bed and didn't wake up until 9:49. I cannot remember the last time I slept so long and late. It killed my morning but was totally worth it. I wasn't up 10 minutes when the phone rang with my hairdresser moving my appointment up to 11:00. I barely had time to drink a cup of coffee and hit the bank before my haircut but it all worked and kept me from lazing away what little morning I had.

Since I was leaving for Portland on Tuesday, I was worried that I'd miss the ripe blackberries so decided to get up early on Sunday and pick what berries I could. I would be in prime tick country so I put on long pants, a long sleeved shirt and tall socks with sneaker and was in the berry patch at 6:45 Sunday morning. The picking was easy despite only a few berries being ripe. I picked 5 coffee cans full in 30 minutes and was home, showered and eating breakfast before 8:00. Nice! And I got enough berries to freeze 8 1 cup bags and enough pureed for a batch of jam.

The rest of the day was lovely, with a nice combo of relaxing and getting stuff done. Since I'd be flying west Tuesday evening, all the produce needed to go so I took 2 bags full to Lori's for her chickens. I started a pile of the clothes I'd pack too. I even made some tentative arrangements to meet up with one of the Knotty Knit Wits (the podcast from 2 knitters who live in Portland) after the conference. All in all, it was a great week and I'd be going into a 2 day work week. I could get used to this! Alas, fiscal year end is coming along with the busiest 2 weeks of my work year.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week 26 - A Bad Week

I did not have a good week. At work. I won't go into details but I was a very unhappy camper - so unhappy that I stopped hemming and hawing about taking Monday the 3rd off and put in my leave request, which happily was approved immediately. 'Nough said.

There were a few bright spots in the week. I went to the movies with Cindy and Lana from work on Tuesday and I finished PT. My last session was on Friday, June 30th. How perfect is that? I was seriously looking forward to being done with that. I left my last session with a list of exercises to do at home but that's better than losing 2 nights a week.

On a sad note, which helped put things in perspective, my boss Mary's brother died. The funeral was Friday morning in Omaha but I opted to go to the visitation Thursday after work instead since it was so close to home. I worked until 5:00 then drove to Omaha. It was the nicest visitation (calling hours for my eastern friends) because I walked in, saw Mary's husband and daughter and they told me Mary was outside with her granddaughter so they took me out there and that's where I stayed. I was out there for half an hour, with more and more of Mary's family drifting out as we chatted. It was lovely. Really. We were getting food together for Mary so I went home to make 2 pies (blueberry and strawberry/rhubarb) and my cranberry walnut cole slaw. It was a long day but the next day was Friday. Yay!

Between people being out for the funeral and others taking a long weekend, it was very quiet on Friday and I was happy to leave at 4:00 for my last PT. I was ready for my 4 day weekend and was determined to get busy.

After taking off the two sides of the yew the previous weekend, I had decided it would look too crappy for too long so it needed to go. So after starting the day with a Friends of the Library meeting and subsequent bank run, I went home for more bush whacking and trips to the dump. After cutting the 2 outside bushes out, I decided to leave the middle one for now. It conveniently blocks my bedroom window so I'll leave it up for the summer and see if maybe it will grow some new greenery from the inside now that it's exposed to the sun. Time will tell on that. 

I treated Sunday like any other and got all my chores done then went downstairs and started slogging through stuff. By the end of the day, I had the ebay room organized, wet cardboard schlepped to the recycling bin and started sorting through papers. I went to bed feeling good about my progress and happy that I had two more days at home. It was well worth the vacation day. No question about that. And despite getting no resolution on my work issue, the time off was a balm to my soul and I was feeling better on that front too. I could only imagine how much happier I'd be with another two days off. I live in hope.

Week 25 - Trimming the Yew

I had had the wisdom to take Monday off to recuperate from my weekend but since I'd gotten home earlier than expected on Sunday, the world was my oyster on Monday. 

After getting laundry going, I decided to head to Omaha to use Heidi's gift card at the Woolly Mammoth yarn shop that was closing. It was announced after she left on vacation so she had her nephew leave the gift card outside in hopes that someone could pick it up and use it since it would be closed before she got back. No one else had volunteered so I was up. I was determined to make it a quick trip and succeeded, going in and out of Trader Joe's in 10 minutes then picking up a few balls of yarn for Heidi (the store was empty so it was slim pickings) then popped into Aldi for milk. I had hoped to find a park to eat in but failed on that so went through Starbuck's for a frapuccino and called it lunch. To make up for no lunch, I made a nice dinner before Monday Night Knitting.

The rest of the week was same old same old so nothing to report there. It was blazing hot all week but the weather changed on Friday and the weekend weather was perfection. Amanda had mentioned that she might be in Wahoo on the weekend and wanted to come over. Of course I completely spaced until the phone rang. She'd be there in an hour so I threw some bread pudding in the oven and ran out to sweep the deck, wash the table and change the cushions on the chairs. Amanda and Cody stopped over with their baby, Calder. We had a lovely afternoon sitting in the shade drinking tea and eating pudding while the baby played in the grass.

