Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Good Christmas

I had a good Christmas this year, and I sincerely hope each of you did, too.  As is usual, ours was quiet, but really nice.  The only family I have nearby are Mom and Dad, and I'm grateful to have them close.  Our usual holiday routine is for me to have them over to my apartment on Christmas Eve, then I go to their house on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Eve, I had a little spread prepared: cheese ball, ham ball, barbequed meatballs, ham rolls, cranberry salad, snack mix, lemon pound cake, and pumpkin spice cupcakes.  We indulged in holiday goodies, then called Kris in Australia.  After we'd had a good telephone visit with her and Louise, we exchanged gifts.  It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed spending time together.

On Christmas Day, Mom had prepared a delicious dinner: baby back ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and baked beans.  I'd brought rolls and cranberry salad.  After dinner we settled down in the living room for a restful afternoon.  All in all, a wonderful holiday!

That night, just before midnight, my smoke detector went off.  When I hurried to it to find out what was going on, I realized it wasn't the smoke detector,  but the carbon monoxide detector (it was a combo unit).  I pulled the battery out of it, but it was hard-wired as well.  I couldn't figure out how to make it quit screeching except to push the test button each time it went off, so I Googled it.  The instruction manual online was no help at all.  I called the number of the apartment office, but received a recording.  I figured the office would be closed on the 26th for the holiday; with no other ideas, I called the fire department (not 911, but their main number).  I explained that I didn't have an emergency, but that I needed some guidance on how to shut off what was an apparently defective carbon monoxide monitor.  I further explained that I have no gas appliances, and my apartment is all-electric.  The nice gentleman who took my call said that he would talk with his chief, and that someone would call me back very shortly.

Not long after that, I heard a fire truck come into the parking lot.  OH, MAN!!  Thankfully, they didn't have the siren on, but it still embarrassed me that I'd caused so much commotion over a carbon monoxide monitor!!  They were very nice, though, and insisted on using an air quality monitor to be sure there wasn't a problem in the apartment.  As I'd suspected, the monitor was malfunctioning.  They reset it and put it back in the ceiling.  I asked them to show me how to disconnect it in case it went off again.  After they left, it took awhile for me to get back to sleep.  I must have dozed off around 2:00 am; the monitor went off again at 2:45!!  A few brief seconds later, I'd disconnected it, pulled out its backup battery, and dumped it unceremoniously onto the kitchen table.

I'd brought work home from the office to work with on Monday and Tuesday.  I was tired Monday from the unexpected excitement the night before, but managed to make good progress on my office work.  I rested well Monday night, and got even more work done on Tuesday (yesterday).

When I talked with Kris on Christmas Eve she told me that my gift from them was on its way, but might not arrive until the 27th.  Sure enough, UPS delivered it yesterday afternoon: a Keurig coffeemaker!!  I'd been promising myself one for some time and was truly thrilled to receive it!  Setup was quick and easy, and it works like a dream.

Today I went to lunch with Mom and Dad at their favorite local Italian restaurant.  The food was very delicious, and we had a good time.  When I left there, I went to Sam's Club and Wal-Mart to pick up a few items I needed and get the oil changed in the car.

And so, I'm now back at home, still full of calzone but happy to have my shopping out of the way.  Tomorrow Mom has her second cataract surgery, so we'll all be glad when that's over and done.  Her first one went beautifully, so I hope this one goes as well.

So now I think I'll go make myself a hot cocoa in the Keurig and chill out with knitting while watching "Julie and Julia" on TV.  It's probably going to be an early night, which suits me fine.  :-)

Have a great week, friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Fruitcake Fallacy

Every year around this time you begin to hear people making remarks about fruitcake.  You've heard 'em.  Everyone hates fruitcake.  Fruitcake is the worst gift you can ever receive.  My favorite story is that there's really only one fruitcake in the world and that it keeps getting regifted from one person to another year after year.

I'll state it loud and clear:  It's not true.  Not everyone hates fruitcake.  I LOVE it.  Well, let me qualify that a bit; I love GOOD fruitcake.  And yes, there are some really great fruitcakes out there.  Admittedly, there are some bad ones, but some are truly delicious.

My favorite fruitcakes have just enough cake to hold the candied fruit together.  And they must have LOTS of candied fruit.  Even though I hold fruitcake to a pretty high standard, I never bake one.  Too much work for someone who bakes as little as I do.  I've found that Claxton fruitcake meets my requirements very well, thank you very much, and all I have to do is buy it, chill it, and eat it.  I wish the "dark" variety of their delicious fruitcake was available locally, but I never see it.  But that's okay, the "regular" variety is pretty wonderful, too.

Maybe I'll treat myself by ordering a dark fruitcake.  If no one gives me one for Christmas, I think I'll plan to do that for myself.  I've never had a day so bad that it couldn't be improved with a good cup of coffee, a slice of a good fruitcake, or a bubblebath.

Yes, I'm a woman of simple pleasures.  *LOL*

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Return of the Amaryllis Project

Mom and Dad went to visit friends of ours on Sunday (I was laid low by a migraine that day...*ICK*), and when they returned Mom called to check to see if I was doing okay.  While we were talking, she told me that our friends, Jewel and R.C., had given them a Christmas gift to give to me: an amaryllis bulb!

They've given me a bulb each year for the past several years, and I always enjoy watching their progress.  In fact, I've saved the bulbs and have them stored safely in my refrigerator to be replanted.  I just keep forgetting to replant them!!

In order for them to bloom at the proper time, I believe they must be replanted sometime in October.  I'm going to do some research on it and mark my 2012 calendar with the appropriate replant date so that I can have blooms (hopefully) next Christmas!

In the meantime, I've reactivated my "Amaryllis Project" page and will keep you updated on the planting, growth, and bloom of this year's bulb.  Mom and Dad will be coming to my home on Christmas Eve, so I'll probably be receiving (and planting) the bulb then.  Stay tuned!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Long Short Week

I took the last of my "take or lose" days on Monday and Tuesday this week.  Even though I had those two days off, it was a busy, busy time!  I sang the last three concerts of this season with the Madrigals on Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon, and Tuesday evening.  So much fun!  These are talented ladies, and it has truly been a joy to perform with them this season.

On Monday I went to lunch with a good friend.  We met at Fatz; it was my first visit there, and I had a delicious reuben.  Sometimes it's hard to get a good reuben, but this one was really well done. We enjoyed a good meal and a really good visit.

After lunch I had a dental appointment to have a tooth filled.  It had been a very long time since I'd had to have a tooth filled, so I'd forgotten how very numb I get when I have a filling.  My WHOLE HEAD got numb!  And I developed a lisp that rivaled Sylvester the Cat!  I commented that I was really glad I didn't have to sing that evening because "Good King Wenceslas" would have been really messy with that lisp!  *LOL*

So, after a busy few days off I returned to the office and had an unbelievably busy three days.  Tonight it's raining; I'm all cozy in my apartment, watching the lights on my Christmas tree, watching "Criminal Minds" on A&E, sipping a Diet Coke and feeling drowsy.  I'm tired, but very glad to be home and relaxing.

Not a bad start to the weekend.  I hope you all have a good weekend, too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

'Tis the Season

Busy, busy, BUSY!!  Yes, folks, it IS that time of year.  Things at the office are still crazy-busy, but I have some time that I must take before the end of the year or lose, so I'm taking it a little at a time.  The college closed at noon on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I took the morning off, too.  This gave me a 5-day weekend, which was much needed and is being very much enjoyed!  :-)

I've really hated my sofa for a long, long time.  It was always too big for my small living room, but I'd just never done anything about it.  A friend called me to say that she and her husband were replacing a loveseat in their living room.  She remembered my moaning about the fact that I should have bought a loveseat instead of a sofa and asked if I'd like to have their loveseat.  Hurray!

