About Me

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Four 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!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sabbath Sock

This is the little sock that got religion. And bless Tan http://chaosvortex.blogspot.com/2007/03/knitting-in-church.html for letting me know that I won't necessarily end up in Outer Darkness for knitting in church.



This is my Christmas yarn, Colinette's Jitterbug in most of my favorite colors. I wore a bright pink dressy T-shirt under my black leather jacket [it's *cold* in that thar chapel!] and over my properly boring black knit skirt. Why a bright pink shirt? Camouflage, of course! The only even moderately sedate yarn that I have is the green Anne that I used for all those tiny earrings a few months ago, and I'm not ready to knit a scarf or shawlette from what's left of it.

I didn't get this far sitting in sacrament meeting. I got about half an inch past the toe increases doing that "cheater" one-over-one cable where you don't use a cable needle, but it didn't look sufficiently cable-ish to me, so I frogged it back. I knit the rest of this at home.

I also worked on LittleBit's hoodie in the afternoon, comfortably ensconced on the sofa with The Terminal in my DVD player. About half of a 28-row repeat, but not worth snapping a photo of. I've done four rows already this morning, and I have 24 rows to go before I do the triangular flappies to begin the armhole shaping

LittleBit survived last week's high school musical, where she was drafted to do the lights [thank goodness for nearly three full years of tech theatre!]. This Friday she has tryouts for Show Choir. She spent a good hour in her room yesterday afternoon with the keyboard and the sheet music and the glorious warbling. Those of you who are so inclined, are invited to bend Heaven's ear on her behalf.

Knee is feeling steadily better. I think I will attempt five or ten minutes on the recumbent bike this morning at the lowest possible setting. Which means that Sabbath Sock will get a little workout as well. I don't even want to think about trying to juggle a sweater back and a ball of yarn and a cable needle *and* my cane and ID to get into the building, all before breakfast.

Happy knitting, everybody. And happy Monday!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What I did on Thursday, and since

I kept my poor abused knee at home. And I knit almost a full 28-row repeat on the back of LittleBit's hoodie.



And I spent a good fifteen minutes with my 7’ fake green and red ficus that I bought when we lived in the apartment with the 9’ ceilings, taking out several miles’ worth of white Christmas lights. I need to get some of that leaf cleaner for silk plants, because I have not dusted that tree *once* in the four years we’ve lived here, and I’m coughing a little from all the dust I stirred up. Or I could just tie on a bandanna, train-robber style, and whack the heck out of it with my lambswool duster. If BittyBit were a couple of years older, I could tilt the tree on its side and pay her a penny a leaf and cover her first semester of college!

But I digress. I rolled the tree about ten feet to the east, feeling very thankful that I’d splurged on one of those rolling plant stands when we lived in the last apartment. The now-lightless tree stands near the foyer, where it is doing a creditable impression of a $200 folding screen. I had wanted one to block off the front entryway, as we never use that door. But I can’t find one that I like, that I can afford, or that I could manhandle if I could afford it. So I moved the tree instead. And I moved the 4’ green and white variegated ficus over next to it. And then I realized that I needed a third plant, both to finish filling out the space and because three things almost always look better than two.

I spent half an hour in Garden Ridge just after they opened yesterday morning, pondering the merits of a 5’ phoenix palm and a 5’ something-with-huge-leaves. I finally chose the palm, because it sat in a fat, sturdy basket, while the other plant was housed in a tall, tippy wooden container that would have required the purchase of something large and shiny and probably expensive to house and stabilize it. The new tree is up on an unfinished stepstool, because they don’t make booster seats for trees.



I also now have the cushions to fit the chairs that I can’t quite make myself fork over the money for. I got them on sale at Pier One for $11.24 each. Originally [Are you sitting down? Here, have a cushion!] $90!!! apiece. People really plunk down just under $100 for something as perishable as seat cushions? I sure wouldn’t have paid retail for the fabric they’re upholstered in, a very Jane Jetson look, but I’ll enjoy it until I’m the mood to make something a little more Lynn-shui. I’m waiting for the 20% off coupon to arrive in my inbox, before buying the chairs. In the meantime, I’m having fun puttering around the living room, putting things together in fresh combinations, and just seeing what works.



