31 January, 2012

Dry bath

Giving Tinkerbell a bath is really a weekend project because, especially in the winter, I must do it early enough in the day so that she can completely dry before bedtime or she is cold and uncomfortable all night.  Therefore,  I had to look for another way to get her clean yesterday evening.  Instead of just giving her a good long brushing I searched for a dry shampoo formula I could use to get her clean and smelling good.  There are quite a few "recipes" out there and I realized that basically it's just some sort of powder (talc or corn starch or a mix) with some corn meal mixed in to exfoliate and absorb dirt and residue.  I mixed up a container of corn meal and rose scented bath powder and set to work, after a nice long walk, massaging it into her coat and skin and then brushing and brushing and brushing.  And it worked!  She's not sparkling clean like after a bath, but she's definitely cleaner and smells a lot better.  But I don't think I'm going to be able to wait the entire rest of this month before I get her groomed.  I'll have to get creative.

I had all good intentions of starting my two a day workouts again yesterday, but I didn't do it after all.  I did have a great run, but I had so much I wanted to accomplish after work and I was sleepy too.  Last night I stayed up too late reading and then was awakened two times at least by people slamming the hall door.  I am going to have to speak to the manager about getting that door fixed.  All of the other end of hall doors have governors on them so people go through and let them go and they gently hiss closed.  For some reason the one at the end of my hall, and just a couple of feet from my front door, does not have one and it slams with a vengeance if you let it go.  That was probably why I woke up a couple of times on Sunday night as well. 

The mittens are coming along -- I am getting a bit bored with them, actually.  I want them done and it's getting closer.  Just a few more hours.  The ribbing of the main portion is nearly done - maybe an inch left.  Then it's the pop tops and the thumbs.  I should easily be able to finish them this week, not that I need them.  The weather is increasingly mild.  For me, I haven't even felt winter yet this year.  I wonder if I'll be so lucky as to miss it altogether?  The coming weekend is supposed to be sunny and in the low 50s.  Of course the weekend after is the race weekend, so most likely it'll be cold and wet.

Speaking of the race -- I noticed on the registration web site that this year they are incorporating a "Tunnel of Love" near the end of the race.  Whose bright idea was this?  The premise is that if one wishes to leave a message of encouragement or love for a person running the race you send it to them and they post all of the notes up in a tunnel that all the runner go through to the finish line.  Think about it though ... that's the point where you're running as fast and as hard as you can.  Who is going to stop and search the tunnel for a note??  Wouldn't it be a better idea to have it set up somewhere people can look at it before the race starts?  There is going to be a Love 'em or Leave 'em race in San Francisco this year as well and they're doing the same thing - putting it at the end of the route.  Stupid, isn't it?

30 January, 2012

Isn't it nice when you can amuse yourself?

I am endlessly fascinated and amused by my dreams.  Nobody else, of course, would find them anywhere near as hilarious as I.  This morning I couldn't stop laughing for two reasons -- the first is that a character in a dream I had was called Cindy Cindy.  It's just so stupid! And the absurdity of the name struck me as so funny, I kept chuckling all morning as I got ready.  Also, sometimes when I sleep I put my hand up on my forehead and from time to time my hair will reflect this pose in hideous ways.  Every time I would catch sight of myself in the mirror -- which is a lot of times in the morning when I'm getting ready for work -- I would have to laugh at the sight of the front of my hair sticking up almost like those horrible rooster tail bangs girls used to wear.  It was a very jolly morning between the silly dream name and the ridiculous hair.  And that's a nice way to start the week, don't you think?

I am going to have an awesome run today.  There is a lot of moisture in the air and I've had quite a few days off.  Today I need to start two a day workouts so I can be ready for the race in two weeks and then there's a party at the end of the month and I get to dress up, so I need to drop these 5 pesky pounds I've put back on these past couple of lazy months. 

I wanted to finish up those mittens this weekend but I didn't get them done.  I did work on them a bit but I kept getting distracted.  Yesterday it was time for my least liked chore around the house -- spot cleaning the carpet.  This cheap, ugly, nasty apartment carpeting!  I hate it!  It was barely acceptable when I moved in and it's a beast to keep looking even half way decent.  Every few months I need to get out my little baby carpet cleaning machine, get on my hands and knees, and work out the spots that Tink gets on there with her bones and other goodies.  Plus every time a maintenance  man comes in for any little thing they leave spots all over.  It's sweaty, nasty work.  And for some reason the laundry room was busy all day and I had the washing machines snaked out from under me twice!  If I hadn't needed clean running gear I would have just skipped it and done it tonight, but I don't like my other long running pants so I stuck it out and got it done. 

Otherwise it was a pretty good weekend.  The weather was not bad, most of the time.  We didn't have a very long walk on Saturday because it was rainy, so we had a few more short ones.  But on Sunday we had a long, two hour walk and Tink slept for most of the rest of the day.  I should have washed her.  She is SO dirty.  It's hard to keep her clean in this weather and she needs a hair cut.  But it's going to have to wait for a few weeks.  I might have to bathe her this week after work though, depending on how much dirt I can get out with a good brushing. 

27 January, 2012

Can sinuses be like an arthritic knee?