So, I donated my sofa to a local charity, Haven of Rest, who not only does good work but were very appreciative of my donation and came to pick it up as scheduled on Wednesday morning.  I spent the rest of Wednesday chasing a few dust bunnies that had been hiding under the sofa and knitting a bit.  I also baked some delicious cinnamon streusel muffins that were almost worth the blister I burned on my finger testing to see if they were done.  Yes, I'm that stupid.

My friends delivered my new-to-me loveseat on Thursday morning, and it's the perfect size for my living room!  It's olive green microfiber with big cushy cushions, and I couldn't be more pleased!  I then made a broccoli casserole (Mom's favorite thing I make) and took that and some of my yummy muffins down to Mom and Dad's to share Thanksgiving dinner with them.  They don't care for turkey, so Mom had put two Cornish hens in her rotisserie.  The house smelled heavenly when I arrived!  Even though we'd discussed several times that she shouldn't cook lots of different dishes, the table was full as always.  *LOL*  And, as always, everything was delicious!

It was a lovely, restful holiday, enjoyed by us all.  Yesterday (Friday) morning, they had planned to visit Dad's Aunt Orpha, who turned 101 this week.  I asked if I could tag along for the visit, and they came by to pick me up (I live really near Aunt Orph).  She had lots of family visiting for the holiday, and it was so nice to spend time with everyone.  We left there just past noon and Daddy suggested stopping at Wendy's for lunch.  I had a Baja salad, which was really good.

When we got back to my apartment, Mom was looking at a stereo cabinet I had in my living room that I'd planned on giving to her.  I had two racks of DVDs and videotapes that I planned to pare down to one rack, then wanted to move it over to the former location of the stereo cabinet.  I'd already removed the stereo (an old one, still in working order, but never ever used anymore) to take to Goodwill.  Daddy looked at the cabinet and said, "Frances, where are you going to put that?"  She confessed that she had no idea; the cabinet was bigger than she remembered.

She asked if I couldn't just keep it and put my DVDs and videotapes into it.  At first, I didn't think I wanted to do that.  In fact, I actually made a call to a charity to see if they could come pick up the cabinet and take the stereo, too.  But there was no answer in the charity's office.  So I pondered; maybe if I could get Daddy to make me a couple more shelves for the unit I could make it work.  So I spent the rest of the afternoon moving all my DVDs and videotapes into it.  It held a lot more than I anticipated, and I was actually able to put ALL of them into the cabinet!  It had glass doors, so it actually looks nicer than the open shelves I originally had everything in.  I'll have to unload it when Daddy's ready to build the shelves, but that will come after the holidays.

I was pretty tired after getting all that done, and just hit the recliner for a bit.  When I caught my second wind, I dragged my Christmas decorations out of the closet and put up my little fiber optic tree.  I set a few Christmassy things around on tabletops and decorating chores were finished.

Today I've been a little draggy (after all it's been a pretty busy few days!), so I've not accomplished as much as I should have.  I've done a little laundry and still have a little more to do.  I think I'll just concentrate on putting away the totes that my Christmas decorations were stored in, maybe put some veggies in the oven to roast, wrap a few gifts, and knit awhile this afternoon.

Gotta love the holidays.....:-)  Hope everyone's having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 04, 2011

16,100 Miles

Google Maps says it's 16,100 miles from my house to the home of my Australian daughters (one daughter by birth, a second daughter by a stroke of very good luck).  Tonight, that distance seems unspeakably far.

My daughter Kris is in the hospital.  She had to have her thyroid removed a couple of days ago, and her hospital stay turned out to be longer than anticipated because of issues with her calcium level.  She called me early this morning (Friday evening her time) with the sad news that one of their beloved cats, Winchester, had been killed.

She was devastated.  Not only was she not home (where she thought she'd be by that time), but dear little Winchester was gone.

To make matters worse, tomorrow's her birthday.  In fact, it's already her birthday in her time zone, and she's still in the hospital.  And very upset about losing Winchester.  As she put it in a Facebook post, "Worst birthday ever :*(".

Australia never seemed so far away.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Week Off

Well, my week off didn't work out quite like I'd planned.  I mentioned in my last post that I was going to visit Mom and Dad on Sunday.  I did, and Mom was not feeling well at all, bless her heart.  She had some kind of upper respiratory illness going on that eventually turned into bronchitis that required some steroids and antibiotics to get her cleared up.  She was feeling so bad that she napped a lot during my visit, but I was just glad to see her get some rest.

On Monday, I went to the park as I'd planned and spent a lovely afternoon looking around in the nature center and walking the lakeside trail.  I walked until I needed a little rest, then sat on a bench and knitted while enjoying the fallish temperatures and the beautiful fall colors.

On Tuesday I woke up sick.  I'd caught Mom's "bug" and just felt miserable.  So, from Monday afternoon until this morning I didn't set foot across my threshold.  Never cranked the car.  Didn't even venture out onto my deck!

Stupid virus.

The good news is that Mom's much better, and I felt well enough to return to the office today.  My brief illness (and I wasn't nearly as sick as poor Mom) gave me the opportunity to pile up in the recliner, sip hot tea, knit, and watch a lot of things I'd accumulated on TiVo.

All in all, not a bad week.  :-)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Vacation....AT LAST!!

A week.....I have a WHOLE WEEK away from the office!!  If it didn't involve breaking a sweat, I'd do a happy dance!  Those of you who read this blog on a fairly regular basis know that this has been an unusually difficult year at work for me because of a disasterous computer system conversion.  Because of the extreme workload this year, I wasn't able to take any time off until September.  During that month I managed to take three days off.  That was wonderful, but still not as great as having an entire week that I don't have to worry about the office.

So what am I going to do with this long-awaited week?  As little as humanly possible!!

Yesterday I did so little it was nearly (but not quite) embarrassing.  I'm not a big breakfast eater, so my breakfast is normally coffee with a breakfast bar or instant oatmeal.  But since I'm ON VACATION I treated myself to a cheese omelet.  Which upset my stomach, because I'm not used to something that rich in the morning.  Dunce.  *LOL*

After I'd showered and dressed I settled into my recliner with my trusty netbook on one side of me and my knitting basket on the other side.  Armed with my remote control and a TiVo full of stuff I hadn't had time to watch, I kicked back and made myself ridiculously comfortable.  My motto for the day was:  "The dustbunnies have waiting this long, they can wait awhile longer!"

Because I was still a little unwell at lunch time, I just had a baked sweet potato for lunch.  Hot, delicious, filling, soothing.  I actually intended to take an afternoon nap after lunch, but was never quite able to fall asleep.  All the same, it proved to be a very restful day.....which was much needed and very much appreciated!

Plans for the rest of the week?  No real plans.  I do want to take my car to be serviced one day, and I want to go visit Aunt Orpha one day (she'll be 101 next month!!).  I'm having lunch with Mom and Dad today and hope to go to a nearby park for awhile tomorrow to sit in the sun and knit.  (There's a possibility of rain Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so I figured I should try to get to the park before that starts.)

Otherwise, I just want to get some rest and recharge my batteries.  I've waited for this time off for a long time, and I'm going to try to enjoy it!

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Past Month

A month since I've posted?  Sheesh.  I've been busy, I know, but somehow the past month just got away from me!

