Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week 40 - All Plan B

The pre-surgery list got pared down a bit this week as I sandwiched appointments between all my other commitments. My manically busy week was followed by a fly the seat of my pants weekend. I didn’t get everything on my list done but made some progress at least.

Monday was the first run of monthly reports that Brook was taking the lead on so he’d be ready to fly solo when I’m out in November. I spent the morning with him but then stepped away and he finished it all. Since I didn’t hear anything to the contrary, I’ll assume it all went well. He really is a fabulous addition to the reporting team.

My evenings were even busier than usual. Monday was knitting, of course, and then I had an eye doctor appointment after work on Tuesday, which was not technically on the pre-surgery list but had been a reschedule from the appointment I made last October that fell during my Ireland trip. I swam Wednesday and in my ongoing effort to take advantage of more of the free events on campus, went to a lecture by Jeff Zeleny at 6:00 on Thursday. Friday morning was mostly pre-surgery – pre-op physical at 8:00 followed by blood work and a mammogram. I was scheduled to go right to work after that but that didn’t work out.

When I was changing the toilet paper Thursday night, I looked down to see that the baseboard next to the toilet was mildewed. Now it had been a super rainy week but not enough to mildew woodwork so I really got down for a good look and found a puddle between the toilet and the wall. The water was clear, which is why I hadn’t noticed it, but it was clearly serious. I googled and was worried it was the wax seal under the toilet, which would have meant it was bowl water. Ick! Having failed to find any plumber I’d let into my house in the phone book and only finding iffy options online, I decided to ask everyone I saw at the clinic who they used in hopes of a recommendation. Because everything in Wahoo is word of mouth and who you know. I got one recommendation from the PA and left a message but the plumber the mammogram tech recommended picked up  and said he could come right away. Eureka! I headed home to meet him, happy to have found someone.

Well, his right away was an hour and then he couldn’t get the water shut off so I had to call the city to do it at the street. I was happy to hear that it was a failed washer between the tank and base, which meant it was tank water rather than bowl. But the bolt was stripped so he ended up cutting it from below the tank, which filled the house with the smell of burnt metal. It also took for flippin’ ever! And he was a negative soul so regaled me with everything that could go wrong, even when stuff went right. I didn’t leave Wahoo until after noon and went right to lunch with Layton. Sheesh! Who needs this? As if I wasn’t busy enough! Despite being exhausted, I swam Friday night. Carol and I were the only swimmers so we had a lovely time chatting as we aerobicized.

I had a Friends of the Library meeting at 9:30 on Saturday morning but at least I’d gotten my treasurer’s report done while the plumber was there Friday. I don’t mind a Friends meeting because it gets me up, out and starting my day early. My plan for the weekend was to slog through more of the spare room, do a bunch of cooking (for post-surgery freezer meals) and do my regular chores. 

I had done a bit in the spare room on Saturday when the sun came out and drew me outside. What started as just pulling a few weeds turned into full blown tree trimming and taking another carload to the city’s burn pile. This put me behind but I enjoyed it and it needed doing. I went inside and started cooking – sausage and peppers with peppers from my garden. I had them bubbling away on the stove when my cell phone announced, “Call from Helen.” 

Now I hadn’t seen Helen since April and am not even sure we’d so much as messaged on Facebook since. My first thought was who died or is in the hospital? You could have knocked me over with a feather when she just wanted to know if she could come over and hang out, which she did. We knitted and chatted for hours and she didn’t leave until 11:30. Now I was even more behind but went to bed to deal in the morning.

Andrea and I were going to Omaha to meet Lori and Michelle for breakfast then knit at Lori’s for awhile. The problem was, I’d said I’d bring a baked good so I got up at 6:30 Sunday and started baking molasses cookies. Now when you make cookies that are rolled in sugar, they’re not really stuck to the cookie sheet so if you tip it when you’re putting it in the oven, they roll right off. Yes, I lost a row of cookies to the bottom of the oven so had to take out the hot racks and get a pair of tongs to dig the cookies out lest they fill my house with smoke as they burned. After that fiasco, I had the cookies done before I sat down for CBS Sunday Morning. But I had barely hit my chair when the phone rang and I talked to my sister Ginny and then Carolyn beeped in after that. I talked to her briefly and then ran to get dressed and pick up Andrea. Whew!

