Busy summer planning
DATE: May 30 2012, 12:56 pm / MOOD: Excited
First, an announcement...I'm a mother again! I adopted a second guinea pig almost three weeks ago. His name is Patrick, and he is welcomed by his big pig brother, Brendan. After the initial bath and cage cleaning, the two are getting along famously--unless Patrick decides to be the annoying little brother and bother Brendan. Just like human sibs, yeah? ;)
So...summer has unofficially started. Memorial Day is the start of "tourism summer." June 1 is the start of Meteorological Summer, and June 21 or thereabouts is the Summer Solstice. However, my summer started as "tourism summer" began.
I'll be busy this summer--I usually am. I like being busy, having things to look forward to. Some of it is band stuff--parades, competitions, and, this summer, Honor Flight (www.starsandstripeshonorflight.org/). This Saturday is both a competition, at the Milwaukee Highland Games, and an Honor Flight welcome-home celebration at the airport. It will be a long day, but well worth the time.
Summer also means festivals in Milwaukee. There are quite a few ethnic festivals--Greek Fest, Polish Fest, German Fest, Irish Fest (the biggest one), Indian Summer, African World Fest, Arab World Festival, Scandinavian Fest, etc. Also, there are many church festivals--every Catholic parish has one. There have already been several in May (St. Florian's down the road has already had theirs). Neighborhoods have block parties. County parks have concerts once a week or so. And then there's the grandmama of them all--Summerfest. Eleven days of local, national and international acts. Huge acts usually end up in the Marcus Amphitheater--like the Beach Boys, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum, Train, Foo Fighters, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick, etc. Other acts play on smaller stages that still draw the crowds. I usually try to make it to one day or evening. Last year I went twice--once to see Loretta Lynn (my birthday present to myself) and once to see the Dropkick Murphys. This year our plan is to go the night that the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are playing. They're a group of world-class bagpipers and drummers who play what is termed "bagrock"--think of tunes like "We Will Rock You," "Clocks" and "Chasing Cars" played on bagpipes, along with some traditional bagpipe favorites (Mason's Apron, Clumsy Lover, Flower of Scotland, Auld Lang Syne, etc). They have played at Irish Fest the last three years, and this year got pipped by Summerfest. They'll bring a lot of fans with them.
Irish Fest is required--both of my pipe bands play during the weekend. However, the music is always top-notch as well. This year's lineup includes Enter the Haggis, The Fuchsia Band, and a huge showcase of Appalachian bluegrass, which has its origins in Irish and Scottish music. I love bluegrass music so this should be a lot of fun. I'm also hoping to see the High Kings, Skerryvore, Gaelic Storm (whom I've never actually seen in concert even though they come to Irish Fest every year), Del McCoury, and hopefully Seamus Kennedy, who is Irish music's answer to Weird Al Yankovic.
There are other things to be done this summer. I'm going to Canada in July with some friends to participate in a Celtic festival at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay. My husband and I always go to Bristol Renaissance Faire every year. We'd like to go to a Brewers game (we live a mile from the stadium and have yet to get to a game in four years!). We've talked about going to Green Bay to see Lambeau Field and the Packer Hall of Fame. I'd like to go see my parents a couple of times. And so on.
Summer ends with our other band competition at the Wisconsin Highland Games in September, over Labor Day weekend.
I am looking forward to summer. May it be a happy and joyful one for everyone!
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What a Monday Monday.
DATE: May 07 2012, 7:41 pm / MOOD: Sleepy
Today at work, our task was to reset (rearrange and add new product to) the meat cooler. I ended up with the first four sections--the fresh meats and the deli dinner options (take-and-bake pizza, prepared entrees, potato salad, cole slaw, etc).
First, I missed the alarm. Thankfully, I work with my husband, so he was able to wake me. I did not feel well. The trees are pollinating, and I have allergies to some of them--cottonwoods, pines, oaks. I live in a very well-treed neighborhood and near a park, so there's no avoiding it. There are some scientific links between allergies and anxiety/depression, so I know that I'm fragile when I am in this kind of a physical state. I'm achy, tired, and my allergies manifest themselves in several ways: sinus-related, mild asthma/reactive airway, skin irritation, a combination of any of the three, and--the one I dread most--bronchitis. Right now it's sinuses and airway issues. I am fully cognizant of my emotional vulnerability when I'm sick, and I've learned to control my emotional responses to things that happen while I'm ill.
The first two sections were a breeze. The shelving was already in the right places, and the food already out on the shelves was more than adequate to fill the spots. I was zipping. The second two sections weren't quite so easy, and this is where I started to struggle. First, I had to clean the shelves. They had once contained fresh pork and chicken. The chicken packages tend to leak. I started pulling out the plastic fronts to the shelf, and got a horrible whiff of rotten meat juices. I let out a very large gag noise. Everyone looked at me, wondering if I was nuts or something.
