About Me

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Three years 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, September 29, 2016

Diversity and the corporate mind.

The company I work for is big on diversity and inclusion, both in theory and in practice. In the past, I have been part of our office's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, responsible for quarterly activities to increase the appreciation and respect we have for one another. These are a couple of the posters sent out from corporate for the past quarter or so. (There are more, but these are the two I like best.)


As one of the brighter crayons in the box, both in terms of brainpower and force of personality, I rather like that poster. (Less so on the days when I feel not-particularly-sharp or downright dull, but that's why I take Lexapro, right?) I have a quibble or two with the next one. They get full points for choosing my favorite shade of yellow. And it's a nice sentiment. However, you'll notice that all of the pencils are yellow. The only difference is that one is doing yoga. If they really wanted to make a point [har, har], each pencil would be a different color and one would be standing on its head. The message I get from this poster is, it's OK to be a little different. Just don't be too different. Because that would be weird. And would make the rest of us uncomfortable. We still want you to be a well-behaved cog in the corporate machine. Squeaky wheels may get the grease, but cogs that don't mesh well with the other cogs might just be replaced.


Which is not to say that I don't feel appreciated and accepted at work, because I do. You just won't see me being fully myself between the hours of 8:30 and 5:00. Because I am one of the brighter crayons in the box, and I have short-term and long-term goals which require a dependable flow of income until I am safely dead, or retired.

In other news, the Eternal Pink Baby Sock is finished, even to the weaving-in of ends. And I have made it this far into the work week with the new timekeeping system without making fiscally fatal errors or throwing my monitor out SemperFi's window.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In which your intrepid heroine learns a thing or two.

When I got home tonight, Middlest was sleeping, so I tiptoed into my room and started putting things away. A few minutes later, I heard some fairly vigorous nose-blowing (the pollen count has been high lately) and assumed that my kid was awake. So I stood at the open doorway and said, "Good evening!" which elicited a startled GAAAAHHHH!

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. Middlest told me the other night about the time when both ankles were broken and the medical advice was can't fix that; stay off your feet, which was not conducive to eating or keeping a roof overhead. So Middlest wrapped both ankles (gently) each night and put on socks to prevent the bandages from coming undone, only to wake up in the morning to neatly rolled bandages and socks halfway across the room. Middlest was sleeping on the couch during that time, and BFF/roomie actually witnessed the whole thing: Middlest yanking off the socks and flinging them, then methodically unwrapping each ankle, rolling and securing the bandages, and putting them on the end table, all without waking up.

Middlest lived with two autistic people for the better part of ten years and is still adjusting to living with a more neurotypical person, i.e., me. [I can't say that I'm completely neurotypical, since I'm on my third month of anxiety medicine and second month of muscle relaxer. The silver lining in this is, I could actually buy that sign I saw before heading East to pick up Middlest, the one that said Your crazy is showing. Might want to tuck that back in. Because it would not be exclusively pointing a finger at Middlest. Or Fourthborn.] But I digress.

The former living situation required profuse apologies, lengthy explanations, etc. I'm more of an OK, you've apologized, and I can tell that you mean it, and can we please be done with this because (A) I want to get back to my reading or (B) I need to count stitches or (C) I want to take my meds and go to bed. Middlest is working on shorter apologies. I am working on communicating clearly and politely that I respect Middlest's need to apologize, I've heard the real or perceived transgression, I appreciate the apology, I believe the apology, and this is taking longer than I'm comfortable with, in fact I'm starting to feel anxious and really really want to change the subject. And maybe eat half a box of chocolate covered ginger.

Thankfully, I know where all the Trader Joe's are, within fifteen miles of home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I've been framed!

Well, not me, exactly. The custom frame which I ordered for the butterfly print I bought at Main Street Arts Festival this spring arrived in today's mail, and it is perfect, notwithstanding that once the package arrived in Mesquite, TX, it was handed over to USPS for final delivery.

