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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.

sick

I’ve been fighting a cold this week. I think the contagious part got out of the way Friday and Saturday, but since then I’ve become all mucousy sounding. I can live with that. The worst part of being sick is the energy drain. About all I’ve been able to manage this week is work. However, I have got some more knitting done since I’ve been hanging out at home on the sofa in the evenings. There is a silver lining!

I was supposed to teach three back-to-back-to-back information literacy sessions tomorrow morning, but the professor has been sick this week also. We’ve rescheduled to next week and I’m very glad because I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be and I really wasn’t sure how I’d manage to get through 4 hours of teaching while coughing and blowing my nose constantly. Sure, I’d have managed, but being healthy makes me more effective and coherent.

It also means that I can work on a few other things today and tomorrow that I wasn’t originally going to have time for this week. Life will be busy up until spring break. I’ll be taking some time off in mid-March.

The weather today is beautiful. I’m enjoying it while it lasts. If I have to be sick, at least I don’t have to deal with really cold, windy days. Helps keep my spirits up a bit.

For now, I’m going to enjoy some pizza. A couple of my staff have had birthdays this month and I’ve been ordering pizza for the LRC to celebrate.

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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.

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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.
  • marley_me11

    Well maybe it wasn’t buckets, but Marley and Me was such a sweet movie that I couldn’t help shed a few tears…especially towards the end. I also laughed a lot because some of it was so familiar. Like the part with the drywall eating. We had a dog who did that once!

    I took my driver from last week out to lunch today at the furniture store here in Kewanee. No, it wasn’t a picnic. The store has a wonderful restaurant in its lower level. While we waited for a table, we wandered around the shop down there. I saw some cozy looking socks that I might have to go back for some time. I have a great love of wool socks. I’d have more if I ever finished the pair that’s still on my needles.

    I took care of grocery shopping after lunch and the movie. It was strange being without a car last week and I feel like I’m finally getting myself reorganized. I’ve felt rather scattered most of this week since I knew the laundry was piling up, the fridge needed to be cleaned out, and my apartment hadn’t been properly cleaned for a couple of weeks.

    Tonight I’ve been finishing up laundry and watching Miss America. The main reason I like the pageant is for the dresses the women wear. There is a small part of me that likes all the glitter and glitz.

    The other big thing I’m doing is staying warm. It’s in the low single digits at the moment and isn’t supposed to be much warmer tomorrow. I think tomorrow may be a good day for reading and hot tea. I might finish up my hanging towels also. And I plan to make some meals ahead for the week. It’s nice to come home from work and not have to worry about making a complete meal from scratch. My Aerogarden has enough lettuce now so that I can start having some fresh salads. Yum!

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    I had this song running through my head today. The best way to get rid of an earworm is to share it with someone else. DH has already been subjected. But it’s so cute, I had to share with my LR’s. (loyal readers

    It’s been a beautiful day here. The temperatures are quite pleasant and I ended up ditching my coat while we were running errands because the stores were warm. DH and I had a nice lunch at Chipolte this afternoon. I needed to go to Joann’s to pick up some buttons for the hanging towels I’ve been knitting. The Walmart in Kewanee has the tiniest craft section I’ve ever seen and there isn’t much of a selection of anything. Not complaining, it’s just how it is. DH found some cute dinosaur pop-up books in the $1.00 bin that we’ll send along to our nephew.

    DH has our PC set up in BigUtown, so I’ll be uploading some of the pictures from this into my Flickr account. You can click on the sidebar to the right to see what I get up there. I’ll likely do a bit each time I’m visiting. Most of the pics will be things from Alaska that we’ve not a chance to transfer over to the laptop or onto CD’s. Here are a few of them:

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    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.

    zpantplantsknit-003

    I’m really enjoying knitting these mitered hanging towels. So far I’ve completed two. The cotton yarn is absorbent and nice to knit with. I like my knitted cotton bathmat and am sure I’ll enjoy using this hanging towel. I have a bit of finishing yet to do, like weaving in ends and putting on buttons.

    It’s been a relaxing weekend. I did my usual stuff, like laundry and cleaning. With the snow we got, it’s not likely I would have went much of anywhere even if I did have a car. I’ve also been reading some, napping, and playing on the computer.

    This work week will be pretty quiet although we are getting ready for the semester to start next week. I do have to speak at the new adjunct faculty orientation so I’ll be spending some time tomorrow and Tuesday working on the presentation.

    It was a very cold day on the first day of winter. Temperatures were below zero and the wind chill dropped it even further. Despite the winter chill, I had to run some errands and do laundry. I pulled out my winter gear and bundled up. This kind of day makes me thankful that I have a warm place to sleep and live in.

    We had blizzard-like conditions with the high winds and blowing snow. I was going to head to the 4Q to check out the yarn sale at the shop there. There was no way I was going to risk traveling outside of town once I looked out my window this morning. The video is taken from my living room window.

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