Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Day of Rest

Ah, Sunday. I love to take Sundays off from chores and work, although it seems it hasn't worked out that way much lately. But today, despite the fact that I had to be at the site at 7:00am, it happily was sleeting and raining all morning long. We finally gave up (with smiles and goodwill) and called it a day. I wanted to shout for joy of having a much needed Sunday afternoon off.

So I'm back at my hotel with a cup of hot chocolate (a packet of Swiss Miss with Marshmallows from the hotel breakfast bar brewed in my hotel room coffee maker) and my neglected spinning wheel at my beck and call. I even have a choice of a few good movies to watch on my laptop: "Sabrina, " "Finding Neverland" which I haven't seen yet, and "Never Been Kissed" also haven't seen, and "Uptown Girls" which I really like.

My Louet Hat Box in action.
Cashmere and silk from Tanglewood Fiber Creations. I love spinning this blend. Oh so soft and silky running through my fingers. It's going to be a fine evening indeed!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekend Reflections

Time seems to fly when there's no time to rest. I have had one heck of a week working with a drill crew to collect soil cores for chemical analysis. We are on another plant searching for buried chemical waste that was possibly disposed of years ago. It's interesting work, but highly intense since I'm in charge of contractors this time and having to monitor their safety as well as do the sample collection, recording data and keeping a log of all times of when activities are completed for legal purposes. We have been working from 7am to 8pm and then as I've mentioned before, our office is really team oriented so we have the 'dinner social hour or two' afterwards. It nearly kills me to be social with the work crowd at that point in the day when I'm tired and we've already been around each other every day for 13 hours. But that's the way it is, and I seem to be the only person in my office who needs some personal space. So go with the flow, right?

Since Virginia is a far drive or flight for all who are involved on this project, our office is trying something new: ten days on, four days off. So this weekend we are working, and we leave to go home for four days on Wednesday. I was thinking back to last Friday when I had the day off with Paul...

Paul organized and catagorized his Star Wars figures

I worked on my scrapbook.. still in November, 2004 "Our Wedding"

And we spent some time with the girls. See Fairy behind my neck under my ponytail playing hide and go seek with Paul?

It was a good time.

My mom and her friend Charlene are visiting us in the southeast for nearly two weeks. Or I should say, visiting Paul, since I haven't seen them since they arrived at our house. At least we will have the four days off to tour around the Charlotte area together and spend some time before they have to go back to CA the following Monday.

Well, best be off to bed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring is in the Air

Pansies and tulips from Ana and Scott

Visitors and the friends who helped us move were sceptical when I said that Mavis was still alive, just dormant. She did just look like a stick, after all. But here she is just to show off that she's alive and kickin.
This week Big Red also brought out the budding branch tips

And the girls have been loving hanging out on the deck for some fresh spring air.

But just to keep us on our toes, winter has not completely left us: tonight we're supposed to get a freeze and since I'm in VA again, I had to call Paul and have him bring in Big Red, Mavis and the tulips to keep them warm through the night.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Busy, Busy

It's been over a week since I've posted any news, and that's because other than last weekend nothing exciting has happened! I've been working long hours in Virginia doing more well sampling and haven't found anything worth mentioning this week at work other than lots of cool birds at the site. But my camera doesn't have a super deluxe telephoto lens and so pictures would not show up. Some of the birds we saw include: cardinals, great blue herons, a greater or lesser egret (not sure which), a woodpecker (not sure what type), robins, Canadian geese and vultures.

I never got to meet up with my super fun cousin Laura because my schedule was not staying as planned longer than 1/2 a day at a time and with the long hours it just didn't work out. Hopefully in the near future... I'll be in Virginia for the next 5 weeks at least.

These pictures are from last weekend when Paul and I were running around trying to do everything we could in the two days we had together: furniture window shopping...

...Guests over for High Tea (Paul's idea of course) and then a nice candlelight dinner just the two of us at home. It was a fun weekend but we didn't sit down until this picture below on Sunday night. Our tea party earlier in the day included Nancy and Ana, our real estate agents that we have become friends with, and Ana's husband Scott. It was really casual but we had scones and a great selection of herbal teas and classic English breakfast. We forgot to take pictures, sadly.