I am trying to find the blessing in all this. I’m sure that there is one, possibly several. [The most obvious one is that I didn’t fall down the stairs during the fire drill and roll the rest of the way to the bottom, though it certainly would have been faster.] I figure this has set my dancing back another six weeks or so. And I move so much more slowly when I’m walking with my cane, and I poop out more easily. I only got about half the things on my list done yesterday. And I had to ask for help, twice: once to get the cushions out to the car and also to get my donations for the silent auction at church into the building. I was only able to unpack boxes for Firstborn at her new house [with a red kitchen, praise be!] for a little over an hour before my body said “we’re done”. And I only stayed an hour at the silent auction and dinner at church before I’d had enough.

Maybe one other blessing of this mess is the increasing ability to tell when I’ve had enough, just before I reach that point instead of just after. I went to bed a little after 8:00 last night, and I slept until almost 4:00 this morning. Cue the trumpeting angels!

And we'll close with a picture of Secondborn at her awards assembly at the junior college. For excellence in her chemistry class, no less. The only chemistry I have is with unsuitable men, alas!



Obviously, I'm better at photographing trivial inanimate objects than important, real live people. You can't see her face clearly, but you've got a nice glimpse of BittyBubbaToBe.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Insert Childbirth Word [here].

You know how the knee/tibia has been mending slowly and gracefully, aided by ice, water therapy, mild exercise, and time? Not to mention a relative lack of foolhardy behaviors?

Enter the Quarterly Fire Drill. This morning. They warn us a couple of days in advance, and I had a little "wonder if I should?" niggle on Monday, easily dismissed as nothing.

The alarm went off this morning. A coworker who is exempt because of various orthopedic glitches sat at my desk, and I headed for the stairs. Another coworker, coincidentally on our Safety Committee, steered me away from my usual choice of stairwell, "No, Lynn, we're supposed to use this one, over here." So like a good little worker bee I followed her down the other stairwell, even though it exits on the west side of the building, and our rendezvous spot is on the east side of the building and across the street.

I kept up with her for about half a flight of stairs. With six and a half flights to go. Three or so flights down, she was nowhere in sight, and my knee was starting to take my brain's name in vain. By the time I made it to the sidewalk, I knew I was in trouble. I limped down the block, getting madder and madder, more and more frustrated. About 30 seconds after I joined my group [halfway to Louisiana, or so it felt], the all-clear sounded , and it was time to hobble back across the street and up half a flight of stairs to get in line for the elevator with the rest of the lemmings.

Thankfully, my cane was right where I'd parked it several weeks ago, in a convenient corner behind my desk. I used it for the rest of the day. And my coldpack was still in the freezer in our break room. So I grabbed it during my morning break and iced down my knee off and on until lunchtime. And I converted my remaining vacation day into PT and came home an hour and a half early, because I was Not In The Mood to sit for an hour and a half in traffic with a throbbing knee.

I may or may not call in sick tomorrow. Depends on how this poor abused knee feels when I wake up in the morning. Most of the afternoon I just wanted to be home, curled up in bed, having a good cry. Now that I'm home, I'm enjoying a bowl of orange chicken and thinking about watching the video I rented on Saturday night, one more time before I have to turn it in tomorrow.

Needless to say, I am now on the "exempt" list for the fire drills, until future notice. But I was actually looking forward to the next singles' dance Friday after next, and that's definitely out. My best guess is that I've set myself back about six weeks. I'm hoping not to have to visit either my primary care physicial or my orthopedic man, but I think that's probably hoping in vain. It's a slightly different pain than I've been feeling since the first injury in November. This is like a slow burn, as if my knee were a stick of incense that was lit and blown out and is now quietly glowing. I have a sneaking feeling that my meniscus decided to get into the act.

And I think that the road trip I was beginning to plan for this summer, just got shoved back a year.

It is at moments like this that I wish I had a husband who could give me a blessing, or even just sit with me and cradle this poor abused knee between his hands. But there are a couple of silverish linings, already: I am full of Chinese fiery goodness, and I have time to knit, and when one of my girlfriends emailed me and asked if she could help me lug things down to the car, I didn't dismiss her offer as I usually would. I just smiled thankfully and replied, "Yes, please, that would be lovely. Bless you."

