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!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Don't Faint [A Modicum of Knitting Content]

The Trinity River had dropped noticeably when I drove in to work yesterday. The trees that on Thursday resembled broccoli flowerets bobbing on the water now look like trees once more. Here, at least, the river stayed within the levees designed to contain it. People living downstream, or along the Brazos, were not so lucky. I have a soft spot for Marble Falls, and it was hit pretty badly. This link is about the flooding in Weatherford, about an hour west of where I live, and about half an hour east of where I took Sooz for her daughter-in-law’s bridal shower last month.

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/154294.html

The “stills” dangling down from the ceiling panels were in place when I left the office last night. More storms are predicted over the next five days. And the remodeling in the suite above us continues. It’s easy to recognize the whine of a drill or the drone of an industrial vacuum, but what I am curious about is the machine that sounds like the mating call of a lovesick tuba.

The weekend officially began mid-afternoon yesterday, when one of my attorneys brought me four issues of This Old House. He and his wife frequently share their magazines with me; that’s how I fell in love with Cottage Living.



I’m getting a little more comfortable manipulating the html text for my blog posts, and I think I found what was causing the funky spacing issues. I’m not quite OCD enough to go back and tweak 140+ posts, but I think I can properly edit future ones. Maybe this summer I’ll play with the customizing features of the “new improved” Blogger, though pretty much I like the status quo. It’s a warm-looking colorway that reminds me of Thimbleberries quilt fabrics.

Some of you may have a child or sibling with Down syndrome, or know parents who do. I read this excerpt this morning. Grab a box of tissues first.

Gifts

In other breaking news, I picked up the siphon tubes, bung wrenches, and adaptors for our water storage barrels this afternoon. Too boring to photograph; I know that cuts you to the quick.

I also stopped at the pizza store on the way home and picked up a $5 pizza because I am Not In The Mood to cook. And at the library, where I picked up three audiobooks: Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Can you believe I'm 55 years old and have never read Frankenstein?

And while I've never been comfortable anywhere near a pedestal, this objet d'art certainly deserves one. And a tiara. And a chauffeured limousine.



I asked one of the clerks at a LYS why the 000's were $4.50 more than the 0's. She gave me a wry grin and said, “Because they’re very proud of those needles.” The yellow scarf is nearing completion, and I need something smaller than a 0 to redo the not-blue sock of a few weeks back.



$16.98. No jive, Clive!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rains, Stains, Drains and Gains



What to my wondering eyes should appear this morning, but an out-of-place wastebasket, a patch of damp carpet, and this?



Those are not two fugitives from a pair of smiley faces. Those are the approximate outlines of the curves on the ceiling tiles. More rain last night + a flat roof = a call to the building engineers, who removed the soggy tiles and the soggier insulation and replaced it with this for the time being:



No, it’s not a still. Or an IV drip for an feverish ceiling. That tube runs through the doorway of our conference room and into a large plastic barrel. There’s another contraption just like this, just inside the door. It rained all day, so all they could do was give the water someplace to go.

The Trinity River is high and wide from all this rain, and quite possibly as muddy as the Muddy Mississippi. I'd guess that it's about 15-20 feet from the top of the levees. The Weather Service says that a flash flood watch remains in effect through Friday afternoon. This looks like the wettest June on record. I wonder if the drought is officially broken yet?

Shopping content: six new T-shirts, identical but for color, on sale at my favorite plus-size shop. One in dark chocolate, one in a pumpkin a little darker than the T-shirt which inspired the Rust Fibonacci Sweater [which T-shirt got perma-stained earlier this year and was sadly retired], a not-quite-acid green shirt, a black one, an almost-true-red one, redder for sure than the one that's about halfway in hue between the pumpkin one and this, which I'm thinking about buying if it's still on sale next week, and a pale yellow one that as you can see is a perfect match for the scarf in progress.

Much progress. I've been too whipped to go back out and do laundry after work in the evening, so I really needed some new shirts. And we've been watching four new videos that I think I mentioned in yesterday's blog? which means lots of time for knitting.



Love the yarn, love the pattern, love the beads, love the whole experience, and am still keeping one eye peeled for the wrath of the Knitting Fairy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Rest of the Story

This is one tall Texan, the late great Sam Houston, who lived in Huntsville. Heaven knows why; you can drink the air, this time of year.



I promised to share with y’all the rest of the choir camp saga. It’s been a week. I think I can tell it without getting mad and sad all over again.

Last Tuesday’s class for work was interesting, potentially useful, and dismissed an hour and a half ahead of schedule. [Woohoos! all around.] I limped out to the car ~ weariness, not injury ~ and hit the Tollway and was barreling down I-45 toward Houston while some of my coworkers were finishing their coffee breaks.

