About Me

My Photo
One year into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


The shelf is done. I put another coat on after blogging on Tuesday and before going to bed. A fourth before going to the gym yesterday, and the final coat before leaving for work.

I rounded up the vacuum and the bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap. Threw some snacks into my bag, grabbed my knitting and a small deposit for the alternate bank, and hit the road.

I was running behind after accomplishing so much, so I took Central and was pleased to see how little traffic there was, and how polite and sensible everybody was being. I had enough time when I got to work, that I was able to knit a row or so before it was time to fire up my workstation.

Another pleasant, productive day. I was nowhere near as busy as on Tuesday, but there was enough to keep me occupied. I even created 30 vacation letters for one of the other secretaries. And I got to leave an hour early, thanks to the hour of PM (permission morale) I scored at the last support staff meeting.

After work I made a beeline for the grocery store which houses my alternate bank, made my minuscule deposit, and picked up a few groceries. Brought them home and put them away, then hopped back into Lorelai and headed to Hobby Lobby.

I had seen something on Pinterest that spoke to me: a ragtag collection of letters plus a wreath, spelling out N-O-E-L. I wanted some to sit up on the shelf, in place of the Nauvoo pitcher and bowl I inherited from Beloved. I also bought three small bottles of craft paint in the palest neutrals, but for now the letters and wreath are up on the shelf in unadorned glory.

From Hobby Lobby I ran by In-N-Out for a burger to eat on the way to Wes and Sarah's. They were hosting a marshmallow roast at their firepit. I visited with a few of their neighbors and some friends from church. Restricted myself to one perfect s'more. Got a little chilled, properly warmed, and came home.

Wiped down the finished side of the barnwood shelves with Murphy's Oil Soap, then lifted them into place and started the screws by hand. Fired up my drill and finished the job. Still getting used to being somebody who owns power tools and knows how to use them. I was still grinning when I went to bed last night.

I also got more of the tack strips up. I had hoped to complete that task before bed, but tiredness and a modicum of common sense won out. I'll finish that after breakfast, sweep the floor to get up the big chunks, then vacuum before heading to Firstborn's.

There are a handful of nails that I haven't been able to pop up, but I think they will be more accessible once we get the baseboards off. I have one where the head broke off. Not sure what to do about that. A rasp? Because the broken part sticks up just enough that it would poke through the new flooring if I left it.

Fourthborn is coming home with me after dinner. I need her help to get the blinds down without damaging them. Or me. And back up again after we repaint the window trim. We also have two bookcases to empty and move so we can get that last bit of carpet up.

While I would very much like to put up the trees and decorate them tomorrow, in reality that may not happen until Saturday night, or even Sunday morning before church. I need to have her home in time for choir practice in her stake.

I am hoping that when we are done with our labors this weekend, I will have a finished living room and a tidy dining room and hall. And I could spend December being crafty and socializing.

That's the dream, anyway.

I am thankful for the new skills I've acquired this year. For kids who aren't too bossy, and who have great ideas. For friends who share their tools. For how this collaboration has blessed and strengthened my relationship with Fourthborn. For the fun I had with Firstborn and Secondborn and Spring and their families last weekend. For Middlest, who worries about me more than is needful and checks on me on a regular basis. And I'm thankful for the good years with LittleBit. (I hope there will be more of them someday. It's not fun to be a tough love mama.) I'm thankful for Squishy and Mel, that there is peace and love and respect between us. And I'm hopeful that sometime before I kick, I can have that with their brothers.

Because I am an inconvenient truth, and I am not going to just quietly go away. So I'm thankful that for the moment there is polite silence and distance, and not active wrangling. When I pray for the family, I pray for all of the kids and grandkids.

Today I'm praying to be civil to the children's father and to the crazy lady who thinks she's his wife. Somebody from her church said words over them, but they didn't bother getting a marriage license, presumably so one or both would not lose their benefits.

I should probably also pray not to be self-righteous about this, but I think I've already lost that battle.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


An irresistible compulsion to return home. So says dictionary.com. I experienced a little of that last weekend. Firstborn leaned over to me during church and murmured, "do I have to go home?" I was right there with her.

I could move back to Fredericksburg after retirement. For at least part of the year anyway. Spring in Fbg. Summer in Taos. Fall in ... New England? (Don't know. Haven't been. It's on the list.) Winter in Galveston. Sounds like a well-rounded year to me.

The stripes are up on the living room walls. Tonight I put two coats of paint on the brackets. I'll put on another coat in the morning when I wake up and maybe a fourth before leaving for work. By bedtime, that part ought to be done. I've pulled up almost a third of the tack strips. And worked a centimeter of Temperance's sleeve. And put Grace's new wig on her.