We had a lovely breakfast at First Watch then went to Penzey’s to use our coupons. Lori headed home from there and Andrea and I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things then on to Lori’s, where we knitted and chatted until 3:00. From there we went to Aldi (more groceries) and I had Andrea home by her 4:30 deadline. I now had one evening to do a weekend’s worth of chores. I threw on some laundry, put the groceries away and made a pot of red sauce, again for the freezer. I managed to get it all done somehow, including more spare room reorganizing, and was watching Poldark at 8:00. I was in my last week, and that a partial one, before Ireland but had made enough progress to not be facing a stressful week at home or at work. Mission accomplished! And just 5 days before leaving for Ireland on Saturday. : )

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Week 39 - Cat Hell Weekend

It was a quick week when I look back at it, with the work days seeming to fly by. But I was super tired all week so was dragging when I got home every night. My usual fully booked after work schedule didn’t help. I had something every single night and was even doubled booked on Thursday. Go figure.

Tuesday night a bunch of us from work went to Karen from HR’s downtown condo, which she just moved into this summer, for a fun evening of drinks and snacks. We laughed and laughed, harder than I have in a long time. I didn’t get home until after 9:00 but it was worth it. Thursday, which is usually a night I can go right home, was double booked with a Husker Cats meeting at 5:15 and I had to be in Wahoo by 7:00 for book club. I made it there in the nick of time and we had a good discussion on the Vietnam book. Monday was knitting and Wednesday and Friday were swimming. Better busy than bored came into play for sure.

Maybe fatigue played into this but I was sitting in a meeting on Wednesday, twisting me head to see the screen when I somehow pulled a muscle in my neck. I swam anyway and seemed none the worse for wear, until I woke up on Thursday morning. My neck was so stiff that moving my head even a tiny bit hurt. But with a full day ahead, staying home was not an option. Luckily I had a single lidocaine patch left from my shoulder problems so I took that to work and Cindy put it on my neck. It took the edge off and I was able to power through my day of lunch with Layton, training all afternoon and my double booked evening. Sheesh!

I had the wrong week on my calendar for the Friends of the Library meeting so was happy to get an email saying it was a week from Saturday. This should have left me free to sleep in and relax but then there was Pie. She didn’t come in Thursday night and when she did show up on the deck Friday morning, her mouth was stuck open. She wouldn’t let me near her so I went to work in hopes that it would fix itself (doubtful, although it has a couple of times that I know of) or I could catch her and manhandle it shut. Well, she didn’t come in Friday night so I was up twice in the wee hours calling her then woke up early Saturday (boy, would I have loved to sleep in!) to try again. She did come in eventually but immediately hid under the bed in the spare room. I pulled all the under the bed boxes out and she made a beeline to the basement. I shut the spare room door and then went to her hidey hole in the basement, at which point she ran up and under my bed. At that point I shut the door to lock her in there and called Andrea. She came over so she could poke her with the broom from one side while I grabbed her from the other. I got her on the 2nd try but couldn’t get her mouth shut. It had been open so long it was all stiff so I put her in a carrier and carted her to the vet, where I left her pending sedation.

So, not the morning I’d planned on but since all the yarn boxes were out of the spare room, I kept going in that room, which was on my weekend to do list but just not for first thing Saturday morning. By the time I called the vet at 3:00 to check on Pie, the bed was cleared and all the yarn was sorted and back under the bed or in the stacked totes. Pie’s mouth was shut so I picked her up and let her out. Having not eaten in nearly 2 days, she scarfed down half a can of wet food and eventually went outside, where she’s happier anyway. Big relief! And they only charged me $35.

Sunday was a bit of a recuperation day after the fiasco that was Saturday. I did manage to do all my chores, prepped some produce, cleaned out the upstairs freezer and got more done in the spare room, including swapping my summer clothes for cool weather clothes. There were still a few boxes of gifts and such on the floor of the front room but those and the ones that have been on the dining room table for months are top of the list for next weekend, which is my last before Ireland. And since I only have one weekend between Ireland and surgery, I want to have as much done before my trip as possible. So far, so good. : )

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 38 - Done with Vietnam

This week was pretty normal during the days but I went home every night to Vietnam – both on PBS and the book I was reading for book club. It was a lot to take in and lead to some disturbed sleep. Let’s talk about the happy stuff first.

I had a lovely catch up dinner with Anne and Rene on Thursday night. I see Anne once a week at swimming but haven’t seen Rene since spring because she quit swimming as a protest, which went unnoticed and has only hurt her. Anyway…. The food at Cheddar’s is mediocre at best but they let us use 2 coupons for a free appetizer and free desert so at least it was cheap. There was no rush for us to leave the table so we talked for a couple of hours. I got home just in time to watch the auction of 30+ skeins of someone’s leftover sock yarn that I’d bid on and ultimately won, despite being sniped in the last seconds. It was to no avail since my proxy bid was for much higher so for $33 + shipping (almost exactly what I won at the state fair), I got all this. I’m super excited and can’t wait for it to arrive.

