Friday, December 02, 2016

Free association Friday

The new tags needed to go on the car Thursday morning. Nevermind the fact that they have been in my purse for a month; the official expiration date of the old ones wasn't until November 30th. It's a thirty second process to stick them on - no need to rush.

Except...Governor Walker apparently decided to save a few bucks by using a generic adhesive on the stickers, instead of the gorilla glue-strength stuff from years past. The 2017 sticker just sort of slid all over the old one. Sigh.

So at 6 a.m. today, I unscrewed the license plate holder, put down a layer of doublesided tape, and applied the new tag. Screwed the plate holder back in; it actually helps secure the left side of the tag. The tape may not hold as well as superglue would, but it was all I had.

St. Nick visits the evening of the 5th or 6th, depending on your tradition. I miss him; he visited all the way through my college years. The Star Trek coloring book and crayons he gave me as a joke one year actually worked very well as an exam time stress reliever (1979 - I was adult coloring before coloring was cool).

Speaking of coloring, the agency through which I sponsor a couple of girls in El Salvador suggested that in addition to sending the girls coloring book pages, I should send one that I've colored, for them to put on their walls.

Last night I started setting up December in my Bullet Journal. I'd used it faithfully for a while, then more or less forgot about it. There is an incredible Facebook group devoted to all things Bujo, with incredible spreads and trackers.

While I love the artwork, I simply don't have the time or inclination to spend hours decorating what is, in essence, a calendar. It needs to serve the purpose of tracking important dates and other things. If the other crowds that out, the whole process is useless. I still like to make it fairly pretty, with different colors and cute date markers (for December, the date markers look like little ornaments - super easy, super quick to do). But in the end, it's a place to dump the things my brain needs to know, but often misfiles.

Looking forward to two weeks off at Christmas, though this year, they start almost a week later than they would otherwise. With the holiday over the weekend, and a 12/31 immovable deadline (again, thanks, State of Wisconsin), it seemed prudent to take the second week in early January instead of before Christmas.

Holiday festivities begin next week, with a Christmas dinner with the quilt guild gang. Sometime this weekend, I may take a drive to scope out the venue. It's in a part of town I don't go to often, and I'll be coming straight from work, in the rapidly darkening dusk. It should be fun; I've a feeling these ladies are hearty partiers.

Laying low this weekend. Thanksgiving night I started coming down with a nasty cold which has fulfilled its promise this week. Copious amounts of sleep (eleven hours a night seems to be the magic number), mucinex, Tylenol and pineapple juice have done a fair job of knocking it back, but a weekend of taking it easy could finally kick it to the curb.

A reason to snuggle up in front of the fire: we may see our first accumulating snow of the season on Sunday. At the moment, there is still a chance it could be mostly rain, but if it is snow, they are saying 1 - 3 inches. After enjoying the second warmest November in Wisconsin since they started keeping records in the 1870s, I've a feeling a whole lot of people will be in shock when they finally see snow and seasonal temperatures.

That's it here. Time to blow my nose yet again and get back to work.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chim-chim-cheer-e

As I type, the sweep is up on the roof. And the neighbor, a sweet woman who never.stops.talking. is trying to hold a conversation with him from the ground. Hopefully, he will at least get some more work out of it.

The sweep is professional visit number one for the day. Mid afternoon (or later - my window is 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.) the carpet cleaners come.

Does anyone else feel a driving need to clean before the cleaners come? Like put everything away, pull out the furniture to vacuum/dust behind it, check high and low for errant spider webs and generally act like your white gloved, cleanliness obsessed, much feared mother-in-law is about to arrive?

I'm pretty sure it's not just me.

In fairness, the furniture would have to be pulled out anyway when they clean the carpet. It's not as if I've not done that in recent memory. The pulling out, that is. It would have been done again this week, whether or not the carpet were being done, as my philosophy about Christmas decorations is that once they are up, you clean around them. That being the case, it makes sense to make sure everything is really clean before you put things up.

There's a bit to do yet. Once the sweep leaves, I need to vacuum the steps (carpeted, and also being cleaned this afternoon). Just didn't have the oomph to do it last night.

There is some fun stuff planned for this couple of days off. The carpet needs time to dry, so I'm planning to spend a good part of tomorrow out of the house. Finally pick up my new contact lenses, go to a quilt store I'm known about for a couple of years but have not yet been to, and possibly hit the garden center for one last bag of mulch.

(Yes, I'm aware that my definition of "fun" may differ from that of most people)

Ah - good news. The HOA did indeed put additional screening around the chimney cap. The sweep thinks they critters weren't actually getting in, but rather the birds built a nest between the second and third wall of the triple-walled stack. I'm not going to ask to inspect the contents of his vacuum, but I do think there will be some bird bones in there, no matter what he says.

I'm looking forward to sitting in front of the fire, looking out over the clean carpet.

Tuesday night, after the carpet dries.