Had a good day at work. 37 emails waiting for me, all of them dealt with and more that followed. Three days' mail wrangled. My to-do's worked. I was steadily busy all day but not snowed under. Loved it.

And now I'm at the point where I'm dozing off mid-sentence, which suggests it might be time to go to bed. Night, y'all.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I'm not sure where or why or how, but dictionary.com decided I should get the word of the day. And this is the word of the day. (As Inigo Montoya said, I do not think it means what you think it means.) Most of the time, the chosen word is already in my vocabulary. Today's was a welcome exception.

I saw it and thought "flippin' wonderful?" But no. It has to do with producing cold. Rather like when you use childbirth words in the chapel during sacrament meeting.

Yesterday was a Mary Poppins day: practically perfect in every way. Two movie references in three paragraphs. This Tootsie is on a roll! (Make that three. I think maybe too many carbs for breakfast.)

I would like to take this bed home in my pocket. Ditto Firstborn's white noise machine, but she told me where she bought it, so that's actually something I can acquire.

Lots of happy walking. Took some great pictures. We are about ready to go to church. I'm fed and dressed and packed and reasonably well fed (not a big fan of reconstituted powdered eggs), and I have my protein snacks and church knitting in my purse.

(Later) church was even better than Saturday. I had the most marvelous sense of homecoming. One of the boys who used to mow our lawn is the branch president, following in his father's footsteps. The man who was our branch president was delighted to see us. And I got to hear his maniacal cackle again. His wife was ill, but he took my love and my contact information. And one of my Merrie Miss girls came up after sacrament meeting and did the same.

I am finishing this up from Firstborn's. We are back from the Hill Country. I am eating a nice bowl of chicken tortilla soup. And not quite looking forward to the drive home from here, but very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed (once I unpin the Knit Swirl. I will weep if that sweater is not dry.) The fingerless gloves are done. Two miniature stockings are ready to block (if I could only get to the ironing board).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

It's so quiet here.

I slept in a room that cost more than I have ever spent for lodging in my life. And it was wonderful. The bed was like a warm hug, and the commode is just the right height, and there's a gym downstairs. The desk is too high for its chair, but there's an easy chair in the corner with a reading lamp behind it! I caught nearly six full hours of sleep. And there's WIFI. (Humor me. I have a better connection here than I do at home.)

Tonight I will share this room with three other people whom I love dearly. But for now I am savoring the solitude. I was so tired when I hit the sack that I didn't complete even one row of knitting, and there aren't that many stitches on my needles.

Speaking of which, l lost a 4" DP yesterday, probably in the auditorium at the Bitties' school. It made for some creative finagling on the increases for this fingerless glove. I'm nearly done. I'll be able to give Sarah a finished pair when I'm back home.

I got Knit Swirl blocked on the bed before leaving for Firstborn's yesterday. I'm hoping it (and the bed) will be dry when I get home tomorrow night.

I brought two other small projects to work on: the miniature Christmas stocking for Steadfast, which should be perfect church knitting for tomorrow, and Temperance's sweater, which is waiting for me to design the sleeves.

The forecast is 100% chance of rain, so as of last night we had cancelled our plans to climb Enchanted Rock. I'm not sure what we will do instead, but Firstborn assured me there's a Plan B.

We left this town 21 years ago with our tails between our legs. Jobless. Momentarily homeless. It feels so good to sit here in this room with 20 years of gradual but sustained progress under my belt.

I drove past the place where we lived, but it was so late, and the town was so dark, that I couldn't see it. I want to get a picture of it before we leave tomorrow. We made some happy memories in that house. It was also the place of my greatest personal fear. But that's a story for another time.

The kids are an hour away, and I desperately need a shower, notwithstanding the soaking I got last night from the rain that blew in sideways under the tarp.

By the time I got in Firstborn's car to come here, I was cold and weary and tired almost to the point of tears. And then I drove an unfamiliar car on dark, unfamiliar roads, the last  30 miles behind someone who couldn't maintain a consistent speed but whose tail lights serve as an erratic beacon to keep me awake and in my own lane. I hope that I didn't frustrate him as much as he frustrated me.

Last night's dinner was perfect. I didn't stay for the Dutch oven cobbler, but the burger baked with onions, potatoes, and carrots was delicious. I brought the Greek yogurt and strawberries I bought in Burnet, but I left the Nutella back at camp.  So my midnight snack with my Metformin was hummus and crackers. I need to eat breakfast, and I need to do it soon. But I need a shower more.