At 4:00 I was sitting in the Taco Cabana in Ennis, having turned up my nose at another restaurant which reeked of cigar smoke. [They will be hearing from me via email.] And at 7:30 I was knitting in my room in Huntsville, listening to another guest rev his Harley for multiple short jaunts in the next hour and a half. And some guy talking profanely and laughing loudly at who-knows-what. If I had been home, I’d have popped my head out the door and asked them to tone it down. In a strange city? Not so much.

I think I was finally asleep by 9:30, which meant that I woke at 2:30 for some reading and more knitting. I knitted and napped and read until it was time to take my morning meds, and then I went out for breakfast. I had the banana-stuffed French toast at IHOP, with extra bananas sliced on top, and I wasn’t hungry again until mid-afternoon. [The eggs and bacon and hash browns might have had a little to do with that, you think?]

Back to my room until it was time to head over to the college for the concert. I got a call from LittleBit a little after 11:00, telling me to hurry because the seats were filling fast. I checked out and drove over and spent 15 minutes finding a parking space and another 10 navigating the building that houses the auditorium. I was seated about five minutes to noon, and there was hardly anybody there. People had been ambling out of the building as I walked in, but I didn’t think anything of it, because the camp manual I’d printed off when I registered her said the concert started at noon.

It had started at 11:00. The packet *she’d* been given when I dropped her off showed the concert at 11:00. After shelling out $300 for registration and the music packet, after two 400-mile round-trips in four days, after paying for the gas and my motel room and road food, there was no cherry on my sundae. She came and found me, and I fought tears until I could walk up the stairs and up the hill to the parking garage.

This is LittleBit and her new friend Two, so named by LittleBit during a musical-chairs game one evening when they had to count off.



After we checked her out of the dorm, we headed south of town to the Sam Houston statues. We took lots of pictures, some of which prove that we are both really only four years old. They’ll be in her senior scrapbook, and some you see here.



You can pick your friends ... and you can pick Sam Houston's nose. This is another statue in the park south of Huntsville.

We pulled over at the DQ in Centerville for Blizzards. Lots of men in uniform there: a couple of local cops, and a truly fine state trooper who could be Matthew McConaughey’s older brother. One of the attorneys in my office shares my “thing” for men in uniform. I called and left her a voicemail when we were safely out of earshot in the car, to the effect that I was having a “frisk me, Officer Burley” moment, and she should be jealous.

I was more than a little concerned at not making the concert, because it is the second event this month that I’ve paid good money for and missed. I didn’t know if it was stress, or a senior moment, or an indication of serious neurological potholes ahead. So I was somewhat relieved on Friday morning to find the PDF of the camp manual, and to see “concert at 12:00”, and to know that I hadn’t just imagined it.

LittleBit ended up having a good time and learning a lot and making some new friends, but I don’t think either of us thinks the experience was worth the price that we paid.

To end this post on a happier note, last night was Knit Night with my Sisters of the Wool, and I gave my copy of the Spring IK to one of our ladies. Did I post about that earlier? I sent in a subscription slip, and they back-issued me. I’d already browsed the issue at the bookstore, and unlike the Fall issue which enchanted me, this one did nothing for me. [Imagine!] So I cancelled the subscription and will just pick up the copies as they come out and as they appeal to me.

Oh, and yesterday I finished writing the Great American Novel, also known as the twelve-page questionnaire for my consultation in August with the sleep study doctor. It was really hard to think searchingly about something that ought to be automatic, and there were so many questions that I had to answer “I don’t know”, because nobody shares the bed with me.

I’m certainly not about to invite the children’s father back for a sound check!

A few weeks back I posted photos of Fourthborn's art dolls. This is the one ~ Middlest's ~ that got three of my girls interested in collecting them. His name is Ro, and these are his sheep. He now has a little brother, but I can't find the pictures she sent me.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pantries and Chaos and Knitting, Oh My!

Monday morning, dark-thirty. This is the top cupboard in my pantry.



Top shelf contains rice, cereal, and part of my pasta collection. [You think I have a *yarn* stash?] Bottom shelf is miscellaneous baking stuff and oils/salad dressings. The second shopping trip on Saturday was a 10/$10 haul at Uppity Grocery on name-brand salad dressings. We now have three new bottles of ranch, two of raspberry vinaigrette, two Caesar, two honey Dijon, and one poppy-seed, tucked in behind sundry vinegars and assorted oils.