So, what's been happening?  High on the list of things that have happened is that my long-time friend and supervisor at work retired.  We'd worked together for 24 years, so that was hard.  I'm very happy for her, of course, and that helps keep me from feeling too sorry for myself.  :-)

So for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century I have a new supervisor.  Luckily, she seems very capable and very nice.

I've also been knitting (no surprise there) and for the first time this year have been able to take off a couple of days.  I took the Friday before Labor Day, then took Monday of last week.  I'm also going to be off tomorrow and Tuesday.  It's a really nice change, and I'm beginning to catch up on my rest finally.

The computer conversion at work isn't improving at all, unfortunately.  The new system is broken, and the powers-that-be are apparently unable or unwilling to admit that it's broken.  It's quite fact, so much so that I'm going to try to just not think about it for the next couple of days.

So what do I plan to do with the rest of this glorious Sunday?  I'm currently watching the Sopranos and as soon as I finish this post, I'll pick up the sweater I'm knitting and add a few rows to it.

Then I'll do a few household chores I didn't finish yesterday, knit a bit more, and get ready for a little trip to Pigeon Forge with Mom and Dad tomorrow.  Fun!

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Surviving Race Week

It's race week in Bristol. I'm not a NASCAR fan, so race week is always something to "get through" for me. How does a non-NASCAR fan survive race week?
  1. Get out of town for the week. This is my favorite way to deal with the race crowds, just by leaving and not coming back until they've left. Unfortunately, this isn't often an option. Gotta work for a living, y'know.
  2. Make sure you have groceries in the house at least a week before the race. You can't believe how crowded the local grocery stores are during race week!
  3. Plan to eat your meals at home. Restaurants are full of race fans, so eating at home is the only practical choice.
  4. Stay out of Wal-Mart. I've never understood why people travel to Bristol to see a race and spend so much time at Wal-Mart. There's nothing I need from Wally World that won't wait until the race fans are on their way back home.
  5. Grin and bear it. Sure, everything's crowded and traffic is worse than usual. But the race will be over Saturday night and by Monday Bristol will be back to normal.
We had a very unusual event here on Tuesday earthquake! It hit central Virginia just before 2:00 pm, and we only felt a tremor here. I happened to be on a conference call with other state employees across the Commonwealth when it struck. The folks on the call who were in the area of Richmond began shouting, "We're having a earthquake!" "We're leaving the building! We're leaving the building!" "What's happening?"

Then I felt the tremor. If I hadn't been hearing people shouting over the phone about the quake, I'd have thought I was having an attack of vertigo. It was a strange feeling, more of dizziness than a sensation of shaking. Then moments later I felt kind of a deep low shudder. So WEIRD!!

We soon learned that the quake was registered 5.8 on the Richter scale, the largest earthquake ever recorded in central Virginia. Not a big quake by California standards, but it broke a record. Before Tuesday the biggest quake recorded in central Virginia was a 4.8 in 1875!!

I should have known it was going to be an unusual week when it started with a call from my daughter, Kris, early Monday morning. She'd learned that she was going to have to have her thyroid surgically removed and wanted to call to tell me instead of e-mailing me. While I'm sorry that she's going to have to have surgery, I'm glad they're going to do something about her thyroid. They've been trying to control it with medication, but it's been just out of control for some time now. I'll be glad when it's done and over with, and I'm sure she'll be glad when it's over, too!!

Everyone over on the coast watch out for Hurricane Irene.....BE SAFE!! We're not expecting anything here from the storm, but it looks like more than 60,000,000 Americans could be dealing with it. It could be a rough weekend for an awful lot of folks.

A very eventful week so far....and this is only THURSDAY!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I've found that one advantage of getting older is that I don't worry about birthdays. I'll be honest, I never did worry about them much. Only two birthdays ever bothered me:
  • The day I turned 24 I cried all day long. Don't ask me why, because I have no idea! I think it had something to do with the fact that my life hadn't turned out quite like I'd planned (whose does??) and I was feeling a little overwhelmed.
  • My 50th birthday bothered me more than I thought it would. I wasn't depressed, really, just mindful of the fact that I was crossing over that "half a century" mark. Ewww.
But since then, birthdays have come and gone. I've celebrated them, enjoyed them, and moved on with day-to-day living.

So how's my birthday been so far? Pretty dang good. I was given multiple gifts, cards and congratulatory e-mails at the office, and Mom called me at work (which she NEVER does!) to wish me a happy birthday. On Facebook I got lots of birthday greetings, which was really lovely.

I'd bought myself the Roomba the other day, so I considered that partially a birthday gift to myself and haven't bought myself anything else. By the way, I still ADORE my Roomba, who I now call "Spock" at the suggestion of a friend who is, like me, a fan of "The Big Bang Theory". It follows, of course, that the Roomba's dock is now "Spock's Dock". Yes, as a matter of fact, I AM a geek. *LOL*

I decided to throw dietary caution to the wind today in celebration of my birthday. For breakfast I stopped at Mickey D's for a country ham biscuit and a large coffee. Because I'm not used to eating so much for breakfast, I had a granola bar and Diet Coke for lunch. Why was I so relatively good for lunch? Because I'd already decided to really treat myself for dinner! :-) I called a local Cracker Barrel and asked them to prepare a take-out for me: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, okra, baby carrots and a biscuit. *drool* I'm never disappointed in Cracker Barrel's food, and they lived up to my usual expectations!

I thought I should treat myself to a dessert as well (after all, birthdays come but once a year, right?) so I bought something truly decadent: double chocolate fudge Coca-Cola cake. Yes, I'll probably hate myself tomorrow, but I'll deal with that another day. :-)

And so, friends, I've been looking at that piece of cake for awhile now, so I'll close this blog entry and settle into the recliner with my cake and the remote control. I received a copy of "The Big Lebowski" for my birthday and am going to watch it while sending myself into sugar-laden euphoria!

Have a great evening, everyone! The Dude abides. :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Family Reunion and A New Toy

To quote Al Pacino's Tony Montana in "Scarface": "Say hello to my little friend!" Yup, I bought myself a Roomba. I've been thinking about it for awhile and finally decided to buy one. This is something I should have done for myself way back when my back was giving me so much trouble! If you'd like to see an admittedly terrible video of Roomba in action, take a peek on YouTube by clicking here.

If you're not familiar with the Roomba, it's a robotic vacuum cleaner. Yes, there is a household appliance that not only vacuums my carpets and sweeps the vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, but also goes and parks itself on its charger when it's finished! I think I'm in love! *LOL*

There's a VERY wide price range on robotic vacuums; like a lot of electronics these days, you can pay just about anything you want for one, depending on how many bells and whistles you want.

My wants and needs are definitely middle-of-the-line:
  1. I needed a vacuum that could go under furniture. This is the number one requirement. Since my back surgery in 2009 I've been unable to move my unspeakably heavy bedroom furniture, and I suspected that killer dust bunnies lurk in the areas out of reach under my queen-sized bed.
  2. I wanted a vacuum that would return to its charger when it finishes its work. I didn't particularly want to have to worry that the little guy would run out of power while chasing the above-mentioned dust bunnies under my bed.
  3. I didn't particularly need the "program to run while I'm at work" feature, because I want to be at home when it runs in case there's a problem.
Considering my list of requirements I did some reading online and decided that the iRobot Roomba 540 suited my needs and my budget. Even after making this decision, I hesitated for a bit, just to give myself plenty of time to change my mind.

Last Saturday I dragged out my good ol' Kirby and vacuumed the apartment. After pushing the very efficient but very HEAVY machine back and forth for what seemed an eternity (it wasn't really), I settled into my recliner with my netbook and ordered my Roomba.

