If you’re not livin’ on the edge . . .

you’re takin’ up too much room!  Well, at least that’s what my brother always tells me.  I AM on the edge . . . or I’m ON edge . . . or I’m at the very end of my rope . . . something along those lines.  However, I just pulled the car into the garage (after spending five hours at the office on a Sunday), closed the door behind me, and I don’t think I’ll come out of here again for a while.  Well, okay, I need to go have a dexascan tomorrow morning, so I’ll do that, but otherwise, I’m staying home to quilt for a few days.  I needed to go to work today while there was no one there to bug me.  I did, as I thought I might, get an incredible amount done.  Amazing what you can accomplish when there is no one there to say, “Linda, I need to be reimbursed for this. . . Linda, I need a purchase order for the bookstore. . . Linda, the copier isn’t working . . . Linda, someone broke the stapler!”  ACK!  Leave me alone!  Fix it yourself!  Give me a half hour to get your paperwork done!  Get out of my office!!  Phew . . . THERE!  I feel better now.  Sometimes there’s just too much going on.  My joined-at-the-hip buddy, Ozzie, went to work with me as usual.  I took him out to pee and, of course, we had to toss the ball.  Well, we ended up getting yelled at by some kids who had the quad “reserved” for some stupid frisbee golf thing.  You can reserve a quad on a public university campus and no one else can use it??  Hmm.  Why weren’t they yelling at the people crossing the lawn to go to the museum?  Well, probably because they were not accompanied by a critter who eats frisbees for breakfast!  sigh  Can’t we all get along?

Anyway, we’re home, the sun is shining, we’re going to have a late lunch, toss the ball a bit more, and then I’m going upstairs to quilt.  I think I may even turn the phone off.  I’m going to do my Oscar the Grouch and pull my trash can lid down tight!

It’s Official!

I spent my morning at the Human Resources Office filling out the retirement papers and getting them all notarized.  Ozzie and I just got back from the Post Office, where we sent them off, Certified Mail, even with Return Receipt Requested.  I’m not taking any chances on the pension company telling me they didn’t get my paperwork.  Now I need to plow through this pile of paperwork and then I’m taking a few days off.  I am so stressed, I’ll probably end up with heart failure before I get outta this joint!

More green

I love Oregon.  It is such a beautiful state, and I’m proud to call it my home.  There are times, however, when I want to shake my fist at all the greenery.  Pollen season.  You’re thinking . . . pollen in January?  Really?  Well, part of what makes Oregon so green is the presence of all the conifers.  Cedar, juniper, Douglas fir, etc., and they are in full procreation mode right now.  I have the sinus headache from H-E-double hockey sticks this morning, but with the help of some antihistamines and some great coffee, I’ll beat it into submission.  Way too much to do today to hassle with a headache.  I’m off to the office shortly to find a travel reimbursement from 2009 that the Business Office wants to audit.  I didn’t go to the office yesterday, as planned, because the Computing Center was doing maintenance on the system I needed to use for processing travel, and I had forgotten that the Eugene Parade of Champions was starting virtually right outside my building.  Finding a place to put the car within a mile of the building would have been difficult.  So, today I’ll go do some paperwork and look for my audit document.  I only have three huge boxes of travel reimbursements to paw through, searching for this one document.  Ick.  Then, I will take Ozzie out to play.  He needs a good run and, if I can find my little tripod, I may capture a short video on his amazing ball retrieving skills.  I think I should rent him out to tennis courts.  Every day, people stop on the quad at the UO and tell me how much they enjoy watching Ozzie and me play and that they think he is the best dog on campus.  Well, I think they are right!  After that, it’s home to quilt.  Quilts seem to be coming in fast and furious and, although I have set the deadlines for them well out into the future, I know my procrastination proclivities will mean I’m doing them all at the last minute if I’m not careful.  So, one more cup of strong java, and off we go!  Out into the pollen.

Be sure and eat your greens

Sigh.  What a day I had today!  Did I tell you I’m retiring?  Can it come soon enough?  I don’t think so.

I often describe my job by saying “I put out fires.”  Lately, I’ve been dealing with a major conflagration.  I took time off over the holidays (read:  mistake), one of my faculty decided not to teach Winter term, but could not decide until noon on December 30 (nightmare), I needed to hire a new faculty member, a graduate teaching fellow decided not to return for Winter term (I had to hire two people to replace him), the travel office decided to ask me for a travel document for audit just as I was leaving for the holidays (it was not due to their office until shortly before I returned from the holidays — can we say “impossible”?), most of my faculty (and graduate teaching fellows) attended the meetings of the Allied Social Science Association in Denver January 6-9, 2011 (this means they want to be reimbursed for their travels), a colleague of a couple of my faculty decided he would like to pay us a visit from April 1 through August 1, but needs a visa from the United Kingdom yesterday, the Summer Session budget needs to be in NOW, and the catalog copy for the 2011-2012 General Bulletin needed to be in by the 20th, and I’m trying to submit my retirement paperwork.  OY!