Knitting content:
I have just completed the first 28-row cable repeat on the back of LittleBit's hoodie. In two days. The last row and a half in traffic [stalled, I'm not entirely lunatic] and at stoplights, on the way home. It's going much faster than the sleeves or the fronts, because there is only *one* cable marching up the back, and lots of lovely stockinette on either side. Forgive me that there are no pictures. The camera is in my tote, and my tote is across the room.

And now if you will all excuse me, I'm going to settle in with my knitting and the remote, and knit until I fall asleep in the rocker with the coldpack on my knee. Or the movie ends, whichever comes first.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Birthday Reprise + Knitting Content

Thanks for the good wishes! Both from those who posted and those who lurk and respond elsewhere. It was a great day. As for not-celebrating at Knit Night, I *did*. I spent it with y'all! And I was able to stay awake past 9:00pm! Does it get any better than that?

I'm not crazy-fond of cake, and a dear friend at church left an individual serving of something wonderful and decadent from the Tom Thumb deli on my doorstep the night before. I ate half of it that night, and the rest for breakfast the next day. Here's a photo, mid-munch.



This is the pink Royal Winton that I lucked onto when we were living in the Texas Hill Country. I bought 25 pieces for $50. I'm keeping an eye on it on eBay and through a pattern-tracking service. So far, I can't afford the going rate. If you have an auntie who has this lovely pink mottled stuff and is tired of it, or if you see it at a garage sale or yard sale, I'm willing to pay $1 or $2 per item and not $375 for a toast rack. This is creatively baked and painted *dirt*, people! And it breaks! I love beautiful things, and I refuse to pay so much for them that I will weep if they get broken.


[As you can imagine, I had enormous difficulty forking over $22 for my first skein of CTH! Twenty years ago, I had a food budget of $125 to feed a family of seven for a month, and I still relate many of my purchases to how many meals they would have bought in the Bad Old Days.]

The fronts of LittleBit's Celtic Icon hoodie are done, after much fiddling, tinking, and outright frogging. I'm still having too much fun with this to consider joining the Slogalong, though I've been working on this project since mid-February. My last conscious act before crashing for the night was to slip the sleeves ~ I ran out of yarn, remember? ~ off the size 0's that have held them for the past month or so and back onto my working needles.

I slept in until 5:00 or so this morning and grabbed my needles as soon as I could focus. Just finished blending the two yarns on the first sleeve, alternating two rows of new, two rows of old, etc., for twelve rows, and I have about 18" of the old yarn dangling on the selvedge. I do most of my knitting in bed, and I was getting a bad case of tuchas interruptus, so I thought I'd check my inbox to see if one of my local friends had responded to my offer of a girls' night out at the dollar flick. It's 7:42am. How can she still be asleep?

I'm ready for some breakfast, and more knitting. Time to whip that second sleeve into shape!

Here's a link that one of my Sisters of the Wool provided our group: shawls, arranged by approximate amount of yarn required. Yeah. I'm feeling that particular tug. Scary.

http://simpleknits.blogspot.com/2007/04/triangle-shawls-galore.html

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Double Nickels? Already?

Fifty-five years x 365 days + 13 Leap Years = 20,088 days. That's 22 years of marriage [in two instalments], 6.5 engagements, five pregnancies, 7.45 years of lactation, and I don't want to think how many dinners burnt or pairs of pantihose danced through or miles of dental floss.

Oye.

So how am I celebrating, you ask?

First things first: I've taken a day of vacation. I got a massage at the massage therapy school. [I like my earthly blisses, and I don't like to pay retail for them]. I have a coupon for $10 off a $20 tab at my favorite restaurant, but since this is Texas and not New York, and since I don't drink, and all my favorite foodies will be occupied elsewhere, I think I'll have to come up with Plan B in terms of refueling. There's no way I can eat $20 worth of food unless I miraculously become six months' pregnant with triplets in the next 15 minutes or so.

[Several hours later, into the next day as a matter of fact, here's how it played out.] After the massage, I got a call from Secondborn, who was nearby for an appointment with her midwife. She and BittyBit sang "happy birthday" to me and offered to buy me lunch. I told her about my coupon, and we agreed to meet up. I had the fish tacos, she had the pecan-crusted trout, and BittyBit had most of the chips for our spinach gouda dip. After lunch, I had an hour before picking up LittleBit so we could catch up the laundry. I spent a good part of it at the YMCA on the recumbent bicycle, reading the Harlot's new book.

