- Six 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!
Friday, February 29, 2008
This is what I got. Taken at 65mph with no idea where the camera was pointing. Proving that God sometimes answers even the silliest of prayers.
Click on the image to make it larger. I have no idea how to crop it using my camera’s software, and now that I’m using Firefox, I can’t cut-and-paste from here to Paint and edit there.
I was telling a couple of my co-workers about this whole adventure while showing them what the camera had captured. One of them quipped, “Yeah, if your plumbing doesn’t work, there's no romance!”
Much progress on the Stripedy Stocking yesterday. Maybe as much as a dozen rows, considering that we had a bonus Knit Night for all the regulars who for one reason or another couldn’t make it on Tuesday. I joined them for about an hour after my aerobics class, staying until the fire alarm went off.
No, I wasn’t cooking.
And some, but less, progress on Middlest’s sock. I have a smidgen over two pattern repeats left before beginning the heel flap.
I proposed a Fort Worth outing to my dinner group for tonight but am eating my words because I realized that we will be having not one, but two political hootenannies in Cowtown tonight, and traffic will be horrendous. So I may join them at the ward activity northeast of Dallas, or I may just come home and knit.
This is the last day of my Wardrobe Refashion pledge. I have bought nothing new for myself since the first of November. I’ll rejoin them after my birthday, but I reserve the right to run hog wild through the Coldwater Creek clearance racks in the meantime. Starting, perhaps, at 12:01 tomorrow morning, should I still be awake then. There’s a skirt that I have my eye on, perfect for dancing, and easily alterable when I've dropped a dress size.
Approximately thirty rounds before I start the ribbing on the Stripedy Stockings. They might be finished, this time next week. And I got the bad news at Knit Night on Tuesday that the local ribbon and button shop is closing or has closed. So I’m not sure where I will find the French silk ribbon I had in mind to garter up these stockings. Hrmmm, might have to make a trip to France. Or New York City. Or eBay. I don’t think I’m going to find what I want at JoAnn’s. [But yes, I will look.]
Really great article here about living life with a first-class mindset. I’m off to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, a “recently widowed” gentleman who seemed not-obviously-loony viewed my profile but did not contact me. I read his profile, noted his relative non-looniness, and responded that if he cared to write after he had been widowed for a full year, I would like to hear from him. I just did my obligatory log-in [to keep my membership active], and he was still the only one who had viewed me since the last time I cleared the counter. I clicked on his profile, and he’s headed toward marriage with somebody. Already! He does not state in his profile how recently-widowed he is, and having dated a widower year before last I know from experience that they are way different than divorced men. [I am not necessarily impressed with the difference, LOL.]
So I guess I’m taking back my assessment of his non-looniness. While recognizing that grief and loneliness can make the best of us do stupid things. On the one hand, I applaud the willingness of widowed men to remarry; I don’t see a lot of that happening with the divorced brethren I know. On the other hand, how much of this rush to remarriage is inspiration, and how much sheer loneliness or the need to scratch an itch?
Yes, I believe in love. Yes, I believe in commitment. Yes, I believe that at the right time and in the right place, I will remarry. And yes, I am so thankful that I have outwaited that irrepressible urge to merge, so that my head has a chance of winning when it thumb-wrestles with my heart.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting. Behold, a Stripedy Stocking.
And a Child’s French Sock. Hey, Middlest, this is seven out of the requisite eleven pattern repeats before I start turning the heel!
Two items in my life over which I have at least the illusion of control. Oh, that and my typing. Julie had this on her semi-private blog.
And I have to say that the way the words feed, slows me down. They give you about a line and a half of words, and there is this hesitation like the fourth and eighth beats of salsa where you Do Not Move, when I am ready before the new words are. [Salsa is counted 1 2 3 stop 5 6 7 stop. It looks like uninterrupted movement to those who haven’t tried it, but that pause gives subtle emphasis to the lateral motion of one’s hips. I love Latin dance nearly as much as I love East Coast Swing, because it appears to have been invented solely for the purpose of making women look and feel good.]
And why is it that mothers turn grey? This, for one. And a slightly different version, here. I called LittleBit on her cell phone on my way to work and left her a message, along the lines of, “This is what happened in Bedford this week. Thank you for being smarter than that.” Not to say that she or her sisters or I haven’t done something equally stupid and lived to tell about it. I was an incredibly naive 14-year-old. I am so glad that Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet when I was young and hormonal.
Speaking of political figures, Mr. Obama has paid two visits that I know of to BigD in the past week. Last week with a motorcade, causing one of my co-workers to remark that the last time we had a motorcade, it didn’t go well. The day after his first visit, That Woman also came to town. A motorcycle policeman died while escorting her [accelerated, lost control, hit a concrete wall, and died]. Which I guess bears out my friend’s observation, but not in the national-mourning sense of 1963. I think that Mr. Obama’s visit yesterday was without incident, except for an unrelated fatality involving an 18-wheeler that apparently went over the railing and landed on a car. [My guess? some hotshot in a Lexus or a BMW cut him off; I was nearly creamed three times one morning this week by BMW drivers. The Dallas Morning News says otherwise.]
Quick, Lynn, think of something positive. 79 wpm on Speedtest. No, not positive enough.
This isn’t it.
OK, how about this, the two fortunes from my cookies last night? “Your genuine talents will lead you to success” [could be a good thing, depending upon how one defines success] and “You will soon be the center of attention” [Mormon mother of five arrested for speaking her mind].
What about this parade of flamingos?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
[Yes, I made the dress. No, I didn’t have control over the backlessness.] And here you have LittleBit and HerBoy. Different man, same stunned-ox expression.
There is also a wonderful picture of HerBoy, dancing with a young woman in our stake who has Down Syndrome. The respect and tenderness in his face is something to be seen, but for privacy’s sake I won’t share it.