When they left, I had a burst of energy and decided to start the overhaul of the enormous yew that has taken over the front of my house. My plan was to make drastic cuts to the 2 ends so that new growth would come in over the summer. Then I'd do another side next year and the last side the year after. So I got out my loppers and got busy. It was easier than I thought and after I'd but the side by the front steps, I loaded it all in the back of my car and headed to the city's burn pile. I had trouble finding it (it had been years since I'd been) but I got directions from a neighbor and headed back. I was exhausted by the time I was done so took a shower and relaxed for the evening, happy with my progress. I didn't feel like I'd done any shoulder damage. Time would tell.

My shoulder was fine the next morning and since it was warmer, I got outside early to do the other side. That ended up being much bigger so took 2 trips to the dump. The rest of the day was chores like most Sundays. But I was feeling great about my progress with the yew and even got some weeding done in the veg beds. All good.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week 24 - The Sister Weekend

The week itself was nice and then ended with a sisters’ weekend in eastern Iowa, which was the icing on the cake. Add that the heat broke so the weekend weather was stellar and it was all good.

The work week went by quickly, as usual. Nora was out for 2 days so I was on Brook duty. He’s our wonderful new analyst and he’s still in learning mode so there was lots of one-on-one time showing him things. My evenings were all booked like they always are but on Wednesday I opted for a movie with Cindy instead of water aerobics. We saw A Quiet Passion – the Emily Dickinson movie. I thought it was long and once Emily became a recluse and the entire second half of the movie took place in her house, I was less interested. Cindy liked it better than I did but nothing ventured, nothing gained. The popcorn was yummy.

The only other out of the ordinary thing that happened was Pie, my semi-tame, once campus feral cat, had her mouth stuck open all day Thursday. This happens once in awhile and I have figured out how to get it shut without a trip to the vet but it requires me to actually get my hands on her, which is hard on a regular day and nearly impossible when she’s freaked out with her mouth wide open. She stays out 95% of the time in the summer, including overnights, so I saw her first thing Thursday morning with her mouth stuck open and her front covered with drool but she wouldn’t let me near her. I went to work hoping it would fix on its own over the day and confident that she’d stay cool (it was in the 90’s that day) under the deck. Well, I got home at 7:00 having left swimming a bit early and her jaw was still stuck. She still wouldn’t let me near her but I left the slider open and she did eventually come in on her own. Two hours later when she wanted back out, I was able to grab her (she was dehydrated and weak by then I’m sure) and manhandle it shut. I kept her in that night (the other cats were all out) and was happy that 30 minutes later she’d cleaned up her wet front and was purring in my bed. One good thing about this was I had a super productive evening while I was worried about her and so unable to relax.

That was a good thing because I’d have no weekend to speak of. I would be on the road by 7:00 a.m. on Saturday to meet Dottie in the Quad Cities area of eastern Iowa. I got a bit of a late start when I had trouble downloading an audio book – Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates. I enjoy her snark and especially like her audio books for road trips. This one was about the group right after the pilgrims who settled Boston. It was worth the wait but did delay me 20 minutes as I sat in my driveway downloading it to my ancient iPad. Regardless, I made up time on the road so arrived in Bettendorf on schedule.

We had arranged to meet at a yarn shop that was in the process of closing. Now I’m on a yarn diet but travel yarn is exempt so I was all set to buy. Most everything was 40% off and they had enough sock yarn to satisfy me, including one of my favorite types to knit with – wool, cotton, nylon and elastic, which makes stretchy socks for warmer weather. It also has great stitch definition. $138 later, I left happy to check in at the B&B.

Our plan for the afternoon was lunch then thrifting. We had a delicious lunch at The Blue Cat, a brewery in downtown Rock Island that I’d found online. The owner asked what our plans were and when we said  thrifting, he told us of two other places to hit. Now I was excited to hit the Salvation Army that Andrea and I had gone to on the way back from Canada a year ago fall but it was pretty much a bust. The DAV we went to from there was even worse so we headed to the place the guy had told us about. Now it was hazy, hot and humid and this antique mall (of sorts) was in an old barn with no AC. After 20 minutes, I was ready to go. We did stop in at another building that had AC but didn’t buy anything there either. It was time to head back to the B&B for a bit before dinner.

Well, we were just about to leave for dinner when the sirens went off. We turned on the TV but it was just a bad storm with egg sized (an odd comparison I’d never heard before – we use golf ball size hail in Nebraska) so we decided to wait a bit. Good thing we did! We didn’t get hail at the B&B but the wind was whipping and the rain slammed the windows. Once it passed, we headed to Maid Rite – an Iowa chain that specializes in loose meat sandwiches, which Dottie had never had. Delish! When we got back to our room, I pulled out a couple of thrift shop sweaters and taught Dottie how to harvest yarn from them. She wasn't enthused about he process so I took the rest of the sweaters home to donate back to Goodwill. I guess there isn't much point when the resulting yarn is just acrylic, which is pretty easy to find cheap.