And here you have the middle cupboard. Top shelf is storage bags and sweet stuff: miscellaneous bottles of honey, pancake syrup, Andes Bits for making brownies, dark Karo for pecan pies [they’re not just for Thanksgiving around here], and a bottle of home-canned pears that my best friend gave me for Christmas one year and which I am too sentimental to actually eat. And a jar of mincemeat, bought on closeout a Thanksgiving or two ago. LittleBit loathes it, so I will probably bake up a pie while she’s backpacking and have a slice for breakfast every day for the better part of a week.

Bottom shelf is mostly veggies and some canned soups and two packages of fruitesque desserts that the kids will probably have to throw out when I die, because they look better than they taste, at least to me. And more pasta lurking behind the fruit in a Mylar bag. Brother Stilts and I put up 60# of pasta apiece one night in #10 cans and Mylar bags, in the fall of 2002. Pasta, like diamonds, is forever.

Here's a close-up of the fringe that I bought on Saturday:



And some actual knitting content. This is where I was on Wednesday morning in Huntsville:



This is where I am this morning, something like a foot in length at this point:



And a close-up:



And this is the bag that it travels in, a gift from Txknitter at Christmas.



Why the pantry photos, you may be wondering. Those shelves are not going to stay that tidy for long, though the basic setup had not changed much since my last kitchen reorganization a couple of years ago. I just tweaked it a little this time around. I like to memorialize any small victories in the battle against the forces of chaos. There are Polaroids of the kitchen in the old house from when the kids were little. With seven people in a thousand square feet, I fought a losing battle. Those photos were my way of saying that I intended to die with my boots on.

My mother and her sister and Gram made keeping house look easy. My sister appears to have inherited that gene; her home is always welcoming. I, however, have not inherited that gene, and I have spent large chunks of my allegedly adult life embarrassed about my housekeeping skills. Or relative [pun intended] lack thereof. It has gotten easier, in general, with the move-out of each successive child. Fewer bodies to work around, if not necessarily less stuff. I did pretty well at the last apartment, with two and then one child living at home. I did very well here until I became an independent beauty consultant to bridge the gap when the children's father was out of work for a year, and thus no child support. And then it all rapidly slid into chaos, except for my inventory and business records.

I shut down that business the end of last year. Unlike a lot of people, I actually turned a profit my second full year in business, and I had a lot of fun doing it. But I compared the minimum quarterly investment in product and support services with the net income, and with the effort required, and with the raises I'd gotten in three years at my day job, and I realized that I no longer needed to work so hard. And I sold off most of my inventory at 40% off, and now I knit and putter. Don't tell the forces of chaos, but I think the good guys might be winning at last.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ooops, we need a title here

Some of you will have seen the two PBS documentaries on the LDS church in May. I am an adult convert to the church, so I've seen it [somewhat hazily] from the outside for the first 23 years of my life, and I've lived its principles with varying degrees of success for the past 32 years.

I am grateful for parents who raised me to be a thinker and to be respectful of others’ beliefs. I know that there are folks who believe that you cannot have intelligence and faith coexisting in the same brainpan. I try to live my life in a manner that they will question that premise.

Every so often I sit down at the computer and weed out my inbox. Yesterday I went through my daily digests from the Knit Night group and the regional church singles group. Today I’ve gone through my computerized reminders for birthdays and anniversaries (all of which I managed to miss this month, reminders notwithstanding) and my eBay saved searches, and now I am going through my daily digests from Meridian Magazine, an unofficial publication for Latter-Day Saints like me.

This is another woman’s response to the documentaries, written to a friend of hers who is a pastor for another Christian denomination. I thought that what she wrote captures very well what it feels like to me to be LDS.

http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/070508pastor.html

I share this with you today because I went to a funeral yesterday, for a lovely and lively woman. I probably did not have two dozen conversations with her in the years we spent in the same ward [like a parish], but I am better for having known her. One of her sons and one of my daughters had mad crushes on each other, years before either of them was old enough to date. And when I limped into the after-hours clinic back in January, just before the broken leg was diagnosed, I ran into her husband. Good people, both of them, with the kind of kids you want your own kids to hang around.

It was the best funeral I have ever attended. It was a celebration of her life and a stunning witness of how many lives she has touched. One of the speakers asked for a show of hands, of those who were in the health care profession, and at least a quarter of those present raised a hand. Like me, she was a convert to the church, so most of the extended family were members of other faiths.

Three of my girls were able to attend the funeral, and one son-in-law, who quietly went to work with some of the other brethren, setting up additional seating in the overflow area and the cultural hall [gym]. One of our dear friends flew in from Tennessee. I hope that everyone who attended went home with the same feeling of peace and comfort that I did. There is great strength in singing hymns of faith and worship in the company of family and friends. Words cannot convey how it felt to sit with my daughters and sing “I Believe in Christ” and to feel that sweet healing balm of the Spirit descend upon my heart.