Here is Secondborn with the fingerpaints and an oh-shoot expression on her dear little face. Somewhere there is another picture with Firstborn’s I’m-in-trouble-now expression.
And here you have the Bitties in similar mode. No question whose son this is! He’s got her mouth, her eyes, and a masculine version of her eyebrows. Oh, and one tooth, though it isn’t visible here.
Another repeat or so on Middlest’s socks yesterday, and another half inch on the Stripedy Stockings. But this post is already picture-heavy enough.
Had a VM from one of the guys in the dinner group yesterday about an impromptu activity for Friday night that might be cancelled, and letting me know about something in one of the wards in his area, to which all our group is invited. So weird to have a man’s voice [other than Brother Sushi’s] in my mailbox.
I posted an alternative to the impromptu activity and the alternative one. Since I will be in BigD on Saturday for the walking tour and lunch. I want to do something in *my* neck of the woods, and the Kimbell Museum has an exhibition of early Christian art. Half price from 5:00 - 8:00 on Fridays. Culture, with a side order of religion, in one non-fell swoop.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
If you read the buttons carefully, you will know where she purchased it. The first thing that I noticed was the fabric, and then how beautifully it fit her.
She pointed out that the reason she had bought it, was because of the buttons. I did the same sort of thing myself, on a rayon challis blouse I made in the late 1980’s: pullover and dolman-sleeved and cut on the cross-grain. The pattern was of narrow irregular stripes that came and went, as if someone had painted them on the diagonal while hanging one-handed from a stepladder.
I did a flat-fell seam for the shoulders and then stitched something like three dozen buttons from the neckline over the shoulders and down to the wrists, all spaced an inch or so apart, and each picking up a color in the fabric. I think there were five or seven distinct button types, all about a centimeter in diameter but different shapes and colors, repeating in a regular pattern. If I were making that blouse again, I would use one-offs. But you couldn’t get enough different buttons as readily then as you can now.
To go back to my co-worker’s buttons, notice how each is stitched in a different color. And then look at the buttonholes themselves. You would have to be very, very good at making buttonholes, not to botch this by using contrasting threads as they have.
It would never, ever have occurred to me to stitch buttonholes in random threads. I don’t remember the name of my home ec teacher in eighth grade, but she well-nigh beat into us the importance of matching thread to fabric. And as Ricky Nelson sang, “I learned my lesson well”.
But maybe it’s time to rethink that. Because I love seeing and making and wearing beautiful clothing, and I’d rather not “drive a truck”.
I am still enjoying my water aerobics class. Like the teachers, like the classmates, like the fact that I have lost 8.75 inches in six weeks, 5.5 pounds when I weighed earlier this month, and basically half a dress size. Without dieting. Although I do find myself reaching for the carrots instead of the double-chocolate muffin, most days. But basically I am eating what I want, when I want it, and savoring it thoroughly. Tonight after class I will grab the half-price burger at Sonic with water and no fries; at the moment I am just finishing up an English muffin with a prudent amount of real butter.
I am aiming for a nice session on the recumbent bike this morning, just me and the Stripedy Stocking. I have about 15 more increases to go before I start with the eternal ribbing. Which translates into almost four more inches on size 00 needles, so it will take awhile. This sock does seem to be going faster than the first one, maybe because I now have a map?
I also knit the better part of a pattern repeat on Middlest’s sock yesterday. The yarn is soft and pretty *and* I still prefer knitting with 100% natural fibers; Pace is 25% polyamide. I am looking forward to more knitting today, but this pattern requires more thinking than is possible [for me, at least] while cycling.
When I finished class last night, I was so full of energy. If there had been a smoke-free dancing venue at hand, I would have gone dancing for an hour or two. It amazes me to realize that in a few months, if I wanted to go dancing every night and could find enough non-dive-y places to do so, I could.
Time to throw my swimsuit and towel into my bag, pack lunch, decide what to wear, sluice off and go. The YMCA opens in half an hour. And there is a Pink Lady apple calling my name...
Monday, February 25, 2008
And then it hooked me. OK, I’ve always had a crush on James Garner, back from when he was Bret Maverick, all the way through Victor, Victoria to Murphy’s Romance. He doesn’t have the “take me now” sexiness of Sean Connery, but he’s always seemed like somebody you wouldn't be embarrassed to find at your breakfast table the next day. Not that I would be embarrassed to have Sean Connery at my breakfast table the next day, you understand; I just wouldn’t know what to say to him, except to hand him my grocery list and ask him to read it, or to put a message on my voicemail. “Yes, you're right. This is Sean Connery, and Lynn can’t come to the phone right now because we are necking like teenagers. Leave a message.”
So, I was sitting here at my desk, wiping my eyes and blowing my nose, when I opened up an email from Middlest and started crying in earnest. Good tears, evoked by good news. I have been bugging her to connect with the local congregation in Virginia and get a blessing and some practical help for her situation.
God had new friends ready and waiting to help her. She now has an emotionally and physically safe place to live, a safe place to store her things until she moves back to Texas, a part-time job in exchange for room and board. She is also walking distance from her doctor's office and from the legal office that will help her make sure that her rights as a soon-to-be-ex-wife are protected.
And I am so proud of her for doing something that had to have been at least a little scary. She has had numerous bad experiences with various church members over the years, including a run-in with one of the leaders in her current ward when LittleBit was visiting last summer. But you know, the church is not a shrine for people who are already perfect. It’s meant to be a refuge for the sick and the weary and the afflicted, which all of us are or will be at one time or another. It’s a place for people like my dear late friend Brother Stilts, who at 6’5” and 275+ pounds of pure gristle with a red ponytail halfway down his back, was not your typical elder. And it’s a place for all of my babies, poor or not, fashionable or not, conventional or not, if they choose to be there.
[It would not necessarily be a comfortable experience for some of the younger members of my congregation if I were asked to speak in church just before I move out of the ward later this year.]