It arrived very quickly (on Wednesday!) and was exactly as advertised. I charged it overnight and could hardly wait to get home Thursday to see how it worked. Thursday I had it clean the living room kitchen, hallway and guest bathroom. Keep in mind that I had vacuumed with the Kirby the Saturday before. I was amazed (and a little horrified) at the amount of stuff the Roomba found! On Friday evening I had it clean my bedroom and bathroom. I'd been correct: there WERE killer dust bunnies under my bed!! *LOL* Roomba killed 'em though, bless its little electronic heart!

So, if you're like me and have developed a back problem, or if you're like me and a total geek, consider a Roomba. Robots are cool. :-)

Yesterday I went with Mom and Dad to the 30th Lucas-Sweeney reunion. They had a good crowd this year, and TONS of food! There are a lot of wonderful cooks in the family, so tables were piled with platters of chicken, barbecue, casseroles, fresh garden veggies, pies, cakes, candies, homemade breads....makes me full just to remember it!! I took a couple of Tang pies; I got the recipe from a friend at the office, and several folks commented to me that they really liked them. It was good to see such a good crowd. It was awfully hot, but the building we were in (Copper Creek Ruritan building) was air conditioned, so we were able to go in to cool down if we got too warm.

I (of course) took my knitting along and made good progress on some Christmas gifts I was working on. Today I've spent the day doing a little laundry and resting up from the busy day yesterday. I've also managed to make good progress on a pair of socks I've been working on off and on for awhile. In fact, I've turned the heels and I started on the gussets just before I stopped to write this blog post. I'll get a little more done on them before bedtime, I think.

Well, back to the knitting needles. Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A "Normal" Weekend

Who would ever think that I'd be grateful for a Saturday spent chasing dust bunnies? I have to admit it was nice to have a more normal day than I've had for awhile.

I won't say I finished my housework (is it EVER really finished??), but I did put a pretty good dent in it before my energy ran out. :-) I went about my work at a steady pace, taking a brief break from time to time, listening to The Green Mile on my Zune to ward off boredom. Is it weird that I find rereading Stephen King novels relaxing? Speaking of which, I'm rereading The Stand in hardcover as part of an online book club at Crazy Aunt Purl's website. (If you've never read her blog, you might find it fun.)

I love listening to audiobooks while performing tasks that don't require me to think. And let's face it, housework doesn't require much thinking. Had I ever told you that I never buy audiobooks? I check them out from the local library via the internet. For free. I don't even have to leave the apartment to do it! If you've never looked into this, check the website of your local library to see if they participate in the R.E.A.D.S. program. If you happen to live in my little corner of the world, here's a link to the Bristol Public Library's webpage for this wonderful program:

I use it only for audiobooks because the ebooks offered are not compatible with my Kindle. My guess is that there's probably a way to convert them to make them compatible, but I already have tons of reading material on my Kindle so I've not looked into that. As for the audiobooks, there's a large selection. If the particular book you want is currently checked out, you can reserve it, and the program will send you an e-mail to let you know when the book is available. You can check them out for up to 14 days, and can check out several at one time. I usually check out only two at a time, just so that I can be sure I'll finish them up before the end of my checkout period.

If you've never listened to audiobooks before, you'll find that some readers are better than others. On occasion I've given up on a book because I didn't care for the reader. That's rare, though. They're usually quite talented and make the book an interesting experience.

Audiobooks will never replace reading for me; I've read as long as I can remember and it's always a relaxing experience for me. And as much as I love my Kindle, I still love holding a hardcover book in my hands, the smell of the paper, the calming effect of turning the pages. That was always my favorite thing about the beginning of the school year as a child: getting our new textbooks, hearing the slight crackle of the glue in the bindings as the fresh pages were turned for the first time.

But I digress. As usual. *LOL*

Back to my "normal" weekend. On the agenda for today: not a lot. I have just a couple of small tasks to finish up, then I'm going to go spend what I hope will be a restful afternoon with Mom and Dad. I'll take along some knitting (I'm finishing up a few Christmas projects) and Mom will have a pot of her delicious coffee waiting, as always. As I'm finishing this post, I hear a gentle rain beginning to fall outside. A restful, rainy Sunday....sounds like a great afternoon to me! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, August 01, 2011

I Need a Weekend

I need a weekend to get over my weekend! Friday night about 6:00 my aunt (Mom's older sister) took a particularly nasty fall in her living room, apparently hitting the bridge of her nose against the edge of a table. She's on a blood thinner, so the injury resulted in an immediate and horrific nosebleed of EPIC proportions!

The local rescue squad was summoned and they determined that she should be sent by med-flight from her home (about 2 hours' driving time away from where I live) to the hospital that's only about 3 miles from my home. When Mom called to give me the news I told her that I'd grab my things and meet her and Dad at the hospital.

We all arrived just minutes ahead of the helicopter and waited while the trauma team attempted to staunch the blood flow. They finally managed to slow it down enough to get a CT scan and some x-rays. I was dismayed to hear the doctor use the word "shattered" to describe the injury to her nose. They packed her nose to slow the bleeding, then told us that because they didn't have an ENT on call at our hospital that she would need to be transferred to another area hospital about 20 miles away.

We all went to the second hospital and waited for her to arrive by ambulance. There she received another x-ray and we got the good news that her broken nose was the only apparent broken bone. Unfortunately, we also learned that the doctor who needed to evaluate her nose wouldn't be available until the next morning (Saturday).

I said that I'd stay with her through the night since her immediate family wasn't able to make the trip to the hospital until the next day. Mom and Dad went home to get a couple of hours' sleep, and I stayed in the trauma room with my aunt until they were able to get a room for her at about 3:15 am. By the time they transported her upstairs and got her into bed, it was 3:45 am.

She'd been chatting away all night long, but when she got into a more comfortable bed, the pain medication kicked in and she fell asleep. As it always happens in a hospital, sleep is often interrupted by people drawing blood, getting vitals, etc. I didn't even try to sleep. I just sat in a chair in the room and knitted, waiting for the morning I knew would be coming all too soon. (See my knitting blog linked at the right for more about how I passed the time.)

Morning came, and Mom and Dad arrived with a delicious country ham biscuit and hot coffee from MickeyD's. I told them that the biscuit might not be the BEST thing I'd ever tasted, but it was pretty dang close! The day was spent waiting. And waiting. And waiting. My aunt (who by this time resembled a raccoon with her two black, swollen eyes) was in a great deal of pain that was relieved (or postponed) by doses of morphine. When the plastic surgeon (turns out he wasn't an ENT after all) arrived, she was so groggy from the morphine that he couldn't properly evaluate her. He said he'd have to wait until the next day to be able to check her properly.

Her grandson and husband arrived late that afternoon for a visit, so we went home to get some rest. We went back to the hospital bright and early the next morning and found that she was in a fair amount of pain because they'd weaned her off the pain meds. So the long wait began again for the plastic surgeon's return. The nurse told us that he was in surgery and that it would be at least noon before he'd be able to come perform the evaluation. Saturday afternoon it had dawned on us that part of her head pain might be a caffeine-withdrawal headache since she hadn't had any coffee or Diet Coke in 24 hours. (Like me, she enjoys her caffeine!!) As soon as they told us Sunday morning that she could have breakfast, we made sure that she got her coffee. She ate a good breakfast and it seemed to help.

When the call came to order her lunch, I made sure that she got Diet Coke. When her lunch arrived, she felt well enough to complain about the lack of salt in her food. *LOL* Around 1:00 we learned that the plastic surgeon was in a SECOND surgery and they didn't know how much longer it would be before he arrived.