Well, I only ask because I had an epic sinus headache yesterday that lasted well into the night.  It is gone today but the weather changed and it was below freezing this morning and clear as a bell.  I think of the cliche of the old timer with the knee that aches when the weather is changing ..... I can't help where my mind wanders!  I'd much rather have a predictor about anything more interesting than a change in the weather.

I'm feeling somewhat philosophical today for a variety of reasons, none of which I feel like going into detail about.  But here's what I'm thinking -- Any day a good thing can happen.  This could be my day.  Or tomorrow.  It doesn't matter.  I just know that good things will happen, so I will wait for it.  In the meantime I won't worry or fret about things that I have no control over.  It is not worth the toll on my psyche.  I have so many wonderful, loving friends that I can't help but feel like the luckiest person in the entire world, no matter what happens!

And speaking of friends ... this morning the locks on my car doors were all frozen.  On days when I drive in and my car is frozen and frosty I turn it on and let it warm up while I walk Tinkerbell.  But I couldn't get the key into any of the door locks!  I wasn't sure what to do about it.  My instinct was to pour warm water over the lock, but I didn't know if that was something I could do or something I most definitely shouldn't do.  I needed some male input, so I started calling my male buddies hoping one of them would be up and about and have their phone on at 7:15.  I struck gold on the second call and yes, pouring water on the lock IS an acceptable solution.  And it worked!

I am looking forward to my haircut today.  I would like to run at lunchtime, but I can't because I have Tink and she is no fun to run with.  Next week though I MUST get back on track.  I'll only have two weeks then to get ready for the race on the 11th.  And as for the rest of the weekend -- nada.  I would like to finish up the convertible mittens I'm making to match the ruffled wrap.  I really should do some tidying up around the apartment.  The football is winding down -- as in there's only the pro bowl this weekend, then the Super Bowl and the long drought. Too bad I hate basketball.

25 January, 2012

There's something to be said about sunshine

I like it.  Considering where I live, quite a few months out of the year I crave it.  And after a week in Hawaii, to come back to this weather is torture!  I suppose in another few days I'll be back to normal, but for now it is driving me crazy.  Today it is windy and rainy.  I am counting my blessings -- it is not snowing and for that I am extremely grateful.

I am going to have to miss noon knitting today, since I have a meeting at 1 in Renton.  I sure hope the freeway is clear.  It's a long drive and traffic is always bad at lunchtime.  I brought Tink with me today because I have no idea how long this is going to take.  It could take an hour, it could take four hours.  I can't risk having her stuck in the apartment and me fighting rush hour traffic to get back.  She sure hates getting into the car.  The stereotype is a dog who can't wait to "go for a ride".  Not so my Tinkerbell.  She puts the brakes on and I either have to drag her to the car or pick her up and put her in.  It's probably because most of our fun stuff is done without the car, and the not so fun stuff -- the grooming and the vet visits -- with the car.  If I had a window in my closet I would bring her in and close the door, but I don't so she stays in the car and I go out and walk her at lunchtime.  I'm going to have to bring her in on Friday as well since I have a hair appointment right after work.  She loves it there though because they make a big fuss over her.

Speaking of hair -- isn't it odd how one day your hair can be fine and the next day it is just too long.  That's where I am now.  Actually I noticed when I was in Hawaii.  The second day I was there I tried blowing my hair out as usual.  And it started out okay, but a few hours in that humidity and it was puffing out around my head.  I just gave up and put it up for the rest of the week.  But I noticed then that it is just too long, so I am looking forward to Friday and having her cut a bit off for me.

24 January, 2012

Thank goodness for a lazy dog

I had an absolutely miserable night last night.  Consequently when the alarm went off at 6 am and I hadn't had more than a couple of hours of sleep, I emailed work and turned off the alarm and, thankfully, fell asleep.  And good dog Tink, she let me sleep until 9!  I really needed it.  I took her out around the garden once, since it is raining like crazy and I thought that would do it for her, but she's getting restless and can't figure out why she is not out for a long walk if I'm at home.  I will wait to see if the weather lets up.

When I was out on the whale watch last week I tried to take some pictures.  It is not easy and I finally quit trying and simply enjoyed the action on the water.  I was missing it when I was trying to get a picture.  I could have done video but it was a cloudy day and it was hard enough to see them with the naked eye.  I did download them to my iPad to take a look and yes, they are as bad as I had thought they would be.  Unless you know what you're looking at it is not clear they are whales.  I have a new respect for those photographers who manage to catch those awesome pictures.

Speaking of pictures -- I do have a picture of my ruffled scarf/wrap.  I wore it yesterday.  Definitely a cold weather accessory.  I absolutely love the colors and it was fun and easy to make.  Done in less than a month, and I didn't touch it for an entire week in that month.