I got another repeat and a half done on Middlest’s socks during the movie. And now I think I will go play Noah’s Ark for awhile until I am sleepy. I’d rather save animals two-by-two than play Chuzzle.
Hoisting a mug of milk in your direction, Middlest, and waving a celebratory brownie at you. I am one happy, relieved mommy-bug.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
However. I cannot justify to myself, paying close to three thousand dollars for something to sit on. Any more than I can justify to myself, sleeping anyplace more glamorous than Motel6 when I am on the road. It’s a bed, for crying out loud. And a room with a door that locks. Throw a Ghirardelli square on the pillow and leave me alone until the morning!
Yes, I am a wee bit cranky today. We will blame that on a dream that I had the other night, where the me that I am today was having a lovely private moment with the children’s father as he was about 20 years ago. It reminded me of just how much I have lost and how intrinsic is that need to be appropriately intimate. Those of you who are married, please be especially kind and tender to your beloved today, and every day. Count each day blessed in which you are privileged to love and serve and enjoy one another. Those of you who like me are enjoying the relative peace that comes with single blessedness, remember to give thanks that you are not unhappily yoked.
Another reason/excuse to feel cranky. A comment in passing from LittleBit while she was making herself a sandwich after church. Something along the lines of “I think we should clean this place up and have the missionaries over for dinner so we can have an interesting gospel discussion and it not just be us.” Or words to that effect. She was talking, Fourthborn was paying a rare and most welcome visit, and I was waiting for my leftover potatoes to finish nuking. Definitely not in full-listening mode.
I give LittleBit full points for saying “I think we should clean this place up”, meaning the two of us, but while her heart is in the right place, her body is seldom here. And neither of us is fond of emptying the dishwasher, which means that when it gets fed, I am the one doing the feeding and the running and the emptying. She does take the trash out, often without having to be asked or reminded. But we, to all intents and purposes, means me.
And I don’t want to.
I am quite content to live out of boxes for another three and a half months, until I make what I devoutly hope is my penultimate move. I have no overwhelming desire to fix this place up as I did the last one, knowing that I will have to do it again in a new place in June. So the good dishes are going to stay packed away until I can display them properly, and the good linens will do the same. And then I hope to live in my friend’s duplex until I can buy a place of my own [or, should Brother Right make an ironic appearance after the last box is unpacked, a place of our own, as soon as my lease would be up; a year’s lease also guarantees that I won’t marry Hubby No. 3 six weeks after we are introduced, as I did with the children’s father].
So, there will be three or possibly four more drive-by-foodings of the elders in this ward, even though there are now two sets of them and if I fed both sets we would not have to worry about the third-adult-male-priesthood-holder problem. I don’t want to bug Brother Sushi to do the honors, and I don’t want to play guess who’s coming to dinner.
I have rescheduled the colonoscopy from this coming Wednesday to the one after that. My co-payment is $250 [insert horrified gasp here], so this will have to wait until after payday on Friday. But I will get that back in a few weeks from my MER account. I blew through my MER estimate by the end of June, last year; it looks like it will be the end of March, this year. So no shopping in the bookstores on Friday for me, and no neat little tschotchkes when the dinner group takes a walking tour through a lovely revitalized neighborhood of BigD on Saturday.
I am grinning a little at remembering the smugness with which I told LittleBit recently that adulthood is pretty much all about delayed gratification.
Another dozen rows on the Stripedy Stocking at church today, and I am about to put in a movie and knit for awhile on Middlest’s sock, as I had another of my extended naps this afternoon and will not be falling asleep again, anytime soon.
I keep thinking that it’s time to share Part II of my conversion story, but I think I need to ponder awhile longer.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Noticeable progress on the French Child’s Sock for Middlest, from the estimable Nancy Bush’s book, “Knitting Vintage Socks”.
I worked on it a little at game night last night and am headed over to the couch in a moment to work on it some more while I listen to this:
[And the last couple of KnitPicks podcasts.] Anne Perry is my second-favorite LDS novelist, and I was thrilled to get this audiobook on cassette for the grand sum of $3.00. I also bought this, likewise for $3.00, after a tip from one of my Sisters of the Wool.
I can just see BittyBit as a mermaid this Halloween, and BittyBubba as a pirate. This book followed me home, too.
I didn’t stop to check if any of the sweaters were designed for my size. I bought this book for the sheer imagination that Teva Durham shows in her designs. Most of them wouldn’t suit me, but several I think would be adaptable.
Gradually, I am finding that my vintage knitting books [mid 1980’s] are now in the system at Ravelry. I still can’t post my copy of “Glorious Knits”. *sigh...*
I also picked this up for $15 plus tax and a quarter-tank of gas. Administrative Services of the corporation I work for, was having a surplus sale today.
No, you don’t need new glasses. It really is that blurry. I'm still playing with the “macro” setting on my camera. I was hoping for a chair in red, green, or grey. I bypassed the insipid institutional mauve and went straight for this one. It’s not shrimp pink as in the photo, more a dark terra-cotta or medium rust. A nice wide seat to fit my nice wide seat, and lots of squishy softness in the chair cushion, and all the levers and knobs work to ergonomicize the fit.
We likes it. We likes it a lot.
Here you see the two Stripedy Socks, looking pretty much like identical twins. The sock on the right is slightly darker.
And you can see, mid-photo, where the two socks begin to establish personalities of their own. The two heels shown below, might be cousins who didn't like each other very much.
Yes, the yarns are from the same dye lot. But the third skein, with which I began the second stocking, is looking a wee bit anemic here.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I have a nice outfit assembled to wear to work and then to the singles activity this evening. The skirt that not-coincidentally goes with the Stripedy Stockings, so I can pull out the completed sock and show that it is possible to match your hand-knitted socks with your ensemble.
And I have hopes that at least one of the Brothers Nice will be there tonight. And maybe even Brother Sushi, to mock me ever so gently as I *[knit and flirt] repeat from * until done.