It was a long afternoon; she was really tired of being in the hospital and wanted to go home. While we waited, the nurse removed her catheter (her IV was already gone by the time we'd arrived Sunday morning) and she received a bath and shampoo. This really helped her feel better, I think. I was amazed at how much her swelling and bruising had improved since just the day before.

When the surgeon finally arrived, he checked her nose, removed the packing from it and gave us instructions she should follow when she arrived home. Shortly after, we had her all packed up and ready to leave....finally!

We loaded her into Mom and Dad's Durango, and away we went to Dickenson County. Just under two hours later, we had her settled into her recliner at home, tired, still bruised, but safe and sound.

Mom had taken some OxyClean along to try to get the blood out of her living room rug, and she did a really great job with it. I did a few dishes that were in the sink and we washed some bloody towels that had been used to try to stop her bleeding before they called the rescue squad. Before long, we had her all squared away and we were ready to head back home.

We were all pretty tired by the time we got back; it was nearly 10:00 pm, and it had been a very long day. Mom checked on her today, and she said she was feeling pretty good, thank goodness.

It was a frightening experience all 'round, but thank goodness she wasn't injured more seriously! Just another reminder that we must never take good health for granted.

Friday, July 29, 2011

New 'Do

I had a rotten week. The work level at the office has been just NUTS (financial statement end-of-the-fiscal-year garbage). Then I had a scam artist at my door Tuesday evening trying to sell me magazine subscriptions that actually resulted in my filing a police report. Rotten, rotten week.

When I woke up Wednesday morning I looked in the mirror and said, "Okay, enough already. Time for a haircut."

I hadn't been particularly happy with my hair for some time. I've been wearing a medium-length undercut bob for awhile, and was just getting tired of it. I looked at several shorter hairstyles online and had seen a couple that I thought would work, but wasn't sure I was ready to go that much shorter.

On the way home from work that afternoon I called Mom to let her know I'd be a little later than usual getting home (so she wouldn't worry when I didn't call her at my usual time), and stopped at a local hair salon that takes walk-ins. When I sat down in the waiting area I honestly was still unsure whether I was going short or just getting a trim. There were only two stylists working that afternoon, and each had a customer in the chair while I waited. I watched one of them pretty closely, because she was doing a short haircut on her customer. And she was doing a FABULOUS job. "Okay," I thought, "If I'm going short, she's the one I want to cut it!"

And so, when my turn came, I pulled out the photo I'd printed from the internet, and away we went. When she was finished, looking at the pile of white hair on the floor it appeared that she'd sheared a sheepdog.

But I'm very happy with the results. I can literally style my hair by running my fingers through it. I haven't been able to do that in a very long time!

I apologize for the fairly terrible photo. I took it with the webcam on my netbook, and I've not used it before. *LOL*

Friday, July 15, 2011

Netflix and a Migraine

What's worse than a migraine, you ask? A migraine on a Friday afternoon. *ICK* I began the day with a dull headache that worsened gradually as the day wore on. By the time I got home, I felt decidedly unwell and hit the recliner with my netbook for a brief check of e-mail and a super-quick blog entry. As soon as I've entered this I'm going to take a couple of Excedrin PM and go to bed. No exaggeration.

I did want to enter a brief rant before hitting the hay. Netflix. I'm sure you've read about the upcoming rate changes on the web, but just in case you haven't, here's what's scheduled to happen on September 1. I currently subscribe to the one-DVD-at-a-time-plus-streaming plan for $9.99 a month. I don't usually get more than 3 or 4 DVD's a month, but thought this was a reasonable price to pay since I watch some of the streaming content when there's nothing on broadcast TV worth my time. My streaming is mostly old television series (Family Ties, Doctor Who, etc.), but it's been pretty neat to have it available.

Then I read on MSNBC that beginning September 1, Netflix is splitting their DVD-by-mail service from their streaming service. And here's the kicker. Each service is going to cost $7.98. EACH. With no discount if you subscribe to both. Puh-leeze. A SIXTY PERCENT INCREASE???

Keep in mind that their current streaming catalog has a very limited scope. In fact, less than it did when they first began streaming. It's mostly very old movies, very bad movies, and old television shows. It's not a bad selection if you're paying a couple of bucks a month for it, but it's certainly not worth $7.98. Not to me, at least.

As for paying $7.98 for the 3 or 4 DVD's I rent each month, I can pick those up at Redbox for $1 a night. Half what I'd be paying at the upcoming Netflix rates.

And now I will climb off my soapbox, take meds, and go try to sleep off a migraine. Hope the weekend is beginning on a happier note for all of you than it is for me!!

So, I'll wait until mid-August to see if they come to their senses and offer a better deal. If not, I'm pulling the plug. One of the reports I read online regarding the anger of current Netflix subscribers quoted a Netflix spokesman saying that the increase is only "a latte or two". Maybe so, but the $9.99 I'm currently spending for Netflix ($119.88 per year) will soon be spent for some other indulgence. But not a latte or two. I like my coffee plain and black and made at home, thank you very much.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heat and Humidity Make Me Tired

Two weeks since my last blog entry....where is this summer GOING??? It's hot and humid in my little corner of the world. A bit miserable, to tell the truth. I've worked in air conditioned offices for so much of my life that I've lost any ability I ever had to withstand temperatures in the 90's. With heat indexes over 100. "I'm melting, I'm melting!"

So, since the last time I checked in with you, what have I been up to? The usual workweek, of course. Frustrating, but necessary because I've become accustomed to regular meals and a roof over my head. But after work is MY time. I've been spending some of my time knitting a retirement gift for a friend (see my knitting blog for more about that...the link is on the right side of this page). My latest Netflix disk was "Black Swan", which I really liked. It was definitely different!

Last Saturday I had lunch with a friend from high school days...such fun! We'd reconnected on Facebook and hadn't seen each other since our 20th high school reunion, which was TWENTY YEARS AGO. I still can't believe it's been 40 years since I graduated from high school. We had a lovely time, catching up on what's been going on in our lives over all those years. She was a bright, vivacious girl in high school, always fun to be around. I'm happy to say that she hasn't changed at all. We promised each other that we wouldn't wait another 20 years to get together again.

After our lunch, I stopped by Hobby Lobby to check out their supply of yarn. I already have plenty of yarn, mind you, but there's no such thing as too much yarn. I was terribly disappointed to find that their yarn stock was down to about half of what it was the last time I was there. I guess not everyone is quite as obsessed as I am about sticks and string! Their depleted stock didn't keep me from spending some money, though. I managed to find some sock yarn and a bit of baby yarn I needed for a toy I wanted to knit for my great-niece, Emmie.

On the way home I stopped by the hospital to visit my 100-year-old great aunt. Happily, she'd just been notified that she was being released to go home. She'd been hospitalized for a couple of days for diverticulitis. Like most of us, she doesn't particularly enjoy hospital stays and was really looking forward to getting home! She's an amazing lady, and I'm always glad to get to spend a little time with her.

And that just about catches you up on the goings on in my little world. Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Thrilling Week

First of all, last weekend's Netflix disk wasn't "Black Swan", it was "Winter's Bone". Good movie, great performances, but nearly painful to watch. Such strength in a young woman, such a terrible thing that such strength was needed!

This week has thus far proven to be another very trying one at the office. And this is only Tuesday. *ick* So much to do, so little time! I'm writing this during my lunch break, and as soon as I finish here I'm going to escape to the world of knitting for a few rows.

