- Five 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!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
This button says it all
Cheerfully copied and saved from Fleegle’s blog. I know that a small number of you [these would not be my children] think that if I don’t exactly walk on water on a daily basis, I spend a lot of time with wet feet.
Oh hark, what was that sound? The sound of half a dozen bubbles bursting, simultaneously. Or maybe some of that virtual bubble wrap. It’s been several days since I had chili for dinner, so it couldn’t be the beans, now could it?
Speaking of not-killing-people, I found myself at the table with my office nemesis the other day. Mostly, we are civil; occasionally we are cordial. And sometimes there is unilateral or mutual saber-rattling. But that day we were the only two in the break room, and maybe we were both having a good day. For whatever reason, we just sat there and talked. Talked about raising our kids, how much we loved them, how protective we felt about them, how hard it can be to be a single mother, how to parent our kids without embarrassing them. I think she was a little shocked at how much I agreed with her. I told her a couple of years ago, during a relatively peaceful stretch, that the reason I drove her nuts was that we are so much alike. Oh, she did not like hearing that at all!
When she left for the day, this day, I gave her a big Texas smile and told her quietly how much I had enjoyed visiting with her at lunchtime. And she smiled back, and it went all the way to her eyes. I told God that was the best thing that had happened all day.
This is how peace is going to come into the world. People sitting down and talking together, getting to know one another and seeing that they are not all that different, for all our individual gifts and strengths and weaknesses. It is moments like this that take the war out of people’s hearts. My Muslim sister and I have talked about this, that it will be the moms teaching their kids how to get along, who gradually do away with hatred and war.
Now, in the meantime I think it is a good thing that we have warriors who are prepared to defend their homes and their families and their countries, and to help the weak *who want to be helped* to defend themselves. I admit to a pro-military bias. My father retired a full-bird colonel; my sister’s husband served in the Air Force; the children’s father served two Mediterranean tours in the Navy, Middlest’s hubby is on a ship near Iraq as we speak, and LittleBit’s boyfriend is shipping out right after Christmas. LittleBit surprised us all by joining AFJROTC as a freshman and sticking with it for two full years and part of a third.
I hate war. But I hate bullies even more. So I particularly enjoyed this article by Orson Scott Card. Some of you will not enjoy it so much. As I told my friend Lena in response to her comment, Yes, I’m very much *me* on the blog. It’s kindof like a can of ready-to-serve tuna. I just pop the lid and whatever’s in there, spills out.
Random reading recommendation; this is on my to-read list. Bill Bryson’s take on Shakespeare
Lest you be discouraged at some of your long-term WIP’s. This should be the AARP interactive jigsaw puzzle for Saturday, 10 November 2007, in case that’s not what you get when you click the link. Be sure to read the blurb when you’ve solved the puzzle.
I was feeling a little sad and frustrated about how the co-payment for LittleBit’s endoscopy impacted our budget last month, until I got the [paid] bill from the hospital yesterday. How thankful I am for my HMO. With all the medical adventures that she and I have had over the past couple of years, if I had had traditional insurance with a yearly deductible and a 20% co-payment, it would have forced me into bankruptcy. But because I chose this HMO over my other options, we have gotten the medical care that we needed, and I have been able to continue nibbling away at my debt load.
My goal was to be debt-free by the end of this year. Not happening. But I’ve made about a third of the payments on Lorelai [my car], and I am reluctantly contemplating a part-time job, and in the next year or so LittleBit will come off my medical insurance and dental insurance and vision insurance and car insurance, and that will help.
Yes, her father is legally obligated to provide health insurance for her; he is not in a position to do so. He is also supposed to pay half of the co-payments, and bless his heart in the most Southern sense of that phrase, that hasn’t happened either.
All the years of poverty when I was married, didn’t crush my spirit. But the debt I have occurred since my divorce frequently threatens to do so. I got stupid with a credit card after my gall bladder came out in 2001; but if I hadn’t had that credit card, I wouldn’t have had the ability to pay the co-payment for the surgery.
