The universe is unfolding as it should

Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day, and it is so appropriate. Tomorrow is my grandmother’s birthday. She would be 104. She made it to 103 and three weeks. On her 100th birthday, my oldest and dearest friend Kate died after a 45 year-long illness. When my grandmother heard the news, she called me, and she broke down and wept, asking me why she was still here at 100 and Kate had died after such a long hard fight, at only 50.

Who can answer that?

I miss them both every day, but lately, as this day approaches, I have been thinking about them more and more, remembering all the wonderful times I had with each of them – and with them together on many occasions. They were two of the people who knew me the best and the longest, and they are gone.

In the face of setbacks, Kate used to cheerfully say “the Universe is unfolding as it should” and I remind myself of that philosophy so often, as I did my grandmother that rainy day 4 years ago. She was still with us and Kate was gone because the universe was unfolding as it should.

We do our best, we do what is right, and the universe unfolds as it should.

Thinking of you, Ma and Kate, and all the laughs we had over so many years.
Kate – I overcome introversion and talk to strangers in line in honor of you.
Ma – I will always love the ocean and my pets in honor of you.

You are both with me in these things, I know.

The worst is DONE

So. Today, October 30th is the day when quarterly federal reports have to be in. Normally, I try to get them in slightly ahead of time, but October is a tough one – our year ends 9/30, and finance has to really scramble to get all the year-end adjustments complete, and this year seems particularly bad. SO I got my reports from them yesterday, but I wasn’t in the office until today. I jumped right in, and OF course, found things that needed adjusting. My favorite go to person was out sick, so I went to my back-up – her boss. He grumbled a bit, but helped, and I got them all done and submitted BEFORE 5 o’clock!

So that means that in October, I wrote 4 grants, did three federal reports, prepped for one board retreat, did lots and lots and lots of data entry for our needs assessment plan, and provided support to a board committee as they prepared for a presentation and drafted a development plan.

It might not look like much, but when I did my time sheet for the past two weeks, there was only 1 day that I did not work at all.

So it was a lot of work to hit send on those things. And I did it. And I did it on time!

And I don’t plan to work this weekend at all. In fact, I plan to leave work early tomorrow.

But the best part?

I managed to knit 2 hats at the board retreat! I knit really fast when they were grousing about the fact that this data I provided on Needs Assessment wasn’t as complete as they thought it would be (really? When I told them the plan would be complete at the end of NOVEMBER?????) and why did I choose to survey this group, rather than that group, or ask this question rather than that one? They went on for an HOUR! Finally someone said “She told us this would be incomplete data a month ago, and I think we should just let her finish and we can move on to the next item now.” I wanted to kiss his feet. He later made a point to thank me in front of the whole group for “all the work I put into resource development” clearly he reads his reports!

So while that piece was frustrating, on the whole, I feel like it was a good day, and I feel really satisfied with how this month went, on the whole.

And I got two hats done. In one day. πŸ™‚

Shopping… and other things

A and I went up to Bangor shopping Friday afternoon – she got out of work early, and needed new shoes.

I did not need new shoes.

But I got some really nice boots anyway. Dress boots that are just slightly over ankle height, and have an adjustable top, to having large calves did not make them impossible. Can’t wait for boots/tights season now!

We also went to JoAnn’s – can you believe I got in there, got what I needed and got out with only ONE extra thing? every word is true! Got some craft supplies for little niece E’s birthday next month, and some paper and a hexagon punch for me. Already thinking of some fun birthday cards to make with that punch – and as November has 4 family birthdays in it, thinking of fun cards is a good thing. πŸ˜‰ I also got some acrylic yarn in girly colors – realized all these hats – none great for little girls. So I got some pinks and purples and will make some little hats over the next few weeks.