I am not happy with the USPS at present. I contacted them last week because the new, pre-printed certified mail green cards are not trackable on the customer-facing tracking page of their website, although they are trackable in-house. I spoke with a most excellent customer service representative after being on hold for a minimum of half an hour, and I have a reference number. The following day, I got a "how was our service?" email, which I let sit in my inbox at work over the weekend. Yesterday I had time to respond, and I did screen-captures of the questionnaire and my responses and saved them to a Word document. I emphasized that Ms. CS Rep was stellar, everything one could wish: concerned, appalled, diligent. But that no one from USPS has called or emailed to follow through on my complaint, and the tracking application wasn't working when I replied to their survey. I have a reference number, and if the technical issue isn't fixed tomorrow, I may very well give them another call.

Re: other technical issues? The timecard/time off website at work, was functioning properly today. I got the rest of my requested and approved time off entered into the system, as well as my time worked for today.

Middlest and I went to have the potholes filled today. Our dentist is a lovely man, warm, gentle, and kind. As well as a good listener, and a superb technician. He navigates Fourthborn's neuroses, and Middlest's, and my own. I wasn't aware until today that I had any, at least in terms of dentistry, but I kept trying to fold my shoulders up and around my mouth. At one point, with my jaw up on blocks, I managed to garble, "Good thing I'm taking anti-anxiety meds!" and we all cracked up.

Afterward, we picked up Fourthborn (who had no cavities) for ice cream sundaes in lieu of Knit Night. None of us had the spoons to deal with people. We took her back home, came back here, and I'd guess that Middlest was asleep within the hour. I've been piddling around on Facebook but finally gathered up all the bubble wrap and bagged it, then moved the empty box over by the front door to go out with next Tuesday's recycling. I need to clear some paperwork off my bed, and in theory I'd like to sew or knit, but I think I'll just stick my nose in the October Ensign for awhile, take my meds, and call it a night.

Tomorrow I'll go to Hobby Lobby and see if they'll cut me the glass for my frame. And maybe find a frame for the other print, cranes against a full moon and reflected over the water.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Every whit.

That word jumped out at me when I was listening to 3 Nephi 8:1 last week in preparation for yesterday's Gospel Doctrine lesson. I made a mental note to look it up as soon as possible, then promptly forgot it. Because: middle-aged, and many plates spinning madly.

 Dictionary.com says: “n. a particle; bit; jot (used especially in negative phrases): not a whit better.” And says that the origin is Middle English, somewhere between 1470 and 1480A.D.

The British Dictionary definition is “n. (usually used with a negative) the smallest particle; iota; jot: he has changed not a whit. And says that the origin is 15th Century: probably variant of wight: a human being, or a supernatural being, as a witch or sprite, any living being, a creature; this meaning going back to Old English, before 900A.D.

“smallest particle,” 12c., in na whit “no amount,” from Old English nan wiht, from wiht “amount,” originally “person, human being”

It's a word that shows up in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 13:16; 1 Samuel 3:18), the New Testament (John 7:23, 13:30; 2 Corinthians 11:5), the Book of Mormon (Helaman 11:19; Alma 34:14, 42:25, 3 Nephi 1:20, 1:25, 8:1; 4 Nephi 4:19), and the Doctrine and Covenants (33:4), and the Pearl of Great Price (JST, John 13:10). That's a lot of presence for something that's barely there.

We started the new timekeeping system at work today. I was able to log on just long enough to enter the time off request for tomorrow, when Middlest and I are getting three fillings between us. I tried many times throughout the day, in between other tasks, and was only able to log on shortly before quitting time. I got my hours worked and my lunch break entered, and a couple more pre-approved times I'll be out of the office. I hope to get the rest of them entered tomorrow. Apparently there was a wide swath in the middle of the country that had problems accessing the system.

Technology is wonderful, except when it's not.

Middlest got to spend a few hours with Mel and Squishy today but ran out of spoons and came home early, staying up until I got home in order to pass on hugs and love. My poor beleaguered kid is snoring softly in the middle bedroom. I am sitting here, typing away in between bites of cornbread, which is all that I really wanted for dinner. Well, maybe an apple for dessert.

Normally on Tuesdays, Middlest goes to work with me and hangs out in the atrium of my office building with a backpack full of games, art supplies, knitting, or whatever. We discussed it via text and decided that the best thing for tomorrow is for my kid to stay here until the last possible minute, and I'll leave work earlier than originally planned, race home and pick up Middlest, then scoot over to the dentist. Knit Night is almost certainly out, so we'll just grab Fourthborn and get ice cream cones, drop her off, and come home after the worst of rush hour is over.

