About Me

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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!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Local Color

I snapped these at the church before the social on Saturday night.

The clouds were gorgeous, and the air smelled like rain.

So, my friend has been suggesting neighboring streets to scout for color possibilities for the exterior. We agree that three colors are a minimum: something like 60% for the main color, 30% for the secondary and 10% for the accent. I thought I would take you on a tour of the surrounding blocks and show you what I like. We’ll start with this retaining wall.

And another retaining wall.

The red back door on this cottage delighted me. The front door is red, too, but that picture didn’t turn out so well.

Here is a charming brick house [cue the soundtrack], complete with my beloved crape myrtles. We had two in the front yard of the little house in Irving. I find that I rather miss them.

Another grey house, rather nondescript in itself, but I liked the curvy sidewalk and how they have filled that planter.

Look at the subtle curve on the roof of this sweet little yellow cottage. Click on the picture to embiggen, and look at the detail on the front door.

And one glaring example of what I don’t like. They are starting to do in Fort Worth what’s been done in the Park Cities [two small, allegedly elite municipalities tucked into north Dallas] for the past quarter century: buy up houses for their location and erect monstrosities that scream “I have money out the wazoo and no sense of proportion or history!”

There’s a McMansion being built down the street from me. Pity.

I’ve mentioned that one of my lawyers and his wife give me their old magazines. I just barely finished reading the [2004] 25th anniversary issue of “This Old House”, and from it I gleaned four websites for building plans for new old houses in the Craftsman and bungalow styles, some of which are designed to be “green”. I love living in this duplex, with its craftsmanship and its quirks. I want a house much like this when I grow up. Small, modest, well-built, and intelligently designed. Not to mention respectful of resources.

Yes, I am a financial and political conservative with a social conscience who [finally, gratefully] recycles. You have a problem with that?

On another remodeling front, I went into the Churchboy Dating Service and updated my profile. They asked, “If you could have any super power, what would it be and what would you accomplish with it?” I answered, “I would be InsomniaGirl, and I would save the world while everybody else is sleeping.”

Yes, I know, we already have a Savior. Details, details.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Saturday morning, LittleBit and I met at the apartment for the final cleaning. This is not what her room looked like on Tuesday night. Or Thursday night.

Her penny stash. Never let it be said that she has no cents at all!

I borrowed Firstborn’s vacuum. Then I walked the apartment with the assistant manager and turned in our keys. Stick a spork in us; we’re done.

And to celebrate, we went to the Cheesecake Factory, where I used the gift card a friend had given me. This is the bread that they brought us while we waited for our cheesecake; it is also the new desktop image on my computer.

LittleBit had the Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake. I had the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.

[It’s not listed on their website, but it has Caramel in the name somewhere.] We divided each in half, and shared.


Changing the subject; check this out. Very clever, actually. It’s made of plywood [top and bottom], EPS board [completely inert, non-toxic and recyclable] and rope. It functions as a stool and as a side table. It will support 300 pounds, which would more than adequately handle my exponentially-expanding stack of books to be read. And it’s on sale, but I bet I could make something like unto it for a whole lot less.

Had a blast at the church social last night. Played no games, just sat at a couple of tables and watched others play, while I knitted and visited with them. And there was pie and/or ice cream for dessert, or a vegetable platter for the diabetics.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

“Please hold for a very important call.”

Nope. If it’s that important, get a human being to call the office. I don’t hold for computers, unless I have made the call and am navigating the lower echelons of Voicemail Hades. When I get a call that begins with a computerized voice saying, “Please hold for a very important call,” I just hang up.

Thoughts on Noro, from partway up the second front of my kimono jacket. The colors are lovely; the yarn could be softer [but maybe it’s too tightly spun to pill – feedback, anybody?], and if you are the matchy-matchy sort, you will lose your ever-loving mind!

See? The bottom of the first front starts with a rich dark brown. [A little incredibly washed out in this photo.] The bottom of the second front starts with the ochre that forms the shoulder of the first front, because I am nothing if not frugal. I am hoping to have enough Noro left after knitting the sweater proper, that I can finish it off with an I-cord border all the way around. It will either tie together all the disparate color zones, or it will send me screaming back to some nice semi-solid or monochromatic yarn.

