Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's 4 AM and my head is spinning

I haven't done this in months. It's 4 AM and I can't go back to sleep. My head is spinning with all of the things I'm trying to keep track of, so here I am talking to you. I used to do this a lot when I was working a stressful job. The wee hours of the morning (of in the shower) seemed to be times when suddenly an idea could work through the usual clamor in my head. If I got up, jotted it all down and then went back to bed I could sleep.

I am beyond frustrated with people who resign from community boards when they hit a rough patch. I've seen it happen repeatedly. Someone goes on a board thinking it is going to be an easy gig - just an hour a month. You get your name on the letterhead and a cool name badge and get to be associated with a good cause.

Then something not fun happens. The money dries up. There is a media issue, a personnel issue, a leadership change. Embezzlement. Something yucky and not fun to deal with. Suddenly there are more meetings, more responsibilities and they are all about things you don't want to deal with. This isn't what you signed on for, so you quit (leaving the rest of the group to take on more!)

I understand the why. People go on a board because they want to make a difference. They want to help prevent child abuse, or save animals, or feed the hungry. They didn't know about the yucky stuff that can be hiding behind the scenes.

I've seen boards turn over as many as half the members when times get tough. It's too bad really. Out of the yucky times can come some amazing new energy and growth for an organization. It can be an opportunity to create and come away stronger.

Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of a shrinking board with a huge community event coming up. The chair just resigned and volunteered guess who to co-chair. Thankfully those who are left are giving this their all and we will get it done.

I need you to help keep me focused on that. I think I've been hanging around some of you for too long. When I get frustrated and overwhelmed my normally politically correct public persona says things she shouldn't. And then I'm laying awake at 4 AM wondering how to fix that verbal oops :-)

Thank you for listening. I'm now going back to bed for another restful 1/2 hour before the alarm goes off. Don't you just love mornings?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Finally Friday

I can't believe it is already Friday and I still didn't get through that list I talked about on Monday. I did get a lot done though (including some knitting!) I had to laugh when I read the Yarn Harlot's blog about missing several days this week. Maybe it is something in the air.

I know I said I started my taxes about a month ago. I did get the paperwork for the accountant out but that's as far as it got. I started in this week and will finish up this weekend. I expect they may have to file for an extension as I have new business expenses this year that have to be completed before our personal taxes can be done.

Usually when I finally sit down to do my taxes, I'm surprised how quickly everything comes together. Not this year. "Write the amount received from the stimulus check". Stimulus check? I vaguely remember that. Thank goodness for the internet. A search on Yahoo showed the IRS has a site just for people like me who forgot the amount. How many miles did I drive to that conference last May? Yahoo Maps saved me again (as long as they don't need an odometer reading).

I'm waiting for a set of Size 7 DPN's from Knitpicks to work on the sleeves of the February Lady sweater. I started with a set of silver ones I got somewhere that have a matte finish. The left side stitches don't want to slide up and it is driving me crazy. I did two pattern repeats and headed off to my LYS. The only 7's she had were 5". Though I could get by with them, but the points aren't sharp enough for me. I'm just never satisfied!

I've finished 1 1/2 sets of baby socks and should have 3 sets by the end of the weekend. My DIL's baby shower is next weekend so hope to have them there before that. I'd like to go but can't really justify the extra expense when I'm going to be there in May. I'm watching the airfares like a hawk though. If they blow out a few seats next week to fill the plane I'm on it.

It just occurred to me that it's 6:30 and I've seen no sign of my husband. Time to track him down and see what we can feed ourselves.

Have a wonderful, restful weekend.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Methodical Monday

I'm having one of those time periods when I feel like there are too many big things on my plate let alone the hundreds of little ones. Spring is often like that for me, pushing to get big projects done before summer and every organization I belong too in high gear.

For those of you who live in the cold country, spring is about gradual warmth, rebirth, color and all those other enjoyments you've been without for many months. In the desert, spring is about getting everything done that you can before the heat slams in again and people head out of town for as much of the summer as possible.

I have marketing calls I still need to make for my consulting business before getting in and out of the car leaves me a drippy mess. I need to do some work in the garage before it is only possible at 6 AM without risk of heat exhaustion. Finishing the paint on my kitchen ceiling while I can still open the windows for airing the house would be another good one.

Instead of doing any of those things I'm writing my blog, drinking coffee and pondering my "to do" list with trepidation. If I'm not careful I have a tendency to procrastinate. Instead of just jumping in and getting done what I can, I put it off until tomorrow or the day after or whatever. Once I start moving, I'm efficient, productive and more self motivated.