It was homecoming weekend on campus so there was no swimming Friday, which meant I could go straight home. Nice. I had a big to do list for the weekend and had high hopes for productivity. But then there was Vietnam. Luckily I’d finished my book club book (Death Zones and Darling Spies about a Nebraska woman who was a war correspondent there for 7 years in the 60’s) mid-week but I absolutely could not stop myself from watching PBS. I was able to stream the entire series so after a couple of nights of watching the broadcasted episodes, I found myself streaming it instead and watching multiple episodes each night. By the time I went to bed on Friday, I only had 2 episodes left. I was determined to watch them on Saturday so I could move on to happier things. Because the more I learned, the more disgusted I got.

So after starting the morning with more Vietnam, I headed out for errands. My coffee pot had died during the week and I’d bought a replacement at the thrifts, only to have it be too tall to fit under my cabinets. I then attempted to buy another but it too was too tall. Sheesh! So with measurements in hand, I went to the little hardware store in Wahoo and paid $36 for a Black & Decker. After hitting the market, the bakery and the bank, I went home for lunch and more Vietnam. I did hit pause several times to get my kitchen cleaned up and finally finished watching just after 4:00.

It was more disgusting with every passing minute but I was glad I watched it. I was too young to remember any of it but do recall the whole family being worried because my cousin David’s draft number was up just as Nixon was withdrawing the troops. Luckily he never went but I have a friend whose brother was killed there. It makes me want to call my Auntie Margaret, the last family member of that generation, and pick her brain about it all. Anyway, I was happy to be able to move on from watching it all.

I had big plans for Sunday but struggled to get motivated.  I did manage to get the laundry done and dishes put away but any attempts at tackling a major project fell flat. I did do a bit of yarn organization, which usually is fun, but didn’t manage much by the end of the day. I had also planned to clear out and organize the refrigerator and freezer. Neither of those things happened either. Oh well.

With only 2 more weekends before I’m off for Ireland, I cannot let another weekend slip away. Not only do I need to finish clearing the spare room and the dining room table, I need to get cooking to stock the freezer for when I’m home after my knee surgery in November. I will have one weekend at home between Ireland and surgery but I’m sure that’ll be busy enough without adding anything else. So, productivity will have to rule the day until I head to the emerald isle. I live in hope.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Week 37 - More Yarn Fun

There was lots of yarn fun this week so it was a good one. Input – it’s a strength! I also made some pre-surgery progress, including some Ireland stuff too.

It was a cleaning lady week and I’d done tons of cooking on Sunday right up until bedtime so had dishes galore to do. But did I do them Monday after knitting like an adult? Nope. I had screwed up the heel I was working on at the library so just had to fix it immediately and did that instead of dishes when I got home. I did get the entire kitchen picked up on Tuesday before sitting down to dinner, which was a 600 calorie day meal of grilled chicken and green beans. Despite not losing much in last week’s 3 600’s, I was doing 600’s again Tuesday and Thursday in hopes that I’d drop more and be able to continue with this 3/600 plan until surgery. Alas, it didn’t work, despite eating judiciously on my non-600 days so I’m going for 3 600’s in a row next week.

On other pre-surgery things, I called and made all of my appointments except my pre-surgery/annual physical. I have to decide whether I’ll take whoever’s available at the clinic or follow my old doctor, who was my best doctor ever, to her new office in Fremont. I need decide soon so I can get the appointment done in early October before Ireland. And speaking of Ireland, I finally bought our Dublin to Belfast train tickets and paid Anne for my plane ticket. All that’s left is the shuttle bus ticket from Belfast to Dublin airport but I think we’ll just buy that there since they leave on the hour and we’ll have plenty of time the afternoon we need to take it.

Wednesday night was a 40 year work anniversary party for Diane, one of the accountants, at Mary’s after work. I went after swimming so got there a bit later than most. It was fun but made for a long day since I didn’t get home until after 9:00. The end of the week was quick and uneventful. After lunch with Tammie on Friday (Layton had cancelled), I swam Friday night and then headed home. I was happy for the weekend but it was going to be a busy one.

Saturday was our spinning group’s annual retreat, which was basically a yarn dyeing day since Andrea and I were opting not to sleep over. It was in Belden – a tiny town a 2 hour drive north of Wahoo. Andrea was picking me up at 9:00 on Saturday so I pulled my yarn and made my cranberry cole slaw on Friday night. Our plan was to have a bit of time to shop in Wayne, a cute town on the way where Wayne State College is. They have a wonderful thrift shop, which we hit first and scored all kinds of fun stuff for dirt cheap. From there we went to the bakery because I love a good small town bakery. This might be one but it was pretty cleared out by late morning, yet I still managed to buy 2 cookies and a crispy to have with tea on Sunday. We then walked down the main drag to check out a little antique store (too pricey for us) and then an antique/consignment/thrift shop. I headed right to the thrift part in the back and found bags and bags of good quality yarn. Clearly someone had cleared out their stash so I bought most of them, spending $35 for all this yarn. Score! It’s got some for my sister, Anne and the NYC lady plus a bunch for me, mostly for my will trade of sell stash. We only spent 5 minutes in the last shop because we were running late so headed to Belden rather than explore more. Next time, we’ll have to allow more time in Wayne.