23 January, 2012

Three trips in three months

That is a lot of air travel for me.  I love to travel.  I should say, I love to go places but the getting there sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.  There are certain types of travelers that just drive me crazy and unless one is in first class, they are unavoidable.  There is the large family, all with carry on baggage who lumber on and take ages and ages cramming their over large bags into the overhead bins.  Not only their overhead bins, because one of their huge bags pretty much does it, but the space allotted to other travelers as well.  Since I never carry on anything other than a purse and sometimes a laptop, it doesn't usually impact me, but it is annoying nonetheless.  Then there's the person sitting behind who is forever stuffing things into the seat back pocket so that it feels as if there is a toddler kicking you.  I also had a man across the aisle who would get up and bend over, his behind right in my face.  The grand finale on my trip home was the flight attendant who dropped a cup of orange juice on me.  I couldn't believe it. 

The bright spot on my trip home was the movie I had to watch on my iPad.  On the way over I watched "Cowboys vs Aliens" and coming home I had "Midnight in Paris", which was suggested to me when I was in Europe.  I generally don't watch movies about Paris because it makes me sad, but this was a very charming film.  I am SO glad I watched it.  I really enjoyed it.  I see it's up for a best picture Oscar and I can see why.

The snow was all gone on the major roads by the time I got my car Friday night.  The parking lot where it was stored was a mess, but the boys brought my car up to the covered area for me and cleared off the snow.  On top of the car there was at least six inches, if not more, of snow covered by ice.  It must have been a nightmare trying to get around last week.  If I had gotten home Wednesday or Thursday I wouldn't have been able to drive home.

I didn't get into bed until after midnight, but oh it felt good.   I picked Tink up Saturday morning.  They always give her a bath and she was all nice and clean until we went for a walk.  The snow and slush on the sidewalks is so very dirty and her hair just sucked it up.   I need to get her groomed soon.

I finished the ruffled wrap yesterday while I was doing laundry and since I had a couple balls of yarn left over I'm making a pair of mittens to match.  It isn't as cold as it was last week, but still it is windy and wet and cold.  And since the University was closed for three days while I was gone, I have a bunch of class work to move around.  I'd better get to it!

19 January, 2012

A state of emergency in Seattle?

I got the alert on my iPhone and iPad early this morning that the governor declared a state of emergency due to the winter storm.  From what I've been able to gather, after the snow there was freezing rain so the roads are extremely hazardous and trees are falling and power is out to many.  The airport was shut down early this morning for a few hours but planes were again able to land after 8:30 am.  According to the weather report, the temperatures should begin to rise tonight and by tomorrow be in the mid-40s and raining, which means I will more than likely come into a cold and wet, but mostly snow and ice free Seattle.  My airport parking is very near the freeway entrance and it should be smooth sailing all the way home.  The arterial roads by my apartment are well traveled as well, so I am absolutely not going to worry.  I do wish I had taken the time to put gas in the car .... typical female move.  I know I have plenty to get home but that's not the point, is it?  It is what it is.  I'll be fine.

Yesterday day was a completely self-indulgent and gloriously relaxing day.  Neither my cousin nor my friend got in touch, so I was on my own all day and all evening.  After I finished my work ... which, by the way, was all for naught since the University was closed for a second day due to weather ... I covered myself in tanning cream and went by the pool to do some serious tanning.  I had a great book to read in my iPad ... left handed all the way ... and managed to stay out there for about two hours, which was plenty.  We had a box lunch to take away and I ate a piece of the sandwich and then put the rest in the refrigerator in my room and changed into shorts and headed out to read at the ocean side outdoor bar.  But it was packed, so I headed back to the hotel lobby, snagged a super comfortable chair, bought a cold beer and sat there for several hours reading.  But then the clouds moved in and it was not so comfortable, so I went back to my room and lazed around, watching the clouds move in and the water change colors to grey. 

When the sun started to set I cleaned up a bit and went down to have a couple drinks and dinner and watch the sun go down.  It was great because there were clouds out on the horizon so it wasn't killer bright.  The food situation is not great at this hotel when the main dining room isn't open, which is most nights, unfortunately.  They used to have a really wonderful hamburger, but it isn't on the menu any more, if you can believe that.  I had a roast beef sandwich, which was just okay.  And I sat there reading until it was completely dark outside.  And then I went upstairs and finished the book!  With the exception of the few chapters I read on Wednesday, I read the entire book in a day.  I can't tell you how long it has been that I have had such an experience.  Years.

Today, at last, I get to take the whale watching tour.  I have to check in at the pier at 12:30 but to get there ... unless I want to pay a $30 tax fare, which I do not ... I have to take the shuttle leaving here at 10:55.  If I stay on after the first pier stop and go up the hill to the brewery and shopping center and then back down the hill to the pier it is an hour ride, getting me there 30 minutes before check in and 1 hour before the tour.  If I'm lucky and it's on time returning from the tour, I should be able to catch the shuttle back here at 3:45.  We have a cocktail hour and banquet tonight.  Hopefully we will have a decent meal.  It is crazy -- here were are in a climate that should be able to grow just about anything and yes, there is plenty of fruit, but vegetables are not abundant.  It's no wonder that much of the population is over weight.