Thank goodness for sticks and string!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life Is Good

Friday....oh, how I adore Friday evening! The work week is finished, and it's TWO WHOLE DAYS before I have to think about work again! *happy dance*

Tired? Oh yeah. But I'm kicked back in the recliner, netbook in my lap, knitting nearby, and an unopened Netflix envelope on top of the entertainment center. "Black Swan", I think. I've kind of forgotten what was next in my queue! *LOL*

Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate what knitting does for me? For awhile I was so exhausted from the horrific workload at the office that I was too tired to knit when I got home. I missed it so much. I've found that knitting centers me. Since I've been able to spend a little time with my needles and wool, I find that I sleep better and am much more rested in the morning. Busy hands, calmer mind.

Of course, Mom says it wouldn't have that effect on her....*LOL* She's never been interested in crochet or knitting. She can sew, but only does it when necessary. It's not something she's ever really enjoyed. She has other interests, but needlework just isn't on her list.

As for me, I think I'll wrap up this blog entry, pop in the Netflix disk, and knit until I'm sleepy. Have a great Friday night, everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sorta Kinda Normal

Finally. The overtime at the office is finally over. At least for now. The new system is still a piece of junk, but I think the worst of the backlog is behind us. I still have some catch-up to do, and it's time to do the end-of-the-fiscal-year extra work, but the 60-70 hour workweeks are finished, I think. I hope. (Hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying that!!)

A couple of weeks ago I was in the recliner with my little netbook, checking out Facebook to see what was going on in the lives of my friends. Suddenly, the netbook shut down with no warning. "Weird", I thought. "It ususally WARNS me if the battery is getting low." I pulled the adapter out of a nearby drawer and plugged it into the wall. Nothing. Dead as a hammer.

After I'd tried everything I knew to try (including fishing out an adapter from a long-defunct laptop computer and trying it in case my netbook adapter had gone dead), I still couldn't get the netbook to power up.

I e-mailed Acer from my desktop computer and over the next couple of days followed their instructions of various things to try. No good. They gave me a case number and an address to use to ship the netbook in for diagnostics.

Feeling a pang of separation anxiety, I boxed up my little purple netbook and shipped it to Texas via FedEx. Acer notified me when it arrived and gave me a site where I could keep up with the progress on my case. Happily, it was repaired and shipped back to me in short order.

Because it was under warranty, all the repair cost me was the expense (minimal) to ship it to Acer. So this morning I'm happily piled up in the recliner with a cup of coffee, netbook in my lap, reloading things on the netbook.

Acer rocks. :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Folks who read my blog pretty regularly know a couple of things about me: 1) I've been working a lot of hours at the office lately, and 2) I love rainy Sunday afternoons. So here's what makes those two facts relevant to this blog entry....I'm actually NOT WORKING today, and it's been a lovely, rainy, quiet, restful afternoon.

So what have I done with this blissful day off? Happily, not much. I've watched some things I'd TiVo'd during the week and have been knitting a bit while watching. I have a Netflix DVD, "The King's Speech", which I finally got to watch this afternoon. Wonderful movie. Have I mentioned that I adore Colin Firth?

Another movie I've watched since I blogged last is "Hereafter". I liked it, too. It's not what I expected, but that happens to me often with Clint Eastwood's movies. Unexpected, but good.

Now, what shall I do with the rest of this lovely, restful Sunday? I have the first two episodes of a PBS Masterpiece Classic series, "South Riding" TiVo'd that I've not watched yet. I think I'll watch that, knit a bit more, and go to bed early.

Sometimes life is just good.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I'm sick of hearing myself whine about how badly things are going at the office, so I'm not going to mention that today. Well....technically, I guess I just mentioned it. Okay, but that's the last time I'm mentioning it. Today. ;-)

On my way to the office this morning I was listening to the Bob and Tom Show on the radio as usual. During a commercial break, I was reminded by a very chipper radio actress that McDonald's is now offering oatmeal on their breakfast menu. Oatmeal. At McDonald's. Honest!

Don't get me wrong, please. I love oatmeal. I've enjoyed oatmeal since the days when Mom had to cook it, stirring constantly over a hot stove, for what seemed like forever. Now it's a matter of pouring the contents of a little package in a cereal bowl, add water, and microwave.

I've been trying to eat healthier lately and am happy to hear that in addition to their delicious fat-and-carb-laden breakfast choices they have added a healthier choice. I can't help but wonder, though, why anyone would go to McDonald's for oatmeal when you can have it at home in about two minutes? Weird.

You know what's even weirder? I'm writing this on my lunch break at work, and now I'm craving oatmeal. Not instant, but the slow-cooked kind. Hey, I just remembered I have a box of old-fashioned oats in my kitchen. Guess what's for dinner tonight?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Good Day

I am very thankful that through much hard work during the past work week, we managed to get ourselves in position to actually take a TWO DAY WEEKEND this week! *happy dance* It's been awhile since we were able to take both Saturday and Sunday off, and this feels a little like a vacation!

I didn't sleep very well last night, and woke up much too early....4:00 am! I stubbornly refused to get out of bed at that hour. So, I reached for my Kindle and finished reading "The Thorn Birds". Not a bad way to start my "long" weekend. :-)

I did a few household tasks....nothing very strenuous. Then I decided to knit a bit on a pair of socks I'd started earlier. This afternoon I went to visit Mom and Dad for awhile, then came back home and called Kris (my daughter, for those of you who might not know).

So now I'm fed, kicked back in the recliner with my netbook in my lap and my knitting nearby. I have a Netflix movie I've not watched yet ("Hereafter" with Matt Damon), so I foresee a restful evening. Thank goodness.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I don't think I'd mentioned it before, but when writing a blog entry, I actually do the writing in a little freeware program called WriteMonkey. A neat little word processing program, it eliminates all other distractions on your screen and provides you with a clean, uncluttered environment on which to type out the thoughts rattling around in your head. You can choose from several different background colors and font styles and colors. (Mine is currently a deep purple background with a pale lilac font that is strangely similar to the appearance of my handwriting when I'm printing instead of using cursive.) Each time I open WriteMonkey it greets me with a bit of cute WM wisdom in a little message box. When I opened it this morning I was greeted with this message: "The light at the end of the tunnel is usually the oncoming train." That's strangely appropriate for the way I feel this morning.

I'm not prone to depression, and am honestly not depressed. But I'm so very tired. The project we've been working on in the office since February seems endless. Our training for this conversion was woefully inadequate and was started (by my estimate) at least six months later than it should have begun. They began training us in February for what was at that time a March go-live date for the system. They quickly realized that March wasn't going to be possible, so they delayed it until April.

Much of the training they provided was in the form of webinars. Don't get me wrong; I think this was a great move. Because the individuals being trained are spread all across the state, this is an economic (in both time and money) means of training a large group of employees.

Here's the problem: these webinars (along with web-based strategy meetings) have been tying up anywhere from 4 to 6 hours of each workday. Honestly. FOUR TO SIX HOURS. Now if we didn't have voluminous amounts of data to validate for this conversion, that might be more doable. And Tuesday is the deadline for the data validation. Keep in mind that our department was already understaffed and we were struggling to perform the full-time jobs we ALREADY had before this conversion began.

I can't remember the last time I worked an 8-hour day. In fact, from Sunday morning through Saturday afternoon last week I worked 73.8 hours. I'm exhausted.

Our department head, bless her, announced that we were going to take Sunday off, deadline or no deadline. So, I looked forward to getting a good night's sleep last night and spending today resting and recharging my batteries.