The retreat was fun. We got there just in time for lunch, which was a yummy hodge podge of potluck fare. Then the yarn dyeing started. We began with a math lesson on how to calculate dye amounts to adjust shade with the mission to create a gradient of mini skeins that would go to one lucky winner. Luckily I got the easiest one because I had no interest in the math and just wanted to get dyeing. When we were done with the gradients, which were gorgeous (they're in the top middle of the pic), I was the first one up to dye my skein. Of course I measured nothing, opting instead for winging it. My first skein was gorgeous and since I was the first one done, I dyed a second one, which was less elaborate but gorgeous nonetheless. Mine are the blue/green and orange/yellow/green ones in the 2nd row from the bottom on the left.

With the dyeing done, I had time to knit some and enjoyed watching Patty’s 2 5 month old boy kittens cavort all over the yard. The people who were staying over were going out to dinner at the bar in the next town but Andrea and I headed home when they left at 7:00 since we didn’t want to get home near midnight. It was storming on the way home but we stopped at the super market in Fremont (It was the only place milk was on sale and I refuse to pay full price for milk!) so we got home just after 9:00, which made it a 12 hour day but it was worth the drive and the time.

Sunday was typical – TV and relaxing in the morning and then chores and cooking in the afternoon. I made cheesy baked cauliflower for supper, a loaf of whole wheat bread and chopped salad, which wasn’t complete when Ken Burns’ Vietnam started. I’d been waiting to see this so stopped everything except yarn winding to watch it. The salad could wait. It was sad but interesting and it’s on nearly every night for 2 weeks. It perfectly dovetails with the book we’re reading for book club on the 28th – Death Zones and Darling Spies about a woman who was a war correspondent in Vietnam. It’s a lot of war but all good. As Andrea pointed out, at least it’s not Nazis. : )

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week 36 - Purging and Relish

What’s not to like about starting a week with a Monday holiday? Absolutely nothing! And since the library was closed, we were going to Lori’s new house in Omaha to knit. I got up first thing and made a pear pie to take, which was a new pie for me. I googled a few recipes and winged it. Yummy! Not only was it delicious but it was pie perfection with perfectly consistency filling. I also used the honeycomb rolling pin I bought in Portland for the first time so the crust was pretty. We had fun seeing Lori’s new house and knitting away the afternoon. Drae and I hit HyVee on the way out of Omaha and then it was back home to get ready for the short work week.

My goal for the week was to get rid of stuff. First up was mailing the HUGE box of yarn and knitting supplies I’d collected for a woman I know online who runs an after school program teaching kids to knit in Brooklyn. I’d prepped a bursting box that was too heavy for my postal scale so I schlepped it to UPS, figuring that’d be cheaper, at lunch on Tuesday. One down. I left a bag of yarn on Kate’s car so another gone. On Thursday I loaded up the 5 huge bags of clothes and dropped them at the People’s City Mission at lunch on Thursday. It felt great to get it all out of my house and it all went to good causes.

Wednesday was my annual trek to Seward after work to pick up the state fair entries. I enjoy it every year because Seward has their farmer’s market on Wednesdays. This year I left work early enough that I could hit the thrift shop (it’s a Mennonite shop and very nice) and the yarn shop before they closed. After buying some baked goods and caramel corn at the farmer’s market, I took yet another different route home, stopping in Bee, which is a tiny town that’s known for its Friday fish fries. This is the last little town on my route back that I hadn’t seen and it meant taking 5 miles of gravel road but I’m glad I went. It was another successful fair entry pick up trip. Yay!

