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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, September 18, 2014


Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions. - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Things That Matter Most, General Conference, Oct 2010

I can't complain of any adverse conditions chez Ravelled at the moment. I have enough to eat. A closet full of clothing that I like, that still fits reasonably well. A year's supply of yarn. Or more.  Nevertheless, I am intentionally slowing it down a bit. On the one hand, finish-itis is starting to kick in, in terms of the hall. I did a little more painting tonight. A second coat on the grilles. The strip that will show between them when that wall is finished. Two coats on the door to my studio. If I had Hermione's time turner, I would stay up all night and paint the trim on the doors. But I don't. So I won't. As Tevye said, "There is no other hand." At least not tonight. I am going to focus on getting a decent night's sleep. Maybe I will wake just enough ahead of the alarm that I can put a third coat of paint on the door before hitting the gym.

Salt of the earth

God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the Savior's example and spend the days of their lives doing good. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf, You Matter to Him, General Conference, Oct 2011

People like my dad. My mom. My dear, feisty Beloved. Any number of my friends. People who didn't, or don't, think of themselves as anything but ordinary.

That's the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. I am wonderfully blessed.  I am intermittently humble (i.e., teachable). I can only hope, like J. Golden Kimball, that I "repent too damn fast" to go to hell.

This is not false modesty. Nor is it an attack of self-loathing. It is merely an acknowledgement of human frailty. Like every person but One who has lived on this beautiful earth, I sin and fall short on a regular basis. I have gotten a little better at learning from my mistakes. And I take ever greater joy in doing right (and in insisting less on *being* right).

We made some progress here yesterday. Fourthborn got Steadfast's faceup mostly done, ahead of the humidity. She also got the first coat of paint on the grilles. I got one side and both edges of the bathroom door painted. She cleaned the door to my studio. Those doorknobs are bagged and set aside.

Memo to self: time to invest in another box of Magic Erasers.

Wes came and used a different claw than the one I'd borrowed to get rid of the rest of the nails in the hall. He also analyzed the arrangement of the grilles and the baseboard. I won't have to buy new grilles. (Hence the painting.) Once the flooring is down, I can attach the new, taller baseboard, move the grilles up about an inch, and install fresh molding above them to cover where the sill sticks out. (He forgot to bring his oscillating saw to cut that off.)

And while we were doing inside stuff, his eldest was out in my backyard picking up horse apples (the bright green fruit of the bois d'arc tree) and chunking them into my trash bin.

I need to hit Costco after work tomorrow. But after that I should be able to do the last bit of painting where the grilles were (mostly in between them) and get another coat or two on the grilles themselves. And maybe even paint the studio door, if I don't run out of paint. That would give me Tuesday through Thursday to paint the trim around four or five doors. Then Friday and Saturday I could paint the ceiling and install the flooring.

I don't want to replace the door handles until the doors are painted, front and back. I know what I want to try on the inside of the door to the loo, and it will have to wait until I buy the paint for the living room. I have no idea what I want for the insides of the other doors. Or for the vanity in the loo.

In knitting news, I will probably finish the left back section of Temperance's sweater sometime today.

In sewing news, all the fabric is preshrunk to make Halloween dresses for all the dolls. I may very well get started on those today, if I have the right thread colors. I ordered a pattern for Steadfast on Friday. There will be enough fabric to make him a shirt, as well.

The October issue of the Ensign arrived yesterday. Time to curl up with a snack and improve the shining moment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stealth mode.

I stopped at JoAnn's after work and invested in a five-pack of Olfa blades. It was getting to the point where I could have chewed my fabric into strips and pieces faster than cut them. Pitiful.  

If last night was about serving the dead, and it was, then tonight was about serving the living. I whipped up Willow's birthday present. Just totally lost myself in the flow, and before I knew it, I was done.