[Would that be considered “hair of the sheep that bit me”?]

I love how when you talk with some people, the topics just flow effortlessly from one subject to another, and neither party dominates the conversation. I had a visit like that on the train recently. We talked about the weather, organic gardening, nutrition and fitness, farmers markets, etc. He tipped me off to a couple of places I want to check out, including one where I can buy eggs laid by free-range chickens. Happy chickens lay better-tasting eggs.

I don’t think I ever want to raise chickens again; I am too squeamish to wring their necks. All our chickens died of old age and got buried deep beneath the compost pile. And then there is the matter of homicidal roosters that wanted to eat my children, and all that lovely chicken poop. I would like to have a dependable source for yard eggs. Now that it’s just me at home, and I won’t go through more than a dozen or two eggs a month, that should be eminently affordable.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my eyelids.” That’s what I told one of my friends from work, after she brought me a Coke with the change that I handed her. [Yes, I do realize that “change must come from within”; sometimes it is aided and abetted by something chilled and drinkable, from without.] I must not have gotten the protein/carb ratio correct at lunch. Because all of a sudden there I was, waking up at the scanner. Repeatedly. And it’s not that boring a job, particularly when you discover that you’re trying to save something to the wrong file because the secretary coded it wrong, and by some miracle, you noticed. And have now just saved the day, at least for said legal secretary.

I really should have grabbed a couple of hard-boiled eggs on my way out the door that morning. Eventually, I would like to achieve a proper balance of nutrients, hydration, rest, and exercise. I had no issues whatsoever when I was at home on vacation. My ankles behaved themselves, I was working like crazy and drinking lots of water, and I barely needed a nap in spite of how hot it was outside.

Now that I’m back at work? I just want to curl up under my desk and take a nap after lunch. So, some tweaking is in order. I’m still getting used to the good-for-me peanut butter. It’s grittier than the creamy hydrogenated generic PB that I have bought all my life. But as I recall, freshly-ground nutmeg took some getting used to, as well. And I used to gag when I tried to eat broccoli, and now I tolerate it fairly well. So, there’s hope.

Yesterday morning I got to the park-and-ride early enough to park under the freeway and to catch the train that gives me almost an hour of knitting time in the break room before work. How cool! When I came back home, my car was pleasantly warm instead of doing its impression of a four-cylinder sauna.

One of the nicest surprises about the duplex is the lovely breeze that blows almost every night as I step out of my car in the driveway. I don’t know if the trees make the breeze or if they just like to dance in it, but it looks pretty and sounds so restful.

In the news-from-the-tribe department, Firstborn and/or her hubby are teaching Fourthborn and Fiancé to drive. This is such a good thing! It will open up as many opportunities for them as moving to Fort Worth has done for me. I love it when my kids are willing to help one another.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Best Friend's Birthday [Party]

OK, so she celebrated her 50th in Paris; I like her anyway! Her girls put together a party, and last night a bunch of us surprised her with cake and ice cream and a slideshow and a soundtrack where every third song was a spectacularly famous one from our youth about a girl with her name, because she hates that song! And we all sang along. Some of us even on-key!

Secondborn snapped a lot of pictures. My camera never even came out of my bag. Except later, at home, for this.

I have the second front cast on.

Talk about your instant gratiNorofication! This one practically knits itself.

Am planning for a quiet evening at home, just me and the knitting and some music.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Already?

I have been crazy-busy at work all week. All the emails waiting in my inbox after six days of vacation, one class, one committee meeting [I am on the Work/Life Balance Task Force; you may all stop snickering immediately!]

Came home last night, warmed some leftovers, and read over my notes for a class that I will be teaching at my old stake’s Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment meeting in July. We used to have Homemaking Meeting in every ward, every month. Now we have two stake-wide meetings a year, several ward meetings a year, and the rest is small interest groups. This will be a stake-wide meeting. I have three pages of notes and no idea what God wants me to teach them. [Yes, I have asked. I need to ask again when I’m awake enough to hear His answer.]

No pictures today; I need to throw on my shoes and grab my lunch and head out the door. Oh, and grab more yarn before I do. I am nearly to the point of needing another ball for the Noro thingie and the stealth project. I’m dragging Juno Regina along in case I ever get sufficient quiet and privacy to work from a chart, but I’m not holding my breath.