This week the sweet folks in our office worked together to see that I got an extra day off this weekend. They talked it over amongst themselves to take over any work that I had to do in the office and talked it over with our client. Since I've been traveling so much and I'm about to start a "ten days on, four days off" schedule, our client insisted that I get a paid day off today to spend time with Paul and get rested up. It was so sweet of them, I nearly cried. Paul and I are taking advantage of both the resting up and the time together. So far we haven't gone anywhere today or done anything that wasn't pleasant, and we hope to keep it that way for the rest of the weekend as much as possible! Even the weather can't be beat!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lifeguard Duty

Sometimes I cry and complain that I have so much traveling to do, but in the same breath I have to admit I enjoy the actual work. I really do love my job... but how to find balance? After all, one of my mottos is: "To work to live, not live to work."

This week my task is to sit on the river shore, or in the comforts of the rental car, a Toyota Highlander, and call the boys every 15 minutes to make sure they haven't capsized the boat or anything. I call up. Mike answers, "Yo. We're still alive." and that's the sum of it. Meanwhile I work on last sleeve of The Sweater, read my latest book: "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" and snack on cookies. I run out to pick up lunch for the boys and help unload the samples from the boat at the end of the day. Today is Day One of five, and I'm well stashed with lots of reading material, yarn and snacks.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Travels

Last week Alicia and I ate in a diner called Maisie's, every day for lunch. It was located near the plant, and everyone that worked there treated us like real regular guests. They served good-old fashioned comfort food perfect for the cold weather we had.

I came home Friday night and spent the weekend with Paul, during which we did all our errands, laundry and chores. I re-packed my suitcase, added a new batch of fiber from Tanglewood Fiber Creations, grabbed my Hat Box spinning wheel and off I went this morning to Virginia. So I sit here now in my hotel room getting ready mentally for another week away from home. The travel is really fun adventure, but I really miss Paul when I'm gone, and it is hard being away from home for so long.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fishing for Well-Trout

Alicia and I had a little kerfuffle yesterday while sampling. Our bladder pump came disconnected from the tubing as we were lowering it down the well and it fell down to the bottom with a kersplash! Panic ensued and we called the project manager who was doubtful it would be successful but suggested we go to the store and buy fishing line, hooks and sinkers and try to fish it out. He had heard it done before to get lightweight items out of a well, but never a whole stainless steel pump.

So, four shops later we found one that carried the necessary fishing supplies during the "off-season" and we began our fishing expedition. Alicia fished while I sampled the next well with a different kind of pump and then we traded off. We tried different fishing techniques...

I was a little lazier and hooked the string to a stick for the more traditional method of bouncing the line and waiting for a bite.

"No way!" I said to myself, trying to contain the excitement I felt when the line went tight and my stick began to bend under the weight of a mysterious "big one" at the end of my line. I began reeling 'er in slowly making sure I didn't jerk the line free, as my dad taught me years ago on the lake. If it works for fish, it must work for pumps. Once the pump was in sight coming up the well, I shouted to Alicia across the field to share the excitement.

"Dad, I caught the big one!" My dad will be so proud. He is an expert fly fisherman and I want him to know I remembered what he taught me about fishing (although I'm not experience with fly fishing) What a silver beauty, weighing all of about 5 pounds and measuring about 12 inches.
At least we can tell the boss we didn't lose the very expensive pump after all!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Goodness in Goodlettsville

I am happy to report that Goodlettsville, Tennessee, lives up to it's name. After arriving at the Nashville airport and recieving very friendly service from Hertz and the rental car guard attendant, I was most impressed when I drove the short drive to Goodlettsville and was most welcomed at McDonald's with a big smile and then at my hotel when I checked in. It was not at all a bad journey even though I detest traveling for work on a Sunday.