Picked up LittleBit, and we came home for an hour's nap. I set the alarm, after my experiences with naps on the past several Sundays. Then we did the laundry, and I brought her home, and I went on to Knit Night. Came home by way of the grocery store because I'm taking breakfasty treats for the staff meeting tomorrow morning. Came home, put the food away, finished my extension request and drove it to the post office. In 55 years of living and 35 years of being more or less gainfully employed, I think this is the second time I've filed my return at the last possible moment. I would bet the rent that it's the first time I've requested an extension.

I just finished eating a small order of fries, done to perfection, and a junior bacon cheeseburger. Woohoo for JITB! All that adding and subtracting made me ridiculously hungry. The carbs are starting to kick in, and I think I'll be able to sleep tonight.

This may have been one of the best birthdays ever.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Couching my words

The couch I'd love to have:



The couch I have:



The temporary or possibly permanent solution:



I'm thinking of this as a Speedo for my couch. The couch is a hand-me-down from my best friend and her hubby, who loves to shop. He was ready for a new couch, as were we, so about three years ago he pulled up in his pickup truck with some of the young men from church, et voilà! There is nothing objectively wrong with this couch. It’s well-made and has great lines [not too fussy and traditional, not too sterile and modern] and is comfortable. It’s just, well, blue.

I was puzzled for awhile that I have this urge to nest each spring. I realized last year, about half-past summer, that it's due in part to Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance books. They are much about tidying the nest, making home a pleasant place to be, etc...

Which explains why three years ago I bought the new plates on closeout at Target and made that delightful budget-busting trip to Garden Ridge with Brother Sushi, where I got my bowls shaped like poppies and the little heart-shaped dessert bowls, and later the goblets and napkins at Pier One and the placemats [with a coupon, please note] at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Two years ago, I got the draperies on closeout at JCPenney's online outlet [one of their Wednesday Specials; I think I got them for $10 a pair???] and the tablecloth for the dining room and the Wall Words for the dining room wall. And last year I reorganized the kitchen drawers and the linen closet.

This year looks like it will be the slipcover for the couch, and possibly getting the fainting couch recovered at a little place in BigD that one of my attorneys uses because the upholsterers are both skilled and affordable. And I have my eye on a couple of armchairs at Pier One that please my eye nearly as much as the [discontinued] Malabar chairs at Pottery Barn and please my pocketbook far more. Witness:

I found a different chair online, and when I went to the store to sit in it, it was nice but not-me. Then I stood up, turned around, and saw this chair. Definitely love at first sit!
I have bought very little furniture in my life. Most of my dining room chairs are from a flea market in Alvarado, from when we were living with friends in 1993. I painted them while we were living in that first bare apartment after we came back up here from financial ruin in the Texas Hill Country. And I taught myself how to re-rush chair seats. They could stand to be repainted, but the seats are holding up nicely after fourteen years. [Better than mine.] The rest of my dining room chairs are wooden folding chairs bought for $15 or so at World Market. My coffee table is from that same flea market, also repainted. Several years ago I sprung for a glass top for it. My end table is a hand-me-down from when I took over Firstborn’s apartment after Secondborn’s wedding. [The sectional sofa that went with it is, mercifully, history. It was mostly blue.] I have an excellent bed that I accepted from one of the girls in lieu of repayment on a debt.
And here I am doing a creditable impression of a grownup, researching and pondering the acquisition of grownup furniture. Not expensive, arm-and-a-leg-and-firstborn-male-child furniture, but real furniture nonetheless.
Still knitting away on the fronts to LittleBit's hoodie. Two months on this sweater and still going. If I weren't enjoying it so much, I'd be honor-bound to join MDKnitting's slogalong. I will probably have a picture for you of the "recumbent biking" project sometime next week, at which point I will need to figure out another bikeworthy project.

Monday, April 09, 2007

First the Harlot, and now Wendy!

I continue to be amazed, and impressed, by the graciousness and the speedy responses I get when I post a comment or query to the blogs of sundry Famous Knitting Bloggers. I've been reading the Yarn Harlot's blog since about 15 minutes after I got home from my first Knit Night with my sisters of the wool, back in June. I've been reading Wendy's blog for about a month, though I used her toe-up sock pattern from Knitty for my first pair of socks, late last summer.