18 January, 2012

Working in paradise

This morning I've been doing work that I couldn't get done before I left because I had to wait for input.  I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't get it in time and have trouble connecting with the whale watching tour tomorrow, but I got it this morning before breakfast.  It has taken a lot longer than I had anticipated, partly because I didn't realize that this MacBook has neither Acrobat nor Photoshop!  I mostly use it for troubleshooting and taking to class and do the Photoshop type stuff on my desktop machine.  I downloaded Acrobat Reader but the image problem was a little more difficult to handle.  I did a workaround .. hopefully it will pass.  Otherwise the instructor is going to have to do her own image work and send me a completed picture.  She's not all that keen on it so I hope she likes my fix.

I spent yesterday afternoon working on my tan at the pool and reading fashion magazines.  I have now gone through all of my magazines and I had to download a book from iTunes.  I think I have found another cause of elbow pain.  It was nearly gone until I spent some time reading from my iPad.  I had a painful night and I think it's a direct cause and effect.  Today I will try holding the iPad in my other hand ... duh ....

There was nothing on last night and my school friend has still not surfaced, so I expect the lady is monopolizing his time.  I got hold of my cousin's email address finally, after having left it on my shelf at home, but he's not responded either.  I could have gone to see the volcano with my boss and his wife and daughter, but I have seen it twice already and I would like to be here in case my cousin surfaces, so I declined. 

And now ... I have another entire afternoon and evening of rest and relaxation.  Honestly, I don't mind.  I need to soak up all the rest and relaxation I can because February is going to be a tough month.  A really tough month.  I am not the only person here on their own at all, but they have scientific colleagues to hang around with and I do not.  So that does leave me at loose ends.  I have a good book to read and whale watching tomorrow!  And who knows, my cousin or my friend could show up too.

17 January, 2012

Weather everywhere!

Oh I am so disappointed!  I just got a phone call from the tour operators that the whale watching trip today has been canceled due to high winds and waves.  And it is blowing quite hard.  I have re-scheduled for Thursday but ... now what?  I probably should have gotten on the shuttle and gone to the brewery for lunch, but that ship has already sailed .. ha ....  I think Plan B will be a walk up the hill to the other shopping area where there are several restaurants and a great view on the way back.  Then I can spend the afternoon working on the tan at the pool.  Now that the holiday is over it seems that the children are gone as well.  Bonus.

The luau last night was excellent!  A stage was set up on the lawn and there was a lovely buffet, although something I ate didn't agree with me and I had a bad hour or so during the night.  I think the culprit was some mystery fried something or other.  Everyone was quite keen on them so I thought I'd give it a try even though I don't typically eat those types of things.  And I soon remembered why.  Ah well ....  The dancers were very good and this show had dances from each one of the 5 or so Pacific Island cultures.  The highlight of the show was the fire dance.  And it was really cool.  Top that off by cake for dessert.  I love cake.

Well, off I got on a little adventure.  And I've got flat sandals on for this walk.  One nice thing about the wind is that when I do get around to sunbathing it will keep me cool.  Maybe this afternoon if I get to feeling I've had enough sun I'll come in and do a little knitting.   The view from here is quite nice if you settle yourself where the roof isn't in your direct line of sight.  Like on the bed.

16 January, 2012

It's only Monday!

Sunday morning I got up and had a run.  It was gorgeous!  It's the only time I can run in Hawaii -- in the morning right after the sun comes up when it's not too hot yet.  I couldn't do it this morning though.  This morning I got up, ate breakfast and manned the registration desk for a couple of hours, then I was finished.  Yesterday afternoon and early evening it was four hours at the desk, trying to check people in and get those not registered signed up and paid.  Thank goodness for the help I had, or it would have been total chaos.  As it was .... most of the unfortunates who had thought registering at the hotel constituted registering for the meeting did not speak English.  Since neither myself nor any people helping me spoke Japanese or Chinese it was difficult and frustrating for all those involved.  But at 7:15 we were finished and then we could enjoy the gorgeous food at the reception.  By 8:30 I was ready to call it a day.  My clock is still on Seattle time, and I don't mind a bit.  I sleep early and wake up early feeling awesome!

This morning as I was sitting at the desk staring out at the ocean I caught something out of the corner of my eye.  Ah!  A hummingbird!  And then it got closer and I saw that it was most definitely NOT a hummingbird but instead the largest bumblebee I had ever seen!  That was a nasty surprise.

I thought I would head downtown to have lunch, so I caught the little open air shuttle and road down to a beautiful little fish restaurant and ate some fish tostados.  Excellent.  And then a little stroll along the beach.  All the time looking out to the horizon for telltale spurts from the whales.  No luck.  I was hoping to get together with an old school friend and gave a call, but found out he's staying up north in a fancy hotel with a woman.  Ah ... sex trumps getting together with old school friends.  Everyone knows that.  Hopefully he can cut himself loose before I leave, but I won't count on it.

The shuttle only runs every two hours so I started walking the four miles back to the hotel, but two miles in sandals is about all I could do comfortably, so I found a place in the shade to wait.  I got plenty of sun today.  I was thinking of spending another out at the pool but thought better of it.  I don't want to over do the sun, especially since I'm going to be on a boat tomorrow afternoon whale watching.  I'll have plenty of sunscreen but still, I really don't want to get burned.

We have a luau tonight at 7 pm but that's more than 3 hours from now.  I think I'll have a shower and then go to the bar on the water and watch the sun go down and have a fancy tropical drink.  Oh .... and feel just a little bit guilty that I'm here and Seattle is snowy. 