Time to put away the leftovers, wash any traces of butter off my hands, and decide whether I'd rather sew or knit. It would be fun to finish the evening with a completed dress for Gracie. Pretty sure she's tired of being bald and half-naked (which is an improvement over much of the past week, when she was bald and totally naked on my sewing table, while Blessing clucked over her disapprovingly.

Haven't found a pair of Marian-the-Librarian glasses for Blessing yet, but I've found a cute pair for Celeste. Both of them are such bookworms that they really need decent specs. Besides, who could be afraid of a near-sighted vampire who faints at the sight of blood? (No, she doesn't sparkle. Don't be silly.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A metaphorical house-cleaning.

Weird dream this morning, in which I was back visiting the house in Irving. It was owned or inhabited by my parents, and Mom had just bought a sleek new minivan that was parked on the wrong side of the road, partway into the ditch, with no gas. Firstborn was the age she is now but needed to use the car to go to early morning seminary and then high school, because her career track required that she have certain classes that she didn't take in college. So, my old house, but Mom's kitchen about where my bedroom would be, and I was looking for a snack and unable to find it. I was also slightly in trouble because I had eaten up the last of something.

After I awoke and went out to forage in the kitchen, I realized that the children's father was nowhere in that house. Yesterday would have been our 39th anniversary, and I felt absolutely no neurosis, depression, nostalgia, angst, whatever. Yesterday was just a day for resting up after the excitement and exhaustion of Wednesday-into-Thursday. The swelling is mostly gone from my left ankle, and the inflammation is what is normal for me, judging by the color.

There are probably other layers to that dream, but I'd rather talk about the dream I had during my nap yesterday morning (after eight and a half hours of sleep). Middlest and I were in a large auditorium, quite near the stage, and one of the members of the First Presidency walked onto the stage, then made his way over to me and shook my hand. I asked if he would have time to meet with Middlest and discuss some points of doctrine that are currently a struggle for my child, and he said that he would try to do so. Shortly after which Middlest and I got separated, and I spent the rest of that dream walking halls and corridors trying to find my kid.

My take-away from that is that the Savior is quite aware of my concerns, and Middlest's. I wept in that dream, great tears of relief and comfort, and awoke dry-eyed.

I wonder if that good brother dreamed that he was in Texas, talking to Middlest and me?

When I went to bed Friday night, I determined that yesterday was going to be a day of rest (which it was, in spades) and finishing small projects. I completed the second doll sock for my little Hope. They remain to be washed and blocked, but I am pleased with them. I also tried them on Temperance and have guesstimated how much wider around and how much longer they need to be to fit her slightly stockier frame. Iplehouse dolls, from the bitties to the adults, are very solidly built. When I briefly owned a Jessica, I could barely span her waist with both hands, and at nearly 2kg, could not lift her without pain. They make some of the most beautiful sculpts on the market, and sell some of the most beautiful clothing for their dolls, but mostly they just inspire wistful sighs on my part.

I also sewed the snaps on the two bloomers that I made earlier in the week and picked out fabric for dresses and aprons for Chutzpah and Grace. Grace's nether bits are now properly and cutely covered, but she's shirtless and bald on my sewing table.

I realized yesterday that the lovely yarns my sister gave me for Christmas, which have stumped me for nearly a year, will go well with my newest skirt (which arrived on Friday), and I went to Ravelry and found a pattern that I like: the Geology Shawl by Verybusymonkey. It has multiple sections and several stitch patterns, and I think I'm going to work it in alternate colors, because I don't think I have quite enough of the darker yarn to work the whole thing.

My line of credit is paid off. And I am hungry again, so heading back to the kitchen for a substantial breakfast. I miss the days when I could fast, but I've been praying for what our bishop asked us to fast for, and I've been trying to listen for inspiration.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stone is out of the kidney.

When I got home from work today, Middlest reported that while there is residual tenderness in the kidney, the pain has moved forward and down, into the groin area. We're hoping that it passes in the next 24 hours.

In other good news, I was able to take PSF (paid family leave) for yesterday instead of having to burn a day of vacation.

