rockin’ Saturday

Yesterday we did everything on the list, and then some! Got the license, got A’s ring, left my great great grandmother’s to be resized forme (A is afraid to be responsible for an heirloom, so I will wear it. I think heirlooms are not good if you can’t use them and enjoy them.) SO I think we are ready for 5/19 activities.

Today, A’s sister L came over to help with the never rending insulation project – today was in the basement. I ran errands, and when I got back, learned I missed all the excitement – they found a mouse nest complete with Mom and tiny babies. Probably just born, as they were tiny and hairless. Managed to round-up the babies, but mom remains in down there, we think. Kittens were FASCINATED with this new toy, but we don’t think they got her. Found a few places where little critters could get in, and plugged them up with wood and foam insulation. I bet we find more of all of this as we go forward with this. So, since we have no idea what was really in all the insulation pulled down, I spent a good chunk of time driving bags of it over to the transfer station.

We went out to lunch to Crosby’s, our favorite take out place, and the planned wedding lunch place. Food was yummy, just as we remembered it. A little chilly, but it will be warmer next month.

While A and L continued to foam and do other projects down stairs, I worked on cleaning out the loft so that we can paint it. I have been putting that chore off for weeks now. I think I just have to vacuum and roll up the rug and I will be able to paint half the room. Then, move everything to the other side. Sigh. I wish it was just painting, but there is all the cleaning and clearing that happens first.

On the needlework front, I finished the last hat with the red yarn – total hats – seven. A variety of size sand styles, as you can see. Hard to see details of them when they are all the same color and I am not a great photographer, but here you go.

I could start myown red hat club!
I could start my own red hat club!

I also am making good progress on the baby blanket – it’s the first thing I have crocheted in a long time, I really am enjoying the fast progress.

P1090054

Lastly – when I finished that last red hat, I gave myself permission to stop doing hats for one project – the blue-green cowl. I am knitting it on HUGE needles I got from Nancy’s stash, so big I don’t have a way to tell what U.S. size they are. They are 80 mm 12 cm Addi turbos. Yikes, between using them and the yarn doubled, this will fly. It will be my “mobile” project this week. I got the basics of the pattern from the folks at Good Karma Farm, where I got the yarn the day Mom and I went shopping in Belfast. It is pretty cool, something I have never tried before – first row is k1 p1 (here I go again!) but after that pattern is set, then on all the k stitches, you k the stitch in the row below. It makes it very thick and chunky.

I put the business card in there for scale - this is super big and chunky, using fairly bulky worsted weight yarn doubled.
I put the business card in there for scale – this is super big and chunky, using fairly bulky worsted weight yarn doubled.

I plan to have this cowl button, so I can wear it as a scarf if I prefer – I made the button holes by binding of one stitch each, they are still huge, of course, so I will have an interesting time finding just the right buttons.

Tomorrow will be more of the same, I think. Then back to work for me, while A has the week off. We will have to get a few things done before we head to Boston on Thursday, but it should be a pretty straight forward week until then! I’ll have to think about what knitting project I bring along – a couple of hours on the train in each direction means I will be able to get a lot done, BUT I will have to carry it along the whole time. Nothing too big then.

Slow and easy Sunday

After the long few weeks, it feels good today to stay in bed late, cruise the blogs, work on my extensive christmas wish list.  A even worked on one for Mom – very hard for her to d, but she did a great job with it.

Yesterday we were exhausted, after the very long day Friday (I’ll work my way back to it) but we got going and went into Bangor to pick up the car, have lunch and do a little shopping with sister-in-law L.  We went to Aunt Nellie’s attic, a thrift shop in Holden, which was having 1/2 off sale.  got some nice cashmere yarn, and a misc bag of yarn, total price 43!  And a lampshade for 2 dollars. If I had measured other lamp shades, I would have gotten more, as we need a few.  But even full price, they are deals, there, so I will get more someday.  We also went to the Down East Sticks and Stones shop so I could get some beads for Christmas presents.  Stayed focused, so did not spend a lot, ut there is a lot there to look at and get inspired by!  Lunch was at Green Tea, our favorite asian restaurant.  They have chinese, Japanese and Thai food, never had anything bad there.  Yesterday was no exception, it was all delicious.  Then over to the mall area to Bed Bath and Beyond for some wandering. Very expensive wandering as they have lots of things we like and “need” and we threw lots of them in the cart.  I got a closet light, which I have been wanting for a long time.  It might not be the final one, but it will serve until I figure out how I want to light that closet.  Also got an LED headlamp – I can now read in bed!  And use it for walks in the morning, so I can keep my hands in my pockets and warmer!