15 January, 2012

From my room

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday in paradise

Well I really did get out of Seattle at the right. It is snowing! I sure hope it is all gone when I get home. I do not like to drive in the snow and since I parked at the airport this trip..... The flight was not too bad Saturday. It is a long day, for sure. Except for the guy sitting next to me who smelled like a sour dish sponge, it was tolerable. I had rented two movies for my iPad and watched "Cowboys vs Aliens". It was violent but I enjoyed it. This is the third time I have stayed at this hotel in Kona. I don't particularly like my room because it overlooks a roof, but beyond that is the ocean. No sightings of whales yet although others have seen them. I got to watch some football last night and at lunch today. In a few hours I will have to do some work. I got up so early today I have already run for 30minutes, breakfasted, read, swam, showered and had lunch! Maybe I will finish the Football game. I would like to add a picture but can't from this interface. Later.

13 January, 2012

A kind of vacation day

Because I was nearly finished getting things set up for my week away from the office, I decided to take today as a vacation day so I could do laundry and clean and pack in a leisurely manner instead of having to do it all in a rush tonight.  There is some work I am able to do from the meeting hotel, but anything that requires downloading files onto the department server I cannot do because of security issues.  With just one last site to tidy up, awaiting dummy file names from a faculty member, the little bit of work I would have to do from home today wouldn't be worth counting.  That's what I thought.  Unfortunately there has been one emergency after another.  I think the worst of it is over for now, finally.  And since a pipe burst in my building there is not water so I can't do laundry at this time anyway!  Annoying but it should be back on in another hour or so. 

It's cold, very cold and should be snowing by tomorrow evening.  I am getting out just in time!  I had a nice sleep in and Tink got a lovely long walk, then I hopped over to the mall to see if I could, by chance, find another pair of shorts.  I found that I only own two pairs and they're not very nice ones.  As luck would have it they were having a huge sale at Macy's and I got a gorgeous pair of linen shorts, a pair of black ones and another pair of white jeans.  I do have a pair of white jeans already, but they're very trendy and more like leggings and I don't think they're very appropriate in a business setting.  These are much more decorous.  So I'm set!  If I could only do a little laundry I could pack.

I didn't work on the ruffled monstrosity last night because my elbow was hurting .... oddly since it has been so much better lately.  I didn't want to aggravate it further,  I think I'll take the bag of sock yarn and needles that I took to Europe with me.  If I do get the urge to knit I will have something to hand.

Well, I can't put it off any longer.  I guess I'm going to have to clean the apartment until I can do laundry.  Pictures from Hawaii coming soon.

12 January, 2012

Six digits -- 357420

I had to get to the bottom of the mysterious delayed Christmas card.  I couldn't believe that the USPS or UK postal service would take weeks to process an airmail letter so I was leaning more and more towards it being the fault of the UW mail delivery service.  I saw the mail delivery woman in the hall and told her the story and, since we were near my office, I showed her the envelope which clearly has my name and my office number.  "Oh, well there's no box number there.  That's why.  It needs a box number".  And she was snotty about it!!  So it took someone (or several more likely) more than two weeks to crack that very difficult code of name and office number and put them together to get the department's box number?  All they would have to do is go online and search my name and find the department name!  Which is probably what they did but it took them two weeks to get around to it!!  Crazy.  But mystery solved at any rate.

It's cold and clear again this morning.  I had to drive in because there is a branch hanging over into the parking area from the next property and a tree service is coming to cut it down this morning.  My car is one of the 20 that needed to be moved from 8 to 10, so I figured I'd just drive in this morning.  I turned the car on, and locked it and then took Tink for a nice walk and then when I got back from putting her in the apartment the car was frost free and toasty warm. 

It is whale migrating season in Hawaii, I just found out yesterday.  I am SO excited because I have never been there during the migrating season and I've always wanted to see it.  There are several tours a day from Kona so one of the first things I'm going to do when I get there is book a whale watching cruise.  I can't wait! 

Things are falling into place.  I've got a few more details to take care of and then I'll only have one rather large chore to fulfill when I'm away.  Because of that I'm going to have to take my laptop with me, so I'm taking my new MacBook.  I got a smaller, lightweight computer case for it.  I didn't want to lug anything else on board with me but it can't be helped.  I can't put it in my suitcase so I'm going to have to lug it. 

11 January, 2012

You just never know ..

what you're going to find in the mailbox.  Yesterday afternoon I went to check my office mail and found a red envelope and when I opened it ..... a Christmas card!  Granted, it came from far away but air mail nonetheless.  Where could it have been for these past weeks?  It may have been stuck in the UW postal system.  I don't care.  It was a wonderful surprise and almost like having Christmas all over again.

The weather is like Christmas too -- very cold and clear.  The sunrise today was gorgeous!  Very  ... I was going to say red, but it wasn't red exactly.  Somewhere between red and pink.  Beautiful!  I see from the extended weather forecast that it may be snowing next week, or sleeting anyway.   Gosh, I'm going to be sorry to miss that!