The next morning I went downstairs for breakfast and got there before my teammate, Alicia, did. A little elderly woman, in her 80's I'd say, at the breakfast bar, greeted me with a friendly "hello" and then hardly paused before asking, "What do you do for a living?" I was a bit surprised, and gave my standard "environmental consulting" answer, not expecting much of a reaction. She studied me smugly, and answered, "Thought so." I felt my eyebrows disappear under my hairline in surprise. "Really?" Afterall, who could pinpoint my profession so acurately just by looking at me? The woman preceeded proudly to let me know how she came to that conclusion, namely that she was familiar with a young lady and gentleman who come and stay at the hotel periodically, they dress just like I was dressed (cargo pants and old T-shirt) and they are also environmental consultants. Come to find out she was talking about Alicia, who shortly arrived downstairs for breakfast, and Matt, who is usually her teammate on these sampling events. The woman, Sadie, gave Alicia a big hug and asked how she was doing, etc. I was just blown away by how sharp as a tack this little old lady was who served breakfast in the hotel. Apparently she is retired from government work (I'd guess the FBI based on her skills) and loves being around people so works 5 days a week at the local hotel. She keeps tabs on all her regular guests.

Today was just full of these kinds of surprises. We went to Rite Aid to get ice and Alicia explained how the store had adopted a stray cat that had been hanging around. They started leaving it food and then gradually the cat acquired a blanket. Now the cat has a collar, dog house, a quilt and several blankets to go along with the regular meals. It was the sweetest thing, and I thought, "only in Goodlettsville."
Notice the nice layout and plush handmade-looking quilt.

And here's the lucky kitty. She just got caught trying to sneak into the Rite-Aid -- due to the rain, I imagine. She was promptly booted out onto the porch here. If I could have gotten a closer picture, you'd see she wears a gold collar with a tag. I wonder if it says something like, "Rita from Rite-Aid, Goodlettsville, TN

I later asked Alicia if she thought the town seemed extra friendly, or was it just me? She agreed most heartily that Goodlettsville was one of the friendliest places she's been to, but she thinks it spreads into nearby Nashville as well.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Celebration

Although starting the day off at the DMV is not anyone's idea of a great Saturday, it did seem to be a big symbolic part of being a resident in a new place. We were begruding the fact that we had to get our licenses today, but it had to be done to get our cars registered, and I'm leaving tomorrow for another week of work in the field. So off we went at 8:30 to the DMV.

It was a lively place with a line out the door and around the corner, but people seemed to be taking it in stride and we met some nice people in line. All in all, it was a good experience and we left with a good attitude about the South Carolina DMV.

In celebration of getting that done, and with so much to do with a new house, we did some shopping. We started out at the nursery to get some ideas of trees for the yard. It was great that some of the native trees we like are pretty common at the nurseries, such as magnolia and redbuds. Funny thing was that many of the trees are deciduous so it was tough looking at rows of trees that don't have their leaves on them yet. How would you decide whether you liked the Silver Cloud Redbud or the Oaklahoma Redbud when you have these rows to choose from?

The nursery man assured us it was a bit early in the year to get a good view of the trees in full splendor, but he walked around and gave us the highlights of each and we took lots of pictures of bare branches and tags so that we knew what was what.

The evergreens, including the magnolia, were much easier this time of year.

After getting tree ideas, we went to the drapery store. I had to drag Paul in there with me, kicking and screaming, but he was a good sport about letting me know what he would settle for and what he would not. He couldn't see the difference between cobalt blue and teal, which was pretty funny, but I was pretty impressed with his pattern design taste. We found a fabric we could both be happy with and then we went on to Lowes to see about curtain rods. We didn't buy the fabric yet-- very pricey, but we wrote down all the info for later use.

Lowe's were much better priced than the drapery store for curtain rods and so bought enough for the master bedroom, which took hours since we had to go through and find 4 matching of everything. Harder than it seemed. We now have curtain rods to hang sheets on if we need to until we get fabric.

It looks like I won't be bringing my sewing machine to the hotel this week! Spinning it is... The sweater is almost done, by the way. Another half sleeve and neckline to do.