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My new Library Director is nice. I needed to drive some books up to the Normal campus, but I'm low on funds for gas. I asked if I could get a few dollars out of petty cash to pay for gas, and he said yes. He's going to propose that we not drive books up there, but instead, ask patrons at the Normal campus to have their books sent to local colleges and universities. (The one down the street is Heartland, where I'm taking classes.) We'll see how that goes over.

I think that I used more gas than I got money for, but I should be okay.

On the way back, I was listening to an audiobook called The Bite-Sized Entrepreneur. I'm not thrilled with the book, but I came up with four ideas for smartphone apps while I was listening. (I need to check Google Play to see that no one else has created them already.) I was wondering if there were classes on Android development, and Coursera has a sequence of five classes in it. It looks like Heartland might let me skip the Introduction to Computers class. If so, I could enroll in these classes this fall. They're even not too expensive. Heartland has a class in Android development too. The more programming that I do, the better at programming I'll be. So it's good. I'm excited!

I've been thinking about the long weekend coming up, and want to find a cool place to hike. Otherwise, I want to stay home and get stuff done.

Harlee was calling me, although she seems to have given up. Anyway, she needs snuggles.
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Harlee is now on prescription food. However, I bought her really expensive non-prescription food at the beginning of the month. I want Mimi and Zara to eat the expensive food. Mimi likes it. (Mimi has never found food that she doesn't like, except for turkey. She's kind of like a stomach with legs and fur.) Zara does not, and is refusing to eat it. I had a long talk with her about the importance of eating her food, and how there were starving cats out there who would love the food, but no. Zara wasn't going to eat the food, and I couldn't make her eat it. So she wins. I'm going to pick up food that she likes at WalMart later tonight, plus an extra cat food cap. I'll feed Harlee the prescription food, Mimi the expensive non-prescription food, and Zara her junk food (Fancy Feast). Sigh. Oy. Zara was nosing around Mimi's dish. Surprise, surprise, she's hungry. Did I say, "Sigh"?

After I picked up Zara's meds, I drove to Funks Grove. It's a very pretty grove of sugar maple and oak trees. I had planned on stopping by the Funks Grove pure maple sirup store, but blew past it on old Route 66. I also blew past the turnoff for the old historic church and cemetery. I did turn off for the Sugar Grove Nature Center. The Center was closed, but the trails are open until dusk. First, I walked over to the Imagination Grove, which had a ton of things that kids would enjoy: a playhouse, a sandbox, a way to get to the creek, steps up a tree, tires, a pipe to crawl though, and a low zip line. There also were picnic tables for us old folks.

Then I went looking for the trails. I finally found some off to the side of the main area. I started down the longest trail, which goes near the old church and cemetery, but stopped a little way before the cemetery because I was afraid that it was going to get dark, and the forest was pretty dark as it was. The trails were well-maintained, and there were lots of signs for the trails. I really liked it. I was alone again, though, and I was wondering if I should take pepper spray with me, just in case. They did find someone dead there a little while ago, but apparently the woman was killed by her daughter.

Then I drove over to the old church and cemetery. The church is small and pretty. The cemetery was quiet and peaceful; it's easy to imagine "resting in peace" there. I really liked it. There also is an auxiliary cemetery because the old one is full. It wasn't quite as pretty, but it was nice enough.

Then I went home. I want to come back and hike more trails sometime, and check out the "Chapel in the Woods".
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It was a red-letter day in some ways. I found my other hiking boot! Huzzah! In a text conversation about it, I found out that a friend of mine from work would like to go hiking with me. Also, she previously had told me that she had a new FitBit, and I could have the old one, but she forgot about it and her daughter sold it. I found a FitBit on eBay for not a lot of money, so I bid on it and got it. So that's all good.

I also finished my part of the big conversion project that we have been working on. I did a happy dance that I'm glad that no one else could see :)

However, we had a mother of a storm here tonight. Power lines down, branches down, streets flooding, power out in a lot of places. The street in front of the library completely flooded, and the water was up to the bottom of my car doors when I ran out and rescued the car. In the process, I had to wade through the water, and my shoes and socks were completely soaked. Boy, was I glad to change shoes and socks when I got home. I don't think that my shoes will dry by the time I have to go back to work in the morning (I need to get in early for an interview), so I'm wondering if brown shoes would look awful with gray pants and jacket, and a white and black top. Then again, who's going to look at my feet?

No salad tonight. It's a hot food and hot tea kind of night. And I'm almost out of Earl Grey tea, so I need to get more.
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I did get up on time today, although I had some problems actually getting moving. I planned to go to Moraine View Recreation Area today. Then I received a weather alert on my phone. Bloomington is having a thunderstorm with torrential rain and possible hail. That alert also covers the recreation area. It would be over by the time that I'd get there, but I don't really want to walk wet trails. I don't have waterproof boots, although they're on my list. Well, it's summer, so I suppose that I should expect weather like this.