I only got a few rows done on the Mochi Plus Ruffled Shawl last night.  The evening just got away from me and so it wasn't until after 7:30 when I could sit down with it and then not for long.  I don't have much hope of getting too much more done on it until I get back.  I've got noon knitting today, and then the next three evenings.  But I've got to do laundry and pack on Friday so that doesn't count, so two more evenings.  I won't be taking it with me, that's for sure!

No running today and that's a good thing.  I am sore from starting up my evening work outs again and I could use the rest.  I found an exercise yesterday that my elbow most definitely does NOT like, and that's reverse flys.  Otherwise the triceps work is fine and the curls and push ups as well.  It is a little sore today, but still better that it was.  Sometimes I don't even notice it.  I did have a restless night last night, but I am not sure if it was the elbow or the noise.  I do remember hearing a car alarm going off and then fading away as the tow truck dragged the car out of the lot.  They don't fool around here.  If you find someone in your parking spot there is a number to call and the tow truck comes and away they go.  There are quite a few visitor spots as well as street parking so there is really no reason to take a spot that isn't yours.  But some people ....  It's an expensive mistake.

10 January, 2012

Perhaps the most boring BCS title game ever

The title says it all -- last night was the final college football game, the BCS title game between Alabama and LSU.  These two teams are in the same division and played each other earlier in the year in a much closer game.  There was much hue and cry against having them play again and those people are vindicated today.  It was a blow out with Alabama running all over LSU, not allowing even a field goal.  Lucky for me, while the game started at 5:30 I didn't get to sit down until nearly 7, so once I saw the way it was going I fast forwarded to real time and didn't have to waste my entire evening.  Usually these bowl games are very exciting, so I was disappointed.  Ah well ... still a few more weeks of NFL to look forward to. 

I got another good hour into my ruffled wrap project.  It is going to be heavy.  Already it's difficult to manipulate and I'm not even half way through the body.  I am using my Denise needles and twice now a needle has detached from its cord.  I've been lucky enough to catch it in time, but it's a pain.  I must be more careful from now on.

Great news on the elbow front -- it is getting better and better every day.  I even did push ups yesterday evening as part of my workout and was able to get through both sets without any elbow pain!  I did get quite a twinge when I was walking Tink and holding the leash with my right hand.  Another dog lunged at her and she jerked my arm and that was painful, but not for long.  Hopefully I'll be fully recovered in another few weeks.  And now I know how it's done, I shall never do it again.

I am really enjoying my latest audio book and trying not to speed through it too quickly.  I like to stretch them out and only listen on my bus rides, but sometimes they are so good that I cheat and listen while I'm walking the dog.  I have read all of PD James' books over the years but I decided to get an audio version since some of them were read so long ago that the plot synopses weren't ringing any bells.  I got "A Taste for Death" and I have a new reference for some of the places mentioned.  For example when they talk of walking through this park and that park I know where they are.  It adds so much to the listening experience.  And this narrator is very good.  Some of the men do a very bad job with women's voices, a half falsetto voice that is really very grating to me.  Not so in this book.  His female voices are very subtle.

It's a week of little, irritating detail type things to get done before I am away at the meeting. It makes the day difficult to get through.  I look forward to my run.  It was raining this morning.  Fingers crossed it's finished for the day.

09 January, 2012

Practically nailed it

My first try at mushroom soup was a success -- not completely perfect but near enough.  I was trying to get the texture of the soup I had at a very romantic restaurant in Windsor in November and I came very close indeed.  My only complaint is that my soup is a bit too thick.  Last night I diluted one cup of it with 1/2 cup of chicken stock and that was ideal.  I made this first batch with 8 ounces of sliced white mushrooms, 6 ounces or Portobello mushrooms and a packet of dried wild mushrooms (rehydrated, of course) and an onion and chicken stock.  Next time I think I'll skip the 6 ounces of Portobello and add another cup of liquid, and that should be perfect.  But as it is, it's like a mushroom soup concentrate and still quite yummy.

Besides making mushroom soup this past weekend, my other aim was to finish the ruffle of the (huge) wrap and start on the body, and I accomplished that as well.  There were NFL playoff games to watch Saturday and Sunday and that made for perfect knitting time.  Both days I got my 1 1/2 hour walk with Tinkerbell and chores done early and I had a luxurious amount of time for just goofing off.  Sometimes my weekend just seem to zip by with a million and one chores and errands but this past weekend wasn't one of those.  I'm not complaining.

It's windy but still not cold.  That's fine with me and really we're only a few weeks into actual winter.  I'm sure we'll get nasty weather soon enough.  Probably February ... but now I've got two fun things to look forward to in February.  The first is the race on the 11th and then at the end of the month I'm going to a fundraiser - a Mardi Gras themed party/silent auction thing for a women's shelter.  That is going to be fun!  And, bonus, a reason to dress up!  I think March is going to be the tough month this year.  I need to plan a getaway for March or April, because if not it'll be a long long stretch between this trip coming up and the next one, which is a business meeting as well, in June in Portland, Oregon.  It'll be a train ride.  Not that exciting. 