C can be happy that I rejected MANY noisy/bright/plastic suggestions for E’s Christmas present.  Not sure what we will get her, but it won’t be pop-up bunny slippers.  🙂

It was a good antidote day to help get past the misery of Friday.

Thursday night we left Bangor at 11 and headed for New Lebanon NY.  Traffic was very manageable, so we got there in just under 6 hours.  Much better than my past several experiences with it.  I guess time of year matters.  We stayed in a cute little B and B, the Churchill House, along with brother N and his family (minus college kids) and sister C and her family.  Dad and S and brother C and his A stayed up at the house, which is a short walk from the B and B.  Friday was cold and raw. A and I were awake early, so went for a walk up past the house to the old cemetery in the woods, which looks just like it always did – trees growing in it, leaves everywhere, crooked tombstones – great Halloween haunting site.

B and B gave us a great breakfast,  and then we all got dressed and headed over to the cemetery.  Lots of standing around waiting, as almost everyone traveling up from NYC and CT was late.  Service was very nice, minister is the daughter of one of Ma’s oldest friends, so it was very personal. But it was very hard to stand there in the cold raw weather, knowing Ma was going to be there forever now. Had to just keep thinking that where she really is it is summer and warm and there are dogs running free around her.  Dad arranged for us all to gather for lunch afterwards, and we huddled around the fire there, but I never got warm again until late that night driving home.  It was nice to visit with cousins who were able to stay, and I was sorry that the youngest of us all had to go back to go to work, so we didn’t get to visit with him.  Lunch lasted several hours, and then A and I followed Dad back up to the house to see all the work he has done on it – it looks really nice.  He added a dormer and really opened up the loft, and redid the kitchen so it is useful now, instead of barely functional.  We left there just before 5, and did the long drive home.  Hit absolutely NO bad traffic the whole way, were home by 11, absolutely exhausted and drained.  Kittens were very glad to see us, but not so glad when we just fell into bed, no playing or anything.

I did learn that even the simplest hat pattern should not be knit in the dark, so did not accomplish much in that regard this weekend.  But I will somehow get all the Christmas knitting done!

Sister C is going to approach the rest of the family to see if they want to do a Yankee Swap instead of presents for everyone. I have suggested it before to no avail, so I told her she should try it, maybe she will get a different response than I did.  It would make some shopping a whole lot easier! But I would still give the kids presents, and the things I have already knit, I think I would give to the person I intended to.  We’ll see what everyone says.

Bad week

Dad called Sunday to say that my grandmother was receiving Hospice care and probably had just a few days left.  I threw a few things into a suitcase and hit the road.  6 hours later, I got to the hospital.  Ma was groggy but knew I was there.    For three days, we sat beside her bed, she had many very alert moments, and many groggy ones.  She seemed to be holding steady, and we knew this could go on for days.

Last night I came home, exhausted.  This morning at 5:30, she passed away.  Dad had gone home at 3:30, but my cousin had stayed with her.  I am glad she wasn’t alone, but I wish that I had stayed one more night.

Exhausted!

I  think I worked 70 hours this week – and that is with one evening meeting cancelled because of the storm.  No wonder I have less than low energy today!

The good news is that all the work was worth it – the conference came off REALLY well.  No serious glitches, the schedule ran like clockwork, and I think participants had a good time. The governor came, made his speech, left without incident.

Afterwards, a few of us on the committee went out to Finn’s for a drink (them) and dinner (all of us), and A joined us.  She and I went over to the Grand to see the local premier of a documentary film, “Betting the Farm” which was EXCELLENT. It featured the farmers of ten brave farms who started their own milk company – Maine’s Own Organic Milk, and told the tale of the struggle it has been.  Since I know some of them, it was especially meaningful to me – and they had them there afterwards to answer questions.  The film makers were also there, so it was a nice evening. But I came home, went to bed and never knew another thing until 8AM.  That is unheard of, that I would sleep through Allie crying for someone to play with her at 5 am.  A heard her and got up for a few minutes, which I really appreciate.

So – other things about this week besides work?  I made some birthday cards, and had to send them off without getting photos, since I was so late getting them made! And I started getting the packages I ordered last week – so I have brother N’s 50 birthday present, and got some more of that yarn I need for the scarf I am working on.  I took the opportunity to buy some knitted jewelry kits I have been eying – I think actually, I could figure out how to do them from the photo in the catalog, but I hate to do that to a person who went to all the trouble to make great kits – so I bought one necklace and one earring kit – and now that I have paid for the pattern, I feel free to remake and modify it to my heart’s delight. Some lucky niece will get a cool new project made for her for Christmas.

