About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Old Building, Much Rain, Good Weather for Thinking

Another resurrected draft; I began it in September 2007. This is what the fax machine looked like when I got to work that day.

This is what the ceiling above the fax machine looked like.

I had building engineers and maintenance people hovering around my desk for awhile. All of them cute, most of them young enough that I could have given birth to them. *sigh* Ladders. Clanking tools. Mops. Muttering. [Theirs, mine.]

I also had a serious case of the munchies. Yogurt from the big carton while checking email after I took LittleBit to seminary but before I put on my “I know what I’m doing” clothes and went to pick her up, take her to school, and drive to work. [This part was obviously written before parent-taught drivers ed and LittleBit getting her hands on Phineas, which is what she named the 1992 Acura which used to belong to Secondborn.] A pint of chocolate milk at my desk as I fired up the switchboard. The last half dozen gingersnaps as I finished up the scanning and waited for the first batch of envelopes to open and staples to pull. A wrestle between whether to eat the Hershey’s Special Dark or the Nutri-Grain bar before I decided that the gingersnaps would only beat up the Nutri-Grain bar if I sent it down the hatch. [Isn’t rationalization amusing if somebody else is doing it?] Note: I typed this shortly before signing the lease to the interim apartment; it’s fair to assume that some displacement eating was going on.

Visualize picture two packages of flour tortillas, 48-ct each. One of my paralegals came in [last September] with a bagful of groceries that her sons had bought. They went to the right store but got the wrong kind of tortillas. So LittleBit and I suddenly had eight dozen flour tortillas. My fridge runneth’ed over, woohoo! I put most of them in the freezer and have been taking them out as needed. It’s now thirteen months later, and I still have six four of them left in the fridge. [I felt the need for a couple of breakfast quesadillas.]

See, this is what being a woman is all about. It’s not about competition; it’s about cooperation and seeking to bless one another.

I read a fascinating article in “Time” [back then] during one of my breaks. Apparently believing that they had wrung all possible angst from the issue of working mothers vs. stay-at-home mothers ~ I’ve been both and can argue both sides of the question with passion and anecdotal evidence ~ the media discovered a new flame to fan: “grey hair vs. dyed” for aging Boomers as a litmus test of feminist orthodoxy. One more ploy to divide women into “us vs. them” rather than uniting us against evil in its myriad forms. Sheesh!

I guess you would have to call me a neo-traditional. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, “growing up” being a relative term. Maybe it’s fairer to say that I became chronologically older and physically taller. I’m not entirely sure that I’ve completely grown up. But I digress.

I remember that we thought nothing of it when John Wayne got exasperated with Maureen O’Hara and turned her over his knee. What was truly amusing, 35 years later, was when I tried to explain to my oldest daughter and her friends how rapidly the popular culture had changed in a generation and a half. [I had rented “McClintock” because in many respects it’s a classic, and I knew there would be no naked bodies to embarrass a mixed group of church kids.] Very productive field for discussion. The girls were indignant, and the boys were very, very quiet.

I think I really expected to grow up and become June Cleaver. All I wanted from the time I was a little girl, was to be a mommy. [Which I am, in spades.] I remember dragging my baby doll around at my first house ~ which means that I was eight or younger, because we moved to Boise on the hottest day of summer in 1960 ~ and telling some imaginary playmate that it was really sad about my baby, because her daddy was dead. Tragic sigh.

I knew nothing about the birds and the bees at that time, but I did know that you needed a mommy and a daddy, and I had no brothers, and none of the boys in the neighborhood wanted to play house. I could be Annie Oakley to their Sheriff Lefty, but they sure-as-shootin’ didn’t want to be Ward Cleaver.

You know, I don’t think a whole lot has changed in that respect, judging by the brethren I see at the local singles’ events.

Semi-random and semi-related: I took a lot of unconscious and therefore unspoken assumptions into my first marriage. One was that I was supposed to get pregnant on our honeymoon and start raising a family. He had the crazy idea that we should save up the down payment on a house before we began to be fruitful and multiply. He was supposed to earn the living; I was supposed to decorate our home. He was a saver. I was a consumer. He was logical, shy and serious. I was hyper-emotional, just starting to come out of my shell, and prodigiously creative. I wanted to talk about things as they came up. Loudly, of course. He wanted to think about things and then discuss them calmly and rationally.

I learned a lot about how not to be married, during that two-year first marriage. I also became the worst sort of man-hating feminist those last six months. [May I interject, totally not his fault.] As opposed to the non-rabid semi-feminist I am now, one who has made peace with men in general while castigating particular men individually, as the occasion requires.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled year. Yesterday turned out weird, in the best possible way. It took longer to block Secondborn’s scarf than I had planned, so I was late leaving for work. Which meant that I needed to drive in. And I was just not willing to only have a commute to show for all that gas used. So I grabbed a skirt and my dressier clogs and my black leather jacket and my pantihose, and threw them all into the trunk. And after work, I went to the temple. Where I ran into my recently-widowed friend [with the unusual surname; you girls will know who I mean], and I not only did the work for ten sisters in the temple file but half a dozen of her or her late husband’s relatives. And one of the sisters who officiates in the temple turns out to be a knitter who would like to start designing her own stuff. Could I help?

Oh yeah, I think I could. She has my email address now, and I hope to hear from her soon. I think it’s amazing that Heaven could take my disorganized morning and turn it into multiple serendipities.

I bought a book on the clearance rack at the church bookstore, where I went in to change into my skirt and nicer shoes. A short story by Louisa May Alcott, something Christmasy. $3.99.

Secondborn’s scarf turned out well; you’ll see pictures in about a week and a half.

And I’m almost done with the cuff on Eleanora. It looks rather like a Mod skirt for an American Girl doll at this point. Or a gansey for my foot. I’m loving how balanced the pattern is between knits and purls, solids and lace.


seth said...

I'm so excited to see my beautiful birthday scarf. The weather has kindly changed in anticipation...

Jenni said...

I'm glad your day turned out so well.

Lynn said...

Seth? Have you had an operation I wasn't aware of?

Bonnie said...

Um, yeah, sorry about that Seth comment. I didn't know Terrence had logged in on my computer. I only realized when you called me up confused last night. :)