We didn’t have any firm plans on Sunday but had passed a sign for a botanical center so after a yummy breakfast with all the other B&B guests, we headed out. The botanic garden didn’t open until 11:00 so we headed towards the Rock Island Arsenal to see what there was to see. Well, we ended up at the swing bridge, that was open to let a barge through so we parked and watched that process. When the bridge swing back, we decided we should walk across the Mississippi and so we did. The bridge was open again on the way back so we sat on the grates with the river flowing underneath us and waited it out. It was kind of cool and killed enough time that the garden was open. It was pretty small but was enjoyable in the gorgeous, post storm weather.

When we were done with the garden, we decided to head our separate ways, which would give us both a bit of time at home before the day was over. I had a 5.5 hour ride and pretty much blazed through with only one stop for gas and a ladies' room. I did drive through a McDonald's (I can't tell you the last time I ate there and for good reason) mid-afternoon when the big breakfast wore off. I was almost done with the audio book when I got home just before 6:00, which left me a few hours of daylight. I had decided late in the week to take Monday off so didn't have to slam on laundry and chores, which was nice. But what a lovely weekend! And the gorgeous weather would still be there on Monday so hopefully I could find spend some time outside.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Week 23 - I'm Over It

My “somewhere to be every night” schedule is beginning to wear on me. Add in that it’s the time of year when I struggle to sleep and I was getting more tired with every passing day.

It’s especially bad that swimming is later – only 15 minutes later but it leaves me getting home at 7:15 and that’s if I go right home. Add just one stop at the market and it can be closer to 8:00. The biggest victim of this time change is dinner. I find myself not wanting to eat meat/veg when I get home that late, even if it’s ready to nuke, which it wasn’t this week. I think I had a bowl of cereal one night, a noosa yogurt another… the salmon I cooked on the weekend was untouched and will now be cat food. There’s still hope for the Brussels sprouts.

Despite this eating of crap for dinner, I still managed to lose some weight over the week and am down 7 pounds from my post-surgery high. That’s with 2 weeks of kinda sorta dieting with too much snacking in the evenings. I guess the lack of sweets in my house meant the snacks were on the healthy side so I still lost some weight. I need to give this some thought since rotating is harder to stick to than it used to be. Whatever. At least the scale is going down.

I’m also over PT. On Tuesday they upped all my weights and gave me new exercises so clearly I’m making progress. On Friday I informed them that I wanted to be done on June 30th and they seemed OK with that. I see the doctor on July 10th and I’m sure he’ll release me at that point and since the 4th is Tuesday, what’s the point of going the Friday after? No point so done on the 30th is the plan. Yay!

Having spent the past 2 weekends solo at home, it was time for an excursion. I slept late (8:30!) on Saturday so the 1:00 pick up time for Drae came early. We were headed to Omaha for pedicures, lunch, thrifting (both drop off and shopping) and an Aldi run. We had planned to start with lunch but when the salon could fit us in at 2:15, we reordered the day. We hit one Goodwill for drop off but found nothing to buy then had a lovely pedi that was almost 2 hours long. The color I picked is perfect and I left with happy toes. Having eaten nothing since breakfast, I was more than ready for dinner, which was burgers and beer at Farnam House.

My reason for wanting to thrift was my impending sister weekend with Dottie in the Quad Cities area of eastern Iowa. She has already used all the yarn I gave her at Christmas, which was my big suitcase FULL! The plan was to meet in the middle and offload more yarn for her hats for the homeless project. I started collecting acrylic from thrifts as soon as I knew she was out and would add more from my basement and donations from Anne’s stash. But I also want to teach her to harvest yarn from thrift shop sweaters, which are much easier to find than yarn, so I was on the hunt for acrylic sweaters. I found 11 for $10 at the Goodwill we always do best at. Yay! We hit HyVee for strawberries and closed down Aldi at 8:00 so it was a long day but I was happy with all my finds and had no plans outside the house on Sunday.

I slept late again (8:00) and had a lovely day of doing load after load of laundry (mostly sweaters) and hanging them out on the line. Between loads, I neatized the house a bit but mostly knitted and streamed Orange is the New Black, which I finished late Sunday. I did do a quick bit of dyeing – taking the sleeves off of one of the wool sweaters I’d bought and dyeing them as blanks. I also did a small skein of sock yarn with the extra dye the sleeves didn’t absorb. It felt good to dye because I hadn’t done any since last fall. The only cooking I managed to do was a big batch of egg salad, which I’d have to lunches but also had Sunday night for supper since it was all that was ready.

In addition to booking a fun B&B in Rock Island, Illinois for our sister weekend, I also bought my ticket to Rhode Island for after fiscal year end. It’s a good thing I waited because Mary is going to be out during most of the fiscal year close so my busy weeks have shifted a bit later. On another travel note, I dragged my ass deciding on Ireland in October and the knitting trip Anne and I had been considering is now fully booked. Oh well, back to the drawing board for Europe in the fall.