I could stay home. I have a lot of stuff to do, plus I haven't set up the blog yet. I thought about staying home and then going to the fireworks in Bloomington, but watching fireworks on wet grass doesn't sound appealing. (I have a camp chair, but still....)

There is a nature preserve near the Illinois River in Havana, about an hour from here. I could go there (assuming that the weather is okay, but it might have been in the path of this storm). However, there's a restaurant there that I'd like to try, but I don't know if it's open today because of the holiday.

I'm leaning toward staying home.
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I did find the "world's largest covered wagon". There was even a sign pointing to it, but I never noticed it. I took some pictures for the blog. I also found out where the Postville Courthouse Historic Site was, but I'll write about it some other time. I don't want to flood the blog with stuff from Lincoln.

Then I decided to take a walk in Kickapoo Creek Park in Lincoln to get at least some walking in. I found the creek this time, and it is quiet and serene. I took some pictures.

Read more... )

I don't know if I'm going to the fireworks or not because it's so freaking humid out. But now I need to go make my macaroni and cheese for later.
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I have a vague memory of liking Pere Marquette State Park as a kid. (We took trips all over Illinois when I was a kid.) So I looked it up last night. Beautiful, so beautiful, with lots of hiking trails. It's especially beautiful in the Autumn. So taking a trip there in Autumn is now at the top of my list. I'd love to stay in the Lodge, but it appears to be booked up way in advance. Plus, it's probably very pricey. (They don't post their prices, which I don't like. If you have to ask....) However, I found an Airbnb about 15 minutes away that's $22 a night. Can't beat that. (There is a nicer place that's a little farther away with a river view for $89 a night.) We have Fall Break in October, which should be good leaf-viewing time, so when I get paid, I want to book the Airbnb for Fall Break. The only thing is that I want to have decent hiking boots for that trip because the trails are steep, and there are poisonous snakes in the area.

In another area (Ottawa, IL), I found a place with a class in glass-blowing. Doesn't that sound cool? I'm going to ask my mom if she's interested in trying it.

Illinois has some interesting areas!

I've feeling kind of burnt-out, slightly depressed, tired, and headachy. I think that I'll hole up with some photography books that I checked out of the library (I want to work on photo composition because that doesn't require a DSLR) and a snuggly cat. After I meditate and exercise.
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I haven't found my other hiking boot thus far. I'm sure that I didn't get rid of it, though, so it must be here somewhere.

I priced other hiking boots (ouch), and discovered that there are very few women's hiking books in wide widths. I did find a few though. I'm kind of annoyed at how few shoes fit me.

Conked Out

Jun. 17th, 2017 05:47 pm
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Had a long afternoon nap again. I wish that I knew why I'm so tired.

I'm currently eating lunch, and then will throw myself together to do a little more laundry. It's supposed to rain (maybe part of the reason that I slept so long is that it's overcast?), so I guess that I'll put the laundry in plastic bags.

Need to e-mail my dad to tell him that I'm not taking the Rockford trip. There's a state park between Rockford and Galena, Apple Canyon State Park, that he was encouraging me to go to. I suppose that if I get up really early (it's a three-hour drive), I could still go there sometime. But it's easier to get there from Rockford or Galena. Judging by the pictures that I've seen, it's a very pretty park.

No Go

Jun. 16th, 2017 12:16 am
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I'm not going to be able to take the trip over the 4th of July long weekend. Apparently we're going to get paid on July 3rd, instead of the 30th, like I thought. The reason is that the 1st is falling on a weekend, and it's the beginning of the fiscal year, so they can't pay us early. Bummer.

But! I decided to see if Peoria (about a half-hour from here, not counting travel time in Peoria) had a botanical garden, and indeed, it does. They have guided tours on Sundays for $2. I definitely want to go over the 4th of July weekend.

Peoria also has a "nature preserve" with trails.

There also is a state park in Eastern Illinois (about 1.5 hours from here) that I'd like to check out. The same area has a lake with trails.

There also are a couple of spots in the area with lakes where you can swim. I think that I can keep myself amused and destress.

My cats, however, are not amused and are stressy. Zara scratched me this morning. I was trying to put my phone on its charging cord, and apparently I was too close to Zara's head. To be fair, she warned me, but I wanted to put my phone away and then jump in the shower because I was running late for work. She broke the skin on my arm, but it didn't bleed, so I need to keep an eye on the scratches. I might have some peroxide to put on it in my linen closet.

Harlee wanted me to come in and pet her when I was home for dinner. I told her that I needed to go back to work, but that I was going to be home tomorrow. She replied, "MMMMMMEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOWWW" and shook her paw at me. I have no doubt that I was being told. (I told my mom that I thought that Harlee was getting more and more crotchety in her old age. My mom said, "Harlee, I know exactly how you feel. :))

Mimi is annoyed that I'm busy typing when she is HUNGRY! (Their dishes are soaking in the sink.)