After I put back all the stuff I've taken out of the living room to make it easier for them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Because it's been almost two weeks

Somewhere during that two weeks there was a presidential election. Personally, I'm happy with the results, and cautiously optimistic that real change will happen. Then again, that would imply some measure of cooperation from the Democrats.

That.ain't.gonna.happen.

In local news, I am on vacation the three workdays there are next week. Two full days are scheduled with necessary things; I've moved on to trying plan some fun. I've yet to visit the local Hobby Lobby. There is an arts and antique vendor mall half an hour out of the city I'd like to visit. A friend and I already have a craft day scheduled for one afternoon.

That, however, may be dependent on the weather. This Friday, our amazing stretch of above average November weather is coming to an abrupt and pneumonia-inducing end. Temps are supposed to drop twenty degrees between one day and the next - and stay dropped. The weather people are already making noise about a "storm" of some sort or other arriving somewhere between Thanksgiving and the following Saturday. At this point, they are not saying snow, but it is early days.

Time to wash the winter coat.

One of the vacation projects is to "eat the freezer". Actually, the contents of the freezer. I have a bad habit of picking something up after work rather than coming home to cook. While I do cook quite a bit on the weekend - including things to reheat for dinner during the upcoming week - not cooking during the week means the freezer eventually gets rather full.

The chicken breast and containers of soup (the three Italian beef/barley I just put in, plus the two of chili I unexpectedly found Sunday) will stay. Everything else is fair game. I plan to make the small pork tenderloin on Thanksgiving. I need some ideas on what to do with ground turkey (a pound or so), half a pound of ground pork, Italian sausage (other than the obvious things), a little bit (maybe one or two links) of Andouille, half a pound of lamb stew meat, a small cube steak and a lone pork chop or two. I know there is more...catfish and a couple of small steaks.

Truly, it doesn't get like this very often.

Also on the list is clearing out the pantry, taking a bag or two of cans and pasta to the local police station for their food drive. If I have the ambition, I'll bake a couple of coffee cakes to take to the officers, plus a batch of "cookies" for the K-9s. With the chimney sweep and carpet cleaning on Monday, it will be a good day to hang out in the kitchen.

Quilt guild tonight, with the speaker I've looked forward to since June. It's also the last night to hand in money and registrations for our Christmas party; I think I'd rather not spend the money. It's fairly expensive ($40 - 50 depending on your choice of entrée), and that doesn't include the buy-your-own drinks. Eh. I don't have my checkbook with me, but if I change my mind before I leave work today, we have an ATM in the building lobby.

Besides, since this guild seems to do everything based on "old people" time, I'd still be home by eight that night. And that includes a half hour drive time home from the restaurant.

Still on the fence about this guild, can you tell? The nickel and diming...I just realized I forgot to grab my nametag, which will cost me a quarter. Sheesh. Or maybe fifty cents? If they don't mind some pennies, I have about fifty cents in my desk drawer.

I'd better get to it. I have things I need to get done by Friday, yet every time I turn around someone wants something else, and it's an "emergency".

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Randomosity, before my head explodes

- Voting. Voted last Wednesday. Incredibly quick, painless process, unlike the choices. Based on the number they assigned me, they had seen just under 100 people per day for the first three days of early voting. That number per day is much higher now.

- Sticker! For the first time in years (I've early voted ever since I moved five years ago), I actually got an "I Voted!" sticker whilst early voting. Still a bit put out, though, as a co-worker who voted at the same place the day before received an "I Voted Early!" sticker. Still, a sticker is a sticker.

- Cubs. Congratulations to baseball's perennial losers. Apparently, the MKE media went crazy last night after the Cubs' win. I can only assume that's because they realize the Brewers will not give cause for similar celebration for quite some time.

- Give as good as you get. Two days ago, I received a text message from some liberal get-out-the-vote organization. Last night, I just missed picking up a call that caller ID said came from New York. They left a voice mail - sure enough, another liberal hack, this one a nice sounding lady urging me as a "friend of Hillary" to get out and vote early. Guess what? It wasn't a toll free number, so I called her back.

She was a bit confused at the call back, I could tell. I nicely, but firmly informed her I am no friend of Hillary, wanted off whatever list she pilfered me from, and that yes, I had voted early - NOT for Hillary. If I figure out what company sold the list with my name on it to the Dems, it will be one company I'll never do business with again. I guard my phone number like a hawk.

- Adulting! I'm on vacation the week of Thanksgiving. Every Black Friday for the last five years I've had the annual furnace maintenance; this year is no exception. To add to the homeowner fun, I've scheduled the chimney sweep and a carpet clean for Monday of that week (in that order, separated by about three hours). Crammed a hair appointment in the morning of the furnace servicing as well. Trying not to have a "must do" or appointment on every day of the vacation week.

- Wacky weather. We tied a record high Tuesday (77 degrees on November 1st). Normal highs this time of year are around 54 - 55. While it cooled off, we are still going to be five to ten degrees above normal for the next week. Good thing; I still need to take care of some outside things before the snow flies.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Office politics

A couple of months after I started working at the university, a memo came out stating that we were going to dress up like Jesuits for Halloween (Jesuits had a better sense of humor twenty years ago). Collars would be provided; we simply were to wear all black attire.