Then we did go to KFC, and stopped at Lowe’s on the way home, I got another can of spray paint, I am addicted, I think… and now it is too cold to paint outdoors, so I may have to wait until spring to do the chairs…

Saturday was a slow and easy day – L came over and she and A did a bit of ceiling insulating in the basement while I did data entry and some Halloween card wrap up details. Then we vegged and watched taped shows from this week, and I knit on the shawl. Boy, the rows crawl since that last increase, but I made it to the first 6 row YO round. Not much more to go now – I only have 5 more skeins of yarn – lol. Might wind up with a bit of the border yarn left over, but I am going to try not to. I have saved three skeins for that, it should be more than enough.

Today, more of the same – A went to the dump while I did data entry and prepped the cards for mailing. We went off to visit A’s sister S, had to deliver a couple of mystery packages – although we thought we had gotten enough for one for each radiation treatment, it seems we are two short. So, A picked up a couple more things, we wrapped them and delivered them. S is so cute, she has all the opened ones on display, and the pile of unopened ones below. She is loving this one part of having radiation, which was the point. She did tell us that weekends are a let down (no treatment, no gift.) so if we ever do it again for anyone, we should include weekends! Good feedback. She seems healthy and in good spirits, but a little anxious about next steps – visit to the dentist and the oncologist the week after finishing. Unrelated, of course, but in her mind, they are related, as she went to the dentist and then for her mammogram 6 months ago. It’s been a long 6 months for her, I know.

Friday List

This week – a slow list.

The usual, of course – laundry, PO, grocery store.

But then I have to settle down and do some data entry. We are in the midst of a community needs assessment, and while my plan was to work on it in November, the board wants “preliminary findings” at the planning retreat on Tuesday. I have about 100 more surveys to enter into the complicated spreadsheet I designed when I thought I would have plenty of time to enter the data. Sigh.

Anyway – in the afternoon, the guy is coming to clean the pellet stove and replace the starter element. So I can’t go anywhere anyway.

I imagine between entries, I will do a little surfing and shopping and blog reading. And perhaps some knitting.

A has to work, but I expect she will get out early, if she finishes her reports, since she has already worked a full week, travelling a lot this week. She was asking me where I wanted to get dinner, and I had a couple of ideas, but today I watched a show and they had a huge bucket of fried chicken, and now I fear I am craving that junkiest of junk foods…..

I’ll let you know what we finally do about that. πŸ™‚

MADE IT! (Hideous rant about being over-worked, but NOT whining.)

I made it through the week – FINALLY!

I started the week by getting to work around 3 am Monday. It was rough, but worth it – got the grant entered in the horrible online system 1.5 hours ahead of deadline. Launched straight into the next one, which had to hit the mail box by noon on Wednesday. These last two have been a real struggle because the division they are for does not think my deadlines are real, or that I need info, or something. Whatever, I have to hound them to give me data with which to write a good grant to fund THEIR jobs. It makes no sense, but there you have it.

So, I finished the Wednesday grant a bit late, had to run it over to the PO as I missed the mail pick up. That was my 4th grant delivered in 8 days. Freaking ridiculous (and amazing) if you ask me. πŸ™‚

Then there is the board planning retreat next week. They had asked for some census data ahead of time, and I was all set to get that before I wrote the grants, but one of the things that got shut down with the government was the Census website, so I had to put that off, then it had to wait until I finished the grants, so then I was scurrying. Got it done, met with the facilitator and my boss, and we realized that to do the work they want to do, they needed more info. The board wants my Community Needs Assessment data, and they want it ahead of the retreat so they can digest it. Sounds OK, except that means it had to get mailed out today, and the Needs Assessment isn’t due for another month, so I have it in my workplan but have not done any compiling or analyzing of data. I collected excerpts from several reports I will use, and gave them raw data of the surveys I have entered so far, with a memo explaining that the data is worthless as it is incomplete and not cleaned up, but what the heck? I cannot do everything all at once. I might have left that last bit out of the memo, and promised them more raw data on Tuesday.