That means I need to pick one task and do it. Now. If I take just that one step, I can move through the rest of today's list. Onward.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Half way around the world

I am thoughtful this morning after reading the blog of Briana Jones, a family friend doing her Master's research in India. If you have a few moments in your busy lives, I suggest you read her blog at http://briananjones.blogspot.com/ or just click in the link in my list of people I follow.

Briana is an experienced world traveler, and has been living and studying in Amsterdam since last summer. I am grateful for the time she takes to blog about her life and photos she posts but never more so since she left for India in February. She knows I was concerned about her safety there but she is a courageous and adventurous young woman and chose her course after a great deal of thought.

The reason I am thoughtful today is in appreciation of clean drinking water and flush toilets in my house. What tremendous riches we have that we take for granted (along with air conditioning and electricity that stays on 99% of the time). I am also very grateful for those in our world who choose to work to improve the lives of others.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Day in the LIfe Part 2

I got these photos from the Caffeine Faerie's site The one in the upper left is the Roulette sock she sent. (Had to clarify that I didn't make these!) I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of mine before I sent it. DUH.

Thankfully Julie delayed our completion of pairs until the end of April. I might actually make that.

Had a fun time at the Home Show this AM and now am lazing around ignoring piles of papers, dust bunnies and other assorted house messes. Aren't Sundays great!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Day in the Life

I haven't done the "day in the life" posting so thought I'd give it a try. I like knowing what people do in their everyday lives but maybe I'm weird that way.

Woke up with a cat meowing in my face "Dad is up and he hasn't fed me, Dad is up and he hasn't fed me". Of course by the time I got out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen, they were fed. I've tried having my DH close the door when he gets up but then the old cat craps in the carpet.

Had my morning coffee with a virtuous bowl of oatmeal. Read the paper, checked my e-mail and Facebook. Remembered my son and dil off to visit my dad today. They only live about two hours apart but the kids are so busy they have trouble getting time away.

After showering, putting on sunscreen and makeup, I headed down to the Breath of Life Didgeridoo Health Fair. Our business had a booth on healthy aging with lots of handouts on how to age well. Thankfully no one mentioned that I could stand to lose a few pounds and start walking myself! It was a beautiful spring day in Arizona and people were enjoying the cool air and sunshine. There were several performers displaying their Didgeridoo skills and several artisans who sell them to aspiring Didgeridooists? Didgeridooites?

We talked to lots of people and gave away a basket from Linda's Beef Jerky (http://lindasfoods.com/) She has the best Italian sausage and capicolla around. I buy 4-5 packages of her sausage at a time and keep it in the freezer. Roxie asked before what capicola is and I don't think I ever responded. According to Wikipedia it is a traditional Neapolitan Italian cold cut (salume) made from pork shoulder or neck and dry-cured whole. It is spicy and sliced very thin. It is great with crackers, in sandwiches, or in scrambled eggs.

Yesterday I spent about 5 hours creating handouts, creating a display board, and packing everything up. This is what it looked like today.

After a less virtuous lunch of two Taco Bell crunchy tacos, I arrived home to find 3 surprises! Serenity had arrived from Netflix, my roulette sock arrived from Australia, and my March Wollmeise sock club yarn arrived!

The picture of my roulette sock from the Caffeine Faerie didn't come out well so I'll have to try tomorrow in the sunlight. It is made from Trekking XXL in a muted rainbow of colors using a modified version of the Spring Forward pattern. It is beautiful and I love it. It was done on Magic Loop, toe up with a gusset and heel from Cat Bhordi. I have never done any of those things so I have some new skills to learn. I'll have to hold off until I get the sweater done and I actually have the time to focus on it. Should be fun.

The Wollmeise sock club is always highly anticipated because she does such wonderful highly saturated colors. I am embarrassed to admit I haven't knit with any of it yet as I've had so many deadline projects since last fall. The sock patterns are all pretty challenging for a relatively new sock knitter and I'm not sure I'll try them all. I'm still deciding if I'm really a sock club kind of girl.

After opening my surprises, I check for the second time today to see if my son had played his side of the Word Twist game on Facebook. We are both pretty competitive and fairly evenly matched on this game. He hadn't responded so we sat down to watch Serenity while I knit on the gift sock I'm trying to finish.

We headed out to Mario's (a nice Italian restaurant) for dinner. After staring at the gift basket this morning, I wanted pasta and didn't feel like cooking. We split some clam strips, had a glass of wine and then moved on to the entrees. I like their chicken marsala and had enough to bring home for lunch tomorrow while my DH had veal piccata. I don't cook veal at home so he usually splurges when we go out for Italian. It was all very yummy. Of course my downfall of the day was when he decided we needed to swing by Coldstone Creamery for ice cream to take home. I could have opted for frozen yogurt but didn't. Oh well, start again tomorrow.

