Monday, September 29, 2008

Back in the Air

After last week's trip I expected to be around home the rest of the year. Unfortunately my dad has started having some health issues and would feel better if I was with him. He fell last week and didn't tell me for about 3 days and is starting a month of radiation for a large skin cancer on his head (NOTE - USE SUNSCREEN)

He's been doing so well for his age (91) but I knew it was only a matter of time before something happened. Hopefully he will bounce back but it takes longer and longer. The sad part is his mind is still quite sharp. He and my mother-in-law have both told me that getting old is not for wimps.

I'm not leaving until Friday, so might even get in another blog before I go. It is just weighing on my mind tonight.

Tomorrow I get to go to a school board meeting and learn about the open meeting law. Our current board accidentally violated it earlier in the year so all of us, including candidates are being asked to show up for training. Yawn. I know it is important but not very interesting.

I'm making little progress on the knitting front. I'm thinking that maybe my Spring Forward sock is going to be a little small. I did size 1 needles to get gauge but am just not sure. Anybody have an experience with the pattern to contribute?

Time for bed. Sleep tight.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do I look official?

Tonight was a candidate forum for school board sponsored by two PTA groups but open to the public. I would be the middle one in the black and white stripes just in case you didn't recognize me :-)

The format was a five minute opening statement followed by 6 questions from the audience. We each had two minutes to respond to the question. At the close of the evening we got a 1 minute closing statement. Unfortunately we still have 6 more questions to answer in writing since we ran out of time. Our mayor was the moderator and did a fine job of keeping us all in line.

There are six candidates for 3 seats so the process took a while and they didn't even give us water. I am parched even now just thinking about it. There were only about 100 people in the high school auditorium. Thank goodness for the musical theater I've done from that stage or I would have been totally intimidated.

The newspaper has already posted the article in their web site and I don't think I sound like a total moron. The danger when speaking off the cuff, is that it sounds awkward in print. I find myself thinking, "Did I really say that?"

At least it is over and I'm still in one piece. Upward and onward.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home at last

I'm home! Back after 5 days in sunny California. The conference was great and we met a lot of very helpful and knowledgeable people. My head is now stuffed with information, that will probably leak out of my ears by tomorrow morning. Thank goodness I have notes.

No, I did not take knitting. We had little time in the room other than crashing to sleep. Did meet some very interesting people at the jacuzzi though. The weather was beautiful and I wish we could have spent all of our time on the beach instead of just yesterday afternoon.

I did meet a very handsome eligible guy outside the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Huntington Beach so don't tell my husband :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Off to the wilds of California

I'm leaving this morning for a 3 1/2 day conference in Costa Mesa, CA. Here's to plenty of learning and having the right layers of clothes for hot and cold conference rooms!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baby socks, Wollmeise and campaign signs

I feel like one of KnitTech's lists tonight. My brain is pinging all over the place trying to keep up with the different projects I'm supposed to be working on.

I did finish the baby Monkey socks for a friend's new little one that I started last month. I also made a pair of newborn socks out of the stripey leftovers. They are so cute and the stripes mostly match. I almost didn't want to give them away.

Last month I was able to grab a skein of Wollmeise from the Loopy Ewe so I could see what all the fuss is about. I haven't knit with it yet but the colors are striking. Then I saw a notice about the lottery signup for the first Wollmeise sock club. How cool would that be! Figuring I'd never get in, I signed up on a whim. Guess what - I got in. The first package arrived Friday and I love it. Not only are there two skeins of yarn and a pattern, but DPN's and marzipan too! The colors are hard to capture but I thought I'd share pictures of my loot anyway. The skein on the right is a deep purple like the pattern. I'm not sure I'm ready for the pattern yet but it is something to look forward to. My husband just doesn't get why yarn from Germany would be at all exciting. After all it isn't an amplifier tube.