Unfortunately, I was so tired last night I had trouble falling asleep. When I did fall into a fitful sleep, I had nightmares of keying data into an unfriendly user interface with poor procedural instruction. In my dream, I returned from a brief trip to the ladies' room to find the project manager standing behind my desk glowering at my computer monitors (I have two). He looked up to see me entering the room and snapped "Where have you been?" I explained that a brief trip to the restroom had been necessary. "We provide catheters for that," he snarled, snapping his fingers, causing a nurse in a starched white uniform to appear, pushing a cart containing necessary equipment for the surely unpleasant procedure to follow.

I guess that's an indicator of how I feel about this whole thing: an unpleasant procedure. To put it mildly.

I think WriteMonkey got it right. At this point, if I ever DO begin seeing light at the end of the tunnel, I'm convinced it will be an oncoming train.

I'm hoping for a better week....and I hope yours is good!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Post in Less Than Ten Minutes

I'm lying in bed, netbook at my side, and have been Facebooking and Tweeting for the past little while. Because I went to bed pretty early last night, I woke up pretty early this morning and decided to spend some "quality" time on the internet. :-)

At 5:30 my alarm clock chirped at me. I tapped the "snooze" button and continued happily netsurfing. Ten minutes later it chirped again. I tapped again, treating myself. When it chirped again a couple of minutes ago, I had just opened Blogger to begin this post. So, I tapped the button one more time, deciding to post until the alarm chirps. Then I must get up, shower, dress, and prepare for another glorious day in the employ of the Commonwealth.

The computer conversion is proceeding in the way a root canal procedure proceeds. Slowly and painfully. Work hours are long and frustrating, home hours are spent trying to recover from work hours. We muddle through, hoping that the next day will be better than the last.

At my age I have already adjusted to white hair and wrinkles. But lately the hair has begun to look dull and wrinkles appear deeper than usual.

Stress sucks.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Long-Awaited Sunday

I've not posted in a couple of weeks.....why, you may ask? Because I'm tired of hearing myself whine about how tired I am.

March was a train wreck of a month, and I was not at all sorry to see it go. We're going through a disastrous computer conversion at work; I won't bore you with the hideous details, but trust me. It's a disaster of Hindenburg proportions.

Because of the avalanche of extra work caused by this disaster, today is the first day I've had off since March 20.

So, what do I plan to do with this much-needed day off? Good question. I'm one of those obsessive list-makers who usually has a check list on my computer screen at home of things I intend to accomplish over the weekend and checks them off as I get to them.

I'll be the first to admit that not everything on that list gets checked off. I often run out of energy before I run out of self-assigned tasks. An acquaintance from years ago told me that she always makes the first item on her task list "Make a list". That way she knows that when she's finished making her list she has one task she can already check off, giving herself a sense of accomplishment. At the time I thought it was a cute idea. I did that for awhile, then for some reason dropped it off the top of my ever-present lists.

The way things have been going lately, I think I need to start that again. Item 1: Make a list. I've spent so much of my time in the past couple of months beating out brush fires that it's easy to lose track of the monumental amount of work that's been accomplished.

Okay. Feeling a little better now.

So, what's on today's agenda? Make a list. *LOL* Then, seeing how as it's nearly 8:30 on a Sunday morning and I'm still in my flannel jammies, I think I'll have one more cup of coffee (which is unusually delicious this morning, for some reason), then a long, hot shower.

I have a few household-drudgery-type things to do....for instance, I can either do laundry today or face having to do it after what's shaping up to be an ugly Monday in the office. Today will be easier. And there's a bit of picking up to do in the apartment, since not much of that got done this past week.

But basically here's the way I plan to spend my long-awaited free day: a half-hour of "must do" tasks followed by a half-hour of something enjoyable. I'll do that until I get tired, then get into the recliner with knitting and a Netflix movie I've not watched yet.

I already feel more relaxed. Sometimes you have to PLAN to make things better.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stress Relief

Things at work have been unbelievably stressful lately. Not much you can do about it but try to stay focused, keep working toward your goal, and wait for things to improve. *sigh*

It's taking a toll, no doubt about it. My energy level is down to nearly nothing, my stress-induced psoriasis is running rampant, and as an added bonus I woke up with a fever blister this morning. *double sigh*

So, what am I going to do today? I'm going to make some attempts toward stress relief. When I finish this blog entry, I'm going to treat myself to a long, hot shower and shampoo my hair with some new Gilchrist & Soames shampoo I bought a couple of weeks ago and haven't used yet. Then I'm going to dress in comfy shorts and a tee.

Next I'm going to put a pot of vegetable soup on the stove, partly because it's a good healthy lunch, but mostly because I want to smell it cooking.

I have a Netflix movie I've not watched, so I'm going to crawl into the recliner with a big mug of hot coffee, some mindless knitting, and the remote control.

Sounds like a relaxing day, right? I surely hope so.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Where's That Stupid Groundhog??

Today we had a completely unexpected snowfall. When I watched the local newscast this morning, they were predicting a rainy day with highs in the mid-50s.

Today is Mom's birthday, and I'd planned to go visit her and Dad this afternoon. Imagine my surprise when I opened my apartment door to leave and found that it was flurrying! I called Mom to see if they needed me to bring anything from town as I came down, and she told me the ground was already white there. (They live about 10 minutes from me!)

Moments later the snow began in earnest, large wet flakes that accumulated quickly. Halfway to Mom and Dad's I seriously considered turning around and going back home.

The snow fell fast and furious. There were probably a couple of inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground by the time it stopped. Luckily, it soon melted off the roadway surfaces, so my drive home was safe. When I left their house, though, it was spitting very fine snow again.

Weird. A snow that measurable hardly ever sneaks past the local forecasters that handily!

Makes me glad to be back home, safe and sound, snug in my apartment with the icky weather locked outside.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Sunshine at Last

The sun in shining in my little corner of the world today. It's still cool, but beautiful. Or so they tell me....the view in my office, unfortunately, never changes. No windows, you see. My view always consists of painted cinderblock walls and fluorescent lighting. *sigh*

Of course, on a beautiful day like today, maybe that's a good thing. I have LOTS to do and can't afford to be distracted! My lunch break (which I'm using a few moments of to post this blog entry) is a very welcome break from the grind. Some folks choose to go out for lunch to soak up a few rays of sunlight. I say that a 30-minute break just whets my appetite for sun and I'm better off to stay inside!

Speaking of breaks....mine's nearly over, so I'd better get back to the grindstone. *grumble, grumble*

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Internet Friends

I have a friend in Pittsburgh who's been a friend for many years now. We've never met face to face, but spent a LOT of time in a long-defunct chat room back in the early days of the internet, WBS (Web Broadcasting System). For a good long while, a group of us met in a chat room on Wednesday evenings to play trivia games.

I'd wandered into the Wednesday Night Trivia room on a whim. I was brand new to WBS and still trying to find a chat room that had people my own age (adults, in other words) who talked in whole words instead of abbreviations (other than the usual "LOL" or "ROTFL") and weren't trying to find someone to talk dirty to on the internet. Okay, to be fair I'm sure a little of that probably went on in the "private chat" section, but and let live as long as they're not talking dirty in front of everyone, right?

And so I became a Wednesday night regular. The people who frequented the chat room were witty folks who enjoyed gathering to pursue a bit of trivia and talking about what was going on in our fairly uneventful lives.

WBS eventually went into cyberspace oblivion, and we trivia-lovin' folks drifted off into other interests online. A few of us stayed in loose contact by e-mail and such, but didn't stay as close as we were when we met weekly in WBS.

Sunday I received the dreadful news that the 29-year-old son of one of my old internet friends had been accidentally shot and killed. He was by all accounts a wonderful man, a loving husband and father of a beautiful two-year-old daughter. Adding to the tragedy is the fact that his wife is expecting their second child in a few short months.