Had another good, productive day at work. The office manager cancelled the monthly support staff meeting, so I did not lose an hour and a half to two hours right in the middle of what is frequently my most effective stretch of the day. I closed two cases, finished calendaring a scheduling order I'd begun last week before I got sick, dealt with the day's mail, and got several items e-filed, e-served, or e-faxed, even started a grocery list for tomorrow night.

Tan suggested a combination that I tried for dessert tonight: Fage yogurt, nice blob of Nutella on top, and a generous sprinkling of roughly chopped pecans on top. I tossed ten or so fresh blackberries on top of all that.

Oh. Wow. The Nutella and pecans play nicely off one another, and the yogurt keeps it from being cloying. I wanted seconds, but that would have led to thirds.

Not a whole lot of knit has happened today. I've enjoyed what little there was.

Tomorrow night is for a modicum of grocery shopping and a whole lot of writing to the sisters on my VT route.

Night, y'all.

Sunday, September 07, 2014


Our testimonies fortify us and strengthen us as we face challenges in our daily lives. Some people struggle with difficult health problems; some experience financial problems; others have challenges in their marriage or with their children; some suffer from loneliness or unfulfilled hopes and dreams. It is our testimony, combined with our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our knowledge of the plan of salvation, which helps to get us through these times of trial and hardship. - Barbara Thompson, Personal Revelation and Testimony, General Conference, Oct 2011

I can check all of these items off, at one point or another. Illness, cyclical depression, marital troubles, financial chaos, rebellious children, broken hearts, broken dreams. And yet, life continues to be worth living, because of my faith in Christ and His continuing demonstrations of faith and trust in me. (Oh d@mn. I'm sniveling in Starbucks.)

I got to meet Sr. Thompson in the spring of 2009. She was the keynote speaker at a regional singles conference, and she also met separately, beforehand, with a horde of local Relief Society presidents. I was a newly called but yet to be sustained RS president. It was so much fun, and so needful, to attend that early meeting and see many of my friends there. And to see "well, of *course* you would be here" on their faces before the flurry of hugs.

This, in marked contrast to the "poor dear Sr. Ravelled, however does she stand it?" expressions I was used to. Sometimes we are called because we have an aptitude for the calling. Sometimes we get a calling to shake things up a little. And sometimes we get a calling so Heaven can say, "This. This is how much We trust you. This is who you are worthy to stand among. No matter what anyone else thinks. Ours are the only opinions which matter."

But I digress. I had an insight while sluicing off in the shower this morning. Whether the respiratory yuck has been contagious or allergic, I think it is at least partially psychogenic. I was reviewing other instances of similar disruption: the first serious asthma attack on my 16th birthday, in part because of my sister's cat but more because my best friend was so beloved by my family, and I was jealous. The bronchitis related to my near date experience, when I was so frustrated at not being able to get a word in edgewise that I could not breathe for a week. The illness last year related to communication issues with the twins.

So what triggered or contributed to this? I think it not coincidental that I began to sneeze on Tuesday afternoon, now that Knit Night meets on Mondays (better for the majority, but not for me). Compounded by the news on the previous Saturday that Middlest's name change is final, and it's time for me to keep a promise that when my child went to the time, trouble, and expense involved, I would begin using the preferred name.

I read that post while Fourthborn was visiting, and Fourthborn is totally supportive of all the changes that Middlest is making. So I couldn't follow my instinct, which was to cover my face and howl. By the time I got back from taking Fourthborn home, I was too weary to cry.

It feels as if my sweet baby girl has died. Not in that horrible, vindictive "you are dead to me" way. The goodness, decency, and personal integrity are still there under the shell which still startles me a little, even after five years of metamorphosis. So it is still very easy to love my middle child. And it is *not my child's fault* that I am sick.

Feelings are not good or bad. They just *are*. And I have worked hard to recognize and own mine with increasing promptness, and to express or wrangle them appropriately. I just got hit out of nowhere with a double whammy and insufficient time and space to process both. The Adversary is good at that.

So the trick seems to be, to find a way to honor my feelings, without letting them bully others, or me. Sounds like a job for the Holy Spirit and the priesthood of God.