The internet is a fearfully mixed blessing. We can do our banking, shop for a new spouse, file our taxes, buy yummy yarn and patterns, keep in touch with extended family, listen to a prophet speak without having to put on pantyhose and drive down to the church. And then there are those people who use it to rob banks and steal identities, stalk former spouses, hack into the IRS, kidnap children for wicked purposes, spread division in our families and communities, and demean other religions.

Soapbox? Oh, you mean this thing that I'm standing on?

I learn all sorts of neat stuff on the internet. For example, last fall I learned that Thanksgiving Day in Canada is on a different day than ours in the U.S. So I asked Stephanie if their traditional foods were anything like ours, and she emailed me! I still have her response tucked in a folder somewhere until I can figure out how to bronze an email. And today [I began drafting this on Sunday night; who knows when it will actually be published?] I asked Wendy whether she used pins to block her shawl on her new interlocking foam blocking board. When I woke up from my Sunday nap, there was her response sitting politely in my inbox, just waiting for me to notice. How cool is that?

On the subject of Sunday naps, I just [this was at 9:30PM] woke up from a *six* hour one. My occasional three-hour nap is a sleep wrecker, as a full night's sleep for me averages six hours, up from five about a year ago. Since my nap was twice as long as it sometimes is, I wonder if this means that I'll get no sleep for *two* nights? The silver lining in this cloud is that I have knitting, lovely knitting which will keep me happy ~~ or at least busy ~~ while I'm awake until just before my alarm goes off at dark-thirty. I'm wondering how I'll manage to stay awake at my desk tomorrow? I am constitutionally and religiously averse to coffee and tea, never liked either of them and was so thankful to join a church where they are proscribed, thirty-plus years ago.

It's now 2:22am, and I have not only fixed the miscreant cables on LittleBit's hoodie front but have galloped past that on one front to complete the triangular flappy that begins the sleeve shaping. I'm not sure if I'm ready for a catnap before the alarm goes off at 4:00. I do know that I needed a little break from the knitting. The second front is ready for it's triangular flappy, and I am not *quite* ready to work on it.

Did I mention that I figured out how to knit while riding the recumbent bike, week before last? It's not pretty, it's not elegant, and it was a little scary when one of my balls of yarn leaped out of the cup holder and landed perilously close to a puddle of what I can only presume was somebody else's sweat. Yeah, I know: gross. I know it wasn't *mine*, because I'm careful not to break one when I'm working out during LittleBit's early morning seminary class. There's no time to shower or change, just 20 minutes to gently push-start my metabolism before picking her up, dropping her and my best friend's daughter at school, and joining the other lemmings on the daily migration into BigD.

Easter loot, courtesy of our home teacher and his wife:


The lovely contents:



The headless bunny. I took one picture with just its ears bitten off, and it looked like a cat :)


The best Easter surprise today:

I transferred it into Paint and took her name off. When I saw this in my inbox after church today, I got a glimpse of the woman she'll be. Formidable, in both the French and the English meanings. It's a good thing her papa is a black belt!
There is absolutely no sense in my going back to bed for half an hour, but I think I will anyway.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easters, past and present

When I was a very little girl, we lived next door to a small church, and my parents were two of the best practicing Christians I've ever had the privilege of knowing. They were not much for organized religion; I did not grow up with family prayers and family scripture study and hymnals in the home. But they wanted me to know about God, and they took me to church when I was tiny, and once I knew the way and could be trusted to walk down my sidewalk and around the grapevine hedge that divided the properties and into Sunday School, I was sent to church with a nickel knotted into a corner of my handkerchief.

Easter meant eggs and a modest basket of candy and a new dress for church. And a hat. I grew up in the 50's and 60's, when Jackie Kennedy wore pillboxes, and ladies wore white gloves to church on Sunday, and every little girl had an Easter bonnet.

We moved to Boise the summer I was eight, and Mom looked for a church for me to attend. Boise was booming, at least in part because of the missile crisis, and there were more people who wanted to go to church than there were church buildings available. So for a few weeks I met with a small congregation in the chapel of a mausoleum. It was a big city, and I was a stranger. The adults were reasonably friendly, and the kids were rude, what I've learned to call "tacky" since moving to Texas. After about a month and a half, I had had enough. And I told my folks that I didn't want to go to church there any more, because I didn't like the people.