I swam on Friday (my only night that week) then hit Aldi before heading home for the weekend. I had to go to the library Saturday morning at 9:30 to do the final deposit for the Friends’ book sale. That got me dressed and out of the house early, which isn’t all bad. My vet appointment with Gansey was at 11:45 so I went home and ground up the sedative in some wet food and threwh all the other cats out. She barely touched the food so I tried my best to act normally so she wouldn’t suspect anything. She had gone down to the basement so I nonchalantly took some yarn down, picked her up and immediately grabbed her by the back of the neck, which worked like a charm. She went totally limp and I got her in the carrier easily. But then the howling started – like she was being torn asunder. Good thing the vet is only a couple of miles away. They gave her her shots in the carrier and I was home in 15 minutes. Done! The third time was the charm. : )

The rest of the day was a nice mix of relaxing (knitting) and the usual chores. I spent most of Sunday cooking, with the main focus being making homemade sweet relish, which is an all day process. When I stopped eating high fructose corn syrup, that nixed any store bought sweet relish so I’ve been making my own. Now a full batch only makes ~3 pints and usually I get my cukes from a neighbor, which means I share a jar and only end up with 2 jars for an entire year. Well this year, for the first time ever, I’m getting cukes in my garden. Plenty of them so I made an entire batch from my own and so didn’t need to share. Nice. Well it doesn’t sound very nice but now I have 3 jars so won’t run out (hopefully) before I can make more next summer. I did run out this year and was pouring the pickle juice onto my hotdog buns for the flavor. It made a soggy mess so I’m happy to have another jar from this year’s batch.

Next up will be a batch of chutney but that’ll be closer to the end of the season when I pick the last of my tomatoes. I do enjoy canning when there’s no pressure. It also plays to my penchant for using things up and making something from nothing. Now to deal with the last of the pears in the fridge. Maybe another pie? Or I’ll puree them for pear jam. Yum!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Week 35 - Fun Over Oddness

I’m not sure about this week. It had some oddness but also some fun but was mostly uneventful – nothing wrong with that. Plus it ended with a long weekend. Gotta love that, right?

Monday started well, sort of. I had a 3:00 appointment with my podiatrist about a suspected hammer toe. Yes, it is one but isn’t really fixable so not good news there. It also happens to be on the side where my knee’s being replaced. Whatever. The nice thing was Nora told me to go home rather than coming back to work so close to the end of the day. I happily went home and got all my leftover chores done before knitting, which meant I could relax on Tuesday evening rather than slamming to prep for the cleaning lady on Wednesday. I got to go straight home Thursday too but was back in the pool on Wednesday and Friday. That felt great after not swimming for most of August.

On the work front, I was scheduled to teach my 2 reporting classes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and had several people signed up for each. But in both cases, only 1 person showed up. Strange and kind of a waste of time but I could customize the class for each person and so they went fast. There was a strange staff meeting on Tuesday that was about the upcoming budget cuts but with absolutely no specifics. Rather than being reassuring, we all left it feeling icky. At least we were told none of our jobs were on the line but it just added to the emotionally charged atmosphere on campus. Everyone just wants some word on what’s happening so we wait and wait and wait. By mid-week, I was prepping for a new method of doing our monthly reports, which I was training Brook on. He’s a joy to work with, especially after Josh, and they went pretty well. How’s that for positivity at work?

There were a couple of bright spots in the week. First I had my favorite kind of thrift score – sock yarn! I had to buy a few bags filled with miscellaneous yarn to get it all but ended up with a pile someone’s leftovers for monster socks, some acrylic for my sister’s hat for the homeless project and more yarn for the box I was prepping to donate to an after school project and online knitting friend runs in NYC. Check out my new sock yarn. SO fun!

Darla called me Wednesday afternoon to ask if I could do breakfast Thursday morning. She had the day off and since I don’t get enough Darla face time, I jumped at the chance. We met at 7:00 a.m. at Cracker Barrel and caught up over a nice breakfast. I had lunch scheduled later with Dodie too so had lots of yummy food with friends that day. Layton was going away for the weekend so we didn’t eat on Friday but I was planning on a 600 calorie day so that worked.

And then came my downfall. Literally. After swimming, a few of us were heading to the parking lot to see Carol's new Tesla. Well, I took a step off the curb just fine but caught my foot on uneven pavement on the next step and went down. There was a cartoonish pinwheeling of arms but when it was clear I was going down, I tucked my arm in to spare my shoulder, which left me skidding across the pavement resulting in bloody road rash on my elbow, denim burn on my knee and a bruised thigh. It had also rained lightly while we were swimming so there was mud along with the blood. After using a used kleenex from my back pocket to keep blood form dripping on the new car, I went home to shower and dose up on my prescription anti-inflammatory. I could only hope I wasn't too sore to function the next morning.

I woke up feeling pretty good considering and my morning meloxicam took away 95% of any soreness so it wouldn't impact my weekend. Nice. The only firm plan I had for Labor Day weekend was to get Gansey to the vet and feed Andrea’s animals. Again I completely failed to get Gansey in the carrier so when I went out to Andrea’s, I stopped at the vet to get a kitty sedative and make yet another appointment. Third time lucky? Hopefully with drugs on board she’ll be more compliant. I can only hope.