I get by, with a little help from my Friends. Gonna try, with a little help from my Friends. Gonna fly, with a little help from my Friends.

To my kids: keep following your dreams. I'll support you when I can. And even when I think you're misled, nothing, *nothing* you can do will ever break my love for you.

Somebody hand me another box of Puffs.

Pain and progress

Our great personal challenge in mortality is to become "a saint through the atonement of Christ." The pain you and I experience may be where this process is most measured. - Kent F. Richards, The Atonement Covers All Pain, Apr 2011

And the lesser stuff as well. For the better part of a week I have been playing reindeer games with my respiratory system. Not sure if it's allergies or a cold, because I've been doctoring myself with OTC medicines with varying degrees of success. The loratidine did nothing. I tried it for two days before acquiring some generic Mucinex, which has slowly but steadily been making inroads. I will have to go see a doctor before returning to work, because I missed two straight days (not a problem), went back to work on Friday, and got sent back home (problem).

The rule is, if you're out three days, you need a note from your doctor. I see this as the adult equivalent of a note from your mother, verifying that you were not playing hooky. I understand that many people abuse their company's sick pay policy. I am not one of them. I have to be barely able to walk (or breathe) before I will stay home. Yes, if I have a fever. Yes, if I'm throwing up (sorry).

Ferris Bueller I am not. I pride myself on keeping going, even when the going gets tough. It's what I do. It's who I am.

My office manager took one look at me and said Go. Home. So I did. Am I physically better off because I did? Possibly. Probably. Am I a little bit cranky because I will have to shell out $30 for a copayment before I can go back to work? Because this might not be just the usual fall allergies? Who goes to the doctor for a cold?

Me, apparently. But I don't have to like it.

Thankfully, I do have the money. And good insurance. And a doctor I love and trust.

Rant over. Happier stuff. The doll sweater for Mel's Jimmy is done, and I hope she will be as pleased with it as I am. Like the one I made for Middlest's Doran, a miniature Aran of many cables knitted on ridiculously small needles. I am midway up the front for a sweater for my Temperance, who is the doll I've had longest without making anything for her. I'm incorporating design elements from the first two sweaters. Honor's sweater will probably be next. I'll do Steadfast's (working title) last, both because he's the newest and because I will want something relatively uncomplicated after designing around Blessing's curves.

The ultimate goal is for all of them to have Aran sweaters, proper kilts if I can find a miniature tartan I like, kilt socks for the ones with human feet, and proper shoes or boots. Middlest designed a sporran pattern for Steadfast, and sooner or later I will be cannibalizing my leather jacket, which is now too large and practically loved to death. There should be enough good leather for me to perfect several pairs of shoes. Not to mention give me knowledge about authentic historical Scots footwear.

Please, Brer Fox, don't throw me in the textile patch!

In other happy news, there is visible progress on the Eternal Painting Project which is my home. I finally ma'amhandled the obstreperous doorknob off my bedroom door. (Inspiration, tin-snips, and both kinds of screwdriver. Miraculously, no childbirth words.) As well as the polite one from the door to the middle bedroom. Both doors are repainted on the hall side, and I am pleased. I have masked four of the five doorways, preparatory to painting the trim. And I got all of the baseboards up and the nails removed. And the grilles off the intake slots beneath the closet where the water heater lives. And the bits of wall painted which we deliberately left undone on Labor Day weekend, to either side of the grilles.

Do I feel frustrated at all that hasn't been done, because I've been sick? Yes, a little. But then I look at what I've accomplished this year, on my own or with Fourthborn's help, and I am so pleased. It's very much a line upon line process.

I would love to have the hall well and truly done by the end of the month. Ceiling painted, flooring down, new handles on all the doors, bookcases in place, art hung or rehung. Done. And the living room done in time for Christmas.

Next year? The really scary stuff. Kitchen and maybe even the garage.

And now if you will kindly excuse me, FB  and popcorn are calling my name.

On doing things the hard way.