The shelves needed to be moved. They were heavy (in my weakened physical condition) and I didn't know they had brackets in the back to hold them in place. One of my teammates had to help me. Then, as I was putting one of the brackets on, *after* I'd put the product on the shelf (not realizing it was still in my pile of parts), the shelf collapsed on one side, and two tubs of prepackaged soup came tumbling down and broke in the bottom shelf. One was chicken broccoli cheese; the other was chicken tortilla. The latter looked like barf. It took me an hour to clean the liner, the grates, and reach into the interior of the cooler to clean up the spilled soup. By then, everything else had been set (thankfully), so the store patrons who were looking for those products could find them. It was just the prepackaged, prepared fancy meat entrees (chicken parmesan, bacon-cheddar-stuffed pork chops, bacon-wrapped petite sirloins, etc) that were not out because of the shelf spillage. I felt my emotions collapsing on me, but instead of running off and becoming a crying ball of mess, I bucked up and cleaned up the mess and took my break as a self reset.
I took my lunch break after rinsing the liner down,and felt better after eating. I finished cleaning and replaced everything, and finished up my set. After my final break of the day, my supervisor asked me to start straightening up our storage area, which I did. It looked a lot better after I finished, though I still had some stuff left when I clocked out for the day.
He then asked me if I wanted to come in tomorrow. I took that as an opportunity to get myself back on a good work track, and said yes. I'll be going to bed as soon as I see Donald Driver do his trio dance, or Tristan McManus, or whatever.
My husband was awesome through it all. He even made dinner tonight. We don't work in the same group in the store, but I see him occasionally and he was very sympathetic. I have also made fast friends with the building supervisor, and she was not having a great day, either. We commisserated for a few moments, and it was nice to have a listening ear that I could return.
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Early mornings = early nights
DATE: May 03 2012, 6:23 pm / MOOD: Mellow
Life is kind of back to normal now. Got to work at 4am, as usual, and pushed myself very hard, as usual. Got most of my assigned tasks done; one I couldn't do because we had no product to put out on the display, and one I just ran out of time for. Went to the grocery store near work and picked up lunch and cilantro for the guinea pig, then wasted time looking around the ethnic food aisles. The stores are in a neighborhood with a high population of Hispanics, so there is half an aisle of just Goya products (yum) and Jarritos soda (I wish they made a diet soda--the tamarind is so good but so sugary) and various and sundry other Mexican and Spanish brands. The next aisle is Indian, German, Irish/British, Polish, Kosher, and Middle Eastern. I saw something new--flattened rice--and promised myself I'd look up recipes for it.
I am, however, tired. The push at work really wears me out. I wanted to take a nap but I had to go to my volunteer job playing with rabbits and guinea pigs at the local humane society shelter. I always enjoy that. I'm still sleepy now, but I did muster up the energy to make a simple dinner.
I have finally been able to sleep at night recently. Last week was all insomnia. This week I've been sleeping like a rock.
Life does go on, even if we want it to stop.
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Almost relaxing day
DATE: May 02 2012, 7:33 pm / MOOD: Content
I just woke from an unintentional four-hour nap. Guess I needed it after the events of the last few days.
My husband--whom I will heretofore call DH, for "dear husband"--was on one of his obsessive trips this morning, regarding our bills for this month, with the repairs the car has had and our loss of one day of work this week. I had to tell him that when he gets into one of those phases, that it puts me into crisis mode again, especially after I've so recently had a crisis. He hadn't realized that before, so he finally calmed down and eventually we were able to discuss how we were going to deal with our monthly obligations. It will all work out.
I got my official acceptance letter to my new bachelor's degree program (biological sciences, majoring in laboratory technology and taking a forensic toxicology certificate, probably minoring in something unrelated like Celtic studies or public health). Change of career nearly complete.
DH and I went to lunch today, to celebrate his birthday. I love our burger joint. Their burgers are creative. You can add just about whatever you want. I had a burger topped with a fried, cheese-stuffed portobella mushroom, bacon, and a fried egg. DH had a burger with bacon and beer-sauteed onions. We shared a plate of fries, which we couldn't finish, so we have them to home in a box.
I also signed up for the fall semester of drum lessons with my drum instructor. I'm not going to be able to take spring or summer term lessons, because of the car issues, but I am going to save up money each month to take fall lessons. Hopefully that means next year I'll be ready to start novice solo competitions. I'm also happy that we have a full drum corps for band competition in four weeks. I let the lead tip take the lead with our youngest snare drummer, since I hadn't been able to convince him for anything, and they're hitting it off very well. So we have the minimums we need. Hopefully my friend B will rejoin the band soon--I have need of his mentorship!