I hope that this day, no matter how you envision God or whether you feel on speaking terms with Him, you feel how precious and beloved you are.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bead me up, Scotty!

I think I’m done beading this.

First a group shot, showing the orange drawer full of beads leftover from Firstborn’s wedding, then the small storage chest that is organized in classic OCD fashion, by color and type, with color-coded labels. Secondborn found this for me at a shop in FW that had gone out of business. It’s where she also got the plant stand that’s in the corner of the living room with the basket of sheep on it, and the four red [fiberglass?] candlesticks that are in the dining room and the two French prints-on-canvas on the dining room wall. I spent the better part of a day, several months ago, meticulously sorting and labeling the drawers. The pink blob is a fob I made from leftover needlepoint yarn, to identify my best sewing scissors for when I took them to workshops.

Here’s a close-up of the finished beading. I should have taken a close-up of the fringe that I bought today, as well. [Which I got on closeout for 2.99 a yard!] As you can see from the first photo, it alternates dark fringe with light. The light sections tone well with the honey-colored tussah silk and the lighter beads. The dark ones go with the slipcover and the teal green paint on the coffee table. I will try to remember to take another picture when the pillow is finished, which as we know from the saga of the sofa table, could be awhile.



Mr. DeMille, we’re ready for our close-up!
Now comes the part I’m not crazy about: putting things away. On the other hand, I really like being able to find the couch and the coffee table when I want to watch a movie. Which we did this evening: Bridge to Terabithia. Neat little movie.
I did a little knitting this morning too, but not enough to fire up the camera again.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cats, Dogs & Little Fishes

The plan, when LittleBit and I went to bed last night, was to get up bright and early and head to the Y to work out. Ten minutes ago, when I should have been rousting her out of bed, the sky opened up. I wish you could hear it: cars starting to swish by on the road outside the living room window, rain falling on the sidewalk and whispering through the leaves on the trees. And me with my umbrella out in the car!

I didn’t want to post about our trip[s], because I didn’t want to hang a “please break in and steal everything that we have” sign on the front door. Not that we have all that much, unless you count old dishes, buttons, the last dregs of beauty consultant inventory, and my craft stashes. Oh, and books, seven bookcases in my boudoir alone.

Yes, I have a boudoir. Every self-respecting single woman, and every truly blessed married one, has a space that is all her own, no matter how small, where she may repair in order to, well, repair. Sarah Ban Breathnach writes about this more elegantly and eloquently than I can. And I do believe that Virginia Woolf had something to say on the subject as well.

Here are my musings after Sunday’s trip, written on Monday before work.

Firstborn and I had a good trip taking LittleBit to choir camp in Huntsville yesterday. Firstborn did all the driving, and I feel somewhat more hopeful about getting there on my own tomorrow night after work. I wrenched my knee getting into the car before we left, but it feels fine after half of a good night’s sleep – I had to wake up to slug down some milk and cookies to rinse some of the salt out from dinner last night but am going back to sleep shortly – and I’ll take my cane. Because if I take my cane, I won’t need it, but if I don’t, I might.

Leftovers from Sam’s Café in Fairfield to take for lunch today. I discovered Sam’s about ten years ago when I made my first solo trip to Houston for an interpreting workshop. And I always try to time it so that I’m hungry when I hit Fairfield. This is the first time I’ve eaten their chicken fried steak that it was tough. Until Brother Sushi took me to the Star Café in Fort Worth for one of our monthly dinners, Sam’s was the best chicken fried steak that I’d ever eaten.

I’ll try to remember to cut up my steak before I leave the house today, because a spork would just curl up and die. But what my lunch will lack in tenderness, it will make up for in flavor, and the mashed potatoes were *perfection*! I did not have sufficient self-discipline to save part of my peach cobbler for today’s dessert. I’ll just have to eat some canned peaches instead.

On the way home from Huntsville, we pulled off the road in a small town so that I could show Firstborn the house that I discovered ten years ago on the way to that same interpreting workshop. [I don’t remember why I left the highway; I think there was a billboard for a craft boutique that I never found.]

The house was unpainted, uninhabited, and in need of much work. But it had elegant bones, and I could tell that when it was built, probably in the late 1800’s, it had been amazing. I was sufficiently impressed that I called the number on the For Sale sign and made arrangements to walk through it. I wish that I had taken pictures.