There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions. - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Things That Matter Most, General Conference, Oct 2010

I have done things the hard way for much of my life. Sometimes from sheer bulldog stubbornness. Sometimes because I blinked and missed the road sign. Sometimes because I was sick, or tired, or both. Those are the lessons that have tended to stick with me over time.

Sometimes the solution really is as simple as doing something I know is right when I would rather do something else. (Not necessarily a bad something. Just a different something. And sometimes even a very good something, but not the one that will bring about the greatest good.)

The scriptures talk about the lightness of the yoke and the easiness of the way, when we are yoked with the Savior. I am so grateful for His patience. It cannot be an easy thing to be willingly yoked to the infinitely distractible. And there are so many of us. I wonder how He keeps from being pulled all over Creation?

That may be where the "be still and know that I am God" kicks in.

I love it when He gently slices through the Gordian knots of my thought processes and shows me a single, simple, clear image of the desired result. Whether it's the application of a spiritual verity in my daily life, or something as simple as the remembrance of an item already in my possession (somewhere) that will serve the design function I'm currently pondering. I probably need to do the mental macrame in order to appreciate the sublime solution. (Thank you, Elder Maxwell.)


So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Regrets and Resolutions

I'll tell you what real happiness is: doing something for someone that they can't do for themselves. Beloved's mother left his father when my sweetheart was a baby. It was the wise thing to do. Later she remarried and had his four siblings. That marriage ended through no fault of her own. So when she passed, and Beloved passed, they were not sealed to one another.

I fixed that tonight. It was heart-stoppingly wonderful. When Beloved's stepfather, whom he adored, and who passed a couple of weeks ago, has been gone a year, I'll see what I can do to seal her to him as well. (A living woman can only be sealed to one man, which is why I needed the sealing cancellation from the children's father. A woman who dies may be sealed to any or all men to whom she was legally wed, even if the marriage(s) subsequently ended in divorce. At some point, as I understand it, she will get to decide which one she wants to keep, or possibly choose someone else.) At any rate the paperwork is done for one marriage, and it was a lovely, tender experience.

And now I'm going to say goodnight and see if anybody wants to come talk to me in my dreams.


When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given. - Thomas S. Monson, The Divine Gift of Gratitude, General Conference, Oct 2010

From time to time I have enjoyed a somewhat ironic appreciation of the blessing which Malachi and other prophets have shared: that if we are obedient, Heaven cannot be restrained from pouring out blessings on our behalf, to the point that we run out of room to receive them. Most of the rooms in this house, and the garage, demonstrate this verity.

My challenge and blessing is to share the wealth. Not to make room for more stuff in my life, but to make room to navigate safely. I'm happiest when it's two steps forward and one step back, and not the other way around. (Dang. I just remembered to take my antibiotic, almost three hours late. The consequence of taking three different medicines at the moment.)

In the spirit of slowing down while making sure the needful things get done, Tuesday night I served the dead. Last night I made Willow's birthday present. Tonight I wrote the letters for my VT route and reported to my VT supervisor. I am about to put my stationery away and knit for a few minutes. I was up until nearly midnight last night. I'd like significantly more sleep tonight and a reasonable chance of getting to the gym in the morning.

Had a really great day at work today. The urgent stuff got done. So did the important stuff. And I was sensible at the quarterly birthday party and only had a small ice cream cup, bypassing the charming and obviously lethal cupcakes.

I need to do a lot of cooking this weekend, as well as a lot of painting. I've used up most of my leftovers, so it's time to start rebuilding that stash.

I love being able to breathe again.

And they did!

The Shiwoo arrived on Tuesday. He had an exquisitely done faceup in grey, which suited his previous life, but I see him as a tween boy, and Fourthborn wiped* his face yesterday while I folded laundry. It was too humid to use the sealant, so his new faceup will happen the next time we get together, if the weather cooperates.

*Wiping means to remove all previous paint and embellishments. It's like cleaning the chalkboard and starting over.