So I will enter survey data this weekend, spend a few minutes Monday doing a little data cleaning, and get that ready for them – as ready as they will get for a report due to be presented to them the last Tuesday in November. ONE MONTH AWAY. A MONTH WITH ONLY ONE GRANT DUE. Granted, a month with two holidays, and as I worked the last holiday, I do not intend to do that again. I think it is manageable. Getting it done by Tuesday is not.

Oh, did I mention that I have three federal reports due by end of day Wednesday? Yep. Couldn’t work on them ahead because we end our year on 9/30, and I had to wait for the over-worked (no sarcasm, they really are) folks in Finance to finish closing the books so I could get my numbers together. Got all those reports today. So Monday and Wednesday will be filling out a million forms which aren’t filled out the same way for each report. It seems the USDA and the SBA want different numbers on the same line with the same instructions on the identical forms. Makes it interesting, I must say. All I can say is that the last thing I really need is to be doing data entry and going to a planning retreat.

Nuff about work.

How is the knitting coming along?

Pretty well, considering how little time I really have had this week. Pi shawl – I am on round 44 of the 48 round section, which if you have done it, you know means I am close to my last increase, and that progress seems slower when you have a million stitches in a round. But I think I will finish it this week. Very funny thing happened at lunch today – I was sitting with this giant fluffy pile of knitting on my lap, and my boss came in to beg food. He is a sweet guy, always shows an interest in everyone, so he asked the woman who was sitting crocheting what she was making. Baby blanket. That’s cute” he said, which had us cracking up, because he just isn’t the cute baby blanket type. Then he asked me. Straight faced I responded “I am making you a hat” and held up the shawl, which hangs at least two feet from the needles. We all burst out laughing, and he left without remembering to ask us if we had any food to share. πŸ™‚

Blue sparkly scarf is coming along, I think I am just shy of halfway done on that. It’s my evening early morning project, and thin yarn on tiny needles, so it doesn’t show progress easily. Plus, I have to pull the yarn through ALL the beads. But I think I will like it, it is going to be pretty.

Gave away a few hats today to a family that came into the office to pick up some coats. When I am done with these projects, I will have to sort out my Christmas knitting, and also knit some hats. Even though I must have thirty done, they will disappear fast. It is finally starting to get colder. I need to get some little girl colors, I had a hard time finding some for the littlest girls. Might have to buy yarn, ho ho ho.

Well, I do have to go to bed, It has been a long week and I am tired. Have to rest up for next week’s onslaught….

Sunday update

Mom and I had a really nice visit this weekend. I got to make that new recipe I wanted to – which in the end tasted very much like the “sauce Normand” we enjoyed so much in France – it had cream, apple cider, onions and pan drippings – along with a tablespoon or so of Maple syrup. No Calvados in it but it tasted delicious anyway. I’ll be making it again, it was heavenly.

Saturday we headed up to Bangor and walked in the Bangor City Forest, and out on the bog boardwalk. A really beautiful morning, and I think Mom liked it, she had never been out there before. We had a good lunch at Schooners in Brewer, and did find the yarn store. Had some trouble locating it, but asked at the quilt shop(I ain’t no dummy – and I will be going back to the quilt shop – it looked really nice, the two seconds I was in there.) the yarn store was OK – not exciting. She had some good basic yarn, and one particular brand of fancier yarn – Ella Rae. Very nice, but it didn’t really inspire me. A small selection of Noro. Nothing that I spotted that is local, or otherwise special. So, I will keep her in mind for patterns and notions, but my guess is that I won’t be making special trips there. Which is not to say that I didn’t buy yarn, of course I did. She was having a sale! I bought some variegated grays and blues to make another lace scarf (someday) and checked out some sock yarn. She did have a small but nice selection of that, but most of it was the kind that only makes one sock, and it was a little pricey when you start doubling the price (since I like to make my socks in pairs. πŸ™‚ )

I did lots of knitting on the latest Pi shawl, I should finish that in a week or so, I would guess, since it is now my mobile knitting. It is very fluffy, I think it will be very cozy. and the best part? Ten skeins of yarn out of the stash and not a cent spent to make it. It is from the cousin Nancy stash, and I think about her as I work it. I wonder what she planned to make with this yarn? I know she made a lot of felted hats, and I wonder if that was what this was going to be? She wasn’t into fluffy sweaters, as near as I can tell from what her daughter sent me. But maybe she was planning something new and different?