I dreamed that I was sitting in a room, knitting, and got a call from somebody I used to date, asking if we could date again, and I told him yes, and then another man in the room gave me a piece of paper with his name and phone number which I immediately and frantically lost and spent the rest of the dream searching through recycling bins to find.

I have no idea what that means, if anything; I simply offer it for your amusement.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts and wishes about the move. I am settling in nicely. No, Firstborn, you may not come in and shuffle things around to see if I notice. At least not until the guys are done with the last little bits to make the walls paint-worthy. My friend thought she was on their calendar for this week; looks like it will be next week, instead.

I’m hoping to start gathering paint chips this weekend. My friend sent me on a neighborhood tour to look at some color combinations that she liked. Next time I’ll try to remember to take my camera, so I can share.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

“I sent my sinuses to Arizona”

I loved George Carlin when I was a kid. Grew up seeing him on TV; never saw his show in Vegas, which I understand was, ahem, linguistically livelier. He died! How can Al Sleet, the Hippy Dippy Weatherman, be dead? [For those of you to whom I gave birth, the title of the post was also the first line of a love song parody that he wrote.]

I learned a new phrase in a class at work on Tuesday, “Drink the corporate Kool-Aid.” I asked her where she learned it, and I think she said “Bill Reilly”??? One more person I’ve never heard of.

How to tell it’s June, and you’re in Texas.

No, it’s not an obese roach. It’s a June bug. Do you have them where you live? They are everywhere this time of year. This one was in the mail bucket. I don’t know if it died of old age or was flattened by the certified mail.

Speaking of dead bugs, I pushed the button to admit one of my attorneys into our suite without his having to swipe his card key. But he was moving a little more slowly than I thought, and I took my finger off the button, and he smacked into the door. I apologized and added, “Some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug.” Which is when he asked who had sung that, and I had to sit there and flap my eyebrows at him, because I had no clue. I only knew it as a phrase.

Google to the rescue! Dire Straits recorded it. [Neat little song, and I love Mark Knopfler’s voice, a fact that has been amply documented on this blog.]

I just about went nuts looking for my peanut butter for lunch yesterday. I looked in five different drawers before remembering that I had bought the healthy kind that has to be refrigerated. I’m not sure if that means that I need more vacation, or if the one I took was a little too long.

Had a great conversation with a young mother on the train. She has a toddler and another one under construction. She likes midwives, Terry Pratchett, a lot of the same music that I like, and she does the same thing for another insurance defense law firm that I do for mine. I knitted and talked, knitted and listened, added the new ball of yarn, and it wasn’t until I got to work and put my bag away that I realized that because this is Noro, all full of wooly goodness, I could have spit-spliced it. So that’s what I did on my morning break: frogged back a row and a half to splice the yarn.

It was really fun to pour out the bag of hand-wound balls onto my bed and search until I found the one that began where the first ball ended off. Of course, if I get three-fourths of the way through this project and decide that I want to do something else, I will end up with the world’s largest spit-spliced ball of yarn. I might not be able to roll it through the bedroom door!

Does anybody besides me detect a theme here?

Here we have the three current projects: Juno Regina, the Noro [?]kimono[?], and a stealth project, all on size 4 needles! And look how different the fabric is on each one.

And this, just in case you need a little whimsy today.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Testosterone Poisoning

This was my Family Home Evening lesson last night. I don’t know anything about his politics or his personality, but this was a nice bite-sized portion of ponderables.

Cool stuff seen on the train yesterday morning: We passed over a canal, just west of downtown Fort Worth. I saw a mallard swimming in it. There was no time to grab the camera and show you. Maybe today? He looked about as happy to be swimming in that canal as I feel when sitting in my new bathtub.

I unvented a new beverage yesterday. Cranberry Coke. I had just a splash of cranberry juice leftover from lunch. And I was getting groggy. So I poured in a splash of Cherry Coke, and down the hatch it went.

And then I cleaned my glasses. Wow, talk about a whole new world!

Not-so-cool stuff seen on the train last night: We came to a rolling halt just east of the Richland Hills station. This is why.