On a closing note, Cindy and I ended the work week watching a video of the Life is Good founders that Anne had sent me. It was very inspirational so here’s the link. Take half an hour and watch it. You won’t be sorry. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Week 22 - A Crafty Weekend

What’s not to like about a week that starts with a Monday holiday? Nothing! Then add total productivity and the week was off to an amazing start.

I went back outside again on Monday morning and had the rest of my containers finished by early afternoon. Since the flowers all looked good, I decided it was time to clean up the deck from winter and get the hoses situated. I puttered all afternoon until Heidi arrived with John so he could mow my lawn. Heidi was hosting knitting at her house but I told her I would most likely not be coming because I didn’t want to stop. After she left, I ran over to Lorri’s to water then finished prepping my last raised bed (John had tried again and did a better job but it still needed attention.) With that done, it was time to plant the veggies. I pulled out all my seeds, happily finding that I had just enough to plant this year’s garden, which was a darn good thing because I hadn’t ordered any seeds nor so much as cracked a catalog, which I so should have done when I was home in March. Anyway, I planted everything but pole green beans (I had leftover seeds but hadn’t liked them last year so would look for a new variety) and even mulched – in the beds (or one bed anyway) with the clippings John collected when he mowed and between the beds with non-organic clipping from my neighbor. I was done by 7:20. Yay! Mission accomplished.

Once the gardening was done, it was time to slam through the book for book club on Thursday – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I’d been reading it a few pages each night before bed for a month but had 2/3 of it to go. I thought I’d get right home from PT on Tuesday and start reading but the tech who works with me on Tuesday asked me to look at a tree in her yard and by the time I did that then stopped at my neighbor’s to get her opinion (she’s a horticulture extension educator), I didn’t get home until after 8:00. I had a bowl of cereal for dinner and did get a bit reading in before bed but not enough. Oh well.

The gorgeous weather was hanging around (how nice!) so I read during lunch on Wednesday, took a reading break in the afternoon and then went to swimming. I did almost all of the weight work, using a tiny weight on my left side and seemed fine. Showered and wearing veg clothes, I headed home to read. And read I did for 2.5 hours, finishing just in time to go to bed. But with nothing to read, I struggled to fall asleep. I finally got up at 11:45 and since June 1st started at midnight, I casted on my June socks. Luckily 20 minutes of knitting was all it took and I was able to sleep.

I woke up sore on Thursday morning. Maybe I shouldn’t have done all that weight work in the pool.  I decided to skip swimming Thursday night, which would leave me time to make a decent dinner (I hadn’t eaten one yet all week) before book club. But I was so hungry Thursday afternoon that I ate everything healthy I could find in my desk drawer – almonds, raisins, peanut butter on crackers – so much that I wasn’t hungry so didn’t eat dinner after all. Stupid! At least book club was good with a great discussion that had us surprised when we saw it was 7:55 so we had to pack up. And just one more day until the weekend.

I had 2 meetings on Friday, lunch with Layton at the Chinese buffet followed by a HyVee run for groceries. Add in leaving at 4:00 for PT and the day was over in a flash. Nice. I had no weekend commitments so was planning to hunker down inside with the AC on because summer weather had arrived. 

My goal for Saturday was to put my new loom together and get it warped. I dug some crappy yarn out of the basement and had a few inches of a scarf done before the day was over. Yay!

The heat and humidity were killer but I had a few more things to plant (I was done on the weekend but then picked up just a few more plants on Tuesday at lunch - sheesh!) I went out late Sunday morning and planted the last few pots. I'm trying tomatoes and peppers in pots on the driveway, where they will get more sun than they do in my garden. I was outside for an hour in the shade doing not very taxing work and was absolutely dripping with sweat! Have I mentioned how much I HATE summer in Nebraska? I thought Rhode Island was hot but it's nothing compared to Nebraska. Anyway, I went inside, happily, and spent the afternoon knitting and streaming, which is my summer go to activity.

I began to feel guilty around supper time and got up and got cooking. I had lots of produce to prep and wanted to take the scraps to knitting for Lori's chickens so I got busy. We also were having a food day on Monday so I had to figure something to take for that. I was in the kitchen until bedtime but by the time I was done I had made macaroni salad for food day, stew, tabbouleh, jello, beets, homemade bread, the piece of salmon I'd thawed on Tuesday and Brussels sprouts plus had prepped berries and rhubarb, freezing a bag for pie this coming winter. I had a few pots and pans left in the sink but figured I'd better shower and get to bed since it was after 10:00. 

So I ended the week with my gardening and chores done and a fridge full of food for the week. My last minute burst of productivity helped assuaged my guilt with at having crafted all weekend. I know, I shouldn't feel guilty but it's how I roll. What can I say? : )

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Week 21 - Able to Garden

With my evenings all full, now I got to add work being nuts to the equation. Again, better busy than bored.

The complicating factor at work was Nora was leaving for vacation on Wednesday. That lead to a flurry of emails, making my to do list huge. Then in addition to my training classes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I was in charge of keeping Brook busy while Nora was gone. We were both going to AP training on Wednesday afternoon and I scheduled a one-on-one session in the conference room on Friday afternoon. That meant that half of every day except Monday was fully booked. Then Nora actually left and I got to handle all the calls she normally would and be Mary’s go to for all things Nora would do. She pulled me out of the AP training after only 15 minutes and 2 hours later, we were still in the conference room. Whatever. It all pays and as I’m fond of saying, I’ll do anything but toilets.