Today, we had our electrician buddy here briefly to hook up a few new outlets in the basement. He took a lot of the slightly used fiberglass insulation off to a guy he knows who is building a house. Wow – we were going to toss it because they would not take it at ReStore! 16 contractor bags full! That is probably 6 trips to the dump we did not have to make today – woo hoo! We did make one trip there, and to the hardware store. I got more Rustoleum primer for the little outside tables, and when we got home, I did more spray painting – finished the last planter, and primed the three tables. One of them will be blue, same as a chair I did last week, and the other two remain to be seen – I have to get back to Lowe’s where they have a million colors of spray paint. I still want to find some true periwinkle colored paint – the blue is not as purply as I thought πŸ™‚ The little teal one I did last weekend came out well, and is making me think that I am going to love having these cute, bright tables under my plants next summer. On my screen porch.

The contractor came this week, one morning when we were not here because of having to vacate – but he got a good look at where we want to build, and I have to send him a sketch tomorrow of what we are thinking of, and then he will give us a quote, and I really hope we can afford this last bit of construction on the house – I have been waiting for it for a long time! I can just picture my pretty colorful porch, but right now it is an expanse of sand…..

Other than that, we have not been our usual workhorses, we are tired! Last weekend nearly did us in.

Do you follow everyone who follows you?

When I first was blogging, I followed everyone, if they liked me, if they followed me, if they posted one thing I sort of liked. But now I am getting a little more discriminating, and I am trying to follow people who are interesting, who do things I like to read and learn about.

I always check out my new followers to see if I like what they are posting, but there are a few… well, I don’t like their blogs. I probably would like THEM just fine, but my reader is so full every day, I don’t really want to sort through posts I don’t care about. Is this rude? how do you handle this problem?

I also am surprised at the number of people whose blogs I really liked who have fallen off the WordPress planet, apparently. I keep them on my list in case they post, but I miss them. If you are reading this and haven’t posted in a while, don’t feel guilty, I’m just musing and rambling…

So I am following over 150 blogs and I wonder what I will do if suddenly everyone posts at once…

And yet, I search for new ones every day… what a great community we are in!

Friday list

Today is a good mix of things, I think. Mom is coming over this afternoon for an overnight. We don’t live horribly far apart (a little over an hour) but it seems like we have not seen each other in a long time. Our monthly knitting gatherings with my sister have not happened in a long time. So, I asked her if she would, and she said yes and we picked a Friday, and it is finally here!

She is just getting over a nasty cold (but wants to come anyway) so we will sit and knit and visit this afternoon, and then tomorrow we will head up to Bangor to Bangor City Forest for a walk (unless it is pouring) and maybe some shopping and lunch, we haven’t decided on that yet. She wants to be heading home in time for supper Saturday, which works out well, I think, so A feels like she gets some of her weekend in a normal way.

It has been a crazy week with moving out for a few days, and I have SO MUCH work to do at work, it scares me that I might not meet all my deadlines. So I will probably work on Sunday. Bleh.

But back to Friday list –

A trip to town for the post office and groceries is in order.
Have to clean the guest bathroom up so it is appealing!

Need flowers for Mom’s room – thankfully, we haven’t had a frost so I have lots of cosmos to choose from, as well as a few other random wild flowers around.

Clear off the dining room table. Embarrassing to admit, but if we are going to actually sit and eat there, we should be able to see the top, right?

Rearrange the furniture so that it is not so TV-centric for a few days. πŸ™‚

Find the recipe I saw in Better Homes and Gardens magazine recently for pork chops with maple syrup and apples… Mmm. Mom is trying a new eating regime – no grain! but she said she can eat this. A won’t eat pork chops, so I am glad to have someone to cook it for.

