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Archive for November, 2008

Two Snow Days

Posting from Littleton, Colorado, on the last day of my Thanksgiving visit.  Saturday and today it snowed — definitely — snow that sticks.  There’s 6 inches on the lawn.  We shoveled (thrice) and the driveway and sidewalks are clear.  We expect it to be in the 50’s (F) tomorrow, so this snow is destined to melt. 

Tomorrow I fly back to Washington, DC on an early AM Frontier flight.  My sister (bless you, Sis, for doing this!) will pick me up at 5:30, and we hope to be at the Denver Airport around 6:15.  I will check in and then twiddle my thumbs (aka knit) or work (this airport as FREE wi-fi) or maybe blog.  Tomorrow is a challenge day that requires most of the pieces to fall into place.  I’ll land a bit after 1PM.  I’ll call a neighbor, then grab a Metro from [Reagan] National Airport (on my nomination list for world’s ugliest airport, but it is extremely convenient because it has a Metro stop), and hop out at the Wheaton Metro stop to catch a ride with (wonderful kind) neighbor home. 

Breathe.  Biggest hurdle over.  Go in house, pet Odin (cat – see avatar, that’s him), drag luggage upstairs, pet Odin, unpack, pet Odin, consider getting some food for fridge, pet Odin, sort through mail, pet Odin.  At 6PM, assemble music and charge off to St Jude’s to rehearse the children’s bell choir, and then be rehearsed in the Spirit Choir.  Hope Miss N’s flight arrives.  Hope N will find pay phone and call my cell.  At any rate, at 9PM, head out of rehearsal and straight to Dulles Airport to pick up Miss N.  (ETA, 10PM.) Return with Miss N and her stuff to Maryland (ETA 11:30PM).  Will it work?  It could happen.

This Thanksgiving visit was short – a week.  Not enough time to do everything on “the list”.  I arrived Monday early evening.  Tuesday, Mom and Dad and I went shoe shopping.  Mom got a pair, and Dad got 2 pairs.  Dad’s  right shoes need lifts because the surgeon who did his hip replacement made his right leg 3/4 inch shorter than his left.  3/4 inch lifts cost $70 per shoe — more than the shoes.

Wednesday was mostly an at-home day.  We went to dinner at Yvonne’s where her four kitties learned to knit.  Here are Jake on my lap and Misty adding a little tension to the yarn.  Jake is a very white cat, and likes especially to sit on the laps of people wearing anything black.  Knitting is a bonus.

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Wednesday evening we attended an ecumenical Thanksgiving service.  My sister’s choir joined with several other choirs to sign at this service.  Thanksgiving is an odd notion for a widow.  I found this service particularly uncomfortable and saddening.

Thursday we had a wonderful dinner at my sister’s house.  Mom made rolls and I was assigned an appetizer.  Y made the turkey, stuffing, red whipped jello salad and green bean casserole.  Her friend T made pumpkin and pecan pie and a sweet potato casserole topped with much brown sugar and pecans.  Y also had shrimp cocktail.  My appetizer was an interactive one — mini make-your-own panini sandwiches using an assortment of meats, cheeses and toppings (and my sister’s Griddler, which I like very much.)

Friday we did our best to help the economy by shopping for at least 8 hours.  It did not feel crowded, although I did stand on line at J C Penney’s for more than 30 minutes.  The others shopped while I stood and chatted with complete strangers.  (I like Colorado for this — you do chat with complete strangers, just like Minnesota.)  Eventually we ended up at Talbots, where I can usually drop a bundle for work clothes.  But the sales were so excellent that I did much less damage than usual.

Saturday, morning it snowed hard. 

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In the afternoon, I took Mom and Dad out for more shopping, and to pick up Dad’s shoes.  Yikes.  Getting to be a habit. Then we went to the vigil Mass at Christ on the Mountain, and then to Y’s for dinner.  Today, it snowed harder than yesterday and for longer into the afternoon.  I shovelled.  Dad shovelled.  Jeff from next door shoveled.  I did some computer work for Mom for about 3 hours.  I wrote my Christmas letter, which was emotionally very hard.  Then took the 5 of us (niece flew back to college, niece’s BF not on the scene) to dinner.  I am packed except for the laptop, which is powering down after I hit publish.

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Off to Colorado

Britt pointed out — wow, have I been quiet.  Yes, indeed!

Dad had surgery on his back in September, a laminectomy, and I went out to Colorado to be whatever help I could.  The surgery was hard on him.  The surgeon left town immediately after the surgery, and the follow-up care was not very good.   I am not going into gory details, but one thing that we never were told was that the pain would increase after the surgery and peak at about 72 hours.  We were not sent home with ANY pain meds.  I just can’t say enough about how disappointed I am in the quality of care at the hospital.

Yes.  Being in a hospital again was not particularly easy, but I got through it. 

Then there was the election.  There was the work building up to it, phone calls, yard signs, and button making — lots of button making.  The day of the election was amazing.  I am responsible for 6 precincts, and had precinct officials at 4 of them, so I did the table set-up at two of them and worked the tables (and the lines –  wow, the lines!!) at the largest precinct.  Electioneering (working a political party table at a polling place is fun if you enjoy people.   People were very enthusiastic about this election.  Dirty tricks, too — the McCain people busted some of my equipment at one precinct and stole the Obama signs at another one.  What that gained them I don’t know. 

Well. John would have been so happy about the results.  And the buttons were a terrific hit at all of my precincts.   

And work.  I was assigned to a swat team on a project that is under-managed and under client requirements to use some methods that are not ready for prime time.  My assignment is testing.  There is insufficient background on the requirements for the applications.  I break things, then report the breakage, then am told it’s expected breakage, or it’s a training issue, or it’s being fixed some other time and place and I shouldn’t report it.  Oooookaaaaay.  A little bit of stress, and a boatload of work.  Nice to see another project up close and under the hood.

I am writing from the “old” laptop, on which are many photos I have not seen for a while.  Here is one from 2 years ago, of John with our neice Jalene and her husband Scott.  The bump is now a little boy named Finn, born two Thanksgivings ago.  And Finn has a little sister named River.

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