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I’m at Sheep in the City this weekend. It’s a good weekend for any sort of fiber related activity up here in Wisconsin since it’s cold and snowy outside. I’ll have to venture out at some point to get some lunch, but most of today (Saturday) will be spent indoors learning some new things.

Like SPINNING!!! Yes! I bought a drop spindle and some roving. A very nice woman at the booth where I’ve also dropped a few dollars got me started. It’s not nearly as difficult as I thought and I’ve been spinning away for an hour or so now. Just as relaxing as knitting and as portable with the drop spindle.

I’m also working on a knitted garden gnome. You read that right. It’s another Amy Gaines pattern. In January, I bought three more of her patterns and am just starting work on them. After I finish this one, I plan to move on to a knitted bird and birdhouse…perfect for spring.

I’ve taken a few pictures, but photographing yarn is proving somewhat difficult for me. I’m not happy with how the colors are turning out. It’s good practice though in an area that I’ve never been as comfortable taking pictures.

Time to head back to the action. I think Guild Wars will be starting soon. Two fiber guilds are competing to see how can knit a scarf the fastest…from start to finish. Including carding the wool, spinning it into yarn, and the actual knitting of said wool. Exciting stuff!!! (I really mean that.)

Then my first class (well, it’s a make and take but I will be learning a new technique) starts in an hour. I’ll have a break for lunch. Then the sweater class is this afternoon. The rest of the day will be filled with general hijinks. Maybe I’ll break out the bathing suit and scare some people in the hot tub. *snort*

And for those who wonder, travel was fine yesterday. Some snow flurries developed as I got closer to Rockford and those continued throughout the rest of my trip. Traffic was fine. The interstates in IL left some to be desired. Wonder what Blagojevich was doing with all the money designated for highway repairs. Well, maybe I don’t really wonder. But there are some potholes you could lose yourself in.

And on the food front, I took advantage of the continental breakfast the hotel (Comfort Suites, btw) offered and had a decent, healthy, and filling start to my day. I think I could use another cup of coffee now. Or maybe a bottle of water.

I took my time driving back to IL today. Mostly because I sat and ate lunch and supper while reading a book and because I got off the main road to take some more pictures along the way.

I really thought there would be more snow on the ground in Iowa, but maybe the sun the past two days helped melt some of it. There were still a couple of cars left in the ditch from the storm.

Oh snap!

Posted on: February 15, 2009

Charley and I went driving today so I could get some pitchers pictures for my photography assignment. He was incredibly well-behaved and held still when I asked him to so that my arm wasn’t jiggled by the leash. It’s great because I like the companionship even if we don’t talk much. Here are a few of the pictures I got today.

Valentine’s Day was very nice. DH got home in the late afternoon and had a present for me. It was very unexpected! We went to IHOP for dinner. While it’s not a romantic location, we both like the food and it’s generally quiet enough that we can have a conversation. Which we did…about politics, dogs, and other stuff. Since I only get to spend about a weekend a month with him, that’s more important that some fancy schmancy dinner.

DH has been gone since 7 am today and won’t be home for another 2 hours, at least. The dogs and I slept in and napped most of the morning. You’ve seen the results of my afternoon. Tonight I plan to watch the beginning of the new season of The Amazing Race. It’s interesting to see the places they travel. I think I’ll work some more on my neck warmer. Looks like I might need it this week with the temperatures dropping again.

Tomorrow morning DH is bringing his car in for some work and I plan to follow him to town. We’ll have some breakfast and this great restaurant before I get on the road. I hope to have some time along the way to do get some more pictures…especially if there is still loads of snow left in Iowa.

Then it’s back to work and the usual stuff. I’ll be in and out of town again this week for meetings and training stuff. Yes, I’ll be glad when all this traveling back and forth to the Quad Cities is over. But I’m learning a lot about the college, which is extremely helpful. There is also an academic librarians meeting this week that I’m planning to attend up at our campus in Moline. So far all the librarians I’ve met here in IL and nearby IA have been extremely welcoming and helpful.