The foundation and framing were bois d’arc wood [pronounced locally as “BŌWdark”]. The foundation needed shoring up, but the house was still of a piece. The roof needed replacing, as did the wiring, and there was no air conditioning. But there were 54 windows, and enormous trees shading the house and the back yard. Not to mention the landing at the top of the stairs, perfect for setting up a spinning wheel or a loom.

I think they were asking $80,000, as is, and I figured it would take at least that much to make it habitable.

This is what it looked like when I showed Firstborn on Sunday:



And this:
It's for sale again. On Tuesday after work, on my way back down to Huntsville to pick up LittleBit, I stopped again and called the realtor. They’re asking $180,000. I could have mostly paid cash for that house with my inheritance, ten years ago, though heaven knows where I’d have gotten the money for the renovations. Or how we would have lived in it while that was being done. Or what we would have done about schools, and visitation, and other practicalities. What I really needed, was that house, here.

As Firstborn said when I called her to tell her how much it had appreciated in ten years, “coulda woulda shoulda”.
I'll share our Huntsville pictures and the scarf-in-progress in a future post.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On Speaking Terms Again

The Muse and me, that is.

Almost a week without knitting. I'm sure that's a good part of why I've felt so cranky the past few days; fiber is the second most addictive substance in the world, the first being oxygen. At least for those of us who are not-green and rootless.

Rootless. That's kindof how I've been feeling. The beading has been most pleasant. I have a spot about 4 inches square that is beaded within an inch of its life. And a whole lot of framed silk lying fallow at the moment.

I think I may have found a knitting project. http://gonnapurl.blogspot.com/2006/01/scarf-patterns.html The Wavy Razor Shell Scarf, up at the top. It's fixin' to be a long and quite possibly difficult day. And I feel rather unprepared for it. But if there is some unfrogged knitting when I close my eyes tonight, I'll call the day a success.

Film at 11 [tomorrow].

Saturday, June 16, 2007

When you find yourself in a hole –

Stop digging. Or knitting. And do something else instead.

So I bought this on my lunch hour yesterday, when I absolutely *had* to get out of the office:



And I wound up this between DVD’s last night:



I think they probably belong together, and I have no idea what their baby will look like. But here’s an engagement picture. I strung all 679 beads onto the yarn this afternoon.



This morning I bought five jars of assorted jams and jellies for our year’s supply. Not in the mood to photograph it; Thursday was a slow news day chez nous, which is why you got a glamour shot of band-aids and Kleenex.

And then, with a car full of milk and butter so I wouldn’t dawdle, I hit the estate sale that Secondborn’s best friend and her husband were having. The first thing that I really paid attention to was this:



Her grandfather made it, using the same pattern that my dad used to make one for Firstborn, complete with crayon drawer beneath the seat. I have no idea what happened to Firstborn’s; left behind in one of our many moves is my best guess. So this is rather a bittersweet acquisition, and this is also public notice that Firstborn gets dibs on it when I kick. And in the meantime it’s here for BittyBit and any future Bitties. Not sure where it will go. Maybe here, next to my own?



I also scored this occasional table, which after a little Murphy’s Oil Soap is now between the spots where the rattan chairs will go.



It’s got some veneer worn off and would be a pain to keep dusted if I were the dusting type. There is probably some fancy name for when wood is routed to look as if a piece were constructed of bamboo canes, and if you know it please feel free to share. And obviously I didn't do as good a job of getting the dust out of the sides as I'd thought.

I just thought this had a nice shape and interesting details, and it’s a good size for the space available. And because it is all wood and more or less one solid piece, I am less likely to break a toe on it than I would have been on the tile-topped, tripod-ish metal-framed table that LittleBit and I were coveting at a local shop. [Though I did mutter a childbirth word when I bumped it against my toe while sliding it to its current position.] Not to mention the price differential is roughly 2/3 of one of the chairs. Here's a better shot of the tabletop, minus my planner and keys and cellphone.



In order to get the beads onto the yarn, I wanted a beading needle that had an eye large enough to hold the yarn and small enough to slip through the hole of a 6.0 seed bead. What I came home with, was a vial of wire threaders for punch needle embroidery. Note to self for future reference: do not even think of using a wire threader and messing with beads, with a fresh manicure. Thank goodness for clear nail polish, which covers a multitude of sins, omissions, and brainf*rts-in-general.

I also came home with this: $99 worth of stuff for $5. Has this been a great day for the frugal, or what?



Three Prairie Moon patterns, each more charming than the last. And three other patterns, one of which I forgot to include in this shot. At the bottom you see the vial with my polish-eating needle threaders.