Truck bed blocking the track, and a bunch of young guys standing around looking sheepish. Taken through the train window.

Dude, where’s my boat?

I cracked up the ladies sitting around me when I shook my head sadly and proclaimed, “Testosterone poisoning”.

I left the park-and-ride at 7:15, and right after I got home the phone rang. It was my dear friend Brother Karitas, and we chatted until I had to pay attention to my pasta. This was dinner: shell macaroni from my food storage, jazzed up with a serving of trees and cheese, a small spoonful of bottled minced garlic, and the last of the chopped pimientos, all glued together with a can of cream of celery soup that needed to be used, or pitched.

Tastes better than it looks, I promise! I was so pleased; I found my trusty old colander.

And my red pinchy thingie. I know I packed my two silicone hot pads. I just don’t know where.

And then I had a small salad, and a small bowl of leftover baked beans. I like what Mark Twain said: eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside you! [Not sure where my Bartlett’s is, but that’s the gist of it.] And a minuscule helping of ice cream for dessert.

Some non-argumentative knitting just before bedtime; I used up the first ball of the Noro. And then a small adventure! I was just getting ready for bed, and suddenly somebody was banging on the pipes. Much too rhythmic and intentional to be a raccoon. I went to the front door and turned on the porch light, and out in the yard stood a friend of the duplex owner’s whom I had met several years ago, with a friend of his. They were getting some solvent out of the truck to try to loosen up something on the other side of the duplex. No harm done, once I got over being startled.

Exchanged text messages with LittleBit yesterday, who assures me that progress is being made in her room, and that she will do the final vacuuming. Woohoo! That means all I have to do is clean that commode one last time and wipe out the sinks and swab the counters.

Knit Night tonight, and then [I most devoutly hope] I will bring the last load of oddments home and can turn in my keys on Saturday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back to the Salt Mines I go!

My friend Jerry posted about his local WWKIP day, which was the 14th, also known as the day that I moved. Go here and scroll down until you see two knitters hula-hooping. And a baby alpaca [not hula-hooping].

Did lots of little fiddly stuff before church yesterday. Making sure that there were clear paths to the window unit in my studio, and the closet in my studio, because the sheet-rock below the window unit needs to be replaced, and because we are getting the radiant barrier, and somebody might need to walk around in my attic and put a foot through my ceiling.

Moving boxes out of the way so the Handy Dudes can shove the fridge 18” to the left, and I can put the drop-leaf table in the window and the bookcase with the pretties here where the computer sits, and the computer out in the living room. [Which I can’t do until the next paragraph happens.]

Making sure that the Handy Dudes can get to the corners in the living room so they can tape and bed them, and so that the window unit can get tilted so it doesn’t drip into the living room and necessitate new sheet-rock in a couple of years [see studio, above], and so they can connect my new gas fireplace for the two weeks of the year when it’s not summer in Texas.

Dudes, I have a cedar closet! I can’t take a picture of it yet, because there are boxes stacked in front of it, but when I stepped inside it the day of the move, I couldn’t figure out why I thought of Mom and Dad’s house. It wasn’t until I tossed something in there a day or so later that I realized I was remembering the closet under the stairs in the basement, where Mom kept my tutus and the red rayon dress she had made for me when I was four or five, with the daisy lace trim.

Can I just say how much I love my new ward? This is one corner of our meetinghouse, complete with three crape myrtles.

Two of the sisters whom I know slightly from the singles’ program are in my new ward. One recognized me and came back and sat with me during sacrament meeting. I've signed up to feed the missionaries toward the end of next month. I figure by then I will have things moved around enough that I will actually want to have people sitting around my table. And there are enough single brethren that once they know I’m not terminally scary, I won't have to import Brother Sushi or lasso one of the sons-in-law. I’m still getting teased about the time I served bison meatloaf to the elders in my old ward [the ground bison was a gift from a friend].

Dinner after church was lots of fun and a nice change from the leftovers and nuked stuff I had been eating all week. I reached into one of my boxes and pulled out my can opener! Then I opened a can of tuna!! Then I made my first tuna fish sandwich in weeks and weeks and weeks, and another one to take to work today!!! Second course? Part of a can of baked beans, huzzah!!!! Followed by half of the remaining carrot sticks, with the last of them tossed into a snack bag for lunch. [No, the carrots do not get five exclamation points; I’ve been eating carrots all week. I’m thankful for them, but I’m not excited about them.]