05 January, 2012

My new love

Homemade soup!  Ever since I watched Emma take a few vegetables, throw them in a  pot and serve up a gorgeous bowl of soup I have been trying for the same magic.  Last weekend I finally got the recipe just right for a potato leek soup by adding a red pepper to the mix.  It is delicious if I do say so myself.  And now this weekend I'm going to try my hand at mushroom soup.  I just adore mushroom soup and I've been reading recipes, so I think I can give it a go.  I don't want cream or half and half in the soup, so that makes it a little more difficult to follow a recipe because most of them do have at least some milk product.  But there are other ways of thickening a soup - a little roux perhaps or maybe a single potato thrown into the mix.  I'll have fun figuring it out, and hopefully fun eating it as well!

It was a stunningly gorgeous afternoon for a run yesterday.  I changed up my route a bit and ran downhill for the first 1 1/4 mile, and then up the second.  It's a little better work out, although the grade is no more than 5%.  They are tearing down the visitor stands in Husky Stadium now in preparation for the remodel and it's so odd to run by that destruction.  It looks like a movie set!  It is going to be a spectacular stadium when it is finished.  Next year the Huskies will play football in the Seahawk's stadium downtown.  I hope I can score some tickets.

And here's the best news of all!  My elbow is starting to feel better, finally.  It's not 100% yet, but I have been doing my evening workouts and they incorporate some upper body and arm exercises and these seem to be helping.  At least I don't feel like it's never going to get any better, which is what it felt like a couple of weeks ago.  Now I am optimistic for a speedy recovery.

I got an email yesterday for the Valentine's Day run -- the Love 'em or Leave 'em 5K around Green Lake.  It is February 11 this year and I'm going to sign up for it.  It is a great event, although sometimes it can be punishingly cold at that time of year.  I want to try to beat my time for the Iron Girl run I did on the same course.  And that shouldn't be too hard.  I will be able to use my music, I'll make sure my shoes are double tied and I'll have three weeks after my meeting to train.  I can't wait.

That's more like it

It is quite crisp this morning, and clear.  It was pouring rain yesterday nearly all day, and in the evening the wind came up and blew all the clouds away.  I got soaked when I walked down to the Office Depot to put in the order for the booklet yesterday morning.  Even with an umbrella, going both ways my coat was quite wet when I got back.  Good thing I didn't have to run after that because it would have been miserable.  When I got home the rain had slacked off, so I left my umbrella in the apartment when I took Tinkerbell out for her walk and neglected to even take a hat and, of course, the rain came back and we were both soaked through when we got back.  It looks like I should have nice weather for my run today though if the clouds stay away.  Cold, I don't mind.  The rain is another matter.

I've done about a mile of ruffle and I've got another mile to go.  I have read the notes of other people doing this project and many of them say they stop when they get to the small/medium size because it looks like the ruffle is plenty big, but after finishing they regret not going for the larger size.  I believe it's because they are looking at this gigantic long ruffle and not realizing that it's the outside, longest edge they're looking at.  I'm going all the way because I want this to be luxurious and huge.

My paperwhite narcissus bulbs have flowered and every once in a while I catch the scent when I pass through the dining room or sit down at the table to eat.  I love that scent!  I wish I had gotten a couple more of them, although they don't last long.  I'll be able to enjoy these all next week and then by the time I get back from the meeting I suspect they'll be spent.

I am earning my salary this week for sure.  I can't wait for the weekend.  I want to sleep and sleep.  And sleep some more.  There will be some good football on this weekend.  Unfortunately the Seahawks are not in the playoffs.  I'm going to have to choose a team to follow.  Oh ... and I've got to find a party to attend for Super Bowl Sunday.  There are a couple of choices so far.  And it's a ways away. 

04 January, 2012

Muscle memory

Well, my arm didn't have any trouble finding that snooze button on the clock this morning!  Straight as an arrow - pow!  That reminds me -- I don't hear that alarm buzzing and buzzing any more when I'm walking Tink in the garden in the morning.  They must have moved out.

All my plans for getting the booklet to the printer yesterday went exactly nowhere.  Oh, I got the changes made and the file sent off to proof but they didn't get back to me, so around 3 o'clock I phoned down to find out what was happening.  They were very busy, which turns out to be a good thing because right after I spoke to them I got an email from New York with a change - a talk removed from a platform session and changed into a poster.  Good thing the printers were busy because I was that close to having it done.  And then last night at 10:00 I got another email about a missing poster abstract.  So this morning I have a perfect reason to skip the Curriculum Meeting.  It seems such a simple thing to remove one talk and add two posters, but since I used a very very simple word processing program rather than something like InDesign, all of the page numbers for the abstract program and index entries are done by hand rather than automatically.  It is my hope that I can carve out a few weeks this winter to learn the professional program and then some change like this will be much easier plus I can make EPUB documents.  As it is, I can turn this booklet into a PDF and if one has an iPad or iPhone the PDF can be opened in iBooks and it's searchable.  It's a nice alternative but EPUB is more universal.  Ah!  Good news -- the boss just stopped by.  He's going to the Curriculum Meeting so now I don't feel bad about missing it at all.

I had a great run yesterday.  This weather is so very mild for this time of year.  All of the leaves are gone now, which I really noticed when I got back from California.  But it is not cold.  It's going to be quite a shock when the weather does turn.