I have a 20-year-old piece of tussah silk that I've been wanting to make into a pillow top for a couple of years. I got started on the beading tonight while watching Kindergarten Cop, and I'll save the photos for another day. This post will be photo-heavy enough, and I'm about ready for bed.

Oh yeah: I got my hair cut, I got my nails done, I picked up quarters for laundry for the next time the Laundry Fairy smacks us with her hamper.

Night, all! Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Princess and the Pe[e]

Seven pounds. That's how much I lost in 48 hours last weekend while gaining a whole new appreciation of the phrase “like a racehorse.”

I went to Knit Night on Tuesday just long enough to give G back her Twin Peaks shawl pattern so she could loan it to another Sister of the Wool. The consensus, more kindly delivered than it looks in print, was that I looked exhausted. I was. I'm still on the low end of the learning curve in terms of how much fluid I need to drink to keep my kidneys happy and my wrists and hands unpuckered, without waking every two hours to step into the loo.

One of my attorneys remarked just before I left the office that day, that I looked flushed and possibly feverish, or maybe like I'd just had a Real Good Time. I smiled wanly at her and told her I like my job, but I've never liked it *that* much.

I have yet to pick up a small fan for my desktop at work. So ironic when for the nearly-six years I've been working there, I've had to wear a sweater at my desk in high summer. You can hang meat at my desk. I've managed to get through the change [knock wood, I think I'm there] with nary a hot flash. Frostbite has been a greater risk.

Still, I have basically good health, and all my original parts except tonsils, gall bladder, and wisdom teeth. And for that I'm grateful. Reading Annie Modesitt's blog will give you an appreciation for whatever is going right in your own life and put the rest of it in perspective.

Here's a closeup of part of the button collection and the chicken that my sister made for me.


Middlest found this box for me at a yard sale summer before last.


And I bought this little chickadee at a drugstore/Hallmark shop owned by the father of one of my high school classmates, with my very first big-girl paycheck. [The Gunne Sax dress is long-gone, as is the turquoise and white alabaster chess set from Mexico that I found at what was probably a very discreet head shop run by two guys who always seemed more interested in my boyfriends than in me. But I digress.]

A joke from one of my happily-married friends: The Broken Mower

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the truck, the car, playing golf - always something more important to me.

Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house.

I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, “When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway.”

The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

Moral to this story: Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is the husband.
So what have I been doing this week, other than the obvious? Knitting on the Not Blue Sock. Which, I fear, is headed toward the frog pond. Nothing wrong with the yarn. Nothing wrong with the pattern. But as I was completing the heel turn, I realized that this part of the sock is just too *airy*; I need to find some 00 and/or 000 Addi needles. The toe is a nice grist, and somewhere I've loosened up, or maybe the yarn is emulating my ankles and getting imperceptibly smaller.


[A little out of focus, but then it's dark-thirty, and so am I.]
I called my favorite yarn shop yesterday. She doesn't carry Addi's that small but told me of another shop that might and offered to swing by and pick them up if they did, as it's by her house. [See why that's my favorite yarn shop?] But I was tapdancing on the cusp of can't-think-gotta-pee and incapable of making a decision.
Just as the sock that I didn't even touch yesterday is Not Blue, this is Not A Shotglass. Fourthborn and Fiance just came back from Orlando. She won a trip last fall at Wizard World, the comic book convention. LittleBit was talking with her via cell phone, wheedling to know what her souvenir would be. I hollered that she should bring me back a pirate, and that was even before seeing Pirates III.

This, me hearties, is a Pirate Button Holder, posing with more obedience in the emergency preparedness department, and as soon as I decide which buttons to stock it with, it will join the button collecton on the bookcase in the dining room. Or I may just put it in my bedroom by the sewing machine, and then I wouldn't have to explain to any of my church friends why I have a button holder that looks like a relic from my former misspent life.

I had a coupon for $5 off on name-brand first aid stuff, and another for $4 off on a $20 purchase. I spent both of them yesterday while picking up LittleBit's prescription. And while you can't really see it in the photo, on top of the facial tissues is a bundle of nice-quality washcloths that I scored with a 20% off coupon at the place where I got the guest towel last month.

I still have another 20% off coupon for there and one more for the pharmacy, which I'll save until I go back to refill Mr. Mobic.

Last night we went to the scrapbook store and picked up the book for LittleBit's senior scrapbook. She wants to put in her pictures from Girls Camp and the ones she'll take next week at choir camp. I got a miniature license plate from my home state and a sleeve of stickers to give one of the attorneys at work who is moving out of state the end of next week. I'll miss her farewell party because I have a prior commitment.