And then I had some mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert while I hard-boiled a few eggs for lunches or snacks later this week. Timing them was a little iffy, as I have no idea where my ladybug kitchen timer is. And I tend to lose track of time while playing online games, so no Sudoku for me, missy, until they were done.

I was always a little afraid of the gas stove at our old house in Irving. Unlike more than one of my daughters, I do not have pyromaniac tendencies. [Ask them sometime about when they nearly caught the doghouse on fire.] But I have raised five teenagers since we owned that house, and lived to tell about it, and a gas stove seems tame by comparison.

I swatched one of the Barbara Walker patterns in church and decided that while it was all very nice, it looked too much like crochet for me to want to use it. I like crochet, but I like my crocheting to look crocheted and my knitting to look knitted. None of this double-agent stuff, if you please.

So after dinner, I went back to my room with a bottle of water, and I tried some more swatches. And I think I have a winner. Something lace-like, to maximize the yarn on hand, but not requiring much in the way of blocking when finished. One of the patterns I tried got lost in the color shifts, but I think it would be smashing in the darker teal Gloss Lace when I’m ready to design my duster. When I have more than six rows in the pattern I’ve chosen for the Noro, I’ll snap a picture to see what y’all think.

I woke up at 4:20 this morning. Not sure if it was excitement at going back to work, or anxiety about catching the train. My lunch is packed and in the fridge, my bags are ready to go, and I know what I’m wearing to work.

Happy Monday, everybody!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Neither One Thing Noro Another

This is the Noro, in its pre-frogged state.

Yummy, and way too small to be finished and worn as-is. I want to figure something out this weekend, because I want this to be my train knitting, and I go back to work tomorrow. I wish that I had enough to make Kate Gilbert’s Sunrise Circle Jacket. I will probably improvise a cropped kimono.

Yesterday I just channeled Scarlett and worked on Juno Regina, instead. Fiddle-de-dee!

I noticed a significant drop-off in productivity, now that I am back online. Unless you count all the emails that I deleted yesterday. I did make one trip over to the apartment and brought back what I think is the next to last load of stuff.

And I did get most of the rest of the food up into the cabinets, and bought more milk and another pint of ice cream to be enjoyed one teacup at a time.

I need to scoot the remaining unpacked boxes here in the kitchen, over against the north wall where the new dresser [which will contain much of what’s left] will go.

And I need to make sure that the path is clear to the closet in my studio, because it has access to the attic, and sometime this week there are supposed to be people up there installing a radiant barrier. [I sure hope it doesn’t block my prayers from going up, or Heaven’s wisdom from coming down.]

I also need to remember to plug in my alarm clock sometime today. I think one of the best parts about being on vacation has been waking up on my body’s schedule, and not on somebody else’s. My last conscious act before I went to bed, was to check and see when I need to catch the train tomorrow morning. I have two choices: dark-thirty and dark-thirtier, depending on how much knitting time I want in the break room before I have to start earning a living again.

Oh, and I saw fireworks last night! I went out for milk a little before 10:00, and there they were! Not as many as I had hoped, but I imagine there will be more on the Fourth, proper.

I have no idea where my Relief Society manual is, but I think I will go read the Sunday School lesson and work a little on this before church.

And after church, I should go curl up with the Knitting Treasuries and make more swatches with the Noro.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In the Very Last Box

The original title for this post was “@#$%, and you may quote me”. I fired off a crankygram to the YMCA from Secondborn’s computer on Thursday night. They were supposed to stop debiting my account effective the middle of May. And they hit me again on Tuesday, which caused me $105.00 in NSF charges. I was livid! [And more than a little bit panicked.] I left the CEO and the Finance person my cell phone number and a request that somebody call me on Friday.

While I was stuck at home Friday morning, waiting for the Phone Dude, I got a call from a very nice and most apologetic young woman at the Y. She assured me that they would promptly refund my fee, and if I could show them proof that their debit caused my bounce fees [which I could], they would refund those as well.