Maybe I should rethink taking another bowl of soup for lunch today. Maybe I should just have peanut butter and crackers, as giving fewer opportunities to trash my ensemble?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In the dark, as usual
I offer you “black bear, eating licorice ice cream cone, at midnight”:
Actually, this is my feeble attempt to capture last night’s lunar eclipse with my digital camera. We had a lot of cloud cover. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Here’s a picture of Lorelai, so you will know that the first picture was taken outdoors and not in my closet.
Cue the Ravel
The court reporter who covered yesterday’s deposition was wearing this jacket and was gracious enough to let me photograph it.
A mossy/OD green suede bolero embellished with circles that had been punched out of it and accented with tiny brads or beads and clear flat sequins. The designer is Rozae Nichols, and I couldn’t get her website to work properly while at my workstation. Or at home, either. Something similar would be a good use for the rest of my Ultrasuede®.
The jacket is perhaps my least favorite shade of green, and still it was breathtaking!
Accurate Waste Management
It occurred to me the other day that I can recognize a lot of cars by their trunks, not so many by their hoods. This comes from seven years of driving into Dallas, being passed by Lexii, Mercedes Benzes, Escalades, BMW’s, and the like.
I also see a lot of interesting names on company vehicles. Recently it was “Accurate Waste Management”. Would you really want to do business with a company that was called “Inaccurate Waste Management”? Or “Mediocre Waste Management”?
Last week it was a bumper sticker for “Dallas Teen [Something]”; something that seemed oxymoronic when paired with “teen”. It will come back to me, probably one of those mornings when I wake at 2:47am and can’t get back to sleep. Or maybe tomorrow as I drive in to work.
Frisk me, Officer Burley
I think we would all agree that I have been a very good girl for a very long time. [I have no intention of changing that.] But I am wondering if perhaps when Brother Right comes ambling into my life, my reward for all this goodness could be that he turns out to be a Texas State Trooper. There is something in that combination of impeccably tailored uniform and the “ma’am” that goes all the way down to the bones that is well-nigh irresistible.
Cop : Blue Bell “Homemade Vanilla” :: Texas State Trooper : Haagen Dazs “Mayan Chocolate”
Sharing the knitting
Some of us in the dinner group are planning to join a game night that one of the stakes is hosting tomorrow night. One of the sisters posted that she would like to go, but she didn’t want to be there with a bunch of people she didn’t know. Understandable. My first response was dithery, even for me. Along the lines of “Don’t know if I want to go, may just bake brownies on Thursday night and put them in my trunk, won’t know if I want to be social or go home with a book until 5:00 on Friday.” Then I tossed out the idea that any of us who are knitters [or would like to be] could bring our knitting and knit while we visited and kibitzed. Another sister asked if I could teach her to crochet. I responded that I could, and
[Guys, there’s a long and honored tradition of men who knit. And need I add that a man who knits is obviously secure in his masculinity; ergo, knitting = babe magnet. Just sayin’.]
So, I’m going. I picked up a box of brownie mix and a package of disposable pans last night. I’ll come home and bake brownies after water aerobics.
Breaking my arm patting myself on the back department
I resisted the temptation to stop and get a hot chocolate on the drive to work yesterday. I also bypassed one of those single-serve-nuked-cake-with-gooey-sauce desserts that was on the shelf just below the brownie mix. Instead I came home and ate a whole wheat bollilo [roll] with a sensible portion of Nutella spread on it, washed down with a mug of milk.
I have to tank the car this morning. There may be a falling-down in the culinary virtue department. [RaceTrac has not only the cheapest gas in town but the best and cheapest hot chocolate.] I’ll balance it by taking a container of yesterday’s soup for lunch, which turned out rather well and is not my usual cream-soup-with-a-vengeance.
Considerable progress on Middlest’s sock. The ribbing is done, and I’ve gotten halfway through the first repeat of the leg pattern.
Or tray shabby chic, as the case may be. A gift from a friend at work who is down-sizing. Yes, I know that I will be down-sizing even more than she is, but Easter is coming, and this is perfect. It can go on the wall or up in a closet when the holiday is over. Or with the rest of the Easter stuff. [Wherever that may be.]
Did you ever think the day would come when your cell phone would be only slightly larger than your row counter?
And yes, I did begin a pair of socks for Middlest.
My first pair with this yarn, from the same manufacturer as the Ditto with which I am knitting the Stripedy Stockings. Which are now ready for their calf increases.
Good appointment with the nurse practitioner yesterday. And they have modified the jollop that I will have to drink. There are two pills that I will take, to prime the pump as it were, and then the jollop to finish the job. But only half as much as I had to drink last time. So only 6.5 gallons of it to look forward to, over the next 40 years or so.
I am still waiting on a callback for how much my co-payment will be. For now I am scheduled to have this done next Wednesday, but if the co-payment is as big as I think it will be, we will need to reschedule for the following week, after I get my fat paycheck on the 29th.
And now I really have to finish getting ready for work. Happy Wednesday, everybody!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
They go with this. Ignore the back-fat, which is diminishing by the day. Look at the knot!
And here you have the whole enchilada. Or maybe the hot tamale?
And LittleBit the Glamour Queen.
Nothing exciting in Knitting Land yesterday. Another half inch on the Stripedy Stocking. I think I might begin Middlest’s socks today.
But now I have to dash over to the gastroenterologist’s office for my pre-colonoscopy interview with the nurse practitioner. Yes, there is a gallon of that awful cleansing jollop in my near future. It’s been three years since my first exam, and since they found benign polyps and removed them, I have to go back every three years. Looking ahead, that’s approximately 13 more gallons of that swill to look forward to.
Oh well, it beats the alternative.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Look what happened!
Just before I left for the dance on Saturday night, there was a second place on the ball of yarn where one strand ended [it wasn’t a break] and another began. So I thought, I'll just mark the five yards that I need for the pointy end, here, and rewind what’s left, over and around it and start at the other end.