Last night we also went out for TexMex with Firstborn and Hubby and dragged along one of LittleBit's JustFriends. Nice kid. Then Firstborn and Hubby picked up Fourthborn while the others and I did the scrapbook shopping, and we all met up at Firstborn's house for root beer floats and Jon Stewart and [girls only] a nice soak in the hot tub, stinky boys unwelcome. I poached for a good ten to fifteen minutes and thawed out a knot in my upper back.

*Very* glad I didn't strangle that child when she was fifteen!
I don't know what to do, knitwise. The hoodie is stalled until I get the pieces blocked and sewn together. The pink socks are frogged. The blue sock is frogworthy. I'm not in the mood to haul out the Elann Crop Cardi.
Maybe I'll just throw my trusty copy of The Screwtape Letters into my tote.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Draining Nauvoo

I wish that I had thought to get a picture of my poor, bedraggled ankles when I limped out of the doctor’s office on Friday afternoon. Or, better yet, after eating restaurant food and sitting in a theatre for the better part of three hours that evening. [Although I think Brother Sushi and I would both have felt extremely weird focusing any attention on my legs; it’s just not that kind of a friendship.]

If you look at this badly-angled shot and imagine “love handles” on either side of the ankle bone, that’s a pretty fair idea of what I’ve been dealing with.



The second shot is what I woke up to this morning, after two days of dancing with Mr. Lasix. The “love handles” are nearly gone. Oh, and I have wrist-bones too.



The image that came to mind as I staggered to the “reading room” this morning was of the early Latter-Day Saints draining the swamp at Nauvoo. I almost can’t wait to get to the office and step on the scale to find out how many pints/pounds lighter I am than when I left on Thursday for a long weekend.

And the turquoise sock is half an inch away from starting the heel gusset. [Yes, the one I started yesterday morning at 9:05 in Relief Society. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.] So if y’all will please excuse me, I’m off to tend to my knitting! And to see what else I can download for free to listen to when it's not dark-thirty. I like the ladies upstairs; why on earth would I want to disturb their beauty sleep, when they're so kind about letting me have mine?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This is not a blue sock!

This is a turquoise and teal sock with brief digressions. It goes with my dark teal shirt, with my dark jade shirt, with my redneck-mama squash blossom earrings. There are hints of plum and chestnut and deep watery green. This is LotusBlossom's Harbor, and I am knitting the *small* size, as I could have slipped a foot and a half into the *large* toe swatch [thanks, Jeri!] that I frogged yesterday.

Anne at Knitspot always has neat stuff going on. This is a quiz I took yesterday.

You Are a Ring Finger



You are romantic, expressive, and hopeful. You see the best in everything.
You are very artistic, and you see the world as your canvas. You are also drawn to the written word.
Inventive and unique, you are often away in your own inner world.

You get along well with: The Pinky

Stay away from: The Index Finger



*So* relieved that I'm not a middle finger; it would be hard to explain that one to my bishop.

I have been enjoying the first two Knitpicks podcasts Episode 1 Episode 2 this evening. Kelley Petkun has a lovely voice: clear diction, good modulation, all the things they tried to teach me in speech class. I figure that I've got about one more episode in me before crashing for the night.
I have tried to listen to Lime & Violet, and the best that I've managed thus far is about five minutes at a go. They're certainly entertaining, but it's painfully reminiscent of road trips with my five girls after they'd had too much sugar. I keep expecting to hear “Moooommmmm, she's breathing my air!”

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Twin Peaks is Finished!



I'd call this a productive use of my time at the dealership and the tire store yesterday morning. Here is a midline shot of the unblocked shawl. Soft as a baby's butt, and better-smelling.



And here is what's left of the Sabbath Socks. I got bored, and I wasn't entirely satisfied with my creative heel treatment, so I frogged both of them back to nothing. One is wound around the unused yarn, and I'll knit up that portion first until the unused yarn is free again. Then I'll wind that smaller ball onto the unused yarn so I can retrieve the end.

OK, that *was* the plan. I cast on for Wendy's toe-ups w/heel flaps and got all the way to the end of the toe decreases and decided that the yarn really just needed to be re-skeined and allowed to lie fallow for awhile. Love the yarn; it's my favorite [so far] for knitting socks, and some of the new stitches were way too wabi-sabi for my comfort, so I frogged again and made the world's shortest skeinwinder from my thumb and my elbow. Twice. I'm going to give it two or three weeks and see if the yarn relaxes on its own or if I need to give it a quick dip in the sink.