I dashed over to Secondborn’s after the Phone Dude left, printed off my proofs, and drove back to Arlington. Ordinarily they only cut checks one day a week, but they expedited mine, and it is deposited safely in my account.


It is lovely doing business with people who acknowledge their errors and repair them graciously. I am much relieved.

Referring you back to the title of this post, in the very last box, underneath four Rubbermaid storage bins, in the far corner of my studio.

My very best, most favorite knitting books.

Including the one I was looking for, so I could try the Noro in the border that was the reason for buying said book in the first place.

How did I celebrate? Like this.

The bathroom is all unpacked; the shower curtain and liner are waiting in the bottom of the tub. I will go back into that closet when I can get to the box that holds my shelf organizers, and then the contents will be tidy, instead of merely stowed.

Now this? This may look like an ordinary, mild-mannered empty quart yogurt tub, ready for its swan dive into the recycling bin.

Looks can be deceiving.

This is will be my first contribution to the compost pile, once I can get to the garden center to pick up something that says “This is a bona fide compost pile, not some random container that I forgot to throw away.”

And this? Utterly enchants me. I’m not sure that I can capture it with my camera, but the sidewalk flares out to match the width of the steps.

I tried from both ends of the sidewalk.

Veering off on another tangent. Can anything be better than a latte cup full of sliced banana, with a reasonable portion of blueberry almond granola as garnish? Unless, perhaps, the last of the strawberries while waiting for the butter to soften. I bought some millet bread at my last foray into Central Market, and I absotively, posilutely love it. It’s full of whole-grain goodness but doesn’t taste like something that is good for you. I adore sneaky food like that. Particularly with the thinnest schmear of real butter.

It is going to be hard to go back to work next Monday. I have really enjoyed my vacation, even if I have spent the bulk of it working my tail off. I’ve also read the June “Ensign” [the church’s magazine for chronological grownups] and the July “Real Simple” and am halfway through the photo-biography of MFK Fisher that I bought in Santa Fe ten years ago. And then, of course, I finished the Flared Lace Smoke Ring; I showed you proof of that yesterday. So in spite of the heat and the bone-weariness, I wound up a cake of goodness from this, the Gloss Lace in Mermaid [50% wool, 50% silk] to cast on Mim’s Juno Regina.

Two lace projects in succession. What am I thinking?

Friday in the kitchen I turned this

and this

into this

and this.

I am getting antsy to fire up the stove and actually *cook* something. Maybe I should go sit and knit until the urge passes...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Houston, We Have Lift-Off!

Much catching-up to do. I'm blending three drafts from Word, so this post may become dizzying. Fasten your seatbelts.

I am pleased to report that the window units, in combination with the ceiling fans, keep my new little home quite comfortable. [We are having temperatures in the high 90’s and possibly in the 100’s; my TV is not plugged in, and I’m not listening to the radio, and I only read the paper when I’m at work, so I can’t be sure, but I can tell you it’s mighty warm out there.] I will be interested to see how they do, come August. Texas in August is as close to Hades as I ever hope to get. I had been a little concerned, because when I get too warm, my ankles turn into blowfish. Thus far, not a whimper from them, and I haven’t taken my diuretic all week. [Yes, I know where it is; I could take five steps right now and put my hand right on the vial.]

When I began the draft of this post, we were having rain out there. I could hear spatters against the south bedroom window and the occasional growl of thunder. I had been moving small bookcases into my room and needed a quick break.

I have done a little more swatching with the Noro. I love how it takes to seed stitch. And I unpacked my four Barbara Walker *Knitting Treasuries* Wednesday. I want to try some simple lace patterns, because I don’t think that I want to knit an entire sweater [shrug, shawl, capelet] for myself in seed stitch. I don’t know if it’s because I’m knitting with frogged yarn, or if it’s characteristic of Noro, but I’m not seeing any biasing of the stitches, something that drove me nuts with the [??]Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride[??] which I used for the girls’ tabards, twenty-some years ago. [Hence all those cables and knit-purl patterns.] And I’m also not seeing much of the vegetable matter for which Noro is as famous as for its color progressions. This yarn is Kureopatera. Why does that remind me of “Cleopatra”? I couldn’t find it on their website [back before the move], so I have no idea how long the previous owner had had it in her stash. I wonder if this yarn is less twiggy than Kureyon, or if she had already picked out the bits as she came to them.