My mother explained how difficult it was to find a church that taught about Jesus without also teaching religious bigotry. She did not want me to grow up outwardly religious and privately hateful. The church at the mausoleum was the best we could do at that place and in that time. She respected both my intelligence and my feelings, and I never went back.

Fast forward half a dozen years. I was now fourteen, and my hormones were raging, long before there was any visible manifestation. [Let me digress and say that if I make it through this month without a visit from the Red Fairy, I will officially be in menopause, and I will be delighted. This whole winding-down process has been infinitely less painful than the starting-up process and all its attendant drama.] I was also feeling the first stirrings of a longing to reconnect with God. I tried to read the Bible and got nowhere. The only verse that stayed stuck in my mind was John 3:16. I wrote it out in longhand and taped it to my wall.

Two years later, I had a best friend and a small circle of girlfriends, one of whom was Quaker. We started going to church with her. I sewed my own Easter dresses for three years. No hats; it was the late 60's, and we were way too cool for hats and white gloves. I loved the people in that congregation; they were warm and welcoming. And the music was lovely. It was always my favorite part. [I grew up with Mahalia Jackson and Anita Bryant singing the old gospel standards. And when "Oh Happy Day" came out, Mom bought it and we just about wore it out.]

In the summer, they would have traveling preachers come for what had to be the most reverent and loving and respectful revivals in existence. I was drawn to walk to the front and make a public profession of faith, but something kept me sitting in my pew every time. Perhaps it was my parents' example of non-joining; perhaps it was a desire not to make a commitment I wasn't sure I could keep. I just remember sitting there, feeling torn between my longing to know God better and my reluctance to be a hypocrite or an incompetent who couldn't finish what she'd started.

I loved that church and those people so much that that is where I chose to be married to my first husband. Good people, salt of the earth as my father would have said.

I went off to college and fell in love with a Catholic boy and started taking their conversion classes. He and I dated a few months, and I didn't finish the classes, though I learned enough doctrine that my already high opinion of the church increased. I have worshipped in parish churches where the Spirit was so strong, because of the faith and the prayers of the parishioners.

The world appeared to win for the next few years. I had my parents' and my sister's good examples to follow, and I had the Golden Rule, and still I was stumbling and flailing about, because I had no bedrock of faith on which to base my choices. I was unprepared for how deeply wounding the breakup of my first marriage would be, even though I was the one who wanted out. But that pain proved to be a blessing, because I think it was the only thing that could have humbled me sufficiently that I would allow God to come in and start putting the broken pieces back together.

It's been more than 30 years, and it still startles me to think of myself as "one of those religious people". I love living here in the Bible Belt, surrounded by others who love God as much as I do and try to do His will, as I try to. I love being able to talk about God's working in my life with several of my co-workers, or asking my friends to pray for me or with me. I love seeing a new church go up, even if we differ on doctrine, because people who understand what they believe and implement it in daily life are a blessing to their neighbors. God will sort out the details later, in my opinion.

Easter when the girls were little started out like the Easters I had known. I have a picture of Firstborn and Secondborn in the Easter dresses which I had made for them. After Middlest came along, our brief period of relative prosperity ended, and there were no more Easter dresses, let alone matching ones. I had neither the resources nor the time. By the time there were five little blessings chez nous, Easter was a dozen eggs dyed, which we devilled and ate for lunch after church, and a bag of jellybeans and maybe some peeps, and if it were a particularly good year, half-price chocolate bunnies bought at 11:30 the night before. When they were between 15 and 4, Easter was two bags of holiday M&M's carefully divided by color, according to their "family color" [having a family color made it easier to know whose cup was sitting on top of the piano, and whose plate was peeking out under a bed], and woe be unto us if one of them got so much as one M&M more than a sibling. I got to eat the orphan/surplus M&M's.

Last year was BittyBit's first real Easter; they hid plastic eggs in the back yard, andh we had to frisk them for fire ants before letting her open them. I've done nothing traditional this year to celebrate Easter, but I suspect that church today will be rather more meaningful than some Easters past. The past twelve months have been brutal in many respects, and I am particularly grateful for the Atonement, not only for my personal sins of omission and commission, but for how it covers the sins against me and mine, the aches and pains and illnesses, and the petty irritations of life.