Now I’m trying to decide when I can travel over to eastern IL to visit my parents. I’m hoping for the first or second weekend in March. That sounds like it should be far in the future, but this year is moving along so quickly. Wow!

I finally made it to KS this morning. The 2-4 inches of snow that was predicted for central IA ended up being a snow storm warning. Um…whoops! If I had know the weather conditions were going to be that bad, I wouldn’t have attempted the trip. But, I’m safe and the Xterra is in one piece. I had one scary moment where I was certain I was going to become very friendly with the ditch. Thanks to low speed and no nearby cars, I stayed on the road and intact. I ended up stopping in Lincoln, NE around 12:30 am (still at least 2 hours from home in good conditions) because I was exhausted and strung out. Got up early and was on the road again by 7:30 am.

I picked up the dogs from the kennel this morning. They all seem glad to be home and seem like they plan to nap this afternoon. Sounds like a good plan to me!

When I talked to DH a bit ago, he was passing CapitalT. I expect he’ll be home before 3:30ish. The dogs will be happy to see him again, I’m sure. This is the perfect Valentine’s Day for them. All their people together with them at home…with dog treats!

That’s really about it for the moment. I plan to get out tomorrow to work on my photography assignment. DH will be gone most of the day for a job. I might bring Charley along. He’s wonderful in the car and the moment we got in the door today, he was waiting again to go for a ride or something. Out of the three of them, he’s the one who really seems to crave individual attention sometimes.

Last night, I drove down to WIU to hear Frank Warren speak. He is the creator of Post Secret. I don’t really know how to describe it. The secrets that he shared with the audience really made it a compelling talk. I also had to admire the courage of the college students who got up to share some painful or funny secrets of their own. It’s not easy to stand up in a room filled with hundreds of your peers and bare yourself like that.

I ended up picking up the four books he has out currently. I plan to donate them to the LRC here. While waiting for the evening to start, I thumbed through a couple of them and there were a few postcards that I could identify with. It sounds like many other people have that experience.

Being back in Macomb was a bit surreal. Most things are the same. But there have also been some big changes. The university/community now has a bus system. A complete block of nasty houses has been torn down and nice townhouses have been built in their place. Some of the stores that used to be on the square have moved to the east side of town where there is a Walmart Supercenter and a bunch of other stores that didn’t exist when I lived there. It’s good to see that the town seems to be doing well.

We didn’t get any serious weather except for high winds yesterday. But, there is a snow storm headed this way tomorrow evening. I hope the meteorologists are wrong and it will arrive sometime on Saturday when I won’t be traveling. I’ll have to keep a close eye out tomorrow. As much as I want to see DH and the dogs, I also don’t want to get stranded on the road or end up in an accident.

meh
The weather outside is amazing today. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get outside to enjoy it before it gets cold again tomorrow. It’s a reminder of what we have to look forward to when spring really arrives to stay.

DH is at Ft. Campbell this week. I guess the band there is deployed, so they had to go play for ceremonies and stuff. Of course, it doesn’t mean a great deal for me, except that I don’t get almost daily updates on the dogs. They’re kenneled right now. I’ll pick them up on Saturday morning since DH won’t get back from TDY until the evening. Happy Valentine’s Day to us. Eh! I’m thinking about making something good for us to eat at home that night since he’ll have eaten out all week.

Then DH will be gone most of Sunday since they have a concert somewhere in north west Kansas. I really won’t see much of him this weekend, but it’s the only 3-day weekend I have this month. Trying to save the vacation time for March.

The count-down has started in the Sheep in the City Ravlery group. I think it’s 17 days away now. I have my roommate, classes, registration all take care of. I’ll stop by the LYS in BigUtown to pickup yarn for my top-down sweater class while I’m in town this weekend. This trip is my early birthday present. I didn’t go to the knitting weekend that I wanted to last year and am glad that I get to do something like this finally. It should be fun and I’ll get to learn a few new things while I’m there. Maybe I’ll finally get a sweater knit!