At the same time Nora left for vacation, so did my friend Lorri. So on top of my fully scheduled evenings, I had to add watering at Lorri’s house. Just one more thing to add to my evening list every night. I’d be needing some recharge time so it was good that a 3 day weekend was coming.

The forecast for the weekend was rain on Saturday but then nice weather on Sunday and Monday. With this in mind, I planned to do my chores on Saturday and then work outside starting Sunday once the rain stopped. By noon on Saturday, it was clear the rain had and would pass us by but the chores were done so I was still ready for Sunday outside. I did manage to go out late in the day and use my garden weasel to prep one of my veg beds. It was an experiment of sorts to see if it would hurt. It didn’t appear to but I’d wait to see how I felt Sunday morning. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I woke up feeling none the worse for my garden weasel work so went outside first thing Sunday, not sure what I’d tackle first. I had done absolutely nothing outside because by the time my shoulder would allow limited gardening, the weather had turned chilly and rainy so I had lots to accomplish. I started with containers.

Now my normal process for planting the 30 or so containers I do every year is to set up a table in the shade and then fill the wheel barrow with soil, which I mix from the previous year’s soil, sifted compost and peat moss. Well, that wasn’t going to work this year because of my shoulder so I got out my orange rubber garden bucket and did everything in small bits. I’d mix up enough soil to fill it halfway so I could pick it up with just my right hand, pot up as much as I could with that amount and then start again. It actually went faster than usual. I spent all day Sunday outside, finishing about 2/3 of my containers and prepping 2 more of my raised veg beds VERY CAREFULLY.

So, another productive week over. I must have been getting used to my new schedule because I wasn’t exhausted on Friday like I had been last week and was able to power through all the yard work. Clearly my shoulder was on the mend, which took a load off my mind. I had Monday off work to look forward to and another few days of gorgeous weather. All good.

Week 20 - My Summer Routine

Things just all fell into place so that I started a new routine that will take me through the month of May and into June. I’d have busy evenings but it would all work and busy is good, right?

First off, I started a 600/900 calorie week and was happy to do it. What started with gaining a few pounds in Scotland last summer and then a few more over the fall, became a full on OMG situation post-surgery. While I had had plans to eat healthy and try to get exercise when I was home recuperating in March, I see now that that was ridiculous. I was purely in survival mode and when you’re completely disabled and in pain, eating a salad? Not so fun. But being 30 pounds up from my sustained low meant it was time to get serious and lose that weight. With my mind in the game, rotating was easy and the weight started to come off. I’ll be rotating for the foreseeable future but it’s worth it to be heading in the right direction.

On another positive note, with PT only twice a week from now on, I could abandon my early Monday sessions, opting instead for Tuesdays and Fridays at the end of the day. Not starting the week with 7:00 a.m. PT was a gift.

Also on the healthy side, after being told we wouldn’t have water aerobics until early June, it was announced that we would have class after all but in the lap pool so we could use those life guards. While the shallow isn’t ideal for knees, it actually helps with bum shoulders and with my new PT schedule, it meant I could swim Wednesday and Thursdays. It was joyous to be back in the pool! I had to limit some moves and getting in and out of the pool was awkward (try going up a pool ladder and not using one arm – not easy) but my friends were there to help and I managed just fine. I did need help getting my bathing suit pulled up in the back on the first night but they were there for me then too. All good.

The weather was hinky on top of it all. The week started with 2 days of heat and humidity, which I toughed out without putting the AC on. Once the weather broke, the temperature plummeted and it started raining. We got 5+ inches between Tuesday night and the weekend. But after my week of something every night (Monday was knitting, Tuesday PT, Wednesday and Thursday swimming and Friday PT again), I was ready to be home in the house all weekend so the soggy yard was a good excuse. I spent the weekend inside getting chores done and recharging. I ended the weekend in good shape for another week of this new, busy schedule.

As I’m fond of staying, busy is better than bored so I’m going to power through my new schedule. It’s all progress and I’m happy to be back in some semblance of normal. Now to get my gardening started once the ground dries up a bit. Happy summer!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 19 - Semblance of Normal

PT Monday morning was killer since I'd only gotten home at midnight the night before and then had struggled to fall asleep. But somehow I got through the day and headed to knitting with 2 trays of butter tarts from Canada. There were only 3 of us so I sent Heidi and Andrea home with tarts because I had a couple more at home and that was plenty after all the ones I'd eaten in Canada. Because I had just 2 more days and then I'd be rotating again.

Tuesday was an all day IT conference and then Wednesday was jam packed. I had a doctor's appointment at 10:10 after which I hit the market on the way back to campus, a UAAD picnic at noon, a team meeting at 1:00, training at 2:00 and was leaving at 4:00 for PT. Good thing I had been catching up on sleep by then plus the week was more than half over. Nice.