The day came, we were issued our collars, and walked over to the racquetball court to have a group picture taken.

For the several years after that, we were encouraged to wear costumes on Halloween, provided we didn't have meetings, or it wasn't too extreme. The practice fell away, however, and in recent years, getting anyone to do anything extra in our office has been difficult.

Simply put, morale sucks.

This is in part due to a whole host of announced changes, shifts in personnel and university structure that will unfold over the next year. The stress level around here, usually at a six on a ten point scale, ratcheted up over eight, where it will stay until the dust settles.

One young colleague appears to have taken upon herself the unofficial mantle of "morale officer". She brought in a random treat last week (bagels), and now has sent out an email saying our boss has agreed to let us wear costumes next Monday, meetings permitting.

This leaves me in a quandary.

On the one hand, get off my lawn. I don't "celebrate" Halloween.

On the other, she is trying to make things happier around here.

So, were I inclined to dress up, what is both simple and easy to get rid of if it makes me crazy?

- tape 1040s all over me and go as the Tax (wo)Man?
- find the light up reindeer antlers, add a light up red nose and go as Rudolph?
- pin on a piece of batting covered with pieces of fabric, to be a quilt in progress?
- keep my office door mostly shut all day, and be the grumpy old lady?

Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

31 days....oh, who am I fooling? It's Read-a-Thon time!

Eh. So much for 31 days of posting, huh?

The October Read-a-Thon is fast approaching. Saturday, October 22, if any of you are interested.

There are a myriad of good reasons to participate in this semi-annual festival of all things book-related. After all, a serious reader jumps at any excuse to spend an entire day focused on nothing but the printed (or pixilated) word.

Alas, I lost my mind and scheduled a craft day with a friend for that Saturday. Since it is at her house, and transporting the sewing machine is always a pain, I'm thinking I may be able to bend the craft day rules a bit to make things fit into the read-a-thon.

I "collect" three main types of books: mystery novels, cookbooks, and...quilting books. In addition, I subscribe to two three two quilting magazines. Rather than take a project to work on for craft day, I can load up the car with quilting magazines and books.

The herd of magazines needs thinning, anyway. Every couple of years, I go through the stack (one magazine publishes every other month, the other one per quarter), pulling out articles and patterns of interest. Then, every four years or so, I go through the accumulated pulled-out articles and thin those out. Yes, it sounds like busywork (why not just read, then recycle the magazine instead of pulling things out, to not be looked at again until they are on the way to recycling years later?). But every minute spent looking at other quilts, other techniques is a valuable aid in your own future quilting.

And thus, I won't feel guilty counting those hours towards my reading goals.

The best thing about the fall event is, frankly, the season of the year. How can you not want to curl up in front of a fire, with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate (or glass of wine) close to hand? Or prop a book up to read while you have a thick beef stew (cooked in the crockpot, so you can continue reading) for dinner?

Even if you cannot commit to read for the full 24 hours (I'm not that crazy, personally), consider signing up. That simple act of committing guarantees you will spend more time in a book that day than you would otherwise.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

31 Days...falling down on the job edition

I did warn you. It's been a week, and I've simply not been able to put coherent thoughts together. I was blind Monday night (dilation from eye exam), out late with a friend Tuesday, and recovering last night. Tonight I've a hair appointment after work.

And I'm terribly, horribly, unremittingly crabby.

A confluence of stupid things can put me in a grouchy mood. It's been a banner week for stupid things/people.

Discovered voice mail hasn't been sending notifications since June. Four months of messages.

Coworker decides to unload a backpack on me to "fix" for her.

Had to go into West Allis for the third time in a week (you can't get there (easily) from here, and there are random 10-foot long (but blocking entire lanes) construction zones all over the place).

The brand new washer may (or most likely may not) be part of a recall by Samsung for certain models that have a chance of...going crazy and self destructing (I have to input the serial number in their database to find out...the serial number on my invoice is one number too short; the serial number is on the back of the panel of the washer, where I cannot reach, unless I stand on something, lean over and take a picture (haven't had time yet).

The radio station I usually listen to is running their fall pledge drive. I switch to Pandora, but Pandora is now doing the "are you still listening?" thing once an hour, and they no longer supply the option to interact with an ad to get four hours of continuous play. Instead, they would like you to upgrade to Pandora premium, at $5 per month. Um, no. I keep forgetting to bring the ipod.

Lots of other, in ordinary times, small annoyances. It's just been too many of them all at once, and I just want.it.to.stop.

Going to close my office door to try to get some stuff done, not that it will do much good. They can still annoy me via phone or email, or, as has happened in the past, by unlocking my door and just walking in (not even knocking first - apparently, she thought I wasn't in the office, as I so very, very rarely close my door entirely when I'm here).

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better one.