Work is good. Here’s a quick update:

  • We’ve got a great student employee in here who is learning the ropes quickly. Certainly helps to have another set of hands when things are busy. A faculty member also approached me about a student who needs to finish up some internship hours. I have some projects that I want to work on and will be glad for the extra help.
  • I’ve been asked to sit on a search committee and said yes. It can be time consuming, but it will be a good way to get to know some of the other people around here. I’ll be going to the Quad Cities campus Thursday morning for a training about how to use our application system.
  • The Weight Watchers group at work is really fun. Soon, I’ll be in the midst of budget stuff. Hopefully I’ll stay motivated this time. Our leader is a hoot and she really makes it entertaining. My last leader was kind of odd, like she’d joined the cult of WW. I have a hard time relating to people like that.
  • Right now I’m working on the last major book order for this fiscal year. We have some specific gaps that I’m looking to order for. We’ve got about $4000 more to spend. It’s not a lot when you start adding it up, so it takes some serious evaluating.
  • I like having weekends off. It’s nice to be able to take care of personal stuff and not feel rushed because of work or travel. It also makes my regular work schedule very stable, which is something I enjoy.
  • I’ll be going to a conference sponsored by the state library in March and another in-state conference on information literacy in April. That’s the extent of my travel for the next few months. It will probably be 2010 before I do any major conference travel again.
  • Weathered

    Posted on: January 17, 2009

    Last night (and into the morning) was a small adventure in waiting patiently.

    Weather can play havoc with all methods of travel, including train travel.

    My dad came over to Kewanee yesterday afternoon to drive me to the train station in Princeton. The train was due to arrive at 5:01 pm. How do they get this down to the minute? After about an hour of waiting, I decided to check the train status through Amtrak’s 800 number. The word there was the train was running late and would arrive at 8:18 pm.

    The train got in the station near 10:30 pm. Things were already backed up a bit because of an previous derailment earlier in the week that had one track closed. Add that to switches freezing and you had a recipe for delays.

    Fortunately the station was warm and had seats, I had packed some snacks and plenty of things to keep me occupied, and Dad was willing to go grab me a salad later when my hunger got to be too much. That food run seemed to be the catalyst to get the train there, because I’d just started eating when the word came that the train would be there in minutes.

    The lounge and dining cars were still open when I got on. So I headed down to the snack bar on the lounge car to supplement my salad with a cheese and cracker tray. I sat, ate, and read for a bit then headed back to my seat.

    Upsides: I finished reading Mary Poppins while we were hanging out at the station. I got to spend a bit more time with my dad. I still made it to KS and had a delicious omelet for breakfast. And I made it in safely.

    Downsides: Trying to sleep in my seat. If I ever actually planned an overnight trip on Amtrak (which I’d like to do someday), I’ll definitely pay for the sleeper. I’m just not a good seat sleeper.

    So, I’m in KS. I’ve been sleeping on and off most of the day, but it’s been with dogs and/or DH beside me, so it’s not wasted time.

    I started reading Slaugherhouse Five while on the train and am about halfway through. Good book!

    There are a couple of things I’m excited about and looking forward to.

    The first is just a day (not even that) away. Tomorrow afternoon I travel to Kansas to see DH and the dogs. It’s been a couple of weeks since seeing DH, but the dogs I’ve not seen since moving to IL. Anticipating all the cuddles, snuggles, and dog breath kisses.

    sheep
    The second thing is six weeks away. There is a fiber weekend in Milwaukee at the end of February. I’ve already paid my registration and signed up for a class and a make-and-take. Make-and-takes are super short (20 min.) workshops where you quickly learn a technique, make something, and take it away. I signed up for one to learn how to pick up a loop below. I’ll show pictures after the weekend. The class I signed up for will teach me how to knit a top down sweater. While we’ll learn to knit a sweater for an American Girl, the sweater pattern is supposed to work for any size. Top-down sweaters are great because you can decide how long or short to make it while you knit. And with a basic shape, it can be personalized by using different stitches, color variations, yarns, etc. In addition to that, there will be a small marketplace with vendors, a pajama party, a place to knit on prayer shawls, music, and yarn. Did I mention there will be yarn? Yes, there will be yarn.