I finished the first end while waiting for my order in the restaurant and started knitting away with the rewound ball. Which turned out to be thinner and way over-twisted, and I didn’t have a rubber band with me to wrap around it so I could let it dangle and unwind. Which led to about an hour of increasingly frustrating knitting, between dances. [But I was having so much fun actually dancing, that I managed to not get cranky and embarrass myself. Or anyone else.]
Here’s what the scarf looked like when I woke up Sunday morning. Notice anything about the colors?
Me, too. This is the re-rewound cake, which I ran three times through my ball winder to smooth out the kinks. All the bronze is buried in the center of the cake. Notice how there is very little red on the outer edges. I wonder if they just thought “this looks plausible” and grabbed an unrelated ball to finish out the weight? And I wonder if the other ball, the turquoise or teal one that my generous friend kept for herself, has the same problem?
So, were they thinking, “this is a neat bronze yarn with a little red in it and we’ll just segue into a full-on red yarn and maybe nobody will notice”? This is what it looks like with the other end joined on, the one that was originally on the outside when I came to the second end.
Prettier, in my eyes, but still not really red. And this is the almost-finished scarf. All that remains is to weave in the ends and secure them with silk thread.
I opted not to add a buttonhole, as I plan on burying this turquoise end under the red one and fastening it with a pin.
Turning the other heel
I was midway through turning the heel on the second Stripedy Stocking when I realized that there were four stitches to the left of the decreases on one side, and eight stitches to the right of the decreases on the other side. I realize that I should have documented it with my trusty camera, but I thought that a flash going off in the middle of sacrament meeting might be less than reverent. You’ll just have to envision Sock by Picasso: The Stripedy Years. I tinked back, recounted, and started over. The sock went with me to the fireside in BigD.
Friends old and new
One of my new friends in my ward drove us to the fireside, and I had the pleasure of introducing her to the folks I knew. I got a big old hug from my first LDS friend in Texas, who was widowed shortly before I found out I was pregnant with LittleBit. I got to chat briefly with Saturday night’s dinner companion. And after the fireside, Brother Nice #1 and Brother Nice #2 both came up for handshakes and howdies. It was the longest conversation I’ve had with either of them. I tried to help one of them figure out which of our dinner buddies was his Secret Cupid. He’s got it narrowed down to three definite-maybes.
And it was great fun to slip back and forth between regular conversation and discreet flirting. My initial good impression of these two new guys has only deepened after talking with them last night. One I think is a true innocent, almost completely without guile. I think he could become a very dear and very safe friend. And maybe over time a spark would develop. The other one I think is equally decent and perhaps a bit more complex, and I think there is a bit of spark already.
I’m so glad that I took the time to get my hair cut and my nails done yesterday.
Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’ Mandoline
I think it’s safe to blame this adventure on Cottage Living. My attorney friend and his wife gave me a stack of back issues, and because it’s in the same publishing family as Real Simple, the recipes are dependable. There was one for a potato apple soup, with dried apple crisps for garnish. Said dried apple crisps to be made at home with loving hands, in true Martha fashion. And requiring a mandoline to get them thin enough.
So I went online to price new mandolines. And while I could wait two weeks until the really good paycheck, I didn’t want to pay retail, and I didn’t want to wait two weeks. So I logged onto eBay and did a couple of searches, decided that I would pay no more than half of the average retail, including shipping, and placed my bid.
I was outbid at the last minute, but it doesn’t break my heart. I’ll just keep bidding until I get the one I want at an acceptable price. And I’ll spend the difference on sock yarn. Or books. Or bags of gi-normous potatoes.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
The “something else which escapes me” [regarding groceries], was an eight-pound bag of jumbo potatoes. I love potato soup, baked potatoes, nuked potatoes. I’m not fond of peeling potatoes.
After dropping off their dinner at the elders’ apartment, I brought my potatoes and carrots home, put them away, and ran the dishwasher. Then I warmed up the leftovers from yesterday’s lunch with my co-worker [half of a chicken-fried steak and half of my sweet potatoes, and a couple of the rolls] for a late breakfast. Then I put on my jacket and headed out in the drizzle for the bookstore, where I was planning to browse this.
The reviews I read in Southern Living and [I think] Real Simple or Cottage Living were quite positive. The two editorial reviews that I read on the Amazon webpage were somewhat critical. I decided not to read it after one reader’s review that said “... did not care to read about her s*x life ...” Nor do I. I was hoping for another Cooking for Mr. Latte, which I own and cook from, because it is so delightful. I own two of M.F.K. Fisher’s books and the pictorial biography A Welcoming Life, which I bought in Santa Fe ten years ago, long before I thought I would ever be interested in cooking.
I am still somewhat amazed to have become so. And perhaps a bit more amazed at my own amazement. My maternal grandmother, my mother, and my sister are or were excellent cooks. But it is all tangled up for me in the overwhelming sense of lack that filled the years from early adulthood to early middle age. [I plan on staying in middle middle age until I am incontrovertibly ancient; I can’t speak for the rest of y’all.]
And still amazed to wander through Central Market as I did on Friday night, looking at all the options and thinking, “That looks interesting. I wonder what it tastes like.” Last night I bought my first Pacific Rose apple. It was, of course, *wonderful*. And I also brought home two Pink Lady apples, which I first tasted at Central Market two or three years ago; they’ve been out of them the last several times I went shopping. And a small bunch of tiny red bananas from Costa Rica that cost five times as much per pound as regular bananas and must have been chauffeured here in a Bentley. Just the right size for a quick snack. And from the bulk foods department, some of the vanilla almond granola that LittleBit and I like so much, and a bag of pumpkin spice granola to try. Yes, it does taste a lot like pumpkin pie.
So what did I browse at the bookstore, instead? This and this. One of them followed me home.