The Australian print got here on Thursday. I found its frame after work on Friday, in the clearance bin for $8. Sweet! That's all assembled and waiting in the living room.

The Vettrianos arrived on Friday. I unrolled them, admired them, and rolled them back up. I don't have time to mess with them now. Will probably mat them identically to the new print of the Savior, as they will be hung nearby in the hall.

Oye, the hall. I pulled quite a few bits of paint off the wall when I was removing the painter's tape. So that will need to be fixed. Fourthborn and I got the last of the tack strips up yesterday. Along with small chunks of the concrete, enough that I will have to do some patching (unlike in the dining room). And there are maybe a dozen nail heads that must be removed, or they will tear the vinyl flooring. So I'm kinda stuck until that gets figured out. And we know how much I love feeling stuck.

I also can't get the doorknob off my bedroom door, to replace it with one that won't pinch me or lock me out. I'm wondering if a hacksaw is the solution (and if that would work for the nails in the hall). The door is in good shape, but bland. One friend suggested replacing the door. That may turn out to be my best option.

In happier news, I now have a butler's tray table for the hall, saving me the cost of the demilune table at IKEA, which was the right color but also, sadly, bland. (People! I don't *do* bland!) The savings covered most of what I paid for four carved oak chairs. All from my favorite little antique shop. I got four chairs for less than the cost of one of the chairs that Squishy butt-tested for me a few months ago. So I can cross those off my list.

I also have two new 7.5 foot ficus trees that match the small one. Friends from church sold their house faster than they thought it would go. So she put a message on the ward RS Facebook page: please come help yourselves. That saved me another $300 plus.

So, I have spent some money, and I have saved a lot more. Six new dining room chairs would have set me back between $900 and $1000. I briefly considered getting two benches from Pier One, on sale for a little under $400 total, but I couldn't tuck them under a gateleg table when not in use. These chairs are eminently tuckable, and they cost me $119 plus tax and a quarter of a tank of gas (but I was picking up Faythe anyway).

I have a lot of stuff out in the living room, just waiting to go up on the walls, but I need to do the ceiling and floor first. I knew I needed a relatively quiet weekend for pondering and planning. That doesn't stop me from feeling a little frustrated that I can't start charging full speed ahead when I wake up tomorrow.

It's just another reminder that I really have minimal control over my little corner of the world. And I have had far too many of those reminders of late, from the thing with my eye that could have been a detached retina but wasn't, to a child's name change that will cost me another $400 at some point to get my will updated if a handwritten and notarized codicil is insufficient, to concerns about where some of my beloved children will spend eternity if they don't rethink some of their choices.

This is Fast Sunday, and because I am diabetic I will not be fasting. But I will definitely be praying for wisdom, understanding, and comfort. And if my home teacher is in town I may ask for a blessing. I have a lot to think about, from stubborn nails to my own faults and weaknesses.

I am so thankful that I am not in charge of the universe.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Someday my prints will come.

I ordered three today. A calligraphy piece by Bianca Cash, an Australian artist. Two by Jack Vettriano, who painted "The Singing Butler," which I have loved and wanted for years. Beloved liked it, too. It was the subject of an extended, mischievous, and chaste but flirtatious discussion, early on.  So having a copy in the house will remind me of my sweetheart's joie de vivre.

Next week is going to be Christmas nearly every day. The Shiwoo should arrive over the weekend. I've alerted building security in case it shows up tomorrow. The Vettrianos should be here around Friday. I don't expect the package from Australia to arrive until the following week. And then I get to go nuts picking out mats and frames. I love that stuff!

Nearly done with the first back on Mel's doll sweater. And discovered a cabling mistake on the front that will require my frogging back about an inch to fix it. It's a subtle error, easily missed, but it bugs me, so out it comes. After I finish the back, because I've decided to try a three needle bind-off at the shoulders.

Will be trying the opera again this season, with Firstborn. Am hoping that all the weight loss and exercise will have sufficiently improved my mobility that I can sit in a cramped space for the duration.