I already changed out the lightbulbs in the fixture over the table – I got a couple of LED bulbs at Lowe’s last time we went – on sale – and they are dimmable, which I LOVE. I should have gotten three of course, as I didn’t know how I would like them, or that they would be heavier than regular bulbs. So the light lists a bit, but next time I go there, I will get several more (hoping they are still on sale) because I LOVE them! They are so much brighter than what was there, and they dim nicely when we don’t want bright. Like them much better than CF bulbs, and as much as incandescents. So I will work at swapping them all out going forward. Slowly, as bulbs burn out and need replacing. I love that they use almost no electricity, and last 20 years. Our CFs that we put in when we moved here 5 years ago are starting to burn out, so the new technology timing is perfect. Now if I find they make them for the lights in the ceiling fans, I will climb that 12 foot step-ladder to replace those dim things gladly.

That’s it – off to do some chores so we can sit and knit all afternoon!

Bring your cat to work day

No, it isn’t; a real day, but it should be! And it should be today. πŸ™‚

We are having our basement insulated with spray foam insulation, and we have to vacate while they do it, and for 24 hours after they finish. Not so bad, right? Except… cats have to also vacate. So, A took Allie and Zumba off to her sister L’s apartment last night. Tigger and I stayed home, and Tigger came to work with me today. We figured that would give Allie a chance to settle in before we arrive at L’s tonight. Should be interesting. πŸ™‚

Tigger hates driving now almost as much as she did when I got her back in June. She should love the 40 minute ride to L’s tonight. And back again tomorrow morning.

But in the meantime, she is being a very good cat – she is hiding under a chair, the blanket from home that is under my desk is just not right. And she greets the people who dare to come through the closed door (complete with “CAT!” sign) but she really wants to leave. Every time I get up to run out for a second, she tries to go with me. I took her once, but she was terrified. She hasn’t eaten anything, nor had a drink, nor used the cat box. But I figure she knows where everything is (my office isn’t THAT big!) and she will use them when she needs to.

She will be glad to get home tomorrow, I can tell.

A says Allie had a wonderful night, carousing, checking things out, cuddling as she has not done since Tigger came. I am sure she thinks they have made a run for it to get away from me and Tigger. lol wait until we show up tonight. πŸ™‚

Ignoring all my rules

I cast on another Pi shawl last night. I really have been wanting to, so I dug around in my stash to find something I had enough of to give it another shot while I await the arrival of the last skein of Quince and Co Finch for the first Pi shawl, which I am itching to wear.
pi shawl 1 and zumba
Zumba is inspecting my work in this shot.

I think I was also itching for something that would move along faster than the blue scarf is. While I love it, it is not very gratifying to knit all evening and not even finish one section. But see how the beads add subtle sparkle? (well, ok, it is so subtle it is hard to see in this photo, but they march along the edges of the triangles.) Wait until you see it with the buttons I got…. I love it. But I am impatient to finish SOMETHING. So.

diagonal scarf

In my bins of Cousin Nancy yarn, I found what I think is enough of Knit Picks Suri Dream. I have two shades of gray – 4.5 balls of stone and 6 balls of black forest. So, I will make it striped, and I will pay attention to the fact that border requires the equivalent of 16 rounds of the last section.

It was a little tough casting on with this very fluffy stuff, but as Elizabeth Zimmerman said, once I got going, it got easier. I am doing this on size 13 needles, so it should go pretty fast. And, once I finish the hat that is in my mobile bag, then I will put this there, and I won’t have broken my rule about number of WIPs. I don’t count the first Pi shawl as an official WIP because I can’t finish it until the yarn gets here. πŸ™‚ Once that yarn arrives, I will once again be over the WIP limit, and so might have to sit and spend a day finishing things. How very sad.

pi shawl 2

Can you tell I am procrastinating about writing grants? Yep. Gotta go do that.