Tan’s comment on my last post, is well taken. My nails are done, a lovely shade of deep coral that is not my usual hey sailor red. And my hair is cut. Every so often I pay extra to have her wash it, and today was one of those days. I love walking out of there with hair that smells like fresh coconut.
I sat in the bookstore and did my seat-of-the-pants algebraic knitting. Slipknot to mark the start, slipknot at the end, careful frogging so as not to disturb slipknots, and finger-to-nose measuring [like they used to do to measure out a yard of fabric, back in the days when penny candy was still a penny]. Five noses of yarn, as it were; roughly five yards.
Small personal victory, I think it was back on Wednesday. I have a cotton lace sweater that I scored for $4 on the clearance rack. It’s meant to be wrapped, surplice-fashion, at the waist. And I have always either tied a square knot loosely in the front, or just let the ends spiral down. On Wednesday I decided to see if I could bring the ends around to the back and tie them. And I could! So I did. Not my best look, perhaps, but it was fun, and all day long as I sat and walked and reached and stretched, I felt like the dancer that I am.
I have a skirt from that season and from the same store, also bought on sale, and a T-shirt or two that tone nicely. I decided to try that look for the dance last night. Nobody ran screaming in the other direction. I danced way more than I have in recent months, and about midway through Gloria Estefan singing Conga, my hips and spine decided to play nicely and let my feet have some fun. I am tired but not sore. There were only two of us at the dinner, and she is someone I had been wanting to know better.
I have also committed to attending the singles’ fireside in BigD tomorrow night. It’s in my old stake, and I will get to see any number of old friends plus some of the new ones from the dinner group.
Things I have noticed recently: I like Borden’s whole milk in the pint bottle. I don’t like their 2%, even though the label and cap are a lively shade of fuchsia. Their “lite” milk is overly sweet, as if it has too much powdered milk mixed into it or was cooked too long in the pasteurization process. After raising kids for almost 30 years, I remember what powdered milk tastes like.
No thank you.
I like Schepps’ [a local dairy] 2% in the individual bottle. But it has a pop-off lid, not a screw-on lid. Perfectly fine if I’m going to be drinking the entire bottle at my desk, or in my car. Not so good if I need to transport it between one and the other. Unlike Cleopatra, cell phones do not like milk baths.
Fun with Middlest while on the phone [I found the link while checking out custom colors on the M&M website]:
Ms. Ravelled as a Red-Hatting M&M.
And a different sort of fun.
Because you *do*. And I in y'all.
It is now 12:48am, and I am officially pooped. Too pooped to take a picture of what happened on the scarf. Tomorrow [whether you define it as later on Sunday or early on Monday], as Miz Scarlett said, is another day. Or two. Sufficient unto the day are the weevils thereof.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
If you have the digits 1 through 10, then you would add [1 + 10], [2 + 9], [3 + 8], [4 + 7], and [5 + 6] to get 11 x 5 [because 5 is half of the ten individual values] = 55. If you have the digits 1 through 7, you would add [1 + 7], [2 + 6], [3 + 5], and then 4 to get 8 x 3 = 24 + 4 = 28. [Half of 7 is 3.5; we are estimating the total.] If you are dealing with large numbers, then you have to use the summation form Σ and then the A’s and the N’s and all that other good stuff that drove you nuts, umpteen years ago.
Why on earth am I bugging you with algebra on a Saturday morning when sensible people are sleeping in? Well, because I am knitting a red silk scarf with a pointy end, and I think that I might like the other end to be pointy. So, [2 + 17], [3 + 16], [4 + 15], [5 + 14], [6 + 13], [7 + 12], [8 + 11], [9 + 10]. Count the number of bracketed sums. Eight. Ergo, if I mark my scarf, knit eight rows of 17 stitches, mark where I stop, frog back to the first marker and measure how much yarn I have used, I will know how much yarn to leave at the end of the ball in order to use it all up.
Eight rows of 17 stitches = 136 stitches. In my world, that’s not a whole lot of frogging or tinking. If I were knitting a stole with two pointy ends and forty-five bajillion stitches, I would simply weigh the first pointy end and start decreasing when I had that many ounces left.
And on to my next major decision: do I want to knit a buttonhole into the other end of this scarf? Somewhere in my sewing stash, I have one impeccably-covered black velvet button that might be an excellent option. This will depend, of course, on how long the scarf is when I need to start decreasing for the second pointy end.
It saved sideways, and I am not in the mood to turn it. The ends that are sticking out on the side are from where I was knitting happily along and the yarn just stopped; not much of an improvement over a knot mid-skein, in my opinion. But other than that, I am loving this project for its sheer exuberant mindlessness.
What’s on the agenda today? I will probably finish the red scarf, either during the day or at the dance tonight.
I have another drive-by fooding of the missionaries this morning. I will probably buy them a large sub and a gallon of ice cream. I’m sure they wouldn’t object to either. I am out of carrot sticks and something else which escapes me, so I need to make yet another run to the store; this will dovetail nicely.
I need to get a nail repaired. I’ve been holding it on with a clear Band-aid for two days, because he is closed on Wednesday nights, and I have water aerobics on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I need a haircut. I could squeak by for another two weeks, but I really don’t want to. There is a “gala” dinner and dance for the singles on the first of March, and I dont want to be dealing with freshly-cut hair if I decide to go.
I think the dinner group is meeting tonight before the dance. I need to log on and see if there has been a consensus. And I need to check with Brother Sushi and see if he is attending either or both.
LittleBit worked last night and is working again tonight. She’s sleeping now, so I don’t know if HerBoy got his weekend pass and if he is staying with his folks, his best friend, or one of her friends.
OK, I’m officially cold and sleepy again. I’m going back to bed for awhile.
Friday, February 15, 2008
and get back on the freeway. Eat the strawberries slowly and delicately between phone calls, all morning long. Dab your eyes when the last strawberry leaps off your fork and onto the carpet. Clean the carpet. Say “Happy Valentine's Day” to anyone who will stand still long enough to hear it.