Tomorrow begins a weekend of hard work and hilarity. I'm borrowing Fourthborn, a compressor, and a nail gun. We are going to paint and otherwise knock things off my honey-do list. I'm hoping that when I take her home, the hall will be essentially done, and the carpet will be gone in the living room.

A girl can dream. And this one's going to bed shortly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Almost 40.

No, I haven't found a magical age-reversing machine. I am nearly 40 pounds down. Without dieting, starving myself, or becoming an exercise anorexic. Just a few simple changes to my diet, and gentle exercise on a regular basis. I'm still learning how much to eat, how often, and in what proportions. Obviously, the Metformin helps.

Today it all worked out pretty evenly. Irish oatmeal for breakfast, with half and half and a bit of Demerara sugar. Way less than I would have used in the bad old days. A little later, some orange juice. Lots of water. At lunch, some of my black bean and Ro-tel soup with the last of the taco meat stirred in. And a bowl of watermelon/avocado/mint/feta salad. Late afternoon? Pistachios and Craisins. More water. Several sticks of sugar free gym throughout the day. Enough that when I grabbed an Arby's on the way to Costco, my jaw ached. So, maybe a little too much gum, chewed a little too vigorously. Oye to the veh.

The fridge and pantry are restocked. And all without having to deal with the Saturday shoppers. I would rather have a mammogram than go to Costco on a Saturday.

The front of Mel's doll sweater is done, with the ends all woven in. I did that at lunch today. I'd like to find my box of DP's  so I could leave the front on the needle until it's time to do a three needle bind-off at the shoulders. I may have to settle for running a doubled strand of silk thread through the stitches for now, so I may get the backs cast on.

That's all I've got for you tonight. The recycling is out. I have a bag that will go into the trash and out to the street tomorrow morning.

Time to take my Metformin. Good night,  Gracie!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I bought the Shiwoo

But I did not buy the B&G. Alternate song title: Shiwoo(s) in Mysterious Ways. Yes, I have bought another doll, this one from Middlest, who was recently laid off and could use your prayers and positive thoughts.

(B&G is a doll line.) Shiwoo is one of the Fairyland sculpts; my little Grace is a Pukifee Shiwoo, I think the smallest size they make in this sculpt. She is getting an older brother, a bit shorter than Honor and the Adamelli twins.

Middlest texted to say that my check had arrived and that He Who Is Yet to Be Named will go out on the mail as soon as he has eyes, boxers, and a pattern for a sporran. He is currently bald, blind, and naked. I bought a pair of eyes, and Middlest is sending a second pair in the package. Wigs for boy dolls are pretty uninspiring unless one is into anime or emo. And I am neither. He might be bald for awhile.

This means that I am going to have to knit another miniature Christmas stocking from the cream Noro. I think I have just enough.

It's been an interesting week. I hung the new picture of the Savior in the hall. I had tried the one that was hanging by the front door. It's Del Parson's smiling Christ and I think called "Christ's Love". I had never seen it before the night Beloved first cooked for me. And it makes me happy every time I see it, both for the subject matter and the associated memories. But the new wall color in the hall clashed horribly.

I had had the inspiration that it would be lovely to see the Savior smiling at me whenever I walked down the hall toward my room.

The new painting is not a "feel good" painting. It's a "remember and ponder" painting. Which is why I bought it in the first place, because the connection was deep and instantaneous. But it does not convey that sense of "Oh good. You're home. I've missed you." that the first one does.

Maybe it's a good thing to be reminded that, much as I love my life and the house my husband gave me, I have a long way to go before I am Home.

The work continues. I have the west walls and the south wall masked in the north-south hall, and the north wall masked in the east-west hall. And the paint bought for walls and ceiling. And a goodly number of new switch plates installed. Fourthborn is spending next weekend with me, and I hope to see the hall mostly finished and the carpet ripped up in the living room.

One door frame in the hall needs a new piece of vertical molding. The sill of the double doors that hold the water heater needs to be replaced. I don't know if we'll get to repainting the doors to various rooms.