Angeluna recommended a shawl pattern for this yarn. And I am having a brainf@rt as to what it was.

The wind shifted; the rain was hitting the north window here in the kitchen, and the thunder intensified. [To the point that there was a “boom” and then darkness for a few seconds, during which I remembered that while the emergency candles are here in the new place, the matches are in the kitchen at the apartment.]

I could only find five of the little plastic wedges that I slip under the front edges of my bookcases, so I slid one half under a small bookcase and rested the tower bookcase on the other half. Et voila! Three bookcases leveled using five wedges. I am also flattening this batch of cardboard boxes as I go, to avoid the whole “can I get these last five copy paper boxes and their lids ripped apart and into the recycling bin before that truck down the block gets to my yard?” situation that I had on Tuesday. If you think that God isn’t interested in helping with the most mundane bits of your life, you haven’t moved recently.

I love leftovers. I polished off the last dab of steak and potatoes yesterday and had a handful of carrots for dessert. Later, I had a nice big bowlful of the strawberries that I bought on Tuesday. I have a container of Demerara sugar that I bought on impulse several months ago; I bet they’d be good with a little of that sprinkled over them.

And maybe by the time I’m ready to polish them off I will have unpacked the balsamic vinegar. Brother Sushi has a bottle of better-grade stuff that he likes to dribble over berries. I just have the cheapest I could find. Maybe next year, when I get my bonus, I will have used it all up and could consider springing for the $50 a bottle stuff.

[I hear that you can spend upwards of $200 for the best of the best. I don’t know if I will ever be a good enough cook to justify that. Maybe Brother Right can give me that, instead of an engagement ring?] Of course, I wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money on balsamic vinegar until I had tasted it to see if I can taste any difference between it and the stuff I have.

I’m so pleased and thankful for all that I’ve been able to accomplish this week. The duplex is starting to look more like a home and less like Fibber McGee’s closet. I never cease to be amazed at how much faster it is to unpack and settle in, than it is to pack and prepare to move. I wonder why that is? And I think it’s funny that filling my bookshelves gives me greater satisfaction and a deeper sense of “home” than putting my kitchen in order.

Maybe that’s because I’ve been comfortable with books since first grade, and feeling at ease in the kitchen is a relatively new development.

With all the rain that was coming down yesterday, I regretted not having a small garden already planted to take advantage of the moisture. Brother Sushi told me of a handy trick for raised beds: you take a bale of hay or straw and plunk it down where you want your garden. You scoop out some of the hay to make room for your seedlings and pop them in and mulch them with the scooped-out hay and water it thoroughly. [This is the part where I know that I’m forgetting one or more critical details.] A bale will last you two or three years, and after it’s all nicely decomposed you remove the baling wire and scatter the hay as mulch in your flowerbeds. He says this is a good method for anything but corn. I wonder if he and his pickup truck are going to be available this Saturday? And I wonder where the closest feed store is?

I found my old journals, beginning when I was five months pregnant with Firstborn in 1978, until about the time I started work on my AAS in 1995. I flipped through a few pages in each so that I could shelve them chronologically. I came across an entry written just before the children’s father began chiropractic school in 1988. Those last two weeks, we had $14 to feed the six of us. I bought two boxes of powdered milk and seven of the four-conjoined-loaf units of bread that Sack and Save used to carry [and maybe still does; I haven’t shopped there in years]. We lived on bread and milk for two weeks. That was six months before LittleBit was conceived; it’s a miracle that she’s a normal human being, much less an exceptional one like her sisters.

I compare my life now with my life then, and I shake my head in wonder that any of us survived those three years that he was in school. I worked more than one 120-hour week, sewing choir uniforms and bridesmaid dresses to fill the gap between student loans and reality. We went into debt for his education, to the tune of $30,000 a year, plus the odd grant here and there. And we lived on about a third of that, after his tuition and books and fees and whatnot were paid for. And still managed to bring another sweet baby girl into the world.