Create an e-card for the office.
Fire up a new scarf, just for yourself, out of this yarn.
100% silk, a gift from a friend who bought it in New Mexico and wouldn’t take no for an answer when you admired it.
Scarf in its current incarnation: Cast on two stitches using a lark’s head knot [AKA clove hitch]. Knit two stitches. Turn, slip first stitch, M1, K1. Repeat until there are 17 stitches on the needle. I am using an Addi Natura 5.0mm or US8. Gauge is wonderfully loosey-goosey. I originally thought of doing a bias garter-stitch scarf, but my K2tog is always a little tighter than my S1 on the other side. So I frogged back to where I had 17 stitches on the needle, and it looks about right. I am still slipping the first stitch and knitting across. I might eventually throw in some eyelets or some drop stitches. In the meantime, it’s enough just to be working with fat yarn and fat needles on something that will be done in a day or two, after spending two months on Firestarter.
Water aerobics last night was pure joy. I couldn’t decide what I wanted for dinner, other than “not TexMex” and “yes, mashed potatoes”. I stopped at Boston Market and got the meatloaf with the red sauce, and potatoes with gravy, and steamed vegetables. I really miss their glazed carrots. I wish they’d bring them back.
And their cornbread is so sweet and light-handed that it makes a perfect dessert. I ate half of everything except the cornbread and have saved the rest for dinner tonight.
Lunch will be something grabbed on the road, because one of the attorneys and I are taking a long lunch to check out the perfume outlet. We each need a new bottle of our signature scents. Mine is 17 years old and down to the last whisper of fragrance.
I’m so proud of myself. The LYS was having a V-Day sale yesterday, and while I was sorely tempted to spend money I did not have, I aimed the car at the Natatorium after work, and not toward knitting nirvana.
I’m undecided about signing up for another two months of Wardrobe Refashion. On the one hand, I could use the encouragement not to buy new clothing while I'm saving for the move. On the other hand, I seem to have permanently be-splotched my dark brown T-shirt, and thus far I haven’t found lace in the right shade of brown for an overlay, and I don’t want to use my get-out-of-jail-free card. And my birthday is coming up. And I might be dating before the year is up, which of course requires at least one new outfit. Probably in a smaller size, if I keep having workouts like I did last night.
I pulled all the photos from last year’s Twin Peaks Shawl and threw them onto Flickr and posted them on Ravelry, linked to their blog posts. I am such a process knitter. I had a blast knitting it, and I’ve never even worn it. And it’s really pretty.
I wonder how many rows I can knit on the Red Scarf while the tub fills?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The consensus in the peanut gallery was that I was crazy. [No, if I were crazy, I would have put Patsy Cline on my answering machine. I was just royally peeved.]
I offer this song for anyone who feels like the red-headed orphan you-know-what stepchild on Valentine’s Day. Or for anyone like me who just plain loves the song.
It’s OK to sing along. Because you know *I* will be.
And this is in memory of a certain ex-boyfriend who shall be nameless and is running for office.
But for something equally fun and a whole lot more civil, behold Firestarter x 2.
And heart stuffies for LittleBit to give to a couple of friends. I was delegated to do the machine stitching, which as of drafting this post had not happened yet. And the stuffing, and naturally I discovered when I woke at dark-thirty that I had no idea where the stuffing was, so off to Wally World for cotton balls. I did know where a size 1 DP was. So handy for getting a small fiddly object plumpified.
And to end on a positive note:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Last night was supposed to be water aerobics and then Knit Night. With a stop at Sonic for a half-price burger and [oh, so disciplined of me!] no fries, in between. By the time that I logged off my workstation after a very productive day, I knew that what I needed more than movement, time with friends, or dead cow, was some time to myself. So I blew right past the exit for the Natatorium, Ray Charles rocking on my speakers with The Eagles for dessert, past the coffee shop where my friends would be gathering, past the bread thrift shop [because it was closed] and home.
Dinner was a package of Lipton/Knorr Parmesan noodles, with a brick of frozen chopped spinach nuked, drained and stirred in. I wanted something filling, relatively healthy, and quick. It made enough for a bowl of comfort last night and a good lunch today. After dinner, I put in Take the Lead, curled up on the couch with Firestarter and finished the last two repeats of the mock cable pattern and XX rows of the cuff.
And every so often I stood up and danced to the music, so I was not *entirely* slothful.
Much as I love spending time with my Sisters of the Wool, sometimes I just need to hole up for an evening.
I am not all that into weighing myself. [I was going to say “not all that big into weighing myself”, but that just made me snort. And then giggle.] I can tell by looking at my face in the mirror, or by how loosely my watch wristband fits, whether I am gaining or losing.
I weighed myself about a month ago, around the time that I started the water aerobics classes. And it was five pounds more than the last time I weighed in at my doctor’s office, when she cleared her throat and flapped her eyebrows at me.
She is the kindest of women and has never made an issue of my weight, because all my other numbers are stellar. But I put on about 20 pounds last year, while I was dealing with the broken leg and the broken heart and the slowed metabolism because of the sleep apnea. And neither of us was thrilled about that.
Last Wednesday afternoon, after eating lunch and while wearing a heavy cotton sweater, the scales showed that I had lost a grand total of 1.5 pounds [.68kg]. I was a little bummed. Yes, the point is not to wake up one morning with my girlish figure; maybe when I get my resurrected body? The point is to move more freely and to have more stamina.
But Thursday morning, after the first half of my breakfast and dressed as I normally would, the total was more like 5.5 pounds [2.5kg]. And if I could have turned cartwheels, I would! [That’s on my list of things to learn when I *do* get my resurrected body. That, and how to give myself masses of curly red hair. There are no tangles, humidity, or head lice in Heaven. No such thing as a bad hair day. Right? Oh, and I’d like freckles, too. Not age spots. Not these tiny red splotchy things that are cropping up on my middle-aged body, or the skin tags on my neck, or the eyebrows that have mysteriously migrated down to my chin.]