In fun but not particularly important news, the teal skirt that I ordered earlier this week arrived today, and it is gorgeous, and at least one of my turquoise shirts goes perfectly with it (I can't lay hands on the other one), and there are multiple pairs of earrings that will go, and I have tons of teal Gloss Lace to make a cowl or a shawl or maybe even a loosely knitted jacket. Plus quite a bit of yarn that was originally cut for warp, 25+ years ago and still in good condition. I foresee all sorts of crazy knitting fun.

Did I mention that I finished the first beige doll sock while we were at the ER?  I'm midway through the calf decreases on the second one, and I may get those completed before bedtime, but I'm not holding my breath.

Taking it easy this weekend, because I took a spill in the parking lot at the grocery store tonight. Nothing injured but my dignity. I was pulling a cart out, stepped funny against the curb and wobbled, steadied myself with the cart, cart said nuh-unh! and flipped on its side, and since I hadn't let go of the cart, I went down slowly and softly, in stages, landing squarely on the backs of my thighs. A nice gentleman helped me up. A nice store employee ran up to check on me. I righted my cart, did my shopping, came home by way of KFC, and Middlest has wrapped my ankle as a precaution. I tore a bit of my thumbnail on the handle of the cart, but I wasn't dumb enough to try to break my fall with my hands, so my thumb's a little tender but my wrist is undamaged.

I will probably be a little stiff in the morning. And I plan to do nothing more strenuous than knitting or sewing. I've studied the Sunday School lesson and read the Relief Society lesson once through. So more of that tomorrow, while I sit up in bed and make the needles fly.

Night, y'all. I'm going to check out Book of Mormon Central, take my meds, and hit the sack.

Edited to add: I read this to Middlest, who said that as long as "a little stiff" doesn't mean that I'm dead, that's perfectly fine.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

And it shall come to pass

One of my favorite phrases from the Book of Mormon. But in this case it refers to Middlest's kidney stone, mercifully a small one, and with no accompanying infection. When I got home from work last night, we hopped into the Tardis, armed with enough healthy snack food and bottles of water for a small siege, because we were going to the county hospital's ER on the advice of Middlest's wonderful new doctor.

Have I mentioned how impressed I am with him? And with the pharmacy he suggested we try?

I was hoping that we would be done with intake, treatment, and discharge by breakfast time this morning, and I was not far off. We were discharged a little after 2:30, made our way to their pharmacy on the other side of the building, only to discover that the medicine was exorbitantly expensive. The woman at that front desk suggested we go back to ER and ask to speak with a social worker to get a coupon. Security by that door wouldn't let us back in and sent us to the security dude at the other end of that lobby, who called the social worker, who called back, who told Middlest sorry, no discount.

I could see frustration and the beginnings of panic in my kid's eyes, because one of the medicines is a pain reliever, and the other is designed to open up that impossibly tiny channel and make it easier (and less painful) to expel the stone. I gave the second security dude my frustrated mom who is remembering her manners smile, and we walked back to the other security desk. One of the security officers graciously escorted us back through the ER waiting room to the exit. And I do mean graciously. She was warm and kind and just what we needed after roughly eight hours all told.

Once we got outside, I told Middlest, do not worry about the prescriptions. I am not going to work tomorrow (meaning this morning), and after I get a few hours of sleep, I will take the Rx's up to the nice pharmacy we've been using, and I'm pretty sure they can do the job for less.

So after about four hours of sleep on my part and three on Middlest's, we were both awake at the same time and drove up to Wylie and actually got to meet the lovely man I've been speaking to for the past week and a half. He asked if the prices that were hand-written on each Rx were what Parkland had been going to charge us, and I confirmed that they were. He filled both of them for about $10 less than the cheaper one would have cost us.

On the way home, we ran by the doctor's office so he could copy the medical records we took home, and then we both crashed. I don't know how long Middlest slept, but I got another four solid hours before waking a little before afternoon rush hour. Middlest was still asleep. I played on FB and on my phone until traffic was down to a manageable level, hopped in the Tardis, and hit Costco and Trader Joe's before running out of spoons.

The perishables are stowed, and Middlest will wrangle the rest of it (there isn't much) during the next waking period. I have killed the cottage cheese and am ready to take my meds and call it a night. The swelling and inflammation in my left ankle are much reduced, and the itching from Monday night's mosquito bites has ceased. I feel utterly weary and incredibly blessed.