With all my commitments off the list, I started slogging through the spare room. The nexus of the problem was when I put the chair from the front room in there when I got the recliner for after my shoulder surgery. The chair took up the only spot of floor space and became the base of a pile that then spread to the bed. With my sister coming in early November to help me after my knee replacement, I needed that room cleared out and guest ready.

I started with moving the chair back to the front room where it will sit in the middle of the floor but at least won’t be in the way. With that gone, I was able to stack totes on the floor, which got them off the bed. Then I started going through clothes mercilessly with the goal that the only clothes I’d keep had to fit in the ladies dresser in there. By the time I was done, I had 5 huge bags to donate and all the clothes were put away.

This took most of Saturday and Sunday but was well worth it. I still had more to do in there and some bags in the front room to deal with but I had made a dent. And what with Monday being a day off, I went to bed feeling great and looking forward to fun on Labor Day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Week 34 - Overwhelmed to Start

Monday was eclipse day, which was a lot of fun. We scheduled an eclipse food day (focus on round food) and we all had our glasses at the ready. After lunch, I headed outside with some of my office mates. The main viewing area was the green behind the Union but we snagged a bench on the plaza behind the library, which had plenty of people but not the thousands behind the Union. It was pretty cloudy but they parted just before the totality and we got to see it all – the beads and the diamond ring. All in all, it was pretty amazing. The group exclamations from over the hill added to the experience. I’m glad I got to see it.

I started Tuesday feeling slightly overwhelmed so made a list of stuff I needed to do to try and get a handle on things. I got on the phone and started making appointments – hair, vet and foot doctor. I dropped my football tickets on the way home and prepped 3 lots of yarn to ship that night. All that went a long way towards easing my mind, which made the rest of the week go well. For sure.

On Friday the state fair ribbons were finally posted. I had entered 9 things in the fair and 8 of them ribboned so I was pretty pleased. I was thrilled to see that my orange socks had won the best socks in the state, which came with a $25 gift certificate to Spindle, Shuttle and Needle – the local yarn shop in the tiny town of Stromsburg. Andrea and I will have to plan a little road trip. But since my friend Jill kindly took lots of pics of my socks, I decided not to go to the fair, despite buying a ticket when I entered all my knitting. Here's the pic that satisfied my need to go and saved me 200 miles of driving on a work night.

Having made all those phone calls on Tuesday, I started Saturday with an 8:00 hair appointment followed by 8:45 at the vet for Pie and Gansey’s shots. Unfortunately Gansey became an evil possessed kitty whereas Pie was easy peasy to get in the carrier, which is usually not the case. Gansey left me dripping with blood from scratches and then hid so I only got Pie in for shots and made an appointment for the next Saturday for Gansey, when I could only hope I’d have better luck catching her.

Later on Saturday, I headed to Lincoln for a celebration of life party for the wife of the Husker Cats weekend feeder. She’d died in July after breaking her neck in a pool accident and while I’d never met her, we had corresponded via email many times. There were hundreds of people there and I even managed to find a couple of people I knew to chat with. I was glad that I made the effort (I avoid going to Lincoln on weekends as a rule) to show support for Lon. After a quick stop at the market, I was done for the day.

Sunday also marked the end of an era, when I brought my last load of produce scraps out to Lori’s chickens. It was her last weekend at the farm before her move to Omaha. Sad. Otherwise it was chores as usual, including prepping the last of the peaches for the freezer. I also managed to finish 3 separate socks. Having so many projects on the needles probably didn’t help with feeling overwhelmed earlier in the week so that was good too. Progress was made this week. Yay!

Week 33 - Back to Nebraska

Monday was my last day in RI and I spent it the usual way – hanging with Cornelia. But the day started with a walk at Rocky Point where Carolyn and I checked out all the new signage. Rocky Point is the amusement park where I worked as a kiddie land ride operator summers during college. I had always thought it was the worst job ever until I moved to Nebraska and learned about detassling. Anyway, now Rocky Point is a beautiful park on the water so better for sure.

After saying goodbye to Carolyn, Corn and I headed to The Crow’s Nest for my favorite meal of fried clams along with clamcakes and chowder. Nothing like a deep fried meal to kick off my day of travel! It was a leisurely lunch with lots of chatting, which continued at Warwick’s town beach before she dropped me at the airport. The worst part of my travel was schlepping the huge duffle bag of yarn, which was fine by me. Nothing untoward happened and I was in my house by 11:30. I was keyed up and so started unpacking right away. I’d be tired on Tuesday but it was all worth it.