May you have a blessed and peaceful and joyful Easter.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Reality Check

Good cop.



Bad cop. Get out your magnifying glass or your bifocals. Those arrows looked *huge* when I inserted them in Paint, LOL.



Can you see where I twisted the cables in the wrong direction? I can. Rather than dancing a fine jig around their neighbors, they have seized the bit in their teeth and headed north-northeast like I-35W out of Cowtown. [Three metaphors, neatly scrambled like the eggs I think I might have for breakfast. I woke up a little before 3:00. I'm mixing, mangling, and marinating metaphors with gleeful if groggy abandon.]

The sad thing, the truly pitiful thing about this, is that I'm knitting both front panels at once. And I caught it on the other front and corrected it yesterday. And did not think to look at this one to see if I'd messed it up as well.

On a brighter note, I found *this* on the Knitty website yesterday:

I tried to blow it up in Paint but only had to laugh. So here's the link: http://www.cafepress.com/knitty.114850001
I'm thinking this would be an excellent shirt to wear to the next singles dance, as I'm sitting them out with my knitting.
[Could have gone last night after the monthly dinner with Brother Sushi, but didn't. Between LittleBit's tonsillitis and the tornado, between Not Workout One All Week and two days of visitors to the office, I felt as if I had been steeked using a rusty treadle sewing machine and a particularly dull pair of shears. So I came home, put on my jammies, and went to bed like a sensible human being.]
I'm heading back to bed for a couple of hours. This is the day of our monthly quilt class. I wonder if any of the girls remembers, besides me?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Les tricoteuses et le tourbillon

Knit Night. One of the high-points of my week, when I gather with my Sisters of the Wool. We admire one another’s work and teach our favorite techniques. We laugh and cry together. We pat the new yarn acquisitions and pass the new books around. We share our tools. We collaborate on yarn orders to avoid shipping charges.

I can’t imagine a greater bunch of ladies with whom to be stuck in the loo at *bucks during a tornado warning.

Et voilà!



Six women. Six cell phones. Much text messaging and beeping and electronic yodeling. One of the knitters is friends with a storm watcher. She called him and asked, “OK, what’s really happening out there?” Another called her husband, who was watching the weather radar, and relayed what he was picking up.

I texted LittleBit, at home with tonsillitis, and told her to take cover. She promised that she would.

I texted Firstborn as follows:
ME) 8:48pm Am in the loo at [*]bucks with my sisters of the wool. [LittleBit] is under cover at home.
FB) 8:53pm What???
ME) 8:54pm Tornado. Not a nervous breakdown.
FB) 8:55pm Really? A warning or an actual tornado?

At which point I got tired of typing and called her and talked for maybe 20 seconds before the signal faded. Long enough to learn that the storm was headed their way, that Lark was in the loo chez lui with her cell phone but that the grownups were just staying put where they were.

And here you see a KnitPicks circ peacefully coexisting with an Addi Lace circ.



We got the “all clear” from S’s hubby in about 20 minutes and trooped out to our chairs. The staff at *bucks was still huddled in the back of the shop, so it took a couple more minutes for them to come out and unlock the big front door. *I* was ready to go home. Standing for 20 minutes wouldn’t ordinarily be much of an issue, but I’m still babying myself after breaking my leg last fall.

The Fort Worth paper says nothing touched down. http://www.star-telegram.com/226/story/57585.html The rumors say otherwise.

When I got home, Fourthborn was visiting and had brought a movie to cheer up “the moose”, as she calls her baby sister. I was ready to sleep, and LittleBit needed to be back to school at dark-thirty the next morning to catch the bus for a choir competition. I gently but firmly invoked the “I love you, GO HOME!” mantra, and the two of us had family prayers and went to bed.

And some folks think the life of a single mother is dull and humdrum, LOL.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The color isn't true here, but it shows the pattern nicely. I like working with this yarn [Telemark, from KnitPicks] as much as *most* people like working with Cascade 220.

When I snapped these, I had just finished two pattern repeats. I'll be two rows shy of four full repeats when I start the triangular flappies for the armscye shaping. This is a better approximation of the actual color:



Not quite a royal purple, not exactly fuchsia or magenta. But a lot more purple than their "aubergine", which resembles no eggplant I've ever seen!