As for the doctor's appointment, it was my 10 week post-surgery follow up and he seemed pleased with my progress and OK'd me for strength exercises at PT only twice perweek going forward instead of three. That was great news because I'd no longer be starting the week with 7:00 am PT. Excellent! I fessed up to the nurse that I'd started taking meloxicam before my Canada trip and the doctor never mentioned it. Big relief! I left with new PT orders and an appointment to see him for the last time the day before I leave for the International Master Gardener Conference in Portland in July. Perfect timing since he'll be releasing me for sure then. I was happy when I left.

I stopped at the market because I was out of milk but I also needed to stock up on produce because I was starting a rotation on Thursday. I was ~30 pounds up from my sustained low of -65. I'd gained some starting with last summer's Scotland trip but had really packed on the pounds the month after surgery when I was home doing nothing. Even when I was more mobile, the lack of meloxicam meant every step hurt so I couldn't do anything to exercise. With my knee much better once I started taking drugs again, I was ready to get moving again and drop the weight. The diet would start Thursday and I got an email Wednesday - the same day the doctor OK'd careful exercise - saying they'd added water aerobics in May. Previously they'd had swimming starting June 5th so I was thrilled to have swimming as an option earlier than that, even if it was in the lap pool. All good.

I was actually excited to lose weight so when Anne and I went to a movie (Their Finest - a period piece about film makers in England during WWII) on Thursday after work, I happily drank water while she ate popcorn. Layton was fine with Chinese on Friday so I ate baked chicken and veggies. Determination makes dieting so much easier.

I was looking forward to catching up on everything over the weekend so made a concerted effort to do any and all shopping before leaving for PT at 4:00 on Friday. I headed to Wahoo with flowers, groceries and cat food ready to get busy.

The only obligation I had was a graduation party for Anne Marie's oldest on Saturday afternoon so I thoroughly enjoyed both vegging and getting things done in between bouts of knitting. I had enough of my to do list done to feel good when I left for Andrew's party, where I ate some cut up fruit and plain pulled pork. When I got hungry later, I boiled up a bunch of carrots and had that, determination again making it easy. When I weighed myself Sunday morning, I was already down 8 pounds. Now half of that was water but I'd take it.

I did many many loads of laundry on Sunday, hanging much of it on the line since it was hot, dry and windy. And I mean hot! It was pushing 90 by the end of the day Sunday, which was too hot too soon. I shut all the windows and blinds before the heat set in and so the house was 78 when I went to bed. After a nice shower and putting fans in the windows, it was fine to sleep. The weather is due to break Tuesday night so I'm hoping to avoid putting the AC on. But I digress....

Once all my chores were done on Sunday, I started prepping produce and cooking, ending the day with a frig full of produce for the coming week and a big bag of scraps for Lori's chickens, which I did drive over and give them that afternoon. Cross that off. I also managed to swap out my winter clothes for summer and found 3 pair of capris that will fit in my fattened state. Hopefully they'll all fit by the end of the month. I enjoyed a night of PBS and knitting to end the week, happy that I was back on track with eating, chores and life in general. Next on the list is gardening, which I'll be doing very carefully and with the help of my friend Heidi's son, who will till up my veg beds after he mows. Now to get some gardening weather instead of premature summer heat we had Sunday. Sheesh!

Week 18 - Canadian Knitting Retreat

It was a 3 day work week for me that was bookended by PT first thing Monday and last thing Wednesday. Between that and spending 2 hours each day training Brook, the work week flew by, which was a good thing because it was all about Sue's knitting retreat in Canada.

I had called Nora while I was still out with my shoulder to ask about taking vacation for the retreat so my guilt kept the trip short. Anne and I were taking a 7:00 am flight out of Omaha on Thursday that would get us to Toronto early enough in the afternoon to rent a car and drive 3 hours north to Southampton. The retreat was Friday and Saturday so we'd be leaving the B&B Sunday morning right after breakfast for a late afternoon flight home. I'd get home at midnight but that meant I could work Monday. Two days of vacation was all my guilt would allow me to ask for.

Anne and I met at the airport and our travel was uneventful. We picked up the car, a Kia Forte, and then had time to kill before meeting Cindy and her friend to share the drive north. We actually sat in the Thrifty garage and knitted until a few minutes before their flight arrived and then headed out. That's when the fun began. 

We could see where we needed to be to meet them but it was one way and we were past it. Thinking there was a ring road, we headed out but the signage was dismal and we ended up on the highway. Every exit we tried lead to yet another highway and we were miles away before we turned on the GPS to find our way back. It was super stressful and we thought the clock was ticking but when we got back to the airport, we got a text that their flight was delayed. Fearful of getting lost again, we sat in the loading area for 1.5 hours, amazed that no one kicked us out like they would in the US. Gotta love those nice Canadians! 

When they finally arrived, we headed north on country roads to Southampton, arriving in time for dinner at a yummy local restaurant. It was great to see Eileen and Gail (hadn't seen them since Shetland last summer) and Sue, who I hadn't see since the last retreat in September of 2015. We also got to meet the 2 Brits - Francoise and Bridget. I knew immediately that I was going to like them. All good.