I have the hardware to replace the recalcitrant doorknob on my bedroom door. It locked me out on Friday night. The nerve! Thankfully my phone was with me on the outside, and Squishy was both willing and able to help. (No more hangers on the doorknob. That's going to be a hard habit to break.) I think eventually I will be replacing all of the doorknobs with French-door style levers. They're prettier, and I think perhaps better suited to this aging body.

I finished the front of Mel's doll sweater this morning and am in the process of designing the backs. Rather than the saddle shoulder I used when making the sweater for Middlest's doll, I am planning to use a three needle bind-off.

I had really wanted to get some painting done yesterday, but after all the up and down on the stepstool to mask the edges, my feet and ankles had had enough.

I think this is all the news that's fit to print.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Probably stirred up by cleaning out the third bookcase. Lots of dust. And a surprising amount of Gracie fur that had sifted in behind the notebooks. I started sneezing on Friday. I am the new sacrament meeting chorister. Church is in six hours. And I don't think these people have ever heard me sneeze.

I sneezed during my mechanical drawing final, my senior year in high school, and almost all of the guys jumped so hard that they snapped the lead on their pencils. Definitely not something you want to hear during moments of reverence and quiet contemplation. (Although there would likely be less, or less audible, cussing in reaction.)

So I went on the hunt. Somewhere in this house is a Ziploc with the last of the Mucinex. What I came up with, under Beloved's sink, were two tabs of Alavert. After researching possible drug interactions, and getting multiple reassurances that I would not keel over, I took one. It's not supposed to make me drowsy.

Wish me luck.

In other news, the bookcase is emptied, dusted, and moved. I had just enough painter's tape to mask off the area above my studio door and the east wall of the hall. It felt great to go to bed last night with that accomplished.

I've cleared most of the bags out of the living room. The largest but not heaviest will go to church with me. Squishy will get the last two after I get home from Empty Nesters tomorrow night. And that will be that until the next batch.

Because I'm in this for the long haul, and there is always going to be another batch.  However, I have a functional bathroom, and the dining room looks great except for the quilt block clutter. I hope to deal with that sometime today.

(Painting a wall counts as "labor" in my book. Not so much the actual painting, but I haven't done the cutting-in. Cutting-in has a high PITA factor.) Sewing a quilt block doesn't seem like work to me. And is therefore Sabbath-appropriate. At least in my world. Whereas sewing together an entire quilt block would probably be work.

Hrmm. This is beginning to sound like "you can only walk so many steps on the Sabbath before it turns into work and you're going to hell". I might want to rethink this. As I'm sewing the quilt block?

One hour. No sneezing. This could work.

I've commented before that I have an impressive collection of cookbooks, because everyone needs a rich fantasy life, and I like to keep mine G-rated. Last night I brought home a book on home management. It is wonderfully well-written. Except for my teenage years, I've never felt that housework was beneath me. I have frequently felt that it was beyond me.

On the trip to Nauvoo, one of the sisters commented about how we women base our self-esteem on how our house looks and how our children behave. I cracked that I must be a man in drag.

Housework has been both a battle of wits against the forces of entropy and a lifelong battle of wills with my mother (even 16 years after her passing), who quite reasonably expected me to be a participating member of the household, while I wanted to read or play or daydream.

Chores were something to be gotten through. I learned the mechanics, but I never gained a testimony of housekeeping. I read Daryl Hoole's books on the domestic arts, and she might as well have been speaking Sanskrit. I bought "Sidetracked Home Executives" and made the index cards. But I rapidly reached the point where there were more people making messes than there were cleaning them up, and everything fell apart. For years. I would feel frustrated and guilty and depressed, and I would make forays into order. The good guys would win for awhile, and then *meh*.

This woman (Cheryl Mendelson) and her book (Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House) make sense to me. It's a huge book, 894 pages. And it's written for rank beginners as well as seasoned homemakers.

That clean, fresh scent? Hope.