Things are moving along in my school board campaign. I have a candidate forum later this month and ordered some campaign signs and buttons tonight. I signed the waiver for minimal campaign expenditures so this is probably it. Too bad you all don't live here, I'd come solicit your vote :-) I got to go visit two our schools Friday with the superintendent and helped the first graders sing the verb song. I now know that tree is not a verb (except, as my husband pointed out, when a dog is treeing a fox). I somehow don't think there are a lot of first graders riding to the hounds in Arizona :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It is good to be back

I made a decision over the weekend. No more high school reunions for me (except maybe the 5oth). It isn't that it was a bad experience, it just wasn't worth flying across the country for. I suspected it would be a small turnout when they had to cancel the formal dinner for Saturday night due to lack of interest. This is pretty typical for our class. There almost wasn't a senior prom the year we were juniors. Our class was supposed to put it on and nearly didn't get around to it. The musical was canceled our senior year for lack of interest. Are you beginning to see the pattern?

Friday night that were about 25 classmates (out of 180) hanging out at the park. The organizers had everything well prepared with lots of drinks and snacks to share. It was a nice evening of catching up on families, jobs and reminiscing a little. None of my close friends from high school attended so after the initial meet and greet, I was ready to go home.

Saturday we all met at a local watering hole to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes and talk more. Only a few additional people showed up and I left early. Part of the problem is that the core group of attendees were from the popular crowd in high school. They are friendly enough now, but their memories of high school are quite different than mine. As adults, we don't have much in common so a few hours together pretty well covers the basics.

That isn't unusual. All of my reunions have convinced me that about once every 5 years is frequent enough to keep in touch. But I usually have a good time learning about people's lives. This time was frankly kind of boring. Our kids are, for the most part, grown. People are starting to retire or are thinking about it. The focus is more on security than creativity. Many are hopelessly middle aged. It made me appreciate all the more the wit, creativity and zest for life I see in you, my blogging buddies!

On the up side, I had a nice time celebrating my dad's 91st birthday and seeing the kids again. Unfortunately, bad weather in Chicago really screwed up my flights back and I spent a lot of time sitting on the tarmac, in the terminal and on my cell phone keeping family apprised of my schedule. I wound up getting in to Las Vegas very late and stayed overnight rather than drive 2 hours across the desert by myself in the middle of the night.

Yesterday I was basically vegetative except for attending a 3 hour school board meeting last night. My cats and husband are thrilled to have me home and today it is back to work on the business plan. Hope everyone is having a good day!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm back from my trip and will write more tonight or tomorrow. For now, I borrowed this list from Donna Lee. Mostly what I found out is I'm not a big fan of Charles Dickens.

The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six. I've read 51 and have two on my "to read" list. Not as many as I thought but far better than the average adult. I'll be satisfied with that for the time being.

*Look at the list and bold those we have read.
*Italicize those we intend to read.

Share this list in your blog, too, if you like.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman*
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini*
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

High school again?

I'm getting ready to leave Thursday for my 35th high school reunion. Guess it is time to drag out the year book again, though by now it doesn't help that much. We are all older, fatter and grayer except for those few we all love to hate who still look damn good. I'd like to say the reunion motivated me to lose a pound or twenty but this time it didn't work. Guess they'll have to take me as I really am.

I'm not sure why I keep going every five years except them it is kind of like a longitudinal study. I'm fascinated by how people's lives have worked out. I do lots of listening, talk about my kids and then I'm good for another five years.

I also am going for my dad's 91st birthday! My kids are driving up on Sunday so hopefully we'll have a nice day together. This is a quick trip but should be a nice break. My loving husband is staying home to take care of the cats and keep the home fires burning. He's a good man.

I was incredibly lazy over the Labor Day weekend but did finish the baby monkey socks and another pair of newborn socks for a friend's new baby. Made a little bit of progress on the shawl and cast on the Spring Forward socks. That will give me something to work on while I'm gone.

Now I just need to write a newspaper ad for the Women in Business special insert and four pages of web content for the CarePath website before I go. That may be challenging since I'm still in weekend lethargy, but I've never missed a hard deadline yet :-)