Tuesday started off badly though with one of my worst fears coming true. Pie had stayed outside while I was gone and when she showed up Tuesday morning, her mouth was stuck open and had been long enough that the drool down her front had mud caked in it. I tried to unstick her mouth but it wasn’t working so I manhandled her inside, which was only possible because she was weak. While getting ready for work, I was contemplating having to leave early on my first day back to take her to the vet. Luckily by the time I left, it had shut on its own, helped, I’m sure, by all the manipulation I’d done. HUGE relief!. I happily headed to work.

Mary had rescheduled a closing meeting for first thing in the morning so I was busy from the get go. The day flew by and after a quick trip to the market, I ran home to put away everything I’d brought back and do mad prep for the cleaning lady on Wednesday. All good.

The rest of the work week was uneventful. There was no swimming so I went right home every night and gradually got back to normal. I did have a scratchy throat by the end of the week and did the Zicam thing for 24 hours, which either worked to avert a cold or it was allergies all along. Whatever. At least I didn’t get sick.

I had a full weekend, starting with spinning in Fremont, which is really just knitting and chatting so no biggie. Andrea and were thwarted on our Goodwill run because they were closed for a staff cookout so we got to Todd’s in Cedar Bluffs early. Lori met us there and we enjoyed beer and tots with our dinners. It was a nice end to the day despite Lori sharing that she was getting divorced and moving to Omaha. I can only hope we still see each other. If she doesn’t make it to knitting, I guess I’ll be going to Omaha more often.

On Sunday, Michelle and Lori stopped on their way west to take some of the yarn I’d brought back from Rhode Island and then I got busy with laundry and chores. By the end of the weekend, I was fully recovered from my trip and back to “normal.” Just in time for the eclipse, which I’d baked a decadentchocolate cake for. This is the best chocolate cake ever so click on the recipe and try it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 32 - Rhode Island Bound

You would think that since I was leaving for Rhode Island in the wee hours on Thursday I would have kept the beginning of the week free but is that my style? Not so much.

Despite still being in the throes of year end closing meeting prep at work, I still knitted on Monday night and went to Dunkirk after work on Tuesday with Anne and Rene. Good thing I’d set aside all the clothes I needed to pack on the weekend and was dressing strategically for work (nothing I’d need to launder or take to RI) because I needed to pack and be ready to go (plants watered, cats all set to be inside for 5 days, etc.) and be in bed by 9:00 on Wednesday night. Yes, I did it all and was in fact in bed on time with 3 different alarms set for 2:45 so I could get to Eppley for my 5:20 am flight. Well one of those alarms was my iPad but I didn’t account for the calendar reminder for my flight, which chimed at 2:15 and woke me up even earlier. Oh well. I got up and to the airport and had uneventful flights. All good.

Carolyn picked me up and we immediately drove to my aunt’s and took her out for lunch. She is 95 years old and sharp as a tack, plus she gets around better than I do sometimes, despite being legally blind and having bum knees. We had lobster rolls and caught up. It was lovely. Now our plan had been to go from my aunt’s to the beach but Carolyn was as exhausted as I was, having spent the previous week helping her parents pack for a move to assisted living on Wednesday. Her father had called to say he couldn’t find the box with his meds so we went into lunch thinking we’d be driving to Providence to find them. Well, when he called to report he’d found the box, we’d already resigned ourselves to not hitting the beach so headed straight home to veg. With low energy levels and a fully packed weekend ahead, it was a good decision, even if it meant I wouldn’t get a beach day this summer. Oh well.

On Friday’s agenda was heading to Sharyn’s for lunch and shopping, which was fun, as always. After salads at Panera, we hit The Christmas Tree Shops and 5 Below, where I bought tons of stuff. From there we went back home to make blueberry cobbler to take to Peter’s that night. Seeing Bob for dinner had morphed into a barbeque at Peter’s for 7, including Tracy and Andrea. After a tour of Peter’s beautiful gardens, we had a wonderful night sitting on the deck enjoying food, drinks and conversation. Perfect!

Carolyn had an appointment on Saturday morning so I’d made plans with Deanne. She picked me up and a tour of the old neighborhood lead to all kinds of fun. First I noticed that my nana’s ivy had come back around the tree in the house I grew up in so I stopped to ask if I could pull a piece and was offered a tour of the house I grew up in. A family with 6 kids lives there now and I got to see my old room. How fun! I then stopped at the Corrigan’s (next door neighbors) to give condolences on Mr. Corrigan’s recent death so got a hug from Danny – the youngest Corrigan kid who was older but really hadn’t changed much at all. I then headed across the street to talk to Mr. Hatch, who was out in his garden, as usual. He’s 92 and still going strong, which is a testament to how healthy gardening is, right? As if it wasn’t already Old Home Week, Deanne suggested we see if Mrs. Bassett, our old girl scout leader, was home. She was and we spent 45 minutes chatting before heading to Providence Coal Fired Pizza for a yummy lunch. From there we went to Wickford to walk around and I hit The Mermaid’s Purl, where I bought yarn, which is always happy. We stopped for a drink on the water in East Greenwich – a great way to end a fun day with Deanne, who is my oldest friend. 