I don't ever want to go camping again, even for five or six hours. I'm grateful for the beauties of this earth. And I would have made a lousy pioneer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I noticed something while watching choir practice before sacrament meeting on Sunday afternoon. The choir director is my visiting teacher (that's not what I noticed; I already knew that!), and she was wearing a multicolored jacket that closely toned with all the new colors in my house.

The last time I drove under the High Five (an interchange in Far North Dallas that soars to the sky) I noticed similar parallels, although the High Five picks up the warm tones, and my friend's jacket picks up the cool tones.

This got me thinking about Alma 37:6 (you should go look it up) and the importance of little things. Big things are typically composed of lots and lots of little things. Jigsaw puzzles, quilt blocks, needlepoint cushions, sweaters, compound interest, fractals, battles lost because of a missing horseshoe nail.

The great thing about creativity is that it pulls from all over. The simplest explanation for why I am painting my rooms in colors I once would have told you I didn't like (hello: Not Red) is that I flipped open a Christopher Lowell book that belonged to First Wife and read about a project where they painted a starscape on a dining room ceiling. He did not show a picture, but the idea stuck with me.

And grew on me. One of my attorneys gives me her old copies of Real Simple. Where they are big on painting the insides of things a contrasting color.

And I like Behr paints. Their or Home Depot's website has a widget that helps the timid (not me, but I play one on TV) pick three colors that go together.

So: starscape gave me all sorts of color possibilities. Walls are one of the yellows from the stars. Alcove is painted one of the colors from the next paint chip down in value from the walls. Contrasting greens were found using the widget. Toss in the months I spent working part time in a quilt shop while pregnant with Middlest, and you have an appreciation for what a little color dissonance can do for the composition as a whole. Which is why I have an alcove and long hall painted baby poop yellow, clearly not the most attractive color in the world. But it works.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. I am now, several months into repainting, seeing my new colors everywhere. And not twitching. So I am wondering how long this had been building inside before it found expression?

I have not broken up with red. But I am definitely holding hands with teal.

All the little things we do. They matter. My friend's jacket. The High Five. The quilt shop. The widget. Our daily kindnesses, to others and to ourselves. Our prayers. Our talents. Recycling. Fair trade chocolate. We bless, or we place stumbling blocks.

This is my Friday. Tomorrow I go see the Bitties at "Chilton". And then I head to my beloved Hill Country with some of the kids. We'll climb Enchanted Rock and worship on Sunday with old friends.

Tonight I will pack, and maybe paint stripes on the living room wall. I think the last of the touchups are done. I skipped the gym to paint and to write. Tonight I will also inspect my Knit Swirl to see if the bugs chewed on it when they got my red scarf prototype. If it's intact, I'll block it at dark thirty tomorrow morning, and it can dry on the bed over the weekend. If not, I will frog it and reknit it in the smaller size. Not a tragedy either way.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Woohoo! Loads and loads of progress!

Notwithstanding the fact that I picked her up around 9:30 and we didn't get to the house until 2:00, Fourthborn and I knocked it out of the ballpark yesterday. She got the carpet and tack strips out of the coat closet after I offloaded most of the contents onto my bed.

She got the shelves off the brackets in the living room and finished the first round of cutting-in on that wall. She touched up the window wall and cut swathes of carpet around the perimeter of the room so we could Tetris the furniture out of the middle of the room and eliminate most of the rest of the carpet.

I got the closet reloaded and moved 18 boxes of flooring singlehandedly and again with her. I also finished taping the long wall in preparation for the alternating stripes of eggshell paint in the same color.

The matte paint is very low. I hope I won't have to buy a quart to finish the job. That paneling is mighty thirsty. We (mostly she) schlepped the carpet and padding out to the curb.

And then we went to Firstborn's for crafting and conversation. It was a really, really good day.

Only downer was that I ate something that woke me with hives after I'd slept for about an hour. I wish the little bump beasties would have the courtesy to spell out the culprit so I could avoid it in future. I haven't had an episode like this since last year.

I slept until 9:30 and made myself a good breakfast and am now going to scramble to leave for church in half an hour. Sarah's first glove is nearly finished. I will make 20-24 cards for Relief Society after church. All the makings of a good Sabbath.

Note to self: don't scratch.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hey! Who turned on the winter?

I was just getting cozy with fall. Tuesday morning I went to the gym in my shirt sleeves. Today I had to toss a sweatshirt on over my gym clothes.

Lots of happy knitting. I am nearly done with the increase/decrease portion of Sarah's first fingerless glove.

Bought a few Christmas ornaments this afternoon. Got a coat of paint on the wall under the picture window. I keep falling asleep while writing this. It's been a most excellent day, and I'm ready to put it, and myself, to bed. Night, y'all.