Not sure what to do at this point. I've printed off the pattern for the Monkey socks, after seeing what my Sisters of the Wool have done with theirs ~ every bit as impressive as their Baudelaire bonanza of a few weeks ago. I may wait and knit up Monkey on larger needles using a slightly fatter yarn, in the hope that the specified number of stitches will fit my tender tootsies without bagging into shapelessness. Or I may try Monkey with a five-repeat pattern and try to figure out how to taper down from midcalf to cankle.

I just wound a cake of Lotus Blossom's Harbor and have done the first half of my cast-on for the toe-up heel flap sock in a large and will see how that does. I may eventually pick up another hank of Jitterbug and attempt the entrelac socks in the Spring IK. To which I've just subscribed though frankly there's not a lot in this issue that appeals to me, nowhere near as much as in last fall's issue.

Whatever I decide on needs to be simple enough that I can sit and knit in church and participate in the meetings. I suppose I can always do a variation on the Sock of Doom.

Oh frabjous day! The electricians were outside yesterday morning, installing the new security lights for our building. This project has been in the works for weeks and weeks; the snag has been all this lovely drought-busting rain we've been getting. For some reason, they've been reluctant to stand on metal ladders and mess with electricity in the rain. They got it done before the most recent shower blew through, and last night I came home to a whole lof of let-there-be-light.

I might be one of the last folks to see Pirates III. It was definitely worth the wait. Of the three movies, I think this one is my favorite. I saw it last night with Brother Sushi at the newest movie-tavern-type establishment here [which I much prefer to stadium seating: a captain’s chair to sit in, a more personal viewing experience, fewer people in the theatre, and minimal steps to navigate; I can’t speak to the quality of the food, as we’d eaten elsewhere]. And it’s *loud*; lots of cannons and thunder and yelling, and the soundtrack music cranked up to match. And I just loved it. I remarked to Brother Sushi as we were getting into the car, that it was like an old John Wayne movie but with seawater.

One of my favorite moments was when the skinny one-eyed pirate, who has chiefly served as comic fodder throughout the series, had a moment of quiet dignity. Beautifully done. And Tia Dalma? I can’t really comment much on her without spoiling plot points for those who have yet to see the movie. I’ll just say “right on, sister!” and add that the single brethren at church should be thankful that we single sisters are not obeah women.

I've been experiencing some annoying physical symptoms that I suspected were side effects of my anti-inflammatory medication. So I spent part of yesterday afternoon at the doctor's office, and they did several mug shots of my lungs and an EKG, and everything matches the stellar results of my well-woman in January. I do not have liver disease, kidney disease, or congestive heart failure. [Woohoos all around!] She set my mind at rest on the whole subject of side effects. I do have increasingly swelling ankles and some additional pains that I sure hope are not the new normal.

There's no obvious reason why I should have gained 10 pounds in the past month. I like food, but not *that* much. We're waiting to get the results back on my electrolytes, and I've joined the banana-a-day club and resumed all my vitamins that I'd just sort of forgotten to take for the past couple of months. Mr. Lasix, meet Mr. Mobic. Mr. Mobic, meet Mr. Lasix. You fellows go sit in that quiet corner and play nicely together, understand? If you need me, you know how to find me ~ just listen for the sound of falling water.

And since Sleep Clinic A never got back to me to set up an appointment [that LittleBit or I are aware of] in spite of at least two calls from me, my doctor is getting me a referral to Sleep Clinic B, because sleep apnea would explain a lot.

I'm off to tend to my knitting.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Twin Peaks Progress

Nothing exciting happening here, just a lovely, quiet summer so far. I’m learning new tasks at work, and they leave me happily exhausted at the end of the day. And when I’m not at my desk, I’m knitting.

This is where the shawl was when I went to bed on Saturday night.



And this is where I left it Sunday night.



And this is where we are at 6:07 on Wednesday morning.



And this is who came to visit with Fourthborn on Sunday night. Beatrix, or Bea for short:



And Larxine, pronounced “lark-sheen”.



Although I may have their names switched, and if so Fourthborn will gently correct me. She and her fiancé have followed Middlest’s lead in collecting these exquisite dolls from Korea. They use them as models for their artwork. And they have found one they think I would like [I do, and she’s way down on my list of priorities, after the living room chairs and the item of furniture I’m keeping an eye on at a shop in Dallas, and a new spinning wheel, and a new loom].
I'm off on Friday, and I'm hoping that after I get the must-do items crossed off the list, I can run Brother Sushi past the shop in Dallas to get his opinion on said item of furniture so I know whether to keep saving for it. All I will say at this point is that it's mostly red, and apparently old, and comparably priced with similar items I've googled. And both times that I have seen it, I have nearly wept for joy. I will also take a tape measure to see if it will fit where I think it should go, assuming that it passes muster.