Carolyn had been cleaning at her parent’s now empty house after her appointment so when Deanne dropped me off, we were happily in for the day. I did go out to pick up spinach pies from Don’s for dinner – YUM! – but that was it. And Michelle came over after dinner to visit and drop off some yarn from her mom. LOTS of yarn. Clearly I'd be taking the duffle bag bag to Nebraska again. Gotta love Southwest's 2 bags free. I crashed early after Mitch left. Sunday was a day of rest, which we both needed.

The only commitment on Sunday was Cornelia coming for dinner. I’d brought brats from North Dakota (one of the many packages my nephew, Drew, had brought at Easter) so after a Job Lot run, we got corn at Morris Farm and macaroni salad for an easy supper. It was great to hang with Cornelia, who told me all about her new man. She’s happier than I’ve seen her in years, which is understandable since she’s been dealing with her late husband’s sickness and subsequent death 2 years ago. The low key day was much needed and appreciated. I did do a bit of organizing before bed because I was leaving the next day. I had some final fun planned for Monday but didn’t want packing to keep me from sleeping well.

It had been a quick trip but so worth it. While I’m happy living in Nebraska, my summer trip to RI is always special. Rhode Island is a wonderful place to visit and I’m so glad I grew up there. Regardless, it would still feel good to get home to Nebraska. I went to bed hoping for a good night’s sleep and drama free travel on Monday.

Week 29 - Recovery and Recharge

I was back from a wonderful trip and it was time to get back to reality. I had a whole week to get through at work and wanted to start rotating so had some planning to do for that to happen. And while I should have kept my nights free, did I? Not so much but then when do I let a little fatigue hold me back.

I only got about 5 hours of sleep to start the week but managed to dry the load of laundry I’d put on in the wee hours so had fresh undies to wear to work. I was OK in the morning but started to fade after lunch. A frapuccino helped my flagging energy so I could make it through the afternoon and then on to knitting that night. The cupboard really was bare so I’d have to restock before I could eat anything, never mind anything healthy. Add that to the list.

With not much in the offing for dinner on Tuesday, I called Andrea and we headed to Todd’s Tavern in Cedar Bluffs. Lorri had told me this place about while we were in Portland and I was excited to try the deep fat fried tater tots, which were delish. The burger they came with was too. The beer in a frosty glass that we enjoyed nixed any hope of getting anything done that night but it was worth it. My plan was to start rotating on Thursday so it was almost my last supper.

After swimming Wednesday night, I hit Fresh Thyme to stock up on all things produce. That got me home at 8:00 but at least I was set to start eating healthy on Thursday, which I did. It was actually a relief to get back to my 600 calorie days. It’s not much to eat but food decisions are off the table. I know exactly what I’m eating and when so easy peasy. I swam Thursday night too so went home ravenous. All worth it though.

I was very excited for the weekend but I’d been roped into seeing The Hero at The Ross. Now this was a preview Cindy had seen when we went to the movies a week ago and she said she absolutely wanted to see it. Tammie chimed in “me too!” but I remained silent having little interest. But since Cindy was on vacation, Tammie wanted me to go. How could I say no when it was leaving the theatre before Cindy got back from vacation? While I wanted nothing more than to head straight home, it was actually a perfectly pleasant movie so not a burden at all. I even abstained from popcorn. When it was done, I drove home like a bat out of hell. I was very excited to be home with no commitments for two whole days.

I slept until 10:00 on Saturday morning! I needed the sleep and it had the added bonus of being so late that I skipped breakfast, which gave me extra calories for lunch and dinner. On a 600 day, that’s a blessing. While I had unpacked my dirty clothes in the wee hours of Monday, I hadn’t touched my suitcase so started the day unpacking. The rest of the weekend was a blur of catching up in the house, prepping produce and stashing all my new yarn on Ravelry. Heidi came over Saturday afternoon and knitted with me while her son mowed but otherwise it was a solitary weekend with the perfect mix of productivity and relaxation. I ended the weekend with enough food prepped to get me through the week and feeling refreshed and grateful for the recharge time. I needed it with fiscal year end mania on the horizon. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep my energy high and get through the next few weeks. Rhode Island is less than 3 weeks away. Yay!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Week 31 - 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 30 - 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.