The Phoenix Suns played tonight while I played some free hidden object games on the computer. I'm trying not to spend much money right now, so I download them, play for the free hour and then go get another one. I checked several more times, but my darling son hasn't played yet. Facebook is not good for compulsive computer users like me. Can you say wasted hours :-)

Now I need to go to bed as I'm working a booth for Foundation for Higher Education at the Home Show from 9-12 tomorrow morning. I'm not looking forward to another 3 hours on my feet but it should go pretty fast.

That was my day. How was yours?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March Madness

No, I'm not talking about college basketball. I'm talking about my crazy life this month.

You all are aware of the struggles we are having with school district budgeting and the positive thoughts you keep sending my way do help. I've been on both sides of budget cuts and downsizing before and it isn't any fun. My biggest frustration right now is that our staff are left hanging because we are waiting for the State to decide what they are doing with their budget. It doesn't look like we are going to know anything for at least a couple more weeks.

On the plus side our drafting classes at the high school just kicked butt at the the state competition. They have an awesome teacher who really helps his students excel.

The youth organization I work with as a board member is losing our Executive Director at the end of this week. Though we have been working on a transition plan, we probably will still be without an ED for another 4-6 weeks at least. I had offered to be the interim director a month or so ago but now my business is starting to pick up (a very good thing!) and I don't have as much time. Starting Friday, a group of board members will be leading the organization. Have you ever been involved with anything led by committee? Exactly. It will be challenging and time consuming.

My late night meetings are seriously cutting in to my knitting time! That is just wrong. I have gotten through the yoke for DIL's sweater and I understand the lace goes pretty fast, so am optimistic I can make good progress on it. I love the color and my Knitpicks Options Nickel circulars I got for Christmas. They are so smooth and shiny.

Now I am off to the shower before my next meeting. Some days it happens that way.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How did it get to be Thursday already?

I keep wondering how it got to be Thursday already, let alone March! I know our hot weather is approaching and I already had to make that decision about dragging out the summer clothes. My house was 80 degrees inside last night till I opened the windows. I love have the windows open, unfortunately, my allergies do not. Antihistamines all around?

This is my one day of the week when I have no meetings scheduled, no deadlines looming, no particular place I have to be. Of course as soon as I let down, I recognize that my house looks like crap (or carp as the filkers would say). I'll think about that tomorrow.

I sent out a birthday card to my son (and oldest child) today. When did I get old enough to have a 26 year old? He is not happy about being on the down side of his 20's and I'm wishing to be 40 again :-). Good thing they are young with a baby coming, finding a new rental house, moving in April etc., etc., etc. Of course the baby is due right in the middle of medical school finals for his mother. She then has to study all June to take her first set of boards. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it.

My darling daughter called the other night to fill me in on her busy life. The thought of her inserting sharp things in to people is a little frightening but I'm sure she only "pinches" them a little. I am beyond proud of what she is doing with her life and am constantly amazed at the insight and compassion in one so young. Am I biased? Damn straight!

I sent my roulette sock off on its merry way to England. When I took the box to the mail center, I was asked, "Contents?" "One sock" says I. I got a very strange look. Once I explained the concept, she was very intrigued by the idea and thought it was cool. I agreed. See what blogging leads to?

Thanks to all of the good thoughts you sent my way. I survived the budget meeting and sans rotten fruit and vegetables. There were good questions, lots of concerns (rightfully so) and few answers. Until our state decides what they are doing with their budget, we are kind of stalled. We are looking at cutting 20 teachers, which is scary for staff and painful for all of us. That is just one measure we will to take. What worries me more is that equal cuts are anticipated by the State for 2010-2011. I can't even think about that now - it makes my head hurt and requires me to drink heavily. That probably wouldn't be a good idea before going out to run errands in the community. I am supposedly a role model now :-)

I am off to the library to return my books on time. I'm not going to get any more this time as I have a pair of gift socks and the February lady sweater to work on. Unlike Julie, I can't read and knit at the same time. How about you?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Second graders are pretty cute too

Someday when I am ready to step down from the board end of things, I would love to be a reading helper at the one of the elementary schools. Today I got to read to about 50 second graders and once again had a ball. I agree with those that said reading to big kids is fun too. I actually started reading to my kids again when my son was in late grade school and in to middle school. It was a great way to spend time together and once started on a series, they kids couldn't get enough.

This is going to be a really busy week and busy month. What a difference from a year ago when I was still trying to reinvent myself. I think I was successful :-) Tomorrow night is our first school board work session on the proposed budget cuts for next year. Positive thoughts beamed my way would be much appreciated.

This week the Guitar Guy and I are working our way through the Firefly episodes. Too bad there is only one season!