Even though my friend and I have never met face-to-face, I ache for her. Such a senseless tragedy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Year Ago Today

It's been one year today since my MeggieDog crossed the Rainbow Bridge. It's a gray, rainy day in my corner of the world, which I always find oddly comforting. And so, I am glad it's raining on this bittersweet day.

I've not had another pet since I lost Meg, and actually don't believe I want another one. As much as I miss the companionship and that happy greeting at the door every day, I just don't think I want to put myself through the grief of losing another precious pup. *sigh*

So, at least for now, I'll content myself with spoiling the pets of friends and family.

I miss you, Meggels.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A New Arrival, A New System, and Finally A Break

This little doll is my brand-new grand-niece, Emily Grace. Isn't she lovely? She arrived on February 10, and mother and daughter are doing fine, thank goodness. I look at this photograph of her sleeping peacefully and wish I could rest like that again. *sigh*

So far, except for the good news about Emily's arrival, February has sucked like a Hoover. I kid you not. I've been coming home from work, fixing myself a bit of dinner, and going to bed ridiculously early because I'm just plain exhausted. I've even been too tired to knit, and THAT'S TIRED!

Why, you ask? Because we're learning a new computer system at work. We were in training for four solid days last week, and it was a total nightmare. From all indications, it won't reduce our workload (and will, in fact, increase it). It's not any easier than our current system. It takes more processes to achieve the same results. Seems counterproductive, right?

But we're doing it anyway. Phooey. It makes me tired just to think about it. And THAT is the last I'm going to think about it for three glorious days. I must say that I've never been happier to see a three-day weekend in my life!!

Now, what shall I do with this glorious three-day weekend? Well, tomorrow my aunt and uncle are coming to visit for the day, so that will be a really nice way to spend Saturday. It's always great to see them, and I'm looking forward to their visit.

On Sunday, I may take a "recliner day"....just pile up with the remote control, a Netflix movie I haven't gotten around to watching yet, and some knitting. Just relax and recharge my batteries. Mmmmm, sounds good!

On Monday I really need to do some cleaning. I've worked the past two weekends, so my apartment is looking pretty dreadful. So I should clean. Really. I should. Of course, knitting is also an option. *LOL* Maybe I'll clean awhile, then knit a bit, then clean awhile longer. That sounds like the best plan yet.

So, friends, I'm sorry I've been neglecting my blogging. But I really HAVE been tired, honest. I'll try to do better. Happy President's Day Weekend!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Grateful I'm in the South

I'm a Southern gal, born and raised. As a matter of fact, I've lived all my life (except a brief stint of less than 2 months I lived in Michigan) within a 50-mile radius of the location I'm sitting in while typing this. I've always been happy to be a Southern gal and have never felt a particular need to drift any farther north, or south for that matter. I guess since I'm a resident of northeast Tennessee I'm technically a mid-Atlantic gal, but I feel more Southern than that. *LOL*

As I look at the Weather Channel today, I'm especially grateful to be in my beloved South. Boy, are they ever getting HAMMERED up there! Blizzard warnings, white-outs, TWO FEET of snow expected in Chicago. Ohhhhhh, I do feel sorry for them. Truly. I feel even worse for the locations expecting accumulations of ice.

As so here I sit, feeling almost guilty for the fact that I was able to drive home from work without wearing so much as a jacket. I know that our winter isn't finished here. In fact, we often get large snows in February and March. But I'm so glad that this particular storm has seen fit to leave us alone.

Good luck, my Northern friends!! I'm thinking about you!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January's Almost Gone

January has been a strange month in my neck of the woods. Since we returned to work after the holidays on January 3, the college has closed for snow two full days, closed early two days, and opened on a snow schedule (2 hours late) FIVE days. And we had a holiday in there, too. That means we've had an altered schedule on ten days....out of twenty days. HALF OF THEM. Sheeeeeeeeeeeesh.

Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy a paid day off from work as much as anyone, better than most. But January's a really busy month in my office, and all that time off has really wreaked havoc. February, therefore, is going to be a bear as well.

I was really tired last night and expected to have a good night's sleep. It started out well, but I woke up about 2:00 am and was awake for an hour or so. I don't rest well when I sleep in a "split shift" like that, so I'm tired this morning. I should be up and at it and well into my household routine by now, but I'm not. That's okay. It'll wait for me. :-)

I think I'll plan my day before I start. So much time in the kitchen. So much time knitting. So much time in the dining room. So much time knitting. So much time dusting. so much time knitting. See a pattern developing here? *LOL*

You see, for the past couple of weeks, I've just not been in a knitting mood. You'd think with all the "snow time" I'd have been knitting up a storm, but I just haven't been doing it. This morning, though, I feel the need to feel wool in my hands, so I'm going to make that part of today's plan.

It's going to be really nice out today....sunny and 50 degrees. But I have too much housework to catch up on to let myself go out and play. Tomorrow. I'll go out in the sunshine tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Two Lists

Ten things I'm tired of:
  1. Temperatures below 30 degrees
  2. Wind chill
  3. Snow
  4. Ice
  5. Sleet
  6. My car being encrusted with salt
  7. Bundling up every time I go outside
  8. Watching the Weather Channel
  9. Crowds at the grocery store buying milk and bread
  10. Stiff joints from cold weather
Ten things I'm grateful for:
  1. An employer that closes when the roads are dangerous
  2. A car that will start in cold weather
  3. Knowledge of how to knit warm scarves, hats and mittens
  4. A large yarn stash
  5. A well-stocked pantry
  6. An endless supply of movies to watch, thanks to Netflix
  7. A warm, cozy apartment
  8. Flannel jammies
  9. Apartment management that does their best to keep the parking lots and sidewalks safe
  10. The internet

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sick O' Winter

If you've had any doubt whatsoever, here's my official statement: I'm sick of winter. I'm sick of bitter cold mornings (5 degrees here right now). I'm sick of snow. Yes, me. The one who's always been so excited about snow days. Sick. Of. Snow. I told Daddy the other day that I'd give a $20 bill to see a crocus pushing up out of the ground.


Oh well. Nothing we can do about the weather but bundle up, pay the big heating bills, and wait for Spring.

Now, it's been a long time since I've blogged, so let's catch up a bit.

Mom's aneurysm surgery on December 20 went just beautifully, thank goodness! They were able to perform the surgery through her femoral arteries, so there were only two small incisions. She was uncomfortable after surgery, but only because she was having some hip joint pain from being on the operating table. They kept her in ICU overnight as a precaution, but released her from the hospital the next morning without even putting her in a regular room. We had her home by 10:00 am!

She had her follow-up exam this past Wednesday, and her surgeon is very pleased with her progress. Everything looks just great!

Our Christmas was quiet, but very nice. We were expecting bad weather (so what else is new?), so I stayed at Mom and Dad's on Christmas Eve. We had a lovely holiday; I made my way back home on Christmas afternoon, and the weather turned ugly very soon after.

I went back to work on Monday (January 3), and the week was VERY difficult. Lots and lots to do, many deadlines to meet, and not much time to do it! Another round of winter weather moved in Friday, and we actually closed at 1:00 that afternoon. After a quick stop at Kroger for provisions, I hurried home and watched it snow. Yesterday afternoon, the sun began popping out from time to time. It would snow awhile, then the sun would come out, then it would snow awhile longer. Strange weather day!

This morning, it's bitterly cold, but the sun is shining. Since there's another winter storm scheduled to move in late tonight, I'm going to go down to visit Mom and Dad while this afternoon.

Yup. Definitely sick o' winter.