This is where I ran out of black:



I ordered more yarn from KnitPicks on Friday. And I repeat that it was not *their* error which caused me to run short. By the original specifications and their calculations, I should have had plenty.

And here's a closeup of the armscye shaping on the sleeve.



The pattern specifies 4.0mm needles, or American size 6. I'm using an Addi 1, which is approximately an American 1.5.

At posting, I am just shy of three pattern repeats in the purple. And I am loving this pattern. Possibly enough to knit one for myself after I've finished a dozen or so other projects. We'll see if I feel that way after inserting the zipper, LOL.

Still no bluebonnet pictures for you. Maybe this weekend. I know, I said that two weeks ago, didn't I?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Adventures and observations

Thursday was one of those comic-opera days, the kind where you know that major blessings must be right around the corner because of the minor annoyances that drop one by one like a broken strand of pearls. Please don’t think that I fail to appreciate the irony of having tripped on the curb as I entered the YMCA for my workout. How can it be that we fall in slow motion and think in complete sentences as we plummet? I distinctly remember thinking, “NO! I don’t want to fall down!” My shoe, the curb, and the universe had other ideas.

While I landed squarely on my bum knee, and my water bottle went one way and my reading material for the recumbent bike went another, I somehow managed to hang onto my planner and to avoid breaking my nose or anything other than my dignity. My knee is a little sanded, but no real harm done.

This was followed by some of my post-workout water going down the wrong pipe on the drive to work, resulting in coughs, hacks, snorts, and the loss of any remaining aplomb. Thankfully, I did not cough so hard that I needed to go home and change my clothes.

And then there is the matter of the cable needle that has vanished into the Bermuda Triangle between the bath tub, the bed, and the sink. I was knitting as I ran the tub. When I stopped to turn off the water, I tucked my cable needle into my waistband. When I got back to my bed to finish the row, the cable needle had dematerialized. I checked the tub. I checked the commode. I checked the sink. I checked the bathroom floor. I checked my bed. I checked the path between the bathroom door and the bed. I carefully shook out my clothing. That needle is gone, well and truly gone, like any illusion that I am in charge of my own life.

I had hoped to avoid any stiffness on Friday morning by a leisurely but thorough workout at the Natatorium on Thursday night, but when I got there the pool was empty because of lightning. There is some sort of rule that they can’t have anybody in the water until half an hour after the last flash of lightning. The pumps are outside, and if they were to be struck by lightning, well… I am thankful that they don’t want any poached patrons, though I wish I had known about this rule before I drove twelve miles there, and twelve miles home, swim-less. Still, I had to grin at least a little on the drive home. One less obstacle between me and whatever heavenly surprise is lurking out there.

It was raining cats and dogs and little fishes on Friday night. Dinner was Panda Express. My kid got home safely from her date. I let that lovely rainstorm sing me to sleep.

Pictures from lunch with the tribe, post-yoga on Saturday:



BittyBit is a real Texan; she sure loves her queso. That blur is her hand double-dipping.



BittyBit mugs with Aunt Firstborn. Secondborn was studying for next week's exams.



Lark not-mugs for the camera. I scanned the entire blog to see if I'd ever come up with screen names for her and her big sister. I hadn't. So, she's Lark, because she sings as beautifully as my girls and her father. And her older sister is now officially Willow, because she's tall and graceful and alas! not a singer. I've just recently started scratching my head over what to call BittyBit's brother when he gets here.

We will spare you the mug shots of LittleBit and me. She was clowning for the camera, and I looked like somebody had used *me* as a yoga mat!

Knitting content? How about these? Made from Schaeffer's Lola; I bought it for the greens and was amazed at how equally purple these socks are. There is some serious spiralling going on, and I rather like it. These were cuff-down, and I wish I'd made the tops longer. I was afraid of running out of yarn before I got to the toes, and I didn't want to do a short-row heel because the heel flap fits my foot so much better. I also used the more gradual gusset that I should have used on my pumpkin Gloss socks, and I really like it.



Or this? Did I ever show you the wisteria mitts that I made LittleBit from the leftover heel-and-toe yarn for the socks I finished in my second round of Sock Wars?

Here's a detail. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.