I have a lot to do this weekend, so I need to make a list. I want to take a walk in the nature preserve across the road from me though. And go to the gym and work on strengthening my bad knees.
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I've been looking for a good guidebook to Illinois, and I've not been finding much. There are a bunch about Chicago, but not the rest of the state. Maybe that means that I should write one :) I'm semi-serious about that. Working title: The Other Illinois: Get Out of Chicago and See the Rest of the State! It could be fodder for a lot of road trips. And maybe an article or two. I need a decent DSLR though. (It's always something.)

A Road Trip Illinois blog would be a good idea too. It would get me out of the house and exploring. It sounds like fun!

I found a state park about 2.5 hours away from here that I really want to hike. It's kind of hilly (it's in Eastern Illinois), but that might build my leg muscles up.

I solved the problem with my boss about my working days while she's gone. I'm going to take the Monday after my Sunday conference presentation off, and work the rest of the week, including Friday. Including the Sunday, that would be a full week. And then I'm going to work Wednesday - Friday the following week.

There is a horrific fire in a tall apartment building in London. Most of the building seems to be ablaze. Those poor people trapped inside....I hope that firefighters contain the blaze soon.
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Cooling off for a moment. In the middle of laundry and cleaning litter boxes, and dripping sweat.

My dad said that he loves the Great Smoky Mountains (which I confused with the Blue Ridge Mountains--they're a subset of the Blue Ridge Mountains). So I was poking around online to see what a trip there might be like. Found a hotel (actually, condo) I like and a hiking tour of waterfalls, but the place isn't really calling to me. Maybe I'd like it if I was there though. If I did go, I'd want to extend my trip and go to Asheville.


Jun. 9th, 2017 01:27 am
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I did go back to sleep relatively early last night. I did lie awake for a while, tossing and turning (I was waiting for Zara to smack me for being a lousy bedmate, but she didn't), cursing myself for getting so much sleep, but then I did fall asleep. So I slept most of Wednesday away. I've been back at work today, and feeling slightly manic. I don't seem to have a middle ground; I go from drag...drag...drag to wheeee...zing. So I should get a lot done, right? The problem is that I've been feeling very distractible. The task that I'm doing at work is kind of mind-numbing, but easy to screw up if I don't pay attention.

There was a job posting that interested me, in Allentown, PA. It's only 90 minutes from New York City and Philadelphia, which is kind of cool, but there is no train or bus to either place, and driving would be a bear. There was another job listing in Pennsylvania as well, but that one is closer to Baltimore and Philadelphia. Not going anywhere right now, but...I'm restless.

I was thinking about hiking. I need to develop some sort of plan to get my strength up for hiking. Maybe start going to the gym again to work on my knees and walk on the treadmill. Do short hikes in the local parks. Plan to do a longer hike once or twice a month.

My boss is taking two weeks off at the end of June and the beginning of July. As soon as I read that on the calendar, BOOM--my headache came back. She certainly has earned the time off, but she's leaving for good at the beginning of August, so there is even less time to 1) get our project done, and 2) do knowledge transfer. Plus I need to see if I can get someone to cover the full-time worker's lunch on Fridays while she's gone. So the headaches are partially due to stress. I was thinking of stress management techniques:

  • Meditation

  • Walking and hiking (another reason to do it)

  • Exercise

  • Snuggling with Zara

  • Yoga classes?

Tonight, I bought a reflective vest and LED light for walking at night. And yoga clothes. One goal for this weekend is to get my exercise gear in order. And find my missing hiking boot.
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No one is getting back to me. I called the vet, and they never called back. (I'm going to try again tomorrow.) My boss' boss never got back to me about my fall classes. The car service place never got back to me to confirm the appointment tomorrow, so I called them and made an appointment for tomorrow. Most worrisome, I haven't heard from the printer whether they can get the right size paper for my poster. (I'll e-mail them again tomorrow if I don't hear anything. Actually, I found their phone number, so maybe I'll call them.) Bah.

My boss took a half-day off today, and I didn't know that either.

I am having an e-mail conversation with my dad about hiking. I told him that I want to hike in Shenandoah State Park sometime "and do a day hike on the Appalachian Trail to get a feel for it because I'll probably never hike the entire thing". This was his response:

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. Wikipedia

Length: About 2,200 miles (3,500 km)
Highest point: Clingmans Dome, 6,643 ft (2,025 m)
So yes, I doubt you would want to do the entire trail even on an installment plan.

The proper name and statistics kind of cracked me up. He's so Dr. Spock. Although maybe he didn't know much about the trail, and I know a fair amount about it. I used to be a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and probably will join again when I have more money. I think that it's cool that it exists, even if I'm not likely to hike it.


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