Where was I?
I just tried on a red fitted blouse that I wanted to wear to work today. It’s too big. Which segues nicely into the next topic...
[This is the part where I am kicking myself, ever so gently, for having forgotten to mail myself what I wrote early yesterday morning before I got so busy at my desk.] One of my co-workers got a package from Despair, Inc. And since I am such a perfect Pandora, I immediately went online to check them out. Before you follow suit, please make sure that you have chewed and swallowed your granola, pizza, or whatever you might be munching on while at your computer. And swallow your milk, or cover your keyboard. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a little trip down the hall, particularly if you are middle-aged and multiparous. Just saying.
OK, here you go. I particularly like the BitterSweets. What did my co-worker buy? This shirt. I like this one.
They even have a demotivation poster wizard. Behold:
Used with permission. We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Work yesterday was amazing. In a good way. Actually, the whole day just kept getting better and better. I was sitting at my desk right after lunch, when a well-dressed gentleman walked into the office. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t think from where, so I just went into Jennifer-from-WKRP mode, “Good afternoon [big smile], how may I help you?”
He smiled back and said, “Hi, I’m [Brother Nice #1] from [the dinner group]. Happy Valentine’s Day!” and handed me a gift bag.
Awwww! And then he asked me to open it. Chocolate, of course, and a card, and oh, this is where the picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Now obviously, he doesn’t know me, because I am the queen of delayed gratification. It was with much grumbling that I agreed, when the girls were little, to let them open *one* package on Christmas Eve. I like to wait until whatever Big Day we are celebrating. That’s the way I was raised, which of course means that it’s Right. Right?
[OK, yes, I ate a chocolate.] So, Valentine’s Day started three days early this year.
I called Brother Sushi on my drive over to the Natatorium after work. I told him that I need to do something about what we laughingly call my testosterone maintenance program, because obviously the monthly dinner and chaste hug are insufficient immunization against half an hour of blushing after a five-minute visit with a man whom I think I would enjoy as another JustFriend, and whose eye I would not spit in if he should ask me on a real date, sometime between now and the Second Coming. I need more JustFriends who are local, and more chaste hugs.
I grinned all afternoon.
This is the finished book cover for my giftee. [Thank you, Secondborn, for the beads and the lovely, if brief, conversation last night, and for that bit of good news.] I will drop the package off at the 24/7 Post Office on my way into work this morning.
And this is LittleBit’s second sock. I made myself stay awake until I worked one round in the larger needles.
The good news that I just referred to, is something that Secondborn has been meaning to tell me for about a month. She just got distracted by little things like teething children, and the flu, and ear infections, and Humidifier Wars with her beloved.
You will recall that the first Sunday on which LittleBit was able to drive herself to work after church, I high-tailed it over to Secondborn’s ward to meet the guy that 2BDH kept having the impression that I should meet. So, we met, and it was pleasant, and I heard nothing, and I figured that was the end of it.
Apparently not. He made a point of finding Secondborn at church a couple of weeks later, thanking her for introducing us, and telling her that he very much wanted to know me better but that he had work commitments and didn’t want to start something that he couldn’t continue. She told him I was a little busy myself [which is like saying that Ben and Jerry make OK ice cream] with the last child about to graduate high school, and she was sure I would understand.
Secondborn, now to be known as the Formerly Perfect Child. Her memory of all this was jogged when she sat next to Leslye at the play on Saturday night, and Leslye asked her, “Whatever happened with that guy in your ward?” and she thought, “Brother Abacus? I don’t think so!”
So, maybe I *wasn’t* hallucinating when I thought I sensed a bit of mutual spark.
Monday, February 11, 2008
This has been an off-again, on-again project; it has been waiting patiently on a hanger for at least two years. And now that LittleBit’s second Firestarter is nearly done, I am somewhat in the mood to sew. I spent about an hour and a half last night, vaguely listening to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and tidying the edges on the first lapel. At the moment I am not sure where the bag is that holds the rest of the lace and the trim. This could get interesting.
Today I started this when I was sufficiently awake to find my glasses.
A book cover for this year’s Relief Society manual, from fuchsia Ultrasuede® that my sister gave me for my birthday almost 20 years ago.
It’s not quite done; I need to dash over to Secondborn’s after water aerobics tonight and get the alpha beads to spell out my friend’s name. And I want to pick up a bit of ribbon to stitch in at the top, so that she may mark her place.
It’s adjustable, because some of the manuals have a year’s worth of lessons, and some have two.
Here are more pictures of the duster-in-progress. The lace comes from a tablecloth that I bought at the antique mall where I also bought my fainting couch [AKA the Chastity Bed], and the sleigh bed for Secondborn when she was a senior in high school, because she was the only child still at home for whom I had not embellished a hand-me-down twin bed. I promptly and diligently put the tablecloth into storage, because we were living in
Once in storage, it was promptly and diligently gnawed on by mice. Just flat broke my heart to take it out of the bag and see it in shreds. And as I am too frugal to simply throw away all that hand-knotting, over the years I have incorporated it into other projects. I made four placemats. I put lace cuffs on Christmas stockings. And there were enough unchewed edges that I am appliquéing them to the duster’s collar [now mostly embellished] and lapels [very much works-in-progress].
Like the farmer dealing with a butchered hog, I am using everything but the squeal.
I am also using beads and pearls leftover from Firstborn’s wedding.
And more of the star buttons that I used on the lapel.
Here’s the last shot, for now.
Can you bear to see more mug shots from backstage after West Side Story?
And we’ll close with a silly one:
And BTW, her sisters and I are not the only ones who think she would have made a better Maria than the **alto** who was chosen.
OK, I’m off to get ready for work.