Noon knitting today.  I brought the ruffle, which I worked on last night for an hour or so.  Tink got two decent walks last night and a little play time, but still at 8:30 she was nudging me and bugging me to go to the bedroom.  After she nudges me a couple of times I will put her on the floor and she'll either lay down there by my chair or the couch or head off to the bedroom.  Sometimes, like last night, she'll head off down the hall and then turn around and give me a look, take another step and do the same .... I just gave up and went to bed and read until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I had a great sleep. Now let's hope I have great success today and get this booklet out of my hair!!

03 January, 2012

And we're back

Back to the real world and no more sleeping in, at least until the weekend.  I couldn't find the snooze button on my alarm clock this morning!  It seems ages since I've had to wake with the alarm.  I didn't stay up too late last night and I was able to get right to sleep so I feel just fine this morning.  And I am very much looking forward to my run this afternoon.  It's back on the straight and narrow for me.  I have to be ready to put on a bathing suit in two weeks, so I have to stop being so lazy and get back running *and* doing after work sessions as well. 

The weekend, by that I mean Sunday and Monday, was full of good football.  There were some good NFL games on Sunday and yesterday were two really good college bowl games.  I finished Kelli's beret on Saturday so Sunday I naturally started another project.  Naturally.  There is a package of Noro yarn that's been on my shelf for years and I couldn't decide what to use it for, but I found a ruffled girlie thing and I couldn't help myself.  It starts with the ruffle - miles and miles of ruffle.  Perfect TV knitting.  I finished one ball up yesterday and have started the second.  I believe it's going to take four balls just for the ruffle.

Tons of things to get done today and number one on my list is finalizing that booklet and getting it to the printer!  It was storming last night - wind and heavy rain - but it's nice this morning which is quite handy since I'm going to have to walk down to the printer.  I suppose I could take the bus, but it's just as easy to walk and as long as it's not lashing rain, I'd prefer to do that.  Poor Tink didn't get much exercise on either of her evening walks yesterday because it was coming down in buckets!  She just went out, did her business and then gave me a look.  Miserable weather.  At least it's not cold.

02 January, 2012

The new year starts out auspiciously

The party New Year's Eve was quite fun, although it was slow starting.  Since Monika had volunteered to drive we needed to make our way to their house and since neither McG nor myself was intending NOT to drink, we decided to take public transportation from my place.  I researched the route, McG got here in time and we were out the door and to the bus stop in time to catch what I was lead to believe was the bus downtown to connect with the train.  Somehow I misread the route and we were instead dropped off at the transit station to catch a different bus downtown.  Not a big deal -- we found the bus we needed and made our way to the stop.  There was only room for one on the bench and of course McG sat himself down and left me standing in crazy high heels.  Not that I expect anything else from him, mind you.  Unfortunately he plopped himself down next to a young man who took exception to his lack of manners,  and they got into a little heated discussion.  The young man started talking about how he had just gotten out of the "joint" and did McG want to "throw down"?  And oh by the way, McG was "nothin'!"  Thankfully we were saved by the arrival of a bus, not our bus but at least it interrupted the posturing.  The rest of the ride was uneventful, and we got on the train and there was the car and off we went to Kent.

There was dancing and food and plenty of laughs.  The host had made the "Better than Sex Chocolate Cake" that I mentioned a few months ago.  I tasted it and I am here to tell you that it's NOT better than sex -- well, not all sex.  Maybe it's better than some, but not the out-of-body type.  Not by a long shot.  I am happy to report that I pretty much stayed out of trouble at the party ... sometimes I tend to get a little sassy and I guess I did just a little, because when the host brought out a big bottle of Cook's and asked if anyone wanted some champagne to toast the new year and I piped up, "That's not champagne!"  He said, "Okay, Miss SnootyPants".  He is an executive and travels to Europe frequently so he darned well knows that's not champagne too.  I must not have insulted him too badly because he gave me a Sonicare Toothbrush!  It's nice and it was a bit of a surprise when I opened my purse the next morning and found it there.  I had a bit of a headache, not too bad, and I had fallen asleep with my contacts in, but at least I didn't find any other surprises other than the toothbrush, and that's a GOOD surprise.

The day was just beautiful and sunny and very mild.  Tink and I set off for our long weekend walk and I discovered a nature trail!  It's odd, I've been here nine months and I never realized that there was a large network of trails on the campus of the Community College -- a nature conservatory wetland.  Tink and I explored it today and it's really lovely!  It will be gorgeous when it snows and in the spring too.  There are little bridges and a pond.  It is between the school and the freeway so it's noisy but it's nice to have a different place to go on our walks, and if I have my headphones on the freeway isn't even noticeable.

Plenty of football yesterday afternoon and in the evening a marathon of "Absolutely Fabulous" on BBC America.  There is a 20th anniversary special next weekend that I am looking forward to watching.

And now last day of vacation.  It's laundry and little chores.  I have a busy couple of days coming up.  I have been so loving sleeping in - two days in a row now Tink has let me sleep until after 9!  It's going to be tough to get up early tomorrow.  Very tough.