The retreat was a blast. There were lots of locals who came for the day and 8 of us staying in the B&B, which is run by a woman, Jenny, who is a fabulous host and an amazing cook. My first class was weaving. Yes, I was touching a loom. I knew when I signed up for it that I'd be buying one but I was OK with that. Weaving is MUCH faster than knitting and you know I have some yarn. How's that for an understatement? I took to weaving like a house afire and was instantly hooked. I had signed up for a crochet for knitters class for the afternoon purely because I didn't want to do rug hooking (the alternate class.) Since I could already crochet, I helped a woman who knew nothing. I also popped out periodically to work on my weaving. The day flew by filled with knitting goodness.

That evening we ate dinner at a local restaurant and then had a trunk show (a fashion show of knitted items featuring a specific yarn line) at Sue's shop. I wasn't much interested in the show but did take the opportunity to spend some money on yarn. Now I've been on a yarn diet and have bought no yarn in 2017 except for a few thrift shop skeins, which are always exempt. Travel yarn is also exempt and between the 20% discount we got with the retreat and the Canadian dollar only being worth .75 cents American, everything was super cheap. I loaded up on yarn and bought a 16" loom with an additional heddle for using sock yarn (yup, I've got lots of that) to the tune of $700+. But it was <$500 American after conversion so a fabulous deal. I went back to the B&B for knitting in the common room where we laughed and laughed. Day one was marvelous and Saturday was going to be full of fun too.

After another delicious breakfast and some weaving time, we headed to Bulk Barn with the Brits to stock up on all my faves. From there we went to Sue's to dye sock blanks. These are scarf like things that are knitted with 2 strands so when you unravel them you get 2 identical socks. You can paint them with any pattern you like so I wrote a message on mine just to poke Eileen, who is mortified that my favorite Canadian store is Bulk Barn. We all had fun then met back at the shop, where I bought just one more skein of sock yarn. Couldn't resist.

After a snack lunch of leftover cheese, crackers and fruit, the afternoon workshop was double knitting, which I've always wanted to learn. We sat in the common room and knitted the afternoon away. Dinner was catered in and was delicious. All this time in the B&B meant that I should have packed more comfy clothes but my single pair of black stretchy pants got worn a lot. At least I had fresh t-shirts. 

After dinner, I pulled out the huge suitcase of felted sweaters that I'd brought for Eileen because paying to check a bag was cheaper than shipping plus that gave me a bag to fill on the way home. (Check out her Etsy shop here to see the mittens she makes with them.) It was a little trunk show of my own and Eileen was thrilled with what I'd brought. She even got some orders where people picked out the exact sweater they wanted her to use. After that we sat and knitted for hours and I haven't laughed so hard in ages. It was a wonderful evening but that meant the retreat was over. Quick but fabulous and worth every penny and the travel.

Sunday was all travel. We left the B&B at 10:00 after tearful goodbyes and headed to Toronto. We dropped Cindy and Christine off for their flight then returned the car, having better success navigating the airport once we realized the numbers in the box on the signs were terminal numbers. Other than getting pulled aside by Customs because we'd checked "No Food" and Anne had 2 big bag of Canadian doritos (Humpty Dumpty Snack Mix actually) in the top of her carry on, our travel was uneventful. 

I walked into my house just before midnight, ending the week exhausted but on a high note. I'd had a blast and got to spend time with some of my favorite people while learning new things. I'd also met two new friends and got an invite to Oxfordshire to boot. This weekend adventure is what I live for. Travelling, knitting and friends - life doesn't get any better. Bliss!

Week 17 - Progress and Cold

As with all weeks of late, I started with 7:00 a.m. PT. Talk about a rude awakening to the week! Having to be at PT so early and ready to leave for work from there keeps me on my toes for the start of the week. And it was a busy one that left me exhausted. All good though.

I had something after work every night of the week. Monday was knitting, which is always fun but Erica came over to wind yarn afterwards and we talked until 10:00. It was one of those travelling conversations – talked while she wound in my back room, talked by the back door, talked in the driveway, talked as her car ran with the window open. You know - one of those lingering, fun conversations. I scheduled PT after work on Tuesday because I had a Husker Cats meeting at 5:15 Wednesday and they always run long. This one ran so long that when I went to Aldi afterwards, I was walking out the door when they closed at 8:00. I ran home to unload groceries and make cranberry walnut cole slaw because I had a potluck at Anne’s Thursday evening for one of our water aerobics instructors who is graduating and getting married so it was a bridal shower of sorts. When I left work Friday at 4:00 for PT, I was exhausted and ready for the weekend.

I had started my spring plant buying on Thursday over lunch at the Hort Club sale on East Campus. I didn’t get anything spectacular but still managed to spend $30. I continued with a fundraiser plant sale in Weston (a small town 6 miles west of Wahoo) on the weekend, where they had much more interesting plants but pricey. At least it benefited a school but I had spent $65 total and still needed to buy standards like petunias and such. The weather had turned miserably cold so I planned to wait to buy more. We had hard frost warnings starting Tuesday night, which prevented me from putting out all the lantana and geraniums I’d overwintered before the cleaning lady came on Wednesday. Oh well.