This week my grandmother turned 103.  Isn’t that amazing?  I can’t believe.  I’ll see her next weekend, since I knew it was not possible to add a trip to CT to this weekend.

This week we survived Sandy unscathed. Hard to believe.  And she lasted all week – the barometric pressure is still lower than it was Monday.  I hope she keeps moving and we get our normal air (cooler) and higher pressure. I think low pressure adds to my feeling of low energy.

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year – longest one, and it is a weekend!  Yahoo!  I am glad it is TODAY that I am exhausted, because tomorrow I will have an extra hour to do whatever I want with.  Pretty amazing!

A is downstairs working on the last bit of the bed.  I am supposed to be making a few more birthday cards… so I guess I should think about that.

counting…

Blessings?  Down?  Maybe some of both.  I try not to blog about work because I do not want my life to be defined by it, and I find if I focus on the other things I do, it reminds me that I am not my job. But I have a stretch I’m in the midst of that is just overwhelming, all-consuming and it is WORK.

So, the blessings are that we are hearing back on grant proposals we did at the end of the summer, and so far, the news is good!  This is especially important to me because of some internal strife about whose program is more worthy of some of the funding opportunities  – NOT instigated by me, I might add – which kicked my competitive spirit into high gear.  Of those, we have heard back that my proposal was funded, and the other project was not.  We have one more of these to hear from, then hopefully things at work will settle into an even keel on the internal funding struggle. And I would be thrilled if the other result is the same as this one!

We also are close to bringing a new funding partner on board – which will make me very happy.  We have been working on this one for YEARS.  Should hear more today.  But I am not at work.

One of our business clients is featured in a documentary that I will get to see Friday night – Betting the Farm – if you are anywhere near where it shows, please go see it – pretty interesting story about the start of a milk cooperative, Moo milk – doesn’t sound exciting but it is !  All about local farms surviving, and that is important to the whole country.

On the count down column – I have THREE federal quarterly reports due by Wednesday.  to do them, I need numbers from our Finance division. But this is year-end AND we have new accounting software, and so although I keep asking, until I am screaming, I am not a high priority for them.  I understand this, but it is still stressful. I hope to get my numbers this afternoon so that I can work on the reports this weekend.  Ugh.

And the reason I won’t have much time to do them early in the week – our annual board meeting is Tuesday night, and a very special project that I have been working hard on is happening on Thursday and Friday – a huge business conference. These two things will take up my whole work week and then some, even without the reports.  So I think I am looking at a 60-70 hour work week.  I am tired already.

More on blessings – these of the NOT work variety…

Monday night is book group, and I loved the book we read – Anne Quindlan’s Lots of Cake Plenty of Candles.  She is just very funny and clear in her real life observations about how women think, grow, change, survive. I can’;t wait to get with the ladies and see what they thought.

I spoke to my Dad last night – my grandmother has made a good transition to assisted living – seems to have perked up and is much more responsive, is slightly more vocal, moving around more.  I think that being with people is a great antidote for whatever was ailing her (I suspect some real depression, but hard to tell when she doesn’t respond anymore).  And, I made arrangements to do the one thing I really never look forward to – driving to CT.  But in a couple of weeks, I will head down to visit Dad and see Ma in her new digs – and celebrate her 103rd birthday!  It’s this week, but I can’t get down there this weekend – see above! Can you imagine?  103 years old – there is some serious counting.  The stories she has told me about being a little girl, and young woman back in the early part of the last century – sounds so long ago, but it wasn’t really.  And HER grandmother met Abraham LIncoln.  Mind boggling. I will see if she can tell me some  more when I visit – not sure she is talking THAT much, though.

Anyway, with that move for her, Dad has a huge load off of his shoulders.  So maybe he will get to relax and enjoy life more than he has the last few years. That will be good!

Here’s another blessing, remotely work related – the drive to work and back this time of year happens just after sunrise and just before sunset – and the scenery has just been gorgeous all week.  We have golden light -the kind that reminds me of the Hudson River Impressionists – and fog in the valleys, and beautiful foliage colors the whole way. It’s a wonderful way to start and end the days.

Today has hardly any chores – so I will get to go to the craft room! Lots of November birthdays to make cards for. So sad. 🙂

view on the trip home
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