[I also needed a suit for the job interview that got me my current position. I interviewed the morning of the day that I had my consultation with my surgeon, and they called my then-manager to say that they wanted me, while I was driving to the afternoon appointment. The suit gets the glory; that and the fact that I was very blonde at the time, and luminous from the pain.]
And then I took out a line of credit from my credit union to pay off the credit card, and I would have been fine if the children’s father hadn’t lost his job and been out of work for over a year, with no child support forthcoming. I put a year’s worth of child support on plastic. I got that taken care of last year, but the line of credit continues to chomp on my net income.
Oh well, as one of the girls said when she was little, “Me make da mess. Me clean it up.” It is just going to take way more time to get out of trouble than it took to get into it. I refuse to put *nothing* into my 401K, just to get out of debt faster. I am really pleased in that area; I’ve been tossing in dibs and dabs for about five years now, and I almost have enough in there to live on for a year with my current expenses.
And since I’m planning to work at least another 15 years, longer if I can, maybe when I retire at 70 or 75 I will have enough to fund the remaining quarter-century or so. And maybe have a little cottage bought and paid for, and maybe near a bus route so I won’t scare the kids or my neighbors if I turn into one of those doddery old ladies who can barely see over the steering wheel.
I would love it if I turned out as sharp as both my parents were, able to drive safely up until the last few months of their lives. When I was a little girl and thought about death versus disability [yeah, I was a weird little kid], I always felt that I would rather be dead than blind, because so much of what I love to do involves my eyes.
Of course, now that I’m older I realize that I would just learn Braille or get books on tape or find a friend with a lovely British accent to read to me. I’d cope somehow, and life would go on. [After all, I’ve pretty much done without dancing for the better part of this year, and I think I’m still fairly normal. normal. normal.]
And now that I have attempted to be a Christian for more than half of my life, death has no fear for me. Not that I want to go Home day after tomorrow; there’s too much left that I want to learn and do, to be eager to leave this way-station of mortality. I just hope that when I go, I still have all or most of my marbles. That’s the Big Scary for me.
Here’s an easy RAK [random act of kindness]. I found the link on Wendy's blog. Improve your vocabulary and help feed the hungry. I’m less than thrilled that this benefits the United Nations; I trust them about as far as I trust my long-lost cousins from Nigeria who need me to loan them some money. Obviously my cousins have not hacked into my checking account, or they would know better than to ask!
Oh, you want knitting content? How about some yarn content?
This is one warp chain separated and wound onto bobbins leftover from my Great Floss Acquisition of a couple years ago. There are four full chains and three skinny ones remaining to decipher. And five or six balls and skeins of uncut yarn. I frogged the swatch I had been noodling around with, sometime yesterday.
I now have at least one bobbin of every color of cotton floss that DMC makes, and when I paused for breath, I had another storage box nearly full of Anchor floss as well. I may not have a year’s supply of food stored yet, but when I die it will not be of boredom. I still had a couple of empty bobbins when I finished winding these babies.
Above is the left side of the swatch I worked on last night while listening to The Holiday in French. Next is the right side of the same swatch.
You can just see the beginning of a leaf motif at the left edge of this swatch. It has twisted stitches on both the right side and the wrong side, which are lovely in the plain yarn used in the book and utterly wasted here. [The leaf is from Knitting on the Edge, p. 130, Quilted Leaf Pattern.] And here is the whole swatch. I only noticed this morning that it is not *quite* symmetrical.
But I am loving the left-leaning and right-leaning lace. I will frog this and cast on again, a little wider. I want to play with a slightly different lace panel, and I want to try the leaves without the twisted stitches, and of course I want it to be symmetrical. You can’t really tell from this, but there are three 2x2 cables and two leaf panels and then the lace. I want the fabric to be more open and to drape well, but still be sturdy. I want to riff off the oxymoron of tweedy lace, or lacy tweed.
I managed to get a second decorative item hung on the wall yesterday. Two items in two months, and actually I only hung this second one. The first one is higher up the wall, and I deputized LittleBit, on the orders of my good home teacher and his wife. This is really playing hob with my need to decorate.