Life is looking better today. I just need to find my prayer beads.
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It was my own fault.
DATE: May 01 2012, 3:12 pm / MOOD: Tired
So. Got the car back. New battery. Got to work fine this morning, but noticed that two reading lights and the door lights were on and wouldn't go off.
Came out of work 8.5 hours later--no juice in the car. At this time I am royally mad at my mechanic for installing the new battery but not figuring out what drained the old one. Called them and told them about the lights and that my battery was dead again. I asked if they'd put in a new fuse, and he said no. He said he'd send out a service call.
One of the mechanics came out to give me a jump. He was the one who had put in the new radiator. He got it going, then took a look. Lo and behold...the interior lights switch was turned all the way to the right--which turned on the reading lights and the dome lights.
Social anxiety then colored me embarrassed. How had I not noticed that?
I took a long drive to charge up the battery, going out by the airport and then taking a roundabout way to get to my favorite Chinese restaurant. I made sure the dial was OFF when I got out of my car.
So that's solved. I'm exhausted from moving furniture at work for two days. I got a little bit of a break when the consumables manager asked me to set up some sale displays for her. My arms are sore, I'm sleepy, but I have band rehearsal tonight--we're four weeks away from competition and I am way behind in learning my music.
It is in my crisis times that I find that sometimes crisis breeds resourcefulness, and sometimes crises really don't need to happen.
Day off tomorrow. Hubby's birthday was yesterday, so we are going to his favorite burger joint tomorrow when they offer free birthday burgers for that week's birthdays. I am looking forward to a good night's sleep.
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DATE: Apr 29 2012, 7:22 pm / MOOD: Okay
I have an anxiety trigger regarding my vehicle. I drive a really neat van. I have had it for five years and just paid it off. Of course, you know what happens when that happens. My van has been in the shop at least once a month since December. It's just plain old--17 years--and things are starting to fall apart. When it is all together, it runs well, does what we ask of it, which isn't much--get us to work and back, to the grocery store, our favorite restaurants and events, hauls my bass drum, and so forth.
We just got it back Friday after two weeks of inoperativeness, which necessitated a new radiator. We joyfully went to get dinner, informed our workplace that we could now resume our 4am work start time, and went home confident that it would be fine for awhile.
The next morning, we decided to go get brunch at the new donut shop near our market. Guess what? No juice. I was getting some noise telling me the key was in the ignition, but it would not turn over. I called my roadside assistance for a jump, but he came out, tried to jump it with a "box," was gruff and seemed like he didn't want to be there. He said "it's not the battery," tried jumping it with the assistance car, then said "you need to have it towed" and packed up and went away. I was left quite stunned. I thought I'd let it dry out--it has a tendency to not want to start in wet weather.
Lucky for me, I had a ride arranged to my band's gig that night, which was at the airport, welcoming home a group of World War II veterans who had been flown out to see the WWII memorial in Washington. I was grateful for that. My husband came along, not part of his original plan but he was invited along by my ride, who is a good friend. The trip was supposed to return at 8:30, but because of weather, it didn't get in until after 11:00. By the time we got home, it was 1:30, and we were to be at work at 4am.
Tried starting the van. Now there was no juice at all. Nothing electric worked. Ugh.
We decided to call in to work, due to our extreme fatigue and the van not working. At 4 we called...and called...and called...and couldn't get through. We realized that the phone system at work was out of order--instead of transferring us to a phone that would be picked up by a supervisor, it was hanging up upon transfer. I finally got hold of someone at 8:30 by patching through to the photo lab, because the operator's line was busy.
That's what set off my crisis. I could not go back to bed, except to lie there and have my brain go nuts.
I wanted to give up. I have had it with the vehicle, but right now, we can't afford to get another. I want to go home and have my mother baby me. That's not appropriate, either.
I called for a tow for the van. The guy who showed up was much, much more customer-service oriented than the one who came on Saturday. He asked me what the trouble was, and then offered to jump it himself. He tried, but basically said the positive terminal on the battery was too corroded to get a good grip, and said the trouble was definitely the battery. I pray he's right, and that it is nothing else. It was a great relief for him to say how sure he was.
So I felt better, then--better enough to tackle the huge mound of dishes in the sink, clean the stove, make dinner, and make bread rolls, and play with the guinea pig. I'm exhausted now, from the lack of sleep, but I'm fed, rested, have clean dishes, and got my schedule adjusted so I can go in later to work tomorrow (by bus) and not be late.
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