    The last thing I’m jazzed about it the class I’m going to take this spring. No, it’s not for the second masters. I’m holding off on that, possibly until next fall or even spring 2010. There are going to be some changes next fall as we move the household up to IL and trying to study and complete projects while that is happening might make life more complicated than I can adequately deal with. I’m taking a photography class. The college waives tuition on classes for employees and their family members. So, I’m going to take advantage and try something I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t know that I have much of an eye for this, but maybe I can learn some things and improve my picture-taking. And I’ll get to learn how to develop film. Yay!

    Other than that, things are ticking along. It’s cold here, like most of the midwest and northeast. I’ve been hitching a ride with a co-worker this week and am looking forward to having wheels of my own again. Trying to think of something really nice to do for her. She’s saved me a load of money and trouble this week. I haven’t done much in the way of creative cooking this week and have just relied on the staples that I usually have around. I’m still knitting the hanging towels, although I’m looking for something new to work on. Just haven’t settled on anything yet. I’ve finished a couple of books this week and moving on to Slaughterhouse Five. It’s not on my list of 52 books, but I’ve always wanted to read it and I can change my list.

    Also looking forward to seeing my dad tomorrow. He’s coming over to drive me to the train station. While we won’t be together long, it’ll be nice to see him again.

    Don’t know if I’ll write much this weekend, but will update you when I get back.

    The IL trip was successful although it looked a bit doomed on Saturday. I looked at house that afternoon that was a dump and all the apartments I called about were already rented. Yes, things were getting desperate. While I sat at Pizza Hut enjoying some cheese encrusted pasta, I did some more calling while looking through the sparse rentals listed in the local paper. There was a studio available, but the owner couldn’t show it that afternoon as she had plans. We made arrangements for Sunday afternoon and I crossed my fingers. Showed up on Sunday, the place is clean and decent, and I’ve got a place to live. Yay! (Of course, in my excitement, I forgot to get pictures or video. You’ll just have to wait until I get moved in.)

    Bonus things: Spending time with my in-laws, seeing my first snow flurries of the year, watching a big pink pig being pulled on a trailer down I-80, and finding another Christmas present at a shop in IL.

    I got back to LittleUtown last night around 11 pm. Yes, I’m tired. It occurred to me that I don’t really like long car trips. Fortunately, it looks like most of my trips back to KS will be by Amtrak. It’s actually a bit faster, about the same cost as driving, and I can move around on a train. Works for me!

    The only downside of the weekend travel is it cuts into the little time I have to spend with DH and the dogs. So, we’ve adjusted the moving plans a bit and I should be able to spend Thanksgiving with him at home. (Turns out he can’t help with the moving in because he has to stay in KS for a parade that Friday.) And I’m heading back to BigUtown tomorrow night to hang out and do some laundry.

    You want to know more about the apartment? It’s a studio/efficiency, but is really divided up well so that the sleeping space is private and separate from the main living space. It has a good sized closet in the sleeping area AND a coat closet, so I’ll actually have a bit of storage space. There is a large counter in the bathroom and adequate counter space in the galley kitchen. The living room area has a large window that looks out at a cornfield across the road (so I’ll feel like I’m in my childhood home.) Walmart is about seven blocks away. The hospital is about two blocks away. And it’s on the south side of town, so I don’t have to drive through town to get to work. The college campus is actually a few miles outside of Kewanee. No chance that I can walk or even bike to work.

    Now I have to start packing. It’s starting to feel like all I’ve done this year is move from one place to another. Wait! That’s because I have. *laugh* Fortunately, I don’t really have much stuff in my current place and that’s about all I’m moving.

    Did I mention I’m tired?

    Tags: , ,

    I’m off to Illinois this weekend to find a place to live. Things are moving fast now. Fortunately my in-laws like me and are putting up with me again for the next couple of days.

    Hoping I find a decent place to live for the next year.

    Glad that the next time I do this trip, I’ll be starting my new job. My January trip to Kansas will be by train, so I can sleep, knit, and read along the way.

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