Now I sit here in this quiet little house, surrounded by the books I have chosen, my yard-sale finds and thrift-shop furniture and hand-me-downs from friends, all the eBay bargains of recent weeks, and the works of my own hands, and there is peace, and gratitude, and no small amount of satisfaction at having made silk purses from a seemingly-unending supply of sows’ ears. My babies have grown up into fine young women, decent and hard-working and loving. My grandchildren delight me. Notwithstanding my imperfections, I am worthy and willing to serve in the House of the Lord.

Truly, my friends, it does not get any better than this.

And now for more mundane topics. And a plethora of photos. The improvised kitchen door

has been down for two days now. I found the cable for my camera.

Barbie slept here! Not sure when; the last guy was [I think] a bachelor. This Band-Aid is wrapped around the handle to my bedroom door.

The Flared Lace Smoke Ring is done.

I took it to Knit Night on Tuesday night, where I didn’t do any actual knitting; instead, I began frogging the Noro, which had been knitted up with a companion strand of high-quality mystery yarn. From its softness, sheen, and limpness when frogged, I am guessing alpaca. I finished frogging on Wednesday morning and will eventually re-skein and wash it. I think it would make a lovely scarf or three.

I have only been able to discover one phone jack in the duplex [though there are at least three cable jacks]; it’s in the kitchen and thankfully across the doorway from an electrical outlet. However, that necessitated emptying out one of the bookshelves that I had filled with dishes and stemware on Monday morning. I’ll be able to run the phone cord up over the doorway and down the other side, to keep it out of the way. Meanwhile, I’m just lifting it up and stepping under it.

Tuesday night was my fourth night in the duplex, and I don’t remember waking until Wednesday morning. So I must be getting used to all the creaking and sighing of this dear old house. Wednesday night was also good, but I woke up this morning about 1:30 after weird dreams where I was smoking cigars and trying to explain it to the bishop. We will blame that on Blogging Depletion Syndrome.

My DSL was supposed to be working by 6:00 Wednesday night, but I could not get a regular dial tone, and that was supposed to have been working by 6:00 Tuesday night. I put in a repair order and they show that the line is working. So I trudged back to the old apartment and grabbed the other phone, to see if it would work any better. I think I have already posted that both phones worked just fine at Secondborn’s that night.

I managed to clear a path in my studio and have rearranged things a little. OK, a lot. The fainting couch is out of the middle of the room and up against the common wall. I pulled one of my long, narrow folding tables out of there and have set it up as a computer desk here in the kitchen. The tower fits under it neatly, with enough room on top that I can put my shoebox full of computer stuff on top and keep it handy [once I’ve discovered which box it’s in]. I have a kluge of computer cables under the desk. In the next week or so I’ll pick up something to corral them. In the meantime, they are out of the way, if unsightly.

OK, more good stuff. Just had a knock on the door. I thought it was the Phone Dude[tte], but it was a young father of three, salvaging scrap metal. He loaded up his truck with the old, dead stove, the old ceiling fans, the grille for the old space heater, etc., and we had a nice visit while he worked. He rebuilds axles for a living and just got laid off. Yesterday he made $100 by salvaging. And then we shook hands and “God bless you”-ed, and I came inside and he drove away. It’s looking a lot less Grapes of Wrath outside my back door. He gets to feed his family a few more days. Everybody wins. [Even the neighbors.]

More photos. I splurged on sock drawer dividers, turning this

into this.

And Sunday I had to improvise a plug for the tub. Enter the water bottle.

Which worked well enough until there was enough water to sit in, at which point the bottle started to rise to the surface. So I just plugged the drain with my heel. Monday I picked up a new plug, and boy oh boy do I love this old tub. It’s long and wide and deep and solid.

Phone Dude has been and gone. The reason I couldn’t get a dial tone is because the line had been cut where it came out of my kitchen cabinet. He installed two new jacks for me, one just inside the hall, and the other at the end of the load-bearing wall that divides the living room from the kitchen. The original hard-wiring was still in place, which amazed both of us. I will eventually move the computer out into my living room and put the bookcase full of pretties back here where they were.

And now I get to drive back to the old town and straighten out my account with the YMCA. That’s a topic for a whole ’nuther blog post, and I’ll have pictures of the kitchen and sidewalk and other neat stuff by then, too.