On the shoulder front, I was getting better every day. I even woke up on Wednesday morning on my stomach having rolled while asleep and it didn’t wake me up. I was absolutely sore when the alarm went off but it was worth it. I also found myself using my left arm unconsciously for reaching things and sometimes it didn’t even hurt. Mostly though I’d do something I shouldn’t and I’d stop when it hurt. That’s going to be my life for the foreseeable future but it’s still progress.

The cold, rainy weather lasted through the weekend so I happily stayed inside. My only foray into the damp was Ed’s 70th birthday party at the Vets’ Club on Saturday night. Andrea and I had seen a draft invite but never got an official one so were unsure if we should go but decided to and it was fun. There was tons of yummy food and I got to meet some new people. Otherwise, my weekend consisted of chores and knitting, with an eye towards getting ready for my Canada trip next week. After the busy week I had had, the veg time was necessary and appreciated. I ended the weekend recharged and looking forward to my trip. Nice.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Week 16 - Fun with Connie

I started the week exhausted from another night of Drew being up until the wee hours and me waking up each time he used the bathroom or went into his room. The alarm going off on Monday was a rude awakening and then having to fast track my morning routine to be at PT at 7:00 was killer. I went bak home after PT to change and pack a cooler for Drew full of all kinds of homemade goodies and most of the leftovers from Easter. He had sworn he'd be awake when I got home but he was so sound asleep that I had to poke him to wake him up to say goodbye. I left for work happy that he'd come for a visit but also happy to know I'd be going home to an empty house. Nirvana!

But Monday was a long day because Connie was in Lincoln on her way back from Easter in Oklahoma so we met for dinner at Noodles. Her granddaughter Connie was with her and I hadn't seen her since she was about 6 and she is graduating from high school. She is a perfectly pleasant quasi adult and we had a nice time. We ate a Noodles then walked around campus, which was in full bloom and gorgeous, then got dessert in a new bakery in the Haymarket near their hotel. It's always fun to have face time with Connie and going home to an empty house was another bonus. IT was a lovely evening.

Tuesday at lunch I ran down to Yarn Charm to pick up my Knit Nebraska t-shirt, which I will proudly wear on game day Fridays and maybe even to Sue's retreat in Canada. After work, Anne and I went to the movie Kedi at The Ross. It was about the feral cats of Istanbul and was totally enjoyable. This was a slightly earlier night than Monday but I still didn't get home until 7:30. Considering it was only my 2nd week of working full-time, I was getting tired.

I left work at 4:00 on Wednesday for PT and had a pretty disturbing encounter there, experiencing the negative side of small town living. My neighbors have had a bogus drug charge pending on them for 2+ years from when a new neighbor called the cops and told them they were selling drugs out of their house, which was absolutely NOT the case. So the new neighbor, who has living 2 doors down for a few years, also goes to PT and they asked me where I lived from her. When I explained, two of them said in unison, "You live next to the drug dealers?" I immediately started defending my neighbors, who are salt of the earth people who would give you the shirt off their backs, but they were having none of it. They were laughing at my defense, which left me fuming. I was so upset that I had to call Carolyn to vent when I got home. Grrr....

Lorri stopped by later to give me a thank you gift for watering her seedlings while she was away. The plants she'll invariably give me would be thanks enough mind you. Anyway, I vented some more to her and she suggested I call the ACLU. We ended up talking for a long time so it became another long night. At least I was at home and the week was half over. I threw in a load of laundry and went to bed.

It felt like I did nothing but laundry for days. I hung a load out before work on Thursday and while it was dry when I got home, there was bird poop on the bedspread. I also went into the spare room to find that one of the cats (Tot most likely) had peed on the mattress pad on the spare bed, probably because it smelled like Drew. So now I had to wash that too and the new blanket I'd found while thrifting. It took 4 loads of laundry just to get everything washed and the bed remade. Luckily it was good drying weather and the only thing that got bird poop on it in the 2nd round of drying could wait to be rewashed.

Friday was a long day with me prepping training materials for our new analyst who was starting Monday but I left at 4:00 for PT and the weed was done. And other than a haircut at 8:15 on Saturday, I had the whole weekend free. Yee ha! 

I spent a lovely weekend at home getting chores done, knitting some fun new socks and cooking. And when I got the spare bed made up with the freshly laundered linens, I promptly loaded it back up with all the totes and bags of yarn. As part of this, I went through a big tote of clothes, culling some for donation, leaving some to try on later and putting a few in my closet. I also swapped out a few sweaters from my main closet so I'd have room for a few short sleeved shirts to get me through until after Canada when I could worry about pulling out the capris and summer tops. And in amongst all this productivity, I managed to stream season 3 of Shetland so thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. Add the progress at PT that was giving me more mobility with my shoulder and it was all good. Now to get ready for Canada.