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.