So, I arrive at the office this morning, planning to lock myself in my office and generate form after form, payroll paperwork, travel paperwork, catalog copy, pay bills, etc.  Unfortunately, I arrive to find the message light glaring on my phone.  Both of my secretaries are ill.  Stomach flu of some kind.  Trust me, I’m glad they are not there. . .I don’t want to catch it, but DAMN!  So, the handy helper arrives to install the replacement projector screen in the conference room.  He opens the box to find the screen has been damaged in shipping.  ACK!  He hangs the external mail slot (our campus mailman doesn’t like to wait for us to open from lunch [along with half the departments in the building] during the noon hour) and leaves the ticket open to replace the screen when I get the new one from Staples (thankfully, the return process from Staples rates a “that was easy” button).  I post a sign on the door saying the office is closed, but if they really need someone, they can see Linda in room 431.  Knocks on the door ALL.DAY.LONG.  ACCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!

So, tonight I am eating my greens for dinner.  They are, coincidentally, swimming in a small sea of vodka:

I used to drink a lot.  I rarely drink anymore.  However, today requires a bit of relaxation.  Did I mention I now need to work tomorrow?  Damn.  Retirement cannot come soon enough.  So, eat your greens.  If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.

The joy of short-timer’s disease

What is that strange feeling I feel coursing through me?  Is it a bit of energy?  Is it a bit of joy, realizing that I will finally be able to live the life I’ve wanted?  I think so!  Very odd what setting a retirement date can do for you.  Suddenly, you begin to plan what you will do when all your time (and all your energy) can be channeled into the things you want to do, instead of into a whole lot of red-tape and regulation with which you are forced to deal on a daily basis.  I have quilts planned.  I have a garden planned.  I have some landscaping of the yard planned.  I have dreams of just driving over to the coast to look at the ocean, and staying the night if I feel like it.  Then I’m in the mountains, sitting by the side of a trail where it’s so quiet that it actually makes your ears hurt.  What joy.  What wonderful freedom.  It really IS what I wanted to be all my life . . . FREE!  Yes, there will be the usual responsibilities of having to pay the bills, and if I continue to quilt for clients, there will be deadlines, but my life will be my own. I can’t begin to tell you how happy that makes me.

Yesterday my friend Ellen and I drove to Salem for a meeting of our long arm quilters group.  We are the Moxies, and we are generally a group of APQS machine quilters, although we do allow owners of different brands to come and join us.  We chatted about the holidays, our lives, internet dating (whoa . . . could I offer some caution there, or what?), fabric, quilts, thread, food, etc.  We ate (we always have a potluck).  We had a nice demo of binding on the long arm.  We laughed so much and so hard that my face still hurts today.  I slept like a rock last night, just exhausted from being in the company of wonderful quilters.  Ellen and I stopped at the Purple Frog in Jefferson on the way home.  If you live in the Willamette Valley area of Oregon, you owe it to yourself to stop in this great little shop.  They have gorgeous fabrics (mostly Moda, my very favorite), cute patterns, supplies, etc. Friendly staff and just a really nice place.  Best of all, you can get there by exiting I-5 at one exit, drive to the shop, and then just continue in the same direction after shopping and end up at an entrance to the freeway a few miles down.  No backtracking!!

So, today, I will do some quilting, start on the huge (and I mean HUGE) project of de-cluttering and reorganizing this little cottage so that I can actually walk through it.  I’ve got dinner going in the crock pot, so I won’t be spending much time in the kitchen.  Part of me thinks I need to go into the office and get a few things done, as I’m already over-whelmed with the start of the term and all my faculty come back from their annual meetings tomorrow (travel reimbursements galore), but you know what? I’m not going to go there today.  I’m beginning to grasp the concept that my free time is just that, and I refuse to go into the office on the weekends.  After all, what are they going to do, Fire me?  😉  Well, I hope not.  Not till I have reached my goal of becoming what I always wanted to be.  What joy.

Paperless paper piecing coming right up!

New adventures in the New Year.  I will be teaching Sharon Schamber’s Piec-lique’ technique at Our Sewing Room in Springfield, OR  on February 12th.  If you have never tried this technique before, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.  It’s very easy to do, makes your points and curves super-accurate, and basically shows you how to paper piece without the paper or even pins!  Of course, you will not have Sharon there to throw out bits of wisdom to you (she’s a super teacher), but I’ll do my best to share tips she shared while I took her class.  The class includes a packet which comes directly from Sharon, so you will go home with her pattern and a CD which contains a PDF of meticulous instructions in case you forget what you learned.  I’ll be bringing a few patterns for small projects you can make from the finished blocks.

I’ll try attaching the flier for the class here Flier – Piec-lique in case you are interested in registering.  We still have plenty of space, so all are welcome.

As I’ve practically shouted from here before, I will be retiring this year.  I officially retire from my day job on April 1, but will continue working for approximately 1039 hours (six months, and the maximum allowable under retirement rules), which will take me up to nearly October 1.  I plan to ramp up my quilting business at that time, concentrating mostly on simple designs for those who wish to have their quilts finished without having to pay an arm and a leg.  While I enjoy doing custom quilting, it is a long process and I think that by and large my customers just want a comfy blankie to sleep under.  Besides the quilts, I’m going to re-plant my vegetable garden this year, get my flowers back up to snuff, and I may even add a couple of chickens to the back yard.  Of course, they will have to be in an enclosed run, or Ozzie will most likely have them for breakfast.  The local raccoons would also probably like them as a midnight snack.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a wonderful 2011.  Meeting lots of new people, making new friends, traveling a bit more, and just taking the time to stop and smell the roses.  Hopefully, I’ll also have the time to play with all the toys I’ve amassed at quilt shows over the past six years.  I have dyes, paints, stamps, foundations, patterns, embellishments, etc., galore to experiment with, so I’m sure I’ll never be bored.  I wish the same for all of you.